Kingdom is God’s strategy of leadership in heaven and earth. Leadership is the kingdom strategy to influence and impact history by bringing heaven’s kingdom into the earth. Discipling is Jesus’ strategy to prepare and position leaders. Fathering is the discipling strategy that invests the heaven’s spirit of leadership into kingdom leaders. Kingdom. Leaders. Discipling. Fathering.
To understand kingdom leadership, we must first understand kingdom.
Kingdom, [Greek, basileion, Hebrew, mamlakah] An ancient word and concept, can never be properly understood separate from its spiritual and Divine aspect. The idea has always had a Divine or spiritual connotation whatever language, worldview, or culture used the word or concept; and certainly no Biblical understanding can avoid the obvious involvement of God in ruling His Creation. Both terms are ancient and borrowed from previous languages to identify some form of governmental priesthood. Kingdom has always inferred the involvement of God or gods in history.
All references to “kingdom” in the Bible infer a spiritual kingdom resident in the heavenlies in which God is King. This kingdom then gains influence and impact in history and on the earth through its application within covenant agreements between the heavenly kingdom and earthly leadership and culture. The kingdom is heavenly. The King is Yahweh. He has always been King because the kingdom has always been a heavenly reality. At the same time, anticipation of that heavenly kingdom being more fully expressed in the earth gives meaning to many statements about kingdom recorded in the Bible.
[Consider the “Royal Psalms.” Hermann Gunkel marks the royal psalms as 2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 101, 110, 132, 144. While Royal Psalms may have been written for the coronation of the kings, they presuppose that God’s kingdom prepares and positions men to serve as His representatives. Some psalms consider the function of the king representing the heavenly kingdom.
Many commentators and theologians refer to these anticipations of earthly kingdom only in an “eschatological” context. They see kingdom as the ultimate goal of God. I like to refer to the “end times” as the “ultimates.” Seeing “the end” merely as linear culmination misstates the meaning of many Biblical references to God’s strategy and involvement in human history, and misreads His intentions to accomplish His eternal purposes. The idea that God will finish what He starts may be a more accurate descriptor of “the end.” In fact, there is no “the end,” as there is no “the beginning” outside or without eternal purpose: things begin and end because they become what God intends them to be. That is, we should properly see “kingdom” as a beginning and an ending with measurable manifestations of ultimate fullness and fulfillment. Jesus can only achieve the ultimates; the fullness and fulfillment of kingdom purpose, covenant, and assignment belong to those who represent the King here and now.
Kingdom is God involving Himself as King in history, and the kingdom of heaven that Jesus establishes now represents God’s strategy to bring nations into that strategy. In David, we first see an emerging promise of how kingdom will fulfill that anticipation through Messiah. This comes from a merging of the two kingdom reference points: God is King in Heaven; God’s kingdom will influence and impact the nations of earth through Messiah. David’s kingdom becomes eternal in Messiah Jesus.
Beware the tendency to accept the “He came first as Savior. He’ll come again as King” as if that means He wasn’t King when born of the lineage of David. What Jesus accomplished in identifying with man so man could identify with Him carries much more weight than commonly assumed. He was King in the stable. He is King now. The manifestation of ultimates will finish something in terms of His kingdom’s fullness and fulfillment.
Jewish thinking assumed further meaning of kingdom from God inhabiting and present so that God is King. That assumes God’s kingdom is the expression of God’s leadership, and He is present and planning to stay awhile to carry out His kingship. When this meaning carries into the New Testament by the words of John and Jesus, and the earliest mention of kingdom as it relates to the arrival of Messiah, the meaning is totally consistent with this developed sense of “kingdom.” Therefore, kingdom leaders, like David and Melchisedec are marked by royal descriptors and assumed to represent God in unique ways. They represented Messianic fullness that Jesus revealed upon His arrival and ministry, a Messianic fullness that only the ultimates will finish.
Jesus is initially King of the Jews. The sense of this kingdom strategy remains fully functional: God wants everybody but never starts with everybody. He invests into a chosen Remnant what He wishes to manifest to everyone. He puts something in them so He can release something through them. God always has a Remnant invested with kingdom authority and power when He seeks to manifest kingdom.
Saul was Israel’s first kingly leader, but Saul answered to the people’s earthly concept of king. David incorporated all the facets of kingdom in his leadership. A spirit of leadership that properly represented God’s heart to finish, implement, execute, and carry out God’s purpose through ultimate obedience established a kingdom that Jesus arrived to make eternal. Therefore, David became a manifestation of Messianic promise awaiting the fullness Messiah alone could provide.
The parable in which Jesus describes a nobleman’s extended absence, describes Luke 19:12, 15, “labien heauto basileian” and “labonta ten basilican.”
“To receive his kingdom” and, “Having received His kingdom,” The reference directly relates to rule and realm.
The comparative phrases, “to receive authorization for his kingdom” and “having received authorization for his kingdom,” gives context for His discussion of delegated authority and kingdom leadership function. We must also distinguish between representative authority and the fully functional manifestation of the King in His realm. The kingdom perfectly manifested in heaven as the realm of the King and the kingdom increasingly manifesting its reign as influence upon history and cultures can be seen in Scripture. God as King in heaven and God’s kingdom being established on earth reveal strategic distinctions because of very real differences. God is not King on earth as He is in heaven; God has a strategy for His Kingdom to manifest in earth that is different from its perfect manifestation in the heavenlies.
The rule or the realm must both be distinguished in terms of how kingdom functions. Coming into the rule of the King begins the process of defining the realm of the king. One speaks of his authority. One speaks of his possession. His realm is being expanded when we establish His rule.