A number of modern trends have undermined
the social cohesion of society.
Growing government power
Christians have focussed considerable energy on strengthening families,
while being ambivalent about nationalism and government powers.
Unfortunately, they have missed the piece in the middle.
In the biblical model for a healthy society, the “tens fifties and
hundreds” are the glue that holds society together.
So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and
appointed them to have authority over you—as heads of thousands, of
hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials. (Deut 1:15).
In this passage, Moses was setting aside men to be judges. These tens,
hundreds and fifties and tens already existed among the tribes of Israel
at the time of the Exodus. Tens, fifties and hundreds existed before
Israel became a nation. They were important to the cohesion of the twelve
tribes of Israel.
The world need structures to prevent the strong and wicked bullies from
seizing power and trampling over the weak and vulnerable. The powerful
must be prevented from prospering at the expense of the weak.
Most Christians expect the state to provide this protection, but that
hope has been illusory. At best, the state has distracted onto side issues
neglects the weak and the poor. At wost the state become powerful and
aggressive and plunders those who need its protection.
Libertarians suggest that protection could be provided by
entrepreneurial businesses and insurance companies. Businesses can provide
defence, and protection services for local communities, but if business is
the only source of these things, there is nothing to stop businesses from
dominating people and morphing into a pseudo state.
In Moses day, justice, defence, welfare and education were mostly
managed in local community by the Tens and Thousands. Tens provide
protection and defence and protection their members, without dominating or
Society is made up of individuals. Most individuals are part of a
family. They are the building blocks of society, but the relationships
between them determine the shape and strength of society.
The Ten refers to a group of families living in close proximity to each
other. The number is not the number of people in the family, but the
number of men in the group of families who are capable of contributing to
their protection. Most families will have just one adult male, but some
with grown up children may have several adult males who can share in the
defence of their community. A Ten would be a group of five or six families
that could produce ten adult men to serve their community. The numbers do
not need to be precise.
In a rural situation, the families making up a Ten would all live side
by side in the same village. Some would be related to each other as
brothers or cousins.
In the city, the families would live in close proximity to each other
in the same street. Some of the families making up the Ten might be linked
by family ties, but often they would be bound together by a commitment to
support and protect each other.
Participation in a Ten is voluntary for adults. If they do not like
their Ten, they can move and join another, or remain in isolation.
Children will have no choice, but to remain with their parents.
The Role of the Ten
The Ten has several important functions.
1. Defence – the Ten share responsibility for protecting their
Protection comes through getting together with others.
Members of a Ten will watch out for each other and check on
intruders. If someone dodgy comes close to any of their homes, some of the
Ten will check them out.
If someone attacks any member of the Ten, the others will come to
If a large army comes against the wider society, the men in the Ten
will join together with other Tens to defend their society.
Modern people tend to look to their government for protection from
evil. This is a false hope. Governments continually fail to protect their
people from home. Protection does not come from the top. Sound defence and
protection must begin at the lowest level of society in the Ten.
2. Justice – most legal disputes will be resolved within the Ten.
If one member of the Ten steals from another member, the members of
the Ten will sort out the problem. They will ensure that the thief makes
proper restitution. The thief will accept the authority of the Ten,
because he would lose his protection, if he rejected it.
If a member of the Ten is accused of stealing by someone from the
wider community, the Ten will act in his defence. If the case is proven,
they will ensure that the thief makes restitution to protect the good name
of the Ten.
If the thief cannot afford to make made restitution, the Ten will
make restitution on the thief’s behalf. They will make arrangements for
the thief to repay what they have lent over time. They will also keep an
eye on the thief to ensure that he does not steal again. If he persists in
stealing, he might lose his place in the Ten and have to leave the
community. No other Ten would want him, so he might end up as an outlaw.
The threat of this sanction should be enough to make most thieves shape up
and change their behaviour.
If someone from outside the Ten steals from someone within in it,
the Ten will take up the cause on their behalf. They will assist with
tracking down the thief and ensuring that restitution is made.
Judges will learn their role and prove their credibility in their
3. Welfare – the Ten will provide support for members who fall into
A member of the Ten would make an interest free loan to another
member of the Ten who is in financial trouble (Deut 23:19-20).
If a person is forced to sell their land, a senior member of the
Ten will buy their land and hold it in trust until the next Jubilee.
The land must not be sold permanently….. you must provide for the
redemption of the land. if one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells
some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his
countryman has sold (Lev 25:24,25).
If a person commits a crime and cannot afford to pay the required
restitution, a member of the Ten will pay on his behalf. The criminal will
be bonded to work for them member of the Ten until the debt has been
repaid (Ex 22:3).
Some members of the Ten may provide employment for others who have
The leaders of the Ten will teach financial management to those who
4. Education – the Ten will assist families to educate their
Tens were the important and essential foundation for a just and caring
Leaders of Tens
Each Ten would have a person or a couple of people who are leaders of
the Ten. The Leaders of tens have very little power and authority, because
membership of a ten is voluntary. The main role of the leader of the Ten
is to represent the Tens interest when dealing with other Tens or agreeing
to participate in a Hundred. If the leader agrees to something that the
Ten do not support, they will ignore their leader.
The leader must act as a servant of the Ten, or they will lose the
respect of the Ten. They will be trusted by other members of the Ten,
because they have watched out for them in the past.
Leading a Ten does not bring reward. The leader serves the others
because the see the need. They will do this for no financial reward,
because they know that they are safer in a Ten than standing alone.
The resources and capabilities of a Ten will be too limited to deal
with many situations. A number of Tens will come together to deal with any
larger threats to their community.
If all of the people in a village came together for a specific purpose,
they would be a Fifty. If a number of Tens in a city came together with a
common intention, they might be a Hundred. In what follows, I will refer
to them both as Hundreds.
The Hundred derives its functions and authority from the Ten. Hundreds
can only act, if the leaders of the Tens give permission.
The Role of the Hundred
The Hundred can be used for four main purposes.
1. Defence – sometimes several Tens will come together to deal with
an external threat to their society.
If an enemy army threatens to invade the country, the first Ten
confronted would be easily overcome, if they resisted on their own.
The leaders of the first Ten to see the coming threat would send
messages to other Tens asking for help (Judges 6:35).
Men from a number of Tens might come together in response to the
call and form a Hundred to resist the invader. The members of each Ten
would serve together. The leaders of the various Tens would appoint
several officers to lead the Hundred (Judges 11:5).
Participation in the Hundred would be voluntary. The Hundred would
be held together by the relationships between the leaders of the Tens and
their willingness to work together for a common cause.
If a person chosen as leader of the Hundred proved to be foolish,
unwise, harsh or arrogant, a number of Tens might withdraw their support
and re-form as a Fifty.
If the enemy was particularly strong, several Hundreds might join
together voluntarily to form a Thousand. Leadership would rise in the same
way as for the Hundreds.
In a really serious situation, all the Thousands in the nation
might come together to repel a serious enemy. The leaders of the Thousand
would choose a military commander to lead them.
Authority emerges as groups of people submit to trusted leaders,
not through leaders seizing power and demanding obedience.
2. Welfare – Financial support might flow from one Ten to another.
3. Justice – The relationships between the Tens that made up a
Hundred will be important for resolving issues of justice.
4. Marriage – A young man will generally need to go outside his Ten
to find a wife. He will have a better chance of finding a wife in one of
the neighbouring Hundreds.
The leaders of the respective Tens will be able to advise the
leaders of the other about the character of the prospective marriage
The leadership of the two tens will have good relationships with
each other. They will be able to organise the transfer of the dowry
without risk of loss for either party.
Christians frequently refer to the Ten
Commandments. Our problem is
that there are not ten commands, but only nine. We have to do a fiddle to
make the nine commands into ten. The Roman Catholic Church splits out
coveting your neighbour’s wife, from other coveting to get the extra
commandment (Ex 20:17). Protestants split off Exodus 20:4 and to make
worshipping other gods different from crafting idols. This is dangerous,
because it seems like physical idols are the only false gods. This is not
In the modern world, political powers and governments are the most
serious false gods. From God’s point view, putting too much trust in the
government is morally equivalent to carving a wooden idol to worship. Many
Christians would not have a carving from Africa in their home, but they
happily expect a new President or Prime Minister to transform their life
Political rulers do not become false gods by the scope of their power,
or expanding the size of their empire. The false god is created by the
attitude of the people being governed. When people trust and worship
political power, the government becomes an idol.
Words for the Ten
The Bible does refer to Ten Commandments, but uses the expression “Ten
Words” in three different places to describe the words of the covenant
written on the two tablets of stone.
Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without
eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of
the covenant—the Ten Words (Ex 34:28).
My guess is that the reference is not to the number of commandments,
but to the people who would use them most. Perhaps the statement should be
translated as follows.
Moses wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Words for
God’s covenant was a covenant with the entire community, but the
commandments written stone were most relevant to Tens and would be
implemented by the Tens. The Ten Commandments are really Words for
Tens and Hundreds Destroyed
1 Samuel 8 is a really important passage. It describes how God’s
ideal government of judges and law came to an end, and were replaced with
kingship, a model of government copied from the surrounding nations. This
was a shocking change, as kingship is derived from Satan’s method of
Samuel warned of another effect, which is not well understood.
This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take
your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will
run in front of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers
and cooks and bakers (1 Sam 8 11,13).
The king would take young people to serve in his army and palace. For a
critical period during their growth to maturity, when they would normally
be developing into a role in their Ten and Hundred, the young person will
be taken out for a period of service to the king.
Loyalty to the King will replace their loyalty to their Ten and
Hundred. They will lose respect for leaders of their Ten and may never be
fully grafted back in. Their relationships with other young people in the
king’s service will be stronger than their relationship with leaders of
their Ten and Hundred. Taking young people out of their local communities
during their formative years undermines the structure of society.
Samuel warned of another serious consequence of the transition to
Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of
fifties (1 Sam 8:12).
The King will appoint some of the young people who have been
conscripted into his service to be commanders over thousands and fifties.
This was a radical change. Under the previous system, the leader of a
Hundred was appointed by the members of the Tens who joined the Hundred.
The leader of a Thousand was appointed by the leaders of the Hundreds, who
agreed to participate in it during the season of threat. These leaders
would have already established trust within their Ten and Hundred.
Membership of a Hundred and a Thousand was voluntary, so if the Tens did
not like the decisions of a commander of their thousand, they could
withdraw. In this structure, leadership emerged from the bottom and
submission to leadership was voluntary.
This is the way that leadership functions in the Kingdom of God.
Leaders are given authority by people who voluntarily submit to them. If
this authority is abused, voluntary submission can be withdrawn and the
authority will evaporate.
The emergence of kingship turned this model on its head. Instead of
leaders emerging from within, they would be appointed from outside by the
king. The members of a Fifty or Thousand had to submit to the King’s
appointee, even if he was made foolish decisions. Refusal to obey the King’s
lapdogs would bring down the wrath of the king. Submission ceased to be
The king would tend to appoint younger people who had recently been in
his service, because they would be more loyal to him. These leaders would
often lack experience in battle, so they would force the army to do
foolish things. Authority imposed from above fosters foolishness.
Temporary to Permanent
Membership of a Thousand had been temporary. When the threatening army
was defeated, the Thousand would be disbanded and the people would return
to their homes (Jos 22:6). The only social structures with a permanent
function were the Tens and Hundreds, and participation in them was
Under the kingship, the Thousand ceased to be a temporary and voluntary
force that was called up to deal with a particular, external threat. They
become a permanent method tool of imposing the king’s control over
society. The members of Tens lost their freedom of action and came under
the permanent control of the king. An authority that arose from the bottom
of society through submission was replaced by control from the top.
An example of Tens and Hundreds being used for political control can be
found in the history of China. During the imperial period, China was
divided into eighteen provinces and 1,300 districts. These districts were
too large for a magistrate or governor to control, so a system of
surveillance was introduced.
Households were organised by the thousand and then subdivided into
sub-groupings of hundred and then ten. Headmen kept a register of
everybody in each group, recorded comings and goings, and reported
offences to magistrates. Villagers were required to tell the headman of
any illegal behaviour they encountered—failure to do sow was a crime
(Jonathon Fenby, The Penguin History of Modern China, p.6).
The Chinese Tens and Hundreds were not voluntary associations that
emerged in society, but were imposed from the top to achieve control over
society. They are fulfilment of Samuel’s prophesy. These counterfeit
Tens and Hundreds were not a source of cohesion, but a tool for control.
Evil is never original. It copies and distorts the real thing.
The rise of kings destroyed the system of local judges that emerged in
Moses time. By the time of David, the people of Judah were unable to get
justice within their Tens and Hundreds. They had to go to Jerusalem and
seek an audience with the king, who had usurped the local judges’ role.
David was a military leader, God had not make him a judge.
Absalom gained popularity by courting people who had been unable to
obtained justice from the King.
Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for
a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you
from?"…. Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are
valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear
you." And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in
the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I
would see that he gets justice" (2 Sam 15:2-4).
Absalom gained respect by offering justice to people who could not
obtain it. When the administration of justice is centralised, justice
disappears. David was a good man, but he could not provide justice for
everyone. He simply did not have time to investigate and judge every case.
People had to travel to Jerusalem to get their case heard. This was
costly because while they were waiting for their case to come up, they
would have to pay for accommodation in an expensive city. They would also
be neglecting their family and farm left at home. Only those with power,
privilege and money can gain access to a king’s justice.
Permanent kingship requires heavy
taxation, and taxation soon became a
cause of injustice. A king would always side with his tax collectors, so a
king cannot administer justice fairly.
The justice provided by Tens and Hundreds had disappeared, by the time
Israel had its second king.
Tens and Hundreds formed naturally in tribal societies through family
connections. Industrialisation and urbanisation have eliminated these
links from modern society, so that individuals and families live in
isolation from each other.
The collapse of community is greatest in modern cities, where migration
and urbanisation have broken down traditional community relationships.
Social mobility prevents stable relationships from developing and family
life is breaking down. People feel like cogs in a machine and life is
characterised by loneliness and personal insecurity.
Modern suburban culture creates barriers to communication and
encourages individualism. As communities are breaking down and fear is
rising, high fences are going up between houses isolating people from each
other. This isolation means that most people do not belong to the
community where they live.
This isolation and dislocation of urban society has been accompanied by
the aggregation and accumulation of political power to the modern state.
We now face the bizarre situation where needs are concentrated in
individuals, but power and money is concentrated in the national state.
This leaves families and individuals powerless before a faceless
government. Justice, defence and welfare come from the top, whereas they
are best provided at the bottom.
To restore the cohesion of our societies, Tens and Hundreds must be
restored to our communities, but it is not clear how this will happen.
Politicians have an inbuilt tendency to push power and money to the top,
so they will always weaken society at its lowest level.
The Modern Church
The church should be strengthening the foundations of society, but this
is not happening in the modern world. Western society has been shaped by
the automobile and the church has gone along for the ride. The car has
brought great freedom, but we have paid a huge price in loss of
fellowship. Church has become something that we drive to, not something
that shapes the community where we live. This severely weakens the
relationships between Christians, so most modern churches are almost as
socially fragmented as the rest of society.
Unfortunately, most people do not see the modern church as an answer to
their heart’s cry. It is seen as another institution that meets personal
needs with programmes run by professionals. The megachurch model does not
develop community, because it just replicates the national state model of
concentrating power and delivering services from the top to the bottom.
Jesus Restored Tens and Hundreds
Jesus first step when he began his ministry was to form a Ten.
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and
they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that
they might be with him. These are the twelve he appointed (Mark 3:13-16).
By the time of Pentecost, the new church had become a Hundred.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and
Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. In those days Peter stood
up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)
When the church expanded quickly, they continued to share in Tens and
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They
broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts
The early church undertook many of the roles that that had been
undertaken by Tens and Hundred in Moses’ time.
1. Welfare – the church provided support to people who fell into
The Christians who met together in their homes also shared their
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need
Deacons developed new methods for caring for the poor (Acts 6:1-7).
Deacons developed new methods for caring for the poor (Acts 6:1-7).
2. Defence – the church provided protection for their community.
The religious and political leaders in Jerusalem were extremely
hostile to the new church that was emerging. The Christians protected
themselves by sticking together.
All the believers were together (Acts 2:44).
While they were together, the authorities could not touch them.
When Peter was arrested, the believers went into bat for him.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to
God for him (Acts 12:5).
They used spiritual weapons and an angel released Peter. He returned to
house of Mary the mother of Mark.
3. Justice – the new church implemented biblical justice.
The Book of Acts records the effects.
There were no needy persons among them (Acts 4:34).
The Greek word translated as “needy” is “endees”. It is not the
usual word for “poverty” and is only used once in the New Testament.
It is a compound of the word “bind”. Luke seems to be saying that no
one “bound by injustice” was among them.
These early Christians were not in a position to not deal with
individual injustices that had left some people destitute and others
wealthy. They resolved these problems with overwhelming generosity.
Many of the new Christian sold property and gave it away.
All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the
proceeds of the things that were sold (Acts 4:34).
The word “possessor” is interesting. Luke used a noun formed from
the Greek word “ktamomai”, which means acquire, or procure. In Luke
18:12 this word was used to describe the wealth the tax collector had
Luke also used the word “ktema” which comes from the same root
(Acts 2:45; 6:3). This is the word used to describe the property of the
rich young ruler (Mark 10:22).
Luke did not use the normal word for “in heritance”. This suggests
that the early Christians were not giving away their inheritance, they
were giving away property that they had received by other means. Some may
have been gained fairly, while some would have been acquired by injustice.
Some of those giving their property away will take this action because
they believed that it was acquired unjustly.
A Church of Tens and Fifties
Following Jesus example, the church should have an important role in
restoring Tens and Hundreds in the places where we live. Every church
should be attached to a particular locality. Ideally, there should be one
Church at each location and each location should have one Church.
In my book, Being Church Where We Live, I described how a church should
function as a local community. Each church should be led by four or five
elders, each with a different gifting, submitting to each other to produce
unity. Each elder would provide oversight for about five or six families.
If all the families overseen by one elder lived close to each other in a
local community, they would become a Ten. This group of connected families
would be able to fulfil all the functions of Tens, as described above.
If the church had five elders, each providing oversight of a Ten, the
entire church would be a Fifty. If specific needs arose, a couple of local
churches could link through their leaders to become a Hundred. The leaders
of the Hundred would ensure that the justice, protection and welfare are
provided to everyone living in their community.
If Christians moved back to a more biblical model of church, Tens and
Hundreds would be restored back to our communities. However, we would have
to get out of their cars and auditoriums and move closer together.
The New Testament provides a method for spreading the gospel, which
will also restore Tens and Hundreds to our community. Luke 10 describes
how church and gospel spread in five important steps.
A pair of Christians move to a new neighbourhood.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by
two ahead of him to every town and place (Luke 10:1).
Finding an appropriate neighbourhood was really important. Christians
should make their home in the new location.
The Christians should seek a “person of peace” or “person of
influence”. This is someone who is open to the gospel and who has
contact and influence with other people in the area. Sometimes that person
might be a Christian with a burden for their neighbourhood. The new Church
will usually meet in their house. In a traditional culture, the pair of
Christian would live with the Person of Peace.
Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there
and stay at his house until you leave (Matt 10:11).
Staying with the Person of Peace would not be practical in a Western
culture, so the Christian pair would buy or rent a house as close as
possible to that person.
Once contact has been established with the person of peace, the
Christians will look for opportunities to heal the sick. Jesus said,
When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near
you' (Luke 10:8,9).
A healing will usually crack open the neighbourhood. When Paul prayed
for Publius’ sick father and he was healed (Acts 28:8-10). All the
people on Malta came and were healed (many would believe).
The pair will disciple the new Christians and build relationships
between them. They will mould them into a church in the home of the Person
of Peace. Others in the community will be drawn in by their love.
The original Christians will replicate their ministry in the Person
of Peace or a neighbour. This will free them to move into a new location
and repeat the process. They will leave behind a group of people living in
the same location who trust each other. This is the essence of a Ten.
The Church View
From the church perspective, the first group started will look like
The letter A indicates an elder with pastoral gifting. At the beginning
of the process, this would be one of the pair who came into the
neighbourhood. When the original pair move on, the elder will be someone
from within the group, possible the person of influence.
The elder has a strong relationship with each person and would help
build strong relationships all the members of the group they watch over.
These relationships are represented by the lines. They are the leader of a
The Neighbourhood View
A view of the neighbourhood looks like this.
Christian A moved into A Street. He knew that P was a person of
influence, so he rented the house next door to him. When P’s crippled
daughter was healed, he and all his family decided to follow Jesus.
Everyone in A Street saw the dramatic change in both P and his daughter.
When they asked what had happened, he blurted out the entire story with
the gospel sprinkled in between. Those living in the blue houses chose to
become Christians. A watched over them to ensure that none got side
tracked. He also worked hard on building relationships between them. The
activities of this Ten are centred on P’s house.
This is only part of the story. When A moved into A Street, he did not
come alone. His friends R and E had moved at about the same time. They had
served together in the church that they came from and knew each other
The faith stirred up following the healing of P’s daughter led to the
healing of a couple of other seriously ill people at the other end of the
street. E shared the gospel to many others living in the street, and some
came to believe. He took responsibility for those living in the houses
shaded in green and built relationships between them. R focussed on those
living on his side of the street. Three Tens have come into existence in A
P grew to maturity quickly, so A was soon able to leave him to look
after the blue houses. Person A moved his family to a house in D Street
and next door to a Christian who was already a part of the blue group.
This person believed that many of his neighbours were interested in the
gospel, so A came to give them a hand to get things started.
E stayed in the same house, but left B to exercise oversight over the
Christians in the green houses. They were all doing well and did not need
much help anyway. E switched his attention to some people at the other end
of the street and started building relationships with a group of believers
connected to the person in the green house in D Street. Before much time
passed, people living in the orange houses were seeking to follow Jesus
and E was helping them get connected to each other. The neighbourhood now
has five Tens.
The Wider Church View
Looking from the church perspective, we have something like the
following diagram. Five groups of Christians are each overseen by a
Christian elder (A, R, P, E. B).
These elders have strong relationships. They draw all their people
together in one body to be a church. Many of these people new each other
well already. They elders work together to strengthen these relationships,
so it looks like this.
The relationships between these people are as important as the people.
They look something like this.
Tens and Hundreds
An effective church has started in this neighbourhood, but something
else that is important has happened. Five Tens have formed. The members of
each Ten know each other and trust each other. They will also have
established good relationships with the people in the white houses that
live around them. Each Ten has at least one person with some leadership
skills that are available for service in the wider community.
Together these Tens make up a Fifty. This Fifty has strong leadership.
Everyone in the neighbour would look to them and respect if a tough
situation. If the growth process described above was repeated, the Fifty
would grow into a Hundred.
Welfare and Protection
Something else important happens in this neighbourhood.
Welfare — The three Ds are people who have become deacons. They
will provide social assistance to anyone in the neighbourhood who faces
poverty. One couple in the Orange group chose to follow Jesus after they
received help during a period of unemployment. If the neighbourhood was
wealthy, the deacons might channel resources to other neighbourhoods where
people are poor.
Justice — J is a person with real wisdom. People in the
neighbourhood call on him to settle disputes. He gradually becomes a
judge, skilled in applying God’s law. His wisdom is well known, so
people in white houses also take disputes to him.
Defence — If society were to collapse into chaos, W would have an
important role. He could monitor people coming into A street and call for
help to deal with undesirables. If the situation got really bad, some of
the people might move in with friends in A Street for a while to obtain
shelter and protection.
Serving the Neighbourhood
The Tens living in A Street will serve everyone in their street.
Welfare — Christian deacons will provide support to anyone in the
street who needs help, whether or not they are Christians. They will be
glad to help those who have not received the gospel. Some kind unbelievers
will give money to the deacons, because they will appreciate the work that
that they are doing for people they know.
Justice — Christian leaders will be active in helping
non-believers to achieve justice if they are robbed or hurt. They will be
quite happy to bless free
Defence — If the community is attacked, the Christians will
provide protection for everyone. They will provide protection to
non-Christians, even if they are unwilling to make a contribution to the
defence efforts. Some of them will be glad to follow the directions of
Christian leaders, because they will recognise that they are prepared and
know what they are doing. Christian leaders would seek to bring everyone
into unity as they seek to protect their community.
Apart from the family, the lowest and most important unit in society is
the neighbourhood. In the modern world, many factors are tearing the
neighbourhood apart. The local church would be a unifying factor, if
Christians were to form Tens and Fifties in the neighbourhood where they
lived. These Tens would return cohesiveness to the neighbourhood.
A body corporate might own the street on behalf of the residents.
It could take responsibility for garbage and street repairs. It would do
these tasks itself, but it would contract the work to specialists.
The people living in the neighbourhood could decide what services
they want. If they wanted to put in underground power wires, they could go
ahead, provide they were willing to pay the cost. They would not have to
wait for the City Council bureaucracy to decide to do it in forty years
time. They could also decide what level of security they wanted.
State-run social welfare imposed from the top does not work. Social
welfare works best at the local level. If churches formed Tens and
Hundreds in own neighbourhoods, deacons could work through them to those
in financial difficulty.
State justice is usually bad justice. True justice begins among
neighbours and friends. If churches established Tens and Hundreds in the
neighbourhood, elders would act as judges and settle disputes between
people. If some elders demonstrated real wisdom, they might be called on
to act as judges in their broader communities.
The Kingdom View
Authority is the heart of the Kingdom of
God. The defining quality of a
king is authority, so understanding the nature of authority is essential
for understanding the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ prayer defines the Kingdom
Your Kingdom come
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10).
The Kingdom of God comes when God's will is done. God's kingdom comes
into being as his authority is widely accepted and obeyed.
Authority, not geography, defines the boundaries of a kingdom. A
kingdom extends as far as the authority of the King is accepted. The
Kingdom of God is defined in terms of attitudes to the authority of God.
It extends wherever his authority is accepted. Every person living under
the authority of God is part of the Kingdom of God. Every aspect of life
that is submitted to the authority of God is part of the Kingdom of God.
Tens and Hundreds turn authority upside down and bring the Kingdom of God
Kingdom and Tens
If the Ten serves really effectively, the local people will participate
in some of their activities, especially those that advance justice,
protection from crime, welfare and defence. When the non-Christians in the
neighbourhood participate in the activities of the Ten or Hundred, they
will have to compromise with their standards of behaviour:
People will be treated with respect.
Elders and leaders cannot force another people to do things they do
not want to do.
The truth will be spoken love.
Forgiveness is the best solution to hurts and misunderstanding.
To participate in activities organised of the Ten, others will have to
fit with their lifestyle. They will compromise their behaviour gladly,
because they will see the benefits the Tens provide in their
neighbourhood. However, they will not feel forced to change, because they
remain free to opt out at any time
Christian leaders will not control Christians in their care, but will
see to serve them. They will also seek to serve the other people in their
street. Most people living in the street will respect their leadership
because they will have observed their kindness and love. Anyone who does
not like their leadership will ignore it.
Something interesting has happened in A Street.
If they serve effectively, the Tens will be the most influential
group in their community.
Non-Christians living in the locality will submit to God’s
authority some of the time, so they can benefit from the activities of the
The members of the Ten will have submitted voluntarily to the
authority of the elders, to each other, and to God.
The elders will have submitted to God, and to each other. This
makes the Kingdom of God a reality in their midst.
Then Tens, Fifties and Hundreds could keep society functions
effectively, even if all national and city authority has collapsed.
Taken together, this means that most people in the neighbourhood will
be submitted to God, so in a sense the Kingdom of God has come to A
Principalities and Power
Spiritual power and political power go together. The reason is that the
leaders of nation have authority to enforce their will on any citizen of
their domain. Everyone living in a nation must accept their authority
their king or president. The mayor, the council and the council officers
have authority to act on behalf of anyone resident in their town or city.
This power and authority creates a serious spiritual problem, because
these political leaders are vulnerable to spiritual attack, and any attack
on them is not just personal, but affects everyone under the their
Spiritual power always follows authority. When a political leader is
influenced by demonic powers, the people under his authority are
vulnerable to a similar attack. When we submit to political leaders, we
open ourselves up to spiritual forces at work in their lives. When demonic
forces attach themselves to a king or president, they become “principalities
and powers”, because they now have authority over many of the people in
that nation (Eph 6:12).
Political leaders will come under immense spiritual pressure, because
they hold authority over the people in their city or nation. If the enemy
gets control over these leaders, he gains spiritual access to everyone
under their control. The enemy concentrates his forces against those with
political power, so he can win an easy victory over everyone under the
authority of the leaders who fall into his hands. When a powerful leader
falls into sin, then everyone in their realm becomes vulnerable
to the same spirit.
Centralised political or religious authority is dangerous, because it
makes principalities and powers possible. Once the enemy gains control
over those with power and authority, he has easier access to all those
under that authority. As a political leader accumulates more authority,
the principality or power that controls him gains greater power over more
people. This is how principalities and powers exercise power (Dan 10:13).
(Centralising control of a megachurch in a super pastor has the same
Tens and Hundreds beat Principalities
Jesus destroys principalities and powers by removing the centralised
political and religious power structures that support their power.
Wherever emperors, kings and presidents have seized or been give
authority, evil spiritual forces can attach themselves to that authority.
When political power evaporates, principalities and powers are reduced to
being common evil spirits beaten by the cross. They gain spiritual power
by taking advantage of political power, so the collapse of power and
authority leaves them with no place to stand.
Tens and Hundreds are the solution to spiritual
protection. In the
Biblical model, authority is concentrated at the lowest level in the Ten,
and that authority remains miniscule, because membership in a Ten is
voluntary. A little bit of authority is passed up to the Hundred, but it
can be easily withdrawn. During a crisis, some authority may be extended
to a Thousand, but this authority is always be taken back, if the leader
loses the plot, or when the crisis ends. This diffusion of authority foils
the plans of the enemy. Evil spirits can no longer concentrate their
attacks on a few powerful people, but have to spread themselves thin. As
they disperse to deal with authority that is diffused throughout society,
they become fragmented and powerless.
Many Christians have an overinflated view of the enemy’s power. They
believe that our struggle is against spiritual forces that are almost as
powerful as the Holy Spirit. The truth is that Satan’s power is an
illusion. Evil forces have leveraged their power by gaining control over
political and religious leaders with authority over many people.
Political and religious power has magnified the authority of spiritual
evil. If an evil spirit gains control over one person, he can make that
persons life miserable. If the same spirit were to gain control over a
king or President, he can make a nation miserable. If that spirit gains
influence over a mega church, he can lead a thousand people astray. When
political and religious control collapses, demonic power will be greatly
diminished. When confined to one-on-one battle, they will be easily
defeated. When Big Government collapse and Tens and Hundreds rise in their
place, a spiritual victory will occur.
Tens Provide Spiritual Protection
Tens will provide spiritual protection for their communities by
standing together in unity. They will watch over each other and stand
together to resist the power of the enemy. When people love Jesus and walk
in the Spirit, the enemy will have no grounds for attack.
Other people in the neighbourhood will continue to sin and some may
allow evil into their lives. The difference with respect to protection
from evil is that none of these people have authority over anyone else in
their community (except in the rare situation where one is employed in the
business of another). This limits their ability to expose others to the
spirits that influence them.
The only people in the street with authority over others are the
elders. They are submitted to each other, so their authority is
constrained. The elders will be watching over each other, so if one come
under attack or falls into sin, the others will deal with the issue to get
victory over evil.
Tens and Hundreds provide spiritual protection for each other and the
people in their neighbourhood.
The only authority in the street will be exercised by the elders of
the Tens. They are protected by submitting to each other.
The members of the Ten get spiritual protection by submission to
other and their leaders.
The person of peace will have influence in the street, but being
“peaceful”, they should be free from spiritual harassment.
The members of the Ten are not submitted to regional and national
political powers and the spiritual principalities that cling to them.
A Street has become an authority-lite zone, making it a relatively a
Advancing Ten by Ten
The Kingdom of God grows organically, like yeast spreading through a
loaf of bread. The reason is that society must be changed from the bottom
The Kingdom of God cannot be imposed from the top, but must rise up
from the bottom.
Replacing one set of rulers with another changes nothing, because
the same principalities and powers remain in control. The only way to
break free is for political power to be defused.
Defeating and evil government by military force will not advance
the Kingdom. The use of military power releases a spirit of violence,
which undermines the Kingdom of God.
Using democratic power to topple political leaders and replace them
with others does not advance the kingdom. Democracy raises up human power
and authority, which opposes the power of the Spirit.
The Kingdom of God advances slowly, street by street and village by
Jesus gave his disciples clear instructions to start in a
particular place and start with a person of peace (Luke 10:5,6). Some
places are easier to work than others.
Those who are serious about advancing the Kingdom of God will
identify those easy places and build a beachhead, from which the kingdom
can gradually spread, Ten by Ten, and Hundred by Hundred
As new Tens are established, the spiritual forces of evil will be
gradually pushed back and the beachhead of peace will expand.
Ordinary life faces now many new challenges. The world is getting
increasingly violent and unstable and individuals and families struggle
without the support that used to come from Tens and Hundreds. We may be
going into a time of trouble, distress and judgement. Christians should be
prepared for troubled times. To cope with the disorderly world that is
merging, Christians and their families must get together in Tens to
provide support and protection for their communities.
Leaders of Tens will establish relationships with other tens to share
in protection and support.
Tens in the country will produce food to give to tens in the
Tens in the city will distribute surplus food received from the
country to people in needs.
Tens in the city with surplus wealth will supply Tens in the
country with the resources that they need.
The Ten at either end of street may agree to watch the entrance to
the street to ensure that undesirable people do not enter the street. This
may be the best form of protection against theft or looting during a time
disintegrates, state power will fall apart. Social welfare
system will collapse and justice will fail. Christian Tens and Hundreds
will be needed to fill the gap. This will be a massive opportunity for the
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