Written by Devon Bowman

This blog is similar in thought to a podcast that I recorded at the beginning of this month titled “What is the Kingdom.” For those of you that have listened to it this may be a bit of a repeat on topic, but I think it is worth diving into on the blog. 

The concept of the Kingdom is one that is absolutely foundational in the Christian faith, and yet, many people are only vaguely familiar with what it means. In reality the idea of the Kingdom of God is no less than the foundation of the Scriptures and the purpose for which every believer lives. One would think that if this is the case that we would hear about it constantly but that is not so.

When we look at the Scripture from Genesis all the way through John’s Revelation we see the Kingdom of God. In the beginning, we see the command of God in Genesis 1:28 to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” Eden is a place that could be called paradise on earth and God himself walks there. God does not want man to simply be content with Eden but we are to fill the earth with this Edenic paradise. Well we all know that Adam failed at this mission, sin entered the world, and he and Eve were cast out of what they were called to expand. 

Then we see God’s covenant with Israel. We rightly say that this is the inauguration of God’s salvation plan through the nation of Israel. However, this salvation plan is the same with the Kingdom plan. God begins his expansion of the Kingdom on earth through these people. We see this through their obtaining of the promised land. We see the people making the same Adamic mistake of trading the Kingdom for sin. We see exile and loss and pain in the history of Israel. Yet, the kingdom was still advancing. There are constant references of God being a God that would be with them. He was not limited to the borders of a nation but He was God of the entire world. 

The role of Israel reaches its climax with the arrival of the messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. When we see his ministry we see constant references to the gospel of the Kingdom. One example is found in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.” He also urges people to “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” in Matthew 4:17. Christ’s parables were remarkably Kingdom-centric describing its value, character, and imminence. Jesus was about the Kingdom. 

To key in on Matthew 24:14 we see that Jesus references the gospel of the kingdom expanding to “all nations.” This word nations in the Greek is the word ethne. The importance of this distinction in the Greek is because this word is not one that describes nation states as we think of them today (United States, Israel, Mexico, etc.) but means distinct peoples or people groups. So this verse means that the gospel of the kingdom will expand to every people group in the whole world. This Kingdom is worldwide! We will return to this later. 

We see this Kingdom expanding happening at Pentecost. We see the Holy Spirit fall in power and Peter, who once denied Jesus in fear, boldly preach the gospel to people who are in Jerusalem from many nations. An incredible detail that is sometimes lost is that the list of nations we see in Acts 2:9-11 is the historical nature of these peoples. We see people from these nations all hearing the gospel in their own language. This list of people is basically a list of the same nations that we see in Genesis 10 before we see their languages being confused after the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. This means that Babel is being reversed by the gospel of the kingdom! Whereas Babel was about lifting up man above God so then their languages were confused, the Kingdom is about God being lifted above man and the languages are unified! 

Then we see all throughout the New Testament the church expanding through people of God. It expands through persecutions and trials and difficulties but it continues to grow. Faithful people planting the Kingdom in their cities that have been gripped by darkness not of one nation but of all nations. 

Then we arrive at Revelation. We see the fullness of the Kingdom in its totality seen at the return of Jesus. We see the new heavens and the new earth. The entire nature of the earth is changed because of the Kingdom’s fulfillment. We see echoes of Matthew 24:14 in Revelation 7:9-10. “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the thrones and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” We see that what Jesus said is fulfilled. The Kingdom will be of all peoples! The Kingdom of God is of the whole world! 

So this is why our church is about Kingdom Builders and the Great Commission. It is not just something we do because it is cool or hip. This is the undercurrent and the purpose of the entire world, the expansion of the Kingdom over all the world! This is why we do what we do. Christian who is reading this, you have a role to play. Every single believer’s purpose and destiny that is given from God is linked to the Kingdom, there are no exceptions. We are to spread the glory of God to all nations and peoples. This is why the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 tells us to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We are Kingdom people with Kingdom purpose. Meditate on it, pray for it, and live it out to the glory of God!

No Comments