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Theology > Jesus > Life and Teaching > The Kingdom > Announcement of the Kingdom


The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe the gospel.
Mk. 1:15

Initially the announcement of the Kingdom was made in the desert region around the Jordan River: “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 3:2). And then at the beginning of His earthly ministry Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom; in fact, the central topic of his preaching was the Kingdom: “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 4:17). Of what was John the Baptist and Jesus speaking?

Their announcement of the Kingdom was not a novel concept, for references to the King and His rule occur throughout the Old Testament; and, of course, references are dominant in the New Testament. The primary words for Kingdom are malkuth in the Old Testament and basileia in the New Testament; both words speak of rule, reign, authority, and sovereignty, and the realm of the rule. Simply stated, the idea in both words is the Sovereignty of the King and His Kingdom.

Two concepts provide a basis for grasping the idea of the Kingdom: one, the rule and reign of God; and second, the realm of the rule. In other words, the Kingdom is the rule of God and the Kingdom is the realm of His rule or the people that are ruled. Scripture cogently affirms that God is the King and He rules:

Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory (Ps. 24:10);

The Lord Most High is awesome; he is a great King over all the earth . . . God is the King of all the earth . . . God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne (Ps. 47:2, 7-8);

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom (Ps. 45:6; according to Heb. 1:8-9 these words apply to the Son);

The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty . . . Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting (Ps. 93:1-2);

The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all (Ps. 103:19);

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns” (Ps. 96:10);

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice (Ps. 97:1);

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises . . . shout joyfully before the Lord, the King (Ps. 98:4, 6);

The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble (Ps. 99:1);

They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power . . . Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations (Ps. 145:11, 13).

Clearly the Scriptures assert that God is King and that He rules; additionally, they affirm that He rules over “all the earth,” “the nations,” and the “peoples.” So, the two concepts, that come to dominate in the New Testament—the rule of God and the realm of His rule—are taught forcefully and clearly in Psalms and throughout the Old Testament.

With the appearance of John there is the announcement of this Kingdom, and with Jesus there is the declaration that the Kingdom is at hand. Publically the Kingdom was announced, and slowly it is becoming known by believers who are blessed with entrance into the Kingdom and with the additional instructions regarding the Kingdom found in the New Testament: the Kingdom is associated with Jesus Christ, the God-Man; the Kingdom is inward and spiritual as well as outward and material; and the Kingdom is both soteriological and eschatological. With the appearance of the Christ the Kingdom in its spiritual and soteriological dimensions is established, and thereby guaranteeing that the future outward and eschatological aspects of the Kingdom will be realized.

There is the Kingdom of God and there is the People of God—the former speaks of the Rule, while the latter speaks of the Ruled. In different ages different terms may be used, but the above is true for all of history, establishing continuity and identity, predominately the Kingdom is Jewish in the Old Testament and dominated by Gentiles in the New Testament. Thus there has always been one entity and one people; in the Old Testament there were Gentiles attached to the Jews, while in the New Testament there are Jews attached to the Gentiles.

It is this Kingdom that initially John and subsequently Jesus announce, not an announcement of something that did not exist but an announcement of a new unfolding of God’s eternal plan. The kingdom is an eternal reality, but its manifestation in history is gradual and therefore in stages. God is eternally the King and He eternally rules, but the understanding and the manifestation of the same in history is according to His plan. To live in the Kingdom is to live in the will of God, knowing salvation and possessing eternal life.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Ps. 145:13

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