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Kingdom of God part 2

How did the Jews understand this concept of the kingdom? It seems clear that almost every Jew understood the meaning of the kingdom. It was, no doubt, part of their daily vocabulary. It is something the Jews clearly understood and ached for its realization. They know what a kingdom is, since the time of Saul, the first king of Israel, David etc. I have taught Modern European history in the past, particularly British, French and Russian History. In the old days, they were reigned by absolute monarchs--Kings, Emperors, or Queens. Their power was absolute. It was only in recent times, perhaps in the last two hundred years (some less, some more) that some monarchs shared their power with the parliaments or Dumas. Some countries became a republic because of upheaval and revolutions. In the 20th century, we have seen nations ruled by Dictators such as Italy, Germany, Russia, and Libya, for example. But an absolute monarch, even though he or she is surrounded by advisers, his or her power is absolute. He has supreme boundless power. They believed in the divine rights of the king which means they believed God appointed them to that position and therefore their power was unquestionable. Sometimes this is difficult for us to comprehend as Filipinos, because we were born in a republic. Most Australians can understand this notion (of a kingdom) to a large extent because they have a Queen, yet her power is not absolute. Most of her duties are mainly ceremonials and have nothing to do with the daily governance of the country. Every Jew during the time of Christ on earth and even today knows about the Kingdom of David. They put their high hopes for a ‘Prince’ who was a descendant of David to restore and set up a kingdom. So the Jews know the meaning of the kingdom. But we can even go back further during the formative years of Israel’s history, particularly during the time of Moses where we find both people and religious faith gradually developing. We find that during the wandering in the wilderness, God Himself told them through Moses that they were a ‘chosen people of God.’(See Exodus 19:6; Deut.7: 6-8; Lev. 20:26; Is.62:12). Thus, this notion of Israel’s ‘hope for the kingdom of God’ and the literal restoration of a kingdom of Israel is related to the very idea of herself as ‘the chosen people of God.’ This concept that Israel was a chosen people traces back further when God told Abraham to get out of his country, the Ur of the Chaldean, to go to the Land of Promise, Canaan. God made a covenant with Abraham that his descendants will multiply as the countless stars in the heavens (Genesis 12, 15, 17). In Gen.15:6, it says of Abraham: “he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” In spite of the fact that Israel disobeyed God many times, there was no certain period in her history that she did not believe that she was a chosen people. Israel’s election, out of God’s grace, flashes back to Abraham’s story in Genesis. The same with regards to our salvation, it is by grace, our election is by grace and by grace alone. Not by good works but by grace alone through faith in Christ Jesus. Let us thank Him. (To be continued)

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