The Kingdom of God in the Gospels

The Kingdom was the focal point of the preaching described in the Gospels. In Matthew Ch.3 we read of John the Baptist proclaiming:

"...Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt 3:2)

Christ's preaching work was focused around proclaiming the news of the Kingdom of God.  Following the temptations in the wilderness we read that:

"...Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:14,15)

We read in Matthew CH.4 that:

"...Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." (Matthew  4:23)

In the sermon on the mount Jesus made mention of the Kingdom in verses 3 and 10 of Matthew Ch.5, and also specified where this Kingdom was to be:

Blessed are the meek: for they  shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (Luke 11:2)

Christ's mission was to preach the gospel, and the emphasis placed on the importance of preaching the gospel in relation to the Kingdom cannot be missed:

And he said unto them, I must  preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. (Luke 4:43)

The reason behind this is steeped in the prophecies of the Old Testament, something which is picked up on in Luke Ch.1, where the angel Gabriel is informing Mary that she is going to have a baby :

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)

We are still waiting for the last part of this prophecy to come to pass: for that future time when the Kingdom will be established forever.

Whilst this article focuses on the Kingdom, as described by the four Gospels, the full picture of the Kingdom can only be gained by reading the whole Bible.  Preaching the Kingdom of God is certainly not a New Testament concept; many of the pictures we have of the Kingdom come from the Old Testament (e.g. Isaiah 35 and 65:17-25, Psalm 72). Christ himself alluded to this fact:

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. (Luke 16:16)

 There are restrictions placed on entry into the Kingdom:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
(Matthew 7:21)

What then is the will of God? Again the whole of scripture gives us the complete picture as to how a Christian should lead his/her life, but the Gospels contain the fundamental principles:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5)

This is repeated elsewhere:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)

This verse highlights the need for belief as well as baptism.  Christ also explained to us that we should put seeking the Kingdom of God first in our lives:

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:29-32)

What will the Kingdom be like?

Christ told a great deal of parables that began "The Kingdom of heaven is like ..." and these are listed below:

Reference in Matthew Parable
13:34
tares
13:31
a grain of mustard seed
13:33
leaven
13:44
treasure hid in a field
13:45
a merchant seeking goodly pearls
13:47
a net cast into the sea
13:52
a householder
18:23
a certain king
20:1
a householder that hired labourers
22:2
a certain king which made a marriage for his son
25:1-10
ten virgins

Other descriptions of the Kingdom are found elsewhere in scripture.

When will this Kingdom be established?

But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. (Mark 13:32,33)

But we are given clues:

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)

People were told that the flood was coming, but they chose to ignore the message.  The scriptures teach us that Christ is going to return to the earth to establish the Kingdom - we have a choice: do we take heed of this warning and do something about it or ignore it, just like those who died in the flood?  Either way, just like the flood, Christ's coming will be impossible to miss:

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:27)

We will leave you with this sobering passage from the Gospel of Luke:

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of  iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of  God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. (Luke 13:23-30)

Life in the Kingdom is only possible because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. When he returns to this earth to set up the Kingdom of God, he will raise from the dead his faithful servants and give them everlasting life.  To find out more about this please apply for our Learn to Read the Bible Effectively Course.

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