We’ve now and asked and answered four of those questions.
Now it is time to ask the Who question.
Who are the people relative to the kingdom of God?
No kingdom would be a kingdom without a king, and the kingdom of God is no different. The king of the kingdom of God is Jesus. When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you a king?”, Jesus’ answer was, “You say rightly that I am a king.” John 18:37. All authority on heaven and earth has been given to Jesus. Matthew 28:18. Enough said.
All kingdoms have citizens. The kingdom of God has citizens as well. Ephesians 2:19. Citizens are those who have believed on Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and submitted to His Lordship. The proof of this loyalty is shown, as in many modern nations, through an oath. Romans 10:8-10 (“If you declare with you mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord…'”).
The kingdom of God also has ambassadors. 2 Corinthians 5:20. In earthly kingdoms, only certain favored citizens who have the special trust of the king are chosen to serve as ambassadors. In the kingdom of God, King Jesus entrusts every citizen with the responsibility of representing the King and His kingdom to the world. See e.g. Matthew 28:18-20.
Like earthly kingdoms, the kingdom of God has those people who enjoy many of the benefits of the kingdom of God without being citizens. In the United States we call them resident aliens. They are not citizens but they have permission to live here. They do not enjoy all the benefits of citizenship but their physical proximity to the kingdom allows them to enjoy some of the benefits of the kingdom. These are those who nest in the branches of the kingdom of God, as I have explained in a prior post. Resident aliens will not inherit the Kingdom when they die; that is reserved for citizens, but they may very well enjoy some of the benefits of the Kingdom. An example is a child who is raised by Christian parents, or employees who work for a Christian employer, who are submitted to the reign of Jesus in their lives.
And lastly, like all kingdoms, the kingdom of God has enemies. The enemies of the kingdom of God are those who reject the reign of King Jesus and oppose it. See Luke 19:27 (“But those enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them . . . .”). Satan is the ultimate enemy of the Kingdom; he works against the purposes of the kingdom. Matthew 13:39.
Other enemies of the Kingdom are not beings but conditions resulting from the curse, which corrupted creation when man rebelled against God. Disease, relational dysfunction, and emotional problems are all examples of enemies of the Kingdom. Death is an example of an enemy of the kingdom, but it along with the enemies of the Kingdom—human, spiritual, and conditional—will all be defeated when the kingdom of God is fully manifested and history fully consummated upon the return of King Jesus. I Corinthians 15:25-28.
So, now you know the who, what, when, why and where of the kingdom of God. GS