The Story is a teaching tool that we use at Kommetjie Christian Church to illustrate how the whole Bible ties together. It is a summary of the story told from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis to the end in Revelation.
Chapter 1 – Creation
The story of creation is the story of God the Creator and the Kingdom He establishes. The opening chapters of Genesis give us a vision of how the world is meant to be, and how God intends for life to be. In these chapters, we find the building blocks of God’s design for His Kingdom.
The Awesome Creator
God is introduced as Creator. Creation happens because God speaks it into existence:
“Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)
God who speaks as Creator means He is personal. As His words have absolute authority and power, God is sovereign and almighty. This pattern of God creating by speaking means that the only way in which God can be engaged personally is to relate to Him on the basis of what He has spoken.
A People From The Earth
Of all that God creates, humans are unique and the pinnacle of His creation. Like all other created things, people are also created beings. People are created out of the material of the earth, itself the creation of God:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
As creatures, humans are accountable to their Creator. Humans, however, are unique as they are created in the image of God:
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
People To Function As God’s Representative
This places humans in a unique relationship with the Creator God. For this reason, the Creator takes up His right to rule over His creatures and instructs them regarding the purposes for which He created them. Genesis says: …
“let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” … Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26, 28)
People Living Under The Creator’s Rule
God is instructing His people in relation to His will, exercising rule over people. God the Creator is functioning as a King. The Psalmist declares that the Creator God is King:
“For the Lord is the great God and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Oh, come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” (Psalm 95:3-6)
Therefore, we can refer to the Creator God as “King.” Consequently, people are to live under the rule of this Creator King.
To live under His rule, people must live out the mandate God has given them. As His image bearers, they are to function as His vice-regents, ruling over His creation on His behalf. People are God’s representatives on earth. They are to manage or steward life on earth reflecting the nature and character of His rule as King.
This function for humanity is central to human identity. Human identity is shaped around relationships with God, with each other, with the creation, and with self.
People Given A Place To Live
God the King not only gives His people a function but a specific place to live:
“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.” (Genesis 2:8)
Eden, a special garden, is created for people to live in. In this specific place, God’s people experience the abiding presence of the Creator King, engaging in fellowship with Him. Eden is a sanctuary, God’s dwelling place on earth, where humans have unhindered access to the life-giving presence of the Lord.
Life Characterised By Blessing
The kind of life experienced in Eden can be described by the word Shalom. God Himself declares that all He had created was very good:
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
In Eden everything is harmonious, all functioning according to God’s design purpose, filled with peace and abundance of all things. The best English word we have to describe the nature of life in Eden is “blessing.”
Paradigm Of The Kingdom Of God
All that God created reveals His intent for His creation. This is how He wants things to be. God created all things for human flourishing, for them to image the Creator King over creation.
All these factors, when drawn together, form the pattern for the Kingdom created by God. It is true that the term “kingdom” appears nowhere in the opening chapters of Genesis. However, Jesus reveals the establishment of the Kingdom at creation. Jesus said:
“ Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” (Matthew 25:34)
The pattern or paradigm for the Kingdom of God established at creation then is as follows:
God, the Creator King
Rules over and fellowships with
His people created in His image
In the place He gave them to live
For them to function as His representatives in accordance with His purposes
Where life is characterized by good, shalom, blessing.
The Kingdom of God is the Creator King ruling over His people, in the place He gave them to live, for them to function as His representatives, and where their life is characterized by blessing.
Chapter 2 – Fall
The history of the world tells us that humanity has not lived life in accordance with God’s design and purposes. What went wrong, and how does that impact life today? How was humanity lost to the Kingdom of God?
Everything changed when the people the Creator King created to live in His Kingdom would not do what He had spoken. They chose to rebel against and reject God’s rule and disobey His instructions for life in Eden. They desired to be their own gods and determine their own way for life in the world.
The Creator, whose word has all authority, said the following to the man He created:
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
The instruction was clear, and not difficult to understand. So how did the people of creation lose their way? The story of humanity’s loss begins with the temptation of Eve and Adam by the serpent. Revelation 12:9 tells us that the serpent in the garden of Eden was the devil, or Satan.
The serpent tempts the woman by casting doubt on the instruction God had spoken. This is what the serpent said:
“Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b)
Temptation is having doubt produced in your heart and mind regarding the words God has spoken. This can be a command, instruction, or even a promise. Remember, people can only relate to God on the basis of the words He has spoken.
Will God really hold us to that? Will God really do that? Did God really mean that? Will God really hold us accountable? Is God able to do what He says? These are all questions that are linked to temptation, designed for us to question what God has spoken and make us doubt that He will do what He says.
Of great importance is to know that to be tempted is not to sin. Jesus was tempted by the devil but did not sin.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
So then what is sin? Sin is to go from doubt to unbelief. When we go from doubting what God has said, to not believing that He will do what He says, we have moved from temptation/doubt to sin. Unbelief is the root of all sin.
Unbelief is a relational breakdown of trust in the Creator King. It is a rejection of the Creator King’s right to rule over His creature. Unbelief chooses to believe the word of another over what God has spoken. Eve chose to believe the serpent’s version of reality as opposed to God’s. The word of another can be generated by the devil, by self, by another human, or even by a system of human thought.
This is demonstrated in the interaction between the serpent and Eve:
“Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” (Genesis 3:4-6)
Let us compare what God said with what the serpent said. God said, “… you shall surely die.” The serpent said, “You will not surely die.” Eve believed the serpent, and did not believe the Creator King. Then Eve ate and gave it to her husband to eat. Unbelief leads to acts of rebellion and disobedience. That is sin.
What will the Creator King do? He exercises His right to rule over His creatures and executes judgment upon them. Judgment from God is the consequence of the relational breakdown caused by sin.
So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:14-19)
The judgement comes in the form of curses, the opposite of blessing. It is of utmost importance to comprehend that the world we live in today is a world still under this Genesis judgment from the Creator King.
There are two key judgments. The first is that of death. This is announced to Adam:
“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19)
Death now enters human experience. From Adam to this day, people die under this judgment from God, as also stated by our Lord Jesus:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
What is death? It is separation from the abiding presence of God, and as the body is now subject to decay, humans face physical death, the cessation of human life.
The second key judgment is that God drives out the couple from the place He gave them to live, and prevents them from returning:
“So He drove out the man, and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24)
This leads to significant loss, as they no longer have access to all that God had designed for human flourishing. The earth is now their enemy and will resist the stewardship of the human mandate. In many ways, this loss is also a form of death. Humanity is now lost to all that is the Kingdom of God.
The Significance Of The Seed
From this state of judgement humanity will need to be redeemed – rescued. In the midst of the judgement there is a promise of this redemption. God promises that He will send another male child (seed of the woman), through whom He will reverse this judgment. This is the first promise of redemption in Scripture, as God addresses the serpent:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
The promised male child will destroy the serpent, and consequently bring a reversal of the curse. The rest of Scripture is how the Creator King goes about fulfilling this promise.
In relation to the paradigm of the Kingdom of God:
God, the Creator King is rejected by His people, who act in rebellion borne out of their unbelief in what the Creator spoke. Consequently, they face the judgment of God and are driven from the place He gave them to live, subject to living life as their own god and pursuing their own purpose. Ultimately, separated from God’s abiding presence, they face the reality of death.
Chapter 3 – Promise
The story of Noah and the flood shows us the pervasive nature of sin. Not even the destruction of the world with most of its population can remove the human default to unbelief and rebellion against God. How then will the Creator King make a way for humanity to get back into His Kingdom? How can the Creator deal with the problem of sin and death?
God Speaks Words Of Promise
The Creator King’s solution is to speak words, in particular words of promise. These words of promise are spoken to a man by the name of Abram, and address aspects of place, people, and blessing. The language of promise is seen in, “I will…”
Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
By the nature of these promises, it is clear that the Creator King will reverse the judgement on His creation, rescue humanity, and bring His people back into the Kingdom. For this to be accomplished, the promises made to Abram must be fulfilled.
One of the most significant aspects of these promises is that they are not only for Abram, but through Abram are for the benefit of all the peoples of the earth. The Lord promises: “… and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Here is the hope of humanity to be restored back into the Kingdom of God.
How will Abram respond to these promises? Genesis 15 provides the answer:
“And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
The only appropriate response to God’s promises is to believe them and then entrust your life to them. This then becomes the definition of faith. Abram also then becomes the model for faith.
Faith is to believe in, and entrust yourself to, the promises of God. To establish a relationship with the Creator King, you need to believe the promises He has made, you must have faith. Furthermore, to maintain a relationship with the Creator King you need faith.
The writer to the Hebrews states it clearly:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
To have faith is to always look to the future promised by God.
The Seed Of Abraham
Through God’s continued dealing with Abram, He makes a covenant with Abram and changes his name to Abraham. In this covenant-making process, the Creator King reveals how He will bring blessing to all the nations of the earth. He will do so through the “seed” of Abraham, that is through the birth of a male child (seed) to Abraham:
“In your seed, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:18)
This is a development from the promise of a seed that would be born to a woman made in the Garden. From the possibility of the seed being born to any woman, the seed will now be born to the family of Abraham.
When Sarah gives birth to Isaac, it could be understood that this promise is fulfilled. However, Isaac sins and eventually dies, and most significantly remains dead. This shows that the curse is not broken, as Isaac is subject to the curse of death. So, although Isaac in a sense is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, he is not the ultimate fulfillment because the curse is not broken through him.
The promised seed cannot be subject to the power of death. For the judgment to be overturned, the seed of Abraham must overcome sin and death. This remains the way for the people of God to be restored back to the Kingdom of God.
The Relationship Between Promise & Covenant
The role and nature of covenants in Scripture is a complex matter. It is of extreme importance that the priority of promise over covenant is recognized. Promises made by God always precede any covenant God makes. Also, the promises are the foundation upon which God makes any covenant.
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6)
In relation to the paradigm of the Kingdom of God:
God, the Creator King, acts sovereignly to speak words of promise as the way to bring redemption to His people. He speaks a promise of a great people, who are to respond to His promises with faith. He speaks of a place, a land which He will give them to dwell in, where they can function according to His purposes. Through the fulfillment of these promises, life and blessing will come to all the peoples of the earth.
Chapter 4 – Exodus
Under the sovereign control of the Lord, the people who come from Abraham, namely Israel, find themselves enslaved in Egypt.
The Cry Of The People
Remembering the promises made to their father Abraham, the people of Israel cry out to God for rescue.
Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.” (Exodus 2:23-25)
The manner in which God goes about rescuing Israel from Egypt becomes the pattern for salvation, for how God will rescue people from the power of sin and death. This is the story of the Exodus.
God Raises Up A Leader
God’s first action in response to the cry of the people of Israel is to raise up a leader. That leader is Moses, who is accompanied by his brother Aaron.
Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:9-10)
God Authenticates His Leader
To confirm His calling of Moses, the Lord authenticates Moses as His chosen servant through miraculous signs.
Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” (Exodus 4:1-6)
Substitutionary Sacrifice In The Passover
The Pharaoh of Egypt resists God’s instruction for him to let the people of Israel be released. Consequently, the God of Israel executes judgment through a series of plagues. Perhaps surprisingly, these serve only to harden Pharaoh’s heart of rebellion. This brings about the tenth and final plague, the death of every firstborn male child and animal.
For Israel not to be subject to this judgment, God instructs that there needs to be a substitutionary sacrifice offered (Exodus 12). The blood of the sacrificial lamb will mean the angel of death will pass over every household where that blood is present.
‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12-13)
This establishes that God will rescue us from death through a substitutionary sacrifice. Another being dies on your behalf so that you can be free from God’s judgment. In substitutionary sacrifice, the death of one results in a positive outcome, which is life for many. The principle of one for the many is established in the Passover.
What cannot be avoided is the penalty for sin is death: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Creator God Acts In Human History
Pharaoh’s own son dies in the tenth plague and instructs the Israelites to leave Egypt. As Israel reaches the Red Sea, Pharaoh has a change of heart and decides to pursue Israel. The Israelites face either certain death or recapture at the hand of Pharaoh. Unless God intervenes, the Israelites are doomed. At stake at this point is whether the Israelites will believe God’s promise to their father Abraham. If so, then God cannot let them die at the Red Sea.
Israel’s appointed leader Moses is directed by God to let Israel cross the waters.
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. (Exodus 14:13-16)
This is only possible for the Creator King to do, as He causes Israel to pass through the waters on dry land. The pursuing Egyptians are destroyed in these waters as they return to their Creator-determined boundary. After the provision of the substitutionary sacrifice, the Creator King needs to perform a creation-type event for the rescue of God’s people to be complete.
Exodus, The Pattern For Salvation
This Exodus pattern forms the pattern for salvation. In response to the cries of the people, God will raise up a leader, whom He will authenticate through signs and wonders. God will also provide a substitutionary sacrifice, which (who) dies on behalf of His people (One for many). Salvation is complete when the Creator King once again acts with a creation-type event.
The exodus story also demonstrates the significance of God’s presence with His people. God is present through the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night. Once the priesthood and tabernacle are introduced following the giving of the Law, God is present with His people through the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies. God rules through His loving and merciful presence.
Israel is now free to enter the land promised to Abraham. Israel (people) in the land (place) of promise under God’s rule are a symbol of people being restored to the Kingdom of God as an act of God’s rescue or salvation.
That the Exodus is not the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, but merely a foreshadowing of it is seen in the test of faith the people of Israel face in the Wilderness. Israel failed the test of faith in the Wilderness and could not enter God’s promised rest because unbelief was still the default of the people.
The writer to the Hebrews states it as follows: For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)
In relation to the paradigm of the Kingdom of God:
God the Rescuer, acts mightily to demonstrate His will to deliver His people in accordance with His promises and covenant. He rescues them to place them in the land He promised to the fathers, where they could function as His servants and be a royal priesthood, a witness to all nations. In the midst of the reality of a cursed world, they know His provision of life and blessing.
Chapter 5 – God’s King
After Moses died, Joshua led Israel in the conquest of the land promised to Abraham. Following Joshua’s death, Israel was led by “judges,” people God raised up to keep various tribes within Israel to be faithful to their covenant with God. This caused much frustration amongst the people and eventually resulted in Israel asking God to give them a king, just like other nations.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:4-5)
Nature Of Kingship In Israel
Remember, God is King over His people, so this request is a rejection of God’s direct rule. Surprisingly, God agrees to give Israel a king. However, this concession from God will come at a cost to Israel. Kingship in Israel will work differently from how it works in other nations. God’s order for kingship in Israel will follow a different way to the way of kingship in the world. The king of Israel will be subject to God through a prophet and will need to take direction from His appointed prophet. This subjection of the king to the prophet is seen in the prophet stating whom God has chosen and then anointing the king (as seen with Saul and David).
Another significant difference is that with a king, Israel will now be represented by that king. This is the principle of “one for the many.” The one, the king of Israel, will now represent the many, the people of Israel. The implications are overwhelming. It means that as the king is, so Israel is. If the king is evil, then God will consider the nation to be evil, regardless of the people. If the king is righteous, then God will consider the nation to be righteous, regardless of the people.
An example of this representative nature of kingship in Israel is found in 2 Kings 21:10-15:
And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.’”
God’s Order Demonstrated
Kingship in Israel was never straightforward. Saul, the first king, was rejected by God because he refused to submit to His prophet.
And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:13-14)
David is then appointed by God as king, but David only functions as king after Saul’s death. In spite of many faults, David always submits to God’s prophet, and is therefore called a “man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22) Saul rejects God’s order for kingship in Israel, he desires to be greater than the word of the Lord in the mouth of the prophet, whilst David submits to God’s order for kingship in Israel.
God’s Promises To David
In a remarkable moment, God makes promises to David that will have significant consequences for redemption and God’s Kingdom.
Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. Moreover, I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also, the Lord tells you that He will make you a house.
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’” According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.
(2 Samuel 7:8-17)
The Seed Of David
These promises to David include: a “seed” of David, a male child who will be king; a kingdom for this son that will be everlasting, which implies the son must also live forever; and that God will be in a unique relationship with this son as Father.
The promise made in the Garden was that a woman would have a male child (seed) who would overturn the curse. With Abraham, the identity of the seed was now to be found within his family lineage. Now, with David, the seed will be a King in the lineage of David, within the family of Abraham.
The Davidic Kingdom & The Failure Of The Kings
These promises establish the lineage for the Davidic Kingdom in Israel forever. Therefore, on his death, David’s son Solomon becomes the next king of Israel. Like with Abraham and Isaac, one could look to Solomon as the fulfillment of God’s promises to David. But, like with Isaac, Solomon sins, dies, and remains dead. Therefore, Solomon cannot be the fulfillment of God’s promises to David.
The story of kingship after Solomon’s death is one of consistent unfaithfulness to God, with the odd faithful and righteous king. Furthermore, the Kingdom of Israel is split into two. Ten tribes break away and form the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria/Ephraim), also referred to as the Northern Kingdom. The two tribes of Benjamin and Judah form the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Judah retains the son of David as King, with Jerusalem as the capital.
Due to the ongoing unfaithfulness of the kings of Israel, the Northern Kingdom is taken into exile by the Assyrians. Not learning from their counterparts, the kings of Judah also sustain unfaithfulness to God, and Judah is taken into exile by the Babylonians. The Babylonians also destroy the Temple in Jerusalem and the city itself.
This exile of Judah is a story of incredible loss: scores of people die; families and communities are torn apart; homes are lost; occupations are lost; ability to worship is lost; identity is lost; and they were forced to dwell in a foreign land under foreign rule and required to live in a foreign way.
What does the Lord do for His people in exile? How does He bring comfort and hope? He reminds them of His promises (will there be a response of faith?). Isaiah speaks into this scenario:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The hope of Judah and Israel in exile is the coming of the son of David, the promised seed through whom God will establish the Kingdom forever. This is also the source of comfort as the coming of the promised seed will bring redemption, forgiveness and restoration. Isaiah again speaks of this:
“”Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”” (Isaiah 40:1-3; cf Matthew 3:1-3)
Comfort comes through the coming of the Lord, the coming of His promised seed. This is the Messianic hope of Israel.
Motivated by that hope, Judah return from exile and proceed to rebuild the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. However, for the next 400 years, there is no son of David as King in Jerusalem, and there is no prophetic voice to direct the people of God. There is a deep cry, “When will God fulfill His promises of a coming King to restore Israel?”
In relation to the paradigm of the Kingdom of God:
God, the faithful King, determines to exercise His rule through a human king, directed by His prophet who directs the king with the word of the Lord. The king represents the whole nation before God, and occupation of the land is linked to the faithfulness of the king. The king functions as the ideal Israelite, for all Israel to follow, with Israel, meant to live in the blessing of living under a faithful king.
Chapter 6 – The Christ
Prophetic Silence Broken
The silence of 400 years is broken by the proclamation of a prophet in the wilderness:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:1-2)
The prophet is John the Baptist, and his proclamation is that the Kingdom that comes from God is about to come into being. John the Baptist is saying that the hoped-for Messiah was on his way. God was finally acting to fulfill His promises.
Jesus Of Nazareth
The first words spoken by Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph and Mary, as recorded in the Gospel of Mark are:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Jesus proclaimed that God was now acting to fulfill His promises, and it was time for the Kingdom of God to be established. The people of Judah (Israel) needed to repent and believe the good news being announced.
Jesus, The Promised Seed?
For Jesus to be the fulfillment of God’s promises, the Seed of the Woman (Genesis 3:15), the Seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18), and the Seed of David (2 Samuel 7:12), then he must be designated as such.
This is how Matthew opens his Gospel:
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham…” (Matthew 1:1)
Jesus is the promised Messiah (Christ), because He is the seed, the promised male child, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David.
However, if Jesus is going to fulfill God’s promises to Abraham and David, then He must establish the rule of God by inaugurating the everlasting Kingdom of God, be the King of that Kingdom forever, create a people for God, provide a place for God’s people, enable them to function as God’s representatives, overturn the curse of death, bring blessing to all the earth, and show that He is in a unique relationship with God as His Father. The story of the Gospels is about how Jesus fulfills the promises of God and establishes the Kingdom.
King Of God’s Kingdom
Jesus is appointed as King by the prophet, John the Baptist, at His baptism.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)
Following the same pattern as the anointing of Saul and David, Jesus is shown to be the King of God’s choosing, have the Holy Spirit come upon Him, and proceed to perform mighty acts.
The first mighty act is being subjected to temptation by the devil. In contrast to Adam, Jesus overcomes the temptation.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:1-4)
In this Jesus is demonstrating that He is able to overcome the devil.
Could People Recognize Jesus As The Christ?
Many did recognize and believe that Jesus is the Christ.
Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49)
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16)
Their faith and hope in Jesus as Messiah was shattered when Jesus was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death.
The Christ Dies
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is confronted by the reality of His impending death. He is clearly subject to death and will succumb to death by crucifixion. Jesus experiences the horror, agony, and pain of death.
As Jesus was nailed to the cross, the inscription Pilate put above His head stated:
“THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” (Matthew 27:37)
As Israel’s king, Jesus was representing Israel. The death He dies is a representative death, the One for the many. This is the kingship of Israel in action, as the king is, so is the nation.
And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” Now, this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. (John 11:49-51)
Jesus was bearing the sin of Israel (and the world) as the Servant-King of Isaiah:
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge, My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:10-12)
The Apostle Paul sees the death of Jesus on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice, as the fulfillment of the Passover:
“For indeed Christ, our Passover was sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)
The death of Jesus is redemptive, an act of God’s rescue of humanity from the power of sin and death.
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:18-21)
However, if Jesus was the Christ, the promised seed, how could He die? More importantly, would He remain dead? For Jesus to be the fulfillment of what God had promised, He would need to overcome the power of death.
The Christ Is Raised From The Dead
Jesus Himself understood that He could not remain subject to death.
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. (Matthew 16:21)
This is how it happened according to Luke.
So, on the third day: “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” (Luke 24:1-7)
Jesus was raised out from amongst the dead. Jesus had conquered death. Jesus was raised in full bodily form, never to die again. Jesus truly is the forever King! He is the fulfillment of God’s promises, He is the Seed of the Woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of David.
This is how the Apostle Paul refers to the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:1-4)
“Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.” (Acts 13:29-33)
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead declares the victory of God over sin and death. Sin was dealt with on the cross through the death of Jesus. Death is vanquished through the resurrection of Jesus. Finally, the way for humanity to be restored to the Kingdom of God is open once again, for all those who will believe and have faith in the Christ.
As Jesus is King, and therefore your representative, your relationship with Christ establishes a unique union between believer and Lord. Out of this union, or identification with Christ, the follower of Jesus is to draw their identity. It means the believer is chosen by God; adopted as sons and/or daughters of God; set apart in God’s love; accepted; redeemed and forgiven; sealed by the Holy Spirit; guaranteed the inheritance of resurrection and all that follows. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Your Test Of Faith
Here is the promise of Jesus to you:
This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40)
Do you believe Jesus is the promised Christ?
Do you believe that Jesus is risen from the dead, never to die again?
Do you believe Jesus will raise you from the dead?
Do you believe that only Jesus can lead you into and give you everlasting life?
In relation to the paradigm of the Kingdom of God:
God the Redeemer, the God of love, grace, and mercy, acts to create a new humanity through His King, the Christ, the Son of God. Through the Christ He rescues a people unto Himself, whom the Christ will lead into the everlasting Kingdom of God. This is all possible because Jesus, the faithful Servant-King, is the Passover Lamb who gives His life as a ransom for many. Through the Christ’s death and resurrection, sin and death are dealt with forever, guaranteeing the blessing of everlasting life in the Kingdom of God.
Grade 7 – New Creation
The Kingdom of God was inaugurated through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This means that God’s promised new creation begins with the resurrection of Jesus. The risen Jesus is the first fruit of a new humanity. If Jesus is raised from the dead, then all those who belong to Him through faith will also be raised from the dead and join Him in the Kingdom of God, the new creation of God.
The Time Between Times, The Now And Not Yet
Perhaps difficult to understand is that we find ourselves caught between two moments of God’s work: on the one hand the Christ event of Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension where He accomplishes salvation; and on the other hand, the return of Christ when He completes what He has accomplished. The time we live in now is “the time between the times,” or “the now and the not yet.” What lies behind us is the Christ event and the inauguration of the Kingdom. What lies before us is the completion or consummation of the Kingdom and the new creation.
The Age To Come – The Death Of Death
Faith looks forward to the age to come, the new creation, the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, or what we commonly refer to as “heaven.”
The Apostle Paul states it as follows:
“But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-24)
The turning point from this present evil age to the future age to come, which is God’s new creation, is the return of Jesus, His second coming. At Christ’s second coming, the dead in Christ will be raised from the dead and then they will inherit the Kingdom of God.
This is the moment when death will be ultimately destroyed for believers. At the coming of Christ, the dead in Christ will be resurrected, and the living in Christ will be transformed, all equipped with a body fit for the Kingdom of God, immortal life – everlasting life.
As Paul says:
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:51-55)
The Promised New Creation
God’s promised new creation then lies before all who belong to Jesus. That hope is based on the promise of God in Isaiah:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
The Apostle Peter affirms this promise:
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13)
What will that new creation be like? Revelation provides us with a vision of that future:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
The new heaven and the new earth, the new creation, which is the marriage of heaven and earth, is a place in which God will dwell unhindered once again with His people. God will rule from His throne over His people. It is a place where death is no factor, death itself will be destroyed. It is a place in which all things are renewed.
Revelation goes on to say:
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5)
The people of God will reign as God intended from the beginning of creation. They will be able to function as God’s servants as God intended. Humans will fulfill God’s creation mandate, they will function in relation to God, others, creation, and self through a fully formed identity in Christ, the image of God. The curse will be no more, there will only be healing and restoration. The new creation is where the Creator King and the Lamb will rule over His people, in the place of the New Jerusalem, functioning in accordance with God’s purposes, and where life will be characterised by blessing.
God’s creation purposes will be fulfilled. God’s people will be restored to the Kingdom of God.
In relation to the paradigm of the Kingdom of God:
God, the Creator King, will rule over, and dwell with His people who will be raised from the dead into the new heaven and the new earth; where they will fulfill His creation purposes as His representatives; freed from the curse of sin, death, and the devil; knowing the fullness of the blessing of everlasting life in His abiding presence.
That is The Story of the Bible!