Monday, March 13, 2006

Psalm 93: The Kingdom

posted by Paul

Part of God’s character is to reign over the earth with majesty and strength. Consequently, “the world is firmly established.” The fact that God spoke the world into existence demonstrates that He is sovereign over that creation. Free to create or not create, God spoke the universe into existence. The fact that God created what He wanted when He wanted is a strong statement of the absolute control of God. From creation God had this power, and he has not relinquished it. If it were not for God’s sovereign rule over creation then we could not be sure of anything. As it stands now we know that the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening. Instinctively we breathe in and out without ever wondering if there will be air. It is God who holds all of these things together. This is exactly what Colossians 1:15-17 teaches. It is Christ who not only created the world, but also holds it together. This earth belongs to God, and it is his kingdom. The kingdom of God is a very common theme in the Bible both in OT and in the NT. In the OT the kingdom of God primarily refers to God’s special reign over Israel and a more general reign over the entire earth (Really, the only difference is the Israel acknowledge that God was in control.). But there is another aspect to the kingdom of God that is seen more clearly in the NT, particularly in the teachings of Christ in the gospels. It is in these teachings that Christ taught concerning an eschatological kingdom (Matthew 24:14). We could say that there are two aspects of the kingdom of God; there is the “already” and the “not yet.” The “already” we talked about; God is enthroned as King of the Universe and the whole world is under the control of His majestic strength. The “not yet,” which Christ spoke of, has only been initiated and it awaiting it final fulfillment at the return of Christ. Lets look at a couple of passages in the gospels to see if we can get an idea for what Christ is teaching:

Luke 17:21 (NASB95): “nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
-Here we see that the kingdom of God in some way had begun with the ministry of Christ.

Matthew 24:13-14 (NASB95): “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
-Here we see that the kingdom is part of the gospel.
-We also see that the kingdom will be consummated in the “end.”

Luke 12:32 (NASB95): “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
-Here we see that the kingdom has been given to the flock (the Church).

Matthew 26:29 (NASB95): “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
-Here we see that Christ will return again in this kingdom.

So from just these few passages we can see that Christ initiated this kingdom through his earthly ministry. He did this by fulfilling the Scriptures and creating salvation through the gospel. Through this the father has given this kingdom to the sheep that are saved by the gospel of Christ. This kingdom already exists in the sense that Christ has completed his earthly ministry. However, this kingdom cannot be completely realized until God has called all of His sheep around the world. It is at that time that Christ will return and his sheep will have fellowship with their shepherd. During this time Christ will sit on a literal throne and visibly reign as king for one thousand years (Zechariah 14:9-16; Revelation 20:1-7; & 22:5). The Lord reigns over the earth now, and it is the hope of the Church and the promise of God that Christ will return as king and reign visibly for a thousand years. This will be the visible manifestation of the current invisible reign of God.

The Lord’s majestic and strong reign over the world is firmly established, and “is everlasting.” We can be assured that the Lord’s reign will never end because we know that it never begun. God’s reign is intrinsic in His character. As A.W. Pink put it, “Divine Sovereignty simply means that God is God.” Since God had no beginning, He just was, so too was his sovereignty. This is evidenced by the fact that He created the universe. This means that before the world began he had the authority to decide to create the world. This is no upstart sovereignty. Scripture tells us that God was there before the beginning (Genesis 1:1), and thus His existence is not dependent upon anything else. All other creatures depend on something to sustain their lives. With God, however, there is no such need. Here the Psalmist says that not only was God’s “throne…established from of old,” but also that “[He] is from everlasting.” God has always existed, and His existence is not dependent upon anything else. Just as He existed before anything else came into being, so he will continue to exist independent of everything else. As we are about to see in the following verse we never have to worry about an opposing king defeating our king and taking His throne. The Lord Reigns.


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