I'm still deeply challenged and stirred by the prophetic call that we got at Brighton 2005 especially through the preaching of Terry Virgo on "Gideon and the Battle of Midean". It's rare to hear such biblically grounded preaching yet with a passionate call to go and take the gospel to the lost, with the optimistic and realistic (not triumphalistic) vision of reality that we will see a glorious end-time church!! I don't think Terry would see himself as Ern Baxter's spiritual son, but to me (as a deep fan of both men) he truly has taken on Baxter's mantle.
Here's another document that I have typed up on the "Government of God". Ern Baxter gave it to the Shepherds Conference at Kansas City in 1977.
A KING WITH ALL AUTHORITY.
I also want you to know who you are. When God made you in the Garden of Eden, He said, "You’re in My Image and I baptized you to run the world. I want you to fill it, subdue it, and ruleover it. I made you just a little lower than Myself, and I crown you with glory and honor. I want you to run the world."Now Adam blew it, and when Adam blew it, the devil started a lie. The devil said, "Well, when Adam blew it, I received the authority," but that’s a lie. The devil never received the authority. When Adam blew it,God reached down, took the scroll of authority out of Adam’s hand, andsaid, "I’ll hang on to this until a Man comes who can handle it." For4,000 years the devil went around sowing his lie. Yes, Adam blew it, but the devil never received the authority; God has it.
John tells us about his beautiful vision after Jesus returned to Heaven. He says, "I was caught up and I went into the throne room. There were 24 elders, and 4 living creatures, and I saw the One who sat upon thethrone." (See Revelation 4.) At this point we become excited, thinking,He’s going to tell us what God looks like. Well, John said He looks like a jasper and a sardine stone (that’s a big help), but remember, the Bookof Revelation is a book of symbols (see Rev. 4:3). By the throne was ascroll, the title deed to the universe. It was the thing that Adamcouldn’t fulfill. (It wasn’t a book. They didn’t have books in thosedays.) The scroll was sealed with seven seals, and a voice cried out,"Who is worthy to take the scroll and break the seals thereof?" (SeeRevelation 5.) If there was ever a time when satan with his big mouthcould have stepped up and said, "I can take it because I got the authority," it was at that moment.The devil didn’t open his mouth. He didn’t raise a whisper. Not a demon stirred; the whole region of hell was silent. There wasn’t a man who stepped forward – no Stalin, no Nero, no Freud or Nietzsche. There was no great human person who came forward. All humanity was silent. The ranks of celestial hosts – archangels, seraphim, and cherubim – were silent.The universe was silent as One sat holding the scroll, and in that scrollwas the redemption of man. John knew that, and when no one was found worthy to take the scroll andbreak the seal, he began to cry. He knew what was wrong. Then one of theelders came up and tapped him on the shoulder. He said, "Don’t cry, John.There is One who is worthy. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is worthy totake the scroll and break its seals." John wiped his eyes and lookedaround for a lion. John knew what a lion looked like. At least, he thought he knew what a lion looked like, but as he looked around for alion, out of the throne came a Lamb. John was certain the elder had said there was a lion. Now not only was that Lion a Lamb, but it was a strange Lamb because It had seven eyes and seven horns. It also looked like itwas newly slain; It was covered with fresh blood. (See Revelation 5:1-8.)
The Book of Revelation was written in A.D. 96. That means that some 56 years after the death of Jesus Christ, John saw the Lamb coming out ofthe throne with the blood still fresh upon Him. He had seven horns, whichspeaks of all power. He had seven eyes, which speaks of all knowledge,and He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the Lion of the tribe ofJudah because He is the Lamb of God. It was at the cross of Calvary thatthe Lamb of God received the authority to become the Lion.His blood is still fresh before God for us. It continues to speak for usbefore God because the blood of Jesus Christ has never lost its power. Jesus is enthroned there by virtue of His precious blood. It was He who took the scroll and broke the seals thereof. When He broke the first seal, the rider on the white horse, which is righteousness, went forth conquering and to ultimately conquer (see Rev.6:1-2).
When Jesus went to Heaven, He released righteousness to run downthrough the pages of history. Before history winds up, righteousness will rule. Darkness will be defeated; Christ will be Lord indeed; and the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (seeHab. 2:14).
Let’s take a look at Peter’s message following the advent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost: "Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words:Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you -- the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge – this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands,and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match forhim. David said it all: ‘I saw God before me for all time. Nothing canshake me; he’s right by my side.’" ™ (Acts 2:22-25). In Chapter 3 we discussed that every time you read about David in the NewTestament, it’s talking about government (royalty). In this passage,we’re talking about kingship. Isn’t it interesting that when we talk about the coming of the Holy Spirit, we’re not talking about Adam (race), Abraham (relationship), or Moses (covenant)?
Instead we talk about David, royal government. "David said it all: ‘I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side. I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope. I know you’ll never dump me in Hades; I’ll never even smell the stench of death. You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around.’Dear friends, let me be completely frank with you. Our ancestor David isdead and buried – his tomb is in plain sight today. But being also aprophet and knowing that God had solemnly sworn that a descendant of his would rule his kingdom, seeing far ahead, he talked of the resurrectionof the Messiah – ‘no trip to Hades, no stench of death.’ This Jesus, God raised up. And every one of us here is a witness to it. ™ (Acts 2:25-32).
According to this passage, Jesus assumed the throne of David at the resurrection. He became King at the resurrection. He’s not waiting in some little anteroom in Heaven waiting to become King. He’s been King for2,000 years. He’s been ruling history for 2,000 years. He’s got the wholething in hand, and He knows exactly what He’s going to do. The plan isall in the scroll. He’s worthy to take the scroll, break the seals, andbring history to a proper conclusion – and He’s going to do it by the Holy Ghost. FELLOW WITNESSES, RULERS, AND PRIESTS. "This Jesus, God raised up, And every one of us here is a witness to it. Then, raised to the heights atthe right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit fromthe Father, he poured out the Spirit he had just received. That is what you see and hear." ™ (Acts 2:32-33).When Jesus ascended, He fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies andpromises concerning kingship that were made to David and the prophets. So when Jesus ascended and took His throne, He was anointed like kings are anointed; He was anointed with the Holy Spirit to assume His kinglyposition. The Holy Spirit flowed down over Him, right on down to 120 of His followers below. They became filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spiritof kingship and authority. I want to know what God is going to do with the nations. I want to know how God’s going to wind up history, and I start to get a hint here.
When God anointed Jesus of Nazareth as King at the resurrection and ascension,He sent the Holy Spirit. He sent the Holy Spirit to bless you, make youhappy, make you talk in tongues, prophesy, and sing choruses, to give you goose bumps and make your hair stand on end – all of that is part of the package. However, He also sent the Holy Spirit to make you a fellow king.You are a king and a priest. You are a worshiper, but you’re also a ruler.As I look at many Christians today, they’re usually the saddest bunch ofkings I’ve ever seen. You just can’t go by appearance; you may be knock-kneed, sawed-off, pigeon-toed, bowlegged, lop-eared, baldheaded,and cockeyed, but by the inspiration of the Word of God, I can draw back the door of your heart and see the Holy Spirit of the risen Jesus sittingon the throne of your heart. You may not have a crown on your head or bewearing a purple robe. You may not look like a king, but you are still aking. You have the Spirit of a King. You have the Spirit of authority in you, and you are made to rule. Do you understand that your church community with its elders is not just a fellowship of Spirit-filled people who praise God and sing choruses? Do you know what you are? You are a local representation of the governmentof God. Your elders are rulers, not over you, but are rulers under God over your area.
This may seem strange to you, but I want to explain something. Most likely where you live you have mayors and aldermen. What’s an alderman? Alderman is another word for an elderman or an elder. We often talk about the city fathers. You have city fathers in your church communities, andyou should honor them. Let’s use an imaginary place called McGurkel’s Crossing for anillustration. Mayor McGillecutty is the mayor of McGurkel’s Crossing, and there’s six or seven aldermen. There’s also a Christian body in that community who meets on Sunday mornings. They sing nice songs, and the preacher stands up to encourage them to hang on for another week because the bus may be coming. They’re just enduring to the end, but all the timethey’ve failed to realize that they are actually the superior governmental people in that community. The elders and people of that local Christian body are an extension of the Trinity to represent the overnment of God in that area. AUTHORITY TO BRING CHANGE.
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s oneGod and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us – Jesus." ™(1 Timothy 2:1-5). What is Paul teaching us here? When you come together, first of all,before you pray for Grandma’s gout, little Johnny’s tummy ache, and money to pay… Before you pray for anything else, before you pray for the missionaries, before you pray for God to bless the pastor so he won’t put us all to sleep… Before you pray any of those kinds of prayers, Paul said, "First of all, most important of all, pray for all men everywhere,for rulers and those that are in authority over you, that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness, for God would have all men tobe saved and come to a knowledge of the truth."
I believe in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe inthe separation of God and state. I believe that the powers that be are ordained of God. I believe that our President and his cabinets, our mayors and aldermen, are all under the direct oversight of God Almighty. They reign and rule by His permission, whether their rule is good, bad,or indifferent. I also want you to know that the people of God, the congregation of God in any local area, are a higher governmental orderthan that earthly order.I’m not speaking evil of established authorities, but I am saying that ifthe people of God in an area will get it together, and their elders will get it together, when you come together pray first of all for all those in authority around you. When you do so you will release the power of rulership into the secular community of your area. You will stop crime.You’ll stem unrighteousness. You’ll change the minds of mayors andaldermen. You’ll alter the thrust of government. You can change thedirection of nations, for you are a ruler. Your elders are rulers. You’rerulers, and you’re kings. You were sent here to rule in Christ’s name and bring the disciples, the nations, under the Lordship of Christ.You are a king. I want you to act like a king. "For the weapons of ourwarfare are not carnal" (2 Cor. 10:4a).
We’re not going to go out and raise money to buy bombs; I’ve already got a bomb in my spirit that can blow up the world. I believe Jesus Christ is at this very moment literally sitting on the throne of the universe. He has a body, a human body of flesh and bone that is 33-and-a-half-years old. It hasn’t wrinkled in those 2,000 years because He alone has immortality. I believethat when He ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His people so they might share with Him in the oversight of the universe. He wants you to start to rule and govern in your area by your corporate release of righteousness through your prayers for rulers, governors, and those who are in authority. When that starts to happen across the world, governments will start to change. Social mores will change. At a given moment your prayers that have been bottled up at the throne of God will be turned upside down. There will be thunders and lightnings, for God will not only change people’s minds, He will also start to remove people. Judgment will start to fall; judgment is salvation. God will start to alter things. You’ve got to start to believe this is God’s world and that this is your world as representatives of God. You have the power to change things where youlive because you are kings. More than 3,000 people responded and were saved as a result of thePentecost message (see Acts 2:40-47). They were the seed of a thriving, growing community. The bottom line of Acts 2 is not about becoming filledwith the Holy Ghost to be able to go to Heaven; it’s about being filledwith the Holy Ghost to become a community of power. The scandal of modern Christianity is its division. Until we can find and accept one another in our various geographical localities and start to behave like kings andpriests, we’re not going to fulfill our destiny to change the order ofthings.