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The Persecuted Church


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Is the Kingdom the Church?

The Kingdom is not the church! The Church and the Kingdom are not the same. There are several distinctions between the church and the Kingdom. The terms “church” and “kingdom” are never used interchangeably in Scripture. Of the 114 occurrences of the word “church” (Gr. “Ekklesia”), it is never used with the Kingdom (ibid.). Ekklessia means the assembly of saints, the people are the church.

While it is clear that the apostles preached the Kingdom of God (Acts 8:12; 19:8; 28:23), one cannot substitute the church for the Kingdom in those passages, which is what they would have to do if the kingdom was the church. However, there is a relationship. The church is made up of those who are born anew and submit to Christ’s rulership in their lives and thereby accept the offer of His Kingdom.

2 Peter 1:10-11 “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Here Peter explains that we still will enter this kingdom by growing in the characteristics of faith.

Jesus taught the people to seek the kingdom of God first and all his righteousness - We are to seek Christ, his nature and ways, He is our righteousness.

“kingdom” is the word is Basileia in Greek, which denotes “sovereignty, royal power, and dominion. It further denotes the territory or people over whom a King rules.” (From Vine’s Expository Dictionary, p. 344) Thus, “kingdom” is a designation both of power and the form of government as well as, especially in the later writers, the territory and the rule - the Kingship and the Kingdom. Hence, the basic meaning of kingdom involves three things - a ruler, a people who are ruled, and a territory over which they are ruled. (Moody Handbook of Theology p. 352)

We enter the spiritual kingdom through Christ by the new birth, a spiritual birth. The Kingdom is Gods rule, which brings into subjection those held captive in the Kingdom of Satan. Christ delivers them from darkness into light. But there is a literal future Kingdom to come. There is a spiritual aspect to the Kingdom now, which is God's rule in the heart of every believer. This is an invisible spiritual kingdom. Jesus explains in many places that the kingdom will come to earth, when He comes back He will physically be present to rule, it will one day be physical. And will affect everyone on earth, not just the church, or the saints. It is a literal kingdom, a messianic rulership from Jesus that can ONLY commence from His Second Coming. He will be physically present to rule from the land of Israel for 1,000 years and the saints will co-reign with Him. This is the “true kingdom of God” on earth that we are to be patiently waiting for. The kingdom that He told us to pray to come. the literal kingdom is eschatological - it comes at the end of the age. At this time, Christ will come with all of His glory and set up His governmental rule over the earth. There is no literal kingdom without a king being present.

Mark 9:1 is used to prove the Kingdom has already commenced, but a closer look at the whole passage shows Christ revealing His glory to His closest disciples, showing what it will be like in the future by Moses and Elijah appearing. Peter volunteers to build tabernacles for them, making the mistake of believing that the Kingdom had permanently arrived. Jesus corrects Peter and shows him that it is not the time for the Kingdom to be set up.

Luke 17:20-21, in this passage Jesus is stating that the Kingdom is within you (meaning in there midst among you). It was the Pharisees that asked the question of when the Kingdom would come. Surely Jesus is not saying the Kingdom is within them! He Himself is the Kingdom, and wherever the King is present, there is the Kingdom. Jesus then describes the future event of how quickly the Kingdom will come. It does not come with observation, pointing to His second advent and judgment.

As far as a literal kingdom for today is concerned, Paul spoke of this Kingdom in a future tense (1 Cor. 6:9; 15:50; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5). 2 Peter 1:10-11 also speaks of the Kingdom in a future tense.

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