FaithI AM Series

I AM: The Kingdom of Heaven

The Eternal Kingdom of Jehovah God

In the previous installment of this series, we reviewed passages concerning the Day of the Lord, which is Jesus’ second coming, and how God the Father transferred all authority to rule and judge in righteousness over to Jesus.  Through it all, we confirmed (again) that Jesus is Jehovah.  In this installment, we’re going to review passages concerning the kingdom of Heaven.

To properly set the stage for what we’ll cover, we need to go back to the days just prior to the inception of Jesus’ ministry.  Immediately after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, he spent forty days and nights fasting in the desert as preparation.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”  Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”  Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (ESV – emphasis mine)

This was no random event.  We know it was orchestrated by God the Father because the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  It was time to prove that Jesus knew exactly Who He was.  Satan put all his power and authority on display; he even quoted scripture to Jesus after Jesus used scripture to resist the temptations Satan presented, yet Jesus prevailed.

Jesus didn’t break because He already knew Who He was (and is) and so did John the Baptist.

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”  And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”  So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”  …

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.

John 1:19-23, 29-31 (ESV – emphasis mine)

The apostle John recounted this narrative of John the Baptist’s encounter intentionally.  When John the Baptist was confronted by the priests and Levites, he quoted Isaiah 40:3: “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God…’”  The LORD in this passage is Jehovah (YHWH – ‏יהוה‎).  John the Baptist was saying, “I’m the voice preparing the way for Jehovah.”

The next day he recognized Jesus as “the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!”  As we’ll explore together below, Isaiah declares Jehovah as the Savior, while Ezekiel says Jehovah is the one Who sanctifies Israel.  Here, John the Baptist is attributing that role to Jesus…because he was preparing the way for Jesus, Who was Jehovah in the flesh.

We know John the Baptist knew exactly Who Jesus was, because he said, “He was before me.”  From Luke 1, we know that John the Baptist was born before Jesus, so there could only be one way Jesus came before John: Jesus is Jehovah, the Word that was with God (the Father) in the beginning and through Whom all things were created (John 1:1-3).  Remember, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58).

As I’ve repeatedly stated in previous installments of this study and in the video series, that is precisely why John wrote, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:10-11 ESV).  Jesus is Jehovah, the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Now, with that as the backdrop, we can move to the official beginning of Jesus’ ministry, immediately following His forty days and nights in the desert: “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17 ESV).

So, what is the kingdom of heaven, how does it relate to Jesus and Jehovah, and why would Jesus say the kingdom is at hand, meaning imminent, or coming very soon?  For the answers to those questions, we need to look to Daniel as he was interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

Daniel 2:44-45 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In this passage, Daniel is explaining the dream Nebuchadnezzar was given by God that detailed the succession of kingdoms that would dominate the Middle East, culminating with a final, eternal kingdom established by God.  I cover the succession of those kingdoms in-depth in Israel in the Middle.

A few chapters later, Daniel recounts a vision he was given that reveals Who will rule the kingdom God establishes in the end.

“…behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In this passage, Daniel witnesses the transition of power from God the Father, the Ancient of Days, to God the Son as the ruler of the final, eternal kingdom Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream.  That is why Jesus declared, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father” (Luke 10:22 ESV).  Daniel’s vision also coincides with John’s vision from the book of Revelation.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet [1 Corinthians 15:50-58], and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”  …

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Revelation 11:15-19 (ESV – emphasis and brackets mine)

Now, compare Daniel’s and John’s visions to what Jeremiah and Isaiah recorded.  First, we’ll explore the role of Messiah.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

Jeremiah 23:5-6 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Here, Jeremiah is showing how Jehovah declared Messiah will reign as king, executing judgment, and he will be called “Jehovah is our righteousness”.  Why would the Messiah be referred to as Jehovah by Jehovah if it wasn’t Jehovah Himself Who was stepping into time and human flesh to become Jesus, God with us (Matthew 1:23)?

As further confirmation of the role of Messiah as King and Jehovah in the flesh, let’s look to Isaiah.  We’ll start with the birth of the Messiah, and the unusual insertion of the names attributed to Him.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Isaiah clearly confirms Daniel’s and Jeremiah’s prophecies that Messiah, the Son that is given, will reign as the eternal King over His kingdom.  Now, pay special attention to the name Everlasting Father attributed to Messiah.

Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you? Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.
Deuteronomy 32:6-9 (ESV)

For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.
Isaiah 63:16 (ESV)

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)

In these passages, Jehovah (YHWH – ‏יהוה‎) is declared the Father and creator (The Word of creation) of the Israelites.  From our previous installment titled The Alpha and Omega, we also know He is the founder and perfecter of their faith.  The Israelites are His people: He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.

Now, let’s continue with Isaiah as he conveys Jehovah’s role as the Savior of Israel.

Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel… “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? … …Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.  For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other. …

…And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.  “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’  “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.  In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”

Isaiah 45:11-18, 21-25 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In this passage, Jehovah declares He alone is God, creator of Heaven and Earth, through Whom Israel is saved, and yet we know John (John 1:1-3) and Paul (Colossians 1:15-18) attributed creation to Jesus, while Peter and Paul both attributed the role of Savior to Jesus alone.

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Acts 4:11-12 (ESV – emphasis mine)

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1:19-20 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Paul also wrote to the church in Rome that it is through Jesus and His work on the cross that we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

In my opinion, however, the key to Isaiah’s passage confirming Jehovah as Jesus is when Jehovah declares, “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.”  In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul clearly attributes that role to Jesus.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In this passage, Paul makes another astounding declaration: “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”  In effect, Paul is elevating Jesus above Jehovah, or is he?  If Jesus is Jehovah, there is no conflict.  Maybe that’s the essence of what John wrote: “His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself” (Revelation 19:12 ESV).

As we near the close of this study, please indulge me as we uncover a few more Old Testament prophecies that help us identify Jesus as both Messiah and Jehovah.

“My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.

Ezekiel 37:27-28 (ESV – emphasis mine)

By itself, this passage from Ezekiel doesn’t reveal anything earthshaking until it’s compared to Revelation 21.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”   And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”   And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Revelation 21:1-6 (ESV – emphasis mine)

This passage clearly depicts Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, sitting on His throne as the eternal God, which we addressed here.  But, two passages from Zechariah that we have reviewed in previous installments of this study are still the most compelling.

…Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him…   “And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.   And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

Zechariah 12:1-10 (ESV – emphasis mine)

On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.  And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.

Zechariah 14:8-9 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In chapter 12, Zechariah quotes Jehovah saying, “when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced,” which can only be interpreted as Jehovah speaking in the first person with regard to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Then, in chapter 14, Zechariah declares Jehovah will be king over all the earth, yet we know that God the Father transferred that role to His Son.  Jehovah is the Son of God Who was crucified!

For the final pieces of the puzzle that will emphatically prove Jesus is Jehovah, we need to look to Jesus’ role as the righteous judge.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. … And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. … And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Is there a connection to these books, but specifically the book of life, to both Jehovah and Jesus?  You be the judge.

Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name.   “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.   Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

Malachi 3:16-18 (ESV – emphasis mine)

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Psalm 56:8 (ESV – emphasis mine)

 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:16 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

Psalm 69:28 (ESV – emphasis mine)

So, here we have four Old Testament references to Jehovah’s books.  But, pay special attention to Psalm 69, as we compare it to Jesus speaking to John in Revelation 3.

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

Revelation 3:5 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Here, Jesus promised, “I will never blot [the one who conquers] name out of the book of life.”  But, that’s not conclusive by itself.  For the final piece of the puzzle, we need to look ahead to Revelation 13.

Also it [the anti-Christ beast] was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

Revelation 13:7-8 (ESV – emphasis and brackets mine)

The book of life attributed to Jehovah in the Old Testament is “the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is Jesus.  Jesus is Jehovah, the redeemer of Israel and all mankind.  Indeed, “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him” (John 1:11 – ESV).

To plunge deeper into these scriptures (and others), you can watch the entire video for this installment (below) or listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.  You can also visit the YouTube playlist for all the videos in this series here or the complete list of articles here.

 

 

 

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