112. THE SYNONYMOUS EXPRESSIONS
For a true understanding of the new Testament, it is essential that
the "Word of Truth" should be "rightly divided" (2Tim. 2:15) as to the
various usages of the word "kingdom" in all the different combinations
and contexts in which we find it.
Each has its own peculiar and particular sense, which must not be confused
As to the word basileia, it denotes sovereignty, which
requires the actual presence of a sovereign, or king. There
can be no kingdom apart from a king. We all know of countries which
were once "kingdoms" but are now "republics", for the simple but sufficient
reason that they have no "king", but are governed by the "public", which
The countries remain the same, have the same peoples, the same cities,
the same mountains and rivers, but they are no longer
The common practice of taking the Kingdom as meaning the Church (See
Ap. 113), has been the source of incalculable misunderstanding; and not
"trying the things that differ" (Phil. 1:10, see note there) has led to
great confusion in the interpretation of the whole of the New Testament.
The following definitions may help towards a clearer view of many important
- "The Kingdom of Heaven". The word "heaven"
is generally in this connection in the plural, "of (or from) the heavens".
For the difference between the use of the singular and plural of this word,
see the notes on Matt. 6:9, 10. This expression is used only
in the Gospel of Matthew, as being specially in harmony with the purpose
of that Gospel. See notes on pp. 1304-5, and Ap. 114.
It is the dispensational term; and is used sometimes of the Messiah's
Kingdom on earth, and sometimes of the heavenly sovereignty over
the earth. It is not from or out of (Gr.
ek, Ap. 104. vii)
"this world" (Gr. kosmos Ap. 129. 1). This sovereignty comes
from heaven, because the King is to come from thence (John 18:36).
It was to this end He was born, and this was the first subject of His ministry
(see Ap. 119). That Kingdom (Matt. 4:17, &c.) was rejected, as
was also the further proclamation of it in Acts 3:19-26 (according to the
prophetic parable of Matt. 22:2-7). Thenceforth the earthly
realization of this Kingdom was postponed, and is now in abeyance until
the King shall be sent from heaven (Acts 3:20). The "secrets" of
this Kingdom (Matt. 13:11) pertained to the postponement of its earthly
realization, on account of its being rejected.
- "The Kingdom of God" is the sovereignty of God, which
is moral and universal. It existed from the beginning, and will know
no end. It is over all, and embraces all. See Ap. 114.
- "The Kingdom of the Father". (Matt. 13:43) is
not universal, but has regard to relationship, and "a heavenly
calling" (Heb. 3:1), and to the heavenly sphere of the Kingdom, in its
relation to the earthly. It is sovereignty exercised toward obedient
sons, when the Son of man shall have gathered out of His Kingdom "all things
that offend" (Matt. 13:41). Cp. Dan. 7:25-27. Matt. 25:31-46.
Luke 20:34-36. The way of entrance into this may be seen in John
3:3. It is going on now concurrently with No. 5.
- "The Kingdom of the Son of man". (Matt. 16:28).
This aspect of "the Kingdom of heaven" has regard to Israel on earth
(cp. Dan. 7:13, 14, 18, 21, 22), as distinct from the "sons" who, as partakers
of "a heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1), will possess the heavenly sphere as
sons of the resurrection (Luke 20:34-36. Cp. 1Cor. 15:23. Rev.
20:4-6). These two spheres are distinct, though they ar
No. 3 concerns "the saints of the most high [places]" (Dan. 7:18, 24).
No. 4 concerns "the people of the saints of the most high".
These have their portion in "the Kingdom
under the whole heaven",
which has regard to earthly sovereignty, in which "all dominions shall
serve and obey Him" (Dan. 7:27).
These two would have had their realization even then, had Israel repented
at the summons of the Lord, and of "them that heard Him" in Acts 3:19-26.
In that case the later revelation of the "Mystery" (or the great secret)
which with its exanastasis and its "heavenward Call" (Phil. 3:11,
14), was hidden in God, would have remained in the keeping of the
Father's Divine sovereignty.
- "The Kingdom of His dear Son". Gr. the Kingdom
of the Son of His love, or of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13), has regard to
quite another sphere, above all heavens, and refers to the sovereignty
of God's beloved Son as made the "Head over all things to His
which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:10,
20-23). See also Eph. 5:5.
This sovereignty had been "kept secret" (Rom. 16:25), "hid in God (Eph.
3:9), "hid from ages and from generations" (Col. 1:25); but after the Kingdom
(No. 4) proclaimed by the Lord and by "them that heard Him" (Heb. 2:4)
had been postponed, it was revealed and "made known" (Eph. 3) for the "obedience
of faith" (Rom. 16:26). The subjects of this Divine sovereignty,
on their believing this subsequent revelation, are "sealed" (or designated)
for their inheritance, which is to be enjoyed with Christ (Eph. 1:13).
This relates to the position of those who come under that sovereignty.
- "The Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ". (2Pet. 1:11). This has regard to No. 5, but was
then future (not having been revealed when Peter wrote); but it relates
to the outward display of His sovereignty in millennial glory; while
No. 5 relates to the inward position and experimental enjoyment
of it in present grace.
- "The Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (or Messiah).
(Rev. 11:15). This has regard to the end of the present time of abeyance
of Nos. 3 and 4, and the millennial manifestation of both by Divine power,
and in glory. See also Rev. 12:10.
At the end of the thousand years, No. 1, and perhaps others of
them will cease, and be absorbed in the Kingdom of God (No. 2).
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