2 covenants, 2 kingdoms, 2 churches.
After Jesus' return mentioned in Rev 19-20 we see that the saints will reign with him for 1000 years. Because of this it is commonly assumed that this is the beginning of the millennial kingdom. [When I say commonly assumed, that means that I'm going to disagree with it. ]
Note that here people are identifying the millennium with the kingdom.
But recall that earlier in Rev we are told that he has taken his power and reigned. When does the kingdom come? Rev 12 or Rev 20?
If it comes with the return, as in rev 20, that would be in a fashion that all could see. But in the gospels he has told us that the kingdom comes without observation. So it must come as spoken of in Rev 12. If you read carefully in Rev 20 it says the saints reign with him. Perhaps this is a point where they begin to reign with him, but He has been reigning from some time earlier. But the saints that overcome and endure to the end are those who are invited to sit in his throne. [It's the most backslidden Laodicean type saints who are offered this greatest reward.]
He begins His reign, in full and the 1000 year kingdom with the outpouring of the Spirit when he comes as the latter rain. The kingdom is within his people's hearts as they give him full authority and obedience. They will follow the Lamb wherever he goes [Rev 13] because they will be willing in the day of His power. [Ps. 110}
Let's consider what exactly the kingdom is to try and see when it comes.
In Revelation, The Passover Key [Destiny Image 1991] Dan Juster writes :
Wherever the rule of God is manifested, whether in healing, deliverance from demons, healing family relationships or starting an alternative school system, we see a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God came in the ministry of Jesus and continues to be shown in the ministry of the Church and of believers who affect every area of life. Hence the Gospel of the Kingdom is the good news of the opportunity to come under the rule of God and to see every area of life impacted by the power and principles of God. [page ix]
Through the ministry of Jesus and the apostles, and through the Church today, the Kingdom of God has broken into this age. The Kingdom of God truly came in Jesus. However, it came partially. The Kingdom is already here in one sense, yet not here in others. This "already but not yet" dynamic will typify this age until the return of Jesus. Whenever we see a body healed or a marriage restored by the power of God, there is the Kingdom. However, the full coming of the Kingdom rule over all the earth, as was the hope of the prophets, awaits the return of Jesus. [page x]
Here he is talking about the kingdom being here but not yet. It reminds me that it is said he hath put all things under his feet, but we do not yet see it.
The kingdom that is here is seen in the ministry of Jesus, the apostles and the church. The kingdom to come or the full coming of the Kingdom awaits.
The kingdom is here in as much as the King is here. For those that earnestly seek him, he has never left. He has promised to be with us always.
Yet the kingdom of darkness is present also as there is a world system 'under the sway of the wicked one'. Darkness over the world and gross darkness in the hearts of people. How can both coexist? Just as wheat and tares in the same field.
One scriptural example is that of Athaliah. This wicked queen [a type of satan] reigned in Jerusalem for 6 years. Yet all during that time, the true king lived in Jerusalem too! But it was not until the beginning of the 7th year that he took up his power and overthrew her. [He was waiting for a certain level of maturity.]
Another example is that of Adonijah, a son of David [and type of anti-Christ]. Adonijah proclaimed himself king at the same time Solomon was anointed king. After a short struggle, where a fair number of David's men aligned themselves with Adonijah, Solomon prevailed, and proceeded to purify his realm.
But here we're talking about the kingdom of darkness vs. the kingdom of light. Let's get back to the Kingdom of God as seen so far and the Kingdom of God in full. What are the various possible definitions? And what does the Bible say?
The kingdom of God is wherever God is King. I often use this short definition to show that the kingdom comes when you make him king of your heart. So that way it comes 'without observation'. [In Jesus earthly ministry, He proclaimed the Kingdom was at hand because He is the King.]
Yet many of the kingdom parables describe something quite different. The story of the vineyard and wicked vinedressers, the three loaves made with leaven, the 'treelike, towering mustard plant, filled with demonic types, and others speak of a kingdom where clearly God does not rule. What's the catch?
With that in mind I'll modify the definition to state that the Kingdom is wherever God is supposed to be King. This can be where there is a small measure of God's power demonstrated, and a small measure of obedience rendered to the King. And these parables of the partial or flawed kingdom clearly speak of Old Testament times and conditions. So the partial Kingdom didn't begin with the ministry of Jesus, but it has been here all along.
It has been with God's people all along. It's found in scripture wherever God had dealings with men. It's found wherever God had a people. And all through the bible God has had some people, a remnant with whom he had a covenant, that is promises he made to them.
So the various covenants that scholars speak of means he has had this kingdom all along. These include covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the Children of Israel in general. We can sum them up in what is known as the Old covenant.
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