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Synonyms for the Kingdom

Before we go into what the kingdom is, it is important to note that the kingdom of God is referred to by several different terms in scripture. In other words, there are several “synonyms” for the kingdom of God. Here are some of the most common synonyms:  The kingdom, itself, is known as the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Heaven, and the kingdom of his beloved Son.  Information about the kingdom is called the gospel of the kingdom, the gospel of God, the gospel of Christ, the word of the kingdom, the word of God, the word, and the seed.

What is the Kingdom?

Since the kingdom of God is so central to the gospel message, you may be wondering – what, exactly, is the kingdom?  An interesting point to note is that Jesus never explicitly defined what the kingdom is. That is, Jesus never said: “The exact definition of the kingdom of God is: such and such”.  Not only that, but no one ever asked Jesus to define the kingdom! In other words, no one ever said, “Say, rabbi, what is that “kingdom of God” that you keep talking about?”

There is a very good reason for both of the above points – it is because the kingdom of God is already described, in detail, in the Old Testament. As a result, Jewish people who lived in the first century were already very familiar with what the kingdom of God is! During the centuries since that time, though, knowledge about what the kingdom is has largely been lost.

The first point to note about the kingdom of God is that it is an actual kingdom – i.e., it is a government that is ruled by a king. There are many, many passages in the Old Testament which explicitly state that fact. Basically, the Old Testament tells us that the kingdom of God will be established in the future – and that God’s chosen Messiah will rule, as king, over that kingdom. Here are six of those passages:

2 Samuel 7:12-13

12“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.

13“He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Psalm 2:6-8

6“But as for me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
7“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

Jeremiah 23:5

5“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.

Daniel 7:13-14

13“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.

Isaiah 9:6-7

6For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 42:1-4

1“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
2“He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
3“A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
4“He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”

next week=> Kingdom Study 4:  Where Will the Kingdom Be Located?

One Response to “Kingdom Study 3: What Is the Kingdom of God?”

  1. on 02 Apr 2016 at 1:36 amKeith

    On my website, and more thoroughly in my book, “The Kingdom Way: How the Kingdom of God Transforms Our Lives, Churches, and Cities” I develop a model of the Kingdom of God as it exists today. It is in some respects a new idea that may be of interest to you. It would be best to read the blog posts in chronological order. It is too lengthy an argument to develop here in a comment. It is a coherent view that systematically develops a Kingdom theology and associated applications. The blog posts do not fully develop the ideas, but rather, are more or less sequential and parallel to the book. However, some of the early blog posts are more directly derived from the book, which is very methodically developed.

    Since the emphasis is entirely on the Kingdom as it exists today, it is very practical in developing concrete applications that span from the centrality of God’s word through the Gospel of the Kingdom, confession of sin, abiding in Christ, unity of believers, and the means and mandate for the church to function in a unified way to transform our cities for Christ.

    The book does not dwell on the future things principally because the Kingdom model I develop comes with several major application areas that I believe fueled and empowered the early church, and which are largely ignored today. I think these are critical areas to get figured out since our effectiveness at reaching our cities is on the line. Citywide transformation accounts are provided within the book as case studies.

    Have a look. I’d be interested in your thoughts. I should mention at the outset that I am Trinintarian. If that’s a deal breaker for you, so be it. But the reason I am commenting here is because I see people here digging in to the Bible, and that’s a good thing. It’s what I’m trying to do too.



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