Skip to main content

A Foretaste of the Coming Kingdom

What are some features of the coming Kingdom?

Amy L. Sherman in her phenomenal book Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good with a section on What Does the Rejoiced City Look Like.  This chapter examines the biblical aims of justice, shalom, peace, restoration, unity, and health.  We get a glimpse or foretaste of the coming kingdom in the book of Zechariah, specifically chapter 8, verses 16-17.  God reminds his people Israel of their obligation to do justice but also to treat each other not out of evil motives in their hearts but to do them well. The text reads,

“These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”

Three things are evident here in the Lord’s words to fallen Israel:

Personal holiness toward the other – The first mention of action is “Speak truth to one another.”  The occasion for falsehoods and lies is the occasion for the destruction of a people.  The focus is personal because all sin has ramifications and consequences for the other people, but speaking lies starts with each person.  If there is a mutual trust between persons, including God and his people, then the conditions are right for flourishing.  Falsehood breeds insecurity, hiding from others, and reeks of shame, shame that brings judgment.

Local holiness – The mention of gates refers to the community of the faithful, the place where law courts and judgement would be pronounced.  There is past record of Israel recording unjust judgments against its people, and anyone who would seek a fair sentence.  Judgements that are true are those which are in right accordance with the state of events that took place but also that pursue peace.  The peace here is shalom, both a flourishing for humanity and the entire created order. 

Holiness of the good – Lastly, devising evil in one’s heart is purposive with a specific intent to tear down the reputation, character, and good of another person.  Rather than seeking to ruin another person by action and word, doing good to them is part of God’s goal for human flourishing.  We must be aware that our hearts are prone to do evil, that it is in our devices that we do harm to others.  Forgiveness lies at the door for us because of the savior, but this does not mean that still don’t fall into the clutches of evil devices.

Why are these three things connected in Zechariah 8.16-17?  For one, personal holiness is not set up against local or community holiness.  The very actions of individuals affect the lives of everyone around them, therefore, one person’s holiness is a matter of great concern.  Yet, we know that many people acting on behalf of others, for their good, goes a long way in promoting the good, curbing evil devices, and bringing health to the city.  There is no dualism here.  God is concerned with the holiness of every believer, the holiness of every community, and the holiness of every nation.


Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …