Posted by: New in Every Way | July 16, 2012

Occupied Territory

My first reminder of the military tension in Israel was seeing a police booth right out on a city street. Then there were the checkpoints before entering Jericho and Bethlehem. And the size of the weapons all the police (or were they military?) seemed to be carrying. They were not mere handguns, let me tell you.

It was a sobering reminder that this kind of tension has reigned in Israel, off and on, for thousands of years. It was worse in the time of Jesus than it is now!

At that time, Palestine—as it called then—was occupied territory. The conquering Romans held all military and political power. Their extensive building projects brought Roman culture to every section of the country. Much of it was offensive to Jewish faith. Roman soldiers could force any man on the street to carry their armor for a mile.  They ruthlessly crushed any sign of revolt, crucifying freedom-fighters by the hundreds and thousands.

It is not surprising that Jesus’ disciples believed he had been sent by God to deliver them from the Romans. In fact, one of the last questions Jesus’ disciples asked him, just before he ascended to heaven was, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

But Jesus was a different sort of deliverer than Moses, Gideon, and Deborah. He came because the whole world was occupied territory—dominated by Satan. His kingdom had no visible capital, government, or laws, but had infected the human race with its lies, anger, and hatred—causing turmoil and suffering in every part of the earth.

Jesus paid a high price to re-establish God’s kingdom of peace, love, and goodness which had been forfeited in the Garden of Eden. It too is an unseen, spiritual kingdom, and its effects are tremendous!

For the kingdom of God is . . . a matter of . . . righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom.14:17). 

18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”  

20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Luke 13:18-21).

Making It Personal

  • Have you ever considered which kingdom occupies your heart?
  • Would you like to know more about getting out from under Satan’s rule and entering the kingdom of God, who loves you and gave his life for you?

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