Of all the subjects preached and taught by Jesus of Nazareth, none are as significant and controversial as the subject of the Kingdom of God. Both conservative and liberal scholars agree that Jesus’ favorite subject, the one he preached and taught upon most often, is the Kingdom of God. It was his salvation message, master plan, and heart theology. Sadly, the modern Church seems to pay little attention to what Jesus considered to be most important in his prophetic and Messianic ministry. Our hope is that your heart will be gripped by the kingdom story – the King and his Kingdom – and see its importance in the life of personal discipleship and ministry.
The first lesson, God’s Reign Challenged, focuses upon God as the sovereign majesty. It discusses how the absolute sovereignty and lordship of God was defied, both by the devil and his angels, and the first human pair, Adam and Eve, through their willful disobedience in the garden. This rebellion produced tragic results in the world, in human nature, and the release of the demonic into the world. In spite of our rebellion, however, God intends to restore all heaven and earth back under his reign, and constitute again a universe where his name is glorified, and his justice and peace rule forever.
In our second lesson, God’s Reign Inaugurated, we will explore God’s intent to eradicate all disobedience and rebellion as a result of the Fall – God becomes a Warrior in this fallen realm. God made a covenant with Abraham as his solemn promise to bring a Seed through whom the shalom and justice kingdom reign would be brought back to earth. This covenant promise was renewed with Isaac and Jacob, to the Israelite nation, to the tribe of Judah, and finally to the family of David. Here we trace in bold line the origins of the Messiah, so the reign of God would be brought back into this fallen and sin-cursed world. Jesus of Nazareth is the Kingdom’s presence realized, with God’s reign demonstrated in his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension.
Lessons three and four deal with God’s Reign Invading and God’s Reign Consummated respectively. Now that our Lord Jesus has died, risen, and ascended into heaven, the Kingdom of God is being proclaimed throughout the world by his Church. The Church of Jesus Christ is the locus–the place or context–of God’s salvation, of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, and of authentic kingdom shalom, the place where God’s presence and power are freely being displayed. The Kingdom of God will be consummated at the Second Coming of Jesus, where death, disease, and all evil will be put down, all heaven and earth shall be renewed, and God will become All-in-all. The Story of the Kingdom is the story of Jesus, and God’s intent is to bring the world back under his rule in him. Our prayer is that your love and service to him will abound as you study the Word of God on the forever rule of God.
Required Reading Texts:
- Ladd, Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God
- Snyder, Kingdom, Church, and World: Biblical Themes for Today