Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man
Weekly Devotional 10-5-20
Two Kingdoms; One Visible Now, One Visible Later
The kingdom of God. Long ago, in eternity past there was God, existing as Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. His existence alone constituted a Kingdom, nothing else was necessary for it to exist. However, from various passages of Scripture we learn that in eternity past God created angels, beings that were to worship and serve Him continuously. We are not told when they were created but Job 38:1-7 tells us that they were present when God created the world that we know, the world of Genesis 1 and 2. From the book of Revelation we read that the apostle John was given a view into the third heaven where he saw God sitting on a throne (Rev. 4:2) and he heard the voice of angels around the throne, praising Him because of His creation (Rev. 4:11). In another scene John saw a great number (millions) of angels around the throne praising God for the Lamb a.k.a. Jesus-the Son of God. The activity of this later scene (Rev.4:6-11) will take place near the end of this age.
Moving ahead to Revelation chapter 5 John tells more of this view, He saw the One sitting on the throne (God) hand a scroll to One who appeared to John as a Lamb that had been slain. We do not have space to write of this Lamb who appeared as having been slain, but it was Jesus, the Son of God. Collectively, these passages affirm the existence of God and His kingdom. In these passages we find God, the location of His headquarters (heaven), His throne, His subjects (angels), and One introduced to us as a Lamb who was given a scroll.
So, what is all of this? At some point in eternity past Lucifer who had been anointed as the guardian angel of the throne of God was lifted up in pride and thought to ascend above God. We read of this in Ezekiel 28:11-15: “11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.”
Although this passage begins with Ezekiel being commanded by God to “take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre” (v. 12), an evil idolatrous king, it soon becomes clear that the passage is referring as well to the power behind that king—Satan. Since the king of Tyre was never in heaven, this can only be describing Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan). The rest of the passage describes the reason he was cast out of heaven. Because of his beauty, his heart became proud and his wisdom was corrupted (Ezekiel 28:17). Pride in his perfection, wisdom, and beauty (v. 12) became the source of his downfall, and the kingdom of darkness (The kingdom of this world) came into being. God threw him to the earth (v. 17) but he did not fall alone nor was he cast out of heaven alone. Revelation12:4 tells us that a third part of the angels followed him in his fall. On earth he entered the Garden of Eden and seduced Adam and Eve to disobey God and take of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1-19). Thus the kingdom of darkness became the experience of man.
Although it is God who sets up kingdoms, their rulers, and their duration (see Daniel 2:21) He has, for His purposes, given limited authority to Satan to influence these kings and kingdoms. As we discovered in our consideration of Ezekiel 28:11-15. Ethbaal the 3rd king of Tyre, an evil idolatrous king had been taken over by Satan and ruled in an ungodly way. Another example would be Satan’s takeover of Sennacherib, an Assyrian king who ruled wickedly (Isaiah 13:1-14:1-17). Satan, like Sennacherib and Ethbaal the 3rd thought to rise above all other authority including the authority of heaven and rule as a god. So, as we consider the kingdom of this world, it is actually the kingdom of Satan. It is a kingdom set against God. This helps us understand evil and all that is related.
God however is still at work, we read from the Book of Daniel (Daniel 2) that God has permitted Satan to rule on the earth through various world powers (kingdoms) established by man but someday, perhaps soon, He will end the influence Satan had/has over these powers and will establish His kingdom on earth once again. We read: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel2:44). Satan’s influence, power, and authority among the nations will end and his kingdom will be destroyed. Eventually he will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10) and will be tormented day and night (continuously) forever and ever.
We do not fully understand exactly how everything is going to unfold, but all will come to pass and when they do, God’s unseen kingdom will be visible. Jesus will rule on the earth for a thousand years as Lord of lords and King of kings. At that time, perhaps soon, every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, will praise I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever” (Revelation 5:14).
In time God will pour out His wrath upon the kingdom of darkness; all its subjects will be judged guilty and sentenced to a death unimaginable. So yes, there are two kingdoms, but the kingdom of God/heaven is for those who have trusted God for their salvation, found only in Jesus Christ. The kingdom of darkness and its subjects will be overthrown and cast for eternity into everlasting judgment.
Jesus warned “29If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29-30). He of course was using figurative language but, such will be the destiny of all who have rejected His kingdom.
To which kingdom do you belong? This is probably the most important question that one can ask of you or me, and it requires an answer.
Ascribed to by:
Lian Muan Kim
Koinonia Baptist Seminary – Yangon, Myanmar