To begin our study we need to understand what the Bible means when it speaks of a “kingdom”. The word translated Kingdom in the NT is the Greek word “basileia”. This word has two basic ideas behind it:
- The first idea is the AUTHORITY to rule that a King possesses (Luke 1:33, Luke 17:20-21, Matt 12:28 etc)
- The second idea is the REALM that is ruled over by a King. WhenBasileia is used in this way it can speak of either:
- the land area and physical possessions that a King rules over (Mat 4:8, Mark 6:23, Heb 11:33 etc)
- the group of people over which a king rules. (Rev 1:9, Col 1:13, 2 Pet 1:11, etc)
Based upon the above Scriptures we can see that these three titles are describing the same event and will be used as such in this study.
Although we cannot visibly see His authority, we certainly can see His authority at work in the world around us. By His grace, He has displayed for us His authority, throughout the Scriptures, in many different ways.
Let’s take a look and see the God’s authority to rule displayed for all to see throughout the Bible…
The Kingdom of Christ:
The Kingdom of God:
Matt 6:33, 12:28, 19:24, 21:31, 21:43;
Mark 1:14, 1:15, 4:11, 4:26, 4:30, 9:1, 9:47, 10:14, 10:15, 10:23, 10:24, 10:25, 12:34, 14:25, 15:43;
Luke 4:43, 6:20, 7:28, 8:1, 8:10, 9:2, 9:11, 9:27, 9:60, 9:62, 10:9, 10:11, 10:20, 12:31, 13:18, 13:20, 13:28, 13:29, 14:15, 16:16, 17:20, 17:21, 18:16, 18:17, 18:24, 18:25, 18:29, 19:11, 21:31, 22:16, 22:18, 23:51;
John 3:3, 3:5;
Acts 1:3, 8:12, 14:22, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 28:31;
1 Cor 4:20, 6:9, 6:10, 15:50;
2 Thess 1:5.
The Kingdom of Heaven:
Matt 3:2, 4:17, 5:3, 5:10, 5:19, 5:20, 7:21, 8:11, 10:7, 11:11, 11:12, 13:11, 13:24, 13:31, 13:33, 13:44, 13:45, 13:47, 13:52, 16:19, 18:1, 18:3, 18:4, 18:23, 19:12, 19:14, 19:23, 20:1, 22:2, 23:13, 25:1, 25:14
In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, “The Kingdom of Christ”, “the Kingdom Of God”, and “the Kingdom of Heaven”. All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Christ is only used in Ephesians 5:5 and is clearly speaking of the perfect reign of Christ that will take place throughout eternity. In this text, it is equated with the Kingdom of God because both Christ and the Father will be reigning throughout eternity. (Rev 22:3-5; see also Rev 21:7-8, Rev 21:24-27)
Also “the Kingdom of God” and “the Kingdom of Heaven” are equated as well. Please note the following references which show that, in many cases, these titles are used synonymously…
Matt 4:17 – Mark 1:15;
Matt 5:3,10- Luke 6:20-22; Matt 8:11-Luke 13:28;
Matt 10:7-Luke 9:60;
Matt 11:11-Luke 7:28;
Matt 11:12-Luke 16:16;
Matt 13:11-Mark 4:11;
Matt 13:31-Mark 4:30-31; Matt 13:33 – Luke 13:20-21; Matt 19:14-Mark 10:14;
Matt 19:23-Mark 10:23;
Matt 25:14-Luke 19:11-13.
It is important for us to understand that the Lord displays His authority to rule in different ways that will vary throughout time.
In the Old Testament, some of the major ways He displayed His authority to rule was in:
- His sovereign rulership over creation (including mankind)…
“And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:34-35)
- His rulership over the fledgling nation of physical Israel during the times of the judges…
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:4-9)
- His rulership over the unified and divided nation of physical Israel during the times of the Kings…
“Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)
- His rulership in the heart of the Old Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…
“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.” (Psalms 40:8)
“Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.” (Haggai 1:12)
In New Testament times, He displayed His authority to rule in very similar ways….
- His sovereign rulership over His creation (including mankind)…
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:24-28)
- His rulership in the heart of the lives of the New Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
[Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:14-18)
- His rule over His local assemblies…
“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: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.
For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:13-20)
Into eternity future, the Lord’s ruling authority will be shown. The following is an incomplete list of His sovereignty on display during the end-time events…
- His taking of His saints…
“For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-28)
- His punishment of the powers of darkness of this world…
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all [men, both] free and bond, both small and great.
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:17-21)
- His millennial reign (the first part of His eternal reign)…
“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.” (Revelation 20:4)
- The final judgment…
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12-15)
- His rulership throughout eternity…
“In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:2-5)
As you can see, throughout history from eternity past and proceeding into eternity present, we find the Lord consistently revealing to mankind…
“The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” (Exodus 15:18)
In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, The Kingdom of Christ, the Kingdom Of God, and the Kingdom of Heaven. All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.
What a wonderful blessing it is to be able to know that our Lord truly reigns over all things. Without His wondrous displays of sovereignty, we would live in doubt about His control over all, but because of His many displays of rulership we can say as the Psalmist…
“But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalms 115:3)
Because of this, there is no reason for worry or fright… no matter what may take place in this life, OUR GOD IS IN CONTROL! And we have a consistent source of proofs that this is so!