The Coming Kingdom
1-4-17 Genesis 1:26-28 Lesson 1
I want to welcome you all to this class that we’re starting on Wednesday nights. Happy 2017 everybody. We’re going to be studying the doctrine of the Kingdom on Wednesday nights and one of the reasons we’re going to study the Kingdom is because to understand the Bible you have to understand the thread of the Kingdom. So the Kingdom, I think, is the dominant theme of the Bible. If you’re confused about the Kingdom you’re confused, probably about a lot of other issues as well. So it’s really a thread that goes through the whole tenor of Scripture.
And the resources that we’re going to be using in this class are: first and foremost the Bible, so need to bring a copy of your Bible with you to every session. And then the second resource we’re using, which is underneath the Bible, far underneath the Bible, is the book I wrote, called The Coming Kingdom, which is basically taking biblical material and arranging it topically. So the authority in this class is the Word of God and we’re just kind of looking at it through a prism of a topical study that I’ve organized. As you see as we move into this the Bible is going to be used quite frequently.
And this is kind of a class where you’ll get the most out of it if you do the reading assignment. I won’t give you an exam… oh maybe I will, I don’t know, but for next week you should read, in the book that I wrote called The Coming Kingdom, you should have chapters 1 and 2 at least. And you’d be well off to read chapter 3 as well. So try to read at least through chapter 2 and if you’re really ambitious into chapter 3.
And basically the way this is going to work is we’re going to have prayer time from 6:45-7:00, if you want to participate in that. Then I’m going to be doing straight lecture from about 7:00 to 8:00, and then I’m going to stop right at 8:00 because people need to collect their kids and all kinds of things but for those of you that want to stick around for a Q and A we’re going to do Q and A from about 8:00 to 8:15, or until you run out of questions. So here we go.
I wrote this book called The Coming Kingdom; it was really a series of articles that I was asked to write for a periodical called Pre-trib Perspectives. And I thought I could handle the subject in about four issues, and it ended up going on for three and a half years. And by the time that was all over I had enough material for a book so I took it and developed it a little bit more into this book called The Coming Kingdom. So what we’re doing now is each lecture we do kind of corresponds with a chapter in the book. So tonight we’re going to talk about chapter 1 in the book and then if time permits we’ll get into chapter 2.
So here’s the introductory lesson and this is all material in chapter 1. We want to look at three things. Number 1, Kingdom confusion illustrations because you might be asking yourself why are we devoting a bunch of time to the study of the Kingdom, and what you’ll see when I give you these illustrations and these quotations is there’s rampant confusion on this subject in the body of Christ today. So that will kind of whet our appetite for why this series of studies is necessary.
And then number 2, I want to show you a series outline; I’m going to show you an outline that we’re going to use as we progress through the material. And then also tonight I want to cover the distinction between the universal Kingdom and the theocratic Kingdom. And you might be saying what is he talking about. I’ll try to make that clear because that’s a really key distinction to really grasp what it is we’re going to be pursuing.
First of all, Kingdom confusion illustrations. Here’s some quotes out there from people. This is a quote from Doug Pagitt from what you call a key thinker in what’s called the Emergent Church. Have you all heard of the Emergent Church? It’s kind of the new wave of doing church; it’s sort of a return to mysticism. It kind of acts like when the church was really good it was before the Reformers got control of it, so it tries to leapfrog the Protestant Reformation and get back to medieval Christianity. And you’ll notice that a lot of millennials and twenty-somethings and beneath are really wrapped up in the emergent church. And if you go to a major bookstore, Christian or even secular, like Barnes & Noble you’ll see emergent church writers and their books displayed everywhere in the religion section. So if you haven’t heard of the emergent church your kids or your grandkids have heard of it and are likely being influenced by it.
And what you’ll discover when you get into the thinking of the Emergent Church is it’s trying to get back to mysticism, and to a lot of monastic practices that were taking place prior to the Protestant Reformation. So they have maizes that they walk through to get more spiritual, things like this, all over the Dallas area. We were watching Bible church after Bible church begin to darken the sanctuary, put up stained glass windows, put up statues, icons, holy water, and these kinds of things. And it’s kind of funny because this is all the stuff I grew up with as an Episcopalian. It’s kind of what God saved me out of and now all these Bible churches want to go back to that.
So you guys have heard of the emergent church, right? But what you’ll discover as you get into emergent church thinking is they’re all talking about the Kingdom all the time. So Doug Pagitt, an emergent church writer, writes, “The Kingdom of God is a central conversation in emerging communities… And let me tell you ‘of God’ language is really big in the emerging church” [Italics added].
Probably the key voice in emergent church theology is a guy named Brian McLaren, who wrote a book called A Generous Orthodoxy, and this is what he says, and we could dissect everything the man says but I just want to focus on what he says about the Kingdom of God. McLaren writes: “He selected 12” that’s Jesus, “and trained them in a new way of life. He sent them to teach everyone this new way of life…Even if only a few would practice this new way, many would benefit. Oppressed people would be free. Poor people would be liberated from poverty. Minorities would be treated with respect. Sinners would be loved, not resented.” See what’s happening here is he’s emphasizing the Kingdom of God spreading through the church and transforming society for the better. “Industrialists would realize that God cares for sparrows and wildflowers-so their industries should respect, not rape, the environment. The homeless would be invited in for a hot meal.” And then I’ve got the key part underlined, “The Kingdom of God would come – not everywhere at once, not suddenly, but gradually like a seed growing in a field, like yeast spreading in a lump of bread dough, like light spreading across the sky at dawn.” [Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, 111.] So the purpose of the church is to bring in the Kingdom which is to bring in the Kingdom, which is going to transform society. That’s basic emergent church theology.
Brian McLaren elsewhere says, “If Revelation” that’s the book of Revelation, “were a blueprint of the distant future, it would have been unintelligible to its original readers…In light of this, Revelation becomes a powerful book about the Kingdom of God here and now, available to all.” [Brian McLaren, cited in Oakland, Faith Undone, 158.] So the revelation is not about the future the way we interpret it here; it’s about the Kingdom of God now.
Russell Moore, who is no lightweight, he is the President of Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission of the whole Southern Baptist Convention. He replaced, in that position a fellow named Richard Land, and this is what Russell Moore says. “The locus of the Kingdom of God in this age is within the church, where Jesus rules as king. As we live our lives together, we see the transforming power of the gospel and the in breaking of the future Kingdom.” [Justin Taylor, “An Interview with Russell Moore,” www.thegospelcoalition.org.]
So what all these people are saying is the Kingdom of God has broken into the present. You see that language a lot. You all have heard of Rick Warren, right? Purpose Driven Life, runaway best sellers, and this is what Rick Warren said to a crowd, he said: ““I stand before you confidently right now and say to you that God is going to use you to change the world…I’m looking at a stadium full of people right now who are telling God they will do whatever it takes to establish God’s Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven.” What will happen if the followers of Jesus say to Him, ‘We are yours?’ What kind of spiritual awakening will occur?” [Rick Warren, cited in Oakland, Faith Undone, Kindle edition.] So in his mind a spiritual revival is equated with the church bringing in the Kingdom, the Kingdom of God.
There’s a book out there called Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns and what he means by a “Hole in the Gospel” is the church doesn’t have the power it should have because it’s not doing Kingdom work. Stearns writes, ““If we are to be a part of this coming Kingdom, God expects our lives – our churches and faith communities too – to be characterized by these authentic signs of our own transformation: compassion, mercy, justice, and love – demonstrated tangibly. Only then will our light break forth like the dawn, our healing quickly appear, and our cries for help be answered with a divine Here am!” [Stearns, Hole in the Gospel, 57.]
He goes on and he says, “The gospel that we have been given – the whole gospel – is God’s vision for a new way of living…Christ’s vision was of a redeemed world” now where is this world order going to be? It’s going to be right here on the earth, “world order populated by redeemed people – now.” See the emphasis, the whole idea is Kingdom NOW, Kingdom living now. “To accomplish this, we are to be salt and light in a dark and fallen world, the “yeast” that leavens the whole loaf of bread (the whole of society).” See the emphasis here on society? It’s about the transformation of society through the church bringing in the Kingdom. “We are the ones God has called to be His Church. It’s up to us. We are to be the change. But a changed world requires change agents,” that’s a key word you should know, key phrase, you hear that a lot, “change agents” where people come into schools or they come into churches and they look at themselves as “change agents” and what they mean by that is get the church away from what they think is fundamentalism and into this more “Kingdom now” changing society mentality. So a lot of people see themselves as self-appointed change agents and they try to get leadership positions in churches and schools for that matter, to change the direction of those schools. “We are the ones God has called to be His Church. It’s up to us. We are to be the change. But a changed world requires change agents and change agents are people who have first been changed themselves.” [Stearns, Hole in the Gospel, 276, 243-44.]
So all of these quotes, you read part of it and it sounds good, yes, we should be salt and light, yes we should be authentic Christians, yes, we ought to demonstrate Christianity through the way we live, all of that is true. But what sneaks in all of the time in these quotes is what that means in their minds is we’re bringing in the Kingdom, the Kingdom of God.
Now as you go through these quotes and as I went through them what did you not hear? You don’t hear anything about the great commission. The great commission becomes the great what? Omission, which is sort of striking to me because what are the instructions Christ gave to the church in Matthew 28:19-20? Go into all the world and make what? “disciples of all nations. Matthew 18:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”]
See, once, as I’ll be demonstrating to you once the Kingdom was postponed, because of national Israel’s rejection of her Messiah, God raised up a new man called the church. The church is unrevealed in the Old Testament. The church is something known only in the mind of God; He always knew He was going to raise up the church but it’s sort of a surprise from the human point of view that He raised up the church.
But as you go through the tasks that God has given to the church He never tells the church to bring in the Kingdom. What He tells the church to do is to go out and reach and teach. And in fact, remember what the disciples said just prior to His ascension, in Acts 1:6-7. Remember that statement there, we’ll be going over it in this course, but they said are you going to restore the Kingdom to David at this time. Remember what He said: “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has set by His own authority.’” [Acts 1:6, “So 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;’”]
And what he’s saying there is this is not the Kingdom age; this is not the Davidic age, this is a different age where the church is to out and to reach and teach and fulfill the great commission. The Kingdom is something that God will set up through His own power through the nation of Israel on His own timetable.
But what you discover in all these quotes is virtually no quote I read here understands what I just said; they’re all bringing the task of societal transformation upon their own shoulders. You know, WE are the ones that God has been waiting for, and it’s up to US… you hear that kind of language. And so the phrase that I use to describe this mindset (that I critique very heavily in this book) is Kingdom Now theology. And if you were to get on the internet and look at different ministry advertisements, marques, mission statements, you’ll discover the Kingdom in almost everybody’s mission statement today. You hear phrases like we’re doing Kingdom work, we’re doing Kingdom living, we’re bringing in the Kingdom, some people say we’re a sneak peak of the Kingdom. And you see this word Kingdom thrown around, Kingdom, Kingdom, Kingdom, and people that are very liberal in their view of society basically want to pour a liberal agenda into that word “Kingdom.” And sometimes people that are very rightwing in their view of society want to use the word “Kingdom” for their own agenda. And people are tossing the word “Kingdom” around quite a bit but nobody is really going to the biblical text and defining biblically what the Kingdom is.
So that’s part of the reason I wanted to teach this class because this class basically is a Genesis to Revelation study of the Kingdom because the Bible is not silent on the subject of the Kingdom. in fact, as we go through the material you’re going to be stunned at how concretely the Bible defines the Kingdom. And this is what is being ignored by all of these various ministries and I think Satan is using this to put the church today into great confusion. And as I’ll be showing you this is not the first time in history Satan has done this; this Kingdom now theology is actually an ancient heresy that really goes all the way back to Augustine, all the way back into the fourth century.
So Satan’s agenda has always been to get the church confused as to what its mission is. And if you’re confused as to what your mission is you’re not going to be very effective. Any business that’s having trouble and you bring in some consultants to help you rescue your business, the first thing they’re going to ask you is why do you exist? What is your mission? And that’s like consulting 101 because if you don’t know what your mission is you really are not going to be able to stay afloat in the business world. And this is the same problem with the church today, you go into the typical church and you say what’s your mission and very few people can articulate the mission of the church because the pastors don’t really know what the mission of the church is because they’re blending what the church does with what the Kingdom program is and those are two separate things as I’ll be showing you in this class.
So now that we’ve kind of gone through some Kingdom confusion illustrations which help us understand why this study is necessary, because I want you to grasp why it is you’re committing yourself to studying this doctrine. You’re showing up here Wednesday nights, you could be doing a lot of other different things; I’m trying to show you the importance of the topic. So I use those quotes to help us understand that.
Now that we understand that which direction is this class going? What is our series outline? This class basically is going to have four parts to it. Number 1, what does the Bible say about the Kingdom? As you see we’re going to be starting in Genesis and going right to Revelation. And by the time you walk away you’ll understand what the Kingdom is. And we’ll probably be spending most of our time in part 1.
Number 2, we’re going to look at, and we’ll be able to do this number 2 in a shorter time period, it may just take a session or two, but what is the main problem with Kingdom now interpretation? And the main problem with it is they interpret the word Kingdom independently of what the Old Testament says. They think the New Testament pours some kind of different definition into the word Kingdom that’s in contradistinction to what you find in the Old Testament. So they have really no consistency as you move from Old Testament to New Testament. And what I’d like to show you in this class is simply this: as you move from Old Testament to New Testament the definition of the Kingdom, which God has spent centuries developing in the Old Testament. It never changes in the New Testament. Christ never changed the definition of the Kingdom in the New Testament. The apostles never changed the definition of the Kingdom in the New Testament. And of course, the Apostle Paul in his epistles never changed the definition of Kingdom. It’s static, it’s consistent all the way through, so I’ll show you that.
And then number 3, those of you that have followed along with me in the soteriology study know that I like to look at passages that the opposition uses. For example, we’re doing right now a study on eternal security Sunday morning in Sunday School so I don’t like to just lay out the doctrine of eternal security, I like to go through the verses that people use to deny eternal security. So I’m going to do the exact same thing with this Kingdom now theology. I’m going to show you what I think the Bible actually teaches about the Kingdom; then I’m going to say okay, what do they say, what are the verses they use. And I’ll show you that in every case they take verses completely out of context.
And then the fourth part of this class, and maybe I should have done number 4 with number 1 but that’s just kind of the order that I do it in in the book and number 4 is why does it matter? You know, it’s a “so what” question. Who cares? And what I’m going to try to shoe you in point number 4 is that virtually every heresy that is in Christendom today or that has ever come into Christendom, Christianity, is connected to a belief that we are currently living in the Kingdom. You name the heresy out there today, whether it be on so-called Christian television, the prosperity gospel, or any other heresy we want to come up with and I’ll connect it for you to this idea that we’re living in the Kingdom now. So anyway, those are the four points that we’re going to be going through in this class.
And then the third thing I want to cover here in this introductory lesson is a very important distinction and this is the distinction between the universal Kingdom and what I’ll call the theocratic Kingdom. Now before I explain to you which of these we are going to be focusing on in this class I want you to see the difference because one of the things I’ll be showing you is the Kingdom is in a state of postponement today. We are not in the age of the Kingdom; we are looking for a future Kingdom. And immediately when you say that people come back and they say well, you don’t believe God is sovereign, you don’t believe God is in charge, you don’t believe God is in control. And the response to that is it depends on what Kingdom you’re talking about because in the Bible there are two Kingdoms; there’s something called a universal Kingdom where God is always reigning, God is always in control, and there’s something very different called a theocratic Kingdom which is God reigning through a human being.
So let me just briefly show you the differences between these two. What are some differences between the universal Kingdom on the left column and the theocratic Kingdom on the right column. First of all, related to time. I hope you have your Bible with you, take a look at Psalm 93 and notice what verses 1 and 2 say? “The LORD reigns,” that’s His Kingdom, “He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.  Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting? So this Kingdom here that’s being described in Psalm 93 is a Kingdom that is eternal; it’s always in existence.
But notice Daniel 2:44, we’re going through Daniel on Sunday mornings in the main service so these are verses we are going to cover, actually this Sunday morning, but notice Daniel 2:44, “In the days of those kings” what kings? The ten king confederacy of the antichrist, the final realm of Gentile dominion. “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that Kingdom:” and it goes on, but it will last “forever.” [Daniel 2:24, “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that Kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these Kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”] So you’ll notice that that Kingdom does not set up until the Lord overthrows the empire of the antichrist.
But Psalm 93 gives you the impression that the Kingdom is forever, but Daniel 2:44 gives you the impression that the Kingdom is yet future. See the distinction there?
How about the scope of the Kingdom? Take a look at Psalm 103:19, what is the scope of the Kingdom? Psalm 103:19, it says, “The LORD has established His throne” where? “in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over everything.” So the universal Kingdom God is ruling everything in all time and space but compare that to Daniel, back to Daniel 2, compare that to Daniel 2:35. Notice what this says; it says something very different. Daniel 2:35 says, “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel here is not talking about a Kingdom that’s in existence for all time and space; he’s talking about something actually landing on planet earth.
Notice if you will Dan 2:44-45, “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that Kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these Kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” [45, “Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”]
It’s talking about God’s Kingdom coming and destroying the Kingdoms of man so it’s talking about something taking place on the earth. So Psalm 103:19 talks about God reigning over everything but Daniel 2:35 and into verses 44 and 45 is talking about something that is happening on planet earth.
How about the rule of God. In the universal Kingdom who is ruling everything? God is. Notice Daniel 4:17, it says, “This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and He bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men.” So in the universal Kingdom who is reigning? God is reigning; God is reigning directly.
Now compare that to Psalm 2 and verses 6-9 where God now is actually reigning through a man. Notice, if you will, Psalm 2:6-9, God is speaking, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” [7, “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”] And the verse goes on, it says of this future ruler,  ]‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, [and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.  You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”]
So you look at Psalm 2:6-9, God is not ruling directly, God is ruling indirectly through a person. So Daniel 4:17 indicates that God rules directly; Psalm 2:6-9 indicates that God is ruling indirectly through a person.
How about existence? The Universal Kingdom is always in existence; Psalm 93:1-2, [Psalm 93:1, “The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.  Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.”]
God is reigning, God is in authority, and His reign is not contingent at all upon any kind of human response. But other verses indicate that the coming reign of God is contingent upon a human response.
Notice Exodus 19:5-6, this is an offer that the Lord made to the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai. “Now then, 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” what? “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” Now notice this word “kingdom” and notice how it’s contingent upon the obedience of the nation of Israel. This kingdom will come IF you obey My voice, then you shall be My possession, then the Kingdom will come.
See, Psalm 93, verse 1-2 gives you the impression that God is ruling everything regardless of what people do but you go over to Exodus 19:5-6 and you get the idea that the kingdom comes only if a human condition of obedience is satisfied. Other verses talking about this condition—what did John the Baptist preach? “Repent, for the kingdom of God” is what? “at hand. [Matthew 3:1, “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,  ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”] The kingdom of God, John the Baptist says, Matthew 3:2 “is at hand,” it’s imminent but it’s not going to come until you, Israel… what? Repent! So there the kingdom is conditioned upon a human response, very different than what we just read in Psalm 93.
Notice Matthew 11, this is John the Baptist speaking, Matthew 11:2-6. See, John the Baptist got himself thrown in jail and in jail what is he asking? Lord, are You going to bring in the Kingdom or not? I mean, I don’t see Kingdom conditions, I’m in jail right now. So Matthew 11:2-6 says, “Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples  and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” If You’re the Messiah, Jesus, where is Your kingdom; he says I want to get out of jail for cryin’ out loud. Verse 4, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see:  the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.  And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
In other words, these miracles that are happening are the miracles that the kingdom will introduce to the planet, to the entire world if a condition is met. Look at verse 14, drop down to verse 14, still in Matthew 11, “And if you” that’s the Jews, “are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” John himself will come forth and fulfill all the prophecies in Malachi 4 concerning the fact that he is the Elijah that comes, the kingdom will come—automatically? No, IF you are willing to accept it. So there Jesus conditions the coming of the kingdom on the response of Israel. See that?
Matthew 23:37-39, Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,” but what? “you were unwilling.” What He’s saying is I wanted to bring you the kingdom but you wouldn’t have Me. Verse 38, “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  ‘For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say,” what? “‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’’”
The kingdom is going into postponement and it will not come until you say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD,” which is a citation from Psalm 118:26, which is a Messianic Psalm. What He is saying is you will not have the kingdom until you, Israel, acknowledge Me as the Messiah.
So what in the world is going on here in the Bible? You’ve got some verses that say the kingdom is always in existence, Psalm 93:1-2. You’ve got another series of verses that we just walked through that condition the coming of the Kingdom on a human response, the whole thing is contingent on a human response.
Now you look at all of these verses and there’s no way these verses are talking about the same thing. So therefore there must be two phases of the Kingdom. There is something called a Universal Kingdom, which is eternal, universal, directly governed by God and always in existence. Praise the Lord for that or there would be no basis for us praying for God to answer prayers, right? We all acknowledge that God rules all time and all space and all things always. However, as I tried to show you there’s another series of verses that indicate that the Kingdom is future. The Kingdom doesn’t even necessarily cover everything; it’s something that is coming to planet earth. And in this time period God is not going to govern directly; He’s going to govern indirectly through a man and the coming of that kingdom is conditioned upon a human response. See all these differences?
So what I’m trying to say is what you have on the left hand column is what you call the Universal Kingdom. What you have on the right hand column is what is called theocratic kingdom. And in this class we are not dealing with the Universal Kingdom. Nobody is challenging the idea that God is reigning and ruling in the universal sense. What we are dealing with, and I have it there underlined, is the Theocratic Kingdom. See, that’s what the devil challenged, as I’ll show you in a minute, right there in Eden. And that was what was lost and that was what was postponed. That is what today is in abeyance or postponement. And the goal of history, the goal of God is to restore that Theocratic Kingdom. The whole point of the Bible is how that Theocratic Kingdom is restored. And you’re part of the picture because you are the wife… well now you’re the bride of Jesus Christ and you’re going to be ruling and reigning with Him there in that Theocratic Kingdom and the trials you are going through today are preparing you for that kingdom role.
So everything that’s happening today, everything that’s going on in your life is related to this plan that God has to restore the Theocratic Kingdom. So we’re not dealing at all, other than to make this vast distinction in this course, with the Universal Kingdom; we’re totally focused on the right hand column there, the Theocratic Kingdom. So that takes care of kingdom confusion illustrations; a series outline, you kind of know where we’re going with those four major parts. And I wanted to draw that major distinction between the Universal Kingdom and the Theocratic Kingdom.
Now having said all that let’s start our journey, you should be looking at the second packet, which is chapter 2, and what we’re starting now, now that we’ve finished that introductory material, is we’re starting our outline. And what’s part 1 on the outline? What does the Bible say about the Kingdom? You’re hearing the word Kingdom thrown around today all the time in the culture and what people are not doing is they’re not going back to the biblical text and letting the text define the kingdom.
So the first part of our session is going through the biblical text and letting the biblical text define for us what the Kingdom is. There are 17 stops on the bus. By the time we get through these 17 stops, and tonight we’re just going to barely get into number 1, by the time you go through these 17 stops on the bus you’re going to say to yourself ah-ha, I know what the kingdom of God is because the Bible has told me.
The first stop on the bus is the Garden of Eden. The Kingdom program starts to be explained and developed in the Garden of Eden. So let’s go back now to Genesis 1, this is prior to sin’s entry into the world, and let’s see the original design of God. Go back to the very beginning of your Bible, to Genesis 1 and verses 26-28. This is day 6 and God has created man and woman and this is what He says. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and 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.’  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”’
The kingdom, the theocratic kingdom where God governs through a person is established at this point in human history. It’s very clear that this is God’s theocratic kingdom because look at the rulership that He vested Adam and Eve with. He said “Let them,” not just the man, it’s the man and the woman together as a team under God ruling over creation. Notice how literal creation is described here, they’re supposed to rule over the fish, birds of the sky, the cattle, over every creeping thing. Going down to verse 28 they’re to subdue creation. See how it keeps saying rule over? It’s authority they were given, over physical things like fish, birds of the sky, creeping things of the ground, and so forth. So what is the original purpose for man and woman? It’s to be governed by God. And they, as a team, are to govern creation, not for themselves but on God’s behalf.
Now go to Genesis 2:19-20, this is the significance of God allowing Adam to name the animals. See this business about Adam naming the animals on day six, and by the way, Genesis 2 is an amplification of day six; Genesis 1 all the way through Genesis 2:3 gives you the seven days. But after you get into Genesis 2:4 through the end of the chapter it’s totally focused on day six; it’s just giving highlights that weren’t given in the broad overview in Genesis 1.
So what does it say there, Genesis 2:19-20, “Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.”
So at this point Eve has not yet been created. But very clearly God is bringing certain animals to Adam and He’s not naming the animals for Adam, He’s letting Adam name the animals and whatever name Adam gave to a certain animal that became its name. “The man gave names to” the various animals that the Lord brought to him. Now we read this in Sunday School and say that’s so cute, isn’t it cut that Adam named the animals. And we miss the significance of what’s going on here. In the Bible when you’re given authority to name something you are simultaneously being given authority over what it is you’re naming. See that? He’s vesting man with authority here, over the physical realm.
Hosea do I know that? Because of the biblical significance of naming. All the way back in Genesis 1:8 you see God naming things. “God called the expanse heaven.” [Genesis 1:8, “God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.”] So God creates and names and rules over what He creates. See that? So now God is giving that same authority to Adam.
Now on page 8 of the book I have a quotation there from Arnold Fruchtenbaum, the great Hebrew Christian scholar; there’s a paragraph there and I’ll just read that to you very briefly. Fruchtenbaum says, “The naming was the first exercise of man’s dominion and whatsoever man called every living creature that was the name thereof. Man begins exercising his dominion over the animal kingdom with the act of naming the animals. The ability to name or rename is the exercise of dominion and authority. In Numbers 32:37-38 the Reubenites exercised lordship by naming and renaming cities in captured territories. [Numbers 32:37-38, “The sons of Reuben built Heshbon and Elealeh and Kiriathaim,  and Nebo and Baal-meon—their names being changed—and Sibmah, and they gave other names to the cities which they built.”]
In 2 Kings 23:34 Pharaoh Neco used dominion over Judah to change the name of King Eliakim to King Jehoiakim. [2 Kings 23:34, “Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the place of Josiah his father, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away and brought him to Egypt, and he died there.”]
In 2 Kings 24:17 the King of Babylon used dominion over Judah to change the names of King Mattaniah to King Zedekiah. [2 Kings 24:17, “Then the king of Babylon made his uncle Mattaniah king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.”]
So Adam, Fruchtenbaum says, going through these verses that I have on the screen, which we can’t go through all of them but you can look these up on your own, Fruchtenbaum’s conclusion, “so Adam’s naming of the animals was the exercise of man’s authority over the animal kingdom, and so it was.
Lamech names Noah, Genesis 5:29. [Genesis 5:29, “and called his name Noah, saying, ‘Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.’”] It’s always this way in the Bible and human history, the parents name the child. Grandparents aren’t supposed to name the child, I know we’ve got some controlling grandparents out there but they’re not supposed to name the child, the parents are supposed to name the child because the parents are the ones that have the God ordained what, over the child? Authority. And of course we’re studying the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings; remember the Jewish names of Daniel and his three friends: Daniel, Hananiah and Mishael, Azariah. And you can see from what I have on the screen all of those parts of God’s character.
What did Nebuchadnezzar immediately do as a first order of business when he took these youths into captivity? He gave them all new names. Daniel’s name is changed to Belteshazzar. And then the names of his friends are changed to the names we’re most familiar with when we recount the story, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and when you study the language of the original names and the new names what you’re discovering is Nebuchadnezzar takes their godly names that reflect aspects of God’s character and he renames to reflect vestiges of the Babylonian pantheon. And what Nebuchadnezzar is saying is I’m in charge over you, I have authority. And the rest of the book of Daniel says guess what Nebuchadnezzar, you’re wrong! You don’t have authority, God in His universal kingdom reigns and has authority.
So what I’m trying to get at is Adam naming the animals is a Big (with a capital B) Big deal. So you take Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and you put it together and you discover what God has set up at the beginning of human history, let me give you a fancy name for this, this is the office of Theocratic Administrator, where God governs a person, in this case Adam and Eve, and they govern creation for God—the office of Theocratic Administrator. And this is what the devil went forth to do in Genesis 3 and unseat; this is what he tried to destroy and he successfully… he didn’t destroy it but he postponed it because look at Genesis 3, you have the results of Adam and Eve’s sin, and one of the things you see in Genesis 3:11-13 is the reversal of the office of theocratic administrator.
Look at Genesis 3:11-13. And by the way, there’s a reason the devil came as a serpent into Eden. The devil is not a serpent, he’s an angel [can’t understand word], right didn’t he come in as an angel? He came in as a serpent because he’s trying to get Adam and Eve to listen to the animals that they’re supposed to be ruling over, and listen to them and in the process rebel against who? God! So Satan comes right into Eden and he attacks the office of theocratic administrator that God established and then… you know the sad story, they fell for the lie. God called Adam and Eve to account and He said who told you that you were naked, Genesis 3:11, ““And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’  The man said what? “‘The woman” it’s the woman’s fault, and by the way, it’s Your fault too God because You’re the one that gave me the woman. “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’  Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said,” the what? “ ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” So as the saying goes Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.
But you see what’s happening here? Male headship, the man is supposed to be leading his wife, the two of them are supposed to be governing creation for God and now what’s happening is Adam is not leading his wife, he’s listening to his wife; and he’s rebelling against God in the process. And the two of them are not governing the animals for God the way they’re supposed to, Genesis 1:26-28, they’re listening to the animals. [Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and 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.’  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”]
And what the devil has done here so successfully is he has reversed the hierarchy that God established. And the moment that happened is the moment the office of theocratic administrator disappeared from planet earth. This is why the world now largely becomes the devil’s playground. God asked Satan in Job 1, the oldest book of the Bible, Job 1:7, where have you come from? What does he say? “going to and fro in the earth. Job 1:7, Job 2:2. [Job 1:7, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’” Job 2:2, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’”] He’s bragging, the earth is mine now; the office of theocratic administrator has been destroyed.
In the second temptation, as Luke’s Gospel gives it, Satan offered Jesus… remember, the kingdoms of this world. [Luke 4:5-8, “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. ‘Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”] That was never contested because it’s true.
And the world, Romans 8:19-22, at this point is placed into bondage. [Romans 8:19-22, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”]
This is why creation itself is personified as “groaning” awaiting its liberation. And who gains charge over the world? The devil. That’s why he’s called “the prince of the power of this world (I have all the verses there to look up on your own); the god of this age, the prince and power of the air. He is the one that the believer wrestles with, that’s why we need the armor of God, we’re living in the devil’s world. He is like a roaring lion seeking someone to have a glass of iced tea with… no, it doesn’t say that, “seeking someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 tells us. [I Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”] And 1 John 5:19 tells us that the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one. [1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”] The theocratic kingdom was lost.
So what is God doing? And what is the goal of human history? It is to restore what was lost in Eden. There has to come a future time period where God governs a man and that man governs planet earth for God. Charles Ryrie says why does there need to be an earthly kingdom? Because if I was a Reformed theologian I’d be telling you that we’re in the kingdom now and what Jesus has at the right hand of the Father is enough.
Why does there need to be an earthly kingdom? Did He not receive His inheritance when he was raised and exalted from heaven? Is not His present rule His inheritance? Why does there need to be an earthly kingdom? Here’s the answer: because He must be triumphant in the same arena where He was seemingly defeated. His rejection was by the rulers of this world ON THIS EARTH, therefore His exaltation must be on this earth. This earth cannot go out of existence until God reclaims ownership over it and reestablishes the office of Theocratic administrator.
Ryrie says, “And so it shall be when He comes again to rule the world in righteousness, He has waited long for His inheritance, soon He shall receive it.”
Dwight Pentecost writes, “Apart from the reign of Christ here on earth and apart from His rule God’s purpose for man would never be brought to conclusion. God’s purpose for the earth would be unrealized and the problem generated by Satan’s rebellion would never be resolved. See that? Thus the physical, literal reign of Christ on earth is a theological and biblical necessity unless Satan is victorious over God.”
See, if you don’t have a point in time where the office of Theocratic administrator is restored and God governs a man and that man governs the earth then Satan wins. So the goal of history is how that office is reclaimed. Now when is it going to be reclaimed? In which time period? The millennial kingdom, where God the Father is no longer ruling over the first Adam as He did in Genesis 1 and 2, but the who? The last Adam. Who’s that last Adam? Jesus Christ.
Now remember what I said when we were back in Genesis 1? God said to THEM, plural, rule and subdue. Adam and Eve were ruling together. So I have a question for you: once the millennial kingdom comes and God the Father governs the last Adam and he governs creation for God and restores what was lost, where is Eve? You’re Eve; I’m Eve, we’re ruling there with delegated authority alongside of him. And we’re being prepared through circumstances of life, we’re being prepared for that authority that we’re going to wield alongside of Him.
Do you see that? See the beauty of this? Because I watch these movies, like Star Wars and they talk about the death star blowing up planets and the earth is going to explode some people think. This earth cannot go out of existence until this office of Theocratic administrator is reasserted, which it will be for a thousand years and once God has won and Satan is banished and thrown in the lake of fire forever then He destroys the whole thing by what? Fire, and starts over with the new heavens and new earth. The new heavens and new earth cannot replace this earth until the earthly kingdom runs its course or else God is a perpetual loser. Do you follow me on this?
So your whole doctrine of a future kingdom begins as early as Genesis 1. Now I just want to read you one quote and with this I’m finished. I ran into this just this week, it’s not in my book, if I had known about this quote I would have included it. It’s by one my favorite writers, Mark Hitchcock, who wrote a book on the end times called The End. That’s a great title, isn’t it. And he writes this: Johann Sebastian Bach, the great musician, sometimes slept more than he should have. His children, though, had a unique way of waking him up. They would go to the piano and being to play a composition; when they would get to the last note, the conclusion of the song, they would stop playing, they wouldn’t play the last note. It worked like a charm, and it would always wake him up. He would get up from his sleep, go to the piano and play the final chord. He couldn’t stand to leave it hanging there incomplete and unfinished.
Are you with me on this? If God doesn’t reassert the office of theocratic administrator over planet earth, if there’s not future earthly kingdom in your theology then you don’t have a capstone to history—the final note is never played! And so in essence the purpose of the Bible, what the Bible is trying to develop is how this office of theocratic administrator is one day reasserted, and after we leave Eden God immediately begins to develop this new office in the covenants. And what He proclaims in the covenants you start to see the development of this office of theocratic administrator. So we’ll look at the Abrahamic Covenant and the related sub covenants next week. So you want to read chapter 3 in the book, The Coming Kingdom. That’s sort of the direction we’re going.
All right, I did good, I stopped ad 8:04. People that need to leave to collect their kids can do so at this time and there may be some questions, I’ll be happy to entertain any questions you might have.