The Kingdom of Heaven/God is…

November 12, 2008

Kingdom of Heaven/God is…

Ephesians 1: 3.Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5. he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6. to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8. that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10. to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12. in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14. who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.

The word “Logos” used in John 1:1 which is often interpreted as “Word”. We use it today in the word “logic” which has part of the meaning as when God created all things it was out of a chaos that existed. Both Genesis 1 and John 1 start with “in the beginning”. This should show us that we exist outside of the eternal and in a different dimension called time. The word “logos” is very much misunderstood and is really watered down in our English translations and understanding. God spoke “let there be…” and though it was not it was. Yet, we see in Ephesians, that there was a mystery that was before all things began. In the eternals (if there be a way to grasp this idea outside of Plato’s dualism) we see that we were chosen to be in Christ before creation. That means that before God created he had a plan that was that all things dwell in Christ.

Logos lost some of its meaning in our translations and understandings as we grasp that John was playing a trick on the Gnostics. John uses the Platonic concept to show that this is even greater than Plato’s ideas of dualism. In a simplified understanding it means a conversation. In a fuller meaning it is an ongoing conversation that started in the Godhead with the Father and Son and their unity or the Holy Spirit. Now I do believe the Holy Spirit is a Person, so don’t get me wrong on that. Yet this eternal conversation was of a Kingdom in the form of a Person being Jesus.

Jesus is not only the savior of me and my kingdom, which in the end is that of death; rather he is also the King of all Creation. I see that just as David desired the Temple to be built; it was his son Solomon who finished the Temple in which God filled with His Glory. This is the idea that God the Father desired for us in His Son Jesus. Instead of temples made by man, we are now the Temples of God in which He dwells and also we dwell in Christ Jesus for he is the New Jerusalem.

The Kingdom is not just a future event. It is in some sense as I see that it is still filling the earth with the Glory, yet as we still have death God has yet to fulfill this promise. God is making earth His dwelling, yet is preparing it for a time. I see in the narrative this tearing down of walls and divisions between first God and man in the Person of Christ that will also tear down walls and division between humanity. Yet, this Kingdom is not just some place to go after we die. It is not our dream that we hope for someday, for the Blessed Hope is of the return of Christ in all His glory and the Glory of God filling the earth as it is in Heaven. N. T. Wright speaks of the intertwining of heaven and earth and a restoration of both.

Understand that though God ruled the heavens it to was tarnished by the rebellion. I see in the book of Job a sense of many theaters. We have God and Satan in one theater and then we focus on Job and Satan. Then we focus on Job and his troubles on earth… Job and his friends until we come to a point were a person name Elihu appears and refocuses on God. God then reminds all that he is God and does as He wills and owes no man any reasons for His actions. Humorously, God does by letting us in on the story of Job. There are many kingdoms in play in Job.

1. God in his glory,
2. Satan in his glory,
3. The restoration of the focus on God in his Glory.
4. The restoration of man in His Glory

God shows a picture of what is and is to come.

Now Jesus sits at the right hand of God in Glory. Jesus rules, yet in deference to my preterist friends, I still see that there is a time when Jesus returns in fullness of Glory. I see that just as Jesus lives, he will return in all his glory to restore all things and to bring all things into himself. I see that Jesus will abolish death and the grave. I suggest for a matter of perspective to take a walk through a grave yard and notice few graves have burst forth. I suggest that you notice also those who are dying in cancer wards. Death is still here and so is the grave. These have yet to be tossed into the Lake of Fire. Until then I see that we are now in two kingdoms. One that is coming down being the Kingdom of God, and another that is being driven out being the kingdom of darkness. I see that at points we can see the intertwining that N. T. Wright speaks of. That we can now grasp the Kingdom of God in its fullness as it is not a part of this creation but of a new thing God is doing. I see that that some things to us are yet in the future they are also now.

I am not suggesting dualism by stating that there are two Kingdoms as there is only one that is in Christ. It is that until the Light shines in all man as we find life not in our blood but in this Life of Christ we begin a journey in a New Kingdom that seems so far away yet is within us and all around us. Though it is about us in a small sense, it is also about a judging of Israel and in a greater sense a judging of all things that are in rebellion against God. (Matt 19; 1 Cor 6:3) We are now in that age. Then He who has final judgment will judge both the living and the dead.

Now we have to look at all this in a greater narrative than “God saved me”. We need to see that there is a narrative from before creation that is carrying on into a New Creation that will open with judgment then the restoration of all things being brought first into Christ then back into the Father. We are free from the sting of death, yet also will one day be free of death itself. All this is in a Kingdom… all this is in a Person… Jesus.

In this Person, being Jesus we see God bringing all things back to Himself. God’s plan even before creation was Jesus. There is no other plan. Heaven is where Jesus rules and as Jesus lives in us, and us in Him, Heaven is within us. Jesus is to be “all in all” as God eternal plan has always been. As the passage in Ephesians shows, we were included when we came to faith. The mystery is Christ Jesus who now rules in Heaven, our hearts and will soon place all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy is Death.

1 Cor 15: 19. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Death and the Grave will one day be cast into the Lake of Fire. Until the day we are clothed in the imperishable just as we are now clothed in Christ Jesus, we need spread the message of the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor 15:42)

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