The Kingdom of God part 3
In my last article I particularly considered the appearance of Christ as the promised seed to sit upon the throne of David as also the significance of the rejection or the acceptance of Christ as King in the matter of the cross.
In concluding that study I talked particularly about our need for a preaching of the gospel that is distinctly centered in the matter of the kingdom.
This does not mean that we neglect other facets of the gospel message but rather that we simply present all the relevant parts of it in its connection with the overall theme of the kingdom of God.
The entire gospel story is one that primarily hangs on the matter of the kingdom and as much as God is redeeming mankind back to Himself He is also engaged in the overthrowing of the rival kingdom of Satan and the putting down of the rebellion of a former creation.
That rebellion as we know spread to this creation through the devils seduction of mankind into the way of sin, and as already noted the first promise concerning mans redemption is a promise to do with a regaining of the lost dominion and the final defeat of Satan and his hosts.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Having considered this then let us now come back to the work of the cross and its part in bringing about the fulfillment of the original creation mandate to subdue the enemies of Satan, the fallen angels and the myriad of demons that exist in the spirit world.
First of all I consider it significant that in Genesis 14 concerning the person of Melchisedec we have a shadowing forth of Christ as the king – priest who brings forth bread & wine.
Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Genesis 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Genesis 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
It is the king – priest bringing forth bread & wine as a prophetic picture of Christ the king – priest who would bring forth His own body & blood as a sacrifice for sin.
All this was done in connection with the defeat and overthrow of the enemy as also the rescue of Lot the nephew of Abraham.
The picture we have of Melchizedek bringing forth the bread & the wine is significant of that part the offering of the body and the blood of Christ plays in Him becoming the king – priest of mankind.
Let us consider this then for in essence it takes in the ministry of Christ in becoming a man that He may rescue us from the dominion of the devil.
See Hebrews 2:6-9
Man at the first had the dominion (he was crowned with glory and honor) yet now we see not all things put under him, now originally they were, but the fall interrupted that dominion over all things.
Now this verse again verifies what I consider as the truth of the original dominion of mankind, what is it that we do not see put under him at this time.
Satan, the fallen angels and myriads of demons that exist in the spirit world.
But we see Jesus who having suffered death is now crowned with glory and honor.
This verse is to do with the ascension of Christ to the heavenly throne, particularly as the representative man and particularly as He who has conquered the hosts of darkness, thus again putting all things under mankind (this themes continues throughout the chpt)
Note v17-18 states the necessity of him becoming a man so that He could mediate as our High priest.
The work of Christ on the cross is stated in verse 14-15
The power of death is to do with sin, sin is the thing that brings forth death.
1Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ in becoming a man and dying on the cross, He effectively breaks the power of death by providing us with a means of finding forgiveness for our sin.
In this way He strips Satan of the power of death, sin is the only thing that gives Satan power or dominion over us.
1John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Note verse 5
Isaiah 14:5 The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the rulers.
While this verse takes in the ultimate overthrow of spiritual Babylon and the final defeat of Satan in principle we must see the breaking of the staff of the wicked and the scepter of the rulers as that which occurs as a result of the cross.
Through the atoning blood of Christ Satan’s power and control over the souls of men is broken, note the verse speaks of the staff of the wicked and the scepter of the rulers indicating plurality of expression.
What this takes into account is that while there is only one devil called Satan there are many wicked spirits who work with him in the dominion and control of the hearts of men, all are defeated and stripped of their power at the cross.
Let us consider some verses that make reference to this spiritual reality.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
1Corinthians 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Isaiah 24:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
Let us consider then the work of Christ in breaking the staff of the wicked and scepter of the rulers of this world.
John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
The prince here speaks of Satan as the chief ruler of the darkness of this world.
Jesus through the cross has provided the legal means by which the Father can justly offer forgiveness of sins and mercy towards mankind, in doing so Jesus effectively cast out or expelled our enemy from among us.
Zephaniah 3:14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
Zephaniah 3:15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
Note v15 Christ took away our judgments at the cross
He has cast out our enemy, that is Satan, the enemy and usurper has been cast out of our hearts and in his place Jesus is now come and is established among us as our King.
Consequently we won’t see evil anymore that is we won't be the subject of God’s judgment against sin.
Let us consider then the words of Christ in respect of the dispossessing of Satan.
Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
Luke 11:21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
Luke 11:22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
Let us just consider some things here at is relates to ministry of Christ in disarming and spoiling the devil.
The armor speaks to us of that capacity in warfare which is both defensive and offensive, the armor taken from Satan therefore suggests that through the work of the cross Christ has disarmed Satan and rendered him entirely useless in his ability to defend that which was previously under his control.
With people finding forgiveness for sin Satan’s power to keep them in bondage is broken and they thereby released from under his dominion, he is stripped of his defenses and has no power to keep them in the prison house of darkness.
The power of the kingdom of God is brought bear upon them and there circumstances.
Jesus makes reference to His disarming and spoiling of Satan in the proclamation of Mth 16:18 I will build My church.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
This verse is not speaking of the Christ as on the defensive but rather of Him taking the battle to the gate and overcoming the enemy.
Gen 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
To possess the gate of ones enemies is to have complete victory over them, this is truly so of the work of Christ in the conquering of Satan.
Isa 28:5 In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,
Isa 28:6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
Linked with this is the idea of Christ in Re 6:2 going forth to conquer and to conquer.
Rev 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
The next point to note here is that in the disarming of Satan there is then the spoiling of his goods.
Let me suggest to you here that the dividing of his spoils speaks of the act of Jesus in taking those that were previously bound by Satan but now loosed into the service of Christ and His church.
One of the major themes of the gospel of the kingdom is the fact of our deliverance from the power of Satan through the victory that Christ has provided for us at the cross.
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Psa 68:6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
Isa 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!
Christ in His earthly ministry as the King of the kingdom exercised power against the demons of the rival kingdom of darkness casting them out of the people in whom they were dwelling.
How much more then as people come to Christ and accept Him as their personal savior are they delivered from the power of darkness and cleansed from all devils and unclean spirits.
Notice again what is mentioned in the verses under consideration.
Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
The implication of the casting out of devils plural is that with Jesus disarming and overthrowing the chief devil, it opens the way for the evicting and dispossessing of all other devils and unclean spirits
Consider Luke 11:24-26
When the unclean spirit goeth out of a man? That is, it is cast out of a person as they accept Christ as their personal savior or deliverer.
Christ rescues us from the myriads of devils & unclean spirits that inhabit the human race.
Note here that the unclean spirit goes about looking for opportunity to return and to enter in again taking with it further spirits more evil than itself.
For this reason it is my estimation that it is a very dangerous thing to back slide away from God, for in doing so one can open themselves up to a far worse spiritual condition than even before they were saved.
It is the work of Christ to deliver us from the oppression of the devil.
Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Reconsider Luke 11v22
The dividing of the spoils
Isaiah 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The great speaks of the Godhead the Father and the Holy Spirit divide a portion with Jesus, and He speaking of Jesus divides the spoil with the strong speaking of the church
Psalm 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
We see Paul takes this promise up in Ephesians 4:7-12 and applies it to the church and the various gift ministries given to the church.
Note the connection with first descending then ascending, it points to the cross as the victorious battle in which Jesus overcomes Satan and spoils his goods.
Now while it is true of those he translates into heaven from hades (the righteous division of the underworld before the cross)it is also true of the many believers released from the powers of darkness into the service of Christ and the church.
Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Matthew 12:29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man and then he will spoil his house.
Christ through the cross bound Satan a binding that finds its ultimate fulfillment in revelation 20 where Satan is bound with a chain and cast into the bottomless pit.
Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Revelation 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
All this is achieved through the work of Christ upon the cross in restoring us back to the original dominion.