Ps 45:1 A love song. My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition for the
King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer!
Prophecy is not given just so that we can know facts about the future. Many can give facts, but not know the God who is giving them. Many can know them, but their lives are not impacted. Consider the Pharisees who knew that the Messiah was supposed to be born in Bethlehem, in answering Herod, but yet had neither fear nor joy that the event might just have happened! Every detail will be fulfilled! Neither did they include the part that His goings forth are from everlasting! Prophecy is given us by the Spirit of God through the Word of God, telling us God’s heart and mind concerning future things. And knowing and loving and believing Him who is telling us whom He loves, they are supposed to affect our lives today: in hope, in anticipation, in learning what He loves and plans to bless, and what He hates and plans to judge – and to adjust our lives accordingly. We love God because He first loved us, and Yeshua has come to demonstrate that love by dying on the cross for the atonement of our sins. We love Jesus/Yeshua because He loves us.
The Scriptures, and their writers, were and are full of the hope and anticipation of the Kingdom of God upon the Earth. The time for this sermon can not do justice to the greatness of this most anticipated event in the history of the world. YHVH by His Spirit inspired the authors to look into the future concerning that Day. God revealed this hope particularly to Israel, His chosen people with whom He is in covenant. All believers, whether Jewish or Gentile, have entered into this blessed hope and promise, first spoken in part at the beginning of history, in the Garden of Eden to Adam and to Eve and to the Devil-serpent, when He said that the Seed of the Woman would bruise the head of the seed of the serpent/devil, and by doing so, put away evil and establish good. (Gen 3:15) The Kingdom of God will be established on Earth!
At present, according to the New Testament writers, the whole world is presently lying under the sway of the wicked one and evil; the prince of this world is Satan. (1Jn 5:19; 2Cor 4:4) At the same time, the Lord Jesus Christ has all authority in Heaven and on Earth from God the Father, and is presently ruling over the affairs of men and of angels and demons. Jesus explained in His parables of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God that there is at present both good and evil in His world that He created and made, and even within Israel and the Body of Messiah. Yet the day is coming when the judgment will come: the wicked will be removed and separated forever; but the good will inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life. (Mt 13) Those who have died in the faith of God’s Son – Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah/Christ – will be physically resurrected from the dead, clothed in new redeemed bodies; and those who remain alive at His coming again will have their bodies likewise transformed: bodies suitable for eternity, and prepared for the saints who will rule and reign with righteousness and justice and equity with Messiah for 1000 years! What a glorious day to put off this body of death, as the apostle Paul proclaims full of faith and hope and love! (Rom 7:24-25)
This is the significance and the earnest expectation of the sons of God in the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He promised. Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, is coming back to make this world right, and His Kingdom will never pass away to another ever! (Dan 2:31-35, 43-45; 7:13-14, 21-27; Rev 11:15-18)
After the Flood in the days of Noah, all of his family knew the true God and his judgment upon the world. Yet not long after, most of his descendants forsook that knowledge and made other gods for themselves. Israel at the Passover, and in God’s care for them through the desert on their way to His promised land, and in defeating enemies more numerous than themselves, saw the mighty works of YHVH proving Him to be the only true God. Yet, not too much longer after conquering the Land of Canaan, the people rejected Yehovah from being King over them, and they wanted a king like the Gentiles have. God, in His wisdom and righteousness, has turned them over to the desires of their heart, and until today, the Chosen People reject YHVH, and His Son, the promised Messiah Yeshua, from being their God and King. Yet the day is coming that they will return to Him, and He will rule over them: He will be their God and King! (1Sam 8:1-7; Ezek 20:32-36) Israel, and the Gentile nations, will all be under the rule of the King of the Kingdom of God – on Earth as it is in Heaven!
This is the significance of the physical return of the Lord, and why it is such a blessed hope for all who believe in Him and in His promises, and love Him: all Israel will be saved, and righteousness will reign. Those who hold this hope will live godly lives in this present evil age, and purify ourselves, for His is pure. (Tit 2:11-15; 2Pt 3:10-18; 1Jn 2:28-29; 3:1-3) Praise the LORD!
Passover is next week, when especially the Jewish people remember and celebrate their deliverance from hard bondage in Egypt under the rule of a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph, the Hebrew, and all the good that he had done for Egypt. God brought them out with great power and an out-stretched arm, defeating all the gods of Egypt, and demonstrating to all that YHVH is the true God and stronger than all the other gods of the nations. How long did it take for the Children of Israel to cry out for deliverance from this slavery, in accord with the covenant promise of YHVH to Abraham, to such an extent that YHVH heard their cry, and called and sent Moses to redeem them, and to bring them out of Egypt and to the Promised Land so that they could serve and worship YHVH their God?
YHVH had told Abraham that it would be 400 years till He would deliver Abraham’s covenanted descendants from their slavery, and that this would be when the iniquity of the people living in the land of Canaan had reached its full that God would not tolerate it any more. (Gen 15:13) Joseph believed and hoped in the promise of this redemption, and asked his brothers to promise him that they would take his bones with them when it would happen. (And we know that they did, because Joseph’s tomb is in Israel, near Shechem.)
God has also told us about when we can expect the return of the Messiah Yeshua to deliver His Bride and His people from the oppression of the rulers and principalities of this world: Hosea the Prophet has written that for two days God will strike Israel, but that on the third day He will revive and heal them, and exhorts the people to pursue the knowledge of YHVH. (Hos 6:1-3) This is not to be understood only as three 24-hour days, for we can see that this has never occurred. But Moses, in his Ps 90, tells us that with the LORD a day is as 1000 years, and that a thousand years is as a day. The Apostle Peter quotes this in one of his epistles, explaining by it God’s patience and long-suffering in His desire for people to repent and be saved. (2Pt 3:8-9) Since the Passover death of Yeshua, and His resurrection, almost 2000 years – two days – have passed. Israel suffered much over these years in fulfillment of the Word of God because of their unbelief and rejection of Yeshua for who He is. Even today there is not peace and security, although we are back in this land of promise, as YHVH promised that He would do this for His holy name’s sake. (Ezek 36:21-28)
Yeshua, when asked about the signs of His return and the restoration of the Kingdom of God to Israel, He gave them a time-reference: the generation that sees the fig tree (national Israel) blossom will see His return. Today’s Israel is truly a blossoming fig tree among the nations! Moses also wrote in Ps 90 that people could expect to live 70 years, and by strength of God, 80 years. This year Israel is celebrating 70 years of being a sovereign state in its land! The average life-span of Israelis today is 82 years! The generation called the ‘Baby-Boomers’ were those born between 1946-1964, and have been witnesses to all these things, as Jesus said and prophesied! (Mt 24:32-36)
The other thing that Yeshua told His disciples – including us – is that, until that God-determined specific appointed day and hour which no one else can figure out, we are to take the gospel to all people groups, and make them disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We, who already believe, are to continue in becoming faithful and true disciples of the Lord, with the growing hope of His coming. How long will it take for our Father in Heaven to hear the cry of the Bride of His Son cry out: “Come, Lord Jesus!”, so that He will send the Deliverer as He sent Moses, to judge the nations and save His people?
The Bible is like a love letter of the Bridegroom to His betrothed: He is the Heir to the Throne; the mighty Man of Valor; the Good Shepherd; He loves and cares for His family; He promises to come again and take her/us to Himself to be with Him. We promise to wait for Him, and as the expected time nears to make ourselves ready in all godliness and righteousness and purity. We both promise to be faithful to each other. He has given clues in His love-letter about when the one who loves Him can expect Him. We go about our business (His business) as the set time draws nearer, with growing expectation and excitement. The hater and enemy of the King tries to weaken our love and hope, and threatens to kill us, or at least weaken our faith and hope and love in the One who will indeed come again for His Beloved Bride.
The Kingdom of God is much more than being in the hearts and minds of born-again believers. It is not just what we know and think, or even live out with an unending conflict within us of doing God’s will. The promise is still to be fulfilled, but we already have the pledge of it now from the moment we were saved and received peace with God, the forgiveness of all our sins, and by the Holy Spirit given to dwell within us. The whole of creation is groaning and suffering birth pangs earnestly waiting for that day to be released from the futility of this world because of sin. We are saved with this hope of the coming of the Lord, and the establishment of the Kingdom of God throughout His universe, and dwelling among His people. We have entered into what God planned long before we were born. May we see it fulfilled in our generation!