The Territory Of The Kingdom, Part II

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

The Territory Of The Kingdom, Part I

All earthly kingdoms have territory. Without territory, one could hardly call something a kingdom.  By its very definition a kingdom is “a land or area that is ruled.”  Why should we expect the kingdom of God would match earthly kingdoms in so many fundamental characteristics, yet differ in the one which gives the word its very meaning?

Spiritual and natural territory.  We were born into the natural realm and have lived in it our entire lives.  We can see it, smell it, touch it, hear it and taste it, and we don’t doubt its existence because it’s so obvious to all of our senses.  But there is also a spiritual realm, which is not as readily apparent as the natural. (Col. 1:16-17). The invisible-spiritual and the visible-natural were both created by God and that in Him they both “hold together.”  (Col. 1:17). Now I realize this is almost not worth staying, but hang with me because I’m headed somewhere with this.

King Jesus must rule in spiritual and earthly realms.  For a kingdom to rule over all that is, it must be able to reign in both the natural and the spiritual realm.  It would be silly to argue the kingdom of God had the ability to rule in the spirit realm but not on the earth since God created both.  As silly as it sounds though, many modern Christians believe just that.  However, the kingdom of God is designed to extend the rule of King Jesus in both realms. (Eph 1:8-10; Col. 1:18-20). 

Earthly territory has geographical boundaries.  If we were to define the boundaries of a residence, a city, county, state or country, we would talk in terms of geography. If you were asked where you live, you could give an address of a physical spot on the planet.  If we wanted to ascertain the boundaries of a city, we could go to a map and draw a line around the outer edges of the city and know that everything inside of the line was part of the city.  Territory in the natural realm is measurable because it exists in space and time. 

The Kingdom has geographical distinction.  Because the kingdom of God extends the rule of Jesus on the earth, and the earth had ascertainable territorial boundaries, the kingdom of God also has definable geographical distinction.  That is not to say Jesus doesn’t have sovereignty over the entire universe.  What I am attempting to do here is give you a paradigm for understanding the presence of the kingdom of God on earth.  Think about it: the Bible promises that the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of God. (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 11:15).  That cannot happen unless the kingdom of God has a geographical existence in the natural because earthly kingdoms exist only in the natural.   If the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdom of God then they must do so with the very thing without which they would be kingdoms at all—earthly territory. Otherwise, we could only say the kingdom of God destroyed all the earthly kingdoms, but we could not say these kingdoms became the kingdom of God.

Now you may be thinking, “Ok, but so what?”  However, as I think you will see, recognizing the kingdom of God has a geographical footprint on the earth is foundational to understanding how the kingdom of God expands on the earth.   Coming in Part II:  How to recognize the earthly territory of the kingdom of God.  GS