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What is the Kingdom of God, how do I get there, and how do I know it when I see it?
Russell Holloway, blog host
The work 'kingdom' designates a realm under the domain of its sovereign.
This week will outline the Bible's description of the Lord's dominion, which might be divided into five phases.
I'll call the first Creation. To this day, we clearly witness testimony of the divine Designer's original creation, as well as the re-creation He accomplished through the flood of Noah. People living in those first two thousand years also had the testimony of ancients who knew God firsthand. Adam and Enoch literally walked with God, and lived well into the days of Noah's father Lamech. Noah lived to see the days of Abraham, and both of them appear to be contemporaries of Job. These men knew God as Elohim and Shaddai, Creator and Almighty, the One with dominion over all life, to give it or to destroy it.
The kingdom's second phase could be called Commandment. It was a time of YHWH—covenant God of deliverance—establishing dominion over one specific people (the Israelites) through their obedience to His laws. Circumcision, shunning worship of idols to worship an invisible God, and observance of the Sabbath all demonstrated the Israelites as clearly set apart from other nations in willing subjection to YHWH, despite Israel's many failures. During this two millennia, a monarchy existed for approximately 460 years as model of a divine King who protects His people, appropriates and directs use of His dominion's resources, and receives their tribute.
The third phase is Church. For the last two thousand years, God has established His dominion in the human heart through His Holy Spirit. He rules wherever people willingly accept His sovereignty. This period in history establishes God's spiritual Kingdom throughout the earth. (More on this in the next two weeks.)
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them... And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
~ Revelation 20:4-6 (NKJV)
The seventh millennium is the time when Christ (Messiah, King Jesus) reigns on the earth. The parables and prophecies of Jesus and the Old Testament describe a time when His resurrected saints rule with Him, with our own sphere of dominion awarded according to how we have proven ourselves during the Church phase. It is a peaceful time of restoration, when swords are beaten into plowshares, when carnivores become tame and again eat grass. It ends with in a final contest between Good and Evil, when the devil and death see ultimate defeat.
The Culmination phase is when the existing heavens and earth pass away, and an eternal kingdom is established. It is described in the last two chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21-22.
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Next week: How to enter the Kingdom now.
What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @ gmail.com.
© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.