The Kingdom of God - Israel or the Church?
As Christendom celebrates mass - we await the true Kingdom of God to be established.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
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Welcome to the Bible in the News.
At this time of the year many people are engaged in the celebration of Christ’s Mass – better known as “Christmas”. This holy day, or “holiday” is a time when the Bible is in the News all over the world. For most it is a garnish, a little sprinkling of religion, to sanctify the revelry – no different than the pagans of millennia ago, who celebrated the rebirth of the sun.
At this time of the year many “religious” organizations capitalize on the attention paid by a largely secular world to the story of the nativity depicting Jesus, Mary and Joseph at the manger. At center of this stage and enjoying the spotlight is the Roman Catholic Church.
This year the Pope gave his traditional Christmas Eve Mass from St. Peters celebrating birth of Jesus Christ, supposedly taking place on December 25th. What is interesting is the content his speech.
The Pope began his Christmas homily by stating:
"You are my son, this day I have begotten you" with this passage from Psalm 2 the Church begins the liturgy of this holy night. She knows that this passage originally formed part of the coronation rite of the kings of Israel.
He used this phrase, “the coronation rite of the kings of Israel” to steal away the title of the kingdom of God from the kingdom of Israel – to the Church itself.
God has not only bent down, as we read in the Psalms; he has truly "come down," he has come into the world, he has become one of us, in order to draw all of us to himself. This child is truly Emmanuel God-with-us. His kingdom truly stretches to the ends of the earth.
He has truly built islands of peace in the world-encompassing breadth of the holy Eucharist. Wherever it is celebrated, an island of peace arises, of God's own peace. This child has ignited the light of goodness in men and has given them strength to overcome the tyranny of might.
This child builds his kingdom in every generation from within, from the heart.
One cannot miss the importance of these statements. According to the pope, God has inaugurated his kingdom which stretches to the ends of the earth through the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the wafer that the Catholic church claims becomes the literal body and blood of Christ, through the magical incantation made by the priest, “hoc est enim corpus meum,” (meaning “This is my body”), the origin of the phrase “hocus pocus”. Supposedly wherever the “mass” of transubstantiation is celebrated “an island of peace arises”. Through the Christ-mass, “This child builds his kingdom in every generation from within, from the heart”.
The claim of Catholicism is the kingdom of God is the Church. She is Christendom or Christ’s Kingdom earth, and that wherever this mass is celebrated an island of peace arises.
The Truth about the Kingdom of God
Nothing could be further from the truth. The kingdom of God was the nation of Israel which God had chosen out of all nations. When he made his covenant with Israel, he stated in Exodus 19:5-6:
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 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.
This was the beginning of the kingdom of God which was fully inaugurated in the reign of King David. God promised David in 2 Samuel 7:12-16:
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son… And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
The True Messiah
This is the same kingdom that was spoken of by the Angel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:30-33 – words quoted all over the world in nativity plays – but completely misunderstood:
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Messiah is a Greek form of the Hebrew word Moshiach or “anointed one” – anointed, as the king of Israel. The destiny of Messiah is to rule over the house of Jacob, sitting on the throne of David. While many people will enjoy Handel’s arrangement of the scriptures put to music in “the Messiah” – the greater beauty is the understanding of the words which are rich with purpose and tell of the destiny of the Son of God who is to be “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” and of a time when “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ (Messiah); and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
The Hebrew nation forms the center of this promise. They are to form the subjects of the kingdom that is to be re-established on the earth – not the recipients of the “magical” Eucharist. It is to them that the Kingdom will first come. We read in Micah 4:6-8:
In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
According to the prophets, the kingdom comes to the Jews, assembled out of all nations – with the LORD reigning over them in Zion. We read in verse 10 that He will “redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies”. This is the common theme of the scriptures. This is what will bring about the “peace on earth” which Gabriel was actually talking about. We read in Ezekiel 37:23-26:
…I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
These are the real “good tidings of great things, which shall be to all people” spoken of by the angel of the Lord who spoke to the shepherds when they told of the Moshiach or Messiah which was to be born in the city of the Hebrew king David.
Sitting in the Temple of God
The very fact that the Pope sits upon his throne in St. Peters, revered by many to be the Temple of God on earth, and Benedict – God’s representative on earth, calling for the establishment of his own Kingdom across all lands is a fulfillment of the words of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
His “power and signs and lighting wonders… with all deceivable of unrighteousness” will soon be done away with when “the Lord shall consume [him] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (v8).
Breaking the Rod
Ironically, the Pope continued his homily stating, “the rod of his oppressor is not yet broken, the boots of warriors continue to tramp and the garment rolled in blood”. He prayed,
“Fulfill the prophecy that "of peace there will be no end" (Is 9:7). We thank you for your goodness, but we also ask you to show forth your power. Establish the dominion of your truth and your love in the world the "kingdom of righteousness, love and peace."
Of all the hypocritical statements to be made. The Catholic Church is dyed red with the blood of saints throughout the ages – during two millennia when she has tried to establish herself as the “Kingdom of God” on earth. This struggle has included multiple crusades and the last two world wars where she looked for the re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire. The scriptures indict her when John states in Revelation 17:6:
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
The Messiah will come and establish peace on earth, and to do so he will make war with this corrupt religious system who as “deceived all nations” and “made them drunk with the wine of her fornication”. The time is coming when the magical incantations of the Church will fall silent, and people will look to the true Messiah, the king of Israel to rule the world in righteousness. The fall of great Roman Catholic Babylon is described in Revelation 18:21-24:
“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
There can be no peace on earth while wickedness prevails. We read in the prophet Isaiah 57:19-21:
I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
There will be no peace for the wicked for one simple reason. Peace is the fruit of righteousness (James 3:17), and can only be established in the earth when righteousness rules from Zion. This is the time we look forward to and pray for. It is recorded in Micah 4:1-3:
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
The kingdom of God once established break apart the kingdom of men, and will grow to fill the entire world, as described by the Prophet Daniel in chapter 2:34-35:
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
When giving the interpretation he states in 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.
May the day come soon when there will truly be:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Join us again next week for The Bible in the News. This has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.