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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Kingdom is Within You - The Dangers of Spiritualizing All the Kingdom (2)

Part 2 of 2

I noted that the Kingdom has both a spiritual aspect and a physical one. Just because one aspect may be spoken of (the Kingdom of His Dear Son) it does not annul the other aspect. Just because the Kingdom has a spiritual side (rulership over principalities and powers) it does not mean there is no future physical kingdom as counteless passages witness to.

The context of Luke 17 itself is future. It speaks of real events and earthly consequences.

"BUT FIRST He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be IN THE DAY when the Son of Man is revealed."

They didn't even know he was going to die. The Kingdom he preached and sent the disciples to preach in Matthew 9-10 was for Israel alone (Matt 10:5-8). It involved no death, no burial, no resurrection. The Gospel of the Kingdom is not salvation by grace. As noted above, the Kingdom is not equal to salvation or we have a lot of problems.

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.

-Matthew 9:35
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.

-Matthew 10: 1, 5-7

The Gospel of the Kingdom is associated with miracles, especially healing. 

We see this gospel again referenced in the Lord's prophetic discourse in Matthew 24.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come. So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountain..."

-Matthew 24:9-15

This prophecy is very specific to Israel. l will one day be the Lord's witness to the world (oikouménē) and to the nations (ethnos). It is specific to the promised land as well. The Lord warns "those who are in Judea" and he references the Prophet Daniel who prophesied to that nation. We cannot spiritualize these specific references. 

We remember as we read of Israel's future time of testing and time of restoration that those who endure are the ones who will rescued into that restoration. Not all Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6). The Jew must believe. He must be faithful to Christ alone. And even among believing Israelites, there will be some who fail to inherit the Kingdom. Some "sons of the Kingdom will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8).

The parallel aspects of the Kingdom (the spiritual on one rail and the physical on the other) are ever before us.

Moses was forbidden to go into the promised land. That was a very real warning. But was Moses lost spiritually? No. He is a picture of loss of reward. Paul warns of "not inheriting the Kingdom" and as the Lord warns the "Sons of the Kingdom" of loss and casting away. We cannot see these as a "spiritual" thing. We also then have the problem of those who are NOT "sons of the kingdom" sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the future.

If the Kingdom does not have a physical aspect, if the city whose builder and make is God (Hebrews 11) which comes down from heaven to the physical earth (Revelation 22) in the physical promised land, to what to the kingdom warnings refer?

When Paul lists the sins of the flesh and warns that one who practices such would not inherit the Kingdom, what does that mean to the one who teaches only a "spiritual" Kingdom? And do they apply that to all references to the Kingdom? They must if they want to be consistent.

We do not bring preconceived notions of the Kingdom to the scripture. Just as faith and works go together, so do the spiritual and physical aspects of the Kingdom. We must see the unobservable Kingdom along side the observable Kingdom as scripture witnesses to both. 

Some will see (observe) the Lord coming into the physical Kingdom.

"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." -Matt 24

To the High Priest, "I say to you, hereafter you will see (optánomai, behold) the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." -Matt 26

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him..." -Matt 25

The "tribes" mentioned in Matthew 24:30 are "phylḗ." Thayer notes in his concordance, "in the NT all the persons descending from one of the twelve sons of the patriarch, Jacob." That is, the Jews. The Lord is refencing a literal return. 

There is not enough bandwidth to cover what is in the prophets concerning a literal land, a literal kingdom, a literal priesthood, a literal nation under a literal New Covenant, and then a literal new earth. This is all yet future, even if the spiritual aspect of Kingdom can be experienced now.

"Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the shirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you." 
-Zecheriah 8:23

This prophecy has not happened yet, but will most assuredly happen in a literal "kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19) as promised by the Lord, in the promised land. The New Covenant involves grace, but it is not the Gospel of Grace. It is for Israel and it is for the earth (Jeremiah 31, Hebrews 8)

We note again, there are spiritual aspects of the Kingdom and physical aspects of the Kingdom.

That is how we discern context. Audience and event and economy (dispensation). Paul's warning about not inheriting the Kingdom? Audience, event, economy. The Lord's words to Pharisees? Audience, event, economy. The Lord's words to his disciples? Audience, event, economy.

You cannot make the Gospel of the Kingdom the same as the Gospel of the grace of God, for example. All these things must be understood as noted above, in their contexts. They must be rightly divided (2 Tim 2:15) or we end up in confusion. And what is worse than confusion is a dismissal of the promises of God which accompanies a spiritualization of scripture.