The Kingdom of Heavens

 Writer: Evangelos D. Kepenes  (04/07/16)                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Biblical references from: ESV2011, AKJV and LXXE

 

 


 

John the Baptist



Jesus Christ did not defeat the Roman kingdom or any other secular kingdom in order to become the regulator of its political developments and its religious reforms.


 

When the land of Israel and its people were under the occupation of the Roman Empire, which was the fourth beast of Daniel's vision (7:2-3), and while Jesus was living in Nazareth, a city of Galilee, John the Baptist came by saying that the time of the kingdom of heavens had arrived.

 

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”  (Mat. 3:1-3)

 

So did the twelve apostles in the cities of Israel, according to the commandment of the Lord Jesus.

 

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat. 10:5-7)

 

 

The fullness of time of the arrival of the kingdom of heavens

 

‘But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” (Gal. 4:4)

 

God, through his prophets, had given the people of Israel signs of when the kingdom of heavens would come.

 

One sign was the time when Daniel's vision would be fulfilled

 

“Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” (Dan. 7:2-3)

 

“These four beasts are four kingdoms [that] shall rise up on the earth (of Israel) which shall be taken away; and the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess it for ever and ever.” (Dan. 7:17-18 LXXE)

 

Note: The KJV translation for Daniel 7:17 “shall arise out of the earth” is not correct

 

The four great beasts were four kingdoms, the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman, which dominated the land of the promise and the house of Jacob. At the time of Jesus' action, the reigning kingdom was the Roman one.

 

Time of rise of the kingdom of heavens

 

In explaining to Daniel the vision he had seen, the angel of God said to him:

 

“And in the days of those kings the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and his kingdom shall not be left to another people, [but] it shall beat to pieces and grind to powder all [other] kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Dan. 2:14)

 

 

Another sign was the coming of Elijah the prophet

 

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land (of Israel) with a decree of utter destruction.” (Mal. 4:5-6)

 

“And the disciples asked him,: Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come? He answered:  Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.” (Mat. 17:10-13)

 

“For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mat. 11:13-15)

 

 

Jesus' testimony for the fullness of time of the arrival of the kingdom of heavens

 

“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 you, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

 

 

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus casts out devils, they said:

 

“But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you.” (Mat. 12:24-28)

 

The heads of the secular kingdoms were the world rulers of the darkness who, as well as all other powers, were subjugated to Jesus Christ and his genuine church.

 

“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to him, All this power will I give you, and the glory of them: for that is delivered to me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If you therefore will worship me, all shall be yours.” (Luk. 4:5-7)

 

“Then Jesus said to the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be you come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, you stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luk. 22:52-53)

 

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.” (John 12:31-32)

 

Heavenly conflicts

 

The angel who visited the Jewish Daniel was fighting the enemy spiritual forces that were the heads of the secular kingdoms.

 

“Then said he, Know you why I come to you? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, see, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will show you that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holds with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” (Dan. 10:20-21)

 

“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke you.” (Juda 1:9)

 

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev. 12:7-9)

 

 

“And the beast (Roman empire)  that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon (who was cast out into the earth)  gave his power and his throne and great authority.”  (Rev. 13:2)

 

Jesus Christ, the true and faithful martyr, fulfilled what God had promised through his prophets about the kingdom of heavens

 

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Mat. 28:16-18)

 

“Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” (I Pet. 3:22)

 

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:18-23)

 

And you are complete in him (in Christ), which is the head of all principality and power.” (Col. 2:10)

 

 

The power that Jesus gave to his disciples

 

And when he had called to him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Mat. 10:1)

 

Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luk. 10:19-20)

 

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)

 

 

The teaching of the apostles in the primal church

 

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:11-12)

 

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (Rom. 16:20)

 

Jesus is the promised king of  “God's Israel” and of the nations

 

The angel said to Mary: And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luk. 1:31-33)

 

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.” (Rev. 11:15-17)

 

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!” (Rev. 15)

 

 

Co-kings in the kingdom of heavens are those who have been bought with the blood of the lamb

 

But rather seek you the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luk. 12:31-32)

 

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” (II Tim. 2:12)

 

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:4-6)

 

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:8-10)

 

 

 Jesus reigns!