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Clash of Kingdoms

Ever wondered what is going on in the world? Where is God? Is He asleep? Never mind the world, what's going on inside me? Why do I do things I don't want to do?

One way the Bible gives insight to this tension is through the story of the Kingdom. Perhaps this might help you see things in another way. The thing is, our first response to "another way" is often criticism, suspicion and maybe even rejection! I haven't got things all figured out. I want to keep learning, and moving forward!

The moment you think you have it all figured out is the moment you stop moving forward.

ACTS 17:1-7 tells the story of Paul, Luke, Timothy and Silas on gospel tour into Greece; turning the world upside down, saying "There is another king, Christ Jesus!".

Gospel comes from the Greek word euangelion and meant heralds would carry the good news / good tidings of a king, for example when a king one a battle, or took the throne.

Christ is not Jesus surname, but comes from the Greek word Christos, which means anointed, and is equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah, which means the Lord's anointed as is used mostly when speaking of a king.

So, what Paul and his companions were really proclaiming was the good news / good tidings of a new king. This was a risky and electrifying message, because Caesar Augustus, the emperor of Rome, was believed to be the savior of the humankind, a god. And no one was permitted to go against Caesar and live.

Here is an extract from the Priene Calendar Inscription found in Priene, Asia Minor dated 9 BC.

‘Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a saviour, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance , surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings/news for the world .

Interesting that euangelion is first used to refer to Caesar, the powerful military leader of the Roman empire, promising peace and salvation through military might. And contrasted to him, the "nobody from Nazareth" who was crucified. This is the clash of kingdoms, not just on a geo-political scale, but on a cosmic scale!

The Kingdom of Heaven, or Kingdom of God was something that Jesus spoke about A LOT! In fact, it's how he announced the start of his ministry. Proclaiming the good news of the king.

Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.

He was saying, STOP!! PAY ATTENTION!! DECISION MOMENT!! For us, our knowledge of kingdom may be somewhat limited; coming from the Royal family, DISNEY or perhaps Game of Thrones?

Yet kingdom is a MAJOR Theme in the Bible. It really is the whole plot conflict! It is first mentioned in Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Here we have God as sovereign king, and humans as rulers, partners - God willing to share ownership and delegate responsibility to people. With true responsibility is the potential for things to go wrong...

God is in charge, but He is not controlling everything.

That may sound controversial, but think about it for a moment. If your boss or CEO delegated dominion (authority) to you over a certain area, and you made some poor decisions for which their were consequences, the CEO is still in charge of the organization, but he wasn't controlling your decisions - that was all you.