Updated: Apr 19
From the start of creation everything in heaven, on earth and under the earth is willingly subject to God for He as the sovereign King, created a perfect kingdom. This will be our first main focus point. Secondly, the pattern of the perfect kingdom will be discussed, where man could fulfil his chief end to enjoy God and glorify Him forever. Thirdly, the fall of man and the need for redemption will be introduced. Finally, the significance of the kingship of God and the pattern of the kingdom of God as a suitable theological basis for understanding the story of redemption will be shown, through the promised King of salvation.
Kingship of God in creation
The kingship of God is clear from the start of His divine revelation to man. He as King, the Sovereign creates out of nothing by speaking. He speaks and whatever He speaks comes to pass. The refrain in creation is
“Let there be...and there was/it was so”
Through His word, all of creation is created, not only created but also upheld by His word. He as the Sovereign ruler creates the two great lights and declares that the greater light should rule over the day and the lesser over the night (Gen 1:16). He gives man the responsibility and right to rule (still under God’s kingship) when He declares that man should have dominion over all creation and subdue it. Adam then exercises this rule over the animals when, God brought all the creatures to him and gave him the responsibility to name each animal
“And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name”
Furthermore, God gave man a commandment so that man, by freely choosing to follow His rule, can willingly submit to Him as his Sovereign. The command also has consequences if disobeyed “...you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17). Only a sovereign King who rules over all His creation can declare such a sure consequence for disobeying Him.
A king is a ruler over his kingdom and he does what pleases him. We should bear in mind that a great difference between a worldly king and the King of kings is that God created His kingdom from nothing, whereas every human king uses the means he has to establish his rule. This is very important to keep in mind.
For from the start of creation everything in heaven, on earth and under the earth is subject to God either willingly or unwillingly for He is the sovereign Creator thereof.
The pattern of the kingdom
God as King created His kingdom in a perfect state. Everything He created was good and all created things obeyed his rule.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
Man by obeying the rule of God lived; and lived under the blessing of God (Gen 2:7, Gen 1:28). Man not only lived in peace with God but also with the creation and with his wife. They were made to be one flesh in constant communion with each other and God (Gen 2:24-25).
Referring to the kingdom of God Goldsworthy in his book Gospel and Kingdom defines the kingdom of God as
“God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing”
This pattern of creation of “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing” was not intended for Adam and Eve only, but also for their offspring. This can be seen in Gen 1:28, God not only commands them to subdue the earth but also to multiply and fill it. Looking at Goldsworthy’s definition of the kingdom, we should keep in mind that the people are not just under God’s rule, but willingly under God’s rule. For God and man is in a covenantal relationship from the very beginning, this is not an unwilling man under the rule of God, but a man that lived in communion with God and as his chief end glorifies God and enjoys Him forever. (The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q1)
The significance of the kingship - and pattern of the kingdom - of God as a theological basis for understanding redemption
The fall of man and the need for redemption
Man however chose to disobey the command of God. Undermining the word of God and establishing his own rule above that of God, by regarding the word of Satan as the word to rule his life. The condition, of the covenantal relationship, of perfect obedience, is broken. The man who once lived, and lived in the blessing of God, is now subjected to death, and under the curse of God as a rebel in the kingdom of God.
After the fall, we find two lines of people in the kingdom of God. The ungodly and the godly. Both of them are under the universal kingdom of God. “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45). This is clearly demonstrated in Gen 3:15
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
The ungodly being the offspring of the serpent and the godly the offspring of the woman.
The sin of man did not stop God’s rule and providence over all of creation, but now all are rebels, by nature children of wrath, in His kingdom not willingly submitting to his rule (Ps 14, Rom 3:10-11, Eph 2:3).
If it is true, “that none seek God” and “that there are none righteous”, how is it then that there is a line of godly people?
The answer is found in the promise of Gen 3:15. That there will be an offspring of the woman, that will bruise the head of the serpent. God did not leave man, but He has a plan of redemption. Already in Gen 3:15, we can see God as King of creation not leaving man but giving him a promise of redemption. This plan will be fulfilled through a man out of the seed of the woman.
God redeeming his people to himself through the promised King
From the start of the old testament, the plan of God is to free his people to become obedient slaves to Him. Acknowledging Him as Lord and King. He will be their God and they will be His people (Ex 6:7). He will once again walk among them and be their God and they shall be His people (Lev 26:13-14).
God plans to fulfil this promise through a man, out of the seed of the woman. This man will also be a king. This is promised to David, the king of Israel, that rules over God’s chosen nation Israel. The promise is found in 2 Sam 7:12-14. Out of his offspring, God will establish a kingdom. The throne of his kingdom will be forever. God will be a father to him and he a son to God.
God thus gives his rule to this King. To his Anointed. The ungodly, however, take counsel against the LORD and his Anointed. They do not want to submit themselves to His rule. This does not hinder the decree of the Lord that He will give unto this King all nations and the ends of the earth as possession, and those who resist him will be dashed to pieces, but those who take refuge in him will be blessed (Ps 2). The King will destroy all his enemies and everything in heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow down before Him. His people will offer themselves willingly to His rule and with his mighty scepter, He shall rule at the right hand of God (Ps 110).
Furthermore, not only will all on heaven and earth serve Him forever and ever, but He also gives, to the people of the saints of the Most High, the responsibility and right to rule (still under God’s kingship). They will rule as they were commanded to do in Eden (Dan 7, Rev 3:21).
This king that comes from the line of David is indeed Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. As described in Acts 2:29-36, He indeed is the Lord of Psalm 110 who sits at the right hand of the Father and all his enemies are made his footstool. God made Him Lord and Christ.
“Humbling Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. God bestowed to Him a name above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
He is the grace of God bringing salvation for all people. He is the one that gave himself for us, by His death we are redeemed from all lawlessness to purify for himself a people for his own possession. A people who are zealous for God works (Tit 2:11-14). Willingly obeying Him.
The redemption of God is thus mediated through Christ the God-man. All who thus believe in Him now take part in the mediatorial kingdom. They are translated from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of His (God’s) beloved Son, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins (Col 1:13-14).
This kingdom will be perfected once He returns again. The perfect kingdom will be a new heaven and a new earth. He will make all things new. There will be no need for temple or light, for He will be our temple and light. All kings will bring Him glory and honour, nothing unclean will enter it (Rev 21), and man will fulfil his chief end to enjoy Him and glorify Him forever. (The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q1)