Kingdom Principles #1

 •  22 min. read  •  grade level: 9
What's the first thing a farmer does when he get's up in the morning? Well, you think about it, you have a crop growing out there and you're concerned about it, you have put a lot of time and energy into it. I'll tell you when I get up in the morning one of the first things I do is, I open up the blind and I look out the window. Why do I do that? I look up at the sky, it tells the farmer a lot. Where does blessing come from? It comes down from above, and we need it.
What does a general do when he's about ready to fight a war or when he gets started in a war? What is one of the first things that he will be sure to secure? The air. The air. He that controls the air controls the war. Beloved, there is a man ascended up that is in control, are you on his side?
Well, I like to take up the subject of the Kingdom in these meetings. The Kingdom of God, and the various aspects of it. The Lord Jesus has gone up into heaven and he is there, and God is in control. Before I give a little explanation of the chart that you have in your hands, there are two portions that I would like to turn to briefly. The first is in Luke's Gospel chapter 12, by way of introduction. Luke's gospel chapter 12 verses 31 and 32. "But rather seek ye the Kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added until you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom". We must start out with this premise, God wants to bless. There is a being in glory, our Creator God, who desires to bless. That was the lie of the devil in the beginning, to sow doubt in man's heart, hath God said? We can never doubt God's goodness. If we're going to be blessed here today, or any day in our lives, it will be on this basis, not of what we do, but of the goodness of God. And the enemy would many times seek to deceive us and say "no you'll find a better kingdom on different terms". Now turn over to second Peter chapter 1, verse one, "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lusts". Now we'll drop-down to verse 10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".
Peter here speaks in a practical way of entering into the Kingdom. Sure and great promises. God has made a way for us to enter into his kingdom. The Kingdom of God in the simplest terms means the rule of God, in whatever sphere or place. The rule of God. So we on our little chart that you have, and I have a copy of up here, at the top we've got the kingdom of God. This is a time chart, showing the history over a long period of time and I think/trust most of you are familiar with this way of approaching things. I like to look at things graphically in this way, and place it in my mind. We have the course of time here starting on the left-hand side, it does not go all the way back to the beginning of creation, but it starts way back 2500 years B.C. and goes on through the history of time until the very end of time, the day of God, eternity that is coming for us and for all. In the middle we have, in the center here, the Lord Jesus and the cross, it's kind of the focal point of time. It's wonderful to think that our time dates back from Christ and they count backwards, as it were, in the calendar years and then forward from the time of our Lord Jesus. Now where are we in this time charter? Has anybody seen that yet? Where are we located in this time chart? Right here, Lassen 2000. Wonderful to think that this is 2000 years since our calendar began counting time. So we are sitting right here at this point of time, all this back here is past and all this to the right of that is what is coming yet, the Lord has purposed to bring, and the kingdom.
Now if we look back, we started back here on the very left, we started out with authority. That was the time when God gave to Noah government, or authority, for man to rule. It wasn't the first thought of God in the course of man's history, but when man/people began to multiply, it says that God looked down and the earth was filled with violence and corruption, and God destroyed the world with a flood. After that he introduced what we speak of as authority. Now I want to make a distinction in this chart that this subject is not really about the church, or the assembly, or the bride of Christ that we often focus on. We're talking now about kingdom truth, were talking about rule and authority; and that is when God first gave authority to man to rule. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed". God gave to man the right to control and to rule where evil existed, and so capital punishment today, was given by God to man to execute and it's a right principle from God where evil reigns or where evil is carried out. So authority with the beginning of what we might think of as the Kingdom aspect of things, where there is rule necessary, you see if everybody obeyed, if everybody followed the rules, or God's thoughts, there would be no need for reigning. So that's why reigning was not the first thing that God introduced into the world. It was only introduced after failure came in.
As we go down through the history we see that God added more to that later on, He gave the law, which was a perfect rule of life, that told what the rules should be, how we should rule, and so on. He gave to Israel that place of ruling in the world, and so that began, the law began, with Moses, and we have the kings introduced in Israel at the time of Saul, David and Solomon, so I put their names on there, as they had a signifigent role in this subject of the kingdom. We know there are many pictures and examples to us there. I have written here also, the captivity, that is, that was the time when Israel had failed and God said "no I'm not going to let you rule any more, you have failed in your rule of the earth, over your people, over my people". So He took the government away from Israel and gave it to the Gentiles. That began what we can speak of as the "times of the Gentiles". That means God has entrusted to Gentile kingdoms, the rule of this world, and it's been going on that way ever since.
It's a wonderful thing to have a good government. We live here in the United States, where there is basically good government, that is there is law and order, there is control. It would be a terrible thing if there were no policemen on the streets. It would be a terrible thing if there were no judges that executed righteousness, in a measure. We complain and grumble about it a lot of times, but you go back and look at what happened down in El Salvador, or down in Peru, where there was revolutions that took place. You begin to realize we need good government, and when there is poor government, people suffer. There is a basic yearning, I believe, in everybodies heart for that good reign. So throughout all the old testament here, we see that there is much spoken of in the old testament about "the kingdom". They looked forward to a time when there would be a king that would reign in righteousness and give peace and give blessing to the people here on earth, because as they looked around they found that even the favored ones like David and Solomon, they failed. There is failure all throughout and there always has been. God had a plan during all that time.
It's written up here, "the Kingdom of God". Now the kingdom of God, really, it would extend all the way back here, because God ruled ever since the beginning of time, He has always been in control and He always will. But really the kingdom of God did not come into focus really until God sent the Lord Jesus down into this world as the King to rule. That was a man from God, sent down to this world as King to rule in righteousness, and He would have brought about peace and all that they looked forward to in the old testament, if they had received Him. But you see, there's two parts to a kingdom, there's the king, and then there's his kingdom, that is the people, and they have to be willing too, there has to be a certain amount of responsibility on their part, there has to be submission, obedience and so on. Or else how can you have a wonderful kingdom? So when God sent the Lord Jesus down, he was first of all presented as King to His people, but they rejected Him. Now what can a perfect king do, when He's presented to his people and He's rejected? Well, that's a good question, and much of the new testament is taken up with the answer of that, and God does have a plan. And I hope we'll get to speak a little as we go on through this, of that plan, what it really is, because God isn't frustrated by man's disobedience. God is sovereign and He's still in control, even though the Lord Jesus was rejected. And God always has His real perfect plan that He is going to execute, when the right time comes.
So the kingdom of God goes on until the end of time when all will be presented, when the real kingdom is going to take place. So what the people of Israel looked forward to during this whole time before our Lord Jesus came, was really, in essence, what we speak of here at this time in the future "the kingdom". Whenever you read in the old testament about "the kingdom" why it pretty much, generally speaking will always refer to this time. There may be some exceptions but this was what they were really looking forward to, they didn't know how it's going to be developed and so on, they didn't know how that the Lord Jesus was going to come down and be that king, they looked for their Messiah, yes, but they didn't know how and what form and everything. So when the Lord Jesus came and was rejected, that kingdom that he was going to set up was, as it were, postponed. And something else God had in his plan, was going to be introduced.
Now I'd like to read a scripture, go back to Daniel now at this point, and we'll read one verse out of Daniel 2. This will give us a verse to focus on, the view of the old testament, of the kingdom. Daniel chapter 2, verse 44, this is speaking about the times of the Gentiles incidentally, which began right here, and will terminate right here on our chart, at the close to the tribulation, it says "And in the days of these kings", that's the Gentile kings that were to rule for that long period of time, "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever". So this was Daniel's view of the kingdom way back here at the time of the captivity, or the return of the captivity. God gave him this revelation of "the kingdom" which is basically this time here, that we speak of as the millennium. After all these Gentile kingdoms had ruled, down at the bottom here of the chart, it says the kingdoms of men. And so all this time there are various kingdoms of men. What a lot of history has taken place in the kingdoms of men, and it goes on and it keeps going on and we're in the middle of an election year now and so there is going to be a change of government in this country, and so the process keeps going on, it's all the kingdoms of men. God gave men to rule, and they continue to rule, and they're strivings going on, who's going to be the next ruler and so on. It keeps going on. But while all this process is going on here on earth, men striving and seeking their place in this world, trying to reign, each thinking he has a better plan than his fellow man. God is up in heaven and he has a plan and you can be sure that it's going to take place.
And we want to be knowledgeable about that, we want to know what God's plan is. We want to live in harmony with what God is doing, because He is doing. He is ruling, not openly and apparently, with a man visibly present here, because when the Lord came in that way, he was rejected. And so the kingdom took on a peculiar form at that point of time, which we'll speak of as the mystery form of kingdom. And it is in mystery at this present time where we live here in this time of grace. God is still ruling, he's still in control, nothing happens by chance, and He is fulfilling His purposes in everything that happens, all the kings that get into power, He has a reason. Satan is doing his work too, at this time, it looks like he is in control a lot, and he's given a certain amount of liberty to rule and so forth, but over all of that, God is in control, the rule of God exists.
So, when the Lord Jesus went back to heaven after his death and resurrection; I'll ask the question—what would you do if you were in that position, and your man, the king, had been rejected? Its interesting in Luke's Gospel, let's just turned to it, in Luke 20, I think we get an answer there. This is a parable about the vineyard and the man who sends out into his vineyard to receive the goods of the vineyard and they rejected one and sent him back empty and beat another and so on and wounded him and last of all it says "he sent them his son",and notice what it says about him, verse 14 "But when the husbandman saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the Lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid". Here we have, an answer from the Lord himself, and if you read in the other Gospels, they are the ones that really gave the answer, they said that this would be what he should do. He should take it away from them, that's Israel. And so, when the Lord Jesus was rejected, they said this is the heir, come let us kill him. He took away from Israel their place of blessing for a time, and let out the vineyard to others, the Gentiles. And so that's the period that we live in here, it's during this present time it's of the Gentiles that God is filling His kingdom,but it takes on a new character.
Instead of God intoducing the destruction of all the nations, as he's going to do at the beginning of the kingdom when he comes to reign, before God introduces those judgments of vengeance for the way they treated the Lord Jesus Christ, God's plan in his kingdom is to form a people for heaven during this present time that the Lord Jesus might have a people there. So we have Jesus Christ on His Father's throne. That's where he went after his rejection and he's there receiving a kingdom. A kingdom is being formed right now for him. That's the gospel that we preach, that's where we fit in, in the place of blessing, in God's kingdom. Preaching the gospel to enter in, not for a place here on earth right now, but to receive a place of blessing where the Lord Jesus has gone to, heaven. So instead of God saying, "Alright, because you rejected my son, it's all done. I'm finished with you". God raises the blessing a little higher and he says, "You won't have Him on earth, I'm going to give him a place in heaven, and not only that, I'm going to give Him a people to share that place in glory with, His people." That's the kingdom that we seek to enter into and enjoy, and we will be ushered in there at the rapture when the Lord Jesus comes and takes His kingdom there with him, that has been developing ever since the day of Pentecost, when the church was formed, and they began preaching the kingdom of God in a new way.
With that, we'd like to turn to Acts chapter 1, to see how the kingdom applies in our present time, because the kingdom of God takes on different characters during different time periods. And so it's still all the kingdom of God, but it's in a different character, and it's a different place, different way it's formed. Notice in Acts chapter 1 verse one, we'll just read a few verses here, Acts one verse one, "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem; but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"
And then he gives them an answer and in verse eight, He says, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." You see, they still had this concept even after the Lord Jesus had been rejected and crucified, and then He, after his resurrection, he appeared for 40 days there, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God. They say "will you restore the kingdom to Israel?" And the answer he gives is "I'm going to send down the Holy Spirit and it is going to form the kingdom here on earth". And the kingdom is going to take on a heavenly character, the people are going to be received in heaven, at the close of the time when the Lord comes, at the rapture. And then the Lord is going to receive the heavenly part of His kingdom. That's the answer he gave to them, and that's where we fit in. That's why we speak about our blessings being heavenly, and so on. We're a heavenly people. Israel in the old time, were an earthly people, and they looked for the kingdom here on earth. Well, that's been postponed, but instead of judging Israel immediately, the Lord opens up blessing for Gentiles. Then, later on, He's going to come back in judgment, and form His kingdom here on earth.
Now, one more verse in Acts chapter 14, concerning the present time, Acts 14 verse 22, says "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God". Now that's the character of the kingdom right now. Israel didn't think of a kingdom like that, as being a people who were suffering. But beloved, our King came down and he suffered. And now He says "If you want to enter into my kingdom where I'm going in heaven, you'll have to suffer too". And so that's the character the kingdom takes now, it's by suffering, it's not an easy path, there's a path of rejection in following the Lord Jesus. To be identified with him and enter into his kingdom, we have to suffer, and that's the character that it takes now. But don't get discouraged, the reigning time is coming, the time of peace and blessing and rest is still coming, we're not going to miss out by passing a little suffering now, because when the Lord Jesus comes back again, after He takes His kingdom home, the heavenly part of it, He's going to come back and He's going to bring His people with him and they are going to reign with Him, over the earthly people on earth. And so, in the final stage when the kingdom is in manifestation and glory here, there's going to be two parts to it. The heavenly saints, and the earthly people. There will be a people here on earth living, those who have received the gospel of the kingdom, that was preached at this time, and we'll go into a little more detail on that later on, but this is just a brief outline of it.
One last scripture now, in Revelation 11, that describes this last form of the kingdom and how the Lord is going to take it. Revelation chapter 11, and of course are many many verses that could be turned to, but we're just going to read one. Revelation 11:1515And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15) "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." Oh what a wonderful thing to have that before us, to know that the Lord is going to come back in power and in glory and in blessing. He is going to reign. We are now in the time of the patience, John, in the first chapter of this book, speaks about "in the patience and tribulation of the Kingdom", that is we're still here waiting until the Lord comes back to reign. It's a purpose of God to be that way, because if he had of come back immediately, he would have had to come back alone. He would have had no one with him.
And so before the Lord chose to come back to reign here on earth, he wanted to form a kingdom in heaven, he wanted to have a people in heaven and so this present time is occupied with gathering a people out of this earth, it's forming here on earth. It's going to be taken to heaven at the rapture and there will be a second little resurrection at the close of the tribulation, for the martyrs. All of those are going to enter into, and to come back with the Lord, to reign in his kingdom. And so there's two parts to the Lord's coming, there is the rapture and there is the manifestation of glory. The manifestation of glory is when he comes with his saints. Well, this is just an introduction and with this I think we will close, and tomorrow, Lord willing, we'll add to this chart, We're going to add some more features. I've tried it rather simple here, even though I know it's got a lot more lines than Jim's charts do; this is as simple as I can make it. And we'll try to get in a little deeper, Lord willing, in the next meetings. Let's just give the Lord thanks.