*Unless it is particularly stated, the Bible translation used in this article is the New International Version.
The kingdom of God (kingdom of heaven) was very important for Jesus, John the Baptist and the apostles. The kingdom of God was so essential that it was the main subject of their sermons. To proclaim the kingdom of God was even one of the main reasons why Jesus came to earth.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” (Matthew 3:1-2)
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:14-15)
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” (Matthew 4:17)
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (Luke 4:42-43)
“But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)
“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:30-31)
“Kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven” is where God lives and reigns. The kingdom of God is God’s heavenly government. This is where God is the king. He had not to be elected like a human president that must be voted by a parliament. He is not dependent on humans or angels. In His kingdom, He is worshiped as the sole king.
“The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)
“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8)
“The Lord reigns for ever and ever.” (Exodus 15:18)
God expanded His heavenly kingdom and established His territory on earth. Everything belongs to Him: the land, the air, the waters, the animals, the plants, even humans belong to God. And humans actually possess nothing; they can only borrow everything from God, the king. Since everything belongs to the king, He is therefore responsible for the protection and care of his property.
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:25-27, 31, 32)
In the kingdom of God, the king’s culture which is the nature of God and His personality prevail. God is love. And where love rules, there is also freedom. This culture of voluntary and unconditional love is reflected in His Law. Therefore, the law of the kingdom of God is the law of love and freedom. God is not an arbitrary king. He gives people the freedom to reject or to accept Him as the king and His law. There is no punishment for the rejection, for God is a humble king and does not compel. However, in case of refusal, one leaves the kingdom of God with all its blessings. And, if at the end of his life he does not return to God, he will also lose the eternal life.
“Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts…. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:89-94, 105)
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:36-40)
“Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! … I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” (Hosea 14:1, 4)
“The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. … Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold.” (Psalm 119:72, 127)
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)
“‘This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’” (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.” (James 2:8-12)
Like any other kingdom, the kingdom of God has citizens. The citizens of the kingdom of God are those who accept God as the king and His law. They allow God to rule over themselves as a king, and they obey Him voluntarily and out of love. They are children of God and call the king “father”. Since they are the children of God, they have the godly nature in themselves: they are selfless, loving and serve each other deliberately.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. … But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-31, 35-36)
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-18, 22-25)
Because the kingdom of God was so important for Jesus, we also proclaim this kingdom of God.