basics to understanding the Kingdom of God
- There are a wide variety of opinions about what the Kingdom of God looks like. It can be confusing. Not all are bad. Many are helpful. Some of them are not.
- Regardless of what you think the Kingdom of God looks like you should be willing to admit that ‘the KoG is in our midst.’ The King has indeed come (see Heb 1:3). He is on His throne presently and He is the process of restoring His Kingdom (see Heb 8:1 with 6:20-7:22, Melchizedek the kingly Priest). Accepting this is a good to then understand what the Kingdom looks like.
- The KoG is not the same thing as the Church Age (see Heb 12:24, a person should explain what they mean by the word ‘church’ as they read this context. Do they mean an age within time, an organized group of believers or the whole company of saints in all of time?). The Church Age is one manifestation of the KoG across all of time and eternity. The Church Age is not point for point the same thing as the KoG nor is the Church Age entirely separate from the KoG. In other words, the KoG is a larger divine enterprise in which the Church Age now serves a part.
Note: This counters the RCC view which sees herself as the KoG on earth. It also counters the ultra-Dispensational views which see the KoG as absent now because it was removed at Jesus’ Ascension.
- In order to learn what the Kingdom of God should look like look to the King and His Gospel (see Heb 12:2). There is a tendency for us to define the KoG according to what we like or want to happen. Yet, no one can define what the KoG looks like better than the King Himself and His Gospel. Look to King Jesus (see Mark 1:1, The start of the Gospel of Jesus Messiah).
Note: This counters the liberal Protestant views which see the KoG as basically doing good to others. This is good, but the KoG is not solely this.
- The KoG is not just about external improvements or a social order. Nor is it just about internal or spiritual improvements, ie. pietism, monkery or separatism. The KoG is both inside and outside (see Heb 12:28). This is why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to the KoG. The Gospel alone transforms the KoG and its people from the inside out. The Gospel alone keeps the externals of the KoG in balance so they do not slide in a religious form of idolatry. The Gospel alone keeps us moving forward to extend the boundaries of God’s Kingdom for His glory, His righteousness and the beauty of His grace.
- The Gospel is that which bring us into the large community which is the Kingdom of God. We are not restored by the Gospel for our own sake or for our own betterment or even just to have an isolated individual relationship with God. We are restored by the Gospel of Christ so we can learn to think, live and harmoniously relate to others in the Kingdom of God, God Himself included. The KoG is in its ultimate form will be centered around a huge, huge City in the New Heavens and New Earth (see Heb 13:14 with Rev 21-22).
Basically, the Gospel serves the large divine Kingdom enterprise in which God is restoring His people to Himself and us to each other, from the inside out (see Heb 13:20-21).