The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church

By COGwriter

Do you know that the first and last things that Jesus apparently preached about concerned the gospel of the kingdom of God? Do you recall that the end cannot come until the kingdom of God is preached to the world as a witness? Do you know that the kingdom of God was the emphasis of the apostles and those that followed them?

The actual kingdom of God does not get emphasized by many who profess Christ these days, but there is a group that makes it its top priority.

Is the kingdom of God the person of Jesus? Is the kingdom of God Jesus living His life in us now? Is the kingdom of God some type of future actual kingdom?

What is a kingdom? Just what is the kingdom of God? What does the Bible teach? What did the early Christian church teach?

This article will attempt to answer these questions.

Before getting into the specific scriptures and historical comments, it is important to understand that a kingdom requires a king, territory, subjects, and laws. Those are the components of a kingdom and also components of the kingdom of God.

(Those who would like to can also watch some YouTube sermons, which are at the ContinuingCOG channel, such as The Gospel of the Kingdom and Why Teach the Kingdom of God? A free online booklet on the Gospel of the Kingdom is also available: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.)

Daniel Taught About the Kingdom

The prophet Daniel was told to record this about the kingdom of God:

37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all — you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:37-44, NKJV throughout unless noted).

18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.' (Daniel 7:18).

From Daniel, we learn that the kingdom of God will destroy human kingdoms and last forever. And that the saints will have their part in receiving it.

And this is for our time. Notice some passages from the New Testament:

12 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful." (Revelation 17:12-14)

So we see in both the Old and New Testaments the concept that there will be an end time earthly kingdom with ten parts and that God will destroy it and establish His kingdom.

Isaiah Taught About the Kingdom

God inspired Isaiah to write about the first part of the kingdom this way:

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together;And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11:1-10).

The reason I referred to this as the first phase of the kingdom, is that this is a time where where it will be physical (prior to the time when the holy city, New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, Revelation 21). Isaiah confirmed the physical aspect of this phase when he continued with:

It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, And Judah shall not harass Ephraim. But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; Together they shall plunder the people of the East; They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab;And the people of Ammon shall obey them. The LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, And strike it in the seven streams,And make men cross over dry-shod. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people Who will be left from Assyria, As it was for Israel In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt (Isaiah 11:11-16).

2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.  (Isaiah 2:2-4)

Thus it will be a time of peace on earth. But ultimately, this will be forever, with Jesus ruling.

Isaiah also was inspired to write the following:

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Notice that Isaiah said that Jesus would come and establish a kingdom with a government. While many who profess Christ quote this passage, especially in December each year, they tend to overlook that it is prophesying more than the fact that Jesus would be born. The Bible is clear that the kingdom of God has a government, with laws, over subjects, and Jesus will be over it. Isaiah, Daniel, and others prophesied it.

The laws of God are the way of love (see also The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil). The kingdom of God will be ruled based upon those laws, hence the kingdom of God will be based upon love.

Roman Catholics Teach The Kingdom is Important, But...

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains that preaching the gospel of the kingdom was important (even though they interpret it differently than the Bible):

In the New Testament the speedy advent of this kingdom is the one theme: "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand", said the Baptist, and Christ's opening words to the people do but repeat that message. At every stage in His teaching the advent of this kingdom, its various aspects, its precise meaning, the way in which it is to be attained, form the staple of His discourses, so much so that His discourse is called "the gospel of the kingdom"...they began to speak of the Church as "the kingdom of God"; cf. Col., I, 13; I Thess., ii, 12; Apoc., I, 6, 9; v, 10, etc. means the Church as that Divine institution whereby we may make sure of attaining the spirit of Christ and so win that ultimate kingdom of God Where He reigns without end in "the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" (Revelation 21:2) (Pope H. Transcribed by Chris Boore. Kingdom of God. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The reader is advised by The Catholic Encyclopedia that they can look up "Col., I, 13; I Thess., ii, 12; Apoc., I, 6, 9; v, 10", so I did. But none of those verses say anything about the Church being the kingdom of God. They only teach that believers will be part of the kingdom of God or that it is Jesus' kingdom.

The Bible warns that many would change the gospel or turn to another one:

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Sadly, the Church of Rome has done both. The current Pope Francis, based upon his focus and priorities, seems to consider that his version of 'Mary' is key to the gospel (Pope Francis: Could this the Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?), while he and others do not understand the importance of the true Gospel of the Kingdom.

Futhermore, even Pope Benedict XVI seemed to have real problems understanding the real message. Notice the following:

In his recent book, Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI sets out to distill the understanding he has come to after a lifelong theological study of Christianity’s central figure. Stressing that he writes in his own name as Joseph Ratzinger, he leaves the door open for the Roman curia to distance itself from any alternative views he may advance. He writes, “This book is . . . my personal search ‘for the face of the Lord.’”

What, then, does the pope see as Jesus’ primary purpose in speaking about the kingdom of God, which was so central to His message? He writes that Jesus “is quite simply proclaiming God, and proclaiming him to be the living God, who is able to act concretely in the world and in history and is even now so acting. He is telling us: ‘God exists’ and ‘God really is God,’ which means that he holds in his hands the threads of the world.”

It is a strange definition of the gospel message, which Jesus said pertained to God’s kingdom coming to the earth. Yet Ratzinger insists, “What is meant is not an imminent or yet to be established ‘kingdom,’ but God’s actual sovereignty over the world, which is becoming an event in history in a new way.” Such language takes us away from any anticipation of God’s rule over fractious humanity and away from the consistent message of the Bible.

When asked by Peter what reward the 12 disciples might expect for their loyalty, Jesus pointed to the time of future messianic renewal. He said, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, 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” (Matthew 19:28, English Standard Version). The term “new world” is translated from the Greek palingenesia, which literally means “rebirth,” “renewal” or “regeneration.” This future aspect of the kingdom, mentioned by Jesus and recognized by leading language scholars, is the major dimension that the pope misses (Hulme D. Thy Kingdom Come... Vision magazine. Fall 2007).

Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas taught:

...the Catholic the kingdom of Christ on earth. (Cited in Kramer P. The Devil's Final Battle. Good Counsel Publications, 2002, p. 73).

But that is not consistent with the teaching of the Bible. Instead, the Church of Rome now seems to teach so strongly against the millennial kingdom that it is about the only "doctrine of Antichrist" they list in the official Catechism of the Catholic Church:

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

Thus, those associated with the Church of Rome will have major problems with the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in the end. And the end-time version of it will take terrible steps against it.

It should be noted that the Church of Rome seems to believe that its ecumenical and interfaith agendas will lead to peace and a version of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

However, scripture warns against a coming ecumenical unity which it teaches will be successful (note: the New Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic-approved translation, is shown):

4 They prostrated themselves in front of the dragon because he had given the beast his authority; and they prostrated themselves in front of the beast, saying, 'Who can compare with the beast? Who can fight against it?' 5 The beast was allowed to mouth its boasts and blasphemies and to be active for forty-two months; 6 and it mouthed its blasphemies against God, against his name, his heavenly Tent and all those who are sheltered there. 7 It was allowed to make war against the saints and conquer them, and given power over every race, people, language and nation; 8 and all people of the world will worship it, that is, everybody whose name has not been written down since the foundation of the world in the sacrificial Lamb's book of life. 9 Let anyone who can hear, listen: 10 Those for captivity to captivity; those for death by the sword to death by the sword. This is why the saints must have perseverance and faith. (Revelation 13:4-10, NJB)

The Bible warns against an end time Babylon unity:

1 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came to speak to me, and said, 'Come here and I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute who is enthroned beside abundant waters, 2 with whom all the kings of the earth have prostituted themselves, and who has made all the population of the world drunk with the wine of her adultery.' 3 He took me in spirit to a desert, and there I saw a woman riding a scarlet beast which had seven heads and ten horns and had blasphemous titles written all over it. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with gold and jewels and pearls, and she was holding a gold winecup filled with the disgusting filth of her prostitution; 5 on her forehead was written a name, a cryptic name: 'Babylon the Great, the mother of all the prostitutes and all the filthy practices on the earth.' 6 I saw that she was drunk, drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; and when I saw her, I was completely mystified. (Revelation 17:1-6, NJB)

9 'This calls for shrewdness. The seven heads are the seven hills, on which the woman is sitting...18 The woman you saw is the great city which has authority over all the rulers on earth.' (Revelation 17:9,18, NJB)

1 After this, I saw another angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth shone with his glory. 2 At the top of his voice he shouted, 'Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird. 3 All the nations have drunk deep of the wine of her prostitution; every king on the earth has prostituted himself with her, and every merchant grown rich through her debauchery.' 4 Another voice spoke from heaven; I heard it say, 'Come out, my people, away from her, so that you do not share in her crimes and have the same plagues to bear. 5 Her sins have reached up to the sky, and God has her crimes in mind: treat her as she has treated others. 6 She must be paid double the amount she exacted. She is to have a doubly strong cup of her own mixture. 7 Every one of her pomps and orgies is to be matched by a torture or an agony. I am enthroned as queen, she thinks; I am no widow and will never know bereavement. 8 For that, in one day, the plagues will fall on her: disease and mourning and famine. She will be burned to the ground. The Lord God who has condemned her is mighty.' 9 'There will be mourning and weeping for her by the kings of the earth who have prostituted themselves with her and held orgies with her. They see the smoke as she burns, (Revelation 18:1-9, NJB)

In Zechariah, the Bible warns against a coming Babylon and shows that proper unity will not happen until after Jesus returns:

10 Look out! Look out! Flee from the land of the north -- Yahweh declares- for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven -- Yahweh declares. 11 Look out! Make your escape, Zion, now living with the daughter of Babylon!

12 For Yahweh Sabaoth says this, since the Glory commissioned me, about the nations who plundered you, 'Whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye. 13 Now look, I shall wave my hand over them and they will be plundered by those whom they have enslaved.' Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me! 14 Sing, rejoice, daughter of Zion, for now I am coming to live among you -Yahweh declares! 15 And on that day many nations will be converted to Yahweh. Yes, they will become his people, and they will live among you. Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you! 16 Yahweh will take possession of Judah, his portion in the Holy Land, and again make Jerusalem his choice. (Zechariah 2:10-16, NJB; note in translations such as the NKJV these are shown as Zechariah 2:6-12)

The ecumenical and inter-faith movements that the Vatican and the Eastern Orthodox leaders are promoting are clearly condemned by the Bible and should not be encouraged.

The Apostle Paul also taught that true unity of faith would not happen until after Jesus returns:

13 until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. (Ephesians 4:13, NJB)

Those who believe this unity comes prior to Jesus' return are in error. Actually, when Jesus returns, He will destroy the unity of nations that are against Him:

11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and voices could be heard shouting in heaven, calling, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.' 16 The twenty-four elders, enthroned in the presence of God, prostrated themselves and touched the ground with their foreheads worshipping God 17 with these words, 'We give thanks to you, Almighty Lord God, He who is, He who was, for assuming your great power and beginning your reign. 18 The nations were in uproar and now the time has come for your retribution, and for the dead to be judged, and for your servants the prophets, for the saints and for those who fear your name, small and great alike, to be rewarded. The time has come to destroy those who are destroying the earth.' (Revelation 11:15-18, NJB)

19:6 And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean or the great roar of thunder, answering, 'Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun;... 19 Then I saw the beast, with all the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to fight the Rider and his army. 20 But the beast was taken prisoner, together with the false prophet who had worked miracles on the beast's behalf and by them had deceived those who had accepted branding with the mark of the beast and those who had worshipped his statue. These two were hurled alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. 21 All the rest were killed by the sword of the Rider, which came out of his mouth, and all the birds glutted themselves with their flesh... 20:4 Then I saw thrones, where they took their seats, and on them was conferred the power to give judgement. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God's word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not accept the brandmark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 19:6,19-21; 20:4, NJB)

Notice that Jesus will have to destroy world of armies unified against Him. Then He and the saints will reign. That is when there will be proper unity of the faith.

If more would truly understand the gospel of the kingdom, less would fight against Jesus.

As far as the interfaith and ecumenical movements go, please consider the following:

Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their 'mother church' in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
United Nations: Humankind's Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.

Jesus Taught the Gospel of the Kingdom

In the New Testament, the English word "kingdom" for this particular kingdom is mentioned approximately 149 times in the NKJV and 151 in the Douay Rheims Bible.

When Jesus began His public ministry, He began by preaching about the gospel of the kingdom of God. Here is what Mark reported:

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:14-15, NKJV throughout unless otherwise indicated).

Here is the first public teaching that Matthew records:

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23).

Matthew also records:

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 9:35).

Luke, like Isaiah, shows that Jesus will reign over the kingdom forever:

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:33).

Luke records that the purpose that Jesus was sent was to preach the kingdom of God. Notice what Jesus taught:

43 He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent" (Luke 4:43).

Have you ever heard that preached? Did you ever realize that Jesus' purpose for being sent was to preach the kingdom of God? (More can also be found in Preaching the Gospel).

Luke also records that Jesus did go and preach the kingdom of God:

And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God (Luke 9:10-11).

The kingdom of God was not only the emphasis of Jesus' ministry, He wanted it to be the top priority for those who would follow Him as He taught:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:31-32).

Notice that the kingdom will be given to a little flock. Hence the kingdom cannot be a massive church that now exists.

Jesus taught that His followers would pray for the kingdom to come, hence they do not already possess it:

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done (Matthew 6:9-10).

During His ministry, He sent the disciples out to preach the kingdom of God:

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1-2).

Jesus taught that His presence alone was not the kingdom, because it was not to be established on the Earth then:

28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matthew 12:28).

The true kingdom is in the future, it is not here now as these verses from Mark show:

47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast (Mark 9:47).

Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 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" (Mark 10:23-25).

25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25).

43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage (Mark 15:43).

Jesus taught that the kingdom is not now part of this present world:

36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36).

Jesus taught that the kingdom will come after He comes again and that He will be its King:

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:31-34).

Jesus provided some explanations of what the kingdom of God is like:

And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come" (Mark 4:26-29).

Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches." And again He said, "To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened" (Luke 13:18-21).

These parables suggests that, at first, the kingdom of God is quite small, but will become large.

Luke also recorded:

29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God (Luke 13:29).

Thus, the kingdom is something that one can sit down in. And that is true of all kingdoms. They have a king, they cover a geographic area, they have rules, and they have subjects.

Also, people will actually eat in the kingdom:

15 "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" (Luke 14:15).

Since people will (in the future) eat in the kingdom, it is not just something set aside in their hearts now, in spite of mistranslations/misunderstandings of Luke 17:21 which suggest otherwise.

Here are some commentaries related to Luke 17:21:

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - Neither shall they say, Lo here: or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. That kingdom will be marked out on no map, for, lo, it is even now in your midst. It may be asked - How "in your midst"? Scarcely not as Godet and Olshausen, following Chrysostom, think, in your hearts. The kingdom of God could not be said to be in the hearts of those Pharisees to whom the Master was especially directing his words of reply here. It should be rather understood in the midst of your ranks; so Meyer and Farrar and others interpret it,

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

... the words may be rendered, the kingdom of God is among you; and the meaning be, that the king Messiah was already come, and was among them, and his kingdom was already set up, of which the miracles of Christ were a full proof; and if they could not discern these signs of the times, and evident appearances of the kingdom of God among them, they would never be able to make any observation of it, hereafter, or elsewhere.

Bengel's GnomenLuke 17:21.

Οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν, neither shall they say) viz. they who point out the kingdom. The verb put without the noun is consonant with this view. For the world does not recognise the messengers of the kingdom.—[ὧδε—ἐκεῖ, here—there) Here includes under it the notion of the present time; there, that of the future.—V. g.[187]]—ἰδοὺ γὰρ, for behold) Ye ought to turn your earnest attention to the fact: Then you will see that the kingdom of God is already within your reach. This true (well-grounded) Behold, is put in antithesis to the Behold [“Lo, here or there”] which is looked for without good ground.[188] For behold (ἰδοὺ γὰρ) does not belong to (stand under) ἘΡΟῦΣΙΝ, they shall say.—ἐντὸς, within) Ye ought not to look to times that are future, or places that are remote: for the kingdom of God is within you; even as the King Messiah is in the midst of you: John 1:26 [“There standeth one among you (μέσος ὑμῶν) whom ye know not”], Luke 12:35.

Matthew Poole's Commentary

The latter words of this verse seem fairly to admit of a double interpretation, as you here may signify the disciples of Christ, who had received Christ as their Lord, over whom he exercised a spiritual dominion and jurisdiction, or as it may respect the whole Jewish nation, amongst whom the kingdom of God was now exercised, by the preaching of the gospel, and the power of Christ put forth in the casting out devils, and other miraculous operations.

Geneva Study Bible

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is {c} within you.
(c) You look around for the Messiah as though he were absent, but he is amongst you in the midst of you.

The disciples knew that the kingdom was not within them, and that it had to appear as the following shows:

Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately (Luke 19:11).

Jesus confirmed this, as Luke records:

Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near (Luke 21:29-31).

Jesus clearly showed that the kingdom of God was something that would happen in the future when He taught:

"With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes" (Luke 22:15-18).

39 But one of those evildoers who were crucified with him was blaspheming him and he said, “If you are The Messiah, save yourself and save us also.” 40 And his companion rebuked him and he said to him, “Are you not even afraid of God? For you also are in condemnation with him. 41 And we justly so, because we are worthy, for we are repaid according to what we have done, but nothing evil has been done by this one.” 42 And he said to Yeshua, “My Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43But Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I say to you that today you shall be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43, Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

The kingdom did not come as soon as Jesus was crucified either as both Mark and Luke show us:

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage (Mark 15:43).

He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God (Luke 23:51).

After the resurrection, one will be born again in the kingdom of God as John records:

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5).

(More information on this subject can be found in the article Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)

After Jesus was resurrected, He again taught about the kingdom of God:

3 He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

Thus, apparently the first and and several of the last sermons that Jesus gave were about the kingdom of God.

Jesus also had the Apostle John write about the millennial kingdom that would be on the earth. Notice what He had John write:

4 I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).

Why, if the kingdom of God is so important, haven't most of you heard much about it? Because Jesus did not intend that most people would understand it in this age. He called it a mystery:

11 And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables (Mark 4:11).

Notice that Jesus said that the end will come (soon) AFTER the gospel of the kingdom is preached to all the world as a WITNESS:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

Thus, the true Christian church should be proclaiming that gospel now. This should be its top priority for the Church (a related article of interest may be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?). And this is what the Continuing Church of God strives to do.

It may be of interest to note that although most professing Christians seem oblivious to the notion that Christ's emphasis was on preaching "the gospel of the kingdom of God," secular theologians and historians have often understood that this is what the Bible actually teaches. A while back, I was listening to a CD lecture given by Professor Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina (a person that seems to be a non-believer as far as those in the Church of God or mainstream Christianity would define it) where he repeatedly stressed that Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God. And although his overall understanding of Christianity differs greatly from mine, we would agree that the gospel of the kingdom is what Jesus Himself proclaimed.

Now this is not to overlook the fact that the gospel does include salvation through Christ as the Bible clearly shows:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Romans 1:16).

Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them...But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized...So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip...Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:4,5,12,24,25,40).

18...he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18).

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him (Acts 28:30-31).

However, now that the preaching included Jesus AND the kingdom. Thus a proper understanding of the kingdom portion tends to be missing from Protestant and Catholic teachings.

Paul Taught the Kingdom

The Apostle Paul taught about the kingdom of God and Jesus:

8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8).

25 And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God (Acts 20:25).

23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening (Acts 28:23).

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him (Acts 28:30-31).

Notice that the kingdom of God is not just about Jesus (though He is a part of it), as Paul also taught about Jesus separately from what he taught about the kingdom of God.

Paul also called it the gospel of God, but that was still the gospel of the kingdom:

...we preached to you the gospel of God...that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:9,12).

Paul also called it the gospel of Christ, but it was not simply a gospel about the person of Jesus Christ (though He is certainly a major part of it), it included obeying Christ and His return and God's judgment:

God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

Paul taught that it is something that we shall receive, not that we now possess it in full:

28 we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).

We can grasp and look forward to being part of the kingdom of God now, but have not fully entered it.

Paul specifically confirmed that one does not fully enter the kingdom of God as a mortal human, but not until after the resurrection:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:50-52).

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1).

He not only taught that, but that Jesus would deliver the kingdom to God:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:20-25).

All enemies are not yet under His feet. The kingdom of God is not here yet.

He also taught that unrighteous (commandment breakers) will not inherit the kingdom of God:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God (Ephesians 5:5).

An article of related interest might be What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments?

The Apostle Paul warned:

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.  (Galatians 1:6-9)

4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted — you may well put up with it! (2 Corinthians 11:4)

What was the false gospel? In general, the false gospel is to believe that you do not have to obey God and try to live true His way while claiming to know God. The serpent beguiled Eve to fall for a version of it nearly 6000 years ago (Genesis 3)--humans have believed that they know better than God and should decide good and evil for themselves. Of yes, after Jesus came, His name was often attached to various false gospels--and this will continue into the time of the final Antichrist.

Now back in the Apostle Paul's time, the false gospel was essentially a Gnostic/Mystic version. Gnostics basically believed that special knowledge was what was needed to spiritual insight, including salvation. Gnostics tended to believe that what the flesh did was of no particular consequence and they were opposed to obeying God in matters like the seventh-day Sabbath. One such was Simon Magus, who was warned by the Apostle Peter (Acts 8:18-21). See also Comments on Galatians.

Perhaps it should be noted that Paul was not the only disciple who preached the kingdom of God:

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them...they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God... (Acts 8:5,12).

But its not Easy

But Jesus, Paul, and the disciples taught that it is not easy to enter the kingdom of God.

"How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For 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." And those who heard it said, "Who then can be saved?" But He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:24-27).

"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels (2 Thessalonians 1:3-7).

Peter Taught the Kingdom

Peter taught that the kingdom was everlasting, and that the gospel of God must be obeyed or there would be judgment:

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:10-11).

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17).

The Last Book of the Bible and the Kingdom

The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, also discusses the kingdom of God.

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15).

Jesus will reign in the kingdom! And the Bible reveals two of His titles:

And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16).

But is Jesus the only one who will reign? Notice this passage from Revelation:

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years...Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:4,6).

Thus, true Christians will be resurrected to reign with Christ for a thousand years! Because the kingdom will last forever (Revelation 11:15), but that reign mentioned was only one thousand years, this is why I referred to this earlier as the first phase of the kingdom--the physical, the millennial, phase.

A couple of events are listed in the Book of Revelation as occurring between these phases:

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea...Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-8, 11-15).

The Book of Revelation shows that there will be a later phase, after the thousand year reign and after the second death:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:1-4).

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).

Notice that this reign, which is after the thousand years, includes the servants of God and lasts forever. This is the beginning of the final phase of the kingdom of God.

The reason I refer to it as the beginning, is because Isaiah was inspired to write:

Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end (Isaiah 9:7).

This suggests, to me at least, that there will growth and other events that will continue to happen after the final phase of the kingdom of God has begun.

The Oldest Preserved Post-New Testament Writing & Sermon

The kingdom of God was mentioned in the oldest preserved non-New Testament writing and the oldest preserved sermon after the New Testament.

The oldest preserved apparently Christian writing (late first century) is the Letter to the Corinthians which states:

The Apostles for our sakes...went forth...preaching the gospel that the Kingdom of God was about to come (xlii).

Hence the early Christians understood that the apostles went forth to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God was also a significant part of what is believed to be "the oldest complete Christian sermon that has survived" (Holmes M.W. Ancient Christian Sermon. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004). This Ancient Christian Sermon contains these statements about it (verse below from Holmes):

5:5 Moreover you know, brothers, that our stay in the world of the flesh is insignificant and transitory, but the promise of Christ is great and marvelous: rest in the coming kingdom and life eternal.

The above statement shows that the kingdom is not now, but will come and be eternal. Furthermore, this ancient sermon states:

6:9 Now if even such righteous men as these are not able, by means of their own righteous deeds, to save their children, what assurance do we have of entering the kingdom of God if we fail to keep our baptism pure and undefiled? Or who will be our advocate, if we have not been found to have holy and righteous works?

9:6 Therefore let us love one another, that we all may enter into the kingdom of God.

11:7 Therefore, if we know what is right in God's sight, we will enter his kingdom and receive the promises which "ear has not heard nor eye seen nor eye seen nor the heart of man imagined."

12:1 Let us wait, therefore hour by hour for the kingdom of God in love and righteousness, since we know not the day of God's appearing.

The above statements show that we still have not entered the kingdom of God, and that it occurs after the day of God's appearing--that is after Jesus' returns again. This ancient sermon also states.

12:6 he says, the kingdom of my Father shall come.

The above statement shows that it is the Father's kingdom and it still has to come. The kingdom is not just Jesus.

It is interesting, to me at least, that the oldest apparently Christian sermon (it is possible that it could be COG, but my limited knowledge of Greek limits my ability to make a firmer declaration) that God has aloud to survive teaches the same kingdom of God that the New Testament taught and the genuine Church of God now teaches.

Second Century Church Leaders and the Gospel of the Kingdom

It should be noted that Papias, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp (and is considered to be a saint by Roman Catholics), in the early second century taught the kingdom. Eusebius recorded that Papias (an early 2nd century leader) taught:

…there will be a period of a thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth...(Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter XXIX, Verse 12, p. 69)

Here is another translation of the above:

... there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth (Fragments of Papias, VI. See also Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, XXXIX, 12).

Papias taught that it would be a time of great abundance:

In like manner, [He said] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear would have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that apples, and seeds, and grass would produce in similar proportions; and that all animals, feeding then only on the productions of the earth, would become peaceable and harmonious, and be in perfect subjection to man." [Testimony is borne to these things in writing by Papias, an ancient man, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp, in the fourth of his books; for five books were composed by him...] (Fragments of Papias, IV).

An anonymous document sometimes called I Clement states:

The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. (42:1-3).

Polycarp of Smyrna was an early Christian leader, who was a disciple of John, the last of the original apostles to die. Around the time of the above Ancient Sermon, Polycarp, around 120-135 A.D. taught:

"Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God" (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Knowing, then, that "God is not mocked," we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory ...For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since "every lust warreth against the spirit; " and "neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God," nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord (ibid, Chapter VI).

Thus like Paul and others in the New Testament, Polycarp taught that the righteous, not the commandment breakers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

The following was also claimed to have been taught by Polycarp:

And on the following sabbath he said; 'Hear ye my exhortation, beloved children of God. I adjured you when the bishops were present, and now again I exhort you all to walk decorously and worthily in the way of the Lord...Watch ye, and again Be ye ready, Let not your hearts be weighed down, the new commandment concerning love one towards another, His advent suddenly manifest as of rapid lightning, the great judgment by fire, the eternal life, His immortal kingdom. And all things whatsoever being taught of God ye know, when ye search the inspired Scriptures, engrave with the pen of the Holy Spirit on your hearts, that the commandments may abide in you indelible.' (Life of Polycarp, Chapter 24. (1889) from J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, pp. 488-506)

Melito of Sardis, who was a successor of Polycarp, around 170 A.D., taught:

For indeed the law issued in the gospel–the old in the new, both coming forth together from Zion and Jerusalem; and the commandment issued in grace, and the type in the finished product, and the lamb in the Son, and the sheep in a man, and the man in God...

But the gospel became the explanation of the law and its fulfillment, while the church became the storehouse of truth...

This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom (Melito. Homily On the Passover. Verses 7,40,68. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology ( 09/14/05).

Thus the kingdom of God is something eternal, and not simply the current Christian or Catholic church and includes God's law.

Another mid-late second century writing exhorts people to look to the kingdom:

Wherefore, let no one of you longer dissemble nor look backwards, but willingly approach to the Gospel of the kingdom of God (Roman Clement. Recognitions, Book X, Chapter XLV. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Furthermore, while it was probably not written by one in the true church, the mid-second century writing titled The Shepherd of Hermas in the translation by Roberts & Donaldson uses the expression "kingdom of God" fourteen times.

True, and even many only professing, Christians knew about the kingdom of God in the second century.

Even the heretic Irenaeus understood that after the resurrection, Christians would enter the kingdom of God. Notice what he wrote, c. 180:

For such is the state of those who have believed, since in them continually abides the Holy Spirit, who was given by Him in baptism, and is retained by the receiver, if he walks in truth and holiness and righteousness and patient endurance. For this soul has a resurrection in them that believe, the body receiving the soul again, and along with it, by the power of the Holy Spirit, being raised up and entering into the kingdom of God (Irenaeus, St., Bishop of Lyon. Translated from the Armenian by Armitage Robinson. The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, Chapter 42. Wells, Somerset, Oct. 1879. As published in SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO, 1920).

Problems in the Second and Third Centuries

In the second century, an anti-law leader named Marcion rose up who taught against the law, the Sabbath, and the literal kingdom of God. Although he was denounced by Polycarp and others, he had contact with the Church of Rome for quite some time and seemed to have influence there (for more details see Marcion: The First Protestant? and What is the Gospel?).

In the second and third centuries, allegorists were becoming established in Alexandria (Egypt). And they opposed the doctrine of the coming kingdom. Notice the report about Dionysius and the Allegorists:

Dionysius was born of a noble and wealthy pagan family in Alexandria, and was educated in their philosophy.  He left the pagan schools to become a pupil of Origen, whom he succeeded in the charge of the catechetical school of Alexandria…

Clement, Origen, and the Gnostic school were corrupting the doctrines of the holy oracles by their fanciful and allegorical interpretations…they obtained for themselves the name of “Allegorists.”  Nepos publicly combated the Allegorists, and maintained that there will be a reign of Christ on the earth…

Dionysius disputed with the followers of Nepos, and by his account…“such a state of things as now exists in the kingdom of God.” This is the first mention of the kingdom of God existing in the present state of the churches…

Nepos rebuked their error, showing that the kingdom of heaven is not allegorical, but is the literal coming kingdom of our Lord in the resurrection unto eternal life...

So the idea of the kingdom come in the present state of things was conceived and brought forth in the Gnostic school of Allegorists in Egypt, A.D. 200 to 250, a full century before the bishops of the empire came to be regarded as occupants of the throne…

Clement conceived the idea of the kingdom of God as a state of true mental knowledge of God.  Origen set it forth as a spiritual meaning hid in the plain letter of Scriptures (Ward, Henry Dana. The Gospel of the Kingdom: A Kingdom Not of this World; Not in this World; But to Come in the Heavenly Country, of the Resurrection from the Dead and of the Restitution of All Things. Published by Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1870. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Jul 18, 2006, pp. 124-125)

Thus, while Nepos taught the gospel of the kingdom of God (see also Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?), the allegorists tried to come up with a false, less literal, understanding of it. Apollinaris of Hierapolis tried to fight the errors of the allegorists about the same time.

Herbert W. Armstrong Taught the Gospel of the Kingdom, Plus

In his book titled The Mystery of the Ages, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Jesus went everywhere preaching the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD. He taught in parables about the KINGDOM OF GOD. He sent out seventy men preaching, and commanded them to preach THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Luke 10:9). He sent the apostles, on whom the Church of God was founded, to preach only THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Luke 9:1-2). After the resurrection, before ascending to heaven, Jesus taught his disciples about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

Isn't it amazing that the world has LOST the knowledge of what it is?

The apostle Paul preached THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Acts 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31)...

Because they rejected Christ's gospel 1,900 years ago, the world had to supplant something else in its place. They had to invent a counterfeit! So we have heard the kingdom of God spoken of as merely a pretty platitude--a nice sentiment in human hearts--reducing it to an ethereal, unreal NOTHING! Others have misrepresented that the "CHURCH" is the kingdom. Others confuse it with the millennium. Still others have, earlier in our century, claimed the British Empire is the kingdom of God. But no one makes that claim any longer. HOW DECEIVED CAN THIS WORLD GET? The prophet Daniel, who lived 600 years before Christ, knew that the kingdom of God was a real kingdom--a government ruling over literal PEOPLE on the earth...

Here, in PLAIN LANGUAGE, is God's explanation of what the KINGDOM OF GOD IS: "And in the days of these kings..."--it is here speaking of the ten toes, part of iron and part of brittle clay. This, by connecting the prophecy with Daniel 7, and Revelation 13 and 17, is referring to the new UNITED STATES OF EUROPE that is now forming, out of the European Common Market, before your very eyes! Revelation 17:12 makes plain the detail that it shall be a union of TEN KINGS OR KINGDOMS that (Rev. 17:8) shall resurrect the old ROMAN EMPIRE. So, mark carefully the time element! "In the days of these kings"--in the days of these then nations or groups of nations that shall, IN OUR TIME, resurrect briefly the Roman Empire--notice what shall happen: "...shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed...but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever"!

Yes, in OUR TIME!...

When Christ comes, he is coming as KING of kings, ruling the whole earth (Rev. 19:11-16); and HIS KINGDOM--the KINGDOM OF GOD--said Daniel, is to CONSUME all these worldly kingdoms. Revelation 11:15 states it in these words: "The kingdoms of this world are become THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD, AND OF HIS CHRIST: and he shall reign for ever and ever"! This is THE KINGDOM OF GOD. It is the END of present governments--yes, and even the United States and the British nations. They then shall become the kingdoms--the GOVERNMENTS--of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, then KING of kings over the entire earth. This makes completely PLAIN the fact that the KINGDOM OF GOD is a literal GOVERNMENT. Even as the Chaldean Empire was a KINGDOM--even as the Roman Empire was a KINGDOM--so the KINGDOM OF GOD is a government. It is to take over the GOVERNMENT of the NATIONS of the world. Jesus Christ was BORN to be a KING--a RULER!...

The same Jesus Christ who walked over the hills and valleys of the Holy Land and the streets of Jerusalem more than 1,900 years ago is coming again. He said he would come again. After he was crucified, God raised him from the dead after three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40; Acts 2:32; I Cor. 15:3-4). He ascended to the Throne of God. Headquarters of the Government of the Universe (Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; Rev. 3:21).
 He is the "nobleman" of the parable, who went to the Throne of God--the "far country"--to be coronated as King of kings over all nations, and then to return to earth (Luke 19:12-27).

Again, he is in heaven until the "times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:19-21). Restitution means restoring to a former state or condition. In this case, the restoring of God's government on earth, and thus, the restoring of world peace, and utopian conditions.

Present world turmoil, escalating wars and contentions will climax in world trouble so great that, unless God intervenes, no human flesh would be saved alive (Matt. 24:22). At its very climax when delay would result in blasting all life from off this planet, Jesus Christ will return. This time he is coming as divine God. He is coming in all the power and glory of the universe-ruling Creator. (Matt. 24:30; 25:31.) He is coming as "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16), to establish world super-government and rule all nations "with a rod of iron" (Rev. 19:15; 12:5)...

Christ is coming...

Christ Unwelcome?

But will humanity shout with joy, and welcome him in frenzied ecstasy and enthusiasm? Will even the churches of traditional Christianity?

 They will not! They will believe, because the false ministers of Satan (II Cor. 11:13-15) have deceived them, that he is the Antichrist. The churches and the nations will be angry at his coming (Rev. 11:15 with 11:18), and the military forces will actually attempt to fight him to destroy him (Rev. 17:14)!

The nations will be engaged in the climactic battle of the coming World War III, with the battlefront at Jerusalem (Zech. 14:1-2) and then Christ will return. In supernatural power he will "fight against those nations" that fight against him (verse 3). He will totally defeat them (Rev. 17:14)! "His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives," a very short distance to the east of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:4).

So, Jesus will return and He will win, even though many will claim (based upon improper understanding of Bible prophecy, but partially because of false prophets and mystics, see Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?) that Jesus is the final Antichrist.

The Bible teaches that "God is love" (1 John 4:8,16) and Jesus is God (John 1:1,14)--the kingdom of God will have a King who is love and whose laws support love.

The following is also from Herbert Armstrong's book The Mystery of the Ages:

True religion--God's truth empowered with the love of God imparted by the Holy Spirit...JOY UNSPEAKABLE of knowing God and Jesus Christ--of knowing TRUTH--and the warmth of God's divine LOVE!...

The teachings of God's true Church are simply those of "living by every word" of the Holy Bible...

Men shall turn from the way of "get" to the way of "give"--God's way of love.

A NEW CIVILIZATION shall now grip the earth!

The NEW CIVILIZATION is the Kingdom of God. Proclaiming that new civilization is to come and be based upon love is a major part of what the true gospel of the kingdom that Jesus and His followers taught is all about. And that is something that we in the Continuing Church of God preach as well.

Herbert Armstrong realized that Jesus was teaching that human society, even when it thinks it wants to obey, has rejected the give way of life, the way of love. Almost no one seems to properly grasp the signicance of what Jesus was teaching.

Now some who have read this far probably wonder about Jesus' death and role in salvation. Yes, that is part of the gospel that the New Testament and Herbert W. Armstrong both wrote about (for more information, please see What is the Gospel?). Actually, to help us become part of that kingdom, God loved humans so much that He sent Jesus to die for us (John 3:16-17).

The Gospel of the Kingdom is Something the World Needs, But...

But many world leaders, including Pope Francis, believe that  it will be international human cooperation that will bring peace and prosperity, and not the Kingdom of God.  And while they will have some temporal successes, they will not only not succeed, their human efforts will ultimately bring planet Earth to the point that it would make life unsustainable if Jesus did not return to establish His Kingdom. This is a false gospel.

Many in the world are trying to put together a semi-religious Babylonian international plan to put in a new world order in the 21st century. Notice something directly from the United Nations:

Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Preamble This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. ...

The Goals and targets will stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet:


We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.


We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.


We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.

Peace We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.


We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focussed in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people. The interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals are of crucial importance in ensuring that the purpose of the new Agenda is realised. If we realize our ambitions across the full extent of the Agenda, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better.



1. We, the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 25-27 September 2015 as the Organization celebrates its seventieth anniversary, have decided today on new global Sustainable Development Goals.

2. On behalf of the peoples we serve, we have adopted a historic decision on a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Goals and targets. We commit ourselves to working tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030. We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. We are committed to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner. We will also build upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seek to address their unfinished business.

3. We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.

4. As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. Recognizing that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, we wish to see the Goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.

5. This is an Agenda of unprecedented scope and significance. It is accepted by all countries and is applicable to all, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. These are universal goals and targets which involve the entire world, developed and developing countries alike. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development. ...

Sustainable Development Goals

10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard ...

We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to achieving this Agenda and utilizing it to the full to transform our world for the better by 2030. accessed 0904/15

While many consider that this is good news, this is a false gospel. Of course, it will fail. Even the UN declared above that its earlier "Millennium Development Goals" did not succeed. The difference now is that we have seen changes in the world as well as a pontiff who is more directly involved in endorsing this. As far as Pope Francis goes, he basically laid much of this out in his encyclical titled Laudato Si.

When you consider that 'new universal agenda' could also be called the 'new CATHOLIC agenda' this may increase the potential enormity of its impact to those who pay attention to biblical prophecy. 


The word 'catholic' means 'universal.'

According to the Bible, it will take a combination of a military leader in Europe (called the King of the North, also called the Beast of Revelation 13:1-10) along with a religious leader (called the false prophet, also called THE Antichrist and the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:11-17) from the city of seven hills (Revelation 17:9,18) to bring in a Babylonian (Revelation 17 & 18) 'new world order.' This is something that the Continuing Church of God has denounced since its inception and plans to continue to denounce. Since the Satan beguiled Eve to fall for a version of his gospel nearly 6000 years ago (Genesis 3), humans have believed that they know better than God what will make them and the world better.

Although humankind needs the return of Christ and the establishment of His kingdom, many in the world will not pay attention to this message in the 21st century--they will continue to believe various versions of Satan's false gospel. But the world will receive a witness.

Recall that Jesus taught:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

Notice that the gospel of the kingdom will reach the world as a witness, then the end will come.

There are several reasons for this.

One is that God wants the world to hear the true gospel before the start of the Great Tribulation (which is shown to start in Matthew 24:21). Hence the gospel message is both a witness and a warning (cf. Ezekiel 3; Amos 3:7).

Another is that the gist of the message will be contrary to the views of the rising Beast, King of the North power, along with the False Prophet, the final Antichrist. They will basically promise peace through human effort, but it will lead to the end (Matthew 24:14) and destruction (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Because of signs and lying wonders associated with them (2 Thessalonians 2:9), the world will chose to believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) instead of the gospel message. Because of improper condemnations of the millennial kingdom of God by the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and others, many will wrongly claim that the message of the millennial gospel of the kingdom of God is the false gospel associated with Antichrist. Notice that the stage has already being set for this:

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

The faithful Philadelphians (Revelation 3:7-13) will be proclaiming the millennial gospel of the kingdom as well as telling the world what certain worldly leaders (including the Beast and False Prophet) will be up to. They will support telling the world the message that the Beast, King of the North power, along with the False Prophet, the final Antichrist, will ultimately destroy (along with some of their allies) the USA and the Anglo-nations of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (Daniel 11:39). That they will shortly thereafter destroy an Arabic/Islamic confederation (Daniel 11:40-43), function as instruments of the demons (Revelation 16:13-14), and will fight Jesus Christ upon His return (Revelation 16:14;19:19-20). The faithful Philadelphians (Revelation 3:7-13) will be announcing that the millennial kingdom will be coming soon.

And these leaders (likely some 'new' type of top leader of Europe along with some type of pontiff) will not like that--they will not want the world to learn what they will really do (and may not even believe it themselves at first, cf. Isaiah 10:5-7). They and/or their supporters will also likely falsely teach that the faithful Philadelphians will be espousing a doctrine (millenarianism) of a coming antichrist. Whatever condemnations that they and/or their followers make towards the Philadelphian faithful and the Continuing Church of God will trigger persecution (Daniel 11:29-35, Revelation 12:13-15; see also Persecutions by Church and State). This will also lead to the end--the start of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 11:39; cf. Matthew 24:15; Daniel 11:31) as well as a time of protection for the faithful Philadelphia Christians (Revelation 3:10;12:14-16; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

The Beast and False Prophet will try force, economic blackmail, signs, lying wonders, murder, and other pressures (Revelation 13:10-17,16:14; Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10) to have control.

Yet, Jesus will return and the millennial kingdom of God will be established on the earth. God and the faithful Christians will win.

If Jesus did not intervene, the world would have annihilated all life:

21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21-22)

29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

The kingdom of God, and not false promises from world leaders is what the world needs.

Ambassadors for the Kingdom

What is your role in the Kingdom?

Right now, you are to be ambassadors for it. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:14-20)

What is an ambassador? Merriam-Webster has the following definition:

:  an official envoy; especially :  a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment
a :  an authorized representative or messenger

If you are a real Christian, you are an authorized, official envoy, for Christ!

Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

As Christians, we are to be part of a holy nation. What nation is now holy? Well, certainly none of the kingdoms of this world--but they ultimately will be part of Christ's kingdom (Revelation 11:15). It is God's nation, His kingdom that is holy.

As ambassadors, we do not normally engage in the direct politics of the nations of this world. But we are to live God's way of life now. By doing so, we better learn why God's ways are best, so that in His kingdom we can be kings and priests and reign with Christ:

5 To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)

10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

One future aspect of that will be teaching those who are mortal then to walk in God's ways:

19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem;
You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.
20 And though the Lord gives you
The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
But your eyes shall see your teachers.
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
"This is the way, walk in it,"
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:19-21)

And while that is a prophecy for the millennial kingdom, in this age Christians need to be prepared to teach:

12 ... by this time you ought to be teachers (Hebrews 5:12)

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15, KJV).

And many of the more faithful Christians will, just before the start of the Great Tribulation, instruct many:

33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many (Daniel 11:33)

So, learning now, growing in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), is something we should being now. Part of your role in the kingdom of God is to be able to teach. And for the more faithful, Philadelphian Christians (Revelation 3:7-13), this will include an important witness prior to the start of the millennial kingdom (cf. Matthew 24:14).

After the Kingdom is established, the people of God will be used to help restore a damaged planet:

12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In (Isaiah 58:12)

Thus, the people of God will make it easier for people to dwell in cities (and elsewhere) during this time of restoration. The world will truly be a better place. We should be ambassadors for Christ now, so we can also serve in His Kingdom.

Concluding Comments

The kingdom of God is a literal kingdom that will be established on the earth. It will be based on the loving laws of God and a loving God as leader. This kingdom will include those truly in the Church of God, but no scripture states that the kingdom of God is actually the Church (Catholic or otherwise). The Church of Rome has opposed the millennial teaching, and its modified version will more powerfully oppose it as we get closer to the end.

In its initial phase, the saints will reign with Christ for a thousand years over the nations. In its final phase, it will include the "New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" and of its increase there will be no end. There will be no more unrighteousness, no more sorrow, and no more death.

Preaching and understanding the gospel of the kingdom of God is an important theme of the Bible. Old Testament writers taught about it. Jesus, Paul, and John taught about it. The oldest Christian sermon to survive outside the New Testament taught about it. Early second century Christian leaders, like Polycarp and Melito, taught about it. We in the Continuing Church of God teach it (see also the YouTube sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom).

Recall that the kingdom of God is the first subject that the Bible shows Jesus preached about. It was also what He preached about after the resurrection. The gospel is not just about the life and death of Jesus (though as scripture and early writings show, He is a major part of it), the emphasis of the gospel that Jesus and His followers taught was the coming kingdom of God. The gospel of the kingdom includes salvation through Christ, but it also does include the teaching of the end of human governments.

Furthermore, Jesus taught that the end would not come until after the gospel of the kingdom was preached to the world as a witness to all the nations (Matthew 24:14); and various ones will not want to hear or believe it. Yet, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God is an important subject. This is something that we in the Continuing Church of God are serious about (see also Preaching the Gospel and The Final Phase of the Work).

A free online booklet on the Gospel of the Kingdom which goes over more information is also available: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Those who would like to can watch the YouTube sermons, which are at the ContinuingCOG channel, titled: The Gospel of the Kingdom and Why Teach the Kingdom of God?

Another article of possible interest might be Did The Early Church Millenarianism? This article explains some of what the kingdom of God will be like.

B. Thiel, Ph.D. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church. (c) 2006/2007/2008/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016 0610

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