SPQR and the Ambassadors of Zion

There is a very interesting parallel to the spread of the Roman Empire and the Kingdom of God to which both Jesus and Paul made use of.  And it gives us a strategy for moving the Kingdom agenda forward wherever the Lord has placed us.

There is an interesting historical happening in the early days of the Roman Republic which I want to recount for you as a strategy for our gospel mission.

Rome sent an ambassador and his entourage to Egypt to negotiate a treaty of some kind.  An ambassador was called a "legate" along with his entourage which we today would call a "delegation".

The Egyptians were not happy to see this legate suspecting all sorts of Roman mischief and rightly so...everyone knew of what Rome did to Carthage in the Punic wars when that city would not bow to Roman rule. It was not only destroyed but Roman legions sowed salt in the ground so that the city region could never again produce food to support a new city.

So the Egyptians threatened this ambassador from Rome. To understand what the ambassador did next you need to understand what his legation was carrying. They were carrying a Roman eagle standard with the letters SPQR as below:

 

SPQR in Latin stands for "the people and the senate of Rome" meaning the legate was acting on behalf of the decree of the people and senate of Rome...which was the government of Rome.

The ambassador then took the staff and drew a circle around his legation and declared "where I stand is Rome, cross that line and you have attacked Rome." Needless to say the Egyptian military force allowed them to proceed into Egypt unharmed....everyone knew about Carthage!

Well history tells us that soon after that the inevitable happened and Egypt was annexed to the Roman empire.

This was known history to both Jesus and Paul. SPQR in their time was carved into building entrances, it was on Roman standards wherever a troop of soldiers went, it was in halls, it was in market places.  Everywhere you were reminded, this was Roman territory and here Roman law was the law of the land.

Let me extrapolate to our present Kingdom strategy.

The Roman city state was a form of government that the Greeks called an "ekklesia".  Athens was an "ekklesia".  Technically an "ekklesia" was a new form of government on the world stage that the Greeks introduced in about 600 BC round about the time that Babylon invaded Judah and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.

Ekklesia means "to call out"...or a called out group of people who form a government ruled by an assembly of people of the city (usually you had to be male, a free man and a property owner).  Which is why the acronym SPQR..."I represent the people and the senate of the city of Rome."

In our Bible we translate "ekklesia" as "Church".  But we have lost the whole impact of the declaration of what Jesus meant when He said "I will build my Church"...meaning I will build my ekklesia.  That was a direct threat to the Roman ekklesia.

We have lost the whole impact of when Paul addressed the Church of Corinth or the Church of Ephesus.  He was addressing a called out people who form the government of God in that city as the ambassadors of the heavenly city of Zion.

Here is an interesting verse from Hebrews 12:22 which we all know that throws light on the government of God in heaven...

But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the  heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Do you notice that phrase "to the general assembly and the ekklesia of the firstborn"?

That is a political statement of the form of government by which God rules.  God is Emperor and Judge of all, but all the citizens of the City of Zion both angelic as well as human have the rights of participation in the great empire of God.  And like with Rome you have to be born into citizenship...except in heaven and on earth it is a family relationship...

Eph 3:14 "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named."
Have you noticed how the devil who knows how the government of heaven is organized always tries to ape God and bring in a counterfeit...as with Rome?

Jesus came as a representative of the Father and the great city of God to establish the rule of the heavenly "ekklesia" here on earth.
He has called us to be ambassadors of His heavenly City.  That is why Paul says...
2Co 5:20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

You and I are called to be ambassadors here on earth to reconcile all things to God and His law and His rule.  As with the spread of Rome from a city to an empire, so the Kingdom of God has come, is coming and will come!  

We do not carry the acronym SPQR.  These are the words we carry on our spirit man...this is what Jesus said (Rev.3:12)

I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

You as ambassador of the City of Zion, the Kingdom of God have written on you, meaning you are the representative of...the Lord God, the City and government of God and of Jesus Christ. That's what "In Jesus name" means.  It is not a magic incantation to be repeated in every prayer...it does not work unless you understand that you are to carry out the instructions of heaven here on earth...in the name of...as an ambassador of the Kingdom of God.  That carries power because that carries authority!

You are not travelling with a legation from Rome. You are surrounded by the armies of heaven.   (Heb 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses...)

Wherever God has placed you draw the circle of the blood of Christ around you, around your family, around your possessions....and say...
"Here the kingdom of God has come on earth."

Understand your power and your authority and what your task is as ambassador.

Take seriously the words of Jesus, whatsoever you bind and loose on earth, who you forgive and not forgive...there are consequences all around you for the impact that you can make in the lives of people.

Take seriously the words of Jesus "you are the salt of the earth".  This phrase is always misinterpreted by preachers. You are not the salt in their banquet. You are not there to keep the world system happy.  You are there to warn the people and the world to be reconciled to God.  The listeners in Jesus day knew what "the salt of the earth" meant...they knew what Rome did to Carthage.  Jesus also knew the scripture....Judges 9:45 one of the judges of Israel..
"And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt."

What does this mean?  We bring not only good news as ambassadors, but we bring bad news...the wages of sin is death...or the consequences of sin on a nation or an economy or a family or a life...is death. 

Look around you and see a dying world.  The salt is in the earth.  There are nations and societies and economies and families that are reaping the consequences of sin.

As the ambassador of the City of Heaven we can bring life.  From out of our  innermost being flows rivers of living water... water that comes from the throne of God, through the City and then through our spirits into the world around us.

Wherever God places us in this world, whether in business, or politics or the classroom, or at home or the office or the sport field...we are there not for the company or the country or the team...we are there for the Kingdom of God.

And little by little as God told Israel, wherever your foot treads upon that I will give unto you. We are in this for the long haul.  We leave the next generation a better inheritance than what we received. We need to establish the Kingdom of God in the piece of territory the Lord placed us in.

I list below a great list of some practical things that we can do as ambassadors for the Kingdom where the Lord has placed us...sent to me earlier this week from my brother in America who has always been involved in the very practical things of the Kingdom like running orphanages, old age homes, pastoring, teaching in seminary and raising a family...lots of practical Kingdom wisdom here...

1.       Husbands need to love their wives and show how marriages work in the Kingdom
2.       Parents need to love and protect and care for their children as God cares for us.
3.       Employees need to work “as unto the Lord”, not as “men pleasers” but as people who know their reward is from the Lord
4.       Employers need to create jobs and pay their labourers a LIVING wage on which they can support their families
5.       Businessmen need to conduct their business ethically without exploiting the public
6.       Owners of production should share their excess wealth that they received through the labour of their employees with the employees who made that wealth possible
7.       Bankers need to invest our savings in productive investments...not just consumer debt.
8.       Judges need to uphold the law without respect of persons
9.       The justice system need to execute the laws without discrimination
10.   The legislators need to craft just laws that protect the vulnerable
11.   Governing systems need to protect the citizens from exploitation
12.   Teachers need to love their children, know their subjects, and teach with passion to educate the next generation
13.   Communities should be considerate toward others and seek the common good
14.   Churches should be focused on making disciples who have the moral fortitude and divine wisdom to enter the community and the market place with the wisdom of the Lord to solve the problems of their industries.
You have your assignment for the week....

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