Trinity Season (or Pentecost Season) is the second half of the Christian calendar where we remember the works of God in history and in His Church. This period after the earthly ministry of Christ is sometimes called the Church Age, and is the era of Christ’s reign from heaven, until all of his enemies are his footstool (Ps. 110:1, Heb. 10:13).
A Kingdom without a King
There are perhaps many different ways to tell the story of Israel, but one very prominent one is the story of Israel as a Kingdom in need of a King. From the promised seed of the Woman in Genesis (Gen. 3:15) to the promised descendents of Abraham (Gen. 12:2, 15:5, 17:16) to the period of the Judges (17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25) there can be no doubt that this is what God intends for His people. His chosen people need a King. There are brief hints of what this King would be like throughout the Pentateuch and then later in the judges, but the closest and greatest picture is David and his son Solomon. But the rest of the story of Israel from Genesis all the way into the gospels is the story of a Kingdom without a King, a Kingdom in search of a King, and all the consequences of that dilemma. This is what makes the Book of Kings so painful to read.
The Good News of a Dead King
When we open the New Testament we must always remember that we’re starting a story that’s about three quarters of the way done. Sometimes the writers are kind enough to quote from the Old Testament, but there are always significant idiomatic, verbal, thematic and cultural conditions that give words and the stories they tell the fullness of their trajectory. When Jesus comes teaching and preaching the Gospel or Good News of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 4:23, etc.) this proclamation was not an entirely new concept. The word in Greek and its Hebrew ancestor had a history that Jesus was speaking out of. The word EUANGELION and its relative, the verb form: EUANGELIZO, are used throughout the Old Testament Septuagint to proclaim a particular kind of good news, the good news of dead kings or rulers brought into submission. Throughout, it is the same root word in Hebrew, the verb BASER. The word first appears in 1 Samuel 4:17, when the messenger arrives to tell Eli about the death of his sons. The word “messenger” is the substantive form of the word. The word is also used several times to describe the news of Saul’s death (1 Sam 31:9, 2 Sam 1:20, 4:10, 1 Chr. 10:9). The passage with the most prolific use of the word is in 2 Samuel 18 in conjunction with the death of Absalom. Some form of the word is used seven times in 2 Samuel 18:19-31. The six or eight other uses of the word throughout the prophets regularly have a context of false or tyrannical kings or rulers being driven away or destroyed (Ps. 68:11-12, Is. 40:9, 15-24, 41:25-27, 60:3,6,10, 61:1, Nah. 1:15).
An Eternal Kingdom with an Eternal King
Given the royal flavor of this language and the relationship with death and destruction, the Gospel that Jesus is coming to declare has a significant political dimension to it. For Jesus to declare the Gospel was for Him to declare the doom of the current rulers of Israel which would include everyone from the priests to the governors to the Roman Empire (Daniel). But the death and destruction of these old powers always assumes the establishment of a new king, a new Lord. But the story of EUANGELION also takes on a new character in the story of Jesus when Jesus Himself dies. As is shown throughout the gospels, Jesus is becoming Israel for Israel, keeping the law, living faithfully what Israel could not. But even more than that, Jesus has become the failed monarchy, the dying king, in order to be raised back up to life again, in order that the Kingdom might never die, in order that the Kingdom might never be without a King.
Learn to live confidently. By faith, we are not strangers here. This is our home: we are subjects of the one, true King. Scorn all fear, all timidity. But also scorn all pettiness and pickiness and shrillness. Relax and live faithfully. This is our land, our world because we reign with King Jesus.
This confident life is a lovely life, a beautiful life, a good life. Pursue a rhetoric of beauty. Reformed types are notoriously shrill, petty and argumentative, stuck on being “right”. Shut up and go plant a garden. Shut up and go build a cathedral. Many Reformed types should just make it point not to say anything until someone asks.