Summary: We begin a survey of the Bible searching for the Kingdom of God. First, background is laid in the Old Testament.
1 . LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
A. Why such a study?
Psalm 45:1 is my verse now: "My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King (and His Kingdom); my tongue is the pen of a ready writer!"
When was the last time you prayed “Thy kingdom come”? What did that mean to you? Are you aware that our prime pursuit in life is to be the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)? Then should we not know what the phrase means?
In 1992 I felt I was being led to do research on the kingdom of man known as Babylon. That study led me into the history of the world, especially as it relates to religion. The study ends where the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord. But that is not the end of kingdom study. I am now being led into the glorious study of the kingdom of heaven, which knows no beginning, nor end.
B. God’s Eternal Rule, and ancient plans
Lamentations 5:19, Acts 7:49, Psalm 9:4, 11:4, 89: 4, 14, 29, 36, 44 , 93:2, 45:6, 97:2, 103:19 , 145:11-13, are some of the many Scriptures that remind us that the Throne, hence, the Kingdom, belong to the Lord. Not just into eternity future but from eternity past. It’s His. Always. The kingdom of heaven is just that, though it will intersect with earth often.
C. Intersecting Earth
One could argue that a kingdom of sorts was established here about 6000 years ago, through the man Adam, and later his helper Eve, who were given dominion over every living thing (Genesis 1:28). God Himself fellowshipped with his manager and the kingdom on earth was doing the will of the kingdom in heaven. Heaven and earth met. The tree of life was prominent in the midst of the garden God later planted, and man’s domain was secure, pleasant, and prospering.
Heaven and earth seem intersected in Genesis 1-3. In the New Jerusalem, where the throne of God and the Lamb will abide, a similar scene appears, complete with the tree of life, hidden for all these years from Adam’s race. There will be the final and complete fellowshipping of these two realms.
But in between, thousands of years of the curse. Death. War. Self. And out of the midst of the mess man is making, a nation is formed, commissioned to receive and record the message of God for sinful man.
2. Moses’ predictions
To the man Moses is given the task of leading the formed nation from its bondage in Egypt to a land that God will show Him. It is through Moses that we first understand God’s desire and plan for a kingdom, and not just a family (although we can’t ignore the precious promises to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, and Jacob in Genesis 35:10). Jesus even declares to us, as we enter our inheritance (Matthew 25:34), that the idea of a kingdom was in His mind from the foundation of the world. Albeit, it is to be a Kingdom on His terms, not Israel’s.
So the nation forms. It is transferred from Canaan to Egypt. Bondage follows. Moses is called and begins his deliverance. The laws that govern the kingdom come at Mt. Sinai. Every kingdom must have laws.
And, in Exodus 19:6, we find that Israel is to be a kingdom of priests. Even more startling is the word given by Moses just before Israel crosses into the Promised Land, Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Here the prediction is made that Israel will one day want a king that matches all the kings they have seen or heard of until now. It is startling because we always thought that God was surprised at that suggestion so many years later, when dealing with Samuel and Saul. Samuel was surprised and hurt, but God knew all along about the kingdom. God tells them way back here in the wilderness, the true description of the King God desires. The ruler chosen of God is to be centered not on horses and wives and gold, but on the Word of God.
So God indeed had a plan to establish the kingdom of heaven, a ruler-ship from God, on earth, but it must be done with His men and in His way, and in His time.
3. Saul and the Spirit
With Saul, in I Samuel 8, comes the attempt at man’s way. Israel wants a king. Samuel, the prophet of the day, senses that their heart is not right. They already have a king, God Almighty, and He is ruling them through Samuel’s words. Samuel is hurt. God is hurt. But He is not shocked. And He allows Israel to learn a great lesson from this episode.