Theocratic Values: The Vision of Micah 4

Edward Hicks peaceable kingdom“Many nations will come and say, ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.” -Micah 4.2-4

I cannot express how crucial it is that we see these prophetic passages, which are yet to be fulfilled, as literal impressions of what will transpire in the earth in the age to come. We may only see in part, and we may not be able to explain all of the details even within the text itself. But if we see them as fluffy, symbolic pipe-dreams, or idyllic concoctions of ancient religious men, we will miss their value entirely.

We need to see these statements as the prophets themselves saw them, by the Holy Spirit, and we need to be awakened to the anticipatory hope and sobering evaluation that prophetic visions are meant to impart to us. The prophets expected the literal establishment of God’s Kingdom in the earth, and the indestructible restoration of Israel, which has yet to take place, is intricately linked to the whole picture. If we remove ourselves from this awareness, or fail to come into it, we will be robbed of a dimension of the faith that was central to all the prophets and apostles of old, Jesus Himself included; namely, the real meaning of the Kingdom of God.

“Democracy” is best defined in this way: The government of the people, or a man-centered form of polity. Our nation is founded on the theme, “By the people, for the people.” I believe this form of government is far better for its adherents than other forms of government, and that it has historically worked much better than dictatorships or other oppressive expressions.

However, we are “citizens of heaven” while we are citizens of America, and there is a Government greater than our own that we have been brought into, for which reason we yearn and anticipate the return of the Son of God. While we esteem and pray for our leaders, and while we have a profound appreciation for the liberties of democracy, we must remember the words of Jesus, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” His Kingdom is not a democracy, and America is not the New Jerusalem.

“Theocratic” means the government of God, or a God-centered form of polity. Modern media categorizes a Theocratic government as a government ruled by a particular religion. They see militant Islam as a theocratically driven force, because they desire their religion and their political establishments to be totally intertwined.

But this is not the meaning of the word itself. It comes from the Greek word for “Divinity” or “God,” which is Theos. So, by clear definition, Theocracy is the government or Kingdom of God, not merely a government ruled by religious ideals. There can be no true Theocracy unless God Himself comes to function as the King.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body….” -Phil. 3.20

This passage in Micah is but a flash of the kinds of glorious realities that will be breaking into the earth when the Son of God returns to Jerusalem. It is remarkable to consider.

Representatives from the nations will be making pilgrimages to Jerusalem to meet the Messiah, and to learn His ways and His paths.

His word will be going out from Zion to the nations, teaching them how to function as God-centered nations.

The weapons of war will be melted down and forged into tools for planting crops.

There will be a permanent end of militaristic training and recruiting, and the end of war itself (fulfilled entirely at the end of the Millennial reign).

The people of Israel will have no one to make them afraid.

Israel, having been purged of the “sinners” in her midst (Am. 9), will walk in the name of Yahweh forever and ever without wavering.

The glory of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, the nations will experience remarkable healing and a watershed recovery of that which the God of goodness has always desired.

These are all taken right out of this passage, which is also expressed in the 2nd chapter of Isaiah. This is only a hint, yet what little we can envisage here is more than our imaginations can contain.

Can we fathom the glory expressed in this passage? What will the earth be like when the knowledge of the Lord is permeating and soaking the nations in a final and
lasting manner? It will be the dawning of the eternal Day of the King. We need our heads lifted by this awesome future vision, but we need also to ask: Are we living in a Theocratic manner as believers in this age?

Of this passage, OT scholar Walter Brueggeman made these remarkable statements:

The prophecy anticipates lowered economic expectations. It anticipates a modest life-style of not having more than one’s produce and therefore a respect for the produce of others…. Thus this radical vision understands that a dismantling of the military machine carries with it a break with consumeristic values.

(As quoted in A COMMENTARY ON MICAH, Bruce K. Waltke; Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI; 2007, p. 212)

I have not the room to express what is really churning in my heart in this regard, but allow me to ask this simple question:

Are we living under the influence of Theocratic, God-centered values, or are we living under the influence of a “me-first,” consumeristic value system?

Brueggeman insinuates that in the age to come, men will eat less, need less, want less, and covet less. When the Son of God returns, the breaking of consumeristic values at the end of the age will itself be enough to end the despicable fires of war, struggle, and hostility that have burned in the earth since the day of Cain and Abel.

There is a remarkable kind of trepidation, respect, and honor that befits those who are living in the heavenly Kingdom. There is a modesty, a quietness, and a self-control that marks those who have been baptized in the Spirit of the age to come.

I am afraid that we as the church in America have not been immersed in His ways in a manner sufficient to free us from “consumeristic values.” We are consumers to the hilt, in many ways still treating money, food, and entertainment in the same way that the world does. We are consumers with bottomless bellies and distracted hearts. We need desperately to see the King on His holy hill, and to receive His Kingdom in such a way that it effects us down to the marrow of our souls.

We need to be freed from a surface-deep expression of Christianity, and brought into the mountain of the Lord, where He will teach us His ways in all things. It is a “radical vision,” and I’m not sure we know all that it entails, but it is simply the Gospel of the Kingdom, and if we love His appearing, we will stream up to His heavenly mountain now, just as the nations will stream to Jerusalem’s hill in the future age. We must turn to the Lord in prayer and fasting, asking Him to break the power of consumerism and to bring us into the glory of unhindered communion.

He invites us upwards, saints. Away from the clamor of that which is the “latest and the greatest,” and into an intimate communion with Himself, whereby we come into the foundational liberty of Theocratic values. Are you willing for this? You ought to be. For the glory that results when we turn wholeheartedly to the King produces “joy unspeakable and full of glory,” “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.”

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