The Kingdom of God - Part 1 of 4
Throughout his ministry, Jesus taught the disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven (a phrase unique to the Gospel of Matthew; used 33 times), or as it better know, the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom of God is mentioned 70 times in the New Testament, 55 of which are found in the Gospel records. This tells us that the central theme of Jesus' teaching was the coming Kingdom of God (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:14; Luke 4:43; John 3:3), and while he did not give a time when he would return, he did tell us to be prepared:
Mark 13:34-37 - For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
The Kingdom is an essential feature of the Gospel which Jesus and the apostles preached, and it was emphasized heavily in the apostle's letters to the first century churches (ecclesias).
Matthew 6:33 - "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
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."
Acts 19:8 - "And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God."
Acts 28:30-31 - "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."
2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 - "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 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:"
So, what is this Kingdom of God going to be like? Like any kingdom of man, the Kingdom of God will have specific things, such as a king, land or territory, a capital, government, subjects, benefits for its subjects, and laws of the land to live by. There are also prerequisites to becoming members of that Kingdom, and the Bible reveals all this information for us.
The Bible is very clear about who the King of the Kingdom of God is; it is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 11:1-5 - "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse (father of king David), and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
Isaiah 9:6-7 - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this."
2 Samuel 7:12, 13 & 16 - "And when thy (David) days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever... And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever."
Luke 1:31-33 - "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
The Kingdom will have its headquarters in Jerusalem, which Jesus calls "the city of the Great King". This was where David's throne was, and it will be where Christ will reign from as well.
Isaiah 2:2-4 - "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations..." (See also Micah 4:1-3)
Jeremiah 3:17 - "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart."
Matthew 5:33-35 - "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King."
This Kingdom will start in the territory promised to the father of the faithful, Abraham, and then spread to include the whole world. The area promised to Abraham will be the nucleus of the Kingdom.
Genesis 13:14-17 - "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. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee."
We know that this has application to Jesus Christ because of the New Testament exposition on this portion of Genesis.
Galatians 3:16 - "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
The extent of what was promised to Abraham (which he never received, making it a future possession - Acts 7:5; Hebrews 11:8-16) is given as extending from "the river of Egypt" to the "river Euphrates", and all the territories in between.
Genesis 15:18-21 - In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
After establishing itself in the promised land, the Kingdom is then spread to include the entire globe.
Daniel 2:34, 35 & 44 - "Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.... 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 forever."
Daniel 7:13, 14 & 27 - "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed...And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him."
Zechariah 9:9-10 - "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth."
Psalm 2:6-12 - "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are they that put their trust in him."
Jeremiah 23:5 - "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth."
Continued in part 2
Written by Matthew Smith
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