Jane snuggled deeper into her pillow. Her favorite time of the day was right before bed. The house was quiet, the pace of the day was settled and she was under her covers. She exchanged her novel for her Bible and opened to the bookmark.
Then she read.
She read about John the baptist. He was a man who preached to people who went out to see him in the wilderness. He preached about Jesus who – at that time – had not yet started to teach and heal people. John preached about a kingdom… a kingdom
Hadn’t she just been reading about kingdoms in her fantasy novel? They were complete with knights on horseback and fortified castle walls topped with archers. And of course, they had kings.
kingdom [king-duh m]: noun: a state or government having a king or queen as its head.
The way I see it, a kingdom consists of three ingredients:
- a reigning monarch (king/queen),
- a community/people
- a system by which the reigning monarch governs its people (a state or government)
What do these three ingredients look like as played out in God’s kingdom (also referred to as the kingdom of heaven)?
#1. The reigning monarch
God! God is the reigning monarch of His Kingdom. The Bible refers to Him as “the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15).
For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
#2. The community/people
The community and people of God’s Kingdom are the people who live under His rule and are expected to submit to His authority.
In one sense, the whole earth is expected to submit to God. He owns it all:
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.
But God has given each person the gift of free will. It’s the ability to submit to Him or to live our own way. I would venture to say that the people of the Kingdom of God consist exclusively of those who choose to submit to Him. Call them Christians, believers the body of Christ, etc.
#3. The system by which the reigning monarch governs its people
This is the set of rules/commands that believers are expected to adhere to. This is the ordered way of life that God – in all His wisdom – has established for His people to follow.
You might say this is will for His people and His design for their lives. You might say this is all manner of acting, interacting, thinking, deciding, reading, writing, watching, pursuing, living, being, etc., that please Him. You might say it’s everything that glorifies Him and suits His purposes.
You [God] are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.
In light of the above, I would summarize that the Kingdom of God is God’s rule over the body of Christ according to His will.
Let’s talk, shall we?
- Is the Kingdom of God physical, spiritual or both?
- Is it restricting to belong to God’s Kingdom and to be expected to adhere to a specific way of life? Does it hinder us from being ourselves?
- Do you belong to God’s Kingdom? Do you relate to Him as though He is your King?
Resources for deeper digging
Psst! For more on:
- What the kingdom of God is like: Jesus himself told a collection of stories to help us understand. Read them in Matthew chapter 13.
- The kingdom of God and the worries of everyday life: Jesus talks about this in Matthew 6:25-34.
- What the kingdom of God is: here is another article that explains the basics.
- Whether the kingdom of God is here and now, or after Jesus comes again: this is an interesting sermon. You can listen to it, or read the notes.