We’re now going to dig into some of the foundation for the Kingdom of God. As we do, I want to encourage you to allow the Scripture to speak for itself, and don’t attempt to allegorize it or make it squeeze into a pre-fitted theological box. The Word of God says what it means. As we proceed in this study, your idea of the Kingdom of God may be challenged, but I want to encourage you to continue reading, and perhaps you’ll find a fuller understanding of the Kingdom of God by the conclusion of this study. So with that said, let’s get started!
Israel, a Kingdom of Priest
The first mention of a kingdom belonging to God in the Scripture is found in Exodus 19:6. In this passage, God is promising that if Israel will obey His commandments, they would become a “special treasure” to Him, a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The combination of a kingdom and a priesthood is interesting. We usually think of kingdoms in earthly terms. Kingdoms have palaces, and armies, and land, etc. But a priesthood is by definition a divine entity. A priest is an intermediary between the Divine and the earthly. So to have a Kingdom consisting of priests is to acknowledge that God’s Kingdom is not just an earthly one, nor is it just a national one; it’s a synthesis of both!
We read in the Psalms statements such as:
“Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of Your Kingdom is a right scepter.” (Psa. 45:6)
“Adonai has prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom rules over all.” (Psa. 103:19)
“They shall speak of the glory of Your Kingdom, and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.” (Psa. 145:11-13)
It’s easy to see the divine nature of God’s Kingdom in passages such as these. But Scripture doesn’t only speak of the Kingdom of God in esoterical terms; it’s also refers to the Kingdom of God in very tangible, visible terms. Let’s look at that for bit.
In the book of 2 Samuel, chapter 7, we find the record of Adonai’s promise to David concerning his kingdom. David had been sitting in his house and began to ponder the fact that Adonai had given him many good gifts. Yet, while David sat in his plush palaces, He lamented the fact that God’s Ark was dwelling in a tent. David wanted to build God a House (Temple) as a proper resting place for the Ark of the Covenant. In response, God sent the prophet Nathan with these words:
“Go and tell My servant David, Thus says the Lord, Shall you build Me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places where I have walked with all the children of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, Why have you not built Me a house of cedar? Now therefore say to My servant David, Thus says Adonai of Hosts, I took you from the sheepcote, from following the sheep to be ruler over My people, over Israel: and I was with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from your sight, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, as before. Since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel and have caused you to rest from all your enemies, I will also tell you that I will make you a house. And when your days be fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you [Solomon], which shall proceed out of your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house [the Temple] for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but My mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established for ever before you: your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:5-16)
Most of us are familiar with this story. David is allowed to prepare the materials for the building of the Temple, but because he has been a man of war, He is not allowed to build the Temple itself. His son, Solomon, is chosen to fulfill that task. God promises David that his house (this refers to David’s Dynasty), his kingdom and his throne will be established forever! These three terms are synonymous. This is Hebrew poetry—your house, your kingdom & your throne.
But this story is more interesting when we compare it’s parallel passage found in 1 Chronicles 17. I’m not going to quote it at length; I’ll just quote the pertinent verses to our discussion.
“And it shall come to pass, when your days are expired, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will raise up your seed after you [Solomon], which shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish His throne forever. I will be his father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before you. But I will settle him in My House, and in My Kingdom forever: and his throne shall be established forevermore.” (1 Chron. 17:11-14)
Did you catch that? In the 2 Samuel passage, Adonai promised to establish David’s house and kingdom. In the 1 Chronicles passage, the house and kingdom being established is Adonai’s! This is because they are synonymous. The Kingdom of Israel is the Kingdom of God!
This is seen again later in the book of 1 Chronicles. We find in chapter 28 that David’s days are coming to a close and he calls Solomon his son, and begins to exhort him on being a king. David wants to solidify Solomon’s claim to the throne, so he begins to exhort the people. He says—
“And of all my sons, (for the Lord has given me many sons), He has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.” (1 Chronicles 28:5)
Think about that—the throne of the kingdom of…God. Yes, the kingdom of Israel is the Kingdom of God. The next chapter restates it again as a fact.
“Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.” (1 Chronicles 29:23)
Like a Mustard Seed
Have you ever thought through that before?
Before the Fall in Genesis 3, God walked with Adam in the cool of the day. The whole of creation was their playing field. But once sin entered the physical realm, the presence of God was withdrawn from the earth, guarded by cherubim that kept man away. But immediately God went to work to restore His dwelling with man again.
Under the administration of Moses, God commanded the people to build Him a Tabernacle “that I may dwell among them.” (Ex. 25:8) God set apart a parcel of land that He instructed to be consecrated to Him. His divine presence filled this parcel of land so intensely that Moses, who just spent 40 days with God on Mt. Sinai, couldn’t even enter the Tent. But the tent wasn’t God’s ultimate plan. It was a means to an end. God’s ultimate plan is to fill the earth again with His dwelling! But to get there, He separated a parcel of land.
He did the same thing with a people. God’s intent has always been to redeem all mankind—every tribe, tongue and people group. But to start this process, He chose a man—Abram. To this man He made a promise of land to his descendents. And He promised this man Abram that one day, from his seed, all nations of the earth would become blessed (accepted). These children of Abraham were to become a kingdom of priest that would become a light to the nations. They would eventually be sent forth among the nations proclaiming glad tidings that the seed has come, and all men are accepted once again!
And now we find, that God is working to restore His Divine Kingdom in the earth once again. Among the descendents of Abraham, he chose a man—David. And He promised this man a kingdom that would last forever. He promised to “raise up” one of David’s descendents to sit on this throne and promised to establish this son’s Kingdom forever and ever! Eventually, this kingdom of Israel (which is equivalent with the Kingdom of God) would grow and grow and fill the earth until the kingdoms of this world became the kingdoms of God Himself under the rulership of the eternal Son of David! So yes, the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Israel, because God has a plan to establish His Divine Kingdom in the earth again through this Kingdom of Israel!
As we proceed in our study, we’ll find this become increasingly clear. I’ll leave you with this passage:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Adonai of Hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)
Till next time!