It is important to establish what the Bible means when it refers to the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God. The fact that Jesus refers to it at least 56 times in the Book of Matthew should tell us that it was a priority for Him. In addition, Luke 4:43 records Jesus telling the crowds that are following Him, “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” But what is this kingdom; why was He sent; and what is this “good news” He has to share?
First of all, let’s consider the standard definition of a kingdom. That word “kingdom” is a blended version of two words, “king’s domain”. Domain is defined as a realm, empire, territory, or sphere of influence. In the simplest of terms, it is anywhere the king is, and anywhere he has rule or authority (called dominion). Historically speaking, we identify kingdoms as areas of territory owned or controlled by a ruler or government. We also recognize that there are extensions of kingdoms, known as colonies, which are under the full or partial control of an often times distant ruler.
The late Dr. Myles Munroe has provided one of the best explanations of this concept as it relates to the Kingdom of God. He presented the idea that a colony is a territory intended to become just like the ruling kingdom. In using King George III and the American colonies as an example, he helped me to understand the principles of kingdom government. This is what he said: “The kingdom of Great Britain extended its territory to include colonies around the world. This kingdom had a king, named George III, who held all power and authority, and ruled from his home country of England. Among the territories of King George were the thirteen colonies in America, and he held dominion over them. He sent a representative of His government, called a Governor, to each colony to extend the influence of His government and convert the territory into an English colony, transforming the colonists into English citizens. The citizens identified as Englishmen and sons of Great Britain. Their culture resembled that of Great Britain and they were subject to English laws.”
In light of this analogy, Dr. Munroe gives us this definitive and authoritative definition of a kingdom: “It is the governing influence of a king over a territory, impacting it with the king’s will, his purpose, and his intent; producing a citizenship of people who reflect the king’s culture, nature, values, and morals.” So, now let’s read how Dr. Munroe applies that definition to the Kingdom of God: “God’s original purpose and plan was to establish and extend His kingdom of Heaven to earth; to manifest His wisdom and execute His will to fill the earth with His Nature (Glory), and fill it with His sons. He created and ordained mankind as His governmental representatives on earth. The people living under that rule or government are known as citizens of the kingdom. There is a ruling document, or constitution, (called the Bible) and moral laws to follow; ideals and standards by which the citizens are expected to live. The King of God’s kingdom is Jesus, who lives and rules from His home country, Heaven. But He has sent a Governor (the Holy Spirit) to transform us, teach us, train us, and change us into citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and to establish a kingdom culture on earth.”
I hope this perspective makes it easier to understand the Kingdom of Heaven; that it is God’s domain. Heaven is where He dwells, and where He has all power and authority. It is where His sphere of influence is declared and exercised. Now let’s look at how He extended His kingdom.
In the first Book of Genesis we read that God created the heavens and the earth. From His dwelling place in the third heaven, He created the second heaven, which we can understand to be the realm of time, space, and dimension beyond our atmosphere. He also created the earth with the first heaven, which consists of the skies above us. Then in verses 2 through 25, God creates the stars, the seas, and the dry land called earth, every kind of vegetation, bird, and living creature. It is in verse 26 that He creates us in the image of the Godhead and sets in motion one of the most important purposes of our existence on this planet … our dominion over all the earth.
You see, we were created before the foundations of the world, and then made in the image of God to bring glory to Him by ruling the earth in His Name and as His representatives. In essence, the earth was to be a colony of the Kingdom of Heaven, with God’s rule acknowledged over all the earth. The earth was an extension of God’s sphere of authority and influence, and was meant to reflect the culture and values of Heaven. But demonic influence in the Garden of Eden resulted in a rebellion that corrupted the relationship between God and man; destroyed the “colonial connection”; and culminated in man declaring himself independent and establishing his own kingdom system.
In the face of this universal rebellion on earth, and the establishments of earthly kingdoms, it is imperative we understand that God has not relinquished His sovereignty over the earth, but has instead declared His plan to establish it once and for all. That truth is stated in both the Old and New Testaments. The prophet Daniel tells us, And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44). The New Testament gives us a picture of the future when Jesus reigns as King of this established kingdom on earth: Then the final stage of completion comes, when He will bring to an end every other rulership, authority, and power, and He will hand over His kingdom to Father God. Until then He is destined to reign as King until all hostility has been subdued and placed under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:24-25).
This is what the Lord says in Isaiah 66:1, Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. From this verse, we get a picture of the Kingdom of God extending from heaven to earth. Earth was created to be a colony of the Kingdom of Heaven, under the rulership and authority of God, with man as overseer and administrator. But Satan came to steal, kill, and destroy that plan.
God comes back with a counter-punch and, seeking willing obedience, chooses the nation of Israel to receive His kingdom mandate and to lead all nations to the knowledge of His sovereignty on earth. But the kings and kingdoms of Israel yielded to their rebellious spirits, causing God to temporarily blind them to their role in His redemptive plan. But God so loved the world that He sent His only Son not only to redeem us, but also to take back territory and dominion for the Kingdom of God on earth!
And remember, Jesus said the good news [gospel] of the Kingdom of God is why He was sent (Luke 4:43). The mandate given to Him by the Father was to bring the good news that God [once again] planned to re-establish His dominion in the earth through mankind. Through faith in Jesus Christ men could assume the status of sons of God, with all the rights and benefits that title conveys. Power and authority would be given us over the efforts of the Enemy to kill, steal, or destroy us physically and/or spiritually.
We find that truth in Luke 10:19, Now you understand that I have imparted to you all My authority to trample over his kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm you as you walk in this authority. Your translation may read, “authority to trample on serpents and scorpions”, but it is important to note that, in the Greek, this language was emblematic of demonic powers. The verse also makes it clear that Satan’s dominion (and his kingdom) is in danger of being overthrown.
But I will tell you that the 30 plus years since I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I have never been taught that truth in any church I’ve attended. His death on the Cross at Calvary and the Gospel of Salvation have always been preached as His primary purposes. Be assured, His death, which precipitated our salvation, was always part of God’s plan, but it is part of His bigger Kingdom mandate. And that is why I am writing this book. Any careful study of the Book of Matthew will find Jesus repeatedly saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is like….
As we study our mandate regarding the Kingdom, we see a clearer picture coming into focus. Jesus’ sacrificial death and our salvation are a direct result of the process of restoring us to our original design in God’s plan for the earth. You see, at His first coming, Jesus is acting as the royal ambassador from Heaven, teaching us what is expected of us as citizens of the Kingdom. He is bringing God’s Kingdom in Heaven to the earth to firmly establish it and to put Satan on notice that He has come to take back dominion of the earth. He teaches the Disciples [and us] to declare it when we pray, Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. The Father’s will is that His Kingdom be extended over all the earth. Jesus’s assignment was to begin the process of reclaiming territory for God’s Kingdom. And it is our calling to continue that assignment.
We find Jesus declaring the fundamental principle of God’s kingdom when He speaks to a company of Pharisees: the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you. In other words, where the King is, there is the Kingdom. And, yes, they ultimately rejected Him and the Kingdom, but God had another plan, and we are now the administrators of the Kingdom. If Jesus lives in your heart, there is the Kingdom. And it is now our assignment to carry on His purpose of taking back dominion of the earth and spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom.
I know by now many of you might be having trouble accepting that the Kingdom is present here and now because your denominational doctrines have taught you that the Kingdom of God only appears at Jesus’s Second Coming, when He comes in judgment and power and glory. I would ask you to take into account the whole counsel of God and His Word. The truth is that the Kingdom of God is both a present and future reality for believers.
The Apostle Paul tells us that, in the present, the Father has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13) and that our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). I love how the Passion Translation of the Bible words it: But we are a colony of heaven on earth. Each of these Scriptures bear witness to our kingdom reality in the here and now.
The future fulfillment of the Kingdom of God on earth can be seen in Revelation 11:15, Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom [dominion, rule] of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.”
It is vitally important for the Body of Christ to know and understand and step into their role in the Kingdom of God NOW! But I fear that we do not know who we are. Do you realize that the Bible never refers to Jesus as being a King over subjects? Instead, numerous times He is called “the King of kings, and the Lord of lords”. The Kingdom of God is NOT a democracy! In His Kingdom, God makes the laws and reigns supreme. A “citizen” of the Kingdom of God is a legally recognized inhabitant of the kingdom. In a democracy, the people make the laws, and control of the government is by the majority of members. But here is a truth worth knowing: Citizenship is more important than membership!1 Our culture, both secularly and religiously, have subjected God’s laws to a democratic model! Both the hierarchy and the people of the Church have voted to subvert God’s laws to a “rule by the majority”. Relative moralism is promoting a false gospel that any behavior is acceptable to God if you just profess faith in Jesus and “get saved”.
But our citizenship in the Kingdom of God trumps any membership in a Church denomination governed by a self-determined moral code. We are citizens of God’s kingdom, come to the earth He created [from Heaven] as sons and daughters of the King! It is our responsibility to advance our King’s government in this colony of Heaven; to support His intentions, will, and purpose by demonstrating our unity with Him and our allegiance to His Law and the culture of Heaven. It is part of our royal duty to share the good news with all the nations of the world that the kingdom of darkness and the god of this world [Satan} are being dethroned, and the Kingdom of God is being reinstated. By doing so, we restore our rightful place as rulers of the earth, in His stead.
We were created to have dominion over the earth – to rule and reign as royal sons and daughters of the King; to own this territory called earth in absentia. Jesus’s primary purpose for coming to earth was not to make a way for us to get to Heaven – but rather, to instruct us how, as kings and lords, to bring Heaven to earth! We have an assignment to take back territory that our ancestors, Adam and Eve, surrendered to the kingdom of darkness. We were destined to rule the earth for our Creator!
We must embrace the truth that Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom by declaring the Kingdom is at hand. The Kingdom not only exists in our hearts, where He rules, but is also established in the earth and we are commanded to go out as ambassadors, kings, and spiritual warriors to engage the kingdom of darkness. But we go out, not as citizens of the world, or members of a Church, but as citizens of a restored spiritual kingdom, redeemed and purchased by the blood of Christ on the Cross.
The Kingdom of God was central to Jesus’s earthly ministry and His very first public appearance was to declare that it was “at hand”; another way of saying it had arrived. It’s time that we step into the fullness of our identity and carry out the mandate God gave all mankind … to impact all of creation with His will, carrying out His purpose, and reflecting the culture of Heaven on earth. Instead of spending our time waiting to get to Heaven, let us walk in our dominion and pull Heaven down to earth. And then let us watch how that changes everything!
The entire universe is standing on tiptoe,
yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters!