SOTM: Reflecting on the Beatitudes

SOTMBy now, it should be clear that these aren’t commands. Jesus isn’t telling us to be persecuted to earn blessings. He’s not telling us to be among the anawim. We aren’t to seek out insults.

Rather, he is declaring —

* The Kingdom promised by the prophets is about to appear.

* The Kingdom will be for those people that society overlooks, even despises — the poor in spirit, the anawim, and the persecuted. The last shall be first.

* God will bless the subjects of the Kingdom in ways that the world cannot defeat and that will more than compensate for today’s sufferings.

* The Kingdom is coming, indeed, is already breaking into the present, but won’t be fully realized under the End of the Age.

* God expects his Kingdom to bring peace (shalōm) to the world, meaning peace with God and peace among the subjects of the Kingdom — not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of right relationships. Agapē will replace the tensions and hatred that fill the world now.

The Kingdom is the church but the church radically re-envisioned. A kingdom requires a king, subjects, borders, and laws. Jesus begins defining these very things in the SOTM, although he has not yet identified himself as the Messiah (King of the Kingdom).

Jesus’ vision of the gospel of the Kingdom of God is much bigger than “get baptized so you won’t go to hell.” Rather, he sees the Kingdom as God’s solution for a broken, fallen world filled with sin, war, and hatred.

The cure isn’t going to church, but a church that lives the SOTM. When the disciples live together as the SOTM instructs, the church becomes a beacon of light in a dark world, drawing people by their love. When we live as images of God, that is, when we imitate Jesus in his sacrifice, service, submission, and even his suffering, the church becomes the church, that is, what the church was meant to be: the Kingdom — and the gates of Hades will not stand in its way.

But when we limit church to a get-out-of-hell club, looking down our noses at a world desperate for the poor in spirit, not only does the church not grow, there’s no reason for it to do so. We have little to offer.

This quote from Mark Love should make the point —

But if we understand the gospel the way Jesus did (and I would argue, also the way Paul did), as the announcement of the nearness of the Kingdom of God, then all the issues and roles change. Now the issue is God’s good rule over all of life. The issue is shalom and the world’s lack of it. And I doubt we’d have a hard time convincing others that our world lacks wholeness or well-being. And I doubt we’d get much resistance with most people that a different way of ordering our world is sorely needed.  The issue now is whether or not we believe the way of Jesus is the way of shalom.

What happens to personal guilt and the need for forgiveness? Forgiveness is a necessary part of the Kingdom of God. God’s shalom can’t get off the ground if we’re overcome by the powers of sin and death, if our own guilt and shame overwhelm us and make us neurotic, unstable, and untrustworthy. What happens to the importance of the death of Jesus? It’s significance becomes greater. It is not only a sign of our forgiveness, but also a model for a different way of life under a different set of powers, notably the power of trusting, self-giving love.

So, most of the old stuff is there, but its been reframed by the larger theme of the Kingdom of God. Now, the message is inviting others to belong to God’s in-breaking reign with all the benefits that brings. So now, not only is your friend more than a prospect, but your friendship might actually be a sign of the Kingdom of God. It can actually be a part of the good news you proclaim.

Questions answered

Another way to study the SOTM is to ask as to each section, what question is Jesus answering?

As to the Beatitudes, the question seems to be “Whom does God bless?” but I think there’s a better answer, that is, question. I think Jesus is really answering: “When is it?” or “What time is it?”

By declaring the poor in spirit, etc. blessed by God, Jesus is saying, “The Kingdom is about to dawn!” This is the time when God will establish his Kingdom — and to those who knew their prophecies, when the Messiah would come and when the Spirit would be outpoured.

This is the time when God would place his Messiah on the throne and begin to bring the world under his rule.

Therefore, this is the time to repent — just as John the Baptist had been preaching. If the Kingdom is coming, you want to be part of it because God only promised to include a remnant of Israel in it. Not everyone gets to be a part of the Kingdom.

And if the time is “dawn of the Kingdom,” then the next question has to be “Who are we?” or “Are we part of the Kingdom?” And Jesus responds, you disciples of mine are among the poor in spirit, those that mourn, etc., and therefore you’ll be part of the Kingdom. After all, it wasn’t the rich and powerful from Jerusalem who gathered at the mountain to hear Jesus. It was those who knew that it was better to leave behind their jobs and other responsibilities and hear what Jesus had to say.

The next question is, “Who will we be?” or “Repent to become what?” And the first answer is “salt and light.”

What time is it? Who are we? Who will we be? Not a bad outline for sermon.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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55 Responses to SOTM: Reflecting on the Beatitudes

  1. R.J. says:

    “If the Kingdom is coming, you want to be part of it because God only promised to include a remnant of Israel in it”.

    Both Jesus and Paul prophesy of a time when “all Israel will be saved” when they except Jesus as the messiah by faith-shouting “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. Although for now it’s only a remnant.

  2. Ray Downen says:

    One looks forward to a kingdom on this earth.

    The Bible describes in many places what the conditions will be like on the earth when the Messiah sits on the throne of David. At that time the earth’s government will be upon His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6) and the earth will enjoy peace as the Prince of Peace sits upon David’s throne. The Millennial reign of Christ is when righteousness will characterize the whole earth and when peace and safety will characterize Jerusalem. The place He will rule from is the land of Israel that is on the earth in the city of Jerusalem.

    But the fact is that THIS EARTH will be destroyed by fire after the “saved” are lifted up from it, and that the kingdom will be established in a NEW JERUSALEM which is totally unlike the present earth. No sun. No stars. No gravity. No sin. No sorrow. Pleasant serving of Jesus in all ways at all times. And of course, no clocks. No night there. No sin means no sinners as citizens of the NEW Jerusalem.

    The kingdom will not be on this planet in this solar system, as some hope for with Jerusalem as capital city and life going on much as usual. Everything then will be different from all we know as residents on earth.

  3. laymond says:

    Larry, I am disappointed in your comment, repeating the same two verses from many versions of the bible . You are capable of better.

  4. Larry Cheek says:

    The purpose for the repeating was because there are so many translations which use different words to describe the same item. In the use of the word (world) and its application are all in agreement. In opposition to many other places the word (world) is translated as (age), I thoroughly believe that has been done because of the translators concepts, rather than the meaning in the context. If anyone can prove differently I will listen.

  5. Monty says:


    Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son…… a cursory glance of this passage should be sufficient for readers to know that we are at present in the kingdom of Jesus. To have a kingdom is to rule. Only Kings have kingdoms.

    Also, consider Hebrews 1:3 “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” To sit on a throne is to reign. To leave the throne is to not reign. Jesus reigns. Is reigning. Jesus is not a future king with a future kingdom. He is Lord of all. He is sustaining everything even as we speak. Everything in all of creation has to obey Jesus. If that’s not ruling and reigning then I don’t understand the concept.

  6. Jay Guin says:

    Gary, Monty, et al.,

    The Kingdom has come, is coming, and is yet to come. Recall my earlier beachhead and resident alien analogies from a recent post. Jesus’ reign has begun but it’s not been extended over the entirety of the cosmos yet — because there are still people and forces in rebellion to Jesus not yet subdued. But victory is assured, but not yet a present reality.

    Thus, we find,

    (Eph 1:20-23 ESV) 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

    Jesus has already been enthroned, but he has not yet subdued the cosmos.

    (1Co 15:24-28 ESV) 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

    Jesus “must reign” until the victory is complete. Plainly, he presently reigns, but his enemies remain in power.

    The author of Hebrews (and Paul and the apostles in Acts) refer to Psalm 8 –

    (Heb 2:6-8 ESV) 6 It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

    The prophecy is not yet fulfilled because we do not yet everything under his control — but God, who sees the future, does.

    Jesus’ throne is the throne of David —

    (Isa 9:6-7 ESV) 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

    For Jesus to be Messiah, he must reign on David’s throne.

    (Psa 2:2-8 ESV) 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, … 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

    The NT repeated refers to Psa 2 as speaking of Jesus as Messiah. He can’t be the Messiah at present unless he’s the Anointed King — meaning he sits on a throne.

    Peter said in Acts 2 —

    (Act 2:29-33 ESV) “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
    (Act 2:34-36 ESV) 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.“‘ 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

    Of course, Peter further calls Jesus “Lord” in terms of Joel’s prophecy, making Jesus God (in a fully Triune sense).

    Now, the throne of David is the throne of Israel, to be extended to fill the entire universe. So perhaps Jesus sits on David’s throne today, and when Jesus extends his (effective) rule over the entire cosmos, then the throne of David and the throne of God become one — as described in —

    (Rev 22:3 ESV) 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

    That is, the Kingdom and the cosmos will both be fully subject to Jesus — effectively — and so there will be but one throne. Until then, Jesus rules as David ruled — as king on behalf of God as ultimate King — as God’s Son and Anointed. David was a king, but the OT considered God the true king of Israel and David ruled on behalf of God.

    On the other hand, Jesus is no mere vassal king. He is God’s Son and so the image is more one of co-regency — a shared throne between Father and Son, which was very common in both Jewish and Roman history. But in a co-regency, the Father might cede certain authority to the Son for a time.

    Of course, we’re talking about a Triune being, and all is metaphor — and metaphor only takes us so far. We can’t press it to be overly literal. That is, we accept the teachings for the point being made but we should be very careful in extrapolating beyond what’s been revealed.

  7. Grace says:

    Jay said, “Now, the throne of David is the throne of Israel, to be extended to fill the entire universe. So perhaps Jesus sits on David’s throne today..”

    As Gary points out Jesus doesn’t sit on His throne ruling all the nations until He returns to the earth:

    Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father which of course I believe. Hebrews 1:3 does not say that Jesus is now seated on his throne. We have Jesus’ own words in Matthew 25:31 that he will sit on his glorious throne “When the son of man comes….” Why is that plain statement of Jesus so hard for Churches of Christ to accept?

  8. Dwight says:

    Gary, if I follow you correctly you are stating that the kingdom is now and yet the King will come again and the kingdom will be realized. This is also parallel to salvation. We are saved and yet the salvation is a promise as we can through our turning away from God not be saved. Salvation is a promise much like Canaan was a promise and yet the God tells Abraham that the promised land was theres. Of course the Israelites also spent 40 years wandering for thier lack of faith and so can we and yet still the promise exist for those who have faith and act on it to the end. When we are converted we are saved and yet the salvation won’t be realized until later when we die or Jesus comes. Now establishing the kingdom on this earth, when the kingdom is spiritual is beyond our knowledge or understanding. That means that God and Jesus would have to become flesh to rule us in our flesh in His kingdom, which is what the Jehovah’s Witness look forward to. Unless everything is translated to spiritual where God exist and is. The flesh is corrupt, the spiritual not.

  9. Larry Cheek says:

    This question is surely for anyone to answer, because I see no one has addressed it yet. The answer to this question reveals if Jesus speaks of truth or not. Jesus states in many scriptures that his kingdom is not of this world, and I have never found a place in which he indicates that it ever will be. Jesus statement is.
    Joh 18:36-37 ESV Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (37) Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
    In verse 37 he claims to bear witness to the truth, is not the verse prior truth?

    The abode of the Spirits, Angels, God and Christ are not of this world. That place which we can only imagine by faith is far superior to the earth. I see that it is of great importance to me that Jesus stated the following.
    Joh 14:1-4 ESV “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (2) In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (4) And you know the way to where I am going.”

    I know his communication is not coinciding with concepts being portrayed here. I have never found a believable answer as to how these opposing concepts correlate.

  10. Jay Guin says:


    Regarding John 18:36 —

    No: the point is that Jesus’ kingdom does not come from ‘this world’. Of course it doesn’t. ‘The world’, as we’ve seen again and again, is in John the source of evil and rebellion against God. Jesus is denying that his kingdom has a this-worldly origin or quality. He is not denying that it has a this-worldly destination. That’s why he has come into the world himself (verse 37), and why he has sent, and will send, his followers into the world (17:18; 20:21). His kingdom doesn’t come from this world, but it is for this world. That is the crucial distinction.

    Tom Wright, John for Everyone, Part 2: Chapters 11-21, (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004), 114–115.

    It is not of this world; it is not ‘from here’ (enteuthen; strangely, NIV opts for a positive statement, and says it is ‘from another place’). Both expressions mean that Jesus’ reign does not have its source or origin in this world (cf. 8:23)—this world which is both created by God through the agency of the pre-incarnate Word (1:2, 3) and locked in persistent rebellion against its creator (1:10, 11). It is the sphere of darkness, of rebellion, of blindness, of sin. The kingships of this world preserve themselves by force and violence; if Jesus’ kingship finds its origin elsewhere, it will not be defended by the world’s means. And if it resorts to no force and no fighting, it is hard to see how Rome’s interests are in jeopardy.
    It is important to see ‘that Jesus’ statement should not be misconstrued as meaning that his kingdom is not active in this world, or has nothing to do with this world’ (Beasley-Murray, p. 331). John certainly expects the power of the inbreaking kingdom to affect this world; elsewhere he insists that the world is conquered by those who believe in Jesus (1 Jn. 5:4). But theirs is the sort of struggle, and victory, that cannot effectively be opposed by armed might.

    D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Pillar NTC; Accordance electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 594.

    “Jesus replied, ‘My Kingdom is not rooted in this world; if my Kingdom were rooted in this world, my followers would have been fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish people. But as it is, my Kingdom is not from down here.’ ” Once again Jesus seems not to be answering Pilate’s question directly at all. Pilate had asked him, “What did you do?” Jesus tells him instead the special nature of his Kingdom, seeming to answer Pilate’s first question “Are you the King of the Jews?” rather than Pilate’s now more practical second question. And Jesus’ present and thrice-repeated “my Kingdom” deserves attention. Jesus’ is clearly aware of having a Kingdom unique to himself. There is an added grammatical curiosity in Jesus’ reply. Each time Jesus refers to his Kingdom, he refers to it not with the normal “my” (in Greek, mou) but with the more emphatic hē emē (literally, “the mine”) which, when attached to “kingdom,” as it is here, could be translated in English “my particular Kingdom,” as if by using this emphatic “my particular” Jesus is seeking to draw attention to his Kingdom’s uniqueness. Jesus’ Kingdom is like no others: This is the first meaning of Jesus’ little speech here. Other kingdoms are rooted in this world and come from “down here.” Not Jesus’ Kingdom. The uniqueness of Jesus’ reign is intentionally highlighted in this Praetorium exchange.
    Twice in his Church Prayer Jesus told his Father, confidently, that his disciples were “not rooted in the world, just I am not rooted in the world” (17:14 and 16). This means that Jesus and his disciples take orders from above, not from below. This other-worldliness is central to the life of Jesus and to the life of Jesus’ Church, when she is true to her sources. A too-relevant (or world-rooted) Jesus or Church is not a good sign. Archbishop William Temple once notably remarked that the Church that is too wedded to its own age is destined to be a widow in the age that follows.

    Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI;Cambridge, U.K.: Eerdmans, 2012), 1067–1068.

    “Not of this world” means “not from this world” or “not partaking of the character of a kingdom of this world.” Jesus does not mean “in heaven and not here.” The kingdom is very much on earth but it’s from God and it’s not like worldly kingdoms.

    Harken back to Daniel’s prophecy of the kingdom in Dan 2. It’s a rock carved out of a mountain by the hand of God and it destroys earthly empires and will never itself be destroyed.

  11. Gary says:

    Larry, the answer to your question is suggested in 2 Peter 3:6 where we are told that the antediluvian world “perished” in the flood of Noah’s day. World is not always synonymous with Earth. We live on the same planet that Noah lived on but the world of Noah before the flood was destroyed. We now live in a different world from those who died in the flood even though it is still the same planet Earth. “World” may refer to a particular human society. Jesus’ kingdom is truly not of this world as this world and society that we now know will be destroyed as a consequence of Jesus’ return. We will live in a new world, described by Peter as “new heavens and a new earth,” after Christ’s return. Christ will reign over that world and the prayers of millions of Christians through the years will finally be answered as it will truly be on earth as it is in heaven. Revelation pictures heaven coming down to this earth and God making his dwelling place here with us.

    In the meantime Christ is reigning with the Father in Heaven and Christ is reigning over his Church which is in this world. But Christ is not reigning over this world, this human society in which we now live. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that Satan is the god of this world. Christ and Satan are most definitely not reigning together. In this world Christians are “aliens and exiles” providing a foretaste of the coming Kingdom that Christ will usher in at his return. But in the “coming world,” a new world on this same planet, we will be citizens of that new heavens and new earth over which Christ will rule. When terrible things happen in this world so often God is blamed. It is true that we cannot understand why God would intervene in one situation and not another. But the bottom line is that this world is not God’s world. This world belongs to Satan. Do you remember when Satan offers Jesus the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would bow down and worship him? Jesus rebukes Satan but he does not correct him. The kingdoms of this world really are Satan’s. We are awaiting a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, a Kingdom that will forever endure and a Kingdom whose King is Jesus the Christ. This Earth will not be a casualty of the war between God and Satan. Even Creation will be redeemed and restored to being the home where righteousness is at home, the home that God has willed for us from the beginning.

  12. Larry Cheek says:

    I did not observe the commentaries using God’s messages to back up their concepts. Those are only educated guesses. Now, a careful study of the kingdoms in the prophesies of Daniel will show four world ruling kingdoms represented by the statue are all documented in history the last was the Roman kingdom represented by the clay and iron which has been destroyed by the kingdom of Christ as a world power. Remember where and how the stone arrived upon the scene, carved out without hands. There has never been a earthly kingdom ruling the world in the manner as those four since. It is not an earthly kingdom which destroyed the final kingdom but a kingdom of Spiritual rule. No earthly kingdom will ever be capable of overpowering the Spiritual kingdom of Christ. Very much like the Beachhead which you referenced for us, no power on earth can control Christ’s kingdom because it is a Spiritual kingdom within the members (children) of God. Rome fought the fight well but anyone can see the outcome, it’s rule has been utterly destroyed. I would not have the space here to identify all these kingdoms, but anyone can begin with verse 38 which identifies the kingdom of Gold and who it belonged to and history will revel the following three kingdoms. The last kingdom which will last for ever has always been portrayed as a kingdom of a Spiritual nature (not earthly). Christ’s Kingdom which was created by no human hands begun on Pentecost and has destroyed the world ruling Roman kingdom.

    Dan 2:34-45 ESV As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. (35) Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (36) “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. (37) You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, (38) and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. (39) Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. (40) And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. (41) And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. (42) And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. (43) As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. (44) And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, (45) just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

  13. Jay Guin says:

    And so we agree, right?

  14. Larry Cheek says:

    Your comment.
    “But the bottom line is that this world is not God’s world. This world belongs to Satan. Do you remember when Satan offers Jesus the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would bow down and worship him? Jesus rebukes Satan but he does not correct him. The kingdoms of this world really are Satan’s.”

    I believe that you did not fully understand this event. This was thought of as a temptation by Satan. Do you really believe that Christ understood that the world was Satan’s to give? Satan was the only one who believed that story. Let’s notice some of Christ’s comments
    Luk 4:4-8 ESV And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.'” (5) And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, (6) and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. (7) If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” (8) And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'”
    Jesus knew full well that Satan could not give what he was offering. Satan was lying just as he did to Eve. How would we know?
    Col 1:15-17 ESV He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    He was active in the creation. Satan could not deceive him.

    You commented.
    “But Christ is not reigning over this world, this human society in which we now live. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that Satan is the god of this world. Christ and Satan are most definitely not reigning together.”
    You mentioned that it is found in 2 Corinthians,
    2Co 4:4 ESV In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
    He has also been referred to as a prince.
    Eph 2:2 KJV Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
    These next verses Jesus told before his death and resurrection, the event when he overpowered and dethroned Satan.

    Joh 12:30-32 ESV Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. (31) Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. (32) And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

    Joh 14:28-31 ESV You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (29) And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. (30) I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, (31) but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

    Joh 16:7-15 ESV Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (8) And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: (9) concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; (10) concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; (11) concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (12) “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. (13) When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (14) He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (15) All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    Satan was defeated prior to Christ being raised up from the earth to heaven.
    Satan can only deceive by lies, he has no power except what men today give him. He can no longer do anything without a man’s help. He is only a small voice coaxing disobedience to God.

  15. Dwight says:

    Here I think Gary makes a good distinction in that the term world and earth are not always synonomous. Satan is the called the “prince and power of the air” “rules the hearts of man”, but the earth is God’s, even though His kigdom is not of this earth, but is represented in the saints that are here, but Satan has interjected himself into the realm of God to give man delusions and lies as Larry has pointed out.
    John 12:30-32 ESV Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
    Now Paul does state that Satan roams the earth as a lion, so his presence is still here and destructive, but in respect to Jesus and His follwers, He is powerless in bringing about death.

  16. R.J. says:

    Larry, Christ’s kingdom is not Platonic in nature(shunning the physical as inferior). Right now it is ruling within the hearts of Christians and in the future Christ will claim the whole cosmos as his kingdom in the future.

    That prophesy both has and has not been fulfilled in full(typical vs antitypical fulfillment). Just like our redemption. His kingdom first came(and still is) spiritual but will be consummated as both the physical and spiritual(the Earthly and heavenly) become one in the Eschaton!

  17. Monty says:

    Interesting concept that we should all be able to pick up our Bibles and come to the same conclusion.

  18. Dwight says:

    I think the most interesting thing is how all of this is yet to be revealed and that we should be glad that our salvation and state in the Kingdom isn’t related to how much we understand it beyond that we are in it and that Jesus will come again to recieve His own as the King who will then turn it all over to God. In the whole sermon in Acts 2 Peter never says, “And you understand in what manner of body you will be resurrected in, right?” No, they knew enough. Now later this still wasn’t an issue, but many questioned whether Jesus had really been resurrected, which was an issue, but there was no time where the Apostles corrected them on as to what form Jesus would come again. All they knew and had to know was that Jesus was going to come again. We can talk all we want to about what will be, but we know very little and don’t need to know as much as we think we should. What we should know…God is spirit…Jesus went to be with God and was called King and He had a kingdom that was based in heaven where the congregation of the Lord was also based and that Jesus will come again in glory and judgment and the saints will be with God.

  19. Alabama John says:


    Its an old tactic used very well today, Divide and Conquer”

    Has worked in many situations and both we and the devil both know it very well.

  20. Larry Cheek says:

    I am really not sure that we are both on the same page at this point. If you do agree with the content of my post, we may be on the right road to understanding. For I believe that the message contained in Daniel is vital to proper understanding of Revelation and the future of all Human beings, both Christians and those who are not.
    As you are suggesting that we are in agreement. May I then assume that you also see that the stone which was cut out of the mountain is not an earthly or human kingdom?
    One of the concepts that I see in the reveling of the rock, which is formed without hands is that it is not an ongoing event. When Christ established his kingdom it became a crushing blow to the world ruling kingdom (Rome) and just as you displayed in the story about the beachhead, it is growing, not changing or evolving into something else. In other words it was complete and fully functional to endure into eternity. It is not in need of an increased dimension to fulfill its power to perform its function. It contains all of the saved that have ever lived from the creation; its size is unimaginable even at its creation. The only reason that it is still receiving new members is because of God’s Grace. Even the first century Christians expected Christ to come shortly to receive them unto their reward.
    But, no one will know, in fact anyone who attempts to determine the time has already proven his rebellion to God.
    Mat 24:36 ESV “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
    How smart then is it for any of us to promote that the kingdom is not ready for harvest at any twinkling of an eye?

    As I read many of the comments, the message that is conveyed is this kingdom that we see is not fulfilled and therefore we are safe until we see specific events which we have determined will signal the return of Christ or the rapture of the Saints. I don’t see rapture of the Saints as an event, I cannot find any communication in scripture which describes a life here after the Christians have exited the earth.

  21. Gary says:

    Mark Liberman has an interesting article online on the history of the word rapture entitled “No Word for Rapture.” It has a history as a problematic word. The more common use of it as an emotional state still contains the root idea of being caught up but in a state of wonder.

  22. Jay Guin says:


    In these parts, “Rapture” will be taken by 99 out of 100 to refer to what I call “Bumper Sticker Rapture” — as in “Warning: In case of Rapture, this car will be unoccupied.” Very smug. So I don’t disagree with you at a technical level, but Left Behind has taken over the word.

  23. Gary says:

    I just came across this morning notes I made some years ago on helpful treatments of the Kingdom of God by several authors.I commend these readings to anyone interested in becoming more knowledgeable about this foundational Christian doctrine:

    The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin, 1989, pp. 103-134;

    Above All Earthly Powers (Christ in a Postmodern World) by David F. Wells, 2005, pp.203ff;

    “The Kingdom of God and New Creation,” p.97, an essay in The Way of Jesus Christ (Christology in Messianic Dimensions) by Jurgen Moltmann, 1990;

    “The Kingdom of God,” p.201, an essay in Surprised By Hope (Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church) by N.T. Wright, 2008;

    and all of The Gospel of the Kingdom by George Eldon Ladd. I don’t have the copyright date in front of me. This is an older work but I believe Erdmanns has always kept it in print in paperback. If any book outside the Bible could be considered a primer on the Kingdom of God it is this book.

  24. Dwight says:

    Rapture, def. prim.- a feeling of intense pleasure or joy./ Rupture, def. prim.-break or burst suddenly. These two words have two totally different meanings and are not similar in the outset. Rapture came to mean: when the saints rejoice as Jesus comes and they leave with Him in joy.
    In either case there is no sense to anything being left behind. When a balloon ruptures, the water is expelled from the internal to the external. When Jesus comes the saints will have a feeling of intense joy and then they will leave one state behind, as you could well be decomposed and are at least fleshly, and be translated to a state in the presence of God, which very well could be a spiritual state of which God and Jesus exist in and we are to work towards.
    As far as the “Kingdom” goes we must realize that God existed as king, then passed His kingship to His direct heir, Jesus, who became king and then one day Jesus will return the kingdom back to God. In this sense it is only a matter of ownership at certian times for certain reasons & not a matter of the kingdom existing or not before or after Jesus death. We are fellow heirs in Christ.

  25. Larry Cheek says:

    Is the consensuses then that no one today, only the Christians of the first century to which the Book of Revelation was written with the purpose of assuring the heavily persecuted that there is hope and security in the future for believers in Christ, can obtain an understanding of that same security? Having found all these identifiers of understanding errors, have you found a thread of undeniable truth leading us through an understanding of Revelation?

  26. Randall says:

    No, I don’t have a thorough understanding of eschatology and I don’t think the consensus is that the ECF did either. At times it seems that some a-mils and some dispensational-pre-mils think they have it all figured out. Neither group has convinced me,

    I am not sure what you are referring to when you write about “Having found all these identifiers of understanding errors.” Did you mean to imply that I think I have that degree of understanding? I do think study is advised before we would dogmatically teach others. Study does, at least some of the time, answer our questions. However, when that happens it frequently leaves us with new and better questions. It also leaves us with something more to comment than simply our own opinion. You may have noted that I didn’t even state my own opinion in my previous comment.

    I do know that I don’t care for the style or tactics of FEW Jr.


  27. Dwight says:

    Revelations 5:3 “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.” then, vs.6 “which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” then, vs.10 “And have made us[d] kings[e] and priests to our God; And we[f] shall reign on the earth.” The “on” in verse 10 can also mean “upon, on, of position, at, before, over, across, against.” so while it may mean that they are literally on the earth, it could also mean that they are in a position superior to the earth. After all Jesus was made a little lower than the angels and the angels are in heaven with God. Earth in vs.3 and 6 argue for the expanse of the territory.
    Now having said this, I am not going to argue that this is THE position, but is A position that makes sense with regards to the other verses that talk of the saints being raised to meet God who comes down to meet man and that the earth will be burned up, maybe totally destroyed, maybe cleansed. But again if God is spirit and we are to be spritual and of the spirit, then why do we look forward to an earthly domain. Despite the final form we should now live spiritually.

  28. Monty says:

    From Bob Hendron’s book Chosen for Riches ;

    “God also causes us to share in Christ’s exaltation. We have been caused to sit down together with Christ in the heavenly spheres” Ephesians 2:6. We share in a heavenly life now. We have in Christ a taste of the exaltation of heaven. This is why salvation by grace is so joyous and fulfilling–it introduces us to abundant living.”

    “To be seated with God is to be sharing in God’s reign. It means the heavenly order of things is a present reality in our lives We are already citizens of heaven(Phil. 3:20).”

    I think this is why Jesus taught us to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are kingdom citizens, ushering in (paving the way) for the King who is currently reigning and returning soon, at which time he will restore order completely. We are his servants, here and now, and forevermore.

    I wonder if the disciples thought they were reigning with Christ when he said, “And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me”….”whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”. Certainly there was a future aspect of sitting and ruling on twelve thrones for the Apostles, but there had to have been some immediate implications as well. We are called sons(by adoption)-not will be sons-but are sons now. Our Father is King! He is currently extending his offer of grace to all who oppose his reign. Lay down your arms. The victory has been won. Accept God’s truce. Jesus reigns. God is exalted.


  29. Dwight says:

    Monty, I think you are correct.
    Randall, I try to hang a total positon on a preposition if possible, which is why I leave room for other scriptures to help give context. There are many scriptures that encourage the saint to be Holy as God is Holy and be spiritual as God is spiritual, at least in our thinking. There are no scriptures that argue for us to be earthly, as we shall one day come back to it, but the opposite is true for the saint who is in the kingdom which is spiritual and as we shall leave the earth and be with God who is spirit when the kingdom comes.

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  31. Dwight says:

    Monty, Rev.21 would also appear to say that heaven is going through a renovation, but perhaps, and this has been suggested, the heaven in question is the sky and not heaven, as in God’s heaven, see also the sea is passed away. The earth can also mean land.
    In this view the “new heaven” and “new earth” or land, might just indicate a new place for the citizens of God that has really nothing to do with the earth.
    Here John sees the “Holy City, Jerusalem coming down out of heaven…prepared as bride for her husband”, but e isn’t the church called the bride of Christ, yes it is, so the church or those in the church are coming into its fullness for the groom Christ.
    Mind this is all speculation…but all we really know is that this was a message of comfort and hope for the saints going through persecution that could understand this more than we.

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