Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). Of course it isn’t. If it were, we wouldn’t have among other things a protracted and painful presidential election campaign that further exposes the fault lines in our national landscape.
No candidate is the perfect combination of the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, and the fighting spirit of David. Nor should we expect such. The best we can hope for is a government that provides us with security, some basic services, and fair adjudication of laws while not infringing upon our freedom to pursue our God-given purpose and talents.
Sadly, not everyone sees it that way. Some theories of government emphasize redistribution of wealth. Some look at government as a means of ordering the masses through central planning and control. Most theories of government today have almost a utopian tinge about them. Whether it be a thousand year Reich or a workers’ paradise, a world safe for democracy or a new world order, the governments of men have always been long on promises but short on delivery.
Yet at the heart of the gospel is something that Jesus called the Kingdom. Mark refers to the gospel of the Kingdom (Mark 1:14). The thief on the cross asked Jesus to remember him when he comes into his Kingdom (Luke 23:42). John the Baptist demanded repentance, "for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand", and so did Jesus (Matthew 3:2, 4:17).
One day the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ (Revelation 11:15). The Old Testament prophets tell us about that Kingdom and how the world will be ordered in those days.
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4)
That’s a promise the benefactors of our world can’t come close to keeping.