The Kingdom of God: The Message of the Bible

[This is a paper I wrote for Worldview I and I thought I would share it with you. The assignment was a 4-5 page paper on the message of the Bible using the whole story of Scripture. Enjoy, and I hope someone can learn from this.]

The Message

            The Bible is a magnificent book, full of great stories and many lessons to learn from, but is there one central theme throughout the Bible? Finding the theme of the Bible can be difficult, but can be done. Graeme Goldsworthy puts it best and describes the theme as; “The Kingdom of God: God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing.”[1] The entire Bible is teaching us about God’s Kingdom through His people in His place under His rule and blessing.

To look at this efficiently through the Bible as a whole, Vaughan Roberts’s method of Gods Kingdom will be followed. Roberts splits the Kingdom of God into 8 periods of God’s Kingdom[2] that he uses to describe God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing, which will be used to do the same here throughout this explanation.

The Pattern of the Kingdom

The Pattern of the Kingdom is God’s demonstration of Creation and how His kingdom should be, found in Genesis chapters 1-2.. This pattern is demonstrated in God creating everything perfectly and His dwelling with them. It is the perfect example of God’s people (Adam and Eve) in God’s place (the Garden) under God’s rule and experiencing His blessings (His communion with His created beings).

The Perished Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is very quickly disrupted when ‘the fall’ happens, and brings about the Perished Kingdom. The Perished Kingdom is when God’s Kingdom, for the first time, is wrecked because sin enters the world. This is in Genesis 3 where Satan, as a serpent, deceives Eve to disobey the one command that God had given them, convincing her she wanted become like God. Eve is quick to fall and eats the fruit and gets Adam to eat also, therefore bringing the fall of man and the Perished Kingdom. This sin has massive consequences when God has to judge the wrongdoing and give humans pain, suffering, death, and no longer the opportunity to dwell with God’s presence in the Garden because they are kicked out. In the Perished Kingdom God’s people are no longer in His place or under His rule and blessings, the whole Kingdom is flipped upside down, but, they are given hope. 

The Promised Kingdom

            Following the Perished Kingdom is the Promised Kingdom. God has to begin to re-establish His Kingdom somehow because He loves His creations. He promises this re-establishment through a man named Abraham. God sends Abraham to a land he is not from and promises Abraham with a covenant that God will re-establish His kingdom, through his offspring forever.  His promise is that Abraham’s descendants will be God’s people in God’s place under His rule , experiencing His blessing, and his descendants would bless everyone in the world.  This promise defines the Promised Kingdom and how it represents Gods Kingdom, but it would not be completely fulfilled until Jesus fully fulfills the Kingdom.

The Partial Kingdom

God promises fulfilment through Abraham and then He begins the fulfilling process leading into the Partial Kingdom. The Partial Kingdom is a big chunk of Israel’s history going from Abraham to Solomon, Genesis 18-2 Chronicles. In this time God begins to grow the descendant of Abraham from Isaac to the twelve tribes of Jacob (or Israel), to Moses, to David, and then Solomon’s kingship. The nation of Israel grows from 1 man to one of the greatest nations of the time during Solomon.

 God gathers Abrahams descendant Jacob and his twelve sons and creates the nation of Israel through the twelve tribe,s who grow into a mighty nation as slaves in Egypt. This is only partially fulfilling the Kingdom because they are not in God’s land. God uses Moses, an Israelite, to save the entire nation of Israel from Egyptian rule. Moses and the nation head into the wilderness for 40 years, where they are given God’s rule and blessings through the Ten Commandments at Sinai and through the Mosaic Covenant. They now have God’s rule and blessing, but not His place. Moses dies and God chooses Joshua to take over for the nation.

Joshua leads the nation into the land the Lord had chosen for them. They were going in to heap judgment upon the nations there, and to receive the land for themselves; but they disobey and don’t kill (judge) all the nations and this brings curses on Israel as the other nations drag them into idolatry over and over again, taking them from God’s rule. 

The Israelites fall into the time of the Judges where Judges rule Israel and the nation falls deeper and deeper into idolatry until they request a king, who will be Saul, followed by David then Solomon. David is considered ‘a man after God’s own heart’ because his love for the Lord, and his desire to follow the Lord. God established another covenant with David; that David would always have a descendant seated upon the throne of Israel and that he would have a descendant forever seated upon the throne, Jesus, who will be the fulfilment of the Kingdom. 

Solomon, David’s son, had wisdom and riches beyond fathom, but he was an adulterous and had many wives of other nations, leading the nation into civil war. The nation split into Judah and Israel ending the Partial Kingdom where God’s people where in God’s place and half way experiencing His rule and blessing. This begins the Prophesied Kingdom.

The Prophesied Kingdom

            The Prophesied Kingdom is a period where Israel is a split nation and the nation is scattered, due to exiles of different nations. This was known as the Prophesied Kingdom, because God spoke to the people through Prophets warning them of judgment and of the Savior to come permanently forgive them of their sin and offer a new covenant. This time period was a huge decline for the nation of Israel taking it from God’s people in God’s place under His rule and blessing, to almost no nation, scattered. It ends with a few Jews in Jerusalem and a small temple, but they felt as though they were still slaves, not under God’s rule and blessing. Then God allows 400 years of silence where there are no prophets, or necessarily even a Kingdom.

The Present Kingdom

            The end of 400 years comes with John the Baptist, prophesying that the Messiah is coming, and He indeed does come. The Present Kingdom is when Jesus was present on earth, bringing about His Kingdom. Jesus comes as the fulfilment of God’s people, place, and to bring about a new way of His rule and blessing. Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s people as the true Adam, by being the only man to ever not deserve death as God had planned it with Adam, and as the true Israel, by deliberately choosing twelve disciples and bringing a new Israel about.  Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s place as the true Tabernacle and the true Temple that Jesus Himself would raise (seen in John 2:19[3]). Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s rule and blessing when He brings the New Covenant with His death and resurrection for our sins, His new Kingship, and through Him one experiences God’s full blessing.[4] But Jesus talks of His Kingdom still to come, therefore there is more to come before the full Kingdom.

The Proclaimed Kingdom

            Following the resurrection, Jesus gives one last great commission in Matthew 28:19-20; “go therefore and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  After Jesus ascends the Apostles literally scatter across the known world sharing the message of Christ. This is the Proclaimed Kingdom, where God’s people are proclaiming His message throughout the whole world. It brings about a new view of God’s Kingdom; His people are everyone who believes in Him, His place is inside the individual, and His rule and blessing is through the New Covenant. The Proclaimed Kingdom is still active today, until all people have heard the message of Jesus and He comes back bringing the Perfected Kingdom.

The Perfected Kingdom

            During the Proclaimed Kingdom, the apostle John is banished to an island and receives a vision that he transcribes that describes the Perfect Kingdom that will come when Jesus comes again. The Perfect Kingdom will be ALL the believers as God’s people, in New Jerusalem as God’s Place, and under God’s complete and whole blessing as in the Garden, without sin. The Perfected Kingdom will be perfectly perfect, basking in the Presence of The Lord.

The Message

            The Bible is far more than a book of small messages it has one central theme. We can miss this if we view it that way, as Lesslie Newbigin stated, “even in our readings of the Bible in church, we tend to look at only very short passages which reinforces the impression that the Bible is a collection of nuggets of wisdom from which we can choose what we find helpful… it is not.”[5]  The message of the Bible is seeing His Kingdom through every page, His Kingdom being God’s people in God’s place under Gods rule and blessing.[6] This is what the Bible is teaching about God through every page of the entire Bible.

 

 

 

[1] Goldsworthy Graeme, The Gospel and Kingdom (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 2012), 47.

[2] Roberts, God’s Big Picture, 22.

[3] Kostenberger Andreas J., ESV Study Bible Notes and Commentaries (Wheaton: Crossway Publishing:2008), 2024.

[4] Roberts, God’s Big Picture, 109-114.

[5] Newbigin, Lesslie, A Walk Through the Bible (Vancouver: Regent Publishing, 2005), 12.

[6] Goldsworthy, The Gospel and Kingdom, 47.

 

 

Bibliography

Alexander, T. Desmond. From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2009. Print.

ESV Study Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008. Print. Study Notes and Commentaries.

Goldsworthy, Graeme. Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament. Exeter: Paternoster, 2012. Print.

Newbigin, Lesslie. A Walk through the Bible. Vancouver Canada: Regent, 2005. Print.

Roberts, Vaughan. God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002. Print

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