Introducing the Kingdom

It’s quite possible as Christians that when we read the Word of God we can sometimes overlook, misunderstand or even miss themes that in fact are vitally important.  These themes play a major role in determining how we read and interpret the Word of God; they also help us to understand the reason why God has placed us on this planet.  Most importantly they explain why God the Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into this world.  One of these vitally important themes is the ‘Kingdom of God’; that is what this series of articles is concentrating on…

The Word of God contains over 290 direct references to the kingdom of God; it also has hundreds more indirect references.  For example, whenever you read of thrones, sceptres, governments, ruling and reigning, footstools, or of Jesus ‘sitting at the right hand of God’, these tell us something about the nature of the God’s kingdom.  Once we start noticing it we discover that the kingdom of God features all the way through the Word of God.  Here are some familiar verses; note how they all refer to the kingdom:

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; and your dominion endures through all generations. (Psalm 145:13)

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:7)

The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is here; repent and believe in the good news. (Mark 1:15)

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. (Matthew 6:33)

Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

After [Jesus] had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

This is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, your name be honoured as holy. Your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth just as it is done in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)

These verses are only a small selection of the hundreds of references to the kingdom.  You’ve probably often read them if you’ve been a Christian for any length of time.  I must admit that for many years I did, without noticing the emphasis on the kingdom that they contain.  They all give the kingdom of God a prominent mention.  Just note for now a few: 

After his resurrection Jesus had only forty days left on earth before he would ascend to heaven.  What did he talk to his disciples about?  The kingdom of God.  Of all the things he could have discussed with them, he chose the kingdom (Acts 1:3).  We rightly emphasise the new birth – that we all need to be born again, to become new creations.  But the only time Jesus spoke about it he put it in the context of our entering the kingdom of God (John 3:3); when we are born again, when we receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we enter his kingdom!  In his earthly ministry the content of Jesus’ preaching and teaching was the good news of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23).  He seemed to speak about the kingdom all the time (he also ‘did’ the kingdom, as we shall see in future articles).  He told us to make the kingdom of God our priority, to keep on seeking it (Matthew 6:33).  And in one of the most famous references, what we call the Lord’s Prayer, when Jesus taught us pray to our heavenly Father, he instructed us to pray about the kingdom of God before anything else (Matthew 6:9-10)…  

I’m sure you will agree with me that these verses alone, among the hundreds more in the Word of God, demonstrate the central importance of the kingdom of God.  Next time, therefore, we will ask a simple question: what is the kingdom of God?

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