The Most High Ruleth
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Over the Heavens and the Earth
The LORD has established His throne in heaven and His kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His Word, heeding the voice of His Word.
Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the LORD, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul! (Psalm 103:19-22)
God exercises absolute, sovereign control over a universe that He Himself brought into existence, and the earth is a province within that universe. There is “no power but of God,” and “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1, 2).
God is the One Who places rulers in positions of power (the power that emanates from Him); and, should it become necessary (both “should” and “when” in man’s case, for he is presently limited by time), God is also the One Who removes rulers from these same positions of power (1 Samuel 15:17, 23; 31:3-5; 2 Samuel 1:3-10; Daniel 4:17, 25, 32-36; 5:18-21; Matthew 20:23; Luke 1:52).
Consequently, there is no such thing as a ruler on this province (the earth) or any other province (any other world) in the universe exercising power within a governmental position apart from God. A ruler holds his position because of a divine act (appointment, placement by God), and he exercises power that emanates from a divine source (from the One who appointed, placed him in the position that he occupies, from God Himself).
In relation to this earth, the ruler himself may or may not acknowledge this (in fact, he may not even acknowledge the existence of God); or he may be a rebellious ruler, seeking to rule apart from God. But the simple fact remains: Any ruler on this earth, or any ruler anywhere in the universe, holds a governmental position and exercises power and authority within that position solely because of divine appointment (to his position) and divine delegation (of power and authority). Rulers exercising power and authority after this fashion actually govern, in numerous gradations of positions, within a chain of command that God has established under Himself.
There are no exceptions.
God rules from a throne that is located “on the farthest sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13). The direction of the compass locating God’s throne would be in relation to the earth. That is, Scripture states that God sits on a throne north of the earth in what would be either the northernmost point in the universe or a point beyond which no additional physical universe exists (i.e., no more galaxies exist beyond this point).
Thus, all rule, power, and authority emanate from one Person (God) seated on a throne at a particular revealed point in the universe. And God rules the universe from this place through subordinates who occupy various appointed positions and exercise various degrees of delegated power and authority (Psalm 103:19; Isaiah 14:13, 14; cf. Daniel 4:17; 5:18-21; 7:9-14; Romans 13:1, 2).
The Universe as a Whole
Man has no idea of the size of the physical universe, outside our galaxy. His telescopes can only see so far, and beyond that he can only surmise, estimate, and guess. And that would even be true, to an extent, of numerous things within our own galaxy.
Our sun is a medium-size star, and there are an estimated two to four hundred billion other stars (some larger, some smaller) within our galaxy. Then beyond our galaxy it is estimated that billions of other galaxies exist, comprising the physical universe.
It is one hundred thousand light years across our own galaxy (a movement at the speed of 186,000 miles per second for one hundred thousand years), and it is an estimated two to two and one-half million light years to the next nearest galaxy. And beyond that are other galaxies separated by comparable distances. Thus the universe is of a size and design that can only stagger man’s imagination.
Returning to our own solar system as a beginning point, this system is comprised of nine planets revolving around a medium-size star (possibly ten planets according to late astronomical discoveries); and the earth is apparently unique as the only planet within our solar system upon which God saw fit to place individuals within His ordered system of government.
But, when viewing the remainder of the galaxy or the universe as a whole, is our own solar system unique in this respect? That is, considering the matter after one fashion, is our sun the only star anywhere in the universe around which planets revolve? Or, considering the matter after another fashion, if other similar solar systems do exist, is the earth within our solar system the only inhabited planet among existing planets within solar systems throughout the universe?
In line with previous statements, the answer to the questions would have to be, “No.” There is an inhabited universe over which God exercises absolute, sovereign control. Man though, as a creature within that universe, is a different matter. The creation of an individual in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26, 27), to have a part in God’s governmental rule of the universe, is an act peculiar to the earth. In this respect, the earth would be unique insofar as man himself residing on a province and having a part in the government is concerned, but it would not be unique insofar as there being other similar solar systems with worlds upon which individuals (angels) reside within God’s ordered system of government.
Astronomers within the scientific community can today state, with certainty, that there are numerous solar systems similar to our own (other stars [suns] with revolving planets). Prior to the time of the Hubble telescope, though astronomers could not see these planets, through infrared techniques developed in recent times they could see systematic blockages of light in connection with different stars that seemingly could only be attributed to planets revolving around these stars.
Then, once the Hubble telescope was placed in orbit above the earth’s atmosphere, allowing astronomers to look into the heavens and not only see things that they had never been able to see before but also to bring everything into a much clearer focus, any question concerning the existence of other solar systems, similar to our own, was removed. Though revolving planets around other stars still could not be seen, the compilation of additional evidence made available through the use of this telescope removed any possible doubt concerning the existence of numerous other solar systems — possibly billions — in our galaxy alone.
But all of that is really neither here nor there, for Scripture has already told us that such worlds exist. And man’s scientific discoveries never verify Scripture, for Scripture can’t be verified. “Scripture” is the standard by which all else is judged, and there can be no such thing as the standard being verified by that which is being judged by the standard.
Where Scripture and Science touch on the same matters, Scripture will always reveal the accuracy or inaccuracy of man’s scientific discoveries. In the case of the astronomers’ deductions concerning planets revolving around numerous other stars in the galaxy, Scripture reveals that they are correct.
The whole matter of viewing Scripture and Science together is really that simple.
“Scripture” lies within the realm of the Creator, but “Science” lies within the realm of the created. And the creature never asks the Creator, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:20). Accordingly, as in creation itself, the beginning point must always be the Scriptures — the God-breathed Word (originating from and inseparably connected with the Creator) — never Science (the created).
A main basis for the teaching concerning inhabited planets within other solar systems in the universe is taken from that which is revealed in the first two chapters of the book of Job. Satan is the messianic angel whom God placed over this earth in the beginning, along with a great host of subordinate ruling angels (Ezekiel 28:14ff; Daniel 10:13; Matthew 25:41); and Satan is seen in the book of Job, on two separate occasions, as he appeared in the Lord’s presence with other “sons of God,” which could only be his equals, for Satan appeared “among them” as one of them (1:6; 2:1).
The appearances of the sons of God in the Lord’s presence on these two recorded occasions apparently constituted two of what could only have been scheduled congresses of messianic angels (angels placed over various worlds within the universe). Such is evident, for Satan, whom God had placed over the earth, appeared in God’s presence at these meetings as one of the “sons of God.” And since Satan was the messianic angel whom God had placed over the province upon which man was later created, it can only be concluded that the other “sons of God” among whom Satan appeared — his equals — were messianic angels whom God had placed over provinces in other parts of the universe. They apparently appeared together in God’s presence at scheduled times to render reports concerning activities on the particular provinces over which they had been placed (congresses of the sons of God).
In both instances in the accounts in Job, attention is directed to Satan and the earth rather than to any of the other messianic angels and other worlds (1:7ff; 2:2ff). In fact, other than the simple mention of their presence at these meetings, nothing is revealed concerning the other messianic angels or the worlds over which they ruled.
And this would be in perfect keeping with the way Scripture is structured, for, in the preceding respect, God’s revelation to man has to do with His government of the earth, not with His government of other parts of the universe. The latter is seemingly introduced in Scripture (in a very limited sense) so man can place things concerning the former in their proper perspective.
That is, man understanding the overall scope of God’s government of the universe (beginning in the past and extending into the present) could better understand God’s government of a small part of the universe, i.e., His government of the earth — past, present, and future. Thus, for this apparent reason — along with the fact that man, beyond the millennium, will apparently have a part in God’s government of the universe — God has seen fit to reveal certain things concerning the overall structure of the government within His universal kingdom.
(God actually opens His revelation to man after this fashion, calling attention to the beginning of His universal kingdom and then centering His revelation on one province in that kingdom. Scripture opens with the statement, “In the beginning God created the heaven [lit., ‘the heavens’] and the earth” [Genesis 1:1].
First, God makes mention of the entire universe out in the heavens, separate from the earth; but then “the earth” is immediately singled out for special consideration. And continuing from this point, Scripture, completely apart from any additional revelation concerning God’s activity in the previously mentioned “heavens,” begins to deal specifically with the earth — “And the earth was without form and void… [lit., ‘But the earth became without form and void…’]” [Genesis 1:2a].
For further information regarding the preceding understanding of Genesis 1:2a, refer to the author’s books, The Study of Scripture, chapter 2, or Seven, Ten Generations, the Foreword.
The rest of the universe had been mentioned [1:1a], but God, in His revelation to man, concerns Himself centrally with the earth [and the heavens in the proximity of and associated with the earth], not with the rest of the universe [1:1b ff]. And the apparent reason that God’s activity in relation to other parts of the universe is even mentioned in Scripture is as previously stated: Man, viewing God’s activity in relation to the entire universe, could better understand and place within its proper perspective God’s activity relative to a small part of that universe, i.e., His activity relative to the earth, Satan and his angels, man, etc.)
The Earth Itself
Note that Satan’s fall resulted from his seeking a position of power above the other messianic angels, apart from divine appointment. Actually, such an appointment would have been out of the question, for Satan sought the very position that God Himself occupied.
In so doing, Satan said:
I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [the other messianic angels]: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation [the meeting place where the kings of the kingdom (the messianic angels) met in God’s presence], in the sides of the north [lit., in the uttermost parts of the north]: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds [lit., the Cloud, apparently a reference to deity]; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:13, 14)
Thus, Satan became dissatisfied with the governmental position that he occupied (a ruler over only one province in the kingdom, having equals who ruled other provinces in the kingdom). He sought to elevate his throne above all the other messianic angels and occupy the very place that God Himself occupied. He, in this respect, sought to become the supreme ruler of the entire universe.
As a consequence, God not only rejected him as the appointed ruler over the earth but God reduced the province over which he ruled to a ruin. This is the point in Scripture where “the earth was [‘became’] without form and void; and darkness was [became] upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2a).
However, Satan continued to rule — though over a ruined province in God’s overall kingdom — for a principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler hold his appointed position until he is actually replaced by another appointed ruler. This is the reason Satan is seen in Scripture among the other messianic angels in the book of Job, millennia following his fall. He still occupied the throne as the earth’s appointed ruler, for the time when his successor would appear on the scene and take the scepter awaited a future day.
And today, millennia removed from Job’s day, Satan still occupies the same position, for the time when he is to be put down and another Person ascend the throne still awaits a future day. Consequently, should there be congresses of the sons of God held during the present time (which there undoubtedly are), Satan would have to attend in the same capacity that he has held since time immemorial — as the earth’s appointed ruler, one of the “sons of God,” one of the messianic angels. Should he be asked questions at any of the present congresses, as at the two meetings revealed in Job; the questions would, of necessity, have to involve one or more of the Lord’s servants on earth today.
A knowledge of this fact will provide a probable reason for some Christians (past and present) having undergone (or presently be undergoing) untold sufferings in their lives. Such Christians, as Job, may have come under Satan’s accusation and have been “counted worthy” to undergo various trials, testing, or sufferings for Christ’s name (cf. Acts 5:40-42; Romans 8:18; Revelation 12:10, 11).
And the inverse of the preceding is equally true. Some Christians seemingly never undergo trials, testing, or sufferings; and the reason is evident. Because of unfaithfulness in their lives they simply find themselves in a category wherein they are not “counted worthy” to suffer for Christ’s name (2 Timothy 3:11-15).
That would be to say, within the congresses of the messianic angels, God would have no reason to call such individuals to Satan’s attention (as He did Job); nor would Satan have any cause to bring accusations before God concerning them (as in Job’s case). Consequently, they live their lives apart from the trials, testing, and sufferings of this nature, experienced by certain other Christians.
Man though has turned this whole thing around and associates “suffering” with God’s disfavor and “blessing” with God’s favor. But God views the matter in a completely opposite framework (Isaiah 55:8, 9). The normal Christian life involves trials, testing, and sufferings. Anything else during the present day and time would, in reality, be abnormal and out of place.
(The preceding is not to suggest that all trials, testing, and sufferings experienced by Christians during the present time emanate from issues at congresses of the sons of God. It does though suggest that some, possibly more than we realize, may very well have an origin of this nature.)
But the “sufferings,” though they must come first, don’t last forever. At some later point in time “blessings” must always follow (cf. Job 2:7ff; 42:10-17). This is a Scriptural principle that cannot be broken.
The same thing is seen in the future glory of Christ following His past sufferings. It was necessary that Christ first suffer. Only then could He “enter into His glory” (Luke 24:25-27). And the same principle applies to Christians undergoing present sufferings and one day having a part in Christ’s glory (Romans 8:17, 18; 1 Peter 4:12, 13).
The latter (the glory) can, under no circumstances, be realized apart from the former (the sufferings). This is the reason Scripture states,
If we suffer [“patiently endure,” which involves trials, testing, sufferings (James 1:2-4)], we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us. (2 Timothy 2:12)
Denying in the latter part of 2 Timothy 2:12 is not denying a person per se (i.e., our denying Christ or Christ denying us). The word “deny” must be understood contextually, and understanding the word in the sense of “disallow” or “not allow” would really better convey the thought that the context demands.
Contextually, the first use of the word “deny” has to do with Christians not patiently enduring with Christ during the present time (note the first part of the verse). They do not allow the Lord (they deny the Lord in this respect), through the ministry of the Spirit, to perform a work in their lives. That is, such Christians deny Christ the central place that He desires to occupy in their lives; and, resultantly, they do not allow the Holy Spirit to progressively work the change (metamorphosis) in their lives, they live apart from patiently enduring with Christ, do not suffer with Him, etc.
Then the second use of the word “deny” has to do with Christians who pattern their lives after the preceding fashion not being allowed to reign with Christ (again note the first part of the verse). Such Christians will not have allowed the Lord (they will have denied the Lord in this respect), through the ministry of the Spirit, to perform a work in their lives during the present time. There will have been no patient endurance involving trials, testing, sufferings; consequently, there can be no future reign.
“Suffering” must always precede “glory.” The latter cannot be realized apart from the former, and the former guarantees the latter (1 Peter 4:12-19; cf. Matthew 5:11, 12).
1. The First Man; the First Adam
Though Satan’s fall and disqualification to rule resulted in a portion of God’s kingdom being reduced to a ruin, God had plans for the earth as a province within His kingdom that would far exceed anything seen during Satan’s rule. This province would be the place where an individual created in the image and likeness of God would one day rule. Further, and foremost as the rulership relates to man, this province would be the place where God’s Son (as the second Man, the last Adam, the Head of a new order of Sons) would likewise one day rule. And then, ultimately, this province (actually, the new earth) would be the place where God Himself, along with His Son and man (redeemed through His Son’s finished work at Calvary), would rule the universe.
To realize all of this though, the earth must first be restored and a new ruler brought forth. And that’s what the opening two chapters of Genesis are about — the restoration of the earth (1:2b-25), the creation of man as the earth’s new ruler (1:26-28; 2:7), along with the removal of the woman from the man to reign as consort queen with him (2:21-25).
Thus, the person eventually brought on the scene to take the scepter was not of the angelic creation. Rather, this individual constituted an entirely new creation in the universe. He was created uniquely different — in the image and likeness of God; and not only was he created uniquely different but he was also created for a revealed purpose, a purpose that had to do with the government of the earth. Man was created to replace the incumbent ruler, to take the scepter that Satan held — “let them have dominion [i.e., ‘let them rule,’ which, of necessity, would have had to include the man and the woman together, for the woman was part of the man and completed the man]” (Genesis 1:26-28).
(In line with the previous, there was both a near and a far purpose for man’s creation. The near purpose had to do with rulership over the earth [which will be realized during the Messianic Era], and the far purpose had to do with rulership within other parts of the universe [which will be realized following the Messianic Era].)
The ruined earth over which Satan ruled following his fall was restored with a view to man taking the scepter (Genesis 1:2b ff). However, Satan, knowing what God was in the process of doing through the restoration of the earth and man’s subsequent creation, immediately sought to bring about man’s disqualification. And this is exactly what he did through deceiving Eve, which resulted in Adam having no choice but to also eat of the same forbidden fruit Eve had been deceived into eating.
Adam fell as the federal head of God’s new creation, man; and this not only resulted in man’s disqualification (placing him in a position wherein he could not assume the scepter) but it also resulted once again, as before, in a ruined kingdom (the earth brought under a curse but not ruined to the extent that it was uninhabitable for man).
However, unlike events following Satan’s fall, redemption entered the picture when man fell. God not only provided immediate redemption for Adam and Eve following their fall but He also foretold the ultimate victory (over the incumbent ruler) of mankind’s coming Redeemer (Genesis 3:15, 21).
Thus, redemption was to be provided for man, with a view to his ultimately realizing the purpose for his creation. Man was to be redeemed so he could, as God intended, one day take the scepter and rule within God’s governmental structure of the universe (first over the earth, then throughout the universe itself).
2. The Second Man; the Last Adam
Galatians 4:4-7 perhaps outlines the entirety of the matter about as well as any similar passage in Scripture. First, there is Christ’s first coming in order to redeem man (vv. 4, 5); and the stated purpose for redemption is then said to be adoption and heirship, which have to do with events surrounding Christ’s second coming (vv. 5-7). This, of course, is the heirship previously mentioned in Galatians 3:29:
And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(cf. Genesis 22:17, 18)
Christ came as the second Man, the last Adam, for He must not only redeem that which the first man, the first Adam lost in the fall but He must also occupy the headship that Adam possessed. Only through so doing could God one day give His Son “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom,” something that the Son is presently inviting redeemed man to share with Him in the position of co-heir in that coming day when He receives the kingdom from the Father (Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15; cf. Romans 8:16-18; Revelation 2:26, 27; 3:21).
The first man, the first Adam had a bride taken from his body who was to reign as consort queen with him. And so must it be with the second Man, the last Adam. The matter has been set within God’s activities surrounding the man whom He brought forth in Genesis, and it cannot change within His activities surrounding the Man whom He is about to “again” bring into the inhabited world (Hebrews 1:6, 9; 3:14; cf. Ephesians 5:30-32).
A husband-wife relationship of this nature is seen in Scripture at three different points within God’s overall revelation to man — past, present, and future. It is seen in the past in the relationship that existed between Adam and Eve, and it is seen in the future in the relationship that will exist between Christ and His bride. Then it is seen between these times, during the present, in the relationship that exists between a man and woman within the bonds of marriage.
A man leaves his father and mother, is joined to his wife, and they become “one flesh,” as in the beginning. The man and woman, in this position, as “one flesh,” then become “heirs together of the grace of life.” And the whole matter is said to be a great mystery surrounding “Christ and the Church,” pointing to a relationship that will exist yet future (Genesis 2:21-24; Ephesians 5:25-32; 1 Peter 3:7).
(Note: The preceding is why husbands are “to love their wives as their own bodies” [Ephesians 5:28, 29]. The woman originated from the body of the man.)
The man and woman in Genesis were to hold the scepter together; they were to rule and reign as “one flesh.” The Man and woman yet future (Christ and His bride) are also to hold the scepter together; they are to rule and reign as “one flesh.” And during the present time there is a sense, on a spiritual plane, in which the man and woman are to “reign in life” (holding a scepter) as “one flesh” through being “heirs together of the grace of life” (cf. Romans 5:17-21; 1 Peter 3:7).
The latter would, of necessity, have to be the case, for that is the way in which God dealt with matters in the past, establishing an unchangeable pattern that continues into the future (at which time the relationship will be realized in its fullness). And a husband-wife relationship of this nature during the present time could only be looked upon as the highest possible form of the spiritual life within that relationship.
It is a God-designed apex upon which the marriage relationship should exist and function. This is something that Adam and Eve lost in the fall, this is something that a man and woman can possess on a spiritual plane today, and this is something that will be restored (in its fullness) within the relationship Christ and His bride will possess yet future.
God has set aside an entire dispensation, lasting two millennia, during which He is calling out a bride for His Son. This is the time in which we presently live (typified by events in Genesis 24); and God has set aside this rather long period of time, for this one centrally revealed purpose. In order to bring matters to pass within the person of the second Man, the last Adam, which matters were begun in the person of the first man, the first Adam, a bride must be acquired for the Son.
Salvation made available to man through Christ’s finished work at Calvary is for a purpose, and that purpose is to be realized within the framework of man having a part in God’s governmental rule of the universe. Man’s destiny is to rule and reign, but he must first be redeemed. And during the present dispensation — with the thought in mind of redemption for a purpose, having to do with rulership — God has directed His activities toward the acquisition of a bride to rule as co-heir with His Son. Thus, salvation during the present dispensation is with a view to ascending the throne with God’s Son as His bride, which will be realized during the coming Messianic Era.
(For a full discussion of the work of the Spirit during the present dispensation, in the preceding respect, refer to the author’s book, Search for the Bride.)
Today we are living very near the end of the dispensation, very near that time when the Church (Christ’s body) will be removed from the earth, the bride will be seen removed from the body (following issues and determinations surrounding the judgment seat), and the bride will be presented back to Christ (with a view to the Messianic Era). The two will be “one flesh,” as in the Genesis account; and the two, as “one flesh,” will take the scepter and exercise the “dominion” that the first man, the first Adam lost in the fall. Seated on the Son’s throne, holding the scepter, Christ and His bride will, together, rule the earth for 1,000 years (cf. Revelation 2:26, 27; 3:21).
Times of Restitution of All Things
And that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,
whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:20, 21)
The Messianic Era is referred to as “the times of restitution [‘restoration’] of all things.” And this restoration has to do not only with conditions that will exist during the Messianic Era but also with the purpose for this era.
A restoration of all things will exist during the Messianic Era in the sense that the curse will be lifted and a righteous Provincial Governor will once again administer affairs on the earth, but a restoration itself will also be effected through events occurring during the Messianic Era. This has to do with the purpose for this era.
Christ is to “put down all rule and all authority and power,” and He (with His bride) is to reign “until He has put all enemies under His feet.” And once this has been done — which will take 1,000 years — the kingdom is to be “delivered up” to the Father, “that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
Preparation is presently being made for that coming era — i.e., the bride is presently being acquired — and preparation will be made during that coming era, by Christ and His bride, for the eternal ages that follow.
The rule by Christ and His bride will be confined to the earth alone during the Messianic Era (Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 2:26, 27); but during the eternal ages that follow, man’s rule, first announced in Genesis, will extend out into the universe itself (Revelation 22:1-5).
(In relation to Satan’s aspirations to exalt his throne, resulting in his fall and disqualification to continue holding the scepter, note that there is a degree of irony in man one day exercising regal power and authority beyond this earth, out in the universe. This is the realm into which Satan sought to move; and man, brought on the scene to replace Satan, will one day be allowed to move out into this realm.)