This month’s cover of The Atlantic magazine caught my attention. Next to the headline of the feature article, “How to Destroy a Government”, is the picture of a column which looks like an unravelling rope cut in two yet connected by a single strand.
The imagery is clear… the column is illustrative of government that is being destroyed – yet it is being held by a single thread.
What can this mean?
The image on the cover was arresting because:
- The chapiter on top of the column reminded me of the chapiter I saw in the City of David when we visited Jerusalem last year.
- The image of the bound rope reminded me of Isaiah 40:31, about which we have previously written a blog post.
The Column as the Government of God
The magazine cover depicts an Ionian chapiter, whilst the chapiter in the City of David is Proto-Ionic.
There were three different styles used by builders in the time of the Greeks – Doric, Ionian and Corinthian. The Proto-Ionic and Ionian chapiters belong to the same Ionian style.
The column on the cover of The Atlantic magazine is illustrative of the government of God – depicted as a rope that has nearly been broken, yet is being held together by a single thread.
The Strength of Government
“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength…Isaiah 40:31
In a previous blog article we explained how the Hebrew word קוה translated as “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 associates the concept of “waiting” with twisting and binding… and therefore strength.
Where in one binds tightly to Him increasing in strength as one comes into greater conformity with His Word.
By binding, or twisting, a rope increases its strength.
Our task as Christians, by the grace of God, is to conform ourselves to His Word, whereby we become conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
Paul encourages us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).
We therefore see the principle that as conformity with the Word of God increases the strength of His government increases.
The opposite is therefore also true…
As we compromise our faith, when we look to other gods, we no longer uphold His Word and bind together with Him. Strength is lost.
An Everlasting Covenant
As a society we have collectively rejected the Almighty God. Many no longer recognise His authority over their personal lives. His authority is no longer recognised by our institutions.
By not conforming to His Word our society has weakened… the strands of the rope are broken.
However, we can take great comfort that our God has made an everlasting covenant with us. His covenant can not be broken… His government will not be destroyed.
It is therefore telling that the illustration on the cover of The Atlantic magazine shows the rope being held together by a single strand…
The Single Thread and Jesus Christ
The single strand of thread made me think of:
- The blue cord that the Israelites were instructed to wear in each of the tassels on the four corners of their garment (Numbers 15:37).
- The scarlet thread that Rahab hung out of her window (Joshua 2:18ff).
Both of these threads represent our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The Blue Cord
The Israelites were instructed to wear tassels on the four corners of their garments, each tassel incorporating a thread of blue (Numbers 15:38).
- The purpose of the tassel was to remind the Israelites of the commandments of God (Numbers 15:39).
- Blue is a colour of royalty and represents the glory of God.
- Blue is also the colour of obedience.
The blue thread is symbolic of our Saviour and King Jesus Christ – who has fulfilled the law. He gave full expression to the law, and broke not a single one.
The single thread holding the rope together on the magazine cover is illustrative of the everlasting covenant that we have in Jesus Christ. A relationship, a government, that can not be broken.
COVID-19 and the Strength of God’s Government
As Covid-19 spreads across the globe the world in which we live is dramatically changing. Societies are at a crossroad.
In this time of great uncertainty let us consider the source from which we derive our strength. To where and to whom do we look?
At this crossroad let us commit to taking the path of increased conformity to the Word of God in all facets of our lives – personal and corporately… As this is the only way by which a strong and united society can emerge from amongst the chaos.