by Jeannette Haley
There is somehow something magical about the captivating word “kingdom.” This enchanting word can bring to mind mid-evil castles, kings, queens, princes and princesses. Visions of grandeur flash across the screen of our mind’s eye as we imagine knights in shining armor astride powerful war-horses. Ah, what lofty dreams can arise from the word “kingdom.”
Within Christendom in the past few decades there has been a growing emphasis on the “kingdom.” Mainstream Christianity has been flooded with a barrage of new, aggressive, militant and doctrinally unsound “kingdom” choruses (music is a powerful medium for teaching doctrine, either false or true). The new “kingdom” songs are repetitiously and fervently sung to ear-splitting accompaniment. Needless to say reverence, anointing and true worship has been replaced with a sensuous, carnal sort of feel- good paganism.
“New revelations” about the “kingdom” are taught and preached throughout the land in churches and home fellowships. This revolutionary “reformation” doctrine has spread around the globe via television and radio programs, conferences, seminars, videos, books and tapes.
What does all of this mean? What does the Bible tell us about God’s kingdom? First, we need to understand that there is no distinction between the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven” in the Gospels. These two terms are one and the same thing and can be used interchangeably. Jesus preached the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 24:14) which is the good news that through faith in Him we can be born of the Spirit and enjoy eternal life under God’s undisputed rule (John 3:1-18). The early apostles and disciples also preached the message of the kingdom (Acts 8:12; 28:31) in preaching faith in Christ as Lord and Savior (Rom. 1:16-17; 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:4; etc.).
Jesus Himself said, “Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
It is important to remember that it is God who gives the true Christian the kingdom. We know that this is a spiritual kingdom, not an earthly one. Jesus declared that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36).
For centuries the church understood that the kingdom of God was not an earthly kingdom. However, we are living in the perilous times foretold by Jesus and the disciples when “kingdom shall rise against kingdom” (Matt. 24:7). What did Christ mean by this statement?
To begin with, we must remember that Satan also has a spiritual kingdom over which he rules. His kingdom is made up of the fallen angels who participated in his rebellion against God and a myriad of demons. We all know that Satan has longed to be the visible ruler over the nations on planet earth ever since the Garden of Eden. He nearly succeeded at the tower of Babel, but the time was not right for Satan’s short reign and God scattered the people across the world.
Down through the ages Satan has worked behind the scenes to set up his kingdom, or one-world religious system and one-world government. A more recent example of this is Nazi Germany and Hitler (Satan has always tried to eliminate the Jewish people and Israel because they bear testimony of God and His promises concerning them). Jesus told us that at His Second Coming He will then, Himself (without our help), establish His kingdom on earth. He will rule and reign from Jerusalem for one thousand years. But prior to this event, the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light will “rise against each other.”
Nothing is as destructive to the establishment of Satan’s Kingdom as God’s Word and the people who uphold that Word in Spirit and Truth.
Therefore, in order for Satan to be able to establish his visible kingdom in this world, which he will rule through the person known as the Antichrist, he must somehow deceive the church into believing a lie. What is that lie? It is the deception that anything “spiritual,” “religious,” “supernatural” or “good” is from the God of the Bible.
One of the vehicles Satan is using today is called “Kingdom Theology,” “Kingdom Dominion,” “Restoration Theology,” “Replacement Theology” or the “Manifestation of the Sons of God.” It would take volumes to fully expose Satan’s techniques to achieve global domination. Hopefully, this short article will shed light on one tributary to Satan’s growing river of deception.
“Kingdom Dominion” is not a church or denomination, but rather a worldwide, Satanic leaven within Christendom. Deluded Christians are actually enabling Satan to set up his kingdom on earth through their generous donations and support.
This dangerous movement is an integral part of the “shepherding” (discipling) fellowships and house churches. It presents a New World view. Their basis is the false teaching that man must take dominion over the earth, subduing ChristÕs enemies (under the authority of the “apostles” and “prophets”) for the purpose of presenting the newly-dominated world to Christ!
Kingdom Dominionists, in order to acquire a universal “Kingdom of God” on earth, must alter society and bring in biblical laws for the nations. This “reformation” is necessary in order to change man’s habits of greed and violence (the Roman religio-political empire nearly achieved this in time gone by at the cost of thousands of lives of “dissenters” and so-called “heretics”). Today the “dissenters” and “heretics” would be, among others, those believers who refuse to accept these “doctrines of demons” and who refuse to come under the “covering” of the false “prophets” and “apostles.”
The Apostle Peter wrote, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1). Concerning the kingdom dominion camp, they deny the Lord by their insistence that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is not enough for our salvation; deny His word by twisting it to conform to their heretical doctrines; deny prophesies of the end times and deny that the Holy Spirit is sufficient to teach God’s Word to God’s people.
One of the ways these false teachers gain a foothold is through fair speeches and flattery! “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Ro. 16:17). Daniel wrote that the Antichrist shall “obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
This kingdom system requires obedience to Law, and in this instance strict adherence to the Old Testament Law. However, the Bible clearly tells us that:
1) believers are saved by grace;
2) there is going to be a literal universal reign of terror through the Antichrist! It also tells us that before the Second Coming of Christ all nations will follow the satanic plans of the ‘Beast’ (Rev. 13:3-4).
A careful study of the history, beliefs and goals of the “Kingdom Theology” camp reveals a striking similarity to the Masons, Mormons, New Agers Theosophists, Spiritualists, the Papacy and other cults!
God’s numerous promises to national Israel are one of the greatest obstacles to the objectives of both Satan and the kingdom dominion teachers. Therefore, in keeping with Satan’s age-old animosity against Israel and his subtle ability to twist scripture, the Restoration leaders have to somehow convince their followers that God’s promises recorded in the Old Testament to the nation of Israel now apply only to the Church (this is “Replacement Theology,” see Jer. 31:35-37, etc.). The Word of God is clear that national Israel and the church are two distinct entities! Israel has been promised an earthly kingdom; the church looks for a heavenly kingdom.
Some of the other heretical and unbiblical teachings of the Restoration leaders are:
1) the removal (from believers) of awareness of the literal, visible, bodily return of the Lord with His saints to defeat the armies of the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon and set up His rule on earth;
2) denial of scriptural prophesies of the end-times;
3) denial of the sovereignty of the Godhead;
4) requirement of religious unity at the expense of truth and sound doctrine;
5) dependency on human ability and wisdom instead of the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit;
6) the requirement of a structured church system based on human leadership which must be unquestionably submitted to (rather than Christ);
7) replacement of Jesus with the church who now has the power to kill all who do not bow down to her.
The “Kingdom Dominion” leaders have another agenda rather than obedience to Christ.
These false workers demand that their followers strictly obey God’s laws, yet they themselves hypocritically ignore Jesus’ command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15).
Oswald Chambers wrote, “The gospel is too profound for the lazy public; too positive for discursive thinkers. We have no right to preach unless we present the gospel; we have not to advocate a cause or a creed or an experience but to present the gospel, and we cannot do that unless we have a personal testimony based on the gospel. That is why so many preach what is merely the outcome of a higher form of culture. . . . Our obligation to the gospel is to preach it” (From APPROVED UNTO GOD).
“Kingdom Theology” is intertwined with the other aforementioned “theologies” as well as current so-called revivals such as Brownsville and Toronto. The roots of these movements can be traced back through the twisted and musty corridors of time to Babylonian mysticism, illuminism, gnosticism and esoteric mystery religions and lodges. And through it all Satan has left his fingerprints.
To quote from a tract by Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministry:
“What we know today as restoration doctrine is a hybrid of Roman dominionism, liberal a-millennialism, post-millennial eschatology, and latter-rain doctrines. Many have discovered from bitter experience in restoration fellowships that behind the smiling faces, camaraderie, loving embraces and victorious praise, there lies a spirit of dominion that will wound and crush any who do not toe the line. An empire-building, self-seeking arrogance pervades much of the Restoration leadership, and they have proven themselves closed to correction.”
Every false religion, belief, cult, “Christian guru” or leader must somehow insure that their adherents check in their brains at the door. They must instill enough fear and guilt along with a substantial amount of brainwashing to guard against being questioned. What better way than to use scripture out of context to silence any opposition? After all, the Deceiver has used scripture for centuries, (along with half-truths and lies, of course) and it’s always worked successfully for him.
The bottom line is, in order to establish this “kingdom” or “restore” the church or the “old order” (meaning the “doctrine once delivered to the saints” Jude 3), must be undermined and destroyed. Manifest Son of God leader Bill Hamon calls this “The Third Apostolic Reformation.” He states, “We are being positioned to lay new foundations for a new era all together, foundations for the dawning of a new kingdom age. We are in the throes of the birthing of a whole new order–a whole new dispensation!”
This “new dispensation” will allow the church to exercise her “ministry of judgment” meaning the power to destroy (kill) all enemies (people who may hold to another view of Christianity!) They often cite the incident in Acts 5 of Peter and Ananias and Sapphira, or Paul with Elymas the magician.
Those who dare question these “kingdom” leaders are accused of breaking God’s commandment not to “touch God’s anointed.”
The scriptural admonition to “touch not God’s anointed” has nothing whatsoever to do with exposing false prophets, heretics and other opponents to the true gospel! Rather, this Old Testament scripture simply warned the people that they were not to literally kill those who had been anointed with oil in any one of the three offices of priest, prophet or king. This is why King David stayed his sword from King Saul.
To teach God’s people that they are never to speak out against heretical teachers and/or or expose them is to go against scriptural examples and admonitions. We are commanded to test the spirit (1 John 4:1); commanded to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3); commanded to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Ro. 16:17). The Apostle Paul publicly withstood Peter and he also named others (by name) that were contrary to the faith (see 2 Tim. 4:10,14-15; 2 Tim. 3:8).
Christians need to wake up! What is taking place all over the world today is not God’s “new thing,” but rather, Satan’s “old thing.”
This danger is two-pronged:
2) actual bloodshed.
Delusion is Satan’s most powerful weapon. Because mankind has been given the power of free will, Satan knows he must delude people into choosing for him and against God through deception. Once a person has made a conscious decision to buy a lie, or half-truth, this gives place to the enemy to work undetected in destroying whatever foundations that person has in Christ. Scary, isn’t it?
The danger is summed up in this verse, “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). How can a Christian avoid deception and/or delusion?
First of all, by recognizing that they can be deceived! Any person who thinks they cannot be deceived is deceived already.
Secondly, by asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth as you study God’s Word. And, I mean STUDY.
Third, learn to recognize the difference between feeding your mind and feeding your spirit! If you study to feed your mind with facts, then remember “knowledge puffs up.” Rather, study to nourish your spirit to receive a greater revelation of the living Christ.
Fourth, you must ask God to give you a love for the truth (2 Thess. 2:10), regardless of the cost to your pride and conceit.
Fifth, do not be ignorant of Satan’s devices; remember that whenever Satan is involved, there will be confusion, bondage, depression, strife, discontent, pride, fear, condemnation and guilt.
Sixth, never allow another to think for you and/or make decisions for you. Go to God for yourself! Jesus must be your only Mediator and Great High Priest! (Read Heb. 2:17-18; 4:9-16; 8:6; 9:15; 12:24; 1 Tim. 2:5).
In conclusion, be diligent, watchful and alert. Compare scripture with scripture. Never assume that because someone tells you they are from God that they know the real Jesus (be wise and ask for references!) “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).
Be joyful in the hope of our Lord’s returning to set up His kingdom knowing that, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4). Amen!