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An Introduction to the Kingdom of God

Mankind has been around for a number of years now and has had a variety of governments, with none being successful. The world has never seen a period of time without war and strife. After all this time it should be clear that mankind cannot govern themselves in order to bring peace and end strife. One of the reasons is that there are few real Christians, Matthew 7:14. More and more we are seeing people turn away from God and doing what they think is right, Psalm 14:12; 16:25.

The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1 that in the last days perilous times would come. He then goes on to describe the immorality that even church members would descend into, 2 Timothy 3:2-4. It should be noted that being a church member does not mean one is a child of God. There are many church members, and entire churches and denominations, that are deceived and are on their way to destruction, Matthew 7:13. These people that Paul says are immoral have a form of godliness, in other words they profess to be Christians but they are not, they are deceived or hypocrites, 2 Timothy 3:5. We have these overwhelming problems of war and strife in our countries because mankind has rejected God. Mankind is corrupt and none do good. All have turned aside and became corrupt, Psalm 14:1-3.

Throughout the Bible we have the good news that this time of war and strife will be brought to an end in the future. Accidents, diseases, suicides, murder, drug and alcohol abuse, broken lives, sexual promiscuity, etc., will be brought to an end. The Bible tells us of the gospel of the kingdom of God that is coming and Jesus will be the King of this Kingdom. It should also be noted that this kingdom of God was prepared from the foundation of the world, Matthew 25:34. It tells us that sickness and disease will be healed, Isaiah 35:5-6, that mankind will be given a new heart and a new spirit, Ezekiel 11:19-20, animals will no longer be wild and a child shall lead them, Isaiah 11:6, nations will come to the Lord and learn His ways, Micah 4:2, nation will never be at war again, Micah 4:3-4, nations shall not hurt nor destroy in God's kingdom, Isaiah 11:9, Jesus Christ will then rule the world, Isaiah 9:6-7.

The kingdom of God is one of the most important doctrines in Scripture, and is related to all other doctrines. God's universal kingdom consists of a King, a realm or territory to rule over, and the subjects in that kingdom. The realm is the entire universe, and the subjects are those who accept God's rule over their lives. Entrance to the kingdom is through the new birth.

THE KINGDOM

We note in the Bible that God's Kingdom is everlasting, Psalms 145:18, and that God rules over all His creation, all that exists in space and time comes under the sovereignty of God, 1 Chronicles 29:12. From Psalms 103:19, we learn that God established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. David also confirmed God's universal kingdom in his prayer, in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, stating everything that is in the heavens and the earth is the Lord's dominion, God rules over all. This kingdom of God was in existence in the angelic world before it was here on the earth. Then came the fall of Lucifer and many of the angels that followed him in rebellion.

Sometime later God created Adam, who was given kingship of the earth, and he was to have dominion over all the earth, Genesis 1:27-30. When Adam sinned, he lost his dominion and Satan, with his demons, assumed control over the earth. In God's universal Kingdom, the earth is now in rebellion and ruled by Satan, who is the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4. Because Satan is the god of this world, and has control of all the kingdoms of the earth, he could offer all the kingdoms of earth to Jesus, as the book of Matthew tells us in Matthew 4:8-9 and this is repeated in Luke 4:5-6. Jesus did not refute Satan's claim, because He knew Satan was now the god of this world.

This gospel of the kingdom of God was preached to Abraham, Galatians 3:8. It is through Jesus Christ that this new kingdom would be established and this was also foreordained before the foundation of the world, 1 Peter 1:18-20. King David in Psalms 145:10-13 wrote of the coming kingdom of God in and that it is an everlasting kingdom whose dominion would endure forever. The kingdom was now being developed with Israel through the covenants that God made with them, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, the New Covenant, and the Palestinian Covenant. These covenants are eternal, unconditional, and irrevocable, and show us the kingdom of God on earth.

It was the prophets of the Old Testament that described the glories of the kingdom of God. They told of a message of hope for Israel. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come and bring peace, righteousness, and prosperity to Israel. When the Messiah finally came, the majority of the Jews rejected Him and He turned from them to take out a people for His name from among the Gentiles, this is the age of the church, the age of grace. The prophet Daniel knew of the coming kingdom of God and also said it would be an everlasting kingdom, Daniel 7:27. Daniel also received the revelation of the Seventy Weeks which foretells the coming kingdom which Christ will rule over in the millennium. The church or the age of grace exists between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel's seventy weeks prophecy. The seventieth week begins after the church is caught out and Christ returns at the end of the tribulation period.

There are several names of the Kingdom as follows:

  • Mark, Luke and John use the name kingdom of God
  • Matthew uses the kingdom of Heaven
  • The apostle Paul used the kingdom of Christ and God, Ephesians 5:5
  • Paul also called it the kingdom of His dear Son, Colossians 1:13
  • Peter called it the everlasting kingdom, 2 Peter 1:11

THE KINGDOM AND THE COMING OF CHRIST

A greater understanding of the kingdom of God came with the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself preached the gospel of the kingdom of God while here on earth, Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15. He also sent out the disciples to preach this kingdom of God, Matthew 10:7; Luke 9:1-2. The Jews rejected the kingdom, Luke 9:22, and the nation of Israel was set aside temporarily. Then the church which is composed of both Jews and Gentiles, comes to the forefront of history, Romans 9:24-26. Just before the Great Tribulation, Jesus will return in the air and all believers, dead or alive, will be caught up together in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air. This is referred to as the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.

Jesus went all throughout Galilee teaching and preaching the kingdom of God, Matthew 9:35. He also taught them to repent for the kingdom of God was at hand, Matthew 4:17. In fact, He told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God was within them, meaning that He, the King, was standing within the group of Pharisees. Some have understood this as meaning that the kingdom of God is within a person. Jesus was talking to Pharisees and in John 8:44 He explained that the Pharisees were of their father the devil. Therefore the Pharisees were lost and did not have Jesus, the Father, nor the kingdom so they could not have had the kingdom within. The King was among them but the kingdom was not within them. The Pharisees were lost and therefore had no spiritual discernment to recognize that the kingdom of God was at hand, the King standing within their group, and being offered to them, Matthew 23:15-17.

ISRAEL

Israel is currently being regathered into her promised land (Isaiah 11:11; Ezekiel 11:17), the land of Israel. In 135 A.D., Emperor Hadrian had Jerusalem leveled to the ground, and Jews were barred from entering the city. In an effort to eliminate the Jewish name, and their connection to the land of Israel, the Romans changed the name of the land of Israel from Judea to Palaestina, probably from the name of the Philistines. Some Jews were still able to live in the land and there has been a Jewish prescence for over 3,000 years.

This was the last attempt by the Jews to take back the land of Israel, known today as Palestine, until 1948. Israel will possess all the land promised during the Millennium, and it will be theirs for an everlasting possession, as God promised. At this point, however, they only possess a fraction of all they were actually given by God. After the church is caught out to heaven, there will be a time of the Great Tribulation in which the Jews will again turn to God and enter into the millennial kingdom of Christ. This is also confirmed in Hosea 3:4-5, “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” Today we have the nation of Israel with the Jewish people returning to Israel daily.

THE KINGDOM IN TODAY'S WORLD

Today, some think the church is "the kingdom of God", which is an error. Most will agree that the church was formed in Acts chapter two. As we have seen previously in this article, the kingdom existed long before the church came into existence in Acts chapter two. The church is in the kingdom but it is not "the kingdom". The Bible never mentions the church as being the kingdom and the kingdom is never directly applied to the church. Christ is the head of the church, Ephesians 1:22, which is His body, and has never been refered to as the King of the church. However, Christ is the King of the kingdom and will reign as King over the coming millennial kingdom. As we will see in the parable below, the wheat represents the children of the kingdom and are in the kingdom but they are not the kingdom. A church is not a building but is the children of the kingdom called out and assembled. Unfortunately there are many unbelievers claiming to be believers that are gathering with the church, so we have a mixed multitude. Just as the nation of Israel came out of Egypt, Exodus 12:38, as a mixed multitude of believers and unbelievers, so is the church today.

Let's look at one of the explanations of Jesus about the kingdom in today's world. In Matthew chapter 13 Jesus gives several parables. As we look at this we need to remember that while there are many nations in this physical world there are only two kingdoms in the spiritual world. One is the kingdom of God and the other is the kingdom of Satan.

One of the parables in Matthew 13 tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed seed in his field, Matthew 13:24. In Matthew 13:38 Jesus tells us that this field is the world and the good seed is the children of the kingdom. Please note at this point that the children are sowed in the kingdom of heaven, they are a part of the kingdom but not “the” kingdom.

The people Jesus was speaking to lived in a society that was familiar with agricultural terms and methods. They would have easily understood the word picture He was painting. In Matthew 13:25 we see that an enemy came and sowed tares (looks like wheat but are weeds, unbelievers), among the wheat, the children of the kingdom. Jesus explains this in Matthew 13:39 telling us this enemy is the devil. These tares are unbelievers who profess to be believers but are not and are not children of the kingdom, even though they are mixed with the children of the kingdom and appear to be children of the kingdom at this time. In today's church we have believers and we have professors who profess to know Jesus but do not. Some of them are deceived by false teachers and others are just hypocrites.

With the passing of time the wheat sprung forth and produced fruit. The tares also came forth but had no fruit. So the servants asked the householder if he didn't sow good seed because there were tares (unbelievers), among the wheat (believers), Matthew 13:26-27. Then Jesus explained in Matthew 13:38 . . .the tares are the children of the wicked one(the devil); The Tares are those who are mere professors of Christianity who reject the redemptive work of Christ.

The householder told his servants that an enemy (the devil) had planted the tares (unbelievers, children of the devil). So the servants asked if they should gather up the tares. He said no, lest as they gather up the tares they might uproot some of the wheat with them. Let both the tares (unbelievers) and the wheat (believers) grow together and at the time of harvest he would instruct the reapers to gather the tares (unbelievers) first and bind them in bundles to burn but gather the wheat (believers) into my barn, Matthew 13:28-30. Jesus explained this in Matthew 13:39-42 explaining that the enemy that sowed the tares is the devil and the harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels. He explained that as the tares(unbelievers) are gathered and burned in the fire so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send forth His angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity and cast them into a furnace of fire.

Satan assumed control of the earth when Adam fell, and was told of the coming of Jesus, Genesis 3:14-15. Because of this, Satan has tried, from that time to the present, to stop the coming of Jesus. Satan tried to prevent Jesus' ministry at the time of His birth, He tried to defeat Jesus' mission when he tempted Jesus at the beginning of His earthly ministry. He tried yet again to foil Jesus' agenda at the cross. He has failed these three times, and, as we will see, he will continue to fail. Jesus is coming to set up God's kingdom on earth, to rule over all the nations of earth, and to put all things under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25, 28) and establish God's rule over all the earth. Satan has his own ministers, and the fallen angels to help him. He has his own kingdom, and his control of the earth will reach it's peak during the time of the Great Tribulation. It is during the Great Tribulation that Satan will bring in his man, the Antichrist, the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3), to establish the worship of Satan.

When God accomplishes His goals on earth, He will bring an end to Satan and his control of the kingdoms of this world, and establish God's Kingdom on earth, through Jesus Christ, over all the nations of the earth,Zechariah 14:9. Jesus Christ will rule on earth for a thousand years, and at the end of that thousand years, He will defeat Satan and all those that come up against the believers. Then Satan will be cast into an eternal lake of fire to be confined there forever,Revelation 20:10.

The next event is the Great White Throne Judgment, a judgment of all those who have rejected Christ, Revelation 20:12-15. Now that all wickedness, evil, and sin have been done away with, and the earth cleansed, we have a new heaven and new earth, wherein dwells no sin, wickedness, or evil, with Jesus Christ as it's eternal King. The establishment of the millennial kingdom is fast approaching, and will move toward it's final goal. Then comes the end, when the Kingdom on earth is delivered up to God, 1 Corinthians 15:24.

In summary, there is a universal Kingdom of God, which rules over the entire universe or creation. On earth, Satan assumed control from Adam when he fell, and there is sin, evil, and rebellion. When Satan is defeated, and Jesus rules over the entire earth as King of Kings, with God's purposes fully fulfilled, this Millennial Kingdom of God on earth will be merged back into the Universal Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:24, 28) and Jesus Christ, with His saints, will rule and reign with Jesus over the earth forever, Revelation 22:5.

So how does one get into this kingdom of God in today's world? The Biblical plan for being saved, also called salvation, is a fairly simple one. The following is an explanation of each step.

First,
we must come to a realization that we are sinful people. Romans 3:10 tells us that no one is righteous. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, his sin was imputed all mankind, and that continues to this day - Romans 3:12. Romans 3:23 tells us that ALL have sinned. When you break a traffic law, there is a penalty for that, and usually a payment has to be made to the court. Romans 6:23 tell us that there had to be a payment for sin, or wages of sin, and that payment is death.

Second,
we also need to realize that we, as sinful people, have no way to fix this ourselves. So, what can be done about this, so we can be restored to a right relationship with God? We have seen that the penalty for sin is death, BUT, the good news is that God has already provided the means to "fix" it. Why? John 3:16 tells us that God so loved us who are in the world, that He WILLINGLY gave His Son, Jesus - and His Son's life - to pay the penalty, or payment for our sins. According to John 3:17, God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn us, but, that through the shed blood of Jesus we could have the opportunity to be saved from the penalty of our sins. That is really good news, because John 3:18 tells us that those who come to Jesus, and accept His payment for our sins, are no longer condemned! BUT, those who do NOT accept that payment IS condemned already, because he/she has not believed in the name of God's only Son, Jesus. Romans 5:8 confirms that before we ever knew we were sinners, God demonstrated, or showed, His love for us -- that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and so that fellowship could be restored with God.

So, how does this happen?
The second half of Romans 6:23 tells us more good news! It tells us that salvation is a gift from God. When someone gives you a gift for your birthday, what do you have to do to take possession of it? You open your hands and reach out and take hold of it! You don't pay for the gift - you simply accept what has already been purchased.

Third,
We must repent (change our minds toward God and away from sin), Acts 26:20. Romans 10:9 makes this promise: that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, that we WILL be saved! Not maybe saved. Not could be saved, but that we WILL be saved. Romans 10:10 goes on to explain that it is with the heart that we believe, and with the mouth we confess, that we agree with God's declaration that Jesus is Lord.
Romans 10:13 gives us another confirmation that, if we will call upon, or ask, Jesus to come into our hearts, we SHALL BE saved. It's a done deal. You have become saved, or "born again" - your sins are forgiven and you have a clean slate. You have a new heart and a new life in Jesus Christ.

Fourth,
Romans 5:1 tells us that we have been justified by our faith in the finished work of Jesus. We have peace with God. Our debt of sin has been paid for, and we have a whole new relationship with God. That relationship will bring not only peace, but comfort, joy, and a sense that whatever comes along in your life, you will never have to face it alone.

For more detailed information on salvation see our article on being Born Again which explains the new birth and Peace with God. Also look at the doctrine of Imputation.

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