The Kingdom of God part 2
In this part of our series I want to consider the significance of Christ as the King of the kingdom, this as I mentioned last time was something that was particularly shadowed forth under the Old Testament in the various Kings that reigned over Israel.
I mentioned how David sitting upon the throne of the kingdom is that which becomes a prophetic type of Christ sitting upon the throne of His kingdom.
And yet in another sense David and his throne were in fact the shadow of the heavenly reality of the throne of the kingdom in the heavens.
In consideration of this then the throne and the kingdom of David was an earthly pattern or expression of the heavenly reality.
Now then when we understand this it brings into view the fact that there was and is an eternal aspect to the earthly throne and kingdom of David.
It was the eternal kingdom of God finding an expression in time through David and the throne of his kingdom on earth.
The significance of this then is that all the various promises to do with Christ sitting upon the throne of David are because the throne of David was and is an eternal throne.
Let us consider then the prophetic word of Isaiah concerning the coming of Christ to sit upon the throne of the kingdom.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Compare this with
Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luke 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
The Lord God speaking of the Father shall give unto Him that is Jesus the throne of his father David.
What this statement does is it clearly defines Christ as the legitimate heir to the throne, going back to the promise in 2 Samuel 7:12-13
2Samuel 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
2Samuel 7:13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
Now while this found a measure of fulfillment in the natural offspring of David, the only possible ultimate fulfillment had to be in somebody that was eternal in nature.
This has to be so for the promise of 2 Samuel 7:13 to be fulfilled.
2Samuel 7:13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
Now then let us consider this for a moment for as in the case of Saul we see something here in the dealings of God concerning the matter of the kingdom.
1 Kings 11:29-37
God rends the kingdom from the son of Solomon because Solomon failed in the matter of the kingdom.
Nevertheless God according to His promise to David concerning the perpetual nature of the kingdom He preserves a succession of it in Jerusalem.
Now then while the kingdom of Judah ultimately fell God as I have already mentioned brought the people back into the land and held them there till the kingdom over Israel should emerge again in the person of Christ.
This again is according to the promise made in Genesis 49:9-10
Genesis 49:9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Let us consider then some further verses that reveal Christ in His appearance as the king of the kingdom
Matthew 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Numbers 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
When Herod demands of the chief priests and scribes concerning the coming of Christ they make reference to the promise of Micah 5:2
See Matthew 2:3-6
Micah 5:1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Now then a general consideration of the appearance of Christ as the king of the kingdom and its significance to the entire gospel story is one that I consider cannot be overstated.
Jesus appearing as the king of Israel did so as the greater son of David and as the promised heir to the throne.
Throughout His 3 ½ year ministry we find Him teaching the laws of the kingdom and demonstrating kingdom power over the dominion of sin and death.
He was received into Jerusalem in the same manner as that which constituted the coronation of a king.
This is significant of that act done unto Solomon in his crowning.
1Kings 1:33 The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:
1Kings 1:34 And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon.
It fulfils the prophetic word of Zechariah 9:9
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Now then the sad thing about all this is that the Jews in their rejection of Jesus actually rejected their king.
Note the many times Jesus was referred to as their King in consideration of the event of His crucifixion
John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
John 19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
John 19:19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Now then while Jesus the king was rejected of the Jews, the wisdom of God was such that through the cross Jesus would ultimately gain the complete victory over Satan and put in place the necessary means for the redemption of mankind as also a restoration of the original dominion.
This is of supreme importance to us for Christ in fact went to the cross as our King and their wrought the victory over our enemy.
I consider that perhaps the importance of this truth has been obscured by the fact that the attribute of Him being a king is one that was given to Him mainly in a form of mockery (by the soldiers and others at His trial etc) and yet it is at the very heart of what the cross actually means for us and significantly was the very title placed upon the cross.
In seeing Christ as our King upon the cross His victory over sin & death then becomes much more significant in that He was not just dying for our sins but He was in fact as out King and our deliverer conquering our chief enemy the devil and thereby restoring back to us the lost dominion.
In essence one of the things that this highlights is the fact that to embrace Jesus Christ as our savior is to embrace Him as our King.
And when the Jews rejected Christ as their king then they rejected Him as their savior and so the opposite is true if we accept Christ as our savior then in reality we are accepting Him as our King.
In consideration of this then it needs to be recognized that when people reject Jesus Christ it is primarily because they do not want Him as their King.
Luke 19:12 He said therefore, A certain noble man went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luke 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
Now then let me say that in the light of this it is significant that the gospel is particularly called the gospel of the kingdom or the glad tidings of the kingdom.
And when we talk about Jesus and the sacrifice of Himself upon the cross one of the things that I think is an essential part of effective preaching is that we seek to bring people to an understanding of the person and the work of Christ in its relationship to the kingdom of God.
Now I want to explain what I mean by that but first of all let us just consider a few verses that seem to confirm this idea.
Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
In consideration of this point one of things that is particularly evident about the ministry of John the Baptist is the way in which he was depicted as a herald whose ministry was to prepare the way of a coming king.
Jesus proclaimed a similar message
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
It also to be found in the preaching of the Apostles in the book of Acts
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
Now what does it mean then to preach the things concerning the kingdom of God or to preach the gospel of the kingdom.
What I think that it simply means is that we are to bring people to a perspective of Christ as the King of the kingdom of God and that that they are being called to surrender their lives to Him as the sovereign ruler over all things.
Our preaching and teaching therefore needs to recognize both the immediate and the future aspect of the kingdom of God, in addition to this we also need to work to bring people to the realization that as all have been part of a rival kingdom, the time has come to turn from our rebellion and to embrace Jesus Christ as our King.
The picture of Christ riding into Jerusalem as the King of the kingdom is very symbolic considering it was then followed by His conquering of sin, Satan and death through the cross, as such the gospel now invites us to receive Him as our King.
The scriptures contrasts to different responses to Christ the King.
A vast crowd of people just a short time before the crucifixion of Christ were crying Hosanna (Save oh God)as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey then we have another crowd of people at the cross crying crucify Him.
Everybody in the world will ultimately be in one crowd or the other, which one are you?
God's response to those who rose up against Him.
Psalm 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Psalm 2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
In response God in Psalm 2:6 tells us
Psa 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
The reality is that Christ has now ascended to take His place upon the throne of the kingdom in the heavens and now is the time to acknowledge Him and to bow the knee.
Psalm 2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Psalm 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Kiss the Son that is give allegiance to Him as the sovereign ruler over all things.
The gospel message reveals Christ as the King of the kingdom who has conquered sin, Satan and death and now invites us to put our trust in Him.
Isaiah 52:6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!