From the beginning of creation, as we have seen, God was preparing that Kingdom for the day when “Shiloh” would come, when the Kingdom prepared for Him would belong to Him from that time forever.
“Shiloh” is an interesting word. In the Hebrew it appears to be a contraction of three words – “who”, “to”, and “him.” I think an accurate way of translating Shiloh would be something like, “Him-Whose-It-Is.” Jacob foresaw One coming for Whom the Kingdom from God was being prepared, with Whose arrival the Judaic dynasty would cease (“until Shiloh comes”) but the Kingdom would continue.
David also foresaw this day, when God, through the prophet Nathan, promised him that He would establish on David’s throne a Son Who would reign forever. David subsequently came to see this King seated at the right hand of the Father and ruling from heaven over all the earth (2 Sam. 7.13; Pss. 110, 72).
We have seen that the prophets also foresaw this coming One. They understood, if only incompletely, that the Kingdom of God would be given to One like the Son of Man, Who, in turn, would give that Kingdom to the saints of the Most High God, who would possess it forever (cf. Dan. 7.18-25).
Into that rich background of Kingdom anticipation, Jesus came, proclaiming the Kingdom of God, asserting Himself to be the Son of David and King of Israel, and calling His people to renew their vision of the Kingdom and to devote themselves to pursuing it.
During the days of Jesus’ earthly sojourn, the Kingdom of God was His highest priority. He intended that it should be ours as well.
We can see the primacy of the Kingdom in the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ in three ways. We’ll look at the first of these in this and our next installment.
Proclaimed and taught
The first words of Jesus’ ministry announced that the long-awaited Kingdom of God had come near to men (Matt. 4.17). It had come near to them in the Person of the One Who embodied it and would formally receive it when at last His work was done, and Who had come to bestow that Kingdom on His followers through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
The vast majority of Jesus’ teaching revolved around some aspect of the Kingdom of God. The Sermon on the Mount introduced this teaching, the parables “colorized” it and made it vivid, His life and work embodied its purity and power, and His forty days of teaching after the resurrection provided a Kingdom exclamation point to the end of all His earthly instruction.
Nothing occupied the teaching of Jesus as much as the Kingdom of God. Men were to understand that the promised Kingdom had come near; it was “at hand” and even “within” or “among” them. The promised interaction of heaven and earth had begun with new power and consequences, and men must prepare themselves accordingly.
They must see the Kingdom as more valuable than pearls or treasures, more enduring than the world, and more certain than any political regime with which they might be familiar. The Kingdom had come like a mustard seed, but it would grow to include all peoples and nations, to cover all the earth, and to bring all the promised blessings of God to those who believed and were born again through faith in Jesus Christ.
The first rule of following Jesus
With the coming of Jesus history took a new turn. God’s eternal covenant purposes began to unfold in dramatic and powerful new ways, which the coming of the Holy Spirit would confirm, vivify, and enlarge.
If the first rule of buying real estate is “location, location, location,” the first rule of following Jesus Christ is “Kingdom, Kingdom, Kingdom.”
There is not an aspect of the instructional curriculum of our Lord that was not devoted to describing, promising, and commanding the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is the focal point and foundation of all the teaching and preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot know Jesus apart from entering His Kingdom, but to enter it, and to realize all the promise of our citizenship there, we must seek that Kingdom as our highest priority in life.
Do you agree that the first rule of following Jesus is “Kingdom, Kingdom, Kingdom”? Why or why not? Talk with another believer about this question.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.