Starting with the surface matters: Religions are offshoots of the people; while Kingdoms are offshoots of kings. The people come together to seek the love, approval, intervention and empowerment from some deities in most religions; but the kingdoms are founded and established by the lords and kings.
For the purpose of this writing, the emphasis will be on the Kingdom of heaven, which Jesus Christ extended to the earth as the King. Many things have been created by men, from scientific to spiritual inventions. These inventions have resulted into "better" lives and more "convenience" for the inhabitants of the earth. Some inventions have produced the likes of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Scientology, Spacecrafts, Ships, Motor Vehicles, Submarines, Guns, Bombs, Bullets, Bulletproof vests, cars, doors and the rest. The point is, in search for knowledge and divine (or higher) experiences, men and women have produced a lot of things, rites, rituals and religions.
Many people today believe that the first thing God created was religion, but I believe that God started His creations with Kingdoms.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." - Genesis 1:1
The heavens were not beings or some deities; rather, they were territories; and only a king create territories.
"The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD's; but the earth He has given to the children of men." - Psalms 115:16
The heavens were therefore territories created by God as His kingdom and the headquarters of His reign across the entire universe.
"Thus says the LORD:
"Heaven is My throne,
And the earth My footstool..." - Isaiah 66:1
Thrones are not people or a way of life; instead, they are the seats of power of Kingdoms. Clearly, God started by creating His Kingdom, with the headquarters in heaven.
After God created His Kingdom, He decide to extend His influence beyond the heavens, so, He created the earth. To keep the earth in His will and plan, He created and formed man (called Adam) to MAN the new territory. However, man rebelled against the Kingdom of God (in heaven) and abdicated his throne on the earth as God's vice-regent. Consequently, his first child killed his brother Abel and God sentenced Cain to a life of fugitive. And just immediately, Cain left the presence of God.
"Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden." - Genesis 4:16
Hitherto, the presence of the LORD was with His Kingdom representatives on the earth - Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel; but after the continuous rebellion of the people on the earth, they were further removed from God's Royal presence (court). Because of these further withdrawal of men from God, the presence of God became scarce among men: hence, when life problems began to roll up against men; they began to seek (look) for God - calling unto Him for His intervention and help!
"And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed." And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then MEN BEGAN TO CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD." - Genesis 4:25-26
Note something here, men did not begin by calling on the name of the gods of thunder, or gods of the stone, or Allah, or Baal, or Ifa or Mammon or Diana or any name men call on today; instead on the LORD. The LORD is not a name as such; but the description of the Person that Owns all things, people and spirits. The LORD is therefore the creator and maker of the ends of the earth - the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Today, many people (alive and dead) and many spirits are claiming to be the lord. Some claimed they are the lord until death took them. However, instead of the remaining people to learn that they were and are not the LORD, they begin to make them gods and lords - building temples and shrines for them.
Sometime in history, the LORD used a man to reach and save His people from slavery in Egypt; the man's name is Moses - he was a great man in words and deeds. But when the LORD knew that His people, who didn't know Him will turn or make Moses their Lord, He killed him and buried him without letting the people know about it.
"So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day". - Deuteronomy 34:5-6
Today, many religions have been initiated by men who have turned the graves of other men to shrines and temples. Instead of allowing His people to be carried away in error; the LORD God settled the matter in a valley. However, the power of the LORD, which Moses demonstrated some thousands of years of ago; instead of leading to a new kingdom as expected by God; it led into a new religion called Judaism. Today, the Judaists do not believe that the Messiah (anointed King - Christ Jesus) has come; they are still expecting Him. To them, Jesus of Nazareth could not have been the King: for He was born into the family of a Carpenter - not a Pharisee or high priest.
Nothing reveals the vanity of religion like the story of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9. The people just woke someday and decided to reach the throne of God by their efforts and ingenuity instead of faith and grace. They tried but they failed in emptiness and were scattered. No wonder that the thirst for more religions is everywhere in our societies today. Even within religions, men and women are still empty in their search and they are scattering. That explains the numerous denominations and sects we have around the world today - men calling unto the LORD in various languages (doctrines) and various motives.
Towards achieving the aims of the people, LEADERS emerge to guide the course of affairs (search, thirst and hunger) of the people. These leaders are called by different names and titles today, but their function is almost the same. They now bear these names: Senior Pastors, General Overseers, Primates, Pope, Imams, Sheiks, ArchBishops, Spiritists, Spiritualists, Chaplains, Reverends, etc.
I will briefly list some of the qualities that separate these leaders from kingdom leaders (that influence men and women for the enforcement of the will of the king of heaven on earth). These qualities or traits are:
These things listed above are the devices of the devil towards turning the hearts of men (chosen by God for Kingdom representation) from their Kingdom responsibilities to matters that affect only themselves - their ego, aggradizements, security, survival and the likes. So, instead of men yearning after the will of the Kingdom of God - they yearn after those thinsg listed. May God help us all!
"Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, Beware of the scribes (religious leaders), who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation." - Luke 20:45-47