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The Gospel in The Old Testament

Gospel In The Old Testament – Appearance of the Kingdom

While Genesis alludes to the kingdom concept, Exodus explicitly screams, “The God of Israel is superior to the gods of Egypt.” When God liberated the people from the bondage of Egypt and delivered them through the waters of the Red Sea, Moses sang a praise song to God in Exodus 15 for obliterating “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the sea; the elite of his officers were drowned in the Red Sea… The floods covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone… Lord, your right hand shattered the enemy… You stretched out your right hand, and the earth swallowed them” (Exod. 15:4–6, 12). This song of victory concludes with the establishment of God’s Temple in connection to His kingdom reigning forever. Moses pens the first words about the “kingdom of God” in the Bible.

“You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your possession; Lord, you have prepared the place for your dwelling; Lord, your hands have established the sanctuary. The Lord will reign forever and ever!” (Exod. 15:17–18). Reigning forever pronounces God’s kingship over His people. No longer will the people serve the Pharaoh of Egypt. God’s chosen people are free now to worship and serve Him.

“Will reign” is an imperfect verb in Hebrew, signifying that the future is up in the air; it’s dependent upon some present action. An example of this in English would be, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The future isn’t actual yet, it is dependent on a present action. The doctor being kept away is dependent on whether you eat an apple a day. Moses is saying that they have observed God’s miraculous act of salvation. They have observed firsthand God’s glory as King, and His worth is not found in palaces, chariots, gold or silver. His inheritance is the nation He saved. Because of what they observed, they can say with certainty, “God is reigning today and will reign forever.”

Their response for God’s gracious act of salvation would be obedience to His Word, which is why the next stop before the Promised Land was a mountain. Was their freedom from the bondage of Egypt the result of their own good works? Did God rescue the nation because they earned it? Did their redemption come about because they would pay God back one day? No. God set them free as a demonstration of His unearned and unmerited favor.

The law was not the prerequisite for redemption; it was given as a gift after they were emancipated from Pharaoh’s rule. God established His kingdom by proving His majesty and by delivering His people from slavery. And His subjects demonstrate their loyalty by obeying His decrees. It is a joyful adherence to the commands of God in response to what He has already done for them.

Scripture records the whole history of God’s people from their birth in Exodus 15 to their future renewal in Revelation 15. In between is language of the kingdom, a kingdom not coming, but one that is already, to some extent, here.

Notice how believers in Revelation sing the same song of Moses: “They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; just and true are your ways, King of the nations’ Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you because your righteous acts have been revealed” (Rev. 15:3–4). In one sense, the culmination mirrors the commencement. The good news for all followers of Jesus is that there is no need to wait to enter the kingdom. Jesus instructed His followers 2,000 years ago, “Seek [today] first the kingdom” (Matt 6:33). The end times consummation has broken into the present time. The entire Old Testament message can be summed up in the phrase: “Our God reigns forever and ever.”


This is an excerpt from Here And Now: Thriving in the Kingdom of Heaven Today by Robby Gallaty (B&H, 2019). Used with permission.

This article originally appeared here.