The Kingdom of God
The Kingdom consists of a people, a King and a land.
In the Old Testament the people were the children of Israel (the Jews), their
King was God and their land was Canaan:
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5,6)
Sadly, the Jews rejected God as their King (1 Samuel 8:7)
preferring a succession of human kings most of whom disobeyed God; a notable
exception being King David who was promised a direct descendant who would
reign on his throne in Jerusalem for ever:
And when thy 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. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
That descendant was to be Jesus, confirmed by the angel to
Mary his mother prior to his birth:
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 for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)
Jesus will be King of a literal kingdom with its headquarters
in Jerusalem. He will reign over "the house of Jacob" (the Jews) and
"of his Kingdom there shall be no end".
Jesus recognised this destiny:
"You say that I am King. For this was I born..." (John 18:37)
He taught his disciples to pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy
will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven". His disciples hoped
he would establish his Kingdom there and then but it was explained to them
that this would happen at a future time when Jesus returned (Acts 1:6,7,10,11) to the earth and he spoke in a parable of a man going into a far country
to receive a Kingdom and to return:
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. (Luke 19:11-12)
God's Kingdom on earth will not be confined to the Jews but
will consist of those who love and obey God irrespective of nationality or
race (Matthew 21:43). Jesus taught that the glorious prospect of the
coming Kingdom should be our first priority in life:
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (the necessities of life) shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33)
This should guide our behaviour in all aspects of our lives,
preparing ourselves for future citizenship, God Willing.
The use of the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" describes its quality and divine origins, not its location, which will embrace all countries and peoples of the world.
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. (Isaiah 2:2-3)
The Kingdom will be very real and tangible and the blessings which Jesus, as King, will bring will be truly wonderful:
- There will be complete disarmament.
- Real peace will spread across the world.
- The earth's resources will be properly and wisely used until prosperity and contentment will come to all.
- Deceit and violence of every kind will be removed by a Ruler who knows the motives and thoughts of men.
- He will insist on Justice for all.
- Pain and killer diseases will cease to exist and even death itself shall be abolished at last (See Isaiah 35 and 65:17-25, Psalm 72).
This will be a time of everlasting joy and happiness for those
who by baptism and obedience to the commands of Jesus will receive the gift
of eternal life and enjoy the benefits of life and service in the Kingdom
of God on earth for ever and ever. Amen.
Life in the Kingdom is only possible because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. When he returns to this earth to set up the Kingdom of God, he will raise from the dead his faithful servants and give them everlasting life. To find out more about this why not apply for our Learn to Read the Bible Effectively Course?
We have another article here here which focusses on the kingdom as described by the four gospels.