The Kingdom of God Visualized

Posted: June 14, 2008 in Book Reviews
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The Kingdom of God Visualized

Copyr. 1972 Ray E. Baughman
286 pages, softcover
Shepherd Press
501 20th Ave. South
Birmingham, AL 35205

Ray’s book traces the development of the kingdom of God from Genesis through Revelation. Ray favored breadth of scope over depth, which means he introduces many concepts that give food for thought and invite further research. Ray examines the kingdom clues in the tabernacle, covenants, the rule of the kings in ancient Israel, the end-times temple, in Jesus’ kingdom parables, and in other places.

Each chapter concludes with a helpful summary of the information presented in that chapter. Many chapters include charts to help visualize the themes in the book, hence the book’s title.

Why is a study of the kingdom of God so important? We have picked up many unbiblical ideas of heaven and the afterlife throughout our lifetimes. The OT prophetic kingdom passages reflect the true nature of heaven. It is not simply “going to heaven when you die.” Heaven, or the kingdom, need not be as a mysterious a place as we think! The OT has given us many rich details.

Ray covers in fascinating detail the future kingdom government’s structure (rulers over territories, over cities, and over groups), and how Christ will assign believers to positions of authority. We may put up with unprofitable or weak political rulers here, but Christ will not in His kingdom.

End matter includes two appendixes, chapter notes, extensive bibliography, acknowledgments (here he tells us where he got his charts), selective subject index, and, important to me, a Scripture index.

The writing style may put off some readers. It is not written for the layperson, but for the person who reads Bible studies. It is not tough going, though, for it is easy to read and understand. It is theoretical rather than practical.

This book gave me a deeper understanding of the kingdom and a greater appreciation for God’s plan. The word kingdom appears in the English Bible over 300 times. Ray explains that the term is used in three senses: 1) The realm or territory that is ruled. 2) The people who consent to be ruled. 3) The reign itself.

The book corrected my thinking on a number of points. I had thought that the saints will reign only a thousand years in the kingdom, based on Revelation 20:4-6. However, that time span merely represents the interval from the start of the kingdom reign to Satan’s brief release. Afterward, they will continue their reign.

God offered the kingdom to the Israelites, but they rejected the King. To reject the King is to reject the kingdom. So the kingdom has been postponed. Now the kingdom is being offered to Gentiles. Are you letting Jesus be King over you life? You are either led by the Spirit or by the flesh.

Ray covers four ways we can lose our inheritance in the kingdom: 1) By laziness or poor stewardship. 2) By worthless works. 3) By evil conduct. 4) By despising one’s birthright.

Ray reminds us that the parables in Matthew 13 are parables of the kingdom, not parables of the church or of the Gospel. At the time of the sayings, Christ had said little or nothing about the church to His hearers. Ray gives us a fresh perspective of these parables by tying them in with the well-established groundwork of the kingdom as developed in the OT.

If you’ve ever wondered what heaven would be like, you should get this book. If you want to know the true purpose-driven life – living that you may be fit to reign with Christ in the coming kingdom – this book will help clarify your vision.

The book’s title refers to more than its graphical treatment. Ray helps us visualize the reason why Jesus redeemed us – that we may reign in robes of righteousness as the bride of Christ. The book has given me fresh urgency to heed Jesus’ command to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

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