As the approach of a very literal Kingdom now looms on our horizon, it becomes increasingly urgent for all of us to fully apprehend the implications for our personal walk and priorities.
There is a figure of merit in optics regarding “resolving power.” If you look at a star with a cheap telescope, you will see a bright spot. If you look at that same star with very high-quality optics, you may discover that that ostensible spot is actually a double star. The ability of the higher quality of optics to resolve two things that are very close together—but separate—is a critical capability for the serious astronomer.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
A similar need for precision can occur in language. Attempts to “harmonize” Scripture can often blur critical distinctions that escape all but the very diligent inquirer. An example of this is the erroneous perception that Luke 21 is the same presentation as the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 (and Mark 13).1
Another example is Matthew’s unique use of the term, “Kingdom of Heaven”. (He is the only Gospel writer that uses that term: Mark, Luke, and John use the term “Kingdom of God”.) Most commentators presume that these terms are synonymous. However, Matthew uses “Kingdom of Heaven” 33 times, but also uses “Kingdom of God” five times, even in adjacent verses, which indicates that these are not synonymous: he is using a more denotative term.
Matthew’s unique use of the term “Kingdom of Heaven” is a genitive of source (“Kingdom from Heaven”), rather than a genitive of apposition, and this is one of the pivotal insights that lifts the fog of ostensible synonymy with the more inclusive term, “Kingdom of God,” used by the other Gospel writers.
The object of the Kingdom of Heaven seems to be the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. It’s called the Kingdom of Heaven because of its rule over the earth. It will be centered in Jerusalem.
The Unconditional Covenants
There are four unconditional covenants in the Scripture:
- The Abrahamic Covenant2 (from which all of our benefits derive, even as Gentiles);
- The Land Covenant3 (committing the land to Israel);
- The Davidic Covenant;4 and
- The Everlasting Covenant5 (from which the New Testament gets its name).
It is provocative to realize that each of these commitments by the God of the Universe has been, and continues to be, under deliberate and specific attack. The world in general—and the U.N., the E.U., and the current pagans in the corridors of power in Washington in particular—continue to attack the Abrahamic Covenant, and the nation of Israel, and this includes anti-Semitism in all of its forms.
The Land Covenant is, specifically, the primary target of Islam. It’s not the size of Israel that is their issue; it is the very existence of Israel in “their” land.
The Davidic Covenant
The post-modern church, with its Replacement Theology that ignores the passages outlining the ultimate destiny of Israel, dismisses the Davidic Covenant. Paul’s definitive statement of Christian theology, which we call the book of Romans, hammers away in three chapters—9, 10, and 11—that God is not finished with Israel and emphasizes its future restoration. The fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant—and its implications for Christians in our day—is the subject of this article.
The Throne of David is central to many of the Messianic prophecies; however, it did not exist during the Messiah’s earthly ministry. So the Thorn-crowned One has yet to assume that very Throne and to fulfill His destiny!
Revelation 20 details the fulfillment of these Kingdom commitments, in which a specific period of one thousand years is designated and thus yields the common label, the “Millennium”. (Although most of what we know about this period accrues from other related passages.) The Millennial Kingdom is a one-thousand-year literal and visible reign of Christ upon the earth during which Satan is bound, Israel as a people is restored, and the Jewish Temple rebuilt.
Jesus will be the King of kings ruling over a literal kingdom, in the literal land of Israel, located in the literal city of Jerusalem. The prophet Daniel lists this earthly kingdom as the fifth in a list of five:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
This Davidic Covenant is not only a dominant theme throughout the Old Testament:6 it was confirmed by the Angel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation,7 confirmed by Jesus at the Ascension,8 and was a pivotal feature by James at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.9
The Message for Today
The lack of any realistic perspective on the Kingdom may be the root source of the widespread apostasy that characterizes our contemporary churches today. The Kingdom perspective is the primary message to the Laodicean church10 and most Christians today when they pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,”11 have no idea what they are actually praying for—even though there are over 2,000 references in the Bible to the return of Christ to rule on the Planet Earth!12
As the impending approach of that very literal Kingdom now looms on our horizon, it becomes increasingly urgent for all of us to fully apprehend the impending implications for our personal walk and priorities! It is our intense prayer that this study will prove useful and impacting as we face the challenges which lie ahead.
Our newest release this month is the result of our weekend retreat on The Kingdom, Power & Glory, recorded at the River Lodge in New Zealand. The six sessions, by Nan and me, cover: 1) Thy Kingdom Come; 2) Eternal Security; 3) The Power: Authority to Choose; 4) The Power to Love; 5) Inheritance and Rewards; and, 6) The Glory: Reflecting His Image.