In modern days, few believers have sought to grasp the truth of the millennial kingdom. Most have received the Lord into their heart and have sought to “bring the kingdom” into the various aspects of their lives – and rightly so. What we need to understand about the kingdom is that it is meant to invade every aspect of society. This is what I love about Morningstar Ministries. They are sounding the trumpet in the earth that the kingdom is more than personal salvation but governmental/social/economic invasion. It is not enough for believers to only receive salvation, yet many have stopped here. The message of salvation will not receive persecution in the nations of the earth because it is only the entrance to a far greater glory. Obviously, we are not seeking persecution to validate our faith, but we as believers are commanded to declare the whole message (Acts 5:20) of the kingdom and to disciple the nations (Mt. 28:19).
When you think of the kingdom, what comes to your mind? This is one of the most defining beliefs that a Christian has and often goes unaddressed in the mind of believers. The way we see the kingdom today determines how we order our lives tomorrow and the years to come.
I believe the message of the kingdom can be thought of in 3 stages. 1) Salvation – this is square one, not the completion of a lifetime of searching. Salvation is the threshold- as it were – into the household and family of Christ. 2) Repentance – this is an ongoing process after the initial salvation of the soul. I think of repentance as the work of holiness- becoming Christ-like in our thoughts, action, and words. We must fully submit to what the Lord has called a believer to, and not simply fit our faith into an established lifestyle. I like the phrase, “The Sunday morning gathering has to touch Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons.” 3) The fulfillment of the kingdom – Christ’s leadership as “King of kings”. We know that Jesus is the King of kings, but when we think of what that actually means, it’s easy to lose sight of the full picture.
John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles primary message was the declaration of the kingdom – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Jesus was resurrected so that the Holy Spirit could come dwell in our hearts. He said it was better for him to leave than to stay- can you imaging what the disciples must have initially thought of that statement? Better? However, Christ is now ruling in the hearts of believers, in the temple of our body (1 Cor. 6:19). We are the living stones that constitute the dwelling place of God in the earth. The kingdom of God is already here in the heart of believers – yet it is in part. A man by the name of George Ladd, when referring to the kingdom, coined the phrase, “The already, but not yet”. The kingdom has come, but it is in a limited way.
The reality of the kingdom in our hearts now is like unto the ark residing in the tabernacle of David. Was the presence of God in Israel’s midst? Yes. Was it the permanent dwelling place that fulfilled the desire in the heart of God to dwell with mankind forever? No. The Holy Spirit will not leave the hearts of believers at the second coming of Jesus, but the current expression of the kingdom can be thought of as the skukkot before the presiding presence in the temple . The current dispensation of grace is not the full expression of the kingdom. Why? because we are still finite beings with mortal temples, and secondly, the land has yet to be redeemed. The Garden of Eden is a picture of the 2-fold expression of the kingdom – God dwelt with man – man dwelt in a garden. Man was meant to fully experience God and to do so in the environment of a natural garden. The full measure of God’s dwelling is vividly portrayed in Revelation 21 and 22. Here, we see that earth is renewed and transformed in order to house God and man in the experiential union of a perfected environment.
Let us therefore express the kingdom now in every sphere of our influence, and look forward with zeal and joy to the consumation of the eternal plan of God – dwelling with Him.