Preface: Follow the Authority

I was going to write a book about the Kingdom of God, but realised that it is so wonderful that a million books could not contain its glory. Authority is the heart of a kingdom, so to understand the working of the Kingdom of God, we must follow the authority. In this book, I focus on the aspects of life where authority is greatest. In the modern world, authority is concentrated in the systems of political power, so that is where the impact of the Kingdom of God will be the greatest.

Governments have immense power and authority, so the coming of the Kingdom will have its greatest effect is the system of politics and government. Government is a process for exercising authority over society.

Politics is a tool for deciding who should have authority to control people. The basic questions of political theory are:>

Authority is at the heart of all these questions. The Kingdom of God provides a radically different answer to them.

A kingdom is a system for exercising authority and Jesus came proclaiming a new kingdom. The coming of the Kingdom of God requires a radical shift in authority, so it will have a dramatic impact on politics and government. In the last few of centuries, human governments have accumulated immense authority. As God's kingdom comes to fullness, existing governments will shrink away and be replaced by a better government.

Chapter 2: Different King

The character of the king determines the quality of a kingdom. A kingdom controlled by an angry and violent king will be characterised by violence and power struggles. A good king will bless the lives of his people.

A good king makes a good kingdom.
An evil king produces a bad kingdom.
A kingdom reflects the personality of the king. A new king with a different heart will transform a kingdom. The kingdom of a king who is loving and kind will full of love, joy and peace.

Jesus preached the good news of a new king, and a new kingdom. A profoundly different king brings a radically different government. Jesus' Kingdom will transform every society.

Authority is the essence of a kingdom, so the coming of the Government of God will bring a massive shift in authority. God is a different type of king, so the exercise of authority in the Government of God is totally different to anything we have seen in the kingdoms of men.

Chapter 5: Kingdom Communities

Territory

A king needs territory. A kingdom is a geographic area or territory controlled by the king. The boundary of a kingdom was never fixed, so most kings tried to expand their authority by pushing out the boundary of their kingdom. A king who was not expanding his kingdom was perceived to be weak.

A king usually ruled from a castle or palace at the centre of his kingdom. He could expand his territory by pushing out from this stronghold into places where a neighbouring king was vulnerable. Once he has taken the new territory, the king would build defences and put his own army in place to protect it. By constantly pushing out and seizing more territory, a strong king could expand his kingdom.

The castle was a safe place where the king could retreat if he suffered a setback in battle. Another king might seize some of his territory, but would struggle to conquer the stronghold at the centre of the kingdom. The defeated king would retreat to his castle and rejuvenate his army ready to push out and regain the territory that has been lost.

If the king hid in his castle and didn't try to retake the territory that the enemy king had stolen, his kingdom would shrink and eventually disappear. Any loyal citizens living in the lost territory would be robbed and beaten by enemy soldiers. Even if they went to the castle once a week to honour their king, they would eventually get tired of being harassed and begrudgingly accept the authority of the enemy king who dominated their lives.

Jesus Needs Territory

Most Christians have failed to understand the importance of territory for the spiritual struggle we are engaged in. Whereas the early Christians were "together in one place", we have scattered ourselves in houses far from each other. We go to church once a week to honour Jesus, but have not bothered to establish evil-spirit-free places where Jesus' authority is recognised.

The spiritual powers of evil understand the importance of territory. The powerful ones have become "principalities and powers" controlling nations and kingdoms by dominating the kings and political leaders with authority over them. Lesser spirits control small areas where they have been given authority.

Jesus now has many followers in the world, but very little territory where he has authority. There are very few places where he is king. Instead, his followers are scattered throughout territory that is controlled by the enemy. Because we live and work in enemy territory, we are often battered, beaten and robbed.

A king without a territory is not a real king. He is just a dreamer. If there are no areas on earth that are evil-spirit free, then Jesus does not have a kingdom on earth. He just has people living in enemy territory, who have given allegiance to him. This should disturb us. Jesus needs followers who understand the importance of territory.

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