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


Both John the Baptist and Jesus announced the Kingdom, the Kingdom of the rule and reign of God. But it was Christ who asserted that in and through His ministry the Kingdom was being manifest in the world: “And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23). But what exactly is the nature of this Kingdom? What are its characteristics? How is it to be understood? Consider the following characteristics.

The Kingdom is supernatural – it is the doing of God, not man; the Kingdom is Theistic not humanistic; man cannot cause the Kingdom to appear, develop, or culminate; zealots cannot effect the Kingdom; man is without ability to bring the Kingdom to pass; it is the Kingdom “of God”; it belongs to Him; He brings it to pass; He is the One who rules. “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28; Lu. 11:20 has “by the finger of God”).

The Kingdom is eternal – the Kingdom was prepared “from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34), meaning that before Creation the Kingdom was the plan of God; it is not a reaction by God but a determination by Him; it has appeared and is developing in time, but its origins is in the eternity of God, forever in His mind.

The Kingdom is associated with Jesus Christ – the Kingdom is His; He speaks: “You may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom” (Lu. 22:30; Jo. 18:36); His Person and Work are for the purpose of announcing, initiating, developing, and completing His Kingdom, that is, His rule and reign over the ones He died to redeem, redeem in order that they might be a part of His Kingdom; there is no distinction between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Christ, or the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom is spiritual in nature – it is invisible and inward, a hidden reality; Christ asserted: “the kingdom of God is within you” (Lu. 17:21); eventually it becomes outward and fills up the created order, but the essential character is the rule of God, a rule that is real but cannot be seen; it is seen only in what the rule produces; for the Kingdom to be within the believer means that the nature of the Kingdom is relational, individuals who know God as Father and submit to His Fatherhood; the kingdom is a spiritual rather than an ethnic kingdom, that is, it is of believers not only of Jews.

The Kingdom appears suddenly – the Kingdom was announced by John the Baptist and then introduced with the coming of Christ into the world; it was unexpected and unsought; the Kingdom broke into the history of man, broke into the history of the Jewish people laboring under the Roman dominion; they had no part in creating it or initiating it; the Kingdom did not arise from the horizontal plane but appeared from the vertical plane.

The Kingdom is developing slowly – according to the parable of the sower the Kingdom is a seed, beginning with insignificance and growing surely but almost imperceptively until the size of it demands recognition; the Kingdom does not come with haste but with certainty.

The Kingdom has an earthly character – though the Kingdom is eternal in the sense that it has eternally been in the mind of God, the visible realization is associated with earth, both in the present age and during the future age; there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and in them righteousness will rule, the reality of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom is near and in the future – near, in the sense that the Kingdom is within, and near, in the sense that the Kingdom is present and increasing (Matt. 12:28; 21:31; 23:13; Mk. 10:15; Lu. 17:20); future, in the sense that it will be fully realized when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords returns to inaugurate the Millennial Kingdom that will merge into the eternal Kingdom, and then “He shall reign forever and ever” (Matt. 11:15).

The Kingdom is both Jewish and universal – David’s Seed will rule the earth; of Him it was said: “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lu. 1:32-33);  accompanying the Jewish element of the Kingdom is the fact that the ruled, those enjoying the privileges of the Kingdom, will be both Jew and Gentile; Gentiles, the uncircumcision, the aliens, and strangers, those with no hope and without God, those “who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13); “Many will come from the east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11); though firmly anchored in the calling of the Jewish people the Kingdom will be comprehensive, involving people from all nations.

The Kingdom necessitates preparation – to enter into the Kingdom requires one with clean hands and a clear heart; the message of repentance and belief preached by John; the word of Jesus to Nicodemus was that he must be born again, born from above, born of the Spirit (Jo. 3:3, 5).

The Kingdom involves judgment in the present and in the future for those who reject its presence – Matt. 23:37-39; Lu. 13:34-35; 19:41-44; the victory belongs to the Kingdom and to those associated with the Kingdom.

The Kingdom has citizens of the Kingdom – the believers, those in the Church constitute part of the people of the Kingdom; citizens also include OT saints, the spiritual ones from the nation of Israel; the Kingdom includes the world, believers from the world who turn to Christ.

The Kingdom speaks of God as King of Israel and of all the earth – Israel: Ex. 15:18; Num. 23:21; Deut. 33:5; Isa. 43:15; Earth: II Ki. 19:15; Ps. 92:10; 99:1-4; Isa. 6:5; Jer. 46:18.

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