Maybe you have heard the term Advancing Kingdom, that also is the name of this blog, and wonder what it is all this fuss about?
Well, I will try to outline what I mean with Advancing Kingdom in this post.
First we need to dive through some questions like, What Kingdom are we talking of ? Advancing, how? From when?
In Genesis God gives man a mandate to rule the world and care for it. When Jesus is coming to earth as a man, he starts to share the good news about the Kingdom over and over again. Actually more than 100 times in the gospels. That is his second most important message together with the message about the Father. Reason why the Romans put a sign on his cross saying, “King of the Jews”.
Jesus did not come with a new message instead he goes back to the roots of the mission for man kind, talking about Gods family and its Kingdom to rule earth.
Isaiah puts it like this when prophesying about Jesus, 700 years BC.
”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV
- A child will be born.
- He will be responsible for a government.
- Of the increase of this government there will be no end.
- And his Kingdom to uphold it and establish it.
- From this time and forever.
- When Jesus comes as a child it all starts.
- So Isaiah sees Jesus come to earth to establish his Kingdom, with no end, and increasing or advancing forevermore.
- 100 years later, at year 603BC, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about the future that Daniel interprets.
”You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:31-35 ESV
”Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” Daniel 2:39-45 ESV
- Even though there are some disagreement about these four empires, the traditional interpretation of the dream identifies the empires as the Babylonian (the head), Medo-Persian (arms and shoulders), Greek (thighs and legs), and Roman (the feet) empires.
- But the fifth empire Daniel sees is a Kingdom, that will never be destroyed. A stone that will become a huge mountain. This stone, not cut with human hands is Jesus.
- NT is then full of references back to this story of Jesus as a stone.
So both Isaiah and Daniel in these scriptures are talking about a Kingdom that will come and grow, increase and advance until it covers the whole earth.
So when did Jesus become King then?
After the cross when he ascended to heaven he sat down together with his Father being the King.
”The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalms 103:19 ESV
This Kingdom of God, is not like human empires as our weapons are not of this world. It is a different Kingdom, that is established within us and among us when we receive and acknowledge Jesus as King in and over our lives.
Wherever Jesus is glorified as King is where his Kingdom is established. So the Kingdom is not limited to the Church, but everywhere we establish Jesus as King, with help of the Church, his body doing this.
”He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” Colossians 1:13 ESV
This Kingdom´s King took its authority and keys back defeating Satan on the cross (Cristus Victor). From that moment the Kingdom started to advance on earth as a process at the same time darkness is still on the earth until we as his people have filled the whole earth with his glory. Then Jesus will come back to earth and final judgement will come and a new heaven and new earth will be established and we will live in this Kingdom on earth forever.
Therefore Jesus is talking about the Kingdom as a mustard seed or the leaven. His message was, it might start small, but it will be the biggest three and the dough will be processing until fully leavened.
”He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:31-33 ESV
Habakkuk saw this and prophesied
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14 ESV
Isaiah again, it will start with a small child in a stable in the middle of nowhere and become a Kingdom of peace with no end.
This is the Advancing Kingdom!
This should make us positive about the future!
This should clarify our purpose to be Salt & Light in this world, to make it a better place by establishing Jesus as King, everywhere we go, we live or we work.