The Encourager

The Encourager

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When Was the Kingdom Established on Earth?

Saturday, April 03, 2021

When Was the Kingdom Established on the Earth?

by Heath Rogers

In last week’s article we learned that the Kingdom of God is not a physical territory, but the body of saved people who have submitted to the reign of God in their lives. We also saw that the church is identified as the Kingdom. In this article, we will begin to study what the Bible says about exactly when this Kingdom was established on the earth.

Daniel chapter two records the interpretation of king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. In his dream, the king saw a great image with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and feet of iron and clay. He watched as a stone struck the image on the feet and brought it crashing down. The stone then became a great mountain that filled the whole earth (vs. 31-35).

In his interpretation, Daniel said the image represented four earthly kingdoms that would succeed each other in dominating the world. Daniel identified the head of gold as Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon (v. 38). Although Daniel did not identify the kingdoms represented by silver, bronze and iron/clay, scholars have almost universally understood them to be the Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires.

Concerning this fourth kingdom, Daniel said, “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (v. 44). According to this prophecy, God would establish a Kingdom that will stand forever during the days of the Roman Empire.

Jesus’ earthly ministry took place during the time of the Roman Empire. On one occasion He told a crowd, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1). According to Jesus, the Kingdom would come during the lifetime of those individuals who were present on that occasion.

Notice that Jesus said the Kingdom would come with power. After His resurrection, His apostles asked a question concerning the establishment of the Kingdom. He replied, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). Jesus told the apostles they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them.

In Acts 2:1-4 we read of the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter preached the first gospel sermon, and the church was established as 3,000 responded in baptism (v. 41). In his preaching, Peter used the keys that the Lord had promised him (Matthew 16:19) to unlock and open the Kingdom to the Jews. This is when the Kingdom was established on the earth. This event certainly fits the timeframe set by both Daniel and Jesus.

The reason this is important is because some people believe that Christ has yet to establish His Kingdom. They insist that He will accomplish this upon His return. On the contrary, the Bible clearly shows that the Kingdom was established on the first Pentecost after the Lord’s resurrection. To teach otherwise actually makes both Daniel and Jesus false prophets.

The Broad Way and the Narrow Way

Saturday, March 20, 2021

The Broad Way and the Narrow Way

by Jeff Curtis

 

The “broad” way is equated with tolerance. Many people believe that being intolerant for any reason is wicked. Certainly, at times intolerance is bad; but when God is being blasphemed, when truth is being attacked, or when opinion is being substituted for God’s Word, it is right to be intolerant. We are not to mean-spirited or hateful, but we must firmly stand for what the Bible teaches and refuse to accept wrong beliefs and practices. Jesus was intolerant of other gods (Matthew 4:10), of divided loyalties (Matthew 12:30), and of those teaching other ways to God (John 10:1-10; 14:6).

 

God’s way is narrow because it is the way of truth and holiness. Christians are often called “narrow-minded,” as if to say be being “broad minded” is a desirable trait. In this text Jesus advocated the exact opposite. He said that being “broad -minded” is not good and being “narrow-minded” is necessary. Being “broad-minded” is not the same thing as being “open-minded.” Being “open-minded” is good because it aids us in seeking and understanding the truth. In contrast, broad-mindedness means accepting any opposing view, or variant lifestyle. This is why Jesus warned us to avoid walking in this broad way.

 

Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins”; “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:24, 32). He also said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted” (John 15:13). Paul urged Timothy to “instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines” (1Timothy 1:3), and to “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1Timothy 4:16). The way that leads to eternal life is extremely narrow, and few find it.

 

Who is Jesus?

by Jeff Curtis

 

After Jesus calmed the storm in Matthew 8, the stunned disciples asked each other, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey Him” (8:27). In Mark’s account, they asked, “Who is this man…?” (Mark 4:41 NLT). In the Gospels, the question of Jesus’ identity is of great importance. God the Father identified Jesus as His Son at both His baptism and transfiguration (3:17; 17:5). Satan recognized Jesus as the Son of God, and he us this fact as a basis for tempting Him (Matthew 4:3,6). The demons also recognized the divinity of Jesus (Matthew 8:29). However, the matter of Jesus’ identity was often debated among the Jewish people (Matthew 16:13,14; Mark 6:14-16; John 7:404-44). Jesus’ own disciples were often uncertain about exactly who He really was. When Jesus quizzed them on this matter, Peter made the good confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). But, even after the resurrection, some disciples still doubted (Matthew 28:17).

 

“Who is Jesus?” is the most important question someone can answer today. Jesus, the Son of God, identified Himself as the only way to eternal life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). He also stated, “If you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24; NIV). Making the confession is part of man’s faith response to the grace of God, leading to salvation (Matthew 10:32,33; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10; 1Timothy 6:12). How we answer the question about Jesus’ identity determines our eternal destiny.

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