The Kingdom Model, part 2
Jun 11, 2018
The Bible begins with the overall scope of the Kingdom in Genesis 1:1,
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The Kingdom of God includes everything that God created. God created the universe, not just the earth. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is universal.
The Kingdom of God is currently divided, because Adam’s sin resulted in enmity against God. History shows that there is an ongoing war between God and “enemies.” Anything that falls short of the glory of God is sin and thus a biblical “enemy.” God intends to subdue all enemies, including with the final enemy—death (1 Corinthians 15:26).
When the universe is full of life and all death has been abolished, then unity is restored to the Kingdom of God. This will bring communion to all, that is, a “common union.” Then there will be no coexistence between good and evil, light and darkness, God and the devil, heaven and hell, saints and sinners. There will be no division, as most religions have taught. All will be restored and reconciled. All will be put under the feet of Christ. Every knee will bow.
It is important to know the scope of the Kingdom and believe its final success. This is not only the original intent of our God of love but also the goal inherent in the New Covenant. God vowed and covenanted with all mankind (in the presence of a few witnesses) to finish what He started. We are asked to have faith that He is able to do what He promised.
Heaven and Earth as One
Hebrews 11:16 says that Abraham sought both “a better country, that is, a heavenly one” and “a city” that God has prepared for us. Abraham was told to go to the land of Canaan, but he and his household remained “strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). Canaan was only a model of something greater yet to come, a parable of future things. Canaan was on earth, while the “better country” was heavenly.
The heavenly country and city was said to be the New Jerusalem, or the heavenly Jerusalem, as distinct from the earthly city. This heavenly city is shown as coming down out of heaven to earth (Revelation 21:2). It is pictured as a marriage between heaven and earth. The goal of history is to marry the two, not to divorce them, as the Greek and Persian religions set forth.
The city is the bride who has been prepared for her Husband. Her Husband is Christ, both Jesus the Head and the body that is joined to Him. The new earth is their new home. Revelation 21:3 gives us the answer: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them… and God Himself shall be among them.”
The Husband and wife have made the earth their home, That is the picture that John paints for us. God’s presence on earth indwelling His people as temples of God is what is meant by the idea of us being His people and God being our God. That, of course, is the wording of the Old and New Covenant.
In the Old Covenant, Exodus 19:5, 6 makes the goal dependent upon the will of man and his ability to keep his vow. In the New Covenant, Deuteronomy 29:12, 13 makes the goal dependent upon the will of God and His ability to keep His vow. When God’s vow is fulfilled, not only for the few but for all mankind, then all will be His people. He will then indwell all, abolishing death for all, and only then will we see full marital unity between heaven and earth. Heaven will be on earth, and earth will be heavenly. They will be “one flesh” as in true marriage (Genesis 2:24).
The question is, “What will this look like?”
The Imperfect Canaan Model
Canaan was the original model of the Kingdom, by which God showed what ought to be, but which failed and ended in Israel’s removal from the land. It failed because the people failed to fulfill their Old Covenant vow. God gave them Canaan as a model of human infirmity to prove man’s incapability of bringing in the Kingdom by the power of his own will.
Yet under the surface, running parallel to this utter failure, the New Covenant was very much alive and operational, for it had been instituted long before the days of Moses. Though some trace it back as far as Adam and even before the foundation of the world, the first time that the word covenant is used is in Genesis 9:9, where Noah witnessed God’s vow to the whole earth.
Canaan was just a small portion of the earth, a true model of something much broader. God allowed the Israelites to fail on a small portion of the earth, so that the influence of their corruption and rebellion would be limited. Even so, there were always a few among them who were New Covenant believers. These were the faithful ones, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, as well as Moses, Caleb, Joshua, David, and many others. None of them were “saved” by the Old Covenant, for they were all sinners in some way. But they had faith in God’s promises.
After Israel vowed by the Old Covenant at Mount Horeb, they failed, and so most of them died in the wilderness. This was to show the inadequacy of the Old Covenant. The next generation was given the New Covenant in Deuteronomy 29, after which time Moses commissioned Joshua to lead them into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:23). This was to show that it was not possible to enter the Kingdom apart from the New Covenant.
That is one of the most important features of the Kingdom model for us today, because we too must enter the Kingdom under Joshua the Ephraimite (Numbers 13:8). Christ came the first time from the tribe of Judah to fulfill the calling of that tribe. But His second coming is from Ephraim (son of Joseph) to give us the Birthright inheritance and to take us into the Kingdom.
Although Israel was given the New Covenant in Deuteronomy 29, most did not understand what had happened. For this reason, most of them continued to live under the mindset of the Old Covenant, thinking that their salvation and blessing from God rested upon their own decision and their own vow in Exodus 19:8. So the Old Covenant continued to dominate their Canaan model.
So that model ended in disaster and utter failure. First the ten tribes of Israel were conquered and deported to Assyria, and later the nation of Judah was taken to Babylon for 70 years. Judah was given opportunity to return to Canaan in order that the Messiah might be born in Bethlehem. So the Canaan model continued for another six hundred years.
The Church Model
After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, son of David of the tribe of Judah, His disciples received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This was the next step in the fulfillment of God’s New Covenant promise. It was good, but the people still had difficulty understanding the nature of the New Covenant. For this reason, the church began to revert to the Old Covenant model once again.
Salvation was said to be based upon the will of man and his own decision or vow to follow Jesus. They lost sight of the fact that their faith was a gift of God, “that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). They attributed their faith to their own will. This caused a problem, because those who were honest soon knew that they failed in spite of their good intentions. Others assumed that their good intentions were sufficient to ensure their salvation. Still others were told that every new sin had to be confessed in order to ensure their salvation.
The bottom line is that the church remained largely ignorant of the basis of the New Covenant, and so its Kingdom model in the Age of Pentecost was not much better than that of Israel in the Canaan model during the Passover Age. The fulfillment of Pentecost in Acts 2 started out good but as time passed it followed Israel’s example in Exodus 20.
Even this, however, was prophesied in the story of King Saul. Saul was crowned on the day of wheat harvest (1 Samuel 12:17), which is the day later known as Pentecost. Hence, Saul was a type of the church (leadership), and his kingdom was a type of the church in the Pentecostal Age in the last 2,000 years. This is also why “the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them,” that is, among the prophets (1 Samuel 10:10).
Saul’s reign started out good, but soon he began to show signs of rebellion, in spite of his Pentecostal experience. Ultimately, he ended up in witchcraft, consulting the witch of En-dor (1 Samuel 28:7). This prophesied of the overall condition of the church in our time. Scripture also shows that the house of Saul was replaced by the house of David. So also, the church as we know it today is being replaced by the overcomers who follow the pattern of David.
This is the broad picture of the Kingdom showing the imperfect models of Canaan and the church, neither of which understood the New Covenant adequately. There were always a few who had New Covenant faith, of course, but the vast majority yet relied upon their own well-intentioned vows to save them. And so the previous Kingdom models failed.
We have now come to the end of the Pentecostal Age and are preparing for a new outpouring of the Spirit to take us into the Tabernacles Age. An important part of this preparation is to examine where our faith lies, so that we might adjust it to fit the New Covenant model that will be the foundation of the Age to come.
This is part 2 of a series titled "The Kingdom Model." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones