PROLOGUE

We all love stories of wars and conquests, of adventures and mysteries, of legends, and of Kingdoms and treasures. Stories sear the lessons into our hearts and tap into our imagination to create a world built from poetry and prose. They tug our heart strings and warm the human soul. We all love stories because we are part of one.

You and I are living within a thousands-year-old narrative that is coming to a climax; a story about the righteous King who created the cosmos, an enemy who’s trying to usurp the throne and wreak chaos, a gracious Messiah who came to redeem creation, and a fallen world that’s groaning for salvation. This story is but an attempt to capture the Kingdom message of redemption, grace, power, and the future glory that awaits us.

As in any story that try to illustrate the mysteries of God, you might find that some parts may be lacking to capture the fullness of divine truths. That’s because this story is not a theological treatise, but only a concoction of various symbolisms about the Kingdom.

But as you read along, it is our earnest prayer that you will be drawn closer to the King, fall deeper in love with the valiant Prince, hate the creature of the shadows, rely on the power of the Mystical Fire, and learn from the adventures and misadventures of the citizen.

This Kingdom Story is a story of all of us—a story of love, of repentance and grace, and of hope and redemption. It is a story of war and adventures to advance the Kingdom of God in a fallen and broken world.

__

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a wise and powerful King the world has never seen. He was strong yet gentle, merciful yet just, and loving and greatly loved by the citizens of his Kingdom.

One fine morning, the King was walking leisurely around the Kingdom when he saw one of his people. He invited him for a walk and took him on a tour around the Kingdom. The citizen walked with the King and saw the beauty of the entire Kingdom for the very first time. He felt the soft, green grass beneath his toes, breathed in the scent of leaves, gazed at the dancing trees, and enjoyed the cool water by the river. It was bliss. But in the shadows behind the bushes, a dark, sinister creature lurked.

The King left the citizen to enjoy the place, and the citizen seized the moment by playing in the sun, lazing around under the shade of the tree. As he was resting, the creature from the shadows closed in on him—quietly, carefully, insidiously. It was very calculating.

Then the creature spoke and the citizen awoke. In its hand something sparkled like diamonds and beautiful as gold. The citizen’s stare moved from its face to the object in its hand.

“This could be yours,” the creature teased, “and I could give you more if you come with me.” The citizen was dazed and the creature grinned.

The object was bright under the light of the sun. It looked beautiful and captivating, and the citizen couldn’t help but stare at it. The creature held it closer to him, and then spoke, almost whispering. “Take it. Take it! Walk with me.”

The citizen took it  and smiled. The creature was thrilled. It amused and mesmerized the citizen with sweet words and many other gifts. As the creature spoke, doubts and questions began to fill the citizen’s mind about the wise and powerful King and the beauty of His Kingdom.

Little did he know that they were walking farther and farther away from the Kingdom. The farther they went, the darker it got. Sharp thorns and thick bushes bruised his face as they walked.

The King learned about the creature’s deceit and knew that the citizen’s life was in danger. The creature was His archenemy, a traitor who tried to take over the Kingdom but failed. He knew that the creature wanted to take revenge by harming the people that He loved, for its heart is reeking with evil.

So the King summoned the Prince, a mighty warrior in his youth, to go on a rescue mission to bring back the lost citizen. As the Prince went farther and farther from sight, the King felt a nudging pain in his heart. He felt the ominous sting of death as He watched His Son vanish from the horizon.

The Prince was exactly like His Father—a benevolent ruler, gentle yet strong. He was a humble Prince who ruled with love, unlike the other princes and rulers of his day. Armed with a sword and mounted on a horse, the Prince left the comfort of the Kingdom to search for the lost citizen. He endangered his life in order to find the missing citizen who left because of his own selfish desire. The Prince went through thick woods, fought wild beasts, and suffered hunger in His quest to find the lost citizen.

At long last, the Prince found him bound by chains, wounded and bleeding. He was ready to be slaughtered. The creature looked at the Prince and grinned devilishly. And with a quick move of its hand, the creature lifted a sword and aimed for the citizen’s head.

The creature knew all along that the King would send the Prince to look for the citizen. It was a trap. As the creature aimed for the citizen’s head, the Prince rushed toward him, broke his chains, and saved him. The citizen trembled in fear but was relieved to know that someone came to his rescue.

However, blood started to rush. At first, he thought it was his. But when he looked to his side, there he saw the Prince, drowning in his own blood. The ground was turning red as the blood of the Prince flowed from His body. At a distance, the creature was cheering and jeering, and in a flash, it flew from the scene to plan its next attack.

As the Prince laid bloody on the ground, the citizen sobbed and grieved at the thought that it was his fault why the Prince suffered harm. Tears from his eyes fell and mixed with the blood on the ground. Guilt and shame filled his head. “It’s all my fault!” he cried in agony. But the Prince reached out to him and motioned for him to move closer. A gentle whisper hushed his pain. “You are free and forgiven. You belong to the Kingdom, and the King is waiting for you. Go home to where you truly belong.”

At that moment, the Prince’s blood washed his guilt and shame away. As blood and tears flowed, in the silence of the moment, the Prince took something from his pocket—a Mystical Fire that is never extinguished—and gave it to the citizen. With a rushing wind from the forest, a mighty light shone on the Prince and then He disappeared.

The citizen was taken aback by what he saw and could not fathom in his heart the Mystical Fire or the mysterious light that took the prince away. All he knew was that something in his heart had changed, and that the Prince was alive somewhere. He knew he had to return to the Kingdom he left behind.

With a new wind blowing against his face and a new light shining on him, the citizen began his journey home. As he was walking, he noticed that the scenery had changed. The bushes and thorns that once hurt him were no longer there. The journey on his way back was not as difficult. Then it hit him: the Prince left a trail for the citizen while on his way to rescue him. This trail made it easier for him to go home. Looking ahead, he saw the familiar sights and the beautiful trees that await him.

Guided by the Mystical Fire, the citizen walked the path toward the Kingdom. But his back began to ache and he could no longer catch his breath. He realized that he was carrying so much stuff in his bag. He checked his bag and saw the things that the creature gave him. They used to look like treasures, but now he saw that they were just trash. Little by little, he started throwing them away. “I no longer need these,” he said. “There are better things in the Kingdom than these.”

As he approached the Kingdom’s gate, he saw that the King is waiting for him! The King saw him from a distance and recognized him despite his disfigured face and dirty clothes. As the citizen froze at the sight of the King, the King darted towards him and caught him in a tight embrace. The King saw the blood on his clothes and knew that it was the blood of His Son, the mighty Prince.

Fighting back the lump in His throat, the King said, “Since my Son loved you with his life and rescued you even to the point of his own death, today, you will be a son in my Kingdom. Everything I have is now yours.” In an instant, he changed from being a citizen to being a son.

A new burst of energy bubbled up from his heart! “Oh, the love of the Prince! Oh, the mercy of the King!”

Wretched but rescued

Destroyed but restored

A pauper but now a prince

He is no longer a citizen, but a prince! The Kingdom has become his inheritance—a Kingdom to protect, a Kingdom to love. He woke up to a morning like no other. Once he was a pauper, but now he has become a prince. He was given a royal robe and a crown on his head to match his new identity. He used to live in a hut, but now he lives in the castle, in a room where the light of the morning sun floods every corner with hope and energy.

With a loud yawn and a satisfying stretch, he walked toward the window and found himself saying, “What more could I ask for? I have been forgiven by the King, was adopted as a prince, and have received a Kingdom as my inheritance.” With a huge smile on his face, he looked sideways and nodded with gratitude to the Mystical Fire that guided him back home. Donned in his royal robe, the new prince went out of the castle to take a walk, but what he saw broke his heart—the Kingdom wasn’t as beautiful and perfect as it was before.

As he inquired with the people about the matter, he learned that on the day the creature intruded the Kingdom, it sowed poisonous seeds that grew into deadly trees. The creature brought in wild beasts that kill, instill fear, and wreak havoc everywhere. Fueled with rage, the new prince gathered his troops and planned a mission to restore the Kingdom to its former glory.

As the prince prepared for his mission, the King summoned him in His throne room. He gave the citizen His own armor—the armor He had worn to subdue the Kingdom’s enemies. He taught him how to wield the sword and carry His shield. The new prince learned the art of war, and the King made sure that he is ready and equipped for battle before his mission commenced.

Peace replaced the anger in his heart in the presence of the King. This peace evoked hope and a confident assurance that things are going to be fine at the end of his mission. This peace inspired the new prince to reach the farthest corners of the Kingdom and bring restoration, healing, and wholeness to everything that the creature has broken and destroyed.

“My child,” said the King, “I am now commissioning you to go into the far ends of the Kingdom to restore beauty and order. Do not fear the shadows, for My light will be with you.” Much to his surprise, the King handed him the Mystical Fire that the Prince first gave him. “This Fire is my presence going with you. The Fire will show you the way when it’s dark. This will give you warmth when it’s cold, and will give you protection from wild beasts,” said the King. The glow and the warmth of the Fire lit up his face. He was ready for battle.

Sounds of horses galloping and armors clanging filled the air the next day. It was the day of the conquest. Bearing the flag of the Kingdom and the signet ring of the King , the new prince launched into his mission to restore the Kingdom. He went throughout the entire Kingdom, giving cure to the sick, binding the wounds of the wounded, giving food to the famished, and fighting off wild beasts.

While resting on the rubbles, he remembered the humble, mighty Prince who saved him from the creature’s sword. He remembered the Prince who once walked this path to bring hope and freedom to the citizens of the Kingdom. He remembered the words of the Mighty Prince before He disappeared. “You are free and forgiven. You belong to the Kingdom, and the King is waiting for you. Go home to where you truly belong.”

Warmth and power entered his bones. The words energized his spirit! Suddenly, faces of broken people flashed before his eyes. He then realized a powerful truth: the Prince’s words that gave him hope are the same words that will bring hope and restoration to the Kingdom! He went on proclaiming these words, and as he did, the Mystical Fire multiplied and rested on those who received the word!

It was mind-boggling. As more people received the Fire, more people helped the new prince rebuild the Kingdom, take care of the sick, and fight off wild beasts. Then, in a blink of an eye, the citizens’ eyes were opened, as if for the first time. They looked up and saw a Kingdom on the clouds, more majestic than the Kingdom they live in—where the trees are taller, the grass is greener, and the flowers bloom in colors they have never seen before.

By the colossal gates of the new, beautiful Kingdom stood a familiar figure. Looking intently at the figure outside the gate, the new prince knew who it was. Tears welled up from his eyes and his heart started racing. “The Prince is alive! And He is the King of the Kingdom on the clouds!” He looked more glorious than ever. His clothes were white, His robe red, and He was riding on a white horse. The Prince shouted “I am coming to make all things new, and I will be your King!”

The sight of the new Kingdom and its King ignited hope and strength in the hearts of the citizens. The new prince led all the citizens in restoring the fallen Kingdom, knowing that the King on the white horse will one day come to make all things new.

 

 

 

Read more from Kingdom 2018 here.