Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Kingdom of God: 5 - Kingdom Events in Jesus' Life

Jesus not only talked about the coming Kingdom. He demonstrated it, proved that in one sense it had already come!

1. The Transfiguration, Matthew 16:28-17:5.

"Some" of the disciples (He seems to be addressing the 12 here) will not die until they see Jesus coming "in His Kingdom." So it is in Mark and Luke, and the very next event is the transfiguration. We are led by the flow of the text to believe that what the astounded Peter, James, and John witnessed was none other than the Christ of the future, the One who shall come with the rod of iron and rule in Jerusalem.

The predicted event could not have been Pentecost, for all "saw" Jesus in the Spirit there. What else could it be? All the disciples were dead 60 years later and the Millennial Kingdom had not come. This was a preview of coming events, where Old Testament and New Testament saints will mingle and fellowship and Jesus will be Lord of all.

Note the words heard during this event: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased. Nearly a direct quote from Isaiah 42:1, Behold My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom my soul delights! That Isaiah passage goes on to talk about the Justice that Christ will bring to the earth, confirming even more that this Transfigured Christ is the Reigning Christ to come, and Peter, James, and John were privileged to see Him in His Kingdom before they died.

2. The Triumphal Entry, Mark 11:10.

If Jesus did not want to talk to us about a physical kingdom-coming, He should have steered clear of the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, where the prophet sees Messiah coming into Jerusalem on a donkey, symbolizing the reign of the Kingdom being restored, David's Throne in power again. And He could have silenced the people when they yelled out, Blessed is the Kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna (save now). Well, its fullness was not to be now. It was to be much later. But the statement is clear. His actions, His silence at their conclusions. Remember that this Jesus had spent all these months simply touching people's individual lives and teaching the ways of the Lord. Suddenly He is marching on the city. The people believed He was the Messiah. And He was. They didn't know that they would allow Him to die in one week, and that His death and resurrection would expand the Kingdom's boundaries to the ends of the earth.

3. The Paschal Feast (Lord's Supper for now) Luke 22:15-18
What made Jesus desire this Passover celebration so much? It seems to be that it points to the time when He shall eat it anew, in His glorified Body, in the Kingdom. Notice He says He is going to drink physically, not just be present to us while we are drinking, which occurs in our simple communion services. You see Jesus eating bread and fish in the resurrection stories, but never sitting down to the Passover meal again. That will be, I surmise, at the great "wedding feast" still in our future. (Revelation 19:7-9)

4. The Kingdom Transfer, Luke 22:29-30.

Whether this happened at the moment or it is prophetic, we know that this action of giving the Kingdom to His disciples fulfils the promise to the religious Jews that He would take the Kingdom from them and give it to a "nation", a people, bearing the fruit necessary. The text adds the additional promises of sitting at His table and judging the 12 tribes of Israel.

5. The final words: Acts 1:3,6.

After Jesus rose from the dead, the KINGDOM was still on His mind, and the minds of His followers. Never once is it whisked away by "spiritualizing" it.. They knew He had "given" them the Kingdom, yet they had no revelation about Gentile expansion in the Kingdom. Their natural question was, is it NOW we begin to rule and reign as you promised? You took the Kingdom from the Jewish leadership, and gave it to us. Where is it? Where is our national treasure? But Jesus, as He did to Daniel, has to turn off His disciples, for their timing is wrong. No more questions. It's not time yet. For now, the Spirit is coming. A new kind of authority, and Power is coming. You are not to be lords now, but witnesses. Tell what you saw, and I will go with you. Nothing military. Yet. Kingdom business. Kingdom authority. Kingdom power. But not the Kingdom you expected, not for awhile.

6. The church predicted, and Keys to the Kingdom!

The Kingdom and the Church meet in Matthew 16, showing us they are NOT one and the same, but that they DO overlap in dominion. The Kingdom is in Jesus' day about to be closed to the Jews, by their own decision. The scribes and Pharisees actually "shut up" the Kingdom of heaven against men (Matthew 23:13). Their hypocrisy and legalism turned people away from God and caused them not to believe Messiah when He appeared. The Gentiles have not yet had the door open to them. But all this is about to change. The fact that Jesus is the CHRIST, and also the SON of the LIVING GOD, is the foundation of a new institution, one that will reach out to Jew and Gentile alike, opening the Kingdom of Heaven to whomsoever will. To Peter will be given the keys to this operation. It is of interest that Isaiah 22:22 speaks of the "key" of the House of David, a passage quoted by Jesus to the church at Philadelphia, Revelation 3:7. Jesus holds the key that opens and shuts doors to the Kingdom.

Studying Peter's ministry in Acts is sufficient for us to understand that the preaching of the Good News of Jesus also opened wide the doors, and established the Church as a Kingdom-builder. The Church became the Headquarters of the Kingdom of God on earth, stirring up faith in Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit resident within.

It is so important to see that the Kingdom was already here and the Church is future in Matthew 16. Jesus builds His Church to open the doors of the Kingdom to Jew and Gentile. When the unsaved enter the Kingdom through this preaching, they are filled with the Spirit and become for now the Church, the called out, the invited guests. Yes, and the called in, to what? To the Kingdom. To the King. He has not abandoned the Kingdom! Fear not. It is still His desire to give it to us! He is merely in the peopling stage of that Kingdom. And the Church is the agent for this task, and this task alone.

Kingdoms rule. Churches do not. Churches invites. Kingdoms demand. Churches humble themselves. Kingdoms take authority. The Church is a lamb, meek and gentle. Like Jesus when He was here before. The Kingdom is a lion, like Jesus when He will come with the rod.

Never has the Church been called to BE the Kingdom, only to ENTER it, and to open its doors to others to do the same. This is the "nation" that is to bear fruit pleasing to the Father, a task impossible to those without God's Spirit. Hence, Pentecost.

Yet it cannot be ignored that church folks are also Kingdom folks in training. Glimpses, sometimes more than glimpses, of life that shall be in the Kingdom are seen in the lives and power of its future citizens.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5194355

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