WHAT DID JESUS TEACH ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The first thing to point out is that everything Jesus taught was about the kingdom of God.
Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Mark 4:11 “And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables.
Matthew 4:23 “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
Luke 13:18,19 “Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
There are a number of things from which among Jesus taught about the Kingdom. One important thing is that Jesus taught the Kingdom would not come in the visible form that the Jews expected. During Jesus’ time and even before, Israel was ruled by the Roman government. The Jews longed for a king to come and deliver them which involved regaining political power once again. The Jews were expecting a king to rule just like the kings of the Old Testament did. King David ruled over Israel for about 40 years and he was the king of Israel. This is what the Jews were looking for. But Jesus taught that the kingdom would not be what the Jews were expecting. Jesus taught that the kingdom would be of a spiritual community.
Look at Luke 17:20-21 “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Based on these two passages, Jesus clearly taught that the kingdom of God does not come with observation or in other words the kingdom of God in not of a physical matter. Rather Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is of a spiritual matter. Christ also taught that the kingdom of God was within the Pharisees. Now this does not mean that the Pharisees were saved, it just means that the kingdom of God was among them by way of Jesus’ ministry along with the disciples assistance.
Another important thing about the kingdom is that it was once associated with Israel nationally and was to be given over to another nation.
Matthew 21:43-44 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’ ? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.
Jesus told the religious leaders (pharisees and chief priests) that the Kingdom of God would be taken away from them and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. The new nation is called “the church” or the body of Christ. The new spiritual kingdom now includes Jews and Gentile christians. This new nation is the church.
Peter calls this nation a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, and then uses the term “a holy nation”.
I Peter 2:5,9 “you also, as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people..
Another element that Jesus taught about the kingdom of God is that it is spiritual and one could only enter by spiritual birth.
John 3:3,5 “Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus told Nicodemus (a pharisee) that to enter the kingdom or see the kingdom, you must be born again.
Another element that Jesus taught about the kingdom of God was that the kingdom was already present. Some teach that the kingdom of God will be established when Christ returns. But Jesus stated that the kingdom began during His lifetime.
Matthew 12:28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Paul taught in Colossians that Jesus delivered them from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son. It is Jesus who placed them in His kingdom.
On one hand Jesus taught that the kingdom of God was present during His lifetime. Yet on the other hand Jesus also taught that the kingdom had not been fully realized in terms of it being universal. We see this in Mark 9:1. Luke 9:27.
Mark 9:1 “And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”
Luke 9:27 “But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”
Luke 21:31 “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
It is clear that in one sense Jesus taught that the kingdom was in the midst of those livinng during Jesus earthly ministry. It is also clear that the Kingdom of God has not been fully realized and won’t be until Jesus returns. Daniel the prophet stated that God would set up the kingdom and that it shall never be destroyed.
Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of these kings, the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shal stand forever”.