foundation truth

Lesson 38 - the kingdom of God

It is very important to understand the relationship between these words – the Kingdom and the Church. The word “Kingdom” is used about 160 times in the New Testament, the word “Church” about 115 times.

WHAT ARE THE DEFINITIONS OF THE WORDS KINGDOM AND CHURCH?

  • Kingdom – The territory or area over which a King rules and reigns: the King’s Domain. God’s Kingdom is the reign or rule of God, whether in heaven or earth. It is the purpose of God – The extension of God’s rule.
  • Church – The called-out ones: especially those who assemble together for divine worship. It is the instrument of God.

HOW IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD EXPRESSED ON EARTH?

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

  • In the Old Testament, natural Israel was the expression and instrument of the Kingdom of God. Exodus 19:1-6
  • In the New Testament, spiritual Israel (the Church) is the expression and instrument of the Kingdom of God. Matthew 21:43

The instrument changes, but the purpose of God never changes. Genesis 1:26-28; 18:18, 22:18

WHAT IS THE NEW TESTAMENT CONCEPT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD?

  • The Kingdom of God is not a worldly system. It is not nationalistic or materialistic. John 18:36
  • The Kingdom of God is spiritual. It is within us. Luke 17:20, 21
  • The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy. Romans 14:17
  • The Kingdom of God is with power. I Corinthians 4:20; Mark 9:1
  • We must seek the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33
  • The only way to enter the Kingdom of God is by a spiritual new birth. John 3:1-5

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE CHURCH?

The Church is the final instrument for the expression and demonstration of the Kingdom of God. The Church is God’s instrument to extend His sovereign rule. The Kingdom of God and the Church are inter-related and cannot be separated.
There are two main aspects of the Church:

  • The Church Invisible is the church universal around the world. Ephesians 3:21; Hebrews 12:22-23. This is a mystical union in spiritual Body for the habitation of the Spirit, with Jesus Christ as its Head. It is not spoken of in a visible sense but is an invisible union of all true believers in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:19-22; I Corinthians 3:16
  • The Church Visible is the local church. Matthew 18:15-20 It is:
    • Groups of believers in a given locality. Matthew 18:20
    • Gathered to the person of Jesus Christ for worship. John 4:24
    • Marked by a confession of faith. Romans 10:9-10
    • Living a disciplined life. Matthew 28:19-20.
    • Under the oversight of gifted ministries. Ephesians 4:9-13
    • Established in the principles of Christ’s doctrine. Acts 2:42; Hebrews 6:1-2
    • Keeping the memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 11:23-34
    • Locally governed yet in fellowship with other groups of believers in their locality. Revelation 1:11; Philippians 1:1

WHEN IS THE KING COMING?

Is Jesus returning to planet earth? Acts 1:11

Different views of Christ’s return:

  • “ Pre-tribulation” means Christ is returning before the tribulation. Revelation 4:1; Luke 21:36
  • “Mid-tribulation” means Christ is coming during the tribulation.
  • “Post-tribulation” means Christ is returning after the tribulation.
  • “Amillennial” means that the 1,000 years is only symbolic and not
    literal.
  • “Pan-tribulation” is a play on words meaning it will all “pan-out” or work out in the end. The biblical emphasis is Jesus is coming; be ready! Matthew 24:36, 42, 44

Is the word rapture in the Bible? I Thessalonians 4:17

Definitions of the word rapture; Greek word = harpazo

  • To catch away speedily. Acts 8:39
  • To seize by force. John 6:15
  • To move to a new place. II Corinthians 12:1-4
  • To rescue from danger. Acts 23:10

The doctrine of the rapture is not the same as the doctrine of escapism. Escapism is believing we are escaping the devil.

WHAT IS THE NATURE OF CHRIST’S COMING?

  • Sudden. I Corinthians 15:51, 52; Matthew 24:27
  • Imminent. Revelation 22:7, 12, 20
  • In the air. I Thessalonians 4:17

WHERE IS THE CHURCH GOING?

  • The marriage supper of the Lamb is when Christ is united with believers. Revelation 19:7
  • The marriage supper takes place during the tribulation on earth.
  • Believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Romans 14:18; II Corinthians 5:10. The Greek word judgment is “bema” referring to the judgment seat of Olympic judges.
  • Millennium means one thousand. Revelation 20:4, 5
  • Sinners will be judged before the great white throne. Revelation 20:11-15

WHAT IS THE NEW CREATION?

  • New Heaven & New Earth. Revelation 21:1
  • New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:2
  • New Creation. II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15

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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton

Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry. 

He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.

Dale Yerton