These are some good questions. Let’s start with “What is the kingdom?” and “Is it heaven?” In its broadest sense, the “Kingdom of God” is simply “God’s rule over His creation.” He is the Sovereign King over everyone and everything He has made. After King Nebuchadnezzar was converted he said these words in Daniel 4:34, “I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.” King Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful king that ever lived and yet he came to see that the most High God was overall, and that His kingdom was universal. So, the kingdom isn’t heaven; it is God ruling from heaven over the earth AND over the whole universe as well. Psalm 103:19 puts it this way, “The LORD hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all.”

In a narrower sense, God established a throne and a kingdom right here on earth. God anointed David to be Israel’s first king and then He promised David that eventually he would have a son that would rule over all the earth. We read of this in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, “I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever.” That “son” is the Lord Jesus Christ! In Matthew 1:1 we read, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David.” Matthew was inspired to write of Jesus Christ as the King who would fulfill the promise to David. Jesus’ main message to the nation of Israel was found in Matthew 4:17, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” But Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah and had Him crucified and thus the fulfillment of God establishing a literal throne and kingdom here on earth has been postponed.

Does that mean there is no kingdom of God on earth while Jesus is absent? The parables of Matthew 13 teach us that all who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, whether true or false, are in His kingdom in its “outward form.” Those who have truly accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are in His kingdom in its “inner reality.” Colossians 1:13 speaks to this, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” All believers are “royal subjects” in His kingdom and we gladly submit to Him as our Lord and sovereign King. It is to true believers that Jesus said, in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” To “seekthe kingdom of God” is to seek God’s interests here on earth. We should be interested in advancing His kingdom by giving people the gospel so that they too might be saved and thus enter into His kingdom. The kingdom in its inner reality is entered into through being converted to Jesus Christ, as we see in Matthew 18:3, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 6:33 also exhorts believers to “seekHis righteousness.” We do this by living righteous lives, for our lives should be consistent with the gospel that we preach. By living holy lives we show to people that we have indeed entered into the kingdom of heaven and that Jesus Christ is our Lord and King.

A day is coming when Jesus Christ will return to earth to establish His kingdom on earth. Matthew 25:31 says, “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.” At that time all men will know that Jesus Christ is, as Revelation 19:16 declares, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Philippians 2:10-11 tells us that “every knee should bowand that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” But until that glorious event takes place, it is our privilege, as believers now in the time of his rejection and absence, to show to the world that we are already in His kingdom and that He is our sovereign King. May God’s grace and the love of Christ compel us to “seekfirst the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” If we do we will be blessed, and even more important, our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified! (168.3) (DO)