The Kingdom

Throughout the Bible, God’s people have interacted with kingdoms of this world.  These include the Egyptian kingdom, the Assyrian kingdom, the Babylonian kingdom and the Roman kingdom. When the Israelites were captives in the Babylonian kingdom, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream.  Daniel told the king his dream and its interpretation. Daniel 2:31-41; 44 “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.  You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all — you are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.” ”And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” When Daniel gave the interpretation of the dream, he was under the first kingdom, the kingdom of Babylon. Because of recorded history, we understand that the second kingdom was that of the Medo-Persians. The third kingdom was the Grecian kingdom and the fourth kingdom was the Roman kingdom.  During the Roman kingdom, after the resurrection of Jesus, God established His kingdom on earth as had been prophesied 600 years earlier.

God has always been the King of the universe and He reigns in heaven.  But He chose to bring His kingdom to the earth.  Wise men came searching for the King.  Matthew 2:1-2 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” John the baptizer was sent to prepare the way.  Matthew 3:1-2 “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’”  After Jesus was tempted by the Devil, He preached the same thing.  Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Later, Jesus sent out the twelve with this instruction:  Matthew 10:6-7 “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus included the following:  Matthew 6:9-10 “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Luke 17:20-21 “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.’”

Before His crucifixion, Jesus was on trial before the Roman governor, Pilate. John 18:33-37 “Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’”

After the resurrection of Jesus and before his ascension into heaven, we have this account.  Acts 1:6-8 “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”  This power came upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost as we can read in Acts chapter two.  After that time, the Apostles no longer preached “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  The Kingdom had come. The Kingdom is within true believers even today.

And yet, we can still preach “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” because there is another dispensation of the Kingdom that is yet to come.  2 Peter 1:10-11 “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  We have not yet entered the everlasting kingdom.

We are now subjects of Jesus, our King.  As Christians, we do as He commands.  I encourage you to be prepared to enter the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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