Bringing The Heavenly Kingdom To Light (1) The Origins of Earthly Kingdoms
The theme for the church this year is ˇ§Carry the vision of the Kingdom within us, and be equipped to work for the Lordˇ¨. Kingdom means the Kingdom of God, otherwise known as the Heavenly Kingdom. It is not an earthly kingdom with borders, a populace and political regimes. If we canˇ¦t grasp what the Kingdom of God refers to, then it will be difficult to discuss carrying its vision within us, let alone equipping ourselves for it and striving ardently for the Ruler of the Heavenly Realm. To have an understanding of this aspect, we must first go back to the Old Testament to learn the origins of earthly kingdoms and their development, so that we can perceive the will of God in the bringing to light of the Heavenly kingdom. During the next few weeks, I will share with everyone here some personal insights.
Besides recording the beginnings of heaven and earth and all mankind, the Book of Genesis also provides an account of the origins of earthly kingdoms. Basically, before the Flood (Genesis Ch. 1-7) Man had not established any kingdoms on earth. We only saw that after leaving God and losing His protection, Man felt insecure - like Cain, driven away by the Lord after killing his brother in jealousy, who feared the pursuit of men and a life of listless wandering. So when he departed from God, he built a city for himself and named it after his own son, calling it Enoch (4:17) This was the first city on earth. Cain did this in order to highlight his own achievements, seek a personal feeling of safety, and gain more recognition and remembrance for his son. So his objective was still human-centered.
When Man began to multiply, they still did not install kings or sovereigns. Their leaders were possibly just a group of founders with creative talent. ˇ§Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain's sister was Naamah.ˇ¨ (4:20-22) From a human perspective, the descendants of Cain had more accomplishments than the descendants of Seth. Thatˇ¦s because after Man lost his close association with God, his focus fell onto improving his life on earth and satisfying his worldly pleasures and comfort. He substituted Godˇ¦s position with things of the earth. This is the reality of Man through the ages.
After the Flood (Genesis Ch. 8-11), Man multiplied again on earth. Some descendants of Noah moved eastward. They wanted to build a city and a tower on the plain of Shinar. The tower was to reach to Heaven. Its purpose was so that they could ˇ§make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." (11:4) Behind it was actually the arrogant motive of honouring Man and rejecting God. The result was Godˇ¦s intervention, making their construction of the city and tower a failure by confusing their language. The city was thus given the name of Babel, meaning ˇ§confusedˇ¨. So they scattered all over the earth, each following his own language and clan to establish nations at different places. (10:5,20,31,32) Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, became a mighty warrior on the earth through his extraordinary wisdom and abilities. Using Shinar as his base, he established many kingdoms, which were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh. From there he went to Assyria, where he built the great cities Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen. (10:10-12) The Chinese Union Version translates the last verse as ˇ¨that great cityˇ¨. The King James Version translates it as ˇ§the same is a great cityˇ¨. From then on, earthly kingdoms centered on the cities and continually increased and expanded. Here we see that Nimrod was not deterred by the intervention of God to end his ambitions to build cities and establish kingdoms. He continued to extend his influence, hoping to forge together a mighty nation on earth in order to propagate his own name and reputation.
By: Daniel To