To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
The Kingdom is woven into all the teachings of Christ. He taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come”. He taught that our good deeds on earth are seen by our Father in Heaven, and that He will reward us in the resurrection. He taught that His Kingdom is not of this world, and that this world is in darkness. Christ’s moral teaching is so sublime as to be unattainable by the flesh: it is the power of the Spirit, who is given to us as an earnest of the Kingdom, that makes us able to live as Christ did.
In our suffering, the resurrection is our comfort. The Kingdom is what we are striving for: even as we wait for the return of Jesus, we catch glimpses of the Kingdom now in works of power and love. Healings, true Christian love, casting out of evil spirits, and revelation of God – these things are signs of the coming Kingdom.
The Kingdom is our inheritance: when Christ takes the kingdoms of the earth from the Gentiles and restores the Kingdom to Israel, His faithful followers will sit upon thrones and oversee the governments of the earth. This world is a terrible place, a vale of tears as the old Catholic words tell us (“in hac valle lacrimarum”).
Today I watched Paul: Apostle of Christ. As I looked upon the depravity of burning Christians alive under Nero, I thought to myself, “I cannot pretend this is all over: this is the sort of thing that ISIS does to people.” The Christians overcame the Romans and the demons by laying down their lives for Christ and passing on the Good News about Him. Their martyrdom was costly, but it sent a resounding message throughout the ancient world: Jesus Christ is Lord.
The spiritual rulers in darkness and fallen humans try to claim that title, Lord. Their rulership is coming to an end. One of the great proclamations from Heaven in the Book of Revelation is this: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
A world ruled by Christ is better than the one we have made for ourselves. The powers of darkness do not rule for our benefit; they do not have the shepherd’s heart that characterises Christ. The works of the Kingdom we practise now are training for government in that age to come. Our lives parallel the life of Christ, of which David’s life was a foreshadow. David served as a humble shepherd. Anointed by Samuel, he was persecuted by Saul, to whom he showed mercy and compassion. Finally he was vindicated by enthronement in Jerusalem, graced by the presence of God in the tabernacle on Mount Zion – a time when the Levitical strictures were in abeyance.
So our lives reflect that of David: we are nobodies in this world, but we have received the Spirit, and we are called to learn kingship and compassion. One day we will see the glory of God when Christ returns to Mount Zion. Even now, as Paul the Apostle informed the Church, we are seated on thrones in heavenly places: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
My prayer is that, as we move closer to the Day of Christ, God would light a fire of yearning for the Kingdom afresh in our hearts, and help us to believe with conviction that we are already seated on those thrones in Heaven, thrones that John was privileged to see descend to earth in the resurrection.