Kingdom is found in the Bible 342 times (158 in the New Testament; 127 in the Accounts of the Gospel, 31 in Acts through Revelation). The kingdom was a popular topic for sermons among New Testament preachers.
- John, Jesus’ announcer, preached the kingdom (Matthew 3:2).
- John, Jesus’ apostle, preached the kingdom (Revelation 1:9).
- Jesus preached the kingdom (Matthew 4:17).
- The twelve apostles preached the kingdom (Matthew 10:7)
- The seventy preached it (Luke 10:9).
- Philip preached it (Acts 8:12).
- Barnabas preached it (Acts 14:20-22).
- Paul preached it (Acts 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31).
- James preached it (James 2:5)
- Peter preached it (2 Peter 1:11).
Thus, at least 87 of the early preachers preached the same subjects. It must be an important subject for us to preach today.
WHAT IS THE KINGDOM?
Kingdom (basilia) in the New Testament means “reign” or “rule” The term “kingdom of God” is used synonymously by the New Testament writers with “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23-24; 4:17; Mark 1:14). In fact, in the Scriptures kingdom refers to the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven. These phrases do not refer to three different kingdoms, but to the same institution.
- It is God’s kingdom because He planned and promised it (Daniel 2:44).
- It is the Son’s because the Father gave it to Him (Daniel 7:13-14; John 16:15; Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:20-22).
- It is the kingdom of heaven because it originated there, Christ now reigns over it from there (Acts 2:30-36), and ultimately all the citizens of the kingdom will be united there (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:24).
Both “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” can refer to either the church of Christ on earth or to heaven; the meaning must be determined by the context (Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:22-28; Luke 22:16-18, 29-30; 1 Corinthians 11:20).
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE KINGDOM?
God sent Christ to establish a new kingdom and a new covenant (Matthew 3:7-9; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12). What was the nature of that kingdom?
There are two types of kingdoms-physical and spiritual. The kingdom of Christ is spiritual. It is not of this world (John 18:36). It “cometh not with observation” (Luke 17:20). It “is within you” (Luke 17:21); that is it rules in men’s hearts.
There are some similarities between physical kingdoms and the kingdom of Christ. There are four essential elements to any kingdom:
- A King- We have Jesus (1 Timothy 6:14-15).
- A Law- We have the gospel (James 1:25).
- Territory- We have the whole world (Mark 16:15-16).
- Subjects- We are saints (Colossians 1:13-14).
At the same time, there are differences. Since Christ’s kingdom is a spiritual one, a different birth from what is normal for citizenship is required to enter it. Nicodemus was informed that he would have to be born “again” to see or enter the new kingdom (John 3:3, 5). The spiritual kingdom has a physical manifestation. That is, we can see the kingdom in the sense that we can see the people who are members of it, although the world may not recognize them.
WHEN WAS THE KINGDOM ESTABLISHED?
The kingdom is now in existence upon the earth and has been since the time of the apostles. Paul wrote, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14). John was “in the kingdom” before A.D. 100 (Revelation 1:6-9).
To help pinpoint the exact date of its beginning, let’s back up to the lifetime of Christ. First, it was not established during Jesus’ personal ministry, as we can determine by these statements:
- Matthew 3:1-2: “at hand.”
- Matthew 4:17: “at hand.”
- Matthew 10:5-7: “at hand.”
- Luke 10:9: “nigh.”
Four passages pinpoint the exact time of establishment:
- Mark 9:1: Some would not die until the kingdom came with power.
- Luke 24:49: Disciples were to wait in Jerusalem for the power
- Acts 1:8: They would receive power when the Holy Ghost came.
- Acts 2:1-4: The Holy Ghost came on the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection.
The kingdom was established on Pentecost Day in the year A.D. 33 in Jerusalem, as recorded in Acts 2.
A second chart helps to establish the exact day the kingdom was set up on earth:
BEFORE PENTECOST/AFTER PENTECOST
Mark 1:15: Not existing
Colossians 1:13: Existed
Mark 9:1: Not existing
Hebrews 12:28: Existed
Luke 22:29: Not existing
Revelation 1:9: Existed
Matthew 16:18 Will build
Acts 2:47: Added to
Luke 22:30 Table in kingdom
1 Corinthians 10:21: Table
Luke 22:30: Disciples to eat in
1 Corinthians 11:28: Ate
Daniel 2:44: Stand forever
Hebrews 12: 28-29: Not moved
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE KINGDOM?
The true value of being in the kingdom is inestimable. A man who gives all that he has to be a member of the kingdom has secured a great bargain (Ephesians 5:25; Isaiah 53:5; Acts 20:28). It pays a hundredfold in this life (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 19:29; Philippians 3:5-7)- and who could put a price on the value of heaven?
Its value is worth every effort to gain it. A major diamond mining company in South Africa specializes in mining certain coastal areas where the rough gems have been deposited below fifty or so feet of stone, gravel, and sand. After giant earth movers remove the cover layers, the diamond-bearing conglomerate is dynamited and then excavated by hydraulic water pressure. Using large nylon brushes, workers sweep out all the crevices and hollows to be sure nothing is lost. The loosened conglomerate is then pounded, crushed, washed, and sifted to discover every possible diamond. It is estimated that some 180 million parts of earth are processed to yield one part diamond (cf. Job 28:1-7, 10-11).
If men will go to such great lengths to obtain earthly wealth, which can last but the length of a vapor (James 4:14), how wise is the man who makes effort to secure for himself a seat at the eternal feast in heaven’s banquet hall. Christ invites you (Matthew 11:28-30). Why not take Him up on it?