God, who fills the universe, who made it all, the stars and space, did choose to put mankind on earth and focus on this tiny place. The perfect world he made for us was broken by our parents' sin, and nothing we try is enough to heal it, make it whole again. Our God, whose heart is endless love, could never leave his children lost. He left his palace up above to be a man, at a huge cost. Scrunched into human form, Jesus would usher in God's Kingdom, come, to put an end to what kills us, for he would die, God's holy Son. This baby was no accident, born in a stable, far from home! Messiah, chosen one, God-sent, his death killed death, made us his own. Alleluia! We sing God's praise! He offers us his warm embrace, If we accept, we have our place In his Kingdom, come! Amazing grace!
When I wrote this poem, it was a Christmas song, a reminder that when Jesus came, God was initiating an important new phase in his rule. God has always been the King of Everything, right? He is Creator, Lord of All! But the choice of his people to disobey their Master, to distrust him and bow to another Voice, opened the way for the Lord of Evil to exert ongoing influence over them and the world that God had made. What changed the saga is God’s amazing grace and love for broken humanity. He knew the foundational premises he had put in place, and came to earth himself to break the Enemy’s supposed ongoing dominion over the planet and its inhabitants. He himself took all their griefs and broken actions on himself when he took the punishment they deserved, and he conquered death!
He also ushered in his Kingdom in a new way on the earth. When teaching his disciples on the Mount, Jesus said:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:9-10 NIV)
“Your kingdom come” has always resonated with me as a statement of hope, that someday his kingdom would again reign completely on earth and all would be made new, healed. And that is a promise:
In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. (Daniel 2:24 NET)
Jesus underlined the truth of this prophecy with more details about the events that will show that time has arrived:
So also you, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. (Luke 21:31 NET)
Then and in Luke 17:20-37, Jesus was referring to the fulfillment, the time when the universal Kingdom in all its power will be established.
So what did he mean when he sent out his disciples and told them:
Heal the sick in that town and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come upon you!’ (Luke 10:9 NET)
I chose the NET version because of their excellent explanation of this choice of words as more explanatory than what is often used. Let’s look at how other translations state it, again: the kingdom of God has come near to you. You could understand that it is nearby, just out of reach. But read this translation note:
” tn Or “come near to you,” suggesting the approach (but not arrival) of the kingdom. But the combination of the perfect tense of ἐγγίζω (engizoÒ) with the preposition ἐπί (epi) most likely suggests that the sense is “has come upon” (see BDAG 270 s.v. ἐγγίζω 2; W. R. Hutton, “The Kingdom of God Has Come,” ExpTim 64 [Dec 1952]: 89-91; and D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1000; cf. also NAB “is at hand for you”). These passages argue that a key element of the kingdom is its ability to overcome the power of Satan and those elements in the creation that oppose humanity. Confirmation of this understanding comes in v. 18 and in Luke 11:14–23, especially the parable of vv. 21–23.”
When responding to accusations of using Satanic power to drive out demons, this is how Jesus answered:
NET Luke 11:20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you. (Luke 11:20 NET)
Yes, the kingdom of God–which is also called the “kingdom of heaven” for Jewish audiences, to avoid pronouncing God’s name—was already there! It is the kingdom “come”, not just one we are still looking for.
It is the realm in which Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God, reigns. It is the “moral and spiritual kingdom which the God of grace is setting up in this fallen world,” and anyone who is in subjection to him is a part of it. Even John the Baptist was sent out to announce its arrival (Matthew 3:1). Jesus told the Pharisees not just to look forward to miraculous signs of the kingdom beginning, because “the kingdom of God is in your midst!” (Luke 17:21)
So when Jesus told us to pray, your kingdom come, we are expressing “the hope for the full manifestation of God’s promised rule” (note, Matthew 6:10 NET). The kingdom is here already, and those who belong to Jesus, who have come to receive him as Savior and King, belong to it. But the battle is still raging, with the Enemy doing his best to dissuade from entering it, even propagating the like that it doesn’t exist at all, that it is a fabrication of the imagination. It is only when at last he is destroyed, along with death, that God’s kingdom will be the only one there is. That will be the end of all sorrow and the beginning of a whole new world!
Now I understand better that the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, is here—or, as Dallas Willard puts it, it is “the kingdom now”. And it is accessible to those who choose to enter through the door provided, the “new birth,” which “means to be interactively joined with a dynamic, unseen system of divine reality in the midst of which all of humanity moves about—whether it knows it or not . . .’The Kingdom Among Us.’ “
This is headline news and needs to be shared! Once it has been spread all around, that complete and “full manifestation of God’s promised rule” will happen:
And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:14 NLT)
We long for that final day—no more tears, deception, political dissension, broken bodies, or murders! For now, we kingdom citizens are still surrounded by these and much more, a list that could go on and on.
But since his kingdom is already among us, and accessible, we are to live according to its principles, demonstrating by our lives that we are set apart, consecrated to be perfect like our King (Matthew 5:48, James 1:4). That is how we can have true impact:
. . .that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world. (Phil. 2:15 NET)
This is our reality now as well as our future hope. God who inhabits all space is not distant; he is completely present and constantly reaching out in love.
I was blown away by how the realization of that truth brought my Nyarafolo translation coworker, Moïse, to tears. He was already a mature believer, and passionate about sharing the Good News with his people. It was when we were casting about for a way to translate God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:18) that God’s initiative in reaching out to humans became meaningful to him. We had tried many suggestions that the team offered for “covenant,” but when our draft was being checked by a consultant, he questioned the term we had chosen—it did not have legal ramifications, with blessings and consequences for breaking it, which a covenant had to have. We needed to search for a better word, he said. In the silence that ensued, I brought up a term that we had discussed but that had been discarded because it was a term for contracts made with local gods and spirits.
“Explain it,” said the consultant.
Moïse told the story of how his family had such a contract with the “god” of their farmland, and how they renewed it yearly through a sacrifice in order to have a good crop. One year the contract was rejected! The slaughtered chicken thrown into the river near their property landed the wrong way. And a crocodile came out of the river and dragged his grandfather, their representative, into the river. He got loose but limped the rest of his life. And the crops failed. Someone had disobeyed the contract’s terms.
“But you see,” Moïse said, “we had to reach out through that annual sacrifice to make this contract. But in Abraham’s case, it was God who reached out to him. . .” There was a pause. He choked up, and tears brimmed in his eyes. “Ah, I see now! That is what is key here! God is the one who reaches out to make the contract with us! We have to use this term! People need to know he is not disinterested and distant!”
So true! He is the God of love, reaching out to humanity. God sent Jesus to establish his kingdom in a way that is building towards forever. It is a kingdom of love, truth, and light, and we long for its full reign. But since it has already come among us, we are no longer in bondage to the kingdom of darkness. And we participate as citizens in bringing it to completion (we will be discussing that!).
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, (Col. 1:13 NIV)
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father– to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Rev. 1:5b-6 NIV)
 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 26.
 Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997), 105.
 Ibid., 68.