In today’s episode, we discuss the kingdom of God with Roy Beacham and Jeff Brown. We talk about how Scripture teaches on the kingdom of God from cover to cover. Be sure not to miss this episode!
Host: Micah Tanis, Director of Communications
Guests: Dr. Roy Beacham, Senior Professor of Old Testament & Dr. Jeff Brown, Adjunct Faculty, Missions
Topic: The Kingdom of God
Book Suggestion: Alva McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom
Micah Tanis: Welcome to the Central Seminary podcast. We are delighted to have you with us today as we discuss Biblical and theological issues relating to life and ministry. This podcast is a ministry of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota. To learn more about Central Seminary, visit our website at www.centralseminary.edu. My name is Micah, and I will be your host.
Thanks for joining us today on the Central Seminary Podcast.
Today we have two guests with us. We have Dr. Roy Beacham, one of our professors here at Central. And we have missionary Dr. Jeff Brown with us to talk about the topic of understanding the kingdom.
MT: It’s often that we can think about the kingdom, whether that’s from the Old Testament perspective, a New Testament perspective. Are those different? How are they joined together? So, as we have Dr. Beacham and Dr. Brown, they’re going to introduce themselves and just give a little of their background. One of the angles that we’re going to think about, the kingdom is from for us in presenting the truth of the Kingdom from the Word of God, how do we present that maybe from an academic in the classroom or in the pew? How do we think about it from a pastoral perspective to going through the regular instruction of Scripture, thinking about the Kingdom and reminding people of the wonderful truth of the kingdom?
So, I’m going to ask Dr. Beacham if you could go first just to introduce yourself with the connection of who you’re sitting across from today. Dr. Jeff Brown as I’m understanding, there’s a lot of neat connections between you guys, a lot of history. So, if you could just tell our listeners just a little bit of that background that you have with Dr. Brown and yourself.
RB: Okay. I, of course, have taught in the seminary for a long time, 40 some years. I’d have to do the math. And I’m not a math person, but I began seminary in the fall of 1973, graduated from Pillsbury College, moved up to the cities, and as I moved up and began classes that semester, I met another new student by the name of Jeff Brown, and we became fast friends. We have stories that we could tell for the entire podcast, some of which probably should never be aired. But it was. It’s just been a pleasure to know Jeff for years. He’s probably the best friend that I have who knows me more than anyone except my wife. And we just had a great time together as students. And over the years in our fellowship. One of the funny things about our relationship is as we were going through seminary, it was my goal to be a missionary, probably on a foreign filled field. And it was Jeff’s goal to be a seminary professor. And now for 47 years I’ve been a seminary professor, and for 40 some years he’s been admissions. So, it’s great. God has amazing ways to direct our lives.
MT: Dr. Brown Missionary Germany. Understand that you’re a missionary. How long were you in Germany? 31 years. 31 years?
JB: Yeah. I was a pastor. Yes. Seven years in Michigan? So, when I came, I had gone to a secular school ball State University in Indiana. I had studied biology, and the Lord called me to preach in the end of my year, in my senior year at at Ball State. And I came up here to Central Seminary and Roy is talked about how we met each other rather quickly. And it’s always been what’s the word from the proverbs? Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend and that’s how it’s been. I’ve always looked forward to being with Roy. He was always just a just a edge ahead of me. Talk about academics or anything else. He got married before I did and you name it. Roy has been ahead of me. So, it’s been great to be friends for all these years.
MT: One of the things we like to ask our guests is what’s a current book that you’re reading that that maybe it’s completely off the topic of the kingdom. We’ll ask a little bit later thinking about a book that is relative to the kingdom. But what’s a book that you’ve been reading that’s been an encouragement to you? You just like to let our listeners know about
Dr. Beacham. What’s that book that you’ve been reading?
RB: Something I’m not sure it’s been an encouragement to me, but that’s been of interest to me. I also teach a course and dispensation exam, which is kind of tied to the question of the kingdom, but written rather recently by a man named Hummel, right now his first name escapes me, but he’s a historian and the book was titled The Rise and Fall of Dispensation, he believes that apparently dispensation is and has fallen as a teacher of the course. I don’t agree with that. So obviously there’s much in the book that I don’t agree with, but it was very interesting to read. I try to keep up on that topic as well and that’s one of the most recent works that I finished. So, thinking about a favorite book,
Dr. Brown, what’s something you’ve been reading recently?
JB: Well, I’m the type of person that never reads just one book at a time. I’ve been. I’ve been pleased in recent years to get to know a number of people who are just like me. So, I don’t feel I’m that odd. One of the books that I am reading, I get there because I am so interested in personal evangelism. When you do personal evangelism, then you are by necessity involved in apologetics. And I always think of, well, what about somebody who’s never been to seminary? What kind of apologetics do they do? And a lot of times when you are in that area, you’re thinking about, okay, if I’m just talking with somebody on the street or I’m sitting down in his house just talking to him, how I’m going to unload some heavy theological book. I want to know how I can just talk to somebody. That’s what Jesus did. He had an apologetic and he’d just talk to people. And so, I came across one that is called tactics by a man named Gregory Koukl. You can see him on YouTube. He has all kinds of presentations, and he’s been at this for a long time because he was in my generation is in my generation, and he was on a secular campus, came to Christ there. So, from those days, he’s been involved in personal evangelism. Well, this is his book on apologetics. And you basically say you need to learn how to ask questions. You don’t have to be a theologian. You just need to learn how to ask questions and think with the person. And it’s a great book. I wish that he would get to evangelism quicker to the gospel, but nevertheless, I’m learning a great deal from this book.
JB: A second book that I’m reading at the present I’ve just launched into it is called The Pauline Corpus of Early Christianity or in Early Christianity, by Benjamin Leard from Liberty University. And I am really looking forward to that, talking about how the Pauline Corpus of the books of the Bible came together. And then I never like to just stick with theology. Okay, I think you get to be well, anyway, let’s leave it there.
JB: And so, I’m reading a biography of Nathan Bedford Forest by Jack Hirst, and in recent years he has become a boogeyman. But I don’t think he was had his positives and his negatives. And he was one of the original leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. What people don’t realize is that went for about two years in his life and then he was asked to come to Congress. They asked him to help out with what they wanted to get done in the country, and he renounced it. He got out of it. He realized it was the wrong thing. He got saved late in life, and after he got saved, he renounced racism and taught people against it. And as a matter of fact, the black people of Memphis looked to him on different occasions. For help is a is very an interesting book.
MT: When you guys started talking about this topic of the Kingdom, it was immediately observable to see your guys’ excitement to know. And that knowing that from a student in Dr. Beacham’s classes taking Kingdom of God class and knowing the excitement of being taught it and also even the books that that we would be assigned.
MT: One of those books was Alan McLean’s The Greatness of the Kingdom. So obviously a in a connection to encourage us as students with the with the greatness of the kingdom. That’s really the question that’s going to drive our time together today is thinking about the greatness of the kingdom. And I want to ask you guys, just as we begin what got you interested in the topic of the kingdom, that it has been a significant part of your ministry and that desire to instruct in the Word of God and help people understand the kingdom.
How did you get interested in the topic of the kingdom?
Jeff, we’ll start with you.
JB: All right. I think it’d be similar with Roy. I had a course from Dr. Roland McCune, and it was called “The Greatness of the Kingdom.” We used Dr. McClain’s book, and we just went through that book, and then he brought in all kinds of other things. I’ve got all kinds of notes in my book of the Greatness of the Kingdom. They’re all from that time that we were in the course together, of all the courses I took, and I had just fabulous courses here at Central, that is one of them was Remain one of my very favorites. I have read a few books, a few books many times through. That’s one that’s The Greatness of the Kingdom. I read that three times through as a big book. and ever since then I’ve wanted to communicate. those ideas to whatever congregation I was involved in, and I’ve wanted to understand it more and more. And of course, it is an important factor when we talk about politics today, government today, it has to do with all of that. And so there was my interest.
RB: Dr. McCune taught the course. We all sat there in awe just reading through McClain marking up, McClain taking rabbit trails off of McCune, listening to Doctor McClain, who was a fabulous teacher. It became my great privilege as I became a professor at Central to take over that course and to teach that course. And for many years I as well walked students through the book. I felt, just as Jeff did, that this was probably the best course that I had at Central, mainly because it tied the whole Bible together. I mean, the book, McClain’s book goes from Genesis to Revelation in discussing the Kingdom of God, and this book put the Bible together in a in a metanarrative. That was something I’d never thought about before. It was just fantastic.
RB: And I’ve loved teaching it since then, and I’ve had many students tell me that it’s been their favorite course as well, not because of the teacher, but because of the material.
MT: That’s exciting for me. Just asking as a student; that excitement I heard that through the classes and could catch it. But understanding that and that’s only been my experience of opening up the greatness of the kingdom and seeing that as a system from cover to cover as we’re thinking about the kingdom.
MT: One thing that you guys both mentioned was the greatness of the kingdom, the opportunity to think cover to cover from Scripture. And so that was the first question I wanted to ask as we come to that is how soon do we see the development of the kingdom here in Scripture with the pages in Genesis? Roy, I’ll start with you.
RB: A few years ago, I’d been teaching Kingdom for quite a long time, and I don’t remember why this dawned on me. I should have thought of it a long time before that, but it was interesting to me to think about the Kingdom from Genesis to Revelation, and there is a great jumping off point right in the chapter one of the Christian account of Genesis. But it dawned on me too, as I looked at the entire corpus of Scripture and particularly the Old Testament, that if you look at the beginning of the Book of Exodus, so think of the exodus from Egypt around 1445 B.C. Let’s round that off to 1500. So, I could do the math. If the world was created around 4000 B.C., according to Usher’s calculations from the genealogies, if there are gaps in the genealogies, conservative young Earth creationists say maybe it was created at 6000, maybe 8000 B.C., but let’s just go with 4000 B.C. The Book of Genesis covers from 4000 B.C. to 1445. You have, you know, 2500 years crammed into the Book of Genesis. And then from Exodus to Malachi, you have the Kingdom of God in history. You have Israel coming out of Egypt, becoming God’s kingdom on Earth. And so, I mean, it became pretty obvious to me. It was already obvious to me. But God, God’s revelation focuses on the kingdom because the vast majority of the Old Testament, from Exodus to through Malachi, with the possible exception of Jacob, is all about the kingdom. This is kind of an overstatement, but the only reason the Book of Genesis is there is to get us to the exodus to the kingdom. Now, again, that’s an overstatement. You have Abraham, in fact, in Chapter 12, and Abraham is around 1800, let’s say 2000. So, you have 2000 years of history, Earth history, crammed into the first 11 chapters of Genesis to get us to Abraham, who is the father of Israel, the nation that God made into the kingdom. And so, on that level, I would say we see that the kingdom is very important in Scripture, particularly to the Old Testament. Jeff can tell us how it all begins in Genesis chapter one. Well, one thing that we find in Genesis one is that as God creates human beings, he tells them to be fruitful and multiply and to rule the Earth. And we can talk about what that rule means. I don’t think we have time right now, but that was man’s original responsibility was to rule for God on Earth. He was the Viceroy of God on earth. Didn’t last very long. Sin came in. He put himself under the direction of Satan. And so, then the rest of the story after that is how God brings this into being, that there is His kingdom, which is in existence from the very beginning, everywhere. It’s everywhere and it’s everywhere now, but that it actually comes to Earth. We have to wait until Israel, and I appreciate what Roy just said. And let me add one more feature to all of that. You have, what, 1680 years. If you go by a literal calculation of the genealogy, what is about 1680, something like that. And you have from the time of Moses to as we said about that to Malachi, you’ve got, what, a little over a thousand years right. It’s a lot more time before the flood, right? Why doesn’t God say more about that? And I think there’s good reason. He was totally disappointed to the point that he said, I repent that I have made, man. It disappointed him in, you know, in a way that we can hardly describe. If you had a man who was an older man and he had a son and his son went wayward and he never straightened out, and you were sitting down with him and you wanted to ask him about his son. He probably wouldn’t talk long about that son. And that’s how I look at that. That may be something needs a whole lot more tweaking, but or argument, I don’t know, but that’s how I see it.
MT: Yeah. As you mentioned there, in thinking through that development, just even of Genesis, what’s going on there and something you mentioned in the beginning of talking about the evangelistic fervor that you seek to have with taking the truth of Scripture and then bring him down to that everyday level. Many of the things you even just reiterated there about Genesis is the understanding the gospel, what, what, how man has fallen and then how the story. So how has your even understanding of the kingdom thrust you forward into evangelism? How does that the message of the Gospel come through in how you even teach people about the kingdom and then that leads to the evangelism opportunities?
JB: Well, I would say, first of all, when I’m trying to reach somebody for Christ, I normally and if I have enough time, I will take them and buy enough time is 15 minutes. Okay. I will take them then to Genesis and briefly explain that and how we became sinners. So that’s where you that’s where you start. All right. And you also realize that we have a problem with Satan. He’s involved in all of this. He is fighting against God’s kingdom. I may not use the word kingdom. Sure. I don’t want to make it too complicated for people, but there it is. And you begin right there. And of course, if you’re presenting an evangelism, you take them to the cross. Jesus, the King of Kings. I may not say king of kings, but that’s where it is, isn’t it? Yes. And then he is going to come back to rule. So, in a nutshell, that’s where it all happens. I think it’s a little bit difficult to be able to convince people about receiving Christ being saved if they don’t realize they are sinners and where that came from.
MT: Yes. Excellent. When you are presenting as we think as we think about the evangelistic opportunities in thinking about the kingdom, when you have somebody that then understands comes to know by faith in Christ and is continuing to study their Bible, and maybe even you have some stories of this point where people are looking through their Bible and asking those questions. I’m seeing this word kingdom. I’m seeing the nation of Israel. And how do I think through that, especially with current events that there is on the globe, Israel is a country. How do you think about that? So, this is moving it a little bit for from maybe the pastoral into the academic realm, but how do you help people to think about the kingdom when you are just introducing it to them, that concept of the kingdom? And then what? How do you begin to develop that concept of Israel, not to just leave them in the Old Testament, but then to give them that full picture from cover to cover of how the kingdom is in God’s hands and not something that just in Israel is in the Old Testament, but yet God is still holding that. So how do you develop the concept of the kingdom for somebody who is developing the understanding of Scripture?
JB: Well, I think Roy can answer this even better than I do. So, when I’m done, ask him. Yes, but that’s a big thing. Yeah. And so, I wouldn’t get at that right away. I would tell the person just briefly just I would briefly outline what’s going to happen and Jesus is coming back and that he is going to rule. But there are other things in the Bible that tell us about why governments succeed and why they fail, and that is connected with God’s kingdom, because he is the king and governments have to decide, are we going to follow him and his truth or are we going to follow our own hearts? One will succeed, the other will fail dismally. So, if we get to talking about that and you asked about Israel, just a brief answer on that. I will tell people the Kingdom of God is always connected with Israel. If you understand what’s happening in Israel, then you’ll understand better what’s happening with God’s kingdom, and I’ll give the rest to Roy. Yeah.
MT: Dr. Beacham How do we think about that topic in when it can be politically charged or in thinking through that the essence of what is Israel and how do we connect to that?
RB: Okay. Well, let me let me back up and throw a monkey wrench into the works, because I think a lot of people who are listening to the podcast probably don’t understand the word kingdom the way Dr. Brown and I are talking about it. Most people today, I believe, think of the kingdom as some ethereal spiritual realm that we enter when we when we get saved, accept and be born again. We shall not enter the Kingdom of God. So, we are born again. We do enter the kingdom. We’re all in the kingdom. Let’s all you know, worship God in the kingdom, in the spiritual kingdom that itself, this idea of a spiritual realm, where the kingdom is some ethereal, you know, experience tied to soteriology, there’s a huge misconception there that would take a great deal of time to talk about. Maybe we’ll get into that a little bit. But the point of a true definition of the kingdom is that that God established he made man in his image, or some would say as his image an image. God said, let us make man in our image. Or I’d like to translate that perhaps as our image. An image in the Old Testament is of visible representation of an invisible deity. God rules over his creation all of the time, but he made Adam to be his representative, to let us make man as our image and let him rule over the fish. And to see the fall over he is to rule, as Jeff said, and failed in that. So eventually, throughout in history, God called Abraham out of all of the day, all of the peoples of the earth. He said, I’m going to make of you a great nation. He took Abraham’s ethnic descendants into Egypt, consolidated them, brought them out to Mount Sinai at the Exodus, as we discussed earlier. And he gave them the Mosaic covenant he made of this ethnic group, a nation, a kingdom. So now Israel is God’s representative nation on earth. They are to emulate what God living is like, what God faith is like, what God economy is like, what God’s sociology is like, what God worship is like there to show the world what God’s kingdom looks like. It’s a visible physical thing as represented by the nation of Israel. Israel also fails in her responsibility, but God has a plan for the nations. Read the book of Daniel Nebuchadnezzar’s vision with the head of gold, chest of silver. And so forth, which ends in the stone without hands. The image. All the nations of the earth are defeated and destroyed by God’s kingdom. When Christ comes, He will establish His kingdom. Daniel sees the same kind of vision in Chapter seven. So, God is ruling over everything all the time. But He chose Israel to be His representative people on earth and the prophets speak much about how God is going to use how He used Israel in the past, how God is going to use Israel in the future.
One of the big topics is how do we interpret the prophets?
And both Dr. Brown and I would say we interpret them at face value. We take them for what they mean, what they say, and that is that there is a future, a literal future reestablishment of Israel as God’s kingdom in the end times. That’s the kingdom we’re talking about. How does anyone ever enter that kingdom by being born again? You’re not entering some ethereal, physical or ethereal spiritual realm at this moment, but you will someday inherit the kingdom as spoken of in the Epistles.
So, it’s a very tangible thing. Israel, as Jeff said, is at the very center. If God is using national Israel in his plan for this world and his plan for the future. So, picking up even on that national idea that using that word nation, the understanding that the prophets speaking literally and speaking, many of them spoke about that understanding of the nations that forget God,
MT: Jeff, I want to come to you just to ask him and how do we how do we think through that? The nations that forget God is that that’s something that we should be mindful of, even as we read the prophets and what they are speaking about. How do we process that?
JB: Well, in the first place, if you’re reading the Prophets, you need to understand God is speaking to Israel. At times He is speaking to other nations. Read in the book of Amos that he speaks very plainly why he’s going to judge them for specifics. In the nation around Israel. He talks to Babylon through Jeremiah, I believe, and says that he’s going to they’re going to have total rule and even the beasts of the of the earth are going to be under the rule of Babylon. So, God is very much at work in the in the nations. So the nations that forget God and it’s basically all of them, right? Yeah. And he’s talking not just about Israel, okay? It’s plural. It’s the nations that forget God and. And you read about it in. History. And from the time of Christ, so many nations were introduced to the gospel. They were introduced to the Word of God. They were introduced to concepts of Christianity, and they had development. As a result of that. They had some very positive development. As a result of that, a Germany was one of those places that had tremendous Christian development, I would say. All right, where the early Christian No, where a lot of bad things going on. Yes. But we see the Reformation taking place there. We see what happened in all of Europe, really the rise of modern science, the rise of technology. I don’t have time to go into it, but where did they get all those ideas? Modern technology, a lot of it came from the monks. Okay. And that those were centers of learning. They were Christian centers of learning. Even if not all those guys were saved. They were Christian centers of learning. They wanted to lighten the burden of man who was made in the image of God. Where in the world that the wheelbarrow come from? We don’t think about that or use it. It came from the monks. Nobody else came up with that idea. And they came up with that idea because they wanted to lighten the burden of the average person made in the image of God. They cared because God cared.
Now, let’s talk about what happened in nations forgetting God and Germany, where I spent so much time, is just what in German, we say rather by spiel. It is the example in up to our day, the example of forgetting God. And they turned away. They followed someone on as their Messiah. Practically not everyone, but the majority of the people they joined in, or they tolerated. Or they went along with it, even if they didn’t believe that was a godless society that was turning away from God. And Hitler had the goal to kill all the Jews, at least all that he could reach. And secondly, when he was done with that, I read this in a book by Dr. Richard Weichert, who is just an impeccable scholar. He has a book on Hitler’s religion, and he was determined when the Jews were eliminated that the Christians were next in line. He was going to eliminate all Christians. And what happened? Well, we all know what happened. There were terribly punished, terribly punished. And they were they were laid low. And afterward they were ashamed. And for many people in Germany for decades afterward, they were so ashamed that they didn’t even want to talk about it. That’s what God will do if a nation forgets him. so as, as we’ve seen Christianity impacting cultures what are ways that that has had development in ideas whether in science or historical understanding just of how people have seen the world, maybe how they see themselves?
MT: How has this development of the Kingdom of God actually thrust forward a right understanding of how we see ourselves as human beings in this world?
JB: Let me say a couple of things. One, when we talk about men caring for other human beings, men and women caring for others, nothing has brought that forward in the world quite like the Christian faith has done. The Christian faith took it from both the old and the New Testaments. But when we talk about healing, when we talk about medicine, when did hospitals come into being? They came into being in the early three hundreds or mid three hundreds A.D. And it was because of Christians that hospitals came into being. How did modern medicine come into being? That came into being the father of modern medicine is called is noted as Thomas side and ham side and hammer seed and ham. I can’t remember how you pronounce that in England in the late 1600s and he wanted to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. And because of how the Bible talks about human beings, he felt, this is what we need to do. We need to seek healing for them. And so, he investigated in a scientific way, and he was wanting to do this for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. That was the impact of Christianity upon health, upon medicine. And I’ll add one more. Modern science, if you read the book, and not many people do, but some of us do, called Science in the Modern World, written now almost 100 years ago by Alfred North Whitehead. Whitehead was no Christian at all, but he said, I have to admit that it came. Science got started, modern science got started through the rational God of Christianity. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have any basis for investigating because you have to have a rational God to have rational nature. And let me add one more thing to it. I read a book in my doctoral studies by a man named Stanley Yockey, who was both a theologian in the Roman Catholic Church and also had his Ph.D. in astrophysics and in his book, Science and Creation. He spends enormous time showing how nearly every civilization had a cyclical view of nature. It had a beginning; it had a development. It reached its high peak, and then it had its downturn and decline until it ended. And what happened after that? It all started over again. All right. This was the view of history. You can read it as you study cultures all over the world. Basically, everyone had it like this. And he said, when you have this view of history and this view of the world, there is no motivation to push onward. If, however, and there was only one nation that did not have that view, Israel, Israel believed everything was created in a particular time. History goes in a lineal view or lineal way. What did we get that you learned it, Dr. Beach, and learned it. I learned it. Everybody learns that history in a lineal presentation. Okay, we can follow it. Where did that come from? Came from the Jews. Jews got it from the Bible. And the Jews passed it on to the Christians. And the Christians spread it all over Europe. All right. You can have science because you can. You can look back to the past and figure out how did this event get caused from this lineal view. Yeah, that’s where it came from. Yeah, I think we if we talk about history, I’d like to give the rest of it over to Dr. Beacham.
RB: Well, as you think about Israel’s view of history again, I would revert to the book of Daniel. The Book of Daniel has the most amazing, specific discussions of what God is doing in history. One of his particular visions down to the very day specific event hundreds of years later. But going back to the vision of Nebuchadnezzar and chapter two, where You have the head of gold, which is Babylon, the chest of silver, which is Medo-Persia. Then you have the belly and thighs of bronze, which is Greece. And then the feet of iron clay, which is Rome. There’s a progression of four major empires just mentioned Babylon. Ruling over everything. Nebuchadnezzar was it was told him that vision that you, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, you are the head of gold. You are ruling over the entire creation. Now, that’s called in scripture very specifically, more than once, the times of the Gentiles, God has said Israel will say they have gone into captivity. Now the Gentiles are running things until God restores the kingdom to Israel, which is what Jesus offered in the gospels. But that’s another discussion. The point we’re making here is that God is a God of history. He is ruling over everything all the time, though man fails or Israel fails or the church will fail. God is ruling over everything all of the time He puts up since he takes donations, puts up leaders, takes down leaders, and history is moving toward an end point. That end point is the return of Jesus Christ to establish his kingdom, His rule on earth over Israel, who will rule over all of the other nations.
If you read the prophets literally for what they say, and Jesus Christ will rule for a thousand years until the end of time, He will put down all rebellion. He will put down all nations who have opposed him. He will put down all peoples and essentially what he does at the end of the thousand years is he brings the earth back to the original created order where God saw everything that he is made of. Behold, that was good. And when Jesus brings the entire created order back to the beginning, then at the end of his rule, his kingdom, he turns the kingdom over to the father.
Paul tells Secret the ends where God will destroy this world. He will make a new heaven and a new earth. And all of those who have come to faith in the Messiah, Jesus, faith in God and have a relationship with Him. God will dwell with them on the New Earth forever and ever. That’s where history is going. And we’re told that very explicitly in Scripture over and over again. If we read it for what it says, excellent.
MT: I think as we are encouraged in the truthfulness of the Kingdom of God, we can often be sidetracked by the evidences of this world that seem to show that God is not in control. How do we think about our current day events? Those things are going on. You just gave us the biblical understanding of how God and what God has still in plan for us as we look as maybe watching the news looking around us today. What are those either evidences of the Kingdom of God? How do how do we look at that and not say and there’s no way or even just speaking it apologetically to the person that say, there’s no way God’s in control. Look at look at all these things that are happening. How can we give an encouragement to the people understanding that God is still in control of all these events and they’re unfolding in a way that He has perfectly planned? And I know that’s a faith element and I’m answering the question in that way. But how do we present that in in looking at what’s going on in that apologetic way to see that God is still in control?
JB: Well, there’s a lot of things that we can say. And I’m and I’m going to look to Roy in a minute because I’ll just I’ll just say just say a little. Yes, it does involve faith, but it’s also God gave us eyes, gave us ears. He gave us a sense of smell, a sense of taste so that we could understand and test what is going on. God made us that way. All right. And so, you see, you observe. You’re not just coming up with ideas. You watch. If you know the Lord and if you know his word, then you see things are happening. I have a presentation. I’ll come to that later. But I have a presentation on the Kingdom of God from Genesis, from the creation, I call it from Creation to Eternity. And I talk about what God has done. Of course, I use the Scripture going through all of history. And I had a teenager come up to me after two sessions of that, 2 hours of it, any.
And he said to me, “I really want to thank you, because before I came in here, I had real questions about whether God was even working in the world.” Today, this young man is planning on a matter of fact, he started studying for the ministry, so part of it is just being willing to take in what the Bible says and then you can get it.
Okay. But all right. We’re talking about apologetics. Okay. And how do we talk to an unsaved person? There are plenty of things. Now, ultimately, if a person is agnostic enough, they can say it’s all chance, if they’re agnostic enough. All right. But you cannot cross the street believing in chance, right. So, I will give one illustration that I’m sure you can come up with a lot more of a of a whole broad presentation God at work in the world. And I’d like to come back to Germany, where I spent so much time when the when the main persons were judged in the Nuremberg trials, the first round there were 12 who were accused of crimes against humanity. One of them was gone. They couldn’t find him. He was accused and he was convicted. One of them during a committed suicide the night before. And so, on the day of the execution, there were ten. And one of the men who was who was hung was the guy name you will use Trisha. And Trisha was involved in propaganda and doing all he could to make the Jews look bad, to make the Germans detest the Jews, to hate the Jews. And when it came time for him to have he was a Roman Catholic by on paper at least, to have someone come as a counselor and say last words with him or last rites. He said, I don’t want to talk to anybody. And then he started into a rant, and it was how all of you here are going to fall under the under the arm of communism, and they’ll destroy all of you and it’ll be the worst thing you ever did. And he just went on and on. And then all at once, he stopped Julius Trisha because he wanted to destroy the Jews, studied and studied Jewish culture, including the Bible, to a fair extent. And when he stopped, he then said Purim 1946. Those were his last words. Why was he saying that? Because there were ten sons of Heymann, who were trying to he was trying to destroy all of the Jews. There were ten. And they are listed in a if you’re in a read, a Jewish scroll, not the Hebrew Bibles that we use here, okay? But in the Jewish scroll, those are in big letters. And it’s the only book like that. The only scroll like that in in the Jewish Bible. All right, all those ten sons of hangman, they were executed on the day Purim. The ten men in Nürnberg were executed on the day of Purim. You’ll strike. Recognize that the Americans, the Russians had no intention of doing that on the day of Purim. It just happened. And everything that took place, they got executed on that day. They were not concerned about the Book of Esther, but it turned out exactly like that. Yes, God is active in history, and he is looking over his people. Israel
MT: I’ll ask Dr. Beacham, just give us a final word, just as we think about the greatness of the kingdom and the comfort that it is to us as believers in these days, going forward, just as we’ve had the biblical truth we see with that evidence in our eyes, what are those comforting thoughts that we have as an encouragement in these days ahead that we can think that God is still in control and His kingdom is at hand as we as we pray for his kingdom to come?
RB: Well, again, let me just reiterate that we need to think about the kingdom, not in some esoteric spiritual way, but as something that God had used in history of Israel that God is going to reestablish in the future. It’s a literal, tangible coming time of the rule of Christ over Israel is all over the nations. And the epistles to the church actually tell us how we as church people, not we are not Israel, we are the church, but God is using the church now during the time of the Gentiles in gathering many Gentiles to rule with him in that kingdom.
“Here’s what the Epistles tell us. We as believers in the church are citizens of this future kingdom That is our homeland, that is our inheritance. That’s what we look forward to.”
We are citizens of the coming kingdom. We should be living kingdom lives. We should not be living as the people in this world. We should be living differently. We’re strangers, foreigners, pilgrims. We’re passing through. We’re ambassadors, as Jeff has said, to share the gospel of the coming kingdom, salvation and entrance to the Kingdom. We’re ambassadors of the kingdom. We are kingdom citizens. We have a kingdom message. We should be living kingdom lives and we should be living every day of our lives in anticipation of this coming kingdom.
Certainly, I’m concerned about affairs in America, certainly I’m concerned about upcoming elections and all of those things. But God is in control of this one. God is going to accomplish His purpose. I am a citizen of his kingdom. I need to live that way. I need to share that truth, and I need to look forward to that coming kingdom. And I do. The older I get, the more anxious I am. Even so come Lord Jesus. Amen.
MT: Thinking of God’s involvement on that big scale. But even something that we ask on this podcast is thinking on a personal level that work of God in your life, whether that’s in your personal family, your ministry, or things that you’re seeing. Now. What I want to ask you, you both, just as we close this time.
What is a work of God that you’ve seen recently in your life that you just want to give a word of thanks to God in that way that he is working in and among you?
Jeff, what’s the way that God is working in your either family or ministry or work of God that you’ve seen recently?
JB: When I returned from Germany and we now live in South Carolina, ended my ministry there, it was time I was really physically done in. I was mentally done and perhaps spiritually done in, I don’t know for sure of a spiritually done then, but physically and mentally I was done in. It took me a good while to recover. My wife can say better. I’m always optimistic on things, but she can tell you how long it took for me to recover. But it was almost a year that that I had felt still done in, and I thought God was all done with me as a preacher. And so, I began to think in terms of, well, I’m not going to do this anymore. And God convicted me, and I prayed, and I said, Lord, you give me a chance to preach. I will preach, I will serve you. I’m no longer a missionary in Germany, but however you want to use me, you can use me. And within about a week and a half, I had an invitation to preach. And so, I immediately said, yes, this I know this is God’s answer. Yeah. And we’ve had ministry. We are in the in the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina. That is our new church home. And they have put us into more and more ministry there, both Linda and me. And we’ve appreciated it and we have thrived in it. And God has used us to reach others for Christ. Linda with a what is it called child evangelism Ministry. She has she led a young boy to Christ last year. And I was able to lead my neighbor to Christ in the past four months. And so, God’s not done with me. And I just I just had a I was a keynote speaker for a seminar of pastors in Wisconsin, and there were about 70 pastors and their wives there. And the topic was discipleship. And I guess God isn’t done with me yet. So, I think that’s the best way, the best example I could give. Yeah. God, does it work? Wonderful.
What is a work of God that you’ve seen recently in your life that you just want to give a word of thanks to God in that way that he is working in and among you?
RB: Jeff and I are kind of in the same because we went to seminary together. We’re in the same stage of life. We are two months apart. Yes, exactly two months apart. So, in any case, I so semi-retired, but I still have the opportunity to teach one class a semester at the seminary, which scratches the edge of teaching. I love all of those classes. I look forward to them every year. I did retire from 19 years of work with the Plymouth Police Department as a chaplain, though I still meet occasionally with many of those officers and with the retired officers of the department who I knew when I did serve there. So, I have many opportunities with them that I could talk a lot about. But I think personally, you know, as we age, as our bodies fall apart, as the world gets more difficult to live in, as we have children and grandchildren and their lives become complicated, it’s just interesting to me to see how God works.
“Even in our trials, our hardships, the turmoil and the traumas that arise. But he’s driving us closer and closer to him. And as I said, the older I get, the more I look forward to the world that is really to be. But until then, we are learning to trust and learning to walk by faith in deeper ways than we ever could. We are still learning, and we are still growing and it’s just a wonderful, wonderful thing to walk with the Lord every day and see what he’s doing personally.”
MT: Amen. Thank you both for being on our podcast today and thank you for listening to the Central Seminary podcast.
Our mission at Central Seminary is to assist New Testament churches in equipping spiritual leaders for Christ-exalting Biblical ministry. Since its founding in 1956, Central Seminary has sought to provide serious students of God’s Word with robust theological education as they prepare for ministry. We have many graduates around the world who are serving in countless ways to spread the Gospel and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ! Find out more at our website, centralseminary.edu.
Next Podcast Episode: Teaching the Kingdom of God: Part 2 with Roy Beacham & Jeff Brown