The Kingdom

By Lloyd Dale

In circa 26 AD John the Baptist burst on the scene of first century Judaism with the declaration:

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2 NKJV)

Most preterists and others have developed their understanding of this kingdom that John was proclaiming as “at hand” from the NT as if no other information about this kingdom which John declared was “at hand” existed.

Did the people of Jerusalem and Judaea know what kingdom John was talking about?  If so, how did they know?  Certainly not from the NT because it was not even contemplated at that time and it certainly had not yet been written.

When Jesus wanted to teach His disciples about this kingdom and Himself; He began with “Moses and all the prophets” (Luke 24:27).  In a similar manner Philip used Moses and the prophets to teach the Ethiopian eunuch about Jesus and His kingdom.  Paul urged Timothy to remember that from a child Timothy had known the holy scriptures which were able to make him wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus because all (OT) scripture was “given by God and is profitable for doctrine…” which surely included the proper doctrine about the kingdom.  With that in mind Paul exhorted Timothy to “study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed” because he had “rightly divided the word of truth.”

Along these same lines, Luke records Paul’s declaration that the Bereans “were more noble than those in Thessalonica” because they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily” to determine the truth about Jesus and the kingdom (Acts 17:11).

The kingdom to which John the Baptist made reference is described in considerable detail in “Moses and the prophets.  Have we been Bereans and “searched the (OT) scriptures” in developing our understanding of this kingdom?

The NT author of the letter to the Hebrews informs us that Abraham had not accepted the land promises as the full reality of God’s promises to him, but that Abraham “looked for a city which had foundations built and made by God.”  Unfortunately for us, the author of Hebrews did not inform us how Abraham had come to expect this city whose builder and maker was God.  However, the fact that God built the foundations of this “heavenly city” should cause us to ponder the question – If God built the foundations, then who built the city?

However, in 11:16 the author of Hebrews does inform us that the city which Abraham expected and awaited was a “heavenly city” not an earthly one.  He also informs us that in the “heavenly city” God would not be ashamed to be called “their God” by the occupants of that “heavenly city.”

While “Moses and the prophets” nor the author of the letter to the Hebrews do not inform us how Abraham knew about this “heavenly city (i.e. “heavenly kingdom,” cf. 2Tim 4:18), they do give us much information about this “heavenly city/kingdom.”

The first clear prophecy that I can find about this “heavenly city/kingdom is in 2Sam7:10ff:

"Moreover I will appoint a (new) place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, "since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house.  "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  "He shall build a house 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 blows of the sons of men.  "But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."‘" (2 Samuel 7:10-16 NKJV)

Is the kingdom a place or a person?

I submit that the kingdom is a "place" populated with a "people" and ruled over by a "King."

Jesus said:

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father’s house are many dwellings; if not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)

The verse quoted above identifies the "place", the people (you), and the King (Jesus).

The word "place" is translated from the Greek:

 Strong's 5117. ~topov~ topos \@top'-os\@; apparently a primary word; a spot (general in space, but limited by occupancy;  i.e. location (as a position, home, tract, etc.); 

Of this word the Online Greek lexicon states:

 5117 ~topov~ topos \@top'-os\@ apparently a primary word; TDNT-8:187,1184; n m
 
  AV-place 80, room 5, quarter 2, Misc 5; total 92
 
  1) place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from
    surrounding space
    1a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district

However, this is certainly not the first or the only place where this "place" is mentioned in Scripture.

The first mention of this "place" in Scripture which I have found is 2Samuel 7:10ff:

"Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them (in that place), that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore (in that place), as previously, "since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. "He shall build a house 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 blows of the sons of men. "But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."‘" According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: "Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? "And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? "Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord GOD, know Your servant. "For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. "Therefore You are great, O LORD GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. "And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land—before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? "For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God. (2 Samuel 7:10-24 NKJV)

There is much to be learned from this passage.  To properly understand this passage we need to see when this prophecy is given to David:

Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies all around...And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. (2 Samuel 7:1 & 9 NKJV)

From these verses, we learn that David is at the very zenith of his days as king of Israel.  All the land has been occupied, God has given David and the kingdom rest from all their enemies and Israel is safe and secure in their promised land under there great king David.

With those conditions in full force, God sends the prophet Nathan to David to tell him that God is yet going to:

"…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"

Do you see the impact of this prophecy?  This prophecy is not about the promised land of Canaan, Israel has already received and occupied that promised land.

This is a new "place", a place of Israel's very "own."  It is a place that God will appoint for them some time in the future and He will personally "plant" Israel in that new place and Israel will never "move" from that place, forever.

The prophet of God continues:

"...nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously..."

Wow, in this new "place" that God is going to "appoint" for "Israel," there will be no "sons of wickedness" to oppress them as they previously had done.

Thus, this passage parallels John 14:3 and also identifies a very special "place" for "Israel."  It identifies the people of that "place" and identifies the king of that "place" as a son of David.  Of course, today we know that son of David as King Jesus Christ.

Approximately two hundred years (200) later another prophet speaks to Israel:

"On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name," Says the LORD who does this thing. "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them," Says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:11-15 NKJV)

Once again there is a great deal of information that we could glean from this passage, however, for the present study we want to especially focus on that portion that parallels 2Samuel 7:10 which is especially verse 9:

I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them," Says the LORD your God.

Here God further identifies the "place" of John 14:3 and Sam 7:10 as a new "land" that God will give to Israel and upon which God will "plant" them.  Once "planted" there they "shall not be pulled up" (not move from) from that land.  Thus this passage also identifies the new "place" (i.e. a new land), the people Israel, and the king.

At this point, we should understand that this is a permanent or forever "place."

We can know positively that this prophecy is referring to Jesus and His followers by the way it is used by James in Acts 15:

James answered, saying, "Men, brethren, listen to me: "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. "And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written (Amos 9:9-15): ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Nations who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.’ "Known to God from eternity are all His works. (Acts 15:13-18 NKJV)

Using the knowledge that we have gained from these passages, we now know that God has promised Israel a new place/land of their very own which will, according to Act 15:13ff, be fulfilled in NT times, and we can now find other passages that provide additional information of this land of their own.

Isaiah, approximately 75 years later, also prophesied of this new land for Israel, a land of their own:

For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. (Isaiah 14:1)

Approximately one hundred and twelve years later a new prophet comes on the scene and prophecies:

"Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. "Therefore, behold, days are coming," says the LORD, "that they shall no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ "but, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land." (Jeremiah 23:5-8 NKJV)

Then a few years after Jeremiah's prophecy, Ezekiel prophesied:

‘For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. "As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. "And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and (I) will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. "I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. "I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD. "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment." (Ezekiel 34:11-16 NKJV)

"For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. "I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. "And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. "Not for your sake do I do this," says the Lord GOD, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!" ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. (Ezekiel 36:24-33 NKJV)

"Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; "and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. "They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. "Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. "My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." (Ezekiel 37:21-28 NKJV)

"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name— ‘after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their land and no one made them  afraid. ‘When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, ‘then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. ‘And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 39:25-29 NKJV)

The above passages and many others in both the OT and the NT clearly affirm that the kingdom, ruled over by the Shepherd King, Jesus Christ is populated by redeemed, resurrected, restored, and "planted" Israel.

Thus, the kingdom is a place, occupied by a redeemed and resurrected people, ruled over by a resurrected King, The King of kings --Jesus Christ.

The NT informs us that this is a "heavenly Kingdom" which is "not of this world" but it is in the realm of the "new heaven and the new earth" in which "dwells righteousness".

Olive Tree Ministries
BAR LD Ranch

Lloyd Dale

19463 US Hwy 12 | Lemmon, SD 57638

Phone: 605-374-3291 | Cell: 605-490-9822 |
barldranch@sdplains.com