“Your throne shall be established forever.”
– God’s promise to King David in 2 Samuel 7:8-16
Dear Christian Friends
The prophets described the kingdom of God in rapturous terms as a time of universal and permanent peace and blessing eg: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns” (Isaiah 51:7).
Jesus proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, “healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matthew 4:23), and in Luke 11:20, Jesus equates the coming of the kingdom with his ministry of exorcism: “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
With the coming of Jesus, the kingdom of God was “at hand” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17) because the King had come, bringing healing and other miracles and freeing people from the rule of Satan whom Jesus called “the prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). The King was routing his spiritual arch-enemy, and miraculous healing and exorcism were foretastes of the future when the reign of God would be completely and universally established.
Some Bible scholars refer to this supernatural element of the kingdom of heaven as the ‘in-breaking of the future’ – God’s will being done “on earth as it is in heaven”. And in heaven there is no disease and no demonic presence nor any other defilement
The sin issue however had to be settled before God’s kingdom could come in its fullness. As Tom Wright puts it in his elegant little book The Lord and His Prayer, “God’s kingdom had come, and his will had been done – in Palestine, in Jerusalem, on Calvary, and in the Easter Garden” (pp 29). But when God’s kingdom fully comes, “the holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to earth. God’s space and ours are finally married, integrated at last” (pp 24, ref Rev 3.12, 21:1-2).
But we live between Jesus’ first coming when he inaugurated the kingdom of God and his second coming when “righteousness, peace and joy” will forever replace all earthly spiritual and political rulers and “God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev 21.4). In the meantime, we pray for God to continue to ‘break through’ into our present with foretastes of his future glorious reign – “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
Let’s pray for that now for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria where the prince of this world is trying to strangle Christianity through government policies:
In the capital city of Nigeria‘s Nasarawa state, Christians recently tried to rebuild a church that Muslims burned down two years ago. But no sooner had they started when more than 200 Islamists attacked the workers.
The rebuilding project was halted, and the state government banned reconstruction of the building.
Rev Jerry Modibo, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Nasarawa state chapter, witnessed the attack on the workers and reports, “The Muslims were chanting, ‘Death to Christians, death to infidels. This town is for Muslims, we don’t want Christians here.'”
The government now forbids building churches in that town but has at the same time financed the building of mosques across the state, although no church has been built with public funds in the state.
Additionally, a chapel was recently being built by Christian public servants in the office compound of the deputy governor, who is a Christian; but the governor ordered the project stopped even though there are two mosques in the same premises.
“That is the kind of injustice confronting us in this state,” Rev Modibo protests.
Discrimination in public service has become a lifestyle for Christian public servants in the state, and in the past 10 years appointments of federal ministers and ambassadors have favoured Muslims.
“Only one Christian in the past 10 years has ever been appointed a minister, and even then he was not allowed to complete his term of office,” Rev Modibo reports.
And he added that in the Christian-majority state, elections have been manipulated to perpetuate Muslim political leadership.
“We have been facing a lot of tribulations, trials and frustrations here in Nasarawa state,” he said. “The church here is facing the most difficult period of her life.”
You can read more details and see a photo of Rev Modibo on our website at: http://www.opendoorsuk.org.uk/news/news_archives/001811.php
This is an example of what goes on across Nigeria wherever northern Islam confronts southern Christianity. Please pray with us that:
* The Holy Spirit will enlighten all those in authority in Nigeria (1Tim 2:1-2), and give them wisdom
* God’s justice will prevail in Nigeria such that Christians will not be discriminated against, subjected to shari’a law or treated as second-class citizens by the authorities
* God’s presence and peace – his ‘shalom’ – will keep Christians calm and confident despite the threats of domination and death made against them by Islamists
* More church leaders like Rev Modibo who are seen as statesmen will be raised up to speak out against injustice and that they will be protected from being harmed by fanatics
* Many Muslims in Nigeria will be reached with the good news of the kingdom and submit to King Jesus before his cataclysmic return when it will be too late for them to repent.
Thank you for your support and for praying with us.
PS: If you live in the UK, you can still receive a FREE copy of our new ‘Connect’ DVD resource for families and small groups. It features some persecuted Christians telling their own stories and shares how their experiences can minister to us. To get your copy, visit our ‘Connect’ website: http://www.connect.od.org/
Open Doors UK & Ireland | PO Box 6 | Witney | Oxon OX29 6WG
T 01993 885400 | F 01993 885401 | E firstname.lastname@example.org | I http://www.opendoorsuk.org