Revisiting "Kingdom" Part 2
Ruling over what/who?
John R Gavazzoni
Thousand Oaks, CA
For most of us the process of reflection on ruling and reigning with Christ goes something like this: We begin to think to ourselves, "hey, I've never given much thought to what exactly is meant by the truth that we are granted participation, not only in Christ's death and resurrection, but also in His enthronement, His Headship over all things.
"I wonder just what that means? Hmmm; well, obviously it must involve ruling over some others, because if you're a co-ruler with Christ, you have to have someone to rule over, so some of us who are more spiritual, more dead to self, more truly consecrated to God and willing to do His will, will, by some definition exercise authority over others, maybe involving a sequential, hierarchal system working from the top down, from the most spiritual of us down to the most carnal."
Makes sense, huh? Well, it does in the kingdom of this world, but not in God's kingdom. To be sure, if God, by His grace, permits us some advancement in maturation, we can be of help to others on their way, but the biblical overview of the dominion factor in the economy of God is a lot different than the conclusion many reach as they slide down the slippery slope of spiritual self-aggrandizement.
As I've pointed out in our series, "Revisiting 'sonship,' " the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, and it was not a minority of humanity that was gifted with, and called to dominion; that is, to "be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue (conqueror) it," it was Adam (Eve included). Now most of those who will end up reading this series know that "Adam" is more than one man, but he is the corporate natural man. In his loins lay the entire Adamic race---all mankind. God does elect certain ones through whom He calls the rest back to their Adamic mandate, but it is finally Adam who has the mandate.
It ought not to escape our notice, that among the many descriptions of Christ, the one that stands out in the 15th Chapter of First Corinthians---which deals with the consummation of all things---is the title, the last Adam. Did you get that, the Last ADAM. In Him, all that the first Adam was intended to be, and intended to accomplish comes to fruition. The Last Adam is the Summarizing Adam, summarizing, bringing to successful conclusion, all that is Adamic.
A careful reading of that chapter reveals that the Last Adam was within the first Adam; in fact, I can't imagine a more strategic insight than that one in this present hour of God's fresh impetus for restoration. The spiritual was hidden within the natural, so that, what appeared to be a failure on the part of the first Adam, was really necessary to the full unfolding of the Last Adam in Him in all of His glory, for the "failure" of the first Adam called forth out from his depths, the Last Adam who is the first Adam's Reality.
That's why, after creating man (Adam), God looked at His creation---now crowned by the epitome of His likeness---and saw that it was VERY GOOD. And dear ones, NOTHING CAN CHANGE THAT EVALUATION!!!! That's God's valuation of Adam and the creation that he heads up, and God's valuation of Adam is Adam's worth to God, a worth so great that Jesus died for him, individually and racially.
The Last Adam-constitution of the first Adam will come forth swallowing up every enemy all the way to the last one, death, and Adam shall be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it." He/he will have the dominion sovereignly granted Him/him by God. All of creation's "very good(ness)" was, and still is, by and large hidden within a shell of corruptibility, but it, in Christ, has gone into the ground in corruptibility, and has, and will be, raised in incorruptibility. It is all very good, because it is God's own glory, albeit His glory incognito.
But let us not miss the obvious. The earth that Adam, in Christ, and Christ in Adam is to subdue is the very earth from which Adam's creaturehood was drawn---"of the dust of the ground." We, all together, the corporate Adam, must, in fulfilling our heavenly mandate, begin with our own earthenness, and our own earthenness is both individual and communal. We're all really one flesh, one family of earthenness, one body of humanity.
To us, individually, and corporately is given the challenge to overcome the contrariness that afflicts our very good humanness, and clearly, the nature of the contrariness that afflicts us is the filter put upon the eyes of our heart, that causes us to see God as the demander rather than the Giver, and thus relating to Him as our negative critic rather than our delighted Father.
From this misperception of God's relationship with us---which causes us to relate improperly to Him---comes all that is alien and contrary to our true humanness in Christ, all human neurosis and psychosis, all deviancy (sin). [Brother Ed Browne, my dear Greek-trained friend, suggests that the Greek word commonly translated "sin," and generally understood to mean "to miss the mark," carries the thought of deviancy].
When, with whatever varying degree of understanding we come to face our God-given commission to conqueror the earth, to have dominion over all things, we face the utter impossibility of such a task. The natural man, though commissioned for nothing less, and having the corporate capacity to fulfill his mandate, nevertheless inevitably comes to the realization that his natural capacity, in and of itself, without being acted upon by God's grace from within, stands helpless, frustrated and overwhelmed with futility until God within---the Primal Origin of our true humanness---rises up to provide that which He, Himself, requires (Barth).
Nothing is more frustrating, than to have a the capacity for glory, and be completely helpless to actualize that capacity, that potential. We must wait patiently upon God---that's faith---for God to take what we essentially are, and make it become what all creation yearns for---that's grace. After all, this capacity that I speak of is finally God's capacity in us that only unfolds upon His initiation.
Brother Bill Green is right in his prophetic insight that even before Adam arrives on the creation scene, something contrary to all that God is and all that Adam truly is as he proceeds out from God, exists in the earth, in earth's own earthenenness. By one man's sin, death entered the world (the arrangement), but it came into the arrangement via Adam's earthenness drawn from the dust of the ground.
Here we have a peek into the multi-faceted wisdom of God, that it be necessary for Adam's aeonian existence to begin with him/us facing an element, a dimension of contrariness to God's nature and his own nature; a contrariness so pervasive in earthenness, that our natural man has nowhere to go but within, all the way to heaven, to our spiritual constitution, and we finally go there by the dragging power of the cross of Christ.
In drawing this second part of our series to a close, I want to make clear just what it is that is impacting me profoundly, and what it is that I want to impress upon my brethren who sincerely desire to learn what it means to be seated with Christ in the heavenlies---and that means seated on the throne, for that's where He's seated---and to walk that reality out on the earth. It means that we all, edifying one another in love, bearing one another's burdens, together subdue the earth that, while within the all-encompassing control of God, is having, as it were, a fit of madness, at odds with itself, thrashing about in a state of desperation.
We have a sure hope, for our Lord is He who makes all things new, in whom God reconciled all things to Himself, That Reality, by the faith of Christ, we shall certainly demonstrate and confirm in the One, corporate Body of Christ, as has been done seminally in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord, our Truth, our Origin and Destiny.
Stay tuned for future serious, seminal samplings.
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John R Gavazzoni
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