Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Kingdom - Delayed? or Already/Not Yet

Which of the following two concepts best fits your understanding of the Kingdom of God?

Of the Scriptures. Of Bible-Prophecy. Of history. Of the nature of the Kingdom promised to Israel? and to you?

1. Inauguration/Consummation; or
2. Delayed

Or perhaps we could ask the same question another way:

1. Is the Kingdom for all - even though Jews heard it first, the Kingdom is for all nations; or

2. Is the Kingdom spoken of in the Bible entirely still-future - something that must be peculiarly Jewish.


One concept is that Israel's promised-Kingdom - the subject of Bible-Prophecy - has been totally delayed until the future;
that the current Gospel of grace for Gentiles - the Church - is really only something else - something unforeseen - inserted only temporarily, while we wait for God to get back to His real interest: finally restoring the Kingdom to Israel. Finally fulfilling Kingdom-Prophecy.

The concept is that God will cease being focused on saving Gentiles at some future time, and will turn His focus instead to saving all Israel; which they say will involve...

...reinstating the Levitical system of worship - complete with priests, altar, Temple, sacrifices and pilgrimages to Jerusalem to keep the Feasts - and terrible curses on uncircumcised consumers of pork who fail to participate in the annual pilgrimage during a future age (with lifetime prohibitions on Canaanites). This, they say, is the real subject-matter of Bible-Prophecy regarding 'the Kingdom'.

It implies that the Gospel - the Church - is something else, something unforeseen and only temporary. Not the real subject of Kingdom-prophecy. Just an insertion.

That's the Kingdom 'delayed' concept.


Or do you instead understand the Kingdom - and history - with a concept of inauguration/consummation? Kingdom already/not yet. As follows:

God foretold the Gospel of Jesus ahead of time, when He promised Abraham (before Israel was born, before the Law was given) that in his seed (not seeds plural, but seed singular - which was Christ) all families of the earth (all nationalities, without distinction) would be blessed (justified, saved).

Later God chose the nation of Israel to be the custodians of that promise, until its time would come. Meanwhile he gave that nation a temporary Law, through Moses - foreshadowing principles of the real thing which was yet to come, which is Christ.

The Prophets foretold of the coming Kingdom, with themes like: Messiah's virgin birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection, and foresaw that not all would believe, but there would be a remnant of believing-Jews, and Gentiles also would come to faith; they foresaw the coming glory, judgment and new earth and heavens - but they didn't clearly understand it all, didn't understand that Messiah's coming and Kingdom would be in two phases.

The Apostles claimed that there had come, in history, the fulfilment of God's promises to Israel; and that there had now come - in their time - the fulfilment of the Kingdom-scheme: in two phases, two comings of Messiah:

They didn't know how much time will span between the two phases of Messiah's coming - and it doesn't matter, because it's all part of the same Messianic Kingdom-scheme.

They were eyewitnesses, and they were the first to clearly grasp, after Jesus' resurrection, that the King - the Messiah - had truly come among them, in the Person of Jesus Christ;

That the Kingdom of God had indeed come among them;

That Messiah had to die and rise again, and be seated in heaven, until the last Day when He will come again and death will finally be destroyed;

That the promised new covenant, salvation, resurrection-life, justification, blessing, Promise of the Spirit, Kingdom-life was inaugurated already, by the cross;

That faith in Jesus, and grace - not the deeds of the Law - was the basis upon which Jews could experience their promised Kingdom-salvation;

That widespread unbelief in Israel didn't mean their Promised Kingdom-scheme had failed, because the Prophets foresaw that a remnant of Jews would believe - true Jews, the Israel of God;

That Gentiles later came to experience the very same Kingdom-salvation, as prophesied;

That an unbelieving Jew could still be saved, by turning from unbelief - since God never revoked the Jews' privilege of participating in God's righteousness;

That all believers - regardless of ethnicity, and without the deeds of the Law - the Church - are the body of Messiah - that is, they are the group which is experiencing the very fulfilment of the Messianic promises of Abraham, and the Prophets; and

That this scenario will continue until the end -

That this is the precise way in which Israel's promised salvation was seeing its fulfilment; as predicted...

...and then Jesus will come; the Kingdom will come - for Israel, certainly - that is, for believing Israelites, for Jews who were true Jews, by believing in Jesus...

...but the Kingdom will come not only for Jews, but for all who believe...

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God, Jesus said to a ruler of the Jews.

Only righteousness will dwell in the new earth and heaven.

In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but we are all one in Christ Jesus.

All nations justified (blessed) in Jesus - by grace, through faith in Jesus (Abraham's seed) - regardless of ethnicity, and without the deeds of the Law.

Thus fulfilling all the promises, principles and prophecies given by God since the world began.

Kingdom now/not yet.

Inaugurated already/soon to be consummated

First coming/second coming.

In Christ!

A new way. The only way.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostles' doctrine.

It's all about JESUS!

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