Understanding God's Word: 'Thy Kingdom Come!'

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Understanding God's Word

'Thy Kingdom Come!'

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For a moment, close your eyes and wrap your mind around this phrase: The Kingdom of God. What picture developed in your mind? Many people, even those with religious backgrounds, draw a blank. Many confusing ideas about God's Kingdom often make it a hazy and distant concept, raising more questions than answers. Is the Kingdom of God in heaven? Is it on earth? Who will be in it? Is it here already, in our hearts? Are you part of it now? Will you be part of it in the future? What will you do there?

These are valid, thought-provoking questions for which God's Word provides clear, authoritative answers. Throughout the Bible God focuses His servants-men, women and children, past, present and future-on that Kingdom, and He promises that all people of all ages will eventually have a chance to see the destiny, and hope, He has planned for their lives.

Researching the Kingdom of God also steers us to a personal question: Does it impact your life now? We live in a high-tech age that is bombarding our senses with thousands of distractions, all screaming for our attention. Can the Kingdom compete with Hollywood, personal computers and life in the '90s? Can it be real to us? If so, how should it affect us?

Let's take a brief journey, in Bible-study format, and find out what you need to know about the Kingdom of God.

Let's begin our study

Discussion: What is a kingdom, anyway?

The Greek word for kingdom is basileia, "primarily an abstract noun, denoting sovereignty, royal power, dominion," which also can be "a concrete noun, denoting the territory or people over whom a king rules..." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

These meanings are standard in political science, which commonly identifies four characteristics of a state or kingdom: It must have rulers, subjects, laws and territory.

Does the Kingdom of God meet these four criteria?

  • Who is its ruler? (Luke 1:26-33; Matthew 6:10; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 19:11-16). Note: The phrase "Kingdom of God" itself clearly identifies the Ruler; various scriptures define Jesus Christ's role as the One directly governing the Kingdom.
  • Who are its subjects? (Isaiah 2:2-4; Jeremiah 3:17; Daniel 7:13-14; Micah 4:1-4). Note: The term "mountain" is often prophetically synonymous with "government" or "kingdom."
  • What are its laws? (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Micah 4:2; Isaiah 2:2-3; Hebrews 8:7-13).
  • What territory does it govern? (Psalms 22:27-28; Psalms 72:1-11; Daniel 2:34-35; Zechariah 14:8-9).


There'll be some changes

Discussion: What will happen when God's rule is established over all the nations of the earth? Much of what we consider to be normal will change!

  • Where will the new world capital be? (Jeremiah 3:17; Micah 4:2).
  • Not all areas of knowledge will increase; some will just disappear (Isaiah 2:1-4). What other areas besides war do you think might be forgotten?
  • The animal kingdom is in for big changes (Isaiah 11:6-9).
  • How far, and into what areas, will God's healing extend? (Isaiah 35).
  • What do "all things" include? (Acts 3:19-21).


Life after the Millennium?

Discussion: This all sounds wonderful, but what a shame it lasts only 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-6). Or does it? Does God's Kingdom ever end?

  • Is God's dominion limited? (Daniel 2:20-22, Daniel 2:34-35, Daniel 2:44-45; Isaiah 9:6-7).
  • What lies beyond the millennial reign? Do these resurrected people also have opportunity to live under God's rule? (Revelation 20:4-6, Revelation 20:11-13; Ezekiel 37).
  • What happens when it's all over? (1 Corinthians 15:22-28; Revelation 21:1-5).


Note: Revelation 21:5 gives an intriguing clue: "Behold, I make all things new." What do you think that means? God gives us that briefest glimpse, but it is assurance that He already has grand plans in mind.


But isn't the Kingdom already here?

Discussion: These prophesied changes are all fascinating, but what about the idea that the Kingdom of God is here now? If that is so, how does that work? If it is not so, does the Kingdom have anything to do with us now? Does having the true knowledge of God's Kingdom make you or me a different person? What about in the future? What will we be like? What will we do?

  • Is there a way in which we experience God's sovereignty in our lives now? (Colossians 1:13-14).
  • Has God given us some sign of His plan to include us in His kingdom later? (Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:4-5).
  • Does our having the Holy Spirit mean that we are now in the Kingdom? (1 Corinthians 15:50).


Will we have to do anything?

Discussion: As 1 Corinthians 15 and other scriptures show, at Christ's return the saints will be changed into spirit, given eternal life and commissioned to rule with Christ. What then? What do we do once we inherit the Kingdom?

  • What is involved in "rulership"? (Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 20:4-6).
  • What are qualities of a great ruler and teacher? (Isaiah 40:1-11; Isaiah 30:20-21).


Having this golden opportunity laid before us, how should that impact our daily lives?

  • What should our reasonable response be? (1 John 3:1-3; Romans 12:1-2).
  • Should anything else take priority? (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 13:44-46).
  • How should our prayer life be affected? (Matthew 6:9, 10; Luke 11:2).


What should we seek first?

Discussion: How does Kingdom-centered prayer motivate us? Or what motivates us to be Kingdom-oriented people?

  • What should this focus tell us about our physical lives? (Hebrews 11:1,Hebrews 11:8-10, Hebrews 11:13-16; Matthew 6:33).


Don't stop now

As promised, our journey was brief. A study of the Kingdom of God takes time. In fact, it takes a lifetime! What could be more important, more rewarding, more challenging, than to dedicate ourselves to the very purpose for which we draw each breath?

Thy kingdom come!

Further research topics

We've barely scratched this subject's surface. To dig further, we suggest that you:

  • Analyze how long the servants of God have known of His kingdom. You can start with Jude 14, 15, all of Hebrews 11 and many of the Psalms. A topical Bible helps greatly in this type of research.
  • Examine the many parables Christ used to explain aspects of the Kingdom of God. People in Jesus' day frequently didn't understand, but He made sure His disciples did (Matthew 13:10-17). Matthew 13 is a good starting point. See how many times you find the phrase "the Kingdom is like..." Think in depth about the ramifications of each of these lessons.