Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kingdom Comes to Earth


Jesus not only preached that the kingdom of God “is at hand,” but added, “The time is fulfilled.” The kingdom was not just close by as John the Baptist declared, but had arrived!

We might compare John’s and Jesus’ message of the kingdom to the announcement of a pregnancy, which unfolds in three stages. Stage #1 - After longing for a child, a woman discovers she is expecting, and announces it to her friends, family and colleagues. The news brings great joy, but everyone must wait nine months before the baby arrives. Stage # 2 – One day she feels twinges of pain. Labor intensifies and due date is “at hand.” Stage #3 – As everyone waits with bated breath until the hour arrives and the baby is born; “the time is fulfilled.”

In like manner, the OT prophets announced the coming of the kingdom to God (Stage #1). John the Baptist and Jesus spoke of the time being “at hand” (Stage #2). But after his baptism and temptation Jesus added, “The time is fulfilled” (Stage #3). The Kingdom of God was no longer a future hope, but a present reality. The waiting period was over.

The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus announced the kingdom’s arrival in the synagogue at Nazareth, when he said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming kingdom—given centuries before—had now come to pass at a specific time (AD 30) and in a specific place (the synagogue in Nazareth).

The kingdom of God was birthed in the person and ministry of Jesus.  As the late missionary Lesslie Newbigin remarked of the kingdom: “It now had a name and a face—the name and face of the man from Nazareth.”

Jesus was the embodiment of the kingdom of God.

Next time, we will seek to determine what Jesus’ included in his kingdom message.

You can learn more about the kingdom in the book HEAVEN ON EARTH, available @Amazon and at your local bookstore.

Colson Center Uses and Recommends HEAVEN ON EARTH

The well-respected Church Colson Center for Christian Worldview is using HEAVEN ON EARTH as main resource in its discipleship program. Check it out:

A Reader's Reaction to HEAVEN ON EARTH

I received this email from Michael Craven containing comments of a young man about my book Heaven on Earth:

I hope this note finds you well and blessed. I wanted to share a few quotes from a young man (25) who read your book that I have been mentoring. I hope they bless you! He texted me these: “What the heck? Chapter 14 in in Heaven of Earth just threw my head for a spin!” “This is crazy! So much is missing from our churches!” “Just finished the book over lunch, speechless!”


S. Michael Craven ∙ founder & president
BATTLEFORTRUTH ∙ PO BOX 262143 ∙ PLANO, TX 75026 ∙ 214.771.7475 ∙

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Kingdom at Hand

John the Baptist called upon Jews of his day to abandon their self-centered ways and turn toward the God of their forefathers. He cried out, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). Here we discover a command to obey and a reason to obey it.

Command. John did not request that his audience to repent. He ordered them to do it and expected an immediate response. This shows that the gospel of kingdom was relevant to his generation.

Reason. The word “for” offers the motivation for the requested action: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He did not say the kingdom was 2000+ years away. Many Bible teachers believe the kingdom is entirely in the future and will not arrive until the Lord’s return. Others believe it was offered to Israel, but delayed when they refused to repent. Who is right—John the Baptist or the theologians? If the latter, John missed the mark by a country mile because he said “the kingdom is at hand.” 

The words “at hand” can refer to time and/or space. The Jews expected the kingdom’s soon arrival (time). They also believed that the kingdom or reign of God would be set up in their homeland (space). 

As the English word “kingdom” (translated from the Greek basileia) indicates, a kingdom is composed of a king and a domain. It is a political entity. The Jews were hoping for God to free them from Roman rule and set up his kingdom in Israel.   

After John’s death, Jesus came to Galilee and announced, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:14). Both John and Jesus preached the same message with one exception. Jesus added, “The time is fulfilled.” The kingdom was not only close by. The time was up! A new day was dawning.

Tomorrow we will discover what Jesus meant by the words, “The time is fulfilled.”[For an in-depth study of the kingdom of God, read “Heaven on earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now.” Available at: (you can download as an ebook and start reading immediately).

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Vine and the Son of Man: Eschatological Interpretation of Psalm 80 in Early Judaism

The Vine and the Son of Man (Fortress Press, 2014)

by Andrew D. Streett
Editorial Reviews

"An engaging and persuasive study. Andrew Streett demonstrates that Psalm 80 had a much greater impact upon the writers of the New Testament than recognised hitherto. The Vine and the Son of Man is an important work that should be required reading for everyone interested in the relationship of the Old and New Testaments." (Nathan MacDonald, University of Cambridge)
"In this fine study, Andrew Streett examines the reception history of Psalm 80 in ancient Jewish and Christian literature. In particular, Streett shows how Psalm 80 contributes to the Johannine conception of the Son of Man as the one who actualizes the destiny of Israel. Streett has provided an exemplary survey of Psalm 80, which plots the various interpretations that emerged and shows how Psalm 80 provided scriptural impetus for New Testament Christology. The Vine and the Son of Man is a finely written study for anyone interested in biblical intertextuality." (Michael F. Bird, Ridley Melbourne Mission & Ministry College).
"Andrew Streett here makes a compelling case that the influence of Psalm 80, despite the fact that it is never directly quoted, can be inferred in several NT tropes, especially the 'vine' image and the 'Son of Man.' The psalm may even have been instrumental in the convergence of several strands of the 'Son of Man' idea evinced in the Gospel tradition. Streett's study therefore helps resolve one of the great enigmas of NT scholarship: the roots and meaning of the 'Son of Man' in the teaching of Jesus." (Dan G. McCartney, Redeemer Seminary).
"Andrew Streett traces the trajectories of Psalm 80's interpretive journey with methodological rigor, a mastery of the primary texts, and original proposals at every turn. He exposes the great diversity of eschatological interpretations given to this text due to its intriguing content and inherent ambiguity. This is a must read for anyone investigating early interpretation of the psalms, Christological use of the Old Testament, or the Son of Man problem." ( William S. Campbell, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David).
"In this meticulous, balanced, and commendably clear study, Andrew Streett argues that the redaction history and subsequent interpretations of Psalm 80 increasingly emphasised the psalm's latent eschatological and messianic potential. Displaying an impressive grasp of ancient Jewish literature, Streett makes a careful and compelling case for the psalm's hitherto neglected significance as a source for the Son of Man figure in Daniel and influence on Mark's presentation of the Passion and vindication of Jesus." (Paul Middleton, University of Chester).
"In this interesting and well-written book Andrew Streett calls to our attention the importance of Psalm 80 for early Jewish and Christian eschatology and messianism. He has investigated with care the intriguing history of interpretation of this far too often overlooked psalm. The result is a rich and perceptive study that advances research in significant ways. The Vine and the Son of Man makes a number of original contributions that must be taken into account." (Craig A. Evans, Acadia University).

About the Author

Andrew Streett is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Redeemer Seminary in Austin, Texas. This volume is a revision of his dissertation, completed at the University of Wales Trinity St. David under the direction of William S. Campbell and Kathy Ehrensperger.

Heaven on Earth: Latest Review from Amazon

5 out of 5 stars -- "The Best Book You will Read in 2014!"
Rchestnut Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now (Paperback)
R. Alan Streett shows us the biblical narrative is much more than a story of how to go to heaven when you die. He proves that the kingdom of God is not just a New Testament concept, but the purpose of God from Genesis thru Revelation. The reader will appreciate Dr. Streett's knowledge of Roman history and customs and how that knowledge gives us an even deeper appreciation for the parables of Jesus, Christian baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Thank you, Dr. Streett!

New Series on the Kingdom of God

The Gospel of Mark opens, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Messiah" (Mark 1:1). A few verses later it is described as "the gospel of other kingdom of God" (v 14). These are not two gospels, but one. The gospel is the good news about Messiah Jesus and God's kingdom. Unfortunately, in most circles today "Jesus" is preached without reference to his messianic role or to the kingdom of God.

We have departed so far from the authentic gospel that the difference is like night and day. If asked to give a definition of the gospel of the kingdom, most believers would be hard pressed to give an adequate response. Something is wrong with this picture!

Are we preaching "another gospel" that is not good news at all--a gospel of our own imagination or tradition? When we stand before God, how will we respond?

It is important that we study the scriptures and wrestle with the texts until we understand the essence of the gospel of the kingdom.

Join me on the journey. A good place to start is reading "Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now." Available from Amazon in pb or Kindle

New posts will follow.