The prophet Isaiah foretold of a son being born who would carry the government on His shoulders. Seven hundred years later, Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. He told His apostles to teach a kingdom message and taught that the end of the world will not come until the gospel of the kingdom was preached to the whole world. When Jesus returns, He will proclaim his Kingship and Lordship.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).
"From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, 'Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Matt. 4:17).
"As you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 10:7).
"This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14, MEV).
"On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19:16).
In the United States and much of the world, people have little experience with the kingdom form of government. Since much of the Bible refers to the kingdom, everyone should know what a kingdom is, how it differs from modern forms of government and a citizen's kingdom responsibilities.
A kingdom means the domain of a king. Domain is simply the territory that is under the control and rule of a king. Every kingdom has certain laws, rights and privileges established by the king for its citizens, residents and visitors. The king provides physical and economic security to all. But favor of a king can result in increased abundance, opportunity and responsibility. However, a king's displeasure has consequences. A culture, acceptable to the king, will develop as citizens implement the desires and directions of the king.
The United States has a representative democracy. The people elect representatives to serve them in the public arena who then establish their laws. These statues are enforced by security forces hired by these representatives. Violators of the law will have their day in court before punishment. Judges are either elected directly or appointed by the representatives of the people. Potential statues are often debated vigorously before enough support is garnered to put them into law.
In a kingdom government, the king rules everything. Kingship is often conferred by birthright. The king owns all territory but may grant individuals the temporary right to possess it. The king also establishes the laws, enforcement procedures, judicial procedures and any punishment from breaking laws. The king will appoint any representatives needed to fulfill responsibilities. Whereas democracies debate future laws, in a kingdom, the king's word is final. It is not up for debate. Since everything in a kingdom is ruled and controlled by a king, success and the desirability of a particular kingdom government depends solely on the king.
The kingdom of God is different from any kingdom of earthly origins. First, the kingdom of God is not of this world (realm). Second, citizens in the kingdom of God are sons and daughters who are kings and priests. Jesus is called King of kings for a reason. Our citizenship is currently in heaven, and while in this earthly realm, we have the responsibility to bring the kingdom within all of our areas of responsibility and influence. Our citizenship is in heaven, but we are God's representatives on earth until His return.
"Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would fight, that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now My kingdom is not from here'" (John 18:36).
"And have made us kings and priests unto our God; and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10).
"But our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20).
Let us pray that our King will return quickly and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let us work tirelessly to bring His righteousness, peace, joy and power into everything we touch and everywhere we go. He willingly gave His life to qualify us for His kingdom. Let us express our appreciation by sharing it.
"Then the seventh angel sounded; 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 will reign forever and ever'" (Rev. 11:15).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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