Chinese Translations: GB Big5

The Kingdom of God

Jesus speaks much of the Kingdom of God. And if we examine the New Testament letters we see that the Kingdom of God is indeed applicable to Christians - both Jews and Gentiles. For example Paul spoke to the Ephesian elders (a Gentile church) saying, "Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again." Acts 20:25. And in fact the last verse of the book of Acts speaks of Paul - the apostle to the Gentiles - as preaching the kingdom of God. "Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 28:31 But what is the Kingdom of God when does it occur and who enters it? When one studies what the Bible has to say on the subject it becomes apparent that particular passages are really referring to different aspect of the kingdom. For we find a number of paradoxes.

Who enters the Kingdom?

Only those born of God who also don't live a lifestyle of sin

Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."

1Co 6:9,10  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Gal 5:19-21  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Eph 5:5  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-- such a man is an idolater-- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Matthew 5:20  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 7:21  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Also sons of the devil who do evil
Mt 13:41  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
Mt 13:38 "The weeds are the sons of the evil one"

Rev 20: 6-9  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-- Gog and Magog-- to gather  them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves.

Notice here is mentioned two groups - God's people and the nations apparently both existing in the Millenial Kingdom.

Matthew 8:12  "But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

When do they enter?

Only after death and in the future

1Co 15:50  I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Mt 25:34  "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."

2Pe 1:11  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2Ti 4:18  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.

In the Present too
Mt 21:31  "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."

Matthew 12:28  "But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."

Colossians 1:13  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,



In resolving the paradoxes there appear to be three dispensations of the Kingdom spoken of.
 
Three Dispensations of the Kingdom of God
Pre-Millenial
Millenial
Post-Millenial
Son
Son
Father & Son
Colossians 1:13  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

Mt 21:31  "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."

2Pe 1:11  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Revelation 11:15  The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the  kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

Mt 13:41  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
Mt 13:38 "The weeds are the sons of the evil one"

Ephesians 5:5  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-- such a man is an idolater-- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

1Co 15:50  I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Transitional Verses
Mt 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mt 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father
1 Corinthians 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 1 Corinthians 15:24  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 


The Premillenial Kingdom

Those who have been born of God are presently in the Kingdom of Christ. But the present kingdom is not political as the kingdoms of the world are, just as Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." Joh 18:36 It is a kingdom within those born of God, "because the kingdom of God is within you." Lu 17:21

Note: There have been attempts to translate Luke 17:21 as "among you" as opposed to "within you", but the latter has been found to be more accurate as Robertson points out:

 "This 'within you' is the obvious, and, as I think, the necessary meaning of |entos|. The examples cited of the use of |entos| in Xenophon and Plato where |entos| means "among" do not bear that out when investigated. Field (_Ot. Norv_.) "contends that there is no clear instance of |entos| in the sense of among" (Bruce), and rightly so. What Jesus says to the Pharisees is that they, as others, are to look for the kingdom of God within themselves, not in outward displays and supernatural manifestations. It is not a localized display "Here" or "There." It is in this sense that in #Lu 11:20 Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God as "come upon you" (|ephthasen eph' humâs|), speaking to Pharisees. The only other instance of |entos| in the N.T. (#Mt 23:26) necessarily means "within" ("the inside of the cup"). There is, beside, the use of |entos| meaning "within" in the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus saying of Jesus of the Third Century (Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient East_, p. 426) which is interesting: "The kingdom of heaven is within you" (|entos humôn| as here in #Lu 17:21)." (RWP)

The Millenial Kingdom

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Rev 20:4

This kingdom had been promises in the Old Testament to believing Jews but really incorporates all the children of Abraham, as Paul wrote: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:28,29

This is an earthly rule. Christ and his resurrected Church will reign on earth. But there will also be those who have not been born of God present, yes - unredeemed, even children of the devil. "When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-- Gog and Magog-- to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore." Rev 20:7,8

What about these "nations"? Although the Bible declares the first generation condemned because they worshipped the beast and received his mark (Rev 14:9-11), it is not clear whether all these "nations" which lived during the 1000 years will necessarily be condemned. But neither does it say how they can be saved.


The Post-Millenial Kingdom

Rev 21:1,2 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

What kind of people exist there?

Rev 21:27  Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Thus the "nations" must have had their names written in the Lamb's book of life. And this would have to be because prior to this "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev 20:15

Re 21:24  The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (NIV)
Re 21:24  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (KJV)

The King James, based on a slightly different Greek text than modern versions includes "which are saved", although he Majority text omits it as well. But it is not necessary to infer any contradiction between the two.
One issue is whether as in the Millenial Kingdom are there two types of people - resurrected and non-resurrected - or just one type?

You would think physical people must die at some point and the physical senses certainly include pain.. But since there is no longer death and nor longer pain as Rev 21:4 indicates, then could anyone still be in physical flesh? You wouldn't think so. But then how are we to understand Rev 22:2 "And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." But if "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Rev 21:4), then what need is there for "healing"? As there is no verb in verse 4 in the Greek which would indicate the time frame it is speaking of, it could be that the leaves have already accomplished their healing. The healing could be referring to the resurrection along with the inevitable removal of sinfulness from the redeemed individually, which is also consistent with verse 3 "No longer will there be any curse."

The redeemed continue reigning  in the New Jerusalem.  Rev 21:5"And they will reign for ever and ever." But it is not clear what they are reigning over at that point.


What is the New Jerusalem?

The New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ.
Rev 21:2 "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband."

Rev 21:9,10 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God."

It is the mother of us all who are redeemed.
Gal 5:26  "But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother."
But if she is our mother, then she is not really us.

The Bible portrays the Church as the bride or wife of Christ.

Eph 5:30-32 For we are members of his body.  "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery-- but I am talking about Christ and the church.
But how does this differ from the individual members in the Church? This is somewhat a paradox. Perhaps it differs in a similar manner in which the Holy city of the New Jerusalem differs from its citizens. Perhaps also the following verse applies:
1Co 12:27  Now you (corporally) are the body of Christ, and each one of you (individually) is a part of it.

Paradoxes Between 
Isaiah and the New Testament


Isaiah's writings don't make a clear distinction between the Millenial and post-Millenial Kingdoms, but it is insightful to consider what he does say about these in comparison with the New Testament

Rev 21:1,2 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away

Isaiah 65:17  "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind."

However when we compare the two accounts, we find paradoxes.
 
Issue
Isaiah
NT
Death? Is 65:20 Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

But consider also Is 25:8  "he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken."

Rev 21:4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Marriage? Is 65:23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Mark 12:25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

The resolution of these kinds of paradoxes between Isaiah and the New Testament teachings concerning the future kingdom of God is simply that the distinction between the Millenial Kingdom and Post-Millenial Kingdom had not yet been revealed to Isaiah. Nor was revealed to him the resurrected nature of the Church. Thus you find in his writings a mixture of these two dispensations.

Yes, during the Millenial Kingdom there will be non-resurrected people who die at some point. And they marry and have children, just as Isaiah says. But there will also be the resurrected who reign with Christ.


Kingdom of God vs Kingdom of Heaven

The phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" is used exclusively in the gospel of Matthew and is found nowhere else in the Bible. Is this phrase synonymous with "Kingdom of God"?

There are many places where Matthew records Jesus using the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" while Mark or Luke reporting the same incident record him saying "Kingdom of God". Therefore these terms are essential synonymous, at least in the contexts in which the synoptic writers use them interchangeably.
 

Matthew
Mark, Luke
Mt 3:2  and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Mt 8:11  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven
Mt 10:7  As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'
Mt 11:12  From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
Mt 13:11  He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 
Mt 13:31  He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
Mt 19:14  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Mr 1:15  "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Lu 13:29  People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God
Lu 10:9  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.'
Lu 16:16  "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
Lu 8:10  He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, "'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
Luke 13:18,19 Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."
Lu 18:16  But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Matthew himself uses "Kingdom of God" instead of "Kingdom of Heaven" in four places. But in one place in particular he uses the two phrases interchangeably.

Mt 19:23  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 19:24  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Given all the evidence, it is safe to assume that there is no significant difference between "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven".


(Verses quoted from the NIV version)
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015