Jesus Announces God’s Kingdom

MEMORY VERSE: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” —Matthew 4:17

MATTHEW 4:12-17, 23-26; 9:35-38

WHAT is the kingdom of heaven? It is the kingdom which the God of heaven had for centuries been promising through his holy prophets. One of those promises, which we believe is even now being fulfilled, is Daniel 2:44, which reads, “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

“The days of these kings,” we understand, is the time in which we are now living. The setting-up process of God’s kingdom is first of all resulting in the destruction of the kingdoms or governments of this world, and this accounts for the half-century of chaos through which the world has already passed. When the kingdom of God is fully established, and functioning, it will be as a great mountain which will fill the whole earth.—Dan. 2:35

This kingdom of heaven, established by the authority and power of the God of heaven, is more than merely a righteous influence which will pervade the earth. It is to be a real government. The Prophet Isaiah, writing concerning the birth of Jesus, said, “The government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isa. 9:6); that is, to use a more modern expression, he will shoulder the responsibility for the successful functioning of this kingdom, and its bestowal of those blessings upon the people which God has promised.

In this government, as in all governments, there will be the rulers, and under these rulers there will be the subjects. Primarily, Jesus will be the great King, and he will have associated with him all those who have followed him faithfully in the way of sacrifice even unto death. (Rev. 20:4,6; II Tim. 2:11,12) These rulers will be spirit beings, and thus invisible to man, but they will have human representatives. These will be the saints of God who lived and died prior to our Lord’s first advent.

The subjects of the kingdom will be the whole world of mankind. These will receive the blessings of the kingdom—those blessings which the holy prophets of God foretold—the blessings of peace, joy, health, and everlasting human life for all who then accept Christ as their Redeemer, and who obey the laws of the kingdom.

To the prospective spiritual rulers in the kingdom Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) Concerning the human representatives of the kingdom, he said that the people would come from all parts of the world to learn from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets.

Much of Jesus’ message was directed toward those whom he knew would be subjects in his kingdom, so he illustrated the blessings of that glorious time of the kingdom by healing all manner of diseases, and also by raising the dead, for this is what the rulership of the kingdom will accomplish for the people when it becomes operative for the blessing of “all families of the earth.”

This kingdom will continue until all sickness and death are destroyed. (I Cor. 15:25,26) A more detailed assurance of this is given in Revelation 21:4, where we are informed that “there shall be no more death,” and that all tears will be wiped from the faces of the people. I will “make all things new,” the Lord promised. (Rev. 21:5) What a reassuring prospect this is, and shall we not continue to pray for that kingdom!

Jesus announced that the kingdom of heaven was at hand in his day. This was true in the sense that the King had then come and had begun to prepare for that kingdom. One of the main works of preparation was the giving up of his life to redeem his future subjects from death. And as a matter of fact it is the merit of his shed blood that makes us acceptable to the Father while we are following Jesus into death, that we might live and reign with him in his kingdom. Let us continue to pre eh the Gospel of the kingdom!


What is the Gospel of the kingdom?

Who are the rulers in this kingdom, and who are the subjects?

What blessings will the people receive through this kingdom?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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