Dan Z wrote:
Would you mind expounding a bit on how you see the Kingdom (empire) of God interfacing with the world around it...in the sphere of politics perhaps...or in an economic sense.
Okay, now economics:
The majority of economics in the Bible is based on agriculture, and it seems that our modern economic system has little to do with that ancient system. However, Jesus has some economic priciples of the kingdom that offer up an alternative economic system.
First of all, any kingdom community is not to be based on money or possessions. The kingdom does not deny personal property, but each person that joins the kingdom is to surrender their personal use of the property. A new "disciple" or member of the revolutionary community is to surrender their personal use of their money and possessions and either give it away, walk away from it or make it available to all the other members of the community (Mark 10, Luke 12:33; Luke 14:33; Acts 4). This means that the obtaining of any new property is not to be for the individual, but for the community, but neither is it to be determined by the community how the individual is to assist the community, unles the individual gives the resources to the community leaders (Acts 4)
The work of the community is also alternative. The work of the whole community is to build the kingdom of God, which is not to build new buildings necessarily, but to spread the teaching of Jesus, to help the poor and to assist others in living out Jesus' new way of life. This will mean that some of the community work out in the world, while others depend on the generosity of those who obtain financial means or property. (Matthew 10) Those who depend on others are supposed to work with the gospel, giving freely what they have received from Jesus, both of the word and of the Spirit-- both the gospel and healings.
The means of support is completely mystical. It is God who directs the giver, it is God who provides for the worker of the kingdom, it is God who causes economic prosperity to occur. Because of this, among the community, there would be no poor among them, except due to persecutions. But this lack of poverty is dependent on the generosity of the wealthy, who have an obligation from God to make themselves economically equal with those who are poor and working to the best of their ability. Because all resources-- financial and spiritual-- come from God, then God is the one who rightfully directs the use of the resources, and He says to direct it to all needy, especially those among the household of faith. (Matthew 6; Luke 12; Acts 4; Deuteronomy 15; Galatians 6:3-10; I timothy 6)
This economic system also communicates to the world, and so is a means of preaching the gospel. If, in following Jesus' economic plan, the poor are cared for and made productive for the revolutionary community, then they can see it as a true alternative to their broken economic systems.