Reflect on this quote from pp. 136-137 of How the Nations Rage by Jonathan Leeman:
Picture thousands, even tens of thousands, of time machines suddenly showing up all across the land. The nation gasps. News cameras crowd around them. Government officials and police forces quickly engage these strangers as they climb out of their time machines. It feels like a science-fiction movie about an alien invasion. Yet the people say they are from the future. They represent a coming kingdom, they explain. Interestingly, they speak English, dress like us, and otherwise seem pretty normal.
That said, they admit they want to change the way we live. It almost sounds like, well, what’s the word—colonization? For instance, they want to persuade everyone to join them and give primary allegiance to their king. “But no need to worry,” they contest. “We have no intentions of overthrowing the government. In fact, we will encourage people to obey the present government.” What they mean, though, is that they want people to obey the government for the sake of their king. That sounds a little risky. They also explain that each time machine will hold its own weekly meeting, where they will teach everyone who joins to live according to their king’s standards of justice and righteousness. As a result, yes, they expect some of their members will oppose some of our businesses and industries (though not by taking up arms). And they expect some of their members will work to change some of our laws (but mainly by working through the rules of the system). They conclude by telling us to think of their time-machine gatherings as embassies from the future that we are all hurtling toward, and that they are trying to give us a leg up on that future now.
Goodness gracious—what do we make of these strange people? Are they a political threat or not? Some of us feel like they aren’t. After all, they promise not to take up arms against the government. Others of us feel like they clearly are. They want people to identify with their king and to change the way people live.
Perhaps this illustration sounds far-fetched. But it’s exactly what first-century Palestine experienced when the Christians showed up.
This book’s helped me reimagine the rather ordinary weekly gathering of my church as a living, breathing embassy of a coming kingdom—transplanted from the future to the here and now. This changes how I pray, serve others, read God’s word, and generally view the world around me in this age. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in politics, Christian or non-Christian. Also any believer with a lukewarm interest in politics should read this book to start rethinking their default political allegiances (nation, family, church, work, etc.). I’m grateful for writers like Leeman.