Series: “Christ’s Kingdom” (post #2)
In the first post from this series, I explained that Jesus left His heavenly kingdom and came down to the kingdom of this world. But if we stop and think about it, isn’t Jesus (God the Son) sovereign over everything, including the kingdom of this world? Well, that’s an excellent question. Let’s talk about it.
The Bible does offer multiple verses that teach that God is sovereign over His entire creation, including the earth. Here are a few of those verses (all from the N.K.J.V.):
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” (1 Chronicles 16:31)
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness. The world and those who dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)
For God is the King of all the earth, Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. (Psalm 47:7-8)
…for the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness. (1 Corinthians 10:26)
Okay, so if the earth and everything in it belongs to Jesus (God the Son), and if He reigns over the nations as King of all the earth, how could any part of planet earth not be merely a continuation of His heavenly kingdom? Phrasing the question another way, shouldn’t Jesus leaving heaven and coming to the earth have been nothing more than Him leaving one corner of His kingdom and visiting another corner of it? Doesn’t that make sense?
It only makes sense if everything was as it should have been on planet earth. As we know, though, things haven’t been as they should be on planet earth for a long time. The problem started when Satan and his fellow rebellious angels were banished from heaven. Rather than take up residence in some faraway, dark galaxy and lick their wounds in private, Satan and his gang set their sights on planet earth and took up residence there. Their goal was to ruin the human race, God’s crowning jewel in creation.
And were they successful? Yes. We all know the story of how Satan got Adam and Eve to succumb to his temptation and take the whole human race down into sin. It was because of Adam’s sin that all his biological descendants began to come hardwired with an inborn nature of sin. Consequently, this nature of sin caused them to have a definite bent toward committing acts of sin. So now Satan had all he needed to build his own kingdom within the parameters of God’s earthly territory. He had an army of fallen angels to command and a race of fallen sinners who were highly prone to sinning.
Once Satan had brought his earthly kingdom to full fruition, it was nothing less than a global “system” that permeated all of human life on earth and had him as its ruler. The primary Greek word that gets translated as “world” in the New Testament is kosmos, but kosmos doesn’t refer to the physical rock that hangs in space and gets called “earth.” Instead, kosmos refers to the societal order that is the trademark stamp of Satan’s kingdom on earth.
Consider the following facts:
- While God still reigns as the supreme ruler over all creation, including planet earth, He doesn’t reign as the supreme ruler over the world system (kosmos) that Satan has built upon planet earth. That is Satan’s kingdom.
- In John 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11, Jesus Himself calls Satan “the ruler of this world (kosmos).”
- In 1 John 5:19, we’re told that the whole world (kosmos) lies under the sway of Satan.
- In 1 John 2:16, we’re told that nothing about the world (kosmos) is of God.
- In Matthew 12:25-26, Jesus confirmed that Satan does have a kingdom.
- When Satan tempted Jesus by offering him all the kingdoms of the world, Jesus didn’t say, “They aren’t yours to give.” He didn’t say that because He knew that all of the human kingdoms upon planet earth are, in actuality, part of Satan’s one kingdom, His world system.
“And how does a person become a part of Satan’s kingdom?” you ask. The answer is simple: All you have to do is be born. Colossians 1:13 teaches that if a person wants to become a citizen of Christ’s kingdom, that person must be delivered from Satan’s power and conveyed (transferred) into Christ’s kingdom. Notice that no one has to be conveyed (transferred) into Satan’s kingdom. Each of us became a citizen of that kingdom the moment we were born.
To illustrate the situation, think of Satan as a broadcaster who beams his signal unceasingly to all parts of the earth day and night. Now think of each person as being born with an inner antennae that is tuned to Satan’s signal. As 2 Corinthians 4:4 describes it, Satan is the god of this age who blinds our minds. This causes us to walk, as Ephesians 2:2 describes it, “according to the course of this world (kosmos), according to the prince of the power of the air.” That “prince of the power of the air” is none other than Satan.
You see, people walk according to the course that Satan has established within his kingdom. Certainly this doesn’t alleviate the personal responsibility that each individual bears for his or her sins, but it does explain why it’s so easy for individuals to give in to the worse side of their nature as they live on planet earth. What makes it so easy is the fact that Satan has built a world system that appeals to the sinful side of human nature. Imagine someone building a playroom for little children and then bringing little children into that playroom. It’s not that the children have to play, but everything is certainly put on a tee to get them to play.
This explains why Jesus coming down to the earth amounted to Him invading an enemy kingdom. Yes, the planet itself was still under His authority and control. That’s why He could calm the winds, silence the raging waves, walk on water, and turn water into wine. But the people who lived upon the planet were not under His authority and control. To the contrary, they were citizens of Satan’s kingdom, and as such they were under Satan’s authority and control.
Therefore, what Jesus offered people was a choice. They could remain citizens of Satan’s kingdom or accept Him as Savior and in so doing transfer their citizenship to His kingdom. And this is the same choice that Jesus is still offering people today. They can remain citizens of Satan’s kingdom or become citizens of His. In our next post, we’ll learn what the Bible has to say about this transfer of citizenship, and so until then I hope you’ll stay tuned.