Thy Kingdom Come by David W. Dyer
Table of Contents
1. Thy Kingdom Come
2. The Two “kingdoms”
3. A Brief Chronology
4. The Day Of The Lord
5. In The Beginning
6. God’s Commission - Man’s Failure
7. The Kingdom Of God Is Among You
8. “Lord, Lord”
9. A Just Reward
10. Forgiveness and Judgment
11. The Manchild
12. Living In The Victory
13. Leadership and the kingdom
14. “Faith – works”
15. A Word Of Encouragement
Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are from the New King James version of the Bible
THY KINGDOM COME
Copyright © 1984
“A Grain of Wheat” Ministries
First Printing 1984
Second Printing 2003
“A Grain of Wheat” Ministries Publication1. “THY KINGDOM COME”
The book which you are about to read has important theological and practical implications. In fact, they are monumental! Therefore it should be read carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully. It is also essential to start from the beginning and read through to the end of the book without skipping over any material. Since the ideas which are presented here are developed over many chapters, if the reader does not familiarize himself with the entire work, misunderstanding could result. There is sometimes a great temptation when first picking up a new book to look through the table of contents, find a chapter that looks interesting, and start reading there. Since many believers are not well acquainted with this subject matter the results of such reading could be misleading. With this in mind I would like to urge all serious readers to thoroughly study the information presented here before they form their final conclusions. Another fact which should be mentioned is that to understand the contents of this book requires spiritual revelation. Since we are going to be investigating the truth of God as contained in the scriptures, we must seek Divine revelation. Due to the inadequacy of the human mind to know God independently, when we are seeking to understand His will we must rely on Him to enlighten us. So I would like to urge you while reading through these pages to do so in an attitude of prayer having your heart and mind open to Jesus, that He may reveal His truth to you. Of course this book is only a human effort; nevertheless, let us pray together that God could use it to further unveil to His own more of Himself and His purposes upon the earth.
IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO ALREADY, PLEASE READ THE INTRODUCTION BEFORE YOU PROCEED
When Jesus Christ returns in His glory, this is not the end of the story for the present earth. Our Lord’s plan is not to return momentarily, whisk believers off to heaven and abandon the earth to a later destruction by fire (II Pet 3:10). As a matter of fact, God has plans for this earth. After His return, He intends to set up a kingdom here. Centered in Jerusalem in the land of Israel, His authority will be established over all the inhabited earth. This kingdom will last for one thousand years and so is therefore known as the “Millennial Kingdom.”
The people over whom He will reign are those few who have survived the tribulation period. Although initially their numbers will be very reduced from today’s population because of the tribulation judgments, since there will be no wars and undoubtedly a lack of plagues and diseases during the millennium, the numbers of human beings on the earth will grow rapidly. We are not speaking here about the church or believers, but about “normal” people who by God’s mercy survived His judgments on the earth. Not only will Jesus be reigning on this earth for 1,000 years, but Christians too will be involved in this Kingdom. Those who have made themselves ready will reign with Him (Rev 20:4). Many believers have their hearts and minds set on heaven but God is not finished with this earth yet. While it is good to “set our mind on things which are above” (Col 3:2), we also should be aware of and looking forward to what God is planning. We should understand what really is going to happen. After His return, His plan is to spend one thousand more years on this earth. It is only after this millennial kingdom that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1) which is what many think of as “heaven.”
In light of the above facts, perhaps we as Christians should reconsider our present suppositions concerning the earth and what our role in it should be. Perhaps we should relinquish our escapist philosophy and realize that God is not finished with the earth yet and neither are we. I am not talking here about a new plan to improve the environment or to end nuclear war. Neither am I going to recommend some social action to improve the present state of affairs. What I am proposing is that believers need to be getting ready for the next phase of God’s plan on this present earth – the coming Kingdom.
Now I realize that there are those who do not believe that there is an earthly Kingdom coming, or think that it is here today or even that it has come and gone already. But dealing with these doubts, misconceptions and misunderstandings in any kind of a thorough way is really beyond the scope of this book. Suffice it to say that if people do not see from the scriptures a Millennial (1,000 year) Kingdom where Satan is bound (Rev 20:3,7) – which surely he is not today – where Jesus Christ is ruling the nations with a rod of iron and they are infinitely obedient to His will (Rev 19:15), where the sucking child will play on the hole of the asp and the wolf will lie down with the lamb (Is 11:6-8), where men beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and there is no more war (Is 2:4), where Christ reigns physically on the earth (I Cor 15:25, Is 24:23, Rev 20:6), reapportions the land of Israel among the twelve tribes (Ezek 48) and builds again the temple (Ezek 40-43, Zech 6:12,13); if they do not see in this an earthly, physical Kingdom of Jesus Christ, then I do not know how to convince them. There is just no way to prove anything to anybody from the scriptures if they are not open to it. However if there are those who are not certain about this and are genuinely interested in a better understanding of the coming Kingdom of God, then I suggest they go to a good Christian bookstore and buy some books written by authors who believe the Bible literally, just as it reads, and do some further study. Also a partial listing of scriptures concerning the Kingdom is being included at the end of this book for the serious Bible student. “And we shall reign on the earth”...”with him a thousand years” (Rev 5:10, 20:6).
This earthly reign of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to King David that there would never fail of his seed one to sit on his throne (II Sam 7:12, Jn 7:42). It is the completion of God’s commandment to Adam to have dominion over the earth (Gen 1:28), a sabbath rest to the people of God (Heb 4:1), the Day of the Lord (I Thess 5:2), and much, much more. What a blessed fact that we, God’s people, can be a part of it with Him. The participation of believers in this Millennial reign of Christ is one of the most neglected parts of the gospel. Too often we have skipped over this most serious subject while looking towards going to heaven for eternity. Yes, we should set our affections on things above, and it is true that our reward is laid up for us in heaven, but the Bible teaches that when Jesus Christ returns He is bringing these rewards to earth with Him (Rev 22:12). I am not suggesting that we fill our minds with earthly things, but that we prepare to bring the heavenly things to earth. This is part of the gospel. The Kingdom reign of Jesus Christ is an indispensable part of what He came for and is going to do. And our role in this plan is of the utmost importance. So central is the idea of the coming Kingdom to the gospel that when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, the very first petition He spoke was “Thy kingdom come...on earth,” just as it now is in heaven (Mt 6:10 NASB). It should be very significant to us that the first thing which our Lord taught us to ask for was the arrival on earth of God’s kingdom. Also, a great many parables which He taught were about the coming Kingdom and what it would be like. Certainly we should not treat this subject as unimportant or inconsequential. Rather, with the return of the Lord drawing nigh, it is something to which all of God’s children need to give serious and prolonged consideration.
There is no way for the people of God to circumvent the Kingdom. It is a part of God’s plan for the earth in which we will all participate in some fashion or other. The amazing but largely unannounced truth is that what we do today has everything to do with what our role in that Kingdom will be. No matter how old we are, our time on the earth is not “just about over.” We still have at least 1,000 years to work together with our Lord for the accomplishment of His purposes in this world. Our faithfulness, our diligence and in fact our whole manner of living in this present world will be the determining factor for what role Christ gives us in His Kingdom when He returns. Can this be any surprise? Even in this earthly realm people give places of responsibility and honor to those who are hard working and faithful. Does not Jesus say that He will reward each man according to his works (Rev 22:12, I Cor 3:14)? This is exactly what He will do. With this in mind, in the following chapters we will examine several aspects of the Kingdom which have great relevance to us today. Many of these truths may seem startling but I beg you for your own sake, do not close your mind to them. After reading this book, search the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are true. By all means do not be talked out of them by some well-meaning individual without looking into it thoroughly. The coming Kingdom has much to do with you and no one else can change your part in it. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rm 14:12).
“And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 8:11,12).
2. THE TWO “KINGDOMS”
Before we get very far in this book, one thing must be made very clear if the readers are to properly understand this message, and that is that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is not the same thing as heaven. Let me say that again. When the New Testament uses the phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven” it is not referring to heaven. Instead it is referring to the Millennial Kingdom about which we have been talking. Such a mistake is easy to make if we do not read the Bible carefully. Since many believers have heard a great deal of preaching and teaching about heaven as a destination, it is easy to read about “the Kingdom of Heaven” and automatically think “heaven.” However, as we will see throughout this book, this phrase has a very different and important meaning.
Perhaps the confusing element in the phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven” are the words “of heaven.” What these words actually mean is that the coming earthly Kingdom has its origin in heaven – that it is heavenly in its nature and content. Yet it is a kingdom from heaven, not a kingdom in heaven. It is not the “heaven” about which the Bible speaks in other places. God reigns supreme in heaven. Heaven is the locus of His authority – the point from which He rules the universe. The words “of heaven” then are referring to the source of this Kingdom about which Jesus testified. It is the place from which the Kingdom is coming, not a destination to which we are going. Again, the prayer which He taught His disciples to pray clearly paints the picture: “Thy kingdom come...on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10 NASB). Jesus’ prayer was that the Father’s heavenly Kingdom would be fully manifested on the earth. So we see that although the Kingdom of Heaven is heavenly in character and origin, it is not the same thing as heaven.
It is interesting to note that of all the New Testament writers, only Matthew uses the phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven.” All of the other writers use the phrase “the Kingdom of God.” In the four gospels, when the writers are quoting the same parables of Jesus, Matthew uses “the Kingdom of Heaven” and the other three say “the Kingdom of God.” This shows us that these terms are used interchangeably in the inspired Word. There is no difference between the two. Such an observation also reinforces the idea that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is not heaven, rather it is the kingdom of God which will come to this earth when Jesus returns. The importance of the distinction between the Kingdom of Heaven and “heaven” comes when we read the parables which Jesus taught about this kingdom. If we apply the “kingdom parables” to heaven, then we can come away with some very confusing and even wrong ideas. But when we apply them correctly to the coming earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ, much more of God’s truth becomes clear. This is exactly what we will be doing in some of the later chapters of this book.
The Jewish people who were listening to Jesus teach did not have a problem understanding that He was referring to an earthly Kingdom. On the contrary, many of them had difficulty realizing the spiritual aspects of it. For centuries they had been waiting for Messiah the King who would lead them out of bondage. They well knew the scriptures prophesying that One would come to sit on the throne of David and rule over them (Is 9:7). When Herod questioned the scribes regarding the place of the Messiah’s birth, they knew the exact location. The coming of a King to set up an earthly Kingdom was no secret to them. It was exactly what they were waiting for. What they failed to realize was that the prophesied coming of Jesus consisted of two events. There was a first coming and there will be a second one – one to which all true believers are looking forward. And it is at the second one that He will establish His earthly, physical Kingdom.
TWO ASPECTS OF THE KINGDOM
What the Jews did not realize then, but what we know now, is that these two comings of Christ correspond to two aspects of the Kingdom of God. First, there is a present spiritual experience of the Kingdom into which Christians can enter and second, there is the coming outward manifestation of the Kingdom on this earth. Today we can experience the Kingdom spiritually, and someday soon it is coming to the earth physically. On the one hand, referring to the first, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). But on the other hand, the scriptures read, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ,” (Rev 11:15). Although the spiritual aspect of the Kingdom, ushered in with the first advent of Christ, and the outward manifestation of it, which begins with the second coming, are separated by 2,000 years, they have very much in common. In fact they are inseparable and completely interrelated.
In order to convey a clear comprehension of these two facets of the Kingdom of God, perhaps it will first be necessary to talk about just what a kingdom is. A kingdom is a certain geographical area which is governed by a king. A kingdom is also a collection of people who are subjected to the will and dictates of a particular king. Actually these two definitions fit exactly with the two “Kingdoms” about which we have been talking. With Christ’s first coming He is gathering to Himself a people. With His second, He will establish His rightful rulership over this world. His first advent heralded the assertion of His Lordship over hearts and lives of men who are willing to submit themselves to Him, and His second, His Kingship over all the inhabited earth.
In most of the free world today people have a lot of trouble understanding the concept of “king.” There are very few rulers today who claim to be kings, and those that do (except perhaps in the Middle East) actually wield very little power. The idea of bowing before someone and being obedient to his every wish is foreign to us if not even repulsive. The very thought of not being in control of their own lives has not even entered very many men’s minds. We, especially in the United States, are used to “freedom” and any “kings” that come along may have some difficulty asserting their influence over us. Alas, such is the situation with Jesus Christ and much of His Church today. We, His people, rightfully belong to Him, but are submitted to His authority very little.
Perhaps a word which could be used to better describe what the Biblical word “king” should mean to us is the word “dictator.” Here is a word to which our world can relate. It holds for us the idea of a man who wields absolute power. His word is law and no one dares to disobey. This is really what the Bible means when it uses the word “king.” (The word “Lord,” by the way, has a very similar meaning.) Although “dictator” may convey to us the idea of harshness or cruelty while our King, Jesus, is not that way, still the concept of absolute power and authority is exactly correct. God has made this same Jesus who was crucified both King and Lord. In fact, He is King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16). It is to Him we must submit ourselves and Him we must obey.
Now, with this in mind, we can talk a little about the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, is the sphere over which God’s authority extends. It consists of the territory and the beings over which He rules. We normally assume that most of the universe fits into this category. One exception is this earth and the majority of the people on it. The Bible teaches us that this world is presently in the hands of the devil and he is a prince over it and its inhabitants (Jn 14:30). Although Jesus has defeated him at the cross, this victory has not yet been fully manifested. God is just now in the process of establishing His rightful authority over this world. When Jesus Christ returns, the devil will be chained up for 1,000 years (Rev 20:1-3) and He will reign supreme in all the earth.
As mentioned previously, the first place that He is starting to rule and the area in which He is working today is the hearts and lives of men and women. Through the events of His first advent, Jesus Christ demonstrated His right to transfer people out of this world’s kingdom of darkness into His own Kingdom of light. He has redeemed mankind with His own precious blood and purchased us for His own possession. Now we are rightfully His! Whereas once we were obedient to the evil ruler of this age, now we need be subjected to him no longer. Jesus has set us free. Although we were God’s because He made us, Satan usurped this authority in the garden of Eden through his temptation of Adam and Eve. Now, Jesus Christ is in the process of recovering us from this fall and reestablishing His Kingship over His people. Hallelujah!
OUR WILLINGNESS IS ESSENTIAL
There is, however, a very interesting aspect of Christ’s Kingdom to which we must pay very careful attention. Jesus will reign over only those who are willing. Today He will be a King over only those who want Him to be. When He came in person to the Jews in Israel most of them rejected Him. At one point their leaders (who were supposed to be waiting for Messiah) declared, “We have no king but Caesar” (Jn 19:15). And so it is still today. We can either accept or reject the Kingship of Jesus Christ. But there is a day coming when this option will lapse. When Jesus Christ comes again, the scriptures tell us that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil 2:10,11). At this time He will powerfully subject the whole earth and the inhabitants thereof to Himself (Lk 19:27).
These days in evangelical circles, a person can hear many people preaching such things as “receive Jesus,” “trust Jesus,” or “ask Jesus into your life.” These things are true and right and good. However, this is not the whole story. What seems to be missing from this kind of preaching is that when we receive Jesus, we receive Him for what He is – King and Lord. When the first disciples preached, they preached the Lord Jesus Christ. They proclaimed a Christ who wanted full allegiance, who asked for a total commitment of the rest of their lives and who required a complete separation from what was not in His Kingdom. This is why they saw such marvelous results. Those preachers did not overemphasize what Christ could do for the people but they announced what the people’s responsibility was toward God. They knew who Jesus was. He was the King promised long ago and they were wise enough to submit themselves totally to Him. How we could stand a good dose of this kind of preaching today! How we need to follow their example!
This is one explanation of why we have so many lukewarm, insincere converts to Christianity today. We tell them something like: “If only you will receive Jesus He will make you happy and make you feel good and help you with your life.” On the other hand Jesus preached: “Repent (totally change your way of thinking and living) for the Kingdom (the rulership) of Heaven is at hand.”
This then is the problem. When we lead someone to receive Christ without making it very plain to them the total commitment which is required, at first things may go along just fine. But sooner or later Jesus will begin to assert His rightful Lordship over their lives. Since these converts have not been prepared for anything like that, many times they turn away and walk with Him no more. Or sometimes there begins a long and painful struggle with God about who is to run their lives.
We could easily spare people this problem by telling them the truth from the beginning. Let us tell them plainly that they should not even begin to build a tower until they sit down and thoroughly count the cost. I am afraid that we water down the gospel to get “numbers” “saved” when in reality we are doing service neither to God nor to them. It is all too easy to immunize converts with easy Christianity, making it all the harder for them to later realize the truth.
This then is the gospel of the Kingdom. It is the gospel that Jesus preached. We are to repent because there is a spiritual Kingdom which has been announced in which God is to have complete control over every aspect of our lives. He is to rule over our minds, our emotions and our will. Our bodies are to be His to use to further His plans and purposes. Our money, our future, our hopes and dreams, all these things are to be completely submitted to the authority of our King. Furthermore, there is an outward, earthly manifestation of this Kingdom coming soon to this earth of which we can be a part if we are willing. Actually, there is no other gospel. Although we usually hear only other aspects of it, this is really what the Bible teaches.
The Kingdom of God today is an inward, spiritual Kingdom. It is a Kingdom which does not come with observation (Lk 17:20,21). This means that it is not yet manifested outwardly. The subjection of a man’s heart to Jesus Christ is a hidden thing. To enter such a Kingdom, which is spiritual in nature, firstly requires a new, spiritual birth. Just as we were born physically to enter into this world, so we need to be born again of the Spirit of God to enter into the spiritual Kingdom of God (Jn 3:5). This new birth itself requires an element of submission to God. To have it we must repent for our sins and acknowledge Jesus’ rightful Lordship over our lives. In the process He cleanses us from our sins with His precious blood and makes us one with God.
Once we enter the sphere of God’s reigning over us, it is essential that we continue submitting ourselves to Him if we are to keep on experiencing the present Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, after we enter God’s Kingdom, it is all too possible for us to later rebel against Him. As mentioned previously, today Jesus will rule over only those who are willing for Him to do so. Just as our initial entrance into His Kingdom depended upon our willingness to meet certain requirements, so our continued willingness is crucial if we are to be His subjects. God will not force Himself on anyone. Unless we want Him to be our King, He will not be. We all have to choose.
I would like to emphasize here that this is a choice which we have to make every day if not every minute of every day. There is a constant battle going on. Satan wants to retain his control over our lives and keep us subjected to himself. Unfortunately there is still an old nature within us, a product of our first natural birth, which sides with the devil against God. But Jesus Christ has overcome all that is within us and all that is within the world, which is the sphere of the devil. The new life with the new nature which has been born into us has the power to overcome all opposition. Within us we have the supernatural power to overcome Satan and his kingdom.
The pivotal point however is our will. We must be completely willing to submit ourselves to God. If we are, He will give us the power to overcome. If not we will only end up, whether knowingly or not, being a servant of the devil. How many Christians are in this boat! They belong to God, but in their daily lives they are pursuing the things of this world and their own pleasure and so become slaves to the ruler of the world. Oh how we believers need to submit ourselves totally, without reservation, to our rightful Lord and Creator! What a shame it is when we go our own way, but what a glory to God when we willingly live in His Kingdom and allow Him to be the Lord of our lives! So we see that there are two aspects of the Kingdom of God. There is a present spiritual reality of which we can be a part, and there is the coming earthly manifestation of it. As stated earlier, our role in the coming Kingdom has everything to do with our participation in the present one. Do not be fooled. No one who serves themselves today will be rewarded tomorrow. The Kingdom of Heaven which is coming is not separate from the one we can be experiencing today. They are really the same thing. They have one King, one purpose and one reality. I beg you, submit yourselves to God today.
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