The Kingdom of God

This is not an easy topic to understand for most. And part of the reason is because much of mankind has been trying for many years to come up with an answer to all the anti-Christian forces in the world. In doing so, they have hoped for an answer based upon a literal interpretation of scripture. An answer that would have Jesus setting up an earthly throne, and a literal Kingdom on the Earth where Satan will be bound a thousand years.

They principally derived this period of time from Revelation chapter 20, verse one through six. This earthly kingdom would honor a large community of persecuted saints. A future earthly Kingdom of God, during a special thousand year period of time, often referred to as the millennial kingdom.

Throughout history many different notions have been argued concerning this future millennial kingdom. Not only of Christians, but also of Jews, who are also looking for a literal fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, in favor of the establishment of a literal Jewish State and Kingdom.

But we must be careful to remember that the Bible is a spiritual book. Consequently, all the scriptures about the kingdom of God, are intended to be interpreted spiritually first. After all, God is a Spirit. So why would we expect anything else but a spiritual kingdom?

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” ~ John 4:21-24

Mankind continues to seek for the literal answer, a literal change through a millennial kingdom on Earth. Because of this, he has a very difficult time receiving the things that are spiritual. Things that will reveal the spiritual kingdom of God in the Earth.

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:10-15

Ultimately, when we have a spiritual mind, we’re able to clearly understand and judge things. And we’re able to overcome the false judgments of mankind, as is indicated in the scripture above in verse 15. And note, from a spiritual perspective, that is exactly what happens in Revelation chapter 20.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” ~ Revelation 20:4

Those that were falsely judged by mankind, are being shown to spiritually be able to overcome those judgments. And because of that, they are reigning with Christ. Jesus promised this type of reigning power to those who would overcome, just as he overcame.

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” ~ Revelation 3:21-22

Jesus overcame by the cross. And in this scripture above, he is inviting everyone to be able to overcome the same way. Being willing to suffer the cross, in order to honor Jesus Christ, and his kingdom. To even be able to sit with him in his spiritual throne.

But the Kingdom of Israel was largely understood as a literal kingdom during Old Testament times. When Christ came to bring a spiritual kingdom. Many, including his own apostles, were still expecting a literal kingdom to be established on the Earth. Even though Jesus had often plainly told them that his kingdom would not be of this earth.

But in the days of Jesus on Earth, the kingdom of God was a very important topic on the minds of all the Jews, including the apostles. They all wanted a literal answer. But Jesus kept answering the kingdom issue with spiritual answers.

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” ~ Luke 17:20-21

Jesus came to set up his kingdom on the throne of the hearts. So that the children of the kingdom would become completely subject to the Love of God.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Matthew 22:37-39

He also taught us to pray that the kingdom would come, by his purpose being done in the hearts of individuals.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 6:10

The earth that he is speaking about in the scripture, is people. Adam as human, was made from the Earth. And so our human form is from the Earth, and returns to the Earth when we die. But the spiritual man, the soul, continues to exist forever. So the earth that he wants his will to be done in: is us!

Just like in Revelation chapter 20, when Satan was bound, so when the soul is delivered from Satan’s power, then can enter into that person the spiritual kingdom of God.

“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” ~ Matthew 12:28

So the kingdom of God, where Satan is cast out, existed in the days of Jesus on the Earth. But Jesus also spoke of the time when his kingdom would come with power, while people would still be on Earth.

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” ~ Mark 9:1

That power that he was speaking of, was the power that was given to the church on the day of Pentecost. And prophecy quoted in the gospel of Luke plainly shows us that when Jesus brought his kingdom, that it was to never end. A kingdom that goes well beyond a thousand years.

“And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” ~ Luke 1:33

Without salvation through the new spiritual birth, you cannot even see this spiritual kingdom. And the way you enter this spiritual kingdom is through the new birth in Christ Jesus.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” ~ John 3:3-7

But in spite of hearing many clear things from Jesus about his spiritual kingdom, the apostles did not fully understand it. So when Jesus died on the cross, that event also had a devastating effect on the apostles. They we’re all still expecting an earthly kingdom of Israel to be reestablished by Jesus. And when Jesus suffered the shame of death on a cross, that destroyed their hopes of him being an earthly king. But even as Jesus was tried by the Jews and Pilate on the earth, he plainly declared that his kingdom was not of this world.

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” ~ John 18:36-37

The two men walking on the road after Jesus’s death and resurrection, expressed their disappointment, because they had hoped Jesus would deliver the Jews from the rule of the Romans.

“But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.” ~ Luke 24:21

But Jesus did not set up an earthly kingdom then. And as I said earlier, he had already told them plainly that in their lifetime his kingdom would come in power!

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” ~ Mark 9:1

Concerning the kingdoms on this Earth, Jesus told them that it was not for anyone to know the times and seasons of kingdoms on the Earth. But he did tell them where everyone should set our attention: on power of his spiritual kingdom.

“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” ~ Acts 1:4-11

And so after Jesus had resurrected, and the day of Pentecost came, it was then Jesus returned in the clouds of heaven, in like manner as he went.

And this is why in the Revelation message it declares:

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” ~ Revelation 1:7

Jesus is seen today in his kingdom, in the cloud of witnesses!

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

In the church which is the cloud of witnesses, Jesus is already seen on his throne. He is seen as reigning on the throne of the hearts of those who love him and serve him. And we’re not just talking about over in God’s heaven. We’re talking about the throne of the hearts of those who serve him while still living on this Earth.

The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. It is not made up of anything physical on this Earth

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” ~ Romans 14:17

We are able to reign with Christ in this kingdom, especially when we are willing to suffer with him.

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him : If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” ~ 2 Timothy 2:11-12

And this is specifically what it is showing in the 20th chapter of Revelation. But in Revelation chapter 20, it speaks about a period of a thousand years when this suffering for Christ will go on. A time when Christ will be powerfully reigning within the hearts of those who love him, and who are willing to die for him.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” ~ Revelation 20:4-6

The confusion comes for many, how to reconcile this thousand year reign, when Satan will be bound, yet Christians will be suffering to the death. In addition, there is confusion as to win this thousand years would happen. Is it in the future? Or is it something that has now already happened in the past?

I would like you to think about this more from a spiritual kingdom perspective, and not a literal kingdom. The book of Revelation actually tells the gospel day story, seven different times. The historical narrative of the “Gospel Day” (from when Jesus first was on earth, until the end) within Revelation is told seven times, from seven different perspectives. For Revelation is a book of many “sevens”:

  1. From the viewpoint of “where the church was at spiritually” throughout history – the seven churches of Asia (chapters 2 & 3)
  2. From the viewpoint of that which only those washed by the blood of the Lamb can see – the opening of the seven seals (chapters 6 – 8)
  3. From the viewpoint of a ministry anointed to warn God’s people and call them to gather together as one for battle – the seven angels sounding their trumpets (chapters 8 – 11)
  4. From the viewpoint of measuring the temple of God, the altar, and them that worship there – the battle of the two witnesses (the Word and the Spirit) against the deceptions of Satan (chapter 11)
  5. From the viewpoint of the battle between the church and the beasts (chapters 12 & 13)
  6. From the viewpoint of placing final judgement upon the unfaithful harlot, Babylon, and her murderous deception throughout history (chapter 17)
  7. From the viewpoint of God’s throne, and to those who now have been freed from the deception of Babylon and the beast – the true history of the Gospel day! It was just a battle between Satan and God’s people, period. (chapter 20)

Note: for a complete explanation of an historical perspective you can read: “Revelation Historical Timeline”

And so what you see in Revelation chapter 20, is the seventh and final time that it tells the gospel day story. But in the 7th final time, the battles of the gospel day are only described as between Jesus and his people, and Satan and his people. In this description of Revelation chapter 20, we no longer see the deception of the beast, the Babylon harlot, nor the false prophet. We only see the gospel day story clearly, as a battle between truth and falseness. A battle between The Son of God and his kingdom children, against Satan and his kingdom children. The deceptions of false Christianity in this battle have been completely removed.

The thousand year period of time spoken of in Revelation chapter 20, is identifying the time in the history of the church, when the deception of paganism was bound up for a thousand years during the dark ages of Roman Catholic rule. During this time, many true Christians still suffered and died for the true faith. But they were still reigning with Christ during that thousand years, even though the Catholic Church judged, persecuted, and killed them.

After that thousand year rule of Roman Catholicism, the fallen conditions of many different Protestant churches, would give rise to many false christs, and false ways to worship God. Which is what the multiplicity of pagan religion is all about. Making your own religion. Creating your own gods / idols to worship. Every person following what is right in their own lives. So that after the thousand years (the dark ages of Roman Catholic rule) Satan has been again fully released to deceive the nations.

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” ~ Revelation 20:7-8

And so the principal intention of Revelation, is to remove the deception of false Christianity, and false teachings in every form: Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Atheistic forms. So that we can see Satan’s deception for what it is, and overcome him completely, because we are of the kingdom of God, which is a spiritual kingdom.

May the Lord give you a clear vision of his spiritual kingdom within the hearts of those love him! With a faithful and true heart, they are in a spiritual battle with those under the power of Satan.

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” ~ Revelation 17:14

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