Showing posts with label Kingdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kingdom. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A Distinction Too Fine

Some writers distinguish between the phrases “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” in the New Testament, asserting they are intended to mean different things. This post from is a typical example. Gaines R. Johnson claims, “Knowing the doctrinal difference between the terms ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Kingdom of God’ is the key to understanding the complete time line of Biblical history past, present, and future, the proper place of the Church and the prophetic future of Israel.”

That’s a stack of pretty impressive claims, and it warrants a bit of investigation.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Good Seed and the Outer Darkness

Those of us who love to study the word of God often spend a pleasant hour or two comparing scripture with scripture in meditation, and by seeking to understand its concepts by grabbing our concordances and tracing the way its writers use various words and phrases.

Sometimes this is fruitful. Other times it can be perplexing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Reflections on the Way to the Crematorium

So I’m on my way to the crematorium the other day …

It occurs to me that line probably requires a bit of backstory. It wasn’t a people crematorium. Technically, it wasn’t even traditional cremation. No fire was involved. This was a “green alternative” process known as aquamation, or water cremation, which uses 90% less energy to produce the same ash residue as intense heat would.

It’s also half the price of regular cremation, and it was for pets, one of which lay in a Walmart bag on my back seat.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Line of the Forever King

“To you in David’s town this day
 Is born of David’s line
 A Savior, who is Christ the Lord
 And this shall be the sign …”

— from While Shepherds
    Watched Their Flocks

The Messiah of Israel had to be from the tribe of Judah. Not just that, he had also to be of the specific line of David, Israel’s greatest king, and the “man after [God’s] own heart”.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Times and Places

Regular readers of the gospels cannot help but notice that Jesus often repeats himself.

When we think about it, this makes perfect sense. The things he said to crowds in Jerusalem were not heard by his audiences in Galilee, and vice versa. A certain amount of repetition, especially of the Lord’s most important teachings, is to be expected.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Of Generals and Foot Soldiers

Seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

Here is a tall order, no? How exactly do we seek God’s kingdom?

Oh, I know we all have some kind of mental picture in view when we pray “Thy kingdom come.” I certainly always do. During the eight years of Barack Obama’s stewardship of the U.S., I regularly imagined the man’s surprise at getting his just desserts one day. I look forward to all deceivers being shown to the world for exactly what they are: right, left and apolitical alike. I picture the enthroned Christ dispensing justice, the wolf lying down with the lamb, and ultimate truth, love and discernment dictating all aspects of world governance.

There are all kinds of ways we may picture the kingdom. But seeking it? That’s something else. It seems like the sort of aspiration in which one’s reach easily exceeds one’s grasp.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Quote of the Day (41)

In a week when the usual suspects have been howling for a “disproportionate response” to the downing of a U.S. navy spy drone, it’s refreshing to find a commentator who prefers violent provocations be met with no response at all.

Don’t worry, this is not about the Strait of Hormuz or what constitutes Iranian airspace. The provocation is storyline-only, and the response to it is disproportionate only if you fail to consider the circumstances in which it occurs.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Quote of the Day (40)

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The book of Acts begins with this question.

Jesus does not answer it directly. Instead, the Lord draws his disciples’ attention away from Israel’s earthly kingdom and redirects it to their mission promoting his spiritual kingdom in this present age. After this, he is taken up into glory.

Some read this to mean there will be no restoration to national prominence for the Jews. Others believe the restoration of the kingdom to Israel is fulfilled in the Church’s present ministry on earth.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Not About Me

Luke records a parable Jesus told about a persistent widow and an unrighteous judge. The point to be taken from it, Luke says, is that we “ought always to pray and not lose heart”.

I have been reading that same parable over and over for half a century as if it has to do with my personal needs of the day, or week, or month. Persist, we have been taught, and God will give you the thing for which you beseech him. Can we get an amen, brothers and sisters?

One of the things it takes some people fifty years of praying to learn is this: prayer is not all about me.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

On the Mount (6)

In my previous posts in this series I’ve been attempting to demonstrate the extent to which the content of the Sermon on the Mount, while often looking forward, remains inextricably tied to the Old Testament.

But the kingdom of heaven with which the Sermon is deeply concerned is itself a New Testament concept — a new frame, a new way of describing the government of God on earth. First proclaimed by John the Baptist, the kingdom occupies a central place in the teaching of the Lord Jesus. You will not find the phrase in your Bible prior to (or, rather remarkably, after) Matthew’s gospel, where it occurs 31 times.*

Before going much deeper into the Sermon, we need to pause briefly to consider what “kingdom of heaven” means.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tom 1, John the Baptist 0

Jim Plunkett when he was
not winning Superbowls
Congratulate me, gentle reader. I have officially beaten John the Baptist.

Oh, he put up a good fight. Taking on the Jewish religious establishment was brave. Living on a diet of locusts and wild honey was certainly evidence of great devotion to his job, not to mention that he spent way, way less than I do on his wardrobe. Excellent stewardship there. And that whole martyrdom thing, well ... it’s a pretty special honor to die for what you believe. I’m not sure I’m up to that at all.

But I won anyway. How do you like them apples!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Blue Bloods and Bloodlines

“Family is the most important thing in the world.” (Princess Diana)
“Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” (Lilo and Stitch)
Whether it’s the personal opinion of a famous celebrity or the theme of a Disney movie, society is not about to run out of bon mots about family anytime soon.

I picked a couple of comparatively moderate ones, the sentiment dialed back to 3 or 4 on the goo meter. If you are in any doubt just how saccharine and cloying such expressions can be, try finding a Hallmark birthday card that accurately reflects your thoughts about spouse, child, parent or sibling. You’ll catch on quickly.

But I read this morning that just 26% of those between age 18 and 33 are married. The current generation is building families approximately only two-thirds as quickly as the generation before them, and at roughly only half the rate of the generation before that.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Christians and the Media: Field Day

People who have not spent a great deal of time around serious Christians are often surprised, on the rare occasions when they finally do, to find that we are not always exactly the way we are frequently portrayed in popular culture.

Some Christians, notably Cory Copeland, a writer for Relevant, think any disconnect between the way we are portrayed in the media and the way we actually behave is … kind of our fault, actually.
“The truth is that there are some so-called Christians who quite closely mirror the Christian characters we watch on television and film. They’re loud and proud and angry in God. They stare down their “opponents” with judgmental eyes and damning language. They protest funerals and vomit epithets at people they’ve deemed sinners.                                                                        
And on some level, most of us are guilty of some of this type of behavior. Maybe not to those extremes, but we too judge, condemn and feel “better than,” while refusing to admit our own faults. For the more dogmatic Christians and for us, it doesn’t matter that how we behave, how we treat people, how void we are of love and grace is a direct and vicious contradiction of everything the Bible teaches us of God and His ways.”
Okay, so … Fred Phelps. Bit of a straw man, Cory.