Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dominion? Dispensationalism? Cruciform!

Yes "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" Paul said.

And Jesus' kingdom is not of this world, Jesus said, or else His disciples would have fought in His defence.

The kingdom is still to come - and the picture Jesus painted of life before He comes included some grim themes.

But let's not fail to consider in what sense there has already come (in Messiah, and in the Gospel, through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, in the experience and commission of the church) a fulfilment of the promised and prophesied kingdom-hope.

As believers in Jesus, we do experience the nearness of the Kingdom, among us, in us perhaps, we are pressin
g into it, we are receiving it, and we are in a sense already in it - in some very real and new way that wasn't the case prior to the New Testament, aren't we?

The Gospel is the Gospel 'of the kingdom' - so it's a much better kingom-program than what they already had under the Old Covenant, isn't it.

There wasn't any point where the message changed from being the Gospel of the kingdom to becoming the Gospel of something else.

The Apostles did seem to tell the story of Jesus precisly as the climax and fulfilling of the story of Israel, and of Abraham, inclusive of their kingdom-hope.

(Daniel did after all say something about Messiah coming on the scene within a set timeframe; and something about the Kingdom being set up in the days of a fourth regime, which arguably could have been the Roman empire, or not?)

So even though this present age is always going to be cross-shaped, for us believers, while waiting for the Second Coming and Kingdom - still it's not the case that the Kingdom-scheme has been delayed altogether, and that the Gospel and the church is really just some separate scheme unrelated to 'kingdom', until such a time as God decides to finally begin the kingdom-plan, is it?

If the Gospel is in some sense related to the Kingdom (like a proclamation of it, or 'inauguration' of it, or some such thing, even though we still await its 'consummation'), then in the consummation (once Christ returns) the Kingdom must look more like the Gospel sheme of things than say the old Judaistic scheme of things (with its temple and Levitical sacrifices and pilgrimages and feasts and all that), right?

It means the pathway into the Kingdom isn't modern Judaisms, but only via the King - Messiah, Jesus.

And we (even Jews) have to be prepared before He comes - or it'll be too late.

In the mean time, until the Kingdom comes in ultimacy, we're experiencing it in some real, new and powerful way - but it's cruciform.

For "it is given to us not only to believe on His name, but also to suffer for Him".

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