THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ (also ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ or ‘Kingdom of Light’) appears more than 80 times in the New Testament. Most of these references occur in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. While the exact term is not found in the Old Testament, the existence of God’s Kingdom is expressed through tout the Old Testament.
The central theme of Jesus Christ’s preaching was the Kingdom of God. But what is meant by this phrase? Is the kingdom of God a physical place or a present spiritual reality? Who are the subjects of this kingdom? And does the kingdom of God exist now or only in the future?
The Kingdom of God is the realm where God reigns supreme, and Jesus Christ is King. In this kingdom, God’s authority is recognized, and his will is obeyed. The concept of a Kingdom of God is not primarily one of space, territory, or politics, as in a national kingdom, but rather one of kingly rule, reign, and sovereign control.
In other words, the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God is the expression of God’s will and His authority is allowed to govern: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10).
The authority of God, when permitted in our daily activities, becomes the major key and the coefficient of the kingdom experience, either in a family or in any nation of the earth. Jesus expressed the kingdom because he submitted to the authority and counsel of the Father’s will. In the book of Matthew 26:39, he was so weak and unwilling to submitting himself to the Father’s instruction to drink the cup of crucifixion. He fervently prayed to God to change His mind on this. “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”.
God’s will for the Lord was to drink the bitter cup of death at that moment. He wanted to be sure about the will of the Father. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of ram”s (1 Sam 15:22). Obedience is the coefficient of the kingdom expression. Our sacrifice to the kingdom can only be authenticated with instructions we obey lest it becomes a self-willed thing.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done (Matt 26:42). The example of Christ is a lesson for the Church, because as soon as he confirmed the will of the Father, he submitted to his authority. This is the design of the Church. We can only express the kingdom of God through submission to His authority and Will. And so, it is here taht we must understand and allow the principals of the Kingdom of God to be our guiding principals unto salvation.