Does God Have a Kingdom on Earth?

2 Samuel 7

The short answer is, you betcha. Modern people don’t like this idea. It hits a little too close to home. “If God has a kingdom on earth then maybe I will have to pay attention,” says modern secular man. “If God has a kingdom on earth, then maybe I’m not the king of kings,” queries Joe Biden.

Some Christians themselves aren’t too sure about this idea of God’s kingdom. It sounds a bit carnal and fleshly. It sounds too much like the Old Testament. “And doesn’t Jesus say that his kingdom is not of this world?” asks someone. Yes, that is correct. But Jesus did not mean that his kingdom had nothing to do with this world. And he manifestly did not mean that his kingdom was not coming on earth for he taught us to pray that it would. Jesus did mean that his kingdom doesn’t follow the rudiments of the world. It doesn’t depend or advance upon man and his chariots.

We hear about this kingdom in 2 Samuel 7 when God covenants with David.

The Text – A Summary

David has recently brought the ark of God to Jerusalem. David has rest from all his enemies and considers building God a house, seeing he himself lived in one. The prophet Nathan first says to get to work, but then returns after hearing from the LORD. The message from God is: you will not build me a house, but I will make you a house (v. 11). God reminds David what He has done for him. And then verse 10 gets to the nub of the covenant. God will “appoint a place” for Israel, “plant” them so they may “dwell” and be disturbed no more. The sense is that Israel will be settled. They will not be a nomadic and vulnerable people any longer. They will have rest from their enemies and be set up as a secure nation. 

Verse 12 signals more of this glorious covenant by speaking of David’s seed. God will establish the kingdom of David’s seed (v. 12). And David’s seed will build a house for the LORD (v. 13). God will be a father to Him and He a son to God (v. 14). When David’s seed sins, God will discipline him (v. 14)—in other words, God will love this seed enough to treat him as a son, not like Saul who was left without discipline and correction. In verse 16 God covenants that David’s house and kingdom shall be made sure and established forever. 

This kingdom which God covenanted is the very kingdom in which Christians find themselves today. There is a very real border to this kingdom. And there are citizens and non-citizens of this kingdom. And the Greater David, Jesus Christ, is the King of this kingdom. Regarding this text, John Calvin said, “In the branch which sprung from the root of Jesse, these words were fulfilled in their fullest sense.”

The sign of membership in this kingdom is baptism. And the meal of the citizens is bread and wine. And when the citizens sit down at table together, they proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. And the Lord, the King of this Kingdom, is coming. He is coming again, that is, a second time. For he has already come once. When he came the first time, John the Baptist announced that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. More specifically, he said, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

Scripture says that the other kingdom, the kingdom opposed to the kingdom of God on earth, is the kingdom of darkness. And there is no middle kingdom. Each man finds himself in one of these two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of the Son. And, strikingly, there is a way to transfer kingdoms. But that way is God himself. Paul says to the saints, “[God] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).

So here is some encouragement for Christians who are quite sure what is going on around here: You are now in a very real kingdom. And you are also on earth. And the kingdom in which you find yourself is a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Other things are being shaken. But that which cannot be shaken remains (Hebrews 27-28). Jesus Christ is the Son of David sitting upon the throne of David. And that throne cannot be shaken. What’s more, the kingdom God has on earth is growing such that one day all people, nations, and languages will serve him for as the prophet Daniel testified many years ago, “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).