Learning Activity 56

┬áThe Issue of God’s Kingdom

 

Throughout my years of being a Christian I have been exposed to a number of views on God’s kingdom. It is my purpose in this Learning Activity to portray what I see the Scriptures to say on this subject.

As we begin our study we will quickly observe that the Bible refers to the kingdom by two different expressions. In the New Testament we will find “the kingdom of heaven” and also the appearance of the “kingdom of God.” Additionally we will find that in the gospel of Matthew, Matthew uses “the kingdom of heaven,” while Luke likes “the kingdom of God.” Most Bible experts are in agreement that Matthew uses the kingdom of heaven for two reasons. We know that Matthew primarily wrote his gospel for a Jewish audience and Matthew wanted to use language acceptable to that audience. Secondly, the Jewish audience was sensitive to mentioning what they considered to be the sacred name of God. We can conclude for these reasons that the two expressions, kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God are both references to one and the same kingdom but we should add some additional support for this truth.

Let us consider the two following passages.

1. Matthew 5:3 _______________________________

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2. Luke 6:20 _________________________________

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3. What biblical event is being described in both of the passages in #1 and #2 above? ________________________________

4. Why do you think in one passage the event uses “the kingdom of heaven” while in the other, which is describing the same identical event, uses “the kingdom of God? _____________________

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5. Matthew 8:11 _______________________________

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6. Luke 13:28, 29 ______________________________

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7. What differences do you see in the passages in #5 and #6 above?

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From the passages above it is obvious we are reading about the same events and one and the same kingdom but with different words being used because of the intended original audience.

But the word kingdom also appears in the Old Testament.

8. Daniel 4:17, 25, 32 ___________________________

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9. Daniel 5:21 _______________________________

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10. Daniel 6:26 ______________________________

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Take note however, that in the passages in #8, #9, and #10, that the text is actually referring to a kingdom of man BUT the text clearly states that in each of the passages “God rules in the kingdom of men.” This is significant because it denotes the Old Covenant and the New Covenant have a significant difference. The Old Covenant kingdoms mentioned are present in the physical realm where later in the Scripture the New Covenant references to the kingdom have all the characteristics of a spiritual kingdom! This is as we would have expected because in the Old Covenant the physical realm is in play where in the New Covenant the kingdom cannot be contacted in the physical realm but rather only in the spiritual realm.

11. Luke 17: 20, 21 ____________________________

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12. What did Jesus say about the kingdom in the verse above?___

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13. John 18:36 ______________________________

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14. What did Jesus tell us about His kingdom in the verse above?

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15. Romans 14:7 ____________________________

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16. What does the apostle Paul tell us about the kingdom in the verse above? __________________________________

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Click on Self-Check below to check your answers.

Self-Check

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