The Kingdom of God: Promises Kept (Part 2)
In the first post, I noted the promise of God to Adam and Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:15). This concept of “the seed of the woman” is the beginning hope for salvation. Later, the seed is understood to be the son of David and the son of man (a human figure to which God has granted authority to judge the earth). By the time of Daniel, the seed was known as the Messiah (the specially anointed one of God). All of the promises made to Abraham, Moses and David were to be fulfilled in the Messiah. He is the one that brings ultimate unity to the purposes of God in redeeming the world. Jewish messianic expectations around the time of Jesus were varied, but a general sketch is still helpful. Here are some of the common points:
1. The Messiah is King
2. The Messiah will defeat the powers of evil
3. The Messiah will rebuild the Temple
4. The Messiah will fulfill all prophecies regarding him and bring Israel’s history to its climax
5. The Messiah will act as Israel’s representative
6. The Messiah will also represent God
In general, these expectations are exactly what you find being attributed to Jesus by the New Testament writers. The gospel of Matthew and Paul clearly speaks of Jesus being descended from King David (Matt. 1 and Rom. 1) and thus having proper kingly right and authority. Paul speaks of Jesus defeating the evil powers in the heavenlies (Eph. 3) , and Rom. 10 speak of Jesus being the goal of the Law of Moses (addressing point 4). In Galatians, Paul speaks of Jesus being the true Israel, representing them as the one faithful Israelite (point 5), and in the book of Acts, Jesus is spoken of as a prophet, one that represents God to the people (point 6).
In Luke 11:20, Jesus, after making a demonstration of both His power and kindness said, “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” God has kept His promises, even when the fulfillment doesn’t look like what we’d expect!