Advent (Day 4)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:26-33 ESV).

The last verse in our reading is an incredible declaration designed to bring purpose, peace, and power to Mary. The angel says, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” The kingdom of God is referenced often in the New Testament. It is synonymous with the kingdom of heaven. It is the center of the doctrine dealing with eternal life. We ought to pay close attention to this prophetic moment from Gabriel to Mary.

Broadly speaking, the kingdom of God is the rule of an eternal, sovereign God over all the universe. Several passages of Scripture show that God is the undeniable Monarch of all creation: “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). And, as King Nebuchadnezzar declared, “His kingdom is an eternal kingdom” (Daniel 4:3). Since every authority that exists has been established by God (cf. Romans 13:1) the kingdom of God incorporates everything that is.

 

There is another sense in which the kingdom of God is used in Scripture: the literal rule of Christ on the earth during the millenium. Daniel said that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (cf. Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14). There were other prophets who predicted the same thing. Some theologians refer to the future, open manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of glory” and the present, hidden manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of grace.” But both manifestations are connected; Christ has set up His spiritual reign in the church on earth, and He will one day set up His physical reign in Jerusalem. And, what a glorious day that will be. Christmas announces the surety of that kingdom!