The Kingdom of God

Introduction

What the kingdom of God is, where it is located, and what is its future is greatly misunderstood by most in Christendom. The majority of Christians have been taught that the kingdom of God is in heaven, or in one’s heart, or the Church is the kingdom, or it is social justice, or it is a conversion experience. The goal of this study is to reveal the nature of the kingdom of God.

Kingdom in Crisis

The Bible reveals that God, at the strategic level, rules over all the kingdoms of the earth (2 Kings 19.15; 2 Chronicles 20.6, 36.23; Ezra 1.2; Isaiah 37.16; Daniel 4.17, 5.21). This is part of His sovereignty. The Bible also reveals that at the operational level, Satan controls the kingdoms of this world. He is the puppet-master of the world’s governments.

According to Genesis, God delegated kingship of the earth to Adam (Genesis 1.27-30). When Adam sinned, he lost that dominion. As a result, Satan resumed his control over the earth which he apparently enjoyed before God created man (Ezekiel 28.13). Paul wrote that Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4.3-4). As such, he has the authority to give the kingdoms of the world to whomever he desires. Satan asserted that authority in his temptation of the Lord in the desert (Matthew 4.8-9; Luke 4.5-6). The Lord did not refute Satan’s claim. He knew it was legitimate.

Satan’s authority over the earth will end in massive war and judgment such as the world has never experienced. Satan’s power over mankind will reach its apex in the Tribulation. During those seven years, Satan will establish and elevate his man, the Antichrist (1 John 2.19, 22, 4.3; 1 John 1.7, a.k.a. the son of perdition or son of destruction, the man of sin or the man of lawlessness, 2 Thessalonians 2.3, the Beast, Revelation 11.7, 13.1-5, the lawless one, 2 Thessalonians 2.8) to world-ruler (Revelation 13.16-17). The Antichrist’s main effort during the Tribulation period will be to orchestrate and enforce worship of Satan. During the Tribulation, Satan will step from behind the curtain Most of humanity will worship him directly or vicariously through the person of the Antichrist and his image (Revelation 13.4-5, 8, 12, 15). The penalty of refusing to worship Satan will be death. These will be humanity’s darkest days.

God promised rulership of the world to His Son. While the first Adam failed through disobedience, losing the world, the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, will through obedience, regain Adam’s lost estate (Revelation 5.9-14) and rule as King over the earth (Zechariah 14.9). David, in his prophetic role, wrote Psalm 2, and outlined God’s prophetic plan of the Son’s rulership:

Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Concept of the Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God is a foundational theological doctrine in the Bible with two senses: general and particular. The general sense may be defined as God’s rule over all creation, especially over creatures who are loyal or have responded to Him. The particular sense of the kingdom of God is God’s rule over His covenant people, Israel. This rule will began after Israel responds to Him and He establishes His earthly kingdom (Zechariah 12.10; Matthew 23.39; Romans 11.26). The context of a passage will determine the sense.

Matthew’s phrase “kingdom of heaven” is unique to him and is a technical phrase. It is used only in reference to God’s rule over national Israel in which the Messiah will rule as Israel’s King. It never is used to mean God’s universal rule over His creation.

Senses of God’s KingshipGod’s Kingship Defined
Kingship Over All CreationThe Kingdom of God is a description of God’s rule over all creation, specifically over those who have given Him their trust and allegiance (cf. Psalm 45.6, 47.7; Revelation 19.16).
Kingship Over IsraelThe Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven describe God’s rule over Israel. God’s covenants define this rule, i.e., Abrahamic, Mosaic, Sabbatic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New covenants.1 As David’s “greater Son,” the Lord Jesus Christ will rule as King over national Israel and the earth (Deuteronomy 28.12-13; Isaiah 9.6-7; Zechariah 14.9; Luke 1.31-33).

The Church (the Body of Christ)

The Bible declares the Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1.22-23; Colossians 1.18, 24). The Church is not a kingdom. The Bible never states the Lord Jesus Christ is the King of the Church. His title over the Church is Lord or Head, not King. A king has subjects. Members of the Body of Christ are children of God, heirs and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8.16-17), not subjects. A joint-heir is one with equal legal access to everything belonging to the primary owner.

The below chart and diagram illustrate the components of God’s rule:

The Kingdom of God: God’s Rule Over All in Heaven and in Earth
IsraelThe Church
(the Body of Christ)
God’s Rule of Israel His Earthly People and the Nations as KingGod’s Rule of His Heavenly People as Lord and Head

kingdomofgod

Clarifications: What the Kingdom is Not

As we consider what the Kingdom of God is, we should also consider what it is not. Thus:

  1. The Kingdom is not the Church. As noted, the Church (the Body of Christ) is a not a kingdom. It is the Body of Christ. The believer’s role as part of the Body of Christ is to look to Him as Lord and Head, not as King. Believers in Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) have heavenly citizenship (Ephesians 1.3, 2.6; Philippians 3.20) and are children and joint-heirs of Christ (Romans 8.16-17). While the Church is not a kingdom per se, it resides within the overall realm of the Kingdom of God as its heavenly component.
  2. The Kingdom is not a personal conversion experience. The Kingdom of God is a realm and a location, not an experience.
  3. The Kingdom is not the gospel. The gospel is the means by which we have a relationship with God and the means by which we enter the Kingdom of God. The clearest definition of the gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15.1-4. To have one’s sins forgiven and receive eternal life one must place his trust in the fact of Christ’s work on his behalf: that Christ died for him and rose from the grave. Salvation is wholly apart from works (Romans 4.1-5). Salvation is faith + 0.
  4. The Kingdom is not social justice. Social justice will reach its zenith in the Messianic Kingdom when Jesus the Messiah-King reigns from Jerusalem over the world (Zechariah 14.9) and will continue in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21). At the present time, Satan reigns as “the god of this world” and rules the world’s governments (2 Corinthians 4.4). His rule will continue until he is defeated at the end of the Tribulation and finally, at the end of the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 19.11-21, 20.2-3, 7-10). Little social justice is possible under Satan’s dominion. The Lord Jesus Christ is presently seated at the right hand of the Father’s throne awaiting His throne and kingdom (Psalm 110.1). After His return at the battle of Armageddon He will occupy the throne of David in Jerusalem and establish His earthly kingdom. This kingdom will be the prelude to His kingdom in eternity after God creates a new heaven and new earth.

A Problem Passage: Luke 17.20-21

The most misunderstood passage about the kingdom of God is Luke 17.20-21. Theologians and preachers have so abused this passage that restoring it to its Biblical sense is nearly  an impossible task.

Throughout the pulpits and classrooms preachers and professors teach that the kingdom of God is not a visible kingdom but a spiritual one that resides in the hearts of men. Such an interpretation is remarkable since it is contrary to every other declaration on the kingdom in the Scriptures and directly contradicts what Jesus taught elsewhere about the kingdom of God. In other words, if this interpretation is correct, it contradicts the entire testimony of Scripture.

Examining the Text (Luke 17.20-21)

20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

An examination of Jesus’ response requires that we keep one fact firmly in mind: He responded to people according to their attitude towards Him. Most of the professional theologians of Jesus’ day approached Him with with a single purpose: to find a way to discredit or condemn Him. Jesus’ response to those individuals was guarded, cryptic, and sometimes angry. Most of the theologians who approached Him had no interest in truth. As a result, Jesus did not trust them (John 2.23-25). It is interesting to note that religious professionals were the only group who moved Him to anger.

John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve preached repentance because the kingdom of God was near (Matthew 3.1, 4.17, 10.7). Such a message was unpopular to the ruling religious establishment for they enjoyed their position and rule. The Pharisees asked Him, “when the kingdom of God was coming” (πότε ἔρχεται ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ). The word “questioned” used by Luke is the verb ἐπερωτάω which means “interrogate,” “demand an answer.” Such language indicated this encounter, as usual, was unfriendly. The Pharisees came with an agenda and their questions were designed to entrap and condemn Him. As such, Jesus responded to them according to their attitude.

The Pharisees knew Jesus (and John the Baptist before Him) preached that the kingdom of God was near (Matthew 3.1-2, 4.17). They most likely knew Jesus had declared John the Baptist could have fulfilled the prophetic role of Elijah if the nation would have believed him (Matthew 17.1-9, 11.7-19). So what kind of answer did Jesus give the Pharisees? In Luke 17.20-21 we read Jesus’ response:

20 The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

The text reads as follows:

20 Οὐκ ἔρχεται ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ μετὰ παρατηρήσεως,
The kingdom of God is not coming with attentive watching,
21 οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν, Ἰδοὺ ὧδε: ἤ, Ἐκεῖ: ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν.
Neither will they say, “Behold, here!, or there! For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.

The phrase “with observation” is μετὰ παρατηρήσεως. The noun παρατήρησις is used only here in the New Testament and means to see something with the eyes. If we just had this verse and no other the idea that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom would have merit. But that is not the case. Hundreds of verses in the Scriptures attest that the kingdom of God as it relates to Israel will be a visible, earthly kingdom (Matthew 6.10). We must conclude, therefore, that Jesus’ reply meant something other than that the kingdom of God was spiritual (non-physical).

The Meaning of the Text

Jesus had preached the nearness of the kingdom of God for almost three years. This kingdom had been revealed by the prophets. In it, Israel will be preeminent among the nations (Deuteronomy 28.1, 13; cf. Romans 15.8). The Messiah will reign from Jerusalem as David’s greater Son (Luke 1.32) and will be characterized by universal peace and righteousness (Isaiah 2.4, 11.1-9). The Old Testament contains hundreds of verses about the nature of this kingdom on earth.

By this time, Jesus had performed thousands of miracles or signs of which the gospels record but a small portion (John 21.25). When John the Baptist doubted (because he was imprisoned) that Jesus was the promised Messiah and wondered about the nearness of the coming of the kingdom, Jesus reassured John of the authenticating signs he had seen. These signs verified He was the Messiah (Luke 7.19-22). What did Jesus mean by His reply to the Pharisees that the kingdom did not come with signs or observation? Before answering this, let us finish the remainder of the verse.

Jesus’ response to the Pharisees that “the kingdom of God is within you” did not mean the kingdom was in their hearts.2 They hated Him and wanted to kill Him. The last place the kingdom existed was in their hearts. Jesus’ reply to them was sarcastic and cryptic. He knew their hearts. He knew they did not want the truth. He responded to them according to their attitude. The meaning of Jesus’ statement, “with observation,” (παρατήρησις is a hapax legomenon) is helped by the cognate verb παρατηρέω which means “watch closely,” “watch assiduously” (Mark 3.2; Luke 6.7, 14.1; Acts 9.24; Galatians 4.10). Thus, Jesus’ sarcastic and cryptic reply had the following sense:

“You don’t get it. And you’ll never get it since you don’t want to get it. You’ve come trying to entrap Me. You won’t believe Who I am even though I have performed thousands of miracles which validate I am the Messiah. You do not want the truth. Therefore, I tell you–to see the kingdom doesn’t require signs that require παρατηρήσεως, i.e., eye strain (attentive watching). The “sign” of the kingdom is here. The King stands before you!”

A Verification Passage

Lest anyone doubt this interpretation, let us examine an earlier passage to confirm it. Luke wrote:

14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Luke 11.14-20).

Jesus declared the sign of casting out of demons revealed the kingdom of God had “come upon” φθάνω them. Was His casting out demons visible? It was. If the coming of the kingdom was not “with observation,” how could Jesus declare it had come with observation? The answer is, He couldn’t and didn’t. Therefore, His words in Luke 17 meant something different than what most are taught.

Jesus Teaches His Disciples (Luke 17.22-37)

This section of the chapter brings everything together. In His instruction to his disciples, Jesus told them, “the days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.” Luke recorded:

22 And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 “They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them.

In verse 22, we find a remarkable contrast to what Jesus told the Pharisees and what He told His disciples. To the Pharisees, He declared the kingdom was right in front of them and that He had validated His claim as the Messiah through miracles. But Jesus told His disciples the time was coming when they would wish the King was with them but He would not be. He warned them with words similar (but so different!) to those He had expressed to the Pharisees. Below is a compabrison of the text of v.21 and 23.

21 οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν, Ἰδοὺ ὧδε: ἤ, Ἐκεῖ: ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν.
Neither will they say, “Behold, here!, or there! For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.
23 καὶ ἐροῦσιν ὑμῖν, Ἰδοὺ ἐκεῖ: [ἤ,] Ἰδοὺ ὧδε: μὴ ἀπέλθητε μηδὲ διώξητε.
“And they will say to you, ‘Behold there! Behold here!’ Do not follow [them] neither not run after [them].

Jesus, the rightful King, stood before those who wished to kill Him. He told them the kingdom of God was in their midst in the person of the King. In verse 23, Jesus warned His disciples a day was coming in which He would not be present when men declared that He was present. Instead, what would be present would be a pretender, an impostor, a false messiah. Jesus warned his disciples not to follow those who claimed that the Messiah had come. He went on to predict how He would be rejected by His generation and the dark days that would come which would give rise to the false messiah (cf. John 1.11, 5.39-47). Luke continued,

24 “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 “On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 “Remember Lot’s wife. 33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 “There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”]3 37 And answering they said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.”

Jesus revealed what would occur after He would suffer and be rejected by His generation. The days of Noah and of Lot would return. Destruction came unexpectedly in that earlier time. Jesus told his disciples, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Why would He mention this? Angels had warned Lot’s family God would destroy Sodom. They were told not to look back on the city as they made their escape (Genesis 9.17, 26). Lot’s wife disobeyed and became a pillar of salt. The cause of disobedience is unbelief. Lot’s wife refused to believe and lost her life. Jesus cautioned his followers to obedience.

The Kingdom Revealed

The Kingdom of God Revealed Throughout the Scriptures
Kingdom of God Progressive Revelation Condition
Old Testament Prophetic RevelationPromised (Deuteronomy 28.12-13; Isaiah 9.6-7, 11.1-10; Zechariah 14.9; Luke 1.31-33)Advent of the Messiah
The Lord’s Earthly MinistryProclaimed (Matthew 3.2, 4.17, 23)Repentance
Post Resurrection: Early ActsOffered (Acts 3.13-21)Repentance
Post Resurrection: Early and Later ActsRejected and Postponed (Acts 7, 13.45-46, 18.5-6, 28.23-29)Repentance
Return of Christ: Prophecy FulfilledEstablished (Matthew 23.37-39; Zechariah 12.10, 13.6, 14.9; Romans 11.25-29; Revelation 12.5)Repentance

The Components and Character of the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God
Components (Israel)Characteristics (Israel and the Church)
KingEternal
LandHoly
GovernmentRighteousness
Peaceful

References to the Kingdom of God Related to Israel in the Old Testament

Hundreds of passages proclaim and describe the kingdom that God promised Israel in the Old Testament. God promised Israel they would have a King and a vast land area (Genesis 15.18-21). The kingdom of God on earth will be characterized by righteousness, peace, and holiness (Exodus 19.6; Deuteronomy 28.9). In this new world order, Israel will become preeminent among the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 28.1, 13). The promises God gave the nation were conditional for they required Israel’s obedience. Their disobedience culminated with the nation’s rejection and murder of their Messiah. Despite Israel’s historic failure, God promised His kingdom would become a reality. How will this be? A future generation, the Tribulation generation, will repent and turn to God (Zechariah 12.10; Matthew 23.39; Romans 11.26). When they do, He will return and as promised, write His laws in their hearts (the New Covenant). Under the governance of the New Covenant they will obey Him (Jeremiah 31.1, 31-37; Ezekiel 11.19, 36.26) and fulfill their destiny as a nation of priests (Exodus 19.5-6).

Paul and the Kingdom of God

God commissioned Paul as the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11.13). In this role, his focus was upon preaching the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4) and establishment of the Church, the body of Christ, in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ (Ephesians 2.11-22, 3.1-9; Galatians 3.27-29). The Church, the body of Christ, was a secret (μυστήριον), unknown until God revealed it through Paul (Ephesians 3.1-9; Colossians 1.24-17). Therefore, it was not Paul’s purpose to focus on the kingdom of God as it pertained to Israel. When Paul used the phrase “kingdom of God” (Acts 14.22, 19.8, 20.25, 28.23, 31 Romans 14.17; 1 Corinthians 4.20, 6.9, 10, 15.50; Galatians 5.21; Colossians 1.13, 4.11; 2 Thessalonians 1.5) he usually meant the overall realm of God, not the particular, earthly kingdom described by the prophets and taught by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve. The exceptions were Acts 19.8, 28.23 when he spoke to Jews.

Conclusion

The Kingdom of God encompasses both earthly and heavenly realms. Throughout the Scriptures, God has kept these realms separate. In the original creation He created heaven and earth (Genesis 1.1). In the future creation He will create a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21.1) Israel is God’s earthly people; the Church, the Body of Christ, is God’s heavenly people. Jesus ministered to Jew only (with a couple exceptions) throughout the gospels (Romans 15.8). His focus during this time was upon the prophesied earthly kingdom in which He would reign as David’s greater Son (Isaiah 11.1; Matthew 9.27, 15.22, 20.30, 21.15, 22.41-46; Luke 1.31-33). The signs and miracles He performed confirmed He was the Messiah-King. When He returns at the end of the Tribulation He will establish His kingdom upon the earth and fulfill all of His promises to the nation of Israel. They will achieve their destiny as a priestly nation (Exodus 19.5-6).

The Church, the Body of Christ, is God’s heavenly people. All the Scriptural language pertaining to the Church is heavenly. The Church has no land-grant. God sees members of the Body of Christ as seated in heaven with heavenly citizenship (Ephesians 1.3, 2.6; Philippians 3.20). God will remove His Church from the earth before His judgments began upon the earth (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 4.13-18, 5.9).

Finally, one day, every living creature in the universe will bow and acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord over all (Philippians 2.10-11; Isaiah 45.23; Romans 14.11). That is the day of final victory, the day in which Christ will be recognized as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the day to which all Scripture is working.

1 See the author’s study on Israel’s covenants.
2 Vincent’s Word Studies, s.v. Luke 17.21, “Better, in the midst of.” Meyer acutely remarks that “you refers to the Pharisees, in whose hearts nothing certainly found a place less than did the ethical kingdom of God.” Jesus was not speaking of the inwardness of the kingdom but of its presence. “The whole language of the kingdom of heaven being within men, rather than men being within the kingdom, is modern” (Trench, after Meyer).” See also, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, s.v. “within,” Note: This is a translation of (a) entos: see INSIDE, No. 1; in Luke 17:21 the RV marg., “in the midst of,” is to be preferred; the kingdom of God was not in the hearts of the Pharisees; (b) en, “of thinking or saying within oneself,” e.g., Luke 7:39, 49 (marg., “among”).
3 Early manuscripts do not include this verse.

©2013 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.

Updated, February 18, 2015.


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93 Responses to The Kingdom of God

  1. eze33 says:

    In reading 1 and 2 Peter, do I understand correctly that 1Peter was written to the Jews and 2nd Peter was written to gentiles believers? Peter is so significant, did he at some point preach the Gospel of Grace? Could you share your wisdom about Peter.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Peter never wrote to Gentile believers. He wrote only to Jewish believers. We know this not only from 1 Peter 1.1 but from what Paul wrote in Galatians 2.7-9. The Twelve and the Jerusalem assembly had confined their ministry to Jews and this continued following the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). Peter recognized that only Paul’s gospel was valid in Acts 15.11 so I would say he probably preached the gospel of grace after this. But this was difficult for Peter clearly failed afterwards as Paul noted in Galatians 2.11-14 and found much of what Paul taught difficult even at the end of his life (2 Peter 3.15-16).

  2. linda says:

    Hi,
    So i am a little confused. Both earthly(for Israel) and heavenly(the church) are both called the kingdom of God? How would 1 Corinthians 15:50 fit if its only earthly? Thanks

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Linda,
      What Paul meant by “flesh and blood” was man in his natural state. One must have a new nature to inherit the kingdom of God whether heavenly or earthly.

  3. Ron carney says:

    I have been challenged and blessed by your website thank you so much for this Holy Spirit led work . 1Question I have, Romans 14:17 For the Kingdom of God is not a place of eating and drinking ,but a place of Righteousness ,joy and peace in the Holy Spirit , whereas in the diagram And teaching In this session the kingdom of God is presented as encompassing the whole of gods rule in heaven and earth where all where all variations of existence exist including satans rule on the earth. What am I missing here in order to reconcile this verse in the over all presentation as it seems to restrict the Kingdom of God to a place of righteousness ,joy and peace.
    Thanks Ron Carney Ireland.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Ron,
      Thank you for your kind words. The context of Romans 14 is Christian behavior. Paul’s point was that how one behaves towards one’s Christian brother is more important than food (cf. Romans 14.20). We should be tolerant and not judgmental for those less mature in the faith. The kingdom of God is used in two senses. One is the whole realm of God’s rule which includes God’s rule on earth as David’s greater Son over Israel and the nations during the Millennial Age and God’s rule as Lord and Head over the Church. Satan, while defeated strategically at the cross, still operates as the god of this world and will continue to do so until the Lord returns at the end of the Tribulation.

  4. christina says:

    I love your teachings and study and ponder them often. Could you share your thoughts? Because the complete work of the NT was not complete until about 100 AD (I think), after the Gospel of the Kingdom was no longer the valid Gospel, wouldn’t that make the NT (less the Pauline books) for the Jews in the next age… bringing back the Gospel of the Kingdom after (or maybe overlapping as they did when Paul preached Grace at the same time Peter & the others preached the Kingdom). Will Jew and Gentile be saved the same way in the Tribulation? .. by faith plus works as written to the 7 assemblies? Jesus fulfilled the Law, so I’m wondering what Gospel message saves in the Tribulation. I always thought the Jews would begin sacrifices at the temple again and practice Levitical law to be saved… but I believe now that I am mistaken and having a hard time reconciling.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Christina,
      Thank you. The critical issue during the Tribulation will be the question of who is God. This is what Jesus was communicating to the 7 assemblies in Revelation. The Beast will claim he is God and demand worship. All who do not take his mark and worship him will be killed. The gospel of the kingdom will come back according to Matthew 24.14. That gospel’s focus is on the identity of Christ: that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. The choice will be clear. This is what Jesus was talking about in Luke 17.33 where Jesus said that whoever saves his life will lose it and whoever loses his life will save it. I believe Paul completed the canon of Scripture based upon what he wrote in Colossians 1.25. Thus, the last Scripture written was 2 Timothy about 67-68 A.D.

  5. Joe says:

    Doctrine,
    Is the fact that we are not now in the Kingdom as simple as the fact that John the Baptist did not become Elijah?

    thanks,

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Joe,
      Yes, if Israel had accepted John the kingdom would have come.

      • Joe says:

        Continuing from above….Why haven’t the “Kingdom Now’ people and others of the Reformed persuasion realized the Kingdom is not a figurative or spiritualized concept? “And the government shall be on his shoulders” sounds pretty concrete to me…….Is this being ‘hidden’ from them?

        I think very few grasp the fact that there’d be no Christianity without Paul. ……I don’t see many Catholic churches named for Paul…..Lots of RCC’s in south Texas where I’m from….Many to Peter, Mary and the Virgin. …..one is to the “Holy Family”……Probably doesn’t include Jesus’ siblings being that they are catholic and Mary is a perpetual Virgin to them. …..at least from the 1850’s

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Joe,
          They interpret unfulfilled prophecy figuratively in order for their larger theology to make sense. They see the Church as the fulfillment of God’s program. For them, Israel was merely typological of the Church. According to their theology, God set Israel aside permanently when they rejected the Messiah and God’s new program is the Church. In Reformed theology Israel has no hope apart from the Church.

  6. christina sylva says:

    Hi,
    so when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, during the millenium, only Jews will be in that city, hence Israel is God’s earthly people and The Church, the body of Christ is God’s heavenly people? thanks

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Christina,
      Paul wrote that members of the Church, the body of Christ, are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8.17). We do not know all that entails other than it will be glorious. New Jerusalem is a heavenly city which comes to earth. In the New Heavens and the New Earth, heaven and earth come together as never before. I see no reason why Church believers will not have residences in the city.

  7. christina says:

    i understand. obviously there are many that believe The Church is the bride, although the Bible doesnt exactly state that the church is the bride. So if the The Church, the body of Christ, are in that city and as Rev 21:9-10 (KJV) reads, 9 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” then would The Church, the body of Christ (as well as all whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life are in that city) then The Church would be considered the bride (because they reside in that city which is coming down from heaven? It seems like the Lamb’s wife is the actual City Holy Jerusalem, not a people looking at these two scriptures. Sorry if my question is unclear.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Christina,
      Revelation 21.2 states the New Jerusalem appeared as a bride, not was the bride. The Scriptures are clear Israel is the wife/bride of Christ. See my article, The Bride of Christ. I think Revelation 21.9-10 is a figure associated with Israel. It makes little sense for the Lord to have a city for a bride. The Church is the body of Christ, not the Bride. We are part of the bridegroom, not the bride.

      • Tim says:

        Nice site. I am convinced of the argument of the kingdom of heaven in the gospel of Matthew refers to the eschatological kingdom promised to Israel and therefore much of what Christ says in the Gospels prior to the upper room discourse applies to the millenium and not the church age. Regarding the Groom/Bride typology, Louis Sperry Chafer makes a fairly convincing argument for the Church as both the bride and body in vol 4 chapters 4 and 6 of his Systematic Theology. In addition to several examples in the NT he gives refutation to the argument that the body cannot be the bride through the typology of Adam and Eve where Eve (the Church in the typology) was taken from Adam’s (Christ in the typology) body and is said to be “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” and yet she is still his bride. Thus she is both his body and his bride. In addition he points out that scriptures that might be interepretted as referring to Israel (e.g. Eph 5: 25-33) as the bride are easily explained as actually referring to the church. What is Dr. Chafer missing in his refutations? Thanks

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Tim,
          Thank you. It’s been a while since I’ve read Chafer but do not think he understood Paul’s “secrets”. He was a traditional dispensationalist and most do not comprehend the significance of the difference between God’s prophetic program and God’s Church program. I do not think a compelling Biblical case can be made for the Church to be the bride of Christ. Paul never used the word “bride” but spoke of the Church as the “body” several times. The passages used to support the “bride” arguments are analogies, (Paul always qualified the argument with ‘as’)–different from the way he argued for the body. Lastly, Chafer thought the Church was in Revelation. It is not. Revelation deals with Israel and the nations.

  8. John Duryea says:

    Don,
    This is another outstanding article.
    How may I learn more about the kingdom of God?
    Thanks for all you do.
    John

  9. John Duryea says:

    Don, another question, if I may.
    You stated above that, ” if Israel had accepted John the kingdom would have come”.
    I have mentioned this to others but they said that this idea is not Scriptural because Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth was to die on the cross (and offer salvation to all) and that even Isaiah foretold of his suffering at the hands of men. Therefore, they said, he could not have ushered in the kingdom at that time because that would contradict Scripture.
    Can you help me to better understand your position and theirs?
    Thank you.
    John

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      John,
      The offer of the kingdom to Israel was genuine. If you read the Gospels, particularly Luke 1-2, you find their focus is the kingdom (cf. Romans 15.8). While Jesus’ ultimate purpose was to die for the sins of the world (see my article, For Whom Did Christ Die) the disciples knew nothing of this (Luke 18.31-34) even after he rose from the dead. Peter did not tell the Jews Christ died for their sins on the day of Pentecost. Don’t you think he would have if he had known? The significance of His resurrection was that He was alive and could return and establish the kingdom if they repented (Acts 3.19-20). They knew Isaiah 53, but did not comprehend its meaning. That Christ died for the sins of the world and could offer salvation to all was a Pauline revelation. The Twelve knew nothing of this. Had the Jews repented and accepted Jesus as the Messiah the kingdom would have come. He still would have had to die and presumably, the Romans would have taken the lead in crucifying Him rather than the Jews. The Tribulation would have come (which Peter expected by quoting Joel 2 in Acts 2). The Lord would have returned to set up His kingdom. There would have been no Church, no body of Christ. Gentiles would have been blessed through Israel as the prophets had foretold (Isaiah 49.5-6).

  10. John Duryea says:

    Don,
    Thank you for your kind response. It has led me to think on this a bit more. My goal is to gain understanding. I have no other agenda. And, I have reread your article entitled, “For Whom Did Christ Die”.
    My original thinking on this topic was: So the sin of the Jews would have been set aside/forgiven if they repented, were baptized, and believed that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah. The atonement for sin by his sacrificial death would not have been needed to bring the eternal Kingdom of God/the New Jerusalem (and, I suppose, eternal life) to the Jews and to the earth.
    I did not imagine that the Lord would still have to die even if the Kingdom of God began to unfold to a repentant Jewish nation in his earthly life. I’m trying to understand the purpose for his death for I thought salvation came to the Jews by simply repenting, being baptized, and by believing Jesus was the Messiah. The idea that he still had to die didn’t seem to fit in to this scenario.
    But now, after rereading your article on For Whom Did Christ Die, it seems that the new covenant the Lord made with the Jews had to be instituted by blood, his blood. Therefore,when Jesus walked the earth, the Jews needed to believe he was the promised Messiah and even then Jesus still had to shed his blood and die for the forgiveness of their sin, and the sin of the world. It seems that both were needed for the Kingdom of God to come to the earth and for salvation to come to all of mankind.
    Am I on the right track?
    Thanks again.
    John

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      John,
      Yes. Christ had to die to solve mankind’s sin and this was always in view (Revelation 13.8). Immediately after Adam sinned God initiated animal sacrifices (Genesis 3.21). Physical life is in the blood (Leviticus 17.11). Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9.22). The animal sacrifices were pictures of the ultimate sacrifice Christ would make to satisfy God’s justice so He could forgive and reconcile us to Himself. Animal sacrifices covered sin (כָּפַר) but had to be offered continually. They could not solve the problem. Christ death and resurrection solved the problem of sin and death (Hebrews 9.11-15, 10.1-25). Men have been saved throughout history of the basis of what God revealed. But the foundation of that salvation was Christ’s sacrifice. It had to happen.

      • Don says:

        “Men have been saved throughout history of the basis of what God revealed. But the foundation of that salvation was Christ’s sacrifice. It had to happen.”
        Why is this so hard for some to understand?

  11. Joe says:

    This is off subject but an observation from a verse sited above. I was reading this fine article of yours for insight in regards to another question but noticed this. I wonder how many have? It wasn’t until centuries after Luke wrote that it was determined that day and night occurred on earth simultaneously. (earth is a spinning globe and it’s relation to the sun). In these versus it is evident that both day and night are in effect at the Lord’s return. (unless two men and two women are working in the dark)

    “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 “There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”]3

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Joe,
      That the earth was a sphere was known long before Luke. If that was known, people probably knew night and day occurred simultaneously. Luke’s statement certainly confirms that knowledge.

  12. Joe says:

    You are so correct. It’s just another myth I was taught in public school. After some research it appears people knew of the spherical shape hundreds of years BC.

  13. Vernon says:

    Hi Don,

    What chance is there that you have a list of all the OT Scriptures that mention the earthly reign of the Messiah?
    If you do I would really appreciate the trouble.

    Thank you,

    Vernon.

  14. Vanessa says:

    Good Morning Don, A question was put to me regarding 1 Cor. 14: 3-4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth THE CHURCH. The question is how does one edify himself if you speak in tongues since you do not know what you are saying.?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vanessa,
      We can only assume the speaker understands what he is saying and is thereby edified.

      • GraceReceiver says:

        Or, perhaps Paul was saying it tongue-in-cheek. (Excuse the pun!) We know that Paul used this type of speech on occasion. (1 Cor. 4:8-10, just to name one.)
        I think he was saying that these Corinthians were puffed up with pride, speaking “into the air”. Maybe some of them were speaking in tongues just to get the praise of men, thereby edifying themselves?

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          GraceReceiver,
          The Corinthians had many problems. Paul wrote to correct the speaking in tongues, which was being elevated beyond its importance. Paul placed controls on how they were to be exercised.

  15. Vernon says:

    Hi Don,
    Could you please explain why there appears to be a “signs and wonders” program in the Galatian Church as stated in Galatians 3:5 “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
    I understand that these things ceased when the Cannon was full and in place.

    Thanx,

    Vernon.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vernon,
      The early church exercised sign gifts and miracles. The principal reason for these signs was to show Jews that Gentiles had salvation from God (1 Corinthians 1.22).

  16. Vernon says:

    Don,
    Act 15:9 says “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”
    What exactly is being referred to here? Does this mean that there is no difference between what we believe and the kingdom gospel?

    Thanx,

    Vernon.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vernon,
      Peter was recounting his experience going to Cornelius’ house. They were saved and received the Holy Spirit. Hence, Peter saw that Gentiles received the same Holy Spirit as had the Jews. That was the “no difference.” The point was to affirm Paul’s gospel that Cornelius, etc. had been saved apart from circumcision and keeping the Law–which is what the assembly at Jerusalem was teaching and causing problems for Paul’s Gentile converts.

  17. Vernon says:

    Hi Don,
    The passage in 1John 3:2,3 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
    And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
    Will the Kingdom saints also be changed physically at the second coming?
    What does the verse mean?

    Thanx Don.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vernon,
      Members of the body of Christ will be changed at the Rapture. OT, kingdom believers, will be resurrected later. See my article, The Resurrection, for this timing.

  18. Bruno says:

    Don,

    How does Daniel 7.9-14 relates to the Millennial Kingdom and the second coming of Christ at the end of the great tribulation? These are the scriptures talking about the thrones, the Ancient of days, the judgment, the opening of the books, the coming of one like The Son of Man with the clouds.

    At first I thought “What? Great white throne?”, but at verse 12 it says “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time”, so it could not be The Great white throne, not to mention the coming of the one like The Son of Man after that.

    Could it has something in relate to that issue of Daniel see things in one direction and John see the same things but in the opposite direction, I mean, like “backwards”?

    Thanks and regards from Brazil!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Bruno,
      The Daniel 7.11 passage describes judgment of the Antichrist (Revelation 19.20). Daniel 7.12 describes the judgment at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20.11-15) of the rulers of the other empires–Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome (in its first phase). They have been in hell and are resurrected to face God’s judgment.

      • Bruno says:

        Don,

        I appreciate you answer so fast.

        How about Daniel 7.13-14 ? The Son of Man is coming in the clouds. I thought He would be at earth after the Millennial Kingdom. The verse seems to suggest He will come after the Great White Throne, and this blow my mind.

        Verse 14 is suppose to be the fulfillment of Ezekiel 21.27?

        Thanks once again!

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Bruno,
          Visions do not necessarily fall in chronological order. They preview what will happen but not when they will happen. It gave Daniel a headache. :)

  19. Bruno says:

    Hahahaha!

    Sure!

    Thanks, brother!

  20. courtney king says:

    Dear bro. 1001 thank you’s we appreciate and need you’r articles.

  21. Hi Don. A couple questions on this one….

    In your bullet points, #3, you mention that “The gospel is the means by which we have a relationship with God and the means by which we enter the Kingdom of God.” Am I right in that you are referring here to God’s “Kingship Over All Creation” from the chart above the bullets, and not the “Kingship Over Israel”?

    Second, I get that the religious leaders and common Jews of the time believed that Jesus was talking about an earthly kingdom, and that most didn’t believe that He was the prophesied King of that kingdom. Others believed other prophecies speaking about Jesus coming to take away sins and overcome death through His atoning death. Peter seemed to believe that this was to happen first, then the kingdom. (1Pe 1:10-12)

    I believe that what you are saying is that John the Baptist, then Jesus was actually announcing that the prophesied Millennial Kingdom was at hand, and that if the Jewish nation had accepted Him, there would not have been a church age, but we would have directly entered the tribulation, followed by that kingdom, led by Jesus as King.

    But I’m having trouble seeing that this is actually what Jesus was saying, that He had come to institute the Millennial Kingdom. Here are a couple of the passages that are causing me trouble with that line of thought.

    For one thing, Peter seemed to indicate that Christ’s suffering would have to occur first, then the glories (1Pe 1:10-12), and Paul said the same (Act 26:22-23), suffering first, then proclaiming light. If He had come to set up the kingdom, when would the suffering have taken place according to the prophesies? (Psa 16, 22, Isa 53, etc.)

    In John 3, Jesus seems to be explaining to Nicodemus that entering, or perceiving the kingdom requires being born spiritually. Only with spiritual eyes can the kingdom be seen.

    In Mat 5:20 Jesus seems to be saying that the internalization personally of the New Covenant where the law is written on hearts and a heart of stone is replaced by a heart of flesh is the only way to enter the kingdom. This and John’s passage seem to indicate a personal one by one entrance into the kingdom rather than a king setting up a kingdom and all the subjects entering at once.

    It was more of an inward transformation first that allows for entrance into the kingdom, which is why Jesus could say that tax collectors and prostitutes were going ahead of the Pharisees into the kingdom (Mat 21:31). The outward would follow the inward which seems to indicate a spiritual dimension to the kingdom.

    Paul seems to corroborate this in 1Co 15:50 when he says that flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom, in Rom 14:17 that the kingdom is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

    John records Jesus telling Pilot that His kingdom was not of this world when asked if He was King of the Jews. Presumably if Pilot had any inkling that Jesus’ kingdom was earthly, he would be justified in putting Him to death for being in opposition to King Herod, but Pilot found nothing wrong with this kingdom since it was “not of this world”.

    On the other hand, if Jesus was in fact saying that the earthly kingdom was at hand it would seem then that foreshadows of the kingdom were appearing as the nature of the kingdom was coming into being during the time it was being proposed, and before being rejected. I.E. healing, the Holy Spirit in power through His indwelling, and so on.

    In addition, there seem to be passages that are clearly speaking of the kingdom of God being the Millennial Kingdom. Mat 8:!1

    I really feel like I am missing something, like the focus knob is set to blurry. I’m a big picture guy, all the little pieces make up the larger image, and I have lots of little pieces all seeming to point in different directions, and I’m not able to satisfactorily put them together into the larger image yet. Can you see what I’m missing?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Stan,
      According to Paul, the kingdom of God for Christians is that overall rule of God. Our hope is heavenly, not earthly. The Jews, the Twelve, had no understanding of how sins were to be forgiven. The only passage that touched on this was Isaiah 53 and no Jew understood it. Read Luke 1-2, especially, Zechariah’s speech at the end of Luke 1. It reveals what Jews knew and hoped for. Obviously, Jesus had to die. That was prophecy. But God kept it hidden because that was the key of His plan. If Satan had understood it he would have done everything to keep Jesus alive. Had Israel repented, the Romans (rather than the Jews) would have taken the lead in crucifying Him. Jesus’ statement “not of this world” is a genitive of source, not location. In other words, it’s source was not human power. Jesus did not mean it was not on the earth. That would have contradicted all prophecy. The Tribulation would have followed soon after Christ’s resurrection just as was prophesied. This was what Peter expected when he quoted Joel 2 at Pentecost. The kingdom would have been established and Jews would have fulfilled their destiny as a blessing to Gentiles. No hint of the Church is in the OT. It was a secret. Read Psalm 2. That was God’s program in a nutshell.

  22. Joseph says:

    Why not include my comments? Scared of the truth? If you have a heavenly hope then why did God make Adam and Eve Perfect to live on the earth forever? Read Psalm 115:16 ESV / The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. Psalm 37:29 ESV /The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.

    “May the truth set you free” John 8:32

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Joseph,
      To understand truth requires understanding God’s programs. God created Adam and Eve to live on the earth. They sinned and died. God dealt with the entire human race for 2,000 years. He then called Abraham to be the father of the Jews. He gave the Jews earthly promises and dealt with them for 2,000 years. When they rejected the Messiah, God commissioned Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles and created the Church, the body of Christ. God revealed through Paul that the Church, the body of Christ, has a heavenly destiny and are citizens of heaven, not earth (Ephesians 1.3; Philippians 3.20). God has dealt with the Church for 2,000 years. When He returns, He will establish a 1,000 kingdom on the earth, a Sabbatic kingdom. The psalmist knew nothing of a heavenly destiny for God had not revealed it. No Jew had a hope of dying and going to heaven. His hope lay in resurrection and living on earth. Dying and going to heaven was a Pauline revelation which the risen Lord revealed. We must interpret the Scriptures in context and in the order God has revealed them.

  23. uzziel says:

    Don,
    Is it possible for the Church believers “the body of Christ” to dwell or come and go in that new Jerusalem? Since the body of Christ that time are in their heavenly, incorruptible and glorified bodies.

  24. Becky says:

    Thanks Don,

    Now I remember, this article was in essence my dad’s teaching on the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. Thanks for reminding me of the differences.

    I do have a question though. The pulpit at the church I attend always says “that we are growing the ‘kingdom’ one soul at a time” but I never quite understood what they meant by this (what kingdom?) as I don’t recall reading this in scripture this plainly. I guess they mean evangelizing, but I don’t believe that is the Church’s calling. Do you know what they might mean by that phrase and where I would find that idea in the bible as far as the Church is concerned?

    I still can’t believe how blessed I am to have found this treasure trove of knowledge that so nicely organizes all topics so that my finite mind can understand and be refreshed.

    Thanks again Don and blessing to you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Becky,
      I’m not sure if pressed they would know since the “kingdom” is confusing to most. We are growing the kingdom in Paul’s sense of salvation for those who have chosen for God but not in the sense of the kingdom found in the gospels which is the earthly kingdom promised to the Jews.

  25. Becky says:

    Thanks Don,

    One more question . . . if the great commission is not for the Church, is Rom 10:14-19, 21 speaking about Israel rather than non-believing Gentiles? “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? . . .” and Rom 10:20 referring to believers (the Church, Gentiles); “Rom 10:20, But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.”?

    Per Rom 10:20 It seems plain to me that God will draw them not the believers [then the body (of Christ) can/will plant the word and the body (of Christ via Holy Spirit) can/will water/nurture; God gives the increase, regarding growing His kingdom]. Is this a accurate summation?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Becky,
      Everything in Romans 9-11 concerns the subject of Israel. You might enjoy my article, The Olive Tree.

  26. Doctrine

    Your work has revolutionalized my life and our church. Thanks a lot. Ever since I started teaching more on the grace of God – great things are happening in both my life and the life of our church. Thanks again

    Rev. Sfiso

  27. David Reynolds says:

    Mr. Samdahl, forgive me if you addressed this in your article, but I have a question in regards to the Kingdom of God as well as the Kingdom of Heaven. I was reading through Acts last evening with my wife, as she does not agree with me on right division yet. Since she said our differences in our understanding mostly start with the book of Acts, she suggested we read and discuss our thoughts on it together, to which I agreed. Unfortunately for me, I am still learning when it comes to right division, so I don’t always have the answers to the questions she poses when she has a question about rightly divided doctrine. While discussing, I tried to explain to her that Mathias was to fill Judas’ position among the twelve at least in part because they thought they needed another apostle to sit on the twelfth throne that was promised to them in Matthew 19:27-28. I told her that this was talking about a literal and physical kingdom on earth where they would rule alongside Christ if Israel accepted him as Messiah.

    She told me she heard other preacher’s say that the Greek translation of Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are interchangeable, and so she doesn’t think it was talking about earth but heaven. I try not to press a point if I don’t know all the details behind it, and in this case, this was something I was not sure of as far as the two being interchangeable is concerned. My understanding was that the Kingdom of God is a broader term encompassing the Kingdom of Heaven as well as the earth. Is this thinking on my part correct? If the Kingdom of Heaven falls under the Kingdom of God is the other called the Kingdom of the earth? If anything I told her is incorrect I’d appreciate you insight. Thanks for any clarification you can provide.

    In Christ,
    David Reynolds

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      David,
      Only Matthew used the phrase “kingdom of heaven.” Many times the “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” mean the same but “kingdom of heaven” always means the earthly kingdom promised to the Jews. If you have ever prayed the “Lord’s prayer” you have prayed for this kingdom–“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on EARTH, as it is in heaven.” The phrase, “kingdom of heaven” is a genetive of source, not a genitive of location. Thus, the source of the kingdom is heaven, not its location. There are hundreds of passages in the OT which promise Israel an earthly kingdom. The Jews has absolutely not prophecy or idea of a heavenly destiny. No Jew every thought of dying and going to heaven. It is nowhere in the Bible. Everything for the Jew was earthly.

  28. bmariez says:

    Don, from my perspective, your foundation for this study is weak right from the start.

    you state:
    As such, he has the authority to give the kingdoms of the world to whomever he desires. Satan asserted that authority in his temptation of the Lord in the desert (Matthew 4.8-9; Luke 4.5-6). The Lord did not refute Satan’s claim. He knew it was legitimate.

    Just because satan said he would give all the kingdoms to Jesus doesn’t mean he could. Matt 4:9 the devil says, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” He was lying. John 8:44 Jesus says, He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: FOR HE IS A LIAR, and the father of it.

    For you to say that “The Lord did not refute Satan’s claim because he knew it was legitimate” is at best assumption. There is no proof Scripturally that backs your statement. In fact, it could be that Jesus was thinking Pro 26:4-5
    4  Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
    5  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit

    You state:
    The Bible reveals that God, at the strategic level, rules over all the kingdoms of the earth (2 Kings 19.15; 2 Chronicles 20.6, 36.23; Ezra 1.2; Isaiah 37.16; Daniel 4.17, 5.21). This is part of His sovereignty. The Bible also reveals that at the operational level, Satan controls the kingdoms of this world. He is the puppet-master of the world’s governments.

    This is a confusing statement because the verses you listed in this same paragraph contradict what you say. In fact, Revelation 17:17 says, “For GOD HATH PUT in their (the ten kings) hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”

    Where Paul talks about “the god of this world,” it has nothing to do with governments. In context he is talking about unbelievers and believers. You are taking it out of context in trying to use it as a foundational part of this study.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Bmariez,
      Satan is a liar but a subtle liar. He knew he could not lie outright to the Lord. Revelation 20.3 states he deceives nations to control them. Adam lost rule of the world to Satan when he sinned. The Lord, as the second Adam, will restore rule to mankind. He will do this in His humanity as King of the earth.

      • Bmariez says:

        Don,
        Rev 20:3 doesn’t say “he deceives nations to control them.” There is nothing in this verse that tells us why he deceives the nations. For you to state this, there has to be specific verses to back it up. It seems to me you would first need to answer, Why does the devil deceive? according to what is written in the Scriptures.

        Again, “the god of this world” is not speaking about goverments. It is about the devil blinding the minds of the lost lest they should see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. I’m not convinced you can use this as part of your foundation for this particular study.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Bmariez,
          The offfer of the governments to Christ would not have been a temptation were it not true. Satan knew to whom he was speaking and is smart enough to know he could not get away with a blatant lie. That is the weakness of you case. What is Satan’s goal in Revelation? It is to fulfill his ambition to have the governments of the world submit to him overtly and worship him. Prior to this time God has restrained his power. If one does not deceive to control something or someone, what does it mean to deceive?

  29. RM says:

    Don,
    In your last comment to Bmariez, you wrote “Satan knew to whom he was speaking and is smart enough to know he could get away with a blatant lie. That is the weakness of you case.” Did you mean to write: Satan knew to whom he was speaking and is smart enough to know he could NOT get away with a blatant lie. That is the weakness of youR case?
    Sorry for the compulsive proof-reading.

  30. Bmariez says:

    Don,
    I think in the case of people, to deceive can be for the purpose of controlling, for power, to take advantage of, for love, etc. For Satan, I think the bottomline of deceiving is to keep people fom seeing the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, to remain in disobedience and unbelief. He is a murderer, he walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He clearly hates man.

    The Word does say he is a ruler of darkness. Eph 6:12 says we wrestle against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. And before Jesus died, the devil had the power of death Heb 2:14-15…..that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Revelation says Jesus has the keys of hell and death.

    This is a great verse Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son…. It is interesting that this verse does not say the “kingdom” of darkness instead of “power” of darkness.

    You state
    The offfer of the governments to Christ would not have been a temptation were it not true.

    This is a great point. So a good supportive verse for this could be Rev 11:15 ….The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ…..
    (It is baffling to ponder sometimes about what the devil does or does not know. According to Scripture, he does know that his time is short.)

    These are passages that came to mind when i began reading the first part of your study:
    Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    1Ti 2:1-2  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  2  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty

    How would you fit these into your study? Also, you state the kingdom is not the church but going back to Col 1:13 it says believers have been translated into Jesus’ kingdom.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Bmariez,
      The kingdom of God in its largest sense is all God rules. In particular, as related to Israel, it is the promised earthly kingdom. Satan does not know a lot. God and His angels seem to have the ability to reveal things to humans apart from Satanic powers, much like our governments encrypt information. Satan does hate man. He seeks his worship but to him our lives are worthless. He is a destroyer. We know as early as Psalm 2 that Christ will inherit the nations. Satan knew something big was afoot with the Son becoming man but he did not know He had come to pay for man’s sin or how he could inherit the earth. These passages could have been hidden from him. The Scriptures reveal a warfare exists regarding earthly kingdoms that involve angelic powers, e.g., Daniel 10.10-13). Satan is defending his rule over the nations and God intervenes to deliver them from him. Such is the nature of war.

      • Bmariez says:

        Don,
        It will be interesting to one day find out the full story behind satan, if the Lord so wills to let us in on it. thanks

  31. Joe says:

    I’m having a difficult time getting my brain around the concept that the devil does not know what’s going on. When the devil was tempting Christ he must have known something was up. “The God of this world”? Please help me find some references, vs’s, etc to help me understand this. Thanks

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Joe,
      We have to compare Scripture with Scripture to piece this together. We know Satan did not know Christ’s crucifixion would be his undoing for he entered Judas to betray Him to be killed. If we can hide information through encryption, etc., God can do this to hide His word with far greater sophistication. Remember, God and Satan are at war. 2 Corinthians 4.4 speaks of Satan as the “god of this world.” He’s running the governments of the world which is why they are so corrupt. All of this is under the control of God, however, as is evident in the example of the crucifixion. Whatever evil Satan does, God can turn it to victory.

    • Bmariez says:

      Joe,
      If you don’t have it, download E-Sword onto your computer. I prefer using it on my iPad. Do a search in the new testament for satan, devil, beelzebub, liar, murderer, “the enemy” (search this under the Exact Phrase option). Ask the Lord to open your eyes and give you understanding. Then read the verses in context. Ephesians 6 tells what armour we need to battle the rulers of darkness.

  32. Joe says:

    Thank you Doctrine….this gives me some hope for what I see coming on Nov. 8th. God is in control in ways that I can’t see……I imagine this control applies to the unseen world as well.

    Thank you for your patience and your ability to articulate concepts in easy to understand language.

  33. jeff says:

    Hi Don, Can you help me with this. In Matt.8:11 and Luke 13:29 almost say the same thing but Matthew mentions the Kingdom of Heaven and Luke mentions the Kingdom of God.Which verse has precedence?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Jeff,
      Only Matthew used the term “kingdom of heaven.” It always refers the earthly kingdom. Most of the time the terms, “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” mean the same thing. Sometimes, however, “kingdom of God” refers to God’s overall kingdom, i.e., that which is not strictly on the earth.

  34. William Waller says:

    Don:

    Ezekiel 45:15-25 seems to say there will be burnt offerings in the kingdom of heaven. How can this be interpreted consistently with Isaiah 11:9?

    Thank you

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      William,
      The Scriptures are clear that burnt offerings will be offered in the kingdom. This has troubled many commentators. The significance of these offering is not clear since Christ’s sacrifice atoned for sin. It must be remembered that animal sacrifices never atoned for sin. They “covered” sin and the temporarily propitiated sin. Most commentators see these kingdom sacrifices as memorials.

  35. William Waller says:

    Don:

    This is perplexing. I envision the earthly kingdom being like the garden of eden before the advent of sin. Mankind enjoyed a perfect relationship with God. Sin changed everything. As I understand it, the earthly kingdom will be administered by love. Why would God want his perfection marred by a memorial of sin?

    Thank you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      William,
      There’s a lot we do not know about what life will be like in the kingdom. But I do not follow the logic that ongoing animal sacrifices militate against love. We remember Christ’s sacrifice for us and it reminds us of His love for us and our consequential love for Him. For example, does the Lord’s Supper compromise love?

  36. George says:

    Hello bro Don, what do you make of Matthew 22:40? In the millennial kingdom, they do not marry again? Aren’t the kingdom JEWS going to have babies? In what sense are they like the angels? Thanks

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      George,
      Everyone who enters the Millenium will not have resurrection bodies. Believers who have survived the Tribulation go into the kingdom in mortal bodies and will produce children, marry, etc.

  37. Vanessa says:

    Good Morning Don,
    Can you please help me. The gospel of the kingdom is the preaching of John the Baptist: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). We do not preach that gospel today. The Lord Jesus preached it when He first began (see Matthew 4:17), and He sent His disciples out, saying, “Go…to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:6,7). These men went out and preached that, but the day came when that changed. After His death and resurrection He said, “Don’t just go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but go now to the world” (see Mark 16:15). HERE IS WHERE I AM STUCK. When they went into the world what Gospel did they preach. I am assuming it was the Kingdom but why would they go into the world (Gentiles) to preach the Kingdom Gospel. Thanks Don.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vanessa,
      They proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom, that Jesus was the promised Messiah. This was to give that generation of Jews the opportunity to fulfill Zechariah 8.20-23. God kept hidden the revelation that His death and resurrection had paid for the sins of Jews as well as Gentiles until He gave it to Paul when it became clear the nation would not repent. The order of repentance was Jerusalem, Judea, Samarian, the rest of the world (Acts 1.8). Note also that water baptism was required for salvation (Mark 16.16). The program of faith + works continued. This was the prophetic program of salvation throughout Jewish history. Nothing in the OT revealed faith without works (exception Abraham). That is one reason Paul declared his gospel was a secret (Ephesians 6.19). In Revelation, in the Day of the Lord, the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed again for Israel will be center-stage and God will be dealing with the nations (no Church). The gospel will again focus on the identity of Christ, He is the Messiah, the Son of God. This will be in direct conflict to what the Beast is saying–that he is God and is to be worshipped. This is why Jesus warned the assemblies in Revelation 2-3 to overcome–to endure to the end.

  38. What about. Matthew 4:17
    Didn’t Jesus preach kingdom of God to gentiles

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Michael,
      Jesus had no ministry to Gentiles. See Matthew 10.5-6; 15.21-28. He made a few exceptions but His ministry was to Israel. Israel was to be the light to the Gentiles and every Jew was to serve as a priest to bring Gentiles to the Lord (Exodus 19.6; 1 Peter 2.9; Zechariah 8.20-23). See also Acts 1.8, 8.1.

  39. Isaac says:

    Paul is talking about the Kingdom og God in many of his letters. Also in Ephesians 5 he writes about it. Why do you think there is a difference between the Kingdom og God in the gospels and in Paul’s epistles?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Isaac,
      The Gospels concern Israel. The kingdom God promised to Israel was earthly. Hundreds of verses are in the OT about this. Jesus came to fulfill those promises (Romans 15.8). Paul wrote to the Church whose blessings and inheritance are heavenly, not earthly. When Paul wrote of the kingdom he meant the whole realm of God’s rule.

  40. bmariez says:

    Don,
    under your heading What the kingdom is not, #4, you state, “After His return at the battle of Armageddon He will occupy the throne of David in Jerusalem and establish His earthly kingdom. This kingdom will be the prelude to His kingdom in eternity after God creates a new heaven and new earth” but did not give any Scriptural proof.

    In matthew 28:18 after his resurrection, Jesus said all power was given to him in heaven and earth. 1 Tim 6:15 Paul calls Jesus King of kings. Just because Paul refers to satan being the god of this world, it does not change the truth that Jesus is reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords. Just like every king in the OT, there are always enemies to conquer, but they are still king. Paul says in 1Co 8:5 6 For though there be that are called gods, WHETHER IN HEAVEN OR IN EARTH, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. According to this passage, unbelievers have their god who blinds their minds, but to believers there is only one God who has shined the light of his glorious gospel in our hearts.

    Jesus said in John 18:36 ….My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
    This was in response to Pilate’s question, Are you king of the Jews? Interestingly, He says if his kingdom were of this world his servants would fight that he should not be delivered TO the Jews. This whole passage is very powerful regarding insight into His kingdom.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Bmariez,
      Ultimately, God is sovereign and is in control of everything. But the Scriptures reveal God’s authority has been challenged and a war is waging. At the present time, Satan rules the world and will continue until his defeat at Amargeddon. In the kingdom which follows, Christ will finally occupy the throne of David and reign as King as promised in Psalm 2. We must understand that at the present time Christ is not reigning as King. If He were He would be in Jerusalem. He is presently seated as the right hand of the Father. In other words, Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, but does not occupy or exercise this role yet. I discuss some of this in my article, Hermeneutics.

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