One Kingdom in Two Aspects

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Part One – One Kingdom in Two Aspects

 

Having completed our study of the matter of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, I would like to move on to a new subject, the Kingdom of God. This subject at first may seem to be a simple matter but upon closer examination we discover that it is a rather complex doctrine that has lead to much division within the Church. For this reason it will take several weeks to properly cover what God has to say about His Kingdom.

First of all, let us begin our study by noting why it is so important to study God’s Kingdom. The term “Kingdom of God” is frequently spoken from the pulpit however rarely is the doctrine of the Kingdom of God taught. This absence of instruction in and of itself makes it a worthwhile study. Most believers know little about the Kingdom and its ramifications on human history and redemption. However there are more compelling reasons to study this important subject.

1) The Kingdom of God is the central theme of the Bible. The book of Genesis begins with the Creation of the Kingdom of God. In Chapters one and two we are told that God’s Kingdom consists of the earth, the universe, heaven, and all its inhabitants. Two groups of these inhabitants were created in the image of God in order that they might assist God in His sovereign rule over his Kingdom. These inhabitants are identified as angels and men. In Chapter three we learn of an attempt to steal that Kingdom away from God by one of God’s highest creations, the angel Satan. Each book of the Bible covers this struggle between Satan and God to control and to secure ownership of this Kingdom. The last book to be written, the Book of Revelation, addresses the climax of this struggle as God finally triumphs over Satan, takes full control of His Kingdom, and casts Satan and his followers into an everlasting prison known as the Everlasting Lake of Fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14-15)

2) The Kingdom of God is the unifying theme of the Bible. This theme more than any other enables the student of the Scriptures to understand how the 66 individual books that make up the Bible blend together in one unifying theme. I have found that many Christians have a difficult time understanding how the Old Testament fits with the New Testament. After all, the Old Testament talks about a rigid Mosaic Law that required a sacrificial system centered in a tabernacle and later a temple. The New Testament talks about liberty from the law and its shortcomings by grace through faith in our new High Priest, Jesus Christ. How does one bring reconciliation between these diametrically opposed systems? An understanding of the Kingdom will show how the Old Testament is necessary for the New Testament and visa versa.

3) The Kingdom of God is the pivotal theme of the Bible. This theme plays a pivotal roll in the determination of where one stands concerning many doctrinal teachings of Scripture. Let me list just a few for the sake of illustration.

a. Israel’s current and future role in the program of God

b. The Church’s role in the program of God

c. The order, fulfillment, and interpretation of prophetic events

d. The purpose of Baptism and Communion

e. The leadership of the local Church and universal Church

f. The sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work on the cross

g. The authority of the Scriptures vs. other writings and decrees

h. The path of salvation

This clearly illustrates that if one hopes to properly approach, interpret, and apply the Scriptures one must have a correct biblical understanding of the Kingdom of God. 

Secondly, let us define what God speaks of when He uses the term “Kingdom” in the Scriptures. The simplest definition of the Kingdom of God is "the rule of God over all Creation in all time." This makes good sense and is a good way to express what God’s Kingdom is all about. However, as we study the Scriptures relating to the Kingdom we will find this simple definition becomes inadequate. The reason we draw such a conclusion is because many of the passages relating to the Kingdom seem to contradict each other. Let me give you a few illustrations of what I mean.

1) The time frame of the Kingdom: Some passages speak of God presently ruling over His Kingdom (Ps. 10:16; 29:10; 93:1; 99:1; Matt. 6:13; 1 Tim. 1:17). Note in each of these verses the writer uses the present tense speaking of God presently ruling. However other passages speak of the Kingdom of God as a future event yet to be fulfilled (Zech. 14:9; Psa. 47:3-4; 72:8-11; Isa. 2:2-4; Dan. 2:44; 7:27; Rev. 11:15). In each of these verses the Kingdom is referred to as a future event.

2) The duration of the Kingdom: Some passages speaks of God’s Kingdom as eternal (Psa. 10:16; Dan. 2:44) or without end and yet there some passages which indicate it seems to last for a little over a Thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6).

3) The Scope of the Kingdom: Some passages speak of God’s Kingdom including all of creation (Psa. 11:4; 103:19; 115:3; Jer. 17:12) including Heaven, the earth, and all the universe. However other passages speak of it as the rule of only this earth (Psa. 22:27-29; 47:2-3; Dan. 7:13-14).

4) The Administration of the Kingdon: Some passages speak of God’s Kingdom being ruled directly by God Himself (Psa. 103:19: 115:3; Isa. 66:1) and yet in other passages it speaks of Him setting up a lesser King to rule on His behalf (Psa. 2:6; 132:13-14; Heb. 12:22; Isa. 52:13; 55:4).

These “so called” contradictions are not contradictions at all but rather are the revelation of the Kingdom of God in its two unique aspects or components. There is the Universal aspect and the Meditorial aspect. 

The Universal Aspect: In the Creation of all things, God as Creator, became the ruler over all that He created. This was true at the beginning of Creation, has always been true, and shall continue to be true throughout all eternity. Even with the rebellion of Satan and his angels and the rebellion of mankind, God has never given up His sovereign rule over all things. Let me give you a couple of examples to prove my point.

1) God is ruler over Satan: Though Satan is at war with God at present and has been given by God some latitude in what he does here on this earth, yet ultimately he has always been answerable to God. We see this illustrated in Job 1:6; 2:1-2 where Satan along will all the fallen angels must give regular reports to God of all their activities. This is a requirement not a choice on the part of Satan for he knows that to refuse to submit to the sovereign commands of God can result in being chained in the abyss until the day of judgment as some angels have already discovered (Jude 1:6). Even though Satan wants to attack Job, God’s servant, Satan must seek God’s permission to do so and in the process God gives limits as to how far he may go.

2) God is ruler over Kings: Nebuchadnezzar, a Gentile king of great wealth and power, thought that all that he had accomplished was due to his own greatness rather than the sovereign decree of God. God strikes down Nebuchadnezzar for a seven year period to show to him who really is sovereignly in control of all things (Dan. 4:31-32; see also Rom. 13:1-7).

This sovereign rule over all things since the Creation is called the Universal Kingdom of God. It is ruled by the Triune Persons of the Godhead within which the Father has the final authority. Thus when Christ, the Second Person, was here on earth, He declared He came to do the will of the Father (Matt 26:39; John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38-39; 8:50; 17:4; 18:11). This rule is direct and universal in every aspect whether talking of time, the physical world, the spiritual world, the universe and etc. It covers everything from the smallest particle of matter to the largest galaxy. As the song writer has written, “Our God Reigns!”

The Meditorial Aspect: There is a second aspect of God’s Kingdom spoken of in the Scriptures. As God created Adam and Eve, He created them in His image (Gen. 1:26-28). In essence they were just like God with one exception, they were finite whereas God is infinite. Now God created man in His image so that he might be a lesser ruler who would care for one aspect of his Creation of Kingdom. God created man in His image that he might have dominion or kingship over all animal life and earth. This is called the Meditorial Kingdom of God and with man in God’s image, mankind was designed to carry out perfectly the rule of God on the earth.

Unfortunately, unlike the Universal Kingdom over all things, the Meditorial Kingdom given to Adam and Eve was at risk of being lost. God had created in Eden a tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil and told man not to eat of that tree. Man could do whatever else his heart desired, but in this one area God had demanded obedience. In Genesis 3, we know that Satan played a role in getting Adam and Eve to disobey God by eating of the forbidden tree and in doing so Satan took from man his Kingship over the earth. Mankind would now be enslaved to Satan, to sin, and to death. This is why Satan is called the ruler of this world and it is the reason why he was able to legitimately offer the Kingdom to Jesus when He tempted Him (Matt. 4:1-11). Note how often man’s enslavement, the loss of his Kingdom and sovereignty to Satan, is spoken about often in the Scriptures.

Eph 2:1-3, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (NKJV)

John 14:30, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” (NKJV)

Eph 6:11-12. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (NKJV)

1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” NKJV

Rev 12:9, “The great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (NKJV)

God came to earth and became a man, Christ Jesus, in order that He might undo the disobedience and sin of man so that He might restore to man the Kingship God originally gave him over the earth. Christ would accomplish this by paying the price for man’s sin as an innocent sacrifice on the cross. Though He completed this part of His work yet man will not fully realize the full impact of His restoring work until He comes again to establish His Kingdom upon the earth.

John 12:31-33, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” (NKJV)

Col 2:14-15, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (NKJV)

Heb 2:14, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” (NKJV)

1 John 3:8, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (NKJV)

Rev 20:2-3, “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” (KJV)

It is this Meditorial or localized branch of the Universal Kingdom that God is addressing when He speaks of setting up a Kingdom over the earth in the future and placing His Choice Servant as King on that throne. The King to be chosen will be the Second Adam, the God/Man, Christ Jesus. With this mind we can better understand the words of our Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:10. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (NKJV). Jesus was telling His disciples to pray for the day in which His Kingdom would be established on this earth so that God’s will would be done on earth as it is presently being done in Heaven. We look forward to the day when that Kingdom will be realized and Satan is finally conquered.

To summarize, the Bible speaks of one Kingdom of God that is manifested in two forms. In one form it is the Universal Kingdom of a Sovereign God over everything He has created. It never has or will ever be at risk due to the disobedience of its servants. In the other form, it is the Meditorial Kingdom which was given to the servant of God, created in His image, and limited to the realm of this earth. It is this Kingdom that was lost through sin and it is this aspect of the Kingdom that the war between God and Satan is being played out over the centuries. It is this Kingdom that will be fully restored to man when the Lord Jesus comes to established that Kingdom at His Second Coming. Are you ready for the Coming of the Lord? You can by putting your faith in Christ as your Savior. To learn more, check out our page entitled, “the path to heaven.”