What is the Kingdom of God? We see this phrase “Kingdom of God” used throughout the Gospels and in other places in the New Testament. King and Kingdom can sometimes be used interchangeably. For instance, in the Gospels we see the Kingdom of God used interchangeably with the Kingdom of Heaven. What we understand then is that YHWH Elohim is the Eternal, Sovereign ruler over all the universe. Since He created everything that exists, His Reign or rule governs all things.
But what, exactly IS the Kingdom of God? The Bible gives us a couple of ways to look at the Kingdom of God. At first glance, it seems very confusing because Jesus defined it as a Kingdom that was was already here (Matthew 4:17, Luke 17:21), and yet through Parables, Jesus taught us that the Kingdom would not appear immediately (Luke 19: 11-12). Jesus instructed His Disciples to Pray “Thy Kingdom Come”..and yet in Luke 17, He defined the Kingdom of God as something that is “within us” and that would not be manifested visibly (Luke 17:21).
Let’s consider the King and the Kingdom as Synonymous for a second. Jesus Christ is the King of the Kingdom. He gave authority to His Servants. Look what happened when Jesus sent His 70 Disciples, in pairs, to multiple cities to announce the Good News of the Kingdom of God….
Jesus granted these 70 followers His authority to heal the sick, to cast out demons, and to announce the Kingdom of God. What was the “key” that Jesus gave them to perform these miracles? Jesus sent with them HIS Holy Spirit. (At this point, Pentecost had not yet come so the Holy Spirit did not indwell them; however, Holy Spirit was with them and gave them the POWER to perform the Miracles). In-effect, the Holy Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, is a little “piece” of the Kingdom of God. This is why they could tell people “The Kingdom of God has come near to you”.
What else do we know about the Kingdom of God? Jesus also compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed.
Matthew 13:31: Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven (Kingdom of God) is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Luke 8:11: “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
Matthew 13: 3: And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
What is the meaning of the Parable of the sower and the seed? The seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). It is also like the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:31). Remember, the King and the Kingdom are used interchangeably. Jesus IS the Word of God made flesh! He is also the King of the Kingdom, so Word of God = Kingdom of Heaven. The Parable of the mustard seed is showing us that we humans are the “soil”, made out of the mirey clay. (mankind). YHWH BREATHED His Ruach Hakodesh (His Breath of Life) into mankind making us ALIVE! This is why Jesus BREATHED His Holy Spirit into His Disciples nostrils. The Word for Spirit (Ruach) also means BREATH/LIFE.
Matthew 13:18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road (packed soil).
20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
When a person receives the mustard seed, the Word of God, the Kingdom of God, understands it, believes, and bears fruit, than that man’s heart is “good soil” (mirey clay). Jesus IS the Word of God who was made flesh. The Holy Spirit is that part of Jesus, His Holy Spirit, that now dwells within believers. The Kingdom of God is a Mustard Seed that is planted within man. If the person believes in Jesus, then the Mustard Seed will dwell within the man, and that man will become a citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20).
Faith is also compared to a mustard seed. The Kingdom of God (and the King of the Kingdom…Jesus Christ) can only be accepted through child-like Faith (believing in what you cannot see based on the evidence that you can see). Although the mustard seed is small, if it dwells within a human being’s heart, then BIG miracles can happen!
The Kingdom of God is a Spiritual Kingdom. Jesus IS the King of the Kingdom. Jesus is the King over everything and the ruler of the Universe. Jesus is sovereign over ALL THINGS because HE created all things! The Kingdom of God can exist within mankind, now, IF they repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and receive His Shed blood for the forgiveness of their sins. In that sense, the Kingdom of God already exists on the earth as a mustard seed inside of all Believers!
But there is more. The Kingdom of God is also a very literal Kingdom that exists in Heaven now, exists as a mustard seed inside of believers, AND is literally COMING to the earth. The Kingdom of God will crush and replace all earthly Kingdoms! (Daniel 2:44) Jesus Christ will LITERALLY rule on the earth for 1000 years during HIS Millennial Reign. After the 1000 years are complete, Heaven and earth will merge, and Elohim will continue to reign forever. Daniel said that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44; cf. 7:13–14), and many of the other prophets predicted the same thing (e.g., Obadiah 1:21; Habakkuk 2:14; Micah 4:2; Zechariah 14:9). However, even once God’s Kingdom comes to earth, we know that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”.
John 3:5: Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Romans 8:23: And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
1 Corinthians 15:50 and Romans 8:23 are speaking of something that happens at the end of the age of man. These verses are referring to the redemption of the flesh. The flesh cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. God is going to change the flesh (mortal) into Spirit (immortality) in the blink of an eye, at the last Trump. At this point, these residents of Heaven will manifest visibly the Spiritual Kingdom that they are already a part of via the mustard seed that was planted in them.
1 Corinthians 15:48: As was the earthly man, so also are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.
Ephesians 2:6: And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
The mustard seed has it’s “roots” in Heaven. When the Mustard seed is “planted” in the heart of an individual (good soil), then they become a resident of the Kingdom (even though they are not literally in the Kingdom of Heaven until they are changed).
Jesus was Resurrected and is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He is King of the Kingdom. Jesus is clothed in Glory and Righteousness. He has put off the mortal and put on immortality. His followers will do the same thing as they literally enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom of God) at the Resurrection (Last Trump). Jesus WILL literally manifest and RULE this Spiritual Kingdom on earth during His Millennial Reign (1000 year reign) (Revelation 20:6).
Some theologians refer to the future, open manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of glory” and the present, hidden manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of grace.” But both manifestations are connected; Christ has set up His spiritual reign in His people (called out ones) on the earth, and He will one day set up His physical reign in Jerusalem.