Week 21 – The Kingdom of God & Eternity
The Lord says to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ The Lord will stretch forth your strong sceptor from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of your enemies.’
One of the most important topics of the Bible is the kingdom of God. When we are born again, the King invites us into His kingdom (John 3:3-7). God’s kingdom becomes the central focus of the new believer (Matthew 6:33) and Jesus’ main teachings focused on kingdom values in a fallen world (Matthew 5-7). As the kingdom of God is central, we should do our best to understand the nature of this kingdom.
Basic Attributes of the Kingdom of God
- Gods’ kingdom is His sphere, rule or domain. The kingdom is the “King’s domain.”
- The kingdom of God is the same as the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:23-24). Some people make unnecessary distinctions between these two. According to the bible, they are the same.
- The kingdom of God is not of this world, but does have influence and impact in this world (John 18:36).
- One is either of the kingdom of God or the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:12-13). There is no neutral place between the two realms.
- History is racing toward the time when His kingdom will ultimately fill the earth and God’s throne will prevail: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15, see also 1 Corinthians 15:25, Revelation 22:1-5). Until this completely happens, we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
- We are presently living in the gap between the inauguration of the kingdom (when Christ came to earth) and the consummation of the kingdom (when He will come again). That is, we currently experience God’s power and presence in our lives, but we still experience the suffering and decay of this world. We will not perfectly encounter God until the Second Coming of Christ. (1 John 3:2)
As believers in Christ, we are in the kingdom of God, advancing it, and are waiting expectantly for it to come in fullness when Christ returns. The Bible speaks about this consummation of the kingdom: “Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under his feet.
“When all things are subjected to God the Father, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) When Jesus returns, we will see Him in His glory and be changed forevermore. His rule, which has always existed, will become manifest for all to see. Until then, we live in a tension between His kingdom now and His kingdom not yet.
|The Kingdom Now||The Kingdom Not Yet|
|Started when Jesus came||Completed when Jesus comes again|
|Present reality||Future hope|
|Was inaugurated||Will be consummated|
|First coming of Christ||Second Coming of Christ|
|Beginning of the Last Days||Ending of the Last Days|
|Last Days (Acts 2:16-17, 1 John 2:18)||Last Day (John 6:39-40, 44, 54)|
|Bible references: Matthew 4:17, 23, 5:3, 12:28, 18:4, 19:14; Mark 9:1; Luke 11:20, 12:32, 17:20-21; John 3:3-5; Romans 14:7; 1 Corinthians 4:19-20; Colossians 1:13||Bible references: Matthew 6:10; 7:21-23; 8:11-12, 25:34; Acts 1:6; 1 Corinthians 4:8, 6:9, 15:24-28; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; 2 Timothy 4:18; Revelation 1:5-6|
One way of looking at the kingdom of God is to contrast it with the kingdom of the enemy. The two kingdoms are diametrically opposite in nature.
|Kingdom of God||Kingdom of Satan|
|Worship focused on God||Focus on Self|
|Modeled through love and self-sacrifice||Modeled through control and self exaltation|
|People highest value||Money highest value|
|Advanced through testimony and martyrdom||Advanced through conquering others|
|Results in eternal kingdom||Results in self destruction|
One of the greatest blessings and privileges is to live in and enjoy the benefits of the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom sets free and empowers us to live an extraordinary life for the glory of God.
- What are some of the attributes of the Kingdom of God?
- Briefly explain how the Kingdom of God is both ‘now’ and ‘not yet’.
- How does the Kingdom of God differ from the Kingdom of Satan?