Part III – God’s Kingdom from the Inception of Mankind until Christ


God’s Kingdom from the Inception of Mankind until Christ


In Part Three, we will study God’s kingdom from the inception of mankind until Christ was given the rule.  Gathering children for God’s kingdom did not begin with the establishment of the church in Acts chapter two.  We clearly see God maintaining His kingdom in various ways in the Old Testament records.  Indeed, Jesus proclaimed to the Jews that people from the east and the west would occupy the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matt. 8:10).  These three were already in it and others would make their entrance through the church of God (I Cor. 8:6).  The church of God or the church of Christ, the one Jesus is building, is the church that has access to the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:17-19).  The apostle Peter understood Jesus’ kingdom is eternal.

For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.  II Pet. 1:11

The word “eternal” suggests Jesus’ kingdom was in existence before this world was created; consequently, when we think of Jesus’ kingdom, we should be thinking of God’s kingdom also.  We should be asking questions like: “Are they the same kingdom?  Are there two different kingdoms?”  Most Christians, probably, would say: “There is only one eternal kingdom.”  How then should we understand certain terms in the Bible about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ?

The word kingdom denotes: One, a royal rule or sovereignty, and two, a sphere of rule.  The kingdom of God, or heaven, has always existed in heaven because God has always ruled there.  It is a kingdom of heaven and of God, not of man and of earth.  In Jesus’ prayer, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter six and verse ten, He prayed, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Our interest in Part Three will be on the earth or “man dimension” of God’s kingdom.  Jesus said it was prepared for faithful people from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34).

The Christian religious world has a wide variety of theories concerning God’s kingdom.  The most popular is the millennium theory.  Most millenarians believe Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom when He returns to earth and reign one thousand years in this physical world.  Many accept this paradoxical postulation; that is, they believe Jesus Christ is now a king without a kingdom.  Of course, the Jews who are still looking for the Messiah are also expecting a physical kingdom.  Among those of us who believe Jesus is now king over God’s kingdom, there are some different beliefs.  This is apparent because the word kingdom is often dropped in favor of church when kingdom would be more appropriate.

The context in which Jesus spoke of God’s eternal kingdom being at hand, or “the already, but not yet concept,” involves God’s purpose in the creation of mankind (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:15).  Jesus’ ministry was and is dedicated to developing and harvesting God’s desired fruit from humanity for His eternal kingdom.  God wants children with personalities and characters like Jesus from all races (Rom. 9:26).  This is the way we must understand “the already, but not yet” concept.  God’s kingdom is eternal; therefore, it has neither beginning nor end.  Jesus did not establish another kingdom; therefore, when He referred to His kingdom, He had in mind fruit for God’s eternal kingdom.  This fruit is now being prepared in His body, the church (Eph 1:22, 23).

Jesus did not come to establish God’s power or kingdom over the elements, angels, kings or even Satan, they were already under God’s power to the degree He desired and allowed (I Tim. 6:15, 16).  After all, heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool (Isa. 66:1).  Jesus did take from Satan his power of death over faithful Christians (Heb. 2:14, 15).  When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God being at hand, He most likely had in mind a situation in which He would offer the grace of His priesthood and His kingship to develop children for God (John 1:17; Acts 5:31).  God could not develop children by power alone, as most parents very well understand.

Jesus’ kingdom is the same as God’s kingdom with emphasis on gathering and developing eternal children (Eph. 5:5; Heb. 2:10).  When Jesus spoke of His kingdom He had in mind a grace permeated spiritual realm in which children could be produced for God’s eternal kingdom (Rom. 5:1-5).  He said it would come during the life time of His apostles, and it did (Mark 9:1).  An entrance into God’s kingdom is now available for us through the body of Christ which is God’s church (I Cor. 1:2; 3:21-23).

Today, the members of the church of God in Christ are blessed with an everlasting kingdom and also an eternal king (Psa. 145:13; I Thess. 2:14; I Tim. 1:17).  However, the kingdom Jesus will turn back to God will be the judged church of Christ (Rom. 16:16).  Please note, the Apostle Paul did not tell the church at Corinth Jesus would turn the church back to God (I Cor. 15:24-28).  Jesus will turn His eternal kingdom back to God; however, it will have added to it the fruit God wants from His creation of the world and mankind.  This is the way an entrance is being prepared for those of us who are faithful Christians.  We will inherit God’s kingdom and eternal life (Jas. 1:12; 2:5).  This same kingdom was, is, and always will be.

In Lesson One of Part Three, we will see how God created this universe with fruit in mind for His kingdom.  He created man in such a way that we are dependent upon God.  We will see how God’s kingdom is within the sphere of His own will; however, God gave mankind “room for will.”  He gave us free choice to exercise our will; otherwise, we would not be classified as children.

The remainder of lessons in this part will show how the spiritual condition of mankind determined the spiritual level and the method God used to maintain His kingdom until the Anointed One came to earth.  In every case God’s aim is to rule over His people.  Mankind can function properly only when we are in fellowship with Deity (II Cor. 13:14; Col 2:9-12).

The choosing of Abraham and his family is an example of God dealing with mankind on their spiritual level.  Later, God worked with the Israelites on a lower spiritual level than at first.  He sought to lead them by the Law and other covenants He gave Moses.  The theocracy of Israel was administrated by this Law in order to bring them to Christ (Gal. 3:19).

Just as psychologists study the behavior of people in order to understand their nature, so we will study the behavior of God and man as they interact in the Old Testament stories.  In this way we can understand something about the nature of both parties.

Let us be aware of the rules for reading the Old Testament narratives.  We should read these God-given narratives on three levels, simultaneously.

1.  The top level is the universal plan of God.

2.  The middle level is the major moves God made throughout the O.T.

3.  The bottom level is the individual narratives we actually read.

Each individual narrative is a part of a broader narrative about how God is accomplishing His ultimate plan to have children in His eternal kingdom.  See “How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth” by Fee and Stuart.

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