Showing posts with the label Kingdom

The Neronian Dilemma

The Bible claims that God gives political power to whomever He pleases, “ even to the basest of men .” He “removes kings and installs kings,” including rulers of whom we may disapprove. Disciples of Jesus who assume certain politicians should hold power presume on God’s patience and prerogative, and this is especially problematic in democratic societies.

Jesus versus Caesar

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul points to the obedience of Jesus as the model for proper conduct by his disciples. His willing submission to death on the Roman cross sets the pattern for his followers. And his subsequent elevation to reign over all things is the result of that “ obedience to death ,” for exaltation did not precede death, but followed it.

The Choice

In Revelation , every man and woman is either “ tabernacling in heaven ” or included among the “ inhabitants of the earth .” These descriptions are NOT geographical or spatial. Instead, they reflect the allegiance of either group. A man or woman either belongs to “ heaven ” or to the “ earth .” Those who “ tabernacle in heaven ” elect to “ follow the Lamb wherever he goes ” no matter the cost.

His Kingdom

When Jesus of Nazareth first appeared in Galilee, he proclaimed the “ Kingdom of God ” – “ Repent, for the kingdom is at hand .” In his ministry, God’s reign began to invade the earth. But his realm was and is of an entirely different nature than the political systems of the present age. And on more than one occasion, Jesus refused  THAT  kind of political power, especially when it was offered by Satan  in the wilderness  who offered him “ all the kingdoms of the world .”

Servant of the Kingdom

After predicting his death, two of Christ’s disciples began jockeying for positions of high status in his coming kingdom. Thinking according to the ways of this world and its concepts of political power, they did not yet comprehend what kind of Messiah Jesus was, and therefore, what it meant to be his disciple. But he would soon demonstrate graphically just how anyone achieves “greatness” in the kingdom of God.

Taking the Kingdom

Christ’s comment about violence taking the kingdom refers to violent men who attempt to seize the work of God  – Matthew 11:12.  In  Matthew , Jesus declares that “ violent men are seizing the kingdom of God .” Is he referring to malevolent men outside the church who attempt to seize control of the kingdom? Or does he mean Christians must aggressively pray and otherwise press into it? Are disciples to “ forcefully seize ” the promises from God, and does his kingdom advance through forceful action?

For All Nations

After his resurrection, Jesus declared - “ All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me, therefore, go and make disciples of all nations! ” As the Lord over all things, he now sends his disciples to proclaim his sovereignty and salvation everywhere - to the “ uttermost parts of the earth .”

Reigning with Him

Christ’s present reign is based on his past death and resurrection, and his disciples participate in his rule. And like him, their position is paradoxical since it is characterized by self-sacrificial service. The shedding of his lifeblood is what consecrated them as “ priests ” for God.

Whomever HE Pleases!

According to Daniel, the God of Israel changes times and seasons, removes kings, and sets up kings .  Too often, church leaders exhort us to work diligently for the election of politicians of whom they approve, claiming it is God’s will. And they warn of the dire consequences that will befall the church if we fail to immerse ourselves in partisan politics.

To Whom Homage?

Satan tempted Jesus with political power over “ all the kingdoms of the world .” But the man from Nazareth refused the offer. Instead of might and grandeur, he submitted to the way of the ‘ Suffering Servant .’ But the most startling detail is that he did not dispute the Devil’s claim to have jurisdiction over the political systems of the world.

Slave of HIS Kingdom

To be a citizen of the kingdom of God requires a life of self-sacrificial service for others, not power over them – Mark 10:35-45.  According to the New Testament, collectively, Christians are a “ kingdom of priests .” As citizens of this realm, they rule with Jesus both now and in the “ age to come .” But such a high calling raises the obvious question:  How does each believer participate in his present reign? Fortunately, both Jesus and Paul provided straightforward explanations for how the disciple implements his sovereignty.

Jesus Reigns Over All Things

Jesus received complete authority from his Father to reign over the Cosmos. Only his kingdom will endure .  At the height of his power, the absolute monarch of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, boasted before heaven and earth, “ Is not this Babylon the great and exceptional kingdom that I built by the  MIGHT OF MY POWER  and for the glory of my majesty ?” His boast was not an idle one. Babylon was one of the great powers of the ancient world.

Isle of Patmos

SYNOPSIS  -  John was exiled on Patmos for his testimony, therefore, he was a “fellow participant” in the Tribulation, Kingdom, and Perseverance “in Jesus”  -  Revelation 1:9 .  Patmos  is a small island in the  Aegean Sea  approximately ninety kilometers west of the  city of Ephesus  - Eleven kilometers long by seven kilometers wide. It is one of the smaller islands of the  Sporades , an archipelago off the west coast of  Asia Minor . Roman literature from the imperial period identifies this island chain as a place for the exile of political offenders - ( Tacitus, Ann. iii.  68; iv. 30; v. 71). - [ Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash ].

Kingdom Parables

Jesus taught several parables concerning God’s kingdom, its unexpected ways of expansion, and its status in the world  - Mark 4:21-34.  The gospel of  Mark  provides only a few examples of the many parables taught by Jesus (“ Apart from a parable he did not speak to the crowds ”). But in those few, the dominant theme is the kingdom of God that commenced in his ministry and has continued since whenever the gospel is proclaimed .

Parable of the Sower

The  Parable of the Sower  provides the key to understanding the other parables of Jesus. Its point is that the kingdom of God began to invade the present age with the proclamation of the kingdom of God by the “ Son of Man .” He inaugurated the process, and ever since, the kingdom has been advancing throughout the earth though largely unnoticed by humanity.

Greatness in His Kingdom

His disciples are summoned to lives of self-sacrificial service to others, just as Jesus gave his life as the ransom price for many .  Having just predicted his trial and execution, Jesus observes the disciples jockeying for position in the coming kingdom. He has taught them that citizenship in his kingdom means a  life of self-sacrificial service to others . But as he is approaching Jerusalem, even his closest followers have a very different concept of how to “rule” in his realm.


‘Christendom’ is the attempt to invoke God and Jesus to validate national and political institutions, agendas, and ideologies . In popular usage, the English term refers to “that part of the world in which Christianity prevails,” either because most citizens of a nation claim to be Christian or because a specific church is recognized as the official religion of the nation. Thus, the nation becomes identified as “Christian.”

Arrest and Fulfillment

Jesus began to proclaim the Kingdom of God after the arrest of John the Baptist, and that incident foreshadowed the opposition that would characterize his own ministry. At the time, Palestine consisted of three territories -  Judea, Samaria , and  Galilee , and the latter included a mixed population of Jews and Gentiles.

Kingdom Herald

After his baptism, the Spirit “ drove Jesus into the wilderness ” for “ forty days and nights .” Like Moses on Sinai, the Messiah found himself alone in the Judean desert where the Devil confronted him. His only guide was the Word of God. Like Israel, he was “ tested ” in the wilderness. But unlike that nation, he overcame every test and emerged victorious from the experience - “ FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT .”