The book of Judges covers the period from Joshua’s death (~1385 BC) up to just before Saul becomes King (1050 BC). The book documents the history of 19 principle Judges during this period.
In Chapter 2 God reminds the people of his promise, but also warns if their lack of obedience will cause Him to stay His hand from completing His promise in their time. There’s a bit of personal info about Joshua passing away. Then there’s background info that says the elders and those who were Joshua’s contemporaries remained faithful. Then came bad parenting. The kids (as a society) didn’t learn all about what God did in the wilderness and so they did their own thing. God was mad, but even in His anger he controlled Himself and instituted a series of judicial activists known to us collectively as “the Judges.” The people didn’t necessarily listen to the Judges, but God was with His Judges anyway and they were faithful. A few good men kept the larger group from knowing the full wrath of God.
Judges 2:1 Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you The chapter starts with this confirmation of what the average Israelite may have thought was the Good News. I phrase it like this because the actions of the people in general expose them to be carnal thinkers (ref Jdg 2:11). They were expecting a physical paradise in the world they were presently living in. God did provide the earthly land, but this was neither the time nore the place for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant.
Mt 13:11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. The promised land of Israel foreshadows something vastly better and eternal (see also Ex 15:17-18, Rev 22). I used this reference from Matthew only to raise the subject of the Kingdom of Heaven. This term is used many times by Matthew. In this case Jesus is letting the disciples in on something more than has been revealed to most others. Let’s look at the Kingdom in a little more detail…
Mt 10:7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ This was a command from Jesus to his disciples for one of their training evangelism mission. This command leaves no doubt about the existence of this kingdom. Where ever heaven is, that’s where Jesus’ kingdom is. It indicates the kingdom is about to be established.
Mt 5:18-20 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. This new promised land, this kingdom of heaven, where ever heaven might be, has entry criteria. It also has citizens of varying greatness.
Dan 2:44-45 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure. Daniel’s interpretation of the Assyrian king’s dream included a history of the four major kingdoms from his own to the Babylonian, then the Greek, then the Roman mixed with Greek. In v44 Daniel predicts God will setup a new kingdom that will last forever and will supercede all the former. It seems only logical to conclude this was accomplished by Jesus. Jesus is often called a stone in scripture. He is the one to establish the “kingdom that will never be destroyed.”
Mt 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Among other things, this verse establishes a clear connection between earth and heaven.
Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” A casual reading of this passage might make a person think heaven is actually here on earth, at least in some sense. I think it is really saying at the sound of the trump ownership of those in and on the earth is transferred from death (Jn 12:31, Jn 14:30) via Satan to life via Jesus.
Inspired by God and His Word – The fulfillment of the promise confirmed in Judges 2:1: Death no longer rules over life! Heaven is a real place. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God made a way for us to step from earth to heaven, from physical corruption to incorruptible and eternal life in the very presence of our Lord.