This article has been curated from "Understanding the Wineskin of the Kingdom" by Dr. Joseph Mattera.
It is easy for those of us who preach on the Kingdom of God to teach that God wants to transform nations, however, we need to have a common definition of what that looks like. Merely using the word “transformation”is ambiguous and if we do not have a common definition of the meaning of “transformation” then our objective and goals will not coincide with one another.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2: 2-4 KJV)
DEFINING THE KINGDOM OF GOD AS A PLACE
In this particular passage it indicates both God’s Kingdom and nations of the world. In this beautiful picture, God is showing that in the last days, His Mountain will be lifted up above all other mountains, and that the nations of the world will come to the mountain of the Lord to learn His Ways and for Him to teach them His Laws. Thus, in this context, they cannot know His ways regarding how to function as a nation without knowing His laws. His laws reveal His ways when it comes to civil government and spheres of culture. This has vast implications!
DEFINING THE KINGDOM OF GOD AS A PEOPLE
Furthermore, verse two calls the Mountain of God the ‘Mountain of the Temple (or assembly) of the Lord’ which puts the true believing church, who is called the ‘temple of God' in 1 Corinthians 6, is the Mountain of God. The church is not the Kingdom of God but is in the Kingdom as the main agent of change and/or His representative to the world.
Consequently, if the church is in the Kingdom mountain and not in the mountains of culture or nations that look to God for His Law, then the church is not in the so-called “religion mountain”as many seven mountain practitioners believe. The church is not in the same mountain as the Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Hindi’s and nominal Christians.
Furthermore, according to Colossians 1: 13, when we are born again God translates us out of the kingdom of darkness and places us into the Kingdom of His Son. This means, whether we believe it or not, true believers are already in the Kingdom of God positionally. Which again puts the true church in the mountain of God and not in the religion mountain. What I am not saying here is that the institutional, organized church is over the nations, but individual believers who make up the visible (spiritual) church, irrespective of denominational affiliation, are in the mountain of God.
DEFINING THE MISSION
This means that, the main call of the local church is to serve as an equipping center in which believers are raised up from within the Kingdom Mountain and sent into all the other mountains to teach them the ways and laws of God. This is why God has called the five primary ministry gifts to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. According to Ephesians 4: 10, the context demands that we redefine the “work of the ministry”to include the “filling up of all things”which was the purpose of the resurrection and ascension of Christ. In light of the ascension, God has given the church these five ministry gifts to train believers to serve God in every sphere of culture to fill up all things and bring Kingdom government to the whole earth.
That is to say, the five ministry gifts are not just to prepare other preachers, pastors and plan church planting, but are to train architects, plumbers, painters, composers, economists, politicians, mothers and fathers and beyond, to bring God’s Kingdom presence and rule to every domain in which they serve.
DEFINING THE SCOPE OF THE MISSION
From my perspective, the Kingdom of God is the rule of God that emanates from the throne of God (the throne of God is where His personal presence is in heaven). The Kingdom of God rules over all, not just over the true church. There are two aspects of this rule: 1) the Kingdom of God sovereignly rules over all. In a general sense, Psalm 22: 28 teaches that God rules over all the nations which is also the theme of the book of Daniel (Daniel 4: 32-35); 2) In addition to the general rule of God, the Kingdom of God can be also be personally manifest to affect change in the lives of people.
This is what Jesus meant when He said that when He cast out demons it was to demonstrate that the Kingdom of God had come in the midst of the people (Matthew 12: 28). This is also what He meant when He taught believers to pray for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6: 6-9).
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