Monday, July 30, 2012

What is the Kingdom of God?


If someone asked you, "What is the kingdom of God?", what would your response be? As a child I would have said that it was a place far, far away; not only was I was quite familiar with the Lord's Prayer, but in addition my mom often expressed that my toys were scattered "from here to kingdom come!" I later came to believe that God's kingdom is within my spirit, and it is where I will go when I die…it is heaven. Now that I have been studying God's Holy Bible, (Which I can't believe I used to think was boring!) I am learning that there is much more to His kingdom than I could have imagined.

The kingdom that I was talking about within my spirit is referred to as the spiritual kingdom. Jesus tells us in John 3:3-6 "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." I was right that the kingdom of God is within me, but it was only after I truly accepted Him as my Savior. 

Now as for the physical kingdom of God…all I can say is, "Wow!" Would you believe that God is actually going to set up His kingdom of heaven right here on Earth for a thousand years?!!  If you take every word of the Bible as literal, that's what it says.  Since Jesus told Satan in Matthew 4:4, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." I am going to do just that.

Following are a few passages from Scripture that make me a believer in the fact that while we live in a cursed world right now, soon God will restore His kingdom right here on His planet earth.

• God promised Abraham that he would inherit all the land of the earth. This has not happened yet, and He has NEVER broken a promise. "And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever."  (Genesis 13:14-15)

• God told Daniel that after the world ended in catastrophe, He would set up His Messianic kingdom. "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Daniel 2:44)

• Jesus taught mankind a prayer that includes asking God to have His kingdom come, since we didn't accept it at the time of fulfillment, when we could have. (We crucified Him instead.) "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9-13) 

• Jesus' reply to Pilate when he asked Him if He was the King of the Jews was, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." (John 18:36) Does this not tell us that His kingdom is not here yet? 

• Who is the ruler or out world, then? Most unfortunately, it is not our Christ! God gave Satan power over the unbelievers of this world. "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Corrinthians 4:4) "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."(Ephesians 6:12) One doesn't have to spend much time looking around to realize that this is very true.  

• God gave His apostle John the revelation of how He would bring in His covenanted kingdom for a thousand years. (It's a little scary, but ends well for those who love Him!) "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  (Revelation 20)   (After reading that part in Revelation I like to read this…"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10) )  

I absolutely delight in the promise of Christ's return, when He will set up His Father's kingdom and have absolute sovereign reign over all of creation. He will rule an age free from sin, sickness and suffering. There will be no more anger or hate or war. There will be no more anguish or shame. There won't even be any more weeds! How can God's kingdom on Earth not excite you? I'm so fired up about it I could unfurl my excitement all the way to kingdom come!


Please remember, BIBLE BAIT is written by a novice Bible study student, not a Bible scholar. If something doesn't look quite right to you, dig into God's word. The one thing I promise you is that you won't get bored! Many thanks to my friend Renee Driscoll, who helps me keep Bible Bait Biblically correct.


 jesusandthebible said...
Hi Tamara,
The coming "physical" kingdom is indeed something to look forward to. In the meantime, the "spiritual" kingdom is at work in various ways.

In Jn. 3:3-6 the Spirit is the Holy Spirit that enables one to be "born" into the kingdom of God, as a new child of God. While Jesus was not received by his own people, there were some that did receive him; to them he gave power to become children of God (Jn. 1:11-13). This new family is the new kingdom Jesus and the Spirit begin.

And the Spirit Jesus gives his disciples will lead to actions like bearing witness to him (Jn. 15:26-27). As the Spirit speaks through this new family/kingdom, he (the Spirit) will convict the world of its sin, and of true righteousness, and of judgment (for the ruler of this world, Satan) (Jn. 16:8-14). When Jesus tells Pilate his kingship is not of this world, he means he is not like the kings of earth who follow Satan's devices; his kingship is from above, from the Spirit, and leads to bearing witness and to loving (rather than fighting against) enemies (Jn. 18:36-38). His kingship leads the way for the rest of his kingdom to follow: speaking the truth about our one king, and loving even those who resist that truth.
July 31, 2012 4:37 PM
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1 comment:

jesusandthebible said...

Hi Tamara,
The coming "physical" kingdom is indeed something to look forward to. In the meantime, the "spiritual" kingdom is at work in various ways.

In Jn. 3:3-6 the Spirit is the Holy Spirit that enables one to be "born" into the kingdom of God, as a new child of God. While Jesus was not received by his own people, there were some that did receive him; to them he gave power to become children of God (Jn. 1:11-13). This new family is the new kingdom Jesus and the Spirit begin.

And the Spirit Jesus gives his disciples will lead to actions like bearing witness to him (Jn. 15:26-27). As the Spirit speaks through this new family/kingdom, he (the Spirit) will convict the world of its sin, and of true righteousness, and of judgment (for the ruler of this world, Satan) (Jn. 16:8-14). When Jesus tells Pilate his kingship is not of this world, he means he is not like the kings of earth who follow Satan's devices; his kingship is from above, from the Spirit, and leads to bearing witness and to loving (rather than fighting against) enemies (Jn. 18:36-38). His kingship leads the way for the rest of his kingdom to follow: speaking the truth about our one king, and loving even those who resist that truth.