Around 2010, I began asking a question about what was going on with the church in light of the rapidly declining society in the US. What I could not figure out was, how could the church think it was doing such a great job when the evidence in society clearly revealed the opposite. Instead of people coming to the church, they were going away from it and to make matters worse, the people in the church appeared totally lost and acting exactly like those outside of it.
What I eventually discovered was that the problem had to do with a matter of “kingdom” and that looking at everything from the perspective of the church was the wrong angle. I’ll be adding to my kingdom series here, this time dealing with the structural aspect of a kingdom and what our part is in that. At the end is a video with many more insights on this huge subject.
As a former military officer, I began looking at this issue of the lack of church impact on society from the perspective of strategy. If a military force or even a business were to carry out its job in the same way the church has in the last several decades or longer, that military would be nearly wiped out and that business would be heading to bankruptcy.
Business and military leaders understand that strategies must have measurable results; when those results indicate a strategy failure, there must absolutely be the implementation of an immediate change. But according to any casual observation within recent years, the church overall seems mostly to be completely oblivious to this most common sense concept which the rest of the world has no trouble grasping.
Think about it – 2,000 years ago, the world was turned upside down by twelve men (the apostles) but we now have hundreds of thousands of churches all over the world and yet the state of all societies have been getting rapidly worse. How can twelve men have more measurable effects than millions of people all claiming to believe the same thing?! Something has been very wrong here.
The gospel message being preached around the entire world for hundreds of years has been the message of salvation by Jesus’ death on the cross. And this is a little strange because this is not what Jesus preached publicly. We have great sermons on all sorts of topics and we do have teachings on individual aspects of the kingdom but still, there are very few solid teachings that fully address the entire subject in such a way that it activates the message to achieve God-intended outcomes.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
(Matthew 24:14 NKJV)
In order to proceed, we need to stop and ask ourselves some very fundamental questions:
- Why did Jesus constantly speak about “kingdom”?
- What are the characteristics of a kingdom and how do our natural-world organizations relate to a spiritual kingdom?
- Why did the early church have such remarkable results and what were they doing that we are not doing now?
- How do we know which kingdom has been established in a region and what do we do if the wrong one is in control?
- What constitutes strategy success and how do you know if you are succeeding or failing?
- What exactly does it mean to be a “Christian” and are we actually doing what Jesus preached or are we doing something far less than that?
Democracy vs Kingdom
In the history of world, there have been mostly kingdoms and very few democracies. Democracy is a very recent and obviously popular concept which has led to many positive societal advances, but it does not work in many parts of the world. Because so many people including myself either live in, or are influenced by western democratic principles, we have no practical understanding of what a kingdom is. And this becomes a major hindrance because God has established a kingdom as His system of governing and there are very specific rules by which that type of government operates.
When thinking of a kingdom, we must look at the entire organization from the top-level to determine what purpose it serves. The head of a kingdom is of course, a king. Just looking casually at history, we see that kings have a few primary purposes:
- Kings take over territory (offensive).
- Kings maintain their hold on their territory (defensive) and defeat any attacks against it.
- Kings establish law and order according to the systems and principles by which they have chosen to establish.
- Kings do not allow others from the outside (foreigners) to come in and exert any influence to change the laws or to grab any piece of their territory or possessions.
Primarily, this territorial rule is carried out in the natural realm by the use of military force, either through all out war or deterrence by intimidation. Following that, we see the operation of the rule of law by either a police force or, in many historical cases, the use of the military. This is one reason why we see so many wars recorded in the Old Testament. Those Biblical historical (physical) wars serve as examples to teach us about spiritual wars that we must fight in our modern-day New Testament era.
But we are not taught in the gospels to fight wars in the natural realm. Jesus taught about the operation of the kingdom using spiritual principles and He told us expressly that His kingdom was a spiritual kingdom. As such, we must understand the spiritual principles of the operation of this kingdom.
Kingdoms at War
In both the Old and New Testaments, we see increasingly the activity of opposing spiritual kingdoms. When Jesus came on the scene, we see the casting out of demons and His teaching that we all must do the same. Not to be too obvious here but the kingdom of darkness that opposed Jesus was made up of demons which were also described as a separate kingdom system made up of various ranks and hierarchies of demons.
This means we are up against a spiritual force that has an organization similar to what God established in His own kingdom construct. Anyone who has read material on deliverance ministry already understands some of these basics. For example, when casting demons out of a person, you always go after the head and then all the others will be forced to leave after that.
Jesus demonstrated this when casting out the legion of demons from a man; He first asked for the name of the top-ranking demon. Obviously Jesus knew the answer but the question demonstrated several principles for the rest of us to follow. One of those points was to underscore the fact that the demonic realm operates on a system of ranks and a form of structure. As an additional confirmation of this, Jesus said plainly that satan himself has his own kingdom.
Spiritual First, Then Natural
Everything in the natural realm is a result of what is going on first in the spirit realm; either from God or from the devil. We see an example of this clearly in four references in a situation with King Ahab in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chron 18. We are also taught in Ephesians 6:12 that our primary struggle is against the realm of the demonic.
Since this is an order established with spiritual first, then natural, then it follows that everything that happens in our natural world has its origins from the spiritual dimension. Every law, every movie script written, every subject taught in school all has its origin either from God or from the devil. This being the case, we should be approaching each one of these arenas from the spiritual first, then the natural.
But western societies (particularly, American “Christian” organizations) have blinded themselves by adopting a clinical attitude where most do not believe in demons. Sure, lip service is paid to their existence but in practical daily reality, hardly anyone (including so-called Christians) actually believe in “such things” outside of the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. See article: Stealth Technology and Natural World / Spirit World Parallels. This must change in order for God’s kingdom to be effective.
More Than Supernatural Manifestations
We have great teaching on how kingdom finances work and healing principles and many unusual supernatural manifestations but, these are still only individual compartmentalized aspects of the kingdom; they are not the full strategy-level message which made the early church so effective.
The supernatural is an absolute requirement to advance the kingdom and without it, it is impossible to do anything. You cannot bring God’s kingdom to earth by religious traditions, dead academic theologies and feel-good motivational speeches, otherwise known as “sermons” today.
Signs and wonders are a very powerful tool but, unless they are employed according to a larger strategy, they by themselves cannot advance the kingdom. Think of how a military has a variety of weapons such as aircraft, ships, tanks, missiles, radar systems, etc. Each of these have great power and reach but just shooting a missile or flying an aircraft over a city randomly cannot win a war. The same goes in the spiritual realm.
The gift of prophecy is like a radar – very effective but a radar system alone cannot win a war. Healing miracles destroy the works of the enemy, but just like a battle ship, that alone cannot win a war. Each spiritual “weapon” must be used according to an overall strategy in order to take down an enemy force.
This is basically what we have right now – a bunch of radar operators and pilots, tank commanders and battleship captains all doing their own thing but there is no coherent strategy whatsoever being employed! Again, just like a real war, spiritual weapons are required but they don’t win anything except a few skirmishes by themselves.
So, your next question is most likely something like, “what do I do with all this?!” Great question, I’m glad you asked! It’s great to have a strategic-level understanding of the kingdom, but without a personal-level application, this knowledge will end up another book on the shelf.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
(Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
We need to understand that we have been called first to be a king, not a church person. There’s nothing wrong with the church but we’ve put things in the wrong order and raised the church above the kingdom. This has produced strategy failure as I indicated above.
The more I study God’s word, the more I have found that details such as the order of things found in lists are very deliberate. Many scholars who teach on the end times believe that anything written before Revelation 4 is in our time now and anything beginning with verse one is yet future. If we go with that, then in both Revelation 1 and Revelation 5, we are told that we are first kings, then priests. My point here is that since it says this for both time periods (now and future), then our calling to be a king is for right now, not some future prophetic date.
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV)
In order to operate as a spiritual king, we must understand several key characteristics and principles that bring God’s kingdom into reality here in our physical world. Jesus taught and demonstrated these to His disciples all throughout the gospels. The first part of being a king is to start by understanding the mere basics above here (this above is barely scratching the surface).
The next part is to understand and apply the specific personal activations necessary to bring God’s kingdom on the scene wherever we go. Jesus taught His disciples about the kingdom of God for three and a half years. Myself personally, I’ve only been exposed to this teaching for a little over one year. We are all going to need at least the same three and a half years to fully understand and activate in our own life what Jesus taught.
The subject of personal activations and principles is too long for this article and will be dealt with later, probably in several articles covering different kingdom aspects that I’ve been learning and putting into practice. In the meantime, the below resource recommendation contains much more insights about both the strategy-level and personal-level aspects of God’s kingdom.
The following video gives some brief additional insights about the kingdom that no other ministry has. For those curious, this is the ministry I am connected to as a volunteer staff member with David E. Taylor (Joshua Media Ministries International). In this video, you will find the advertisement for the Kingdom of God school package that contains much more than what I have given here in this article. I will go so far as to say, without the information in this teaching, you are severely limited. Again, this is not found in any other ministry teaching outside of JMMI.
- Jesus taught exclusively about the gospel of the kingdom, what we have been hearing in our churches has not been this message.
- Businesses and military forces understand the concept of strategy; the church overall has not grasped this nor has it recognized something is missing.
- Kingdoms operate on established systems and structures and include ranks and thrones which rise to take over and control territory.
- Everything begins first in the spiritual and then manifests in the natural.
- In order to bring God’s kingdom here on earth, we must understand our first calling is to be a king, our church calling is second.
- There are personal activations and principles that must be understood in order to operate as a king according to what Jesus taught His disciples (subject to be dealt with in follow up articles).