SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 09/01

The Kingdom of God

Reading: Daniel 2

1. The Kingdoms of Mankind

Nimrod was the first man who came upon the idea of ruling others. He gathered about him young men whom he trained in hunting and warfare. With his private army Nimrod subdued the land known as Babylonia. Nimrod's kingdom depended on the force of arms and the rule of terror. The Bible says:
Genesis 10:8 "And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
9: He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
10: And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel ..."

Yahweh also has a kingdom. We get a glimpse of how it concerns mankind in this verse when He spoke to His people Israel.
Exodus 19:6 "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel."

Let us, however, first look at the kingdoms of mankind as recorded in prophecy. In his dream king Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian monarch, had a panoramic view of the future of his worldly empire and its deterioration from gold to common clay. Daniel chapter 2 records the dream and its meaning. The five world empires seen there were as follows:

Daniel 2:28 "But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days."
verse 44 "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."

In the prophecy of Daniel 7, given some 48 years later when the Babylonian Empire was nearing its end, we are shown a symbolic picture of 4 beasts. The fourth, a monster with iron fangs, was represented previously in the feet of iron and clay. This monster represents the Babylonian kingdoms of this world in their final stage before they are all shattered and replaced by the Kingdom of God. We are currently witnessing the birth of a New World Order which is sweeping mankind. Just as in ancient times the cream of conquered nations was put to use building Babylon; so too the New World Order is growing into a monster fed by the skill, sweat and toil of the world's workers!

Soldiers / Craftsmen

2 Kings 24:16 "And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon."
Daniel 7:23 "Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
24: And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
25: And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."

Note that this monster will "crush the whole earth"; something the ancient Roman Empire didn't do. This beast, and particularly the Little Horn who is to rise up in its final stage, is very different from the beasts that went before it: in that it overcomes all opposition through trade/sanctions or peace and prosperity.
Daniel 8:22 "Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
23: And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
24: And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
25: And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace (prosperity) shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand."

The fourth beast is not any particular nation or empire; but is composed of all nations. Its 10 horns are not the EEC, which soon will have 16+ partner nations. Its ten horns could well be spirit beings as is the 'little horn' - The Antichrist.

2. The Kingdom of God

The human race is now extremely interested in government. Arguments rage back and forth amongst all classes of people as to which form of government is the best. The popular choice at the moment is 'government of the people by the people for the people' - DEMOCRACY!

A few countries are still ruled by a single individual, a dictatorship. Others have party rule - communism. In ancient times many nations were ruled by a priesthood - theocracy. This morning I want to talk about a special kind of kingdom and a special kind of king. My subject is the Kingdom of God! The vast majority of mankind is ignorant of the Kingdom of God. They know next to nothing of its King or the territory over which He reigns. They know even less about His laws which He formulated for the benefit of the universe, which He created. Saddest of all, they are also woefully ignorant of the fact that the King has personally invited them to become citizens of His Kingdom. It was to dispel humanity's enormous ignorance of the Kingdom of God that Jesus Christ came to earth. He came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and to invite you and me to enter that Kingdom.
That divine objective was written into his terms of reference, his sacred commission. He was commissioned to preach the Good News, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 4:23 "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom ..."
Luke 4:43 "And he said unto them, I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities, for therefore am I sent."

3. Kingdom Departments

Pause awhile and think about the various departments involved in the government of the United Kingdom. Here is a short, albeit incomplete list:

Kingdom Officials

To oversee and operate these departments requires a host of laws, officials and staff: All these are required in small kingdoms such as the UK. Now try to imagine the Kingdom of God which spans the mighty universe. Go further and imagine the individual responsibilities the Kingdom's inhabitants will have throughout eternity. That is where you come into the picture: because you and I will be there and we will have a job to do in that eternal Kingdom.


The following story will give you an idea of the kind of individual the Most High will use in the government to come.
Exodus 18:13 "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
14: And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
15: And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
16: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
17: And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
19: Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21: Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
23: If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
24: So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
25: And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
26: And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
27: And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land."

In short, the required qualifications are:

Present Performance

Unpopular as this truth is, a believer's actions and present performance (Works)  are important.
The following parable proves this fact.
Luke 19:11 "And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
12: He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13: And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
14: But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15: And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16: Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17: And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18: And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19: And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20: And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22: And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24: And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25: (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26: For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
27: But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

We can see from this parable that how a believer currently performs, in other words, how he/she lives up to the truth of the Gospel and the commandments of God, will determine the responsibility and authority he/she will have in the coming Kingdom. Pause and take note of that sobering fact.

4. The Kingdom's Size

The Kingdom of God spans the whole universe: the seen and unseen realms that stretch from one end of the heavens to the other. That is why it is often called the Kingdom of Heaven; simply because it encompasses all heaven - the entire universe! In addition to this boundless physical dimension the Kingdom of Heaven also encompasses spiritual heights, depths and other dimensions we humans can scarcely imagine at the moment - let alone understand. What's more, the Kingdom of Heaven is scheduled to replace all the earthly kingdoms and governments which currently exist on earth. Yes, they will all be replaced - never to return. These events are prophesied in Scripture. I quote from Daniel 2.
Daniel 2:44 "And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever."

Just as the granite rock shaped by the hand of the Almighty smashed the golden image in Daniel's prophecy, in similar fashion Yahweh's Kingdom will demolish and then replace every earthly empire. Neither will His Kingdom decay or lose its power in the course of time. But, like that 'imperishable rock' in the prophecy, the Kingdom of God will last for all time!
2 Peter 3:13 "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Revelation 21:1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea ...

5: And He that sat upon the throne said: Behold I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful."

5. Our Eternal King

Over and above this amazing Kingdom reigns a Monarch of awesome authority, power, wisdom and love. No language can properly tell His worth, no words fully explain His holiness and no mind fully understand His love. He is above all, in all and for all.
1 Corinthians 15:28 "And when all things shall be subdued under him, then shall the Son (Christ) also be subject unto Him (the Father) that put all things under him (Christ), that God (the Father) may be all in all."

6. The Eternal Constitution

No government can function without law. Indeed any government, if it's to be taken seriously, must be based on law and order. The better the laws, the better the government. The laws upon which the government of the universe are based are Divine Laws. They are already detailed in the Bible and were given to ancient Israel in the days of Moses. Do remember that they are Yahweh's laws - not Israel's: and like His Kingdom, they are scheduled to last throughout eternity.
Psalm 111:7 "The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
8: They stand fast for ever and ever
, and are done in truth and uprightness."

Matthew 5: 17: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled:
19: Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

It was to fulfil, (to obey to its absolute limit) Yahweh's laws that the Messiah came to earth. He came to demonstrate how His Father's commandments could and should be kept. Moreover, he came to empower all his followers to keep his Father's laws. And yet, though the Almighty's law is perfect, in itself it cannot make anyone obedient. Power to obey must come from on high; from the Spirit of God Himself!
Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."

7. Heirs of the Kingdom

When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his/her personal Saviour, he/she becomes a 'son or daughter of the Almighty God, an heir of the Kingdom of Heaven. This stunning fact is told in the following verses:
John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
1 John 3:1 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
Daniel 7:27 "And the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him."
James 2:5 "Hearken my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which He hath promised to them that love Him?"
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

8. Believe the Gospel

But all these beautiful facts, absolutely true and reliable as they are, will do you no good if you are not in the Kingdom. You, personally must repent of your sins, give them up and believe the Gospel. That means you must accept Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as your personal Saviour. Only then will you enter the Kingdom of God.
Mark 1:14 "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15: And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

After you have taken the fundamental step of repenting, believing the gospel and accepting Yahweh's offer of salvation through His Son, your place will be assured in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Most High has guaranteed this. It now remains for you to believe and be saved!

9. Thy Kingdom Come

The Lord's prayer is the best known prayer of all faiths. Yet, strangely enough, it is a prayer many believers give little thought to. The record reads as follows:
Matthew 6:9 "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11: Give us this day our daily bread.
12: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Notice how the Saviour advises us to pray for the Kingdom to come and that Yahweh's will (His law) be done (obeyed) on earth as it is obeyed in heaven. The Most High is anxious that all His children know about His Son, His love, His mercy, His law and the place He has reserved for them in His eternal Kingdom. Nothing pleases Him more than to know that we Christians are eager for Him to replace this world's corrupt and tottering governments with His Kingdom. When a believer prays "Thy Kingdom come" I am certain His heart is gladdened. For there is nothing in the universe He wants more than to see this world's ills forever ended.
And when we say "Thy Kingdom come" we are echoing His will.

Thy Kingdom come!
Thy Kingdom come!
Thy Kingdom come!

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
June 1996 ... Reformatted November 1999