The Incarnation of the Son of God signaled the transformation of the human race from a hopeless humanity to one of hope and promise. As early as the beginning of time, Christ was anticipated as the Light of the World, which was destined to separate the light of goodness and truth from the darkness of evil and falsehood.
The Rev. Hodgkin explains how throughout the Holy Word of God, the prophets anticipated the Advent of the Son,
“Looking forward into the future from the earliest ages, God’s servants saw One who was to come, and as the time approached this vision grew so clear that it would be almost possible for us to describe Christ’s life on earth from the Old Testament Scriptures, of which He Himself said,” they testify of Me. There was one central figure in Israel’s hope. The work of the world’s redemption was to be accomplished by One man, the promised Messiah. It is He who was to bruise the serpent’s head according to Genesis 3:15. He was to be descended from Abraham, and from the tribe of Judah.
Isaiah looked forward and saw first a great light shining upon the people that walked in darkness in Isaiah 9:2. And as he gazed, he saw that a child was to be born, a son was to be given, and with growing amazement there dawned upon him these names as describing the nature of the child. [Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.] There, dawned upon Isaiah, the consciousness that this promised One was none other than God manifest in the flesh, Emmanuelle, God with us…. And now all the prophets, one by one, fill in the picture, each adding a fresh vivid touch.
The prophet Micah sees the little town where Jesus was to be born, and tells us it is Bethlehem. Isaiah sees the adoration of the Magi. Jeremiah pictures the death of the innocents. And Hosea foreshadows the flight into Egypt. Isaiah again portrays His meekness and gentleness, and the wisdom and knowledge which Jesus manifested all through his life from the time of his talking to doctors in the Temple.
Again when he cleansed the temple, the words of the Psalmist came at once to the memory of the disciples, “The zeal of thine house had eaten me up” Isaiah pictured him preaching good tidings to the meek, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives, and giving the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
The prophets foresaw something of the character and extent of the Savor’s work. The light that was to shine forth from Zion was to be for all the world, Jew and Gentile alike were to be blessed. The Spirit of God was to be poured out upon all flesh. [And all the ends of the earth were to see the salvation of God.]”
These prophecies anticipated that cataclysmic event of the coming of the Son of God, His person, His work, His victory, His conquest over sin death and the world, His union with His children, the bestowal upon them of all of His benefits and the fulfillment of His Covenant Dominion Inheritance. This is what the Advent of His birth means.
Consider what this world would look like if Christ hadn’t been born
In the area of evangelism
Christians are to increase the boundaries of the KINGDOM by gathering into the Kingdom believers. This enlarges the Kingdom of God and maximizes its influence. This is what it means to take dominion. The more people comprising the Kingdom, the larger the Kingdom and the more dominion influence it has upon the culture. This is to be continued UNTIL every elect soul is gathered into the Kingdom of God. This is what Isaiah anticipated and what Paul confirmed when they said,
Isa 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Ro 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We are to advance the Kingdom of heaven by influencing every institution and area of life with the Truth of God’s Word by GETTING involved in the various institutions of the culture. This is what is known as the reconstruction of the culture, or the cultural mandate of Genesis 1. There is nothing to be regarded as OUTSIDE Christ’s RULE.
So far, what we have seen in the last 2000+ years is the dramatic influence of the Gospel upon NOT ONLY individuals and Wester civilization, BUT UPON the entire known world.
Consider first the impact of Christianity on the value of human life.
According to FAITH FACTS, an online apologetics ministry, the concept of universal human rights and equality comes exclusively from the biblical idea that all people are created in the image of God. Women. In ancient cultures, a wife was the property of her husband. Aristotle said that a woman was somewhere between a free man and a slave.
According to the book Reasons for God by Tim Keller,
“It was extremely common in the Greco-Roman world to throw out new female infants to die from exposure, because of the low status of women in society.
The church forbade its members to do so. Greco-Roman society saw no value in an unmarried woman, and therefore it was illegal for a widow to go more than two years without remarrying. But Christianity was the first religion to not force widows to marry. They were supported financially and honored within the community so that they were not under great pressure to remarry if they didn’t want to. Pagan widows lost all control of their husband’s estate when they remarried, but the church allowed widows to maintain their husband’s estate. Christians did not believe in cohabitation. If a Christian man wanted to live with a woman he had to marry her, and this gave women far greater security. Also, the pagan double standard of allowing married men to have extramarital sex and mistresses was forbidden. Under the banner of Christianity, Christian women enjoyed far greater security and equality than did women in the surrounding culture.
Christianity was also concerned with missions of mercy to the poor and needy.
For example, his Parable of the Good Samaritan is a classic illustration that is still part of our language today. The late DJ Kennedy argues that Christian charities stand out far above and beyond state-run charitable institutions. He points to Mother Theresa, the Salvation Army, religious hospitals, church-supported soup kitchens, and thrift shops in every community. He says, “Jesus has had such an enormous impact on charity that one wonders how different things would be if he had never been born.”
D’Souza points out:
“This is our culture’s powerful emphasis on compassion, on helping the needy, and on alleviating distress even in distant places. If there is a huge famine or reports of genocide in Africa, most people in other cultures are unconcerned.
Concerning marriage and the family – the core of humanities stability Christianity shines forth.
Before the Christian era, pederasty and homosexuality were not considered wrong.
Again D’Sousa comments,
“Christianity exalted heterosexual monogamous love, which would provide the basis for a lasting and exclusive relationship between husband and wife, oriented toward the rearing of children.”
We take the family so much for granted—it remains such a powerful ideal in our society, even when actual family life falls short— that we forget the central premises on which it is based. These premises were introduced by Christianity into a society to which they were completely foreign.”
In the area of education, again Christianity leads the way.
The phenomenon of education for the masses has its roots in the Protestant Reformation. In order to promote Bible literacy, Christians have been leaders in education. This trend was accelerated with the advent of the printing press at about the same time as the Protestant Reformation. Many of the world’s languages were first set to writing by Christian missionaries in order for people to read the Bible.
In America, the first law to require education of the masses was passed by the Puritans. The law was called “THE OLD DELUDER SATAN ACT.” This name was a reference to the devil, who Christians believe gets his foothold into people’s lives because of their ignorance of Scripture. For the first 200 years in America, children’s reading texts emphasized biblical literacy. The emphasis on literacy was so intense in colonial America, that John Quincy Adams said in the early 1800’s that the illiteracy rate was only 4/10th of 1 percent. By comparison, it has been estimated that in America today, 40 million people are functionally illiterate.
All but one of the first 123 colleges in colonial America were Christian institutions. While these universities have lost their Christian identities, it is interesting to read the founding statements of these schools. Harvard, for example, was founded on this statement:
Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life,
In the area of government.
- America’s first constitution was the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. The Puritan framers of this document required that each aspect of it be grounded in Scripture. Other constitutions to follow contained many similarities to this one.
- At least 50 of the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution were professing Christians to some degree or another.
- There is no doubt that the concept of our Constitutional checks and balances system is a direct result of the biblical doctrine of the sinfulness of mankind. All of our founders understood the importance of this doctrine to the social order.
- America’s foundational idea of The Rule of Law rather than the authority of man traces back to the Old Testament, beginning with the Ten Commandments.
- The idea that all men are created equal as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence is a biblical doctrine.
- The notion of the sovereign authority of God (as mentioned in the Mayflower Compact, in all 50 state constitutions, rather than the sovereignty of the state–is certainly biblical.
- The existence of moral absolutes (a biblical concept) is an important idea in our Declaration of Independence–specifically, self-evident truths and unalienable rights from the Creator.
- Many other aspects of our laws come directly from the Bible–for example, the judicial, legislative and executive branches trace to Isaiah 33:22. Fair trials with witnesses have numerous Old and New Testament support.
- Regarding civil liberty, founding father John Adams (and others) emphasized as the basis for American civil liberty. The slogan on the Liberty Bell is “Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof” is from Leviticus 15:10.
Free enterprise and the work ethic is also a Christian idea
- Private property rights can be traced to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:15, 17 Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet —as well as to other passages from the Old and New Testaments. Interestingly, there are over 700 references to money in the Bible!
- While Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was written in 1776, the same year as the birth of America many historians credit theologian John Calvin from 200 years earlier as the person who is most responsible for putting together the principles that were always in the Bible into a system adapted by the American founders. For example, the biblical doctrines of self-reliance and self-denial are the foundation of the famous “protestant work ethic.” These doctrines are at the heart of our economic (and political) way of life.
We also see Christianity’s mark on art, music and literature.
The influence of Jesus on art, music, and literature is enormous. For example, the Christian faith has influenced literature in such Christian writers such as Dante, Chaucer, Donne, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Dickens, Milton, etc. Had Jesus never been born, music would likely sound very different from what we’re used to. There may never have a developed cantata, the concerto, or the symphony. Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach were Christians who worked to honor God with their work. Bach, for example, signed all his works with Soli Deo Gloria (“Solely to the glory of God”).
Faith Facts adds this,
“Art has likewise been magnificently impacted by Jesus. While much modern art seems to debase the human spirit, classical Christian art tries to bring out the best of mankind–pointing us to a higher plane. This is certainly a tribute to Jesus. And think of all the incredible architecture through the years. Especially noteworthy are the beautiful cathedrals in Europe.”
Now Consider how paganism is slowly overturning Christianity’s influence especially here in America.
- Human life is now no longer sacred but expendable for any reason whatsoever.
- There is little compassion left among the populace for others now that the epidemic of individualism has taken humanity by the throat.
- Marriage and the family is now being assaulted even among those professing Christianity.
- Education has become pagan indoctrination where GOD HAS NOT ONLY BEEN TAKEN OUT OF EDUCATION BUT HE has been replaced with ANTI-Christian ideas and the philosophies of men who WOULD be God.
- The government has been restructured from the Christian view of Romans 13 to a manipulative, tyrannical slavish model reminiscent of Ancient Rome.
- Free enterprise is now either restricted or taxed to the point where it is prohibitive.
Welfare is pandemic and is even encouraged by the state along with the church.
- Art Music and Literature is now a hotbed of perversion and the declaration that whatever man thinks is good – then it must be good. i.e Man determining good and evil for himself apart from God.
It must be noted that the only way Christianity was able to take dominion over these areas of the culture was through the diligent effort of the organized community of Christians known as the visible Church. The rise or fall of the culture was placed upon the shoulders of the Church. It is the organic Church of the incarnate living Christ that has been commissioned to change the world for the Glory of God. The fact that we see the crumbling of culture around us is a clear testimony of the church’s abandonment of her sacred task. And yet, Christ is STILL the Sovereign LORD and the very same power that He gave to the Church in AD 33 He offers to the Church TODAY.
ALL we have to do is ACT. Get out of our comfort zones of lukewarmness and take Kingdom action. May God once again grant to His Eternal Church the vision and the strength to recapture what she has lost before it is too late, and we go into the darkness of despair for many generations.
It is time for us to take seriously our commission and ACT upon it.