Kingdom of God/Heaven Bible Study Notes, Part Three
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
- This the third and final part of our study of the kingdom of God/heaven. The kingdom message was the first one preached in their public ministries by both Jesus and John the Baptist.
Luke 4:42-43 At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.  But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
•• Jesus declares that “why [He] was sent” was to “preach the good news of the kingdom of God.”
Luke 6:20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
•• Here the kingdom is said to be for the “poor.” In the Matthew 5:3 parallel the kingdom is said to be for the "poor in spirit.”
- • In either case, the poverty suggests a dependency on God.
•• Again here, as in Matthew’s account, Jesus used the present tense — “yours IS the kingdom...”
Luke 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
•• Remember, John the Baptist came in advance of the kingdom of God — (Luke 16:16) “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached...”
•• As great as pre-kingdom John was, it is “greater ... [to be] in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 8:1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him.
•• As in Luke 4:43, the preaching of the good news of the kingdom of God was a central ministry for Jesus.
•• It is said that “the Twelve were with him”, and they undoubtedly picked up on the urgency to Jesus of the kingdom message.
Luke 8:9-10 His disciples asked him what this parable meant.  “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ ”
•• See notes on the parallel in Matthew 13:10-16 and Mark 4:10-13.
•• Note the parallel in Mark 4:11-12: “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables  so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
- • Harmonizing the accounts of Mark and Luke, we see that the contrast is between “you” (Jesus’ believing disciples) and “others [Luke] ... those on the outside [Mark]”, who have not been “forgiven” [Mark].
- • The secrets of the kingdom are revealed to believers and hidden from those who choose not to believe and remain “on the outside...[not] forgiven.”
- • Jesus is not teaching that some believers get the revelation of the kingdom and other believers are not allowed to get it. Jesus is teaching that those who do not hear and understand the kingdom are “those on the outside,” who do not enter among the “forgiven.” They are not saved.
Luke 9:1-2 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,  and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
•• Again, the kingdom of God is linked with supernatural power and authority — here, exorcisms and healings.
Luke 9:11 ...but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
•• Once more, an association of healing and the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:27 “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
•• See notes on the parallels in Matthew 16:27-28 and Mark 9:1. Scholars offer many and varied interpretations of this verse.
Luke 9:59-60 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
•• This scenario underscores the very high priority the kingdom must occupy in our lives.
•• “The dead” who were to bury their own dead are obviously biologically alive, or they couldn’t do any burying. So the reference is probably to their being spiritually dead. If so, this would be another illustration of kingdom people as believers and non-kingdom people as unbelievers.
Luke 9:61-62 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
•• Again, as just above, the kingdom is to be a highest priority to God’s people.
Luke 10:8-12 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’  But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,  ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’  I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”
•• Again, healing is an evidence of the kingdom — “Heal the sick...and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ “
•• The comparison to Sodom’s judgment shows how disastrously fatal it is to reject the kingdom of God, remembering that the kingdom of God is the reign of God. To their own judgment, many will reject God’s rule over them.
Luke 11:1-2 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”
•• As noted in the Matthew 6:9-10 parallel, the kingdom is an issue for fervent prayer.
•• As in Matthew, “Your kingdom come” — to be prayed by all Christians throughout the Church Age — suggests that the fullness of the kingdom is yet future.
Luke 11:20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
•• As in Matthew 12:28, the exorcism of demons is shown to be an evidence of the present reality of the kingdom of God, manifested in the person and ministry of Jesus.
Luke 12:29-31 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
•• This seems to be a shortened version of Matthew 6:31-33 (see notes on those verses).
Luke 12:32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
•• “...pleased to give you the kingdom” — As with the concept of salvation, the kingdom is “given”, not earned by works.
Luke 13:18-19 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”
•• See notes on Matthew 13:31-32.
- • Again, there is an emphasis on the power of the kingdom to grow.
Luke 13:20-21 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?  It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
•• Similar to the parallel in Matthew 13:33.
Luke 13:23-30 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be SAVED?” He said to them,  “Make every effort to ENTER through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’  “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’  “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’  “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the KINGDOM of God, but you yourselves thrown out.  People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the KINGDOM of God.  Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
•• This is a kingdom parable, concerning “entering” the kingdom (24, 28, 29). Jesus taught it in reply to their question concerning being “saved” (23). Jesus elaborated on “entering...the kingdom” as being the equivalent of being “saved.”
•• The “weeping there, and gnashing of teeth” (28) occurs among those who are NOT “SAVED” (23) — that is, those who are excluded from the kingdom by the closed narrow door (24).
- • This is the clear context — that is, those who are excluded from the kingdom are those who are NOT SAVED (23).
•• The “weeping and gnashing of teeth” by those who are NOT SAVED = EXCLUDED from the kingdom should be factored in to any interpretations of weeping and gnashing of teeth elsewhere. For example:
- • Matthew 8:10-12 where, in contrast to the faith-demonstrating Gentile centurion, the unbelieving Jews will be cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- • Matthew 13:37-43 where the “sons of the kingdom” are contrasted with the “sons of the evil one.” The latter will be “weed[ed] out of his kingdom ... [and He] will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (41-42).”
- • Matthew 13:47-50, the kingdom parable of the net full of fish. The contrast is between the “good [and] bad” fish (48), the “wicked [and] the righteous” (49). The “bad ... the wicked” are thrown “into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (50).
- • Matthew 22:2-13, the kingdom parable of the wedding banquet. The man without the wedding clothes (12) was thrown “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (13). Many commentators hold the wedding clothes to be the garment of God’s imputed righteousness given to the saved. This would be an interpretation consistent with the previous passages above.
- • Matthew 24:48-51, the parable of the “wicked” (48) servant. He is “cut to pieces” and assigned to a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (51). The context seems to me to be clearly an unsaved man incurring the wrath of God (“cut to pieces”), who is doing the "weeping and gnashing of teeth” (42).
- • In Matthew 25:30 it is a “worthless servant [cast] into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “Worthless” is not the type of adjective God uses for His redeemed people.
•• In sum, merging all the above verses, there seems to be a consistent teaching here about those who are the ones doing the “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” They are the UNSAVED (Luke 13:23) = those who have not “entered...the kingdom” (Luke 13:24, 28-29) = those without faith in Jesus (Matthew 8:10-12) = the “sons of the evil one” (Matt. 13:37-43) = the “bad ... the wicked” (Matt. 13:47-50) = the man without the wedding clothes (Matt. 22:2-13) = the “wicked ... [servant] cut to pieces” (Matthew 24:48-51) = the “worthless” servant (Matt. 25:30).
- • The common denominator in these parables is that they are various ways of describing those who end up in “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This large list of negative phrases all describe the UNSAVED (Luke 13:23) who do NOT ENTER the kingdom (Luke 13:24, 28-29).
Luke 14:15-24 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”  Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.  At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’  “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’  “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’  “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’  “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’  “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.  I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
•• See comments on a similar parable in Matthew 22:1-14.
•• Jesus does not interpret the parable for us, but many have seen in it a reference to the rejection of the Gospel by Jews as a whole and the acceptance of it by Gentiles.
Luke 16:16 The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
•• See the comments on Matthew 11:12.
•• Jesus makes a clear distinction between the time of “the Law and the Prophets” and the time of “the kingdom of God.”
•• The expression “everyone is forcing his way into it” is variously interpreted. One common interpretation is that it refers to people making diligent efforts to enter the kingdom of God in all its fullness.
Luke 17:20-21 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come visibly [NIV version ©1978], nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you [NIV margin: among you)].”
•• Jesus answers the question about the timing of the kingdom’s coming by saying two main things:
- 1) It “does not come visibly” or [KJV] “not with observation” or [KJV margin] not “with outward show.”
- 2) The “kingdom of God is within you [NIV margin: “among you”]." At the time of Jesus’ speaking, God’s kingdom was already present, but was “within” or “among” them, but not so much in visible, outwardly demonstrated form.
Luke 18:16-17 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
•• See comments on Matthew 19:14 and Mark 10:13-15.
•• To “enter” the kingdom we must “receive [it] like a little child.” Interpretations of those childlike attitudes and traits abound — among them, trust, openness, and the absence of holier-than-thou attitudes.
Luke 18:18-27 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”  “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.  When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.  Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!  Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
•• See comments also on Matthew 19:16-26 and Mark 10:25-26.
•• As in the Matthew and Mark accounts of this incident, in Luke’s account also there seems to be a clear equating of inheriting “eternal life” (18) with “enter[ing] the kingdom” (24-25) and “be[ing] saved” (26). That is, to be saved is to inherit eternal life is to enter the kingdom.
Luke 18:28-30 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God  will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
•• The highest priority — God’s kingdom! Even above home and family.
•• Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us a variety of insights in the three parallels concerning good motives for “leaving” these other priorities:
- • Luke: “for the sake of the kingdom”
- • Matthew (19:29): “for my [Jesus’] sake”
- • Mark (10:29): “for me [Jesus] and the gospel”
•• Jesus teaches here that those who prioritize the kingdom first will receive abundant blessings both in this life and in eternity.
Luke 19:11-27 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.  So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’  “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’  “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.  “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’  “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’  “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’  “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’  “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.  I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’  “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?  Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’  “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’  “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’  “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.  But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them — bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
•• Jesus resolves the question of whether the kingdom of God would “appear at once.” The answer (vs. 12) is no. Rather, “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.” Jesus indicated that there would be an interval of time before His return.
•• Jesus also speaks of the importance of His disciples actively doing the King’s work while the King is away — (13) ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
•• In this “kingdom” parable (11), the enemies of the King are said (27) to be those “who did not want me to be king over them.” They were ordered to be killed in His sight.
•• The king had “his servants” (13). One of them turned out to be a “wicked servant” (22). When the king came back, this servant suffered loss (24), but he was not among the enemies of the king who were ordered to be killed (27).
Luke 21:29-31 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees.  When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
•• The context is the 21st chapter as a whole. It is a chapter in which many signs of the end are revealed. The point is simply stated that as the signs are being fulfilled in the earth, we can know that “the kingdom of God is near” (31). In context, that is clearly speaking of the coming of the visible kingdom.
Luke 22:15-18 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.  After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
•• See comments on Matthew 26:27-29 and Mark 14:25-26. Luke specifically speaks of Passover “find[ing] fulfillment in the kingdom of God” — referring apparently to the coming visible kingdom.
Luke 22:28-30 You are those who have stood by me in my trials.  And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,  so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
•• The future Messianic kingdom is in mind, where they will eat and drink at Christ’s table in His kingdom.
•• There may be a link between their faithfulness to stand by Jesus in His trials (28) and His conferring on them a kingdom.
•• In that kingdom the faithful apostles (clearly minus Judas) will sit as judges over the twelve tribes.
Luke 23:42-43 Then [the repentant thief] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
•• Interesting — Jesus seemed to make a link between His “com[ing] into [His] kingdom” (42) with His expectation to be “today...in paradise” (43).
Luke 23:51 ...[Joseph] had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.
•• Joseph of Arimathea “was waiting for the kingdom of God,” reflecting the Messianic hopes of devout Jews.
John 3:1-8 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.  He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”  In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”  Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
•• Jesus told Nicodemus that to “see (3) ... [or] enter (5) the kingdom of God,” a person must be “born again” (3), he must be “born of water and the Spirit” (5). Jesus elaborated in verse six that He is referring to the necessity of a Holy Spirit-given birth.
•• So being “born again” by the Spirit seems to be the prerequisite for “enter[ing]” the kingdom of God. This would be in marked contrast to Nicodemus’s certain belief as a teacher of Israel (10) that one is commended to God by one’s righteous works.
- • Jesus, knowing full well what this preeminent Jew would have believed concerning righteous works of the Law, stated that no one could see or enter the kingdom of God without the new birth of the Spirit.
•• In his commentary on this Gospel, F.F. Bruce writes: “To a Jew with Nicodemus’s upbringing, seeing the kingdom of God would mean participation in the age to come, the resurrection life. In this Gospel as in the others ‘the kingdom of God’ in this sense is interchangeable with ‘eternal life’ (compare ‘to enter life’ in Mark 9:43, 45, with ‘to enter the kingdom of God’ in verse 47).”
John 18:36-37 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
•• Jesus asserts that His is not an earthly kingdom, but is “from another place,” certainly referring to heaven.
•• In verse 37 Jesus confirmed His kingship — “You are right in saying I am a king.” Kingdoms have a king.
Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
•• “After His suffering” and resurrection, Jesus continued to articulate His frequent message “about the kingdom of God.”
- • In this post-resurrection era, so should we!
Acts 1:6-7 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
•• Seemingly, even after His resurrection Jesus’ close disciples were still expecting and hoping for an immediate establishment of God’s theocratic rule.
•• Jesus in essence told them to leave the timing of that up to God.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
•• Again, the urgency of preaching the kingdom message.
Acts 14:21-22 They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
•• Entering the kingdom of God will include “many hardships.” Therefore, the apostles exhorted the disciples “to remain true to the faith.”
Acts 19:8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.
•• The kingdom of God continued to be a major theme of apostolic preaching.
Acts 20:25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.”
•• Same as comments on previous verse.
Acts 28:23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
•• Paul was strongly moved to deliver an extensive sermon about the kingdom of God to the Jewish leaders in Rome.
Acts 28:30-31 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
•• Acts closes with the bold preaching of the kingdom of God in the major city (Rome) of the Gentile nations. Again and again, as here, we see the linkage of the kingdom message with “the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
•• The kingdom of God is not a matter of externals — here, “eating and drinking.”
•• The kingdom, rather, is a matter of spiritual issues — “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 4:19-20 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
•• Another contrast:
- • what the kingdom is not: “a matter of talk”
- • what the kingdom is: “a matter ... of power”
•• There is power in the kingdom because of the power of our heavenly King.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
•• A sober warning for all — “the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Wickedness is not compatible with God’s kingdom.
•• The solution to being excluded from the kingdom for wickedness (9-10) is to be “washed ... sanctified ... justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (11).
1 Corinthians 15:23-24 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
•• After His coming (23), when “the end will come” (24), Jesus will hand the kingdom over to God the Father.
1 Corinthians 15:50-52 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed —  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
•• The natural body that we now live in “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (50). It must first “be changed” (51), be resurrected (52) and changed into an immortal body (the following verses).
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
•• This is a similar warning to Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that the wicked (here, “those who live like this”) will “not inherit the kingdom of God.”
- • There is no place in God’s kingdom for those who willingly choose to continue to live ungodly lives.
Ephesians 5:5-6 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
•• “The kingdom” is that of Christ and of God the Father. It is the same kingdom (singular). Both of them are co-regents.
•• The wrath of God and exclusion from the kingdom are the final lot of those who remain “immoral, impure, or greedy.” These are typical examples of the conduct of “the wicked [who] will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, studied earlier).
Colossians 1:12-14 ...giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
•• The “kingdom of light” (12) and the “kingdom of the Son” (13) appear to be synonymous expressions.
•• Verse 13 shows God as having delivered us (KJV) from the devil’s dominion into the Son’s kingdom. Every person alive right now lives in two of the three kingdoms: (1) an earthly, geographically defined “kingdom,” i.e., America, Canada, France, etc.; and (2) a spiritual kingdom — either (a) God’s or (b) the devil’s.
- • Verses 13-14 say that Jesus Christ “redeems” us, forgives our sins, and brings us “into the kingdom of the Son.” Our initial entrance “into” the Lord’s kingdom seems to be at the point of our salvation, when we are born again, redeemed, and forgiven our sins.
•• The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (p. 179) has an illuminating comment on the Greek grammar concerning God having “qualified” believers “to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” — “The tense of the verb is aorist, pointing to the time of the Colossians’ conversion. The suggestion is that the qualifying is not a process but an instantaneous act.”
- • This seems to speak of an instantaneous entrance into the spiritual kingdom, not a progressive one. The verb tense speaks of a point-in-time qualifying for the kingdom, not the sense of “we are being qualified.”
Colossians 4:11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.
•• “Workers for the kingdom” — remember the pearl of great price. It is worth selling out all else for the sake of the kingdom.
1 Thessalonians 2:12 ...encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
•• The call into God’s kingdom should motivate us to “live lives worthy of God.”
2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.  All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
•• “Perseverance and faith” while undergoing “persecutions and trials” gain for us a great benefit — “as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.”
- • Christians may be called to suffer for God’s kingdom (5).
- • The response to such suffering that God counts as “worthy” is “perseverance and faith.”
- • These verses are reminiscent of the words of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:22 — “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
2 Timothy 4:1-2a In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: [2a] Preach the Word.
•• “Preach the Word,” get the Word out! Why? Because of the Christian’s passionate awareness of “[Christ’s] appearing and his kingdom.”
- • The King is coming! Tell them about the King!
2 Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
•• “His heavenly kingdom” is probably a rephrasing of the more common “kingdom of heaven.”
•• In light of his choice of tenses, Paul seems to have in mind the future sense of God’s kingdom, not its present reality within believers — “The Lord ... will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.”
Hebrews 1:8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
•• This quote from Psalm 45:6 says some important things “about the Son,” about Jesus Christ:
- • He is addressed by God the Father in the words, “O God.” This is a powerful proof of Jesus’ Deity.
- • Jesus is said to have a “throne.” This speaks of royalty, sovereignty, leadership.
- • Jesus is said to have a “kingdom.” The King on His throne rules over His kingdom.
- • “Righteousness” is said to characterize Christ’s kingdom.
Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,  for our “God is a consuming fire.”
•• In contrast to transient earthly kingdoms — e.g., ancient Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Rome, etc. — the kingdom of God “cannot be shaken.”
- • For that reason, we who “are receiving [this] kingdom” should feel a sense of gratitude and a motivation to worship such an omnipotent King (the Regent of the kingdom).
James 2:5-7 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?  But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?  Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
•• Several things are said about those who “inherit the kingdom” —
- • They are “chosen” by God (5).
- • They are often those who are “poor in the eyes of the world” (5).
- • But they are “rich in faith” (5). Faith is inseparably tied to “inherit[ing] the kingdom.”
- • They love God (5).
2 Peter 1:9-11 But if anyone does not have [the aforementioned godly qualities], he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
•• Here, the future eternal kingdom is clearly in mind — “you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom.”
•• The “welcome into the eternal kingdom” will come in the context of the citizen of the kingdom having been “cleansed from his past sins.”
•• These verses make a strong statement that those entering the kingdom are expected to possess the qualities listed in verses 5-7: faith ... goodness ... knowledge ... self-control ... perseverance ... godliness ... brotherly kindness ... love.
Revelation 1:5-6 ...and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,  and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
•• Jesus is identified as “the ruler of the kings of the earth.” God the Father has purposed to put all things under Jesus’ feet (1 Corinthians 15:24-27).
•• There seems to be a flow of thought: (verse 5) Jesus has “freed us from our sins by his blood” and (verse 6) by so doing He “has made us to be a kingdom...”
•• Interestingly, the words used here are not “entering” or “inheriting” the kingdom, but BEING a kingdom to serve God. I suggest an analogy here —
- • When a person is born again, he or she enters into the family of God. But that person also becomes PART OF the family of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:18; also 1 Peter 4:17).
- • Likewise, when a person is born again and has his sins washed away by Jesus’ blood (Rev. 1:5), he is not only brought “into the kingdom" (Colossians 1:13), but he also becomes PART OF the kingdom (Rev. 1:6).
Revelation 1:9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
•• Associated with the kingdom are suffering and the need for patient endurance. These three things — suffering, the kingdom, and patient endurance — are “ours in Jesus.”
Revelation 5:9-10 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
•• Similar to Revelation 1:5-6, just studied above. Jesus redeemed us by His blood and made us “to be a kingdom ... [that] will reign on the earth.”
Revelation 11:15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
KJV: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.”
•• As the end-time events of the Revelation unfold, we see a power shift. Power once wielded by earthly kings and rulers is taken from them and exercised entirely by God the Father and Jesus His Son. This transition is fully finalized in Revelation 19, at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth.
Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
•• Satan is cast from heaven after a mighty battle with Michael and his angels (vss. 7-9). This is a great milestone in the imminent realization of the eternal aspects of the kingdom — “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ."
Conclusion: The word “kingdom” is not repeated in the final two chapters of Revelation. But in these final two Bible chapters, the Second Coming of Christ is now past. And we see the Father and Son established “on the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1-5). Saved men and women live in the direct presence of God “for ever and ever.”
This concludes our bible study, which began in Part One, and was continued in Part Two.
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Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.