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Why is the kingdom of God important?

By Emily Glasner, M46 Staff Writer

God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He is everywhere, always. However, because of sin, His kingdom is not yet everywhere. As the kingdom of heaven spreads, the kingdom of God is established. So, why is the kingdom of God important? Let’s dive in.

The Kingdom of God is Fulfillment of Prophecy

To be saved into God’s kingdom is to embrace God’s comprehensive rule over every aspect of life… It means a new life, a new identity, and a new kingdom. (Jeremy Treat, 2019)

The Book of Matthew in the Gospels follows the story of Jesus’s birth until His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. John the Baptist is a key player in the opening of the story. He fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight’” (Matthew 3:3, ESV). 

John fulfills this prophecy by “preaching in the wilderness of Judea ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 3:1). Many respond to his preaching by traveling to the wilderness to be baptized and confess their sins

The Gospel accounts use the phrase “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” to define this message. The Bible Says commentary explains,

Matthew most often uses the expression “kingdom of heaven” to communicate with his Jewish readers (Matthew 4:17), while Mark and Luke use the term “kingdom of God” as they communicate Jesus’s message to their Greek and Roman audiences (Mark 1:15; Luke 4:43). (2023) 

In the Matthew account, John the Baptist eventually baptizes Jesus. Jesus then withdraws to the desert where He flawlessly resists every attempt by Satan to derail Him. Afterward, Matthew reports, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17). Jeremy Treat, Ph.D. and adjunct professor of theology at Biola University, writes, 

The number-one thing Jesus talked about is the kingdom of God. It’s everywhere in the Gospels and impossible to miss… we need to make sure we know what it means… The kingdom is God’s reign through God’s people over God’s place. (2019)

The Kingdom of God is Jesus’s Key Message

The kingdom of heaven was the key message of the preparer of the promised Messiah and the Messiah Himself. This should make the reader of the Gospels recognize the importance of the kingdom. Darrell L. Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, writes in his article “The Kingdom of God in New Testament Theology: The Battle, The Christ, The Spirit-Bearer, and Returning Son of Man”: 

The Kingdom’s coming now means the defeat of Satan, the forgiveness of God, and the indwelling enablement of the Spirit. And yet, the Kingdom comes one day through the returning Son of Man to vindicate the saints and render God just and His promises true. Then Satan and evil will be removed. (2004)

The Kingdom of God Brings Hope

Believers in Jesus can live in the hope that we are participating in an amazing redemption plan enacted and working. Following Jesus’s initial recorded preaching of the kingdom, in Matthew 5, we are introduced to The Sermon on the Mount, which illustrates the importance to Jesus of things like a pure heart, peacemaking, and mercy (vv. 2-10). Specifically, we read His teaching, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (v. 3). 

Jesus wants His followers to understand how to enter into God’s incredible, life-giving kingdom. He makes a considerable effort to communicate the roadmap of living life within and for this kingdom’s establishment. Treat continues by explaining, “The Bible is a rescue story, not about God rescuing sinners from a broken creation but about him rescuing them for a new creation” (2019). 

Because of this, we should continue to follow Christ’s example and obey His commands in Scripture to establish the kingdom of God on earth.

The Kingdom of God is Our Promise as Believers

In the life of the believer in Jesus, the kingdom must be pursued before other goals with the promise that other things will eventually be given. The Lord’s Prayer opens on this crucial theme of God’s coming kingdom (Matthew 6:10). In the kingdom, “God’s reign begins in the human heart, but it will one day extend to the ends of the earth… The message of the kingdom is not an escape from earth to heaven but God’s reign coming from heaven to earth” (2019). 

Understanding one of Jesus’s most important messages can help believers walk in the ways He desires. Faithful followers of Jesus should heed His instruction, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). 

 


Resources

Bock, D. L. (August 16, 2004). The Kingdom of God in New Testament Theology:  The Battle, The Christ, The Spirit-Bearer, and Returning Son of Man | Bible.org. https://bible.org/article/kingdom-god-new-testament-theology-battle-christ-spirit-bearer-and-returning-son-man.

Says, B. (2023, October 20). The Kingdom of Heaven vs the Kingdom of God. TheBibleSays.com. https://thebiblesays.com/tough-topics/the-kingdom-of-heaven-vs-the-kingdom-of-god/

Treat, J. (2019, May 21). The Kingdom of God in 8 Words. The Gospel Coalition. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/kingdom-god-8-words/.


 

Want to learn more about the kingdom of God? Check out The Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Part 1) and The Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Part 2)