"Come and let us go... and renew the kingdom."
1 Samuel 11:14
The kingdom of God is a mystery.
"And He was teaching many things in parables... And He was saying, 'He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.' And as soon as He was alone, those about Him along with the twelve asked Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, 'To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables.'"
Mark 4:2, 9-11
It is a mystery that at this moment in the midst of the years is not finished.
"And an angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, that there shall be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants, the prophets."
How do we "renew" a mystery?
To be complete, final, and universal, "the mystery of the kingdom" must break out of the limitations of language -- it must become a living activity.
We have this promise (9/24/09):
"Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
And it is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and sets up kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men,
And knowledge to knowers.
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
To Thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For Thou has given me wisdom and power;
Even now Thou hast made known to me what we requested of Thee,
For Thou hast made known to us the king's matter."
Consider the "king's matter" in Daniel's time, the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, when it was the "stone" cut out of the mountain without hands! (Daniel 2:28-45)
"And coming to Him as to a living stone, you also as living stones..."
1 Peter 2:4, 5
"Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth..."
An Overview of the Kingdom of God
From the beginning, everything has been about the kingdom -- it is as inclusive as God's words about Himself.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
The kingdom was, is and is to come.
The Kingdom "Was"
"Come... inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
The creation of Adam and Eve was about the kingdom. They were given the authority to rule over God's creation.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness and let them rule over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"
"...be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule..."
The flood was about the kingdom.
"The Lord sat as King at the flood;
Yes, the Lord sits as King forever."
The call of Abraham was about the kingdom.
"Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to a land which I will show you: and I will make you a great nation...'"
Genesis 12:1, 2
"I am God Almighty; walk before me and be perfect... And you will be the father of a multitude of nations..."
The call and coming out of Egypt was about the kingdom.
"...if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine, and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."
Exodus 19:5, 6
And more importantly it was the declaration to them of His majesty, that He is their king.
"The Lord came from Sinai,
And dawned on them from Seir...
And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones...
Indeed, He loves the people;
All Thy holy ones are in Thy hand...
And He was king in Jeshurun,
When the heads of the people were gathered,
The tribes of Israel together."
The Kingdom "Is"
"...Jesus began to proclaim and say, 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
Jesus' first message was about the kingdom.
"Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
Jesus' purpose for coming was the kingdom.
"...I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose."
The temptation of Jesus by Satan was about the kingdom.
"And he (the devil) led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him. 'I will give You all this domain and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You bow down before me, it shall be Yours.'"
Being born again is about the kingdom.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Being born of water and the Spirit is about the kingdom.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God..."
Being conformed to the image of Christ is about the kingdom.
"The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam, a life-giving spirit. However the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven... And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, let us also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God..."
1 Corinthians 15:46-50
The founding of the church was about the kingdom.
"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist; some Elijah; and others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'
He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Simon Peter answered, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.' And Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven... and upon this rock I will build My church...
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.'"
Jesus commissioning His disciples and sending them out was about the kingdom.
"And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick."
Luke 9:1, 2
The cross was about the kingdom; it was the King who was crucified.
"And when they crucified Him... they put above His head the charge against Him which read, 'This is Jesus the King of the Jews.'"
"Pilate said to Him, 'So You are a king?' Jesus answered. 'You say correctly that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.'"
Jesus showing Himself alive, appearing to His disciples over a period of forty days was about the kingdom.
"To these (the apostles) He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by appearing to them over 40 days, and speaking of things concerning the kingdom of God."
Jesus' coming again is about the kingdom.
"And when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, 'Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority...' After He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight."
Paul's ministry was about the kingdom.
"And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus with all openness..."
The Revelation to John is about the kingdom.
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia; Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and
"And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
'Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.'"
The Kingdom "Is to Come"
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."
Revelation 11:15, 16
The Lord's Prayer is about the kingdom.
"Pray then in this way:
'Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven...
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.'"
Matthew 6:9, 10, 13
The day of the seventh angel is about the kingdom.
"...that there shall be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants, the prophets."
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.' And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, 'We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign. (Lit. didst reign.)'"
* * * * *
If the kingdom has been prepared from before the foundation of the world, why does the kingdom need renewing?
Jesus' words to the Jewish priests and people:
"Did you never read in The Scriptures,
'The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes'?
Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter like dust."
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophet and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together... Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you shall not see Me again until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
Luke 13:34, 35
And the kingdom was given to the church with the commission to produce its fruit.
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
'He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: "I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie -- behold, I will make them to come and bow down before your feet, and to know that I have loved you."'"
And the outcome for the organized visible church?
"I have stretched over you the plumb-line of emptiness... The kingdom has been taken from you and given to a people who will produce the fruit of it. I have left you desolate. The church age is over. My eyes are now on the kingdom."
Message to the Organized Visible Church (Handbook 2)
And to whom have "the greater works" been entrusted? Who has God commissioned to renew His house and His kingdom by treading Jesus' enemies under his feet?
"'...he who takes refuge in Me shall inherit the land,
And shall possess My holy mountain.'
And it shall be said,
'Build up, build up, prepare the way,
Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.'
For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
'I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.'"
"Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word."
Isaiah 66:1, 2
"And I have put My words in your mouth, and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish (Lit. plant) the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, 'You are My people.'"
"In that day the Lord of hosts will become a beautiful crown
And a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people;
A spirit of justice for him who sits in judgment,
A strength to those who repel the onslaught (Lit. battle) at the gate."
Isaiah 28:5, 6
"I declared the former things long ago
And they were forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them.
Suddenly I acted and they came to pass.
You have heard; look at all this.
And you, will you not declare it?
I proclaim to you new things from this time,
Even hidden things which you have not known.
They are created now and not long ago;
And before today you have not heard them..."
Isaiah 48:3, 6, 7