THE GROWTH PROCESS
OF THE KINGDOM
We need to illustrate once again the growth process of the kingdom. In Mark 4:26-29, the Lord used a parable to illustrate the kingdom of God. He said that the kingdom is like a seed sown into the earth, which grows until it is mature, and then is harvested. From the time of the sowing of the seed to the time of harvest is the growth process of the kingdom. The harvest is the full manifestation of the kingdom. By means of this parable we can realize that we are now in the growth process. Suppose I have a tiny carnation seed, which is sown into the earth. After some time, a tender sprout will appear. Then the tender sprout will grow until it reaches the ultimate consummation, the manifestation of the carnation kingdom. Consider some carnation plants in various stages of growth. One is a tender sprout. Another is a plant with a long stem and another is a plant with buds. Finally, there is a plant in which the buds have become blossoms. This is the full manifestation of the carnation kingdom, starting from the sowing of the seed into the earth and progressing to the full bloom, the ultimate manifestation of the carnation life.
The Lord Jesus told us to pray, "Let Your kingdom come" (Matt. 6:10). But the kingdom will not come in the way many Christians think. In a sense, the kingdom has come already. In another sense, however, the kingdom is coming. To pick up our illustration once more, in a sense, the carnation kingdom has come already in its seed form. One day, when the carnation reaches full bloom, that will be the full coming of the carnation kingdom. Similarly, the Christ kingdom has come already. From the day He sowed Himself into the human earth, the Christ kingdom began to come. The growth process will continue until the time of the full harvest, at which time there will be the full manifestation of the Christ kingdom.
What is the kingdom? The kingdom is simply Christ sown into us, growing in us, maturing in us, and reaching the time of harvest. The kingdom is not merely a dispensation or a sphere. It is the totality of Christ being life to us in all His activities.
If you visit a zoo, you can see the animal kingdom. Is that just a dispensation or a sphere? If you remove all the animals, the sphere remains, but that is not the animal kingdom. The animal kingdom is the totality of all animal life with all its activities. Birds are flying, monkeys are climbing, and turtles are swimming in the water. The animal kingdom is simply the totality of animal life with all its activities. Likewise, the kingdom of Christ is the totality of Christ being life to us with all His activities. We all have Christ within us as life, and we have many activities in Christ. This is the kingdom of Christ. Recently, I was watching, observing, and enjoying so many activities of the members in the meeting. You may say that was a church meeting. I agree, but that was also the kingdom of Christ with His life and activities.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)