What is the Kingdom?
Jesus preached something called “The Gospel of the Kingdom,” and He said that this Gospel would be preached in the whole world before the end of the age arrived. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus said,
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations; and then the end shall come.
What is this Gospel of the Kingdom? Is it the same as the Gospel of Salvation that is currently being preached by so many? No, the salvation message is only part of the Gospel of the Kingdom. It focuses primarily on the way in which people may gain citizenship in the Kingdom of God. But few really know much about the Kingdom of God itself, and so most people have a blurred vision about it. So let us start at the beginning. The Kingdom of God properly begins with Genesis 1:1,
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The Kingdom of God includes anything and everything that God created in both heaven and earth. The Kingdom, then, includes not only heaven but also the earth as well. It is important to begin with a firm understanding of the parameters of the Kingdom, because to know the beginning is to know the end of the story.
God owns what He creates by right of creation. For this reason, the Bible assumes God’s ownership of the whole earth, and it assumes the sovereignty of God over all that He owns. Therefore, God has the right to give land to whomsoever He will, to direct all activity on the earth, and to dictate the terms (laws) by which man may live upon any part of His creation.
Sin and death invaded God's Kingdom, first in the heavens and then in the earth. This created is a temporary problem that God has been resolving since the beginning. The full resolution of the problem will be completed at the end of earth’s history. Sin and death will be eradicated, and, as was later prophesied, the glory of God will cover the whole earth.
It is important to understand that God’s creation was pronounced “good” in the beginning. When finished, God pronounced it all “very good” (Gen. 1:31). All of the dirt, rocks, water, plants, animals, and man himself were not created by an evil devil, but a good God.
This basic fact was disputed later in many religions, where they taught that matter was intrinsically evil, and only spirit was good. The Greeks of Paul’s day could not comprehend how a good God could indwell human flesh through the power of Pentecost. How could God taint Himself by indwelling an “evil” body?
So in order to understand the Gospel of the Kingdom, we must understand that matter is not intrinsically evil. It was created good, and it reflected the artistic ability and character of its Creator. This view of origins will determine the outcome at the end of history.
Sin and death are invasive forces, not inherent in creation. Sin has brought about a detour or extension of history and time itself in order to resolve the problems brought about by this invasion.
The goal of history forms a large portion of the Gospel of the Kingdom. This Gospel tells us the nature and relationship of God and His creation. It tells us the problem of sin and death. It tells us the divine plan to resolve this problem. And finally, it shows that God will succeed and win in the end. The purpose for which He created the heavens and the earth will be fulfilled.
The earth was created to manifest the glory of God. If God were to fail to accomplish this goal, then He would be a sinner, because the Hebrew word for sin is kawtaw, which means “to fail to achieve a goal or to hit the mark.”
But sin did not take God by surprise, nor is He so incapable that He cannot restore all things. In fact, the ultimate goal of history is called in Acts 3:21, “the restoration of all things.” Paul put it another way in 1 Cor. 15:28 saying,
28 And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.
The rest of Scripture gives us the plan by which this goal shall be accomplished. There are many details, and each reveals another aspect of the character of God and His relationship to His creation, especially to man himself. To speak particularly of each of these details would involve an entire Bible study and would involve more volumes than anyone could read (or write) in a life time. But this booklet is designed to give readers a broad perspective of the Gospel of the Kingdom, leaving it to other books to focus upon the details. If we have an overall perspective, then it will be easier to learn the details without getting lost in them.
In the course of biblical history, God saw fit to teach mankind two methods of establishing the Kingdom. The first was designed to fail, so that we would understand what does NOT work. The second was designed to succeed completely and totally. These two methods are bound up in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant put the responsibility upon human flesh to accomplish the purposes of God and to bring perfection. It failed, and so the Old Covenant was abolished in favor of the New. The New Covenant put the responsibility upon Jesus Christ to accomplish the purposes of God and to bring perfection to us all. The outworking of this New Covenant is not yet complete, of course, but the Gospel of the Kingdom proclaims Jesus Christ as the One through whom the purposes of God will be accomplished.
Every kingdom must have four basic elements in order to be called a kingdom. It has to have a king, citizens, laws, and territory. The Kingdom of God contains all of these. History is the story of the formation and development of the Kingdom of God from a seed to a mighty tree that covers the whole earth.
So in order to understand the Kingdom of God, we must look at these four elements and see how each fits into the story.