“Thy Kingdom Come” #2

Such was the prayer of earnest disciples and such a prayer manifested not only their confidence that there was such a kingdom to come, but their petition expressing their desire for its appearance. The prophets had “prophesied of the grace that should come unto you” (1 Pet. 1:10), not only assuring men that such was in fact to come, but revealed other significant and important truths about that kingdom, which when they wrote, was future. Let us examine a few important details the prophets revealed about that kingdom and it’s coming.

First, the kingdom was something God would establish. Daniel, a prophet who lived 600 years before Christ, lived in the critical years when Babylon had  worldwide dominance. Daniel was of the “seed royal and nobles” (Dan. 1:3), and was among the first of three different groups of Jews who were carried to exile to Babylon from Judah. He was trained in the tongue and learning of the Chaldeans (Dan. 1:4), and was supervised in this learning by one who was high in the favor of Nebuchadnezzar. In time he was privileged to interpret a dream of that great king. In figurative language, the dream revealed four world empires which would succeed each other and which would themselves be destroyed by a fifth. But that fifth kingdom was unlike the four. Daniel spoke thusly of that kingdom: “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). Several wonderful truths are herein recorded, First, the fifth kingdom would be one authored by God. Second, it would break in pieces and consume the past four kingdoms. Third, it would stand forever.

These three features illustrate the truth of Jesus’ words before Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36). There is a difference in the kingdoms and governments of men with the fifth kingdom of Nebucadnezzar’s dream. It was not of this world. And, while the kingdoms of the dream which fell and exist today only in the monuments, buildings, and history books, God’s kingdom still is intact. It will stand forever. It shall never be destroyed. In future articles more specifics of the purpose and nature of that kingdom will be shown, but one feature learned from Daniel 2 is that it is an eternal kingdom. It now exists, and although this world will pass away (2 Pet. 3:10), God’s kingdom will not. Peter calls it an eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11), and Paul says that when death is vanquished, Christ will return the kingdom to God (1 Cor. 15:24). When that occurs, the kingdom in heaven will be expanded to include all those who have loved and served God since the dawn of creation. Jesus spoke of this when He said, “Many shall come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 18:11-12). The kingdom of God will never be destroyed.

The prophets were specific about who would rule this kingdom; it was to be a descendant of David. God promised him that (2 Sam. 7:12-14), and the unanimous voice of the prophets echoed this time and time again. Isaiah 11:1 prophesied such as well as all the others who spoke of that coming king. Respectfully Jesus was  called the “son of David,” expressing the conviction that the coming kingdom would be of the lineage of David. Gabriel announced to Mary she would have a son and that “He shall be great and He shall be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1:32-33).

Not only did the prophets tell that one who was of the seed of David would be king in that kingdom, and that the kingdom would stand forever, they gave a general time when that kingdom would begin: “in the days of these kings” (Dan. 2:44). “These kings” refer to the four kingdoms which would rise and fall and when the first three existed no more (Babylon, Medo-Persian, Grecian or Alexandrian). Only one of the four kingdoms still existed, Rome. If God’s word was true and Daniel was a true prophet because that which he had predicted came true (Deut. 18:21-22), then the kingdom God would set up had to come during the days of the Caesars. Therein is the fatal flaw to modern millennium theories for the Roman kingdom is gone. If God’s kingdom did not come during the Roman Kingdom, it will not come. Jesus began His preaching saying, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk. 1:15). If Jesus did not set up His kingdom then, the time was not at hand. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). If Jesus’ kingdom was not set up in the first century in the days of Rome, there is no need to look for a kingdom to come at a future time: God’s word has failed.

Equally true was the prophecy where the kingdom would begin. Isaiah wrote, “And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted about the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:2-3). In prophetic language “mountain” is government (cp. Dan. 2:35, 44; Jer. 51:24). Therefore, the establishment of the mountain of the Lord’s house is a prediction of the establishing of God’s government or kingdom. The mountain of the Lord’s house will be over other mountains, exalted above the hills. This is a parallelism which simply says God’s kingdom would be above all kingdoms. When the prophet said “all nations would flow unto it,” that tells that the promise God made to Abraham that “in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:18) would find fulfillment in the kingdom God would set up. When the prophet assured his readers the law would go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, he told where the kingdom would begin: Jerusalem. That’s why in Jesus’ last charge to His apostles He told them to go to Jerusalem and remain there “until ye be endued with power from on high” (Acts 1:4, Lk. 24:49). The prophets left us sufficient details to know that when Jesus came it was the time God promised. Paul wrote, “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). If the kingdom is not here, then it was not the fulfillment of time. If God’s word is true, and it is, then God’s kingdom now exists. The prayer, “Thy kingdom come” has been fulfilled.

Jim McDonald