So, how can one know what earthly territory is the territory of the kingdom of God? Talk to any theologically trained person (in other words, not a lawyer like me) and he or she will tell you that the kingdom of God is “the rule of God.” Consequently, Kingdom territory is territory where Jesus rules and reigns through His earthly representatives. That is not to say Jesus is not sovereign over all creation. He is. But earthly territory He has given to man to manage. (Psalm 115:16).
I explained in another post how Jesus rules and reigns through delegated authority, that is, through people in positions of authority who exercise that authority in accordance with His will. The earthly territory that falls under the authority of such people is kingdom territory.
Let me give you some examples. Say a citizen of the kingdom of God operates her business out of obedience to King Jesus, her office then becomes kingdom territory because she is the authority in that place and is acting in accordance with the will of King Jesus. If the head of a household is a Christian and exercises his authority in obedience to King Jesus, that house and the earth on which it sits becomes kingdom territory. If a school teacher is a citizen of the kingdom of God and is acting in obedience to Jesus in that classroom, that classroom becomes kingdom territory.
In each of these examples, it doesn’t matter whether there are others within the physical territory who are not citizens of the kingdom of God. That doesn’t change the character of the territory any more than an alien residing in the United States of America affects the sovereignty of the American government.
Once you understand that the kingdom of God has a territorial footprint on the earth, some of Jesus’ Kingdom parables begin to make more sense. How is it that the “birds of the air,” i.e. non-Christians will be able to nest in the branches of the kingdom of God? (Matt. 13:31-32) How is it that Jesus can talk about the angels coming and taking the unrighteous out of His kingdom? (Matt. 13:41). The answer is that non-Christians can live within the earthly territorial confines of the kingdom of God during their life on earth, but they won’t inherit the Kingdom when they die. (I Cor. 6:9-10). GS