The kingdom of God was first realized in the Garden of Eden. In this wonderful paradise—which is the first phase of God’s kingdom on the earth—God was sovereign and His sovereignty was delegated to man who would rule over the earth. We see this in Genesis 1:26:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So we see that, in the very beginning, man was made a part of God’s kingdom and was given authority over the creation. But man’s authority was not his own; it was derived from God. And so man was required to be submissive to God’s authority, obeying Him completely. As we know, this is where this first phase of the kingdom broke down. Man disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17).
Charles Feinberg has suggested that, had Adam and Eve not sinned, the everlasting kingdom would have come into existence with all its glory. This is a stunning thought, but I agree; for I think that if they had resisted taking the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would have had the opportunity to then take from the tree of life, which God also planted in the garden (Gen. 2:9; 3:24). Thus by making this choice, I believe sin would have been locked out of existence and righteousness would reign forever.
But as it happened, in man’s disobedience, God’s authority was rejected, and at that moment the kingdom of Satan began on earth. What a tragedy!
But God had a plan in mind to re-establish His authority in His kingdom. He would do it through His redemptive program, in which He would bring a new creation into existence through “the seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15). This new program for them was a belief in the promise of a savior to come, who would take away their sins and destroy the works of Satan. By this belief they would be redeemed and given new life, which would allow them to spiritually be a part of God’s kingdom.
Abel followed that believing path but was killed by his brother Cain (Gen. 4:1-8). But then came Seth who believed. His name means “appointed” (Gen. 4:25), and according to J. Dwight Pentecost, it suggests that he was appointed to the theocracy.
So here was a godly line that came through Seth. But that line was ever so narrow, until only the family of Noah was found righteous. For that reason, God wiped out the entire human race with a flood, all except Noah and his family.
The second phase of God’s king is entitled the kingdom of God under human government. This will be the next post on this subject.
Copyright © 2014 by Stephen Nielsen