In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss Jesus’ authority over Heaven and Earth and what it means for humans to rule with Jesus. The guys talk about what it will be like for God’s Kingdom to be fully realized. The Bible tells us that God’s Kingdom arrived in Jesus, but the fullness of that Kingdom is yet to come. What went wrong with the establishment of God’s Kingdom, and how does he plan to fix it?
In the first part of the episode (01:22-13:20), Tim and Jon talk about Jesus as the one who has authority over heaven and earth. What does this mean exactly, and how are humans invited into this with Jesus?
In the next part of the episode (13:40-17:29), the guys talk about the New Jerusalem that’s introduced in Revelation 22:1-5. This is a key passage in understanding how humans will serve and reign with Jesus in God’s Kingdom.
In the next part of the episode (18:02-23:22), the guys look at how God responds to humans setting up their own kingdoms. In the book of Genesis, we see that humans keep getting in the way of God’s plan. God’s covenant promise with Abraham and the children of Israel was all about trying to correct what went wrong with God establishing his Kingdom on earth. In the final part of the episode (23:45-43:37), Tim and Jon talk about Israel’s many rebellions––their rejection of God’s Kingdom and the creation of their own kingdoms. They take a look at God as King and how he challenges human kingdoms throughout the Bible. Finally, the guys talk about the tension between God being a King now but also one who will bring his Kingdom later. This is the “now and not yet” theology of the Kingdom of God.
Video: This episode is designed to accompany our video called, “Gospel of the Kingdom." You can view it on our youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmFPS0f-kzs
Scripture References: Revelation 22, Genesis 3, Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 17, Psalm 96, Isaiah 52
Show Music: Defender Instrumental by Rosasharn Music; Blue Skies by Unwritten Stories; Flooded Meadows by Unwritten Stories
Podcast Date: November 15, 2015
Speakers in the audio file:
Jon: In this episode of the Bible project podcast, we continue the conversation around
the theme of the Kingdom of God. This is Part 2. In the last part, we talked about
how the message of the Kingdom of God was central to Jesus's teachings.
Tim: If we want to understand who Jesus is and who he sees himself as we need to learn
what this term meant and how it fits into the story in the Bible.
Jon: How this theme goes all the way through the story of the Bible.
Tim: The Kingdom of God is one of these themes that runs from Page 1 to the very last
page. Literally, from Page 1 to the second to last paragraph of the Bible.
Jon: Finally, we looked at Genesis 1 and how the phrase "Image of God is a title given to
humans related to how God reigns.
Tim: So God's King. He reigns, but the Bible begin with God sharing that rule and asking
humans to embody that rule and reign over creation. So it's tied to the human
project of humans managing and ruling the world on God's behalf.
Jon: In this episode, we continue the conversation. We look at what went wrong with the
kingdom of God, and how God plans to fix it.
When Jesus comes on the scene, his main message is the Kingdom of God is
arriving. It's coming. It's here. If that's his message, then you'd have to assume that
the Image of God was lost in some way. Something happened.
Tim: Something went wrong.
Jon: Something went wrong.
Tim: Something went wrong; the image of God somehow became distorted or ruined.
Something. And that the reign of God has also—
Jon: Has a result.
Tim: Yeah, the reign of God has not been fully here or it went somewhere else.
Jon: So like, if you had just read Genesis 1 and didn't read anything else, and then you
start you believing in Jesus...
Tim: You read Matthew.
Jon: ...you read Matthew, you'd be like, "Wait a second. What happened? What went
Tim: "Where did it go? Where did the Kingdom of God go? Somewhere that it was ever
Jon: Because when you read Genesis 1, you're like, "Whoa, the kingdom is here through
the humans in this great place."
Tim: Yeah. That's how the story begins. Full of potential, humans have this amazingly
elevated, royal sacred task of embodying God's rule. In Mark summary of Jesus'
messages is: "The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God has arrived, repent and
believe the good news."
So the Kingdom of God is here in a new surprising way that forces you to repent,
which means to take stock. You need to respond in some way because this is worldaltering
news. So you can't be neutral to Jesus' announcement because the whole
world is being affected by the arrival of the kingdom.
Matthew concludes with Jesus saying, "Go out to all nations. With the good news, I
have authority over heaven and earth now." That Jesus is the one ruling and
reigning. Luke, for example, it flows into Acts where the gospel is of Jesus is Lord of
heaven and earth and over all nations. So go out to the nations.
Jon: Is this connected into this whole idea of the new Adam that Paul develops?
Tim: Yeah, yeah, that's closely connected. Jesus is the new...He's the image of God and
he's the type of Adam that Jesus and people connected to him are the new humans.
I mean, we're coming around to it. It's also why the second to last paragraph of the
Bible in the book of Revelation...I mean, just go to the very end of the document of
Revelation 22:1-5 end with: The New Jerusalem, heaven has come down to earth,
there's the river of the water of life flowing out of the throne of God and of the
lamb. So they're on thrones, ruling and reigning, God and Jesus.
In the middle of the city, you've got the tree of life. You've got the leaves of the tree
for the healing of the nations. There's no more curse. It's all from Genesis.
The throne of God and of the Lamb there are in the city. And his servants will serve
Him. So there you have a people who are serving and worshiping God and Jesus, the
king. They'll see his face, his name's on their foreheads, there'll be no more night,
they won't need light of a lamp, or the light of the sun - the Lord will give them light,
and they will reign forever and ever.
Jon: They referring to?
Tim: To the servants.
Jon: The servants will reign.
Tim: So you're like, "Wait, God's on the throne and the servants are serving, but then the
last thing is "and they will reign forever and ever." It's not even that we've gone back
to the garden. It's that where the story of the garden went wrong, we're picking up
from that point onward, and moving forward into new uncharted territory, where
humans, again, are ruling and reigning over God's creation.
Jon: But it took a new human to come—
Tim: It took God I'm binding himself to humanity to be the image of God on our behalf.
That's how the incarnation fits into this.
Jon: Yeah. So the task of being image-bearer was too difficult. Is that a fair way to say?
Tim: There were to Genesis 3. So what went wrong, there was a breakdown in the
relationship, there was a distrust, and humans embraced a narrative that says, "God's
holding out on us, that He doesn't have our best in mind. It will be better for us if we
define good and evil for ourselves." And so that breakdown the relationship, creates
this rift between God and the bearers of God's image.
So the narrative the Bible then is God so closely binds himself to humans in the
incarnation of Jesus. That He becomes the human that were made to be, and then
through Him, we become the humans that we are made to be. And then we can get
the story back on track again.
Jon: Let me try to summarize what I'm hearing. God creates humans as the image bears
to rule over creation. So creation are servants to humans in this kind of metaphor. Or
Tim: Yeah. And there you have to get in the story more. Yeah, birds and so on. But even
there, what does that mean to rule and reign? Chapter 2 flushes that out in terms of
Tim: Animal has been—
Jon: Not like make them slaves and have them pay taxes and build yourself an empire.
Tim: No, it's be gardeners. Gardeners. I mean, humans are gardeners. They are made to
garden in chapter 2.
Jon: But if you're going to be a ruler, you need to be ruling over something. In this case
that something is the creation.
Tim: The created order itself. Which left to its own devices will flourish and be quite
happy on its own, but there's even more creative potential if it's cultivated.
Jon: So to rule as humans over creation is to be cultivators, to be gardeners?
Tim: To be the cultivators. And that's what I think the word "subdue" is there. "Rule and
subdue" in Genesis 1 is about harnessing the potential and then harnessing it and
guiding it towards new things that would never have just grown.
It's the same thing like if you let patch of your forest grove, you will never grow a
garden with tomatoes for the world. But humans can do that.
Jon: Bringing order out of chaos.
Tim: Order out of chaos. So ruling is not about abusing. That's not the vision.
Tim: Some people have said that's what they think Genesis 1 has unleashed on Western
cultures, this objectified view of nature and so on. But that's not the vision.
Jon: But I think what I was kind of getting out was we're just to rule and that rule of a
creation not in a destructive way. But not rule because we're the end all be all, but
because we are bearing the image of rule from something, this divine being, that's
more transcendent than us, who's created all this.
So what went wrong, well, you are saying there was this mistrust. Because it's an
interesting relationship to be in, where you're supposed to be ruling, "Hey, I'm the
ruler," but then really I'm not completely. I'm actually just reflecting that reign
through myself. I'm actually just a conduit of that.
The problem becomes wanting to define good and evil ourselves saying, "I don't
want to be that conduit. I just want to rule."
Tim: Yeah, and define the terms of rule the way I see it.
Jon: Define it how it makes sense for me to define it.
Tim: Yeah. I mean, it's the story of middle management in America. It's sort of like, "I have
real responsibility as a manager over a franchise, over a subway or something like
that, but I don't get to determine the core values or the vision of this company.
That's already been decided for me." So as a manager, I have this responsibility to
really make things happen here in the—
Jon: Managers are not shareholders. I mean, we do have an inheritance?
Tim: Yeah, yeah. There may be ways that the analogy doesn't work. I can't think of it right
now. But I think right now, for this point, it's a good metaphor.
Jon: It's just a really unique solution in some ways for God to say, "Oh, well, then let me
fuse with humanity in order to show, 'no this is how you do it.'" Right?
Tim: Yeah. And not just to show but to be it.
Jon: To be it. To be the thing that He created us to be.
Tim: Right. And then the nature of the incarnation of Jesus as Messiah and of us as His
people is that the image of God becomes restored in us as we attach ourselves more
Jon: I think what's interesting is you would think, "Okay, so what God's going to do - He's
the King - He'll come as the King and He'll say, 'Hey, guys, I'm the King,'" and kind of
like flex the muscles and say, "Get back to work."
Tim: Right, right, right.
Jon: But what happened with Jesus is he came as human and said, "Hey, guys, let me
show you and actually do for you what hasn't been done." Which is just a really
surprising way to go about this.
Tim: Yeah. The form of the biblical story is very counterintuitive. It's surprising. It's news. It
really is. When you get your head around it, you're like, "Wow, that's really
remarkable how this story works."
Jon: When you say "Good news gospel," the context for me is more sacrifice and
Tim: Oh, right, right, right.
Jon: So here, you're kind of saying, part of the news is the reign of God was somehow
fractured and Jesus is actually reinstating it by being the true image bearer on our
behalf. And that's good news.
Tim: Yeah. And the reason I'm saying that's the news is because the only times that Jesus
use the good news was connected to the arrival of the Kingdom. So I just put it at
the top of the notes here.
But in Mark summary of Jesus' core message, Mark 1:15: "After John was arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God saying, 'The time is fulfilled,
the reign or the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the goodness.'" So
the good news is that the kingdom of God has arrived in Jesus. Which means that he
is the truly human one who's going to address the core problem.
Tim: Now, that's the drama of the gospel is Jesus trying to unpack what he means
uniquely when he says, "The reign of Goddess here" versus everyone else's
expectations for what they hear when they hear him saying—
Jon: Because we've been focusing on Genesis 1, but there's a whole bunch of Kingdom
language all through.
Tim: Yeah. So we're getting ahead of ourselves really. Which is the second great trivia
question, which is, where's the first time that God is said to reign or be a king in the
Jon: I don't know. I would have to guess. I want to guess that it's late. It's in 1 Samuel.
Tim: That's not good. Yes. Oh, sorry. That's not wrong.
Jon: You had me all excited.
Tim: Yeah, you're wrong. But you are right in that an important statement about God
being King is in 1 Samuel, where they say, "We want to King like all the other
nations, people of Israel." And then God says, "Okay, let them have their king,
they've rejected me as their king."
The first time it appears is at the climax of the Exodus story. here's how the story
works. We've already talked about Genesis 3 to 11. The humans rebel, they don't
trust. Middle managers who want too much power, they want to define the values
and vision and direction of the company for themselves and forget the board.
Jon: And shareholders.
Tim: So they set up an alternate kingdom, which in Genesis 3 to 11 takes the form of
Adam and Eve. Then they rebel and they're banished from the garden. Then there's
the murder of Cain and Abel. And then Cain goes and builds the first city. Then that
city results in the city of Lamech, who sings this poem about violence and so on. And
then that line runs all the way through the kingdom of Babylon and it's great tower
and so on.
So the Tower of Babylon is the culmination of the fall story. And it's of human
setting up an alternate kingdom, where we will build a city with a tower that reaches
up to the gods. So in the Bible, this kingdom is called the world. Paul calls it the
kingdom of this world, this age, the age of sin and death. But it's this alternate
Jon: It's alternate reigning.
Tim: ...where our will is done.
Jon: Okay. And that theme begins with Cain?
Tim: Yeah. Adam and Eve, it's about distrust, but it's the cane story that begins the human
project of ruling and reigning, making a city and organizing efforts and so on. And it
ends up in Babylon, which is this huge FU to God as in the storyline.
So I think in the video in terms of plot tension, I wanted to begin with, "Here's what
humans made to rule and to reign." The relationship breaks down and humans still
go and rule and reign but they do it on their own terms and they make an alternate
Jon: Because we can't help us to do that?
Tim: That's right. We multiply like rabbit and we make neighborhoods and communities
and organize ourselves. So we make a kingdom.
Jon: And we use our imagination and we created all these things that were part of the
image bearing task.
Tim: Yeah. So then the story the Bible becomes stories of clashing kingdoms, of God
constantly trying to invade our kingdom and save us from ourselves and us
constantly wanting to push God out of the equation.
Tim: What's God's response to humans setting up their own rebellious kingdom? Well,
He's going to choose the family of Abraham and liberate them from the age of sin
and death - from the kingdom, from the ultimate kingdom, which in the story takes
the form of the Exodus. So Israel is enslaved to the big, bad Pharaoh, who becomes
this icon of humanity's alternate kingdom and rebellion against God.
So it got me thinking, but it's true in the prophets, Egypt and Babylon become these
icons of the nations and rebellion against God. And that's why in the book of
Revelation, God's judge the seven plagues, the seven bowls, the seven trumpets are
all the 10 plagues in a blender. It was the Egyptian 10 plagues in a blender. And then
the culmination revelation is the downfall of Babylon.
So Revelation is the defeat of Egypt/Babylon as these icons of the human Kingdom
in rebellion against God. Anyway. It's interesting the way they...
Pharaoh was the Ramesses III or topmost. There are all these debates about. The
story itself totally doesn't care. It cares that the events are rooted in history but it
removes any personal historical identification of who Pharaoh is, I think because it
wants to typify Pharaoh as this iconic image of humans and rebellion.
Jon: Which is what we did in our Exodus videos.
Tim: It's what we did in the Exodus video, yeah. The whole thing is it's a typical human
kingdom. It's about national security. It's about economy. And those two things
justify the enslavement of a whole people group killing their babies to make cities
that just are storehouses for the kingdom. So it's all of a sudden, the first human
superpower we see.
Abraham interacts with kings who are kings over cities or something, but Egypt is
the first superpower we see in the Bible.
Jon: Empire. Or is it not Empire?
Tim: Well, it's not at this point. It becomes that in the story in terms of expanding.
Tim: But it's the first human full-scale kingdom and it thrives on injustice.
Jon: So Babylon was a foreshadow of that, but it didn't work?
Tim: Yeah, Babylon is the culmination of the human city. It's Cane City leads to Babylon as
the human city. But Egypt is the first developed portrait of a full-scale human
kingdom. Pharaoh's the worst character in the Bible to that point, and it's a whole
system, a whole social system and thrives on enslaving and killing another minority
group. It's a depiction.
So here's the basic structure of Exodus story. You have this human Kingdom in
rebellion against God. So what does God do? God challenges that kingdom. Pharaoh
says, "I don't care and the gloves are off. Super intense conflict. And God defeats evil
like defeats evil to the ground. You know, 10 plagues and then Pharaoh and his army
destroyed in the water.
Jon: He opens up the can.
Tim: The Israelites are saved; they are liberated from Pharaoh's kingdom. It's the first
worship song in the Bible - Exodus 15. It begins: "I will sing to the LORD, he is highly
exalted. Horse and rider he has hurled into the sea - referring to Pharaoh. The LORD
is my strength, my defense; he has become my salvation." Again, that's a first-time
"salvation" is used in the Bible.
"He is my God, I will praise him, my father's God, I will exalt him." The poem goes on.
The last line of the poem is the Lord the God of Israel reigns as King forever and
ever. It's first time that God is described as a King.
So in terms of the picture then, what does it look like when God's Kingdom arrives
Jon: The oppressors are freed.
Tim: It's a confrontation...Well, yeah, you tell me.
Jon: Those who are being oppressed are freed. But you were just about to say, well, first,
there's got to be a confrontation with that power.
Tim: Yeah, I was just kind of thinking through that you have God's Kingdom arrives when
He comes to defeat evil when He liberates His people out of that oppressive evil into
a new freedom. And then He invites them to live under His reign - Come into Mount
Sinai, entering the covenant living under God's reign through the laws of the Torah.
So, the next phase of the Kingdom story then has the shape of God as King
confronting evil, liberating people, and inviting them to live under his alternate reign
as a contrast community to the world and its kingdoms.
Tim: I think you can condense the story of Israel really quickly here then. So they do really
Jon: Which the Old Testament doesn't do.
Tim: The Old Testament takes a long time to tell the story of Israel failing to live under
the reign of God. They come to have kings of their own but even the origins of that
come out of the strange rejection of God in the story that you would have thought
"We want a king like all the other nations" as opposed to saying, "We want to be
more faithful to the God of Israel and live under His reign as our king and help us do
that." They say, "No, we want to be like Egypt and Babylon. We want a king who will
have absolute power."
Jon: This is kind of side note. Is God's ideal for Israel wasn't to have kings?
Tim: Well, that's a really interesting question. That narrative in 1 Samuel 8-15, the people
asked for a king, Samuel gets ticked. He goes to God and God says, "Hey, listen they
don't want me as their King so give them what they want." But God anticipated the
Israel would have kings.
One of the whole sections and Deuteronomy is called the law of the king. And when
you appoint a king for yourselves, he should be like this.
Jon: And all the prophecies around Judah.
Tim: Yeah, that the Royal Kings would come from the line of Judah. I think maybe it was
an inevitability, but the idea at least—
Jon: You seem to pause to it a little bit. I don't know. You just seemed kind of like, no
that's not the best thing.
Tim: Yeah. And so, if Israel was going to have a king would be a fundamentally different
kind of king than the other nations. Deuteronomy 17, the law of the king is he
doesn't amass an army, he doesn't amass a lot of gold, he doesn't import horses
Jon: Kind of a dumb king.
Tim: And really he is to be a Bible scholar. He has his own copy of the Torah that he hand
writes out himself.
Jon: This guy sounds like he could get beat pretty easily. A geek.
Tim: Even the ideal depiction of Israelite King is like a priest and a Bible guy. Again, it's an
alternate. It's a contrast. Israel was to be a contrast kingdom that embodied the
reign of a different kind of divine King. So Saul's definitely not bad. Even David, the
man after God's own heart, he very imperfectly realizes God's reign. Same with
Solomon and then it all goes down—
Jon: Were we talking about this or is it another conversation that just when in Kings when
they go through the kings it's like some of them are good, but even those it's kind of
like, "Yeah, I guess we're good."
Tim: Yeah. Even the best kings in the Book of Kings get just a B- rating.
Jon: And overwhelmingly the kings are not.
Tim: Yeah. There's 40 Kings mentioned between the two northern and southern
kingdoms and only get a B- rating. The point was that the Israelite kings were to be
subordinate to God's kingship. It was to be an image of the Genesis 1 story. It's
interesting because the Genesis 1 story is much flatter than that. So it's kind of puts
us wrinkle in it. So it kind of would make sense that God's like, "You don't need a
king. You don't get it."
Tim: Oh, well, the humans are the kings and queens in Genesis 1.
Jon: So the kings and queens are saying, "Why don't we actually make another king
above us below God?" They are complicating the hierarchy.
Tim: Totally. And that's the brilliance of Samuel speech to the people, his warning to
them in 1 Samuel 12. It's such a great speech. It sounds like a tea partier. I'm not
Jon: Like a libertarian?
Tim: Yes, I suppose. Did I say 1 Samuel 12? I meant 1 Samuel 8. When they first come and
say, "Give us a king like all the other nations," and it goes, "This will be the way of
the king who reigns over you. He'll take your children, appoint them to run
alongside his chariots. He'll appoint for himself commanders, some to plow his
ground and reap his harvest." Which is a play because the land was to belong
equally to all the tribes, but a king's going to come and annex all that land for the
Royal vineyards, and so on. So it'll be his harvest now.
"He'll use your children to make his implements of war. He'll take your daughters to
make perfume and to be cooks and bakers. He'll take the best of your field."
Samuel knows that the vision of the tribes unified under the kingship of Yahweh
their God is this ideal vision and that centralized kingdom is going to compromise
Jon: But they wanted a centralized kingdom because the other nations had one and it
would just seem safer. It seemed like a good strategy here.
Tim: And the Philistines are breathing down their neck. I mean, they just got whooped by
the Philistines in chapters 4 to 7. So they have an external threat and they have a
desire to be like the other nations. So it's hard. It's hard to be a contrast community.
It's hard to be a minority.
Jon: That's the thing. Like all this kingdom of God stuff, it's really ridiculously dumb. Like,
love your enemies, don't worry, pray for those who persecute you, don't centralize
your army. It's like, really? Don't you know, we're just going to get destroyed?
Tim: Yeah, that's right. The upside down nature of the kingdom that Jesus announces is in
sync with the kind of Kingdom Israel was called to be but never actually became.
Isn't that interesting?
So after the Exodus story, God invites Israel to live under His reign. So there's a triad
developing if you can see here - a king forming a people who will live under his
reign. Genesis 1.
Jon: And God does that through the Exodus story?
Tim: God does through Exodus king, people living under his reign. There are two
movements here that will follow, maybe feel predictable to you to wire these theme
videos is that the Kingdom of Israel crumbles. And the biblical poets still believe that
God was king of the whole world. But just like in Egypt in the Exodus, there are still
Pharaohs of this world that don't recognize the rule and the reign of God. So you
get this dual nature of God's kingdom where God is king but we're still waiting for
the kingdom to come.
There's a section of Psalms that explore this tension poetically - Psalm 93 to 99 - that
are all about the kingship of God. They are really, really interesting. In the notes here,
there's a line from Psalm 96: 10-13. And you can see it here.
Verse 10, "Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns as King." It's the same line as
from the Exodus song. "The Lord reigns is King. The world is firmly established; it
cannot be moved. He judges the people with equity." So the God's King. "The
world's firm, it's his good world. He made it. He's king over it. Let the heavens
rejoice, let earth be glad, let the sea resound and all this in it. Let the field be jubilant
everything in them, let the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice
before the Lord for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the earth in
righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness."
So there's recognition that God is king but there's some need for his kingdom to
come here in a way that it brings righteousness and justice and truth that's not fully
here in the present. It's the now and the not yet. God's king but He rules and heaven
where His will is done, but here we live among the pharaohs that don't acknowledge
the reign of God. And so we're waiting for God to come.
Jon: Kind of phrase that Proverbs use "we live amongst the Pharaohs." Or is that just kind
Tim: No, that's kind of mine - paraphrased. That's why Solomon is depicted as Pharaoh.
Jon: He is?
Tim: He is. He' is the first king to institute slave labor, he institute's horses from Egypt
specifically and he amasses more wealth and he begins to enslave people to build
his palace. So Israel becomes Egypt in the story. Just like Israel becomes Canaan in
the book of Judges, Israel becomes Egypt. So the Pharaohs the Solomons. And then
the moment Solomon dies, the kingdom fractures because people hated him so
Jon: Wow. That's not the depiction of Solomon I'm used to.
Tim: I know, yeah. I can't wait for our video on kings. So the Pharaohs of the world is this
acknowledgment of our way of making kingdoms, which inevitably become
Jon: When you're the smartest guy it becomes extra oppressive.
Tim: Yeah like Solomon. He had his bright moments. He's not only bad.
Tim: It's a realistic depiction of human kingdoms. Even the best human kingdoms are
instruments of evil. So Psalm 96 has this tension. God is still King, but we're waiting
for him to become king fully here on earth.
Jon: Which is connected to judgment.
Tim: Which is connected to Him bringing justice. He's coming to judge the earth, which
we hear judge is negatively in Bible that's positive, because you come to establish
equity and justice. And in the Bible justice means specifically that the powers that be
kept accountable and the poor and the vulnerable—
Jon: Wrongs are righted.
Tim: Wrongs are righted. And specifically the poor are cared for. We didn't have time to
go there. But the depiction of the Messianic King in Psalm 72, the two things are:
agriculture flourishes and the poor are taken care of. That's the sign of the Messianic
Kingdom in Psalm 72. Very interesting. So justice is a good thing. It's something that
the trees rejoice about.
Isaiah's way of retaining that hope was the same. This is the passage that Jesus saw
himself bringing into reality. Isaiah 52:7: "How beautiful on the mountains are the
feet of those who bring good news." It's the word gospel.
Jon: Why does Isaiah term that mountains and feet hills.
Tim: Oh, yeah, yeah, got it. It's all looked down at the beginning of verse 8. "Listen! Your
watchmen lift up their voices." It's a little poetic movie scene he's painting of night
watchman on the walls of a city above the gates. They're waiting for crucial news of
a messenger coming from the hills. So crucial news. There's been a great defeat,
exile, defeat. It's been a horrific time for Israel. You have watchmen on the walls who
are waiting to hear a message.
Jon: Which city are they in at this point?
Jon: They are in Jerusalem.
Tim: So all of a sudden, you see this messenger appearing over the hills. How beautiful on
the hills are the feet of those? And what are they bringing? They're bringing good
Jon: Why does he call it his feet?
Tim: Because he's running. The messenger is running.
Jon: There's beautiful feet running.
Tim: Beautiful feet who bring good news. Sort of like saying, "That's the best news I've
heard all day or something like that. Now, here's something else interesting.
Kingdom - is that the phrase good news is you specifically of royal activity too. If you
do a word study on good news, it's used to describe the reign of a new king.
When David dies, Solomon's brother tries to pull a coup and become king before
Solomon does. No, it's right before David dies, excuse me. And they send out
messengers of good news saying, "Adonai [unintelligible 00:36:47] reigns king. It's
called good news. It occurs a handful of times in the Hebrew Bible and it's always
connected to the reign of the new King or of a battle won by a king.
Even the phrase "gospel," like image of God, it's a term that Jewish would hear—
Jon: So it's not just like any news. It's not like, "Oh, hey, your sister had a baby. Good
news." It was like, the battle was won.
Tim: Yeah. Good news is a royal term.
Jon: So in our setting, it would be like, "The war's over."
Tim: The war is over. Or even more like a new president has been sworn into office.
Jon: Right. So we have good news every 48 years.
Tim: Every 48 years we have that goodness. Look at how Isaiah 52 works here. You have
watchmen on a city wall. There's been a great defeat, it's dark, we're waiting for
good news. How beautiful are the feet of the messengers? They're bringing good
news about what? About peace. They're bringing good news. It's about salvation.
They're saying to Zion, "Your God reigns as King." It's the same line as the Exodus -
from the Exodus song.
Jon: So some guy coming back for more, telling Jerusalem, God is ruling.
Tim: "God of Israel is still King. So think to attitude of exiles, people who are in Babylon,
or just come back from Babylon, the temples in ruins, Jerusalem's defeated, the
kings from the line of David were taken captive and executed and we're waiting for
the news. Is the covenant still on? Is the God of Israel still going to redeem us or
redeem the world? Good news, peace, salvation. Yahweh the God of Israel is still
King. No matter what Babylon has done, no matter the exile.
Jon: So there's going to be peace, God still is king.
Tim: God is still King. So listen, the watchman, they've seen the messenger and heard the
good news. So now they're going to turn down from the walls and shout out into
the city. They're going to shout for joy. When Yahweh the God of Israel, when the
Lord returns to Zion, they're going to see it with their own eyes. Not only is their
God still King, but He's on a victory procession back.
Then the prophet addresses Jerusalem. Burst into songs of joy, you ruin of
Jerusalem. The Lord's comforted his people, he's redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord will
lay bare His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.
Jon: Where's that phrase?
Jon: "Lay bare his holy arm" is a phrase from the Exodus story, where with an
outstretched arm God redeemed his people. The exile is not the end of the story,
there's another greater—
Jon: This is not a guy flexing his muscles lay bare his holy arms.
Tim: No, but it is something of like he's going to act in a new way. God's arm is his power
Jon: About to bring the people with him.
Tim: It's like we might say rolling up our sleeves to get to work or something like that.
Look, he's going to comfort his people and redeem Jerusalem. But what he does for
his people, Israel is directly connected to the mission of the blessing of Abraham for
all his salvation to go to all the ends of the earth.
Now, this is also fascinating, because...This is near the end of Isaiah 52, which is the
chapter right before Isaiah 53. Isiah 53 begins, "Who's believed our message, who's
believed our report, to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
So Isaiah 53 then says, "Yahweh salvation came. Not only did no one believe it, but
people rejected the very king who came to bring the message. And then it's the
sufferings servant of Isaiah 53. So these chapters I think were crucial for Jesus' selfunderstanding
and understanding his vocation, and what it meant for him to bring
the kingdom. Because how would Jesus be exalted as king and what kind of
Kingdom did he see himself bringing?
So all of this, God's going to come personally and return to his people as King. He's
going to form a new people, liberate them, confront evil, and then invite them to live
under his reign.
Jon: That was Part 2 in our three-part series on the kingdom of God. Up next is Tim and I
talking about how Jesus saw himself as fulfilling that mission of bringing the
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