The eternal kingdom
Yahweh’s1 kingdom is eternal: it exists yesterday, today, and forever. It is definitive in that it has always been and always will be in existence:
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. (Psalm 145:13)
God’s kingdom is also progressive in that He intends it to fill the entire earth:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Yahweh of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
[T]he kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:31-33)2
And God’s kingdom is final in that it will be established fully at some point in the future:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)
Because Yahweh is the creator of the universe, He is sovereign over the universe, time without end:
[H]is kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. …the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will…. (Daniel 4:3, 17)
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)
Yahweh never abdicated His throne. He is as much King now as He was at the beginning of creation. As perpetual King, the kingdom He rules over is also perpetual.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. (Psalm 145:13)
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 1:25)
The not–of–this–world kingdom
Many Christians reject these inescapable facts about Yahweh’s sovereignty, believing He has no kingdom at present or that His kingdom is limited to heaven. They lift their favorite proof text from John 18:
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. (John 18:36)
The exact same Greek phrase ek toú kósmou, translated “not of this world,” is used several times and is elucidated in the preceding chapter:
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world…. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. (John 17:14-18)
Clearly ek toú kósmou does not mean Yahweh’s kingdom exists only in heaven. Although it is certainly true that His kingdom is not of this world, this does not mean He does not intend for it to be in this world. His statement in John 18 is better understood to mean His kingdom is nothing like the other kingdoms of this world. As someone once said, “The only kingdom that will prevail in this world is the kingdom that is not of this world.” Martin Luther correctly taught John 18:36:
…Christ came in order to begin the kingdom of God and to establish it in the world. This is why he said before Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world, but whoever belongs to the truth hears my voice,” and why throughout the Gospel he announces the kingdom of God, saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand;” and again: “Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness.” And indeed he calls the Gospel a gospel of the kingdom of God, in that it teaches, governs and preserves the kingdom of God.3
The extant kingdom
That the kingdom has already been reestablished under Christ’s kingship is made abundantly evident in the New Testament. The kingdom was, in fact, restored in the second chapter of Acts when the first Judahite Israelites, in faith and repentance, were immersed into Christ. This occurred during the Roman Empire in perfect fulfillment of Daniel 2:44. Before this event in the book of Acts, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles all preached that the kingdom of God was at hand:
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven4 is at hand. (Matthew 3:1-2)
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, …But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 10:5-7)
…if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God [instead of Beelzebub, Verse 27], then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Matthew 12:28)
Either the kingdom was literally at hand when Jesus made this last statement, or He was casting out demons by Beelzebub, just as the Pharisees accused Him. In Mark 1:15, the kingdom is described as being at hand because its preparation time was fulfilled:
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14-15)
Perhaps the most potent proof that the kingdom under Christ has already been reestablished is that the Apostles were told some of them would live to see the kingdom restored:
And he [Jesus] said unto them [His disciples], 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)
In Acts 1, the Apostles anticipated the restored kingdom in their lifetime, and, in Acts 2, it was indeed restored with power on the day of Pentecost. The renowned 18th-century commentator Matthew Henry agreed:
…the kingdom of Christ began … immediately after his ascension, and will continue in the doing till the mystery of God be finished.5
Following the events in Acts 2, the 1st-century Christians proclaimed Jesus to be a reigning King and themselves to be citizens of His kingdom—not sometime yet future or merely in heaven, but then and there:
But the Jews which believed not … set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason … crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. (Acts 17:5-7)
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…. (Colossians 1:12-14)
As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn … and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant…. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved…. (Hebrews 12:22-24, 28)
I John, who also am your brother, and companion [fellow partaker, NASB] … in the kingdom…. (Revelation 1:9)
Redemption through Jesus’ blood results in deliverance from the power of darkness. Because we are delivered from the power of darkness into the kingdom, the Colossians passage demands that if the kingdom is not in existence now, then redemption and forgiveness of sins are not yet valid. If the kingdom is yet future, no one has been delivered from the power of darkness, nor partaken of the inheritance of the saints. In short, no one has yet become a Christian.
Hebrews 12 equates the kingdom with “com[ing] unto … Jesus” and with the “church of the firstborn.” Because both of these are presently relevant, so is the kingdom.
In Acts 17:7, the disciples were described as already serving Jesus as their King on earth, according to His laws. The very fact that Rome persecuted, imprisoned, and murdered Christians demonstrates Caesar understood the kingdom the Christians preached and lived was an extant, rival kingdom. Had Christendom been merely a religion, Rome would not have concerned itself with it anymore than with the other religions in its realm. Christendom’s King, His kingdom, and His laws posed a threat to the Roman Empire, just as Daniel prophesied.
And in the days of these [Roman] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)
The rejected kingdom
The kingdom is presently under the rule of non-Christians, not because it has yet to be established, but because Christians have bought into the lie that the kingdom doesn’t exist on earth at this time. They have consequently abdicated leadership of society. The church has become governmentally and culturally impotent because Christians have been convinced everything outside the four walls of their church buildings is off-limits to them as Christians.
The teaching that God’s kingdom does not exist on earth or that He has abandoned the earth to His enemies is not new to this age:
…Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, Yahweh seest us not; Yahweh hath forsaken the earth. (Ezekiel 8:12)
Yahweh has not abandoned the earth nor forsaken His kingdom, but contemporary Christians have.
Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world…. (John 8:37)
There’s also nothing new about God’s subjects neglecting the kingdom:
Then came the word of Yahweh by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled [paneled, NASB] houses, and this house [the Temple] lie waste? Now therefore thus saith Yahweh of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith Yahweh of hosts; Consider your ways…. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it [blow it away, NASB]. Why? saith Yahweh of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. (Haggai 1:3-9)
Christians who reject Yahweh’s extant kingdom here on earth are looking for a future king and a future kingdom. This has resulted in many of today’s Christians being so future-minded they’re of little present good. This erroneous theology has all but destroyed Yahweh’s kingdom, at least in practice, here on earth. It is certainly one of the principal reasons why the anti-Christs and non-Christians rule today. This anti-kingdom, anti-dominion theology has been one of the prime contributors to today’s fulfillment of Jesus’ warning in Matthew 5:
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)
This is a fulfillment of one of God’s curses in Deuteronomy 28:
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahweh thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee…. The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low…. Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which Yahweh shall send against thee…. (Deuteronomy 28:15, 43-48)
One cannot get any lower than beneath the feet of those who rule over you. Rejecting God, His kingdom, and His laws has always been prime cause of His people’s calamities. By rejecting God’s laws, Christians abdicate dominion and relinquish God’s earthly kingdom to His enemies:
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12)
Then spake Jesus …, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat…. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:1-13)
Neither of these passages can be referring to the kingdom in heaven. Instead, they refer to the kingdom of heaven here on earth. The only difference between what was occurring in Jesus’ day and what has occurred in modern times is that God’s enemies have not needed to take the kingdom by force. Because Christianity is glutted with doctrines proclaiming that Yahweh’s laws are irrelevant under the New Covenant, that Christians are obligated to keep man’s laws, and that the kingdom is yet to come or that it is found exclusively in heaven, the kingdom has been handed over to Yahweh’s enemies without a struggle. Most pastors have colluded with the Internal Revenue Service in exchange for their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, turning over the jurisdiction and ultimate control of even their churches and ministries to secular government.6
The reconstructed kingdom
On the other hand, when Yahweh’s subjects are diligent to observe His law, He promises His people dominion rather than servitude:
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of Yahweh thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that Yahweh thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:1)
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
Many Christians are peering into heaven and wondering when God is going to clean up this mess. Could it be He’s looking down upon us and wondering when we are going to clean it up? Yahweh is not responsible for our making a mess of things. He has given us the tools by which to right society, if we would only believe in Him and implement His perfect laws.7 Every generation that rejects His plan for the kingdom is another generation destined to live under the heel of non-Christian dominion.
Restoration of the kingdom will not happen overnight. Ours is a mustard-seed ministry. The few who understand the relevance of the kingdom for today are beginning to prepare the ground for a future generation so that they might live under the mustard tree.8 This preparation begins with convincing modern Christianity that they are supposed to be ruling instead of serving the non-Christians and anti-Christs. Eventually, Christendom will be able to establish and prosper as the kingdom Yahweh intends us to be.
All thy works shall praise thee, O Yahweh; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. (Psalm 145:10-12)
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…. (Matthew 6:10, 33)
Pursuing Yahweh’s kingdom begins by speaking of its glory and power to the sons of men. This is the very least we can do as Yahweh’s ambassadors, and it is something we can all do. May God open our eyes to the possibilities of His glorious kingdom and His perfect laws. May He grant us the same fervor for Him and His kingdom as the liberals have for their democracy and the Constitutionalists have for their republic:
Let thy work appear unto thy servants … and establish thou the work of our hands…. (Psalm 90:16-17)
And Yahweh stirred up the spirit of … all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of Yahweh of hosts, their God. (Haggai 1:14)
Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant
1. YHWH, the English transliteration of the Tetragrammaton, is most often pronounced Yahweh. It is the principal Hebrew name of the God of the Bible and was inspired to appear nearly 7,000 times in the Old Testament. It was unlawfully deleted by the English translators. In obedience to the Third Commandment and the many Scriptures that charge us to proclaim, swear by, praise, extol, call upon, bless, glorify, and hold fast to His name, we have chosen to memorialize His name here in this document and in our lives. For a more thorough explanation concerning important reasons for using the sacred name of God, see “The Third Commandment.”
2. “In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 72:7-8)
“[T]he stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth…. And in the days of these [Roman] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed … it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:35, 44)
3. Martin Luther, On Secular Authority: how far does the Obedience owed to it extend?, quoted in Harro Hopfl, trans., Luther and Calvin on Secular Authority (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991, 1993) pp. 8-9.
4. That the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are one and the same is demonstrated when comparing Matthew 4:17 with Mark 1:15; Matthew 5:3, 10 with Luke 6:20, 22; Matthew 8:11 with Luke 13:28; Matthew 10:7 with Luke 9:60; Matthew 11:11 with Luke 7:28; Matthew 11:12 with Luke 16:16; Matthew 13:11 with Mark 4:11; Matthew 13:31 with Mark 4:30-31; Matthew 13:33 with Luke 13:20-21; Matthew 19:14 with Mark 10:14; Matthew 19:23 with Mark 10:23; and Matthew 25:14 with Luke 19:11-13.
5. Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible: Genesis to Malachi, 3 vols. (Brattleboro: Brattleboro’ Typographic Company, 1837 [orig. publ. 1708-1710]) vol. 3, p. 60.
6. For additional information on the idolatrous implications of the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, see Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, the second book in a series of ten online books on each of the Ten Commandments and their respective statutes and judgments.
7. “The law of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of Yahweh are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-11)
8. A Biblical Constitution: A Scriptural Replacement for Secular Government
See also series of ten online books on each of the Ten Commandments and their respective statutes, and judgments, beginning with Thou shalt have no other gods before me.