BOOK REVIEW: Government of God

Ron McKenzie’s latest literary contribution to mankind’s knowledge-base is now out. It’s a solid work containing a good summary of the man’s core teaching and presenting the way things should be, a biblical ‘How To’ of government and living. I summarise the book’s many strands and give it a thumbs-up. It’s a great recap of much of his blogging and writing, with a strong message of hope – a bit for today but primarily for the future.

If one is seeking the rapture or believes that that end of the world is nigh, don’t expect to get much emotional support from me, or this author. According to our take, there’s a long way to go yet and thinking that we’re heading into disaster with an end nigh, is depressing nonsense. The Lord will have nothing of the sort and He has all authority firmly in place for good things ahead . . . eventually.

The Author – Ron McKenzie

Based in Christchurch, NZ, just recently retired as an economist, Ron McKenzie has a huge web resource of thoughts captured from analysis of scriptures over many decades. He also produces a blog (often daily) where among key teaching points from his many written words, he’ll also pass commentary on things of his Christian interest.

Ron’s take on the big picture – how the principles contained in Scripture fit into the real world – is without doubt, the best I’ve found in my 50+ years of truth-seeking. Nobody has it all together, and I take issue with his geo-political analysis and his examples have always grated on me, being experienced in multi-cultural and non-standard living circumstances but in terms of core biblical interpretation Ron has my vote long before all the big names even get a look-in.

The things that I like about Ron’s quiet contribution to biblical understanding is that:

  1. He thinks – for himself;
  2. He does the hard yards and has been-there-done-that;
  3. He’s humble enough to speak of his weaknesses or errors yet confident enough to speak fearlessly when he does work it all out;
  4. He’s prepared to pay the price – to put his money where his mouth is and to try to live what he preaches;

Except for the significance that Christians put on the word I use here, I would call his conclusions “revolutionary”, especially in the way that he draws people back to the heart of the matter – the Creator – rather than to a specific denomination or church brand or belief system. His revolutionary act is to bring the basics through the current Christian errors and craziness into simple focus. If I can put words into his mouth, to Ron (and to me) it’s not about church or a theology or a belief system; nor is it about saving the world or getting to heaven . . . it is about a good relationship with the Father through Christ, listening to Him and then DOING what He says. We have faith that when we actually DO this, that the Holy Spirit will be empowered to do what He wants done.

We have a lot in common. Like me, he’s a non-denominational Christian, having been involved in the House-church/small-church scene for a long while. He’s also a prolific writer/blogger and he sees patterns quite easily, both in life and in the Scriptures. I really do appreciate the wisdom that he shares and I think many seeking to make a difference in the world should, and some like me probably do, hang off his teaching. The best description I think of when I think of Ron’s work is “solid”. Like all truth, “it just is”.

Dealing with the truth in a sea of deception is, as the big-shot said, a revolutionary act, which by its very nature is confrontational, but Ron doesn’t and won’t go there himself. I’ve discussed this with him more than once and his clear mission is to set a positive vision, leaving conflict to others. In some ways I am one of those others, fearless to speak it as it is and in a confrontational manner if needs be. I seem to have no problem naming or shaming or speaking out when errors or injustice occur.

There is a lot wrong in traditional Christendom. Mainstream Christianity has to a large extent lost the plot and I’m not just talking about theological stuff here either! This can be evidenced by the plethora of alternative church, small-church, home-church options that have developed in the last couple of decades and except for pockets of growth, the huge losses of confidence and faith in church systems. This new diversity will increase I am sure, and there is good reason for it – a multitude of new wineskins being established for good reason.

I thank God that He called me out when He did which has removed the constant frustration that I had for decades within the church systems. This has given me the freedom to speak it like it is without fear. You can’t call the Prime Minister of Samoa a coward and a crook very easily when your words must be “accountable” to a senior religious leader and the social pressure that go with forced submission to a particular social group-think. Ron though is not into confrontation – deliberately.

He quietly goes about his business writing to describe the Kingdom of God – the way of living as taught by the Master, which is based on the Lord’s revelations in the Torah . . .and that brings us into the strength and heart of his recent work – it’s actually the biblical way written way back long before Jesus showed it to us.

Core Teaching

Ron’s core teaching is about the Kingdom of God as detailed in the Bible, explaining to others how the Creator set the basis for right living in the Torah; how the life of Christ was an example of these principles applied; and how when we submit to Jesus, we now have the help of the Holy Spirit and the authority to bring this Kingdom of God into being.

In doing this Ron has to explain the significance and importance of the original books of the Bible (some things were instructions in a general sense, and others were intended for a certain people, time and place). He must explain the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and the role of the Holy Spirit in post ascension days. He also needs to put this into biblical chronology identifying where we currently fit in the whole scheme of things. He does this well in Government of God.

Accepting then the primary commonly accepted Christian message, Ron’s explanation includes the following key points, some diversions:

  • Understanding authority is key; it was gifted to mankind at the outset of Creation and shifts in authority happened from God the Creator to Mankind (Adam & Eve), to the Enemy (Satan), then to the Redeemer (Jesus Christ) and those in Him;
  • The Torah contains instructions for right living for Christians (marked out by certain key phrases) but not all of it is appropriate for today and associated with this that the Ten Commandments are not just compulsory legislation;
  • Justice systems are best implemented at local level from Scriptural guidance;
  • Centralisation of power runs contrary to God’s ways;
  • Political power, especially Democracy (rule by the people) is opposed to God’s ways which are based on voluntary submission, not coercion;
  • Societal change for which the introduction of the Kingdom of God comes, occurs from the bottom up;
  • Institutional, financial/military/political power must be and will be removed but can only be destroyed by God* for any coercion is not His way;
  • Increased and natural peace and godliness will follow the coming Time of Distress, the Fullness (Conversion) of the Jews, and the spectacular destruction of the current power systems;

Summary – Table of Contents

Part 1: Plant and Build

1. New Government
2. Different King
3. Perfect Government
4. Transforming Society
5. Kingdom Communities
6. Perfect Law
7. Laws for Society
8. Local Judges
9. Excellent Judges
10. Restoration
11. Voluntary Justice
12. Relief from Hardship
13. Protecting the Community
14. Defence and War
15. Voluntary Finance

Part 2: Uproot, Pull Down, Destroy and Overthrow

16. Uproot And Pull Down
17. Destroyed and Overthrown
18. Distress and Victory

It’s an important book following his previously released one Kingdom Authority. KA has the grounds for the hope which he can claim in this book. The Master proclaimed that the Kingdom of God had arrived two thousand years ago. He said that ALL authority had been invested in Him and that He was sending the Holy Spirit. This Government/Kingdom of God is in our hands. It is about to break loose, not immediately but in the fullness of time. I’ll leave that one to the Author to give us his thoughts on what this looks like and will mean.

Ron is an optimist and quotes the Scriptural hope from the Book of Revelation with his comments of vision:

Glorious Kingdom
The followers of Jesus will proclaim the gospel in the power of the Spirit and the people of the world will receive their message with gladness. As Kingdom Communities spread from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, region to region and nation to nation, the Kingdom of God will grow to fullness. All opposition to the gospel will be gone.

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever (Rev 11: 15).

The kingdoms of the world will disappear and be replaced by the Government of God. It will be a glorious kingdom.

  • The church will refined by suffering and become the beautiful and holy bride that John described (Rev 19: 8).
  • The spiritual forces of evil will remain on earth, skulking around powerless, seeking authority but not finding it.
  • The Holy Spirit will be free to move without their opposition.
  • The majority of people on the earth will receive the gospel and come to faith in Jesus (Psalm 22: 27).
  • The influence of sin will be massively reduced by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • When people see the glory of the Kingdom, God will be worshipped throughout the whole of the world.
  • Human governments will be replaced by the local judges applying the law of God (Micah 4: 1-5).
  • Trust in Imposed Authority will be gone, so freedom will reign throughout the earth.
  • Nationalism will be replaced by unity in Jesus.
  • Wars will cease and be replaced by peace (Micah 4: 3).
  • Poverty will disappear as the earth yields a tremendous harvest (Micah 4: 4).
  • Selfishness and materialism will be replaced by simplicity and sharing. The poor will have more and the wealthy west will be content with less (Is 65: 21-23).
  • Sickness will retreat as the gospel advances. People will live out their full life span until their purpose on earth has been fulfilled.
  • Creation will come into a glorious freedom of God. The earth will be restored when the powers of evil are prevented from devastating the physical world (Rom 8: 19-21).

No Need to Wait
We do not know when the Time of Distress will come, and how long it will take, so we should be prepared at all times. The entire process might take as long as a couple of centuries. It certainly won’t be done in seven years. Progress will not be smooth. There will be many setbacks on the way, but God will use the suffering of each defeat to birth another victory.

The transition will be quicker in some regions than others. As human government retreat towards the centres of power, people living on the margins of society or the edge of the city will be able to do something special. God’s people should be prepared to take advantage of opportunities where and when they arise.

We do not need to wait for the collapse of big government to start building Kingdom Communities. A neighbourhood church can begin building alternative governing structures at any time. Rather than worrying about the coming distress, we should focus on serving Jesus and being prepared for the victory of his kingdom. Strong neighbourhood churches can be equipped for victory and prepared for distress.

Government of God gives us hope; connects the dots; gives the context; explains the how and why of doing it His way.

There’s only one thing I can say after that . . .

Amen.

 

* Technically I disagree with Ron here when it comes to his choice of words, and I think he will agree on reflection – God doesn’t destroy. He creates and judges and the Holy Spirit sustains life but it is the Enemy who destroys. I think it more correct to call the coming destruction of the financial/political systems of the day an “implosion” as the inevitable consequences of evil outworking to its natural conclusion. At the appointed time, the Holy Spirit removes His restraining influence and destruction is inevitable. To understand this with an example, grossly simplified, God prohibits the charging of interest. Compound interest is mathematically unsustainable. The global financial system is based on interest-bearing currencies. The world is increasing its enslavement to the global bankers and evil daily. This is exponential. God knew and prohibited. All He needs do now is ensure that the laws of mathematics remain constant and eventually . . . BOOM!

Same thing with sickness & health, business greed, social injustice issues and the rest.

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