Understanding the Kingdom
The Kingdom of God has its realm in heaven and on earth; its scope is unlimited and extends through all eternity past, present and future. It is made up of angelic beings, universal and interplanetary bodies. It has a heavenly capital, eternal in purpose, timeless, and endless. It includes the Christian dispensation; only born-again Christians enter into it. It is therefore the community of those who receive Jesus as the Messiah, and who, united by his Spirit under him as their Head, rejoice in the truth, and live a holy life in love and in communion with him (John 3:3-5, Matt 3:2; 4:17,23; 9:35; 10:7; Mark 1:14,15; Luke 10:9,11; 23:51; Acts 27:31).
Furthermore, from the scriptures, there seem to be two aspects or dispensations of the Kingdom of God.
One, the Moral and spiritual aspect or dispensation: this has both an internal and external form. As internal and spiritual, it already exists and rules in the hearts of all Christians, and is, therefore, present (Romans 14:17; Matthew 6:33; Mark 10:15; Luke 17:21; 18:17; John 3:3, 5; 1 Corinthians 4:20). As external, it is embodied in the visible Church of Christ, and is present and progressive (Matthew 6:10; 12:28; 13:24,31,33,41,47; 16:19,28; Mark 4:30; 11:10; Luke 13:18,20; Acts 19:8; Hebrews 12:28), in which view it is present and progressive.
Two, Coming and Literal aspect or dispensation: this is the awaited kingdom (Acts 1:3,6-7) that is given to Christ, as the Root of David. This aspect of the Kingdom will be political because Christ will rule and reign over the nations from an earthly headquarter
s in Jerusalem. It will be established fully and perfected at the Second Advent – the coming of the Messiah for judgment and his subsequent literal millennial reign in bliss and glory. To this Kingdom it is said “there shall be no end”, in which view it is future (Matthew 13:43; 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:29,30; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 12:10).
Now, from the discourse on the Mount of Olives and the parables about the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 24-25), we see three major facts. First, the kingdom in its future sense will be established at the second coming and will be preceded by perilous times. This time is actually near as all the signs are being fulfilled today. Second, and more importantly, we see that as stewards of God we are entrusted with a business, trust, and responsibilities based on the grace God has given us. This business is to make profit, to advance the Kingdom on earth. Third, whether or not we will be part of the coming Kingdom, where we will be placed, and how we will be rewarded depends on how faithfully we live and discharge the duties and responsibilities that the master entrusts us with, for there will be judgments and separation when He comes.
These, therefore, show that our living here and now is a preparation, a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment. We must realize that we are stewards of grace and it is required that we are found faithful. We must see our duty and responsibility and find the grace, the heart, and wisdom to go about fulfilling them faithfully. For that is what will count when the Master comes.
The Kingdom Business: Our Trust and Responsibilities
From the discourse at the Mount of Olives (Matt.24-25), we can see that the Lord entrusts us with roles and responsibilities. Our test, our trust, and temporary assignments can be stated as follows;
- To watch and take personal responsibility for our lives (Matthew 24.42-44): Our faith and love for Jesus will be tested, and that of many will wax cold. But only those who remain fervent and strong for Jesus will be accepted and rewarded when He comes. It calls for vigilance as there are sinful and corrupt influences of the world that can creep stealthily into our souls. The matter of love for Christ; devotion and obedience to Him and His word; walking in humble communion and unbroken fellowship with Him daily; of separation from sin and the world, is the first responsibility we have.
- To do our work and serve in the household of God (church) and to do it faithfully with wisdom and watchfulness (Matthew 24.45-25):
We belong to the church and we are called to be together in fellowship with each other and in service to the Lord. Apart from the benefits we enjoy from being together as brethren, we are called to serve God in different churches and ministries today. Each of us has a place we are assigned to in different hierarchies and settings. We must, therefore, discover our place and serve humbly and faithfully under constituted authorities.