Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

IS THERE SOMETHING IN THE BIBLE THAT PUZZLES YOU?

If so please EMail us with your question and we will do our best to give you a satisfactory answer.EMailus. (But preferably not from aol.com, for some reason they do not deliver our messages).

FREE Scholarly verse by verse commentaries on the Bible.

THE PENTATEUCH --- GENESIS ---EXODUS--- LEVITICUS --- NUMBERS --- DEUTERONOMY --- THE BOOK OF JOSHUA --- THE BOOK OF JUDGES --- SAMUEL --- KINGS --- PSALMS 1-50--- ECCLESIASTES--- SONG OF SOLOMON --- ISAIAH --- JEREMIAH & LAMENTATIONS --- EZEKIEL --- DANIEL --- --- HOSEA --- --- JOEL ------ AMOS --- --- OBADIAH --- --- JONAH --- --- MICAH --- --- NAHUM --- --- HABAKKUK--- --- ZEPHANIAH --- --- HAGGAI --- ZECHARIAH --- --- MALACHI --- THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ---THE GOSPEL OF MARK--- THE GOSPEL OF LUKE --- THE GOSPEL OF JOHN --- THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES --- READINGS IN ROMANS --- 1 CORINTHIANS --- 2 CORINTHIANS ---GALATIANS --- EPHESIANS--- PHILIPPIANS --- COLOSSIANS --- 1 THESSALONIANS --- 2 THESSALONIANS --- 1 TIMOTHY --- 2 TIMOTHY --- TITUS --- HEBREWS --- JAMES --- 1 & 2 PETER --- JOHN'S LETTERS --- JUDE --- REVELATION --- THE GOSPELS & ACTS

The Kingdom of God In The Old Testament

The Kingdom of God (or better the Kingly Rule of God) is a prominent subject in the Bible both in the Old and New Testaments. The idea behind the Kingdom of God is God’s Kingship as Lord and Creator. It was the possibility of entering into the Kingdom of God that was central to Jesus’ ministry, and the Kingdom of God also features largely in Acts. But its basis lies in the Old Testament. For God’s purpose from the beginning was to establish the Kingdom of God. For further detail concerning the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament, see below. <

IS THERE SOMETHING IN THE BIBLE THAT PUZZLES YOU?

If so please EMail us with your question and we will do our best to give you a satisfactory answer.EMailus. (But preferably not from aol.com, for some reason they do not deliver our messages).

FREE Scholarly verse by verse commentaries on the Bible.

THE PENTATEUCH --- GENESIS ---EXODUS--- LEVITICUS --- NUMBERS --- DEUTERONOMY --- THE BOOK OF JOSHUA --- THE BOOK OF JUDGES --- SAMUEL --- KINGS --- PSALMS 1-50--- ECCLESIASTES--- SONG OF SOLOMON --- ISAIAH --- JEREMIAH --- EZEKIEL --- DANIEL --- --- HOSEA --- --- JOEL ------ AMOS --- --- OBADIAH --- --- JONAH --- --- MICAH --- --- NAHUM --- --- HABAKKUK--- --- ZEPHANIAH --- --- HAGGAI --- ZECHARIAH --- --- MALACHI --- THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ---THE GOSPEL OF MARK--- THE GOSPEL OF LUKE --- THE GOSPEL OF JOHN --- THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES --- READINGS IN ROMANS --- 1 CORINTHIANS --- 2 CORINTHIANS ---GALATIANS --- EPHESIANS--- PHILIPPIANS --- COLOSSIANS --- 1 THESSALONIANS --- 2 THESSALONIANS --- 1 TIMOTHY --- 2 TIMOTHY --- TITUS --- HEBREWS --- JAMES --- 1 & 2 PETER --- JOHN'S LETTERS --- JUDE --- REVELATION --- THE GOSPELS & ACTS

Appendix 2.

The Kingdom or Kingly Rule of God In The Old Testament.

The idea of the Kingdom of God, or better, the Kingly Rule of God, is central in Scripture and is closely involved with the idea of covenant (the binding together of two parties by a solemn, unbreakable oath). This should not surprise us as in ancient days kingship and covenant were closely connected. Every nation was expected to enter into covenant with its king to submit to him and obey him, (to swear fealty), and every subject nation was required to enter into covenant with its suzerain (overlord). Thus what we call ‘the Ten Commandments’ given at Mount Sinai are really the stipulations part of a typical suzerainty treaty of the period.

A covenant describes a position where two parties are involved, the maker of the covenant and its recipients. As a result of such a covenant, promises are made and actions carried out, and in many cases response is required. Biblically such covenants are basically of three kinds.

  • The first is where the Lord of the covenant determines, totally unconditionally, to perform some service for those who are seen as within the covenant, and fully determines what it will achieve. Its benefits are unconditional and will occur solely because of the sovereignty of the Covenantor. Its recipients have no choice in the matter because it is an act of undeserved goodness and total sovereignty, in response to which there can be no refusal, for the Covenantor guarantees to carry it through to the end regardless of the deserving or otherwise of the recipients. Examples of this are the Noahic covenant whereby God guarantees into the far future the existence of the world as inhabitable in spite of all that man may do, namely that never again will He bring such a flood upon it (Genesis 8.21-22; 9.8-17); the Abrahamic covenant whereby God promises that through his seed all the world will be blessed (Genesis 12.2-3); the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7.8-16 whereby God guarantees eternal kingship to David’s house; and the new covenant of Jeremiah 31.31-34 whereby God guarantees to produce a people for Himself who will perform all His will, and the re-emphasising of this covenant in Hebrews 8.8-13. All these are certain of fulfilment. While resulting in human response, fulfilment of them is not dependent on it. There is no real human equivalent, although an unconditional Will might be seen as approaching it.
  • The second type of covenant is where the Lord of the covenant determines to perform some service for those who are seen as within the covenant, but where the fulfilment of the promises made are seen as conditional on obedience. In this case then it depends on the response of the recipients as to whether the benefits promised continue. The benefits are thus dependent on the correct response of the recipients. Examples of this are the initial creation in which the man and the woman were installed in the Fruitful Place of Eden and given certain instructions, disobedience with regard to which would result in expulsion; and the second covenant after the Flood which gave promises concerning the future of mankind, although again warning of the consequences of disobedience (Genesis 9.1-7). It can be compared with the Suzerain Lord who invades a country and enforces his will on it because of his irresistible power, but who will then come down in judgment on them if they fail to obey his commands. (The difference with God is that He requires what He does because His demands are righteous, not in order to personally benefit by the covenant).
  • The third type of covenant is where on the grounds of some service performed by Him, and possibly some service that He will perform in the future, the Covenantor calls on people willingly to respond to him within the covenant, expressing thereby their willingness to perform the covenant conditions. In this case there is a choice. People may choose whether to enter into the covenant, or reject it. But once they enter it they are bound by it. An example of this is the Sinai covenant. All covenants between a king and his people in ancient days were at least theoretically on this basis.

Note that Biblically all such covenants when connected with God result from response to the grace of God. It is always God Who acts first in order to bring them about. But in the case of the first the consequences are guaranteed, while in the case of the second and third there are conditions involved. Nevertheless in all three cases the Kingly Rule of God is involved, because response to His authority as Overlord is required, the only difference in the first case being that God will bring it about sovereignly through His powerful working in the hearts of men and women, so that response will inevitably take place as a result of His effective working, while in the second and third cases voluntary response is necessary by all who would remain in the covenant.

Thus when God set up His Kingly Rule, which was to be in the sphere of the fruitful plain of Eden, of which Kingly Rule the tree of knowing good and evil was the symbol, it was not long before rebellion broke out. Adam and Eve sinned. They rejected His Kingship and the sphere of His Kingly Rule was marred. They were turned out of the sphere of His Kingly Rule, an event which eventually resulted in the establishment of a ‘city’, that is, a grouping where man ruled himself , setting up his own authority (Genesis 4.17).

When God set up His Kingly Rule through Noah after the Flood, it was the whole world which was to be the sphere of His Kingly Rule, but again it was not long before the sphere of His Kingly Rule was marred because of Noah’s sinfulness and the sinfulness of his sons. And things eventually became worse and worse as first under Nimrod, who established ‘the Great City’, a combination of cities (Genesis 10.8-12), and then at Babel (Genesis 11.1-9), mankind sought to establish their own kingly rule apart from God, a rebellion indicated by the cities that they established. God’s Kingly Rule had been rejected, and man had set himself up as supreme, setting up his own gods.

It was then that God turned to the idea of establishing a Kingly Rule of God over a select part of mankind, within a select area, with a view to their developing righteousness and finally bringing the world back under His Kingly Rule.

He did this initially in respect to Abraham (Genesis 12.2-3) and the patriarchal tribes, who were promised that at some time in the future a specific area of land (Canaan and its surrounds) would become theirs, and that their descendants would become kings. They walked comparatively righteously in a godless world, acknowledging His Kingly Rule, and they were promised that one day the whole land would belong to their descendants, and that through them the whole world would be blessed.

This promise eventually expanded into His offer to Israel, who were the successors of the patriarchal tribes, under which His aim was to set up a sphere under the Kingly Rule of God in Canaan and its surrounds. They would set up under God ‘a kingdom of priests’ (Exodus 19.6). And this was immediately followed by the Suzerainty (Overlord’s) treaty contained in 20.1-17, which was the commencement of that aim. They could now declare that ‘the sound of a king was among them’ (Numbers 23.21), and in the Holiest Place in the Tabernacle was the King’s throne. The Lord was King among the righteous ones (Jeshurun - Deuteronomy 33.5).But this Kingly Rule never achieved itsfinal goal, and again the reason for the failure was because of disobedience. They rejected the full significance of His kingship, and instead compromised with the cities and peoples whom they should have driven out of the land, who were steeped in idolatry and were in rebellion against God (e.g. Judges 1).

Thus in the end, seeing themselves as hemmed in from every side, they asked for an earthly king in order to replace Him (1 Samuel 8.5; 10.19). They did not want to continue relying on God, Who might not be for them if they were being disobedient. They wanted a king who would fight for them whatever their behaviour. The ideal of the Kingly Rule of God, which was that all in it would be responsive to His covenant requirements, and live in the light of them, was replaced by the idea of loyalty to a king. God made clear to Samuel that it was the rejection of His Kingship (1 Samuel 8.7).

But God was not finished with them, for He remembered His promises to Abraham, and so He raised up David and made promises that through him and his descendants the everlasting Kingly Rule of God would be established, and his descendants as ‘sons’ under God their ‘Father’ would rule for ever (2 Samuel 7.4-16). The vision was that in the end all nations would be brought into subjection to God (Psalm 2.7-9). And the Psalmists were able to declare that ‘the Kingly Rule (LXX 21.29 tou Kuriou basileia) is the LORD’S (Psalm 22.28), and He is the ruler over the nations’, for they saw its fulfilment as a certainty. Thus they could boldly state, ‘The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His Kingly Rule (LXX 102.19 - he basileia autou) reigns over all’ (Psalm 103.19). There was no doubting God’s Kingly Rule, what awaited fulfiment was His conquest of those who had risen up against Him.

However, God’s idea in all His activity was that this establishing of the Kingly Rule of God would be by means of a people who were fully faithful to His covenant, and acknowledged His Heavenly Rule. His aim was that righteousness and truth might triumph under the coming ideal king (Isaiah 9.6-7; 11.1-10). Thus there would have to be a total transformation in His people before it could be brought about. In contrast the idea of His people became that God would bring it about and they would simply benefit by it whether they were fully obedient to His covenant or not, as long as they performed the right rituals and offered token worship.

The subsequent history of the kings revealed Israel’s unwillingness to submit to the Kingly Rule of God, and the failure of their unfounded hopes. This was especially seen as revealed in the form of their idolatry. And the prophets then declared judgment on Israel and Judah until there should arise a King of the house of David Who would do all God’s will. Even the good kings formed alliances with godless nations (see Isaiah 39, where Hezekiah looked to Babylon; and 2 Kings 23.29, where Josiah assisted the alliance against Assyria by seeking to prevent Pharaoh Necho from going to Assyria’s aid), while their children continued to prove their fathers’ failure by their own rebellion against God.

In contrast with this was the basic idea of the totally independent Kingly Rule of God which was maintained by the prophets, and the basis of that was that it could only be entered by those who truly responded to His covenant, were transformed in their attitudes and came under His Kingly Rule (e.g. Ezekiel 37.21-28). Ahaz was given such an opportunity. He could either trust in the Lord, or he could trust in the King of Assyria. The Lord even promised to perform for him any spectacular ‘sign’ that he asked for (Isaiah 7.10). If he would believe and trust wholly to the Lord he would be established. If, however, he refused to believe and trusted in Assyria then he would not be established (Isaiah 7.9). Ahaz chose to trust in Assyria, at which God informed him that the Coming King in whom all Israel’s hopes were place, who was to be born of his house (the house of David), would not be born of his seed but would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7.14). Ahaz had lost the privilege of being sire to the Coming King.

The unbelief continued and when it became clear that the present kings were not likely to bring about a situation of triumph over the nations, the hope began to be aroused of a future King who would be raised up by God. This was especially exemplified in, for example, Isaiah 6-11; Jeremiah 23.5; Ezekiel 37.21-28. And this was confirmed by the Psalmist who declared that ‘the Kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations, yes, to Him shall all the proud of the earth bow down (Psalm 22.28-29).

These pictures of God’s final triumph, of the establishment of His final Kingly Rule,had to be described in earthly terms because at that stage people had no conception of the possibility of a ‘kingdom’ in Heaven. In their eyes man, even resurrected man, belonged to earth, and any future therefore had to be spoken of in those terms. It was only after the time of the prophets that the concept of men actually living in Heaven even began to be considered. But Jesus confirmed that such ideas were true. Indeed much of what the prohets spoke of could only be fulfilled in another world from this. Thus we must see the prophets as conveying a greater truth than they realised,, that the expected ‘kingdom’ would in fact be an everlasting, and therefore a heavenly one.

The consequence was that the people began to look for a Coming King (an ‘anointed one’ (Messiah) - Psalm 2.2; Daniel 9.25) of the house of David who would bring about God’s Kingly Rule for them through God’s power so that they could enter into its benefits. But while the prophets demanded the transformation of Israel as a first priority, the people’s view was that the Coming King would do the work, with God’s and their assistance, while they would simply reap the rewards. They were much too tied to earth. They considered that it would thus all be brought about by God’s activity, without too much being required of them, apart possibly from them giving the Coming King support in battle, with Him ensuring few casualties and guaranteeing overall success. This was the Kingly Rule of God which they expected to appear (Luke 19.11).

Some like the Pharisees did, however, recognise that it would depend on fulfilling the covenant. They acknowledged that God required faithfulness. Thus they set their hearts on obeying the covenant. But the problem was then as to what was required in order to fulfil that covenant, and how it could be achieved. And sadly, as men will, this was degraded into following a set of rules which were laid down by the Scribes on the basis of their interpretation of the Law, which was contained in the ‘Traditions of the Elders’. Their view became that if only they could fulfil the covenant by perfectly achieving their own traditions the Kingly Rule of God would come. Thus the fulfilling of the minutiae of the Law became their first objective and wider ideas of justice and compassion became overlooked.

When Jesus came He had to reveal to them that their set of rules was insufficient to constitute a true fulfilment of the covenant with God, and indeed produced hypocrisy. For by then many of them had lost their way. He declared that the righteousness of those who would come under God’s Kingly Rule must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5.20), for their righteousness was outward but not inward (Mark 7.14-23), superficial and not real (Matthew 6.1-6; 23). He then called on men to believe in Him as the One sent from God, to have a change of heart and mind towards God (to repent - Matthew 4.17), to receive forgiveness of sins, to come personally in their hearts under the Kingly Rule of God, and to hear His teaching, which would put right where that of the Scribes had gone wrong, and then to do it. Through thus believing in Him, and responding to Him, they would receive eternal life and enter under the Kingly Rule of God. But this was dependent on each individual responding. Those whose hearts were opened towards Him and His teaching, and were truly of God, would enter under the Kingly Rule of God. Whether Scribe or Pharisee or common man or public servant they would respond to Him. Those who rejected Him and His teaching would be excluded from the Kingly Rule of God now, and from the eternal Kingly Rule of God in the future. Thus the Kingly Rule of God would now be made up of all those who truly believed in Him, and responded to His word. By their fruits they would be known. For there was now no other name under Heaven given among men whereby men could be saved.

It will be noted that Jesus has dropped the emphasis on the land. From Abraham until after the Exile the land had been emphasised as a part of the promises, for His people had had to have their eyes fixed on a goal, and they would have understood no other goal. They had had no concept of the possibility of a future life other than on earth. Nor had they any concept of a heavenly Jerusalem (Galatians 4.26; Hebrews 12.22). They had looked for an idealised life on earth, a heaven on earth, and an earthly, although idealised, Jerusalem. And thus God had made His promises in those terms, terms that they could appreciate. But since those days men’s conceptions had widened and the possibility of a genuine life beyond the grave outside of the earth had developed, the possibility of a life in ‘Heaven’. This was epitomised in the New Testament in terms of a new Jerusalem, and of a new Heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3.13; Revelation 21.1), for the old would pass away and could not therefore offer an eternal kingdom. This would be the sphere of the everlasting Kingly Rule of God to which all should look and respond by coming now under His Kingly Rule in readiness for it. Thus the writer to the Hebrews could picture Abraham as looking to a heavenly city, whose builder and maker was God (even though to him it had been an idealised earthly city). The promises were not abrogated. They would still receive ‘the land’, but it would be the land in a new Heaven and a new earth.

But should someone say, ‘Surely we must take what God says literally’ we reply that we do take it literally. The good is replaced by the better, the idealised earthly land to which His true people looked forward (and in its perfection could never really have existed on earth) is replaced by the ideal ‘new earthly’ land, the better Canaan; the idealised Jerusalem is replaced by the new ideal Jerusalem where God dwells with His people for ever. And all this in the same way as the offerings and sacrifices are replaced by the new offering and sacrifice made once for all in Jesus Christ. And the old people of God have been subsumed into the new. All is new (Isaiah 65.17; 2 Peter 3.5-13; Revelation 21.1).

For once Jesus Christ had replaced the offerings and sacrifices the Old Testament promises could never be literally fulfilled. The old offerings and sacrifices had by His offering of Himself lost their original significance. And yet if we take the promises literally the prophets had promised the restoration of the old sacrifices, with their old significance and meaning. They knew of no other. And in Zechariah 14 even the prophets had recognised the types of problem that this could raise, so that they spoke in terms of extending the court of the priests to cover all Judah. This was a problem that arose because none of the prophets ever dreamed of any other type of offerings and sacrifices than the old sacrifices, so if the whole world gathered much more space would be required for holy activity. And it is thus not taking these promises literally to speak of ‘memorial sacrifices’. Such memorial sacrifices were unknown to the prophets. To call on that concept is as much to de-literalise the promises, as is the idea of the new Heaven and the new earth. Nor is it frankly conceivable that in the promised future, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, and they will eat together quite fearlessly with the lion, the only killer that the lamb will have to fear will be redeemed man coming seeking for sacrifices to offer. Can we really see the lion having to say to the lamb in the perfect future, when none hurt or destroy in all His holy mountain, ‘Run for it. Redeemed man is coming!’ (Isaiah 11.6-9; 66.25).

Every promise concerning future offerings and sacrifices is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and in His offering of Himself. Every promise of Canaan and its surrounds is fulfilled in the new Canaan in the new earth. Every promise of a new Jerusalem is fulfilled by the New Jerusalem. Every promise concerning the Kingly Rule of God will be fulfilled in the new Kingly Rule of God eternal in the heavens. Every promise to Israel is fulfilled to the new Israel, known to us as the true church of God. Not one yod or tittle of the Law or the prophets will fail, until all is fulfilled. In the words of Jesus, ‘My Kingly Rule is not of this world, else would My servants fight that I might not be handed over to the Jews. But my Kingly Rule is not from this world’ (John 18.36). It is in Paradise (Luke 23.43).

Return to Home Page for further interesting articles

The Kingdom of God in the New Testament

IS THERE SOMETHING IN THE BIBLE THAT PUZZLES YOU?

If so please EMail us with your question and we will do our best to give you a satisfactory answer.EMailus. (But preferably not from aol.com, for some reason they do not deliver our messages).

FREE Scholarly verse by verse commentaries on the Bible.

THE PENTATEUCH --- GENESIS ---EXODUS--- LEVITICUS --- NUMBERS --- DEUTERONOMY --- THE BOOK OF JOSHUA --- THE BOOK OF JUDGES --- SAMUEL --- KINGS --- PSALMS 1-50--- ECCLESIASTES--- SONG OF SOLOMON --- ISAIAH --- JEREMIAH --- EZEKIEL --- DANIEL --- --- HOSEA --- --- JOEL ------ AMOS --- --- OBADIAH --- --- JONAH --- --- MICAH --- --- NAHUM --- --- HABAKKUK--- --- ZEPHANIAH --- --- HAGGAI --- ZECHARIAH --- --- MALACHI --- THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ---THE GOSPEL OF MARK--- THE GOSPEL OF LUKE --- THE GOSPEL OF JOHN --- THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES --- READINGS IN ROMANS --- 1 CORINTHIANS --- 2 CORINTHIANS ---GALATIANS --- EPHESIANS--- PHILIPPIANS --- COLOSSIANS --- 1 THESSALONIANS --- 2 THESSALONIANS --- 1 TIMOTHY --- 2 TIMOTHY --- TITUS --- HEBREWS --- JAMES --- 1 & 2 PETER --- JOHN'S LETTERS --- JUDE --- REVELATION --- THE GOSPELS & ACTS

kingdom,God,kingship,Israel,peter,pett,Jesus,Messiah,Christian,
Christianity,faith,facts,repent,Holy,Spirit,creation,baptism,
Apostles,evil,spirit,devil,Satan,temptation,son,of,man,God,
Christ,Jesus,Lord,Baptiser,Baptist,leper,healing,Levi,
bridegroom,great,physician