ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
Recently, upon two different occasions, the matter of the "Kingdom of God" surfaced on the horizon and made demands to be reckoned with: first, during a period of study and writing for the book, Sealed Unto His Coming. The second came in the form of a man, who pointed out the need for a book on this subject.
November 1, 2005
A Study In Luke About The Kingdom Of God
The following excerpt came by spiritual insight while writing about Abraham in the new book.
Because Abram believed (aman'd or sealed) what God said, then God established a covenant with him. When Abram proclaimed: 'Even so let it be done as you have spoken (paraphrased),' the Lord changed his name to Abraham. Then the Lord spoke prophetically over him, sealing him into the promises.
I have made you a father of many nations. I will make
you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you,
and kings shall come from you. And I will establish
My covenant between Me and you and your descendants
after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant,
to be God to you and your descendants after you…
Herein is the beginning of the "Kingdom of God." The true believer is sealed into a Kingdom. What has been lost most in modern Christianity is the aspect of being sealed into the Kingdom of God. It is this gospel of the Kingdom of God which must be preached to the whole world (Page 18, Sealed Unto His Coming, Zadok Publications, 2006).
In the one sovereign Kingdom, which is ruled by the will of God, nothing is ever begun which is not completed. In Exodus, the "I have made you a father of many nations…" is followed by a series of futuristic utterances by the King Absolute. All these promises began and were clearly an integral part of the first pronouncement: "I have made you." Because Abraham did not comprehend the expanse of God's first words, it was necessary to elaborate some of the ramifications pertinent to the Oracle. One must remember, it is God who determines the subsidiary aspects of His pronouncements, not man's whims nor man's exuberance. Although the term "Kingdom of God" does not surface as a unit of words until the New Testament, its roots are in the Old and its beginnings were with God.
It was God's Son who introduced massive teachings about this subject; therefore, the Gospels are filled with His descriptions of that Kingdom. Jesus' teaching in the Temple and various synagogues, along with His interaction with organized religion, centered on the Kingdom. His instructions to His Disciples urged them to live in and preach this Kingdom.
Yeshua drew the line between the kingdoms of this world and the "Kingdom of God" everywhere He went. He became the dictionary of "First Resort" for all Christian understanding of that "Kingdom." He holds in Himself the "Dictionary of Last Resort" as well. Conjecture and "fairy tale" approaches scarf no approval from Him. This is His Kingdom, given Him by His Father. (Jesus' Kingdom is totally unlike the kingdom of the devil where anything goes and whose fatherhood generates chaos and uncertainty and harbors a malignancy which destroys its citizenry.)
This Kingdom is clearly defined and its boundaries are established in peace. The devil's kingdom is filled with darkness, holds purposed tragedy with untold pitfalls. Upon every turn, it has as its chief aim the concealment and obscurity of its purposed design. Disassociation and mistrust underline the nuclear existence of the devil's populace.
The Kingdom of God, nonetheless, is built on inner Light. The Kingdom is tangible; it operates with transparency and it has one goal: "The good of them that love Him."
For the purpose of this study, only the Gospel of Luke will be reviewed. Perhaps the reader will be excited enough at the prospect of further review of the Kingdom, that he or she will solidly set aside the multiple examples of sermonic and doctrinal speculation which so often accompanies man's ideas regarding it.
Luke and the Kingdom of God
A People Prepared / Kingdom Talk:
Luke began his treatise by declaring the "Kingdom of God" is comprised of "A people prepared for the Lord (1:17)." Kingdom of God preachers have that distinguishing hallmark, "They seek to raise up a people prepared for the Lord." Herein is the design of the kingdom. This is the total purpose of "Kingdom ministry" versus "man defined ministry," and one must take notice of the difference.
Jesus' Birth Described in Kingdom Terms:
Luke defined who it was that filled the belly of Mary, and he did it in kingdom terms. The angel gave His Name as: "Jesus." The angel also characterized Him in Kingdom terms.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord
God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign
over the house of Jacob forever, and of HIS KINGDOM there will be
Yeshua was/is the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham.
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.
Jesus' Forerunner Announced a Kingdom:
Luke 1: 55
John the Baptist came to the forefront based on Kingdom terms. It was from "The Kingdom" that John was given his ministry after all. As a prophet of the Highest, his work was to give knowledge of salvation to God's people and lead them to a Kingdom ruled by Holiness and Righteousness (Luke 1:75). Every aspect of the New Testament relates directly to the Kingdom. Luke gives humor and historical perspective to the ministry of John.
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate
being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,
Annas and Caiaphas being high priests, the word of God came to John, the son
of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Luke was careful to point out that in terms of man's kingdom anyone of those he named ranked higher and more prominent than the Kingdom preacher. Luke was explicit in his accounting of government leadership and spiritual leadership regarding man's formulas; he was also explicit in showing the Spirit by-passing every logical person and choosing the God-ordained candidate. Could this be indicative of how God works today?
Jesus' Ministry was Kingdom oriented:
Luke pointed to the earliest recollection of ministry by Jesus (at age twelve) as Kingdom ministry. The Father's business was Kingdom business (Luke 2:49).
Satan's second temptation (the third in Matthew's account) centered around the kingdom. "…and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time (Luke 4:5)." In a flash the devil offered an exchange program because everything pivoted on one issue: whose kingdom does one serve? This was/is the absolute definitive line for all spiritual matters.
Luke reported that Jesus was acting in Kingdom authority and power while healing the sick. His ministry in Galilee, however, did not yield to popular demand (They sought to retain Him and keep Him ministering in their borders). His words were measured:
I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for
this purpose I have been sent.
If one looks at what had been preached from Luke 4:14 down to verse 43, several things are prominent. Jesus only moved by the Spirit. His messages were Bible texts. His first message was about Himself and His appointed ministry. Next was His first debate with "authorities from that other kingdom," and it centered around Elijah and how God's provision for the prophet came from Samaria because Judah was unfit spiritually. The result of this ministry found His hearers filled with something other than the Spirit.
Continuing in Galilee, but to a different city, He cast out demons that inhabited the members of the local synagogue. The demons responded to Him and called him Messiah, which was/is His Kingdom name (Luke 4:41). When the Jews rejected His Kingdom Name, they refused His Kingdom. Such action didn't stop His preaching in the synagogues though, because the people were ignorant of the Gospel of the Kingdom and this is still true today!)
Everything Jesus preached or did referenced the "Kingdom of God." As He departed from those places where miracle healing took place, He emphasized the necessity of carrying His Kingdom message to the entire region.
Jesus' Messages were about the Kingdom:
His messages were about the Kingdom. The parable about cloth and wineskins was about the Kingdom of God (Luke 5:36-39). His declaration of being "Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5)," was a Kingdom issue. He spoke, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God (Luke 6:20)." He qualified His promises and directives to: "Those who could hear (Luke 6:27)."
He addressed the poor, the hungry, the weepers, the hated ones and the reviled: "But I say to you." It is to Kingdom people, who adhere to Kingdom ways, that the promise of Luke 6:38 was given. It is not promised TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC! To all the others He said, "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say (Luke 6:46)?"
He returned to the "Kingdom folk" and likened them to those who built on the Rock!
When Jesus was told that John the Baptist inquired of Him, it was the Kingdom He made reference to in His answer: "The poor have the gospel preached to them (Luke 7:22)," and He pointed out that the "Least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he (Luke 7:28)." The standard was set!
It was this Kingdom Jesus preached about.
Now it came to pass afterward, that HE went through every city
and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the Kingdom
of God. And the twelve were with Him.
Infirmities fled before them, evil spirits were cast away and people willingly provided all that He and His disciples needed…such a wonderful Kingdom! The parable of the soils and the good ground ended with this prophecy: "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God (Luke 8:10)." In this Kingdom, its citizenry enjoy anointed understanding and rhema. Kinship in this Kingdom is not based on blood or marriage, but rather upon those "Who hear the word of God and DO IT (Luke 8:21)."
From His base of power and authority, Jesus bestowed what He possessed to His disciples. They did what He did. That's the way the Kingdom works. With this release, Jesus sent them to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:2).
They went away disciples, but they returned "apostles." (How vastly different was their resume than those claiming apostleship today! Their testimonies poured out about miracles.) Jesus took them aside and explained to them deeper issues than miracles found in the "Kingdom." In Luke 9:11, He received them and spoke to them about the "Kingdom of God." "All of them" meant both the disciples and the general public. Jesus combined them and healed those who were sick because the Kingdom of God and healing are one.
The theology lesson on the Kingdom of God did not end with the day. Jesus quizzed Simon in order to show the difference between popular thinking and truth. "The Messiah of God" cut through speculation and went to the heart of the Jewish rejection of the Kingdom.
The Son of Man must suffer many things, AND BE rejected
by the elders and chief priests and scribes, AND BE killed…
It is one thing to be rejected by the highest ranking religious figures of the day, it is another thing to be purposefully killed by them. Nonetheless, person assassination continues today among the rejecters. They often site the rejected one as a "resister,"
who must be taken care of.
Jesus then challenged the Kingdom receivers to recognize their lives are to be lived in and through His Kingdom with no regard to preservation of bodily life on earth. Dual citizenship is not allowed!
'But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not
taste death till they see the Kingdom of God.'
Following this statement came the Transfiguration when the Kingdom touched earth and accelerated the transition between the Old and New Covenant. The Old guard stood as the new guard stood before them. The Kingdom saw a leadership change before their eyes. The Disciples assumed their rank as the leaders at the forefront, and from that moment forward, the Kingdom of God was more than a Jewish phenomenon.
Quickly the Disciples learned that Kingdom determinations were made based on His Name. The Disciples were dubious of one casting out demons and using Jesus' Name.
Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us.
(Many translations render this verse, "He who is not against you is for you." This is Emmanuel, "God with US." The authorized text may well have cited something long since lost. The demons had cried out in earlier passages, "Leave us alone." Theirs was a kingdom of darkness unified. Here, the Master, for one of the first times in the chronology of His teachings, is unified with His Disciples. Their understanding of His Messiahship, their Kingdom investment brought them to a "oneness" with Him. This is still the qualifying element of the Kingdom.)
Those who enter this Kingdom are trucked no excuses for dalliance in the physical and earthly realm. "Let me first go and bury my father," garnered a terse command:
Let the dead bury their own dead, but YOU go and
preach the 'Kingdom of God."
The mandate to preach the "Kingdom," rather than remain involved in social obligation, is a powerful lesson for the modern church.
'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is
fit for the Kingdom of God!'
Tithemi (Grk) is a strong word; translated "fit," it offers a stronger edict than a "tailored suit." Let one read the statement correctly, "No one, having begun in God's Kingdom can return to man's kingdom and find his 'purpose' in the Kingdom of God." The Spirit is the controlling agent of God's Kingdom on earth, the Kingdom person must be Spirit led, not purpose driven.
Jesus appointed seventy others to go out as Kingdom forerunners. They were to be focused on their task and turn away from greetings and ordinary events. Houses they would enter and cities they would approach must answer to them. Kingdom preachers are an awesome bunch. They were to heal the sick and preach one message, like Jonah,
"'The Kingdom of God' has come near to you."
When the seventy returned, they were ecstatic. Kingdom preaching bore different results than passionless sermons. Luke 10 elaborated their authority. Man's authority over Kingdom matters is not associated with traditional position; it is based on the power of the Kingdom's King.
Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.
The records are kept in Kingdom headquarters! The very prayers of the saints are Kingdom prayers, directed to headquarters.
Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven
The end result of this Kingdom prayer (known as the Lord's Prayer) is:
Your heavenly Father (will) give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
The Holy Spirit directed every activity of Jesus. While visiting in the town of Mary and Martha, He encountered the church leadership (rulers in that other kingdom). Their leader prompted them to challenge Jesus over the healing of a demon possessed man (probably a prominent member of the synagogue). The Messiah countered their attack:
Luke 11: 13
Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.
Jesus, however, continued His Kingdom discussion:
I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the Kingdom of
God has come (entered your territory) upon you.
Jesus taught more about the Kingdom while using the pronoun "us." Inculcated with Him are all the "us's" in His Kingdom.
He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather
with Me, SCATTERS.
Herein is the tragedy of today's church. Unless the Spirit directs where Jesus is gathering, the alternative is "scattering." After this statement, Jesus tore into the religious leadership relentlessly. In staccato form He upbraided them. He pointed out that wicked Nineveh had repented under Jonah, "But a greater than Jonah is here!" "Take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness." "You Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness." "You are like graves." "You approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them (the prophets), and you build their tombs." "You did not enter (the Kingdom) in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered."
The Kingdom of God was more than their composite approach to Biblical adherence. IT is still so this very hour!
But seek the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added
to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good
pleasure to give you the KINGDOM.
Then Jesus began a long series of comparisons about the Kingdom of God. His similes and metaphors utilized earthly forms in order for the Disciples to fully understand what had been given them.
Luke 12:31, 32
- The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. It grows inside you and becomes a refuge for others (Luke 13:19). He later teaches about faith through the mustard seed (Luke 17:6ff).
- The Kingdom of God is like leaven. It becomes a part of the total person (Luke 13:21). (See: Matthew list at the end of this study.)
- Later, Luke compared the Kingdom to a man who gave a supper and
none of the invited guests responded by attending (Luke 14:16).
Until Next month,
Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.
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