THE KINGDOM OF GOD  


 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The kingdom of God has existed from eternity past as God's absolute authority, power and viewpoint. Psalm 145:13 declares this absolutely. Although the term "kingdom of God" does not occur here or anywhere in the OT, it is certainly referring to God's kingdom. Psalm 10:16; 29:10; Dan. 4:3
God's kingdom authority, policy and viewpoint came under attack through the rebellion of Satan and the fall of Adam. Spiritual darkness entered into the universe and spiritual death on all who rejected God's authority and policy.
God gave Adam the Messianic promise of Gen 3:15 to provide the pathway for restoration to spiritual life with God.
The Messianic promise was narrowed down from Adam to Noah, to Shem, to Abraham and then to the nation of Israel that God built from the NEW race that God manufactured from the genes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From that nation/race the promise was extended to David and then to David's Greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament (OT) time period anyone who trusted in the Messianic promise entered into a salvation relationship with God. If someone is in a relationship with God, they abide within His kingdom of light and possess everlasting life.
Acts 10:43.
“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Isaiah 55:1-3, "Incline your ear and come to me . . . and I will make an everlasting covenant with you."

James 2:5, "did not God choose the poor (spiritually poor {recognition of need} and humble) of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love Him."
These believers then lived on the earth as servants of God to proclaim the message of the kingdom of God, and to enjoy His blessings in ANTICIPATION of a HEAVENLY inheritance and destiny, "a heavenly city" (Heb. 11:16). Although they were/are in the kingdom, the fullness of kingdom blessing is not to be realized until resurrection.
This is what Job looked for. Job 19:26-27
It is what Abraham looked for. Heb. 11:16
It is what David looked for. Ps. 16:10; 49:15;
It is what all the Old testament believers looked for: Acts 24:14-15. Paul said,
"I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked."
This PROMISE of the kingdom could not be realized until the promised Messiah/savior came into the world. When Jesus came into the world it could then be said, that "the kingdom of God HAS COME NEAR."

Both John the baptizer and Jesus make this claim. Mat. 3:2 and 4:17.
The perfect active indicative of engidzō indicates the time of arrival.
The kingdom has arrived with the result that it is present right now in the person of the Messiah.
Jesus said, "the time IS fulfilled and the kingdom of God HAS come near (arrived)."
Paul wrote that it was "at the fullness of time." Gal. 4:4.

Between the testaments, some kind of understanding arose about the kingdom of God.
The proclamation that the kingdom of God has "arrived" (has come near upon you), did not elicit any questions like, "what are you talking about?" They had an awareness that there was a "kingdom of God."
When Nicodemus was told he could not enter into the kingdom of God without being born again, he did not question - what is this kingdom of God you are talking about? He questioned the mechanics of entrance. And then Jesus taught him that the issue of both the new birth and entrance into the kingdom, was trust in Him for the possession of everlasting life. John 3:1-18.

While the Old Testament does in fact teach about the future earthly kingdom for the nation of Israel, it is never called "the kingdom of God." In fact, the term, "kingdom of God" does not occur anywhere in the Old Testament.
This promise to Israel through David and Solomon, that they would be given an EARTHLY kingdom over which the Messiah would reign, was a sub-set of the Messianic seed-promise. But the primary focus was redemption from sin and restoration to spiritual life with God for all eternity.
The promise to the nation of Israel regarding DAVID'S earthly kingdom is something entirely DIFFERENT. That promise is simply PART of the promise to Abraham that revolves primarily around the SPIRITUAL promise, "in you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
This promise looked to SPIRITUAL life through the good news of salvation from sin and the acquisition of a righteous standing before God (justification). Gal. 3:8; Isaiah 53:11.
The real issue in proclaiming the kingdom of God is the fulfillment of the seed promise of Gen. 3:15; the arrival of the Messiah/Savior, whose purpose is to manifest upon the earth the authority and viewpoint of the spiritual kingdom of God. That is, to bring to completion God's plan of salvation; and bring final judgment on Satan and all aspects of spiritual rebellion. Psalm 92:7, "When the wicked sprouted up like grass, And all who did injustice flourished, It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore."

Throughout the history of Israel, the people for the most part, lost focus on the SPIRITUAL kingdom and concentrated on the earthly kingdom promised to David.
Jesus did not come to bring this earthly kingdom to Israel nor to even OFFER it.
He came first and foremost to proclaim the arrival of God's promised SPIRITUAL kingdom. The fulfillment of the promise to David of an EARTHLY kingdom will come later and is INCIDENTAL to the spiritual factors.
In fact, the earthly kingdom cannot happen until and unless the SPIRITUAL kingdom ARRIVES through the first parousia of the Messiah (the message, death and resurrection of Jesus).
However, no where did Jesus OFFER an earthly kingdom to the nation of Israel.
Jesus did not have that earthly kingdom in mind.
In the teachings of Jesus, there is no mention of the earthly kingdom even though the Pharisees and even the disciples often had that in mind.


So, while it is true that some, and even the disciples, were thinking of that future earthly kingdom, that is, were expecting the establishment of an earthly kingdom (Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6), that does not mean that Jesus had that in view. There is nothing in His teachings that even hints at that. And in fact, at Luke 19, knowing the thoughts of the people ("they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately"), Jesus immediately taught a parable indicating that He was in fact LEAVING without establishing any earthly kingdom.

However, many of the people of Israel and even outside of Israel, still had the proper focus on the redemptive ministry of the Messiah.

The events pertaining to both advents were mentioned in the revelations and prophecies given to some of these believers. Both the spiritual kingdom and the earthly kingdom were mentioned, because these righteous people understood that the future earthly kingdom was anchored in the spiritual issues of Christ's person and work.

Matthew 1:20-23: the message to Joseph concerned only the spiritual factor of salvation from sin. "And you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

The magi
Mat. 2:2, the one who has been born King of the Jews.
The context indicates that they had in mind an earthly reign, but this would only be as an extension of His redemptive work and resurrection. Perhaps it was understood that the redemptive work of the promised Messiah went hand in hand with His earthly kingship.

The angel's message to Mary mentioned both the earthly reign of the Messiah and the EVERLASTING reign, which of course would be a heavenly focus.
Luke 1:32-33
1. Earthly kingdom promised to David: "give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever."
2. The eternal spiritual reign: "and His kingdom will have no end."

Mary's proclamation expressed deliverance for Israel without giving any specifics.
Luke 1:54-55, "has given help to Israel His servant in remembrance of His mercy; as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and His offspring forever." This focuses on the unconditional covenants, which include the future earthly kingdom, but most certainly sees and would be dependent on the spiritual blessing through the redemptive work of Christ.

Zacharias, prophesied concerning the Messiah: "redemption and a horn of salvation."
Luke 1:71-75: The earthly focus because national deliverance was ALSO a part of the OT prophecies.
Luke 1:76-79: The spiritual focus, "knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins."

The shepherds
Luke 2:8-14: The message to the shepherds was about spiritual relationship with God through the provision of a Savior.
"For all people . . . a savior who is Christ the Lord."
There was no mention of an earthly kingdom.

Simeon
Luke 2:25-32: Simeon "was righteous and devout, looking for the encouragement for Israel."
Of course, it was the encouragement of Israel because the work of redemption was indeed "to the Jew first and also to the Gentile."
His message was about the spiritual provision.
"A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel."
"My eyes have seen Your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of ALL peoples."
There was no mention of an earthly kingdom.

Anna
Luke 2:36-38: Anna focused on the nation of Israel, but still had the spiritual issue in view as she proclaimed about the Savior Who would bring a spiritual deliverance "to all those who were looking for the REDEMPTION (lutrōsis) of Jerusalem (Israel). This refers to the salvation provision (forgiveness of sins) that the Messiah would bring - first to Israel and then to the Gentiles and indeed to the whole world.

Later, we learn that the Samaritans were looking for the Messiah. John 4:25-42. They were looking for the Messiah (for the world), but not an earthly kingdom for Israel.
And their conclusion after hearing His words, "this one is indeed the Savior of the world."
That is, the One they had been taught about and for Whom they were looking.

JOHN THE BAPTIZER
In the teachings and expectation of John the baptizer, there was nothing mentioned about the earthly kingdom.
His primary focus was "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
He became a bit disillusioned while in prison and inquired if indeed Jesus was the one they were looking for. Jesus answered by reminding him of the signs of the Messiah as per Isaiah 35:5-6 (healings) and 61:1 (the gospel proclaimed).
This was to establish that He was indeed the promised Messiah/Savior. But there is no explicit focus on the earthly kingdom. That is because the ministry of Jesus was as per Isaiah 61:1-2a; His work of redemption, and NOT the future earthly kingdom.

THE TEACHING OF JESUS
When the Messiah comes into the world there are several things that He would accomplish - divided between His first and second advents.
At the first advent the focus is only on the spiritual issues of the kingdom of God.
1. Entrance into the kingdom through salvation from sin.
2. Living in the kingdom as sons of light.
3. Future participation in the heavenly kingdom through the second coming.
4. Future judgment on unbelievers through the second coming.

At the second advent the focus is on the COMPLETION of the redemptive plan through resurrection; judging God's enemies; and bringing in the heavenly, everlasting kingdom. There is no specific mention of David's earthly kingdom and it's implementation is only hinted at with the teaching in Revelation about the 1000 year kingdom that will precede the last judgment.
And just as these two advents were blended together in the OT, likewise in the minds of SOME of the people, these two were blended together.

Throughout the ministry of Jesus, it does not matter what the people were expecting or thinking.
And in fact, they did NOT understand about the kingdom of God that Jesus brought at His first coming - until He explained it.
Jesus did not offer them an earthly kingdom. He made it clear at the very beginning of His ministry. At the synagogue in Nazareth, He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2a, clearly dividing between the redemptive work of the Messiah and a distant future establishment of David's promised earthly kingdom.
Isaiah 61:2b-9 speaks of the earthly kingdom that will come from the Messiah's second advent. Jesus stopped short of this because His ministry did NOT concern any offer of the earthly kingdom or how to enter or live in that earthly kingdom.
As quoted from Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed."
Verse 21, "today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your ears."

And then He went to Capernaum and fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2. (Mat. 4:15-16).
"The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a Light dawned."

He taught about relationship with God through changing the mind and believing in HIM as the Savior of the world - the gospel of the kingdom.
He did not teach about an earthly kingdom and did not talk about deliverance from Rome.
He talked about the here and now kingdom of God's authority and viewpoint; present and available for entrance into through faith in Him.

That is why both John and Jesus told the people to "repent." That is, change your mind about God and about His kingdom. It is here now and entrance into it is available to anyone who will believe in Jesus.
John: Acts 19:4, "telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after."
Jesus: Mark 1:15, "repent and believe the gospel."
John 3:3-16, You don't enter into it unless you are born again. That is, unless you receive NEW LIFE (everlasting life) through faith in Christ.

Accordingly, at the very moment that someone believes in Christ, they receive everlasting life and enter into the kingdom of God.
And then Jesus taught extensively how to live IN the kingdom of God right now while living on the earth. Basically, the believer is to live with the attitude of seeking to promote the value system of the kingdom of God. The value system of God's kingdom is righteousness, justice, mercy and love. These characteristics are inherent within God's essence and within His kingdom as it exists perfectly in the realm of the heavenlies. As the believer grows in grace and knowledge, his life should revolve around promoting God's righteousness in the world, and thus represent the standards of God's kingdom here on the earth as he lives according to the royal law of love.
Such ones are designated as a "disciple of the kingdom of heaven, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old." Mat. 13:52.
That is coupling OT truth with NT truth.

His presentation of the kingdom was a here and now reality that involved forgiveness from sin (Mark 1:4, 14-15); relationship with God (John 1:12; John 3:3-5; 12:36); everlasting life (John 3:14-17); a transfer from darkness to light (John 12:36, 46; 8:12) - AND the standards for living here on earth as citizens of that kingdom of light ( John 8:31-32; Mat. 5-7).

He stated that He was not here to bring in the earthly kingdom, but that -
(1) The kingdom of God was in their presence; among them. Luke 17:20-21.
and
(2) There will be a future, heavenly participation in the kingdom of God that would not come until long after his suffering, death and resurrection. Luke 17:22-25; 18:29-30; 21:31; Mat. 24; 26.29

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS HERE
With Jesus present on the earth as the embodiment of the character of God and doing the works of God, He can say, "the kingdom of God has come UPON (epi) you." Mat. 12:28.
Later, Jesus clarified that the kingdom of God was WITH or AMONG the people.
Jesus told the people, "the kingdom of God is among (entos) you (plural). Luke 17:21

Everything He taught is for relating to the kingdom of God right here and now on earth, and in anticipation of everlasting life in the heavenly kingdom.
FIRST: entrance into the kingdom through the new birth; faith in the person and work of Christ.
He made it perfectly clear as recorded in the gospels, that He came as the sacrificial Shepherd who will give His life for the life of the sheep. John 3:17; 10:11-18, 34-35; 12:46-50; Mat. 20:28; 1 John 4:14.
And those who understood would make the correlation to Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.
A. The purpose of His presence is to proclaim: Luke 4:43
B. Mt. 4:23 - the gospel of the kingdom (cf. v.17,23 - preach, proclaim)
C. Mark 1:14-15, "change your mind (about God) and believe in the gospel."
D. Proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom: Mat. 9:35; 11:1-5, 11; Luke 8:1; 9:11
E. John 8:24, "unless you believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins."
F. Acts 1:3, "speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God."

SECOND: living in the kingdom right now through learning and using the standards of God's righteousness and love as found both in the OT writings and also in the very words of Jesus. Jesus taught the disciples how to live RIGHT NOW - in the kingdom of God; in anticipation of the "church" (the elect body; the "called out" assembly) that He would build upon HIMSELF - the ROCK; and in anticipation of the promised heavenly destiny that Abraham looked for. Heb. 11:16.
He did not teach them to live in view of the mil. kingdom. All throughout His teachings he focuses on righteousness, justice, mercy, faithfulness and love.

THIRD: being on the right side of the resurrection of the just and the unjust in the heavenly kingdom.

And the message of the disciples after showing the signs of the kingdom (healing the sick), is to proclaim to the people, "the kingdom of God has come near UPON (epi) you," (Luke 10:9). IE. It is here RIGHT NOW and is evidenced by our message and works - and the message and works of Jesus. Mt. 10:27; Lk. 9:2; 10:9, 11;
Luke 9:60 - go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.
The same message for entrance and living.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The Bible teaches that the kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality that the believer participates in through trust in Jesus as the Messiah/Savior.
The person who trusts in Christ is presently IN THE KINGDOM as a child of God.
That person "has been delivered out from the authority of darkness and TRANSFERRED INTO the kingdom of His beloved Son." Col. 1:13.
He has become a kingdom citizen, and has access to all the spiritual benefits for living in this present world as representatives of God's kingdom viewpoint and policy.
Likewise, the message of everlasting life and resurrection is the same gospel of the kingdom of God which Paul proclaimed everywhere he went. Acts 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31.

The kingdom of God (heaven) that was taught by John the baptizer, by Jesus Himself, by the 12 disciples and the 70 disciples whom He sent out two by two; AND by the apostles after His resurrection - is the very same spiritual kingdom of God that requires FAITH in Christ for entrance and following the law of love for living in the kingdom right now on earth.
Everyone who believes in Christ is given entrance into the kingdom and through that spiritual reality, actually gain possession of the kingdom.
That's what Jesus meant at Mat. 5:3, "Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Poor in spirit refers to the humility that recognizes one's NEED for salvation and accepts God's provision (policy) for entrance into the kingdom (the spiritual kingdom). The same issue of humility and entrance into the kingdom as He taught at Matthew 18:3-4, "whoever then humbles himself as this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (God)." Greatest and least are equal.
And at Mat. 19:14, those who are "SUCH as these" (that is, those who have expressed humility so as to trust in Jesus as the Savior) HAVE the kingdom.
"the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Such ones have a present - real time - status in the kingdom of heaven (God) and have the promise (hope/confidence) of the PHYSICAL fulfillment of everlasting life through resurrection. THAT is the future aspect of the kingdom of God passages. It is not talking about the earthly kingdom promised to David.
Paul makes it clear that "flesh and blood shall not enter the kingdom of God."
THAT is the future participation in the HEAVENLY kingdom, as Paul wrote about at 2 Tim. 4:18, "He will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom."

Jesus came into the world to offer entrance into the spiritual kingdom of God based on His personal presence (parousia - message, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection).
The teachings are for the hearers RIGHT NOW; especially the Beatitudes.
Jesus taught how to ENTER the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is His realm of existence; That's why salvation is designated as His kind of life - everlasting life. "in Him is life; he who has the Son has the life." etc.
And Jesus taught about living after entrance into the kingdom - as citizens of the kingdom; children of God. Living according to the royal law of the kingdom; the law of love.
In Mat. 7:21, Jesus is not teaching ABOUT the future mil kingdom.
He is talking specifically about God's POLICY for being saved - for entrance into the spiritual kingdom. "He who does the will of My Father." Faith in Christ.
It is an established fact that the one who believes in Jesus RIGHT THEN as He is teaching, will become a child of God and will be placed into God's kingdom.
There will come a time (perhaps the great White Throne judgment) when some will claim qualification to be saved - entrance into everlasting life, but will want to do it on their own terms. Thus, "I never knew you."
That is why the book of works is opened - to show all the "good" things that people did, but none of it measures up to Christ's righteousness, which is what we must possess for entrance into the kingdom. Mat. 5:20.

THE EARTHLY KINGDOM
The OT does in fact teach about this future earthly kingdom for the nation of Israel, but it is never called "the kingdom of God." In fact, the term, "kingdom of God" does not occur anywhere in the OT.
This promise to Israel through David that they would be given an EARTHLY kingdom over which the Messiah would reign was a sub-set of the Messianic promise. But the primary focus was redemption from sin and restoration to spiritual life with God for all eternity.
The promise to the nation of Israel regarding DAVID'S earthly kingdom is something entirely DIFFERENT. That promise is simply PART of the promise to Abraham that revolves primarily around the SPIRITUAL promise, "in you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
This promise looked to SPIRITUAL life through the good news of salvation from sin and the acquisition of a righteous standing before God (justification). Gal. 3:8
The real issue in proclaiming the kingdom of God is the fulfillment of the seed promise of Gen. 3:15; the arrival of the Messiah/Savior, whose purpose is to manifest upon the earth the authority and viewpoint of the spiritual kingdom of God. That is, to bring to completion God's plan of salvation; and bring final judgment on Satan.
Throughout the history of Israel, the people for the most part, lost focus on the SPIRITUAL kingdom and concentrated on the earthly kingdom promised to David.
Jesus did not come to bring this earthly kingdom to Israel nor to even OFFER it.
He came first and foremost to proclaim the arrival of God's promised SPIRITUAL kingdom. The fulfillment of the promise to David of an EARTHLY kingdom will come later and is INCIDENTAL to the spiritual factors.
In fact, the earthly kingdom cannot happen until and unless the SPIRITUAL kingdom ARRIVES through the first parousia of the Messiah (the message, death and resurrection of Jesus).
In the teachings of Jesus, there is no mention of the earthly kingdom even though the Pharisees and even the disciples often had that in mind.

He stated that He was not here to bring in the earthly kingdom, but that the future establishment of the kingdom of God (both earthly and heavenly) would not come until long after his suffering, death and resurrection. Luke 17:20-25; 18-19; 21; Mat. 24.

The Pharisees were looking for "some kind" of an earthly kingdom. And Jesus told them, don't be looking for any signs or some physical location. He said, "the kingdom of God is among (entos) you (plural). What they had not realized is that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom that was right then and now in their presence through the person and message of Jesus. Luke 17:21.
Just as Jesus stated to the Pharisees at Mat. 12:28, "and since I cast out demons by the power of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
That is why He rebuked them on several occasions and directed them to "the weightier provisions of the law; justice, mercy, faithfulness (and the love of God)." Mat. 23:23; Luke 11:42. The law of the kingdom is the royal law of love. James 2:8.

Even the disciples lost focus on the spiritual issues right up until Jesus explained the OT to them more fully just before He ascended after His resurrection.
Even with their "slowness" to understand

The fact of an earthly kingdom promised to David was known by all of them. It was taught throughout the OT and was probably discussed among themselves quite often.
They knew that the earthly kingdom would come in connection with the arrival of the Messiah. It was something they knew apart from anything Jesus would have taught because it was part of their culture.
So it would be natural for the disciples to think that after the resurrection, Jesus would bring in the earthly kingdom - not necessarily because He taught about it, but because they HAD BEEN taught about it all their lives - AND they had lost focus on the spiritual issues in spite of the spiritual emphasis in all of Christ's teachings.
Why would Jesus teach them about the earthly kingdom and then they know NOTHING about the truth of the matter?
The fact of the matter is that Jesus taught them what was going to happen to them after His death and resurrection at Mat 10:17-23. Nothing about an earthly kingdom.

Perhaps even Acts 1:7 is a mild rebuke, "It is not for you to know the times or the epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority."
And when they asked, He used the entire OT to show them that the earthly kingdom was not the issue. Luke 24:44-48

Even though during His ministry, Jesus told the disciples that they were disciples of the kingdom of God and that God has chosen to give them the kingdom; and even after the upper room discourse, they still did not fully understand about the kingdom of God until Jesus taught them after His resurrection.
So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority." (Acts 1:6-7). “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things that are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “So it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49). And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

They were to be witnesses of the SPIRITUAL kingdom of God and did not teach about the earthly kingdom that had been promised to David.
The earthly kingdom is simply not mentioned in the New Testament UNTIL Rev. 20:4 and 21:9-27. And even then it is not specifically designated as the fulfillment of the promise to David.
Even at Hebrews 1:8, "His kingdom" refers to the eternal kingdom and not the earthly kingdom promised to Israel.

The apostles did NOT teach about the earthly kingdom promised to Israel.
Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 4:20; 6:9-10; 15:24, 50; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5; Col. 1:13; 4:11; 1 Thes. 2:12; 2 Thes. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:1, 18; James 2:5; 2 Peter 1:11; Rev. 1:9; 11:15; 12:10.


THE HEAVENLY ETERNAL KINGDOM

Jesus also taught about a FUTURE aspect of the kingdom. It was the FULFILLMENT of the salvation promise that culminates in RESURRECTION and a "heavenly" destiny - not life in an earthly kingdom. And He uses symbolism to teach about the peace and joy of living in the culmination of the kingdom of God - not the earthly kingdom.
Mat. 8:11-12: Jesus uses the symbolism of "shall recline at table" to refer to heavenly blessings experienced by those who have trusted in Him as Savior. The "many" is a specific focus on all the Gentiles who will be saved while so many Jews will be rejected. This is not the earthly kingdom.
The OT often combined this symbol to speak of both Israel's earthly kingdom, AND the eternal kingdom. We have to be very careful to see the division.
Isaiah 25:6-8
"Now the Lord of armies will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. And on this mountain He will destroy the covering which is over all peoples, The veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken."

These symbols portray a heavenly, RESURRECTION context. 1 Cor. 15:53-57 and Rev. 21:4.
Jesus used this same symbol of blessing in the heavenly kingdom at the last supper. Mat. 26:27.
"I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."
He is not talking about the future millennial kingdom. He is talking about life in the heavenly kingdom. And He uses the same symbol as at Mat. 8:11-12 and Isaiah 25:6-8.

1 Cor. 15:24 is not a reference to the earthly kingdom. "Then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power."
Some think that this refers to the earthly kingdom that Christ will rule over for 1000 years. But there is nothing that requires this to be a reference to the earthly kingdom, especially since it is not mentioned anywhere else in Paul's writings.
Christ is the fulfillment of the seed promise who will restore the kingdom of God to its complete authority and viewpoint. He accomplishes this after the last judgment, and the "kingdom" that He hands "back" to the Father is not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual one.
This simply means that the "rift" in God's kingdom has now been resolved as per God's plan from the very beginning as per Psalm 92:11. "when the wicked sprouted up like grass, and all who did iniquity flourished, it was so that they might be destroyed forevermore."

The eternal kingdom of God is described by the term "new heavens and new earth."
Although this renovation of the universe has a "seed pod" aspect at the start of the earthly kingdom (Isaiah 65:17-25), the term looks beyond the earthly kingdom and sees the eternal universe.

The Bible certainly teaches about the heaven of God's throne where also His angels reside.
Psalm 103:19-21; 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18.
But there is very little revelation about the heavenly kingdom. However, believers did understand that the promises of God were ultimately realized in a heavenly destiny. Abraham and others understood this as stated at Hebrews 11:16, "but as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one . . . for God has prepared a city for them."
This allows us to understand many Old Testament promises as having ultimately a heavenly focus.
Old Testament resurrection promises should be understood as having a heavenly focus.
Job 19:26-27; Dan. 12:2 and Acts 24:14-15; Psalm 49:15; 68:18
It seems the promises of an "everlasting" destiny should also fall under the umbrella of Hebrew 11:6.
Isaiah 55:1-3, "and I will make with you an everlasting covenant - the grace provisions of David."

The eternal aspect of the new heavens was not seen in the Old Testament (although hinted at Isaiah 66:22. "for just as the new heavens and the new earth, which I make will endure before Me), but is revealed in the New Testament at 2 Peter 3 and Rev. 21:1-8. The expression, "forever and ever" (using the word, ōlAm) throughout the Old Testament is referring to a very long time in an earthly context. It is used for the Davidic covenant at 2 Samuel 7:16, "your throne will be established forever (adh ōlAm)." And for the new covenant and the earthly kingdom at Jeremiah 31:40, "the city . . . shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever (le ōlAm)."
When used of God it has an eternal focus such as at Psalm 90:2, "from everlasting (ōlAm) to everlasting (ōlAm) you are God." And Jeremiah 33:11, "Your grace kindness (chesed) is unto everlasting (le ōlAm."

The new universe is described at "those things that cannot be shaken" at Hebrews 12:26-27. Quoted from Hag. 2:6, the final stage of establishing the eternal kingdom of God will begin with the second coming of the Messiah. At that time He will administer the day-of-the-Lord judgments, and after that establish the earthly kingdom.
"For thus says the Lord of armies: ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of armies."

At Revelation 21:1-8, the New heavens and earth is seen as coming into its full realization AFTER the millennial kingdom has ended and after the last judgment.
See topic renovation
It is at this time that the Lord Jesus will hand over His successful establishment of the kingdom of God to the The God and Father. 1 Cor. 15:24-28.

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Life in the eternal kingdom of God seems to be focused on the New Jerusalem.
All believers from the Old Testament and from the church are united together in the new Jerusalem as can be deduced from Rev. 21:9-14 along with Eph. 2:11-21.
"It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on the gates, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."

All believers fall under the category of "seed of Abraham." Galatians 3:7,9, "those who are out from faith are sons of Abraham." Verse 9, "those who are out from faith are blessed with Abraham the believer."
And all believers fall under the category of belonging to Christ. Gal. 3:28-29, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise."

Thus, all believers qualify to be citizens of the new Jerusalem.
However, it seems based on Rev. 19:7-9, that the bride of Christ is separate from believers who live in the millennial kingdom. The bride is separate from those invited to the wedding feast.
And yet, after the millennial kingdom, when all believers will possess a resurrection body, they will all reside in the new Jerusalem. It is possible that once they receive a resurrection body, they then become part of the bride.
Or more probably, we should look at these things; the bride, the wedding and those invited as simply symbols to portray what will happen in the context of that particular chronological event. IE. the start of the millennial kingdom when there will be both resurrected believers and believers still in mortal bodies.

From a study of the order of resurrections (1Cor. 15:23), it can be seen that there is -
1. Christ the first fruits.
2. Those who are Christ's at His PRESENCE (parousia). That is a resurrection that will occur DURING the period of time of Christ's second coming. This is broken down into at three phases; the rapture; the believers who will die after the rapture; and the believers at the end of the millennium.

Both the Old Testament and the New teach that there are only TWO resurrections; the resurrection of the just and the unjust. John 5:29, "unto life" or "unto judgment." Dan. 12:2; Acts 24:15, "a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked."
Rev. 20:1-4 teaches that there is a first resurrection, and there is "the rest of the dead who did not come to life until the 1000 years were completed." "The rest" would then constitute the second resurrection; the resurrection of the unjust - unto judgment.
I suggest that the last part of verse 4 should be understood as including the two groups mentioned; the raptured believers and the DOL martyrs. The statement does not limit who is to be part of the first resurrection. Since we are not told about the resurrection of believers at the end of the millennium, perhaps it is safe to conclude that they too will be part of the resurrection of the just; the first resurrection.


THE LIFE OF BELIEVERS IN ETERNITY
The life of believers in eternity should be seen as revolving around the new heavens and earth.
All believers will have a resurrection body and there will be no unbelievers.
In Revelation 21-22, we need to be diligent to distinguish between the life of believers in the earthly kingdom and the eternal quality of life of all believers in the resurrection.
Rev. 21:1-7 describes this quality of life. And Rev. 21:9-27 and 22:1-5 describes life in the earthly kingdom.
Revelation 21:3-4, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Verse 8 indicates that this describes the quality of life AFTER the last judgment of Rev. 20:11-15 has been completed.
"But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

At Revelation 21:1-8, the New heavens and earth is seen as coming into its full realization AFTER the millennial kingdom has ended and after the last judgment.
See topic renovation

It is then at this time that the Lord Jesus will hand over His successful establishment of the kingdom of God "on earth as it is in heaven" to The God and Father. 1 Cor. 15:24-28.


SOME ORIENTED BELIEVERS
Prior to the establishment of the church those who were viewed as "righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord," were occupied with the SPIRITUAL kingdom of God and not David's earthly kingdom.
The primary focus in the Psalms, Proverbs and the Prophets is living in the spiritual kingdom of God with emphasis on righteousness, justice, mercy and love.

At the time of the crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea is described as one who "had become a disciple of Jesus" (Mat. 27:57), and as one who was "waiting for the kingdom of God" (Mark 15:43), and as "a good and righteous man" (Luke 23:50).
Joseph was waiting for the SPIRITUAL manifestation of the kingdom of God.
He had accepted the SPIRITUAL message of Jesus, and like Nicodemus, believed in Jesus as the promised Messiah/Savior.
Jesus came to present Himself as the Savior of the world - proclaimed first to Israel and then to the Gentiles - all equally invited and accepted by trusting in Him as the promised sin-bearer. Jesus proclaimed the arrival of the SPIRITUAL kingdom of God/heaven through His personal presence on the earth.

THE DISCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

After The Exodus, God established the nation of Israel as the priestly representative of God's kingdom on the earth. It can be said of them that they possessed the kingdom. That is, they were stewards of the kingdom. Although the OT never designates them as such, Exodus 19:6 indicates it and the words of Jesus at Mat. 21:43 confirms it. as He says to them, "the kingdom of God will be taken away from you."
Also at Matthew 8:11-12, Jesus uses the term, "sons of the kingdom" to refer to the Jewish people who at THAT present time were God's administrators of the SPIRITUAL kingdom of God. But since (as a nation) they rejected Jesus as the Savior, in the heavenly kingdom of heaven (God) as symbolized by the banquet, they will be "cast out into the outer darkness."
After the nation rejected Jesus as the anointed Savior, "the kingdom of God" was taken away from them and assigned to a "nation" producing the fruit of it.
Jesus was not talking about a physical earthly kingdom. He was talking about responsibility as stewards of the spiritual kingdom of God.
The disciples are the foundation layers of that "new nation" that will be representatives of the SPIRITUAL kingdom of God. Thus Jesus said to them, "for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32.
Jesus does not see them or deal with them as representing Israel or the Jewish people, but as members of a new nation; a new body, which He calls "My church (My "called out" assembly, ekklāsia is from ekkaleō) Mat. 16:18 and 18:18.
Accordingly the disciples are designated as "disciples of the kingdom," which God gave to them to be representatives of the kingdom at that time and after His resurrection, as proclaimers of the gospel of the kingdom of God.
(1) God took a way the kingdom of God from the Jewish nation. Mat. 21:43, "the kingdom of God will be taken away from you."
(2) The kingdom was given to a new nation, "and it will be given to a nation producing the fruit of it."
(3) The kingdom of God was given to the disciples. Luke 12:32, "your Father has chosen gladly to give y'all the kingdom."
(4) The disciples comprise and are foundation layers of "the nation producing the fruit of" the kingdom.
(5) The disciples are the foundation layers of the church, which is the new nation that possesses the kingdom and represents the kingdom of God. 1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
(6) The disciples are addressed - NOT - as members of the nation of Israel, but as a group of believers who will be persecuted by Israel. Mat. 10:17.
(7) At Mat. 23:34, Jesus addressed the nation through its representative body - "the scribes and Pharisees," and told them, "Therefore, behold, I AM SENDING you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city."
Jesus had already told the disciples that they would be the ones spoken of here. Mt. 10:17, "But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues."
After Christ's resurrection, this statement was literally fulfilled through the disciples and those who believed in Christ through them.

The disciples are told that THIS gospel of the kingdom would be proclaimed throughout the world before He comes back ("then the end will come").
It is the very same gospel that they have been proclaiming all along since John the baptizer, "telling the people to believe in Him who comes later, that is in Jesus" (Acts 19:4).
Just as Jesus said, "Believe in the Light so that you can become sons of light," John 12:36.
And to Nicodemus he said that one cannot enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again, which He explained as, "whoever believes in Him would have everlasting life."
Just as John clarified, "but as many as received Him to them He gave authority to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in His name." John 1:12.

Earlier they were told that they would be the proclaimers of THAT gospel right up until He comes back.
"You will not finish with the cities of Israel until the Son of man comes." Mat. 10:23.
And then later, "And you are witnesses of these things," (Luke 24:48); "in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
So that "Repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations beginning in Jerusalem," Luke 24:44.
"Go therefore and make disciples . . ." (Mat. 28:19-20). Those who become disciples through the ministry of "a disciple of the kingdom of God," likewise becomes a disciple of the kingdom.

Obviously, they did not proclaim UNTIL His coming. BUT they started and were the foundation layers of the group (the "new nation") that would be the proclaimers of the kingdom of God throughout the next unknown number of years until the Son of man comes back.

Jesus gave them the commission to proclaim the gospel after His resurrection (Acts 1:8), which is exactly what happened. Acts 8:25, 40; 14:7, 15, 21; 15:7; 16:10; 20:24-25; 28:23, 31.
And it is the same gospel mentioned in the letters of Paul and Peter.

The model prayer that Jesus suggested at Mat. 6:9-13 (verse 10) includes the expression of this attitude, "may Your kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
This expresses in prayer the desire of the believer that God's kingdom standards might be promoted here on earth as believers represent (seek first) the kingdom of God in their lives. This is definitely NOT praying for the millennial kingdom to arrive.

And this is what Paul is writing about at Col. 4:11, "fellow workers for the kingdom of God."
The kingdom of God needs to be PRESENTLY represented and promoted because it is CURRENTLY under attack. Jesus clarified this at Mat. 11:12.
"And from the days of John the baptist until now the kingdom of heaven is under attack and attackers are plundering it."
This constant attack from false doctrine (the doctrine of demons) needs to be repulsed, and it is the testimony of believers that pushes back against the evil.
That spiritual factor is the primary focus as seen in its amplification in the New Covenant. They were not looking for an earthly kingdom.
There is no specific mention of an earthly kingdom in the apostolic writings.
In fact, the apostolic writings reflect exactly what Jesus taught about entrance into, and living here and now in the kingdom of God.

THE KINGDOM PARABLES
The kingdom of God is the realm of God's viewpoint and authority in the universe. Anyone who trusts in the Messianic promise enters into the kingdom of God as a child of God. Such a one usually remains here on earth with the responsibility and privilege of representing God's viewpoint to others. The kingdom of God in the teachings of Jesus refers to (1) entrance into that kingdom through the new birth by trusting in Christ as Savior, or (2) living in the kingdom here on earth as God's representatives, or (3) status in the heavenly kingdom after the second coming of Christ.
Jesus did not have the earthly, Davidic kingdom in mind as He taught about divine values for living here on earth. However, those same values also will be operative in the earthly kingdom.

Matthew 13 provides us with some of the parables that teach about the mysteries of the kingdom of God (heaven). These have nothing to do with the earthly kingdom promised to Israel through David.
1. Parable of the sower: entrance into the spiritual kingdom through acceptance of the gospel, and then growth and production during the believer's life.
2. Parable of the wheat and tares: Progress of God's kingdom influence in a sinful universe up until the last judgment. Wheat gathered into the barn is heaven.
His kingdom is not the mil kingdom. It is the entire realm of His authority, as it has been since it was first mentioned at Psalm 145:11-13.
This is the theme of all of Christ's teachings.
3. Parable of the mustard seed: Progress of God's kingdom influence in a sinful universe from its "arrival" via Christ's first parousia "through" the mil kingdom and then fully encompassing (once again) all of the universe when all darkness and evil will be completely dispelled, and only righteousness remains.
4. Parable of the leaven: Progress of God's kingdom influence in a sinful universe as His righteousness is promoted through the ministry of His servants and His plan advances from stage to stage until fully completed after the last judgment. Then the whole universe will be completely saturated with the righteousness of God.
5. Parable of the treasure: Service parable that reflects the attitude that places greatest value on the standards of God's kingdom: righteousness, justice, mercy and love. Reflects the attitude of Mat. 6:33. This applies to believers right here and now.
6. Parable of the pearl: Service parable that reflects the attitude that places greatest value on the standards of God's kingdom: righteousness, justice, mercy and love. Reflects the attitude of Mat. 6:33. This applies to believers right here and now.
7. Parable of the dragnet: this is exactly like the wheat and tares parable. The end of the age is that final stage of God's plan for His kingdom when at the last judgment all unbelievers are removed from this life and cast into the lake (furnace) of fire.

OTHER PARABLES
8. Parable of the wicked servant: Mat. 18:21-35. Teaches about mercy and forgiveness as the believer lives right now in the kingdom of God here on earth (Rom. 14:17).
9. Parable of the hired workers: Mat. 20:1-16. Illustration of equality in status. Even the one who becomes a believer at the last hour of his life on earth is equally a citizen of the kingdom of God.
10. Parable of the landowner: Mat. 21:33-43. Teaches about the failure of the nation of Israel and its temporary replacement by another group who will represent the kingdom of God on the earth; IE. the church.
11. Parable of the wedding feast. Mat. 22:1-14. Teaches about Israel's failure and replacement with a new representative of God's kingdom. The feast represents the privilege and function of being an evangelistic servant of God. It also speaks of qualification. Only believers qualify to be representatives of God's kingdom here on the earth.
12. Parable of the faithful servant. Mat. 24:45-51. Teaches about salvation preparation before the second coming of Jesus. Mankind in general. The faithful servant is a believer. The unfaithful servant is an unbeliever who ends up in outer darkness; weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13. Parable of the virgins: Mat. 25:1-13. The Spiritual truth taught is:
If you are not prepared when Jesus comes back at the Day of the Lord,
you will not go up at the gathering of the elect.
14. Parable of the talents: Mat. 25:14-30. The primary issue is accountability to the salvation message that one has received. Two accept the gospel and "enter into the joy of your Master."
One does not accept the gospel and is rejected to outer darkness.
15. Parable of the unrighteous steward: Luke 16:1-13. In this parable, which is only recorded by Luke, Jesus taught about a proper understanding and utilization of material resources.

SOME DISORIENTED PEOPLE
The gospel accounts provide some examples of people who were disoriented to the true nature of the kingdom of God as present and represented by Christ's first coming.

The thief on the cross certainly had some kind of awareness of the Messiah's kingdom as indicated by his request.
What if the thief doesn't know what he is talking about? He probably knows nothing about what Jesus has been teaching. He knows about the promises about the coming Messiah and the promised kingdom. He recognizes and accepts Jesus as the coming Messiah - fulfilling "whoever believes in Him has everlasting life."
Jesus immediately took the focus off of any "future" earthly kingdom and focused on the FACT of relationship with God, "today you will be with me in paradise."
He basically said, "I recognize your faith in Me and assure you that your sins have been forgiven and we will be together in paradise on this very day."

At Matthew 20:20-28, the request by James and John and their mother is a strange thing. They also don't know what they are talking about as Jesus made perfectly clear.
Don't focus on any "future" kingdom, or petty disputes about who is better or has a higher rank or function.
Right now the issue is "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many," which clearly echoes Isaiah 53.
Jesus always steered the peoples' thinking away from an earthly kingdom and focused on the here and now, "the kingdom of God is among you," AND the future HEAVENLY participation in the kingdom of God.

The large group of disciples as He entered Jerusalem
Luke 19:37-38, "praised be the one who comes in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven and glory in the highest places."
This large group of disciples was comprised of people with different levels of understanding about Jesus, and proclaimed various things from that understanding.
Some of them were simply occupied with the miracles they had witnessed.
Some were looking for the king to sit on David's throne and bring deliverance from the Roman oppression.
They understood that the arrival of Jesus as the Messiah was a fulfillment of the prophecies in the Psalms, and was a bona fide proclamation.
Jesus confirmed this as He told the Pharisees, "if these become silent even the stones will cry out."

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus at John 24:21-27, "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel." They had not related that "redemption" to the cross (Isaiah 53).
John 24:25-27, " And then He said to them, “You foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to come into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets, He explained to them the things written about Himself in all the Scriptures.

And of course, as already discussed, the disciples were a bit disoriented even after Christ's resurrection. Acts 1:6, "is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"
After so, "then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “So it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things." Luke 24:45-48

THE SECOND ADVENT
Now, just as the presence of the spiritual kingdom of God was realized through the presence of Jesus at His first coming, so also the presence of the resurrection phase of the kingdom of God will be realized through the second parousia of Jesus.
That's why Jesus says TO and FOR the church age believers (represented by the disciples as the foundation layers of the church), when they see the signs of His coming, then the kingdom of God is at hand. Luke 21:31.
He is not talking about the physical, earthly kingdom.
That earthly kingdom is incidental to Christ's arrival in judgment.
It is a parenthesis in between His arrival of Mat. 16:27 and the last judgment of Rev.20:11-15.
Mat. 16:27, "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every person according to his deeds."
Matthew 25:31-46 teaches about the removal of all unbelievers from the earth after the battle of Armageddon and prior to the establishment of the earthly kingdom.
However, the focus of both blessing and cursing is one's eternal destiny and not life in the earthly kingdom.

SUMMARY

What Jesus taught, what the disciples taught and what the apostles taught was exactly the same message - entrance into the kingdom and standards for living as citizens of that kingdom.
That message had as its primary focus living for God (seek first His kingdom and His righteousness) during one's life here on earth. But the message sometimes extended beyond this earthly life to the eternal kingdom; the resurrection.
Jesus never taught specifically about the earthly kingdom that was promised to the nation of Israel, and that includes the symbolism He employed at Mat. 8:11-12, which has reference to participation in the everlasting spiritual kingdom of God.

The Bible teaches that the kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality that the believer participates in through trust in Jesus as the Messiah/Savior.
The person who trusts in Christ is presently IN THE KINGDOM as a child of God.
That person "has been delivered out from the authority of darkness and TRANSFERRED INTO the kingdom of His beloved Son." Col. 1:13.
He has become a kingdom citizen, and has access to all the spiritual benefits for living in this present world as representatives of God's kingdom viewpoint and policy.
The focus of Christ's teachings (as well as John the baptizer and the apostles) is:
1. Entrance into the kingdom of God through belief in the gospel.
One must first "receive" the kingdom God, and then by that "receiving" actually enter it. Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17.

2. Living here on the earth as citizens of the kingdom.
3. The second coming of Jesus when He brings the resurrection reality of the kingdom and brings the final judgment upon all who reject God (2Thes. 1:8-9).
All the FUTURE aspects of the kingdom in His teachings look to a HEAVENLY and resurrection experience of the kingdom (Luke 21:31; Acts 14:22); and to the last judgment (Mat. 25:41, 46).
Included in this span of time is indeed the earthly kingdom of David's greater Son, the Lord Messiah. But this is not in view either in the teachings of Jesus nor in the teachings of the disciples after His resurrection. And that includes Mat. 8:11-12; 19:28 and 26:29.

4. The last judgment, which is the final stage of God's plan to remove unrighteousness from the universe once and for all. It is at this time that all who are unrighteous will be cast into the furnace (lake) of fire.

The kingdom of God throughout the gospels, Acts and the epistles is the same thing. It is the "realm" of God's authority, viewpoint and plan. We enter into it by faith in Christ and remain here on earth to live it out and represent it to the world. Everyone who trusted in Christ (the gospel of the kingdom) while He was here entered the kingdom. The apostles proclaimed the same thing We are in the kingdom of God NOW (phase 1) and will enter phase 2 (face to face with the Lord) when we die, and phase 3 at the resurrection. The earthly kingdom is only one aspect of the future administration of God's kingdom. It was not pertinent in Christ's teachings nor in the teachings of the apostles.

SUMMARY OF THE PROCLAMATION
The message of John the baptizer:
Mat. 3:1-3, "change your mind (about God) for the kingdom of the heavens (God) is at hand (has arrived)." Mark 1:4; Luke 3:2-3.
Luke 3:18, "he proclaimed the gospel to the people."
John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world."
Acts 19:4, John was "telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus."

The message of Jesus: Mt.4:13-17 based on Luke 4:18-21
The message of the early church:
A. Philip: Acts 8:12, about the kingdom of God
B. Paul: Acts 19:8-10; 20:32; 20:25; 28:23, 31 - "about the kingdom of God."
C. 1 Cor. 15:50, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
D. Gal. 5:21 and Eph. 5:5, inheriting the spiritual kingdom of God.


 

 
 

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