Thursday, October 04, 2007

Building a Culture of Faithfulness (Part 4)

The King Administers His Kingdom

The stage is now set for us to understand the unfolding plan of God throughout history. We understand this plan because God has revealed himself and his plan infallibly in the Bible.

God’s central purpose in history is to glorify himself as the Lord[i]

God’s lordship has two primary aspects.

  • His rule of loving sovereignty.
  • His relationship of fellowship with human beings by dwelling with them forever.

Note this two-fold lordship reflected in key biblical statements.

  • “I will be their God and they will be my people.” This relationship began with the creation of man in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27). It has been formalized throughout history in terms of covenants between God and man (Gen 17:7; Lev 11:45; 22:31-33; 25:28; 26:44-45; Num 15:41; Deut 29:12-13; Jer 7:23; 11:4; 30:22; 31:1, 33; 32:28; Ezek 11:20; 14:11; 36:28; Zech 8:8; 13:9; Rev 21:3, 7).
  • “I will dwell among them.” God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve (Gen 3:8). But after sin entered the picture, God’s dwelling with men was limited and mediated. God later established his dwelling place in the tabernacle (later Temple) in Israel (Ex 25:8; 34:26; Lev 26:11-12; Deut 12:5, 11; Ps 74:7). In our day, God’s dwelling place on earth is the church by his Spirit (2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:22). In the end times, God will fully restore his dwelling with men (Ezek 37:27; Rev 21:3; 22:4).

God accomplishes his purpose by administering his kingdom[ii]

The Administration of Dominion Blessing—Genesis 1:1-11:26

  • Edenic phase (Gen 1:1-2:25)
  • Adamic phase (Gen 3:1-6:8)
  • Noahic phase (Gen 6:9-11:26; Job) – Noahic or universal covenant

The Administration of National Blessing—Genesis 11:27-Malachi 4:6

  • Patriarchal phase (Gen 11:27-50:26) – Abrahamic or patriarchal covenant
  • Mosaic phase (Ex 1:1-1 Sam 15) – Mosaic or national covenant
  • Davidic phase (1 Sam 15-Mal 4:6) – Davidic or royal covenant

The Administration of Messianic Blessing—Matthew 1:1-Revelation 22:21

  • Church phase (Matt 1:1-Rev 3:22) – New covenant inaugurated
  • Messianic kingdom phase (Rev 4:1-22:21) – New covenant fulfilled

Each part in this process reveals and accomplishes God’s rule and also his fellowship with mankind. God’s goal for human history is to glorify Himself by establishing his rule of loving sovereignty and fellowship with men and by dwelling with them forever (Rom 11:36; Rev 4:11; 21-22).

Jesus Shall Reign
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Jesus shall reign where’re the sun

Does his successive journeys run.

His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Where He displays His healing power,

Death and the curse are known no more;

In Him the tribes of Adam boast

More blessings than their father lost.

[i] Ex 6:7; 7:5, 17; 8:22; 9:16; 10:2; 14:4, 18; 16:6, 12; 29:46; 31:13; Deut 4:35; 29:6; 1 Kings 8:43, 60; 18:37; 20:13, 28; 2 Kings 19:19; Ps 83:18; Isa 37:20; Jer 16:21; 24:7; Ezek 6:7, 10, 13, 14; 7:4, 9, 27; 11:10; etc. The incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus proves that he is Lord (John 20:28; Acts 2:36; Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11).

[ii] The approach outlined here views the outworking of God’s purpose from the perspective of a logical series of building administrations or dispensations. From this perspective we are emphasizing the logical distinctions between administrations in God’s kingdom. There are various dispensational schemes which could be developed.

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