Jesus’ Sacrifice and the Need for New Government

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Jesus’ Sacrifice and the Need for New Government

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After a turbulent year of curtailed freedoms and riotous mayhem around the world, a disputed U.S. election, another divisive second impeachment, and aggressive silencing of political and ideological opponents, a great many are waking up to the failure of human government. The depth of corruption, hypocrisy, lying and injustice across the political spectrum is profoundly frustrating and almost defies comprehension.

If we could only fix these problems! But we can’t. Political leaders and intelligentsia at all levels share the delusion they can save us from our own foolish ignorance, and we all suffer for it. Power corrupts. Even what seem to be caring intentions, whether sincere or subterfuge, can end in totalitarian nightmares.

Representative government too often has become a mirage, beset with so much cronyism, graft and pernicious conformity and groupthink. Some officials of integrity still try to stand up for what’s right—but they too are flawed and too few. Efforts to “drain the swamp” are doomed from the start—for the swamp, as events of the last few years have shown, is everywhere.

All this has demonstrated once again that mankind is incapable of sustained governance for the good of the governed. Why? There are two big reasons for our dilemma that go together—people are not right in the heart, and the world is led by Satan the devil.

At this time of year, the biblical festivals of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are powerful reminders of these factors. They also point to the solution. Jesus Christ died for the problem at Passover. And He did so looking ahead to the answer that would spring from that moment and vital steps to follow, coming to full fruition in the future. Jesus at His return will take over the reins of world government. Yet the real conquest to save us must and will occur on the inside of people everywhere.

Wayward hearts held captive

The formation of the United States as a constitutionally limited republic has been of great blessing to the world. Yet its promotion of liberty and justice has been dependent on the character of the citizenry. As founding father and second president John Adams said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

As morality has waned, so has the government. With wayward people accepting worsening representation, the checks on abuses of power matter less and less. Corrupt leaders promote further corruption of the people, who accept greater evil.

This vicious cycle happens everywhere to varying degrees. Governments in nations of high morality have been the most beneficial. But the reality is that no nations have been of high enough and lasting morality to persist in what’s right and endure.

Consider even the nation that God Himself set up, ancient Israel. Greatly blessed and directed by God, it was to serve as a model nation of law and wisdom in following His ways (see Deuteronomy 4:5-8 Deuteronomy 4:5-8 [5] Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it. [6] Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. [7] For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for? [8] And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
American King James Version×
). He warned the people repeatedly not to turn from that, yet they still did. They broke their covenant relationship with God, making a new covenant necessary (Jeremiah 31:31-32 Jeremiah 31:31-32 [31] Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD:
American King James Version×
). The problem was not the Old Covenant but the people, God explained (Hebrews 8:8 Hebrews 8:8For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
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). He knew they did not have a heart to faithfully obey Him (see Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
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).

Scripture further tells us that all mankind has a corrupt nature and that the human heart is desperately wicked and incapable of remaining subject to God’s law (Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
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; Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×
). None is truly righteous (Romans 3:10-12 Romans 3:10-12 [10] As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: [11] There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. [12] They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.
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, 23).

Of course, the more righteous people are, the better the outcome for them and others will be. Righteousness in governance is a cause of rejoicing (Proverbs 29:2 Proverbs 29:2When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bears rule, the people mourn.
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). But there’s no guarantee of earthly rulers continuing in what’s right.

As mentioned, a big part of human waywardness is the influence of Satan the devil, along with his demonic minions—angels who rebelled against God, having been corrupted into evil. Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has roped humanity into their rebellion. Now, “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
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).

The devil is the unseen ruler of this world, the spirit at work in disobedient mankind (John 12:31 John 12:31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
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; 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2-3 Ephesians 2:2-3 [2] Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
American King James Version×
). His demons occupy positions of power behind the scenes (Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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). They are active in so much of the evil we see in man’s governments—and in the broken lives of people everywhere.

Thankfully, God intends to ultimately break Satan’s iron grip on human society through a change of rule and a change of heart—as, again, these go hand in hand.

Change of rule through change of heart—now and in the future

To free us from the tyranny of Satan and sin with its penalty of suffering and ultimately death, Jesus first had to die in our place—“that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14 Hebrews 2:14For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
American King James Version×
). He died in our place on the Passover day as the fulfillment of the symbolism of the Passover lamb sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
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; John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
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).

He then rose from the dead to lead us out of sin, as pictured in the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows. In receiving Christ’s sacrificial death in repentance, our slavery to sin is broken, as we instead give our lives into God’s dominion (see Romans 6:1-23 Romans 6:1-23 [1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin. [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died to sin once: but in that he lives, he lives to God. [11] Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [16] Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? [17] But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity to iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness to holiness. [20] For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life. [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus becomes our Lord and Master—our King on behalf of God the Father. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13 Colossians 1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
American King James Version×
, New American Standard Bible). We are now subject to the rule of that Kingdom even though it is not yet established throughout the earth, as it will be.

Through our receiving the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus then lives His life in us to help us live in accordance with God’s will (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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; Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×
). As part of the terms of the New Covenant Jesus initiated with His disciples at His final Passover meal with them, God begins writing His laws in their hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
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). Thus, those individuals who respond to God’s calling in this age experience the needed change of rule and change of heart. It is this changed heart that enables us to continue in following God as our Ruler—and His reign in our lives helps us to continue submitting our hearts. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 Philippians 2:13For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
American King James Version×
).

Today only a few experience this process, not the world at large. These few make an impact, but not enough to fundamentally change the world. In fact, they are often persecuted by the world. Yet they are the ones who will be given immortality and power at Christ’s return to help Him in establishing and ruling the Kingdom of God on earth (Daniel 7:13-14 Daniel 7:13-14 [13] I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. [14] And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
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, 27; Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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; 20:4, 6).

For indeed Jesus will come back and take over the rule of all nations (Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
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; Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
). “The government will be upon His shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
American King James Version×
). Satan will be ousted from rule and banished (Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 [1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, [3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×
). Many prophecies describe the wonderful changes that will come throughout the world. Under Christ’s rule, the transformative process will expand rapidly. God will pour out His Spirit the world over (Joel 2:28 Joel 2:28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
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), and all will come to know God and His ways (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 8:11 Hebrews 8:11And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
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).

Under the perfect righteous rule of Christ and His glori-fied followers of this age, the world will at last know true peace, justice, joy and love—as He transforms people's hearts to receive His rule within them, not just over them.

Enduring the cross for the joy to come

At the end of His human life on the eve and day of Passover, Jesus was looking toward the future. When He sat down with His disciples for that last Passover meal together, He told them it would be fulfilled in the Kingdom to come (Luke 22:14-18 Luke 22:14-18 [14] And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. [15] And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: [16] For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. [17] And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: [18] For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
American King James Version×
).

He told them He would be going away to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house, referring to their becoming part of God’s family and Kingdom through Him (John 14:1-6 John 14:1-6 [1] Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. [2] In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. [4] And where I go you know, and the way you know. [5] Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way? [6] Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×
). He prayed to be restored to divine glory with the Father, joined ultimately by all His followers (John 17).

Holding on to this wonderful hope of the coming Kingdom brought Jesus through the horrible suffering of the hours that followed: “. . . who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 Hebrews 12:2Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
American King James Version×
, New Revised Standard Version).

What was He going through all this for? For the joy yet to come. To free us from sin and death and lead us in transformation for what will follow. For His return to save the world and set everything right. For us to be part of His divine family and the new government He will bring.

In the annual Passover service, we remember not only that Jesus died, but that He is coming again: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26 1 Corinthians 11:26For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he come.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added).

As we recall what Jesus did for us in His great sacrifice, let’s also remember why—for the future He will bring for us all. For a transformed world. For the Kingdom of God through a change of rule and a change of heart—both now in preparation and ultimately at Christ’s return. That’s the new government we all need!

 

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