KINGDOM: NOW AND THEN
OUR VIEW: LOVE ENACTED THROUGH KINGDOM
Mark 1:14-15 and Hebrews 12:28 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel…” and Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Basillia is the word that puts the sizzle in the Kingdom of God. In the NT, the word basillea mans “Kingship” or royal rule.” It implies the exercise of kingly rule or reign over people rather than the geographical boundaries of a kingdom. The Bible emphasizes rule over realm. The Kingdom of God is the number one theme of the Gospels. It is the most recurrent theme in the Gospels in both variations it is known as, The Kingdom of God or The Kingdom of Heaven. It is also one of the most misunderstood and attacked truths today. This is why it is so important to get a grip on what Jesus was talking about.
- 1) KINGDOM BOUNDARIES
In order to understand what the Kingdom is all about we need to look at Jesus’ interview with Pilate in John 18:35-37, Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (35) το βασίλειό μου δεν είναι αυτό το κόσμο
One of the strongest voices against defining the Kingdom as a geographic boundary is seen in this passage. Jesus says His Basilia (Kingdom) is not of this cosmos (World). Matthew 5:18 tells us what the cosmos needs, For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. The most common words for “earth” in Hebrew are ˒ereṣ and ˒aḏāmâ, with ˒ereṣ meaning the earth in contrast to heaven (Gen. 1:1; 2:1), to the sea (Gen. 1:10), and to the Underworld (“land of the living,” Isa. 38:11; cf. 26:19, “land of the shades,” meaning Sheol); or to territory, like the “land of Egypt,” (Gen. 47:13). ˒aḏāmâ (from ˒dm “be red”) refers primarily to the soil (Exod. 20:24) and occurs often in the expression the “face of the earth” (Exodus 32:12), i.e., the surface of the soil, the idea of the face of the earth (cosmos) and the substance the first man was made from (dust) is why he is called Adam (Eerdmans Bible dictionary).
Understanding the concept of God’s Kingdom from a biblical point is really important. The reason for this is the way people have warped or perverted the understanding of Kingdom over the years. Jesus rules where His, authority, power, and love are present and are manifesting. They manifest perfectly in heaven, and we are the bearers of the heavenly revelation on earth. When we invite the heavenly realm to earth, we get the sizzle of the Kingdom. Get it? Got it. Good.
Jesus Kingdom transcends Adam’s restrictions. This is why the idea that Jesus Kingdom is simply the application of a form of government over men is a serious error. I say this because there are many people in the world who believe that this is what Jesus meant, like Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and others who accept what we call ammillinarianism as a way to understand the return of Jesus. This way of thinking is creeping into Charismatic circles through the teaching called preterism or partial preterism. It’s a teaching that says that the prophetic pictures about the future that were painted in the NT were actually fulfilled during the early years of the church like the parousia (rapture). They say the Second Coming happened during the seize of Jerusalem in 70ad, and that our blessed hope is seen as our ability to subjugate the world by ruling the nations. Kingdom Now is just another variation of ammillinarianism.
When you have people who get filled with the Spirit, but were Seminary trained or educated by people who believe in a preterist view and start believing that it is true, like the late C Peter Wagner, or Harold Eberly, or Che Ahn, or many of my friends at Bethel, it becomes a problem. Just like becoming saved doesn’t automatically correct our way of acting, becoming Spirit Filled doesn’t automatically change our way of thinking or correcting bad theological positions. This is why we need to be biblically literate people, and produce biblically literate people.
Starting in the 1700’s during the Renaissance, people in the church started looking at the Kingdom as the churches response to human suffering. Liberal Theologians typically see God as the benevolent Father of everyone, and that He is working toward their ultimate salvation and redemption. Liberals have taken the idea of the Fatherhood of God and liberally applied it to everyone, and that He loves all men equally. Strains of this perspective have led people to embrace Universalism, a belief that everyone gets saved because God as Father will not reject His children in the final analysis.
The problem with this way of interpreting Scripture is Jesus. Jesus revealed God as Father in a very restrictive sense. He addressed God as Father about Himself and His disciples. That’s it. Everyone else was seen as children of the deceiver, the god of this world. And Jesus viewed all men as sinful, or capable of sinning. That’s where His grace came in, which has produced a Kingdom that isn’t of this world, and those who belong to it are simply sojourners, pilgrims in a hostile land.
Correct view: Fatherhood is a grace gift… Fatherhood: Jesus #1 concern about God (Matthew 6:1, 2, 7-15)… Only spoke to the disciples as God being Father… This was a divine mandate… We are called into a loving relationship… God really, really loves us
So liberals see the church as a social agency that is supposed to minister to the needs of broken humanity, and as we act with kindness and wisdom, we will enforce the Rule of God on earth through peace. That was the main way the European Church viewed the Kingdom in the early 20th Century. Two world wars shattered this notion and drained the faith of the faith of many, leaving Europe as essentially a non-Christian community.
The Kingdom in the OT revelation was seen as the Messianic Expectation, as they looked forward to how God would deliver them. From a religious perspective, this was a eschatological hope. From a secular or religious perspective, it was seen as National in the people and their politic.
By the 1st Century, the Jews had compressed the two ideas into one, as they equated the Kingdom with the King in a physical sense. They lost their future, spiritual expectations. 1st Century Jews were ammilinarians of their day.
Jesus was a both/and, not an either/or in His theological teachings on the Kingdom. It wasn’t just physical or future, it was both. Jesus viewed the Kingdom as being inaugurated by the establishment of his reign when He ministered during His first coming. His reign had a 3 fold expression: healing the sick, casting out demons, and the exercise of power over nature like the cessation of storms, walking on water, miraculous food provision, and the like.
2) KINGDOM CONFLICT
The Kingdom carries within it a sense of conflict when you think about the three expressions. This is summarized perfectly in the Westminster Shorter Catechism when it states the purpose of Jesus as, “destroying the activity of satan in the world.” This conflict is primarily fought on the battlefield of the human soul, as that is the ultimate prize to be conquered. Salvation establishes Kingdom residents.
This battles engages areas like hunger (John 6), natural catastrophes (Mark 4:35), sickness (Luke 7:21), death (Luke 11-16), and truth.
It is a fight between two Kingdoms that is similar to the time between D Day (June 6th, 1944), and V Day (May 4/5, 1945. It’s an overlapping Kingdom. George Ladd called it the already and the not yet. The Rule of God vs. the Reign of God, the passive and the active components of Heaven’s relationship with earth.
This tension is best seen in the dual framework that is found in Scripture, as alternate ideas live in tension, like predestination and free will, the church in authority vs. the enemies kingdom.
3) KINGDOM AUTHORITY
Authority has been transferred from the Father to the Son, from the Son to His Bride, the church. Christ rule is exercised through His people, as they walk out their identity and until all the hostilities have come to an end.
Luke 22:24-30 (29) addresses this transference, A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And it subtly refers to the battlefield of conflict, as satan’s purpose is countered by Jesus. The same Westminster Shorted Catechism that says satan’s purpose is to thwart the redemptive purposes of God says that Jesus purpose is to destroy the activities of satan. Matthew 12:22-30 illustrates this. Kingdom theology is conflict theology. It is a holy call to arms. Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.
This battle is not a Civil War with two Kingdoms of approximately the same power. Satan isn’t almost as powerful as God. This is however, a conflict that is being fought over human souls for their ownership. A side note about the two kingdoms let’s understand that the metaphor of binding the enemy is that yes, satan has been bound (restricted in authority), but he is not powerless. This is an important thing to understand.
Relationship Between Kingdom (gracelet focus) and Authority
John 20:22 The Breath of God. Greek: Emphysao: “To Breath Upon”; Same as in Creation:
Genesis 2:7 Clay; Same as in Ezekiel 37:5, 14 dead bones.
Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land… Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’”
Breath of God: Imparted Authority. This can be seen as a Continuation of Binding & Loosing
This Authorization can be seen as: Giving the Right/Power to act (Exousia). Same concept as Apostolic authority
Authority means: “Having the right to perform an action.” Relates to ability and permission; it is a right of conference, which is legal permission.
Actions are allowed as long as nothing Higher prevents it from transpiring. Faith and legal issues relate to Ethical & Psychological Blockades
In the New Covenant: Mostly relates to God’s Will, Law or Demands: Basis of Authorization to Act
Active Authority: Relational Authorization. Birthed in relationship and communication
Speaks of Actions:”that are possible because there is an occasion for it & there is no obstacle set before it” A quality of relationship is vital and necessary
The proof on the Kingdom’s presence is the expression of the miraculous. We conquer and expand the Kingdom of God when we as the church attack sickness, demonization, hunger (John 6), and death (Luke 7:11-16). This is how the reality of the Kingdom is demonstrated.
In Luke 9:1-11, authority was given to do the miraculous by the disciples. As they were authorized, they were sent out as deputized agents (apostolos). They message that they carried brought freedom, salvation (sodzo), as salvation was offered as a gift. And the gift is possessive (dorma), not expressed grace (charismata).
This giftedness has been offered to the poor in spirit, the spiritually hungry, the mournful, and sinners seeking salvation and forgiveness, in general (Mark 2:1-12). Matthew 4:23-25 lets us understand the dynamic of Kingdom as Jesus and us. Together we are the Kingdom. The Kingdom is ours to share with Christ because He is our Great High Priest, and He is the head of a holy priesthood.
Purpose of the Supernatural:
Gaining a hearing (Matthew 4:24, 25) Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
Relieve Distress (Matthew 14:14) And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick
To Validate His Mission (Luke 4:16-21) So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”