I. Video. Seminary Preview Day.
II. Article References.
Charles C. Ryrie, Th. D., Ph. D., D. Litt. Merrill F. Unger, Th. D., Ph. D. John F. Walvoord, Th. D., D. Litt. Harold W. Hoehner, Th. D., Ph. D. Stanley D. Toussaint, Th. D. Edward E. Hindson Th. D., Ph. D. Robert L. Thomas, Th. D. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Th. D., D. Litt. J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D. Robert P. Lightner, Th. D.
III. Article Narrative. Uses of “the Kingdom.”
A. While there are many references to the kingdom in the New Testament epistles, on closer examination we find the term “the kingdom” used in several different ways.
B. It is used of the future earthly Davidic kingdom to be established at the second advent of Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 4:1 Paul wrote, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge.” This must refer to the earthly Davidic kingdom that will be established on earth, since that is the kingdom which will follow the second advent of Jesus Christ and the
judgments associated with that momentous event (Matt. 25:1-46).
C. Paul also wrote, “Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him. The end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power” (1 Cor. 15:23-24). Here Paul outlined a resurrection program that began with the resurrection of Christ and will continue with the resurrection of those that are Christ’s at His second advent.
1. The completion of the resurrection program does not come until after the reign of Christ here on earth, following His second coming. At the conclusion of that resurrection program, Christ will have delivered up the
kingdom to God (v. 24).
2. It is quite obvious, therefore, that the kingdom referred to here is the millennial kingdom over which Christ reigns on earth, following His second advent. Thus the idea of a future earthly Davidic kingdom is not at all foreign to the apostle’s thinking.
D. Besides the future earthly Davidic kingdom, we also find that the future eternal kingdom is referred to in the epistles. In 2 Timothy 4:18 Paul declared, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.” Paul obviously was anticipating the eternal reign of Christ in His eternal kingdom. Peter declared, “You will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:11). Peter likewise was anticipating his participation in that eternal reign of Christ.
E. Elsewhere Paul wrote, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Cor. 15:50). Here Paul seems to be using “kingdom of God” in reference to the eternal state of the believer. Thus “kingdom” or “kingdom of God” may refer to the eternal reign of Christ.
F. While the term “kingdom” is used in these two senses in the epistles, its third and most common use, by far, is in reference to the present form of the kingdom, that into which a believer enters by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul stated that God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14). Here the phrase “the kingdom of the Son He loves” is equated with the redemption and the forgiveness of sins received by faith in Jesus Christ.
G. In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul listed the works of the flesh and then declared “that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” He made a similar statement in Ephesians 5:3-5, where he listed grievous sins of the flesh and then stated that those who participate in such things do not have “any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph. 5:5).
1. This concept is also found in 1 Corinthians 6:9,10. 1. In these passages Paul is saying that men who are characterized by these sins are not saved, because it is evident they have never received by faith the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. Therefore they are not participants in the kingdom of God.
2. Thus we see again that the term “kingdom of God” is equated with salvation and must refer to participation in or exclusion from the present kingdom form.
H. Believers are exhorted to live lives worthy of God, who calls them into His kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:12). Here Paul seems to be referring to the participation of believers in the present form of the kingdom, who consequently are to walk worthy of that position. Paul commended the Thessalonians for their faithfulness and patience in the midst of
persecutions and testings (2 Thess. 1:4), which validated their membership in the kingdom. By that conduct they were deemed “worthy of the kingdom of God,” for which they were suffering (v. 5). Paul was not encouraging them to have patience and faithfulness in order to be able to participate in a future millennial kingdom; but, rather, to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of their participation in the kingdom’s present form.
I. Paul told the Corinthians, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Cor. 4:20). In other words, if those in Corinth were actually saved and in the kingdom of God, they would demonstrate that by manifesting the power of the kingdom in their daily lives. Mere profession was not a sufficient demonstration of salvation or participation in the kingdom of God; that relationship must be established and demonstrated by the work of the
Holy Spirit, who is the power in the present form of the kingdom of God.
J. James made reference to the kingdom in James 2:5, where he asserted that entrance into that kingdom is for those who are “rich in faith.” A popular Jewish concept said that he whom the Lord loves He makes rich, and that those who had material wealth received it because God approved of their righteousness. Therefore, many sought riches as a basis for assurance of their acceptance by God. James, however, said that it is not those who are rich in this world’s goods, but those who are rich in faith, who will “inherit the kingdom.” Like Paul and Peter, James equated participation in the kingdom with salvation received by faith.
K. As a final note, according to Colossians 4:11 Paul considered himself a laborer on behalf of the kingdom of God, and he saw those faithful servants who worked with him as fellow workers in the kingdom.
L. From this survey, then, we see that the most frequent reference to the “kingdom” or the “kingdom of God” in the epistles is a reference to the present form of the kingdom, in which individuals by faith in Jesus Christ, and because of His death and resurrection, receive salvation and the gift of eternal life. All these are a part of the kingdom of God.
IV. Article Considerations.
A. One of the most difficult and most important factors of writing an article is related to sources of information. A writer must ensure that such sources have a high degree of knowledge on the subjects that are being written, and also must have a high degree of respect from other writers. A second factor that must be considered relates to how to lawfully use material of other writers. In this web site, copyright statutes are not violated. Also, “public domain,” is to be considered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain
B. In this article, I have chosen theologians whom have proven themselves to be highly respected by others in the Biblical doctrine of eschatology (the study of what Scripture teaches about the end times), and other doctrines of scripture. All of the references in this article have a connection with Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) as graduate or instructor.
C. For education and other supporting data for each source of information in this article, please refer to my Page, “About My References.” The following links show information about Dallas Theological Seminary. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Seminary. It is important to understand that DTS is not a denominational seminary, and is totally independent of such.
D. About Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).
1. General Info. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Theological_Seminary
2. Doctrinal Statement. https://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinal-statement/