“The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our LORD and of His Messiah...” - Revelation 11:15
A Scarlet Thread Is it true, as is widely held in Christian circles, that the thematic unity of the Bible is to be found in its story of redemption? From the time of the Church Fathers to today’s televangelists a “Scarlet Thread of Redemption” has been touted as the main story line of biblical revelation, weaving itself through the tapestry of Scripture in diverse images and incidents.
It proceeds from the blood shed to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve in the Garden, to the blood applied to the doorposts of Israelite homes in Egypt, to Rahab’s scarlet thread in Jericho signaling Joshua’s men, to the blood shed at Temple sacrifices for the sins of Israel. All these, it is said, are precursors to the real story of the Bible, namely, Jesus and his blood shed at Calvary for the redemption not alone of Israel but of the whole world. The Golden Thread As marvelous and indisputably central to God’s purposes in the earth as is the story of redemption, I would suggest nonetheless that another theme surpasses the “Scarlet Thread of Redemption” as the over arching meta-narrative and unifying motif of the biblical story. We might call it the “Golden Thread of the Kingdom.”
God’s reign in and over the earth pervades the biblical account from Genesis to Revelation. In the Garden the Almighty shared His dominion with Adam and Eve, commissioning them as agents of His rule over the earth and all its creatures great and small.
In rebellion, however, they forsook covenant with their Creator and chose instead to serve another god, namely Self; they chose autonomy and independence—the power to declare for themselves what is good and what is evil—rather than humble service to the gracious King of the Universe.
When the Last Adam appeared, he not only redeemed those enslaved to sin by the First Adam he also restored his Father’s Kingdom to its rightful place in human affairs. In his preaching, teaching, parables and deeds the Messiah continually and insistently emphasized the in-breaking reality of the Kingdom of God. And when his Messianic task will be fully accomplished at the Last Day and death is no more, then the Son will hand the Kingdom back to the Father, that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:24, 28).
The LORD Reigns! The consummation of the Creation will occur when every rule, authority and power is subject to God. Then the seventh angel shall sound the great shofar and the heavens shall rejoice because: “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our LORD and of His Messiah, and he shall reign forever and ever. And the twenty- four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God...” (Revelation 11:15–16).
Let us never forget that the consummation of the Kingdom of God will occur in Zion, not in heaven. Yes, there will be a “new heaven and earth,” but a renewed Jerusalem will still be at its center and the Jewish nation still central to the purposes of the Creator. In that great day, the first proclamation of God’s Kingship by Israel at the Sea—“The LORD reigns forever and ever!” (Exodus 15:18 ) — will find its final fruition when the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob becomes King over all the earth: “The LORD shall be one and His Name one!” (Zechariah 14:9).
So, while the “Scarlet Thread of Redemption” is at the core of God’s story, it’s not its circumference. The “Golden Thread of the Kingdom” precedes, succeeds, and indeed surrounds it. Redemption is an integral and essential sub-narrative to the even grander story of God’s reign in and over the earth.
Only with such an overview can we begin to glimpse the gravitas of the Kingdom message for Jesus of Nazareth, why he prioritized it and personalized it throughout his life and ministry, and why it is so important—nay, urgent—for the Body of Messiah to lay hold of his teachings on this subject. We truly will become agents of redemption and restoration in our world when we are seized by the power of the Kingdom. Then we will live our lives in the name of the Son and to the praise of the Father’s glory.
Join our live class, featuring video teaching by Dwight Pryor, called Unveiling the Kingdom of Heaven. Go to jcstudies.com/kingdom for more information.