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The Statues Of God And His Kingdom

The Statutes in the Old Testament

The first books in the Old Testament are called ‘torah’. The term means; instruction, teachings, directions. ‘Torah’ is the code of laws that showed the right path to the people of Israel. In the New Testament the Greek term ‘nomos’ is used to mean ‘the law’. These terms are used in the Holy Bible to mean the will of God expressed through His commandments and injunctions.

If before the time of Moses, there was a kind of tribal law, from the time of Moses up to the time of the exile it was the covenant law that was in force (Genesis 12 :3). The Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:2-17, Deut. 5:6-12) and the statutes of the Covenant (Exod. 20:22-23, 33) were given during this time. The people of Israel received the unwritten and written laws of God. These laws were the expressions of the will of God.

The Law of the Lord and the Law of Christ

In the Synoptic Gospels, the law of the Lord is connected with the Incarnation. Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfill a promise. The early Church in general reacted favorably and at the same time unfavorably to the claims of the law of the Lord.

St. Paul pointed out that the law of the Lord requires sincere repentance and perfect obedience. Perfect obedience is not slavish; nor is it a state of being bound within the limits of the law. On the other hand, it is a means to attain Christian freedom. The New Testament is not a Jaw, but a contract of love and freedom leading to sonship. Phrases like ‘the law of faith, (Rom 3:27), and ‘the law of Christ’ (Gal. 6:2), ‘the law of sin (Rom. 7:23), ‘the law of life’ (Rom. 8 :2) illustrate this truth. St. Paul explains how the law of the Lord becomes the expression of His will. St. Paul also lays great emphasis on its role in the act of redemption; he connects it to man’s freedom and to his faith in God.
Conception of the Kingdom of God

‘The Kingdom of God’ is the translation of the Greek words “he basileia tou theou.” ‘Basileia’ literally mean rule, supervision or kingship. It does not mean kingdom. Nor does it mean the territory under God’s rule. It means the rule of God. The conception of God’s kingship was part of the Hebrew tradition. The prophets of Israel interpreted this idea’ in detail. The expectation of the Israelites of the coming of Messiah was nourished by this idea.

The Universality of God

The Jews were looking forward to the establishment of the Kingdom of God in Judea with Jerusalem as the centre. But the trials and tribulations of the period of exile shattered their hopes. They came to look upon Jehovah as the king of the whole earth. The Jewish religio:1 accepted the universality of the Kingdom of God. They came to believe that their sins stood in the way of the speedy establishment of {he Kingdom of God. They longed for the day when the Kingdom of God would be established and redemption and judgment would follow.

The zealots believed in hastening the establishment of the Kingdom of God through political involvements. Their efforts led to the first Jewish War (A. D. 70). The Pharisees believed that the Kingdom of God would come into being when the chosen people kept the law of the Lord fully. On the other hand, the Sadducees tried to become reconciled to the Roman rule.

Society in the Kingdom of God

John the Baptist who declared that the Kingdom of God was at band was the herald of Jesus Christ. The Gospels consider the ministry of Christ as the beginning of the Kingdom of God. Christ not only spoke about the Kingdom of God, but also established a society of His Kingdom and sent them for the ministry (St. Luke 22:29 ff, St. Matthew 19:23, St Mark 10:42-45, St. Luke 22:23-28).

The apostolic community learnt from their Lord that the cross was a means to enter the Kingdom of God. (Acts. 14:22). They also learnt that entry into the Kingdom of God meant the sharing of kingship, They learnt from the Sermon on the Mount who would have the right to enter His Kingdom (St. Luke 12:33, Psalms 37:11, Exodus 10:6, Daniel 7:22).

The Saints of the Most High

The prophecy of Daniel about the saints of the most high (Daniel 7 :21 ff) and his visions of the Son of Man influenced the teachings of Christ. He established the Church and meant it to be the community of the saints of the most high. He spoke about the citizenship of the Kingdom of God attained by the members of the Church.

St. Paul reinterpreted the above conception. The Saints who received God’s grace and the gift of righteousness in Christ shall be the rulers of the Kingdom that is yet to come (See Rom. 5: 17, I. Cor. 4:8 ff, 1 Cor. 6:2).

Admittance to the Kingdom of God

St. Peter, in his first epistle points out that the Church is a chosen race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. This is the fulfillment of the promise that Moses received on Mount Sinai (l Pet. 2:9, 10, Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6). In Israel, kings and priests were anointed. In the same way, we are anointed with the Holy Spirit so that we become subjects of the Kingdom of God and are deputed for the ministry of the royal priesthood. This is what the New Testament tells us. And we understand that worship of God, holy life; ministry and self-sacrifice are also essential factors.

The Kingdom of God remains a great mystery. It is revealed to those who approach it with faith. The parable of the Sower illustrates this truth (St. Mark 4:3-9). Many hear the word of the Lord. But holy life is given only to those that find the strait gate (St. Matthew 7:14) ‘which leadeth unto life’ (St. Luke 13 :23). Entrance to the Kingdom of God is limited to the small flock of sheep that hear the call of God and follow Him faith- fully (See St. Luke 21:32, St. Mark. 4:11, St. Matthew 13:1-15, Luke. 8:20).

Miracles and Signs

The miracles of Christ aroused the curiosity of the people. Most of them asked from where He got the power of healing and of casting out evil spirits (Mark 11 :28.). As long as they failed to understand the Source of His power, His miracles were bound to remain a mystery to them. Christ’s objective was not to arouse their curiosity but to guide them to the path of repentance, faith and everlasting life (St. Matthew 11:21, St. Luke. 10:13). That is why he refused to perform miracles at the request of the people.

It is the believers and the group that understand the real meaning of miracles and the signs of the Kingdom of God; they alone get the right to enter the Kingdom. We view the miracles and signs of Our Lord as the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament, the signs of the Kingdom of God, emancipation from Our state of bondage to the demon, and the signs of the second coming of our Lord.