Hoping for the Kingdom of God, A Call to Faith, Lesson 9, The Kingdom of God, 1-6

Before we mentioned that the mission of the church is to invite and urge men all over the world to come under the rule of the Kingdom of God. We should emphasize that the mission is to invite and urge, and not to establish the Kingdom of God. At some stages of the history of the Christian church, the church has interpreted its mission as being the establishment of the Kingdom, even by force if necessary. But we believe that the Kingdom is already established, and it is only necessary for the church to broadcast that fact.

A complete study of the subject of the Kingdom of God would entail a study beginning with the Old Testament. All the ideas of the Kingdom of God in existence at the time Jesus was born had their roots deep in the history of the Jews. In fact, it was this one hope, although varied in form, that was the very texture of the Jewish religion. As long as the Jews retained any sense of the calling as the people of God, there had to remain the live expectation of the coming of His Kingdom.

All of the people in America cannot be grouped as one body, any more than the Jewish people could be called one homogeneous group. We know that the people of America are Republicans and Democrats and Socialists and even Communists. And there are liberal Democrats and Republicans and Conservative Democrats and Republicans. And just so, the Hebrews were made up of a number of groups shaded a little differently in their religious beliefs, but still part of the whole group of Hebrew people. One of the groupings of the Hebrew people was according to their beliefs concerning the Kingdom of God.

There was a group of people known as the Zealots who hoped for a political restoration. This was the Nationalist party within Judaism. This group expected political freedom from Rome through military action led by the Messiah.

Another group was called the Holy Commonwealth. These looked also for the exaltation of God’s people, but not by man’s action. This exaltation would come by God’s action. This group had strong backing among the Pharisees, and this belief made the group wary of following any messianic claimant in the struggle against Rome. This may also have influenced their position that Jesus was not the Messiah, since their deliverance, if it came from the Romans would have been by man’s action.

Finally, there was the apocalyptic hope, as expressed by Daniel and Enoch that there would be a catastrophic intervention of God, and the coming of the Son of Man in clouds and glory to receive an Eternal Kingdom.

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