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The Kingdom of God

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Lesson 1:

Introduction:

We are living in a world of change. When the American people tired of England’s tyranny, history records their objections as the American Revolution. There have been many revolutions over time. They can be political or they can be economical, such as our own American Industrial Revolution.

Before the Industrial Revolution America was primarily an Agricultural economy consisting of communities whose source of income was from the land. The Industrial Revolution was a dramatic change in the nature of production in which machines replaced tools, steam and other energy sources replaced human or animal power, and skilled workers were replaced with mostly unskilled workers.

People who generally do not like change do so because of their lack of understanding or their limited knowledge of the change.

Listen to these comments:
●  In 1899, English scientist William Thompson said, “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
●  In 1936, Radio Times editor Rex Lambert said, “Television won’t matter in your lifetime or mine.”
●  In 1977, Digital Equipment Corporation founder Ken Olson said, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
●  In 1899. U. S. Patent Office Commissioner Charles Duell said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Today, we cannot image life without airplanes, television or home computers.  But people were not ready for these revolutions, so they resisted the changes that were coming.

The same was true when Jesus was introduced to the world, people did not want to accept Him for who He claimed to be, and it is still true today.  People resisted Jesus then and they resist Him now.

Even though Old Testament prophets wrote of the coming of the Lord to restore Israel to the land that had been promised to Abraham and his seed, they were blinded and could not believe the man was who He claimed to be.

Biblical Text:
Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6:

In these prophetic verses, we are told that a child would come and be born of a virgin.  Isaiah 9:6 states that, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” And Isaiah 9:7 we are told of  His ruling over a government in a place that was called His kingdom. In Jeremiah 23:5 we see that Jesus will be King over that kingdom.

Problem:

Too many Christians do not understand that there will be saved people dwelling on earth as well as in heaven.  So it is important that we know who will live on earth with the Lord and who will live in heaven with Him.

The passages of Scripture we have read deal with the saved who will be on earth.

When Christ began His earthly ministry, look at what He said in Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

In Matthew chapter 5 we read what is commonly known as the Beatitudes.  In verse 3 we read:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Then in verse 5 we are told that kingdom is on earth: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

After Jesus’ crucifixion and His subsequent resurrection, He appears to His disciple in Acts 1.  Let’s look at the passage.  “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

Why do you suppose they are asking Him about restoring the Kingdom?  In order to understand that we need to go back to prophetic Scripture, so I want you to go to the Book of Joel.

There is a strange verse in chapter one that many people do not understand, but I want you to grasp its meaning.  Look at Joel 1:4: “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.”
The explanation of all these insects is simple if you know your Bible.  These insects represent countries who ruled over Israel.

Palmerworm  Babylon
Locust  Media Persia
Cank erworm Greece
Caterpiller  Rome 

In Joel 2:25, we see this: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

So in Acts 1, the disciple knew about the promised restoration of Joel’s prophecy.  That is why Peter says what he does in Acts 2:14-16: But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” Then Peter quotes Joel’s prophecy in the next five verse.

I want you to turn to Joel 2 and also turn to Acts 2 and let’s look at prophecy being foretold and prophecy being fulfilled. (Joel 2:28-32 & Acts 2:17-21)

We know from the questions asked in Acts 1:8 that the disciples knew that God was going to establish an earthly kingdom with Jesus reigning as its King. That is the kingdom of heaven Jesus spoke of in Matthew 4:17. It is the Kingdom of heaven on earth.

It is interesting to note that Mark’s account of what Jesus said differs from Matthews account.  Let’s look at a couple of passages.

Mark 1:14: Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

What does this mean?  It means that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one and the same as far as Israel is concerned.

Remember earlier we stated there was a problem, i.e. Too many Christians do not understand that there will be saved people dwelling on earth as well as in heaven.  So it is important that we know who will live on earth with the Lord and who will live in heaven with Him.

Show the time Chart at this time!  http://soundwordsministry.org/timeline/

The blue (Prophecy) concerns Israel and the red (Mystery) concerns a group of people known as the church the body of Christ.

Go to the section on the chart about the 1,000 year reign of Christ. This is the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture about the King coming:
1) to rule on the  earth
2) to restore the kingdom to Israel

The church the body of Christ is raptured (caught up into heaven – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) prior to the 2nd coming of Christ. (See where the second coming occurs on the time chart.)

Lesson # 2

In lesson one we talked about the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one and the same as far as Israel is concerned.

We also looked at a Time Chart which gives us a picture of Eternity Past to Eternity Future.  Let’s look at it again. (Go to the section when the 2nd Coming of Christ is.) http://soundwordsministry.org/timeline/

We stated that the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ was in fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture.  It occurs after the seven years of tribulation. The Bible speaks of theses 7 years as a time of wrath.

Look at Matthew 3:7: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

In Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians he told them they would not go through the wrath. 1 Thessalonians 1:10: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Those who will not go through the wrath of the tribulation are all who are members of the Church the Body of Christ.

If you will look on your Time Chart to the large section that is red you will see the rapture of the church.  You will also notice that that takes place prior to tribulation and prior to the 2nd Coming of Christ.  In religious jargon this is called: pre-trib/ pre-millennial doctrine. To be pre-trib/ pre-millennial simple means you believe the rapture will occur prior to those things happening.

Now I want you to focus on the section of your time chart that is called Eternity Future.  This is known as the final Kingdom of God, not to be confused with the Kingdom of God on earth during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ.

But you should also observe that for Israel, their dwelling place is still on earth, whereas the Church the Body of Christ is where the throne of God is: Heaven. When God raised Christ up from the grave He set Him at His right hand in Heaven.

Eph. 1:20: Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Eph. 4:10: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
 
It is also in the epistle to the Ephesians that we are told about where the Church the Body of Christ will be. 

Eph. 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph. 2:6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

You should realize that no matter where one is in the final Kingdom of God, Christ will be the focal point and everyone will be rejoicing in the fact that they are there, but you should also understand the members of the Church the Body of Christ will actually be part of Christ’s body.

1Cor. 12:27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1Cor 12:12: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Rom 12:5: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another

As members of Christ’s body we will be where he is, even though our home is far above all heavens. 

What does “being where He is” mean?

When He is seated at the right hand of God – we will be there too.

When He is in the New Jerusalem, we may be there too, in a supportive position.

The Church the Body of Christ, you might say, has freedom of flight with no restrictions placed on them as far as travel is concerned.

How does that differ from the Jews?

The pure Jews have strict parameters.  They will be in the New Jerusalem, as recipients of the promise God made to Abraham.

Rev 21:2: And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

In the final Kingdom of God it descends down from heaven.  Read the account of it in Revelation 21:10-27. Notice in the last verses it speaks of Gentiles, i.e. nations

What about Gentiles who are not a part of the Body of Christ?

They will dwell on earth and will bring sacrifices into the temple of the New Jerusalem. (v. 26: And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.)
Lesson # 3

Go to the Time Chart http://soundwordsministry.org/timeline/

For the last two weeks we have been discussing the Kingdom of God.  I hope you are clear that there will be people living:
1) In heaven
2) In the New Jerusalem, and
3) On the earth.

(You will want to pause here and ask your class to identify who will be living where.)

I want us to understand more about the people who will be living in heaven, for if you are saved today, you are part of that group. All who trust in the Faith of Christ for salvation become a part of Christ’s body and are identified as The Church the Body of Christ. Let’s look at the following Scripture:

Temporary Setting aside of Israel
   Romans 11:25
   A. Blindness
    Isaiah 6:9, 10; Acts 28:27, 28; Romans 11:11-15

The fact that Israel has been set aside, become Lo-Ami, should prompt one to wonder why.  The answer is because the nation as a whole rejected Christ and thereby failed in the task God had for her: To evangelize the world for God.

Israel had been promised to live on the earth with Christ in the millennium. They would know of his return to earth because of prophecy: Note: the day of the Lord occurs at the end of tribulation and just prior to the 1,000 year millennial reign.

Zech 14:1-4: Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

As for the Church the Body of Christ, the Lord does not come all the way to earth, but He chooses to meet us in the air.

Coming of Christ in the Air
   1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20, 21
   Colossians 3: 4; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Titus 2: 13

Heavenly Position of  Body Believers
   Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3: 1-3

Christ is the Head of the Body
   Ephesians 1:22, 23; 5:23; Colossians 1:18