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What is the Kingdom of God?

Written by: Richard Greene 


The Lord Jesus Christ spoke many times about the kingdom of God. He taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10. NASB). We are to pray for the kingdom of God to come, knowing that God’s kingdom will produce His will in our lives. But what is the kingdom of God? How do I know that the kingdom of God has come to me? 

The kingdom of God is the central theme of the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus. It is mentioned 116 times in the Gospels alone. Jesus mentioned the Church twice (Matthew 16:18; 18:17).

The fact that Jesus mentioned the Church only twice does not diminish the significance of it. It does suggest, however, that kingdom of God is the foundational context for the Church, meaning the Church cannot be properly understood or experienced apart from the kingdom.

Since a kingdom has a king, and since Jesus linked our prayers for the kingdom of God to God’s will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven, we can easily conclude that the kingdom of God is the rule of God. But how does God rule? What is the throne of God?

In Isaiah 6, the prophet saw a vision of the throne of God. He saw something so powerful in that vision that he was “ruined” and fell before God in repentance. What did he see? John 12 tells us that Isaiah saw God’s glory and he describes that glory in Isaiah 53 in the picture of the suffering messiah, Jesus, being crucified. Isaiah saw God Himself dying to redeem the whole world. He saw what John the apostle saw in the book of Revelation, “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne” (Revelation 5:6, NIV). The throne of God is not a piece of furniture, but a picture that shows that God is a king who rules, and it also shows us the way God rules. In the center of the way God rules is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. God rules through the sacrifice of His Son by which all who repent and believe are reconciled to Him.


Peter told the crowd on the day of Pentecost, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, NASB). The kingdom of God comes through the gift of the Holy Spirit who seals our salvation (Ephesians 1:13) and lives within us (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19). The promise of the gospel is not a place (Heaven, although we believe in Heaven) – it is a person – and that person is God the Holy Spirit! 

The kingdom of God is the life of the Holy Spirit in you! The kingdom began on the day of Pentecost when the disciples of Jesus were baptized in the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible, all passages about the kingdom of God before the day of Pentecost speak of it in the future tense – “it is at hand,” “it is near,” or “it is coming.” All passages after Pentecost speak of the kingdom as being already established – “He transferred us to the kingdom,” “we have received a kingdom,” “He has made us to be a kingdom.” Jesus said, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28, NASB).

This why Jesus told Nicodemus, who was seeking the kingdom of God, “…unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God… unless one is born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:3, 5-6, NASB).

We can know that the kingdom of God has come to us if we are filled with the Holy Spirit: “The one who keeps his commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3:24, NASB).

Paul told the Galatians, “… a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Jesus Christ, … Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us… in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 2:16, 3:13-14, NASB). Jesus redeemed us so that we would receive the Holy Spirit and live in the kingdom of God!


Beloved, have you received the gift of God, the precious Holy Spirit? Jesus said. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NASB). The rabbis had ways of interpreting and teaching the Law. This was called the “yoke of the rabbi.” As the yoke of the oxen rules the oxen in their work, so did the yoke of the rabbis rule their disciples as they would follow the teachings of their rabbis. Too often, their yokes were heavy and burdensome. Many Christians are weary and heavy laden with the things of this world. Come to Jesus and you will find rest. The yoke of Jesus, the rule of Jesus, is the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God, which is the life of the Spirit, is easy, and His burden is light.

Be filled with the Spirit and you will find rest for your souls! 


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