Used by permission by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
Dr. Roy Blackwood
To Margie, my beloved wife of 57 years.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband
also and He praises her.” (Proverbs 31:28)
And to the King of Kings who has made us a “Kingdom of Kings and priests to His God and Father.” (Revelation 1:6)
In grateful appreciation for Bud Wilson without whose help it would not have been finished and whose persistence in editing and helping has made this possible.
This article was originally published © Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals Inc, 1716 Spruce St Philadelphia PA 19103 USA
The Alliance calls the twenty first century church to a modern reformation by broadcasting, events, and publishing. This article and additional biblical resources can be found at AllianceNet.org.
All rights reserved. Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, © 2005 ARALL009
I had just presented Friedrich Nietzche’s powerful and godless philosophy of the “Will to Power” to a recent class. Knowing that Nietzche had been declared clinically insane, and that he had lived his last decade in a vegetative state (probably related to his syphilis), a student nearly cried out, “How can people find his thinking powerful—when they know the tragedy of his life?”
The student was correct. Here was a philosopher who had praised the supposed “inner Superman,” yet was himself both weak in body and mentally out of touch with reality.
Dr. Blackwood and this book represent the diametrical opposite to Nietzche and his godless thinking. For Blackwood, there is only one King, only one Godman. There is one “super” Man— Jesus Christ the Righteous. Also, in contrast to Nietzche, those who know Roy Blackwood see in him the embodiment of this theology. While Blackwood is no Superman (even though it is at times hard to keep up with someone thirty years older!), Roy has been tireless in his efforts to communicate the nature of Christ’s Kingdom and to apply the lessons of this mediatorial Kingdom to believers’ personal walks—in our families, in the church, and in the state.
It is good that we have in our hands such a readable presentation of Dr. Blackwood’s life, thinking and work. For that, thanks go to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
May our great Lord use this booklet to raise up many more who will take up the banner for The King and His Kingdom!
Richard C. Gamble
“Seek Ye First the kingdom,” because His Kingship and Kingdom is the one authority that can keep all others in balance and because this is becoming of the crown rights and royal prerogatives of the king.
THE KING AND HIS KINGDOM
In His “Sermon on the Mount” [as recorded in Matthew], Jesus, as the King Himself, made His own inaugural proclamation of His Kingdom. In 3 chapters, He outlined in broad strokes the description of His Kingdom. In Chapter 5, He told us who the “blessed” are, the character of people who are citizens of His Kingdom. In Chapter 6, He explained the kinds of things they will be doing; e.g. giving, praying, and fasting, and why they are doing everything they do. In Chapter 7, He warned us never to “judge,” or try to relegate people, either into or out of His Kingdom, but to be careful to “know” all men and then build on the solid rock of His “sayings” to make five responses to His proclamation.
1. To seek first the Kingdom (Matt. 6:33). So our highest priority in life will be:
Not the individual (Adam) whom He created in His own image, but who often “loves to have the preeminence”
Not the family, whom He formed out of man as the first social unit
Not the church, who is His bride, His darling, “the pillar and ground of my Truth,” the one of whom He said “I will build my Church”
Not civil government whom He has ordained to be “an ordinance of man”
But to seek first His Kingdom in all these other relationships of life, because His Kingship and Kingdom is the one authority that can keep all the other priorities in balance and because this is “becoming” of the Crown Rights and Royal Prerogatives of the King.
2. To pray for it – that His Kingdom come and His will be done “on earth as it is in Heaven.”
3. To recognize, know and understand how His Kingdom grows as He teaches us in all His sayings throughout the Gospels and in the Old Testament as well as New Testament, especially:
a. What the origin, reason, and purpose for His Kingdom is. Why He “needed” to be a King and to have this Kingdom.
b. What kind of Kingdom it is – the nature of it?
c. What the extent of His Kingdom is in terms of both space and time.
4. To “think” Kingdom as well as to know the facts about it, because He said “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”. His “Kingdom” is more than just a well constructed, long range plan for His world and His Heaven, it is a way of thinking which will affect everything we say and do in personal, family, church and political relationships.
5. And to expect with confidence to find ourselves caught up in our own lifetime in the reality of His Kingdom because the King of this Kingdom has also said “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you this Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
So Jesus Christ, the King, directs us to seek, pray, know, think, and expect to be part of this Kingdom.
Defining the Kingdom “For the Kingdom is the Lord’s” (Psalm 22:28a)
What is this Kingdom? Three questions must be answered.
1 What is the source and origin? Why did Jesus Christ “need” to be King and to have this Kingdom? What is THE PURPOSE?
2 What kind of Kingdom is it, the nature of it?
3 What is the extent of Christ’s Kingdom? When did it begin? When will it end? Where is it? Who all and what all are included in Christ’s Kingdom? And where will this Kingdom be?
As God, the second person of the Godhead did not “need” anything. And so it is not an absolute legal necessity that mandates that Christ be a King and have a Kingdom. But it is a relative moral necessity rising out of Christ’s work of atonement that makes it “necessary” for Christ to have a Kingdom and to be a King. The doctrine of the Kingship and Kingdom of Christ must always be understood as the sequel to the doctrine of atonement. If God had never made the decision to save a number of souls, then there never would have been any “need” for Christ to die on the Cross, and no need for Christ to be a King with a Kingdom. But once God, motivated by a love, at once wondrous and divine, made that sovereign decision to save a number of the human race, then it became “necessary” for the second person of the Godhead to leave Heaven to become man, and to die on the Cross in order to make man to be at one with God and God to be at one with those souls.
That is also why it was a relative moral necessity for Christ to be a real king with a kingdom. Without the power and authority of a King with a Kingdom, everything Christ had done on the Cross would have been in vain. If He had simply returned to Heaven and “retired” from active duty, not one soul would have been saved. His blood would have been wasted. He “needed” the power and authority of a king with a kingdom to apply the benefits which He had purchased for us on the Cross. It is in this sense that He “needed” the power and authority that the Father appointed to Him and that He willingly accepted and proclaimed in that remarkable appointment statement which His dialogue stated so vividly in Psalm 2:6-9; John 17:1-3; and Hebrews 5:5. Armed with all power and authority, Christ, as “the lamb slain before the foundation of the world,” created His world as a platform in space to carry out His work of redemption. After the fall of man, the destructive influences of Satan and sin would have destroyed His world, but now Christ stepped forward to grasp the very pillars of the universe to hold these awful destructive influences in abeyance until those souls for whom He “ever liveth to make intercession”, shall have had time to repent and turn to Him.
In a more personal subjective sense, Christ the Messiah “needed” the power and authority of a King with a Kingdom to subdue your own will and then to apply the benefits He had purchased for you on the Cross in order to receive you to Himself; to make you able to trust in Him; to put His kind of life into your heart; and then to nourish and build you up into the accomplishments of His life’s purpose for you in His Kingdom today, and then on into those purposes which He has planned for you in eternity. All this is accomplished while defeating all His and your enemies. So it was for this purpose, to meet this need, that the Father appointed Him to this Kingship and Kingdom. The purpose of His kingdom can all be summarized by the one word–REDEMPTIVE.
But what is the NATURE of Christ’s Kingdom? What kind of Kingship and Kingdom does Christ have today? When Pilate, representing Caesar, asked Jesus about His Kingdom, Jesus answered guardedly, “My Kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants fight that I should not be delivered, but now is my Kingdom not from here”. When Pilate pursued his own question further by asking, “Art thou a King then?” Jesus answered more fully, “Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world. . .” This may have been why Pilate later insisted on putting the inscription on His cross, “Christ, the King of the Jews”.
Christ’s Kingdom is a spiritual kingdom and a series of comparisons or contrasts with civil political kings and kingdoms may help to explain and define what it means for a kingdom and kingship to be spiritual.
1 Christ was appointed to this Kingship and Kingdom by the Father, not just “born” into it through a royal family or elected to it by a willing people, nor did He conquer His way into it by spilling the blood of other people. The Father appointed Christ to be a real King with a real Kingdom and that Kingship and kingdom is here with us now. Of the four ways by which kings come to be kings; 1) taking it by force, 2) being born into it, 3) being chosen or elected, 4) being appointed; Christ Himself made it very clear when He said to us in Luke 22:29, “I appoint unto you a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me”. That is what the prophecies had promised (i.e. Psalm 2:6,7). And this was true from all eternity. When the Council of the Trinity appointed Him the second person of the Godhead to this particular responsibility, it meant there never was a time when He was not King. But the announcement of that appointment came at His baptism and then His official investiture or actual induction came at the time of His Ascension.
2 The grand purpose of Christ’s spiritual Kingship and Kingdom is to save souls, and not just to administer public justice, preserve peace, develop the morals of men and establish social order.
3 The means of administration in Christ’s spiritual Kingdom includes the teaching of the Bible, the proclamation of the Cross, and the example (the tupos or definitive example) of the King who came to wrestle with the very consciences of men. All these means are in contrast to the other means used exclusively by other kings and kingdoms (i.e. fire, sword and physical violence).
4 The principles of operation in Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship are scriptural and righteous as well as ethical and legal.
5 Almost everything related to Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual. Its King is from Heaven and its citizens are “born-again”, “spiritual” people. Its homage is of the soul and its service is according to the will of God.
These comparisons between the Kingdom of Christ, the regnum Christi, and the kingdoms of the world, the regna mundi, help to define the essentially “spiritual” nature of Christ’s Kingdom. They (as we shall see later) provide a base for the development of church-civil government relationships. These distinctions or differences do not necessitate separation. If some could misread these comparisons to mean “keep them separate because they are different”, then this doctrine of Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship would say “bring them together because they are different”. Christ’s spiritual Kingdom can and does include things that are physical and mundane. For example, when God converts a soul so that he becomes a spiritual person, He does not cease to have a physical body. So long as God maintains a visible, witnessing Church on earth, as one form of the Kingdom of Christ, it will involve the physical being part of the spiritual kingdom. Since Christ has told us He has “all power” and has been made head over “all things”, then we can know that in His (spiritual) Kingdom, there will be those things that are, in and of themselves, physical.
Even money, “dedicated” to the Lord becomes an important factor in Christ’s development of His spiritual kingdom. Anything which can, or can be made to have, a spiritual purpose can be seen to be part of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom. When Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world”, He had no more thought of excluding physical things and political and social-family relationships than when He said to His disciples “ye are not of this world” (the Greek phrase is identical).
When we ask on behalf of the Christian businessman or the man in civil government or the father in a family, “but how can these physical things which occupy so much of my time ever be part of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom?”, we must know the question is caused by the statements in Scripture and so God will answer it. The answer is to be found in the fact that whatever is connected with Christ’s Kingdom is connected in some way to Christ’s spiritual objectives–objectives that live beyond the time and space restraints in our world. It is the ultimate objective which determines the nature of a thing. When the businessman or man in government can see a direct relationship between his daily work and Jesus’ reason for dying for him on the Cross, then he will see how his physical job is part of Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom.
Reason for a moment about how things natural are subordinate to things moral and things moral to things gracious (i.e. things having to do with Christ and His Grace, His work on the Cross). Those things which are gracious necessarily suppose the subordination both of those things which are natural and those that are moral. So it is that the natural and moral classes are also under Him officially as the appointed King. The result of all this then is that the essential dominion of Christ (i.e. what He owned and controlled as God Creator) and the mediatorial dominion of Christ (i.e. what He was appointed to as a direct result of His work on the Cross) are never subversive of one another but are always supportive of each other and perfectly harmonious and yet never so blended as to destroy the distinctive character of either one.
So anything physical in the regna mundi which can or can be made to have a spiritual purpose or to make a contribution to Christ’s spiritual Kingdom will be part of His spiritual Kingdom. This is why Christ was appointed to be “head over all things” to the Church. That includes His being head over such physical things as family and civil government. It is as though the Father has said to the Son as the direct result of His work on the Cross,
“Thou hast established thy right to rule that rebel world. Go through it now subduing sin and Satan and all other kings and kingdoms, building up your own individuals, families, civil government and church to accomplish your own purposes in time and on into eternity.”
The nature of His Kingdom can all be summarized by the one word—SPIRITUAL.
Having established the redemptive purpose and the spiritual nature for Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship, let’s move on to the EXTENT of Christ’s Kingship and Kingdom. In many ways it is the most important because His Kingdom is unlimited.
In Matt. 11:27, Jesus said to us “All things (ta ponta) are delivered unto Me of My Father”.
In Matt. 28:18, He said “All power (exousia) has been given to me”.
In Acts 10:36, Peter said, after living with Jesus for five years,”He is Lord of All”.
In Eph. 1:22, Paul said, “And (He) hath put all things under His feet and made Him to be head over all things to the Church”.
In Col. 2:10, Paul said, (I believe with special reference to angel powers) “And ye are complete in Him which is head of all principality and power”. He is the King of all angels.
In I Cor. 15:17, Paul specifies the one exception which surely does “prove” the rule, “For He hath put all things under His feet. But…it is manifest that He (the Father) is excepted which did put all things under Him.
In Heb. 2:6-8, Jesus quotes the words from Psalm 8,“…Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him,” as does Augustine, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin.
Christ is God-Creator, (John 1:3). As such, He had certain essential power and authority over all He had created. This was His Essential Kingdom and His power and authority in it could not be said to have been given unto Him. You cannot give to a person something which he already has. And yet, in every one of the references above, the power and authority is said to have been “given or “delivered” or “put upon” or “put under” Him. It is this distinction that causes us to know whether a reference in Scripture is referring to the inherent Essential Kingdom which is Christ’s by virtue of the fact that He is God-Creator or whether it is a reference referring to that Mediatorial Kingdom which was bestowed upon Him as the direct result of His work on the Cross. (Using this method, you may wish to find other references which describe Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom). [It is] true that Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom is as unlimited as is His Essential Kingdom. All that was included in His Essential Kingdom is now included in His Mediatorial Kingdom. The difference lies in the fact that the powers and things which He formerly used and ruled by inherent and original right as Creator He now uses and rules as Mediator for a new purpose, namely the salvation of souls and the best interests of all His people, the Christians or the church. very thing which He had formerly created and controlled as God-Creator, he now rules and uses for His redemptive purposes as God-Savior. Everything is—or must be made to—contribute to the salvation of souls. These things include:
1 Inanimate and irrational things such as sun, moon, stars, animals, fish and birds–anything which can be shown in Scripture to be made to serve Christ’s redemptive purposes. Throughout the Gospels, we see Christ controlling all these things to accomplish His redemptive purposes.
2 Angels, both Holy angels and fallen angels (even including Satan himself) are made to serve Christ’s redemptive purposes.
3 Men, “all flesh”, elect and non-elect, alive or dead–in their official and their private capacities–are under Christ’s Dominion.
4 Associations of people of every kind: family, civil or political, church, and business, because individuals by forming themselves into organizations or corporations, or societies may not get out from under Christ’s Lordship and Kingdom.
5 The very “wheels of Providence” are directed and controlled by Christ to serve His redemptive purpose.
So everything that exists, except the Father, has been put under Christ’s Dominion. Had it not been for that, the world never would have been able to survive the curse. With this unlimited power, he steps forward and grasps the very pillars of the universe to hold off the destructive forces of sin and Satan, until His redemptive purposes are accomplished. The extent of Christ’s kingdom can all be summarized by the one word— UNLIMITED.
Christ’s Kingdom then is:
• Redemptive in origin and purpose
• Spiritual in nature and
* Unlimited in extent
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