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Bible verses about Preparation for Rulership
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 23:23-30

Some people draw a careless assumption from a surface evaluation of Exodus 23:20-33, leading to a shallow conclusion: that if the Israelites had just obeyed God, they would have marched into the land and taken it over without a fight. Such submission would have undoubtedly made their course easier and produced better results.

However, many other contexts show that God tests His people because He is preparing them for future responsibilities. Israel failed many tests. The march through the wilderness and the conquest of the Promised Land was a school, a vast, almost fifty-years-long training ground, for appreciating, using, and governing the Promised Land. This "schooling" included tests by which the Israelites could measure their progress, and at the same time, prove to God their growth and readiness.

We concluded that God's promises in Exodus 23 were indeed conditional. Their fulfillment depended on Israel's obedience, and part of that obedience was confronting their enemies, the people of the land, in warfare. The episode recorded in Numbers 13-14 reveals that the Israelite spies fully expected to have to fight the Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites, etc. They did not understand Exodus 23 as a free pass, as many do today. Their responsibility was to drive them out in cooperation with God, as He promised to be with them, enabling them to drive the people out, which they were incapable of doing without His involvement. But they refused to do their part.

They were to drive out the inhabitants even as we, in cooperation with God, are to confront and drive out old habits, attitudes, and loyalties. These are negative characteristics left over from our pre-conversion days. Christian living parallels this Old Testament instruction. This is one reason why the New Testament has so many illustrations and exhortations regarding Christian warfare.

Our warfare is in many ways different. It does not involve bloody engagements featuring swords, spears, or rifles with bayonets. It is a spiritual warfare, one that takes place primarily within ourselves. Nonetheless, it requires qualities such as loyalty, patriotism, courage, self-denial, vision, understanding, and sacrifice for us to be victorious overcomers.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Two)


 

Proverbs 30:21-23

Each of these illustrations describes people unprepared for their new status. We can be certain that God will not allow this to happen in His Family Kingdom. Those who are in it will be prepared to live, work, and rule at the level He assigns to them. Their responsibilities will be challenging, but they will not be constantly frustrated due to being in over their heads. Nor will their offices go to their heads. Despite having great power, they will humbly serve, exhibiting no abusive authority in the conduct of their responsibilities. They will be balanced in all areas of life.

Most dynastic rulers, like the monarchs of Europe, understand this concept well. Recently, Smithsonian Magazine ran a long article about Marie Antoinette. Her Austrian Hapsburg parents arranged her marriage while she was very young, promising her to the Bourbon family who ruled France. She was to become the wife of the future Louis XVI, also quite young at the time.

Within a year of this arrangement, the Bourbons sent a tutor to Austria to school Marie to become France's queen. The tutor remained her almost constant companion until Marie was married when she was fifteen years old. Prince Charles of England experienced a similar rigorous education. He has been trained since birth to sit on the throne of England. In one sense, especially in his pre-adult years, he had little time for himself.

We might think that this practice has not worked well, but we must not forget that these monarchs lacked the ability from God to discipline their human natures. Nevertheless, God follows the same principle of preparation, and our lives must be devoted to these operations. Thus, we must follow the same basic program laid down for Prince Charles except that our preparations are for the Kingdom of God. Just as Charles must devote himself to learning all the particulars of his kingdom's operations, so must we devote ourselves to learning the ways of God's Kingdom because we, too, are to be kings (Revelation 5:10). God will not allow us to escape these responsibilities.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Seeking God (Part Two): A Foundation


 

Matthew 5:43-45

This truly goes against our human nature, and it definitely takes thought and genuine concern to pray for blessing and good to come to one's enemy. Praying for soundness and fairness in thinking, and working to make sure we do no harm to that individual are difficult, yet in preparing us for our future responsibilities, this is what God wants from us.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Out of the Abundance of Our Prayers


 

Matthew 19:28

The apostles will be kings, too, in this Kingdom, which is also a Family. Their jobs are clearly specified.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 1)


 

Luke 16:10-13

Jesus Christ does not need to see us in action administering a great city to know how we will govern in His Kingdom. He can see how we solve our problems in our own little life, whether we humble ourselves to be faithful by submitting to His way. Or do we "solve" our relationship problems with others by shouting, punching, hating, crawling into a shell, refusing to fellowship, going on strike, spreading gossip, seeking others to take our side, or running down another's reputation?

He can tell by the way we manage our own or our company's money; how we maintain our property; and how we dress. Christ can even judge our abilities by how we drive our car! Some people turn into aggressive, lead-footed monsters behind the wheel. Are we so vain to think the road belongs to us? Would He entrust a city to such an obnoxious person?

A woman once asked Mr. Armstrong what she had to do to worship God and prepare for the Kingdom. Who knows what she expected, but he advised her to begin in her bedroom! No one knows whether he meant that she should work on her prayers, keep the room neat and clean, or improve her relationship with her husband—maybe all three. The principle is that preparation for the Kingdom is achieved by working on the little things of life God's way.

Matthew 25:21 illustrates this clearly. "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'" In this parable, the servant who misused his position was disqualified because the lord could not trust him to use what was given him in a godly way.

Can we see this, brethren? The very elements involved in the process of sanctification are the ones that prepare and qualify us to rule!

What kind of decisions do we make in the everyday things of life? The choices required to live God's way are really very simple. Basically, they are a matter of saying, "Yes" or "No" to God's law. It does not have to be complicated for God to judge where we stand. He did not give Adam and Eve some long, complex mathematical, engineering, or political test. It was a simple test of obedience involving one of the most basic areas of life—food. You can eat this but not that.

We do not have to be an Adolf Hitler to prove ourselves unsuitable to rule over others. How we treat our spouse, children, or friends will provide ample evidence. Do we carefully think through what we say? Do we keep our word? Are we short-tempered, hard to get along with, stubborn, and uncooperative unless things are done our way? Are we quick to judge, impatient, malicious, foul-mouthed, or rebellious? Do we seek preferential treatment or position?

Christ needs to know if we will live His way now, before He entrusts us with the power of office in His Kingdom. The leaders of this world are not interested in the Way (see Acts 9:2; 16:17; 18:25-26; 19:9). They consider it foolish, unrealistic, impractical, and simplistic. So they make treaties and break them, and the wonderful advances of technology continue to prove useless in things that matter. The Kingdom of God, however, will produce all the good things written in the prophecies because the government itself reflects them. They are in its character, and they have already manifested themselves in each ruler's life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Rule!


 

John 14:1-2

It is the night before the crucifixion. Jesus knows what is going to happen, so He prepares His disciples by telling them that He is leaving to travel, as it were, somewhere else. When He gets there, He will prepare a place for them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 2)


 

John 15:8

A disciple is one who, during his lifetime, is continuously loyal to God and in the position of a student, of a junior member of the family, being prepared for the Kingdom of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works


 

Romans 8:30

This glorification has not happened yet, but as far as God is concerned, it is a done deal. It is evident from His Word what His will is. We alone hold in our hands the power to stop God in this purpose, and it consists in His willingness to give us free moral agency. We choose what we will do with our life.

His will is that we be conformed to the image of His Son. His will is that we be glorified. His will is that we allow Him to prepare us to do a job, to do a work in the Kingdom of God, and to reign under and with Jesus Christ as kings and priests. It is His will to take us through any difficulty to attain the salvation that He offers us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic


 

1 Corinthians 1:26-29

I Corinthians 1:26-29 resounds through our minds as a constant reminder that we are the foolish, weak, base and despised of this world. In these verses God formally states that He has sought no particular advantage in carrying out His purpose by calling us.

This is humbling in both a present and future sense. We seem to fall short when we compare ourselves to those who have accomplished great things or seem to have strong and good character in today's world. When we consider the World Tomorrow and the daunting challenges that will face those reconstructing a world out of the chaos of the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, it is enough to make us feel completely inadequate.

Vanity keeps telling us we are intelligent, beautiful, clever, talented, cultured, and unappreciated, but these verses should pull us back to reality. God's assessment is accurate because when we compare our accomplishments with people in the world, ours fade into near nothingness!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Rule!


 

Ephesians 6:12-17

Ephesians 6:12-17 makes especially clear that we are involved in a war, a spiritual war, and thus our weaponry must also be spiritual.

The Christian must tend to his weapons, as every soldier in warfare must, for not only is his life on the line but also the lives of his buddies, as he is their keeper too. Without serviceable weapons, the battle is often lost even before it begins. It is a terrifying thought to imagine oneself on a battlefield with nothing in hand to fight the enemy.

The Bible makes it clear that God has willed that this warfare is an absolute necessity for the development and preparation of His children to live in His Family Kingdom. It cannot be avoided; we cannot remain neutral. In one sense, we really have no choice. We must either fight or be lost.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Two)


 

Hebrews 2:5-8

Ultimately, it is God's purpose to put resurrected Christians in charge of the entirety of the universe! We will be ruling over all of God's creation as members of the God Family throughout all eternity! The idea that a Christian's reward is "going to heaven" is far short of the reality of our true reward. God has promised us an eternal, abundant life of challenge, creativity, and achievement that excels man's limited ability to comprehend!

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: The Reward of the Saved


 

Hebrews 2:5-10

Now, since we are co-heirs with Christ, we are co-heirs with Him of all things—everything that God made through Jesus Christ: the universe and everything that is in it! Are we, in the rush of life, forgetting who we are? Are we neglecting the fact that God will turn the governance of the things He has made—this awesome universe—over into our hands? When that happens, we will not be as poor and pitifully weak as we are now.

But we should not undervalue what we are. If we do, we will not take Passover in the right attitude, because what Passover represents was done for us so that we would be in a position to inherit all things. We do not have to feel like we just crawled from under a rock! We have been blessed beyond our wildest imaginations, but for now in God's plan, we are a little lower than Elohim. Yet, what a future lies before us!

Even now, we are the "apple of God's eye," the focus of His attention. We are so important to Him that His Son died for us. Truly, He died for the whole world, but right now, before He calls and converts the whole world, it is for you and me that the Creator died so that we could become co-heirs with Him. He wants to share what He made with us because He likes what He made. It is beautiful and has awesome potential, and just as any artist who makes something beautiful wants to share his creation with others, so does Jesus Christ, so that we can appreciate it and emulate it in our own works.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Pre-Passover Look


 

1 Peter 2:5

Between AD 63-67, the apostle Peter was inspired to write to the "elect" who were dispersed throughout Asia Minor—and to us today—that Christians are to offer up spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the praises of God. We are in training now, learning how to be priests of God for His spiritual priesthood, and a primary reason is to offer up spiritual sacrifices. A spiritual sacrifice is an act of giving up and offering to God our time and effort in a way that is pleasing to Him.

What makes a spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God? Is it merely the sacrificing of our time and effort? No, it is more than that. Comparing the sacrifice of Noah to the hypocritical sacrifices of the children of Israel shows that the attitude and righteousness of the offerer is important to God (Genesis 8:20-21; Amos 5:21-27). A spiritual sacrifice must be offered in an attitude of obedience, humility, and reverence.

Martin G. Collins
The Sacrifice of Praise


 

2 Peter 3:1-2

What did the apostles write? They wrote about the life and death of Christ, about prophecy, about the second coming of Christ, about the resurrection of the dead. They wrote about the establishment of the government of God on earth, about a whole nation being born in one day, about the world being filled with beauty, love, peace, and prosperity.

Peter reminds them of this because this is where their hope needed to be. We too need to be looking forward to this to be able to relate what we are going through now with what is going to happen in the future. What is happening now is intended by God to prepare us for the future so that when His Kingdom comes, we are ready for it. Christ is not only preparing a place for us, He is also preparing us to be able to fill that place.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic


 

 




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