The Kingdom of God: An Alternative Civilization
Many Christian wrongly assume that the kingdom of God is the same as the church. That’s not accurate. The kingdom of God is all-comprehensive, while the church serves a vital, but limited role in the overall picture of things.
The purpose of the church is to model the kingdom of God at the local level, while teaching the nations to learn and obey all the commands Jesus taught the disciples, which is another way of saying all the laws and commands revealed throughout the entirety of the Bible.
That of course excludes things like ceremonial laws, the Aaronic priesthood, and other laws that were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ Himself. For example, we no longer offer animals or fowl as sacrifices for our sins because Jesus offered Himself up once for all. That fulfilled the requirement of the penalty God held against us, and so the sacrifice of animals no longer made sense once the ultimate work of sacrifice for our sins was completed in Jesus Christ.
A new creation
Throughout the old and new testament the fact there was a new creation was communicated several times. That new creation, in reality, was a new civilization, which came down in the person of Jesus Christ initially, was expanded to His immediate disciples in His time on earth, and at Pentecost, was birthed as a corporate entity that would be established and enlarged till the time Jesus Christ returns in the resurrection at the end of this age.
When we read terms like born again, born from above, or being a new creature or creation, this is a nod toward a new civilization being birthed on the earth. While individual salvation is important, the eternal purpose of God on the earth in this age is to have a people conformed to the image of His Son.
This is what New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven refers to; it’s the corporate expression in this world of the purpose of God that He had before the foundation of the world.
In essence, we could accurately say that Jesus was New Jerusalem come down out of heaven when He came to planet earth, in the sense that He was the personification on the individual level of what we as the people of God are meant to be at the corporate level. We are told He is the Lord from heaven; He is different than the human race descended from Adam. He was of course human, but without sin that all human beings are born with.
The significance of all this is we are called to something far beyond individual salvation in this age. We are called to learn of the ways and laws of God revealed throughout the holy scriptures, and apply them to all aspects of life in this world.
We are to learn and embrace the commands of Jesus Christ, and teach the world to do the same. This will result in the building of an alternative civilization in all nations that eventually, will permeate them with the very image of God.
Governments of all types will operate under the guidance of the holy scriptures as we teach them what the laws are, what they mean, and how they apply to life. Bear in mind when I say governments, I’m not only talking about the state, but all leadership or management in every category of life. It represents self-government, family government, business, media, among many others.
Remember, Adam and Eve, and by extension, their posterity, the command to have dominion over the planet. That requirement and expectation by God for the human race remains in place. We are Christian believers are the source of teaching and embracing that, modeling it first as light to the world, and them teaching that which we see and live to others.
Most people I communicate with usually ask this question: what will the kingdom of God, or Christian civilization, on earth look like? The answer is this: it’ll look like Jesus Christ, or to put it another way, it’ll look like the revelation of God as revealed from Genesis to Revelation.
The reality is we can’t know what exactly the kingdom of God will look like on the practical level because the world is changing so fast. Things we haven’t had to deal with the past are emerging, so we have to learn how to apply God’s word to things we haven’t had to consider. That will be the way of life until the Lord returns.
That said, the image of God as revealed in Jesus Christ never changes, and those eternal, immovable truths will remain in place no matter how the world changes. That’s because God never changes.
As mentioned earlier, the kingdom of God is the application of the revelation in the holy scriptures to various categories or elements of everyday life. As we learn to operate in this way, we individually and corporately change as Christians, and as we change and gain knowledge, experience and expertise, we then in turn pass that on to the world, with the admonition they are to obey God as we do.
Eventually the kingdom of God, in this manner, will spread throughout the earth, as Jesus taught in His parables. This is what Christian civilization is, and what the victorious future holds for the followers of Jesus Christ.