When Jesus Christ returns to this earth, when the saints are changed into immortal beings, when the Kingdom of God is established, will YOU BE QUALIFIED TO RULE? Will you be READY and ABLE to fill a position as a king or priest under Jesus Christ?
WHEN faced with this question, DOZENS of the members of the Church of God reply with, "Why should I want to rule anyone? I don't want to tell people what to do. I don't want to be responsible for others. I don't want to rule. I just want to serve God and live my life as a Christian." But did you realize, YOU CAN'T BE A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT LEARNING TO RULE AND BE RULED? The "Christ-like" or Christian way IS the way of ruling and rulership.
Desire TO Rule
No deeply converted, completely dedicated, totally surrendered Christian can look at this world around us and not want to CHANGE IT! When you walk down the street and see the sullen, resentful, hateful looks in the eyes and on the faces of the people you meet, DON'T YOU WANT TO CHANGE THOSE LOOKS? When you see the total unhappiness and wretchedness, the vain, empty searching — for — something — the striving to find pleasure in some form or another — DON'T YOU WANT TO CHANGE THAT EMPTINESS? Don't you deeply desire and almost ache to fill those lives with happiness and real purpose? YOU SHOULD! If you don't want to learn to rule others and give of yourself in teaching them to live the right way, YOU ARE SELFISH! When you say, "I don't want to tell others what to do," YOU ARE SELF-CENTERED AND REBELLIOUS!! If you don't earnestly desire to change this world, all of it, YOU AREN'T A CHRISTIAN!
Love Not the World
Jesus Christ inspired the Apostle John to write: "Love not the world [cosmos, or this world's system of things], neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For ALL that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (I John 2:15-16). Who is the god of THIS WORLD? God the Father isn't. Jesus Christ isn't. Satan the Devil IS! It was Satan who took Jesus to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the earth and who said, "...All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it" (Luke 4:5-6). Satan is the one who is referred to as "the god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4). He is the one who has deceived THE WHOLE WORLD and led it in its rebellion against God. He is the one who originally DIDN'T WANT TO BE RULED. If you don't want to see this miserable, debauched, sin-filled world change — if you don't want to be a part in changing its politics, its medical practices, its business practices, its child rearing principles and all the rest of its systems THEN YOU WON'T BE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD! When you say, "I don't want to rule," you are actually saying, "I don't want to BE RULED." You are in reality condoning the practices and beliefs of the world. You are putting your stamp of approval on the practices and teachings of Satan, and are thereby becoming the opponent of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me" (Matt. 12:30). If you are against Him, you won't be with Him in His Kingdom. YOUR WHOLE LIFE WILL HAVE BEEN WASTED!
Christ Won't Do It All
Many of you brethren have expressed the thought that there is no real need for you to push yourself in learning how to deal with other people. You have used the excuse that you have only an average education. You have only been given a small amount of natural talent. There is no real, concrete reason to work hard to develop the few talents you hare. Christ is coming in a very few years and everything we need will be added then — BUT WILL IT? Is Jesus Christ going to take people who have been lethargic, careless and indifferent in overcoming their own weaknesses and governing their own emotions and minds and give them positions of great rulership? Is He going to take people who haven't been able to see the sins and the horrible mess man has made of this world, who haven't really tried to properly rule themselves and place in their hands the lives of thousands of people during the Millennium? OBVIOUSLY NOT! He isn't going to automatically make up for all your lack of effort and just hand you the ability to rule. You have to QUALIFY IN THIS LIFE for your position of rulership. You have to overcome in this life and produce fruits to show that you are earnestly working to prepare yourself to fill the position Christ has for you in the Kingdom. Many are still unthinkingly clinging to some of the old pagan ideas and teachings. Many of you are laboring under the assumption that when Jesus returns He is going to do all the ruling Himself. You aren't sure what you are going to do, if anything, but only that you are going to be "in the Kingdom" with Him. You haven't allowed yourself to fully realize the absolutely awesome responsibilities of being a part of the Kingdom of God. You haven't faced up to the URGENT NEED in your own personal life to learn the principles of ruling. IF you are "in the Kingdom" with Him, you will be ruling and governing the lives of others. If you don't want to be ruled and to take a part in ruling others. YOU WON'T BE THERE!
Jesus Christ isn't going to do all the ruling by Himself. There are going to be millions — and eventually BILLIONS — of others to help carry the vast, breathtaking job which needs to be done during the Millennium and on through eternity. In John 14:2-3, Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions [margin renders abodes or positions]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place [or position of responsibility] for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Where will Jesus Christ be when He returns? He says that in the end-time He will gather all the nations together to do battle in the place called Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). This same battle is also mentioned in Joel 3:12-16 as taking place in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. This valley is located just outside Jerusalem. The very day Christ returns, He is going to stand on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem, Palestine (Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:9-12). On that very day, the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth with its world-ruling Headquarters right in Jerusalem. Jesus said that where He was we would be also. So we, you and I, if we make it, will be right there with Him. But does that mean we will be ruling with Him? YES! DEFINITELY! Read Revelation 20:4-6. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them ... and they lived and REIGNED with Christ a thousand years." What do thrones and judgment stand for except positions of rulership? Even in this age when the few remaining monarchs of the nations of Europe are nothing but figureheads, the term "throne" carries the implication of ruling. Jesus said we are to REIGN with Him one thousand years. We, all of us who are converted Christians, are to be kings and priests, or rulers, in the Kingdom of God (Rev. 5:10). THAT IS THE VERY PURPOSE FOR WHICH WE WERE CREATED — TO RULE THE WORLD!
We Must Qualify Now
NOW is the day of salvation for all who are members of God's Church. We don't get another chance. We have to qualify NOW for one of these positions which Christ is preparing for us or we won't be there. Some few of the top positions are already filled. But the vast majority, the overwhelming bulk of the positions of responsibility and rulership in the Kingdom, are WIDE OPEN! It's up to you. Abraham has already qualified to fill one of the very top jobs immediately under Jesus Christ. He qualified during his life by his absolute obedience and unquestioning faith in the promises of God. Because of this obedience and faith, he is called the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:29). Christ didn't wait until His return to have Abraham become strong in faith and deeds. If He had, you and I would not be here. Abraham had to exercise that faith and equip himself for the position which he now holds and which will be given to him when he is resurrected at Christ's return.
David is another who has already been granted his position in the Kingdom of God. During his forty years as king over Israel, he learned to administer the law of God to the whole nation. That breath-taking duty will once more be his under Jesus Christ. In speaking of the end-times when Israel is to be delivered once more from bondage, Jeremiah says, "But they [Israel] shall serve the Lord their God, and David THEIR KING, whom I will raise up unto them" (Jer. 30:9), When will David he raised up but in the resurrection at the second coming of Christ? David was already dead by the time Jeremiah wrote his prophecies of the end-time. Yet this responsibility is recorded as being his. Christ didn't wait until the resurrection for David to prepare himself for his job. He isn't going to automatically be given the ability to rule. HE HAD TO LEARN HOW DURING HIS LIFETIME!
The Apostles Too
No one will be granted rulership in the government of God without first learning how to rule in this lifetime. the original twelve Apostles had to prow by their willingness to obey Jesus Christ and by their administration of His teachings that they were capable of handling the job He had for them. Theirs will be the staggering job of ruling over and judging the individual tribes of Israel as shown by Christ Himself: "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration [at the resurrection] when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19:28). These jobs are taken. They have already been spoken for and filled. We can't take any one of these jobs away from the one to whom it has ALREADY been given. These positions weren't arbitrarily given. They weren't awarded automatically. They had to be worked for. They were gotten through the dedication and diligent application of God's law by each person during his years on this earth.
How Does This Apply to You?
But, you may say, "How does this apply to me? I can see what the Bible says about these men, but how do I apply what they did to my own life?" In other words, HOW do we qualify to rule in the Kingdom of God? We are the weak, base, poor and ignoble of the world. How can such as that prepare themselves for great responsibilities? None of us in God's Church has a nation or even a small town to practice on. HOW CAN WE LEARN TO RULE? Notice one extremely important thing each one of these men had in common. It is the key which opened the door to unbelievable responsibility for each of them. "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws" (Gen. 26:5). God says one of the Prime reasons the promises were given to Abraham was that he KNEW God's law. He obeyed and kept ALL THE COMMANDMENTS which were given to rule man. David, the one called a man after God's own heart, is quoted as saying, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate DAY AND NIGHT" (Ps. 1:1-2). David knew, and, practiced the law of God throughout his life!
The Apostles Too
The twelve Apostles spent three and one-half years being taught personally by Jesus Christ how to live the Ten Commandments. They were commissioned to preach the Gospel and all the things they had been taught by Him to all parts of the world. They served their apprenticeship under the Master Himself. They KNEW and KEPT all God's commandments throughout their lifetimes. Every one of these men practiced the law of God DAILY. None of them had a nation, state, county or even small town to practice on when they first began. They qualified to begin with by ruling themselves. Their monumental jobs, their gigantic responsibilities, their fantastic positions all began as a result of their governing and RULING their own lives first. That is where we need to start. Each one of us, if we are to ever have responsibilities under Christ, has to first begin at home. You need to rule your own emotions, fears, lusts and desires and bring them into subjection to the law of God. That is your daily, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute JOB! That is how you qualify to be a part of the government of God.
You Have To Know the Law
In order to serve in any governmental position, even in the nations of this world, you must first learn the laws of that nation and come to know and understand those laws. Many of the politicians of OUT day began their careers in the law schools of the universities of this country. They spent years studying THE LAW of the United States of America. They had to study and delve into case histories in order to understand how that law was applied in specific instances so they in turn might pass judgment on future cases. They had to go up through the ranks from a small-town attorney to a councilman, till finally they arrived in the Congress of the United States where they helped to make the laws which govern this nation. No new lawyer starts out in Congress. He has to qualify and know the laws before he can make new ones. In order to qualify to rule a carnal nation, these men must diligently and zealously study the laws of that nation. How much more then should we who are to become spiritual rulers apply ourselves to the study of God's law and come to KNOW and UNDERSTAND that law. Do you see? Can you begin to understand now the vital importance of studying your Bible daily and listening attentively to every sermon on the Sabbath day? You MUST LEARN GOD'S LAW NOW SO THAT YOU MAY APPLY IT IN THE MILLENNIUM! In order to qualify as a ruler in the Kingdom of God, two important rules must be applied. Number one, we must learn to be obedient to every one of the laws of God and to be completely conversant with them as well as to respect and obey those whom He has put over us to help guide and direct us in understanding that law. Number two, we must learn to rule. You learn to rule by doing. It isn't the one who just hears the Bible expounded who will be qualified as a ruler, but the one who has put into practice those principles and learned to govern himself by them.
Immediately someone will say, "But how can I rule in this life? I am only an average lay-member of God's Church. I don't have the opportunities, or responsibilities, of the ministers to qualify me. I only have a little ability and natural talent." Jesus Christ, our Creator and the One who understands our way of reasoning, has already answered that. In the parable of the nobleman, Luke 19:12-27, we find where he gave his ten servants a pound apiece and told them to, "Occupy till I come." When he returned, the first servant came to him and returned ten pounds for the one which he had originally been given. Jesus said to him, "... Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities." This man only had A VERY LITTLE with which to work. But because he was faithful in a little, he was given MUCH RESPONSIBILITY. The same basic principles are applied in Matthew 25:21 where Christ said, "... Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee RULER OVER MANY THINGS: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Here again, a man had been faithful in ONLY A FEW THINGS and as a result was to be given GREAT RESPONSIBILITIES AND RULERSHIP. You can't use the excuse that you have only a small amount of natural ability or talent. Everyone has to answer for what he has been given whether it is a small amount or a large amount. You have to be faithful and work with what you have been given. Then when Jesus Christ returns, if you have been faithful, He will add to and greatly reward you for your FAITHFULNESS IN LITTLE THINGS! We needn't worry about how much someone else has been given or waste time comparing ourselves to others. Each one of us has to answer individually for himself. We have to qualify to rule in the Kingdom of God by qualifying and ruling in the position in which we find ourselves right now!
The husband is going to equip himself for rulership by studying God's law and learning to apply it to his wife, family and home. He must first of all SUBMIT HIMSELF to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Master. How many of you men reading this article unquestionably fulfill this first requirement? Many of the men in God's Church seem to feel they are TOO BUSY to take the time to study and pray as they ought. They leave such "brain work" to their wives. They want to be the leader in the home, and yet they have disqualified themselves in the most important prerequisite of all. You men who can find plenty of time to work on your cars, to work in your shop or to hold down a part-time job and still can't find time for prayer and study SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES! You will NEVER be a king or priest in God's Kingdom until you REPENT of that attitude! As a husband learns to properly schedule and control his own spiritual life, he needs to teach his wife — with love, compassion and understanding — how to discipline her spiritual life. Then, he will be able to teach her how to submit herself to Jesus Christ and to those, including her husband, who have been put in responsibility over her. He needs to teach his children obedience to the law of God and respect for their parents and elders. If you are unable to control one small child, HOW COULD YOU EVER RULE AND CONTROL A NATION OF ADULT MEN AND WOMEN. You need to make sure that Deuteronomy 6:6-9 is the standard by which you live. You must actually lean and experience the same things Jesus Christ did when He was here on this earth. We are told concerning Jesus Christ, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:8-9). Jesus Christ Himself learned to rule by being obedient to the law of God. He told His disciples that He had set them the example which they should follow (John 13:15). If He as our Saviour and our Lord and Master learned how to rule by being obedient to God, WE CAN LEARN THE SAME THING BY THE VERY SAME PROCESS! You men are going to have to apply the laws of God to your job, your children, your wife and YOURSELF so that the world tomorrow may be administered in peace and happiness.
Often you women in God's Church, you wives, widows and elderly ladies feel you are limited in your opportunities to learn rulership. You assume that the men or husbands are the only ones who really have an opportunity to exercise authority. You seem to feel the only way you can learn to rule and have authority is by ruling and having authority over men, and by that very thought YOU ARE DISQUALIFYING YOURSELF from the real responsibility which is to be yours. You women, all of you, in your home and daily life have dozens of ways in which to rule. You demonstrate your conversion first of all by your obedience to your Lord and Master — JESUS CHRIST. Yu too must learn to administer the Law of God by diligently and zealously applying yourself to your prayer and Bible study. All too often the women in God's Church use the excuse that the duties of caring for their husbands, children and homes crowd out their time for prayer and study. Those who say they can't arrange their time around their prayer and study are actually saying THEY DON'T WANT TO! You must learn to run your home in an orderly fashion. The housework or dishes should NEVER dictate whether or not you will pray and study on any given day. Don't become a slave to a stack of dirty dishes. How can you exercise rulership? One of the very first things you as women should learn to rule is your emotions. All too frequently frustrations and emotional instability keep you off balance for days on end. Once you have begun to properly control your emotions, you will be better able to administer the Law of God to your children and household with love, compassion and understanding. You will then be better able to direct when your dishes are done and if you have children, perhaps even which one of the children will do them. You can set up schedules of the daily activities of the children governing their time to arise in the morning and to go to bed at night. You control one of the most vital and most important functions of a household — the menu. Your family's health depends on your careful planning and selection of the proper foods for its consumption. All of these things are your responsibilities and to be administered by you under the over-all direction of your husband. Here many times is the crux of the whole matter. Many of the women in God's Church feel that if they are under their husband they aren't themselves administering any rulership. THAT COULDN'T BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. All of us here at Headquarters are continually checking with those over us in responsibility. Mr. Armstrong repeatedly checks with his superior — Jesus Christ — through the Bible on decisions he makes. To be under authority is part of learning to rule. EVERYONE from Jesus Christ down has to answer to a superior. Even God the Father is under. authority to His Own law. Our needs and what is good for us governs His actions. AUTHORITY IS GOOD! A woman who tries to establish herself above her husband or take a position over the office of the man is doing exactly the same thing Satan the Devil did in his rebellion against God. He didn't want to be ruled over and to submit himself to a superior authority. He tried to rise up and establish himself in a position that was never to be his. Let his fate be a constant reminder to all of us to learn to serve in the capacity or position in which God has placed us. Some might think that ruling over dirty dishes or the laundry is an extremely unglamorous job. But whoever said that the mundane, down-to-earth, common and ordinary details of rulership were glamorous? There is very little glamour in deciding where to place a sewerage disposal plant! There is nothing very thrilling about deciding whether or not an individual should pay with his life for having broken the Law of God. Yet these are exactly the things you will be doing under Jesus Christ during His reign on earth.
Even your small children have to learn to rule the things under their jurisdiction. One of the very important things we teach our children in their early years is to properly control and govern their bodily functions. The older child who hasn't learned this simple little bit of rulership is generally a rather unwelcome guest in your home. Children should be learning to ride over their clothing and toys. There should be a definite place for each of these things and when not in use they should be found in that place. Every child must learn also to control his emotions and to begin to live with the rest of humanity. Our newspapers today are filled with the stories of undisciplined children who haven't learned this simple lesson. Many times a pet can be a great help in teaching a child to rule over something. Even here this rulership should be done with love and compassion which will have to be taught the child by you as parents. In this way, the child learns that his pet looks like him for protection and the necessities of life. In order to rule in the government of God, we are going to have to rule by the Law of God. To qualify for these positions of rulership we must KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THAT LAW. The knowledge and understanding of the Laws of the Kingdom of God come only through prayer and Bible study and daily application of that Law in our lives. Are you qualifying to serve as a king or priest? Will you have a position in the Kingdom of God? Abraham does. David and the Apostles do. They qualified to rule by first BEING RULED. WILL YOU? All of us — men, women, and children — must learn to rule by first of all BEING RULED. We must learn to apply the Word of God to all our everyday situations. That isn't "religious talk." That is the way to a HAPPY, ABUNDANT AND FRUITFUL LIFE!