WHERE IS THE KINGDOM?
Matthew 2:1, 2 (NKJV)
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
If Jesus was born King of the Jews, as the three wise men expected, why haven’t the geopolitical realms been subjected to His authority?
There are so many verses in the Gospels and throughout the writings of the Apostles which reveal the authority of Christ in action over the realm of the spirit. These next two verses represent what could be several pages of Scripture.
Matthew 12:28 (NLT) But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
Colossians 1:13 (NKJV) He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
There is no question that Jesus operated in the authority of a king in the spirit realm. He took authority over all powers of darkness at every level. And there we see the answer begin to unfold.
When Pilot asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus answered succinctly.
John 18:33–37 (NKJV)
33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Jesus positively answered Pilot that He was a king and that He had a kingdom with servants. But He said His kingdom is not of this world. Without getting technical or into exhaustive explanations Jesus gave us a simple answer.
Luke 17:20, 21 (NKJV)
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Don’t look for a kingdom to come in a way you can see it with your physical eyes. What we need to understand is that the kingdom is within. It’s here, now. But not where you can see it unless you can look into your spirit. For that is where it is. Those who receive Jesus as Savior discover the King has entered their hearts.
The deeply insightful Apostle Paul explains it in a way that opens up our understanding. As we explore Paul’s words we can see so much about the kingdom of God. Let’s take a brief look.
Romans 14:17 (NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Righteousness, peace and joy are qualities of a heart at one with God the Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit.
Righteousness comes by trusting Jesus as the One the Father sent to redeem us from our failure to obey the law of righteousness. All He asks us to do is believe in the One He sent (Jesus – John 6:29). Our faith (in the One Who took our sin on Himself all the way to the cross) is all He asks of us to declare us righteous. Jesus literally gives the believer His righteousness (Philippians 3:9). Simply put, our faith in Jesus makes us righteous. Our faith gives us mercy and grace to come to Father God and discover that He has always loved us.
As we believe on Jesus the kingdom of God enters our hearts. And along with righteousness comes God’s love. The Holy Spirit pours it in us (Romans 5:5) as He joins Himself to our spirits, making Himself one with us (1 Corinthians 6:17). He is God and God is love (1 John 4:8).
Peace and joy are two characteristics of God’s love. In Galatians 5:22 and 23 love is listed first, as the primary fruit of the Spirit. God is love. Love then is followed by eight derivative characteristics of His love, all revealed as fruit of the Holy Spirit. Fruit grows naturally, unless we keep digging it up to examine it in the fading light of the law written on stone (2 Corinthians 3:7, 11).
When the kingdom of God (as righteousness and love) enters our hearts, it by itself, fulfills the two part commandment Jesus gave in the New Covenant, a glory that does not fade (2 Corinthians 3:11).
1 John 3:23 (NKJV) And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
- We receive the kingdom by faith alone in the name of Jesus.
- We love each other with the love by which He loves us.
When we believe on the name of Jesus, He places the kingdom into our new hearts, making us righteous. He also pours His Holy Spirit into our newly created (born again) spirits (Ezekiel 36:25-27). The Holy Spirit, in turn, fills our hearts with the love of God, which grows naturally within us and manifests as the same love (Agape love) Jesus loves us with – that we would lay down our lives for our brethren.
The kingdom of God is a New Covenant kingdom with the only commandment Jesus ever spoke on the night He declared the New Covenant in His blood as they received the Passover together.
To see this, compare 1 John 3:23 with:
John 14:1, 6, 13
John 17:8, 21, 25, 26
Also John 6:29
You see, this new commandment is predicated on first believing on the name of Jesus Christ. Without that, all we have is a set of laws that have faded away, being now obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), or man-made laws to replace them. No man has ever been declared righteousness by trying to live up to external commandments.
Now God supersedes all these commandments with those He makes natural to us because He writes them on new hearts of flesh as we are born again by faith in the name (authority) of Jesus Christ.
The kingdom of God and the New Covenant in Christ are intricately and perpetually linked to present us holy before God. It’s the love of God within us because of the New Covenant which will empower the kingdom of God to eventually take over the world. How so? Not by force. But as one heart at a time receives Jesus as King.