Sunday, 31 March 2024 04:45

Article of faith: The kingdom that is already here but is yet to come (2) - Femi Aribisala

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Femi Aribisala Femi Aribisala

Kingdom Dynamics

Everything happens before it happens. Everything that is happening has already happened. Solomon says:

“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

According to this principle, the same Jesus that was crucified in Jerusalem is: “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8).

The Bible also says the works of Jesus were finished before the creation of the world. “The works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3). But it was on the cross of Calvary that Jesus said: “It is finished.” (John 19:30).

Jesus is God: He does not change. He is: “The same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore, He was King, He is King, and He will be King.

Jesus was King even at His birth: “Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1-2).

When He entered Jerusalem triumphantly on a donkey, Matthew proclaimed the fulfilment of one of the Messianic prophecies:

“All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Matthew 21:4-5).

Nevertheless, Jesus is the King that is yet to come. He is the soon-coming King who says: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Revelation 22:12-13). 

So, Jesus is the King that is soon to be King. He is the King of the kingdom that is already here but is soon to come.

 Conflating the Present With the Future

Jesus presents this kingdom dynamic again and again. He says to the Samaritan woman:

“The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24).

The hour is coming and now is. The hour is coming when people will neither worship God on Mount Gerizim nor in Jerusalem. The time is coming when people will neither worship God in Healing Wings Chapel nor Fountain of Life Church. The time is coming when people will only worship God in spirit and truth. That time is coming and it is already here for those who have received the Holy Spirit. 

Resurrection of the Dead

Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:24-25).

The time is coming and has now come. The time is coming when Jesus will call the dead in their graves back to life. But Jesus also demonstrates that the time has already come by raising Lazarus back from the dead:

“He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’” (John 11:43-44).

The time is coming when the dead in sin like Femi Aribisala will hear the voice of Jesus on Airport Road in Lagos and come back to life. This is what happened to me in 1993.

Some will hear Jesus’ voice by a quickening in their spirit. Some will hear His voice from reading the scriptures. Some will hear His voice by being prayed over by a child of God. All who hear His voice will receive newness of life. All who hear His voice will pass from death to life.

And then the time is coming when I will be reunited with my dead old man, T.S.B. Aribisala. I will be reunited with my dead mother, Ronke Aribisala. I will be reunited with my brother Kola Aribisala who died of sickle cell anaemia. I will be reunited with my sister, Yemisi Aribisala, who died prematurely at the age of eighteen. We will be reunited with our dearly departed ones.

Then we will fully realise Jesus’ assertion that: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4).

For God will wipe away every tear from our eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things will have passed away. (Revelation 21:4).

Infallible Proofs

Jesus provided infallible proof of the existence of the kingdom of God. He cast out demons, demonstrating the overthrow of the kingdom of Satan. He raised the dead, signalling the triumph of life over death. He healed the sick, announcing the end of human suffering. He multiplied loaves of bread, pointing to the satisfaction of all physical needs. He stilled the storm, heralding the emergence of peace on earth. And He forgave sins, proclaiming the dawning of righteousness.

He said to His Jewish adversaries who adamantly refused his miracles were done by the power of Satan: “If I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Luke 11:19-20).

He then sent out His disciples as ambassadors of the kingdom of God. He told them:

“Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:5-8).  

“Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:8-9).

When we preach about the kingdom of God, God validates our preaching with signs and wonders.

Application to Believers

This is how this kingdom dynamic applies to believers who are citizens of the kingdom that is already here but has not yet come. The writer of Hebrews quotes the psalmist:  

“‘What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honour and put everything under his feet.’ In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet, at present, we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:6-9).

Even though believers may not yet see everything subject to us now, we must know that everything has already been subject to us. We must walk by faith in the consciousness of the fact that what will be has already happened.

The future has merged into the present to proclaim a done deal. Therefore, Paul writes in the past tense what is yet to happen in the future:

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30).

Accordingly, even now, whatever our situation or circumstance, we must be joyful and thankful that:

“God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3-5).

John also acknowledges the merging of our future with our present in the following manner:

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3).

Even though it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, nevertheless, we are children of God NOW.

The time is coming when all our prayers will be answered.

Then we will realise that no prayer is ignored.

The time is now to recognise that God answers all our prayers.

The time is coming and now is when we will realise that every word of God in the scriptures is true:

“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6).

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