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The Gospel Of The Kingdom

The Gospel Of The Kingdom

One Hope One Boast Conference – Day 1 Session 5

 

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There are many views on the Kingdom throughout the Church of today. In this session, Tim takes the time to Biblically walk through the Kingdom from the beginning at Creation to the end.

 

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The Gospel of the Kingdom

LETTING THE HOLY SPIRIT RENEW OUR MINDS

LETTING THE HOLY SPIRIT RENEW OUR MINDS

  1. Question for cancer survivors: what were some of the things you felt when you first heard the news that you had cancer?
  2. All human societies and cultures operate from a set of unconscious assumptions that together constitute what anthropologists call a “worldview. A worldview is the sum total of our deep level, usually unquestioned, assumptions about reality, or that which is real.

Charles Kraft – worldview is “the culturally structured assumptions, values, and commitments/allegiances underlying a people’s perception of reality and their responses to those perceptions.” [1]

As human beings, we are integrated beings. What we think (mind), what we feel (emotions), what we choose (will), and our bodily desires and well-being (body) are all dynamically interrelated aspects of who we are as human beings originally made in God’s image. Culture and worldview have a significant influence on these different dimensions of our being. The process of sanctification involves God transforming us on all of these different levels. Therefore, as we work through issues of worldview and the influence our theology and practice as the Body of Christ, we shouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves at different times experiencing different emotions as God reveals areas in which we need to adjust our thinking and view of reality. Worldview shifts can feel unsettling and vulnerable at times. God knows our hearts and minds intimately, and He knows how to lead us through this process. The truth is that many of us have been infected with the cancer of Platonism in some way without knowing it. However, Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit will guide us into truth.


[1]Charles Kraft, Anthropology for Christian Witness , 52.

THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

  1. Inextricably bound to the good news of the Day of the Lord, the resurrection, and the restoration of all things, is the good news of “the kingdom of God.”

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time (Grk. kairos) is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (ESVMk. 1:14-15)

30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (ESVAc. 28:30-31)

  1. Unfortunately, there is a lot of sloppy teaching on the subject of the kingdom of God in the Body of Christ today. This is due to a number of factors, including: confusion and distortion created by Platonic thought; unfamiliarity with the Old Testament; proof-texting and interpreting Bible verses out of their immediate context and the broader context of Scripture; and the prideful tendency of the human heart to build thought systems that rationalize and validate some form of a Messianic complex.
  2. In the New Testament we never find an explicit definition of the “kingdom of God.” Why is this? The answer is that Jesus, the apostles, and all of their Jewish listeners already had a solid grasp what this term meant due to their knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. The New Testament, in other words, presupposes and assumes the same gospel as that of the Old Testament.
  3. A close reading of Scripture shows that are at least four distinct yet interrelated senses in which the “kingdom of God” needs to be understood.  There are texts that pertain to what I will call: a) the Kingdom of Creation; b) the Kingdom of Eden; c) the Kingdom of Israel; and d) the Kingdom of the Messiah, or the Messianic Kingdom. Again, these four are all dynamically interrelated, but failure to recognize their distinct nuances as portrayed in Scripture can lead to great confusion concerning the nature of the gospel and Christian discipleship before Jesus returns.

In a seminar on the DTN site called “What is the Gospel?” we apply the following nine questions to texts that are representative of a group of texts that relate to these four different senses of the “kingdom of God”: 1) Where is the kingdom? 2) Where is the kingdom headquartered? 3) Who establishes the kingdom? 4) When is the kingdom established? 5) By what means is the kingdom established? 6) Who governs the kingdom? 7) Who are the citizens of the kingdom? 8) On what basis are the citizens included in the kingdom? 9) How is the kingdom administrated? The picture painted by the answers to these nine questions provide the basis for our answer to question 10: What is “the kingdom of God”?

THE KINGDOM OF CREATION

THE KINGDOM OF CREATION

  1. Sample Texts

10 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, O 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, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 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. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. (NIV1 Chr. 29:10-13)

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.  20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 22 Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul! (ESVPs. 103:19-22)

  1. The Kingdom of Creation
    1. government with universal domain, encompassing all creation, everything in the heavens and the earth
    2. established in the beginning at creation
    3. founded by God, through the power of God and the wisdom of God
    4. was and continues to be headquartered from the highest heaven
    5. was, is, and will always be governed and ruled by God
    6. citizens=everything in creation
    7. basis of inclusion – simply by virtue of the fact that they were created administrated in partnership with angelic powers (of differing ranks, levels of authority, and assignment) and human beings

THE KINGDOM OF EDEN

THE KINGDOM OF EDEN

  1. Sample Texts

1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested (Heb. yishbot –cease, rest, keep the Sabbath; Heb. root שׁבת; semantic range of root includes reign, sit, seat, dwelling, throne, sitting, e.g. Am. 6:3, 1 Ki. 10:19; “resting” is conceptually related to God sitting enthroned as king and reigning) from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (NIVGen. 2:1-3)

8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden (Garden of Eden) in the east , in Eden (the region in which the Garden was planted); and there (in the Garden of Eden) he put the man he had formed. 9 And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river ( downward movement from higher elevation) watering the garden flowed from Eden (Eden also a high place to the west of the Garden, a mountain); from there it was separated into four headwaters. (NIVGen. 2:8-10)

16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man. (ESVPs. 115:16)

4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beingsand crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (ESVPs. 8:4-9)

  1. Diagram

Eden-Kingdom

 

  1. The Kingdom of Eden
    1. government whose domain was the earth established in the beginning when God created the earth
    2. founded by God, through the power of God and the wisdom of God
    3. was headquartered from the mountain of Eden, in the Garden of Eden, in the region of Eden
    4. was governed and ruled by God, with human beings in a position of delegated authority
    5. was made up of citizens created by God and put in the Garden by God, with a stipulation of obedience – “don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil” –  for continued inclusion
    6. was administrated in loving partnership with human beings

before the Fall, the earth existed in a state of perfection under the dominion and rule of the kingdom of Eden.

THE KINGDOM OF ISREAL

THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL

  1. Sample Texts

18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” (ESVGen. 15:18-21)

23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of David his father. (ESV1 Chron. 29:23)

1When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, 2Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. (NIVPs. 114:1-2)

4 So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. (NIV1 Sam. 4:4)

8 “And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David (ESV2 Chron. 13:8)

  1. The Kingdom of Yahweh/Israel/David
    1. government in the land of Israel, the land promised to the patriarchs
    2. set apart from the nations with a priestly calling
    3. was established when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt
    4. was founded by God, through the power of God and the judgments of God
    5. was the actual kingdom of God, but in a typological way
    6. under David was headquartered from the city of Jerusalem on the mountain of Zion
    7. was governed and ruled by God, in partnership with the government of Israel, and ultimately with the Davidic dynasty in a position of delegated authority
    8. was made up of citizens whose inclusion was based on being a Jew circumcised in both heart and flesh, with obedience to the Law of Moses as a stipulation for continued inclusion was administrated through the various offices of the priesthood and Davidic government.

THE KINGDOM OF THE MESSIAH

THE KINGDOM OF THE MESSIAH

  1. Sample Texts

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth. 18 Edom shall be dispossessed; Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed. Israel is doing valiantly. 19 And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion and destroy the survivors of cities!” (ESVNum. 24:17-19)

44 “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. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. (NIVDan. 2:44-45)

3 Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. 4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds. 5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. 6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. (NIVPs. 45:3-6)

1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. 3Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty,  from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. (NIVPs. 110:1-3)

6  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. 7 Of the increase 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. (NIVIs. 9:6-7)

  1. The Kingdom of the Messiah
    1. the government of God that will cover the entire earth, Israel and all nations
    2. not yet here, but will be established and set up in the future in context to the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming, the resurrection of the saints, the reward of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked
    3. will be established not by human power, but by the Messiah, through the power of God and the judgments of God (as in the Exodus)
    4. will be headquartered in Jerusalem in Israel=restored kingdom of Israel/Davidic dynasty
    5. will be governed and ruled by the Messiah
    6. will made up of citizens whose inclusion will be based on repentance and faith in the gospel
    7. will be administrated governmentally in partnership with the saints from Israel and the Gentile nations.

In short, the kingdom of the Messiah or Messianic Kingdom is the restored kingdom of Israel and the restored kingdom of Eden, under the leadership of the Messiah. It is God’s ordained instrument for purging evil from the earth.

'THE KINGDOM' AS DISTORTED BY PLATONISM

“THE KINGDOM” AS DISTORTED BY PLATONISM

  1. Throughout church history, there have been a number of different views concerning the nature of the kingdom of God. Here, I am going to mention four of the most influential ones:
    1. Kingdom = Real Government on the Earth established by the Messiah at the end of the age. Old Testament saints, early Church (excepting the Gnostics): Understood the Messianic Kingdom in accord with what we just studied: a real government, on the earth, headquartered from a restored Jerusalem in a restored kingdom of Israel, on a restored earth under the leadership of the Messiah. The Messianic Kingdom is the restored kingdom of Eden and the restored kingdom of Israel under the governance of the Messiah. It is God’s ordained instrument for punishing the wicked and removing evil from the kingdom of creation.
    2. Kingdom = Church.  This view has been the most influential in the church since Augustine.  According to this view, the Church is the manifestation of the ethereal “Kingdom of God” in the “physical realm.”  According to this view, the “Kingdom of God” – approximated with “heaven” because of Christo-Platonism – is “manifested” on the earth in the “natural realm” through the church (even if not “perfectly,” cf. Plato’s “copies”).  God’s “dominion” is, according to this view, enforced on the earth now through the church, not at the Second Coming by God’s power. Thus, the Kingdom is ultimately identified and equated with the church.  This has been the dominant view in the Western church from Augustine (354-430AD) to the Reformers (15th-16th centuries). It is the underlying foundation for how many in both the Protestant and Catholic traditions understand the “Kingdom of God” today. “Dominionism” can take different forms and shapes depending on the ministry focus of a particular stream.
    3. Kingdom = Moral Ethic.  “With the rise of liberalism during the Enlightenment, the Kingdom of God became viewed as simply a personal religious experience in which God reigns over the individual soul through the moral teachings of the Bible, especially those of Jesus.” [1]
    4. Kingdom = Divine Reign, Already but Not Yet.  Perhaps the most popular view of the kingdom of God among evangelicals in the academic world today is the “divine reign” or “already/not yet” view, also known more technically as “inaugurated eschatology.” The most well-known proponent of this view is George Eldon Ladd, who taught at Fuller Theological Seminary in the 1950s.  In this view, the ‘kingdom’ that Jesus appointed for his disciples (Lk. 22:29) is ‘royal rule.’” This view claims that the Messianic kingdom was established in part or was “inaugurated” at the first coming, and will be “consummated” at the Second Coming.
  2. The latter three views are clearly tainted by Platonic thought (though Augustine’s view much more so than Ladd’s), and depending on the circumstances, have the potential to undermine the foundation of Christian discipleship in this age as taught by Jesus and the apostles.

Platonic-Distortion-of-Kingdom

  1. Confusion caused by Kingdom=Church.  If “the kingdom”=“the church,” then in what sense? If church=kingdom of creation, then makes no sense since everyone is already a part of it! If church=kingdom of Eden –are you kidding me? If church=kingdom of Israel, leads to replacement theology and massive distortion of Scripture. If church=Messianic Kingdom:
    1. Leads to a presumptuous and arrogant mindset. We see ourselves as kings now, therefore we treat those in our “kingdoms” accordingly (manipulation, control, greed, etc).  Not good, especially when we have money and power. Many shepherds and congregations have been shipwrecked by this kind of theology. God will call us to account in the Day of the Lord. Paul rebukes this mindset in 1 Cor. 4.
    2. The church ends up taking a self-righteous, hostile stance toward the wicked now, when God Himself is in fact giving the wicked a window of mercy now; end up working against God, forgetting that we ourselves are the chief of sinners.
    3. When did God lose dominion? The issue isn’t whether God has lost dominion or not, but how He is exercising His dominion at different times to accomplish His plan of redemption.
  2. Confusion Caused by Kingdom = Moral Ethic. Makes no sense, and can only be argued for when a Platonic worldview is assumed. The kingdom of creation=moral ethic? The kingdom of Eden=moral ethic? The kingdom of Israel=moral ethic? If the kingdom of Messiah=moral ethic – does this mean that Jesus is marching through the Edom of my heart in the last days? Does this mean that He is restoring the twelve tribes of Israel in my heart? Massive distortion of Scripture. Ethics loses its Biblical anchor and theological motivation.
  3. Confusion Caused by Kingdom = Already/Not Yet. If kingdom=already not yet, what is actually “already,” and what is actually “not yet?”
    1. The Kingdom of Creation – has always been, is, and always will be.
    2. The Kingdom of Israel – existed in real time and space on the earth in the past, but the Messiah is not sitting on David’s throne in Jerusalem, and Israel is definitely not praised as a crown of righteousness in the Lord’s hand yet (Is. 62)
    3. Kingdom of Eden –past, “not yet” in that Eden will be restored at Messiah’s return
    4. Kingdom of the Messiah – the Messianic kingdom is God’s instrument for punishing the wicked. If the Messianic kingdom=the church, how much punishment of the wicked is “already?” Even Annaias and Saphira was an act of mercy to the church as a whole in light of the Lake of Fire to come (I am personally glad that God was fully merciful to me)! We must not become self-righteous Pharisees!
    5. Other problems: What are the variables or “keys” that lead to greater “manifestation” of the kingdom? Often ends up being whatever our particularly ministry focuses on. Misinterpretation of the work of the Spirit in this age. Inaugurated eschatology, though less menacing than full-blown Kingdom Now theology, does not, in my view, honor the Old Testament enough.
  4. Platonism creates great confusion by meshing/merging the Messianic Kingdom into the Universal Kingdom/Kingdom of Creation, and then hoisting it all up into the Platonic “ideal realm.” The practical effect of this is that God’s true agenda and objectives in this age – mercy toward the wicked, and pruning, disciplining, and refining His people as they carry their cross – get obscured. This is because the Messianic Kingdom by definition, according to Scripture, is His instrument for executing vengeance against the wicked, purging the world of evil, and rewarding the righteous in context to the Second Coming and the age to come. In contrast, He is presently governing the kingdom of creation from His throne at the height of the heavens from a posture of longsuffering and mercy toward the earth, and this even when He sends judgments in order to drive people to repentance lest they inherit eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.
  5. The Biblical gospel is inherently bound to time. However, Platonic thought makes time irrelevant since our hope isn’t bound to time, but to our escape from time. This why there is so much preaching in the New Testament about the Second Coming, and so little in the church today. It takes no faith to believe that one day we will die. It takes faith to believe that God has power to raise us from the dead at the Second Coming.
  6. As believers, we must come to terms with the fact that in this age we are sojourners and pilgrims in preparation to rule in a future kingdom.  As long as the nation of Israel is in exile, we too are in exile, because believing Jews and believing Gentiles inherit the promises together at the Second Coming (Heb. 11:40). If the actual kingdom of Israel/David is the kingdom of the Messiah, and the kingdom of Israel/David is not here, then it follows that the kingdom of the Messiah is not here. If the absence of the kingdom of Israel/of David is exile, and the absence of the kingdom of Israel/of David is the current situation for the people of God, then exile is the current situation for the people of God. In this age we are called to carry the cross in a place of weakness now, that we might inherit eternal glory and true royal authority at our Master’s coming!

[1] John Harrigan, “Five-fold Development of the Western Worldview,” http://danieltrainingnetwork.org/five-fold-development-western-worldview-1-biblical-theology-of-mission/.

Embracing-Cross-In-Exile

 

Tim Miller Tim Miller (124 Posts)

Tim is founder of the Daniel Training Network. His passion is to see followers of Christ embrace a life of the cross. He, his wife Emily, and their four children itinerate regularly as part of their ministry, and are presently living in New Mexico.


  • II Thess 3:5

    I really enjoy (doesn’t always mean it is pleasant) the teaching, I have a question? Is it not Greek or Platonic or Hellenistic to refer to YHVH as God. God is very generic in terminology. It is not representative of His personal covenant Name. Why God? And not Yeshua or Jesus, or YHVH? Our translations betray us. Even The Lord is a title and not a name.
    Blessings

    • DTN_DavidG

      That is a good question. While it is the case that God is a generic English word, its usage, as well as the usage of LORD, both usages derive from a Jewish tradition not to use the personal name of God. Usually, Jewish people will use the Hebrew terms Adonai (which translates to English as Lord) or HaShem (meaning The Name) in reference to God’s personal name. This derives from the command not to use the LORD’s name in vain, and therefore a substitution has been instituted to preserve the sanctity of The Name. God is more accurately related to the Hebrew term Elohim, but its generic usage in place of the personal Name is related to this same Hebrew tradition.

      • II Thess 3:5

        I understand the Jewish tradition though that doesn’t explain why we would follow it. It is understood that YESHUA created heaven and earth. If you have seen Me you have seen the Father.
        The Jews themselves were also Hellenized.
        Zechariah 14:9 And Jehovah hath become king over all the land, In that day there is one Jehovah, and His name one. YLT
        I know there is no J sound but rather a Y sound but we know who will be King – Jesus – Yehohah Is Salvation, YESHUA, I think this is not just semantics but rather important. Call upon the Name of the LORD and be saved.

    • DTN_TimM

      My apologies for the late response! We’ve been on the road and with family the last couple of weeks.

      This is a good question and on a broader level touches on the issue of how worldview, the deep level assumptions that shape our view of reality, relate to and find expression through language. This issue, in turn, definitely has implications for translation, since, obviously, translation deals with how to accurately transfer thought forms and ideas from one language to another. Different ideas about what that entails is what fuels different translation philosophies, e.g. dynamic equivalence (a “thought-for-thought translation”) or formal correspondence (a “word-for-word” translation), etc.

      The tricky thing in the case of Christo-Platonism, is that on the surface level it employs Biblical language, but on the deeper worldview level it is unbiblical. So in addition to cherishing God’s personal name YHWH, it is important to actually have a Biblically-informed understanding of what the Name actually means within the framework of a Biblical worldview, and the covenants, etc. Otherwise, any of the terms used to refer to Israel’s God – whether “Yahweh,” or “Elohiim,” or “Jehovah, or “Adonai,” etc, or their equivalents in any language (“God,” or “Lord,”) or historical Jewish substitutes (“Heaven,” “HaShem”) – can all be understood Biblically or Platonically depending on which worldview framework one is using those terms within! The heart is deceitful above all things…

      As for the specific issue of how to translate the Greek word kurios–translated variously as ‘Lord,’ ‘Master,’ or at times simply as ‘sir’– in the New Testament, this can be tough. Though in the LXX both YHWH and Adonai are translated with kurios, we nevertheless have an underlying Hebrew text that distinctly tells us when the covenant name of God, YHWH, is used, and when another word is used, such as Adonai. However, in the NT, we have the Greek text only with the use of kurios throughout. In cases where the New Testament is quoting an OT text, the translator often has some clear indicators where the covenant name is being used. In other instances, however, often only the context can determine which sense is most likely in the writer’s mind. My guess is that most translations/translators, recognizing the delicacy of the issue, are trusting readers to make the decision for themselves based on contextual considerations, though of course I don’t know that for sure.

      I pray this helps! God bless you friend! May our King grant you strength and might as you await the realization of our blessed hope!

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