From Chaos to Cosmos, Part 1
Issue No. 364
The story of Creation is found in the early chapters of Genesis. There we read that God created the cosmos, called “the heavens and the earth.” It started out as chaos (“without form and void,” Gen. 1:2, KJV), but God then created man and authorized him to subdue the earth and establish order—that is, the Kingdom of God.
Though sin later reversed this course, man was called to shape what God had created and to give it form. The ultimate goal was to restore all things back to reconciliation (harmony) with God and His nature. Although history has seen a long detour, God’s original purpose for creation has always remained the same, and He will succeed in the end.
The main difference is that whereas the first Adam failed in his mission, the last Adam will succeed when all things are subjected to Him and God is “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).
Dominion and Rest
Man was given dominion—the authority to bring order to chaos and make the earth productive, useful, and beneficial to humanity. God creates; man shapes or forms things that God has already created. We can view this as a two-step part of the creation process as it is brought out of chaos. God did not see fit to finish the work. He created the raw materials and then gave man authority to bring order to the cosmos.
The idea of man’s dominion in the earth came from the Bible. This principle, of course, has often been abused by those who overstepped their God-given authority. The idea of dominion brought about a work ethic and the belief that wealth is accumulated by working hard for a season so that one may enter into God’s rest.
Work without rest is a sign of slavery. When sin entered the picture, work became toil. The curse on the ground made it more laborious to produce food (Genesis 3:18, 19). This toil made work less productive and more difficult, and it also reduced man’s times of rest.
Slavery is an Unlawful Solution
Carnally minded men then sought an unlawful solution to this problem. Men sought slaves to do their toil so that the slave masters could increase their times of rest and leisure. Their form of slavery can be termed unjust dominion. Man misused his dominion (authority) by creating a class system, where one group of men usurped power over others.
By doing this, they established a dual system of justice that denied the rights of their slaves to benefit a privileged class of slave owners. This denied slaves the right to own the fruits of their labor and also the right to rest at the end of their labor.
The Apostle Paul says in Gal. 3:28,
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In other words, there is no class system in God’s Kingdom, no upper class and lower class, based upon race or gender. “There is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11; Acts 10:34), and even Moses instructed the judges, saying, “You shall not show partiality in judgment” (Deut. 1:17). Many have tried to restrict this principle to mean that we should be impartial only toward fellow Israelites, thus retaining class distinctions. But that is not what it says. Moses said in Num. 15:15, 16,
15 As for the assembly [kahal, “church”], there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the Lord. 16 There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.
This is how we are to understand Deut. 10:18, 19 as well,
18 He [God] executes justice for the orphan, and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. 19 So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Further, God says in Lev. 19:33, 34,
33 When a foreigner resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 The foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
This is why Jesus treated non-Jews with respect and justice. This is why God poured out His Spirit upon the “gentiles” (Acts 10:45)—which even surprised Peter, who had thought that the promises of the God were given only to the biological descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But the law itself commanded the aliens to keep the feast of Pentecost (Deut. 16:10, 11). It appears that Peter did not understand this law until he saw for himself how the Spirit of God was being poured out upon the Roman soldiers in Acts 10.
Biblical Slavery Supports Justice
The laws of impartial justice are often contrasted to the partiality shown by the Egyptians toward the Israelites. God reminds the Israelites how the Egyptians enslaved them by being partial toward fellow Egyptians. After the death of Joseph, the Israelites did not enjoy equal rights in Egypt. So the Israelites were well aware of the injustice of Egyptian law. Israel was not to adopt that unjust way of life.
Slavery, as the world has practiced it for thousands of years, is one of the worst forms of partiality and is a violation of the law of God. The Bible allows for slavery, but the law of God uses it as a means of re-establishing justice.
Biblical slavery is a judgment for sin whose purpose is to pay off a debt. If a man incurred a debt, either through sin or through some disaster or adversity, the law protected the rights of the creditor to be repaid. Such laws were rooted in God’s labor laws and property rights.
If a man owed a debt to his neighbor, he had the right to be repaid, if possible. As an enforceable sentence of the law, it is involuntary slavery. Involuntary slavery was never meant to be a permanent condition but a means to an end. Debtors were required to work in order to pay their debts.
The Dominion Mandate in Gen. 1:26 did not give men the right to enslave others apart from an actual cause—to establish justice. But carnal men perverted the Dominion principle, and their self-interest clouded their understanding of justice. Self-interest brought slavery and colonialism. It was even used to claim the right to pollute the environment.
Exercising Proper Dominion
During the first few centuries, while Christianity was yet growing in popularity, Roman law and Greek culture dominated the Roman Empire. After the fall of Rome, illiteracy spread and the culture degenerated. The vacuum was filled by the church, but by this time the church itself had lost much of its knowledge of biblical law and had accommodated itself to Greek and Roman thought patterns.
The Western Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D. Fifty years later the Christian emperor in Constantinople embarked upon a huge project to revamp the laws of the empire and conform them to Christian standards. Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis was drafted in 529 A.D., revised in 530, and formally instituted on Dec. 30, 534.
But Church law had developed without a proper understanding of God’s law, and history shows that the laws of Justinian brought about the feudal system of serfs and lords, landless peasants with landlords to rule them. In other words, it created a class system that ran contrary to the biblical system of impartiality and equality.
Even as the Jews had put away the law of God through their traditions of men (Matt. 15:9), so also did the church put away the law in favor of their own traditions. Instead of correcting the misunderstandings of the scribes and Pharisees, the church leaders replaced Jewish traditions with church traditions. The revelation of the law had been lost, and carnally-minded Christian emperors perpetuated the most basic problems of injustice and inequality.
The essence of the problem was that the emperors did not believe or understand Jesus’ definition of authority, which is set forth in Matt. 20:25-28,
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles [ethnos, “nations”] lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Biblical authority, then, is to empower people to serve the body, not to “lord it over them.” Jesus is our Example, for instead of asking people to give their lives for Him, He gave His life for the people. In the broader context seen in the first chapter of Genesis, authority is to be used to bring forth fruit (i.e., the fruitfulness mandate of Gen. 1:28). In later Scripture, we learn that it is the authority to bring forth the sons of God who manifest the fruit of the Spirit and who “fill the whole world with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6).
As far as I know, none of the emperors truly understood the nature of biblical authority. They sought to duplicate the way the world rules the nations. But then, it was not yet time to establish the Kingdom of God. There were still more generations of overcomers yet to be born and trained by God in the principles of love and leadership. Justinian lived in the era of “Saul” and blindly followed his example.
But Justinian’s “little horn” era has now come to a close after 1480 years (534-2014). It is the same time frame seen from Moses to Christ, or from the Exodus to the Cross. The number 1480 is the numeric value of christos, or “Christ” in Greek. We are now watching the demolition of the old order and the rise of the Kingdom.
The Dark Ages under the Little Horn
When Rome fell, the educational system crumbled. As law enforcement was greatly weakened, few had the sense of security or the finances to think about education. For their protection and survival, the common people found it necessary to put themselves under the protection and authority of more powerful men (lords).
Chaos and insecurity forced most of the people to pledge their allegiance to a lord in exchange for protection from thieves or from other lords. The serfs had to give a third to one-half of the produce from their own land to the lord, and they had to work a set number of days in their lord’s field just for the privilege of “owning” their own land.
Illiteracy meant that most of the people could not read the Bible for themselves—even if they were fortunate enough to own such manuscripts. By this time Jerome’s Latin Vulgate was the only available translation, but as time passed and language changed, priests were the only ones who could read in Latin.
If the priests had taught the Scriptures to the people, the light of the word might have shone more brightly. But the priests focused on ritual, rather than teaching the word. Being subject to the bishop of Rome took precedence over knowing Jesus Himself. Darkness gradually fell over Europe throughout Christendom.
After a thousand years of this, during which time the common people were largely ignorant of the Bible, the Reformation began to dawn. Certain learned men saw that the priests had failed to teach the word to the people, and they felt the call to spread the word of God to others.
One of the first signs of technological advancement in the West came through the invention of corrective eyeglasses about 1296-1300 A.D. They were first used in Northern Italy, probably in the city of Pisa. They were first mentioned by a Dominican friar, Giordano da Pisa in a sermon delivered on Feb. 23, 1306, where he wrote:
“It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision.”
The original eyeglasses were crude, but about 500 years later in America Benjamin Franklin made improvements.
The point is that eyeglasses essentially doubled the useful life of scholars, who could now study much longer than before. On another level, this was a prophetic sign of the soon-coming end of spiritual blindness that was put upon the church by the Vatican’s Old Covenant viewpoint.
The Printing Press Technology
The technological development of the printing press, beginning in the 1440’s, then began to make books small and inexpensive so that the common people could learn to read. The first actual book to be printed was the Bible, printed by Gutenberg in 1452. The beginnings of the Reformation provided motivation for the common people to become literate in order to study the Scriptures.
The printing press was invented in China centuries earlier, and this technology was brought to the Mideast by the Mongols, who invaded in the 13th century. They also brought gunpowder, which, in 1453, was used by the Muslims to conquer Constantinople, the last stronghold of the Eastern Roman Empire.
The Muslims enthusiastically adopted gunpowder, but they rejected the printing press as unholy, for they believed at the time that their sacred writings (Koran) should be handwritten in order to remain holy.
That mindset changed the course of history, for although Islam had the technological advantage of gunpowder, it began to lose its educational advantage. For centuries, the great centers of learning were in Islamic countries, schools of medicine, mathematics, and art. This advantage was lost because their handwritten textbooks were too expensive to be disseminated among the common people.
Europe, on the other hand, adopted both gunpowder and the printing press, and the tide of civilization began to shift from east to west.
Gunpowder and Cannon Technology
Rev. 9 prophesied of the rise of Islam that culminated in the conquest of Constantinople with the use of cannons and gunpowder in Rev. 9:18, 19. In those days the cannons were forged in the shape of a lion, and those operating them actually rode them. The cannons had wicks (“tails”) to light the gunpowder. The first military use of cannons was in the overthrow of Constantinople in 1453.
Pictured above is a cannon used in the siege of the city of Constantinople in 1453, taken from the cover of the book, Marvels of Prophecy, by Howard B. Rand. Of course, the cannon has been disabled by plugging the opening, but it was meant to portray an open-mouthed lion. This is what John envisioned in Rev. 9:17.
After the rise of Islam described in symbolic language in Rev. 9, John then saw “another strong angel” appear in Rev. 10:1, 2, holding “a little book which was open.” The printing press made it possible to reduce the size of books. Because they printed the Bible first in 1452, the Word of God began to be opened up to the common people.
For a complete study of Revelation 9 and 10, see Book 3 of my series on The Revelation.
Opening the Little Book
The Bible is the single most important factor that shaped the modern world. It was the basis of technology and science as well, as theologians wanted to better understand God by the study of creation and natural laws. Prior to the Bible’s influence, science as we know it had been virtually dead since the days of Solomon and the Scientific Method was largely unknown.
In the fifteenth century, Dominion thinking began to be enculturated in Western society as the Bible began to be read widely. The printing press made this possible, beginning in 1452, when the first Bible was printed.
In the next few centuries the Bible motivated people to become literate, to investigate God’s creation through science, and to study the laws of God (“natural law,” or Laws of Nature) in order to know how to establish Kingdom Order. They saw the chaos of man’s governments, including the corruption and tyranny of the Roman Church, and they searched the Scriptures for solutions.
The Roman church fought vigorously against the Bible’s dissemination, but the people’s desire to learn the Scriptures for themselves prevailed. When the people began to read the word for themselves, this new knowledge turned Europe upside down, as men discovered the discrepancy between the Bible and church traditions.
This new knowledge of the Word brought with it the solution to men’s desire for liberty or freedom. They saw God’s law as “the law of liberty” (James 2:12), the laws by which true liberty could be attained in a righteous nation. So when America’s founders signed the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams said,
“On this day we have restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and… from the rising to the setting of the sun, may His Kingdom come.”
This was the heart of the New World order, as distinct from the Roman Old World order that had enslaved people during the Middle Ages. The New World order was modeled after the Kingdom of God and based on Scripture.
The proper use and application of biblical dominion (or authority) was a dominant driver of western civilization once the Bible began to be read widely outside of the confines and restrictions of the Roman Church.
However, the French Revolution, driven by Freemasonry and its atheistic counterfeit, not only destroyed the Roman Church in France but also conceived the idea that the solution was freedom from religion. Hence, it sought to secularize government and essentially deny God’s right to rule what He had labored to create. They set up man-made laws that were hardly better than Church laws.
The American Revolution and the French Revolution were founded upon two entirely separate principles. The first was the orderly Cosmos of a Christian Republic, and the other the chaotic and revolutionist Socialist Democracy. America established that God was the Source of the rights of men; France’s revolution established Socialism which made government the source of all rights (“civil rights”).
For the next two centuries, Socialism grew and prevailed. Marxism and Darwinism arrived in the mid-1800’s. America was turned into a secular democracy in the 1930’s. This trend has now reversed, and the Kingdom is rising.