Over the past few months, we have worked through various blog articles to determine what the New Testament reveals about God and his Kingdom. This built on the previous series where we looked at what the Old Testament said about government. To conclude this series, let’s review what the New Testament says about Jesus, the kingdom of God, and the apocalypse.
What the New Testament Tells Us About Jesus & the Kingdom
Part 1 explains what Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God. Read the first article here.
The New Testament opens with the announcement that “the kingdom of God/Heaven” is “near.” Although John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles preached from the Old Testament regarding this futuristic truth, most of the people were influenced by Jewish apocalyptic thought which longed for a cataclysmic end of history.
Yet the New Testament consistently witnesses that there is no discontinuity between what went before and what is now being manifest and what will be consummated in the future. It is clear that in contrast to the apocalyptic thought of the time, Jesus and his followers were preaching the Gospel of a theocratic kingdom now dawning on earth.
The New Testament Epistles Point to Christ’s Kingdom
Part 2 explains what the New Testament writers say about the Kingdom. Read the second article here.
Paul’s extensive body of work in the New Testament consistently emphasized the rule of Christ over the church, the present world, and the world to come. He taught that Jesus Christ is Lord ( implying that nobody else in the Roman world was Lord) and head of the church (a grouping of confessed individual believers).
Other New Testament writers echoed Paul’s words. For example, James spoke of “the last days” (James 5:3), Peter mentioned securing a “living hope” through trials (1 Pet. 1:6-7), and the writer of Hebrews proclaims Christ’s superiority. Throughout the New Testament, the letters consistently teach of Jesus in light of the prophets who went before him, and that the Kingdom of God has its present manifestation and a future consummation.
A Vision of The Lamb
Part 3 explains John’s revelation of Jesus Christ. Read the third article here.
John’s apocalyptic prophecy unveils the mystery about the end of the present age, specifically regarding the Lamb. He writes that heaven’s hero is the only one “worthy” (Rev. 5:2) to bring righteous judgments and rewards, and to inaugurate the age to come. The Lamb’s self-sacrifice implies his love and obedience to the Father, making him trustworthy to receive and exercise unlimited “power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
No prior figure, no matter how heroic, is as worthy as the Lamb. John’s visions depict Christ’s lordship over history, empires, war, famine, death, and demonic power. Without this One and this truth, there is no hope.
A Glimpse at the Apocalypse
Part 4 explains who the beast is, and why he is opposed to God and his kingdom. Read the fourth article here.
Revelation 18 pictures the last great monstrosity that bids all peoples everywhere on earth to give allegiance or die. It is a kind of ultimate evil via the beast. Sin dethrones God in the hearts of men and women individually and then proceeds to create political, religious, and cultural structures that make God irrelevant.
Elites have consistently justified their activities by asserting some form of divine or moral right to do what they do. It is, therefore, no surprise to see in the Bible’s final prophetic words a picture of a great empire aided by religious perversity and deception convincing nations that government, not God, is the great blesser.
Editor’s Note: This series was adapted from the IFWE research paper, God and Government: A Biblical Perspective (The Bible and Limited Government) by Dr. Tom Pratt. Read the full paper here.