“Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)
Few terms or topics can embrace the total Message of the Bible more accurately than, and as comprehensively as, “Kingdom of God.” From start to finish, the Bible tells us of God’s plan to rule and reign as King, by and through Man made in His Image and Likeness. It was this position that Adam lost when he disobeyed God; but it was this same position that we see so perfectly fulfilled in Christ.
When we study it out, we find the Kingdom Message to be synonymous for the Gospel – it encapsulates all the good news of God’s graciousness and outpouring love toward us. It is instructive then, that we realize the preaching of the Gospel to be the preaching of the King, enthroned in Glory, ruling in the midst of His People. The Bible is so rich with this imagery that Jesus tells us it is a “treasure” to provide “things new and old.”
Because the Kingdom Message is so central to the overall understanding of Scripture, let’s briefly survey the topic of God’s Kingdom using six editorial questions:
1) What is it?
First, we need to understand that a kingdom is a realm under authority; a sphere of rulership; a domain under a Sovereignty. The Kingdom of God, then, is that Realm over which He rules and reigns. It is His Rule and Reign over that Realm as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Kingdom of God is also called the Kingdom of Heaven, as well as the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. All authority and power and dominion in heaven and earth are His, as He rules in His Kingdom.
2) When is it?
This is so important to our recognition of our King. The Kingdom of God is everlasting; it is without beginning or end. God did not become King, nor are we waiting on Him to assume that position. He always has been, and always will be, the only King eternal – Sovereign of all Creation.
The Kingdom is forever. It was seen in the perfections of Eden. It lived on in the Nation of Israel when they were obedient to the Lord their God and received the benefits of His Kingly protection. It was boldly declared as a present reality by our Lord Himself. And it now flourishes among Christ’s People who submit to the Royal Law and bring forth its fruit.
3) Who is it?
A kingdom is inseparable from its king. The Kingdom of God is inseparable from God, ruling His Kingdom by and through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ – the King of kings. In His death, burial, and resurrection, we are told that “Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:9). The Kingdom Message is inseparable from the Gospel – it is the Gospel.
4) Why is it?
God is a God of purpose; so He has an eternal purpose for His Kingdom Rule. As Christ is Eternal Life, the Rule of Christ is the Rule of Life, in diametric opposition to the rule of death (Romans 5:14, 17). The Kingdom demonstrates the eternal power and glory of Christ.
Because He is Sovereign over all things, God’s Kingdom is both co-existent with Himself and a practical necessity. It exists because He is Sovereign; and it exists in the full manifestation of His Sovereignty; because God IS, His Kingdom IS.
5) How is it?
God exercises His Kingdom Rule through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We have noted that the Kingdom indicates the Rule of Eternal Life in Christ. It is the Spirit that works regeneration in the spirit of the saint, as we are brought forth to the New Birth experience – born again into His Kingdom. Only then will a person recognize the King in His Glory.
The Kingdom Rule is also carried out as the Kingdom’s citizens are submitted to the Royal Law: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (James 2:8). God is Love and His is a Reign of Love as His Spirit fills His Born-again Children and we have love one toward another.
6) Where is it?
Since God is completely Sovereign over all things, there isn’t anything that is not included in His Kingdom. The earth and all things therein are His. The universe, stars, and movement of planets have been set in motion by Him. The wind and the rain obey His Command. The breath of life is a gift from Him, and He sustains all things by the Word of His Power.
But there is an even greater significance seen in God’s Kingdom Rule in the lives of His People. When we realize that we are in fact ruling with Christ, as He rules in us, we give full recognition of His Authority over our lives. Accordingly, the life we live will be a witness of His Life in us; we live for Him in every context.
Have you ever really noticed that the Bible says very little about heaven as a home for the redeemed? It does, however, speak volumes about Christ ruling in the lives of His People. The Kingdom of God – the Kingdom of Heaven – is not something we are waiting to see appear some day in the future – “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
That’s Truth spoken from our Lord Jesus Christ! Lay hold to that Truth, and yield your life to His Life, as His Life rules and reigns in you.