Wednesday, February 13, 2013


For at least three years, Jesus and His disciples had gone about proclaiming that the kingdom of God was near (Mt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; 12:28; etc.).  On the day of Christ's Ascension, His disciples asked Him, "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6).  Did you notice that?  They did not ask about the "kingdom of heaven" (a phrase found 33 times, and only in Matthew's Gospel), or the "kingdom of God" (a phrase found 70 times in 23 books of the New Testament); they asked about the "kingdom of Israel"  (a phrase that does not appear one single time in the New Testament)!  They were a little more spiritual than their Old Testament relatives who demanded God give them an earthly king (1 Sam. 8:4-22), but not spiritual enough to comprehend that God's kingdom will be much greater than just the kingdom of their nation; God's kingdom was to be over the entire world!

There is much irony in the fact that Israel was hoping that Jesus was their Messiah, the One for whom they had longed to come, establish His kingdom on earth, defeat Israel's enemies, and yet, they did not notice He never mentioned the "kingdom of Israel."  The nation of Israel had no clue that God's kingdom would include them, but that they would share it with the rest of humanity.  They did not notice Jesus spoke of the "kingdom of heaven," and the "kingdom of God," phrases that do not appear a single time in the Old Testament!

Israel has yet to understand this.  The Apostle Paul wrote, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25).  Meanwhile, the Church, made up mostly of Gentiles, understands that Jesus will appear a second time, and that He will then claim His earthly kingdom (Rev. 19:11 - 20:15).  The Apostle John wrote:

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.  And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19:11-16).
If Jesus rules as your King, you are a citizen of His kingdom:  the Kingdom of God!


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