Pages Navigation Menu

Faith One Blog

The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven) is mentioned over a hundred times in the New Testament, primarily from the lips of our Lord in the gospels. It is clearly an important, although little understood, doctrine. Jesus places the kingdom of God at man’s highest priority, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33). From this we see that the kingdom of God is not something remote and far away but something within reach, something that can be sought for and found.

The first three petitions of the Lord’s prayer are: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.    Thy kingdom come.   Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:9-10). Here we see first, that we should pray for God’s kingdom to come (to this world!) and second, that God’s kingdom is present where God’s will is done. God’s will is reflected in God’s law and His kingdom will have come when His law is obeyed.

Jesus, after His resurrection said:

…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.   19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.   Amen. (Matt. 28:18-20)

Here He asserts His God-given power and directs His followers to teach all the nations of the world— His nations!—to obey all His commandments. And what are these commandments if they are not precisely the law of God? That law is already obeyed in heaven where God’s will is done and His “Great Commission” to His people is to make God’s law the law of the nations of the world.

So we see that the kingdom of God will have come in its fullness when the laws of the nations of the world are in full agreement with God’s law. And furthermore, this is what Christians should be seeking as the top priority in their lives, before even clothing, food and drink (Matt. 6:31-33). Seeking here is more than a treasure hunt; clothing, food and drink are not things we just find. We must work for our sustenance and we must work to advance God’s kingdom on earth.

How, though, do we go about seeking and working for the kingdom of God? Do we form revolutionary movements and attempt to take over the nations by force? No, Jesus told us to teach; we “teach the nations;” we don’t force them to obey. This is done through conversion, the making of disciples and also by example; we show the nations by our own actions how to obey God’s law. We do this by obeying God’s law in our own lives. And just what does that entail?

The immediate implication is that we obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). We emulate the early church that said Christ and not Caesar is Lord. They obeyed Caesar only to the extent that his laws did not contradict God’s law. Likewise, for us today, God’s law must override the laws of the state. This means that true Christians are fully citizens of the Kingdom of God and only provisionally citizens of the state. This is the beginning of the kingdom of God on earth. It is a kingdom that resides within the kingdoms of this world. Its law is God’s law; its citizens obey God and not men.

Christians teach the nations in many ways; among these are: a) by proclaiming that Christ is the rightful ruler of all the nations, b) through raising objections to godless laws and c) by setting an example of disobedience to laws that violate God’s law. They should be seen as a politically active and powerful force for change. This was very much the case in the early centuries and was still visible until the 20th century during which it almost totally died out.

The failure of today’s Christians to obey this injunction from the Lord is the central reason behind this nation’s current slide into open apostasy. It will continue until they repent of their disobedience, shut their ears to the false teachers that have led them astray, and begin to do the task the Lord assigned. They may plead ignorance but God does not accept that as an excuse. They should have studied His word and obeyed His commands, and should not have acquiesced to their false teachers (Ezek. 20:18-19). When they do so, we will see the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).