Thy Kingdom Come – Chapter 1
A. This study, “Thy Kingdom Come,” is a Biblical exposition that covers the time period from the first verse of the book of Genesis to the last verse of the book of Revelation. The unifying factor of each verse of God’s Holy Word is God’s love, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
B. The title of this study, Thy Kingdom Come,” relates to our Lord’s Words to first century Israel, as recorded in Matthew 6:10, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” These words were spoken only to the Jews of Israel, where Jesus told the Jews to pray for the Kingdom To Come to earth. Neither Gentiles, nor Samaritans, were the subject of this conversation.
C. The context of “Thy Kingdom Come” is that of Jesus offering the Davidic Kingdom to the nation of Israel in the first century A.D., and only to the nation of Israel, as is documented the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In each instance of the Kingdom that is being offered to Israel, its’ meaning and scripture basis is that of the Davidic Covenant, as seen in 2 Samuel 7:8-16, which has a context and meaning of God’s unconditional covenant with David, which describes an earthly kingdom, with Jesus ruling from that throne in Jerusalem. The Davidic Covenant is an unconditional sub-covenant of the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:2) that God made with Abraham. While the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, document only the offer of the Davidic Kingdom to Israel, the Gospel of John brings in the subject of personal salvation (John 3:16; John 17:3).
D. In order for Israel to receive the offer of the kingdom, a requirement was that Israel must accept God’s choice of its King, as is stated in Deuteronomy 17:15, “you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.” The mission of Jesus in the Gospels was for Him to show first century Israel that He, Jesus, was God’s choice to be the King of Israel.
E. Each offer of the kingdom to Israel, which will be received when the Jews accept Jesus as Israel’s King, is prefixed by the words, “the Kingdom of God is at hand,” John 3:2, which is stating that the Kingdom of God is “near,” but “not here.” “Being here” was contingent upon Israel accepting Jesus as God’s choice for Israel’s king. For the Kingdom to be at hand, or “near,” and not “here” is significant in the context of the offer of the Kingdom to Israel. Consider the following verse and comment:
Matthew 3:2, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is not a personal salvation verse, but one that relates to the restoration of Israel. When the Jews were given the Law, after leaving Egypt, the Jews were given the Mosaic law which relates to how they were to treat others. When Jesus appeared on the scene, the Jews were not treating other people as they had been taught by the Law. The Jews were being told, “if you want to be kingdom people, then act like kingdom people.” At the time of the ascension of Jesus to Heaven, His disciples asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). This verse shows that the Kingdom had not yet come .
F. Instructions were given to Jewish disciples about telling other Jews about “the Gospel of the Kingdom,” which did not relate to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15:1-8). The Gospel of the kingdom relates to the conditions of the Davidic Kingdom (2 Sam 7:8-16) that will be present on earth when Jesus will be “King” ruling from Jerusalem. Jesus and His disciples did not tell the first century Jews the meaning of the Davidic Kingdom , because they had already received such an explanation in their Jewish teachings. Consider the following two verses:
1.Matt 4:17. From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matt 4:17). Jesus repeated the words of John the Baptist (Matt 3:2).
2. Matt 10:5-7. These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (The instructions were for the disciples to go only to Jews of the Jewish blood line, which descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”).
G. As previously stated, the purpose of Jesus’s contact with the Jews was to offer the Davidic Kingdom to them, and not to anyone else. In this study, we will see that the nation of Israel rejected the offer of Jesus for Israel to receive the Davidic Kingdom. We will also see that which has taken place since Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Israel’s duly chosen King.
II. The Sovereignty of God.
A. God is Sovereign, and as Sovereign He rules eternally in a kingdom in which He is the absolute authority. In order to understand the biblical concept of “kingdom,” we must recognize that it includes several ideas: the right to rule, a realm in which ruling authority is exercised, and the reality of that authority actually being exercised.
B. The Kingdom in Eternity.
1. Concerning God’s kingdom, the Bible presents two aspects: the eternal aspect and the temporal aspect. The eternal kingdom is characterized by the following essential truths: (a) It is timeless; (b) it is universal; (c) it is providential; (d) it is miraculous.
2. In eternity past, before the creation of the angels, the earth, and man, a kingdom existed in the sphere of “the heavenlies” because of the relationship among the members of the Trinity. God the Father was sovereign. God the Son, although equal in person, was subordinate to the Father. God the Holy Spirit was the active executor of the will of the Father (Gen. 1:1-3). Thus, in eternity past there was a kingdom, involving the right to rule, as well as the sphere in which the right operated and the rule was exercised. Indeed, all the elements essential to a kingdom were present.
3. This kingdom arises from the character of God and reaches from eternity to eternity. God’s kingdom was displayed in the angelic realm before it was developed on the earth. The created angelic hosts in that kingdom were subject to the Sovereign, and they worshiped Him and obeyed Him. This continued until the fall of Lucifer and the angels who followed him in rebellion.
C. The Kingdom on Earth (Pre-Abrahamic).
1. To demonstrate His right to rule, God ordered this earthly sphere as the place where He would rule. He populated it with creatures who were responsible to recognize that right, submit to it, and give the Ruler that which was due Him. Our sovereign God, in every period of theocratic administration, has ruled through those to whom He assigned His authority. It was the responsibility of administrators to subjugate all to God’s authority, to reward those who do good, to punish evildoers, and to provide an atmosphere in which the subjects of the King might live in peace. In the garden, Adam was the theocratic administrator whose responsibility was to subject all creation to himself, so that through him creation might be subject to the authority of God. When this form of administration failed, God brought a judgment and expelled Adam and Eve from the garden.
2. God instituted a new form of theocratic administration in which He wrote His law in the hearts of men and subjected man to His law. That law was man’s conscience (Rom. 2:15), and as men subjected themselves to the rule of conscience, they were in subjection to the authority of God. But that too failed. And when men rebelled against that form of theocratic administration, God wiped the human race off the face of the earth by a flood.
3. God then instituted a new form of theocratic administration in which authority was given to human government (Gen. 9:6). It was the responsibility of human government to curb lawlessness and to bring man in subjection to the authority of God. Again, man failed miserably. And when men organized in open rebellion against God; the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel-because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world (Gen. 11:8-9).
D. The Kingdom in Israel.
1. With the call of Abraham, God introduced a new form of theocratic administration. He instituted the Abrahamic Covenant that promised Abraham a land, seed, and blessing. Throughout the Old Testament-through that expanding covenant program-God administered His theocracy here on earth. The kingdom program was then developed with the nation of Israel through the covenants that God made with them:
a. the Abrahamic (Genesis 15:18),
b. the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel;. 7:14),
c. the New Covenant (Jeremiah. 31:31-34),
d. the Land Covenant, (Deuternomy28-30). These eternal, unconditional, irrevocable covenants determined the ultimate form of the kingdom of the God of heaven on earth.
2. While the covenants promised a kingdom here on earth, it was the prophets who described the glories of that kingdom. The prophets of the Old Testament had proclaimed a message of hope that caused Israel to eagerly anticipate the fulfillment of God’s covenants and promises to them. David’s son, the Messiah, would come to bring peace, righteousness, and prosperity to the nation. He would come as a Savior to redeem and as a Sovereign to reign. The nations which had persecuted Israel would be subjugated to Him, and Israel would know the promised peace which the Prince of Peace would bring. Her accumulated sins would be put away and she would experience forgiveness and life in righteousness. Such was the hope of Israel.
3. Years passed before an official proclamation was made by the prophesied forerunner, John the Baptist, who heralded his message to the nation: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2 NASB). When Jesus began His ministry He made the same proclamation: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17 NASB). The call to repentance shows that this was a contingent offer and that the blessings of the kingdom depended on the nation’s response. This does not mean, however, it was not a genuine offer. The reference to the kingdom needed no explanation; it was the covenanted kingdom under David’s son, the Messiah, of which the prophets had so clearly spoken and for whom the nation was waiting. The nation was plunged into a great debate concerning His person.
4. Who is this Jesus of Nazareth who claims to be the son of David and the Son of God? Is He what He claims to be? If so, He truly is the promised and covenanted Messiah. If not, He is a blasphemous impostor who is worthy of death. Jesus made His claims concerning His
person very clear. He validated those claims convincingly by His miracles, and He challenged people to accept His claims and to put faith in Him, so as to receive a righteousness from Him that would enable them to enter His forthcoming kingdom.
5. From the inception of His ministry two responses to His presentation were evident. John says: “He came to His own [things], and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12). His rejection is clearly seen in the response of those in Nazareth, who heard Him claim to be the One who would fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2. These responses climax in the incident recorded in Matthew 12:22-24. There were those who, on the basis of the evidence He had presented about Himself as the son of David, the Messiah, expressed their willingness to accept Him as the Messiah. But there were also those who rejected the evidence and sought to explain it away, so that they would be guiltless for their rejection. There were two supernatural powers who could perform miracles: Satan and God. If the leaders acknowledged that Jesus performed miracles by God’s power, they would be without excuse for their unbelief; but if He performed miracles by Satan’s power, they could justify their rejection. Thus they sought to dissuade those who believed by saying: “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons” (Matt. 12:24).
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