Dr. John K. Mathew
The phrases 'Kingdom of Heaven' and 'Kingdom of God' are found more than eighty times in the New Testament. The Kingdom of God is obviously an important subject. Several questions arise, however, in relation to the identity and manifestation of the Kingdom of God. What is meant by the word ‘Kingdom’?
The Greek word 'basileia' from which the word 'Kingdom' is derived has two principal meanings: (1) a King’s rule, reign, dominion or authority and (2) the territory or people over whom a king reigns. Is the kingdom of God an inner spiritual reality or is it an outwardly visible rule? It is both. But at present, the Kingdom of God is where God's principles are the standard of behavior. Mathew 7 talks about seven such standards. It begins with judgment and says, do not judge. The second principle is about holy living. It reads, do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs". The third principle deals with ask, seek and knock, so that it will be given to you. The fourth one is the greatest of all. That is, "do to others what you would have them do to you". The fifth principle tells us to find and enter through the narrow gate. The sixth principle warns the kingdom people to watch out for false prophets. Finally, it charges the Kingdom people to hear the word of the Lord and put them in to practice.
This illustration given by John Hess-Yoder, who was a missionary to Laos will help us understand this concept. Before the colonialists imposed national boundaries, the Kings of Laos and Vietnam reached an agreement on taxation in their border areas. Those who ate short grain rice, built their houses on stilts and decorated them with Indian style serpents were considered Laotians. On the other hand, those who ate long grain rice, built their houses on the ground and decorated them with Chinese style dragons were considered Vietnamese. The exact location of a person’s home was not what determined his or her nationality. Instead each person belonged to the Kingdom whose cultural values he or she exhibited. So it is with us. We live in the world, but as part of God's Kingdom, we are to live according to His Kingdom standards and values.
Jesus described His followers as being part of two Kingdoms. Physically they are part of this present world and therefore under the rule of human kingdoms. Spiritually they are part of a heavenly kingdom in which His precepts are the standard of behavior. This is dual Citizenship. We are dual citizens.