FEED MY SHEEP Chapter 3, Man’s Task
AUTHOR: Camping, Harold
PUBLISHED ON: May 7, 2003
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

                            CHAPTER 3

                          MAN’S TASK

    We  shall  now  continue  in  our  study to answer some of the questions 
raised and left unanswered in the previous chapter.  As we discover solutions
to these questions  we shall also get closer to the end  of our search for the
Biblical  answer to the question of man’s task in the world today.

God’s Victory Timetable

    The first  question we shall try to  answer is:  If Christ had destroyed
Satan and  his works by His perfect  obedience, why does Satan still continue
to bind the hearts of men  throughout the New Testament period?  Why is death 
and decay still  as prevalent as ever?  Where is the evidence of the victory
on the cross?

    The fact is, of course, that while Christ’s  work as Redeemer, as the last
Adam, has been completed, the time for the full impact of the  victory upon
this sinful  world and upon Satan  has not as yet arrived.  That God has  a
timetable in  dealing with Satan is suggested in the Old Testament.  In
Genesis 3:14 we read:

    The  Lord  God  said  to  the  serpent, “Because you have done
    this, cursed are  you  above  all  cattle,  and above all wild
    animals!  Upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.”

    But while the physical snake moves around on its belly, Satan, the real
object of this curse, took over this world as its prince.  He actually
appeared  to lose almost  none of the  prerogatives he had had before the
fall.  The book of Job gives startling evidence of his continued  freedom to
be in heaven.  Thus, while the curse was certain and sure, the final  effects
of it were not to  appear until some future date.

    Similarly, while Christ  was completely victorious over Satan, the final 
evidence of  this victory  is for  the future.  This is intimated in I
Corinthians 15:24-27:

    Then  comes the end,  when he delivers  the kingdom to God the
    Father after  destroying every  rule and  every authority  and
    power.  For he  must reign  until he  has put all his enemies
    under his  feet.  The  last enemy  to be  destroyed is  death. 
    “For  God has  put all  things in  subjection under his feet.” 
    But when  he says,  “All things  are put  in subjection  under
    him,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under

    It is even more clearly stated in Hebrews 10:12,13:

    But when Christ  had offered for  all time a  single sacrifice
    for  sins, he sat down at the  right hand of God, then to wait
    until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.

    And in Hebrews 2:5-9  we see that the subjection is  not be be complete in
this world:

    For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come,
    of which  we are speaking.  It has been  testified somewhere,
    “What is man that thou are mindful  of him? or the son of man,
    that thou  carest for  him?  Thou didst  make him for a little
    while lower than  the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory
    and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

    Now  in  putting  everything  in  subjection  to  man, he left
    nothing  outside his  control.  As  it is,  we do  not yet see
    everything in subjection to him.  But we see  Jesus, who for a
    little  while  was  made  lower  than the angels, crowned with
    glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so  that by
    the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

    These verses are  quoted from Psalm  8:4-8.  While the  Hebrew word  radah
is never  used outside of  Genesis 1 to describe man’s rule  over the 
creatures, in  Psalm 8:4-8  the Bible does use the Hebrew  word mashal to
describe such  a rule.  There God declares, “Thou madest  him to have dominion
(mashal)  over the works of Thy hands; Thou  hast put  all things  under his 
feet, all  sheep and oxen,” etc.

    While  this appears to be a statment relating to the condition of man 
today, a  commentary found  in the  Bible on  these verses indicates 
otherwise.  That  commentary  is  Hebrews 2:5-9, where these verses  are
qouted to show  that it is in  the world to come that this condition  will
apply.  The  whole world is brought into subjection  to Christ (Ephesians
1:22) because of Christ’s work on the  cross.  But  “we see  not yet  all
things under Him” (Hebrews 2:8).  This will be in the world to come.

    Moreover, the  man that is in view in  Psalm 8 is not mankind.  It  is not
the believers either.  Hebrews 2 clearly shows that the man God is speaking of
in Psalm 8 is Jesus Himself, who was made a little lower than  the angels.  By
this magnificent victory on the cross He  brought everything  into subjection 
.  This  subjection includes Christ’s victory over Satan.

    It is in the world to come, the new heaven and new earth, that the full
destruction  of Satan will be realized.  At judgment day Satan and all who
are  his followers, both demons and men, will be cast into the lake of fire. 
Then, too, death itself together with the  place of the dead, Hades, will 
also be cast into the lake of fire  (Rev.  20:14).  In  other  words,  at
judgment day the full consequence of Christ,s victory on the cross will be
realized.  At that time the  full impact of  the curse of  Genesis 3:14 will 
be seen.

    Note the language of Isaiah 65  which indicates the conditions that  will
exist in  the new heaven  and new earth (Isaiah 65:17).  In verse 25 we read:

    The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion  shall eat
    straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food.  They
    shall not hurt  or destroy in  all my holy  mountain, says the

    Note that the statement speaks of  conditions similar to those that
existed in the garden  of Eden.  There is peace.  The animals are again 
herbivorous.  Note the  serpent.  The curse  of Genesis 3:14  has  been 
brought  to  full  fruition.  His humiliation is complete.  In Hell  he is 
the lowest  of the  creatures.  One is reminded of  the language of Isaiah 14
which  speaks of the end of the  king  of  Babylon.  I  believe  there  is 
adequate Biblical evidence to show that  the king of Babylon is presented 
here as a type of Satan.  Note:

    But  you are brought down to Sheol,  to the depths of the Pit. 
    Those who  see you will stare at you,  and ponder over you; is
    this the  man who made the earth  tremble, who shook kingdoms,
    who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who
    did  not  let  his  prisoners  go  home?  All the kings of the
    nations lie in glory, each in  his own tomb, but you are  cast
    out, away from your  sepulchre, like a loathed untimely birth,
    clothed with  the slain,  those pierced  by the  sword, who go
    down to the stones of the Pit, like a  dead body trodden under
    foot.  You will not be joined with them in burial, because you
    have destroyed your land, you have slain your people.  May the
    descendants  of  evildoers  nevermore  be  named.    (Isaiah

    The passages quoted in  Isaiah 65 and Isaiah 14  are obviously word
pictures of conditions  that will exist beyond  judgment day.  How  much we 
can understand  them literally  is not the burden of this discussion.  The
picture of the final punishment of Satan is easily seen.

Why Does God Delay?

    Why,  we might ask, did  God delay  carrying out  his curse on Satan?  Why
has  He delayed for  almost 2000 years  throwing Satan into  the lake of 
fire?  Some light  is shed on  this question in Ephesians 3:8-11:

    To me,  though I  am the  very least  of all  the saints, this
    grace was  given, to preach  to the Gentiles  the unsearchable
    riches of  Christ, and to make all men see what is the plan of
    the  mystery hidden  for ages  in God  who created all things;
    that  through the church the manifold  wisdom of God might now
    be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly
    places.  This was according  to the eternal  purpose which he
    has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    The  delay  of  God,  in  bringing  into  effect  the  final destruction
of  Satan and  his works,  is necessary  to permit the development  of  the 
church.  God  has  in view a vast throng of people who were chosen from
eternity to be his sons.  Until all of them  have been born of  Christ, the
church will  not have come to full fruition.

    It is through  this church that Christ’s wisdom  is being made known to
angels  and demons, to all of the inhabitants of heavenly places.

The Cross and Satan

    However, while  Satan’s destruction  is destined  for judgment day, the
impact of Christ’s  victory on the cross was  experienced by Satan at the time
of the cross. 

    Because Christ was entirely victorious over Satan by his death and 
resurrection He  was enabled  to do  with Satan as He willed.  His mastery
over  Satan is emphasized by the statement that He has the  keys  of  Death 
and  Hades.  In  other words, Christ is the complete master  of Satan  as
evidenced  by His  mastery over  the works (Death and Hades) of Satan.

    I  died, and behold  I am alive  for evermore, and  I have the
    keys of Death and Hades (Rev. 1:18).

    He has  become the  supreme master  of the  earth, even though Satan is
permitted to continue for the time being as prince of the earth. 

    And from Jesus Christ  the faithful witness the  first-born of
    the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth (Rev. 1:5).

    Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this
    world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the  earth,
    will draw all men to myself (John 12:31,32).

    He  has removed  the authority  and power  of Satan  over this creation,
which Satan had obtained  by virtue of his victory  over Adam.  During the
Old Testament this authority and power of Satan was  not  total.  It  was 
limited  by  God because God has never relinquished  His  care,  love  and 
concern  for this universe he created.  God  continued to  reign as  Creator. 
Moreover,  it was limited because the Lordship as  Jesus Christ as Redeemer
King was anticipated.  Thus,  while Satan  is called  by God  the prince of
this world,  and the ravages  of Satan’s ruling  are seen on every hand, we
read in Psalm 24:1:

    The earth  is the Lord’s  and the fullness  thereof, the world
    and those who dwell therein.


    For  every  beast  of  the  forest  is  mine,  the cattle on a
    thousand hills.  I know all the birds of the air, and all that
    moves in the field is mine (Ps. 50:10,11).

    This same  theme is emphasized  in the New  Testament where we read in I
Corinthians 10:26:

    For the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.

    At  the  cross,  however,  the  limitations  placed upon Satan became more
pronounced.  We read in Colossians 2:14,15:

    Having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal
    demands;  this  he  set  aside,  nailing  it to the cross.  He
    disarmed  the  principalities  and  powers  and  made a public
    example of them, triumphing over them in him.

    The  victory  over  Satan  which  was  anticipated  in the Old Testament
became a  reality at the cross.  Because of this reality Satan began to
experience increasing difficulty in maintaining his dominion over man.

    He  was cast  out of  heaven so  that he  can no longer accuse believers
before God as he had done with Job.

    Now  war  arose  in  heaven,  Michael  and his angels fighting
    against  the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but
    they were defeated and there was no longer any place  for them
    in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient
    serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the

    whole world–he  was thrown down  to the earth  and his angels
    were  thrown  down  with  him.  And  I  heard a loud voice in
    heaven,  saying,  “Now  the  salvation  and  the  power of the
    kingdom of our God and  the authority of his Christ have come,
    for the  accuser of  our brethren  has been  thrown down,  who
    accuses  them day  and night  before our  God.  And  they have
    conquered him  by the  blood of  the Lamb  and by  the word of
    their testimony for they loved not their lives even unto death
    (Rev. 12:7-11).

    And he said  to them, “I  saw Satan fall  like lightening from
    heaven” (Luke 10:18).

    Christ  bound  Satan  so  that  he  can  no longer deceive the nations. 
By this binding  the Holy Spirit  is enabled to plunder the house of Satan. 
In other words, men from every nation who are under bondage to Satan now can 
be made free from the shackles  of Satan.  Matthew 12:18,29 speaks of this

    But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then
    the kingdom of God has come upon you.  Or  how can one enter a
    strong  man’s  house  and  plunder  his goods, unless he first
    binds the strong man?  Then indeed he may plunder his house. 

    Much  New  Testament  language  is  employed  to  indicate the freedom 
that has  come to  men because  of Christ’s  victory over Satan.  A few verses
will serve to illustrate this:

    Formerly, when you  did not know  God, you were  in bondage to
    beings that by nature are no gods (Gal. 4:8).

    And  you  he  made  alive,  when  you  were  dead  through the
    trepasses and  sins in  which you  once walked,  following the
    course of this world, following the prince of the power of the
    air,  the  spirit  that  is  now  at  work  in  the  sons  of
    disobedience (Eph. 2:1,2).

    The Spirit of  the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
    to preach good news  to the poor.  He has sent  me to proclaim
    release  to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18).

    The startling evidence that something happened to Satan at the cross  can
be seen at Pentecost.  For more than three years Jesus, the master  teacher,
had  been teaching  and showing  the power of God.  For  example, His home
environment of Nazareth and Capernaum is cited for its unbelief.  The converts
were few and far between.  While  crowds followed him, the  conversions that
are recorded are in the main those of isolated individuals.

    But then  came the cross.  And 50  days later Petecost.  Peter preaches 
one sermon  and a  whole multitude  are saved from every nation.  Just  think
of  it, 3000  were saved  that one afternoon.  Surely something had happened
to Satan’s power over man.

    And as we look at this dramatic proof of the fact that Satan’s house  is
being plundered  following the victory  on the cross, we might  ask  the 
question,  “what  then  is  the  mandate,  the responsibility of the
Christian in this  present world?”  Isn’t he to  subdue this world for the
glory  of Christ?  Isn’t he to probe the scientific  mysteries of the world to 
His glory?  Isn’t he to master the animals and all living creatures so that
they are again loyal subjects to him  as they were before the fall?  Isn’t he
to build cities and rule people’s to God’s praise?

    In  attempting to  answer this  question we  might review what happened to
man in Eden.

Sinless Man

    When we  first look at man in the Bible we see that he as well as the
world is completely pleasing to God.  After the six days of creation “God saw
everything he had made, and  behold, it was very good.”  It was without the
ravages of sin and  the decay and death that followed  when sin  entered the 
world.  In  every aspect  of creation there was loyalty, obedience and
felicity to God.

    Man  who was  created in  the image  of God was given dominion over this
perfect and wonderful creation as God’s vice-gerund.  He was  to  rule  over 
it,  to  care  for  it and maintain it in its pristine state  of goodness. 
He was  to multiply  and fill  this earth with his progeny.  He  was to be the
head of  a great people that would serve and glorify their creator in perfect
obedience to Him.  They were to live  in a perfectly hamonious relationship 
to God the  Lord of  creation.  They  would walk  as a  holy race  in personal 
fellowship to  God.  The  lesser creatures, the animals, the fish, the birds
together with the ground itself were to  exist in a harmonious relationship 
to their lord and master,  man.  And as  man  ruled  over  them  they  too, 
would glorify God in their loyalty  and  service  to  man.  All  creation, 
both animate and inanimate, praised God as Lord and Creator.

Sinless Man Falls

    But one slight  condition was imposed  upon our first  parents Adam  and
Eve.  They, as  the head  of mankind,  must claim it by their perfect
obedience to God.  To give them opportunity to claim their  right to  be king 
of this  creation God set up the testing program.  He put a tree in the garden
called  the tree of good and evil and told Adam and Eve they were not to eat
of it.  This tree, together with this  command, provided the  arena where Adam 
would claim his lordship  as comprehended  in the command  to subdue the

    The angel  Lucifer, Satan,  was the  enemy who  also wanted to assert his 
lordship over the earth.  We  saw that Adam failed the test.  Satan became
prince of the earth and man  became his slave.  The creation was cursed as was

    What was man’s  new relationship to  the world?  What  was his new 
relationship  to  God  after  the  fall?  By  virture of his obedience  to 
Satan  he  had  repudiated  his  own  lordship over creation.  He, in fact, 
became a slave of Satan.  Creation itself was subjected to the bondage  of
decay in parallel relationship to man’s enslavement.

Man, The Slave Of Satan

    Because man had become a slave of Satan he no longer wanted to please 
God.  Instead  he transferred  his affection, his loyalty, his allegiance to
Satan.  The evidence of this transfer was in his lack  of  desire  to  please 
God  and his all consuming desire to please  himself.  He, himself,  was now
the  only King who must be served.

    He was under God’s condemnation because God’s  perfect justice required
punishment  as a penalty  for such a  rebellion.  He lost his  fellowship and
his communication  with God.  His sin-darkened mind  and  being  provided  the 
avenue  through which Satan could assert his mastery over man.

    Because  he had  repudiated his  lordship over  creation, that lordship
was actually taken  from him.  Never again was he told to have dominion over
the creatures as Adam was given dominion before the fall (Gen.  1:26 and 28). 
Rather the  earth and the creatures rebelled against man as  man had rebelled
against God.  The earth instead of  obediently serving  man would  bring
forth  thorns and thistles.  Earthquakes, tornadoes, the raging seas, forest
fires, drought,  famine,  floods,  epidemics,  insect  infestations, wild
animals, and poisonous reptiles are surely all manifestations of a rebellious
creation over which man no longer had dominion.

    The  cosmos would continue to praise  God as creator (Ps. 19).  Even the
wrath of man would praise God (Ps. 76:10).  God was still Lord of His 
creation.  But man’s position as  His vice-gerund had been removed  because
man had  surrendered to Satan.  The perfect order  established  at  creation 
had  been destroyed.  Instead of being King, man had become a slave.

    Because man  (Adam and Eve)  was created in  the image of God, that is,
with  the ability to know God and  serve him with perfect obedience, he could
blame  no one else for his sin.  He alone was responsible for his fallen
state.  And since Adam was the head of the human race all mankind who  were
his progeny stand in the same relationship to  God as Adam.  His kind,  the
human race, also are enslaved to Satan and in that sense are likewise totally

    The evidence  of man’s  depravity can  be seen  in his lack of selfless 
love for  his fellow  man as  well as in his perversions relating to  himself. 
Perhaps, the depths of his depravity can be seen  in the manner he worships. 
He was created to worship God as his Lord and creator.  In turn he was to 
bear the responsibility as  lord  over  the  creation  and  its  creatures  as
well as the inanimate  part of creation.  The sun, the  river, the crocodile,
science, material possessions, a fellow man, or the human body are typical
objects of depraved man’s worship.

    But man’s enslavement to Satan and the curse upon creation  is not 
absolute.  If  it  were,  man  would  destroy himself in the shortest
possible  time.  Satan is the very essence of death.  God had  a plan for his
creation which required a prescribed period of time to carry out.  Therefore,
certain restraints were  placed on Satan,  and on  mankind his  slaves, so 
that God’s  plan could be carried out. 

    God’s  plan for this  creation was established  by God because God loved 
this creation, and  at no time  did he relinquish  this love even for a

    The love  of God  manifests itself  in the  warm sunshine, the cool
streams and the beautiful sunset.  It also manifested itself in the  fact
that  God put  the fear  and dread  of man within the animals and  delivered
them into his hand.  Thus, man would not be destroyed by the lesser creature,
and  they would provide food for man.  It  also  manifested  itself  in  the
fact that God did not remove the  knowledge of God (Rom. 1:19), or  of guilt 
of his sin from  man’s being.  God allowed  man to  have a  conscience (Rom.
2:15).  He left the laws of God’s kingdom imprinted upon his heart (Rom.
2:15).  This gave him  a sense of  right and wrong together with a
realization  that only by  attempting to do  right could he maintain any
decent  level  of existence.(1)  The  knowledge of an eventual judgment  day
that  God left  within man  also served  to restrain him from total rebellion. 
One evidence of this restraint upon man is revealed by the measure of kindness
and mercy shown by natural man to his fellow man (Matt. 7:11).

    God  also  restrained  Satan  in  his  mastery of man.  Satan, therefore, 
cannot lead  his  slaves,  man, into anymore extensive disregard of God’s laws
than God will permit.

    The knowledge  of God and  his laws which  God has left within man,
together with the blessings of nature, of health, of  a sense of  well being, 
etc. that  God bestows  upon all mankind, further condemns man and emphasizes
his personal responsibility before God to  live  in  obedience  to  God.  As 
he  continues to refuse to acknowledge or praise  God in the face of this
knowledge and these blessings, he further condemns himself.

    As  part  of  God’s  plan  for  man to perpetuate himself, God established 
government  amongst  men.    Man  was  given  the responsibility  of 
ruling  over  his  fellow man.  This authority manifested itself  as parental 
authority over  child, master over servant or slave, and government over its
peoples.  This authority of  man over man is not related in any sense to the
Edenic command to  Adam  to  subdue  the  earth,  or  to  have  dominion over
its creatures.  These  latter responsibilities and prerogatives ceased with 
man’s  surrender  to  Satan.    Rather  this  phenomena  of government may be
found  in every level of God’s creation.  It can be  seen, for  example, in 
the angelic  world, (archangels versus angels); amongst humans as we have
seen; amongst animals (the bull elk  ruling over the herd) (the bull  sea lion
ruling over the sea lions) (the bird pushing  the fledgling from the nest). 
This rule of man over  man enabled the  working out of  the blessing of  God
upon man to multiply and fill the earth to be realized.

    In line with his rule over  his fellow man, he was also  given the 
mandate to  make judgment  in areas  of good  and evil and to punish the 
wrongdoer (Gen.  9:6; Prov.  23:13; Rom.  13:4).  This also  extends to  every
level  of authority  i.e. parent to child, master to servant, etc.

    He is used of God to carry out God’s plans in the world.  Thus the 
Babylonians were  used to  bring judgment  upon the nation of Judah.  Because
God is the ultimate  Soverign, this use of man is even paralleled by  God’s
use of Satan and the  evil spirits (cf I Kings 22:13) to carry out God’s

    He is used by God to care for this world, to cultivate  it and develop  it
for food.  (Gen. 3:23–“the Lord  sent him forth…to  till the  ground.” 
Again  this work  of man  is unrelated  to the pre-fall  command to  subdue
the  earth or  have dominion over its creatures.  Rather the creatures were
delivered into his hand.  He is to derive his shelter from the earth as
intimated by the animal skins provided by God to Adam and Eve (Ge. 3:21).

    Natural man  is endowed  with the  desire to  discover.  He is curious 
about  everything.  This  is  probably a function of the blessing and mandate
to fill the earth, as well as the decision of God that every green food and
all flesh were given to him for food (Gen. 9:3).  Because of  these
privileges  and relationships, man has  constantly sought  to explore  and
discover.  In this  he is again paralleling the lesser  creatures.  They,
too, have  natural curiosity,  and seek  to explore  their natural habitat
especially discovering  that which is  edible.  (Consider, for  example a cat
prowling in a house.)  Thus, in this endowment man is not relating at all to
the command to our first parents to subdue the  earth or have dominion over
its creatures.

    We,  therefore,  see  clearly  that  natural man, the slave of Satan,
whose chief purpose in life is self service, has been given blessings and
mandates which he is to carry out even though he has become an enemy of God. 

    The  commands to be fruitful, multiply  and fill the earth, to receive 
every green  thing and  animal for  food and  to till the ground,  are 
foundational  within  man.  These  commands  and blessings, which  were
specifically given  to fallen man,  are the basis for man’s desire to know 
more about this world in which  he lives.  We shall see later how natural man
began to excel in these endeavors.

    But are  all men,  who have  ever been  born to  live on  this earth,
estranged from God?  Certainly not as we shall see.

God’s Man, The Believer

    A small percentage of the human race who are completely unique must  now
be considered.  While all men  are members of the human race  as descendants
of Adam, not  all remain in bondage to Satan.  Rather in all  generations
since the  very beginning a  remnant of people  has been  freed from 
servitude to  Satan.  Let us look at these, who we will call God’s man, (as
distinguished from `natural man’  who  continues  as  a  slave  of  Satan), to
determine their relationship to God and to this creation.

    We might note first of all  that God’s man is genealogical and
anthropoligically a member of  the human race, even as  is natural man.  As 
such,  all  of  the blessings mandates and prerogatives given  to natural man
are  also given to God’s  man.  As a part of the human  race he rules over 
his fellow man, (he  is a parent, a master, a government official).

    He  enjoys all of the blessings of  God that are common to all mankind
(sunshine, the beauties of nature, health, a sense of well being, the
privilege to procreate).  He, too, cultivates and cares for the world to
derive  his food and shelter from it.  He too, is curious about  this earth
with  which he is  so intimately related and, therefore,  searches it  out to 
discover how  it might  more efficiently produce for him and his peers.

    How then  does he differ from natural man?  If he is no longer a slave of 
Satan, to whom is he related?  The Bible tells us that he  has  become  a  son 
of  God.  This  has  changed  his  whole motivation.  Natural man performs
with  his highest motivation to recognize  and  glorify  self,  as  revealed 
by  self pride, self orientation, self serving.  Some of his more humane
actions may be consciously or subconsciously a result of his inherent fear of
God and  His judgments.  Some of  his actions may even  be a result of God’s 
restraint upon him  so that he  does show some capacity for mercy  and love 
for his  fellow man.  But natural man’s ultimate drive is  one that only
recognizes himself  as king, because in so doing he is unwittingly showing
that Satan is king.

    With God’s man has been given a new inner being, a new nature, a new
heart.  He is born again.  Whereas natural man’s inner being is  darkened  by 
his  bondage  to  Satan  so  that  he  will  not acknowledge God as  Lord of
his  life, God’s man’s  spiritual eyes have  been opened so  that he sees 
himself as a sinner hopelessly condemned by God’s perfect justice.  He accepts
in childlike trust the  substitutionary  atonement  of  Christ  for  his 
sins  (the condemnation of  God for  his sin  was paid  for by  Christ as his
substitute).  And God has come into his life in the person  of the Holy 
Spirit  and  motivates  him  to  live  to  God’s glory.  He, therefore, wants
to please God in all that he does.  He has become a part of a new  race of
people headed up by the  last Adam, Jesus Christ.  His citizenship  is with 
Christ as  his King.  Satan no longer has any claims on him.

    Since God’s  man has  become reintroduced  into the  family of God,  we
would  expect that  the commands  to subdue the earth, to have dominion over
its creatures must somehow again relate to him. Shouldn’t  he  now  bring 
this  earth  and  its  creatures  into submission to God’s glory?  Shouldn’t
he now have dominion in the earth as Adam was commanded?

    The  answers to these  questions are in  the negative.  Let us consider
why this is the case.

    Let  us recall that  Adam was made  king (given dominion) of a perfect
creation.  He had to  claim his kingship  by subduing the enemy who 
threatened, Satan.  Because he  failed to subdue Satan, he  lost his  dominion
over  the creatures.  He was  reduced to a slave of Satan.

    Christ, the  last Adam,  was eminently  successful in subduing this earth
by conquering Satan.  He, therefore, has become Lord of this creation  not
only  by virtue  of being  the creator but also because  He is the Redeemer. 
Christ, therefore, is preeminent in every sense (Col. 1:18).  We saw, however,
that the subjugation of Satan  would  not  be  finalized  until  judgment day
when the new heaven and earth are reality.  By the same token Christ’s
dominion over this creation  will also be finalized at  that same time.  We
read very significantly that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess 
that He  is Lord  (Phil. 2:10).  But this will not occur until judgment day.

    The dominion over  the earth by the believer, who has become a citizen of
God’s kingdom, cannot  occur until Christ’s dominion is seen.  Christ said
very significantly; “My kingdom in not of  this world.”  This is the  same
world (cosmos)  that God loved so much that He gave his only begotten son to
die for it (John 3:16).  But this  cosmos remains  under the  curse of  sin
until judgment day, even though  in principle  it has  been freed  from the
effects of Satan’s reign.  Jesus declared that when the signs indicate Jesus’
return is imminent, “the kingdom of  God is near” (Luke 21:31).(2)  The  realm
of the kingdom is not  this cosmos.  It is related only to the new heaven and
new earth where righteousness dwells.

    But Jesus  repeatedly used  the phrase  “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of 
God” as of  the kingdom is  a present reality.  John, the Baptist, stated it 
was at hand (Matt.  3:2).  It was at  hand because the head of this kingdom,
the Lord Jesus Christ, was about to appear.  It was also at  hand because
Jesus was  ready to make provision for the  kingdom.  He began  to claim His 
Lordship over this  kingdom  by  his  perfect  obedience  in the face of
Satan’s temptations in the wilderness.  He completed his claim of Lordship
over this kingdom by His victory on the cross. 

    He told  the 70 who were sent out  to declare, `The kingdom of God has
come near to you’, to the people they visited (Luke 10:9).  It was near these
people because the 70 missionaries were citizens of  the  kingdom.  Their 
presence  near  the people to whom they witnessed brought the kingdom near. 
It was also near in the sense that they had only to believe to become citizens
of the kingdom.

    For  there is  one place in this present world where it can be seen.  It
is the same place where the victory of  the cross can be seen.  And this is as 
it should be, for the victory  of the cross was to usher  in the  kingdom  of
God.  It  cannot be seen  in the physical  world.  The earth  and its
creatures  exclusive of God’s man  remained  unchanged  because  of  the 
cross.  Objectively speaking, the rose is no  more beautiful, peaches no more
tasty or music is no more harmonious after the cross than before the cross. 
Creation continues to groan and  travail awaiting the revealing of the  sons
of glory, awaiting judgment  day when the new heaven and earth will be ushered

    The redemption evidence  of Christ’s victory on  the cross can only be
found in  one place–in God’s man.  Only in him does  the first  evidence of
the kingdom  of God appear.  Only  in him has a transformation occurred.  He
in his inner being, in his soul, has passed from darkness  into light, has
been made  free from Satan’s dominion.  That  is the  reason that  wherever a 
believer is, the kingdom of God has come near all others who meet him.  That
is the reason  Jesus said the kingdom is  within you.  John, the Baptist,
declared the kingdom was at hand because Christ was about to go to the cross
to  defeat Satan, and  to provide for  Christ’s Lordship over the Kingdom.

    Christ himself is the head of this kingdom, and his appearance at the 
Jordan River  was the  primary evidence  of the kingdom at that time.

    Christ gave other  evidences of the immanence  of the kingdom.  He healed
the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, raised the dead, and  cast out 
demons.  Do  you recall  that this  is the evidence which he showed to John
the Baptist to prove the  genuiness of His Messiahship (Matt.  ll:5).  This,
also,  was the evidence  that He gave to his  disciples and the  seventy who
were  sent out.  Those who  were offered the Gospel could know  it was the
true Gospel by these  miraculous  acts  as  the  ravages  of  Satan’s 
dominion (sickness, death, blindness, demons) were removed from man.  These
evidences of  the victory  of Christ  on the  cross could be shown because He
had obtained authority over Satan at the cross.  We saw how  this further
restraint of Satan,  this binding of Satan, made it possible that his house
could more  effectively be plundered of the souls  of men.  The  miracles of
healing,  casting out demons, etc. were but  preliminary evidences of  the
miracle of  salvation that resulted because of Christ’s victory.

    Beginning with  the temptation  in the  wilderness, when Jesus began 
deliberately  to  follow  the  footsteps of the first Adam, Christ  showed 
himself  as  the  genuine  Lord of creation by His perfect obedience. 
Throughout  His ministry the evidences  of His victory  over  Satan 
multiplied.  At  the  cross  His  work  was completed, and  Pentecost
revealed in  final form on  this side of Judgment day the  reality of this
victory.  Christ’s second coming will  reveal in  a much  greater degree  the
extent  and degree of Christ’s victory over Satan.

    In the  Old Testament  Christ’s victory  was anticipated.  One leper was
healed (Naaman, the Syrian), one lad was raised from the dead, Hezekiah  was
give 15 years of added  life.  And in the area of  salvation a  remnant of 
Israel was  saved, a  few individuals became believers,  one city repented
(Nineveh).  The atonement of Christ was so  certain and sure that its
redeeming effects reached backward all the way to Adam.

    And then Christ himself came on  the scene.  The atonement was now  to 
happen  momentarily.  The  shadow  of  the cross brought greater and greater
evidence of Christ’s coming victory.  The King himself  was  present. 
Numerous  persons  (but mostly Jews) were being freed from the ravages  of
sin.  Many believed and  followed Jesus.

    And  then  the  cross  was  occupied  by  Christ.  Satan  was conquered. 
Now  in the New  Testament dispensation the  impact of this victory reached
forth into every  nation, every tongue, every people.  And as believers 
multiplied, the kingdom  of heaven was brought  and is  being brought  into
the  eyesight and  hearing of every people.  At  the cross the kingdom of  God
became a reality.  The  believers, the invisible  church, are the  citizens
over whom Christ reigns.  Satan’s claim of Lordship over the cosmos has been
shattered,  even though he is allowed  to continue as prince until all those
who are to believe are saved.

    Christ continues to reign  over the cosmos as Creator  even as He has
throughout all history.  But after the cross Christ as Lord of the  heavens
and earth is shown to  be seated at the right hand of the Father.  He has
thoroughly  subdued Satan and  reigns over him and  over all  creation as  the
Redeemer.  But only  after He returns will the cosmos be shown to be in
subjection to him.

    As  king he continues to bring all his enemies into subjection (I Cor.
15:25).  This cannot be a reference to Satan being brought into  subjection
for  he has  already been  overcome.  But  as the world continues since the
cross countless thousands  of new slaves of  Satan are  created as  people
multiply.  Each is  an enemy of Christ unless he  is transferred into  the
kingdom of  God.  As an enemy, a slave of  Satan, he, too, is subject to
Christ’s victory.  He is under God’s wrath.

    Then  comes the end when all that is under the curse of sin is judged and 
removed from the  earth.  This includes  Satan and his demons, unregenerate 
man, the  cosmos itself  (it will  be burned with fire, II  Peter 3:10-12). 
Christ will bring  in the realm of the kingdom  (the new heaven and earth) and 
the reign of the king in its fullest sense.  Death itself, the most dramatic
evidence of the work of Satan, will be abolished. 

Does The Believer Exercise Judgment?

    But the  question still  persists.  If  Christ is  the head of this new
race  of God’s men,  and if he  has been victorious  over Satan, shouldn’t the
believer begin to exercise  dominion over the creatures  in  some  sense. 
Doesn’t  he  somehow  have  some responsibility  to  bring  this  creation 
under  the  dominion of Christ.  Again,  the  answer  must  be  repeated in
the negative.  Christ has  done all  this and  the fruition  of his  efforts
must await His return.  This in no  sense is the  born again believers task
or responsibility.

    The truth can be shown in another way.  Noah was told that the animals 
would be in fear and dread  of him (Gen. 9:2).  This is a result of his loss
of the prerogative  to have dominion over them.  This  was  an  accommodation 
by  God  to prevent the animals from turning on man and destroying him.  Now
if redeemed  man was again to have dominion over the  creatures in any sense,
this would be a good place to  show that he  has dominion.  The  fact is,
however, that saved man relates to the animals in identical fashion to that of
the unsaved.  The animals have identical fear and dread of both kinds of men.

    Likewise, the Christian farmer cannot grow bigger  tomatoes or finer
cattle  than the  unbeliever.  He  has just  as much trouble with  blight and
thistles and harmful insects as the non-Christian farmer.  The carpenter who 
is a Christian is not  necessarily any finer craftsman than the natural man
who is a carpenter.

    What then is the man of God’s task in this world?  Is it to do all the
things the unsaved man  does–care for the  earth, provide food,  and 
shelter,  show  mercy,  govern  his fellow man–with a higher motivation  than
his  unsaved friend?  Yes, that  could be expected.  The Bible says that
whether we eat or drink or whatever we do we are to do it to the Glory of God.

    But the Bible also says that the kingdom of God is not meat or drink but
righteousness and peace.  In other words, when we do the things natural  man
does–seek  a living,  find food  and shelter, etc.–we are to  do these
things to God’s glory.  But this is not the  kingdom.  There  is  something 
else  that is of far greater consequence.  It  is citizenship in  the kingdom
of  Christ.  This cosmos is the  environment in which  the Christian is  to
show the evidence of his  heavenly citizenship.  His efforts therefore, are to 
be  especially  directed  in  those  areas  that relate to the Kingdom of God. 

    A  very interesting  phenomena is  revealed in the Scriptures.  Let us
look at the activities  of the two lines in early  Biblical history.  Natural
man  was going  forth with  all zeal to conquer this world–for  himself.  The 
descendants of  Cain–he, who  was especially cursed by God–built the first
cities, became the first musicians, and the first  ironworkers.  They were the 
mighty men, the  men  of  renown.  Surely,  God’s  man should have been doing
likewise–only with  a motivation  to do  it to  God’s glory.  But what  does
the Bible  record?  God’s man,  the descendants of Seth “walked with  God
(Enoch),” looked  for “relief from  our work and from the toil  of our hands
(Lamech),” and built  an ark to escape God’s  judgment on the world.  For 
some reason the development of arts and crafts, of shelter for mankind, was
not very important to God’s man.

    Let us pursue this thought  a bit further.  The next  Biblical report  of 
the  two  lines  of  men  is that of the sons of Noah.  Significantly,  the 
descendants  of  Ham,  whose  son  Canaan was especially cursed,  were the
great  builders.  It was  Nimrod, the descendant of Ham, who founded the first
great civilization of the world  on the plains  of Shinar.  It  was a
descendant  of Ham who founded  the  second  great  civilization  of
antiquity.  This was Egypt.  But of the descendants of Shem, the brother who
was in the line of God’s men, we read of no accomplishments.

    That is, except  for a brother  of Abraham.  God  had narrowed the 
Messianic line through Terah.  Terah  was the father of three sons,  Abraham, 
Nahor,  and  Haran.  Haran  died  in  Ur  of the Chaldees.  But Nahor  built
a city (Gen. 24:10).  What do we read of God’s man, Abram?  He was promised
the world (Rom. 4:13) but he dwelt in a tent as  a stranger and a sojourner. 
The  only land he owned was the cave of  Machpelah (Hebron), which he
purchased as a burial ploy for his wife, Sarah.

    Surely, the Biblical record indicates that the believer’s task is not only
completely different in motivation from natural man’s, but also different in
kind.  God’s man is human and a  resident of this  world  and,  therefore,  is 
concerned  about the same tasks confronting  natural  man.  But  he  has  a 
far greater and more glorious task that takes  precedent in his life.  He  has
become a follower of Christ.  Christ is  his King, and he wishes  to follow
him in perfect obedience.  Only in this way can he  relate to the kingdom of
God of which he is a citizen.

    But  if he is a follower of  Christ, his king, he must do what Christ
does.  Let us see  how he can  do this.  We  shall thereby discover  how
through the believer the  kingdom of God is extended to all the peoples of the

    What was the task of Christ?  We have seen that Jesus’ primary task was
especially twofold.  He  must defeat Satan by his perfect obedience and  thus
claim  Lordship over  this creation.  In this endeavor He was the last Adam
and  He became the head of a race of people who are the believers.

    Secondly, he must redeem this world from the ravages of 11,000 years of
sin.  The most important aspect of this is the redemption of mankind.

    The  only  way  they  could  be  redeemed  was  to  provide  a substitute
to bear  the penalty for their sins in order that God’s perfect justice could
be  satisfied.  This Jesus provided by going to the cross and suffering  the
equivalent of an eternity in Hell, as God poured out His wrath  upon Him for
man’s sins.  Because the weal  or  woe  of  the  rest  of  creation  is
parallel to that of mankind, the  rest of the  cosmos which was  redeemed at
the cross will also be  made free from the bondage of  sin when Christ comes
again to finalize the salvation  of mankind.  This, of course,  is the  time
when  God’s men  will receive  their resurrected bodies.  They will then live
eternally with  Christ as their King in a  new heaven  and  new  earth  from 
which  all  that is sinful has been banished.

    But the  believer cannot  follow Christ  by becoming  the last Adam.  He
cannot atone  for his sins or for the sins of the world.  He cannot destroy
Satan for Satan’s doom was  already made certain by Christ at the cross.  He
cannot become the last Adam for Christ is the last Adam.  He and He only is
Lord of this creation.

The Believer’s Task

    But there is an  area of Christ’s work in  which the Christian can and is,
in fact, mandated to follow Jesus.  He is our example, our leader, our King,
and His wish is our command.  We, therefore, as citizens of  His Kingdom wich 
to be entirely  obedient to him.  And there  is a  glorious area  of Christ’s 
ministry where we can follow and are indeed mandated to follow.

    Christ preached the  Gospel.  During his ministry  He declared to the 
multitudes that the Kingdom of God  was at hand.  And this is the mandate He
gives to God’s man, the believer.

    Jesus said in Matthew 28:19:

    Go  therfore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
    them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy

    In  II  Corinthians  5:20  the  command  is a bit differently

    So  we  are  ambassadors  for  Christ,  God making his appeal
    through  us.  We  beseech  you  on  behalf  of  Christ,  be
    reconciled to God.

    And in I Peter 2:9 the same truth is enunciated:

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
    God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of
    him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

    The  born  again  Christian,  who  has  been adopted into the family of
God and who has become  citizen of the kingdom headed up by  Christ,  declares 
to  the  world  what Christ has done at the cross.

    This  is  why  he  is  called  an  ambassador  of Christ.  The Christian 
himself  is  the  evidence  of  Christ’s victory on the cross.  This is the
only  area of the cosmos  where the effect of Christ’s work  on the cross can 
be seen on this  side of judgment day.  The redeemed  soul of the  Christian
is the  only portion of the  cosmos that is  changed because of  the cross. 
The creatures and  the  earth  must  await  judgment  day before the evidence
of Christ’s victory will be seen in them.

    But  even  in  God’s  man  the  victory  of  the  cross is not manifested 
as  a  total  victory.    While  his  soul  has  been transformed–it  needs 
no  further  changing to enter heaven–his body, his old nature, has  not been
changed at all as  a result of the cross.

    But because  man is  an integrated  personality consisting  of both  body 
and  soul,  it  is  in  his  body  that  he  can first demonstrate the  power
of  Christ in  his life.  When he became a citizen of  Christ’s kingdom, he
was freed  from bondage of Satan, in both body  and soul.  While  his soul was 
renewed by the  Holy Spirit  (he  was  born-again),  his  body was unchanged. 
It still bears all  the desires of  the natural man.  It still lusts after
the  world.  But  it was  freed from  Satan’s power.  This is the reason the 
Christian longs for the resurrection of the body.  The resurrected body is the
hope of the Christian.

He Must Reign Over His Body

    Therefore,  this becomes  the arena  where the  victory of the cross is 
shown to  the unsaved  world and  to principalities  and powers.  A man’s
soul, his inner essence, cannot be seen, but his body can.  He is, 
therefore, told  by Christ  to reign  over his body.  He is  to crucify the
flesh,  put to death the  old nature.  He is  to show in his body, as  he
exercises control over it, that Christ’s victory on  the cross is what the
Bible  says it is.  He, of  course,  has  infinite  God  in  the person of the
Holy Spirit indwelling him  to give him  the strength.  He  has Christ to call
upon for aid.  He  has the Word of  God to guide him.  He has the love  of
the  Father as  an ever  present source  of comfort.  His body, thus,  is the 
testing arena  where he  gains victories over Satan.  Because he  is
attempting  to bring  an unchanged natural body  under  control,  he  never 
totally succeeds.  His successes strengthen  him in Christ and his failures
repeatedly bring him to the cross as he confesses his sins and experiences
anew the pardon of Christ.

    Thus, as the  Christian shows the  fruit of the  Spirit in his life,
(love, joy, peace, long suffering, etc.,  Gal. 5:22,23), and this can only be
shown as he crucifies the flesh and  its desires, he shows to his unsaved
peers the power of a transformed life.

He Is A Prophet

    The  believer’s  task  to  witness  goes beyond showing to the world  the
redeeming  work of  Christ as  he reigns over his body.  Christ, as our King, 
preached the Gospel.  And he expects us also to preach the Gospel.  Christ 
has provided the salvation.  He, as the head of all believers, set the example
for his followers as he preached to the multitudes.  In God’s mysterious
divine economy He gave to his believers the task of sharing the news  of the
victory on the cross to all men.  In  the Old Testament this was done in a
limited fashion  (Noah to  the citizens  of his  day, the spies to Rahab, 
Naomi to Ruth and Orpah,  Jonah to Nineveh, Solomon to the Queen of  Sheba,
the prophets  to the Israelites,  and the heathen nations).

    But  then came  the cross  and Pentecost.  Satan was bound so that  his
house could be plundered  of captives from every nation.  The  promise was
given  that the gates  of Hell could not prevail.  (The gates  of Satan’s
prison  that keep men  from entering heaven could not keep out the powerful
Gospel that  would free men.)  The church was given the key to these prison
gates of  Hell.  That key was the Gospel.  The Holy  Spirit was poured out to
give  power to those who would witness and to provide the power that would
unlock the  prison gates (the  hearts of men).  God’s man was  to be the salt
of the earth, the light of the  world.  He and he only is the one that holds
within his  hands and heart the knowledge  that can set men free.

    As parents, he preaches as he witnesses to  his children.  The housewife
presents the  Gospel by her testimony  to her neighbors, the business  man to 
his associates.  The concern  to preach the Gospel  is manifested  in the 
Christian’s support of missionaries and mission  ventures.  The  believer
engages  in tract  and Bible distribution  programs.  The  methods  and 
means of bringing the Gospel are as  manifold as and  as varied as  there are
believers.  When  one of God’s men or one  organization lies down on the task,
God raises  others up to carry the Gospel  in other ways.  For the Gospel will
go out.

He Is A Priest

    But the Christian  must follow Christ in  another dynamic way.  Christ 
prayed  for  his  people.  He interceded on their behalf.  This  task,  too, 
is  given  the  believer.  He is given an open channel  to  the  throne  room 
of  God to bring his petitions and thanks.  Natural man has no  possibility of
audience with the King because he is not  a citizen.  Nor does  he want such
an  audience for  Satan is his master, and he believes that he, himself, is
the King  of  his  life.  But  God’s  man realizes every gift is from above. 
And  he  comes  to  God  on  behalf  of  those who are in spiritual bondage. 
He prays  for the salvation of his friends, of his fellowman. 

    He  also prays for the needs of  this world for in its welfare he finds 
his welfare.  This is the environment  in which he is to live  and work  as
God’s  man.  He,  therfore, prays for those who govern (I  Tim. 2:1-3).  He
prays  for the  temporal needs of his fellow  man.  He does, indeed, belong 
to a kingdom of priests and has great concern for the needs of this world.  He
knows that  God  loves this world and, therefore, the believer’s  requests are
well received by God. 

    But there is another dynamic  way in which God’s man shows his tremendous 
concern for  this world.  In this  he is also showing Christ as his example. 

    In his  priesthood he completes the suffering of Jesus Christ.  In
Colossians 1:24 the Bible declares:

    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh
    I complete what  is lacking in  Christ’s afflictions for  the
    sake of his body, that is, the church.

    This suffering is not the suffering of the atonement.  No man can take
part  in that.  But Christ also  suffered in bringing the Gospel.  He 
suffered as men  reviled him, as  he endured physical hardship in preaching 
the Gospel., as  he was slandered,  beaten, and cursed.  The bringing of the
Gospel caused great suffering for Christ completely  apart from  the
redemption  suffering caused by his perfect obedience  to God in bearing the
wrath  of God for our sins.

    And  the  church,  the  society  of  God’s men, is the body of Christ. 
It is as  it were Christ  himself, continuing to present the Gospel.  Christ
ascended to  heaven but he  left his citizens here  to  complete  his 
suffering–to  be  his  ambassadors,  his representatives,  his  body,  his 
presence.  The Christian is to endure hardship, persecution, revilings, and
deprivation  in order that he might bring the Gospel as Christ brought it.

    The focal point of the Christian’s life is obedience to Christ as his
King, as his Savior.  His task is not in any sense to bring the world  into
subjection,  or to  have dominion  of this  world.  This was  accomplished by
Christ,  but will not  be revealed until judgment day.  Geehardus  Vos (3) as
well as  others would include much  more within  the kindom  than we  are
setting  forth in this discussion.  He does say:

    The kingdom  remains  to  all  intents a supernatural kingdom

    and he further declares:

    It would not be in harmony with Jesus’ view so to conceive of
    it, as if by gradual extension of the  divine power operating
    internally, by the  growth of the church  by the everwidening
    influence of the truth, the kingdom which now is will  become
    all-comprehensive  and universal  and so  pass over  into the
    final kingdom.  This would eliminate all true eschatology and
    obliterate the distinction between the two aspects  of Jesus’
    teachings on the subject (p. 45).

    But he also states;

    There is a sphere  of science, a sphere  of art, a sphere  of
    the  family  and  of  the  state, a sphere  of  commerce  and
    industry.  Whenever  one  of  these  spheres comes under the
    controlling  influence  of  the  principle  of  the  divine
    supremacy and glory, and this outwardly reveals itself, there
    we  can  truly  say  that  the  kingdom  of  God  has  become
    manifest…we may safely affirm two things.  On the one hand,
    his doctrince of the kingdom  was founded on such a  profound
    and broad conviction of the absolute  supremacy of God in all
    things,  that  he  could  not  look  upon  every  normal  and
    legitmate province of human life as intended to  form part of
    God’s kingdom.

    Vos  is unable to provide any  direct Biblical basis for this latter
conclusion.  In fact, he himself  declares in reference to the question of
including these spheres as a part of the kingdom:

    Now our Lord in his teaching seldom makes explicity reference
    to these things (p. 89).

    He also comments:

    As already  stated, this  is a  subject on  which our  Lord’s
    teaching does not  bring any  explicit disclosures  and which
    can only be treated by way of inference (89).

    We  might  add  that  philosophically  this  extension of the kingdom as
suggested by Vos  and others appears very logical, even though there is no
direct Biblical warrant for  it.  But when such statements as God’s command to
subdue the  earth and have dominion over its  creatures are studied in the
light  of the whole Word of God,  we have  seen that  this idea  will not
accord with Biblical revelation.  It appears, unfortunately,  that Vos did not 
explore the Biblical revelation from the aspect of these direct commands.

    Rather he is  to be content with  his lot in life  because his citizenship
is in heaven.  He, with Abraham, is a  stranger and a pilgrim here.  The 
city he is  looking for is  the heavenly city.  But he is living  here as in a
foreign land  with a glorious task.  In the  carrying out of  this task, he 
utilizes the products that man (both natural and God’s man) has produced, even 
as Jesus used a  boat  when  he  preached.  The  all important aspect of
Jesus’ ministry,  however,  was  not  the  boat,  but the Gospel message. 
Likewise,  the all important aspect of the Christian’s task is not the 
production  of  means  of  communication but  communication itself–
communication of the Gospel.

    The  Christian  shows  mercy,  the  Christian  loves  and  the Christian 
provides food  and the  cup of  cold water for the same reasons that  Jesus
healed the  sick, wept over  Jerusalem and fed the  five thousand.  In these 
programs he  is obeying Christ and showing the  love of God.  And  as he
manifests his  love in these endeavors, he  is providing the context and
contact for presenting the Gospel that will set men  free.  He is truly the
aroma  of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The Christian realizes  that he is heir to  this earth.  Jesus promised
this  when he  said “the  meek shall  inherit the earth.”  But  he  knows 
that  his  inheritance  will become a reality when Christ gives  it to  him as 
a new  earth following  judgment day.  Then the enemy, Satan and all  his
followers, both demons and men, will be  removed, will be  destroyed from this 
earth.  Today they claim  possession  of  this  earth.    They  appear  to 
be  very successful.  But victory for God’s man is certain.  He will be the
prossessor,  the  heir  of  this  earth,  because  Christ has been entirely
successful in his  subjugation of Satan.  God’s timetable calls  for the final 
evidence of Christ’s  victory to be shown at His return  when only God’s  man
and the  angels will be eternally present  with  God  in  the  new  heaven 
and  new  earth, wherein righteousness dwells.

    How glorious is the salvation offered by the Lord Jesus Christ to
whosoever will believe on Him.  How glorious is the task of the disciple of
Christ as he follows his Lord and Savior.

(Notes to numbered passages in Chapter 3)

(1)  The 12  rules of Alcoholics  Anonymous are a  good example of this fact. 
If these rules, which are derived from Biblical truth, are followed,  the
members of  this organization are  able to stay sober.  This in  itself can 
never bring  salvation, but  it does permit alcoholics to live decent lives.

(2)  In the same context Jesus  indicated that when it is time for

Christ’s  return,  “your  redemption  is  near” (Luke 21:28).  The kingdom of
God  is exactly parallel  to salvation.  At  conversion man’s eternal
salvation in  all of its fullness  is guaranteed–at the  cross  the  eternal 
kingdom  of  God was assurred in all its fulness of the new heaven and  new
earth.  At conversion salvation can only be seen in the soul  of man and in
his body as  he reigns over it with his new soul.  This side  of judgment day
the kingdom of God can only be seen in the redeemed  souls of men as believers
reign  over their bodies.  At Christ’s return  redemption will be totally 
completed–both of man’s body as well as the cosmos.  The kingdom will come to
full fruition.

(3)  Vos, The Kingdom and the Church, Erdmans  1951.

Continued in FEED4.TXT

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