Kingdom; Kingdom of God; Kingdom of Heaven

Concise Bible Dictionary:

In Daniel 2:4444And 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) it is predicted that “In the days of these kings [the ten divisions of the fourth kingdom, the revived Roman Empire] 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” (compare also Dan. 7). The “kingdom of heaven” was announced by John the Baptist and by the Lord as “at hand” (Matt. 3:22And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:2); Matt. 4:1717From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)), but the Lord declared that the “kingdom of God” had come (Matt. 12:2828But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Matthew 12:28)). In many respects the two expressions are identical, but the “kingdom of heaven” occurs in the gospel by Matthew only, and stands in contrast to the Messiah on earth. It refers to the rule of that which God has set in heaven, and commenced when Christ went to heaven. It may be illustrated by the lights which God set in the heavens to give light and to rule on earth. The “kingdom of God” is more connected with the moral state established in man.
The Jews having refused their king, the kingdom was not set up in manifestation at that time and it is still held in abeyance. In the meanwhile it is “the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:99I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9)). Christ is represented as having gone to receive a kingdom, and to return (Luke 19:1212He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. (Luke 19:12)). In the meantime the kingdom has been produced, and goes on in its mysterious form (compare Matt. 13:1111He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (Matthew 13:11)). There are multitudes who profess obedience to God and to the Lord Jesus, and who look to heaven as the throne from whence come all their blessings, while they are passing through a world of which Satan is the god and prince; but to the saints the kingdom of God is very real. They by faith anticipate the kingdom in power. Righteousness, peace, and joy, characteristics of the kingdom, are already theirs in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:1717For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)). In this sense the kingdom of God is often referred to in the Epistles. A person must be born again really to enter into it (John 3:3, 53Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
), but this idea is distinct from the form which the kingdom has taken, and the dimensions it has attained in the hands of man.
The parables in the gospels describe the form and objects of the kingdom while the Lord is away. In Matthew 13 the Lord spoke four parables to the multitude; then He dismissed the people and explained the parable of the Wheat and the Tares to His disciples, and added three parables bearing on the secret character of the kingdom. It is shown that evil would be found in the kingdom, but that Christ will eventually send His angels to gather out of His kingdom all things that offend; then it will be established in power by the Lord Jesus sitting on His own throne, and reigning supreme as Son of Man over the earth, ending by His ultimately giving up the kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24,2824Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)
28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28)
). The moral characteristics suitable to the kingdom are given in the Sermon on the Mount, and its principles and order in Matthew 18.
The kingdom must not be confounded with the church. In the kingdom the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest; but in the church a wicked person is to be put out (1 Cor. 5:1313But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:13)). There may appear to be a similarity between the professing church and the kingdom; but the ideas are not the same. The kingdom is the sphere of Christ’s rule; whereas the church is the dwelling place of God by the Spirit. Neither will the duration on earth of the church and the kingdom be the same; the kingdom will be set up in power after the rapture of the church, and will continue during the millennium. The Christian, besides sharing in the privileges of the church, has also the privileges and responsibilities attaching to the kingdom. To each individual is entrusted a pound (Luke 19:12-2412He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 22And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (Luke 19:12‑24)); or, in another aspect, one or more talents (Matt. 25:14-2814For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. (Matthew 25:14‑28)), which he is responsible to use for his Lord and Master, and for which he will have to give an account in a future day. His place in heaven is by grace apart from his works, but his reward in the kingdom will be according to his faithfulness to his Lord.

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

This term has to do with the sphere of the Lord’s authority in connection with men in various ways on earth. There are at least ten different expressions in Scripture regarding the kingdom depicting its different aspects. It is not that there are ten kingdoms, but rather, ten aspects or distinctive characters of one kingdom (Precious Things, vol. 3, p. 272):
1) The Kingdom Of God
This term (mentioned over 70 times in Scripture) has to do with the moral state that God forms in the subjects of the kingdom. That is, when this term is used, it is emphasizing the moral order that should be found in the walk and ways of those in the kingdom. In Romans 14:1717For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17), the Apostle Paul defines this aspect of the kingdom as not being outward religious rituals and ceremony (meat and drink”), but rather as being moral characteristics (righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost) that God produces in His people.
This is seen in the answer that the Lord gave to those who were looking for the kingdom of God to be set up. The people thought that it would come in with an outward display of political power and material blessing. However, the Lord explained that it had already come and was on display "in the midst" of them, as demonstrated in His life, because He exemplified the moral features of the kingdom perfectly in His walk and ways (Luke 17:20-2120And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20‑21)).
A person enters the kingdom of God by new birth (John 3:55Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)). Receiving a new life and nature from God (through new birth) enables a person to live according to the moral order of the kingdom. Apart from this, a person cannot rightly display the moral features of the kingdom of God in his life, nor can he understand and appreciate them displayed in others (John 3:33Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)). While a person must enter the kingdom in reality by new birth, it is possible for one to put on an outward display of the moral features of the kingdom of God without being a real believer at all. Luke 13:18-2118Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. 20And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Luke 13:18‑21) indicates this hypocrisy. A great outward show of faith has developed among men in the Lord’s absence, mixed with much evil doctrine. In the millennial day, the kingdom will be marked by the appropriate, moral features in its subjects.
2) The Kingdom Of The Heavens
Scripture indicates that on account of the Jews’ rejection of their Messiah, the setting up of the "the kingdom of the heavens" with its outward blessings would be postponed (Dan. 9:2626And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26); Mic. 5:2-32But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 3Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:2‑3); Zech. 11:4-144Thus saith the Lord my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; 5Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the Lord; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not. 6For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them. 7And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock. 8Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another. 10And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. 11And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. 14Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. (Zechariah 11:4‑14)). History attests to this fact. For almost two thousand years since the Jews crucified their Messiah, virtually nothing has materialized for them in the way of the kingdom being established as promised in the Old Testament.
God has not been frustrated by this rejection of Christ; He has ordered that, in the meantime, the Lord Jesus would set up “the kingdom of the heavens” in a mystery form. This can be seen by tracing the outline of Matthew's Gospel. In chapters 1-10, the Lord presented Himself to the nation as their Messiah. These chapters demonstrate that He had all the credentials as well as the power to bring in the kingdom according to the description given by the Old Testament prophets. However, the common people (chap. 11) and the leaders (chap. 12:24-45; Mark 3:2222And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. (Mark 3:22)) rejected Him. Consequently, in chapters 12-13, in a number of symbolic actions and teachings, the Lord indicated that He would sever His connections with the nation (temporarily) and bring in the kingdom in this mystical character. Hence, the kingdom of the heavens would pass through a mystical phase (Matt. 13:10-1710And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:10‑17)) before it would eventually be established in a public manifestation at the Appearing of Christ, as promised by Israel’s prophets. These two phases can be distinguished as:
The parable in Luke 19:11-2711And 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. 12He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 22And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. 25(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. 27But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. (Luke 19:11‑27) indicates that the Lord received the kingdom when He ascended to heaven after His death and resurrection. The “nobleman” in the parable (Christ) went into “a far country” (heaven) to receive a kingdom (vs. 12). Thus, the mystery phase of the kingdom of the heavens had its beginning at that time. Being in a mystery form at this present time, it does not look as though there is a kingdom in session. From all outward appearances it seems that God is not doing anything in this world at all. It is in a mystery form today because:
•  It is without a visible King.
•  It is without an earthly, geographical, administrative center.
•  It has no national boundaries.
•  Most of its professed subjects do not regard the authority of the King and live as if there were no King.
Regardless of these peculiarities, faith sees the King (the Lord Jesus) on His throne today in His kingdom. As good subjects in the kingdom, faith leads the believer to live according to the principles of the kingdom, as given in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), until the time comes when the kingdom passes into its public manifestation phase.
A person enters the kingdom in its mystery form by making a profession of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, but the formal way of entrance is through baptism. Thus, “the kingdom of the heavens” is the realm of Christian profession. It includes those who are real believers and those who are merely professing faith in Christ. From Matthew 13 to 25, the Lord gave ten similitudes of the kingdom of the heavens in its mystery phase. These similitudes present a comprehensive description of the character the kingdom would have in this present day when the King is absent. The point of these special parables is not to reconcile the Christian revelation of truth (given in the epistles) with what is presented in the similitudes. Each similitude has a salient point that the Lord intends for us to understand, but they do not necessarily incorporate all of the doctrines of Christianity into them. For instance, God is seen as the King rather than the Lord Jesus in the 7th and the 9th similitudes. Also, in the 9th and 10th similitudes, believers are seen as guests invited to the wedding, and not the bride. The bride in both similitudes is not the focus of the Lord’s teaching, and thus is not in the picture. Therefore, it is important to focus on the salient point which the Lord is emphasizing in each, rather than to try to reconcile Christian doctrine with the details of each parable.
The ten similitudes can be divided into three groups: the first group (#1 through #3) tells us what Satan is doing in the kingdom. The next group (#4 through #6) tells us what the Lord is doing in the kingdom in spite of Satan’s work. The last group (#7 through #10) tells us what we should be doing in the kingdom as good subjects.
•  Similitude #1—Satan is introducing evil persons ("tares") into the kingdom (Matt. 13:24-30, 37-4324Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matthew 13:24‑30)
37He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:37‑43)
).
•  Similitude #4—The Lord is securing individuals (a "treasure") for Himself (Matt.13:44).
•  Similitude #7—We should maintain a right state of soul in relation to the Lord and have a forgiving spirit toward our brethren for fear of the governmental dealings of God in our lives (Matt. 18:23-3523Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:23‑35)).
•  Similitude #8—We should willingly serve in the Lord’s vineyard without competition, jealousy, or complaint (Matt. 20:1-161For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. 2And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (Matthew 20:1‑16)).
•  Similitude #9—We should spread the gospel to the world, even though the Lord is rejected (Matt. 22:1-141And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:1‑14)).
As mentioned, “the kingdom of the heavens” will pass into its manifestation phase at the Appearing of Christ (Dan. 2:31-45; 7:9-2831Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34Thou 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. 35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; 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. 36This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. 39And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 41And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44And 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. 45Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. (Daniel 2:31‑45)
9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13I 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. 14And 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. 15I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. 17These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 18But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. 19Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 21I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 23Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. 26But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27And 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. 28Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart. (Daniel 7:9‑28)
). The kingdom in this aspect will be brought in by the power of God through judgment (Isa. 26:99With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9); Acts 17:3131Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)). The first thing the Lord will do is cleanse the kingdom of the heavens of the mixture that has existed in it for many centuries. Those who are merely professing believers and those who have abandoned faith in God (apostates) will be taken out in judgment by the angels (Matt. 13:40-43; 24:40-4140As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40‑43)
40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Matthew 24:40‑41)
; Rev. 19:2020And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20)). Many of these have professed subjection to the King, but have not believed the gospel of the grace and glory of God.
3) The Kingdom Of The Son Of Man
When the kingdom of the heavens passes into its full manifestation in the Millennium, Christ will reign publicly as "the Son of Man" (Matt. 13:4141The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (Matthew 13:41)). There will be two departments in the kingdom—a heavenly sphere and an earthly sphere. The earthly side of the kingdom is called the kingdom of the Son of Man (Matt. 13:41; 16:28; 19:28; 20:2141The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (Matthew 13:41)
28Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Matthew 16:28)
28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
21And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. (Matthew 20:21)
; Luke 22:30; 23:4230That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:30)
42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Luke 23:42)
; 2 Tim. 4:11I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2 Timothy 4:1); Heb. 1:88But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8); Rev. 3:21; 20:421To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
4And 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 20:4)
) and will be composed of the remnant of Israel and the Gentile nations (Zech. 2:1111And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. (Zechariah 2:11); Rev. 2:26-27; 21:2426And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26‑27)
24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. (Revelation 21:24)
).
4) The Kingdom Of Their Father
—This term refers to the heavenly department of the kingdom in the day of Christ's public reign in the Millennium (Dan. 7:18, 22, 2718But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:18)
22Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:22)
27And 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. (Daniel 7:27)
– J. N. Darby Trans.; Matt. 6:10; 13:43; 26:2910Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:43)
29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. (Matthew 26:29)
; 1 Thess. 2:1212That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12); Heb. 12:2828Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (Hebrews 12:28)). In Matthew 13:4343Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:43), the Lord used the figure of the sun,” which is a heavenly orb, to describe those in the heavenly side of the kingdom. The “righteous” who will “shine forth” are not those who will be left on earth after the angels take the wicked out in judgment, but those who have been gathered into the “barn” in heaven (Matt. 13:3030Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matthew 13:30)). This heavenly department of the kingdom will be composed of resurrected Old Testament saints ("the spirits of just men made perfect"Heb. 12:22-2322But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22‑23); Matt. 8:1111And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11); Luke 13:2828There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. (Luke 13:28)), those who have died under the age of accountable responsibility and have been resurrected (Matt. 18:1010Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)), the resurrected martyred portion of the Jewish remnant (Rev. 11:11-12; 14:13; 20:411And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Revelation 11:11‑12)
13And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. (Revelation 14:13)
4And 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 20:4)
), and the Church—the "dead in Christ" who will be raised and the living saints who are raptured (1 Thess. 4:15-1815For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15‑18); Phil. 3:20-2120For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20‑21)). These heavenly saints will reign with Christ over the earth in the millennial day (Heb. 12:22-2322But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22‑23); Rev. 3:2121To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)). The reigning time of the heavenly saints will close at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:44And 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 20:4)). Revelation 22:55And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5) confirms this, stating: "They shall reign to the ages of ages," which is, to the Eternal State.
This term refers to Christ's Lordship authority being established over the whole world by the power of judgment at His Appearing. This aspect of the kingdom correlates with "the day of the Lord" when He publicly asserts His universal power and authority over all men (Isa. 2:10-2210Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. 11The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 12For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: 13And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, 15And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. 17And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 18And the idols he shall utterly abolish. 19And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 20In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; 21To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 22Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of? (Isaiah 2:10‑22); Jer. 46:1010For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord God of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. (Jeremiah 46:10); Joel 1:1515Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. (Joel 1:15); Zeph. 2:2-32Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger come upon you. 3Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger. (Zephaniah 2:2‑3); Mal. 4:55Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: (Malachi 4:5); 1 Thess. 5:22For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2); 2 Thess. 2:22That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (2 Thessalonians 2:2); 2 Peter 3:8-108But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:8‑10)).
This aspect of the kingdom has to do with the display of Christ's glory in the Millennium. It correlates with "the day of Christ" which emphasizes the manifestation of His glory and the manifestation of the rewards of the heavenly saints (John 8:5656Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (John 8:56); 1 Cor. 1:8; 3:13; 5:58Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:8)
13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:13)
5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:5)
; 2 Cor. 1:1414As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:14); Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:166Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6)
10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; (Philippians 1:10)
16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. (Philippians 2:16)
; 2 Thess. 1:1010When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (2 Thessalonians 1:10)).
This aspect of the kingdom sees Israel as the center of God's earthly operations.
This has to do with the destiny of the heavenly saints.
This aspect of the kingdom emphasizes the longevity of the kingdom. It will literally go on to the end of time, unrivaled by men. “Everlasting” in this verse does not mean eternal, but rather what goes on to the end of time. That is, the kingdom will exist for as long as time will run—which will be to the end of the Millennium. (The word forever is used in the same way in many places in the Old Testament.) Thus, the reign of the saints with Christ in the government of the world to come will continue “to the age of ages,” which is, to the Eternal State (Rev. 22:55And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5) – J. N. Darby Trans.). When the Eternal State begins, there will be no need for reigning and controlling adverse powers that might rise up, as a kingdom implies.
G. Davison said, “This title assures us that once the kingdom has been set up in power, it will never be succeeded by another, as it will last as long as time lasts. It does not mean that the kingdom will go on forever in the eternal state, but rather that it will not have a successor. Kingdoms are established to keep adverse powers in subjection, as well as protect their subjects. Indeed one is the outcome of the other, but as there are no adverse powers in the Eternal State, the kingdom will not be needed. This is clear from 1 Corinthians 15:24-2624Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:24‑26)” (Precious Things, vol. 1, Answers to correspondence –July/Aug).
At the end of time, the Lord will deliver the kingdom to the Father, in order to devote Himself to His bride (1 Cor. 15:24-2824Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:24‑28)). Having received the kingdom from God, He will deliver it back to Him with an enhanced glory. Every administrator in history has failed to maintain the sphere of authority in which he has reigned; neither Adam, nor David, nor Solomon, nor any Gentile monarch has done so. However, when the Lord takes the kingdom, “all enemies” will not be all “put down,” but when He delivers it up to the Father in "the end," they will all be in complete subjection to God. This sets Christ apart from all others as the greatest Administrator.
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Many Christians confuse the kingdom with the Church, and consequently use unscriptural phrases such as, “The kingdom of the Church.” However, the kingdom is not synonymous with the Church for the following reasons:
Secondly, the kingdom is broader than the Church as far as its subjects are concerned. As we have seen, the kingdom at the present time has both “tares” (mere professors) and wheat (real believers), whereas the Church consists of true believers only. People may join a so-called church denomination and be on its official register, but if they are not saved through faith in Christ, they are not a part of the Church of God.
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