What is The Kingdom of God?
The word “Kingdom” is used 117 times in the gospels of the 151 total times it is used in the entire NT. Such a statistic denotes a high level of significance especially when most if not all of its mention is done by Jesus the Christ. The subject of the Kingdom, its nature and its ideology form the cornerstone of the good news. It is the culmination of all God’s promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is the fulfillment of everything the prophets spoke about and foreshadowed. It is the OT and NT coming together in matrimony of everything God had laid out since the foundation of the world.
The Kingdom is quintessential to Jesus’ ministry, mission and purpose. John the Baptist preached about the Kingdom (Matt. 3:2) and others in the gospel proclaimed the importance of the Kingdom (Lk. 1:33) but notice in particular the emphasis Jesus places on the Kingdom in the gospels (Matt. 4:17, 23; 5:20; 6:33; 7:21; Mk. 4:11; 10:14; Lk. 4:43; 9:60, 62; 10:9; Jn. 18:36). Here are a couple passages that demonstrate this idea:
“But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose” (Lk. 4:43).
“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (Jn. 18:36).
In these passages it is perfectly clear that the Kingdom dominates Jesus’ sermons. It dominates His parables and it dominated His purpose. But why? Well, to answer that question we have to first ask what the Kingdom was. It is used primarily in two ways in the NT. The first way it is used is to speak of the reign and rule of Christ that He exercises in the kingdom of His people or His church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:6; 5:10). The second way is it used is to speak of the consummation of the church in all its glory which is Heaven (Matt. 25:34).
The point of these two uses is to emphasize the importance of the Kingdom. One cannot go to Heaven without being a part of the church, and one cannot become a part of the church if his/her ultimate goal is not Heaven. Therefore it is best to think of the Kingdom of God from an “already but not yet” perspective. It is already here and present in the sense that Christ reigns in the church and all who come to Him in repentance, baptism and faithful living are added to the church which is His body and He is the head of it.
On the other hand, the Kingdom is not yet fully here because Heaven has not yet been realized in the consummation. This is the greatest aspect of the Kingdom since we will be with God and see Him face to face forever and ever. This is why it is so important to be a part of the Kingdom now in the church since it prepares us for the consummated Kingdom to come.
The gospels spoke so much about the Kingdom because it’s the be all end all of our lives. Jesus talked about it every opportunity He got because He wanted everyone to recognize that this is why He left Heaven to come and die on earth. He did it so we can be a part of His reign in the church now and in Heaven to come. Are you a Kingdom citizen? Don’t wait until it is too late. Enter the Kingdom while you still have a chance!