First the Kingdom, Part 7: The Promise of the Kingdom Continued
The New Testament of the Bible begins with a gigantic emphasis on the Kingdom of God. 2,000 years later we are beginning to hear more about the Kingdom of God again, and that excites me. What also really excites me is learning that the ages of time leading up to the First Century were actually the preparation for what was to begin unfolding for the Early Church and is continuing to unfold today!
We are part of God’s great plan of the ages! I have suggested that an important part of that plan is for us to understand the promises God made to many Biblical characters from Adam and Eve, to Noah, to Abraham, Moses and many others.
The New Testament writer and apostle, Paul, made Jesus and His message of the Kingdom the center of his life. He had this to say concerning the Old Testament prophecies:
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
In another places Paul explained even further how God’s promise to Abraham was relevant to the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
For instance, Galatians 3:8-9:
The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
When we isolate the message of the New Testament from the Old we can miss the bigger picture. We can easily get wrapped up in our tiny part in God’s economy. Then we might miss the value that it represents when placed along side the other parts. It is like playing with the pieces of a picture puzzle and never attempting to fit them together. And if we do not understand the overall plan that began in the beginning, we are like people working a puzzle without the illustration on the puzzle box!
The children of Abraham did multiply greatly. By the fourth generation they settled in Egypt during a famine. Eventually there were millions of them but now they lived as slaves to Pharaoh. So God raised up Moses to be their leader and through demonstrations of supernatural power they were led out of Egypt and began their journey to the land promised to Abraham.
Moses delivered the people from bondage in Egypt, but he looked forward to a deliverer who would save them from themselves. He foresaw the next individual who would also demonstrate supernatural power and words of incomparable truth. Where Moses saved the people from slavery to men, Jesus would save them from their sins. (Deuteronomy 18:15, John 6:14, Acts 3:19-26, 7:37, Matthew 1:21).
Israel finally occupied the promised land and David eventually took the throne. Being also a spiritual man, he was given understanding of the Kingdom that would come. David wanted to build a house for God, a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant. The prophet Nathan agreed, but God visited Nathan with His Word on the matter. David would not build a house for God, but a house would be built.
1 Chronicles 17:11-15:
‘And it shall come about when your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”‘ ” According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.
David’s son Solomon built the beautiful temple in Jerusalem, but his throne did not last forever. Hidden in this prophesy concerning Solomon is another glimpse of Christ and His Eternal Kingdom!
One of the most intriguing stories is that of the prophet Daniel and his interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel explained that God was revealing how four great kingdoms were described in the dream, symbolized in a great statue made of gold, silver, brass, and iron mixed with clay. we know them as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece under Alexander, and Rome. In the dream a rock was cut out of a mountain without hands, which struck the stature and destroyed it, to become a great mountain that filled the earth. (Daniel 2:31-45). Then Daniel declared that the mountain was the Kingdom of God!
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. “Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
This prophecy and others in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and Malachi would be remembered by the people living under the Roman occupation of Israel and Judah. They believed that the promised Messiah-King would free them as Moses did from Pharaoh centuries before. However, many could not see the deeper deliverance that would come. His name would be called the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace. The nations will willingly come to learn about the Lord, beating their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, to no longer war with one another. Many of them failed to see that righteousness, peace and joy can only come from the Holy Spirit living within us! (Isaiah 9:6, Micah 4:1-4, Romans 14:17)
God through Jeremiah foretold of a change of heart that would change everything. The people who worshiped God would no longer measure their success according to their performance, but they would begin to relate to God in a way that only a few had understood until then. He said He would write his laws upon their hearts and minds, and that they would know Him for themselves. Ezekiel spoke a similar word from the Lord where He would give them a new heart and His Holy Spirit would live in them so they could do His will from a pure desire. (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:25-27)
Is it possible that these prophecies are relevant today? Do some of God’s people need to return to that fresh innocence when they first received a new heart towards Him?
Please consider these things and stay with us as we move from the Old Testament times of promise to the New Testament times of fulfillment! Is is easy to “like” and “follow” our Living Truth Facebook page or subscribe to our blog on https://livingtruth.com