NOTE: The following article is taken from Chapter 17 of Peter Whyte’s book “The King and His Kingdom”, written in 1979.
The gates of a city in Bible days were the seat of authority. The elders and rulers of the city sat in the gates, and the people came there to hear the reading of the law. The judges gave out judgments and the king’s place of audience was in the gates.
The word Hades means “not to be seen.”
The term “the gates of Hades” therefore denotes the rulers, the powers of the “not to be seen;” the spiritual powers of darkness.
Jesus was saying, “I will build My people that I have called out (My Church), and the ruling powers of the kingdom of darkness from the unseen realm (the gates of Hades) will not overpower them.”
The Church of the Kingdom is not designed or built by man.
Men are the material (the lively stones) out of which King Jesus builds His Church. It consists of people who have responded to the Gospel and have been called out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Christ.
God delivers us from the reign of Satan and transfers us into the reign of His beloved Son, King Jesus (Col 1:13).
Jesus identifies the children of God as “sons of the Kingdom,” never as “sons of the Church.”
Jesus uses the word “church” to collectively identify the sons of the Kingdom, who are the people who live under His reign.
Judaism and heathen religions teach that there must be sanctified places, temples, and buildings where men can meet for divine worship.
In the Kingdom of God the temple of God is a spiritual building made of living persons, who are those He has called out Collectively these people are identified as His Church or as the Body of Christ.
These people can meet anywhere.
The Church of the Kingdom has no consecrated places, holy sanctuaries or buildings, which ignorant men call “the House of the Lord.” The people are the House of the Lord.
The Church of the Kingdom makes use of any building that suits its needs.
It can meet anywhere at any time.
It only takes two or three to assemble together, and the Church of the Kingdom is meeting with, the King in their midst.
They worship God in spirit and in truth (see John 4:19-24). Whenever the people of this Church meet, THEY SANCTIFY THE PLACE BY THEIR PRESENCE.
God is inside them and they carry Him and the Kingdom of Heaven with them wherever they go. They cannot go anywhere “to meet with God” because they never leave His presence. He lives inside them.
There is one Church that Jesus is building, and Scripture identifies it only by locality. He has only one Church, and all the believers living in one place are called the Church in that place.
All His people in Rome or Corinth or Ephesus are identified as “the Church at Rome,” or “the Church at Corinth” or “the Church at Ephesus.”
All His people in your city should be identified only by me name of your city, or by the names of suburbs or areas if its size is very large.
Nevertheless, these are all ONE AND THE SAME CHURCH.
If you live in London, you are a member of the Church in London. If you live at Earls Court you would, for practical purposes, be further identified as a member of the Church at Earls Court in London.
If you leave London and go to live in Los Angeles, you will then be a member of the Church in Los Angeles.
You are still in the same Church, simply living in another local expression of the one Body.
Every Christian who is identified by any other name, denomination or otherwise, except the name of his locality, is committing spiritual adultery and is living in deception.
He is living like the Jews of the captivity in Babylon and must leave there if he wishes to dwell in the New Jerusalem.
Since Jesus lives in the Church of the Kingdom, He calls it His Body.
The sons of the Kingdom are members of His Body and they…
- …have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of A NEW COVENANT… (Heb. 12:22-24)
The Church of the Kingdom is the City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the throne of God and the Lamb are in it.
Within it flows a spiritual river of life, and in it also is the tree of life which produces fruit every month, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations.
The people of this Church reign in life and will continue to reign forever and ever (Rev. 22:1-5).
The people of this Church do not live under law, since they have the spirits of righteous men made perfect.
They have come to Jesus, who is the Mediator of a new covenant which is totally different from the covenant of law that God made with Moses.
This NEW COVENANT produces the Church of the Kingdom.
The people of this Church have the Spirit of God within them, and God puts His laws into their minds and writes them on their hearts. They all know the Lord, from the least to the greatest of them. God is merciful to forgive their iniquities and He remembers their sins no more.
It is impossible to join the Church of the Kingdom.
It has no membership cards or church board or secretary or treasurer. It has no Pope or Archbishop or hierarchy.
The Lord adds to it daily those who are being saved.
The stones of this spiritual temple of God are unlike bricks which men build together. They are living, lively stones that Jesus moves about continually.
They are not dead bricks cemented with immovable mortar, rigidly fixed in one place.
Only a dead brick in a man-made church is locked into a wall with one above him, one on each side and one below him, rigidly fixed with the mortar of natural man’s concepts of “churches” and “stones” and “authority” and “submission” and “body members.”
Jesus loves His “stones” and He is constantly adjusting them, polishing them and changing them. He changes their appearance and also their positions. Change is the norm of their lives.
The Church of the Kingdom has only one Head, only one Master, only one Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
The Church of the Kingdom has no clergy or laity, and all its people have equal access to God the Father as His beloved children. They are a Kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people for God’s own possession. They are, in reality, a mediatorial people; able to mediate between God and all men outside His Kingdom. Every single child of God is a priest of God and so the whole congregation is one class.
In the Church of the Kingdom there is no special class of people who take care of spiritual affairs while less spiritual ones take care of secular affairs. Every single person in this Church is equally responsible and able to attend to God’s business on the earth.
The Church of the Kingdom has no written rules and regulations. The people of Israel had the law of the Mosaic covenant The Church of the Kingdom has no book of LAW, because under the new covenant God chooses to work in them by His Spirit. They are led by the Spirit, and this is God’s way of identifying His Sons.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Rom. 8:14).
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter (Rom. 7:6).
Every person in the Church of the Kingdom is a son of God.
There is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, master nor servant, but ALL ARE BRETHREN in Christ (Gal. 3:26-29).
The Holy Spirit is free to work in and through any man, woman or child in this Church. He is not hindered by the pride of men, who would forbid women to be God’s anointed ones and cannot believe that He would use children to rebuke them.
The Church of the Kingdom has older brethren who teach and train the younger brethren in their formative years. The goal of all instruction is to produce people who love with God’s agape love and who live in the Spirit.
In the Church of the Kingdom there is NO COMPETITION, no desire for position or status among the older brethren. The mature ones have become servants, and their highest ambition is to become slaves of the others in the Church.
The Church of the Kingdom is in the world. It does not withdraw itself into seclusion for fear of contamination by the world. Instead it goes about boldly everywhere and anywhere to salt the earth with its heavenly presence. It is not merely defensive, but confidently and righteously assertive.
It is the light of the world, and wherever the light shines the powers of darkness flee away, because darkness is banished by light.
The gates of Hades shall not overpower it [or prevail against it] (Matt. 16:18).
The unseen rulers and powers do not overpower or prevail in battle against the Church of the Kingdom.
It is constantly engaged in spiritual warfare against these world forces of darkness; these spiritual forces of wickedness in the unseen realm. It does not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the spirits dominating men.
These spirits without bodies can only function BY MEANS OF MEN, through whom they oppose the Kingdom of God.
It is a warring and triumphant Church, but its weapons are not carnal. It does not need swords, money, human authority, votes, popular acclaim or men’s opinions in its armory. None of these things are necessary to it, though not one of men’s “little Kingdoms” can be sustained without them.
The Church of the Kingdom walks in the flesh, but it does not war according to the flesh with human abilities and resources.
Its weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of the enemy fortresses in men’s minds. These fortresses are the philosophies of men, the speculations and lofty thoughts which oppose the true knowledge of God
Every thought and concept opposing the King and His Kingdom in any way is an ENEMY FORTRESS. These strongholds are built in men’s minds by evil spirits in order to sustain REBELLION, which is disobedience to the King.
The Church of the Kingdom follows and obeys Christ because it is armed and made capable of punishing all disobedience by its own obedience (see 2 Cor. 10:3-6).
This Church represents only the Kingdom of God. It is a bold, powerful, conquering Church bringing THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD UPON THE EARTH.
Peter’s complete book “The King and His Kingdom” is available at THIS LINK. Highly recommended!