The government of the kingdoms of the word are based upon the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil. That Old Covenant government still exists in the kingdoms outside of Christ. Those kingdoms are made of individual lives as well as corporate or national entities. Those kingdoms have an administration of human lives based upon a knowledge of good and a knowledge of evil. It is based upon information and it can only control or restrain human lives, it cannot transform their hearts and minds from within. It only reveals the human need for the Spirit of God in their hearts. The administrations of conscience and/or law only serve to reveal that there is a God and humanity is in desperate need of Him. The only way out of the Old Covenant government of the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil is to embrace the love of God only found in Christ. This is where one find’s the justice system of the New Covenant. The government of the New Covenant is based upon life. True life is the testimony of true love. When we know the love of God we know the life of God! God’s love creates a different justice system than that of the Old Covenant. The justice system of those administrated by a knowledge of good and a knowledge of evil is one based upon good and evil, right and wrong, or some perceived reality of such. Those bound to the family tree of this administration are bound to a justice system of vengeance, retribution, and forms of vindication for what is seen to be right or wrong in the eyes of those administrated by such systems. It can be a knowledge of what is actually right or wrong or a perceived knowledge of what is right or wrong. In either case, it is an administration of natural understanding and it is absent the supernatural transformation of God’s love.
Things are different for those who find the administration of the kingdom of heaven in their hearts. I believe that love is the testimony of the Tree of Life. Jesus lived as a human being empowered by love. The administration of His life was the Tree of Life, not the Tree of the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil. One is a tree of grace, while the other is a tree that constantly requires mercy. Humankind is stuck in the system of law until they find a way out. In order to be free from the justice system of law, mercy must triumph! Mercy is the end of the law and the invitation to grace. Wherever grace abides, love reigns. The justice system of grace is scandalous. It is not a system of fairness, but one of love. Those who find the justice system of grace can show mercy to those who are bound to the system of conscience or law, but they cannot empower them with grace. Each and every one must come boldly to the throne of grace in order to get mercy for themselves and then be empowered by finding the grace that comes at a revelation of Jesus Christ in their lives. You cannot empower a kingdom that is still bound to the knowledge of good and evil with grace. You can only demonstrate grace by showing them mercy. You then invite them to find the source of grace for themselves, for grace is a changed life in Christ. It is testified by a changed heart and mind that then becomes empowered to be merciful to others. This is the testimony of becoming a changed community in Christ.
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, “These things says He who is holy, He who is true, ‘He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’: 8 I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
When we live for the Father’s will, for the Father’s children, and for His life to the world – we are growing as expressions of true community. This was established by Jesus and in the firstfruit church of the first century Church. The seven letters of the book of Revelation pertain to the foundation of this New Covenant life set in the Church. The Greek word for ‘world’ in the sixth letter of Revelation is the word oikoumenē meaning occupied land. From the word oikeō meaning to occupy a house. That which is covenant would be described as “earth” (land), and that which is not covenant would be described as “sea”. The word ‘world’ would be better translated as the occupied earth or occupied land in this case. It was not the ‘cosmos’ (global world), but rather the world that professed a knowledge of God (occupied land). This hour of trial was to come to those who professed to be of God in order that those of the true temple of God might prevail. It was not a trial for the unsaved, but a trial for those who made a confession of being the house of God. I believe that the firstfruits fulfillment of this was in the first century persecution of the Church and the judgment of the apostates in A.D. 70. Jesus said He was “coming quickly”. Those who were still bound to the knowledge of good and evil would be removed, but those who had embraced the Tree of life in Christ would remain.
The Church of Philadelphia (brotherly love) was told to hold fast to that which they had and they would be pillars in the temple of God. The firstfruits Church of the first century became the foundation for the Church throughout the generations to come. As pillars in the temple of God they were given the testimony of a love for God and a love for His people. The life of the Spirit was to overcome the life of the flesh and the City of God was beginning its established testimony in the earth. This was true exegetically for the Church of Philadelphia, syntactically true in the history of Ezra and Nehemiah, and true by principle of application in the generations to come. All who enter the New Covenant are given the life of community with God and one another. The provision, safety, government, strength, and community of God’s City will be given to them in increasing measures.
He who overcomes is granted to be made a “pillar in the temple of God”. This was syntactic language of the rebuilding of the temple. The pillars in the Old Testament temple were called platforms or shoulders (1 Kin.7:21 – HSRN 5982). They were the pillars of Jachin (he that strengthens and makes steadfast) and Boaz (in strength). This would be the testimony of the New Covenant foundation of the Church established for all time. The source of that strength would be “brotherly love” (Philadelphia). It would be the strength of loving God and loving the family of God. They will know the testimony of one God “through all” (Eph. 4:6).
God said a testimony would be “to write on him My new name”. Through communion with the Spirit of Knowing the Church would become the expression of the image of Christ (Ex. 34:29-35; Num. 6:25; 12:6-8; 2 Chr. 3:7-18; 4:6; Ps. 80:3, 7, 19; 2 Cor. 3:2-18; 1 Jn. 3:2). This is a full restoration of God’s people to His image (Ex 34:6, 7).
The testimony of those who overcome is that of being ‘left behind’. It is said that, “he shall go out no more”. These are those who are made strong by the Spirit of Knowing (Jer. 1:18; 1 Tim. 3:15); as opposed to those who are cast out (Mt. 8:11, 12).
Revelation 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
The testimony of the Church of Philadelphia is that of being in intimate communion with God as the community of God. The name of God and the name of the city of God would be written upon them. This is the New Jerusalem. The Church is to be the true city of God (Gal. 4:26). The apostate counterfeit was to be destroyed and thus apostasy will be perpetually destroyed in every generation to come (Mt. 24:1, 2; Lk. 21:24). All New Covenant believers have the ability to enter into the full covenant and communion with God and one another (Gal. 4:23-29; 1 Pet. 2:4, 5). The bread of the sweat of the brow has been replaced with the life of God’s Spirit in the human heart (Gen. 3:19; 2 Cor. 13:14). We know one God “through all” (Eph. 4:6).
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson