The Kingdom of God

By John Robert Lee

“…Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:14,15

The Lord Jesus Christ went everywhere preaching the gospel, the good news, of the Kingdom of God. The proclamation of the coming Kingdom was Jesus’ primary mission: “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (Luke 4:43).

When Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the four major kingdoms to rule the earth, he prophesied that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44). It was to this prophecy and others that Jesus referred when He announced that “the time was fulfilled and the kingdom of God was at hand.”

The four major kingdoms were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. One can see in the present world-power systems the very end of the Roman era, “iron mixed with clay” (Daniel 2:43), characterised by super-power strength alongside all kinds of instabilities. Since His appearance, the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, represented by His universal Church, has been growing on the earth, like “wheat among tares.” With His return as Judge, the invisible Kingdom will be established visibly as the everlasting Kingdom of God.

The main task of Bible-believing Christians is to proclaim the reality of the Kingdom of God. So much time is wasted in denominational warfare, in empty self-centred religious activity based for the most part on false doctrines and in being allured and seduced by the sin-filled, doomed world of planet earth. Men and women must be offered urgently this available alternative to present confusions. Marked by rebellion against God and His Christ, by sin, lawlessness, idolatry, gross immoralities, crime, “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19).

We cannot remind the world around us too often of the destruction prophesied on our present ruling powers. The Apostle Peter, echoing the old prophets, predicted that “the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7).

The “New World Order” of the Bible will be found in “the new heavens and new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13). The Christian faith declares without compromise that Jesus Christ is “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God.” (1 Timothy 1:17). He is described as “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” (1 Timothy 6:15). The Kingdom of God is under His rule.

Standing before Pontius Pilate, Jesus told him, “My kingdom is not of this world…My kingdom is from another place…you are right in saying I am a King. In fact, for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:36, 37).

All that characterizes the Kingdom of God makes it “not of this world”. The spirit of this world is detailed throughout the Bible. It is depraved and corrupt because “they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God.” (Romans 1:28). The works of the flesh, the acts of the sinful nature (which we all possess) are responsible for all the suffering, everywhere. In opposition, the Kingdom of God is identified by the “fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22). Paul wrote, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17).

Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, accepting all that the Bible teaches of Him, one is “born again”, regenerated, out of this world and its enslavements, into the Kingdom of God. While this is first a real spiritual experience, the promise and hope is of a full bodily reality in the future. There we will experience true freedom and fulfilment of our best desires. This is effectual salvation. Faith and repentance, practiced daily in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, identify one as a citizen of God’s holy realm. Jesus had taught, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15). When we fail, as we all inevitably do, we confess our sins and receive Christ’s forgiveness. (1 John 1:9).

The final, inevitable, certain overthrow of the kingdom of men and evil angels will occur with the sudden and powerful appearance of Jesus Christ as King and Judge. “They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect, from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:30, 31).

Thoughtful students of the Bible, those who know Christ Jesus as their Savior and King, believe that our planet Earth and all its systems of human government, are “to be displaced by the Kingdom of God under the sovereignty of the Son of Man.” Swamped in ages of failure, floundering in ethnic civil wars, racisms, economic recessions and oppressions, poverty, the holocaust of abortions, sexual perversions of all kinds, authoritarianisms, dictatorships, ecological disasters, rampant crime, “every man’s hand against his brother”, etc etc, the world, burdened by anxiety and fear from the violence and corruption in every corner, looking for some kind of super-hero saviour – waits now on the threshold of the awesome promise of the appearance of Almighty God the Creator, Redeemer and Judge. More than ever before, in these increasingly darker days, the Kingdom of God is at hand!! Christ is coming again!

The faithful, Bible-believing Church, in these closing moments of human and world history, must remind itself constantly of its God-given mission, and call men and women, as in the days of Noah, to prepare for inevitable judgement. The compassionate warning to all must continue: “you also must be ready, because the Son of Man (Christ Jesus) will come in an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matthew 24:44). And in these fraught days of pandemic and other diseases, horrendous murders, vehicular accidents – the fact of the finality of death and the closing of the books of our lives with their unchangeable records of faith or unbelief, underline the encouragement to make urgent preparation for death, judgement and eternity. Resurrection to eternal life in the Kingdom of God is promised in the Bible to those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the Risen Saviour and King of the everlasting Kingdom of God.

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