Chapter 4 – Kingdoms
Christ’s Kingdom is not of this World
The whole world lieth in wickedness (1 Jn 5:19). Most men do not abide in God’s love nor do they obey His commandments. There must be a restraining force for man’s corrupt nature. Otherwise, the proud would quickly overcome and destroy the humble and this world would become totally wicked as before the flood. At the tower of Babel, man came together as one to do evil once again. The Lord God (who rules over His creation) instituted nations/kingdoms to separate and control evil. These nations/kingdoms would bear the sword and restrain the corrupt nature of man through law and order (Rm 13:1-7, 1 Tim 2:1-3). This is not to say that all laws are just and righteous or rulers for that matter. For instance, God used Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to bring judgment upon Israel – For His purposes. Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon were evil and God dealt with this king greatly humbling him and showing him who ruled the heavens and the earth (Dan 4:17, 25, 34-37). The Lord later judged Babylon for their wickedness (Jer 51:47). So kingdoms do not bear the sword in vain – God uses them to maintain order in a corrupt and fallen world. Even so, this is not God’s plan for His people.
The Lord’s people are “called” to a much higher standard. The Lord tells us (an enduring truth): “…After the doings of the land of Egypt (worldly kingdom in which you now sojourn), wherein ye dwelt (or currently dwell), shall ye not do…(Lev 18:3) – rather, you shall walk as per Christ’s living example; In God’s truth by His Spirit (Rm 4:12, 6:4, 8:1, 4, 14, 2 Cor 5:7, 6:16, Gal 5:16, 25, Eph 2:10, 4:17, 5:2, 8, Col 1:10, 2:6, 1 Thess 2:12, 4:1, 1 Pt 2:21, 1 Jn 1:7, 2:6, 2 Jn 1:6, 3 Jn 1:4). The Lord says: Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest (Ex 34:12-15, Deut 7:2-5). The Lord says: Leviticus 20:26, “And ye shall be holy unto me (a peculiar people): for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people (called you out of darkness), that ye should be mine.” You are called out of worldly kingdoms into God’s kingdom. When Jesus came He constantly spoke of the kingdom of God.
The easiest way to illustrate a believer’s relationship with the world is as follows. Suppose you are a citizen of the United States and you go to sojourn in the country of France. While living in France you are expected to obey the laws of France. If you do not obey their laws then you will be punished accordingly. However, if France passes a law which would cause you to betray or violate loyalty or devotion to the United States, then you must refuse to obey it if you ever want to return to the United States in good favor. While in France you want to seek peace and are a good example of a citizen of the United States – respecting their ways and authorities. Similarly, when one is born into the kingdom of God, they renounce their earthly ties and become of citizen of God’s kingdom. For now they are still sojourning in an earthly kingdom and must seek its peace, obey its laws, respect its authorities, pay taxes (Mt 22:21, Mk 12:17, Lk 20:25, Rm 13:7), etc. However, their primary allegiance and devotion is to the kingdom of God. If an earthly kingdom passes an unjust law which would require one to violate one of God’s laws, then you must obey the higher law of the kingdom which you are a citizen of. Some might say: “where is the kingdom of God?” Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Throughout Europe (in past ages), Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism intoxicated kings with their doctrines and had them pass laws which favored such. In doing so, these laws violated God’s higher laws (i.e. laws concerning: infant baptism, transubstantiation type of Lord’s Supper, religious affiliations, banned books, thought control, compulsory attendance, etc.). What was a true believer to do? The answer is that they continued to obey God’s laws (and thus violated earthly laws) and then submitted themselves (nonviolently) into the hands of earthly authorities for the stipulated punishment. They placed the matter in God’s hands and now await justice. They didn’t try and change the laws. They didn’t rebel against the laws (taking up the sword). The simply willingly laid their lives down for imprisonment, torture and death and placed the matter into God’s hands. They suffered injustice upon the earth, but appealed to the Judgment Throne of God. These wait under the altar for justice. Revelation 6:9-10, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” You see, there are things that are more important than life itself – they loved not their lives unto death.
A true believer will always obey God’s laws (commandments) over anything else. True believers do not rebel against established authority or take up the sword in self defense, but rather meekly bear the injustice of man in order to serve the Lord. Judgment is not in our hands. If a king/nation passes an unjust law, then we must appeal to God with our very lives if necessary. We are citizens of the kingdom of God and must obey the King’s (Christ’s) laws above all else. If you do not then you reveal that your greater love is for earthly things and authorities. Jesus was rejected, demonized, belittled, falsely accused, tortured, and killed. Jesus’ disciples follow Him.
The kingdoms of this world are presently under the influence and control of Satan (Jn 14:30) – who is referred to as the prince of this world (Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, Eph 2:2). Luke 4:5-7, “And the devil, taking him (Jesus) up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. (also Mt 4:8-9).” The devil had offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him. Jesus refused and stated that He would worship God and only serve Him (Lk 4:8). Christ knew that the Father would give them to Him: Revelation 11:15, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
Now, consider strongly the fact (historically proven) that the false church has indeed accepted the offer from Satan that Jesus refused. The woman rides the beast and has combined with the nations of the earth (and seeks their power and glory) in worship of Satan. This is revealed by the nature that this harlot reflects – hatred, killing, false doctrine, envy, strife, rebellion, lying, control, etc. The false church rules the peoples through the “power” of the state or kingdoms of this world – yet these are delivered unto Satan and their authority comes from the dragon (Lk 4:5-6, Rev 13:1-3). Please open your eyes and see this – the fruit is evident. Matthew 13:15, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Note: beginning with Constantine, nations have offered the false church protection and most favored status as well as influence and tax exemptions – in some cases stipends and buildings. During periods of history, the false churches (children of the whore) have controlled kingdoms.
The Lord once destroyed the peoples from the earth with a great flood. Why? Genesis 6:11, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Man’s every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen 6:5). Seeking after self (doing what is right in your own eyes) and violence are pillars of the darkness. Shortly after the flood, the peoples of the earth came together to do a very wicked thing. Genesis 11:1-4, “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The people came together with the intent to proudly exalt “self” and oppose God. The Lord had flooded an evil world and man now responded by building a tower (preserve self and rise above any future flood). Genesis 11:8-9, “So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” The roots of Mystery Babylon began at the tower of Babel. However, the Spirit behind it goes back to creation.
Babel or Babylon means confusion! James 3:16, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” So, Babylon is known by envying and strife. Strife is contention in anger or enmity; contest; struggle for victory; quarrel or war. Those who seek self always conflict with the will of another who is seeking self. Babylon will be recognized by pride, hatred, bitterness, violence and war. The false church combined with the secular nations is Mystery, Babylon the great (the harlot riding the beast). Christ’s two great commandments are found in love. Satan’s great commandments are found in strife (hatred, bitterness, violence, killing, war). These are opposites as is Satan’s lie from God’s truth. One day Christ will put an end to all of this evil: Isaiah 2:4, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (also Micah 4:3).” This verse clearly reveals the will of God. Those who “learn war” are not learning what the Holy Spirit is teaching (which is Christ’s commandments) and are deserving rebuke!
Babylon is fractured for now into many nations each with a religious component (Deut 32:8). In other words, just as the nations of the world are divided, so is the religion of the world. The Lord’s portion is in Jacob or Israel (includes all the children of promise who walk in faith, the children of Abraham, Deut 32:9) and they are blessed (Num 23:9-10, 19-24, 24:5-9, Deut 33:29, blessed with faithful Abraham – Gal 3:9). These nations of the world fight endlessly. Nation rises against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and they all believe that God is own their side (Mt 24:6-7, Mk 13:8, Lk 21:10). The nations of the world hate God’s true people and always have (Mt 10:22, Mk 13:13, Lk 21:17). Matthew 24:9, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake (also Mk 13:9).”
One day all of these nations will again unite (in a sense) under a wicked leader (son of perdition, abomination of desolation, little horn, the beast, 2 Thess 2:3, Dan 7:8, 8:9, 11:31-33, Mt 24:15, Mk 13:14, Rev chap 13) and will kill God’s people and make war with Christ! Revelation 13:7, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” AND Revelation 17:14, “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.” In other words, they will come together again to proudly exalt self and oppose God’s will. Revelation 19:19, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” This leader shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods – for he shall magnify himself above all. (Dan 11:36-37). He will be just like his father the devil. Notice the nature of Satan: to exalt self (pride) and do according to self-will, thus magnifying self above God’s will.
The religions of the world will also unite under a false prophet. This false prophet will be very convincing: shall shew great signs and wonders: Revelation 13:13-14, “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast (secular world leader), which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” AND 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” This religious leader and his minnions (false prophets and teachers) will be very effective insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Mt 24:24). Those that walk in Satan’s nature can only unite under threat or compulsion because everyone is exalting and seeking self. Therefore: Revelation 13:15-17, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
This beast and false prophet (state and false church combination, Rev chap 13, Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22) make war with Christ’s saints (Rev 13:7, Dan 7:25)! Revelation 18:24, “And in her (Mystery Babylon) was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” AND Revelation 12:17, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Recall that the false church does not keep the commandments of God. Babylon is all about war!!! The true church actually keeps the commandments of God. The Lord’s people do not resist and are overcome. However, in doing so, they have victory over the beast. They walk in God’s nature of love (keep His commandments) and love not their lives unto death (sacrifice self for God’s will). Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” They lay their lives down just as their Lord Jesus did. They refused to bow down to the dictates of the beast and thus obtained victory over him (Rev 15:2). The beast is the persecutor and God’s people are the persecuted!
A Peculiar People
The Lord God formed His own nation out of faithful Abraham – he was called out of the nations of the world (Gen 12:1, Deut 7:6, 10:15). The Lord told Abraham: Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The nations of the earth would be blessed because Jesus would later come from Abraham’s seed (Gen 28:14). God made a covenant with this nation and gave them His laws. They were told: Deuteronomy 14:2, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth (also Deut 7:6).” AND Deuteronomy 26:18-19, “And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken (also Deut 14:2, Ps 135:4).” AND Exodus 19:5-6, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. So, God’s peculiar people keep His commandments and are thus placed high above the nations as a holy people (Deut 26:18-19, 28:9-10). So the Lord told them: Leviticus 20:26, “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”
Jesus came from the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16). All those who “follow” Christ in faith are now accounted as the seed of Abraham and are God’s peculiar people (when compared with the nations of the earth). Galatians 3:7, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham (also Rm 2:29, 4:13, 16, Gal 3:9, 28-29).” Romans 9:8, “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Galatians 3:29, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Jesus calls us out of the darkness (kingdoms of this world). 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Christ gave Himself to make it so: Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Therefore, those who heed God’s call and obey His commands become citizens of Christ’s kingdom: Colossians 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” To be delivered from the power of darkness means to be delivered from the lusts and desires of the flesh (Jn 12:46, Gal 5:16, 24, 1 Jn 2:16). This is a kingdom set apart and high above the nations – its people are holy unto God (Deut 28:9-10).
Notice (above) that all the earth is the Lord’s, and His people have clearly been called to a higher standard. Jesus severs (to separate as distinct) His people from the world (darkness) to be holy unto Him (1 Pt 1:15-16). This higher standard is to walk in the commandments of God. The kingdoms of the world do not regard this standard. The peoples of the kingdoms of this world walk in the ways of the corrupt nature of man seeking their lusts and desires. The Lord calls and redeems His people from such iniquity to walk in Christ who is “The Way” (Jn 14:6).
The Kingdom of God
The nation of Israel was to be a holy and peculiar people unto the Lord thy God. The followers of Christ were to be a chosen, holy and peculiar people. They were both bound by covenants to obey God and walk in His ways. God said of Israel: “And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God (Ex 6:7).” Scripture reveal of those chosen and peculiar people who follow Christ: 1 Peter 2:10, “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” The Lord redeemed Israel from Pharaoh (i.e. Satan) and Egypt (i.e. the world, Ex 15:13, Deut 7:8, 9:26, 13:5, 15:15). Jesus redeemed His followers from Satan and the world (Lk 1:68, 4:18, Acts 26:18, Heb 2:14, 1 Jn 3:8, Rev 5:9). Romans 4:9, “Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision (Israel) only, or upon the uncircumcision (followers of Christ) also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” Romans 3:30, “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision (Israel) by faith, and uncircumcision (followers of Christ) through faith.” Galatians 3:9, “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Galatians 3:7, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” What all this is saying is that the children of faith are the children or citizens of the kingdom of God. Jesus is the King and His followers are His holy nation. God’s kingdom is high above all the kingdoms of the earth. Faith (loving surrender and obedience to the will of God, loyalty, devotion, trust) is the mark of citizenship. God has one people and they are the people of faith (Heb 11:6, Rm 1:17, 3:28). Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace (the Holy Spirit working God’s will in you) wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
The Lord God took the children of Israel out of Egypt to be His own people (Deut 5:6). Deuteronomy 4:20, “But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” AND Deuteronomy 6:21, “Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand (also Deut 7:8-9).” Egypt represented the world and Pharaoh represented the devil. This is analogous to Christ calling His people out of the world and destroying the works of Satan which has had them bound (1 Jn 3:8). These works are the foundation of Satan’s lie which are to seek self (lusts and desires) over God (and over others). Galatians 5:24, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
Those who are Christ’s sojourn in the nations of this world (have temporary residence, pilgims), but are citizens of another kingdom altogether. The distinguishing factor is that they obey God and walk in His ways (love, Deut 5:33, 8:6, 11:22, 26:17, 28:9, 30:16, Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6). Deuteronomy 10:12, “And now, Israel (those of Abraham), what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” None of this has changed under the covenant of Christ. Consider who Jesus regards as His family: Mark 3:33-35, “And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”
Those who enter the kingdom of God must be born into the kingdom of God. They must die to (forsake) what they were (completely renounce the darkness they walked in) and embrace (surrender to, obey, walk in) God’s will and thus be “born again” (Jn 3:3, 7, Rm 6:3-13) We forget those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before (Php 3:13). This begins with sincere godly sorrow and repentance (complete change of direction, Acts 26:20, 2 Cor 7:10, 2 Pt 3:9). One can only be “born again” of God (Jn 3:5, 1 Cor 6:11) – for as many as the Lord shall call (Acts 2:39, 47). John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” They become a new man! Ephesians 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Colossians 3:10, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (by the Spirit of God, 2 Cor 3:18).” This means that God writes His laws in your heart and mind (Heb 8:10, 10:16, 2 Cor 3:3, Eph 4:23, Php 2:5). The Lord circumcises your heart to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul (Deut 30:6). This is a circumcision made without hands in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11). Those circumcised in the heart worship God in the spirit and have no confidence in the flesh (Php 3:3). 1 John 2:29, “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” The righteousness which is of God is by faith (Php 3:9). The actions/deeds of those born of God tend toward righteousness and holiness!
You once were physically born into the kingdoms of this world (became a citizen of the country you were born). Now you must renounce your worldly citizenship (all allegiances to state/religion of this world) and be “born again” into the kingdom of God; giving the Lord your full allegiance (devotion, loyalty, obedience) – you cannot serve two masters (Mt 6:24, Lk 16:13). You become the citizen of another kingdom altogether. No one comes to the Father but through Jesus Christ and your “born again” citizenship MUST be written/noted in the Lamb’s book of life (Jn 14:6, Rev 20:12, 15, 21:27, 19). Therefore: John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” One is of the kingdoms of the world and the other is in the kingdom of God. Those who are of the kingdoms of this world, walk in the ways of this world (war, killing, violence, pride, etc.). Those who are of the kingdom of heaven, walk in the ways of the kingdom of heaven (love, goodness, kindness, self control, humbleness, etc.).
Jesus was accused of being an enemy of Rome and of speaking against Caesar (Lk 23:2, Jn 19:12, 15). The Roman governor (Pilate) questioned Jesus concerning this and asked Him if he were the king of the Jews (Jn 18:33). John 18:36-37, “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.” Having heard this Pilate proclaimed, “I find in him no fault at all” (Lk 23:4, 14-15, Jn 18:38). Jesus did not concern Himself with the kingdoms of this world and neither will His followers. Christ has a kingdom (of heaven) that is not of this world and every one that is of the truth will follow Him there. Jesus did not resist the worldly authorities (fight back) and neither will His followers. We sojourn in the kingdoms of this world and seek peace, but our loyalty and devotion is to our King – Jesus Christ.
You must separate from the peoples of the land and not do after their abominations (Ezra 9:1). It doesn’t take long for a sincere believer to realize that the peoples of the world have little regard for God’s commandments, but high regard for the desires of the flesh. We must be separate (be sanctified) unto our God, yet a bright light for those in darkness to see. We cannot join with the world for they do not serve the Lord and will lead in paths contrary to God’s will. The narrow way (Mt 7:13-14) is contrary and conflicting with everything the world holds dear. The ways of this world must be abandoned to walk God’s way.