“Once we go through the anthropological, astronomical, biological, and geological history in the Bible, we explain how this history is true and confirmed by science. We then present the message of Christ, Cross, and Consummation that’s founded in that history” (Gospel Reset by Ken Ham, p.101).
“Husbands – “You husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Col. 3:19). Wives – “You wives, be submissive to your husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you” (1 Pet. 3:1, 6). Parents – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, lest they become discouraged, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21). Children – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise) ‘that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth’” (Eph. 6:1-3). (Small Catechism -Tappert, p. 355-356).
In the kingdom of power, the Triune God rules without means according to His omnipotence and omnipresence. God has always been and will always be the King of heaven and earth. At the incarnation of the Son of God, the human nature of Christ was given authority in heaven and on earth. Although all things have been put in subjection to Him, not all things are subject to Him. “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Cor 15:25).
This class examined the two kingdoms: this world(the state) and grace (the church). In the kingdom of this world, God rules the subjects of this kingdom, both believers and unbelievers, by means of law and the governing authorities. Human reason is the guide for governance in this world. In the kingdom of grace, God rule the subjects of this kingdom, only believers, by means of the Word (both the law and the promise of the Gospel) and sacraments and the apostolic/pastoral office. Although these two kingdoms are distinct they are not mutually exclusive. The church is IN the world, but not OF the world (John 17:11-15).
So, the Jews had the right beginning. They had the right history. They had the right starting point of God’s Word (the writing of Moses, beginning in Genesis). They were on the correct ‘road’ and heading to an accurate understanding of the gospel. That ‘road,’ beginning with creation, the Fall of man, and the promise of the Seed and the Messiah (Genesis 3:15, Daniel 9:24-27; etc.), is the right foundation to understanding the message of who Jesus is and why He died and rose from the dead. This ‘road’ they were on led up to the message of the Cross, even though many Jews rejected the idea that Jesus is the Messiah” (Gospel Reset by Ken Ham, p.54-55).
75 With childish and playful methods like these we may bring up our youth in the fear and honor of God so that the First and Second commandments may become familiar and be constantly practiced. Then some good may take root, spring up, and bear fruit, and men may grow up of whom an entire land may be proud. 76 This would be the right way to bring up children, so long as they can be trained with kind and pleasant methods, for those who have to be forced by means of rods and blows will come to no good end; at best they will remain good only as long as the rod is on their backs.
77 This kind of training takes such root in their hearts that they fear God more than they do rods and clubs. This I say plainly for the sake of the young, so that it may sink into their minds, for when we preach to children, we must also speak their language. Thus we have averted the misuse of the divine name and taught that its right use consists not only of words but also of practice and life. We want them to know that God is well pleased with the right use of his name and will as richly reward it, even as he will terribly punish its misuse. (Large Catechism -Tappert, p. 375).
In the first part of this study we conclude a historical walk-through of “king” and “kingdom” found in the Old Testament up to the coming of the true Davidic King, Jesus Christ. Each kingdom is distinguished based upon the subjects of the kingdom and the governance of the kingdom.
In the second part of this study we examine the kingdom of power. The subjects of the kingdom of power include all things: believers and unbelievers, good and evil angels, and irrational creature and the inanimate creation. The Triune God governs this kingdom of power by His omnipotence and omnipresence. At the incarnation, “all authority in heaven and earth” was given to the human nature of Jesus, while His divine nature always possessed it.
Here is a summary of the history (in the first part): The Prophet Daniel (Chapters 2, 7 and 8) foretold of four world powers: Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece(including the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, Maccabees and Hasmoneans), and Rome. Last week we concluded with the Jewish return to Jerusalem under Cyrus the Persian. When the Old Testament draws to a close (apx. 400 B.C.), Judea had been province of Persia for 138 years. Although the exiles were allowed to return to Canaan in order to rebuild the Temple, only a small number of Jews actually returned. The exiled Jews had set down roots and were scattered over 128 provinces.
The religious practices of Judaism began to change, as they lived apart from the Jerusalem temple, and without the nation of Israel or a Davidic king. Scribes grew in importance, as the Jews retained their identity by clinging to the Word. Emphasis was placed on personal prayer, Sabbath observance, and justice(morality). As the people adopted Imperial Aramaic for their language instead of Hebrew, there was the need for a Methurgeman (interpreter) to paraphrase the readings for the people.
Even those Jews who returned were not free. They were a vassal state of one country and then another. Sometimes they enjoyed a mild rule and were allowed to practice their faith. Other times they were severely persecuted. The Jewish reactions were varied, as seen by Pharisees, Sadducees, and zealots. Alexander the Great conquered the world and spread Greek language and culture wherever he went. After the death of Alexander, the kingdom split into four parts and fighting for power ensued. In 320 B.C. Ptolemy took over Egypt and Jerusalem without resistance. The Hebrew Scriptures were translated into the Greek language in the 3rd century B.C. Although many rulers were kind to the Jews, Antiochus IV Epiphanes sought to make all people devotees of Greek culture. The Jews objected to this Hellenization program on religious grounds and were severely persecuted. This persecution caused the Hasmodian period of Independence with the Maccabean revolt by Mattathias and his five sons. Though they had some success, the Jews always returned to a vassal state. In 63 B.C. Pompey conquered the city of Jerusalem with the killing 12,000 Jews. When Jesus arrives, Herod The Great had been ruling since 37 B.C. Although he ruled with an iron fist, it was during his reign that the Temple had been restored. This concludes the history of “king” and “kingdom” until the coming of Jesus Christ.
These passages tell us of a great divide—a divide between God’s Word and man’s word the temptation for man to be his own god—‘you will be like God’). It’s a divide between two religions, two worldviews, two starting points. Simply put, there are only two ways to build your thinking. You can start with the One who knows everything, who has always been there, and who has revealed to us what we need to know. Beginning with Him, we can guild a solid and accurate worldview based on God’s Word. The only other starting point is with sinful man’s fallible word. But by adding man’s word to God’s Word (e.g., adding evolution/millions of years to Genesis), you end up compromising God’s Word, and your starting point is flawed from the beginning. It’s no longer God’s infallible truth. Your starting point then is man’s inherently fallible word” (Gospel Reset by Ken Ham, p.53).
69 Therefore I advise and urge, as I have before, that by means of warning and threat, restraint and punishment, children be trained in due time to shun falsehood and especially to avoid calling upon God’s name in its support. …70 On the other hand, children should be constantly urged and encouraged to honor God’s name and keep it constantly upon their lips in all circumstances and experiences, for true honor to God’s name consists of looking to it for all consolation and therefore calling upon it. Thus, as we have heard above, the heart by faith first gives God the honor due him and then the lips do so by confession….
73 For this purpose it also helps to form the habit of commending ourselves each day to God — our soul and body, wife, children, servants, and all that we have — for his protection against every conceivable need. Thus has originated and continued among us the custom of saying grace and returning thanks at meals and saying other prayers for both morning and evening. 74 From the same source came the custom of children who cross themselves when they see or hear anything monstrous or fearful and exclaim, “Lord God, save us!” “Help, dear Lord Christ!” etc. Thus, too, if anyone meets with unexpected good fortune, however trivial, he may say, “God be praised and thanked!” “This God has bestowed upon me!” etc. Children used to be trained to fast and pray to St. Nicholas and other saints, but the other practices would be more pleasing and acceptable to God than any monastic life and Carthusian holiness. (Large Catechism -Tappert, p. 374-375).
After Solomon’s death both the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel fell. The Prophet Amos (apx. 760-750 B.C.) foretold that God would rebuild the fallen tabernacle of David and bring back the captives (Amos 9:11-15). The Assyrian Empire conquers Israel in 721 B.C. The great tree of God’s people was cut down (Isaiah 11:1,10) because the people had sinned. Though they had not kept the Word of God, the Prophet Isaiah (apx. 701 – 681 B.C.) announces that the merciful God was still keeping His promise to King David. God said, “And I will make an everlasting covenant with you–the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3-5). Jesus is that shoot or branch that will come from the stump of Jesse. The southern kingdom was taken into Babylonian exile in 586 B.C and Solomon’s Temple was destroyed. The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied about their 70 year exile (apx. 605 B.C. – 537 B.C.) and God’s promise to raise up a Davidic King, a Priest, and a new Temple.
After the exile, the priest Ezra returns to lay the foundation and begin the work of rebuilding, what would later be called Zerubbabel’s Temple (539 B.C. to Mar 12, 516 B.C.). The governor Nehemiah rebuilds the city wall around Jerusalem. The old men who saw this new temple foundation wept (Ezra 3:12-13), as it paled in comparison to Solomon’s temple. The Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who lived at the time of the rebuilding, spoke of that future coming day. The return of God’s people to Canaan was a wonderful thing, but it was not the promised day of the Messianic King! Haggai 2:9, “‘The glory of this later temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace.'” When the Old Testament closes, the Prophet Malachi leaves the faithful longing for the hope of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ .
Explaining the Gospel works the same way. We first start with the foundational teaching that God is Creator, and that sin and death entered the world, as recorded in Genesis. That the foundational knowledge needed to understand the next part—the ‘walls’—that God sent His Son to die on the Cross and be raised from the dead, because death is the penalty for sin. This is the power of the gospel, and why Christ can offer us the free gift of salvation. Then we put on the ‘roof.’ One day there’s going to be a new heaven and a new earth. So there we have the gospel, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation. It’s really like building a house from the foundation to the roof” (Gospel Reset by Ken Ham, p.40-41).