Kingdom of God part 4
The book of Luke and Matthew is full of phrases “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven.” Jesus often preached on this topic. We can therefore say, that Jesus emphasised the kingdom of God. He was a kingdom preacher. In fact, the whole book of Matthew proclaims--Jesus the King. No wonder the Pharisees asked him in Luke 17:20 as to when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus replied: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation.” What did Jesus mean? It does not come with visible signs. The question we must answer at this moment: What kind of signs were the people looking for? Where did they get their information about these future observable signs? There are many references in the Old Testament that speak about the coming King and the establishment of a kingdom and its associated visible signs. The Pharisees and Scribes must have gotten their information from there. The tyranny of time does not permit us to scan all of them. So we would just have to concentrate on one book Joel. The theme of this book is ‘The Day of the Lord’ and this phrase is also mentioned in several OT books. In Joel 1:15 it says this, “Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.” The phrase, “the day of the Lord”, means the arrival of the King, and this is always associated with judgment and destruction. It always refers to the second advent of Christ which involves other related future events. These events are observable by the naked eye. During this time, Christ will finally take his own. The dead believers shall rise again and together with the living believers will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. There will be a lot of observable signs during the 7 years of tribulation. There will be plenty of observable signs in the sky. And those who rejected God’s offer of salvation will have their share of punishment. Joel calls it the final terrible Day of the Lord (2:11) Joel 2: 28-32 and its context, suggests that Joel’s prophecy will not be completely fulfilled until the millennial reign of Christ. However, Peter used this prophecy (Joel 2:28-32; cf. Acts 2: 16-21) of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to demonstrate that Pentecost was a pre-fulfillment, a foretaste, a sample of the Spirit’s power of what will take place in the millennial kingdom when the Holy Spirit is lavishly poured out on all flesh. In other words, the experience of the believers on the day of Pentecost, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit was not a full fulfillment of the prophetic words from Joel, but a preview and example of the Spirit’s power and work to be released fully and finally in the Messianic kingdom (after the Day of the Lord) Joel chapter 2 tells us of observable signs that the Pharisees were asking Jesus. There will be seismic disturbances, blood, fire, and smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, moon turned into blood. There will be cosmic changes before the coming of the Lord. It will be a ‘terrible day’ (2:11). However, as a result of the ‘Day of the Lord’, there will be restoration, physical blessing and fruitfulness and prosperity as also prophesied in Joel 2:21-27; 3:16-21. The point we are trying to establish was the question asked by the Pharisees and Jesus’ answer in Luke 17:20-21. Undoubtedly, these religious leaders could not see any indication that Jesus is King. Yes, they had heard and seen Jesus perform a lot of miracles, cast out demons, instant healing of the sick and those with incurable diseases, raise the dead, feed the multitude with just a few fishes and loaves of bread, etc. But to these Pharisees, these miracles were not ‘awesome’ enough to convince them that Jesus was worthy of a ‘king’. Because Jesus did produce any signs in the sky to fully convince them that He is the Messiah. Is that not typical today? People are always looking for a sign, either in the sky, palm of your hands, horoscope, or from any false prophets and medium telling you about your future. Our newspapers are full of them, big business. They will never be out of business because most people do not know the Word of God. The Bible is the most accurate roadmap about the future. The Bible is a gift of God’s grace and Jesus offers us the certainty of the future when He said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” To know Him is to know the truth and this truth shall make you free from the bondage of sin. Consider Him! It is not by good works, but by grace alone.