The Kingdom of God
Over the past few weeks, we have been laying some foundations for understanding what God has prophesied about the future.
Why should we take time to study what God has said about the future?
Taking time to study prophecy is an encouragement to us today!
Why study prophecy?
Assurance of the truth
Assurance of God’s faithfulness
Proper Priorities for Life
1. Assurance of the truth of God’s Word:
When we looked at scripture that has already been fulfilled, we find real evidence that we do have the truth in the word of God! This book is true! That is seen in the fact that things that foretold future events happened exactly as they were foretold! We can know we have the truth, and that we can trust what it says, even if we do not understand how the things foretold could happen.
2. Assurance of God’s faithfulness
As we saw in the covenant God made with Abraham, God is faithful to keep his promises. He remains faithful even when men are not. Disobedience does rob us of some of the blessings of what God promises, but it cannot rob us of the promise. God is always faithful to do what He has said.
I’ll say it again… Disobedience does rob us of some of the blessings of what God promises, but it cannot rob us of the promise. God is always faithful to do what He has said.
3. Proper Priorities for Life
Today, as we talk about the kingdom, I believe we will find this study of prophecy will teach us to make proper priorities for life.
The Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God
Honestly, this is a huge topic! I will do my best to give a summary of this topic. I hope that you will do some research yourself during the week. I am including some verses in the homework to help you as you study during the week.
First what is a kingdom?
More learned men than myself have said there are three essentials to have a kingdom. Any ideas what they may be?
Three essentials for a kingdom:
Realm (area and subjects)
Reign (period of rule)
The Bible has a lot to say about kingdoms, and about God’s kingdom in particular. As we look at passages about the kingdom of God, we begin to see that the Bible does speak of different aspects of God’s kingdom.
For example, sometimes the Bible refers to God reigning over all from heaven. Sometimes it refers to God as the king of Israel. Sometimes the kingdom is from now to forever. Other times the kingdom is spoken of as coming in the future. Why the discrepancies?
Well, they are not discrepancies. Scripture is not contradicting itself.
At times, God is speaking of different aspects of His Kingdom. Sometimes God is referring to His Universal Kingdom. Sometimes He is more specific in talking about His reign over Israel. Other times He is speaking of His spiritual kingdom, reigning over those who follow Him. And, yet other times, He is more specific in talking about an aspect of His kingdom which is yet to come. All of these are a part of His universal kingdom.
This is not much different that what we can do when talking about things. For example, Tony is a father. Sometimes we can talk generically about him being a father. Other times, we can speak specifically of him as a father of his daughters. Still other times we can refer to his fatherhood over his son. And still other times we can speak of him as the father, or patriarch of his whole family, including his grandkids. And, still other times we can speak of him being a spiritual father to those of us that he has helped spiritually. All of these are different aspects of Tony being a father. None contradict. It is just that sometimes we can be specific in addressing different aspects of his fatherhood.
In the same way, the scriptures can speak of different aspects of God’s kingdom.
And each aspect can be defined by these three elements of a kingdom. That is, if we define who the ruler is, what realm they are ruling over, and when the reign occurs, we can recognize which aspect of God’s kingdom specific passages are addressing.
Today, we are going to focus in on two specific aspects of the kingdom, and try to summarize what the Bible is talking about.
The first aspect of God’s kingdom in the Bible is God’s Universal Kingdom.
As we read the verses, see if you can figure out the ruler, the realm and the reign.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
Or, as King Jehoshaphat said,
and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.
Or, as David exclaimed,
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
The Universal Kingdom
The Universal Kingdom
The Universal Kingdom
Ruler - the LORD
Realm - Universe, visible and invisible
Reign - past to everlasting
The first aspect of God’s Kingdom is His universal kingdom.
The ruler is the LORD.
He reigns over all the universe, both the seen and the unseen.
His reign has been, and will be, for all generations. It is happening now, and will continue forever. It is everlasting.
The fact that our God is sovereign overall, makes his promises real. Because He is overall, we can trust that He has the authority and power to do what He says. When He promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him, we can trust that He is going to do that! That doesn’t mean bad things do not happen. But it does mean that even when the bad things do happen, we can trust that He is going to work things out for us.
Now, when God created the heavens and the earth, He was sovereign over all.
We see that He then puts man over the created things of this world. Adam was meant to rule this world under the Lord’s authority. This is like when Joseph was the ruler of Egypt in Genesis 41.
Pharoah was the sovereign ruler, but he put Joseph in charge, so that no one would lift a finger without Joseph’s “ok”. Joseph was in charge, but still under Pharoah. So too, Adam was in charge, but under God.
Unfortunately, Adam decided to follow Satan instead of listening to the Lord. A consequence is that this world is now under the authority of Satan.
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Satan is in charge of this world for now, but God is sovereign over all, and has a plan to restore things to their proper order, with God over all, and His people ruling under His authority.
God’s promise to send one born of a woman who would crush the serpent’s head is a prophecy of the promised one breaking the power of Satan.
Later, God made promises to Abraham which spoke of how the world would be blessed through Him, and how a nation and kings would come through him.
Ultimately, the covenants God made point ahead to when He is going to reestablish His kingdom over the earth, removing Satan and every other evil authority.
In your notes, you will see this diagram. It is from Paul Benware, who wrote, Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach.
I like this diagram, because it shows the relationship between what we were looking at the last couple weeks, the Abrahamic Covenant, and what we are looking at today, the Kingdom of God.
On the Left, you will see the Abrahamic Covenant.
As we talked about last week, God promised three main things to Abraham.
He promised personal blessings.
He promised to make him into a great nation.
He promised to bless the whole world through him.
Through the coming years of Abraham’s life, God gave more details of those promises, revealing that the nation would consist of a people too numerous to count.
He gave more details on the land that the nation would eventually have as an everlasting possession.
And, He later gave more details about the ruler. God promised to have kings come from Abraham. Later God revealed to Jacob, whom God renamed Israel, that there would be rulers from Judah, and one in particular that would rule all nations.
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
This all points to a future kingdom which would come through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Later, God established another covenant, the Palestinian or Land Covenant with the nation of Israel before they entered the promised land. This covenant is found in Deuteronomy 29-30.
This covenant with the nation of Israel tied their obedience to the covenant He made with them at Horeb or Sinai to them enjoying the blessings of the land.
When they broke the covenant, God would send them out of the promised land. In other words, when the recipients of the covenant promises God made to Abraham disobeyed, they would lose out on the blessings of the land God promised to Abraham and his descendents. Disobedience means loss of reward and blessing for those who disobeyed.
However, in Deuteronomy 30, God revealed that when Israel would repent, God would restore them to the land that He promised to Abraham on oath.
Much later, God chose a specific man of the line of Judah to become a king over Israel: David. David was also given a covenant by God.
and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “ ‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ”
God spoke a lot about what He was going to do with Solomon, but pay attention to this last verse, verse 16.
In this verse, God promises to make David’s house (his family line), his kingdom, and his throne to endure forever.
Did David’s kingdom last? No. Why not? Because Solomon and his later descendants rebelled against the Lord.
Did that nullify what God promised to do? No. That meant they lost out on the blessings of the promise for a time, but a later descendant was going to get the throne and the kingdom...
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
This descendant would reign on David’s throne, and will rule over the nations. Who is that descendant?
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Jesus came, as a descendant of David. He will reign forever and ever.
Now, Jesus did not get David’s throne while He was here on earth. And all He said was that the kingdom was near. It had not come to fruition. In fact, in His teaching on prayer, He taught us to pray for the kingdom to come. It is not yet here, but we are to look for it to come. Watching for the coming king was also the point of a few of his parables and teachings, like the parable of the virgins and their lamps in Matthew 25.
This is another aspect of the Kingdom of God.
The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
Ruler - Jesus
Realm - The nations of the earth
Reign - Future, to everlasting
When Jesus left the earth, his disciples asked if this was the time he was going to establish his kingdom. Jesus told them only the Father knew when that would happen. Until then, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, or on the Father’s throne.
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, or on the Father’s throne. This is different than David’s throne. He is there, as He foretold in the parable of Luke 19, where Jesus talked about a noble going off to a foreign land to be made king.
Jesus is sitting not on David’s throne, but at the right hand of the throne of God, waiting for the time when, as Psalm 110 puts it...
The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
Jesus is going to come back and sit on David’s throne in Zion,
The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
He will have a kingdom established which will be the greatest kingdom ever.
“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
Notice, that Jesus’ coming kingdom will be on the earth, in Zion, or Jerusalem. It will be over all nations.
There are many prophecies in the Old Testament, including Zechariah 14 which we referenced a few weeks ago, which speak of the kingdom. Jesus spoke a lot about the coming kingdom when He was here to make a way for people to be a part of that kingdom. How can we be a part of that kingdom? By being born again, through faith!
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus said to believers in Revelation 3:21
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Jesus told His disciples about sitting on thrones with Him, and Paul referenced how all believers will be sitting on thrones and judging even angels.
In Revelation 20, we see the bride of Christ, all those who believe in Jesus, coming back with Him and sitting on thrones, ruling with Him, for 1000 years.
Then, after the 1000 years, that kingdom will go into the new Earth, and the new Jerusalem for all eternity!
We read some of what that kingdom will be like in Isaiah earlier. It will be a kingdom of peace. It will be a kingdom where we do not need to fear sickness and death. It will be an everlasting kingdom in which we will be with our Lord, enjoying Him and His creation for all eternity!
What a future to look forward to!
How does this apply to life now?
How does this apply to life now?
First, as we said, God is sovereign. That gives us hope and peace, knowing that He is ultimately in charge, and He is working out His plan to restore people into a right relationship with Himself, and working to to restore the kingdom of this world to being under Him. Hope and peace. He has the power and authority to do all He has said He will do.
Second, this life in this world is fleeting. There are many kingdoms, and it seems like there is no end to people trying to establish their rule and their kingdom. It is easy to see how this world really is being ruled by Satan.
Knowing that Jesus is coming back to establish a kingdom where there will be justice, peace, and righteousness should give us hope!! It gives us something to truly look forward to! And, it reminds us to not look to this world, or things of this world for satisfaction.
Jesus said that we need to pray for God’s kingdom to come.
“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
The evil one is at work in this world, but
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
We will overcome as we follow Him in faith, because He has already overcome! He has already won the victory! His kingdom is coming!
So, we need to follow Him, and live for His kingdom and His righteousness instead of just living our lives here for the things of this world.
As Jesus said,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Remember this week that Jesus is coming to establish the kingdom He has already secured. He is simply waiting for more people to be saved to enter the kingdom. Then, at the time set by the Father, He will come!
Let’s live our lives with the priority to be gaining rewards in that kingdom instead of just living for the here and now!
Let the prophecy about the coming kingdom set our priorities for life today!
1. Land Covenant: Read Deuteronomy 29-30. This covenant was in addition to the one made at Horeb? What covenant was that? What is the point of this covenant? Does it change the Covenant God made with Abraham to give him and his descendants the land described in Genesis 15? Would Israel lose what God said was an everlasting covenant? Or, would they just miss out on the blessings of the covenant for a time due to sin? Later, God affirmed this promise again through the prophets. One example is Ezekiel 16:59-63. The promises to return to the land are numerous. Isa. 11:1–12; 14:1–3; 27:12–13; 43:1–8; 49:8–13; 66:20; Jer. 16:14–16; 23:3–8; 30:1–11; 31:31–40; 32:37–44; Ezek. 20:42; 34:11–16; 39:25–29; Hos. 1:10–11; Joel 3:17–21; Amos 9:11–15; Mic. 4:4–7; Zech. 8:3–8.
2. Davidic Covenant: 2 Samuel 7:8-16. See also, Psalm 89:3-4, 35-37. God says a lot about what He will do with Solomon, and then in verse 16 God makes some important promises. What are they? God promised him that his house, his kingdom and his throne would endure forever. Did God go back on His promise? No. Through the prophets God foretold how, though the kingdom was lost for a time due to sin, there would be another descendant of David who would get David’s throne forever. Read Isaiah 11:1-10, 9:6-7.
3. Read about God’s Universal Kingdom: Ps 9:7-8; 29 (especially verse 10); Ps 55:19; 66:7; 93:1-2; 102:12; 103:19; 145:13; La 5:19. What hope does it give you to know that God is sovereign over all? Share that hope with someone today.
4. Satan’s kingdom. Satan is called the ruler of this world. 1 John 5:19. Luke 4:6; Jn 12:31; 14:30; Eph 2:2; 1 John 5:19; Rev 2:13. Things are happening here because mankind handed this world to Satan’s authority back when Adam first obeyed Satan instead of the Lord. How does this explain bad things that are happening in your life, and in our nation and world? What hope do we have? What verses would you reference to share the hope you have in spite of Satan being the ruler of this world?
5. The Coming Kingdom. Read Matthew 13. What do these parables teach us about the coming kingdom? Luke 19:12-27. Who is the noble who went to a far country to be appointed King? Jesus said this noble will come back to reign. What does this tell us about what Jesus is doing now? Pray that the kingdom will come. Matthew 6:9-13. Live for the coming kingdom. Matthew 6:19ff. How can you live for the coming kingdom today? Tomorrow? Next week?