Kingdom Of God, Pt. 1

The kingdom of God is the central message of the Bible and especially the New Testament. The word “kingdom” is used 150 times in the New Testament. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, made the kingdom of God His central emphasis. It was the heart of His message. If Jesus made the kingdom of God the center of His message, then the greatest need of man is to rediscover it. In the mid-1950s I was reading the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord stopped me and then told me that the words, “Thy kingdom come” (Luke 11:2) mean, “My Spirit come upon you and give you peace (purify you).” What a revelation. I searched for two years to find confirmation, and finally I found it in a commentary put out by Cambridge University of England (Cambridge Bible 1st edition 1880. This university had a manuscript on the Gospel of Luke, which has existed since in the time of St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa).

The kingdom of God is not a date or a day in the future. It is the presence of the King ruling and reigning in us individually, and in us corporately as a congregation. It is not a matter of geography; it is God in us and with us. Many people are setting dates and are looking for a kingdom that is yet to come, and they associate it with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that Jesus’ return will establish a worldwide government on the earth (Psalm 2). Revelation 11:15 says, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (KJV). Also, “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet. And there were loud voices in heaven, saying: “The power to rule the world now belongs to our Lord and his Christ, and he will rule forever and ever” (NCV). It seems that many preachers bind up the kingdom of God when they tie it up with Christ’s return. The kingdom of God is “now”; as Romans 14:17 puts it, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (KJV). This is “now” and not just for some future time.

KINGDOM BASICS… The kingdom of God… What is it? The kingdom of God is basically the reign of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The word “kingdom” refers to a “realm plus reign” i.e., royal power, God’s dominion. In the New Testament this word refers to the reign of God as seen in Christ Jesus and of authority conferred upon Christians by the Spirit to reign in life (Acts 1:8, 2:1-4; Romans 5:17). The New Testament uses the words “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven.” These two phrases mean the same thing. Jesus spoke Aramaic, and the gospel writers translated Jesus’ words into Greek. Mark, Luke, and John translated the words as “the kingdom of God.” Matthew sometimes translated the phrase as “the kingdom of God,” but preferred to use the phrase “kingdom of heaven.” When the writers used the term “the kingdom of God,” they meant the rule of God. The kingdom of God is the reign of God. It is God ruling, the sovereign reign of God. God’s reign is exercised by His will, His word, His works, and His righteousness. The church is not the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God is in the church. The church is the vehicle for the kingdom of God.

THY KINGDOM COME… Luke 11:2… “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (KJV). The Lord’s Prayer contains three requests: 1) Hallow or honor God’s name, i.e., reverence God; 2) Extend God’s rule to humans; 3) The will of God be done in earth just as it is done in heaven. (Special note–the words “Thy kingdom come” in early manuscripts are translated, “Thy Spirit come upon us and give us peace.” See Cambridge Bible 1st edition 1880; also St. Gregory Bishop of Nyssa’s writings on the Lord’s Prayer.) “Thy kingdom come” is the coming of the Holy Spirit into your life. The coming of the Spirit upon us is to enable us to do the will of God on the earth as it is done in heaven. Jesus exhorted the disciples to pray for this coming. Jesus said in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Jesus also said in Acts 1:4-5, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” In Acts 2:1-4 the Spirit came with great power. The kingdom of God is the extension of Christ’s rule in the earth. Jesus said in John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…” and in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”   

(To be continued…)

Pastor George Belobaba

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