When God took on flesh and came to this earth, He came with one message. The gospel of Matthew calls it the Kingdom of Heaven. Mark and Luke use the term: “Kingdom of God”. Over and over again, in each of the gospels, Jesus is telling people that the Kingdom has already come and then explaining to them what the coming Kingdom will be like.
This Kingdom was not preached in a vacuum. Everywhere He went, this Prince of Peace was stirring up conflict with the controversial truth of this message. The Kingdom Jesus was proclaiming was colliding with Kingdoms that were already established and in place. What was true in Jesus’ time is still true today. Those who are citizens of the Kingdom of God will find themselves, intentionally or not, in opposition with worldly kingdoms and also with spiritual kingdoms that are not of God. Kingdoms collide. There are many different facets we can explore regarding these collisions but here on this site, I will mainly focus in on four: the Immanence and Transcendence of the Kingdom, the collision with political systems, and the collision with other spiritual or cultural kingdoms.
The Immanence of the Kingdom will fall under the category of Tuesdays in the Trenches. This will be the most personal and subjective category. If Jesus is in me then I am a citizen and representative of the Kingdom wherever I go. What does that look like when I am confronted with injustice or ungodliness right here in Turkey and in my neighborhood? The goal is for me, once a week, to explore that question so that you can better understand and pray for me and this part of the world, but also so that you can also better live out being a representative of the Kingdom of God in your own community and sphere of influence.
The politics of the Kingdom will fall under the category of Worldview Wednesdays. The idea that “at just the right time” a Divine Man would come as our “Lord and Savior” to bring “Peace on Earth” did not originate with Christ. These are all attributes or titles of Caesar Augustus that can be found in hundreds of inscriptions and Roman documents throughout the Empire. Today we so closely associate them with Christ that we have no idea how incendiary it would be for the early gospel writers to use these same titles and phrases to refer to Christ. When a citizen of Rome became a Christian in the first century and a half after the resurrection, they were simultaneously, very explicitly, rejecting the corrupt Theocratic Kingdom of the emperors of Rome. Today in so many parts of the world, our Christianity has adulterously embedded itself with our nationalism. On Worldview Wednesdays, I will explore ways in which the Kingdom of our God collides with the political kingdoms of our world.
The theological collision will be examined on Theological Thursdays. It was not just the political kingdom of Rome that Jesus came into conflict with, but also the Jewish political establishment in Israel. They had very clear expectations of exactly what the coming Messiah would look like. When Jesus came, He had no qualms about upsetting that applecart (er… money table). Jesus harshest words were reserved for the establishment of religious leaders and teachers. I live in a part of the world where officially 99.8% of my community is Muslim. The more that I have come to love my friends and neighbors, the more I have come to hate Islam. While most Muslims do their best to be good, loving, and decent people, the religion that has them in bondage is not by any stretch of the imagination good, loving, or decent. On the flip side, we in the West do not even realize how often we are reading our Bible through the lens of an unbiblical western worldview. Far more often than we would like to admit, the “Christianity” we embrace is not the same as the Kingdom of God Jesus preached and incarnated.
The best way to expose a lie is to know as thoroughly as possible the truth. On Focus Fridays, I will be seeking to turn our eyes exactly on to why we are part of this battle. Over and over Jesus started out many of His parables with the same sentence: “The Kingdom of God is like…” On Fridays I might share a human interest story, I might share a personal insight or experience, or it might be a reflection of some scripture I have been meditating on. Whatever the material, every Friday I write will be a piece that could begin: “The Kingdom of God is like…”
So there it is. That is why Between Two Seas has become Kingdom’s Collide. I almost certainly will not write four times a week, but I will do my best on each of the days mentioned to examine if there is something God has revealed to me on those topics that I can, in turn, relate with you. So now… we have a Kingdom to represent. Let’s get to it.