89: Kingdom in the New Testament (Kingdom of God 5)

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Now that we’ve looked at many of the kingdom texts from the Old Testament, today we’ll get into the New Testament and see what Jesus and the apostles taught about the kingdom.  We’ll examine the titles of Jesus, a couple of his parables, some texts from Paul and James, and conclude in Revelation.  In this lecture, we’ll restrict our focus to just those verses that speak of the kingdom as future.  We’ll come back to the other kingdom scriptures in the New Testament in subsequent lectures.

This is lecture 5 of the Kingdom of God class, originally taught at the Atlanta Bible College.  To take this class for credit, please contact ABC so you can do the work necessary for a grade.


My goal is to cruise through the New Testament and look at texts pertaining to the coming kingdom (Matthew to Revelation)

defining Messiah/Christ: the one God anoints to rule over the kingdom

  • Mark 15.32 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

defining Son of Man: the one Daniel saw in a vision to whom God gave the kingdom

  • Daniel 7.13-14 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

defining Son of David: the promised descendant to rule on the throne of David forever

  • triumphal entry
  • Matthew 21.9 “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
  • Mark 11.9-10 “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
  • Luke 19.38 “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
  • John 12.13 “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

defining Son of God: same as God’s messiah (2 Sam 7.14) and God’s creation (Luke 1)

  • John 1.49 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
  • Luke 1.35 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy– the Son of God.


Jesus clearly believed in a coming (future) kingdom

  • Matthew 5.3-5 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
    • “kingdom of heaven” is only in Matthew (32x) and is identical to “kingdom of God” cf. Mat 19.23 vs. 24
    • this is as powerful as it is terse
    • bottom line: if you inherit the earth, you aren’t floating around in heaven

Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

They [the meek] show by every word and gesture that they do not belong to this earth.  Leave heaven to them, says the world in its pity, that is where they belong.  But Jesus says: “They shall inherit the earth.”  To these, the powerless and the disenfranchised, the very earth belongs.  Those who now possess it by violence and injustice shall lose it, and those who here have utterly renounced it, who were meek to the point of the cross, shall rule the new earth…God does not forsake the earth: he made it, he sent his Son to it, and on it he built his Church.[1]

  • Matthew9-10 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
    • the kingdom is the first request in the Lord’s prayer!
    • kingdom come = God’s will done on earth
    • is God’s will done now?

12 disciples rule on 12 thrones: a thoroughly political kingdom

  • Peter pops the question, “We’ve left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
    • Matthew 19.27-29 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world [παλιγγενεσία = regeneration], when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (what scripture did Jesus promise to rule over 12 thrones?)
    • that’s what you get!
    • not now, but in the regeneration
    • sounds like a restored Israel w/ 12 tribes and 12 chiefs or judges
  • Jesus promises this to them a second time!
    • Luke 22.28-30 28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials,  29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom,  30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
    • 12 thrones, administering Israel’s government
    • did the disciples do this in their lifetimes?
      • no! they were run out and persecuted
      • so, in the “regeneration” or resurrection this will come true

Albert Nolan:

“Somewhere in the background behind Jesus’ use of the term “kingdom of God” there is a pictorial image. He speaks of people entering into the kingdom (Mk 9:47; 10:15, 23, 24, 25, parr; Mt 5:20; 7:21; 18:3; 21:31; 23:13; Jn 3:5). They can sit down in it and eat and drink in it (Mk 14:25; Mt 8:11-12 par; Lk 22:30). The kingdom has a door or a gate (Mt 7:13, 14; Lk 13:24) on which one can knock (Mt 7:7-8 par; 25:10-12 par). It also has keys (Mt 16:19; Lk 11:52) and can be locked (Mt 23:13; Lk 13:25). The pictorial image behind this is obviously that of a house or a walled city.

…The fact that his way of speaking about the kingdom is based upon a pictorial image of a house, a city or a community leaves no doubt about what he had in mind: a politically structured society of people here on earth. A kingdom is a thoroughly political notion. It is a society in which the political structure is monarchical, that is to say, it is ruled and governed by a king. Nothing that Jesus ever said would lead one to think that he might have used this term in a non-political sense.”[2]

  • funny story about James & John’s mom going up to Jesus and asking if her 2 sons can sit on his right and left in his kingdom (Mt 20.20-21)
    • disciples were not happy about that one!


4 kingdom parables (can’t do too many)

  • Tares and Wheat
    • Matthew 13.24-30 24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,  25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.  27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’  28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’  29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”
    • Matthew 13.36-43 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”  37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,  39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.  40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.  41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,  42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
    • (on quiz: Tares and the Wheat tell kingdom happens at the end of the age)
      • not when people die!
    • Dragnet
      • Matthew 13.47-50 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind.  48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad.  49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous  50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    • Minas; a man goes away to receive a kingdom and return
      • Luke 19.11-15 11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.  12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.  13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’  14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.
    • Sheep and Goats
      • Matthew 25.31-34 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.


entering the kingdom not “going to heaven”

  • search for “enter* the kingdom” = 13 verses from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts
  • search for “go to heaven”, “going to heaven”, “went to heaven”, “enter heaven”, “will go to heaven” = 0 occurrences
  • the NT repeatedly uses the phrase “entering the kingdom” to describe our hope NOT going to heaven
  • become like children to enter the kingdom
    • Matthew 18.1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them  3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
  • hard for rich to enter kingdom
    • Matthew 19.23-24 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.  24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
  • better to enter the kingdom w/ 1 eye than go to hell w/ 2!
    • Mark 9.47 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
  • to Nicodemus Jesus said…
    • John 3.5 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
  • Paul to Pisidian Antioch
    • Acts 14.22 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
  • this will be a key phrase we can use to identify early Christian authors as kingdom believers


food in the kingdom (tactile language)

  • dining w/ Ab, Is, and Jc in kingdom
    • Luke 13.28-30 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.  29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.  30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
  • random person says blessing on those who eat bread in kingdom
    • Luke 14.15 15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
  • at communion he says he’ll drink wine when the kingdom comes
    • Luke 22.15-18 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.  18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
  • we’ll talk about resurrection and our resurrected bodies next lecture


why was Jesus crucified?

  • what was the sign above his head?
  • Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews!
  • The Romans crucified Jesus because they thought he claimed to be the king of the Jews

Joseph of A was still looking for the kingdom (Mk 15.43)

when Jesus returns that’s when all that the prophets spoke comes to pass

  • Acts 3.19-21 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,  20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,  21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.


Paul on the kingdom

Jesus hands kingdom over to the father

  • 1 Corinthians 15.24-28 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.  28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
  • this shows Paul believed in the future kingdom just like Jesus!

if we endure, we will reign

  • 2 Timothy 2.11-13 11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;  12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;  13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.
  • 2 Tim 4.1 charge you by his appearing and kingdom

James 2.5  5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

Revelation texts (if we endure we will reign)

  • Revelation 2.26-27 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,  27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
  • Psalm 2.6-9 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”  7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.  8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.  9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

he died so we could reign on the earth

  • Revelation 5.9-10 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,  10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”


Jesus returns to inaugurate the kingdom

  • Revelation 11.15-17 15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”  16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,  17 saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.


Revelation 19-22 works roughly like a sequence

  • Jesus comes back to wage war (Rev 19)
    • Revelation 19.11-16 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.  12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.  13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.  15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
  • devil imprisoned for a millennium (Rev 20)
    • Revelation 20.1-2 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
  • final judgment of unrighteous (Rev 20)
    • Revelation 20.13-15 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
  • new Jerusalem descends from heaven (Rev 21)
    • Revelation 21.2-4 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
  • paradise restored (Rev 22)
    • Revelation 22.1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.


[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1995), p. 110.

[2] Albert Nolan, Jesus before Christianity (1992), p. 58-59.


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