Part 7 in the series
By: Tom Casey
We have been examining Biblical stewardship in light of the presence of the Kingdom of God. After Adam’s sin, God began again to reveal His nature and character to mankind through the blood covenant relationship He established with Abraham and his descendents. As Abraham’s descendents increased, God continued to prophetically reveal His nature and character to them by giving them the Law.
The hearts of God’s covenant people were still ruled by the domain of darkness. In the midst of this environment of sin that ruled and surrounded them, the Law guided their thoughts and external behavior toward a greater level of faithfulness to God, in keeping with their blood covenant with Him. At the same time, God made the power and resources of His Kingdom available to His covenant people in order to faithfully maintain His covenant with them. The Law also established a priesthood containing sacrifices of atonement which provided forgiveness, hope and faith for God’s people when they broke the covenant. Even though God had the right to destroy His covenant people because of their faithlessness, He was gracious to them, carrying them along as He executed His plan for complete restoration for them and for all humanity.
As God was prophetically revealing His nature and character to the children of Abraham, He was also revealing His plan to once again establish the physical rule of His Kingdom on the earth. Even as God’s covenant people rejected His prophetic rule over them by demanding a human king, God was executing His plan to physically establish His Kingdom, and He prophetically communicated that plan to His covenant people. We find some of these prophetic statements in Psalm 2:5-9; Psalm 45; Isaiah 9:1-7; Ezekiel 43; Isaiah 11:1-10.
Throughout Israel’s history, God’s promise to establish His throne and the rule of His Kingdom on the earth (the Day of the Lord) was widely accepted and anticipated. One day God would reveal and establish the rule of His Kingdom through His Chosen One, His Holy One, His Savior – a conquering king who would defeat the enemies of God and establish God’s complete rule on the earth. This physical manifestation or revealing of the reign of God is also called the Apocalypse or Revelation of the Kingdom. Today, our secular culture speaks of the Apocalypse and apocalyptic events as the end of the world. In reality, the true, biblical Apocalypse and associated events identify the appearance of God’s conquering King and of the complete manifestation of the reign of God on the earth.
Preceding and accompanying the appearance of this conquering King and the revelation of the reign of God, there will be signs in the heavens and on the earth; attesting to the fact that it is the end of the age (Joel 2:30-32; Isaiah 13:6-16; Zephaniah 1:14-17). Therefore, we must draw a distinction between the prophetic nature and activities of the Kingdom of God in this present age, and the apocalyptic nature and activities of the Kingdom of God in the age to come. This is important as we begin to look at the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and His relationship to the Kingdom of God, beginning in my next post.