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Kingdom of God part 3

The belief that the Israelites is a chosen people is a powerful teaching. The Exodus narrative makes it crystal clear that indeed Israel is God’s chosen people. While they were in Sinai God was preparing her to be a theocratic nation before entering the Promised Land. As we know, after the conquest of Canaan, (to make the story short, because of her disobedience and jealousy of the surrounding nations who have had kings), Israel cried to God to grant a human king of their own. That was the beginning of Israel’s monarchy (See 1 Samuel for details). Saul was the first king, followed by King David, then his son Solomon and etc. Then Israel was divided into Northern and Southern kingdoms because of family quarrels. Chaos and destruction was the story of the day because of rivalries and succeeding invasions over the centuries. But to this present day, the Exodus story so far as the Jews are concerned, as John Bright points out: “the Exodus towered over the national consciousness for all time to come”. We can, therefore, say that the notion of a ‘kingdom’ is not a strange thing in the Jewish vocabulary. These notions of a ‘kingdom’ and ‘chosen people’ have a strong connection. So, the idea is not mainly confined to the New Testament, because there are indications in one form or another that the idea is present everywhere in the Old Testament. This, of course, includes the whole notion of God’s rule over His people, not only now, but also in the future. We must remember that the Jewish people were anticipating for a Messiah, their anointed King, who would set up the Kingdom of God triumphantly. That is to say, a powerful political kingdom of the nation of Israel. The enlightened disciples saw that indeed Jesus is the Messiah. Therefore, it seems right for the disciples to ask Jesus before his ascension: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”(Acts 1:6b) This was the messianic hope of every Jew, particularly the disciples of Jesus as revealed in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the coming Prince from the line of David: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulder. And He shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa.9:6; 11:1-2,10). These are just a few of the many verses in the Old Testament which express the expectation of the coming redemption of Israel through a Messiah. However, it seems clear in Acts chapter one that this notion of the ‘restoration of the kingdom’ has had a wider implication, and we have to deal with this idea, with an open mind, that involves the all-embracing eschatological hope of Israel and the whole human kind. The greatest anticipation of Israel was her hope of the coming kingdom. We often remember these verses in Isaiah and other verses during Christmas time, but let me remind you that it goes beyond ‘Christmas Day’ because the real “peace on earth” will take place during the millennial reign of Christ. The most important questions now: Does Jesus the King reign in your heart? Do you have peace with God? Do you have the peace of God? Will you be lonely again this Christmas season? Christ is the answer to these questions. He is the only One who can give you peace, for He is the ‘Prince of Peace.” Why don’t you say to Him, “Lord Jesus, I have wasted all my years and life, I am coming home to You.” Jesus loves you. It is a gift of His grace. All by grace and by grace alone, nothing more, nothing less. (to be continued)

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