3-Life in the Kingdom of God - The Concept of a Kingdom
Somewhere along the way humanity lost the big picture that explains our purpose. Purpose is the original intent of the artist or builder and defines the end result. So what was God's original intention for us?
The human race could be said to be God's big building project. He desired to extend his invisible rulership to the visible world without coming to earth himself. He would do it through his delegated representatives. This is called colonization. God wanted earth to be a colony of Heaven. How did He accomplish this?
1. The opening statement of the Bible (which is the constitution of the Kingdom of God) establishes God's universal kingship by the divine right of creation.
This means that God can do whatever he pleases.
2. Then we read shortly after about what God's colonial intent was. RE read:
Notice that nothing is spoken about religion. Earth was to be a place for God to extend his influence but do it through mankind and not himself.
3. Therefore God made humans very suited for living on earth. Earth was made first to be a perfect environment for us to fulfill our purpose and then God made man from the same stuff as the earth.
To further equip man to rule the earth God made us a triune being just as He is in the Trinity. Man, out of all creation, is the only being with a spirit like his Creator. Man's spirit allows him to relate to God. Animals and plants don't relate to God -- only man has that privilege because he has a spirit. He lives in a physical body - an earth suit -- that enables him to live and operate on earth. Finally he has a soul -- a mind, will and emotions. That enables him to relate to himself and to other humans. This is what the Bible means when it says in Genesis 1:26 that we are made in God's image.
In the "Trinity God" there is God's Spirit called the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lived in the body of Jesus when He came to earth. and the mind, will and emotions behind it all was God the Father, who created all things through His Son.
John 1:1-3 / Colossians 1:15-17
4. One concept of a kingdom that is hard for us to even want to get hold of is that in a kingdom the king owns everything. There is no such things as private property. This is true in the Kingdom of God as well. God owns the earth and everything in it.
Psalm 24:1-2 / I Corinthians 1:15-17
5. God can do whatever he wants with what He owns. So what did he do with the earth?
This doesn't mean that God relinquished ownership of the earth. It means that God gave us dominion or rulership over HIS property -- not ownership. We are stewards or managers of what belongs to God. In essence we own nothing but have access to everything.
6. The kingdom is the oldest form of all governments and the only one with a divine origin. Heaven was the first domain created -- then he expanded to a physical domain called earth.
Reread Genesis 1:1
Then God placed humans on the earth, created in his own image to run things.
7. In the Kingdom of God there are no subjects -- only citizens and "members of God's family". Every citizen in the Kingdom of God is a king or queen in his/her own right. This is why the Bible refers to God as the "King of kings". God is the High King who rules over us human kings who in turn rule over His earthly domain.
1 Timothy 6:15 / Revelations 1:5 / Revelations 17:14 / Revelations 19:16
What is a kingdom? The answer most simply put is that it is the government of a king. It is the sovereign rule and governing influence of a king over his territory in which he impacts it with his will and purpose. The kingdom culture then develops reflecting his nature, value and morals.
8. In the fullness of time, Jesus came to earth to re-establish the kingdom. Since only a king can establish a kingdom this act alone reveals that Jesus is king.
John 18:33b, 36-37
Notice that Jesus said His kingdom is not OF or FROM this world. He didn't say His kingdom was not IN this world. What truth was it that Jesus came to earth to testify to? The answer is in John 18:37. He came to testify to the fact that a king is here, a kingdom has come and that kingdom is available to anyone who wants to come in.
9. Therefore a king is the central component of a kingdom. Without him there is no kingdom. And wherever a king is, his entire government is present. For a king and his government are inseparable. The Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth because the King of Heaven is residing in his citizens. And that's why these verses are true for all time.
Matthew 18:19-20 / Matthew 28: 18-20
With the king indwelling our life, his full authority is present. How does this affect our living?
Matthew 18:18 / John 14:13-14
Kingdom citizens can always exercise kingly authority because the king is always present in them. The king's name carries the same authority as the king himself and all who carry his name can operate in His authority.
Numerous times Jesus said something like this...."You have heard ... but I tell you."
Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39
And when he finished speaking why were the crowds so amazed?
So when God says something, that settles it whether we believe it or not. His word is law.
And when he decrees something it can't be changed.
Isaiah 40:8 / Matthew 24:35
10. The sovereignty of a king is inherent in his royal authority and he can do as he pleases with no accountability to anyone else in the Kingdom because he owns it all. How much truer is this of God the Creator of Heaven and Earth?
Psalm 24:1 / Psalm 50:10
Note: It's because God, our King, owns everything that he is called Lord. Lord means owner. Kings personally own the physical domain over which they reign and this is what makes them not only kings with authority to rule but lords dealing with ownership of the land. The larger and richer their domain the greater their reputation and glory.
Adonai is one of the most common Hebrew names to describe God in the Old Testament. It means proprietor or owner and is usually translated "Lord".
Yahweh, another Hebrew name for God carries the same idea of master, owner or lord.
This was the most basic confession that every Jew recited every morning.
11. Kings rule for life. God was king before the world began, He is king now and He will still be king after this world passes away.
There is much more to the Kingdom concept of government but these basics can help us make sense of what we read in the Bible about the original intent of our Creator God and the role we are meant to play as Kingdom of God citizens.