THE KINGDOM OF GOD
GOD IS SOVEREIGN. He rules eternally to a kingdom in which He is
the absolute authority. In order to understand the biblical
teaching regarding the kingdom, we must recognize that it
includes these elements: the right to rule, a realm in which to
rule, and the actual exercise of authority.
THE KINGDOM IN ETERNITY
The Bible presents two aspects of God's kingdom: the eternal
and the temporal. The eternal kingdom is characterized by four
essential truths: (I) It is timeless, (2) it is universal, (3) it
is providential, and (4) it is miraculous.
In eternity past, before the creation of the angels, the
earth, and man, a kingdom existed in the sphere of "the
heavenlies" because of the relationship among the members of the
Trinity. God the Father was sovereign. God the Son, although
equal in person, was subordinate to the Father. God the Holy
Spirit was the active executor of the will of the Father (Genesis
1:23). Thus, in eternity past there was a kingdom, involving the
right to rule as well as the sphere in which the right operated
and the rule was exercised. Indeed, all the elements essential to
a kingdom were present.
(God is NOT a "trinity" - this I disprove in a number of studies
on this Website. But you will notice the fundamental fellow
writing this study, did ADMIT, that in the Godhead, the person we
know today as God the Father was SOVEREIGN, the One to day we
call "the Son" was subordinate to the Father. And this is
absolutely true. God the Father in AUTHORITY, has always been the
head of the Godhead. He was then and He is still today. Other
"trinity" teachers will not admit this as their "trinity" [yes
there are different "versions" of the trinity teaching] is so
"unknown" and so "not understandable" they claim, it is beyond
their mind in their teaching to really understnd and KNOW God, as
God has revealed to us in His word. Such is the crazy and silly
theology of some - Keith Hunt)
This kingdom arises from the character of God and reaches
from eternity past to eternity future.
God's kingdom was displayed in the angelic realm before it
was developed on the earth. The created angelic hosts in that
kingdom were subject to the Sovereign, and they worshiped Him and
obeyed Him. This continued until the fall of Lucifer and the
angels who followed him in rebellion.
(Yes, all covered in other studies on this Website - Keith Hunt)
THE KINGDOM ON EARTH (PRE-ABRAHAMIC)
God ordered this earthly sphere as the place where He would
demonstrate His right to rule. He populated it with creatures who
were responsible to recognize that right, submit to it, and give
the Ruler that which was due Him. Our sovereign God, in every
period of theocratic administration, has ruled through those to
whom He assigned His authority. It was the responsibility of
administrators to subjugate all to God's authority, to reward
those who do good, to punish evildoers, and to provide an
atmosphere in which the subjects of the King might live in peace.
In the Garden, Adam was the theocratic administrator whose
responsibility was to subject all creation to himself, so that
through him creation might be subject to the authority of God.
When this form of administration failed, God brought a judgment
and expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden.
God instituted a new form of theocratic administration in
which He wrote His law in the hearts of men and subjected man to
His law. That law was man's conscience (Romans 2:15), and as men
subjected themselves to the rule of conscience, they were in
subjection to the authority of God. But that too failed. And when
men rebelled against that form of theocratic administration, God
wiped the human race off the face of the earth by a flood.
(No, He wiped off the hub and center of mankind from the earth.
The flood of Noah's time did NOT cover the entrie earth. The
flood that did that was the flood of Genesis 1:1-2. See the full
in-depth study called "Noah's Flood was not Universal" - Keith
God then inaugurated yet another form of theocratic
administration in which authority was given to human government
(Genesis 9:6). It was the responsibility of human government to
curb lawlessness and to bring man in subjection to the authority
of God. Again man failed miserably.
THE KINGDOM IN ISRAEL
From Abraham to Jesus
With the call of Abraham, God introduced a new form of
theocratic administration. He instituted the Abrahamic covenant,
which promised Abraham a land, seed, and blessing. Throughout the
Old Testament - through that expanding covenant program - God
administered His theocracy here on earth.
The kingdom program was then developed with the nation
Israel through the covenants God made with them: the Abrahamic
(Genesis 15:18), the Davidic (2 Samuel 7:14), the New (Jeremiah
31:31-34), and the Palestinian (Deuteronomy 28-30). These
eternal, unconditional, irrevocable covenants determined the
ultimate form of the kingdom of the God of heaven on earth.
While the covenants promised a kingdom here on earth, it was
the prophets who described the glories of that kingdom. The
prophets of the Old Testament had proclaimed a message of hope
that caused Israel to eagerly anticipate the fulfillment of God's
covenants and promises to them. David's Son, the Messiah, would
come to bring peace, righteousness, and prosperity to the nation.
He would come as a Savior to redeem and as a Sovereign to reign.
The nations that had persecuted Israel would be subjugated to
Him, and Israel would know the promised peace that the Prince of
Peace would bring. Her accumulated sins would be put away and she
would experience forgiveness and life in righteousness. Such was
the hope of Israel.
Centuries passed before the prophesied forerunner, John the
Baptist, heralded his message to the nation: "Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2 NASB). When Jesus
began His ministry, He made the same proclamation (Matthew 4:17).
The call to repentance shows that this was a contingent offer and
that the blessings of the kingdom depended on the nation's
response. This does not mean, however, it was not a genuine
offer. The reference to the kingdom needed no explanation; it was
the covenanted kingdom under David's Son, the Messiah, of
which the prophets had so clearly spoken and for whom the nation
was waiting. The nation was plunged into a great debate
concerning His person. Who is this Jesus of Nazareth, who claims
to be the Son of David and the Son of God? Is He what He claims
to be? If so, He truly is the promised and covenanted Messiah. If
not, He is a blasphemous impostor who is worthy of death. Jesus
made His claims concerning His person very clear. He validated
those claims convincingly by His miracles, and He challenged
people to accept His claims and to put faith in Him, so as to
receive a righteousness from Him that would enable them to enter
His forthcoming kingdom.
From the inception of Jesus' ministry, two responses to His
presentation were evident. John says: "He came to His own
[things], and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as
many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become
children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John
1:11-12). There were those who, on the basis of the evidence He
had presented about Himself as the Son of David, the Messiah,
expressed their willingness to accept Him as the Messiah. But
there were also those who rejected the evidence and sought to
explain it away so they would be guiltless for their rejection.
There were two supernatural powers who could perform
miracles: Satan and God. If the leaders acknowledged that Jesus
performed miracles by God's power, they would be without excuse
for their unbelief, but if He performed miracles by Satan's
power, they could justify their rejection. Thus they sought to
dissuade those who believed by saying, "This fellow does not cast
out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons" (Matthew
JESUS' JUDGMENT UPON ISRAEL
Jesus viewed the explanation by the leaders as indicative of
the course that generation would follow. The message that He
began to proclaim was no longer "Come to Me, all who are weary
and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28), but
rather, it was a message of judgment. From this time onward Jesus
spoke of the judgment to come.
In the parable of the wicked vinedressers (Matthew
21:33-44), after the leaders kill the heir, the owner (God) would
destroy those wicked men miserably. So, too, "the kingdom of God
will be taken from you [that generation in Israel] and given to a
nation [or generation] bearing the fruits of it. And whoever
falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it
will grind him to powder" (Matthew 21:43-44 NKJV). This signifies
the withdrawal of the offer of the covenanted kingdom to Israel
and its postponement to the future.
This same judgment is depicted in Matthew 22:1-7, where the
guests (the nation Israel), who had been invited to a wedding
banquet (Messiah's kingdom) but refused to come, suffered the
consequences of rejecting the king's invitation. The king "sent
out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their
city." This parable reveals the form of judgment: Roman armies,
under Titus, would attack the city of Jerusalem, destroy it, and
either kill or disperse its inhabitants. Another specific
prediction of the coming judgment is given in Matthew 23:37-24:2.
Jesus declared He had sought to provide peace and security for
Israel, but it was not experienced because "you were not
willing." As a consequence, "Your house is left to you desolate"
Luke is specific in recording Jesus' message of judgment. In
Luke 19:11-27 the nobleman declared, concerning the unfaithful,
"Take the mina from him.... But bring here those enemies of mine,
who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me."
In this parable it is significant that judgment fell on
those who refused to submit themselves to the One who had the
right to reign. This was the sin of that generation in Israel.
Once again, the judgment is predicted forcefully (Luke
21:20-24). Thus the message of Jesus was initially one of hope,
blessing, and salvation. But after the announcement by the
leaders that Jesus received His power from Satan, and so was a
blasphemous impostor, His message turned to one of judgment on
that generation in Israel. This announcement did not cancel the
covenants and promises given to Israel concerning the earthly
kingdom of David's greater Son, but only postponed the
realization of those hopes. Yet it did consign that generation to
a physical and temporal judgment (Luke 19:27). Thus the kingdom
program for Israel, which began with such high hopes at the
beginning of Jesus' ministry, ends with the somber note of
judgment and postponement.
THE KINGDOM IN THE PRESENT AGE
In light of all this, the following questions arise: What
happens to God's kingdom, of which the Davidic millennial kingdom
is only an earthly form, in this present age, when the so
millennial kingdom has been postponed?
What form does the kingdom take in this present age? What
are the essential characteristics or features of God's kingdom in
Some scholars believe that the kingdom of God does not exist
at all during the church age because it has been removed from
Israel and will be reestablished on earth at Christ's second
coming. In the view of the present author, however, when Jesus
referred to "the mysteries of the kingdom" in Matthew 13:11, He
was not referring to the Davidic, or millennial, kingdom. What
the Old Testament had not revealed was that an entire age would
intervene between the offer of the kingdom by the Messiah and
Israel's reception of the King and enjoyment of full kingdom
blessings. The time period covered by the parables in Matthew 13
extends from Israel's rejection until its future reception of the
Messiah. Thus this new program began while Christ was still on
the earth, and it will extend until His return to the earth in
power and great glory.
This period includes the time from Pentecost, in Acts 2, to
the rapture; ("resurrection" - Keith Hunt) that is, the age
of grace (which we also call the age of the Holy Spirit or the
church age). Although this period includes the church age, it
extends beyond it, for the parables of Matthew 13 precede
Pentecost and extend beyond the rapture ("resurrection" - Keith
Hunt) Thus, these parables do not primarily concern the nature,
function, and influence of the church. Rather, they show the
previously unrevealed form in which God's theocratic rule would
be exerted in a previously unrevealed age, made necessary by
Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ.
(Well, whatever the way you want to put it, the whole plan was
already devised by God from the beginning. The literal Kingdom of
God on earth as foretold by the old prophets, would not yet come
for at lease 2,000 years - Keith Hunt)
Matthew 13 includes seven parables, each one providing an
essential characteristic of the kingdom in this present age. As
we survey them, we find that in light of Israel's rejection of
Christ, He foresaw postponement of the millennial form of the
kingdom. He announced the introduction of a new form of the
kingdom, one that would span the period from Israel's rejection
of Christ until Israel's future reception of Christ at His second
This present age is characterized by the sowing of the Word,
to which there will be varying responses depending on the soil's
preparation (the parable of the soils). Concurrent with the
sowing of the Word is a false counter-sowing (the parable of the
weeds). The new form of the kingdom had an insignificant
beginning, but it will grow to great proportions (the parable of
the mustard seed). The power in the kingdom is not external but
internal (the parable of leaven hidden in meal). God will gather
a peculiar treasure to Himself through this present age (the
parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price).
The present form of the kingdom will end in a judgment to
determine who are righteous and therefore eligible to enter the
future millennial form of the kingdom, as well as who are
unrighteous and thus to be excluded from the millennial kingdom
This revelation of the new form through which the theocracy
would be administered in this present age was followed by a
specific prophecy: "I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18). The
Gospels do not explain the nature and function of the church, but
the book of Acts reveals its historical development, and the
epistles explain its doctrines.
THE KINGDOM IN ACTS
The book of Acts shows that the kingdom of God in this
present age, formed through the preaching of the gospel, is made
up of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. This was made clear to
Peter in the vision given to him in Acts 10. Peter felt free to
proclaim the gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
to the Gentiles assembled in Cornelius' house. In response to
their faith, "The Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were
listening to the message" (verse 44). They showed their
identification with Jesus Christ and the company of believers by
Later in Acts, Paul's life was also dedicated to the
preaching of the grace of God, which he equated with proclaiming
the kingdom of God (see Acts 28:23,30-31). As we survey Paul's
ministry in the book of Acts, we see him as an ambassador of the
kingdom of God, but his message was salvation through the death
and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No reference is made to
support the notion that the earthly Davidic kingdom had been
established. Rather, the message concerns entrance into a present
form of the kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ.
THE KINGDOM IN THE EPISTLES
The New Testament epistles include many references to the
kingdom, but on closer examination we find the term kingdom used
in several different ways.
It is used of the future earthly Davidic kingdom to be
established at the second advent of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 4:1).
Paul writes, "Christ the first fruits, after that those who are
Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over
the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule
and all authority and power" (1 Corinthians 15:23-24). Here Paul
outlines a resurrection program that began with the resurrection
of Christ and will continue with the resurrection of those who
are Christ's at the rapture and at His second advent. The
completion of the resurrection program does not come until after
the reign of Christ here on earth. At the conclusion of that
resurrection program, Christ will have delivered up the kingdom
to God. The kingdom referred to here is therefore the millennial
kingdom over which Christ reigns on earth, following His second
advent. Thus, the idea of a future earthly Davidic kingdom is not
at all foreign to the apostle's thinking.
Besides the future earthly Davidic kingdom, we also find
that the future eternal kingdom is referred to in the epistles.
In 2 Timothy 4:18 Paul declared, "The Lord will rescue me from
every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly
kingdom." Paul was anticipating the eternal reign of Christ in
His eternal kingdom (see 1 Corinthians 15:50; 2 Peter 1:11).
While the term kingdom is used in these two senses in the
epistles, its third and most common use is in reference to the
present form of the kingdom, that into which a believer enters by
faith in Jesus Christ. Paul stated that God "has rescued us from
the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the
Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of
sins" (Colossians 1:13-14 NIV). Here the phrase "the kingdom of
the Son He loves" is equated with the redemption and the
forgiveness of sins received by faith in Jesus Christ.
Believers are exhorted to live lives worthy of God, who
calls them into His kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
Paul told the Corinthians, "The kingdom of God is not a matter of
talk but of power" (1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV). In other words, if
those in Corinth were actually saved and in the kingdom of God,
they would demonstrate that by manifesting the power of the
kingdom in their daily lives. Mere profession was not a
sufficient demonstration of salvation or participation in the
kingdom of God; that relationship must be established and
demonstrated by the work of the Holy Spirit, who is the power in
the present form of the kingdom of God. According to Colossians
4:11, Paul considered himself a laborer on behalf of the kingdom
of God, and he saw those faithful servants who worked with him as
fellow workers in the kingdom.
From this survey, then, we see that the most frequent
reference to the "kingdom" or the "kingdom of God" in the
epistles is a reference to the present form of the kingdom, in
which individuals by faith in Jesus Christ, and because of His
death and resurrection, receive salvation and the gift of eternal
life. All these are a part of the kingdom of God.
We conclude that the church is a part of kingdom of the God
of heaven, falling in the inter-advent period. It was an
unrevealed mystery in the Old Testament, but it was necessitated
by Israel's rejection of the Messiah, which caused the
postponement of the promised and covenant form of the kingdom,
which will be inaugurated by the appearance of the King of kings
and Lord of lords at His second advent.
THE KINGDOM IN ETERNITY
While the major emphasis in the epistles is on the present
form of the kingdom, there is an anticipation of the merger of
the present form of the kingdom into the Davidic kingdom to be
established at the second advent of the Messiah, and the eventual
merger of that Davidic kingdom into the eternal kingdom over
which Messiah will rule by divine appointment. According to 1
Corinthians 15:27-28, at the end of Christ's earthly rule, when
all has been brought into subjection to the Father, either
willingly or through judgment, the Father will assign rulership
over the eternal kingdom to the Son. Thus, for the unending ages
of eternity, God's right to rule will be recognized. All in that
J. DWIGHT PENTECOST
Fruchtenbaum, Arnold. "Israelology: The Missing Link in
Systematic Theology," Tustin, CA: Anal Ministries, 1992.
McClain, Alva J. "The Greatness of the Kingdom." Chicago: Moody
Pentecost, J. Dwight. "Things to Come." Grand Rapids:
----- "Thy Kingdom Come." Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1990.
Walvoord, John F "Major Bible Prophecies." Grand Rapids:
---- "The Millennial Kingdom." Grand Rapids: Zondervan,1959.
The writer has a correct understanding of the "Kingdom of God."
It has always been here in one form or another. Today the Kingdom
of God is made up of those individuals who have the King (and His
Son Christ Jesus) of that Kingdom within their heart and mind
through the Holy Spirit. Then there will come the literal Kingdom
of God on earth under the rule of Jesus Christ, for 1,000 years,
as foretold by all the old prophets. Then that Kingdom will be
handed over to the Father as shown in 1 Corinthians 15, who will
come to earth with the holy city heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation
21,22) for ever more - Keith Hunt
Entered on this Website March 2009