That is an excellent question, for many believe it is exclusively for Israel. They usually base this on scriptures such as Matthew 3:1-2 which says, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of JUDEA, and saying, ‘Repent, for the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is at hand” (NKJV). Notice how John’s message was for Israel’s ears only. Later, we read of the Lord Jesus sending His twelve disciples out to preach the same message and here is what He told them, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 10:5-7). Yet there were times when Jesus preached this message to Gentiles. A case in point is found in Matthew 4:12-17 which reads, “Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee OF THE GENTILES: the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.’ From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.” So, it is clear that the “kingdom of God” does NOT belong to Israel only, for after Israel rejected John and his message of the kingdom, the Lord Jesus preached the gospel to the Gentiles.

We could end our answer here, but I believe it would be profitable to define “the kingdom of heaven” and then trace the various phases of the kingdom in Scripture. One has said that “the kingdom of heaven is the sphere in which God’s rule is acknowledged.” In other words, the kingdom of Heaven exists wherever there are people professing to acknowledge that God is the Sovereign Ruler over His kingdom. Now let’s consider what I believe to be the “5 phases of the kingdom of heaven.”

  1. The KINGDOM IN PROPHECY. Shortly before King David died God promised him that he would have a son who would establish an everlasting kingdom on earth. We read of this in 2nd Samuel 7:12-13, “When your days are fulfilled…I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” This had a partial fulfillment in Solomon, but the “everlasting kingdom” will be fulfilled in David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. The KINGDOM PRESENTED TO ISRAEL. We have already referred to this phase where John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and His disciples made the offer of the kingdom to Israel. But it was ultimately rejected and that led to the 3rd phase of the kingdom
  3. The KINGDOM IN ITS PRESENT (or MYSTERY) FORM. I would encourage you to read the seven parables of Matthew chapter 13 for this phase of the kingdom. In short, it consists of all those who profess to believe on Jesus Christ as King between His first and second coming.
  4. The KINGDOM ESTABLISHED ON EARTH. This begins with the Second Coming of Christ, as we read in Matthew 25:31, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” It will last 1,000 years, which you can read about in Revelation 20:1-6.
  5. The EVERLASTING KINGDOM. The apostle Peter refers to this “final phase” in 2nd Peter 1:11, “For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” You can read more about this in 1st Corinthians 15:24-28 and Revelation 22:3-5. (265.3) (DO)