Pontius Pilate demonstrated the carnal nature and inadequate understanding of the natural man when he questioned the LORD JESUS concerning HIS kingship and kingdom. His perception of a kingdom was of one which derived its power from the carnal abilities and strength of will displayed by men, and which could only be demonstrated by that which is seen by the carnal eye. The LORD JESUS plainly told HIM that his (Pilate’s) concept of HIS kingdom was not at all what Pilate assumed a kingdom of any type would consist of.
After the LORD plainly described HIS kingdom, by saying, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36); Pilate, still, asked HIM, “Art thou a king then?” indicating that he was completely puzzled that such a kingdom as this could even exist. Surely he had never seen the like of it nor did he have any understanding of it.
Now there is no doubt that JESUS CHRIST is an absolute KING over an everlasting kingdom, but HIS answer to Pilate indicates that HE did not care if Pilate called HIM a king or not, because HE clearly did not come into this world to reign in any fashion which would satisfy the carnal understanding of men. “Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (John 18:37)
While Pilate openly wondered if this MAN was indeed a king, the LORD JESUS declared that HE did not come into the world to sit upon a golden throne in some earthly province, which could be attended or entered into by flesh and blood, for HIS Kingdom is one of Everlasting RIGHTEOUSNESS completely removed from that which men regard as a kingdom.
HE said that the actual cause for which HE came into the world was not to be an earthly king but that HE would “bear witness unto the TRUTH.” This is exactly what John said in the beginning of this book, “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) and is embodied in the very words of CHRIST to HIS disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) There is no other testimony to TRUTH. This is the very embodiment of that message upon which the Kingdom of GOD rests.
In this politically charged season we see many politicians claiming to be speaking “the truth”. Some will even hold up the Bible and seek to regale us with how much they believe it and love it. To pander to men for votes by invoking ones discipleship to CHRIST is nothing more or less than making merchandise of the gospel and is no different than seeking earthly profit from it like any religious huckster or charlatan of “religion” who is greedy of filthy lucre.
The “kingdom” of GOD is not demonstrated in the political arena since one cannot, there, discover its participants; “each esteeming the other better than themselves”, “loving thy neighbor”, or “turning the other cheek.” Let the potsherds of the earth strive with one another but let us not confuse “political truths” (surely an oxymoron) with the TRUTH or as having anything at all to do with that Everlasting Kingdom which cannot be inherited by flesh and blood.
Jeremiah was in some measure infected with the same limited understanding as Pilate, as related to the LORD’s methods and purpose in the establishment of HIS kingdom. The LORD told Jeremiah that he would triumph over nations. In his limited view of what that meant it appears that he expected men to sit up and take notice of his prophecies and that he would see a distinct remedy of a wicked nation manifested in a return to truth and an embracing of godliness.
We see this manifested in chapter 20 verse 7 as he (in his fleshly understanding) accuses the LORD of deceiving him, since Pashur (the chief governor of the Temple) put him in “stocks” and disregarded his message, rather than embracing it. Jeremiah is not only ignored, but is now suffering for doing the exact thing which the LORD told him to do, which he assumed would bring great revival, or at least a modicum of respect since he was “set over the nations.”.
In this incident, we can clearly see the dangers of a mixture of governmental authority (by the actions of Pashur) and his position of leadership in the temple. It is never a good thing when men think that they can establish righteousness (or at least their concept of it) by political power.
GOD’s people should be wary of those who hold a bible in one hand and a copy of the constitution in the other, and promote themselves as champions of both. The governments of men will always be incompatible with the TRUTH, even as the LORD said that there would be wars and rumors of wars even until the end. Earthly governments do not in any wise give power or protection to the Kingdom of GOD nor can any of them hinder its rise and triumph.
Paul understood the nature of CHRIST’s Kingdom as he described the nature and triumph of the Christian’s warfare. In this he echoed the sentiment of the LORD as HE said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Paul clearly states how this Kingdom shall be established and the means by which the sons of GOD are to engage their enemies. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;.” (2 Cor 10:3-5)
The triumph which was promised to Jeremiah (as well as to all of those who are given the privilege of being heirs and joint-heirs with CHRIST) is not that which is the result of the strength of the flesh nor in the power of its reason. Yet as Paul says, our weapons are “mighty” because their dependence for victory rests entirely upon the power of GOD manifested in the sons of GOD as HE works in them both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure.
The SPIRIT of GOD works first to destroy, even as HE told Jeremiah that HE sent him, “to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down.” According to HIS purpose HE is pleased to humble the proud, to bring to naught the wisdom of the wise, and to strip naked and bare those who are clothed in their own righteousness and strength.
We need look no further than the Damascus road to see an example of this as Saul of Tarsus who fancied himself as a destroyer of the flesh, zealously pursued a course which was destined to bring him face to face with the DESTROYER (the BREAKER, see Mic 2:13, Mat 21:44) who crushed every place of refuge that he had; revealing his blindness and bankrupt religion. We see this REFINER’s fire at work as Peter warmed himself by the fires of his denial, until the cock crowed and the SAVIOR gazed upon him. All of his comeliness was then turned into corruption in an instant and his refuge of lies was torn down, as he went out and wept bitterly. Every thought will be brought into HIS captivity and there is no place of escape for those whom HE visits.
Yet the same ONE who destroys also plants and builds up. For Paul’s sight was restored, and he who once breathed out threatenings and persecutions against the people of GOD is now made their servant, and goes about building up the brethren in the most holy FAITH. Peter is fed with the mercy of GOD, and now is charged with feeding the sheep.
The LORD JESUS CHRIST is the embodiment of that prophecy given to Jeremiah and HE does demonstrate HIS victory as ONE mighty to save, planting HIS seed in good ground.mam