Kingdom in the Desert


Kingdom of God Defined

 Graeme Goldsworthy has summarized a definition of the Kingdom of God as:

 "God's people in God's place under God's rule."

George Eldon Ladd notes that:

 1.       "The primary meaning of both the Hebrew word malkuth in the Old Testament and of the Greek word basileia in the New Testament is the rank, authority and sovereignty exercised by a king.

2.       A basileia may indeed be a realm over which a sovereign exercise his authority; and it may be the people who belong to that realm and over whom authority is exercised; but these are secondary and derived meanings.

3.       A kingdom is the authority to rule, the sovereignty of the king.

Explaining the definition of a Kingdom:

 A kingdom:

Is a defined area containing a subject people.
Ruled by a lord or king.
The King defines the laws of the land and blesses all who faithfully serve him.

 "I will be your God and you will be my people", Leviticus 26:3-13

The Kingdom is:

The assembling together of all God's people under his rule and care, experiencing complete unity and oneness with each other and the Lord God.

God being present, the people seeing him face to face, knowing him intimately as well as knowing each other in the same way.

The Kingdom is the dimension in which we find God, ourselves and each other.

It is the ultimate community of fellowship and love - community of God's children.

Yet, the ultimate reality of the Kingdom has always awaited a future consummation.

Kingdom not yet come

Today, as with the saints of old, we wait the dawning of heaven, of the picture of Revelation 21-22.

Revelation 21: 1- 4

1    Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2    I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3    And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4    ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV)

We rely on the promise of the scripture that those who experience the Kingdom in the present will be full members in the age to come; they will participate fully in the blessings of heaven

John 5: 24 - "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

The Kingdom of God could not receive its perfection but under the Gospel, and has its full accomplishment in every member of the mystical body of Christ.

The nature of the Kingdom of God is that of a community of believers bound under the rule of
Christ and blessed through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit - a people gathered with God, ruled by him, blessed by him.

The spirit and design of the institution

Exodus 19: 6 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."

They should be a Kingdom – God as their King

A nation

a multitude of people connected together –
not a scattered, disordered and disorganized people –
a royal nation – acting under the direction and blessing of God  -
using their own rites, laws, subject in religious matters only to God and in civil matters to the ordinance of man for God’s sake.

A holy nation –

saved from their sins –
righteous in their conduct –
holy in their hearts –
every external rite being not only a significant ceremony, but also a means of conveying light and life, grace and peace, to every person who conscientiously used it. 

Constituents of a Kingdom:

1.       A king – God, Jehovah/Jesus
2.       Citizens/subjects – OT Israelites/Believers in NT Church.
3.       Laws – establishing a special relationship to God

Why a regional area and a cluster of people are are called a kingdom?  Because:

1.    it has its laws, all the moral precepts of the Gospel:
2.    Its subjects, all who believe in Christ Jesus:
3.    Its king, the Sovereign of heaven and earth.

Jesus Christ never saved a soul which he did not govern
Nor is Christ precious or estimable to any man who does not feel a spirit of subjection to the Divine will.

Four stages in the establishment and consummation of the Kingdom:

 1.       The salvation and separation
2.       Preservation in the desert
3.       The final struggle to establish God’s Kingdom
4.       Consummation of the promise of God’s Kingdom.

Salvation of Israel from Egypt:

The war of God against the gentile gods – defeat of satanic forces that kept Israelites as slaves

Egypt and Pharaoh to demonstrate a real bondage as that from which salvation is a release.

The hardening of Pharaoh's heart makes it doubly clear that Israel is not able of her own will to break free from this bondage
Exodus 4: 21 - And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
1.       Israelites were not armed
2.       Had no courage to resist
3.       Was not organized as a nation.
The purpose of the miracles of the plagues and the opening of the sea

Exodus 10:2 - "and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD."
So they must comply with the command,

 Exodus 14: 13,14
13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

Covenant to Abraham

The relationship of the covenant to Abraham and to the salvation of Israel from Egypt is clearly seen in Exodus 2:23, 24.

Exodus 2:23, 24: “. . . their cry under bondage came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob."

The great exodus from Egypt forms the pattern of salvation in the Bible.

As to the cause of salvation, we see that it is grace alone.
It is on the basis of God's gracious promise to Abraham and not on the basis of any merit in Israel that God works salvation.
Joshua 24: 14, 15
 14    Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
 15    And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
 16    And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;            (KJV)

From this exhortation of Joshua we learn of what sort the gods were, to the worship of whom these Israelites were still attached.
1.   Those which their fathers worshipped on the other side of the flood: i.e., the gods of the CHALDEANS, fire, light, the sun.
2.   Those of the EGYPTIANS, Apis, Anubis, the ape, serpents, vegetables, &c.
3.   Those of the CANAANITES, MOABITES, &c., Baal-peor or Priapus, Astarte or Venus, &c., &c.

The Laws of the King

 When God gave His covenant stipulations at Sinai, He addressed Israel as His people.
It is clear that this Law of Moses is not a program of works for salvation.
Salvation is of grace, and the covenant of Sinai was given, not so that Israel might be saved, but because she was saved.
The law is thus a manifesto for the people of the kingdom.

Provisions in the Kingdom in the Desert

 Basic needs:

1.       Food – eating and drinking
2.       Shelter
3.       Clothes – clothes including foot wares

Psalms 105:37 - 45
 37    He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
 38    Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.
 39    He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.
 40    The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
 41    He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.
 42    For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
 43    And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: {gladness: Heb. singing}
 44    And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
 45    That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD. {Praise...: Heb. Hallelujah}

Exodus 16: 35 - And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.  (KJV)

Joshua 5: 10 - 12
 10    And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
 11    And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
 12    And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.  

All daily provisions are guaranteed.
It is not withdrawn even when the Israelites rebelled against God.

  Matthew 6:25 -   Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:31 -   Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'

Other needs

 1.       Healing from disease
2.       Protection from enemies – man and animals
3.       A path to follow

Exodus 13:3 - And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. {bondage: Heb. servants}

Exodus 15: 23 - 26
23     Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.
24     And the people complained against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"
25     So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them,
26     and said, "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you."              (NKJV)

Deuteronomy 29:5,6
 5   And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.
 6   You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.                   (NKJV)

Pillar of cloud

This was the Shechinah or Divine dwelling place, and was the continual proof of the presence and protection of GOD. 

Exodus 13:20 - 22
 20 So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness.
 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

Signification of gathering under the pillar

 By coming under this cloud they signified their putting themselves under the conduct and command of Moses.
Protection draws allegiance

1.    This cloud was the badge of God's protection
2.    And so became the bond of their allegiance. 
3.   And it signifies the special conduct and protection for the church of Christ in this world.

Guide to direct through the wilderness

It was necessary that they should have a guide to direct them through the wilderness
They need to be guided even had they taken the most direct road
But they took a circuitous route not usually travelled, and of which they knew nothing but just as the luminous pillar pointed out the way! 

Exodus 13: 17, 18
17     And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18     But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

These three are not guaranteed, but conditional.
It is conditioned by the faithfulness and loyalty towards God.

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