THE VICTORIOUS KINGDOM

 

The word victory means, success, winning out, overcoming.

 

I donít know of anyone who does not like be victorious or belong to those who are. We love it when our favorite team wins and remains number one through out their season. We love it when we work for a company that is successful, and we like being part of that success. We also love to be on the winning side of a war, but in order to be victorious, many times you have to have the right mindset.

 

For example, during the Pakistan-India War, the Pakistan people put up a multitude of signs saying, ďVictory is Ours.Ē They also put this message across the radio and in their newspapers. Of course this was designed to keep the spirit of the people uplifted.

 

A similar thing happened in our history. During World War II, many raised Victory Gardens and the sign V for Victory was everywhere. Not only do people love to be on the winning team, it takes a positive mindset to have the drive and ambition to be victorious.

 

With this in mind, letís talk about the victorious kingdom that every Christian belongs to. Long before the kingdom of God came into existence, Daniel prophesied about it. In Daniel Chapter 2, Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzarís dream. This was not the usually interpretation because the king would not tell anyone what he saw in his dream, but he wanted someone to tell him what it meant. The only man up for the task was Daniel with Godís help.

 

In his dream, he saw this great image with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, a belly of brass, and legs of iron with feet part iron and part clay. Daniel was able to tell the king what he saw, and then he interpreted the dream for him starting in:

 

Daniel 2:37 "You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;38 "and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all -- you are this head of gold.39 "But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.40 "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.41 "Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.42 "And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.43 "As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.44 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

 

Daniel tells the king about four kingdoms. The head of Gold represents the Babylonian Empire, The breast and arms of silver represents the Medo-Persian Empire, The belly brass represents the Grecian Empire, and the legs of iron with feet part iron and part clay represents the Roman Empire. It was during this fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire, that the new kingdom would be made and it was to be a kingdom that would last forever.

 

Think about how powerful a kingdom would have to be last for ever. If that doesnít describe a victorious kingdom then nothing does. Daniel has given us a timeline of when this victorious kingdom would be started. It would happen during the Roman Empire. When Jesus was on the earth it was during the Roman Empire, and He and John the Baptist was preaching the message that kingdom was at hand.

 

During Jesusí ministry, Peter made a great statement about Jesus being the Christ the Son of the living God, and Jesus responded by saying:

 

Matthew 16:17 "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.19 "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

 

Jesus was going to build His church and He would give Peter the keys of the kingdom or we could say church because the church and the kingdom are used synonymously throughout the NT.

 

Jesus also said:

 

Mark 9:1 "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power."

 

He also said:

 

Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 "And you are witnesses of these things.49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

 

We learn from verse 49 that when the Holy Spirit comes as promised when they were in Jerusalem, they will be endued with power. So, the kingdom Daniel prophesied about that would come during the Roman Empire would come with power, and it would come when the Holy Spirit came because that is when power would come, and it was to have it beginning in Jerusalem.

Verse 47 teaches us that that the new law of that new kingdom would begin in Jerusalem, which was also prophesied by Isaiah in:

 

Isaiah 2:2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.†††

 

All we have to do to confirm when and where this victorious kingdom had its beginning is to go to book of Acts because Jesus tells His apostles in:

 

Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

 

Just as Isaiah prophesied, the Law of God would begin at Jerusalem, and it would spread from there. So, this great victorious kingdom would begin in Jerusalem and its beginning can be found in Acts 2, which was the Day of Pentecost:

 

Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

One final proof that this was the day the victorious kingdom began comes from our verse in Isa. 2:2, which tells when this prophecy would occur in the latter days. Now notice what Peter says in:

 

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.15 "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.16 "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:17 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

 

These things happening on the day of Pentecost were happening in the latter days or last days. When we put all the facts together, there is no denying that the victorious kingdom of God that will never be destroyed started at Jerusalem during the Roman Empire on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles and the law of the new kingdom began to be taught at Jerusalem.

 

Some in religious world actual claim that the kingdom has not come, and that Jesus must come again to establish it sometime in the near future. They even agree that all the OT prophecies point to Jesus bringing in the new kingdom during the Roman Empire, but they think the Jews were not ready for this kingdom so Jesus failed His mission and would have to try again later. So believe we got the church instead of the kingdom, which I have already shown that the church and kingdom are one in the same.

 

I find this way of thinking strange because Isaiah said that Jesus would be rejected by men (Isa. 53:3). If Jesus had failed to complete His mission in starting the kingdom of God, then how could He could pray to God and say:

 

John 17:4 "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

 

If Jesus did not build the church/kingdom as prophesied by the OT prophets, then we have the first promise that God could not keep, but we know that this is not the case because after the day of Pentecost, the kingdom of God is spoken of as a present reality.

 

Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

 

Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

When Paul talks about Jesus coming again, he says nothing about Him establishing His kingdom. Instead, he says when he come it will be for judgment, and He will deliver the existing kingdom to the Father.

 

1 Cor. 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.

 

The victorious kingdom of God is a reality, and it has been in place since A.D 30, and it was built by Jesus as prophesied by the prophets of old. It is not a physical kingdom, but a spiritual one as Jesus told Pilate:

 

John 18:36 "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."

 

No matter how many nations have fallen or have risen over the last 2000 years, none can make the claim of the Kingdom of God because it cannot be destroyed or conquered by any foe, and those who belong to the kingdom of God and remain true to it will continue to live for eternity in heaven.

 

From the day of Pentecost to our present day the commands of God have been taught and followed. Starting in Jerusalem, the apostles used the keys of the kingdom to preach the truth, and that day about 3000 souls were baptized into the kingdom and were added to the church by God (Acts 2:47).

 

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

 

As Jesus commanded them, they preached the truth to the world. As the kingdom/church grew in number and persecution began, the people scattered and went into new areas preaching the good news of Jesus. We also read about men like Paul who journeyed to new places preaching the truth and growing the kingdom of God.

 

Those who belonged to Godís kingdom had to face severe persecutions at times and some of them even lost their life, but even when these difficult times happened to the church, the church grew and continued to be victorious. Now you might think that it would not be worth it to be part of kingdom that has to face many adversities that will challenge your faith, but those who belong to the kingdom and study Godís Word have no doubts that it is worth it, because we know that even if we die for the cause of Christ, our soul will continue to live forever, and at the day of judgment, we will be given a new body like that of Christ that will endure forever as:

 

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

 

Also Paul said:

 

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed --52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

 

Every Christian that understands this idea and has the right mindset knows that being in the kingdom of God will make you victorious in the end and cause you to have the same attitude that Paul had when he said:

 

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

If you want to be on the winning side that is guaranteed to win, and you want to be able to taste victory, then you need to part of Godís victorious kingdom because only those that are in His kingdom will be saved:

 

Ephesians 5:23 He is the Savior of the body.

 

The word body is the same thing as saying the church, which is the same thing as the kingdom. If you are outside of the kingdom of God, then you are on the losing side because you are on the devilís side.

 

A great question to ask at this point is how does one become part of the victorious kingdom of God? Well, the Bible answers that question with clarity because it tells usexactly what we must do to enter the kingdom so that we can be saved.

 

The first thing we must do is hear the Word of God as:

 

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

Without the Word of God, we could not know how to be saved, so we must hear what it has to say. When we hear it, study it, and allow it penetrate our heart, it will produce faith.Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).

 

Once we believe in Jesus, our hearts will become pricked because we will understand what God did for us through His Son because of our sin, and we will realize that we are lost without Him just like the Jews were at the birth of the church at the day of Pentecost. When they heard the Word of God they asked, ďWhat they should doĒ and Peter said:

 

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Repentance is required to be saved because Jesus says that we will perish if we do not repent in Luke 13:3. Repentance is a change of heart, and it means that you will stop living your life by your own desires and change your ways to Godís way. If you used steal, steal no more. If you were liar, then lie no more.

 

One thing not mentioned in Acts 2:38 is confessing Jesus as Lord, which also necessary to enter into the kingdom of God. As Paul said:

 

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

So far we have seen that you must hear the Word of God, believe it, repent, and confess Jesus as Lord, but we also see that there is one more crucial step in entering the victorious kingdom of God and it is seen in the latter part of Acts 2:38:

 

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Peter states that baptism is for the remission of sins and those that gladly received the truth that day were baptized:

 

Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

 

These same people were the ones that were added to the church/kingdom by God:

 

Acts 2:47 And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

 

Jesus and Paul make it clear that it is at the point of baptism that one enters into the victorious kingdom of God:

 

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.††

 

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body

 

Since the church/body/kingdom are synonymous terms, it is easy for us to see that baptism is the point that we enter the kingdom/body of Christ. So, if you want to enter into the kingdom of God, then you must hear the Word, believe it, repent, confess Jesus as Lord and be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins. That will get you into the victorious kingdom of God, but if you want to remain on the winning team and see the glories of heaven, then you must be willing to fight the good fight of faith and remain committed to God. You should never find yourself being ashamed of the gospel or apologizing for the truth. When you remain faithful to God you will be given the crown of life (Rev. 2:10) and as James said:

 

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

 

If you are not in the victorious kingdom right now, I hope you choose to be saved today so that you can taste the victory of heaven, and if you already in the kingdom, I hope you continue to be steadfast in your faith so that you will receive the crown of life that can only be obtained through the victorious kingdom of God.