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The Kingdom of God
Interpretations of the Kingdom of God

Dennis Bratcher

(see also Views of the Time Frame of the Book of Revelation)

Interpretations   Biblical References: Kingdom of God   Biblical References: Kingdom of Heaven

Here in brief outline are summarized the three major ways of understanding to what the New Testament references to "the kingdom of God" and "The Kingdom of heaven" refer. Included below are the New Testament verses that refer to these phrases.

Interpretations

I. Kingdom of God is a future sate of bliss = Heaven

A. at the end of human history
B. God's people live by an interim ethic
C. often associated with pre-millennialism

II. Kingdom of God is only a present reality

A. in the hearts of people
B. society regenerated by God’s people
C. often associated with post-millennialism

III. Kingdom of God is already present, but not yet fully realized

A. both present and future
B. first coming showed what God is like
C. second coming will restore all of creation
D. God's people live the ethics of the future Kingdom now
E. not directly tied to specific millennial theories

Biblical References: Kingdom of God (67)

Matthew 6:33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, And all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

Matthew 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 21:31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you."

Matthew 21:43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.

Mark 1:15 And saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

Mark 4:11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables;"

Mark 4:26 He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,"

Mark 4:30 He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?"

Mark 9:1 And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

Mark 9:47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell,

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs."

Mark 10:15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.

Mark 10:23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

Mark 10:24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!"

Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Mark 14:25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.  

Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Luke 4:43 But he said to them, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose."

Luke 6:20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

Luke 8:1 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,

Luke 8:10 He said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that 'looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.'"

Luke 9:2 And he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Luke 9:11 When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.

Luke 9:27 But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

Luke 9:60 But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow andLooks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

Luke 10:9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'

Luke 10:11 Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.

Luke 11:20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

Luke 13:18 He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?"

Luke 13:20 And again he said, "To what should I compare the kingdom of God?"

Luke 13:28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out.

Luke 13:29 Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God.

Luke 14:15 One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, "Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!"

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, And everyone tries to enter it by force.

Luke 17:20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;

Luke 17:20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;"

Luke 17:21 "nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you."

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called for them and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs."

Luke 18:17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."

Luke 18:24 Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

Luke 18:25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:29 And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,"

Luke 19:11 As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

Luke 21:31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

Luke 22:16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.

Luke 23:51 had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit."

Acts 1:3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 14:22 There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, "It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God."

Acts 19:8 He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Acts 28:23 After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.

Acts 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, Male prostitutes, sodomites,

1 Corinthians 6:10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers--none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 15:50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Galatians 5:21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Colossians 4:11 And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.

2 Thessalonians 1:5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.

Biblical References: Kingdom of Heaven (32)

Matthew 3:2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19 (2) Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

Matthew 8:11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,

Matthew 10:7 As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'

Matthew 11:11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matthew 13:11 He answered, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

Matthew 13:24 He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;

Matthew 13:31 He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;

Matthew 13:33 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."

Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

Matthew 13:45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;"

Matthew 13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;"

Matthew 13:52 And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

Matthew 18:3 and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 18:4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 18:23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves."

Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

Matthew 19:14 but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."

Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard."

Matthew 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son."

Matthew 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them."

Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

Biblical verses are from the The New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989,
Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

-Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2013, Dennis Bratcher, All Rights Reserved
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