© 2022 Philip M Spence
Everything regarding the Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth begins with the King Himself. He is the Creator of all things, the Lord of all, the King of Kings, the Lord of Glory, and the Ruler of an ever increasing, everlasting Kingdom (John 1:10, Isaiah 9:6-7).
There cannot be a kingdom without a king, and there cannot be a king without a kingdom. A kingdom is the domain or realm of a king, and the jurisdiction over which the king rules. In fact, a king influences everyone and everything in his kingdom. These principles are foundational to our understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth.
The Kingdom of Heaven is mentioned thirty-five times in Matthew’s gospel alone. It is mentioned once by John the Baptist, and also one time by the disciples. All other mentions are by Jesus, who taught extensively about the Kingdom of Heaven, because it was His primary purpose.
The word ‘kingdom’ occurs some 127 times throughout the gospels. Most mentions are the gospel writers’ accounts of Jesus’ teaching about His Kingdom. In fact, Jesus’ entire message was about His Kingdom, and all of His teaching was in the context of the Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth.
The Kingdom of Heaven came to our planet when the King of Heaven came to earth in the form of a baby, whose birth we celebrate each Christmas. The Magi, who followed a star to where Jesus was born, asked Herod where they could find the King of the Jews. When the angel appeared to the shepherds on the hillside, they introduced Jesus as the One Anointed to be King (Luke 2:11).
There are many more mentions of Jesus being a King. According to Luke’s gospel, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an unbroken colt, the crowds honoured him by calling him a King (Luke 19:38). At one point, Jesus had to leave town for a secluded place because there was a move to forcibly make Him the literal King of the Jews (John 6:15).
John records Jesus telling Pilate that the reason He came into the world was to be a King (John 18:37).The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews stated that since Jesus came as King, He now has a better ministry, and has established a better covenant, which is founded on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). This demonstrates that Jesus has come to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Planet Earth.
One of the clearest and most powerful declarations in scripture, about the Kingdom of Heaven coming to Planet Earth, was written by Isaiah, the Old Testament Prophet (Isaiah 9:6-7). He spoke of a child being born, and having the authority to rule the Kingdom bestowed on Him by the Father. Isaiah saw the Kingdom of Heaven come to earth in the form of its King, who would establish His Kingdom on earth. This King, Jesus, would preside over a Kingdom that would never end, and that would always be increasing.
A New Government
The word ‘Government’ means to rule or have dominion. It describes the sphere or jurisdiction of a king or ruler. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied that Jesus, the King of Glory, would bring the government of Heaven to Planet Earth. The Prophet Isaiah said that the Father would put the authority of governing on Jesus’ shoulder.
This is significant: Firstly, because the shoulder is where heavy loads can be carried, so it is the place of carrying the burden or responsibility of governing the Kingdom. Secondly, the shoulder is also where the tip of a sword is placed when a person is being knighted, signifying a transfer of authority. Thirdly, the kingly robe is placed around the shoulder and signifies the office and authority of government.
Isaiah also described King Jesus by listing His names. By doing this he described the attributes of the King who would govern the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. These names also describe the ways in which people would perceive the King, and respond to Him.
Daniel, another Old Testament Prophet, also had a vision of the Kingdom of Heaven being brought by Jesus to earth. He speaks of our King being given supreme authority to govern over all people from every nation. He also declared that this new government would never fade, never be destroyed, and would last forever (Daniel 7:13-14).
When a new king establishes his kingdom, a new government comes into being. When Jesus, the King of Glory, came to earth, His purpose was to establish the government of the Kingdom of Heaven here on our planet. Since the day He was born in Bethlehem, there has been a new government on our planet, and hence a new order.
A New Order
When Jesus came from Heaven to establish His Kingdom on Planet Earth, His intention was to introduce and establish an entirely different way of life for His Kingdom people. Jesus didn’t come just to save us and provide a home in Heaven. Jesus’ intention has always been to change Planet Earth so that His Kingdom people will function with Heaven’s perspective, strategies, administration, and lifestyle. In fact, the Prophet Isaiah said He would establish a new order.
Kingdom structure and some of our current understanding of church structure can at times be poles apart. The various models of church government and leadership structure that have developed over the centuries exist because much of the Kingdom context for the church was lost long ago.
Without an understanding of Kingdom structure, our interpretation of scripture’s governance models and statements becomes influenced by human understanding and methods. This explains why we have churches with congregational government, and those with eldership rule. Then there are centrally governed church organisations which can end up being ruled in a similar spirit to a dictatorship. And there are many other church models also.
The Kingdom is ruled by the King, who has sent the Holy Spirit (another one just like Him) in His place to govern us (John 14:16). The King has established five graces (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers), and other gifts, whose role is to administer the Kingdom as they are led by the Holy Spirit, in this new Kingdom order.
The Kingdom is about His Lordship, not individualism
When Saul, who later became known as the Apostle Paul, encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 8:1-6), he was blinded and knocked to the ground by a powerful light from Heaven. His response was to ask who was responsible, and to call Him ‘Lord’.
This question shows that Saul immediately changed from pursuing his own agenda to surrender to the Lordship of King Jesus. He was no longer thinking about his own feelings or justifying his actions. He was no longer thinking about himself, or his future, in the way he had previously thought. His life became upwardly and outwardly focused.
The Kingdom is not hierarchical, it is relational
In the Kingdom we are no longer slaves or servants; we become sons. We then become joint heirs with the King of the Kingdom. Our position in the Kingdom, and our relationship with the King, is entered into through surrender to His Lordship, but becomes relational in its function.
Much of our understanding of church life, and motivation in church function, can come from wanting to climb the ladder of success in the structure of the church. The higher we are in the order of things, the more successful we are deemed to be. This is a reflection of the world’s order and methodology rather than the pattern of the Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth.
The new Kingdom order is very different from our worldly hierarchical systems. In the Kingdom, the greatest are the least, and humility is the key to being exalted. The sons of the King don’t have to climb a ladder of success. They know who they are, where they fit, how to function, and are secure in themselves, because they have the DNA of their heavenly Father.
The Kingdom is not about gifting, it’s about calling
We all have gifts and abilities. Some we are born with, some are developed through training, some manifest themselves by association with others, and some emerge through being given opportunities to serve in various ways in the life of the church.
In recent decades, there has been an emphasis on gift identification to the point where many people have tried to find their identity in their giftings. As a result, there are many frustrated, confused, and disillusioned believers who can’t find their place because so many others have the same giftings. Many people are no longer functioning or even attending churches because they feel that there is no point in doing so if no one will recognise their giftings.
Our Kingdom identity is firstly as a son or daughter of God, and our uniqueness as sons and daughters is found in His calling on our lives, otherwise described by many as a God-given assignment (Ephesians 1:17-19).
The talents and abilities we possess are the tools with which we fulfill our calling. Sons and daughters of the Kingdom know who they are in the family, and invest their lives to advance the family name. They surrender their own agendas in order to promote the will and ways of their Father in Heaven. They don’t vie for promotion because they know and understand that they have already received the highest promotion that anyone can be given: They have the right to become sons of God and to be seated in Heavenly places with Him. They are joint heirs with Christ and walk in their Father’s inheritance. Also, they know and understand that the favour of their Heavenly Father goes before them.
It is not about positions, it’s about function
Sadly in the church today, just like in the world at large, there are many people whose security is linked to the position they are in and the title they have been given. For some people, even the suggestion of their removal from a position, or a change of title, can bring a strong reaction, because their sense of worth is determined by how people see them because of their position, role, and title.
The new Kingdom order that Jesus established doesn’t emphasise these things. Under the governance of the King, knowing His calling, and learning to walk in His grace, we are all able to find where we fit, how to function and be fruitful, and experience fulfillment in serving Him.
It’s not about power, it’s about influence
The new Kingdom order is not about our own influence, but influence on behalf of our King. It is not about the advancement of our own vision or dreams; it is always about the fulfillment of the King’s purposes. His ways are greater than ours so it is best to abandon our ways.
It’s not about being in a position of power and authority; it is about knowing the grace of His calling and walking in it. It is also not about the power of a large congregation, an extensive denomination, or a financially flush ministry. Our influence must be because we have the character and values of our King, do and say only what He asks us to, and only bring glory to Him.
The Kingdom is not about our personal legacy, it’s about leaving an inheritance for future generations of Kingdom people
This can only happen if we ask the second question asked by Saul as he lay in the dust on the road to Damascus. He simply said, ‘What do you want me to do?’ He shifted from being focused on his own legacy, to being fully engaged in leaving an inheritance for future generations of believers.
In order to leave an inheritance for future generations, we must stop thinking about ourselves and focus on the King and His Kingdom purpose. Jesus is not as concerned with our personal legacy as He is about His generational purposes in the world.
A New Establishment
In the sixties the hippy movement became known as being an ‘Anti-Establishment’ or ‘Counter-Culture’ generation. They wanted to tear down the old structures and ideas by dropping out, doping up, and doing the opposite to what their parents stood for.
Jesus is also ’Anti-Establishment’ but for a very different reason. As the King of the Kingdom, His purpose is to replace what has been built by fallen man with what has been designed by His Father in Heaven. This means that we are not destined to be a sub-culture, we are called to be counter-culture. In this Kingdom, everything is different from the world around us.
Jesus came to establish His contrary new order here on Planet Earth. He not only introduced the concepts, and demonstrated how they worked, but He also established these truths in the lives of the members of the team He developed. He told His team that, because they persevered on the journey with Him, He would introduce them to the Kingdom and invite them to invest their lives in establishing it across the globe (Luke 22:28-29).
Jesus gave His authority to His team. He also gave the group clear instructions about how to go and influence the entire world. He commissioned them to declare the gospel of the Kingdom, and demonstrate its authority and power with supernatural signs, miracles, and wonders. He also instructed them to multiply themselves by pouring into other lives what He was giving to them. They were to propagate His Kingdom purposes with a generational intent (Mark 16:15-18, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).
A New Continuum
One of the characteristics of the church of the first century is that they simply and steadfastly continued what Jesus began (Acts 2:42-47). They did this with the awareness of what it meant to be the apostolic church: sent by the Lord to establish the government of the Kingdom, bring Heaven’s order into the world, and establish the culture of the Kingdom wherever they went.
The Prophet Isaiah described this some centuries before as a continuum when he prophesied Jesus’ advent. Isaiah, along with other ancient prophets, foresaw a Kingdom which would prove to be greater than all others, overwhelm all others, and outlast all other kingdoms. This process would continue throughout generations until the Father’s everlasting purposes are finalised and fully accomplished (Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 2:44, Luke 1:32-33).
During my lifetime, there have been regimes which have criminalised the church, the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom, and ownership of the Bible. Despite these attempts, even by nations known as superpowers of the world, the Kingdom of God has not and will not be silenced (Matthew 24:14).
Today in China the church is growing at a rate which cannot be controlled by the communist government. In Russia and Eastern Europe, after seventy years of communist suppression, the church has risen in power like never before. This Kingdom will never stop advancing.
The Kingdom of God on earth will also always increase in authority, strength, power, and might. It will always be characterised by multiplication, not just additions. It will always have an abundance of people who are increasing in stature and in the fullness of Christ.
This Kingdom cannot and will not recede into irrelevance or ineffectiveness. The church struggles when it functions apart from the Kingdom, but a church which is an authentic expression of the Kingdom will always be increasing.
There will be no end to the Kingdom Jesus brought to Planet Earth. It is eternal, everlasting, and has no limits. There is no ceiling for Kingdom people because the King of this Kingdom is eternal. Those who are born from above into this Kingdom have eternity in their hearts, and have an eternal destiny.
No other king or kingdom can stand in the way of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. No force can destroy it, and no power can match it. No science can discredit it, and no political power or lobby group can relegate it to the sidelines. Prophets like Isaiah and Daniel saw a Kingdom like no other being brought to the earth to forever change life on our planet.
A New Peace
A kingdom will always ultimately reflect the values and character of its king. This is the case with the Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth. Where Jesus is King, issues are resolved both within us, and amongst us, resulting in an environment of peace and the manifestation of His Kingdom’s values.
One of the evidences that the Kingdom is in fact here, is peace (Romans 14:17). This peace is not just a feeling; it is the outcome of the resolution of strife. Surprisingly, Jesus said that He didn't come to bring us peace. Instead, He came to bring judgement in the form of a sword (Matthew 10:34). But He did say He would leave His peace with us and that it would be different from the world’s peace (John 14:27).
Many believers never discover the peace of the Kingdom because they won't allow the sword to circumcise their hearts. The action of the sword of the Word and the Spirit creates the portal into the Kingdom of Peace.
Isaiah said that peace would always be increasing on the earth while Jesus’ government continued to increase (Isaiah 9:7). If righteous government produces peace, how much more does a heavenly government? This peace is the by-product of being ruled by the Prince of Peace.
The subjects of His Kingdom are the recipients of this attribute of His nature. We become like Him, and therefore have His peace, which is unlike the peace we see and hear people clamouring for around about us (John 14:27).
This peace comes from above. It was brought to earth by the King of Heaven when He came to establish His Kingdom here. This peace is beyond our ability to comprehend with our human understanding. It is beyond our natural ability to understand peace in the midst of a storm.
This is a peace that becomes a bulwark against confusion, fear, intimidation, depression, and double-mindedness. Where Jesus rules as King, there is a new order built on a foundation of peace in our hearts and minds.
His plan is for this peace to continue to increase in and around us, which is why He has taken the initiative to establish a covenant of peace with us (Ezekiel 37:25). This is a covenant without end, and shows Jesus’ commitment to the fulfilment of the purposes of the Kingdom He came to earth to establish.
The above is an excerpt from the book The Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth. To download your copy, go to Amazon.com or click the button below: