The Kingdom of God
Kingdoms have a ruler, a realm and a reign. God created Adam and Eve to rule over the birds of the sky, the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea. Under the Sovereign rule of God, Adam and Eve’s descendants were to have dominion over the earth. But Satan deceived Eve and Adam sinned. Satan became the rebel holder of authority, the prince of this world. He would rule through his hierarchy of demons who would blind the mind of the unbelieving (2 Corinthians 4:4), and deceive and lead astray the hearts and minds of all mankind. Satan is portrayed as possessing all the kingdoms of this world (Luke 4:6). When the devil offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world in exchange for His worship, Jesus never corrected his claim nor did He succumb to the temptation.
Scripture clearly presents God as the King of kings and Lord of Lords of the universe. God sits on His throne (Ezekiel 1:26-28) where He is surrounded by the heavenly host who serve Him (1 Kings 22:19), and He watches over the whole earth (Psalm 33:13f). God is the eternal King (Psalm 145:13) who overcomes the forces of chaos and disorder symbolized by the flood and the sea (Pss. 29:10; 93:1-4). His reign is characterized by power and glory (Psalm 145:11f), but also by truth and righteousness (Ps. 96:13). God alone is the judge of this world (Psalm 96:10).
The kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are essentially synonymous. The apostles expected that the kingdom of God would be established through the nation of Israel (Acts 1:6). John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles announced to Israel that the kingdom was at hand. However, the leadership of Israel rejected Jesus as their King. As a result, the kingdom of heaven in its earthly manifested form was postponed until the Second Advent of Christ. Some Bible scholars see the Second Coming of Christ as the beginning of a millennial reign when the Kingdom of God will be fully established on earth. The final judgment will come after the millennium.
Satan may be the prince of this world, but he has been judged and now stands condemned (John 16:11). That is one reason why Paul could boldly and without hindrance preach the kingdom of God. The full manifestation of God’s kingdom on earth is yet future, but that does not mean that God is not King, and that He is not ruling. On earth, His realm consists of His children who are charged to fulfill the great commission. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Satan knows his end is coming and he will do all he can to impede the progress of the gospel.
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