Many Bible students feel that “the kingdom of God” was the theme of Jesus’ preaching, teaching and miraculous ministry. That would be hard to refute since the Gospels are filled with statements, references and illustrations of the kingdom. The Kingdom of God refers to His kingship, His rule, His authority. In teaching His disciples to pray (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus made the kingdom the #2 request: “Our Father…Your Kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven.” Our primary personal prayer is to experience God’s reign, to have it here and now, readying ourselves for the future realm when Jesus returns (as John 3:3).
Consider several basic thoughts. The Kingdom of God = the rule of God; i.e., the term refers to God’s reign, His divine sovereignty in action. Confusion results from not realizing that the Kingdom belongs to the present as well as the future. For now, this rule, reign and government of God is acting wonderfully in the hearts and lives of those who yield themselves to Him. Such people also find that the concepts of this Kingdom also effect communities, nations and churches through the changed lives of the believers. In contrast, God’s kingdom in the next age will dominate the whole new world in righteousness!
The key is to understand that the world system with its various forms of evil will only endure to the end of this age. At the end of earthly time Christ will come and set up His kingdom to fill the earth. The Kingdom is, however, now working in the hearts of God’s people and through the wonderful operations of the Holy Spirit in the Church (changing people). God’s reign has both a present and future realm in which man may experience His blessed governance. We pray for God’s blessings now in this present-world realm, but we also pray for the glorious return of Jesus when He will set up His literal Kingdom in a new world. God’s government, in spite of what you see and read in the news media of this present age, will absolutely triumph at last, regardless of who gets elected in our present political systems.
Daniel the prophet was a key person in several world orders, influencing secular rulers by his godly ways and prophetic insights, humbling and amazing these pagan leaders as he revealed the true God. Nebuchadnezzar, for example, had a troubling dream that only Daniel (supported by praying friends) was able to interpret. God invaded the sleeping king’s mind, showing the dream of a great, man-like image of five parts. Finally, God threw a stone that broke in pieces the great image (representing national powers), “…then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together and became like chaff…the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone (the kingdom of God) that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35-36). The humbled king later declared: “How great are His signs, and how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation” (Dan 4:3).
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