One of the most fundamental questions in life is the simple question, What is it? It was a question that confronted the Israelites in the desert of Sin when God rained down angel food from Heaven. What is it they asked, hence the name manna. Manna means, What is it!
The Church faces the same intellectual challenge but at an even more fundamental level. We know who is God but we don’t know WHOM God is. Because of this gap in knowledge we cannot grapple with the totality of the revelation of God about himself. Without a knowledge of both who God is, and whom God is, we will continue to flounder, struggling to respond to the dynamics of our faith. But the Bible says there is a He with WHOM we have to do. Whom is interrogative.
The Bible says that God’s people CAN perish under certain conditions. They will not perish for lack of anointing; they will not perish for lack of miracles. Rather the people of God perish for lack of knowledge. Ignorance therefore is a weapon of mass destruction. Almost every problem in the body of Christ today is traceable to lack of knowledge. And we think we can substitute anointing and charisma for knowledge. But there is only so much you can do, and only so far you can go without knowledge. Knowledge is so critical to the fulfillment of purpose.
Now, we tend to confuse whom with who in the body of Christ. Suppose I ask you, “Whom are you?” You’ll probably consider it a strange request proceeding from funny grammar and I won’t blame you. It is a strange request! You’ll feel more comfortable if I ask, “Who are you?” Chances are you’ll tell me your name. But that is not really who you are. Your name is no different from a batch number, only it’s written in words and not figures. When we seek to know whom you are, we are interrogating for dimensions, both temporal and spiritual.
In the same vein when we ask whom God is, we are not interested in mere psychedelic appellations with intimidating phonetical gravitas – Jehovah Makadishkem (the God our sanctifier), Jehovah Tsidkenu (the Lord our righteousness), Jehovah Gmolah (the God of recompense), Jehovah El-Olam (the everlasting God). When we ask whom God is, we want to know the dimensions of God.
Now here’s the mistake Christians make: we assume God is one-dimensional, that all his roles and attributes are collapsible into one dimension. We have a unified theory of God. But God is not one-dimensional. There are actually five dimensions of God revealed in scriptures, and each of those dimensions has separate rules governing it. If you lack this knowledge you won’t know how to explain God to the world, how to relate with him, or how to pray in certain situations. Christianity will present a huge moral challenge to you, because you cannot reconcile your notion of God with realism. It is at this point Christians embark on a voyage of creationism. They create a God who fits into their mold of what they think God ought to be. It is amazing that after God made man in his image, man began to remake God in his own image!
The first dimension of God we find in scriptures is God the Scientist. And we come across this dimension right from the very beginning of the corpus of revelation called the Bible. It’s how he first revealed himself to us. Christians of course prefer to call him Creator but it’s the same thing. When he refers to himself as Creator, he is just asserting his intellectual property rights to creation. He created all that we see, formulating macro and quantum laws of Physics, laws of Chemistry, the laws of Biology and laws of Cosmology. By him all things were created and without him was nothing made that was made. Gold is a big deal to us but to God it is no more than a simple chemical equation. There are planets that are entirely made of diamonds up there in space. One of them is labelled 55 Cancri e. It was discovered in 2004. Some people call it the bling planet and it’s big! It’s twice as big as the earth. Some are already planning how to mine it. God’s miracles are part of his scientific feats. And sometimes he just changes meteorological conditions to create a miracle. To part the Red Sea all he needed do was send an east wind all night.
We see Jesus perform medical feats over and over again in the many healings he wrought. We see him perform a feat of Chemistry in the turning of water to wine. These things are nothing to God. He’s just fiddling with chemical equations.
Let me give you a secret to understanding the Bible. Anytime you see God speak bad English in scriptures he’s speaking Physics. I’ll give you one or two examples. In one of those many verbal altercations between the Jews and Jesus, Jesus made a grammatically incorrect statement. He said and I quote, “Before Abraham was I am!” That’s bad English, but he was actually talking about relativity of time, the very principle he established in the Book of Genesis. Physics tells us time is relative, that there is no absolute time. There were three major times running Genesis 1, simultaneously. In fact at a point there were hundreds of billions of calendars running, different timelines. Think of the calendar of the planets. A year is not always 365 days. That’s earth year. There’s a planet up there in space whose year is 163,000 earth years! It’s called GU Piscium b. Those three critical calendars in Genesis are creation time, earth time and Adamic time. Adamic time commenced barely 6,000 years ago but creation time is at least 13.8bn years old, while earth time 4.54bn years old.
Let me cite another example of God’s bad English. In Genesis we find the phrase, “And the Earth was without form and void”. Tell me, how can something be solid yet be without form and void? Of course he’s talking Physics! In Physics void refers to vacuum. In my research on Genesis, I bought a Physics textbook called “Void” – just to understand that one verse of scripture. It was not an easy read I assure you. The man who wrote the book, an Oxford Professor would definitely have a wonderful time discussing with God when we get to Heaven. They will enjoy each other’s company. The genius of God is his ability to write Physics in prose. The Book of Genesis really should be called Physics for Dummies!
The second dimension of God we come across in scriptures is God the Compassionate. It is this God everyone is familiar with. God is a loving God. For many Christians this is the only dimension of God they know. They’ve not matured in the things of God, cannot eat the strong meat of the personage of God. It is this God that so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but having everlasting life. It is this God that heals us, clothes us, feeds us, keeps us. It is this God that forgave the woman caught in adultery, that healed the centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law. It is this God we appeal to for mercy when we sin. The principle governing the operation of this dimension of God is mercy. The dispensation of grace is entirely predicated on the merciful heart of God the Compassionate.
The third dimension of God we find in scriptures is God the Businessman. In the Parable of the Talents we see him as venture capitalist financing business endeavour. Today we’ll probably call it Parable of the Dollars. Talent was the name of the currency, just like Naira or Dollar. The Parable of the Talents is a business case study, very much like a Harvard Business School case study. This God the Businessman is unlike God the Compassionate. When he invests he insists on returns on his investment, and the least return he wants is the rate on a fixed deposit in a bank. God the Businessman is a hardnosed businessman, tough as nail. In that parable God established two principles: Capital flows where it’s needed. Capital flows in the direction of good ideas. God the Businessman operates on these principles. When God gives you capital and you’re not enterprising he simply takes the capital and reinvests in more profitable ventures. You’ll just see that the capital is gone! As a Christian entrepreneur you must realize you don’t do business with God the Compassionate, you do business with God the Businessman. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand why certain prayers are not answered. If you do Mr. Nice with the capital God gave you, you’re not wise. You’ll lose your backing. However we abuse our Igbo and Jebusite brethren, we know they know God the Businessman, even if they don’t know any other dimension of God.
The fourth dimension of God we find in scriptures is God the Commander-in-Chief. Our Lord Jesus Christ is described in the Old Testament as Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts. That’s a scary title. The title occurs 261 times in the Old Testament. He is a warrior king, the one who comes from Edom with dyed garments from Bozra, who marches in the greatness of his strength, whose apparel is red, like one who treads the winepress; who trods his enemies in anger and tramples them beneath in his wrath, their lifeblood spattered on his garment. (Isaiah 63:1-3) He’s clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Revelation 19:12)
This Jesus is the angel of the Lord who struck down 185,000 soldiers in the camp of the Assyrians in one night. (2 Kings 19:35) And he wiped out the army of Egypt in one day! With gamma rays he will consume the armies of the nations with the brightness of his coming. You don’t want to mess around with God in military mode! He smites the nations in the fierceness of his wrath and the indignation of omnipotence; and on his garment and on his thigh he has his name inscribed, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev.19:15-16) This dimension dovetails into the fifth revealed dimension of God in scriptures: God the Government.
God the Government combines executive, legislature and judiciary functions. He’s three arms of government rolled into one. That’s a huge concentration of authority backed up with excessive military power! He runs a constitutional system of government. It’s predicated on righteousness, and please righteousness is not right standing with God. God is righteous. He cannot stand right with himself. He cannot be judged. Right standing with God is the RESULT of the judicial and executive exercise of God’s righteousness. In his sovereign capacity, he chose to elevate mere man, and no one can question his executive decision. What we call grace is the executive decree of a sovereign God.
Righteousness is God’s conceptual fundamental and constitutional right as self-existent sovereign king. We have our own constitutional rights, God has his own. His constitutional right is called righteousness. Everything God does is based on righteousness. And when he grants mercy it is an exercise of that constitutional right. “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” he said. (Romans 9:15) Sovereignty! In exercise of his sovereign right of dispensation of grace, he said “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.” (Romans 9:13) it wasn’t based on what the kids did. He said it before they were born. Who can question divine favouritism? It’s in the same vein he said Leke Alder have I loved and I have called him for a righteous purpose! And he said so before I was born! I’m speaking for myself, I don’t know about you. Please tell Satan to chill!
There are three types of righteousness mentioned in scriptures. There is the righteousness of God, there is the righteousness of salvation and there is the righteousness of government – governmental righteousness. When we say righteousness exalts a nation, we are not talking about the devolution of righteousness to us by the sovereign act of God- that is the righteousness that accompanies salvation. We’re not talking about personal righteousness. A nation can be full of righteous people and not be exalted. Case in point Nigeria at this point in history. It’s full of Christians but the image of the country is bad. The word translated “righteousness” in Proverbs 14:34 from which we get that phrase, “Righteousness exalts a nation”, is the Hebrew word Tsadaqah. It’s the feminine noun of Tsedeq, which means doing the right thing nationally, morally and legally. It also means equity, prosperity and straightness – what ought to be – the ideals of society. In other words if Nigeria’s fundamental objectives of state policy are visionary, geared towards lifting the masses out of poverty, tackling corruption and ensuring equity and justice, the nation will be exalted. Any nation that does right by its policies will be exalted, even if it’s an atheist nation. It is a Christian duty to demand for governmental righteousness and to hold government accountable to those standards. Without governmental righteousness there will be no peace in a nation, and when there is no peace in a nation the gospel of peace cannot be preached.
So here’s a dose of political realism. The Jesus that came down from Heaven is not the Jesus that is seated in Heaven now. The Jesus that came down from Heaven was a single individual. The Jesus that is sitting in Heaven on the right hand of Majesty on is a multinational and multicultural entity. He is the head, we are his body. He is a nation of nations. Just as God made of one blood all nations of men through Adam, he has made of one blood all nations of men in Christ Jesus, and so in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek nor Nigerian, all are now fused into the political entity called Christ Jesus.
We have dual citizenship. We are Earthlings and Heavenites. Earth is Heaven’s colonial entity. And it is the intendment of God to rule the Earth through the agency of the Church.
When it comes to government all God is concerned with is his program. His parameter for exaltation into government is the right man for the program not personal righteousness. This simple fact flummoxed many Christians in the last election in Nigeria. They didn’t know that when it comes to elections it is God the Government with whom they have to do not God the Compassionate. All God the Government is concerned about is his program and he will use anyone, including a wicked man to execute his program, as long as he fits. Think Nebuchadnezzar. He was a tyrant but he executed God’s judgment on Israel. Cyrus the Great on the other hand was appointed to release the exiles. He didn’t even know God, but he ended the Babylonian captivity. (Isaiah 45:4)
All God the Government is concerned about is his program. He doesn’t dwell on the moral qualities of rulers as much as that is desirable. Think Clinton. There was Monica Lewinsky and other bimbo eruptions as they called it. But Clinton was a good economic manager. He understood macro economics. That’s not saying we should seek to elect vile men into office. It is saying on the other hand that good men should learn about governance and contest for office so we have a good combo. David had a good heart but he also had skill. He governed according to the integrity of his heart AND the skillfulness of his hands the Bible says. (Psalm 78:72) Goodness is not enough when it comes to governance. Skill matters. It is not personal righteousness that exalts nations, it is governmental righteousness. If a Christian gets to power and executes bad policies, the nation will not be exalted. If a non-Christian gets into power but executes good policies, the nation will be exalted. Our job as Christians is to bring the governmental ideals of the Kingdom called Heaven down to earth. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.” That is our political goal. We must set the agenda. The church is the agenda-setting organ of God. When the church fails in this role nations fail. The Church in Nigeria cannot blame government. The Church is the culprit. Look at this scripture (Ephesians 1:20-23, The Message translation):
“All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.”
In other words the church is the nucleus of a nation. How can we be concerned about inanities when we have a nation to govern? Tying of scarf, wearing of trousers, killing of witches, gospel of name it, claim it; the ego of pastors… You can see how Satan has kept the church busy. And while we’re at it, he simply occupies our role and begins to exercise dominion and authority.
I always tell our pastors that politicians don’t come to church during elections to admire the architectural splendour of our columns. When David Cameron went to the Redeemed Christian Church of God in England, it wasn’t to admire the lighting system. Even the politicians know that the Church is the political nucleus of a nation. How come the Church doesn’t know it is a political entity but the politicians do! We’re so lost in religion. We don’t even realize that when we wrestle against principalities and powers, it is a political engagement not a spiritual equivalence of World Wrestling Federation battle. Why do you think he named his principal officers “Principalities” “Powers” “Rulers of this World”… Religion has damaged our perspective. Satan is a political entity, a very brutal political tyrant. He’s not running some petty little schemes. What we call spiritual oppression is nothing more than an exercise of political subjugation. If you don’t see this you can’t see the big picture. Like all tyrants Satan locks people up in dungeons. They’re political prisoners. Deliverance is liberation from political oppression. He is running an alternative government, a dissident government that challenges the constitutional order of the Universe. He’s not running a Boys Scout movement.
But the Church gets excited over nonsense. We get excited about private access to corridors of power. We forget we are the corridors of power! When the politicians come to Church to demand for endorsement you ought to have your own shopping list. It’s called political bargaining in English. There are some ministries that should be of special interest to the Church. Jesus loved the little children so the Ministry of Youth Development should be of interest to us. Jesus healed the people, therefore the Ministry of Health is something we should be interested in. Jesus fed the masses of the people, so Ministry of Agric is of special interest to the church. Jesus taught the people, so the Ministry of Education is important. The Church is already fulfilling the role of social justice arbiter in society. We might as well scale things up to have access to better resources. We’re the ones taking care of orphans, we’re the ones visiting prisoners in prison, we’re the ones rehabilitating sex workers, we’re the ones reforming area boys and street urchins. We’re the ones establishing schools, we’re the one building hospitals, we’re the ones building orphanages. We’re the ones doing marital counseling. The church is Nigeria’s social security system. We’re the salt of the earth. All we need do is ascend to the place of authority to effect change on a larger scale.
And we can participate in governance on four levels:
We can participate by voting in elections.
We can influence and impact the political environment with the values and righteousness
We can make policy contributions
We can dynamically engage government and government officials on matters arising.
We are in a transition era in Nigeria. 2019 is the key. Will the Church use the next four years to prepare, or are we going to repeat the same cycle of praying and fasting we’ve done for 40 years without much effect? It’s up to you, and it’s up to me. Thank you and God bless!
If you’ll like to give your life to Christ please pray this prayer: “Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I know that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for me and that you raised him from the dead. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Christ is Lord and I receive him as my Lord and my Saviour. I am now born again. Amen.”
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org