Can you define the “Kingdom of God”?

Part 1 of 2 parts.      StairwayToHeaven-D-4d

 

Recently I was asked to explain the “Kingdom of God” in a page or so of writing.  Let me start by saying this subject is certain to illicit much more than a page of comment.  This is a subject we all are concentrating on and is the very basis for why we are here and why we believe.  I hope all of us are part of the “Kingdom of God”.  I will purposefully try to keep this on the simple reasoning and avoid getting into eschatological reasoning.

Because I have been saved by grace for more than 40 years I have been referring to the Kingdom of God for almost as many.  In the Old Testament God is the King of the Universe and He is referenced as the King of Israel in Exodus 19: 4-6 and  Deuteronomy 33:4, 5.  During that period his kingdom took on a present tense relationship with His people.  After the birth of Jesus and the crowning of our human king the relationship became a future tense and no longer was a matter of the present.  The future tense kingdom was described as “the supernatural, universal, everlasting reign of the God of heaven which will overthrow and replace the great world monarchies”.

The phrase, “the kingdom of God,” is found in all four of the Gospels.  The phrase is also in found in Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 2 Timothy.  The kingdom of heaven is used in Matthew and from what I know most biblical scholars agree that these phrases can be used synonymously.  Heaven is looked at as God’s abode in the way we look at earth as our abode.  We are all to aspire to join our king in his kingdom which is in heaven through discipleship.

“The primary imagery which biblical writers used for God was that of a divine King (e.g. 1 Sam 8:7). Alongside the basic conviction that God is the supreme King is the belief that he reigns over creation as his kingdom (Pss 47:1-9; 83:18; Dan 4:25-26; 5:21). In this general sense then, God has always been the sovereign reigning King who rules in heaven over all things (Pss 103:19; 113:5; Matt 5:34; Eph 1:20; Col 1:16; Heb 12:2; Rev 7:15).”

I found this to be descriptive as we work to unravel the mystery of the kingdom, “Our Lord repeatedly speaks of the kingdom as a state of things lying altogether above the sphere of earthly and natural life, being so different from the natural conditions that it could not be evolved from the latter by any gradual process (cf. Matt. 8:11, 13:43; Mark 14:25; Luke 13:20, 29, 22:16, 29, 30).  According to Luke 17:20, He declared that the kingdom does not come with observation, but is among or within men.  And Luke 16:16 makes the kingdom begin from the days of John the Baptist and immediately succeed the law and the prophets as the comprehensive name for the Old Testament dispensation.  Both the present reality and the organic-spiritual character of the kingdom are most clearly taught in the great kingdom parables (Matt. 13; Mark 4; Luke 8).

If we are saved by the grace of God and while we are still alive and here on earth we can enjoy the kingdom of grace, (spiritually) however, it is after our physical death and the world death that we will enjoy the kingdom of glory.  Here it is spelled out by another bible scholar, “The entire language which Jesus employs in regard to it presupposes that it will bring blessings transcending those of the present stage of the kingdom. All imperfections will be done away with, all enemies vanquished, the wheat and the tares will no longer be permitted to intermingle, the full satisfaction with righteousness and the beatific vision of God will be enjoyed. It is true, our Lord always emphasizes that the heart and essence of the kingdom may be possessed in the present life. But it is plain that He could not have spoken so absolutely of the eschatological crisis as the coming of the kingdom, had not the thought been in his mind that, after all, only the end of the world can bring the full and adequate possession of even those spiritual blessings in which the kernel of the kingdom consists.”

This concept of the “Kingdom of God” is clearly an important one.  The Lord clearly made this a central theme of His teaching, therefore, we should conclude that he meant it to be observed as a profound significance.

Continued, Click here to go to Part 2

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