The kingdoms of this world are manifest in ideas, attitudes, values and worldviews. They are described by Paul as those things that are raised up against, or above, or over, the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Typically, they insert themselves in our minds and, if we are not careful, they become strongholds that will compel our behaviour and attitudes.
Within the geographic boundary of the earth and its heaven, there are two spiritual kingdoms. One is the Kingdom of God, in which the Lord Jesus Christ has authority. Those that obey His authority are in that kingdom. But there is another kingdom located in the spiritual realm; the kingdom of darkness, also described as the kingdom of this world (“The ruler of this world is coming and in Me he has nothing” – John 14:30). In this kingdom, Satan rules. The kingdom we are in depends not on any claim or assertion that we may make, but is a matter of fact, and is known by the one of which our lives are a true reflection.
When Paul refers to “….those things rising up against the knowledge of God”, he doesn’t mean intellectual or historical knowledge of God, but spiritual knowledge of God; that living, proceeding knowledge that is manifest in His Presence. It is that living Presence of God that the kingdoms of this world stand in opposition to and thus, to entertain the presence of these worldly kingdoms is to reject the Presence of the King of the Kingdom of Heaven. This was the choice that Israel made and it is the choice that each believer must make also.
These worldly kingdoms are concentrated mainly in the minds of men and establish themselves by deceiving men into giving credence to thoughts, ideas and ideologies that defy, or are contrary to, the Word of God. This is only to be expected, since the enemy’s attack is always directed against the Word and the priesthood of believers. These are the things that Satan fears most.
All of these worldly kingdoms are under the direction of the kingdom of darkness. They are the consequence of giving the devil a place (Ephesians 4:27). These kingdoms of the world vary in each human era and are to be found in the fashionable and changing ideas and values held by the world. But despite being unique to different generations, they all have one thing in common; they are raised up against, above and in opposition to the Word of God, and they lead God’s people into ways that are inconsistent with, and opposed to, the ways of God.
In our present world, its kingdoms are:-
Religion is a kingdom that rises up against the priesthood of all believers; it first manifested in the Garden of Eden and has been with every generation of man since. All of the kingdoms of this world are religious. The English word “religion” derives from the Latin religio, meaning “things that bind” and in Rome, religion was something that bound the State and the people together. Roman social and political life was built around their religion, which, in effect, was a State cult embracing a pantheon of gods for every purpose. Religious practice was cold, formal and unemotional and was part of the State administration, with priests, appointed for life, coming from the ruling political families. The head of all priests was the pontifex maximus, a term which lends its name to the head of the Catholic Church, i.e., the Pontiff, or Pope. In fact, many Christian, particularly Catholic but also Protestant, traditions and habits derive from the pagan religion of Rome, including the veneration of the virgin, the pantheon of canonised saints, the professional priesthood and the building of lavish temples (or cathedrals and churches).
Today, too, religious Christianity is one of the kingdoms of this world, despite the centrality of Christ in its teachings and its focus on the person of Christ. It is the nature of deception to draw upon the Word of God to justify itself and in religious deception, the kingdoms of this world function not by direct opposition to the truth, but by replacing it with the lie.
For example, all of the sects, cults and denominations that go to make up what is called “Christianity” profess firstly, to have the truth and secondly, that the particular way that they espouse is based exclusively on the Word of God. In asserting their way as the only way, most deny the validity of the way followed by others. For example, Catholics think that all of the others are wrong, while all of the others think that the Catholics are wrong; and so it goes with all denominations.
Clearly, the only possible explanation of this dilemma is that all are right or all are wrong. Who can doubt that Christianity generally, in the evident organisational model presented to the world, fails to come anywhere near meeting its professions and assertions, instead showing a negative witness of hypocrisy, powerlessness and money-grubbing? It is probably for that reason, that the fastest growing religion in Australia is Islam.
Peter foresaw this, saying that the Way would be misrepresented by those who had a worldly agenda;
“…..and many will follow their sensuality through whom the way of the truth will be spoken against” (2 Peter 2:2).
The Greek word translated as “sensuality” here is aselgeiais and is translated in other passages as “lasciviousness”. It has the meaning of yielding to the senses rather than striving to follow the spiritual, and signifies the absence of restraint and an excess of worldliness. The consequence is that the transparent worldliness of the Church darkens the true light of Christ. In effect, people hear one thing but see another and thus, they turn away.
It was inevitable, Peter said, that just as there were false prophets under the old covenant, there would be “….false teachers who would privily bring in teachings that would lead to damnation (2 Peter 2:1). The Greek word translated as teachings here is hairesis, which derives from the verb haireomai, “to choose”. Thus, it is understood to mean an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion, which replaces submission to the will of God and leads to sectarian division. According to Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, “such opinions are frequently the outcome of personal preference or the prospect of advantage”. So if we were to paraphrase what Peter was saying it would be that these false teachers would draw people away from Christ with false doctrines that are devised to lend support to the building of their own religious empires.
Paul too, wrote of these things to the Philippians;
“……for many are walking, of whom I was often telling you, and tell you even now weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).
These were those whose minds were set on earthly things, rather than heavenly things, and for whom “the end is destruction, the god of whom is the appetite and the glory of whom is their shame” (Philippians 3:19).
These people were preaching the gospel, but it was a different gospel (Galatians 1:6) bringing men into institutional servitude at the expense of their own priesthood to Christ. Building the carnal empire of religion became more important than “….…equipping the saints for the (priestly) work of service ………”.(Ephesians 4:12). The task of “…….building up the Body of Christ..” (Ephesians 4:12) was supplanted by religious empire building and it is little wonder that the Church gradually degenerated into what it became and continued to be for the thousand years or more of what is appropriately referred to as the “dark ages”.
The epistles are full of the danger that had, by that time, manifested itself in the early Church. There were those that were “peddling the Word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17); that is, making it say what the hearers wanted it to say, all for sordid gain. In writing to Timothy, Paul put it this way;
“……for the time will come when they will not give patient attention to sound doctrine but, feeling itching ears, they will accumulate teachers for themselves according to their own desires” (2 Timothy 4:3).
Who can doubt that these things have come upon us?
To believers, true faith becomes religion when it is professed but not lived. Or, as Paul said of such people when he wrote to Timothy;
“………having an outward form of godliness but denying (or disowning, renouncing, refusing) its power” (2 Timothy 3:5).
Religion binds, whereas the truth sets free; in religion, the end justifies the means, whereas in Christ, He is the means as well as the end; religion is of men, the truth is Christ Himself. The key identifier of religion is, that if you read the sacred texts, you will find that there is nothing in them to justify the things that are done by those who claim their authority. Thus, there is nothing in the Torah that leads to modern Judaism, nothing in the Bible that leads to modern “Churchianity”, nothing in the Koran, it is safe to say, that leads to modern Islamofascism and nothing in science that leads to the religion of evolution.
Religion preaches liberty, but demands bondage. Liberty can only derive from individual submission to the Holy Spirit whereas bondage is driven by adherence to the rules as determined by men; liberty is the willing submission of divinely given gifts and abilities into the Body under the Headship of Christ, whereas bondage means everyone marching in step to the doctrines handed down from men, rather than those revealed by the Holy Spirit. We are warned against relying on the teachings of men as opposed to the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to teach us, where Jesus says;
“This people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far distant from me. But they worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines the rules of men” (Matthew 15:8,9).
Multiculturalism opposes the community of God’s people and is one of the kingdoms of this world that relates specifically to this era. Multiculturalism is a modern word that derives from multi, meaning “many” and the Latin cultus, meaning “worship”. Thus a literal interpretation of the word would be “many gods”. And that is what it means. More specifically, what the architects of multiculturalism want it to mean is that there is no one true God.
The word is widely misunderstood and many believe that multiculturalism means the mixing of different races together, being opposed to it on the basis that God separated mankind into tribes, nations and languages at the tower of Babel. But they are wrong on both counts.
Firstly, they are referring not to multiculturalism, but multiracialism, which is a term used to describe societies where the members of more than one race dwell together. In that sense, Australia, like New Zealand, South Africa and many other countries, is multiracial and has been ever since the age of European exploration and colonisation. In the cases of some Asia Pacific countries such as Fiji, Malaysia and Indonesia, their multiracial societies originated with the immigration of Indian and Chinese labourers and traders following the establishment of European centres of trade. So multiracialism is quite different to and distinct from multiculturalism, although the distinction is obscured by the fact that those opposed to multiculturalism are denigrated as “racists”.
Secondly, the separation of mankind into tribes and languages, written of in Genesis 11, no longer has any validity, for under the New Covenant;
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
The real purpose of multiculturalism is to oppose the Word, which says:
“There is…………one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).
Multiculturalism rejects this notion utterly, giving equal value to all “gods”, whether they are made of wood, stone or something else. Indeed, multiculturalism has its origins in the hatred of Christ and His Word. And yet ironically enough, it is, in itself, the fulfillment of the Word of prophecy in the Psalm;
“The kings of the earth stand together and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Christ; ‘Let us tear apart their bonds and cast away their yoke from us'” (Psalm 2:2-3).
This is what multiculturalism does and is intended to do; remove and abolish the social policies that have their origins in the Word of God. The Christian heritage of our society is, and always was, the principal target of multiculturalism.
“I am the way the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father if not through Me”, Jesus said (John 14:6). Multiculturalism rejects this, taking the view instead that, if there were a God, there are many ways to reach Him and that all are valid. There is no one way, truth or life, they say.
“For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Wrong on both counts, says multiculturalism. There is not one God and there are many ways to many gods. Multiculturalism is widely accepted and promoted in the Australian Church.
The religious nature of the stronghold of multiculturalism is underscored by the way in which it is continually exalted and worshipped in our society. Its supposed virtues are repeated like a religious mantra and those not worshipping at the multicultural shrine are denigrated, abused and disdained. Multiculturalism is truly a god of this world, part of that kingdom of darkness whose ruler is Satan. It is raised up against the knowledge of the one true God.
Feminism is the doctrine that emerged during the twentieth century and stands in opposition to the relationship between men and women that is set out in the Word of God. Like many revolutionary rejections of God’s way, it owes its emergence to the failure of those charged with responsibility by God, to function in accordance with His character and nature. Instead, they take the authority given to them by the Word and use it in the flesh, not the Spirit. Thus, in the case of feminism, the seed was sown in the tyrannical patriarchy of ungodly men. Whereas patriarchy was intended to be a blessing and a protection for women, it became a social and cultural institution, devoid of spiritual power, and unworthy men exercised rigid control of their wives and families that was never intended by God in giving men responsibility for headship of the family.
Like many worldly kingdoms, feminism, which could more aptly be described as the masculinisation of women, is self-contradictory in that what it preaches is a denial of what is feminine. Those feminine characteristics praised in the Bible; for example, demureness, chastity and modesty; are derided and denounced by today’s “feminists”. Indeed, the exact opposite is advocated as the only desirable way of life for today’s women.
But like all of Satan’s deceptions, feminism reaps bitter fruit indeed and we are approaching a time when vast numbers of women who have embraced and lived the feminist ethic will be facing an old age that they are not equipped for; without a husband, children or grandchildren and comforted only by the knowledge that they “did it their way”.
This is not to say that childlessness itself is a curse. There have always been women, and men for that matter, who have not married and who have lived fruitful lives in the service of God. But the end for so many women deceived by feminism is that they have lived fruitless lives in the service of self, and that is a sad and comfortless end indeed.
Feminism is fundamentally a doctrine that vigorously asserts rights and just as vigorously denies responsibility. It opened the gates to homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, abortion and euthanasia; all latter twentieth century social developments that are based on the overwhelming primacy in life of the unassailable rights of the individual. Thus, the notion of a divine order is anathema to feminists since it assumes an authority that is greater than the authority attached to the individual’s rights. In all the kingdoms of this world, the notion of transcendent authority is decisively denied.
Feminism opposes the call to purity and leads to idolatry. It works against the family as the vehicle chosen by God for the propagation of the race and the nurture of dependents, such as children, the frail aged and the disabled. Feminism opposes the proper spiritual upbringing of children and godly models of marriage, standing in fierce and direct opposition to God’s creation and the created order.
As usual, the religious nature of feminism can be observed in the irrational mantra-like chanting of the religion’s underlying theses. No opposition is tolerated, nor discussion permitted, particularly of the validity and veracity of the central tenets
Globalism, and its concomitant bedfellow Economic Rationalism, is another latter day doctrine that emerged in the dying days of the twentieth century. As with all religions, it is internally inconsistent, preaching wealth for all, but bringing wealth for the few and poverty for the many. As with all humanistic religions, it is based on the false assumption that man is fundamentally good and, left to his own devices, will work to bring equity and fairness to his fellow man. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. Man is fundamentally evil and left to himself, will always seek to exalt himself over other men and at their expense.
Globalism stands in opposition to the liberty of the individual and seeks to make a world of slaves serving the few. It destroys the independent entrepreneur, the artisan and the independent worker, all of whom have no place in the modern economy. Globalism also opposes the nation state as a redundant concept, seeing instead the world made up of a number of interlocking global corporations that control the world’s economy and distribute the world’s resources and wealth.
Once again, its religious nature can be seen in the use of a slogan that says what it is not – “economic rationalism”; in the almost sacred status given to its central planks; in the blind faith of its adherents and advocates; and in the cynicism of most people to the efficacy of what it preaches. Indeed, the common people know what the eminent and the elite do not; that globalism is self-contradictory and inherently impossible. It is a reversion to an economic system that has been tried before, always to fail.
Consider ancient Egypt for example. Could there have been a more wasteful and inefficient way of burying the dead than by building pyramids, each of which cost thousands of lives and many years of labour, drawing men away from the more fundamental and socially useful task of producing food.
Consider too, the Nazi empire in Europe during the war. It is safe to say that the failure of Nazi industry, based on slavery, was the key to their losing the war. And yet globalism lays claim to being efficient and beneficial to mankind. What a bold and astounding claim! It calls for men to trust men, rather than to trust God. Globalism’s religious nature is evident in its worship of money; the only motive in life is to make a profit and grab some wealth for yourself.
All of these kingdoms of this world are interdependent. Globalism requires multiculturalism, and multiculturalism makes the way easier for globalism. Feminism serves both in breaking down the moral order that underpinned godly life in families and society. As a result, we live in a world bereft of spiritual awareness; a world that sees everything in the context of what can be seen and touched and owned. It is a world of which the Bible speaks.
The religious mantras of feminism, multiculturalism and globalism are proclaimed loudly in Christianity today. Indeed, there is an increasing tendency in some sects to become part of global religious movements and to distribute packaged programmes produced by money preachers based overseas. Marketing, psychology, media hype, incorporations, amalgamations and other commercial approaches and techniques are in widespread use in Churches today, to grow numbers, or “market share” and keep members turning up.
It is for such reasons, that these kingdoms of this world are triumphing over God’s people today. The Church has completely failed to be salt and light. Instead of meeting the challenge of living the simplicity and purity of the gospel life, the Church generally has endeavoured to accommodate the changing values of the world within their own structures and programmes. Salt purifies and preserves, but clearly this is not happening in the western world. And light will only shine forth if it is connected to the source of power; that is, Christ; which, once again, cannot be said of the western Church.
All of these things, of course, only bear witness to the fact that the times of the gentiles is coming to an end. Jesus said, “:…….and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the gentiles until the time of the gentiles will be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Jerusalem has been under Jewish control now for many years and this is one of the indicators that the prophesied events of the end times are at hand. Speaking of these events, Jesus also said “….and because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). This prophesied lawlessness does not refer to bank robberies, but to the lawlessness of God’s people. Just as Israel became apostate, so the Church is fulfilling that type. And the love of God’s people for His Word is probably colder now than ever before in the history of the Church.
So these times are a time of preparation for true believers if they correctly observe the signs. The only safe place to be is in Christ, the Ark of our salvation. For if we are not, we are in danger of being carried away in the flood of lawlessness of which Jesus spoke.
“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark and they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away, in the same way will be the coming of the Son of Man. At that time, two will be in the field; one is taken (“swept away” in the flood of lawlessness) and one is left (in the Ark of Salvation). Two are grinding in the mill; one is taken (“swept away” in the flood of lawlessness) and one is left (in the Ark of Salvation). Therefore, be alert, for you have not known on what day your Lord comes” (Matthew 24:37-42).