Does it ever seem to you like the Kingdom of God is losing ground here on the earth? Does it appear that lostness is growing and sin is increasing? Does it feel like nation after nation is openly turning against God?
Indeed, the situation does look bleak from our perspective, but I pray that you and I would be people of revelation and not observation. You see, one of the many great overarching themes in Scripture is this one: expansion without exception. As we look across the entirety of Scripture, this encouraging theme emerges, promising us that God’s plan is for His Kingdom to expand into all peoples, covering the entire earth without exception.
If we couple this theme with what God reveals about Himself in Isaiah 46:9-10, we have much reason to celebrate. God tells us in Isaiah 46:9-10, “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” God’s plan is expansion without exception, and God’s plan will not be thwarted.
We see the beginning of this expansion without exception theme during creation itself in Genesis 1:27-28:
- God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Mankind, who at this point perfectly bore the image of God, was God’s manifest agents on the earth and was given orders to be fruitful and multiply so that every inch of the earth would be filled. And, these godly ones were to subdue the earth and rule over creation. That is the Kingdom of God expanding without exception.
Through Abraham (called Abram at this point), God continues to reveal this plan to us. In Genesis 12:1-3, God makes a covenant with Abram, saying:
- Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
It’s important for us to note that God does not just promise blessing to Abraham’s family or even to only Abraham’s people. Notice that last sentence: And in you, Abram, all the families of the earth will be blessed. That’s expansion without exception.
We turn to the prophets and see the theme continue. God tells us in Isaiah 11:9 that there is coming a day when they will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. That’s expansion without exception.
Daniel interprets an awesome dream and continues the theme (Daniel 2). In fact, the dream was a vision given by God to Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire. In that dream, an amazing, multi-metal statue is pulverized by a stone. Daniel tells us that the four metals represent four empires, and that the stone represents the Kingdom of God. Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel envisioned the following concerning the stone:
- You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Notice that the stone didn’t remain a stone. It grew into a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Daniel further tells us that in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever, (Daniel 2:44). That’s the Kingdom of God expanding without exception.
As we enter into the New Testament era, the theme doesn’t stop. In Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus tells us, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” In the very next verse, Jesus teaches us, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened,” (Matthew 13:33). In both instances, that’s the expansion of God’s Kingdom without exception.
In the Great Commission, we see the theme carrying on. Jesus declares to His followers in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” There’s the Kingdom. He goes on to command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” There’s the plan of expansion without exception—make disciples of all the nations.
And, Jesus vividly reiterates this command when He tells His followers in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Did you catch the geography there? It was global, and that’s expansion without exception.
And finally, praise God that He didn’t just reveal His plan to us. He also lets us preview the outcome in the book of Revelation. First, in chapter 5, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders praise Jesus, who is the Lion and the Lamb, with a “new” song:
- Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth, (Revelation 5:9-10).
That’s expansion without exception.
A further glimpse at the outcome of God’s plan is given to us just two chapters later. We read in Revelation 7:9-10:
- After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Again, that’s the expansion of God’s Kingdom without exception.
One final, ultimate, glorious glimpse is given to us in Revelation 21:1-4, 22:1-5:
- Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away,”…Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
A new earth eradicated of sin with God dwelling upon it, healing the nations…that’s expansion without exception.
Friend, I say to you, “Take heart.” Although it looks like the Kingdom of God is on the decline, it is indeed growing and will eventually expand to cover the earth without exception and touch every peoples and nations without exception. God is going to do some remarkable and marvelous things.
So, the question is not: will God’s Kingdom expand? The question is: how are you going to work today to expand the Kingdom? May you do so to much increase!