Can you explain for me from the Bible what relationship, if any does the church and the kingdom sustain. Are they one and the same, or different? Does one precede the other, or stand in until the other, greater is given, or does one become the other or is the kingdom primarily for other such as the now non-believing Jews? Your answer would be appreciated. Thank you.
There are two phrases which are used of “the kingdom,” and they seem to be used interchangeably, “the kingdom of God,” and “the kingdom of heaven.”
In the Book of Matthew only, we find the phrase, “kingdom of heaven.” In Mark, Luke, John, and 13 other Books of the New Testament, we find the phrase, “kingdom of God.” The Book of Matthew was written for the benefit of all, but especially to prove to the Jews that Jesus is the King of the Jews. I think the phrase “kingdom of heaven” is used there to make it clear to the Jews that it was not just referring to a political system, but to a spiritual matter — eternal salvation. Their true need was not political, but spiritual.
Matthew 4:17 says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is at hand.” In Mark 1:14,15 we read, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the KINGDOM OF GOD is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Many other examples could be given to show that these two phrases are used interchangeably.
Even the disciples were prone to center more on the political, than on the spiritual. We see in Acts 1:1-8, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the KINGDOM OF GOD: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, WILT THOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE AGAIN THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Even the disciples needed to be constantly reminded that the spiritual aspect was more important than the political aspect of the kingdom.
The church is part of the kingdom of God, as we can see in Acts 8:12. “But when they believed PHILIP PREACHING THE THINGS CONCERNING THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” The apostle Paul said that his ministry had consisted of this very same thing in Acts 20:24,25, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, TO TESTIFY THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD. And now, behold, I know that ye all, AMONG WHOM I HAVE GONE PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD, shall see my face no more.” Paul uses the phrases “the gospel of the grace of God,” and “preaching the kingdom of God” interchangeably there.
The “kingdom of God” also includes being in heaven with the Lord. I Corinthians 6:9-11 says, “Know ye not that THE UNRIGHTEOUS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
The kingdom of God also includes Jesus’ rule and reign upon earth during the 1,000 year millennium and beyond. Daniel 2:44 says, “And in the days of these kings shall THE GOD OF HEAVEN SET UP A KINGDOM, WHICH SHALL NEVER BE DESTROYED: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
Have you placed your total faith in Christ to save you?