•  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The Kingdom of God is the rule of God over His universe. It is the highest authority. Being supreme in power and authority, it is superior to every circumstance.
God delegated authority to Adam to rule, giving him dominion over the earth. Later the authority to rule was given to Israel.
At Sinai, Israel made the golden calf and claimed that they would do all that God had spoken. Due to their idolatry and other failures, power and authority was placed in the hands of Gentile monarchies. Christ the Messiah was presented to the remnant as their King and rejected. After Stephen’s martyrdom, the economy of Israel was completely destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D. While set aside at present, God still holds Israel as responsible before Him. They are coming back into their land where God must judge them for their disobedience. This final judgment is still future and will be poured out on “this generation,” a moral generation which began at Sinai.
In general, the term “the Kingdom of God” was used in the Gospels, because Jesus, a divine Person, was present. The kingdom was that “of God” until Christ went to heaven, then it became “the Kingdom of heaven.” Only Matthew presents it in this latter aspect.
Near the time of Jesus’ rejection and return to heaven, John the Baptist gave the introductory announcement of the coming kingdom: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The irregular condition of Israel’s servitude to the Gentiles and their rejection of their Messiah caused God in grace to declare by John the Baptist that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand.
Jesus, the King of the Jews, came from heaven to present Himself to Israel as their Messiah. By this declaration of the coming Kingdom of heaven, a new thing was introduced, and the Jew was to learn that the Kingdom of heaven was part of the counsels of God. As a result of Israel’s rejection of Him as King on earth, for nearly two thousand years a Man, as King, has been sitting beside His Father on the Father’s throne in the heavens - the Lamb who was slain and who is now the Object of the praises of heaven and of some on earth.
Now, the children of the kingdom are in the Kingdom of the Son of His love. It was founded on the resurrection of Christ. Put simply, the kingdom, at the present time, is the heavenly rule of Jesus over the earth.
The Kingdom of heaven is not the Church. They must not be confused, even though the Church is formed during the present phase of the Kingdom of heaven on the earth. Once the Church is caught away to heaven, the kingdom becomes the Kingdom of the Father, which is the full development of that which now exists in an irregular, mixed state as described in Matthew 13.
Excepting Luke 11:2, only in Matthew do we learn of the Kingdom of heaven and of the Kingdom of the Father. These things belong to the great mystery of the present disorder of the kingdom, as seen by the casual observer. The mixed condition is intermediate between the rejection of the Son of man, the Messiah, and His manifestation in the glory of His own kingdom.
C. E. Lunden