Jesus Christ died for the atonement and forgiveness of sins. He was raised for our justification. He was exalted for our redemption, ascended into Heaven for our deliverance from the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Light – whose capital city is the New, Heavenly Jerusalem.
Therefore, Paul says we are citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20-21), and we look toward that city for a Saviour whose Spirit was poured out upon the earth at Pentecost.
This outpouring of the Spirit has been described as the procession of the Spirit. It’s the churches power to live, proclaim and be transformed by the gospel of the risen Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:14).
A procession is a cultures’ display of power and dominion. It represents the cultures’ faith in a superior authority and points to what a society holds most dear. As such, all processions are religious acts designed to magnify the interests of the god we worship.
They have seen Your procession, O God—the march of my God and King into the sanctuary. The singers in front, the musicians last, and between them are the virgins playing tambourines. (Psalm 68:24-25)
We have a number of processions in our own culture. There’s the military parade, popular in military dictatorships. There’s the Mardi Gras, academic processions, coronations, protests, marches and more. Why do these marches matter? Because they are a declaration of power. They reflect the standards of the gods they march for and are a proclamation of the power and dominion of their gods over all others.
These processions exist because God exists and He is the God who marches. And so, unsurprisingly, the bible is filled with processions. The Israelites made a procession through the Red sea, there’s David and the Ark of the Covenant, Joshua at Jericho, Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey and, the Spirit of God that proceeds from the Father on the Day of Pentecost.
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (John 15:26)
All of these processions are giving testimony. They either flow from above, where the Lord’s throne is, and testify of Christ, or they flow from below and are demonic, earthly or carnal.
As citizens of Heaven, it matters where we look for power and grace. It matters to whom we make our protest. We look up to heaven, since that is where Jesus is, that’s where the procession of power is coming from and that’s where we anticipate our help.’
It’s also what marks us as out as Gods’ people. We look up, while the people of the world look below. For the world, man’s wisdom, his appetites, his cultural pursuits, his art, music, laws and his redemption will all come from below as they make their evolutionary and humanistic procession up the ladder to perfection. They look down, we are taught to look up.
This is what Paul meant in Philippians when he said,
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:19)
The earth is not bad. The earth and all its fullness is a gift from God and is to be received with thanksgiving. But, if you are a citizen of heaven, then you are to set your hope and your head in Heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
This is why, if you want to see an end to abortion, or fascism, or marxism, or sexism, or feminism, or Hinduism, or environmentalism, or any other ‘ism’, you don’t make your appeal to Caesar but to God, from were all true power and authority precedes.
When Israel marched around Jericho with banners raised high they were not looking for law reform. Looking at Jericho, the only reason I can see for marching around stuff is to see it crumble.
And so, we look to Jesus, not Caesar, for our standard, and it’s to Him we make our protest, our appeal. And if we march, it’s the clear and unmistakable banner of the Lord that we raise, testifying that God alone is our king and our supreme law-giver.
For it is this Lord that sustains us and the earth we live in and it is this Lord Jesus who alone is able to redeem and reform it.