Phew! All Done.

I finally finished my notes for the "Daniel Masterclass" last night. It has been many hours work, but a labour of love. I'm pleased with the result. The final class is this weekend - it has gone so fast! After that I hope to make my notes more widely available.

Watch this space!


The King of the Kingdom

Eph 1:9-10 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

As you have probably gathered from my last few posts, I think Daniel 2 has lots to say about the Kingdom of God. I have only one more thing to add before I move on; probably the most important thing about the Kingdom - It's all about Jesus.

Jesus is the King of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is all about the coming rule of King Jesus. The vision of Daniel 2 is all about Jesus. He is the rock that was not cut out by human hands that struck the statue in it's legs of Iron. The four Kingdoms represented in the statue in Daniel 2 are the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greek, and the Roman empires. It was during the Roman empire (the legs of Iron), in the reign of Caesar Augustus that the Kingdom of God invaded this world in the form of a baby laid in a manger. Jesus the promised Christ had arrived.

God's eternal Kingdom plan is centered, like everything else in heaven and on earth, around the person of Jesus. He is the one who humbled himself and became obedient, even to death on a cross, and is now risen from the dead, alive, exalted and seated at the right hand of God in heaven. He is the one "Like a Son of Man" that Daniel saw in chapter 7, who came in glory on the clouds of heaven and was lead into the presence of the Ancient of Days, the one whom all peoples and nations worshiped, the one whose Kingdom will never end.

The Kingdom of God comes when all things, whether in our lives, or in the world, find their rightful place under the feet of King Jesus. His is the Kingdom, his is the power, his is the glory and all authority. And when all things have been put under his feet - he is coming again! Amen, come Lord Jesus.


Global Mission

Mk 16:15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

There is nothing small minded or parochial in the Kingdom plan of God. It has always been a plan for the whole earth. His commission to Adam was to fill the whole earth, his promise to Abraham was that he would be a blessing to the whole earth, the vision in Daniel 2 is of a rock the fills the whole earth, and our commission as believers is to the whole earth. We are called to the world!

We can't all jet around the world with international ministries, but our calling is still global. We may do most of our work at a local level in a local church, but it's important that we remember that we do it as part of God's plan for the whole world. We should rejoice at the news of what God is doing in other parts of the world. We should be glad at the opportunities to release people or finance to parts of the world we will never go to ourselves. In our prayers we should lift before God his world, and not just our neighborhood.

If the message of the Kingdom has gripped our heart we will have no problem in supporting whatever God is doing, even if it is in another region, another country, and through another church group. It is all part of the same Kingdom plan to reach the world that we ourselves are a part of. If all our thoughts, prayers and passions are only directed towards our town, our street, our neighbors, then we have not grasped the nature of the Kingdom God has called us to.


The End Times

Mt 24:26-27 "So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Understanding the Kingdom purpose of God also helps our understanding of the End Times. If we have grasped that God's plan for the church is going to end in success and not failure it helps us separate the truth from the fictional and just plain bizarre.

I am often surprised and concerned to find how influential dispensationalist ideas have become in so many Christians' Escatology. In particular the belief in a Secret Rapture, seems almost ubiquitous. This doctrine states that all the Christians will be whisked off the face of the earth, leaving the world in the control of the Anti-Christ for the final tribulation. Does that sound like God's kingdom plan to you? Is the church going to be a beleaguered remnant just holding out against a tide of evil until it can be "airlifted" to safety, or is it going to be the triumphant Bride who has filled the earth with the knowledge of the glory of God, and prepared herself for his coming?

The scriptures are clear. There is not going to be anything secret about his coming! Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him (Rev 1:7) Yes, we will be caught up to meet him in the air, but this will not be at some secret prequel to the last day, but on that last and glorious day itself.

The rock in Daniel 2 expanded until it filled the whole earth, it did not shrivel into a corner and then get beamed up into heaven. If our doctrine of the end times is one of pessimism and gloom, then we have not understood the Kingdom.


Church History

Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Some Christians take a very dim view of Church history. They see the early church explosion being followed by an extended time of compromise and dilution of the truth. They would see events like the Reformation, the Charismatic Renewal (and some even include the advent of Cell Groups!) as steps by which we are struggling back to the level of the New Testament Church.

This is not how I understand the purpose of God for the Church - past, present or future! Daniel 2 does not describe a rock that grows for 300 years, only to fall into decline for a couple of millennia, when it starts to then grow again. Nor does the rock start to grow with any modern advance of the kingdom. The rock is Christ, and the unstoppable Kingdom growth began with him!

There is nothing backward in the purpose of God, it is one of continual forward advance and increase. God's heart of Restoration is not that we might recover the level of the New Testament Church; that was just the starting point, never the destination. His plan is that we build on the pattern laid out in the New Testament, growing in numbers, stature and maturity, until we become the spotless bride he is coming back for.

Yes, there have been some dark periods in history, but even in the darkest night, God's light has still shone strong, and his Kingdom has advanced. We would not be in the faith today if it were not for those who held onto the truth in such times. People may fall, church organisations may loose their way, but God's Kingdom is unstoppable! His plan was not in trouble until we came along! If we have advanced the Kingdom it is only because of those who went before, and if we do not, then his purpose will continue on without us.

Let us be proud of our heritage of faith as Christians and not despise those who held the torch before us in this race. If we do not learn from our history, we are destined to repeat it. We do not want to be those who wander round in circles in the wilderness, but those who realise "We have been called to the Kingdom for such a time as this," and who take our place in its great eternal history of advance.


God's One Eternal Plan

Eph 3:10-11 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A correct understanding of God's Kingdom is vital for a correct understanding of God's word. God does not have many plans that all end in failure (as the dispensationalists would have us believe), but one eternal plan that is destined for success.

God's commission to Adam is the same as the great commission Christ gave to the Church. To fill the whole earth with men and women in his image who rule on his behalf. This is his eternal Kingdom purpose, to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory though a people in his image. Before the fall it was natural birth that was to have produced men and women in his image; after the cross it is spiritual birth (being born-again) that produces men and women who are being daily renewed into the image of God. The means has changed, but the purpose and plan is the same.

The vision of God's Kingdom revealed in Daniel 2, was not of many different rocks that grew and then faltered only to be replaced with another rock representing another dispensation and another administration of grace, and another plan of God destined to fail due to man's weakness; but of one rock representing the eternal kingdom plan of God that is destined to grow without any hint of faltering or failure until it fills the whole earth and accomplishes the eternal plan of he who set it in motion.

Praise God that we are part of God's eternal Kingdom plan in Christ! We are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.