The Kingdom Realm
There is a great battle over the foundations of the faith. The Jewish roots to the faith and the Kingdom message are fundamental to the authority needed to employ the power of God. The dynamic distinguishing the early church, then primarily a Jewish sect, was the demonstration of the supernatural power of God.
Luke 9:11 tells of how Jesus welcomed the people, spoke to them about the Kingdom and then healed those in need of healing. In other words, the central theme of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Kingdom of God, is also the trigger to actuating the supernatural. The Kingdom of God encompasses the realm where the supernatural is the natural.
Yet, within the Body today are a range of amazing misperceptions to simply incredibly myopic perceptions of what the Kingdom of God really is. For some it is all about “Sunday-go-to-meeting” gatherings. For others, it is focused on the great “by and by” of heaven. No one is disputing the importance of these things. However, the Kingdom conception for far too many involves majoring in a limited grasp of it and minoring in the truly important things. Among them are many for whom it is a second-hand faith based on select, boiled-down, over-simplified precepts of men. Recognizing the significance of salvation in God’s plan, some are confused that the gospel of salvation is synonymous with the gospel of the Kingdom. It is not and is only the start of the remarkable process and nature of the Kingdom realm.
The Drama of All Ages
The Kingdom of God did not begin with Jesus. It incorporated the spiritual dynamic of the garden, as well as the mandate in the beginning in which God gave Adam dominion over the earth. It was the spiritual reality responded to by the heroes of faith. Jesus came to bring fulfillment to restoring its foundations and to demonstrate it. It is our mantle. It not only defines the path for the life of those reaching to be His followers, it represents a reset in the way we think and act. It is the culture by which we are called to operate. In all of this, it is an affront to the way the world thinks and operates.
Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David and those described as the heroes of faith, discerned and responded to the heart of God. Each served a role in this process of restoration from what was lost at the garden. Their destinies were defined by their actions based on what they spiritually heard from God. Each were pioneers in a culture linking the spiritual and natural worlds, the basis of which is vital to our grasp of the Kingdom of God.
The conflict that began in the garden with the fall involves created spiritual beings, the sons of God, who have rebelled and their attempt to usurp God’s authority and dominion through the infiltration and beguiling of God’s intended steward of the earth, man.
It might be illustrated in modern terms as a shadow government that attempts to present the real government as a shadow government. It is a usurpation of the authority and power of reality in support of this shadow government, being manifested through culture, economies and the thinking of the people corporately, in society. It is summed up with the expression of the bondage of corruption, which is promulgated through its chief rebel, Satan and his minions of spiritual beings.
The seen world, as we know it, is a world in conflict. Yet, the root of this conflict has its source in the unseen world. This is where the origin of the struggle, the bondage of corruption lies. It is the source of evil, chaos and conflict in the world. Yet, God has always had a response, a strategy of restoration to be applied by His people who listen and act.
Defining the Kingdom
So, what is the essence of what the Bible refers to as the Kingdom of God, within the context of this side of the Lord’s return? No question, it is the culture and the order by which the people of God are to operate, succeed and be protected. It is also the outworking of the nature of God — to create and build — through the operation of its citizens. Then it also comprises the heart of God, His priorities and the righteous standard and response to relationships, both within and outside the community of God’s people.
All this combines into the elements of the order through which the Kingdom manifests within society. Four key components: 1) the economic or entrepreneurial, the means to create and build, 2) the culture or community, the standard by which society operates and thrives, 3) the supernatural or spiritual, the force, the power by which the seen world is shaped by the unseen world, and 4) the thinking or the source of strategy, the means by which God’s Kingdom stewards relate and employ the seedbed of creativity.
Jesus addressed the confusion of where true authority lies in this conflict between the seen and unseen worlds. At one point, Peter asked Jesus about paying taxes. Jesus’ answer simply was to go ahead and pay what was due to Caesar. He did so supernaturally. But He also stressed the priority of insuring that God was given what was due Him. The crux of His answer was what Jews have recognized over the ages, that as God’s people in this cosmic conflict, as people of the Kingdom, that we are a culture within a culture. This basic Kingdom premise is tied to another factor the Jewish people have understood for centuries, which is the anticipatory wisdom in becoming self-sufficient economically.
Defining the essence of the Kingdom will recognize that the Kingdom is the model that endures. The Kingdom is our response to and power source to wield God’s authority. Likewise, to operate according to this Kingdom standard will require new thinking.
The Model. The Kingdom of God is the model that endures. It is not a Western model. What endures is the standard that melds Spirit and Truth. It transcends and connects the temporal and the spiritual. It is culturally universal. It is the model operated by Abraham that combines the dynamics of community with the spiritual and economic.
The community dynamic has at its core being a safe place, in which its adherents are blessed, and whose response to being blessed is to be a blessing. It is a place that nurtures and gives place to opportunity and growth.
The economic or entrepreneurial has as its basis the very DNA of God: to create and to bring increase. Engendering the entrepreneurial requires faith in God and risk-taking, those willing to venture into new opportunity as pioneers and innovators.
The spiritual begins with God’s Kingdom stewards operating on the same page in the way they are God-centered and God-focused. It involves majoring in the truly important things and having a commonality of purpose and unity that releases creativity and increase as a part of the spiritual atmosphere. The Jewish people have very wisely and biblically found that commonality of purpose in worshipping the God of Israel and helping the poor. Such oneness with the spiritual stimulates an environment of opportunity in which not only are the generations connected, but there is a nurturing of the continuity that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.
God’s Authority. The realm of the Kingdom and its culture resides within its ambassadors. It gleans from God’s authority and favor for influence. Despite Joseph’s lowly position as a slave, the authority of God he wielded to bring blessing and increase was recognized by the Egyptians at each stage within his tenure in Egypt. When it was recognized, it resulted in those over Joseph entrusting their authority to him. So it was when Joseph was presented before Pharaoh that Pharaoh acknowledged the Spirit of God residing within Joseph and put Joseph over all the land of Egypt.
God’s authority accompanies those He sanctifies. Until they defiled themselves, it evoked the fear of the Lord from all the peoples in the lands where God’s people went, after being delivered from Egypt. As it is written: “Behold I send an angel before you, to guard you on your way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice and I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”
Tied closely to God’s authority, which will be in evidence with those whose walk with the Lord demonstrates sanctity and strong commitment, will be God’s presence. God’s presence actuates the fear of the Lord, which for those whose hearts are open, as Pharaoh was with Joseph, results in an awe and respect for the reality of God. This consequence can range from unusual favor to the potential for strategic alliances.
New Thinking. Releasing Kingdom culture requires new thinking. Within the thinking, is the will of man. Within the will of man is a seedbed of creativity, the faith to visualize, create and bring increase. Reality in the seen world has its basis in the unseen world. The means governing the power, the culture and order for creating and building in the natural world has its standard influenced by what emanates from the spiritual realm. It has been the swaying of the thoughts of man since the garden that is at the crux of the struggle.
Scripture notes that when the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He set the borders of the peoples according to number of the sons of God. But the Lord’s portion was His people, Jacob His allotted inheritance. It will be the standard of the thoughts of man from the conflict — between those wielding the Kingdom standard allied against those submitting to the worldly standard — that determines the reality and outcome for God’s restoration. This is why Jesus said that the Kingdom gate would be narrow and the path difficult.
Kingdom thinking is open and big-picture compared to the myopic and constrained perspective of the world. Thinking in the Kingdom has its focus on community and others, whereas the focus of worldly thinking is on self. The structure for Kingdom thinking is freedom and peace, compared to the high level of controls of those wielding worldly thinking. The output of Kingdom thinking is to bring blessing while for the world it is to gain advantage and power. Innovation from Kingdom thinking comes from faith and managing of risk, but the basis of innovation in the world seeks to minimize risk.
Creativity from the Kingdom perspective brings increase and builds, while for worldly thinking it tears down and triggers greed. The ability in Kingdom thinking is to creatively embrace change, whereas the ability from worldly thinking is the status quo. The strategy from Kingdom thinking is to serve, mobilize and mentor compared to competing and gaining advantage for the worldly way. For Kingdom thinking the opportunity is for all, while it is only the power brokers and elite who benefit in the worldly realm. Kingdom leadership motivates and nurtures, while for the world it micro-manages and controls. Finally, the future impact for Kingdom thinking is order and peace, but in the world it results in fear and chaos.
Heroes of Restoration
Abraham established the community model for God’s people to live in self-sufficiency, as a people of God. Isaac gleaned the secret of God’s economy and supernaturally prospered through God, in the face of the impact of famine. Joseph demonstrated how stewardship that abides in God’s presence can influence the spiritual climate of an entire society and release God’s authority within its infrastructures, to overcome impending evil and to accomplish God’s purposes, bringing blessing to all concerned.
Moses provided the framework for the Abrahamic model to inoculate itself from the subtle wickedness of the surrounding world and become a self-supporting society of the righteous, living for God. David demonstrated the leadership response to God’s guidance needed to shape a society of diverse factions into a Kingdom of God’s people, that would prompt awe for God and His people from all those around them.
Jesus then raised the bar to the ancient challenge and opened the gates to the authority that governs cultures, economies and power. In so doing He set the Kingdom standard for applying righteous power in a corrupt world.
Jesus set in motion the closing of the gap to God’s strategy and authority that would destroy the works of the devil and the bondage of corruption — to restore the foundations for true Life by releasing the standard of God’s Kingdom rule to overcome the evil ones’ intentions. It is the strategy for those willing to be different, who are willing to pay the cost as a society of pioneers, leaders who operate by and establish God’s Kingdom authority within the earth.
Mysteries: Glimmers of the Kingdom
Scripture tells us that the Lord reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the darkness into light. God in heaven reveals mysteries and makes known what will take place. Jesus told His disciples that it had been given to them to know the mysteries of the Kingdom, but not to those whose thinking was determined by the world.
There are ones who will never understand the mysteries. It is the result of the constraints of their thinking. That is what repentance brings: a change of thinking. Jesus came down hard on a particular group. They were the prima-donnas within religious leadership circles, those considering themselves as the elite. They commanded respected and influence and distorted truth with the precepts of men and condemned the naive, offering no hope. They misused their mantles and authority for their own purposes. Jesus judged them: “So the Kingdom will be taken from you and given to a people bearing the fruits of it”
Likewise, the phonies will miss the Kingdom, due to the meditations of their hearts. The phonies are the ones who wear masks who can neither trust nor be trusted, whose normal way in relationships is to manipulate and beguile. It is the pure in heart who will see God. The Psalmist notes the ones who will abide with the Lord will be those whose modus operandi in life begins with speaking truth in their hearts.
There is hope for some among the performers, who are vulnerable as man-pleasers. Such was the rich young ruler who came to Jesus looking to justify himself. Jesus bypassed the superficial and dealt with what really was at the heart of this man. The rich young ruler initially turned away, yet tradition has it that he was Mark, who did return and was responsible for the Gospel of Mark.
The way of phonies and performers typically is a path of survival within the world’s system that bypasses the humble response of Jesus’ beatitude profiles. In short, the stumbling at the entrance of the Kingdom is expressed in Revelation as being the response of the fearful, unbelieving, immoral and prideful. Kingdom thinking often seems as a paradox to the way the world thinks. Yet, Kingdom thinking is the true source of power and creativity, the standard governing culture, innovation, true wisdom and the future.
Illustrating the depth of the mysteries of the Kingdom include our purpose in life being obtained through giving it up. Jesus said he who finds his life will lose it and he who eschews his life for My sake will gain it. Honor comes from humility. Jesus noted to His disciples that we are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses its flavor, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Then wisdom is found in simplicity. This was revealed when Jesus prayed: “Father, You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.”
The Kingdom way is to advance by yielding. Jesus admonished those being sent out to represent Him, that whatever city or town they entered, to inquire who was worthy and stay there till they departed. When they did so and entered a house, they were to bless it and give it their blessing of peace. If they were not received, then they were to let that blessing return to them and shake the dust off their feet and continue on their way.
For the Kingdom, perfect love eliminates fear. Jesus spoke of a greater love that conquered the fear of death, that a man lay down his life for his friends. In the Kingdom, making your assets multiply will bring promotion. In the parable of the talents, the master said to the steward who brought the most increase: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many.”
In the Kingdom, we receive back from our giving and growth comes by generosity. Jesus said: “Give and it will be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give back unto you.” The Kingdom way is to bless those who curse us, extend love to our enemies and pray for our persecutors.
In our weakness, we are made strong when our trust is in God. The disciples were told that whatever we might wish others to do to us, do also to them. The choice is to enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate that leads to destruction, but narrow is the way that leads to Life. Then faithful stewardship increases trust and authority. Jesus taught: “Who is that faithful and wise steward whom his master will make ruler over his household? Blessed is the servant whom his master finds doing when he comes.” We lead by serving. Jesus said: “Let him who is to be the greatest become the least and the leader as a servant.”
It should be noted that in understanding the Kingdom realm, that the first step is to understand the words of Jesus. In understanding the words of Jesus, we need to understand the Scripture and Truth that Jesus drew from: the books of Moses or the Torah, the Psalms, Proverbs and the Prophets along with the history of the heroes of faith. For example, Jesus’ teachings on ownership and success resulting from sharing are drawn from Deuteronomy: “If there is a poor man among your brothers, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your poor brother, rather lend him what he needs that the Lord might bless the work of your hands.” His insights from Matthew 18 into the power of agreement when confronting a brother who has sinned against one of the flock are drawn from Leviticus.
It should also be noted that references to the sons of God, created spiritual beings and the role of the resurrected Jesus as the firstborn of a new breed of sons of God is a worthy topic in our grasp of the Kingdom. The ancients and those comprising the world of the heroes of faith had a keen awareness and response to the connection between the seen and the unseen worlds. This is the context of the world of Jesus. The operation of the supernatural now is no different than it was in the days of Jesus or Moses. The Kingdom of God then, as it is now, is a mystery, yet is the means to overcome in the reality of this age-old conflict.
The Kingdom Mystery
The Kingdom of God is at hand. It is a realm, but more, much more. It defines ones’ identity, ones’ citizenship. God’s people were never intended to be like everyone else. It is the spiritual atmosphere emitted from walking with God. Having become believers, Scripture notes that not only does the Holy Spirit dwell within us, but that the Kingdom is within us. It is a mystery. For those embracing the cost, it represents the source of power, inspiration and purpose. Jesus imparted a deep truth with the words that: “If you abide in Me and I in you, then you will bear much fruit.” He noted that the proof of being true disciples would be in their fruit. Likewise, those abiding in Jesus and in His words, would ask and see it done. The Kingdom is the catalyst of the creative and the miraculous.
It has been written: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.” The context is a toxic world, in which we are called upon to establish a different standard and in so doing, of letting our Light shine. Jesus stressed the importance of humility, repentance and forgiveness and noted we would be sheep among wolves and the targets of tribulation.
He warned that we would cross the line with vain imaginations and actually be guilty of murder and adultery when we allowed those things to be entertained in our minds. On the other hand, righteous, sanctified imaginations have the potential as triggers for releasing and walking in the supernatural and consciousness of His presence. It pivots on the faith produced by abiding in His Truth, which underscores the need of a regular cleansing from the word of Truth. The importance of Kingdom thinking cannot be overstated. Through the mysteries of those upholding the Kingdom standard and sacrificially serving would come the commendation of the Master in, together with Him, overcoming the world.
The Kingdom is where soul and spirit are linked and aligned with God. It is the great exchange: His life for ours.
The Kingdom dynamic is when God touches the world, through a people, in the most challenging and noxious of settings. Those staying the course serve as divine detoxifiers for those who will receive, as ambassadors of His peace employing righteous power in corrupt settings. Those observing see something different in the safe havens of God’s communities. It is the context and strategy of how the Kingdom thrives and grows. Applied properly, the Kingdom standard and rocky path result in God’s people becoming the head and not the tail, being above all the peoples of the earth, as ones whose fruit restores the foundations.
When Jesus said to go into all the world and make disciples, it involved commitment, commitment for both those going and those becoming disciples. The Kingdom culture unfolds with faithful dedication and commitment. Followers believe, but it is not until a follower becomes a disciple that they enter the realm of the Kingdom with the authority and the supernatural power to create and to build and to restore. Disciples who steward their calling mature into becoming servants over His household. Servants who do well in managing His affairs then enter the realm of becoming friends of the King. This is where the greater love manifests and evil flounders.
In the book of Revelation it reveals: “Now salvation, and the power, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come. For the accuser of the brethren has been cast down.” When Jesus explained that He was the way, the truth and the life, it was a mystery, a Kingdom mystery. It is now, and it is to come. It is the mystery that, through Him in us, will be found the realm in God that God intended in the beginning at the Garden.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/
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