When Jesus was on earth, he taught us to pray for the development of His kingdom in the following words:
“Your kingdom come
Your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.”
But what exactly does God’s kingdom look like? How do we even know our prayer is being answered when we do not know what this kingdom is about?
Firstly, we should understand that the term ‘Kingdom of God’ refers to the universal rule of God through Jesus over all things, both redeemed and non-redeemed. The term is also used to denote Christ’s special, saving rule over His people (Psalm 2:4-9; 96:10; 99:1; Eph. 1:18-23; Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 1:5; 11:15,17-18).
God’s purpose was to share his rule over the earth with man. To this end, He formed him in His own image and endowed him with faculties for ruling, i.e., reason, spirituality, etc. In the Creation or Cultural Mandate (Gen. 1:28), God actually commissioned man to exercise this rule and He delegated authority to him for this purpose. Thus man was created to be the highest created being in the universe (Gen. 1:27-30; Psa. 8:4-8; Rom. 2:6-12).
The kingdom of God has ever been in force. However, after the fall of man into sin, the kingdom takes on a redemptive angle. Its New Testament phase was inaugurated at the coming of Christ, and it now operates in reality and power among men (Isa. 9:6-12; Mk. 1:14-15; Heb. 1:3).
Through Christ, man’s godly dominion over the earth is restored. In the present age, Jesus Christ rules over the kings of the earth, not only as eternal God but also as the sole mediator between God and men (Acts 4:10-12), and He has lawfully defeated Satan by His victorious life, death, resurrection, and ascension (John 12:31; 16:11). All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus by God the Father and he is bringing all things into submission to Himself, extending his authority across the entire earth as the gospel spreads and people are converted to Him (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Transcending all political and ethnic boundaries, this kingdom unites all true believers under the Lordship of King Jesus.
At this moment, every individual and nation should bow to Jesus, confessing Him as the Lord and Ruler of their lives. Only those who thus repent of their sins, trust in His grace for forgiveness of sins and submit to His rule are justified before God (Acts 2:38; 4:12).
This Kingdom will expand and grow until it is consummated at the return of Jesus when He will deliver it to God the Father. This rule will extend to and influence individuals, voluntary associations, families, the church, the state, and all spheres of human activity, e.g. Business, Education, Government, the Arts, Media, etc (Isa 2:2-4, 9:6-7; Dan 2:32-35; Matt 24:14, 25:31-34; Luke 22:29-30; 1 Cor 2:9, 15:23-28,51-55; Rom 8:21-25).