Saturday, September 08, 2018

Coming of the Kingdom

When did the Kingdom of God begin? Most theologians assume that Jesus inaugurated a kingdom, but that does not seem to be right. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God had come near, which implies that it already existed.

The scriptures teach that the Kingdom of God began when God rescued the children of Israel from Israel and Moses led them into the promised land. God spoke to the people through Israel.

Now if you will carefully listen to me and keep my covenant, you will be my own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine, and you will be my kingdom of priests and my set-apart people (Ex 19:5-6).

God promised that if they kept his covenant and obeyed his word, they would be a kingdom of priests and people set apart for God. They would be a kingdom with God as their king. When they accepted the covenant, the Kingdom of God began.

The Kingdom of God was established in Moses time, but it quickly slipped away. The fullness of the Holy Spirit had not come, so the people struggled to live with God as their king. They quickly shifted to trusting in political and military power. This choice was cemented in place in Samuel’s time when the people demanded a king like the nations. God explained to Samuel that they had rejected his kingship (1 Sam 8).

The Kingdom came again with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. However, it has waxed and waned. It advanced quickly, but in the third century, it became emerged in political and military power.

A kingdom has laws. People who assume that the Kingdom of God began with Jesus claim that the Sermon on the Mount is the law of the Kingdom. That is a mistake because it turns a description of behaviour that flows out of life in the Spirit into a set of rules that are impossible to keep. The gospel is life in the Spirit not a tougher set of rules.

The laws of the Kingdom are the laws of Moses. Their purpose is to restrain the behaviour of people who have rejected the gospel and the Spirit and help the people of God to live together in peace. I explain how these apply in my books called Government of God and God’s Economy.

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