15 Comments

The Kingdom of God (2)


Has your mind or heart ever been so full that reining in your thoughts in order to express them coherently is difficult? This is how this topic is affecting me. For the last two years the topic (the Kingdom of God) and what the term expressly means when used in God’s word,  has been very important to me personally. I’ve read and reread the many scriptures in which this term is used, primarily in the new testament, asking the Spirit of God for a clearer understanding. Did you know, its recorded as spoken by Jesus in all three Gospels? In fact, the Kingdom of God is spoken of or referred to more times by Jesus then any other topic! That alone shows how important it should be that we understand it’s meaning.

Below I’m going to post a few scriptures concerning this topic, but what I’d also like to do is ask anyone interested to explain, in your own words, what you believe the term, Kingdom of God, means.

I did take note that there was little interest shown in the first post put up, and that was ok, because I decided (prior to starting) to continue posting on this topic, if for no other reason then for my own studies. When I first started this blog it was to give myself a place to post theological questions (many which had bugged me for years) and add various studies pertaining to those questions in order to learn. As usual your comments and any input are always welcome! Iron does indeed sharpen iron. But if this topic turns out to be one which is ‘read only’ and garners no input, I’m ok with that too.

The scriptures:

Matthew 19:24 -And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Matthew 21:31- Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?

Mark 10:14-15 – But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. Mark 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

Mark 12:34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Luke 4:43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Luke 9:2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

Luke 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Luke 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Luke 13:18-24 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 18:24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Acts 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

2 Thessalonians 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

Below are a few more verses found in the Gospel according to Luke. I want to add them. These do not include the actual words Kingdom of God, but in my humble opinion the reference is clearly there.

Luke chapter 3: 21-22,

Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased..

And chapter 4: 14-21,

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”.

15 comments on “The Kingdom of God (2)

  1. I personally believe the attention given to the term the “kingdom of God” refers to the different reality in which God’s born again citizens should be living. And that life should be completely different, and even at odds, with the kingdoms of this world. The problem is that many of God’s people live and think like the world’s kingdom and even attempt to defend and build this temporal kingdom. And in so doing the church has lost all sense of the divine and the eternal. It is difficult and requires sacrifice, a commitment to the Scriptures, and a submission to God’s Spirit to walk fully invested and controlled by this divine kingdom. Eternity and eternal life begins the moment we are born again, not after we die.
    BTW – Some theologians make a big deal between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. I personally believe they are basically interchangeable.

    • Rick, i believe you’re right…it is a different reality in which those born again are to live in. Some refer to it as the upside down kingdom, and in as far as it compares to the world’s reality it actually is! I also agree that many of us (Christians, especially here in America) have either forgotten this or worse yet, never understood it to begin with.

      BTW – Some theologians make a big deal between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. I personally believe they are basically interchangeable.

      Though im sure not a theologian i too use to think they were referring to two different things, but finally realized they were the same.

      Do you believe Christians should be a reflection of the Kingdom of God, in their public actions, daily lives, etc, while here on earth? And if so, does the fact that so many are not reflecting the Kingdom point to the truth of them never having experienced the new birth?

  2. I’m glad you included that portion about the Kingdom of God not coming by observation. Also the slant seems to be towards what is a dichotomy in that like the wind we cannot see the Kingdom but we surely can “know” its power by the demonstrations of the Spirit’s “fruit”. Christ dwelling in us the apostle Paul writes the Colossians is succinctly the “Kingdom” in the world right now. The book is the Revelation about Babylon and coming out of her is a good indicator of Christ being in you guiding you by the sanctification work of the Spirit which then is a sure sign to you and others who live as His disciples in the Spirit that the Kingdom of God is within you and “is at hand”. Oh that the work of the Spirit would be increased and manifested more and more among the nations!

    • Christ dwelling in us the apostle Paul writes the Colossians is succinctly the “Kingdom” in the world right now.

      Michael i believe that’s true. Though many of us only see the Kingdom as something yet to come, the Kingdom is in fact already here (in part).

      The reason i felt to include portions of Luke 3 and 4 (especially concentrating on chapter 4 verses 17-21) is that Jesus reading from Isaiah was in fact announcing that Kingdom had arrived!

      The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord….And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

      Continuing in Luke 4 we see immediately afterward Jesus went about “showing” the fruit of the Kingdom,

      And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

      And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

      And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. verses 31-40

      He preached the Gospel, cast out devils, and healed the sick. These actions are evidence of the Kingdom of God being among them.

      What has struck me in reading the various accounts in the Gospels in which Jesus demonstrated Kingdom fruit, is that his demonstrations, for the most part, were before the disenfranchised of his time; the poor, needy, sick, etc. It was to those who no longer sought justice (believing they would never attain it), to the scorned, the forgotten and marginalized that he went to with his message of the Kingdom.

      Is this important? I believe it is..

  3. The Scripture addressing a natural consequence teaches us a parallel “hunger” of the things of the Kingdom (Prov 27:7) when we read that those who hunger and thirst after Righteousness shall be filled.

    Another “key” of unlocking the doors of understanding the Presence of the Kingdom is found studying the book of Acts particularly the things the Apostle Paul said in defense of it. One thing would be understanding the enormous emotions that were stirred up at Acts 22:21-22. The question to be asked is why the hostility then and now by these Jews? Paul goes on to develop the reasons at Acts 23:6 and following.

    What is interesting to me is the “hollowness” of what came from Terullus and the “substance” that came out of Paul there at Acts 24:2-9 and 24:10-21. To the one there was no Spiritual fruit manifested rather the Liar’s influence upon Terullus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit flowing out of Paul!

    A way to understand this is to ponder how Felix reacted to Paul (Acts 24:22-26); note well verse 25-26 and two things there. First notice the “conviction from the Holy Spirit” that came upon Felix; then notice the fact Felix was showing he was covetous as most if not all politicians are, hoping to receive money from Paul!

    The key elements are one “the true Hope” the true believers live with daily as Paul goes on to emphasize at Acts 26:6-7 and following; and two, the hope Satan puts in those who do not believe the Gospel’s message of the Kingdom of God. The war then and now seems to be succinctly defined by Paul at Acts 26:18? Today we see great effort by the spirits of the world to create an earthly paradise, hoping to retire and live comfortably until death, this “real” spiritual Babylon (the promised land) present day Zionists are trying to establish where from their seat of power you come to know God. The god of this world through fallen agencies is distracting all the world with this false hope all the while the voice of the True Believer’s true hope is being attacked like we read there at Acts 22 after Paul spoke about bringing Living Hope to the Gentile world that salvation would come from God to all God’s elect in every nation who live by His Faith hoping in the resurrection to Life!

    • Michael i’ve witnessed people actually tremble as the result of Holy Spirit conviction coming upon them. And even at such strong conviction, watched them “visibly” fight against it and walk away. Your mention of Felix brought that to mind.

  4. I would like to go a bit further in discussing the Kingdom basis these Words by the Apostle Paul from 1Cor.16:

    17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence,
    18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.

    One sure witness to us is the witness Paul gave there about those who “refreshed” his spirit and the brethren in Corinth.

    I believe there is in each of us a “spiritual” sensitivity to know the spirit of another whether or not Christ dwells in them so that the manifestation of the fruits of the Kingdom are experienced when in communion with them. As we learn from Scripture some of us have a greater sensitivity (discernment of spirits) but all of us have some degree of sensitivity to know “that” voice and the fruits of Him who dwells in us and speaks through us.

    Like I said in an earlier comment about the wind not being visible to the natural eyes but we can sense the presence of the wind without seeing it. So it is that though we cannot see the Holy Spirit we can know His Presence by the Fruits and the refreshing that comes in fellowship. Indeed the presence of the Kingdom is here just that like the wind sometimes the gusts are more easily felt or more pronounced and sometimes there is a paradigm shift and clear manifestation of the Spirit’s work like we have recorded in Scripture and History (i.e. the Jesus movement of the sixties).

    It seems evident to me the last few years have had heaviness and a spiritual brooding manfesting all over the world kind of like the Holy Spirit has been placing a conviction on souls in preparation for the manifestation of God’s people going forth declaring that the Kingdom of God is at hand? (Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
    19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
    20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
    21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.)

    There is it seems to me an intensity in the heavenlies as the battle wages hot between the Elect Angels and Satan and his angels over the nations as God brings to pass and fulfills all prophecy? For instance how about these Words King David had sung daily being fulfilled around the world and among the people of every nation?

    1 Chron.16:31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
    32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!
    33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
    34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
    35 Say also: “Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.

    As we have agreed, God’s plan is not just to save “all” Israel (Romans 9,10 & 11), but to call out of the world the Elect saving us all from our sins so we too rise to the resurrection of the Righteous! (Dan. 12:1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.
    2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.)

    Amen?

    • I believe there is in each of us a “spiritual” sensitivity to know the spirit of another whether or not Christ dwells in them so that the manifestation of the fruits of the Kingdom are experienced when in communion with them. As we learn from Scripture some of us have a greater sensitivity (discernment of spirits) but all of us have some degree of sensitivity to know “that” voice and the fruits of Him who dwells in us and speaks through us.

      Amen Michael, i believe this is true.

      It seems evident to me the last few years have had heaviness and a spiritual brooding manfesting all over the world kind of like the Holy Spirit has been placing a conviction on souls in preparation for the manifestation of God’s people going forth declaring that the Kingdom of God is at hand?

      Yes i think i know what you mean. The spiritual heaviness is like an unseen blanket, but it can sure be felt in the spirit and it hardly ever seems to ‘life off’ a person. Satan’s battle against the body of Christ has truly intensified. You may be right Michael…could it be the intensified battle against the body and the battle in the heavenlies is because something big is coming? As you said, like the people of God breaking forth to boldly proclaim the Kingdom in a manner not witnessed for 100’s of years? I had not considered that possibility!

      Now you’ve given me something to think about!!

  5. That heaviness we are experiencing I believe is written about succinctly in the book of Zechariah 5?

    Also Peter writes about it in his epistle: 1 Peter 5, note especially verse 9*, (9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.)

    One way the devil goes about to deceive is to get us thinking we are the only one going through the suffering! Well according to Peter we are all experiencing the same sufferings “throughout the world”!

    The articles you are publishing about the present dispensationalists narrows the focus from True Believers in “all” other nations suffering and focuses on sufferings in one region without seeing the global reach of Satan. For me that’s the problem with their position. The Church will undoubtedly come around and give voice to the larger picture and probably will be scorned and even persecuted by these people maybe fulfilling that Word Jesus gave about Christians being killed thinking doing that is doing the will of God?

    In any event True Biblical Christianity has universal reach and God has He missionaries working in every nation regardless of the trend false brethren are going.

  6. PJ, I’m catching up on some of your posts that I had set aside to read from a time when I was too busy to keep up with them. This series is among them. So, although I’m more than a month late, I’ll take a stab at defining the kingdom of God in my own words as you requested of your readers. I’ll call this a working definition:

    The kingdom of God = the reign of God and the realm of heaven

    It’s a valuable exercise to list all those Scripture passages regarding God’s kingdom, as you’ve done. Like Michael, I’ve been drawn for quite some time to Jesus’ words in Luke 17 that His kingdom does not come with observation. This passage (along with a similar statement by Jesus that His kingdom is not of this world) led me to abandon premillennialism a few years ago, and to zero in on the spiritual realities of God’s kingdom which He said is within/among His people.

    As mentioned above, Jesus sure did care that the poor, downtrodden, and forgotten people of this world witnessed His kingdom demonstrated with power.

    • Hey, glad you jumped in on this topic.

      I guess i should have asked this question under your other comment, but is it your belief that the Kingdom is here now in its completeness?

    • Thanks. Yes, I do believe that the kingdom of God has been established in its completeness among God’s people. (I’ll qualify this response by affirming that I do believe that, beyond the grave, an even more blessed state awaits us than we are enjoying during our lives on this earth.) Based on my understanding, I link God’s established kingdom with the new heavens and the new earth, and the New (heavenly) Jerusalem (a.k.a. the city of God), and I’ll say more about that momentarily.

      From the words of Jesus, I see that His kingdom is marked by spiritual realities and power, but is not physical, earthly, or political. Looking back at what I was taught by premillennial teachers, I recall that a large array of Old Testament Scriptures were selected at will (e.g. from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc.) and simply declared to be parallel to Revelation 20:4-6. A composite picture was created of this future kingdom which, I was told, has not yet come. As I mentioned in my other comment, this would mean to me that [1] Some of Jesus’ disciples must still be alive (Matthew 16:27-28) [2] The last of the four kingdoms/empires in Daniel’s vision (Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman) must still be around (Daniel 2:44), and [3] the temple of Jesus’ day and His generation must still be around (Luke 21:5-32; verses 5-7 and 31-32 in particular).

      In the end, the picture created by premillennial teachers that I was exposed to contradicted the words of Jesus Himself about the kingdom that had been entrusted to Him.

      I’ve heard some say that social ills, sickness, and other negative aspects of our world are evidence that Jesus’ kingdom has not yet arrived, that we’re not in the new heavens and new earth, etc. Yet Revelation 22, in describing the new heavens/new earth and “the holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:1-2) indicates that the nations would be in need of healing (22:2), and that darkness and sin would dwell outside of the city (22:15). I believe this is a picture of this present age. The author of Hebrews also told his first century readers that they had already come to “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22). He equated this with the new covenant (verse 24).

      This also lines up, I believe, with Isaiah describing the new heavens and new earth as being glorious, yet still featuring sin, physical death, and earthly labor (Isaiah 65:17-25). And if there is any doubt that Isaiah’s imagery of the wolf and the lamb feeding together is already fulfilled, I believe the apostle Paul lays that to rest by demonstrating in Romans 15 that Isaiah 11 (where this imagery also appears) was fulfilled when Christ, through His work on the cross, brought Jews and Gentiles together in Himself. Here’s an article I wrote on that subject:

      http://kloposmasm.com/2012/01/29/romans-15-shows-that-isaiah-11-is-fulfilled/

    • Thanks Adam.🙂

      You may have noticed i held your comment a couple days? I’ve been reading On the Road to Armageddon by Timothy Webber and had just started the chapter in which he explains how the introduction of dispensational-premillennialism in the west completely changed how the church saw the Kingdom of God. I wanted to finish the chapter before responding to your comment because it covered much of what you wrote.

      From the words of Jesus, I see that His kingdom is marked by spiritual realities and power, but is not physical, earthly, or political. Looking back at what I was taught by premillennial teachers, I recall that a large array of Old Testament Scriptures were selected at will (e.g. from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc.) and simply declared to be parallel to Revelation 20:4-6. A composite picture was created of this future kingdom which, I was told, has not yet come.

      Selected at will…yes this is my understanding too.

      Its very interesting to read the church, generally, held to an Amillennial view for centuries, prior to the introduction of the Scofield bible.

      Im going to read the article you shared before saying much more because frankly, i don’t believe im knowledgeable enough to respond to your comment! It seems i’ve been “working my way” through this millennial forest for some years now, if you know what i mean. I still have so many unanswered questions about the entire topic. Aha!

      Perhaps you’ll allow me to bounce one or two off of you?

    • You’re welcome, PJ. Yes, I did notice that the comment was held (I started to wonder if it hit the spam folder for some reason). I’ve heard the same about the amillennial view’s prominence in church history.

      I definitely know what you mean about working through “the millennial forest” for a long time. I have unanswered questions as well, and Revelation 20 still strikes me as the most difficult chapter in the New Testament to understand, let alone explain.

      Sure, I’ll be looking for the questions you’d like to pose.🙂

    • Ahhh chapter 20. Yep that chapter includes something which i have never understood. That is, the binding of satan for 1000 years, only to release him afterwards.

      That is one thing (of many) i have never understood Adam.

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