For all intents and purposes, ancient Israel was a theocracy. However, much of the prophetic story of the New Testament points to the end of that theocratic age (aion), often translated as the end of that world. It would seem (not pretending to know God’s overall plan but considering the evidence in the Bible) the theocracy didn’t work for long because of man-made agendas being weaved into it. Jesus’ prophetic message that the end would be soon has overwhelming evidence, contained within the Bible itself, that this was in reference to the destruction of the Jewish temple system and the removal of its’ infrastructure.
Israel entered into a covenant with God that would make them the nation of his people through which the rest of the “gentile” world would be blessed. It was God’s priestly system here on earth. However, Israel kept the light to themselves and lost their “saltiness.” Instead of blessing all nations, they cursed them. They vehemently insisted that God was on their side and that all the “pagans” would be destroyed. Instead, destruction came to them in the war culminating in the desolation of 70 AD.
If there’s one thing we as Christians can learn from this today its that we are to bless our enemies, not curse them. The way and measure we use to judge could be used against us. Our attempts today are to re-establish such a theocracy though man-made means even though the one established by God himself was removed because of man. That kingdom was “delivered up” to Father by Jesus, who became the fulfillment of the first covenant. Now, we have been invited into a new covenant, founded on better promises. We can live in the spiritual Kingdom of God unhindered by the effects of sin because Jesus has already taken care of that too. We live in a new world/age (aion), that which is governed by the Law of the Spirit written on everyone’s heart and mind.
It would seem that prior to Jesus establishment of the new, the old covenant only had the external law which had to be constantly re-centered by the prophets, up to and including Jesus. Men kept reinterpreting the scriptures to justify their actions. They didn’t have the benefit of the Holy Spirit indwelling, in anyone who would accept, like we do today. They didn’t have the law written in their hearts and their minds. They needed the external law and guidance to try to keep them on track.
Today, we as Christians still insist that the external law needs to be upheld, ironically in the same ways that Israel insisted. We’ve been attempting to recreate an earthly theocracy to govern “in the name of God” for the past 1700+ years while denying the Holy Spirit to lead. The times this type of external governance was “successful” saw some of the darkest times in our history. The New Testament is abused in the same ways the old law was—it’s manipulated to justify any man-made agenda imaginable. Jesus stated the fulfillment of the old law was love. Likewise, the New Testament writers exemplify this for our age. The problem seems to lie in that Christianity today doesn’t trust the Holy Spirit to guide, instead looking to earthly leaders, just as the Old Testament theocracy looked to an earthly king to the disdain of Father.
Fighting for things like the 10 commandments to be displayed in courthouses is a moot point. To do so only shows our ignorance of our own religious text and refusal to be led by the Holy Spirit. External laws based on the 10 commandments are fine to limit those who may refuse to be guided by the law written on their heart and mind. However, insistence on conformance to the Bible that we’ve made out to be chaos and confusion only pushes people away from Jesus. As Christians, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us is the most important thing, not placing external “Christian” caricatures on pedestals that they eventually plummet from because of their humanity.