There is something about the kingdom of God that has become abundantly clear, lately. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. Jesus said to Pilate in Jn 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The Lord’s kingdom is above; it’s not down here. John the Baptist said, “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all,” Jn 3:31. Jesus said, “You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world,” Jn 8:23.
When you read the Old Testament, everything is about the nations and their kings and the land that they inhabit and the wars that they fought against each other. There are many prophecies concerning Israel and the nations and the eventual resurrection, restoration, and rule of Israel. God gave Abraham a blessing that He would “bless them that bless you, and curse him that curseth you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed,” Gen 12:3. And He gave him the land grant of Canaan (Gen 12:7).
Thus, Israel is the chosen nation, and all the other nations, at one time or another, were their enemies. God fought against those nations to protect Israel or else He allowed those nations to fight against Israel to chasten them. God even sent the Assyrian kings to take Israel captive and Nebuchadnezzar to take Judah captive. Eventually, during the Tribulation, Israel will nearly be destroyed and Jesus will return to this earth to save them and raise them up as the ruling nation of the world (Zech 14:1-9, 16-19; Is 14:1-3; Is 60:12). It’s at the second coming of Jesus that “The kingdoms of this world… become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign forever and ever,” Rev 11:15.
But right now, during the Church Age, this world is under the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4). He’s the one who is running things down here (Lk 4:5-6). This is his world system (Eph 2:2) and it will be until Jesus comes and ends the world (Matt 24:3). As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Because Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world:
Therefore, the world hates us – Jn 15:19-20, Jn 17:14 – those of us who have been born again and are now in the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3-8) are the outsiders. We are the ones who are not welcome here. “The rulers of the darkness of this world” fight against us, Eph 6:12. We are on their turf. Jesus said, “In the world, you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” Jn 16:33. We aren’t to be a friend of the world, either, Jas 4:4. We are to be separate, 2 Cor 6:17-18. Paul lamented that “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world,” (2 Tim 4:1}]. We are “not conformed to this world,” Rom 12:2.
Therefore, we don’t live our lives in this world – Jn 12:25 – Jesus said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” We can be choked by the cares of this world, (Mk 4:19). That’s why Jesus said, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” Matt 6:20. That’s why Paul said, “seek those things which are above… Set your affection on things above, and not on things on the earth,” Col 3:1-2. That’s why Paul said, “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Phil 3:20. That’s why Paul wrote, “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all,” Gal 4:26. That’s what Paul wrote of Jesus Christ that He is “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come,” Eph 1:21. James wrote that God’s wisdom is “from above,” Jas 3:17. Life for us is up there, not down here.
Therefore, we preach the gospel in all the world – Mk 16:15 – Jesus said, “Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Jesus said to His Father, “As you hast sent Me into the world, even so, have I also sent them into the world,” Jn 17:18. That’s because Jesus is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, Jn 1:29. That’s because “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,” Jn 3:16-17. Preaching the gospel involves reproving the world of sin (Jn 16:8-9), which modern churches will not do. “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them,” 1 Jn 4:5. Jesus “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” Gal 1:4. “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,” we are to “shine as lights in the world,” Phil 2:15.
When Jesus came, it was as if He came like a thief to take something away from the devil and the people who were in charge. And they knew it. Herod tried to have Him killed; so did the Pharisees. The devils knew he would torment them in time. Didn’t they say “before the time” in Matt 8:29? Jesus isn’t establishing anything on earth right now. He will when He returns, but He has to clean up the place first. Even the temple that will be built for the Tribulation is where the antichrist will be worshipped (Rev 11:1-2; 2 Thes 2:4). The temple of God in Eph 2 and the body of Christ in Eph 4 are literal but they are also spiritual (Jn 4:24).
Conclusion: Therefore, we are not trying to build something big down here, or get this world to run right, or get our government in line with God, or anything like that. We are trying to get out of here and trying to help others who are in this world see how to get out, too. We want nothing to do with being bigger, better, or improved down here. We want to do exactly as the Lord wants us to do, please Him, and keep our affections, conversation, wisdom, and treasure above. Friends, this world is not our home. It was never intended to be our home. Our home is above.
I move for a creed for all our denominations made out of Scripture quotations, pure and simple. That would be impregnable against infidelity and Appolyonic assault. That would be beyond human criticism. Let us make it simpler and plainer for people to get into the Kingdom of God.
– Thomas De Witt Talmage