True Christians are destined to inherit rulership of the whole universe, and their preparatory training is of the utmost importance.
His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and Heir Apparent to the throne of the British Empire, is profoundly conscious of his destiny. Some day he will be king. The night of his birth, Nov. 14, 1948, wildly cheering crowds thronged Buckingham Palace until 2 a.m. The English-speaking world rejoiced at this addition to Britain's royal family. And at the age of 4, at the death of his grandfather, the beloved George VI, Charles became Heir Apparent to the world's most prestigious throne.
Training for kingship
It was then that an important period of training began for Charles, who was someday to inherit a gigantic responsibility, along with all the power and glory that goes with being the monarch of what was then the world's greatest empire. Charles' father, Prince Philip, planned his son's education. It was obvious that Charles had inherited the shy temperament of his mother and grandfather. Philip felt the need for a strenuous training program befitting a future king. He wanted his son "looked after without being spoiled." So at age 8, Charles was enrolled in a London public school. This shocked the Commonwealth. It was the first time an heir to the British throne was to be educated alongside his future subjects. Philip feared too much "petticoat influence" at the palace. In this he was supported by his uncle, the vigorous and innovative Lord Louis Mountbatten. In addition, at age 9, Charles was separated from his parents and sent to a boarding school in Berkshire. All of this proceeded with his mother's consent, but his father, Prince Philip, was the catalyst. Charles' report cards were, of course, international news. One instructor summed him up as "nervous, sullen, and sometimes precocious." Like most schoolboys, he had a nickname: "Fatty." He shared the same type of army spring bed and horsehair mattress as his peers. By age l4, the future Prince of Wales was ready for another major step. This time his father enrolled him in Gordonstoun, a special boys' school on the bleak northeast coast of Scotland. The curriculum came complete with a rugged regime of morning exercises, cold showers and, according to the school's founder, "character development." At Gordonstoun, every student had a work assignment. The first job for the destined king? Emptying dustbins. It was at this remote outpost that Charles was. forcibly red minded of a valuable lesson in leader-ship: Leaders live in goldfish bowls. Charles' awareness of what life was like in the public eye was crystallized in the notorious "Cherry Brandy Affair," when he was demoted for violating the school's rules after he shared a quick drink in a pub. His mentors quickly took him aside and explained that such behavior just simply did not befit a future king. By age 18, however, Philip estimated that the young prince was ready for a year in Australia. Timbertop, another selective school for rugged young men, sped his personality development. Evidence that Philip's patient, determined program was paying off came in July, 1969. At his investiture as Prince of Wales at historic Caernarvon Castle, Charles won the hearts of his Welsh Objects by addressing them in their own ancient tongue. His 300-word speech in the original Welsh language was more than most native Welshmen could manage. This bold feat showed, in the words of one authority, that "Prince Charles was not going to be beaten by anything or anybody when he set out to achieve a goal." Next followed a degree from Cambridge, a stint in Royal Air Force jet trainers and a personal command of the Royal Navy's HMS Bronington. Much of this followed the careful steps outlined by his father. Few people today understand the personal and emotional sacrifices, strains and stresses attendant upon the rigorous — and sometimes dangerous — job as chief of state for the British Commonwealth nations. The throne stands as the unifying link for millions of people of varying races, colors and creeds. In times of war, economic upset and other national emergencies, the British royal family has proven its worth. Even today the sovereign's example serves as a valuable moderating and stabilizing influence in a tumultuous age. Perhaps Prince Philip's signal accomplishment has been helping the transformation of this basically reticent personality into a "man for all seasons" — the very popular and increasingly respected Charles, Prince of Wales. Prince Charles takes his motto, Ich Dien (I serve), very seriously. Now hold your breath!
The Christian destiny
You, too, if you have repented and been baptized, are destined to become a king, in God's Kingdom! "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (II Tim. 4:8). "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High" (Dan. 7:27). True Christians are even called kings, already, "And Christ hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father" (Rev. 1:6). When you repented, were baptized and God's minister laid his hands on you, you received God's gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). You were begotten as an actual member of God's Family. At that time, the angels in heaven rejoiced (Luke 15:10), just as the English-speaking world did when Charles became Heir Apparent of the throne of Britain, because at that moment you began a training program that will culminate in your becoming a joint ruler, with Jesus Christ, of the universe (Rom. 8:16-17). Christians are now preparing to, with and under Christ, exercise power over the nations and judge the whole world (Rev. 2:26-27, 20:4, I Cor. 6:2).
When you repented, were baptized and God's minister laid his hands on you, you received God's gift of the Holy Spirit... you began a training program that will culminate in your becoming a joint ruler, with Jesus Christ, of the universe.
What a spectacular set of promises! Truly converted Christians are destined to be given ruler ship with Christ upon His return from heaven. Thus Peter writes that members of the true Church are part of a "royal priesthood" (I Pet. 2:9).
Essentials for rulership
Charles, the Prince of Wales, submitted to a difficult program designed by his father to fit him for the British throne. The sure knowledge of his certain future stiffened his resolve and helped him to stoically endure the constant glare of publicity, the antagonism to royalty from certain vociferous elements, the daily pressure of being a target for some crackpot assassin. Our Father in heaven, Head of the Royal Family of this universe (Eph. 3:15), is calling His children to a far more important prize than Britain's fabled throne. Our training program, then, must be even more vital than was Prince Charles'. The Bible outlines several areas God wants to develop in His children. 1) Among the indispensable qualities for ruling along with Christ in His Kingdom is strong, dependable character. Revelation 17:14 says those who rule with Christ will be "called, and chosen, and faithful." Trustworthiness nets a handsome dividend even in this physical life. The irksome, unglamorous tasks that must be performed if our home; company or schoolwork are to succeed are sometimes small, but are nevertheless real tests of character (Luke 16:10). We can always take the pressure off ourselves and "cop out" from tackling the "must" jobs, but our character will have been weakened as a result. Our character is what we are. "Little things" like daily prayer, Bible study, church and — Bible study attendance, tithing, visiting and being hospitable to others begin to add up to an unmistakable pattern over a lifetime. For instance, on the job with fellow workers and employers, our character is showing. Paul admonished the Ephesians, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ" (Eph. 6:5). In the employment market, good, solid, dependable men and women are always in demand. With God's loving help and our own earnest striving, our sturdiness and resolve can be supernaturally strengthened (Isa. 40:31), God's Spirit overrules our human tendency to procrastinate and bolsters our flagging determination in the face of frustrating obstacles (Phil. 4:13). As we earn "our daily bread," then, we are learning valuable lessons of character that will last throughout all time. 2) Future kings also need to develop their minds, and more than I.Q. or scholastic ability, God is concerned that His children grow in wisdom, the most important marl attribute (Prov. 4:7). Solomon, the wisest king who ever lived began his renowned career by 1iu his lack of wisdom in the clearest terms, "I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in" (I Kings 3:7). This sincere admission helped convince His Creator that Solomon was a fit vessel for receiving the brilliant, startling, piercing insights only God can give (Prov. 2:6). Solomon's encounter with the two harlots (I Kings 3:16-28) is an example of dynamic wisdom in action — the divine insight needed to untangle many complicated situations, whether in the board room or in the living room. Wisdom involves having the understanding to know what to say and, perhaps more importantly, when to say it (Eccl. 3:73. Through His Word, God answers the big questions in life. Which of w hasn't bewailed our lack of wisdom from time to time, or bemoaned the fact that we "dropped the ball" in certain of life's decisions, some of which we may be suffering for right now? If you feel this way sometimes, then take heart. Admitting our lack of insight is one of the first steps in receiving true wisdom. The entire book of Proverbs is written to the "simple," the person who wanteth understandings (Prov. 9:4). 3) Good rulers need Sincere warmth of personality. It is said Abraham Lincoln refused to hire a man once because of the look on his face. Mr. Lincoln's subordinates protested that a man couldn't help the way he looked. But Mr. Lincoln, wise president that he was, stuck to his guns and was proven right. Proverbs 15:13 says, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance." Stop and think: The people who influence us the most possess an extra measure of enthusiasm and spark. Buoyant optimism animates the personalities of most true leaders. A sincere, sparkling personality is a powerful force all by itself. "Infectious optimism" was one of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's prized attributes of leadership. As Andrew Jackson said, "One man with courage makes a majority." The same goes for enthusiasm. Christ, our soon-coming King of kings, stirred the multitudes with the strength of His personality (Mark 12:37). His sincerity and generosity spread Ellis fame abroad (Mark 5:20). Christ's strong, outgoing personality truly made Him "the Master." 4) Future rulers in God's government must have drive. Herbert W. Armstrong lists this as the fourth important law of success. Many of God's greatest servants were in superb physical condition (Deut. 34:7, I Kings 18:46). Some people have good character, sharp minds and sparkling personality, but lack the staying power that gives outstanding leaders their winning edge.
Truly, the whole creation, past and present, "waiteth for the manifestation of the. sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). We dare not drift with the rest of this purposeless, confused world. We have a rendezvous with destiny.
Konrad Adenauer, the beloved Der Alte of postwar Germany, performed his greatest service to his fatherland between the ages of 73 and 87 when, as chancellor, he led West Germany back to a respected place in world affairs. Had he retired at 65, probably nobody would have heard much of him. Jesus Christ's determination awed His disciples many times, but never more so than in the last few days before His death. He "steadfastly set his face" to brave certain death in the Pharisees' stronghold of Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). His quiet, concentrated will and purpose even strengthened the wavering disciples (John 11:16). Certainly the kings who will rule with Christ will posses a good measure of that bulldog tenacity that characterizes great leaders. 5) This area of development — leadership — teaches us tact, patience and genuine mercy, which will stand us in good stead in working with people for all eternity. Our families provide us with wonderful leadership opportunities. Are our families happy? If not, we arc stifling our development into future kings. God holds husbands responsible for cheering up their wives and loving them as Christ loved the Church (Deut 24:5, Eph. 5:25). Wives are encouraged to submit themselves to their husbands and live up to the example of the virtuous woman (Eph. 5:22, Prov. 31:10-31). Children learn their first approach to authority figures in the home (Eph. 6:1). The attitude of being teachable, learned in a loving and disciplined family relationship, gives children a head start in school, where they can really learn from their teachers instead of becoming discipline problems. In this way children start out as early as possible on the road to success in life (Ex. 20:12, Prov. 20:11). Paul emphasizes the relationship between family life and leadership in describing a minister's office, "If a man blow not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" (I Tim. 3:5). 6) Christians have to learn to handle God's Spirit wisely. Through the laying on of hands, God has given us the Spirit of power, which we constantly need to stir up (II Tim. 1:6-7). The word for "spirit" here is transliterated dunsmis from which comes the English "dynamite" or "dynamic." This priceless force can help us make real progress in our personal lives if we continue to replenish it (II Cor. 4:16). Increasing and expanding the "earnest," or small amount of the Spirit we have now (Eph. 1:13-14), is the best insurance that Christ will completely convert us to dynamic spirit substance at His return. This supernatural power from God helps us get the true perspective on this human life. It really changes things. God is about to clean up the pitiful mess that is this world, and right now He is busily training a qualified, competent staff who will have the privilege to teach humans after the resurrection (Rev. 20:12). We will be the ones, along with Christ, to ensure that the tragic sadness that has characterized this world will never be repeated.
Heirs Apparent to God's throne
The Kingdom of God is all about people. Billions of people. People looking for direction and guidance, people looking for healing and physical sustenance, people looking for real, practical help for their personal problems. Are we ready to teach and train the world (Dan. 12:3)? Probably not... yet! Small wonder that Christ reveals the Kingdom will be entered only by violence (Matt. 11:12) — by those who are violent with themselves, forcing their naturally self-concerned and lazy human nature into the paths of true character, helpful wisdom sparkling warmth, inspiring drive and right leadership, all motivated by God's Spirit of power and service. Truly, the whole creation, past and present, "waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). We dare not drift with the rest of this purposeless, confused world. We have a rendezvous with destiny. We were born to be kings, kings who will be servants of the people they rule (Eph. 1:4-5, Matt. 20:25-27). Our calling is much higher than that of Prince Charles. We will be inheriting the very throne of the universe — a high destiny indeed. We need to strive harder to be worthy Heirs Apparent to the throne of Jesus Christ, at Jerusalem, ruling the earth: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in his throne" (Rev. 3:21).