Friday Morning Manna July 3, 2020
Nathaniel Fajardo email:email@example.com
Understanding the Spiritual Kingdom of God
According to the Bible a king is: “A male sovereign in whom is invested supreme authority over a tribe or nation. Generally, rule is for life and succession is on a hereditary basis. That over which he rules is called a kingdom.
“The kings of ancient heathen nations were often considered as deities or direct descendants of a deity. [The Egyptian kings, known as pharaohs, were worshipped as deities in the first atheistic world empire, ancient Egypt].
Brief History from Theocracy to Monarchy
“The idea of kingship had little emphasis in early Hebrew history. Civil authority was centered in the family and the tribe. However, after the Exodus a consciousness of national unity developed. The special covenant relationship set forth God as Israel’s supreme ruler and His laws as basis of government. This form of government has been described as a theocracy. God was their king (cf. Deut. 33: 1-4).
“However, the Israelites quickly desired to ‘become like all the nations (1 Sam. 8: 5), as shown by their request to Gideon that he become their king (Judges 8: 22, 23). Of Samuel, they definitely demanded a king, and by doing so, rejected God as their King (1 Sam. 8: 7; cf. 10: 19; 12: 12, 17, 19).
“The more worthy kings considered themselves as but deputy kings under God (Ps. 5: 1, 2; 1 Kings 3: 6, 7; 2 Chron. 20: 5, 6; 2 Kings 19: 14-19, etc.), and were willing to be instructed by God’s prophets (2 Sam. 12: 7-15).
“The less worthy completely ignored the Lord their God and led the nation into moral and spiritual degradation. [Beginning with the kings of Israel, which led into their dispersal at the hands of the Assyrians; then Judah, which led to their Babylonian captivities].
NOTE: How many mortals wielding “kingly power” today, whether democratic, republican, parliamentary, autocratic, or monarchial form of civil government, as well their religious counterparts in the churches, religions, and denominations of the world, are also “willing to be instructed by God’s prophets” and/or by the prophecies of the Bible, such as Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Cyrus, etc. did later in their reigns?.
“The king exercised wide powers and influence in civil, military and religious affairs. He was regarded as the supreme judicial authority (2 Sam. 14: 4, 15; 15: 2; 1 Kings 3: 16-28), possessing the power of life and death (1 Kings 1: 51, 52). He as also the leader of his armies [as in “Chief Commander of the Armed Forces”] (1 Sam. 8: 20; 1 Kings 12: 21-24; 2 Chron. 32: 2, 3; cf. Gen. 14: 4; Num. 21: 23), and entered into military alliances without consulting his people (1 Kings 15: 18, 19).
“Legislative power vested in the kings of heathen nations (Esther 3: 12, 13; Dan. 3: 1-6) functioned to a lesser degree in Israel’s rulers, for ideally, Israel’s laws were given by God. Because of their authority in religious affairs kings were able to lead the entire nation in the service of the true God (2 Sam. 6: 12; 1 Kings 6: 1, 2; 2 Chron. 35: 1-6) or to use their office and influence to extend the worship of false gods and various vile fertility cults (1 Kings 14: 21-24; 16: 31-33; 2 Kings 23: 12-14).
“Kings sometimes exercised power in appointment and removal of the priests (1 Kings 2: 26, 27), but only rarely and not without protests (2 Chron. 13: 9). Ordinarily, there was a respected line of distinction between the priestly functions and those of the king (1 Sam. 13: 9-13; Matt. 12: 3, 4). The sins of kings often brought retribution that involved the entire nation (2 Sam. 24:10-15; 21: 8-17). [NOTE: This helps explain why certain nations are suffering more than others].
The Kingship and Kingdom of Christ
“Isaiah chapter 11 presents a beautiful symbolic picture of the kingship and kingdom of Christ, introducing the reader to the deeper and eternal meaning of Christ’s claims to be the ‘King of the Jews’ (Matt. 27: 14, etc.).
Jesus possessed the hereditary eligibility to be King of Israel (ch 1: 1-16), but His plea for their loyalty was always based on deeper, spiritual truth that the people failed to comprehend [ten times much much worse in these last days per prophecy!]
“Satan recognized Christ’s divine royalty, and he tried to take His right away from Him by bribes on the mount [wilderness] of temptation (Matt. 4: 8-10; Luke 4: 5-7).
Christ was constantly seeking to lead the people to accept God as their King and to understand the nature of His kingdom (Matt. 5: 35; 18: 23; Luke 22: 29, 30).
“Unfortunately, the Jews failed to recognize Christ as their long-awaited Messiah. [They, in fact, rejected Him]. They failed to grasp that Christ’s rulership was not of the nature of human government (John 18: 36; Phil. 3: 20, RSV).
His kingdom was the spiritual kingdom of grace, one day to be replaced by the kingdom of glory. (see SDACom 5: 295, 296, 318).”Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, Complete with Atlas, Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 8, pp. 624-625
The Spiritual Nature of God’s Kingdom Revealed in the Gospel of the 70-week Prophecy of Daniel 9
The following extracts are from the inspired pen of Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, “Light Through Darkness,” ch. 19, 1911 edition, pp. 346-348:
“Though the finite minds of men are inadequate to enter into the counsels of the Infinite One, or to understand fully the working out of His purposes [as in this current mut-faceted pandemic], yet often it is because of some error or neglect on their own part, that they so dimly comprehend the messages of Heaven.
Not infrequently the minds of the people, and even of God’s servants, are so blinded by human opinions, the traditions and false teachings of men, that they are able only partially to grasp the great things which He has revealed in His Word. Thus it was with the disciples of Christ, even when the Savior was with them in person.
Their minds had become imbued with the popular conception of the Messiah as a temporal prince, who was to exalt Israel to the throne of universal empire and they could not understand the meaning of His words foretelling His suffering and death. [Calling the attention of Rapturists in the Christian mainstream, and those who have a temporal meaning of “Calvary’s cross.”].
“Christ Himself had sent them [the disciples then and now] with the message, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ Mark 1: 15, KJV. The message was based on the prophecy of Daniel 9.
The 69 weeks were declared by the angel to extend to ‘the Messiah the Prince,’ and with high hopes and joyful anticipation the disciples looked forward to the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom at Jerusalem, to rule over the whole earth.
“They preached the message which Christ had committed to them, though they themselves misapprehended its meaning. [This the first prophesied “great disappointment” that occurred in Christ’s time.] While their announcement was founded on Daniel 9: 25, they did not see, in the next verse of the same chapter, that the Messiah was to ‘cut off.’ From their very birth, their hearts had been set upon the anticipated glory of an earthly empire, and this blinded their understanding alike to the specifications of the prophecy and to the words of Christ.
“They performed their duty in presenting to the Jewish nation the invitation of mercy, and then, at the very time when they expected to see their Lord ascend the throne of David, they beheld Him seized as malefactor, scourged, derided, and condemned, lifted up on the cross of Calvary. What despair and anguish wrung the hearts of those disciples during the days while their Lord was sleeping [in death] in the tomb! . . . . .
“The announcement which had been made by the disciples in the name of the Lord was in every particular correct, and the events to which it pointed were even then taking place. ‘The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand,’ had been their message. At the expiration of ‘the time’—the 69 weeks of Daniel 9, which were to extend to the Messiah, ‘the Anointed One’— Christ had received the anointing of the Spirit, after His baptism by John in Jordan. And the ‘kingdom of God’ which they declared to at hand, was established by the death of Christ.
This kingdom was not, as they had been taught to believe, and earthly empire. Nor was it that future, immortal kingdom which shall be set up when ‘the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;’ that everlasting kingdom, in which ‘all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ (Dan. 7: 27).
“As used in the Bible, the expression ‘kingdom of God’ is employed to designate both the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory. The kingdom of grace is brought to view by Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews. After pointing to Christ, the compassionate Intercessor who is ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities,’ the apostle says, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace.’ (Heb. 4: 16).
The throne of grace represents the kingdom of grace; for the existence of a throne implies the existence of a kingdom. In many of His parables, Christ uses the expression, ‘the kingdom of heaven,’ to designate the work of divine grace upon the hearts of men. “So the throne of glory represents the kingdom of glory; and this kingdom is referred to in the Savior’s words, ‘When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, the shall He sit upon His throne of glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations.’ (Matt. 25: 31, 32).
This kingdom is yet future. It is not to be set up until the second advent of Christ. “The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man [not at Calvary, four thousand years later, as taught in Dispensationalism of the Rapture doctrine], when a plan was devised for the redemption of the guilty race. It then existed in the purpose and promises of God; and through faith [beginning with Adam and Eve], men could become its subjects [of the kingdom of grace].
Yet it was not actually established until the death if Christ. Even after entering His earthly mission, the Savior, wearied with the stubbornness and ingratitude of men [particularly the chosen people], might have drawn back from the sacrifice of Calvary. In Gethsemane the cup of woe trembled in His hand.
He might even then have wiped the blood-sweat from His brow, and have left the guilty race to perish in their iniquity. Had He done this, there could have been no redemption for fallen men. “But when the Savior yielded up His life [as God in the flesh], and with His expiring breath cried out, ‘It is finished,’ then the fulfilment of the plan of redemption was assured. The promise of salvation made to the sinful pair in Eden [see Gen. 3: 15] was ratified [by God’s own blood in Christ].
The kingdom of grace, which had before existed by the promise of God, was then established. NOTE: This is what “It is finished” means “Thus the death of Christ—-the very event which the disciples had looked upon as the final destruction of their hope—was that which made it forever sure. While it had brought them a cruel disappointment [as repeated in 1844], it was the climax of proof that their belief had been correct. The event that had filled them with mourning and despair, was that which opened the door of hope to every child of Adam, and in which centered the future life and eternal happiness of all God’s faithful ones in all ages.”
(To be continued next week, only if God so wills)