By Irvin Baxter
Many people have heard the term “Kingdom of God,” but few really understand what it is. Throughout the entire Bible, this was the central message! John the Baptist preached the Kingdom of God, Jesus preached it, and the apostles preached it. The last question that Jesus was asked before He left the earth was, “Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” The coming Kingdom of God is the message that God wants to convey to every person on earth. The crucial question is, will you be a part of it?
We want everyone to understand, straight from scripture, what the kingdom of God is all about. We’re going to start in the Old Testament.
“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Zechariah 14:9
This prophecy in Zechariah refers to the time of the Battle of Armageddon. The nations of the world will come down against Israel to battle in Jerusalem. It’s at that time Jesus Christ will come back, fight for the nation of Israel, and establish His rule on the earth. This passage says that the Lord shall be king over all the earth. That’s the Kingdom of God. In that day there shall be one Lord, and His name one. Let’s look at several other scriptures that also refer to this. In Daniel we see a description of the time when human governments will be put down and the kingdom of God will be established.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Daniel 2:44
Another prophecy of when Almighty God will rule this world is in Revelation 11.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15
The next big question is, “If there’s going to be this wonderful kingdom, where there will be peace on earth, good will toward men, how do I become a part of it? What does it take to enter the Kingdom of God?” There is a phrase in the Bible; “The gospel of the kingdom.” Now, everyone whom God ever sent always preached “the gospel of the kingdom.” Even in the Old Testament it was the centrality of their message. This is so important because there is so much in the Bible it is easy for us to get off track and forget what the heart and soul of the gospel really is. It is the gospel of the kingdom. We’re going to find out here that John the Baptist preached it. Jesus preached it. The Apostles preached the gospel of the kingdom. Let’s look at the scriptures that show us explicitly:
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:1-2
So, John preached the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are synonymous.
“And 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
We know it was preached by Daniel, when he said, “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” That was the kingdom of God.
Most importantly, He sent us to preach it. He commissioned His disciples in Luke 9, where He told them to preach the gospel of the kingdom.
“And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:2
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 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 3:1-5
The Bible teaches that there are three steps to the work of Jesus Christ at Calvary; the death, the burial, and the resurrection. If we accept what happened on that cross, this is what we oftentimes call, “accepting Christ.” We refer to it as, “accepting Christ as you personal Savior.” How do I do that? How do I know when I’ve done it biblically? Do I just hope that I do it right, and maybe I’m saved? Every prophecy in the Bible points straight to the setting up of the Kingdom of God. And the capstone of understanding the Bible is to know how to enter the Kingdom of God.
The Bible teaches us that the plan of salvation was accomplished by Jesus Christ at Calvary, and we must accept what He did there. We accept the work of Jesus Christ by obeying the gospel. The gospel of the kingdom is the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, resulting in entering the Kingdom of God. But how do we obey the gospel? Lets go now to 2 Thessalonians, because it tells us there the consequences of not obeying the gospel.
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8
Not knowing God is equivalent to not obeying the gospel. So how can we obey the gospel if we don’t know how to obey the gospel? We are told the gospel is “the good news.” The Bible does describe this for us. The Apostle Paul wrote, concerning the gospel:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
So, the gospel isn’t just “the good news.” The good news is more than that. The good news is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The good news is that we can have eternal life. The gospel not only tells us that we can have eternal life, but how to have eternal life. And that gospel is that we have been redeemed and can be born again through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
See What Do You Mean Born Again? for more information.