What do you think about when you hear of “the Kingdom of God?” Do you think about the future, in Heaven with God forever? Or do you think about how we are connected to and operate in his kingdom now? Both maybe? It’s both for me.
Look at this progression of passages. The point of aligning them in this order is to show one simple truth, Jesus brought the kingdom with him and it’s been increasing ever since. A great light has come!
Mark 1:14 After the arrest of John, Jesus went into Galilee and proclaimed the gospel of God. 15 “The time is fulfilled,” He said, “and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the gospel!”
What Gospel? The Gospel that the kingdom of God is near. When he says repent and believe the Gospel, he’s saying, “you’re going to have to change the way you think because God’s kingdom is now in the earth. You are part of it, it’s in you and it will now begin to increase.”
The next passage from Daniel is part of Daniel’s interpretation of the king of Babylon’s dream.
Daniel 2:44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
The rock that destroys all the world’s kingdoms will be cast into the earth, and once it’s in the earth it will continue to grow into a mountain that fills the whole earth. When is that rock cast into the earth and when does God set up his increasing kingdom that will never be destroyed? Stay with me, we’ll get there.
Matthew quotes Isaiah and acknowledges that the arrival of Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about the eternal, increasing kingdom of God.
Matthew 4:12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
What did Isaiah say? Notice the language about the timing of the kingdom.
Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Skip to verse 6.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
From that time on and forever! From the time that the people saw a great light, and forever forward, God is establishing and upholding his kingdom!
From that time on and forever
It’s important to rightly divide the Word of God regarding the initiation and the subsequent establishment of God’s kingdom. The undeniable conclusion is this, you don’t have to wait on a future arrival of God’s kingdom, you’re in it now! And it will just keep growing. Make sure it’s growing in you.
The Kingdom of God and You
After the resurrection we see Jesus acknowledge that he’s the king of God’s kingdom and he has all authority.
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Then we see that we are “raised with him.” This phrase does not refer to being resurrected with him, this is a statement of authority. Christ gives us his authority, as ambassadors of his kingdom, fully backed by God to represent him.
Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ
Jesus acknowledges sharing his authority with us.
Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
We’re in his kingdom now.
Colossians 1:12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Put It All Together
God planted his kingdom in this earth through Christ. Jesus is the rock that will become a mountain that will fill the whole earth. He is the mustard seed that will become a tree that fills the whole earth. His kingdom has come and it’s not going anywhere.
God is in control of establishing his kingdom but we have a role. We are his church, the body of Christ, through which God’s holy temple is being built in the earth.
God is establishing his kingdom through his church and he is sharing his kingdom with his church.
Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
How To Yield To His Kingdom
What is the nature of God’s kingdom and how do we interact with it now?
Luke 17:20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
This is incredibly challenging. There is coming a time when Christ will physically return and rule on this earth. Until then, the kingdom is IN YOU!! Yes, it’s in you! It’s in you because God has used the life/blood of Christ to cleanse you. He gave you a new heart. And he joined his spirit to you, you are one with him just as Jesus prayed in John 17.
You are currently responsible for stewarding the kingdom within you so it will grow out of you.
Luke 13:18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds a of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Your heart is the dough, your mind is the dough. How do you kneed the yeast of the kingdom into your heart, mind and emotions? What is it that shifts your focus and positions your heart to yield to the influence of his kingdom within you? Is it worship, is it nature, it is praying for others, is it serving people, is it listening to your children laugh…what works for you?
Many folks think of miracles, wonders and the gifts of the spirit when they speak of God’s kingdom growing through you, but it’s first and foremost righteousness, peace and joy in your own heart and soul.
If you want to experience the kingdom now, on this planet, in its current form, allow God’s righteousness to transform you, allow his peace to guard your heart so you’ll be led by him, and allow his joy to strengthen you so you’ll walk in his power.
Kingdom living has more to do with you experiencing the transformative power of his grace than outward displays of power. Outward power is a small part of kingdom living, but it’s not primary. The primary goal of God’s kingdom in you is to shape you into the image of God’s dear son. God wants to love people through you. The more you allow yourself to be shaped by him, the more you’ll experience the fruit of his indwelling kingdom and the more you will will reflect his kingdom into this earth.
I will stay on the topic for a few weeks. Stay tuned as I write more about the heart and the parable of the seed. I’ll also touch on the nature of reality and the dominion of mankind to gain more kingdom insight. I’ll use illustrations from quantum physics once we get to the parts about mankind’s dominion.
Until then, keep your eyes on Jesus and allow his kingdom, his righteousness, peace and joy to increase within you!