The kingdom ruling over all nations

The Creator of all is in charge of all, whether he is recognized as such or not.

Psalm 22 is remembered as being on the lips of Yeshua as he hung on the cross. The famous phrase, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is the opening phrase in an all-consuming psalm that cascades into the larger view of God’s ultimate rulership over all people.

Psalm 22:27-31 – All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to Yahweh. All the families of the nations will bow down before you, for kingship belongs to Yahweh; he rules the nations. All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust will kneel before him — even the one who cannot preserve his life. Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born they will declare what he has done.

It’s as if Yeshua is making it clear that his symbolic death was prophesied by David as representing and opening a way for those among the nations to be brought to God. The phrase, “All the families of the nations will bow down before you” is also an echo of the prophecy provided even earlier to Abraham: “in you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

I find it interesting the psalm says, “all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to Yahweh.” This implies that there may be some type of spiritual amnesia that has descended upon the nations that inhibits their ability to acknowledge God as the Creator of all.

Paul writes about it this way:

Romans 1:21-22 – “For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…”

When did all people besides Israel know God? Clearly, God revealed himself to his own people at Sinai and throughout their history, and their rejection of him to serve idols has become a timeless object lesson for all the nations. But Paul mentions a sort of universal revelation that has been evident to all people, even if they choose to ignore it.

Romans 1:20 – For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

Paul says their thinking became darkened when they did not glorify God as God or show gratitude to him. This, then, is the natural result of rejecting the authority of God: a descent into further darkness and apostasy.

If, however, people are without excuse before God, then it is up to us as believers to continue to highlight God’s authority over all nations. Declaring that there is one God ruling in a universal kingdom, a God who has created all things, is the primary way of sparking some innate understanding, some lost understanding, in those among whom we live and work on a daily basis. David, Yeshua, and Paul testify to an awakening, a remembrance, that will cause them to repent of their wickedness and turn to him.

We can rejoice in the ongoing fulfillment of this prophetic reality as we continue to spread the gospel of the kingdom throughout each generation.

Psalm 22:27-28 – “All the families of the nations will bow down before you, for kingship belongs to Yahweh; he rules the nations.”


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Choose your bias carefully

Your worldview determines your purpose in life.

Psalm 24:1-2 – The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to Yahweh; for he laid its foundation on the seas and established it on the rivers.

At the culmination of the book of Job, after he has maintained his innocence and sought to stand blameless in the presence of Yahweh, Job is silenced while Yahweh justifies his position as the Creator of all.

Job 38:4-7 – Where were you when I established the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? What supports its foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

God then goes on for the bulk of four chapters explaining the various aspects of his Creation that illustrate how powerful, just, and righteous he, as the Creator of all that exists, is.

This revelation of God’s own perspective should provide us pause for our own consideration of God’s kingdom on the earth. We typically focus on the spiritual aspect of the Kingdom of God, but how often do we consider that the very earthly world we live in is his by right of creation?

We live in a culture that, in general, believes the universe and the earth are the result of spontaneous and self-directed processes. If that is the case, then in essence, the idea of a God becomes irrelevant, and this is evidenced in the corrupted world system we see today. However, if we believe the Bible to be the legitimate revelation of the Creator of the universe, then he has provided us a window into his majestic design and establishment of all that exists. Everything we can see and touch has sprung from the very mind of God.

These two unavoidable biases, spontaneous or intentional existence, are at the root of all rational thought in regard to our own consciousness and awareness as a species of living creatures on this planet. If one chooses spontaneous self directed processes, that will form the foundation of a particular worldview in regard to human behavior. If one chooses the purposeful creation bias, then that will provide a distinct and wildly divergent worldview in regard to human behavior.

To accept that God created the universe and this world is to acknowledge God’s sovereignty over his Creation. Doing so is a recognition that we as human participants in his Creation are merely guests whom he has granted the privilege of dwelling here. This entire world and cosmos is his kingdom, his realm of operation, and our function as created beings in his image is to faithfully represent him while we are here. His kingdom “coming” to this earth references the spiritual nature of his kingdom that results from our conformity to the moral principles he has placed within this universe; principles which are just as real and real and consequential as the “laws of nature.”

To acknowledge God’s authority as the Creator of all is to assent to his rightful ownership and dominion of all things as he has revealed to us in his Word. To reject the revelation of himself is to reject the acknowledgement of the presence of his kingdom, and to bear the natural and spiritual consequences of that position. This is why the kingdoms of men are in the current condition they are in. This is nothing new, even being represented within the pages of Scripture:

Ecclesiastes 4:1 – Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them.
Psalm 2:1-3 – Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against Yahweh and his Anointed One: “Let’s tear off their chains and throw their ropes off of us.”

A kingdom, by its very nature and purpose, is ruled by its king. Those not accepting the authority of the rightful king will suffer the consequences of doing so. However, we can have hope that many will come to understand the truth, but they must hear the truth of the revelation of God to gain his perspective:

Romans 10:14-15 – How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.

As believers, our “beautiful feet” bringing the news of the Creator to this world opens the doors of hearts who are willing to let go of the spontaneous universe worldview and to live, not with the personal objectives of the wicked, but instead with purpose and meaning for the One who created them.

This is how God has chosen to oversee and grow his moral and spiritual kingdom within the framework of his larger dominion of all Creation. It is up to us to learn and live by the principles he has laid out for us in his Word and thereby become active participants in his eternal and ever-growing dominion.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Where the authority of the throne resides

Overcoming sin requires sacrifice.

Revelation 3:21 – “To the one who conquers I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

The Kingdom of God is all about authority, and this authority is captured in the imagery of a throne. A throne is the source of power and the residing place of one who wields that power.

When we read of kingdoms and thrones in the Bible, we tend to immediately think of them as literal thrones and literal, physical kingdoms that exist someplace and sometime. From a historical, earthly perspective, there are many kingdoms and thrones listed in the Bible that have to do with the physical nation of Israel and those surrounding nations and empires within which the Bible story is told. However, when it comes to the Kingdom of God, we move away from physical locations and enter in to a representation of authority; specifically, the authority of God within his Creation.

Since the beginning of the physical Creation, God has desired that mankind “rule” over his Creation.

Genesis 1:27-28 – “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Being created in the image of God, it is man’s role to represent Him in all things in this world, and to overcome and conquer all rebellious activity known as sin.

Genesis 4:6-7 – Then Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

This idea of ruling over sin only comes from having a sense of authority over it. The Bible makes it clear that no matter how much we understand “about” sin and doing what’s right (illustrated by the law provided through Moses) unless we demonstrate authority over it, we cannot conquer it; instead, it tends to conquer us. That is a picture of the human condition outside of the spiritual Kingdom of God.

However, when Yeshua arrived at the culmination of Israel’s history, he taught that the Kingdom of God was the very thing that believers should pursue at all costs, and in doing so, they would be fulfilling the very will of God.

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

Since the time of Yeshua, those who are believers in Messiah (as the fulfillment of all that God had promised to Israel) have been tasked with carrying the light of God’s word and authority to the world. We are not born into a physical kingdom, but must be born again or born from above to recognize and experience the authority of this Kingdom. Yeshua taught that the key to overcoming this tendency to sin is to die to oneself and one’s own selfish desires and live instead for God, serving others in his authority, not in our own.

Those who conquer sin can only do so through the authority, the throne, of the Kingdom. The caveat is that the throne of that Kingdom is not in a stately palace with precious metals and gems, it is instead an altar of sacrifice, where we lay down our lives for the will of God.

Romans 12:1 – “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.”

Yeshua set the example for us and will be recognized for all eternity for this demonstration of abiding within the will of God through sacrifice.

Revelation 5:5-6 – Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw one like a slaughtered lamb standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders….”

This is why he has the authority of the throne and the ability to overcome; and he urges believers to do the same, to rule and reign with him through sacrificially living for the will of God for all time.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Zion, the eternal monument

The transformation of an earthly icon into a spiritual witness for all eternity.

When we encounter the name Zion in the Bible, we are immediately drawn to the city of David, Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 5:7 – “Yet David did capture the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.”

Throughout the historical pages of Scripture, Zion is equated with the city of Jerusalem, and the sacred place where God dwells within his temple. The name itself appears to be derived from a form of a Hebrew word meaning a conspicuous sign, or a monument like a pillar or signpost. Certainly, Jerusalem has been that throughout the pages of history.

However, as we move into the writings of the prophets, the picture of Zion becomes a bit more ethereal, more hazy in time and space, and becomes transformed into an ideal. Zion becomes equated with concepts like Eden and eternity; it comes to represent the source of God’s presence on the earth throughout time.

Isaiah 51:3, 11 – “For Yahweh will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Yahweh. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and melodious song. … And the redeemed of Yahweh will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.”
Micah 4:5-7 – “Though all the peoples each walk in the name of their gods, we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God forever and ever. On that day — this is Yahweh’s declaration — I will assemble the lame and gather the scattered, those I have injured. I will make the lame into a remnant, those far removed into a strong nation. Then Yahweh will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time on and forever.”

We find that this prophetic Zion becomes defined more clearly as we move to the culmination of God’s revelation in the New Testament. The writer of Hebrews pulls the prophetic Zion imagery into the present reality of the work that God was doing among his people at that time.

Hebrews 12:22-23 – “Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect…”

This imagery of the heavenly Jerusalem, a spiritual Mount Zion, is further expressed in the closing pages of the book of Revelation.

Revelation 21:2, 10 – “I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. … He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…”

Here, the New Jerusalem is identified with a high mountain like Zion, and is named Jerusalem like Zion. However, it is NEW, it is no longer the earthly mountain or city; it is something different, something that had become an eternal, iconic representation of God and his people.

It is possible that Yeshua was even referencing this imagery when he defined the “city on a hill” that could not be hidden, whose light would be visible everywhere by its conspicuousness.

Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.”

In the fullness of the revelation of God’s word, we find Zion, the monument and signpost city, represents the presence of the heavenly kingdom, the Kingdom of God on this earth, now and for eternity. It is the “kingdom which cannot be shaken,” (Hebrews 12:28), and it will never fade nor diminish in its power or influence (i.e., its light), but only continue to grow until it covers the earth.

Revelation 21:23-26 – The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never close by day because it will never be night there. They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The kingdom for all

Paul shared the message of Yeshua with everyone.

Acts 28:23-24, 28, 30-31 – After arranging a day with him [Paul], many [Jews] came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and testified about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them about Yeshua from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe. … “Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the nations; they will listen.” … Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Yeshua, the Anointed One, with all boldness and without hindrance.

At the end of the narrative about the life and ministry of Paul, we find him in Rome awaiting to be brought before Caesar to stand for the charges that the Jews in Judea had brought before Agrippa. However, in these closing comments we gain some far-reaching insights on what Paul was teaching: the kingdom of God, Yeshua as the Anointed One of God, and the salvation that was now being sent to the nations besides just the Hebraic Jews.

The kingdom of God continued to be the main theme of Paul’s teaching. Yeshua, as the Anointed One of God, had come to announce the fulfillment of the kingdom through personal and national repentance, instructing them of being born from above and living the torah from the heart and not just by the rote traditions of the Jewish elite and their oral law. This was the salvation that Yeshua brought: salvation from the effects of sin and disobedience to God, and the freedom to serve God from the heart. Since it primarily applied to them, the Jews had been the initial recipients of this message, and Paul continued that emphasis by preaching “first to the Jew, then to the Hellene,” (Romans 1:16; 2:9-10). The Hellenes, of course, were the Jews who had adopted the Greek culture and were absorbed within the nations.

Paul recognized through the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 6:9-10), that some of the Jews would accept the message, but that many would reject it.

Acts 28:25-27 – Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘Go to these people and say: You will always be listening, but never understanding; and you will always be looking, but never perceiving. For the hearts of these people have grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'”

This rejection of the message by the Hebraic Jews would then allow the the tribes of Joseph and Ephraim, Jews who had been scattered during the Diaspora who had now become the Hellenes, an opportunity to receive the good news of faith in Yeshua and receive the kingdom of God by faith in him. This was the reuniting of the ten tribes with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, as also prophesied in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 37:15-17 – Yahweh’s word came again to me, saying, “You, son of man, take one stick, and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions.’ Then take another stick, and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.’ Then join them for yourself to one another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.

In the process of the Hellenistic Jews being reunited with their brothers in fulfillment of prophecy and coming to the knowledge of the truth by faith, others of the nations, true Gentiles who feared the God of the Bible, would also be provided the opportunity to receive the kingdom message and the salvation from the effects of sin.

In this way, the story of Yeshua as the Anointed One of God, bringing the good news of the kingdom of God, would be spread to all. The salvation offered to the Jews and the Hellenes would now be, and forever remain, an open door for all to come to the God of the Bible.

Revelation 22:17 – Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come! ” Let anyone who hears, say, “Come! ” Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Humble service in a kingdom without icon

God simply desires our sincere honoring of him every day by the outworking of our practical faith among the rest of his Creation.

Core of the Bible podcast #58 – Humble service in a kingdom without icon

Today we will be looking at the topic of the Kingdom, and how the Kingdom of God should not have any type of iconography or attempt to represent God through any physical location or facility. All of these detract from the simple essence of who he is in Spirit and truth. Idolatry is the most represented affront to the majesty of God and his Kingdom throughout the entire Bible.

Right after God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and told them he wanted them to be representatives of his kingdom as priests, he then gave them the Ten Commandments. One of the primary commandments was against idolatry.

Exodus 20:4-5 – “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them…”

Yeshua confirmed that God abhors idolatry, and further revealed how God desires spiritual worship based on the truth, not some physical representation of him.

John 4:23-24 – “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

If I were to paraphrase these two passages, it might sound something like this:

Have nothing to do with tangible representations of any god, including the one true God. Worship the Father (Yahweh) alone, and in spirit and in truth only.

For whatever reason, humans love icons and iconography. We seek to identify everything with a symbolic representation of some sort, whether it is a brand logo, an app, or a digital navigation menu. In honesty, I must admit there is a certain logic to this mode of communication: it acts as a type of shorthand for a larger idea or concept that can be communicated quickly and simply.

In a similar way, throughout history civilizations have represented their concepts of their gods with a plethora of iconic representation, from statues to intricate carvings of various symbols to grandiose temples. The idolatry of the Bible, however, is generally concerned with the statues and carvings of the various gods that continually led Israel away from the one true God, Yahweh. Baal and Ashtoreth were two of the most notable “local” gods in the land of Canaan which threatened to lure Israel away from Yahweh.

Judges 3:7 – “The Israelites did what was evil in Yahweh’s sight; they forgot Yahweh their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs.”

Judges 10:6 – “Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned Yahweh and did not worship him.”

The cultural power of these gods was so strong within the land of Canaan that the Israelites suffered with them throughout their history, in spite of dramatic showdowns with the likes of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

1 Kings 18:17-19 – “When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, the one ruining Israel? ” He replied, “I have not ruined Israel, but you and your father’s family have, because you have abandoned Yahweh’s commands and followed the Baals. “Now summon all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

After watching the false prophets attempt to provoke their gods to manifest themselves at their offering altars, God reveals himself at the simple invocation of Elijah to make himself known.

1 Kings 18:37-40 – “Answer me, Yahweh! Answer me so that this people will know that you, Yahweh, are God and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then Yahweh’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell facedown and said, “Yahweh, he is God! Yahweh, he is God! ” Then Elijah ordered them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let even one of them escape.” So they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and slaughtered them there.”

The reason that God had even brought the Israelites into the land of Canaan in the first place was so that they would eradicate these false representations and the wicked practices, such as child sacrifice, that went along with them.

Deuteronomy 9:4-5 – “When Yahweh your God drives them out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘Yahweh brought me in to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.’ Instead, Yahweh will drive out these nations before you because of their wickedness. “You are not going to take possession of their land because of your righteousness or your integrity. Instead, Yahweh your God will drive out these nations before you because of their wickedness…”

This is how strongly God is opposed to false gods and the idolatrous worship that goes along with them.

Sometimes, during periods of reform and return to the worship of the one true God, the Israelite tribes were successful in removing the idols and false worship of the nations around them.

1 Samuel 7:4 – “So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtoreths and only worshiped Yahweh.”

1 Samuel 12:10 – “Then they cried out to Yahweh and said, ‘We have sinned, for we abandoned Yahweh and worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths. Now rescue us from the power of our enemies, and we will serve you.’

However, there are indications that even when the Israelites were doing what they were supposed to do in removing the false gods and idols, in typical fashion, they were still missing the true meaning of having Yahweh as their God, since they continually desired him to simply save them from the power of the their enemies, but not from the power of their own sinfulness.

Ultimately, the Kingdom of God was not to be just about an idyllic kingdom to be protected from its enemies, but to be a kingdom made up of individuals who were to practice “righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit,” (Romans 14:17).

—–

Additionally, the idolatry of Israel was not always focused on other gods, but on the one true God, just through some form of statue or representation of their own making.

Consider the golden calf incident. Most people think that the golden calf was a foreign god that the Israelites were worshiping, however, they made the golden calf in honor of Yahweh God and instituted a festival to him! The Israelites created it as a representation of the God who had brought them out of Egypt (Ex. 32:4), and also as a representation of the God who would go before them and conquer. They bowed down to it and danced around it.

Exodus 32:4-5 – “He [Aaron] took the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf. Then they said, “Israel, this is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt! ” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: “There will be a festival to Yahweh tomorrow.”

This shamed the magnificence of the one true God and Moses rightly and immediately destroyed it.

Consider the bronze snake that Moses had made in obedience to Yahweh’s command for healing of the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 21).

Numbers 21:6-9 – Then Yahweh sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit them so that many Israelites died. The people then came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against Yahweh and against you. Intercede with the LORD so that he will take the snakes away from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.” So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered.”

When Hezekiah became king, he ended up having to destroy it because it had become an object of worship in and of itself (2 Kings 18:4)

Consider the ephod or breastplate that Gideon made to represent the victories of the Israelites over the Midianites (Judges 8:22-27).

Judges 8:22, 24-27 – Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian.” … Then he said to them, “Let me make a request of you: Everyone give me an earring from his plunder.” Now the enemy had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites. They said, “We agree to give them.” So they spread out a cloak, and everyone threw an earring from his plunder on it. The weight of the gold earrings he requested was forty-three pounds of gold, in addition to the crescent ornaments and ear pendants, the purple garments on the kings of Midian, and the chains on the necks of their camels. Gideon made an ephod from all this and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. Then all Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household.”

While Gideon’s intent was to honor God, it became an object of worship itself and created corruption among the Israelites.

All of this is a form of syncretism, a blending of what is true about God with the falsehood of idolatry and foreign culture. This is the most dangerous type of idolatry because those who are engaged in it believe they are truly worshiping the one true God through it, yet they are demeaning everything he stands for.

To this day, iconic representation can be found throughout the world, some even becoming popular tourist destinations due to their magnificence.

As I have been reviewing current popular religious destinations, I have been a little shocked to find that many of the most well-attended religious sites are actually based on Christian lore, such as Fatima in Portugal where there were alleged visions of Mary, Lourdes in France, or any of the Roman Catholic sites within Rome. These locations are filled with idolatry of all sorts: images, statues, and various representations of Mary and other religious saints and figures.

There are also magnificent and extravagant temples throughout India and Asian countries with representations of various gods and goddesses and many well-meaning religious traditions.

However, in the Bible God warns us that although this may be typical and commonplace among our various cultures and religions, we are not to identify him in this sort of way. He is to be worshiped in spirit and truth only, not by some sort of symbolic representation. The wisdom in this instruction is that he knows that the thing that is created to represent him can then replace him in the minds of the worshipers.

Idols of other gods are an offense to him, because there are no other gods that have created all things, and ascribing power to something other than him is an insult to his sovereignty over his Creation.

Idols meant to represent him or aspects of his power are also offensive to him, because no one thing can represent his majesty and glory in all of Creation. Ultimately, as we have seen, he knows that the representative thing becomes the object of worship. Any created thing is not a thing to be worshiped, even if we believe it is representing the one true God. No one thing in all of Creation can represent him, and is therefore offensive to him.

What if I was to create an icon of my wife, and in order to honor her, I burnt incense to that statue every day, or got down on my knees and professed my love for her to the image? I don’t need an iconic representation of my wife to honor her; I just need to demonstrate my love to her every day in how I live my life by respecting her and caring for her.

In the same way, God doesn’t want to be worshiped through some shallow representation of a portion of his being; he wants to be recognized for the beneficent Creator that he is in all of his qualities and honored from the heart. Similar to the simplicity and sincerity that I would show my wife, God expects these plain and humble actions in my worship of him.

—–

Additionally, from a practical standpoint, I am extremely saddened by the idolatry present throughout the world for another significant reason: the sheer waste of resources that could be used to help people in real need.

If we were to total all of the money and resources that are sacrificed in the worship of these false idols and their traditions, I am convinced that hunger and poverty throughout the world could be eradicated many times over. I am convinced that resources spent on religious idolatrous enterprises in every culture, including Christianity, are consuming what is available for the ever-growing population of humanity.

Think of the largest religious festivals and the resources they consume: Hajj (Islam); Chinese New Year; Diwali (Hindu); Ramadan (Islam); Setsubun (Shinto); Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu); Navarati (Hindu). These all, while time-honored examples within each of these cultures, are from the biblical perspective considered idolatrous festivities to the gods of those religions.

Lest anyone think that we in American Christian culture are any less guilty of idolatry, simply consider the resources allotted to Easter, Halloween and most significantly, Christmas. According to statista.com, the financial value spent at Christmas is 843 BILLION dollars, and that is in the US alone! Easter has been in the 18 billion-dollar range, and Halloween has gone from 3 billion to 10 billion over the last 15 years. That totals 871 billion dollars spent annually on these idolatrous festivals in the US alone.

Now, a quick search of world-wide poverty initiatives brought me to borenproject.org, where they quote a Columbia University professor’s estimate of ending world poverty:

“In his book End of Poverty, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, provides one answer to the question “how much does it cost to end poverty?” He argues that poverty could be eliminated by the year 2025 thanks to “well-placed development aids”. Investment in local farms to boost capital and productivity, education for both children and adults, enhancing access to health services and leveraging renewable energy resources are the best ways to end poverty.

“So, how much does it cost to end poverty? Sachs, as one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty, stated that the cost to end poverty is $175 billion per year for 20 years.”

Looking at only one year’s spend on religious idolatry, and in only the United States, this equals less than one-fourth of the combined financial impact of Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Now, if we were to estimate the costs of these other global religious festivities and their idolatrous practices, it is clear that the ability to raise up the quality of living and eradicate poverty around the entire world currently exists, if only we could have our eyes opened to the offerings still being made to idolatrous practices around the world.

This is why it is so important for people everywhere to understand the true nature of the Kingdom of God, and to recognize the simple and humble service he expects of his people, not extravagant displays like the pagans!

I believe it is clear we should also re-think some of our own practices in our believing congregations in light of this focus on idolatry. Beyond the seasonal holidays, there are plenty of idolatrous offerings occurring right here in American congregations, as well. How many times have people been admonished to “give sacrificially” to a building fund or to reach some financial goal for the congregation’s sound system or some other facility related function? We spend literally billions on parking lots, building improvements and maintenance, media systems and staffing to manage all of these facilities which remain mostly unused for most of any given week. These are real funds that could be better spent helping those in need while the congregation finds humbler means of gathering once or twice a week.

If this kind of commentary sounds jaded, then so be it. When I served as an intern pastor and also an elder over a number of years in small, local congregations, the amount of ministry time and resources wasted on building campaigns and maintenance was staggering to me. These tax-exempt corporations we have set up as ministry centers suffer from the same myopic budgeting that many secular businesses do. In essence, the facilities themselves have become idols for these congregations, idols that need constant attention and exorbitant resources. Instead, our facilities can be humble places of week-long ministry rather than just fancy audience arenas for a single isolated time each week.

I have heard time and time again that the description of an idol is simply “anything that comes between you and God.” However, from a biblical perspective, that is not really accurate at all. According to the Bible, an idol is an image or practice of some sort to which the powers of God or a god are ascribed, and therefore honor and sacrifice should be paid to it. It may be a figure, an institution or an ancient tradition. Idolatry of this sort in today’s day and age looks like this:

Candles, financial gifts, or food that is offered to statues of gods or supposed saints.

Costs to travel to religious sites for idolatrous religious festivals.

Thinking that by giving to the church building program or giving sacrificially to rescue the church budget is giving to God.

The financial debt and ruin incurred at Saturnalia in an effort to “decorate for the holidays” and to ensure no family’s “Christmas” gifts were overlooked.

These are examples of what modern idolatry looks like. Idols are real things created by people to somehow substitute or represent the one true God and their service to him, not just emotions or feelings that come between us and God. Emotional distractions are all legitimate ways we can be swayed away from God as well, don’t get me wrong. However, true idolatry is the participation in a physical event or honoring of traditional, physical icons in lieu of worshiping the one true God in spirit and in truth.

Yahweh, the God of the Bible, sets himself apart from all other gods by demanding we stop trying to represent him or his kingdom symbolically, whether through some type of iconography, grand facility, or through wasted resources on idolatrous traditions and practices. We can’t represent him fairly in those instances and, even if it is attempted, whatever we make becomes an object of corruption.

There are quite literally thousands of faith traditions throughout the world, even in regards to the God of the Bible. Whatever our personal faith tradition, we must find ways to combat the idolatry that is present through iconography, statues, and symbolic representation.

God simply desires our sincere honoring of him every day by the outworking of our practical faith among the rest of his Creation. This is what living in and for his kingdom should be.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The people of the Kingdom of God

The gospel of the Kingdom is about its people and its reality here and now.

I have spent decades of study, countless thousands of hours and hundreds of articles in exploring the message of the Bible, refining all of its contents down to the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. It is my belief that these two passages carry the central message of the Bible, the gospel of the Kingdom, and define the people of God.

The Ten Commandments describe a people who love God above all else and hate idolatry and religious imagery. They are fruitful and serious in aligning themselves with God, and ensure time with him is the priority above all else. They honor authority and reject personal vengeance. They are faithful, trustworthy, truthful, and are not distracted with worldly entrapments.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua expands on these themes as the fulfillment and essence of his doctrinal teaching:

Kingdom – The Kingdom is populated by disciples of Yeshua who humbly accomplish God’s will on the earth. Abiding by God’s will means obedience in all things to his instruction, his Torah, his eternal Word.

Integrity – Those who make up the Kingdom are people of integrity, doing the will of God from the heart because they know it’s the right thing, not just from a set of memorized rules.

Vigilance – The way of the Kingdom is a path with many obstacles that must be overcome. It takes perseverance, endurance, and wisdom to discern falsehood from truth and to remain in the Way.

Holiness – Those who journey on this path are set apart by God’s Spirit, holy and committed to purity in heart and God’s purpose. They rely on God’s resources for strength and are illumined within with his light and understanding.

Trust – No one can be in the Kingdom who does not have faith in God, to trust him for actual provision in all things, and to trust in Yeshua who guides into all truth and life.

Forgiveness – Those in the Kingdom are peacemakers, and do not become unjustifiably angry with anyone. They go above and beyond to maintain positive and fruitful relationships with those around them, even those who could be considered oppressors.

Compassion – Kingdom people extend mercy and help to those in need. They contribute a helpful and useful purpose in the culture and society and look to the needs of others as they would like to be served.

This Kingdom recognizes no iconography, no creed, no denomination, no ethnicity, no language, no social status, and no nationality. It is above all and eternal in duration.

If these characteristics describe you or your aspirations of who you believe you are called to be, then you, dear friend, are an inheritor and representative of God’s Kingdom.

Now let’s go and live like it.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The good shepherd: how to identify the true Messiah

He would defend the flock to the death, if needed.

John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.

This section of Scripture is interesting to me on a couple of levels: one, because it is typically used as a “salvation” passage, and two, because it mentions those who have been “saved” going back out into the pasture. If this is a salvation passage, why is it that the sheep go in, but then go back out? If the sheepfold is representative of being saved and in the kingdom, why would those who are saved leave the kingdom?

I believe the difficulty arises when we make this a salvation passage just because the word “saved” is used. The larger context of the parable is not salvation, but the identification of the good shepherd who is contrasted with the thief. Clearly (at least to us in perfect hindsight) we can see that Yeshua is that good shepherd. I think we could benefit from a wider perspective and context to understand some of this in more detail.

In verses one through six, Yeshua had just used the parable of the sheepfold that includes a thief, a gatekeeper and a shepherd. Yeshua mentions the gatekeeper opens the door for the true shepherd, and the sheep recognize his voice and dutifully follow him and will not follow the thief because they don’t recognize his voice. In this parable, Yeshua identifies himself as the shepherd. This is none other than an only slightly veiled reference to himself as the Messiah, and that the true “sheep” would recognize him when he arrived.

However, it is said in verse six that “Yeshua spoke this parable to them, but they didn’t understand what he was telling them.” So, while keeping the same characters in play, he transitions the identification of himself from the good shepherd to the gate or entrance to the sheepfold.

John 10:7-10 Yeshua therefore said to them again, “Most certainly, I tell you, I am the sheep’s door. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”

In this section, Yeshua positions himself as the authoritative entrance to the sheepfold who keeps the sheep safe while they are in the sheepfold. The gatekeeper opened up to him because he is the good shepherd. Here he identifies as the only passage into the sheepfold; there is no other way into the sheepfold. Thieves may try to climb in some other way (verse 1), but there is a unique and exclusionary emphasis to Yeshua claiming to be the gate. The sheep who would want to be safe must go through him.

John 14:6 – Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

The word for “saved” there can and does mean saved in other contexts, but here it means that the sheep are safe or protected while they are in the sheepfold and the gate is shut; that is the purpose of the gate: to keep the thieves and wolves out.

However, the sheep need to leave the sheepfold in order to eat and survive. They can’t just stay protected in the sheepfold all day. So Yeshua also mentions that he is the good shepherd who will not run away even if wolves come to attack the flock while they are out of the sheepfold and in the pasture. He is not just a hired hand who has no commitment to the sheep, but he would defend the flock to the death, if needed.

Once again, we see Yeshua providing an indication of how he was going to demonstrate to the sheep that he was the true and good shepherd and not just a “hired hand.” He would ultimately give his life for them, and that would be the final authentication of his Messiahship.

So, while this passage is many times used as a salvation proof text, in reality, the meaning of the parable was of Yeshua indicating that he was indeed the Messiah the sheep were waiting for, and he would ultimately give his life to demonstrate his role.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The city in two places at once

The place where only God can truly be “all in all.”

A few months ago, I did a podcast episode (#44) on the topic of the kingdom of God being a present reality and a future certainty. In this article I am looking at some other terms that apply to the heavenly reality of godly existence: Mount Zion, the city of God, and the heavenly Jerusalem.

In the books of Hebrews and Revelation, the terms are used interchangeably. Here are passages from each next to another, underlining the key terms to show the comparison:

Hebrews 12:22 – “Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem)…”
Revelation 21:10 – “He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain [Zion] and showed me the holy city [city of God], Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven [heavenly Jerusalem] from God…”

Zion has been associated with Jerusalem all throughout the Bible. Yet, when that name is used for Jerusalem, or the mountain upon which it sits, it typically has a prophetic and symbolic meaning. Consider the following:

Psalm 2:6 – “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

This verse is almost universally accepted as being a Messianic verse applying to Yeshua.

Psalm 48:1-3 – “Great is Yahweh and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress.”

This could be a psalm about the might of the earthly Jerusalem in the time it was written, but it does have overtones of a more expansive and symbolic location (in the far north).

Psalm 50:2 – “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.”

Again, this is a psalm speaking of the eternal judgment of God reaching beyond just the sacrificial system of physical Jerusalem (“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!,” v. 23).

And the most quoted prophecy in the NT (seven times in all) alluding to the rulership of Messiah over God’s kingdom:

Psalm 110:1-2 – “A Psalm of David. Yahweh says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Yahweh sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

To my way of thinking, the term Zion in the OT represents in foreshadow what begins coming to pass in reality during the ministry of Yeshua, and then comes to be an ongoing spiritual reality in the consummation of that age when the temple is ultimately destroyed once and for all.

Notice some of the “pre-consummation” instances how the city is still “in heaven.”

Hebrews 12:22 – “Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem)…”
Galatians 4:24-26 – “These things are being taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery ​– ​this is Hagar. Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”

But then, when we arrive at the Revelation language, it appears the city is now shifted to the action of “coming down” out of heaven:

Revelation 3:12 – “The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God ​– ​the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God ​– ​and my new name.”
Revelation 21:2 – “I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.”

While I would not necessarily be dogmatic on the issue, I think it is a fascinating study of some of the terms and how they are used relating to the symbolic and representative focal point of all Creation. I believe this once again demonstrates a strong continuity between the prophecy of the past in the Tanakh (OT) and the prophetic writings demonstrating fulfillment during the NT times.

What I take away is that the city of God, Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, is a present reality (continually coming down) and also a future habitation of the just for all eternity. The city that lives in two realities at once is the ultimate place of God’s presence, reconciling all things to himself in one. It is in this place that God truly can be “all in all,” (1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 1:23).


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The eternal hegemony of the kingdom of God

Political world domination takes a back seat to the real Authority over the world.

Hegemony is not a word that is often used today, and if it is, it is typically conveyed with a negative connotation. The Oxford Dictionary describes hegemony as: “leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.” The Merriam-Webster definition is similar: “the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group.”

The Merriam-Webster definition provides some added background of the word:

“Hegemony was first used in English in the mid-16th century in reference to the control once wielded by the ancient Greek states, and it was reapplied in later centuries as other nations subsequently rose to power. By the 19th century, it had acquired a second sense referring to the social or cultural influence wielded by a dominant member over others of its kind, such as the domination within an industry by a business conglomerate over smaller businesses.”

Synonyms include words like: leadership, dominance, dominion, supremacy, ascendancy, predominance, primacy, authority, mastery, control, power, sway, rule, sovereignty.

Now, in the sense of geopolitical strategies and governmental power over regions of the world, historically there have always been dominant civilizations. The Bible mentions ancient world-stage players such as Babylon, Assyria, Greece, Rome. More modern examples might include the 18-19th century British Empire, or the Nazi expansionism in the early 20th century which sparked the last World War.

Yet, viewed from the lofty perch of our current perspective in time looking back over the millennia, one constant theme emerges: they all pass away. This does not imply that they were or are without significance, but history has shown how one civilization or empire is always succeeded by another.

As believers in the God of the Bible, whether we recognize the specificity of the term or not, we are believers of an eternal hegemony: the kingdom of God. This is easily demonstrated by the terms used to describe his kingdom. In Hebrew, the term for his kingdom is the mamlakah, meaning kingdom, sovereignty, dominion, reign. In Greek the word is basileia, meaning kingdom, sovereignty, royal power.

We read about this eternal dominion of God in our Bibles, and even sing about it in our hymns and psalms. Here is just a small representative sampling:

Psalm 33:8 – Let all the earth fear Yahweh; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
Psalm 47:2, 7 – For Yahweh, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. … For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
Psalm 57:11 – Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 83 even goes so far as to urge the overthrow of the surrounding nations to Israel in defence of God’s own glory and protection of his people.

Psalm 83:1-2, 17-18 – O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. … Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, that they may know that you alone, whose name is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth.

This is the kingdom that Yeshua ushered in to the reality of this world two thousand years ago.

Matthew 4:17 – From that time Yeshua began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The world’s most famous prayer, the Lord’s prayer, even contains the revolutionary concept of God’s kingdom coming to earth with His will, not the will of the nations, being accomplished in its fulfillment.

Matthew 6:10 – Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

But this is not a kingdom we fight flesh and blood to establish. Our warfare is not defined by the weapons of this world, but it is just as difficult a struggle, if not more so, than the occupation of a foreign army in a land not their own. Paul conveyed some of the struggles the apostles fought in their establishment of various congregations, and revealed their weapons were not those of hardened steel, but of righteous actions and overpowering wisdom of God.

2 Corinthians 6:4, 7 – but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, … by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left…

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Messiah…

Yeshua himself conveyed how the kingdom of God was not something that would be fought for on the battlefields of this earth, but it was a real and enduring kingdom nonetheless.

John 18:36 – Yeshua answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

While the kingdom may not be physically originating from this world, it is no less encompassing than any world-dominating empire of the past. However, this kingdom will not pass away like the civilizations of the past. The prophet Yeshua said it was like the mustard seed that would grow “larger than all the other garden plants.”

Matthew 13:31-32 – “He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Daniel was so bold to pronounce that this kingdom would grow to fill the earth and not only last forever but put to rest all other kingdoms of this world; that is the very definition of hegemony.

Daniel 2:44 – “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…”

Hegemony may have a negative connotation today, but remember that we serve a world-dominating King and look forward with anticipation to his dominion and rule over the hearts of men of all nations, where swords are beat into plowshares, and his peace reigns supreme over all.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.