Kingdom Presence: Old Testament (1)
The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting. Psalm 93.1, 2
The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the LORD sits as King forever. Psalm 29.10
I can think of few Biblical teachings on which it is more important for Christians to be clear than the teaching concerning the Kingdom of God. God has called us to His Kingdom. Jesus has conveyed us into it, and He commands us to seek the Kingdom as the defining priority and motif of everything we do. The Kingdom of God is coming to earth, beginning in the souls and extending through the lives of Kingdom citizens and ambassadors. God is establishing a Kingdom presence here to mirror the rule of King Jesus in heaven, where “everyone says, ‘Glory!’” (Ps. 29.9) and righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit abound without interruption.
The Kingdom of God is the glorious victory Jesus achieved by His life, death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father. It is the rule of King Jesus, by His Spirit, in and through His saints, unto the restoration of the reconciled world to God. To misunderstand the Kingdom of God, or to fail to seek a clear and growing experience of it, is to miss the entire purpose of the Gospel, which is, after all, the Good News of the Kingdom.
Still, many believers are unclear about the Kingdom.
For many believers, I fear, the idea of the Kingdom of God is just that, an idea, something to think about and ponder, but not something to know or experience. The Kingdom is a matter of then and there, not here and now. The Kingdom is something yet to come, following the return of Christ, when Jesus will be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords, and will reign in the new heavens and new earth. In this life, the Kingdom is merely something to long or hope for, and since it is yet to come, it can have little practical relevance for our lives in the here and now.
Others may agree that the Kingdom has come, after a fashion, or to some extent, but because it relates only to spiritual matters, it is of but limited application in the day to day realities of our lives in culture and society. Whatever the Kingdom presence may be or entail, it is confined to “spiritual” concerns and therefore relates primarily to what we do in church.
Perhaps most Christians do not regard the Kingdom of God as a primary Biblical theme, one so central to the unfolding of the divine economy that, to miss it, is not merely to miss the Good News by a little, but to miss it altogether.
So a certain amount of confusion exists among the followers of Christ in our day regarding the nature and presence of the Kingdom of God, and even whether this is a central theme of Scripture.
The Kingdom and the saints of Scripture
Throughout the Scriptures, God’s people have understood the importance of the Kingdom of God, and have grasped at least some of the implications and expectations that accompany this important teaching.
From Adam to the apostles, the Kingdom of God danced in the minds of Biblical saints, glittering and glistening with portent, pondered and hoped for, to a greater or lesser extent, and with growing clarity. If we could enter the mind of those Biblical Kingdom visionaries, we might discover a new, more complete, and more vital understanding of the Kingdom of God, one that can take our idea about the Kingdom out of the realm of mere thought and into our daily walk with the Lord, in every area of life, establishing a Kingdom presence by all we are and do.
The promise of the Kingdom emerges like distant sign-posts throughout the course of the Old Testament, pointing to the time in the New Testament when Jesus and His Spirit would establish a Kingdom presence that would turn the world rightside-up for God and His glory.
Our eternal King
Our God is, after all, the eternal God and King. He is from forever and unto forever, King and Lord and Sovereign without end. Whatever He has made, He rules, and has ruled it from the beginning. Whatever He has charged or privileged people with concerning creation, He expects that we should undertake under the scope of His rule and according to the purpose and protocols of His dominion.
The eternal Kingdom of God, as Jesus explained, is not of this world (Jn. 18.36). It does not originate in this world; therefore, it is not bound by the protocols or limitations of this world. And is not to be known or sought in the manner of earthly domains. Our Biblical forebears understood this, yet they also understood that the reality of the Kingdom—its eternal character, power, and presence—meant that their experience of life should be defined by parameters and protocols from above or from beyond this merely temporal domain. The great saints of the Bible fixed their thoughts on what they understood of the Kingdom of God and, with greater or lesser success, brought their lives into line with their understanding of this eternal, sure, and indestructible domain.
In this part of our study of “The Kingdom Presence”, we’re going to enter the Kingdom mindset and vision of our Biblical forebears, so that we might discover the centrality of the Kingdom of God in Scripture, and that the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God might increasingly become the framework, reality, and experience of every aspect of our lives.
1. What is your understanding of the Kingdom of God? How do you experience the Kingdom presence?
2. In what ways is the Kingdom of God a presence in your soul?
3. How does the Kingdom presence come to reality through your deeds and words each day?
Next steps—Preparation: Spend some time in prayer meditating on the three questions above. Ask God to lead you to a deeper understanding and more consistent sense of the presence of the Kingdom in your daily life.
T. M. Moore
A companion book to this study of “Kingdom Presence” is available at our bookstore. Learn more and listen to an excerpt from The Kingdom Turn, by clicking here. Then order your free copy.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study.
The Eternal Kingdom
- T.M. Moore
- July 10, 2023
The Kingdom presence begins in eternity.
Kingdom Presence: Old Testament (1)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore