Confusion treads over the question, ‘What is the Kingdom of God?’ Answering the “who,” “what,” or “where” of the kingdom smacks theologians with perplexity. Responders surface definitions such as the “the church,” “the present time,” “the heart” among others.
Nothing supplies us more importance than this issue. Jesus’ ministry pivoted on the Kingdom. Matthew reports the start of Jesus’ ministry this way: “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). Jesus immediately preached the kingdom after his temptation.
Surely other topics scrambled up to the top of his “must-preach” list? Not yet at least. Consider how Matthew sums up Jesus’ early service: “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matt 4:23). Do you see? He preached the kingdom.
God’s kingdom denotes the everlasting rule and dominion of the Lord (Cf. Ps 145:13). Because our mutinous parents betrayed God in the garden, the world dived into chaos. So God’s rule became invisible. However, as the King Jesus extended the Kingdom light blazed over his people Israel and over the Gentiles.
Nonetheless, his subjects backstabbed him, throwing him on the cross. So the king died but three days later rose from the dead into heaven. In Heaven, Jesus now recruits a massive army to return to the earth and rule with an iron Rod (cf. Luke 19:11–25; Rev 19:11–16; Ps 2:9). Opportunity for traitors to return to the King lives on.
The Gospel offers traitors asylum if they return to the king. When Jesus returns to the earth, he will re-take what’s rightfully his. Then those who have not repented from following the usurper king of this world, will be slaughtered (Rev 19:17–21).
Immigration into the kingdom today requires faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our true citizenship will, then, lodge in heaven with Jesus until he hauls his rule back to earth (Phil 3:19–20). Traitors will hang; loyalists will rule with the Messiah.
Let’s answer a few questions then.
1. What is the kingdom? God’s rule and dominion through Jesus Christ. We apply for citizenship now, gaining the status and rights of nationals. But we wait to enter the kingdom until Jesus returns to earth to open up all the border gates to the eternal country.
3. Who is the king if their be a kingdom? Of course, that’s Jesus.
When Jesus preached the kingdom throughout his ministry, he meant something close to this: “Traitors, stop serving the usurper Satan and return to your true king. My kingdom will span the whole earth. All who defy me will burn; but all who show loyalty me will receive joy on top of joy.”
Are you a loyalist or a traitor?