The Kingdom of God: Part 2
Apr 18, 2006
When Jesus sent out His disciples, He told them in Matt. 10:7, "And as you go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
What did He mean, at hand? Was it immediate? Some say that the Kingdom was established at the cross or on the day of Pentecost. Others say the Kingdom is yet to be established at Christ's second coming. Was it now or was it later? Both answers are correct in their own ways.
The original Kingdom was established at Mount Sinai under Moses. God came down upon the mount, manifested as fire, to establish that Kingdom. He spoke the Ten Commandments on that day to all of the people; and when they ran away, God gave the rest of the law to Moses so that he could tell them what God said.
Over and beyond the law itself, God made a Covenant with Israel, which was the specific document that created the nation itself. It was signed and ratified by the sprinkling of blood upon it and upon the people. Hebrews 9:19, 20 says,
"Moses . . . sprinkled both the book and all the people. This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you."
The day God came to Mount Sinai to make this covenant with Israel came to be celebrated as the feast of weeks, or feast of harvest. It is better known to us today as the feast of Pentecost. It occurred about seven weeks after Israel had left Egypt. God had delivered (saved) Israel from Egypt for the purpose of forming them into the Kingdom of God at Pentecost.
Even so was it done in the New Testament. When Jesus fulfilled the feast of Passover on the cross, and the wave-sheaf offering at His resurrection, it brought forth citizens out of the house of bondage ("Egypt") for the purpose of forming them into a new nation called the Kingdom of God. And so, when we compare the formation of the Kingdom under these two covenants, we see that Passover created citizens (or future citizens) for the Kingdom that was to be created at Pentecost.
Because of this, many teach today that the Kingdom is NOW and has been since the day of Pentecost. I believe that they are mostly correct. However, most of them do not take into account other factors in the Bible that would give them greater accuracy. These other factors take into account the objections of those who say that the Kingdom is a future era. For this, we must turn to the story of Saul and David.
King Saul was the first king of Israel. He was crowned on the day of "wheat harvest" (1 Sam. 12:17). This was the day that the people were allowed to go home and harvest their wheat. The law specified that no one was allowed to harvest and eat their crops until the first fruits offering had been given to God (Lev. 23:14). On the feast of weeks, or Pentecost, they offered the first fruits of the wheat. Exodus 34:22 says,
"And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end."
We see, then, that King Saul was crowned king at the feast of weeks, or Pentecost. It was the day of wheat harvest. Saul's coronation and his life were prophetic of the Church under Pentecost. He started out good, but began to degenerate almost immediately into rebellion, which is like the sin of witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23). So it was with the Church.
The main reason for Saul's reign was that the people rejected the direct rule of God and preferring to be ruled by men, for in Samuel 8:7 God tells the prophet, "they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them."
God then told them the kind of king that they would have. He would be a taker, not a giver. He would be a ruler, not a servant. He would rule by his own self-interest, rather than have in mind the best interests of the people (1 Sam. 8:11-19). Saul's life thus prophesied the history of the Church under Pentecost until the present time.
Pentecost itself was a good feast day. It was ordained of God to rule in the transition between Passover and Tabernacles. King Saul was a transition monarchy to King David, whose reign represents the Age of Tabernacles under the rule of Christ, the "Son of David."
Pentecost was also a leavened feast. Lev. 23:17 says that the first fruits of the wheat was to be "baked with leaven" before being given to God. It was the only offering where leaven (yeast) was to be put into an offering. In all other offerings it was banned, because it symbolized corruption and sin. Why, then, did God make it mandatory to insert leaven into the Pentecostal offering? It prophesied clearly to us that man would not be able to come into perfection under the anointing of Pentecost. Perfection would require a third feast--the feast of Tabernacles.
And so we see that those who believe in "Kingdom Now" are correct, but the Kingdom of Pentecost is an imperfect and corrupted Kingdom of Saul--not a perfected Kingdom of David. Those who teach a future Kingdom are also correct, but they must understand that the Kingdom of God (in its "Saul" form) has been with us since Acts 2.
So what shall we do about this today? How does it apply to us now? Study the story of King Saul and the reasons why God made him King. Then search your own heart to see if you have followed the same pattern as Israel in those days. Do you demand a man to rule over you in place of God's direct rule? Do you need a visible monarch, pope, apostle, priest, church board, or whatever to protect you from "the enemy"?
If so, you are part of the majority, even as Saul's following included the majority of the Israelites in his day. David, on the other hand, represents the overcomers who prefer the direct rule of Jesus Christ, rather than the indirect rule through Saul. Saul persecuted David, even as the Church has persecuted the overcomers that appeared to threaten its authority.
Do you prefer the good life in Saul's court or the cave of Adullam with David? Living with David during the reign of Saul was difficult. They were out of the mainstream. They were mavericks. They were trouble makers in Saul's eyes. But they were the future. Even as Saul ruled during the Pentecostal Age, so also will David's company rule in the Tabernacles Age to come.
In which Kingdom do you want your inheritance? This is the choice presented to us all. You can be a citizen of the Kingdom in submission to Saul, but to be a ruler in the Kingdom requires some leadership qualities. It requires the ability to stand alone by the strength of God alone. If you still need a man to stand between you and God, a mediator besides Jesus Christ, then you are still living with Saul as a mere citizen of the Kingdom. Do you have a vision for something better?
This is the second part of a series titled "The Kingdom of God." To view all parts, click the link below.