Tag Archive: Kingdom of God


As I have been reflecting on divine healing and other biblical themes I was struck by a Imageparallel with the role of the Spirit in the OT versus the NT and the role of the Kingdom of God (or heaven) in the NT versus the age that is to come after the Second Coming of Christ. This may or may not strike a chord with you…but please interact with this if it does!

THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

I have taught often about the role of the Spirit in the OT versus the NT. The Spirit was quite active in the OT and often filled people, provided them with creative abilities (Exodus 31:1-3, Bezalel crafted object for worship), gave them wisdom and knowledge (Genesis 41:37-38, Joseph interprets dreams), and even inspired prophetic words (Numbers 11:24-25, Moses and the elders). Elsewhere in the OT we see the Spirit inspiring Judges, prophets, kings and others with specific words and actions, for a specific time and purpose.

In the OT the work of the empowering Holy Spirit was reserved for just a few people, not everyone. The work of the Holy Spirit was reserved for specific moments in time, and then he withdrew. The prophet Joel prophesied of a time when the empowering word of the Holy Spirit would be shared with everyone (Joel 2) and the prophet Ezekiel prophesied of a time when the Holy Spirit would start a new work that was never before undertaken in the hearts of all of the faithful, a work of holiness and righteousness (Ezekiel 36:25-28). In the OT it was the law that kept people holy and righteous; in the NT Ezekiel tells us this will change.

Both of these prophetic promises came to pass. Today the Holy Spirit resides in all who confess faith in Jesus Christ no matter of their denomination. Paul tells us in Romans 8:9 that if someone does not have the Spirit they are not in Christ. The Spirit convicts us of sin and assists us with righteousness (i.e., the fruit of the Spirit). The Holy Spirit also subsequently empowers those who have confessed faith in Christ to be witnesses of that fact. Luke tells us in Acts 1:8 that the Spirit will empower us to be witnesses and this fact is demonstrated numerous times throughout the book of Acts.

THE PARALLEL WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The Holy Spirit, once temporary and breaking in here and there in the OT, has become a permanent fixture in the lives of NT Christians. In the same way, the Kingdom of God, currently breaking in here and there in a temporary fashion (remember my movie trailer metaphor), manifesting its power and glory here and there, will become a permanent fixture in the lives of all of the faithful when Christ returns and ushers in this new era of existence.

SO WHAT?

One of the things that this parallel tells me is that just as God was faithful in sending his promised Holy Spirit, he will be faithful in bringing the Kingdom of God to us in due time. Another thing that this parallel tells me is that the Kingdom of God has not ‘arrived’ in the sense that the Tree of Life is presently here for harvesting whenever we desire. Some of the fruit may be presently accessible (i.e., fruit of the Spirit) but some other fruit is still not fully ripened (i.e. divine healing, removal of sin, removal of death). I believe signs and foreshadows of the Kingdom of God are breaking in all the time but we cannot over state what God is doing in some places (i.e. that they have somehow ‘got it’, whatever ‘it’ is) and we cannot degrade our local context if we do not see the same kind of evidence of the working of the Kingdom of God.

King David was once a young boy tending sheep. Sheep smell and they are not the brightest. Who would have ever thought that he would one day be anointed King and carry the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in a day where this was not something everyone in God’s elect had the opportunity to do. Yet, he was faithful where God placed him and with what God gave him.

So…eagerly await the full release of the Kingdom of God…on God’s timing. Pick the fruit that are presently available and anticipate the ripening of what is still to come.

THE WORD

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”

There is considerable interest in the topic of divine healing amongst Christians of most any denomination. While there are those Imagethat disagree with God’s desire to heal people here and now, in times of crisis I have rarely seen a Christian person NOT pray for healing, suggesting that it is not a theologically sound idea.

As I have navigated the waters of divine healing over the years I have heard many ideas for and against and I have disagreed with some of the voices on both sides of the argument. Throughout the years I have also seen people prayed for and healed. Indeed I have prayed for people and have seen them healed. Many other times I have not seen them healed.

QUESTIONS?

What do we make of all of this then? Does God heal or doesn’t he? Is it normal and expected or not? Should we ‘get people’s hopes up’ that God might heal them and risk a drastic let down? How will this affect their perspective on God after the fact?

ANSWERS!

I think that I finally have some answers for these questions. Biblically speaking, humanity was created in wholeness, without disease and decay. We were given direct access to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, as the biblical narrative tells us. Essentially, humanity had the opportunity to be perpetually renewed through access to God, the giver of life. Something catastrophic took place, and humanity was placed at a distance from this Tree of Life…at a distance positionally, relationally, and spiritually. This is where disease and death entered into human existence.

If we fast-forward to the end of all things as described in the Bible, we find a dramatic renewal of this Garden of Eden state; the coming of the kingdom of God as Scripture describes it. At this time our imperfectness will be made perfect and sickness and pain will be removed (Rev 21:4). This will be a literal heaven on earth situation where humanity’s relationship with the life giver, with God himself, will be unhindered once again. The kingdom of God (or of heaven, depending on the biblical author) will have come to stay.

Humanity finds itself today living between this “Garden of Eden” state and the complete coming of the Kingdom of God. Many important things have happened spiritually throughout the past thousands of years and it seems that we are approaching a time when death, disease and decay will be removed from all of human existence…but we are not fully there yet. So, where do we stand in terms of God’s healing here and now, even today?

LIKE A MOVIE TRAILER?

Lets consider for a moment that the approaching Kingdom of God is like a movie that is highly anticipated but not yet released. For example, the sequel to the movie “Hunger Games” is highly anticipated by many people. Prior to the release we will see posters, trailers, and advertisements…all aimed to stir some measure of passion and anticipation for the movie. In fact, the purpose of a movie trailer is to give you just enough of a taste of the movie to keep you wanting and anticipating the day when the full movie will finally be released.

I believe that we are living in a day when the Kingdom of God is breaking in here and there with evidence of divine healing and a number of spiritual gifts and manifestations with the purpose of pointing us to the coming merger of the present world with the coming Kingdom of God. What we can expect from God today is a regular ‘breaking in’ of the Kingdom of God just like a movie trailer would crop up here and there to show us a little piece of what the movie will be all about once it is released. This is actually quite biblical when we read what John the Baptist said about Jesus (“…the Kingdom of heaven has come near” Matt 3:2) and what Jesus himself says in the Lord’s Prayer (“…thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”). These and many other Scriptures point to the approaching Kingdom of God that is indeed breaking in but has not yet completely arrived.

BETTER ANSWERS!

With these thoughts in mind we are better suited to answer the questions I posed earlier.

Does God heal or doesn’t he? Yes, God heals, even today.

Is it normal and expected or not? Everyone will not be healed in this present day, although we should not place limits on what God may decide to do in our life or our church.

Should we ‘get people’s hope up’ that God might heal them and risk a drastic let down? We should teach people what the Scriptures say about healing and then invite them to the truth of God in this life whether they are healed or not.

How will this affect their perspective on God after the fact? I am sure that some will scoff at the fact that all are not healed. I am sure that some will suggest that it is because God is not that great and the whole thing is a farce. I think, however, that in some matters (such as this one) God is big enough to defend himself and will do so in good time.

I have a few other thoughts on divine healing that I want to share and I will do so in the coming days. For now, think about this: when you see the Kingdom of God breaking in here and there but maybe not where you are at the moment, do not get discouraged and assume there is something defective about your faith, about your church, or about your pastoral leadership. Rather, rejoice that the Kingdom of God is active in our world. Celebrate with those who are healed and make the name of Jesus famous. And…never, ever loose the hope that God’s Kingdom can indeed break into your life and into your church at any moment of any day.

THE WORD

James 5:13-16

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.