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What Is the Nature of the Kingdom?

22 Mar
Kingdom of God - 3

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In a previous study[1] I mentioned that any futurist view of the coming of Christ is proved wrong, if, indeed, Jesus returned in 70 AD, as implied in the Parable of the Nobleman (Luke 19:11-27). Moreover, I also claimed that, if Jesus had intended to rule in a physical body, from a physical city (i.e. Jerusalem) on a physical throne, he could have done so in the first century AD, because multitudes of Jews wanted to put him there on several occasions (cf. John 6:15; 12:16-19). In other words, the Jews were ready to receive Jesus as their Messiah, if he had intended to reign in a physical body, on a physical throne, from physical Jerusalem! The fact is, they had always wanted a king such as this (cf. 1Samuel 8:5).

The problem is Jesus told the Pharisees that they had a poor understanding of the Kingdom of God, because they understood it to be something they could see with their eyes (Luke 17:20). Actually, one couldn’t point it out to his fellow by saying ‘there it is’ or ‘it’s a few miles in that direction’ (Luke 17:21), because the Kingdom of God is within man. If God doesn’t rule a man’s heart, he certainly wouldn’t be able to rule man from a physical throne. Since he is Almighty, he could certainly force man to do as he wished, but a kingdom without freedom is the kingdom of a tyrant, not a benevolent, graceful, loving King like God reveals himself to be.

Nevertheless, some would say:

In order for God to keep His promises to Israel and His covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:8-16, 23:5; Psalm 89:3-4), there must be a literal, physical kingdom on this earth. To doubt this is to call into question God’s desire and/or ability to keep His promises, and this opens up a host of other theological problems. For example, if God would renege on His promises to Israel after proclaiming those promises to be “everlasting,” how could we be sure of anything He promises, including the promises of salvation to believers in the Lord Jesus? The only solution is to take Him at His word and understand that His promises will be literally fulfilled.[2]

Yet, Jesus does not have to physically reign from Jerusalem from a physical throne in order to keep his promise to David or the Jews. To be sure, the Jews of the first century certainly thought the Messiah had to reign from a physical throne at Jerusalem, but this doesn’t need to be so. All the above scriptures (2Samuel 7:8-16; 23:5 and Psalm 89:34) do is promise that God would establish the Davidic dynasty forever, in that the Messiah would come from David’s descendants. The scriptures makes no claim of a physical kingdom or a physical throne to be established at Jerusalem. The only thing God promises in the above scriptures is that the Messianic throne would be established forever, and that the Messiah would come from the loins of David—period.

One might ask, what is wrong with a ‘physical’ man ruling from a ‘physical’ throne at ‘physical’ Jerusalem? This is a good question and deserves a Biblical answer. It is because a physical man, ruling on a physical throne from physical Jerusalem would be a rejection of the rule of God. One simply cannot receive the Kingdom of God and reject the Kingdom of God at the same time. The whole idea is illogical. Notice, when the Jews asked for a physical king to rule in a physical land from a physical throne (1Samuel 8:5), they rejected God as their King (1Samuel 8:7)! Why would God change his mind and say a physical king, ruling on a physical throne in physical Jerusalem is okay and no longer rejects his rule (1Samuel 10:19; 12:17-19)?

Jesus came in order to reveal the Father (John 1:18). In fact, Jesus could do nothing of himself, but only what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19; 8:28). God doesn’t change his mind (James 1:17; Isaiah 46:10), because he doesn’t need to. He is Almighty. He does all things according to his will (Daniel 4:35), and is quite able to work out all things one earth after the counsel of his original plan (Ephesians 1:11), no matter what choices men make to prevent his doing so. Therefore, the nature of the Kingdom of God, or the Messianic Kingdom, is as it has always been. Namely, God rules in the kingdoms of men from the throne of men’s hearts (cf. Genesis 1:26-27; Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7).

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[1] See The Return of the Nobleman.

[2] See a Premillennialist’s argument against Amillenialism HERE.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2018 in Gospel of Luke

 

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