Thursday, December 31, 2009

In the beginning, God...

With these four words of great expectation we begin our 2010 Blog through the Bible with a special focus on the Kingdom of God...

1. In the beginning,...There is a beginning for everything we know except for God Himself. Angels have a beginning. Principalities have a beginning. You and I have a beginning. But not God. Even the Kingdom has a beginning for in the beginning, there was the King but no subjects, no hearts to rule in and through. In His perfectness and wisdom, the King created everything and thus established a place and people for His Kingdom to come forth!

2. In the beginning, God...We know that God is community in the beginning in that he was Father, Son and Spirit; the perfect three in one yet one. And we know His desire to create out of love, for love and in love, a creation that would come from His deepest heart, which He would love and woo for it to love Him back. In His divine wisdom, He would endow the pinnacle of His creation with a free will to choose to have a relationship and community with Himself or not.

3. In the beginning, God created...In truth, the genesis of God's Kingdom, His rule and reign, definitely begins in the heart of God. But it is manifested and made possible by the creative love of God. From the Eternal with no beginning or end, flows the creation of both eternal and temporal. The eternal created are the unseen but true things such as angels, principalities, the true Kingdom of God and you and I, our souls. The temporal are the things seen such as our bodies, this present earth, and heavens. The eternal created things (angels, you, the true Kingdom) have this in common: they have a beginning but no end. The Eternal God, with no beginning or end, gives a beginning from His creative heart, His very self, to the true things that also will have no end. He also creates the temporal (things with a beginning and end) to serve as a model, a perfecting stage and even a battleground, in His longing for a race of beings who love Him with all their hearts, souls and minds.

Thus, with the first four word of Genesis, we have the setting for the Kingdom of God coming forth in the world. God is the King with no beginning or end. Yet He creates a race of beings for His Kingdom to come forth in. He creates them to be eternal and temporal whereby the temporal is the place He will use beauty, trials, and truth, among other things, to draw His creation back into the realm of His Kingdom, His rule.

As we walk through the Bible and God's revelation of His Kingdom, we will never find the King forcing Himself upon His creation/His subjects but gently calling, sometimes sharply punishing and in many cases truthfully confronting them in order to bring about His eternal Kingdom in their hearts and lives.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Foundation for Kingdom Studies...

The idea or concept of the Kingdom of God in the Bible originates in the heart of God. God has no beginning and has no end. He has always been: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. From the creation of the angels, who were the first subjects of His Kingdom, to the creation of heaven, earth and man, and ultimately the coming of the new heaven and earth, God's Kingdom is one of the scarlet threads that run as a theme of the whole of history.

The word "kingdom" comes from the Hebrew 'basileia', a noun, denoting "sovereignty, royal power, dominion; the territory or people over whom a king rules. Thus the Kingdom of God is the sphere of God's rule and sphere in which, at any given time, His rule is acknowledged."

According to Conner in his classic work 'Christian Doctrine', there are five stages of Biblical thought and development:

1. The universal sovereignty of God. God is creator of all and sovereign to all. He is sovereign over creation and particularly mankind. There is only one true God and He is sovereign over the entire universe. He reigns supremely over all nations and all individuals and each is subject to Him and His judgment. There is nothing or no one that is exempt from His sovereign rule.

2. The theocratic Kingdom of Israel. God selected Abraham, entered into a covenant relationship with he and his descendants and promised to give them a land as well as make them a great nation which in turn would be a blessing to the whole world. God chose and had a purpose for the people of Israel to be His chosen, peculiar people.

3. The spiritual Kingdom founded by Jesus. God promised David that a descendant of his would reign on the throne forever. He fulfilled this promise in the person of Jesus Christ even though He was not recognized by his chosen people Israel. Jesus, in establishing His spiritual Kingdom, gave relevance and fulfillment to the theocracy of the Old Testament. Jesus came to earth as the "Savior-King". He initiated the Kingdom of God on earth ushering in a reign of peace and righteousness not understood by the world. In His Kingdom, He saves men from sin and reconciles them to God as well as to one another.

4. His Kingdom as a progressive power in the world. The Kingdom has come in power with Jesus. However, as the mustard seed must develop so must the Kingdom of God in this world. This is accomplished primarily through the preaching and demonstration of the good news of the Kingdom.

5. The eternal Kingdom of God. The final stage of the Kingdom is the eternal Kingdom. It is to be finally established at the second coming of the King, Jesus Christ. It will consummate all of history and usher in God's planned rule since the beginning of time.

So, our journey this coming year, walking through the Bible and looking at the theme of God's Kingdom, will hopefully be a discovery of the foundational story of God's Word: His Kingdom coming and His will being done.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Plans for 2010 Blog

First of all, let me apologize to everyone. It has been a couple of months since my last blog. I came to a natural end of a topic being discussed and then got busy in travel and work and thus dropped our pursuit of seeing what the Kingdom of God looks like in our everyday lives. After reflecting over what has been written and thinking about next year, I have an idea of where I want to go next. I would like to hear from you and what you think about it.

Ever since my freshman year in college, I have read through the Bible at least one time each year. After my 33rd birthday, I felt led to read through the Bible (as a discipline) two times per year. Combined with my prayer time and other devotional reading, this "walking through the Bible" has become a cornerstone of my daily devotional life. By my reckoning, I have now read through the Bible 49 times. Since the 50th year in the Bible is the Year of Jubilee, I sense God leading me to do something a little different this year.

Here's what I propose. I am feeling led to walk through the Bible this year and journal what I see that relates to the Kingdom of God in each day's passage. I plan to read and pray over about 5 pages (5 to 7 chapters) of the Bible each day. I will start with Genesis chapter 1:1 and read/pray straight through to Revelation 22:21. Then, I will journal/blog each Sunday or Monday and share with you what I see God saying in regards to His Kingdom.

If God's Kingdom is the central theme of His word, then it should be a thread that runs through His whole word. And I believe it so here's a chance to prove or disprove my bias and impression of what God is saying (and doing) through His word.

I would appreciate your thoughts, reflections, encouragements along this line. I am planning for my first post to be shortly after the first of the new year.

Blessings to all! I would love to hear you thoughts...