In less than a week during this “slow down” time, I’ve been able to go through the old testament of the bible in summary form.
This has been made possible through the action bible, a pictorial comic-like version that highlights the major stories in the bible narrative chronologically.
Incidentally, I’ve always considered it as only useful for children, and hence not read it through before. This time round it was hard to put it down once I started reading it.
What I particularly liked about it is that one is able to go through the narrative as a continuous unfolding story of God’s relationship to man. In that unfolding story, it is easy to note the consistency of God’s character of love and justice and His being intentional in the relationship.
On the flip side of the relationship, the inconsistency of man in his character and response to God’s expectation of him is also obvious. Man is sometimes acknowledging the sovereignty of God and during those times he prospers and is at peace, at other times he pursues his interests independent of God and falls into disfavor with Him.
At crisis times, like the world finds itself in right now, we are bound to ask ourselves whether there is something God is communicating to us through the crisis. My take on that is that God has already spoken and if we are listening we will hear what he’s been saying all the while.
What crisis like the one we are in has the potential of doing is to cause us to listen. May the Lord be gracious to grant us eyes to see, and ears to hear what the His Spirit is communicating.
One of the communication that to me stood out in, and seems to summarize the narrative of the relationship between God and man is in the King’s dream in Daniel 2. In the vision, he saw successive kingdoms of men’s civilization, and how they were all going to end at some point.
36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39 “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
There is however a unique and distinct kingdom that is set up at those times that has no end. This is not like any of the kingdoms of men, but of God that crashes all other kingdoms. Once it is set up, its expansion has no end. The Price of this Kingdom reigns with a scepter of righteousness.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)
But unto the Son He saith, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy Kingdom. (Heb 1:8)
Nature of the Kingdom:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (Rom 14:17)
When is this Kingdom coming?
Some believe that the kingdom of God is coming with the second coming of Jesus, but I see differently from the bible. In response to the pharisees’ inquiry, Jesus had this to say,
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21)
This means the Kingdom has been on earth since Jesus time on earth, and has been expanding on earth through the saints that have believed.
God’s present speaking:
We started with asking ourselves what God is speaking, and I think it important to ask further, how He is speaking. In Heb 1:1, the bible contrasts for us how He spoke in previous times, and how He’s been speaking since the introduction of His kingdom on the earth:
“1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. (Heb 1)”
What is He saying?
There are some people who consider crisis like the current one as judgement from God. I do not dispute, but I think that there is a final judgement that is coming at the end of the age. In the meantime, Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
In that light then, this is what the Lord is saying (as He has been saying):
“I have loved you so much, that I have given my only begotten Son, that if you believe in Him, you shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” ( Paraphrase of John 3:16)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Mat 11:28)
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4;14)
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
Beloved, this is your hour, not because it’s a new speaking, but because you are hearing it, for
behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. ( 2Cor 6:2 )
I believe that this speaking is both for those not yet in , and those already in the kingdom. Because of the ever expanding and immeasurable nature of this Kingdom, there will always be an element we need to apprehend of the kingdom of Christ.
Sometimes the very things that worked in our pursuit of God (aka traditions) in previous times could be the very ones that we need to drop to be focused entirely on Christ, the King of the Kingdom.
NB: The last two years I’ve heard the word “utterness” severally and have wondered what it means, and how to apply it. Now I think I am beginning to understand – The Lord is requiring our total surrender to Him if we are to walk with Him victoriously in these times we are living in. “Not one hoof will be left behind!”