Contrasting The Kingdom & Empires

By Scott Webster
Dec 1, 2014
The two entities of Empire and Kingdom are very powerful icons that are embedded in the word of God.

The bible is full of the drama of human interaction: deception, wars, romance, family dysfunction, betrayal, forgiveness and reconciliation, genocide, political upheaval to name a few.  Encoded in the narrative are powerful truths meant to reveal God and His ways to us.  These are not just stories; they contain truths meant to transform us and equip us to stand. In this article we want to look at one such narrative – Jesus as He stood before Pilate – an event which contains profound truth that can help us especially in this vital time of God’s dealings with the earth.

John 18:33-38 NKJV
Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?"  35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew?  Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me.  What have You done?"  36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."  37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?"  Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."  38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"  And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all."

 In reading this I want us to hear the certainty and clarity that resided in Jesus.  I also want you to hear the clash of the two systems – two completely different systems of value and standards which are absolutely opposed to each other.  The interaction between Jesus and Pilate is a collision between the Kingdom of God, which is dominant, and the empires of man, which are weak and temporal. 

In reading Jesus’ response to Pilate a couple things are implied

  1. The Kingdom of God was more powerful than the Empire of Rome, it was superior.  We can say that the Kingdom of God is superior to the Empires of man.
     
  2. The Kingdom of God was not only superior but it operated by different standards and values, it is not earthly in its motivation.  Jesus said my servants are 'not of this world'.

This encounter was put here in the word of God to make us aware of the true structure of reality.  There are in fact two systems of life, one system we can refer to as the Kingdom of God the other as the Empire of Man.

Jesus clearly states 'my Kingdom', his realm of dominion is not of this world; the laws, principles and values by which His Kingdom operates are very different from the Empires of the earth.  Jesus made a clear distinction and it is important that we not simply give agreement to this fact but that we ensure that the principles of the Kingdom of God exist powerfully within our own hearts.

There are other areas in the Word of God where we see the reality of the clash of Kingdom and Empire taking place, one such place is in the book of Daniel.  Daniel was required by Nebuchadnezzar to not only know the dream but to also interpret the dream that God gave to Nebuchadnezzar.  In the account we are given very vivid imagery of the clash between the Kingdom of God and Empire of men.

Daniel 2:9, 40-45
9 “But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place.  After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world.
40 Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron.  That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. 41 The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided.  Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. 42 But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. 43 This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage.  But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.

44 “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered.  It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. 45 That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold.  The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.”

There are some important issues that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream tells us about earthly empires.

  1. I find it interesting and noteworthy that God describes the empires of the world as precious metals, gold, silver etc but the image used to describe the Kingdom is a stone -- not a high quality material by earth’s standards, much like a lowly teacher and healer from Israel standing before Pilate the earth’s potentate.
     
  2. The empires are gradually decreasing in quality over time; the movement is from precious metals to iron and clay.  This implies that the closer we arrive at the end of time, there is a continual and inevitable degradation of earth’s system.  This is an unstoppable reality because it has been decreed in the Word of God: 9 “But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place."
     
  3. While the trajectory of the earth’s empires is downward, the movement of the Kingdom as represented by the stone is one of increase, growth and expansion. 44 “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.”
     
  4. The fourth issue that we can extract from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is that not only are the two systems moving in opposite directions, the Kingdom of God will clash and destroy the earth’s empires, demonstrating irresistible force and power.  We are living in a time when earthly systems are clearly under attack.  This image in Daniel implies that crisis or severe transition of systems in the natural order of nations is part of the spiritual process of the end.  Fragmentation in the order of the nations presents an opportunity for the stone to strike the image. 

What are the Implications for the Church in the Earth?

These two situations – Jesus before Pilate and Daniel interpreting the king’s dream – clearly reveal the required attitudes and posture we need to adopt as we exist in the midst of the crisis. 

Like Jesus heading directly towards the cross but who stood unbowed before Pilate, we are to live in the boldness and clarity of identity that comes to us from God.  We are to live with our eyes fixed on the things of above, knowing that the Kingdom of God is in fact superior and that the principles of life that we see in the earth are inferior despite the external allure and projection of power.  We must know that we live by superior standards and values; if we are not internally convinced of it we will compromise.

The two entities of Empire and Kingdom are two very powerful icons that are embedded within the word of God.  We want to further consider them as we choose to powerfully define ourselves not in the way the earth does, based on natural power, wealth and political influence, but according to the Kingdom of God.  We have to choose to live according to the principles of the Kingdom of God and choose NOT to live according to the Empire principles that exist within the earth.

Now that we have seen the contrast between the Kingdom of God and earthly empires, in subsequent articles I want to deal with why Ancient Egypt was chosen to be the primary contrast with God’s movements in the earth in 2014 and which forms the basis of The Arc of Empires.

Comments

Cheryll Guesno | USA | December 3, 2014

I need to constantly remind myself that I am a citizen of an eternal Kingdom.So that I do not lose sight and focus on what is important in these trying times.
Thank you.

Cheryll Guesno | USA | December 3, 2014

Thank you for the reminder that I am part of an Eternal Kingdom that will not pass away and that this is what I must focus on in these trying times.

Sheldon charles | Trinidad and Tobago | December 3, 2014

This reminds me of the birth of Jesus Christ which was a clash of kingdoms between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the earth represented by Herod

Benedict Masudi | Kenya | December 3, 2014

My resolution is to increasingly become the stone that God uses to bring down the stature.

Chris Baird | USA | December 3, 2014

This article is so clear.  I appreciate the clarity with which you pointed these things out right there in the Scriptures.  There are no “private interpretations” with the prophetic Words of God, they are plain for all to see.  I see what you are pointing out, and in my heart, I am absolutely committed to living according to God’s Kingdom standards in my own life, in my marriage and family, and inside of my local church!  AMEN!

Wayne Brown | Trinidad and Tobago | December 3, 2014

Very interesting article Scott. The part of the text that captured my interest was when Pilate asked. what is truth? He never waited for an answer. What’s the sense in asking a question but not seeking out the answer? Or what is the sense in asking a question and not seriously considering answers given. It would’ve been interesting to see the conversation continue between a king within the Babylonian system and the true King of the Kingdom of God. The truth is Babylon embeds its false patterns on us that we believe and see its false patterns as reality and never really challenge Babylonian positions, which are really like a mirage, designed to bend the reality of God.

Vete P.Sakaio | Tuvalu | December 3, 2014

This is an eye openning fact and everyone must understand and take constructive stand as it is coming closer and closer. Today is the day that the Lord has made for each one to be ready for the returning of the Lord, the Messiah to RULE the whole World.

AMEN

Charles Njuguna | Kenya | December 4, 2014

This statement stands out for me “We have to choose to live according to the principles of the Kingdom of God and choose NOT to live according to the Empire principles that exist within the earth.” The power of choice that God granted us is a critical tool that we have to use wisely in the days we are living in.

kamau.james | Kenya | December 4, 2014

it is wonderful how GOD is dealing with the kingdoms of the earth.
HE is sovereign and the ultimate is establishing an eternal kingdom-growing from a small stone

Antwan Davis | United States | December 4, 2014

The truths highlighted in this article is God reemphasizing His intent to make a distinction between the Kingdom of God and the empires of men in the earth. I am seeing with greater clarity, it is not only the recognition, but the internal apprehension of the superior principles, standards and values of the Kingdom in our lives, that will set us apart as God continues to confront and dismantle the empires of man.

Zwelakhe Mhlongo | | December 5, 2014

“I find no fault in Him at all.” - this statement indicates that the low earthly system is trying by all means to embody its ways, philosophy, values, thinking etc. to humankind. It also suggests to me that there is an ongoing scrutiny and evaluation to ensure that a man’s life is entrenched in a faulty state. The earthly system goes even to a point where it asks, “Are you the king of Jews?” implying it will stop at nothing to cast doubts and confusion to man’s identity. Just like Daniel, we have to be resolved in our hearts that we would not be defiled by the imperatives of earthly standards in the close of Time

Christopher | Cote d'Ivoire | December 5, 2014

En lisant de plus ces lignes cela montre a quel point Dieu veut que je ne perde pas de vue l objectif principal qui est celui d entrer dans son Royaume dont je suis citoyen;vigilance donc!

Rosemary French | Australia | December 5, 2014

Hearing comments from brothers and sisters regularly helps me to proceed with my eyes fixed onJesus.

Sharon Crumpler | United States | December 5, 2014

A very powerful reminder as to where my eyes should be focused.  In the midst of seemingly powerful empires reigning, if I am not focused on the Kingdom of God currently being built in the earth, then I am at risk of being imprinted by earthly principles and standards as opposed to the principle, standards and definitions that come from the Kingdom of God. In this current day we live in, it is more imperative than ever for me to track down and understand the origin of what is formulating my identity, systems of thought and definitions for life.

Bidemi Alfred | Nigeria | December 6, 2014

This article opens one’s eyes to the reality of the times we live in and also gives the accurate posture we need to have on the inside of our lives. Just like Christ, while the earth rapidly descends into repeated crisis, we need to stand tall unbowed just like our Lord.
In the midst of intense distabilzation of the earth’s system and values, we need to rise to ever ascending levels of faith, internal conviction and Christ likeness cause we are in the kingdom that can’t be shaken.

Raphael TOSSOU | Togo | December 7, 2014

May God empower us

Ndi John Kwefi | Cameroon | December 8, 2014

Thanks to God that we belong to an etenal and superior kingdom and have bowed to it,s standard and values.To Him be glory and honor.

Carol Wachira | Kenya | December 10, 2014

The empires of man are temporal and even if in our sight today they look fortified and strong we should not be deceived because they will surely fall.

Avril Fox-Pooran | Trinidad and Tobago | December 10, 2014

I absolutely agree with this statement: ” We are to live in the boldness and clarity of identity that comes to us from God.  We are to live with our eyes fixed on the things of above, knowing that the Kingdom of God is in fact superior and that the principles of life that we see in the earth are inferior despite the external allure and projection of power.” I see it as part of my core from which I must pivot to interface with my environment.

John Udonsak | Nigeria | December 11, 2014

This tells me/us that the best that the empires and her components present are set up for destruction. The kingdom that would destroy it is indestructible and would last into eternity. I would rather belong to that kingdom while livng in the empire like uncle Abraham - setting my focus on a “city whose builder and maker is God” and the things that would make this realizable.

sudhir dullip | Mauritius | December 14, 2014

After reading these powerful declaration,its continue to boost our faith , and bring illumination . thanks

Shawn Patrick | USA | December 20, 2014

A striking and monumental, of importance, contrast to all kingdom people; especially those of us living in the USA. Because we have to overcome this high mindedness of being from the best and strongest country in the world. At least, this has been our history. We even right songs about our pride in America. Don’t take this wrong. I believe in and support the original -Godly- ideals and principles this nation was founded on, but, I’m afraid we need to find it again and even take it to it’s ultimate true identity and maturity that is in the mind of Christ. If it is true that we only “see in part” and “through a glass dimly”, then does it not stand to reason that our forefathers did as well. This tells me that we are in serious need to examine more carefully what, or who, we are and to what or where is our allegiance. Is it in “We the people” or in “I AM the creator”. Where are the leaders that can take us to this place? I must look to myself and see how I am truly leading. Time to reflect, and redefine-

Michael Njiraini | Kenya | May 27, 2015

Jesus stands strong unbowed by the earthly system, His identity remains intact, & that is our position as we come into confrontation with babylon.

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