What Is God’s Kingdom?
WHAT was the theme of Jesus’ preaching? According to Jesus himself, it was God’s Kingdom. (Luke 4:43) When people listened to him speak, they surely heard many references to that Kingdom. Were they puzzled or mystified? Did they ask him what this Kingdom was? No. The Gospels record no such questions. So was God’s Kingdom a familiar concept to those people?
The fact is, the ancient Scriptures that the Jews revered as holy described that Kingdom, revealing in vivid and concrete terms what it is and what it will accomplish. Today, we can learn even more about the Kingdom in much the same way—by going to the Bible. Let us consider seven truths that the Bible teaches us about the Kingdom. The first three were readily available to the Jews of Jesus’ day and earlier. The next three were revealed by Christ or by his apostles during the first century. The last one has become apparent in our own time.
1. God’s Kingdom is a real government, one that will last forever. The Bible’s first prophecy revealed that God would send a rescuer to faithful mankind. Called the “seed,” this One would undo the terrible ills that were set in motion by the rebellion of Adam, Eve, and Satan. (Genesis 3:15) Much later, faithful King David was told something thrilling about this “seed,” or Messiah. He would rule over a Kingdom. This government would differ from all others. It would endure forever.—2 Samuel 7:12-14.
2. God’s Kingdom will put an end to all human governments. The prophet Daniel was given a vision in which he saw a succession of world powers, stretching down through history into our own time. Notice the thrilling climax to that vision: “In the days of those [final human] kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” So all the kingdoms, or governments, of this world—with their wars, oppression, and corruption—will be destroyed forever. As Daniel’s prophecy shows, God’s Kingdom will soon rule over the whole earth. (Daniel 2:44, 45) A concrete reality, it will remain the only government in existence. *
3. God’s Kingdom will end wars, sickness, famine, even death itself. Thrilling Bible prophecies reveal what God’s Kingdom will do here on the earth. That government will accomplish what no human agencies have ever done or could ever do. Imagine—all weapons of war destroyed forever! “He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.” (Psalm 46:9) No more doctors, hospitals, or disease of any kind. “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24) No more famines, food shortages, malnutrition, or starvation. “There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth.” (Psalm 72:16) No more funerals, wakes, cemeteries, morgues, or the misery that accompanies them. Death, our relentless enemy, will be vanquished at last. God “will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8.
4. God’s Kingdom has a Ruler chosen by God. The Messiah is not self-appointed, nor is he selected by imperfect humans. He is personally chosen by Jehovah God. The very titles Messiah and Christ suggest as much. Both words mean “Anointed One.” So this King is anointed, or designated for his special office, by Jehovah. God says of him: “Look! My servant, on whom I keep fast hold! My chosen one, whom my soul has approved! I have put my spirit in him. Justice to the nations is what he will bring forth.” (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 12:17, 18) Who knows better than our Creator what kind of Ruler we need?
5. The Ruler of God’s Kingdom has demonstrated his worthiness before all mankind. Jesus of Nazareth proved to be the foretold Messiah. He was born in the family line God had specified. (Genesis 22:18; 1 Chronicles 17:11; Matthew 1:1) When on earth, he fulfilled scores of prophecies about the Messiah that were recorded centuries earlier. He was also identified from heaven as the Messiah. How so? Well, God spoke from heaven, identifying him as His own Son; angels pointed Jesus out as the foretold Messiah; and Jesus performed miracles—often in front of hundreds or even thousands of eyewitnesses—that clearly drew on the power of God. * Jesus showed over and over again what kind of Ruler he would be. He had not only the power to help people but the desire as well. (Matthew 8:1-3) He was unselfish, compassionate, courageous, and humble. The record of his life on earth is there in the Bible for all to read.
6. God’s Kingdom has 144,000 corulers with the Christ. Jesus said that others, including his apostles, would rule in heaven with him. He called this group the “little flock.” (Luke 12:32) Later, the apostle John was told that this little flock would total 144,000 in number. They would have a thrilling work assignment in heaven, ruling as kings and serving as priests along with Christ.—Revelation 5:9, 10; 14:1, 3.
7. God’s Kingdom, now ruling in heaven, is poised to establish its rule over the whole earth. This last truth is one of the most thrilling we can learn. The Bible gives ample evidence that Jesus has been granted his authority as King in heaven. He is ruling there now, in our own time, and very soon he will extend his rule to all the earth and fulfill the magnificent prophecies we have already mentioned. But how can we be sure that God’s Kingdom is ruling now? And when will it begin to rule over the earth?
^ par. 5 Such prophecies as this one show that God’s Kingdom is not something within our heart, as many have been taught. See the article “Our Readers Ask,” on page 13.