I appreciate your latest contributions to the conversation at DRC. I was feeling mighty alone battling it out with Darryl & Steve there for a while. While you and I may not agree on every application of the social reign of King Jesus, we are at least agreed that society has an obligation to submit to that reign in formal and concrete ways. It’s good to have you around & I hope you can continue to participate in the discussion.
I’d like to address your three points as thoroughly as possible with the time available to me.
1) An argument I will soon be making at DRC is that “general equity” only makes sense in the context of a covenant superstructure. While I agree with the Westminster Confession that OT judicial laws bind us today only as far as "general equity" requires, the value and meaning of any law is determined by its place in a particular covenant context.
The creation covenant established man in his purpose (to glorify God) and his duty, positively, to cultivate the earth, and negatively, to avoid the forbidden fruit. All positive law (command) should be understood as instrumental to humanity’s cultural task and all negative law (prohibition) to be counterproductive to it. Death, pain in childbirth, and toilsome labor are all obstacles to the fulfillment of humanity’s purpose, which is to glorify God through its culture. Abel glorified God by his sacrifice of fat portions from the firstborn of his flock. Cain only brought *some* fruits of the soil, not the best of his first fruits (Gen. 4:3-4). The scriptural contrast is between the quality--not kind (animal vs. plant)--of sacrifices that were offered. Both before and after the fall, God wants the best of what human culture can offer to him, for quality of sacrifice is indicative of the quality of one’s faith.
As well as creating man head of creation, God created Adam head of humanity. In addition to being the original husband and father, Adam was to be prophet, king and priest of the race. First, he was to instruct his children concerning the commands he received from God’s own mouth. Second, he was to rule his wife and children to the purpose of accomplishing humanity's cultural task. (Remember, Adam was originally supposed to live forever.) Third, Adam, as covenant head, was to offer the first fruits of human culture to God on behalf of his family, the entirety of mankind. These, I believe, are all necessary deductions from a close reading of the first chapters of Genesis.
Rather than viewing all of Adam’s responsibilities as being distinct roles, I argue that the original grant of father-husbandly authority necessarily involved Adam coordinately exercising prophetic, royal, and sacerdotal functions. In other words, Adam didn’t take off a “priest cap” before putting on a “king hat.” He was to exercise his prime authority in a simple, holistic way.
Since Eve was taken from Adam’s side, Adam was Eve’s father as well as her husband. The relation of husband to wife is analogous to the relation between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:22ff.). This was true of the very first human marriage since God’s purpose from eternity was to unite all things in Christ (Col. 1:15-18; Eph. 1:3-14). Human marriage derives its significance from union with Christ. We should therefore expect that as Eve’s husband Adam fulfilled a priestly role.
If Adam’s priority in creation implies the perpetual rule of man over woman (1 Tim. 2:13), it also implies the perpetual rule of a father over his children. Thus, there is strong biblical warrant for thinking Adam’s patriarchal authority involved prophetic, royal, and sacerdotal aspects.
God’s original creational intent for man involved a royal genesis (created in God’s image to rule) and a royal destiny (glorification). Of course, the NT reveals the concrete identity of Adam’s archetype: Jesus Christ. Adam was created after the image of Christ. Jesus Christ was created to be the image of God (Col. 1:15ff.). By his simple act of creating the first man, God immediately brought human kingship into being (Gen. 1:26). By speaking to the newly-created man, God simultaneously brought prophecy and priesthood into being (Gen. 2:15-17). By creating the woman out of man, God made Adam the fatherly and husbandly head of all mankind.
From these considerations, it can be seen that Adam’s vice-regency under God’s sovereign kingship is a fundamental feaure of the covenant superstructure which gives law its purpose. Monarchy was not brought into being by any particular law. Rather, law is presupposed by the existence of a law-giver (God) and a law-executor (Adam). Covenant relationship is primary, stipulation secondary. The creation of man in God’s image is what establishes the necessity of kingly headship.
2) Regarding 1 Sam 8:10-22 and Deut 17:14-20, I recommend reading this article by Joseph Crisp. Here are a few remarks of my own:
a. Israel was intended to be a royal priesthood, i.e., the whole nation was to be a "kingdom of priests" (Ex. 19:6) Yet, immediately at the beginning of that nation's history we have the institution of the Tabernacle cult and the Aaronic Priesthood. The priesthood existed as a separate class in Israel, and presumably does not contradict the idea of all Israel having been a priesthood in a general sense. By analogy, why should a distinct kingly line in Israel contradict the general royal character of Israel?
b. The theory that because Israelite kingship historically arose as a rebellion against God's kingship (1 Sam. 8) so that therefore monarchy must forever be associated with the rejection of God's rule, is problematic for a number of reasons.
- First, it is a commission of the genetic fallacy. The impure origins of a particular historical institution have little to do with what God intends to do. As the OT history shows, the house of David was established, and the future Messiah would come from it.
- Second, the integrity of monarchy has nothing to do with the particular circumstances of the Israelite institution. Monarchy predates Israel: Adam, Noah, Melchizedek and Abraham all were royal figures.
- Third, Christ's office is a real kingship. To continue to hold such an attitude against monarchy in general is to distort our evaluation of who Jesus is and what he does. This prejudice if allowed in our thinking would derogate from the significance Christ's authority holds for the practice of human authority.
- Fourth, such an attitude is, I believe, rooted in the anabaptist-antinomian-liberal suspicion that human authority is really only an arrogant imposition of one ego over others. Such a suspicion calls all government into question, and is essentially treasonous in tendency. It is impossible to maintain civil order when such a spirit predominates.
c. The New Testament teaches there is a hierarchical order in God's kingdom. Our Lord told his disciples they would sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28). In the Church there is an order of apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. (1 Cor. 12:28). This is how the body of Christ is organized (v.27).3) In itself, the institution of monarchy does not take any glory away from Christ, the King of kings. Rather, since the time of the abolition of dominion, authority & power is not yet (1 Cor. 15:24), kingship remains a perennial aspect of the created order. This does not confuse God's kingdom with the kingdoms of this world. My eschatological position is that the locus of universal authority and rule is in Heaven, but that the New Jerusalem (Heaven) is descending to earth now (Rev. 21). Kings and their peoples are to walk in its light.
Heaven and earth will eventually coalesce, to achieve the consummation and glorification of all things, but even now, Heaven is breaking into the present. Christ’s rule and judgment has spectacularly done so at various historical points (e.g., Pentecost, the Judgment of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Constantine's conversion, Charlemagne’s coronation). So, while I do not absolutely identify earthly monarchies of the present with the consummated kingdom of God, they are real anticipations here of future blessedness. It is true, we are pilgrims "who have here no continuing city" yet we are even now pressing into and toward the eternal city.
Mark, for further elaboration of my theory of sacred kingship I recommend the following three posts: The Kingship of all Believers, The Kingship of all Believers 2, and The Kingship of all Believers and Monarchy. Thanks for your interest in this topic and may God richly bless you.