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Views of “The Kingdom”

Views of “The Kingdom”

What Is The Gospel? Seminar – Session 6

Overview and Critique of Various Views of “The Kingdom”

 

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Throughout church history, there have been a number of different views concerning the nature of the kingdom of God, including: a) Kingdom=Messianic Government on the Earth; b) Kingdom = Church; c) Kingdom = Moral Ethic; d) Kingdom = Divine Reign, Already but Not Yet. The three latter views (and many of the others not mentioned) are clearly tainted by Platonic thought, and depending on the circumstances, have the potential to chip away at, if not undermine, the foundation of Christian discipleship in this age as taught by Jesus and the apostles. Join us as we conclude this seminar with an examination and critique of these different views of the kingdom of God in an attempt to recover a wholistic Biblical framework for effective New Testament discipleship.

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< 5 KINGDOM OF ISRAEL AND MESSIAH

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Views of “The Kingdom”

DIFFERENT VIEWS OF THE KINGDOM IN CHURCH HISTORY

DIFFERENT VIEWS OF THE KINGDOM IN CHURCH HISTORY

A.    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.

B.           Kingdom=Messianic Government on the Earth. 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.

Justin Martyr (103-165AD) –10 “Moreover, I pointed out to you that some who are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, atheistical, and foolish. But that you may know that I do not say this before you alone, I shall draw up a statement, so far as I can, of all the arguments which have passed between us; in which I shall record myself as admitting the very same things which I admit to you. For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines (delivered) by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this (truth), and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven … But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, (as) the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.”[1]

C.   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.

D.   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.”[2]

E.    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.

F.    All three of these views (and many of the others not mentioned) 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. These views define the kingdom generically as “God’s rule,” and then read whatever meaning they want into that term. However, to generically define “the kingdom of God” as “God’s rule” without paying close attention to the different ways in which the kingdom of God is actually portrayed and defined in Scripture, ultimately leads to confusion and a distortion of the gospel.

G.   Confusion: If “the kingdom”=”the church,” then in what sense?

1.    If church=kingdom of creation, then makes no sense since everyone is already a part of it!

2.    If church=kingdom of Eden –are you kidding me?

3.    If church=kingdom of Israel, leads to replacement theology and massive distortion of Scripture

4.    If church=Messianic Kingdom

a)    then we have our inheritance now, therefore we are 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 theology. God will call us to account in the Day of the Lord.

b)    then 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 are the chief of sinners

c)    revival=establishing dominion; move of the Spirit is obviously good, but must be rightly interpreted or will lead to disillusionment

d)    misinterpretation of the work of the Holy Spirit in this age

e)    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.

H.   If kingdom=moral ethic

1.    Makes no sense, and can only be argued for when a Platonic worldview is assumed

a)    The kingdom of creation=moral ethic? The kingdom of Eden=moral ethic? The kingdom of Israel=moral ethic?

b)    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?

2.    Massive distortion of Scripture

3.    Ethics loses its Biblical anchor

  1. If kingdom=already not yet

1.    Confusion: what is actually already, and what is actually not yet?

a)    Kingdom of Creation – Has always been

b)    Kingdom of Israel – past, but Messiah not on David’s throne, and Israel definitely not praised as the crown of righteousness in the Lord’s hand yet

c)    Kingdom of Eden –past

d)    Kingdom of the Messiah – 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

2.    What are the variables that lead to greater “manifestation” of the kingdom?

3.    Again, misinterpretation of the work of the Spirit in this age

4.    inaugurated eschatology, though less menacing than Kingdom Now, does not, in my view, honor the Old Testament enough

J.     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.

K.    Christo-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.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborand hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (cf. Lk. 6:36 –“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”) (NIVMt. 5:43-48)

6Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. (NIVIs. 55:6-7)

1Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2 Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. 4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. 6 I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.” (NIVIs. 63:1-6)

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” (NIVRev. 19:11-18)

Diagram 1: The Distortion of the Gospel Caused by Christo-Platonism

Worldview-Distortion-Of-Christo-Platonism

L.    If the Messianic Kingdom is God’s instrument for executing vengeance against the wicked, and if the church is the Messianic Kingdom on the earth now, then the church is God’s instrument for executing vengeance against the wicked now (interestingly, the “wicked” usually end up being those outside of our ecclesiastical institution, or Jews. E.g. the Inquisition). As if we know the hearts of men in this age!

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (NASB1 Cor. 4:5)

M.   Similarly, if the Messianic Kingdom is God’s instrument for rewarding the righteous, and if the church is the Messianic Kingdom now, then the church is God’s instrument for rewarding the righteous in this age (interestingly, the “righteous” usually end up being those inside our ecclesiastical tradition). Again, the Lord alone knows the heart, and many things that seem good and righteous outwardly to man may not actually be so from the perspective of the Lord, who examines the heart.

N.   Furthermore, if the Messianic Kingdom is by definition restored perfection characterized by the complete absence of difficulty and suffering, and if the church is the Messianic Kingdom now, then the church is restored perfection characterized by the absence of difficulties now. This kind of mindset sets believers up for massive disillusionment when God allows difficulty into their lives, as He did with nearly all the saints in the Bible! It can also set believers up for arrogance, pride, and boasting when God blesses them with abundance! The hope of the inheritance of a future kingdom is our anchor to keep us on the narrow path through seasons of both prosperity and suffering.

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. (NIVHos. 6:1)

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (NIVHeb. 12:7-11)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (NIV1 Tim. 6:17).

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (NIV1 Tim. 6:17-19)

O.   The truth is that God is restraining from setting up the kingdom of the Messiah because of His mercy toward those who would be crushed by it if it were to come now; and because He is still in the process of molding the character of those to whom He will later entrust the governance of the entire earth under the Messiah!

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything….12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (NIVJam. 1:2-4, 12)

10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (NIVJam. 5:10-11)

7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. 14 I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. (NIV1 Corinthians 4:7-15)



[1] Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, LXXX.

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

RECOVERING A HOLISTIC BIBLICAL FRAMEWORK FOR EFFECTIVE NEW TESTAMENT DISCIPLESHIP

RECOVERING A HOLISTIC BIBLICAL FRAMEWORK FOR EFFECTIVE NEW TESTAMENT DISCIPLESHIP

A.    Mercy and long-suffering towards the wicked now, punishment and justice future

36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37Judge not (condemn without mercy now; God’s future judgment assumed, cf. Rom. 2), and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (ESVLk. 6:36-38)

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV2 Pet. 3:8-9)

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up (NKJV note –“or storing”) for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who  “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God. (NKJVRom. 2:1-11)

B.    Crucifixion, purging, and refinement of the saints now (through both seasons of trial and refreshing), unto being made worthy of a future inheritance

1So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. (NIV1 Th. 3:1-5)

2 Cor 4

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIVHeb. 12:1-3)

4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (NIVCol. 3:4-8).

23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words (the words just spoken concerning carrying the cross, vs. 23), the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels (NIVLk. 9:23-26).

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism. (NIVCol. 3:22-25)

C.   Signs and miracles, not our hope – they point to our hope

29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (NIVAc. 4:29-31)

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons (as a sign of the future day when Satan will be driven from the earth by Messiah, cf. Is. 24:21–23; Rev. 20:1–3); they will speak in new tongues (as a sign of the coming reversal of the Tower of Babel and Israel’s impending restoration, cf. Gn. 11; Is. 2:4, Is. 28:11-2; 1 Cor. 14:21; Rev. 7) 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands (as a sign of hostility removed from creation in the future Messianic kingdom; cf. Is. 11:6–9; Ac. 28:5); and when they drink deadly poison (persecution), it will not hurt them at all (as a sign of the coming vindication of the saints in the coming kingdom, Dan. 7:26-27, Rev. 20:4–6); they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (as a sign of the day when Messiah will permanently fix their bodies in the resurrection; cf. 1 Cor. 15; 1 Th. 4:13–18).19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God (to administer mercy and forgiveness of sins until the day of the Lord; cf. Ps. 110).20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. (NIVMk. 16:15-20)

D.   The church’s assignment now: Testify to the mercy of the cross and the coming hope in word and deed, and make disciples of the cross now, as we await the arrival of our hope at the Second Coming

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem (ESVLk. 24:45-47)

6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(NIVAc. 1:6-8)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIVMt. 28:18-20)

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV2 Cor. 4:6-18)

So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow workerin spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless (ESV – “in vain”). (NIV1 Th. 3:1-5)

E.    “The kingdom of God is at hand” – an example of verses taken out of context to support “Kingdom Now” theology (Meaning Messianic Kingdom Now) (for more, see Exegesis of Kingdom Now Passages)

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt. 4:17)

“The great day of the Lord is nearnear and coming quickly. (NIV Zeph. 1:14)

12 “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. 13 Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow— so great is their wickedness!” 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (NIVJoel 3:12-14)

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. (NIVDaniel 2:44-45)

1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”… 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath (in Day of the Lord, cf. Rom. 2:8-9)? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire (NIVMat.3:1-2, 7-12).”

8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day (cf. Mt. 10:22 – “day of judgment”) for Sodom than for that town. (NIVLuke 10:8-12)

F.    The desperate need to build a culture of the cross in our churches, especially as we enter into the last days

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (NKJV note – “laid hold of it”); but one thing I do,  forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God (KJV/YLT – “the high calling of God”) in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ (NKJVPh. 3:7-4:1).

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (NIV1 Cor. 2:2)

24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. 26 “ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ (NIVDan. 7:24-27)

 

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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.


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