The Four Elements of a Kingdom
May 08, 2008
The Kingdom of God properly begins with Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
The Kingdom of God includes anything and everything that God created, because He owns what He creates. Therefore, God has the right to direct all activity on the earth and to dictate the terms by which man may live upon any part of His creation.
The Kingdom includes not only heaven, but earth as well. Sin and death invaded the earthly portion of God's Kingdom, and perhaps also the heavens themselves. But this is a temporary problem that God has been resolving since the beginning. In fact, sin and death did not take God by surprise. It was incorporated into the divine plan from the beginning.
Every kingdom must have four basic elements in order to be called a kingdom. It has to have a king, citizens, laws, and territory. The Kingdom of God contains all of these. History is the story of the formation and development of the Kingdom of God from a seed to a mighty tree that covers the whole earth.
The first king of the earth was Adam. We read in Gen. 1:26,
"The God said, Let us make man [Heb. awdawm, or "Adam"] in our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping that creeps upon the earth."
Genesis 1:26 uses the term awdawm without the Hebrew article and particle, making it read "man" in general, instead of Adam specifically. Genesis 1 gives us a general statement of man's creation in the context of the rest of creation, so that we would know that man's creation came on the sixth day. Genesis 2 then gives us the specific details of man's creation, beginning with Adam himself. Gen. 2:7 uses the Hebrew term, eth ha-awdawm, which means "this same man Adam." (See Bullinger's notes on Gen. 2:7.) In other words, Gen. 2:7 was referring to the same man, Adam, as was mentioned in Gen. 1:26.
The first Adam was given the Dominion Mandate, which made him the legitimate king of the earth. His kingship was conditional upon remaining subject to the Creator and Owner of all things. Adam was given authority, but God retained sovereignty over His creation. Thus, God had every right to set up or to depose kings in the earth.
When Adam sinned, he became mortal. As a mortal, his nature was changed, and he began to sin. That is, his nature attempted to become independent and to rule by its own will instead of in conformity to the will of God. Paul says in Rom. 5:12, "so death [mortality] passed into all men, on which all sin" (literal translation).
Death and sin created a problem with King Adam. First of all, Adam's mortality meant that he would die, and so his crown would have to be passed on to succeeding generations in history. And because mortal men sin on account of their mortality, the crown would be contested by others who would assert their own wills, desiring to usurp the crown from the anointed ones.
The Dominion Mandate was one of two mandates which formed the Birthright itself. The other was the Fruitfulness Mandate, given in Gen. 1:26, which said, "Be fruitful and multiply." That second mandate is the origin of Sonship and was the mandate which was to culminate in the manifestation of the Sons of God. But that is for a later study, because that part of the Birthright has more to do with the citizens of the Kingdom than with the King.
In later years, the Birthright was partitioned to Jacob's sons. Judah was given the Dominion Mandate (Gen. 29:10), while Joseph was given the Fruitfulness Mandate (Gen. 49:22). Still later, God instructed Moses to give Levi the priesthood (Deut. 33:8; Num. 1:50). By this time, what was called the Birthright was really only a stripped-down version of its original form. We see this by reading 1 Chron. 5:1, 2, which tells us that the scepter was given to Judah, but that "the birthright belonged to Joseph." This was obviously speaking of the remaining portion of the Birthright.
Ultimately, of course, all the elements of the Birthright were destined to be re-united in Christ. He came the first time of the tribe of Judah and specifically of the seed of David in order to qualify lawfully to receive the Dominion Mandate. His work on the Cross, along with His resurrection and ascension to the throne, qualified Him to be the High Priest--not of Levi, but of a greater order of priesthood, that of Melchizedek.
In His second coming, He comes as Joseph to qualify as the recipient of the Birthright as well. For this reason, it is prophesied in Rev. 19:13 that "He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood." He is described in this way to identify Him with Joseph, the man whose robe was dipped in blood in Gen. 37:31. This second coming is important, because it completes the work begun in His first appearance. Without a second coming, He would not be able to receive the Birthright of Joseph.
But getting back to the Dominion Mandate, Jesus' first appearance was from the tribe of Judah and of the seed of David in order to qualify Him as the lawful King of the Earth. In the end, all kings will serve Him--not unwillingly, and not by force. They will gladly serve him with rejoicing. Jesus never advocated the use of force to compel anyone to worship Him or bow before Him. Instead, He has chosen to earn their love and respect by demonstrating the love of God to all. Thus, Psalm 67:4, 5 says,
" (4) Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for Thou wilt judge the peoples with righteousness and guide the nations on the earth. (5) Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee."
Even so, history reveals many usurpers to the throne of the world. Jesus' right to rule the earth has been challenged from the beginning. The first major challenger was Nimrod, who was the first to conquer men and form a rival kingdom, which was called Babylon. He apparently knew the prophecies of the coming Messiah who was destined to rule the earth, and Nimrod wanted to be that Messiah.
Shem, then, left Nimrod's Babylonian Kingdom, traveling West to the land of Canaan. There he built a city which he called Salem, "Peace," or Jeru-Salem, "City of Peace," and set up his throne there under the title of Melchizedek, "King of Righteousness." These two rival kingdoms, then, became the archetypes of the historical conflict between Mystery Babylon and the New Jerusalem.
Later, the Dominion Mandate was given to King David, along with the promise that the Messiah would be one of his descendants. David's throne was challenged by Absalom, who thought that he could qualify for the throne as a son of David. But Absalom was a usurper, and his character proved him to be unworthy of the Dominion Mandate.
A thousand years later, Jesus came of the lineage of David to claim His throne, but He too was challenged in the same way that Absalom challenged David. The story of David and Absalom was replayed in the story of the New Testament when the chief priests usurped the throne of Christ. But even as David had a "second coming" in which Absalom was deposed and killed, so also will Jesus Christ have a "second coming," in which the usurpers will be deposed and their counterfeit kingdom destroyed.
At the same time, Christ will come as Joseph to re-unite the Birthright with the Scepter. At that time, the Kingdom of God will have not only a King, but also the manifested Sons of God, the first fruits of creation (James 1:18), who will rule under Christ. These will be given immortality and incorruption in the "first resurrection."
This is the first part of a series titled "The Four Elements of a Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones