The Kingdom Inaugurated
“The Spirit immediately drove him into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.”- Mark 1:12–13
Despite the socio-political implications for living in the kingdoms of this world that come from acknowledging the kingdom of God as our highest authority, it must be admitted that the kingdom of our Father is currently hard to see. The dominion mandate to take charge of the earth for the Lord’s glory (Gen. 1:28) is a spiritual command to make all things reflect more clearly and beautifully the reign of our sovereign God. Adam and all his posterity lost the capability to exercise this holy rule when he violated a spiritual command (3:17–19). Furthermore, David and the nation of Israel continued to be unable to make fully manifest God’s kingdom because of their unrepentant sin, and the Lord sent them into exile (2 Kings 17:7–23). Zerubbabel’s less-than-stellar reign after the return of Israel from Babylon only shows that the spiritual problem of faithlessness to the law of God continued among His people even after they were restored to their homeland.
Though it is plain that the Lord’s kingdom is currently a spiritual kingdom, many Israelites in the first century AD associated the kingdom of God almost wholly with an earthly realm that would conquer whoever oppressed them at the time (in this case, Rome). That explains why many Israelites in that day did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah who inaugurated the kingdom and restored righteous dominion to Israel. Since they lacked a clear understanding of the spiritual nature of the kingdom, they did not understand why the Messiah first had to overcome the spiritual hindrances to the kingdom before it could be manifested in physical form.
Christ’s entire life of obedience, atoning death, resurrection, and ascension are the means by which He inaugurated the kingdom of God, and one of the most important events that stands out within this entire complex of events is His encounter with Satan in the wilderness. We lost our right to citizenship in this kingdom when we succumbed to the serpent’s temptation in Adam, so in order to get this citizenship back Jesus had to overcome the Devil’s wiles and win our place in His holy realm. Once our Savior succeeded in the wilderness where Adam failed in Eden (Mark 1:12–13), the stage was fully set for Him to do all that was necessary for us to rule and reign with Him forever, just as He always intended (Deut. 28:1; 1 Cor. 6:3; Rev. 20:4).
In our justification, God the Father counts us as righteous in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), which means that He reckons us as having fulfilled the demands given to Israel and to Adam (this is what Jesus did as our representative). We are now to go and proclaim the good news of this kingdom and the reign of our King to all nations. Who in your life needs to hear the gospel? Take the steps necessary to learn the gospel well so that you can share it with that person.
Passages for Further Study