The Bible does indeed speak of God’s Kingdom in different ways. But as we will see, there is no contradiction, nor are there separate or distinct Kingdoms.
Let us note several examples where the Bible speaks of the Kingdom of GOD:
In Mark 10:15, 25 we read that we must receive and enter the Kingdom of GOD. Mark 14:25 quotes Christ saying that He will drink wine in the kingdom of GOD. He states in Luke 4:43 that He came to preach the kingdom of GOD. He adds in Luke 6:20 that the poor are blessed because theirs is the kingdom of GOD.
In Luke 7:28 He explains that everyone who will be in the Kingdom of GOD will be greater than any human being, including John the Baptist. (Human beings—flesh and blood—cannot inherit the kingdom of GOD, compare 1 Corinthians 15:50. As long as they are flesh and blood , they cannot enter it. They must be changed, compare verses 51-54. They must be born of water and Spirit, to be able to enter the kingdom of GOD, compare John 3:5. As long as they are not born of the Spirit, they are flesh (verse 6), and unless born again, they cannot see the kingdom of GOD (verse 3)).
We are also warned, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of GOD. In Luke 13:28-29, Christ speaks of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets sitting in the kingdom of GOD.
Let us note additional examples where the Bible speaks of the Kingdom of CHRIST:
In Luke 1:32-33 we read that of Christ’s kingdom there will be no end. We read in Colossians 1:13 that the Father has translated us into (that is, He has brought us under the dominion of) the kingdom of the Son. 2 Timothy 4:1, 18 speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom. 2 Peter 1:11 says that an abundant entrance will be supplied to us into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We also read that it is God the FATHER’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). Matthew 26:29 adds that Christ will drink wine again with the disciples in His Father’s kingdom. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 states that we should have a walk worthy of God the Father (compare 1 Thessalonians 1:1) who calls us into His own kingdom and glory. Luke 22:29-30 says that Christ will bestow on the apostles a kingdom, just as the Father bestowed one upon Him, that they may eat and drink at His table in His kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Ephesians 5:5 makes also very clear that the kingdom is the kingdom of God and of Christ: “… no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Finally, we read in 1 Corinthians 15:24, 28, “Then comes the end, when He [Christ] delivers the kingdom to GOD THE FATHER, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power… then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
So how are we to understand these statements? What IS the Kingdom of God? And how are we to enter or inherit it?
God IS a Family, consisting of God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is not a third member of the God Family, but it is the power and the mind of God proceeding from both the Father and the Son. This shows, then, that both the Father and the Son are God.
It is accepted by most professing Christians that the Father is God. In our Q&A on the divinity of the Father, we wrote this:
“After His resurrection, [Christ] told Mary: ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to MY GOD and your God’ (John 20:17). In Ephesians 1:17, Paul refers to the Father as the ‘GOD of our Lord Jesus Christ.’… Several decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find a statement that was recorded by John, an apostle of Jesus Christ: ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which GOD GAVE HIM to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John’ (Revelation 1:1)…”
However, there are quite a few who debate the concept that the Son, Jesus Christ, is God, even though the Bible is very clear on this point.
In our Q&A on the subject that Jesus Christ is God, we wrote the following:
“… notice Titus 2:11–14: ‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our GREAT GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.'”…
“John 1:18 tells us: ‘No one has ever seen God [the Father]. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known’ (New Revised Standard Version). Notice the rendering of this passage in the New American Bible: ‘No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.’ Similar rendering is also used in the Luther Bible: ‘No one has seen God at any time; the only Begotten, WHO IS GOD and who is in the Father’s bosom, has revealed Him to us.’ The Elberfelder Bible comments in an annotation that many old and good sources render the phrase, ‘the only-begotten Son,’ as ‘the only-begotten GOD.’ …
“Additionally, Romans 9:5 refers to Jesus Christ as ‘the eternally blessed God.’… Hebrews 1:8 refers to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as ‘God’… [In] Isaiah 9:6-7 [we read about Christ]: ‘For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God…'”
After His resurrection, doubting Thomas identified Jesus as his God (John 20:28). Indeed, Jesus Christ identified Himself several times in the New Testament as the “I am”– the Eternal or Ever-living One (John 8:58). HE was the God of the Old Testament, dealing directly with the people, speaking to them and even manifesting Himself to them. It had to be Christ who did this, because He Himself said that no one has ever seen the form of “God” (the Father) or heard the voice of God (the Father). (Compare John 1:18; 5:37; 6:46; 1 John 4:12).
The Jews thought that they worshipped the Father, erroneously thinking that He was the God of the Old Testament. That is why we read that Christ came to REVEAL the Father to them (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22). The Jews thought they knew the Father, not realizing that the God of the Old Testament was Jesus Christ—not God the Father. And they rejected the fact that Christ was Immanuel—“God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Having established that both the Father and Christ are God, let us now focus on what the gospel of the Kingdom of God is. In an editorial, “Preaching the True Gospel,” in Update 463, we stated the following:
“There is only ONE gospel (Galatians 1:6-9)–and it is mostly called the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23; 24:14; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 8:1; 9:2). It is also referred to as the gospel OF Christ (Mark 1:1; Romans 1:9, 16; compare 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8)–not just ABOUT Christ. It is also identified as the gospel OF God the Father (Romans 1:1).
“God the Father is the Originator and Owner of the Gospel. He entrusted it to Christ to preach it here on earth. It is God’s and Christ’s gospel which the Church is to proclaim today. Notice, it is not called the gospel ABOUT Christ or not even ABOUT God the Father; nor is it called the gospel ABOUT the Kingdom of God. Rather, it is described as the gospel OF God; OF Christ; and OF the Kingdom of God.
“The differences are wide-ranging. The gospel message is a message FROM God TO man–it is FOR man. It includes the truth about God, about Christ, and about the Kingdom of God, but it is more encompassing than that. It shows man how he can ENTER the Kingdom of God…
“The Kingdom of God is the Family of God. God IS a RULING Family! The God Family–the God Kingdom–consists today, as it always did, of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. Both the Father and the Son are GOD. They ARE the Kingdom or Family of God. Converted Christians are NOT YET in the Kingdom or Family of God. They are Spirit-begotten children of God, to be BORN into the Kingdom of God at the time of Christ’s return to this earth. Then, they too will be IN the Kingdom of God–the Family of GOD. Then, they will BE God.
“In order to be IN the Kingdom of God, one must BE God. Man is NOT yet in the Kingdom–he is not yet God, because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. But it is man’s destiny to enter into eternal life–into the Kingdom of God; to become a member of the Kingdom or RULING Family of God.
“When we preach the gospel OF the Kingdom of God, we preach the message which belongs to and originates with the KINGDOM of God–the Family of God. The everlasting or eternal gospel is the message OF God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. It is the message OF the Kingdom of God.”
Now it should have become clear why we read about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of the Father, and the Kingdom of Christ. God is a Family, consisting of the Father and the Son. God is a Kingdom, which also includes government and rule. Both the Father and the Son are God… members of the Kingdom of God. It is a heavenly Kingdom. God the Father and Jesus Christ—the Kingdom of God—are ruling in and from heaven. But it will also be established on earth when Christ returns. The Kingdom of God—the Family of God—will BE and rule on earth—first through Christ, and later through the Father as well, when He comes to live on the new earth (Revelation 21:1-4).
The Bible teaches us very dogmatically that God IS a ruling Family, and that we can become born-again members of His Family—His Kingdom. We read in John 1:1 that Jesus Christ–the Word or Logos or Son of God–was “WITH” God since all eternity, and He also “WAS” God. The difficulty in understanding this fact may be easily resolved when we recognize that the word “God” is a NAME that can refer to both the Father and the Son. It is, in fact, a FAMILY name. Ephesians 3:14–15 confirms this truth, telling us that it is “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole FAMILY in heaven and earth is NAMED.” Note, too, how the New International Version renders Hebrews 2:11: “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy ARE of the same FAMILY.” In addition, the German Menge Bible includes in the annotation to Ephesians 2:19 that the term “household of God” means “members of the FAMILY of God” (in German, “Mitglieder der Gottesfamilie”).
There is only ONE Kingdom of God—one RULE. God the Father and Jesus Christ are not divided, but totally unified. They are “ONE.” It is the Kingdom of the Father—the HIGHEST in the Godhead—and of the Son, because both are God, forming the Kingdom of God. To say it differently, the Kingdom or Family of God is composed of the Father and the Son. The Kingdom of God is a hierarchy, with God the Father on top and Jesus Christ under Him. But it is the great potential of man to become part of the God Kingdom and God Family—to become God, UNDER the Father and Christ, to enter and inherit the Kingdom of God as born-again immortal members and sons and daughters of God and His everlasting ruling Family.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link