God has always been Sovereign King – Sovereign Lord – over His creation, both in the Heavens and on the Earth. He made His plan for Creation and for Redemption before the beginning of time, space, and matter. All things that exist were created and made by YHVH God. Nothing exists apart from Him, and it is by Yeshua/Jesus, through Yeshua/Jesus, and for Yeshua/Jesus that all things were created, visible and invisible. (Col 1:15-17) And Yeshua/Jesus is the King that the Father has ordained to inherit and to rule over all that is. In other words, Yeshua/Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God; therefore, He will be the King of Israel, and the King of the nations, and the King of the angels. He is God of gods, King of kings, and Lord of lords! (Ps 136:1-3; Rev 15:3-4; Ps 2)
From the beginning, God created the angels to worship and to serve Him, being witnesses of His unfolding creation and order. But before long, iniquity was found in Lucifer, and he rebelled against YHVH his God, and brought a third of the angels in rebellion with him. War was declared in the heavenlies, and God continued His amazing plan of redemption to bring the whole of creation under His righteous and benevolent rule. The Lamb of God was slain before the foundation of the Earth, for the Lord knew the truth of all created beings, and the cost He would have to pay to receive their love.
From the beginning, before He created them, God spoke that Man – whom He created in His image and likeness – would rule with Him in and over His creation. (Gen 1:26-28; Ps 8:4-9; 1Cor 6:2-3) Adam and Eve disobeyed the Word of God to them, God’s visible kingdom was compromised, and the devil cunningly received power and authority for an opposing kingdom to cause chaos in God’s righteous and peaceful order. The LORD kept on.
The LORD was so upset with humanity that He destroyed nearly all of it in the Flood, saving only Noah and his family. That Flood came 1656 years after Adam was created, or about 4364 years ago (~2348 BC). After the Flood, God gave Noah and mankind foundational governmental regulations to enable “peaceful coexistence” among humanity, and also penalties (including death) for those who violated these basic laws. God put His bow in the sky as a sign of the covenant that He made and gave to Noah and all human beings as an everlasting covenant, reminding God and us that He will never destroy all flesh again by flood. (Gen 9:1-17)
It did not take too long before again mankind rebelled against YHVH and His Kingdom. This openly manifested itself at the Tower of Babel, and God again intervened to establish His sovereignty and to punish those who acted against Him. As always, the righteous suffered with the unrighteous, and all mankind was scattered over the face of the Earth – and the lands themselves were divided — and languages were confused to make communication difficult between people and ethnic groups. (Gen 11:1-9; 1Chron 1:19)
Once again, God acted to carry out His plan and purpose, this time by calling a specific man, Abram, about 400 years after Noah died, to whom and through whom YHVH cut a covenant and gave promises, and an oath, that redemption and salvation would come through Abram’s/Abraham’s seed for the nation of Abraham’s descendants, and for individuals from every ethnic group and language. (Gen 17:1-12) But again, man acted without understanding God’s wisdom and power to carry out His plan in His way. Abraham and Sarah did not wait completely until the LORD would give them the son He promised them. They obtained a son in a culturally acceptable way, but not according to God’s for His purpose, and only God’s way brings honor and glory to Him and the best consequences for everyone else. This other son, after the birth of Isaac, the promised son, brought strife within the family of Abraham and Sarah. This continues through Isaac’s son Jacob, and his twin brother. It enters into the family of Jacob, with the 11 brothers of Jacob envying Joseph, the son that Jacob especially loved. But none of this stopped God from continuing in fulfilling His will to establish His Kingdom over His own chosen people, and over the world that He made! His Word is settled in Heaven, and by His own zeal He will perform it – every jot and tittle!
The Lord had given Joseph two dreams, which further infuriated his brothers, who then sold him as a slave, thinking that they would never see him again. But God also sent a very severe famine into the land of Canaan and Egypt and the whole region. And by that time, Joseph had risen to be ruler over Egypt under Pharaoh. God worked all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! Joseph helped save his estranged family, and reminded them also of the promise of the Lord to give them the Land of Canaan for their inheritance. Although another Pharaoh later made life nearly unbearable for the descendants of Joseph and of the whole family of Jacob, God acted according to His prophetic covenant promise to Abraham to deliver them, and to bring them into the land of Canaan, which He promised with an oath to give them for an everlasting possession. (Gen 15:12-21)
God did bring them out of Egypt with many possessions, and into the Promised Land, but once again had to chastise and punish His own chosen people for their unbelief, disobedience, and rebellion. The LORD gave Israel His Law of commandments and instructions about how they should live and serve Him in His Kingdom. But they rebelled against God’s chosen ruler and deliverer for them, Moses, and against His chosen high-priestly family, Aaron’s. Then God brought in Joshua Ben-Nun to lead the people after Moses died, and under his military leadership, the Israelis conquered the land from those who had been there, under the direction of YHVH, because the sins of the Canaanites had exceeded His merciful long-suffering. But the Israelis themselves were unfaithful to God’s covenants with them and He had to continually chastise and punish them: He was their Father, and they were His children. He was their King, and they were His subjects; He was their holy God, and they were chosen to be His holy people.
God faithfully sent judges and prophets to the people, but they wanted in their hearts to be like the Gentiles, and not a holy people for their holy God and King. The LORD gave them a king that they wanted, Saul, who also failed in obeying the will of God. Then God gave them a king after His own heart, David, and made a covenant with him – and an oath — that through him the Messiah would come, and establish the Kingdom of God over the House of Jacob forever. (2Sam 7:8-17; Ps 89:19-37; Jer 33:14-26; Lk 1:30-33)
Although the people continued to be unfaithful to God, He remained faithful to His own Word and holy Name. The kingdom of David had to be divided after his son, Solomon’s reign; God had to expel nearly all of the people of the 10 northern tribes because of their idolatry; He then had to exile the two southern tribes, causing His people to learn what it was to live and to serve foreign rulers and gods. In simple terms, what is this grave sin of idolatry that God continually commanded and warned His people not to commit?: they were not to mix the cultural and religious practices of the unbelieving pagan people around them with the holy and righteous Way of the LORD. This commandment and warning remains with believers in Jesus under the New Covenant. (1Jn 2:15-17; Ja 1:27; 4:4-5)
Understand here: despite all of the opposition within and without to YHVH’s righteous rule and Kingdom, HE was advancing His kingdom over the nations and of His people. He was Sovereign Lord over all the affairs of kings and nations, and He was moving on! He already knew from before the Creation what He purposed to do, how He would do it, the opposition to Him by the devil, the sinfulness in Man that would resist His holy character and ways. And as the Lord of Hosts (Armies), God was also bringing up His children from being slaves in Egypt to becoming His soldiers in advancing and fighting for Him and for His kingdom.
Ultimately, the Messiah, Yeshua, was born in Bethlehem some 2000 years after Abraham, and 1000 years after David. God has a plan, and a time-table, and He is patient and long-suffering in His love so that more people can be saved from their sin and separation from God, and come into His Kingdom and household. We are called to be His witnesses, and His soldiers to fight the good fight of faith, and to bring down every thought which opposes God, bringing them captive into the obedience of Messiah/Christ. (2Cor 10:4-6; 2Tim 2:1-7) The gospel is to go out to every people group until the end of the age, and believers are to grow to full maturity in their thinking and in their actions. All things work together for good for those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose: to be conformed to the image of His Son in anticipation of being His holy and spotless Bride, to rule and to reign with Him in the Kingdom of God forever. This constant warfare by God against evil has a purpose, and has an end.
After about 400 years of silence from the prophets, God’s time had come to bring the promised Messiah and Savior into the world, and Yeshua was born. About 30 years later, John the Baptizer began his prophetic ministry, and his message was the same as the prophets who had come before: repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand! Then the Messiah Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, began His ministry with the same message: repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand! This remains the message for God’s people today, and for the world at large. There is still much unbelief, disobedience, and rebellion within the household of God, not to mention from the world outside. Just read the Lord’s letters to the seven churches in Revelation. (Even during the Millennial Kingdom there will be sin and rebellion in the hearts of many people!)
The vision of the prophets was the coming Kingdom of God. And Jesus, who came to do God’s will, preached the Kingdom of God. This was His mission: “I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Lk 4:43) And it was for this that He was persecuted like all the other prophets before Him. Yet, He is greater than the other prophets, and He is more than they: He is the Son of God! And He has come to save His people from their sins. And as always in the history of human beings, people resisted and rejected God’s chosen person and God’s good will. Even killing the Heir to the Kingdom did not stop God’s kingdom from advancing. The coming of the Messiah, and His death and resurrection, marks the new beginning of God’s advancement of His Kingdom in the affairs of this world, and of His intention to save not only the Jewish people, but also from among the Gentiles; not only His chosen nation, Israel, in the land of promise, but also other nations in lands for which He has given them borders. (Acts 17:26-27; Is 19:23-25)
After Yeshua ascended back to Heaven to sit at the Father’s side, 10 days later God poured out the Holy Spirit on men and women, young and old, enabling disciples of Jesus to preach the same message of repentance and faith in this good news about God’s Kingdom for the forgiveness of sins, and to spread this message to all peoples to the ends of the Earth. This has been continuing for almost 2000 years now (two days to God), and is not yet completed. But it will be before the Lord returns to establish His Kingdom as a kingdom that will not pass away.
But as already said, God’s salvation is not for individuals only, but for nations, with Israel as His first-born. While ‘the world’, and many within God’s house, and many Jewish persons were saying either that God is finished with Israel the nation, or that there was no God of Israel anymore, God once again intervened in the affairs of men, and made the way for the Jewish people to return in large numbers to the Land of Promise, and for the people to once again become a nation in its own land. (Jer 23:7-8) Toward this end, the Lord used many Gentiles from the isles of the seas, and from the far ends of the Earth, to participate in His plan and purpose. We are remembering these days how the ANZAC – Australians and New Zealanders with their dear and battle-trusty Walers – came thousands of kilometers from their homes to fight and suffer and die, in order that we can be living here today, and worshipping our Father in Heaven from this place in Beer Sheva, the City of the Fathers, which Abraham named. In YHVH’s sovereign ways, the historic moment came and the Balfour Declaration officially sanctioned the return of the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland. And to this, too, their is strenuous opposition to the plan and will of the LORD. The devil remains wicked, people and rulers remain fickle, but the Word of YHVH abides forever and accomplishes what He thought and spoke it to do! God’s Kingdom has been relentlessly streaming through history towards its destination.
We are to be spiritual warriors, fighting for truth and righteousness, and battling against the sins which hinder our fellowship with the Lord and with one another. The conflict and rebellion are not over yet, but we have the certain hope that the Lord Jesus Christ will return, that we who love His appearing will be either resurrected or caught up when He the last shofar calls, and that the Kingdom of God will be restored to Israel, and over all the nations of the Earth. The battle is not in vain, and the final victory will be very sweet and satisfying! All to the glory of our great God and Savior! Let us not lose heart, but be stirred up to complete the assignment each of us has received from the Lord, putting on the full armor of God that we may withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand as more than conquerors in Him who loves us.
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, October 21, 2017, and reposted with permission.