The Kingdom of God is the spiritual/earthly realm over which God (Jesus Christ) reigns as King of the entire earth. The phrase occurs 70 times in the New Testament, primarily by Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus taught his disciples and the Jewish people extensively about this kingdom.
Another name for this realm is the Kingdom of Heaven, used exclusively by Matthew in his Gospel account. He mentioned the Kingdom of Heaven 33 times and the Kingdom of God four times. It is possible that since each of the four Gospels was targeting a different audience, Matthew’s Gospel (to the Jews) used this phrasing to impose a more practical meaning to the term.
“The Jews didn’t like saying or writing the true name of God. In the Tanakh, YHVH is the personal name of God. This is the ineffable name of the God of Israel. Because it is composed from the four Hebrew letters Yod, Hey, Vav, and Hey, it is also referred to as the “Tetragrammation,” which simply means “the four letters.” Https://hebrew4christians.com
Later in time, vowels were added to the name and it became known as Yahweh. Yahweh is most likely an incorrect transliteration since there is no “w” sound in Hebrew. For this reason, Matthew chose to call it the Kingdom of Heaven instead. Basically, it means the same thing – the God of the Universe.
The Kingdom of God consists of two phases. First is the body of believers who are in the world but not of it. It was established at the first coming. Here is how gotquestions.org describes this first phase.
“The Kingdom of God is a spiritual rule over the hearts and lives of those who willingly submit to God’s authority. Those who defy God’s authority and refuse to submit to Him are not part of the Kingdom of God; in contrast, those who acknowledge the lordship of Christ and gladly surrender to God’s rule in their hearts are part of the Kingdom of God. In this sense, the Kingdom of God is spiritual. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36), and he preached that repentance is necessary to be a part of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17). That the Kingdom of God can be equated with the sphere of salvation is evident in John 3:5-7, where Jesus says the Kingdom of God must be entered into by being born again.”
The second phase of the Kingdom of God is the one we call the Millennium, where the Lord comes back to assume authority over all the world. Daniel, the great prophet of God, described it this way:
“And in the days of those kings the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people (other than Israel). It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). Jesus will rule and reign over his kingdom from Jerusalem. The prophet Habakkuk described life during the Millennium. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). Zechariah also described the Lord’s future rule. “And the Lord (Jesus Christ) will be King over the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and His name one” (Zechariah 14:9).
“Scholarly opinion is divided on the question as to whether Jesus taught that the kingdom had actually arrived during his lifetime. Possibly he recognized in his ministry the signs of its imminence, but he nevertheless looked to the future for its arrival “with power.” He may well have regarded his own death as the providential condition of its full establishment.” (Britannica.com)
Regarding the actual starting point (calendar date) of the first phase of the Kingdom of God, there are two theories. The first theory is that it began with the death and resurrection of Jesus in AD 33. After Jesus’ resurrection, he spent 40 more days on the earth before ascending back to heaven and the Father. During this time, He spoke often with his apostles of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Ten days later, on the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus’ disciples and the Church was born. Many scholars believe the spiritual Kingdom of God began at this time.
The second theory is that the Kingdom of God started when Jesus began his ministry in the fall of AD 29. Jesus said that his miracles were evidence that the Kingdom of God had come upon the Jews. “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). Another fascinating scripture is found in Luke 9:27 when Jesus was talking with his disciples concerning his upcoming death.
“But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Kingdom of God.” Eight days later, Jesus took Peter, John, and James with him onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lighting. got a taste of the future Kingdom of God when Jesus was transfigured in glorious form before them. He was seen talking with Moses and Elijah (who also were in a glorious form) regarding his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-31).
So, you might be asking yourself, “What difference does it make when the Kingdom of God began?” I believe Hosea 6:2-3 is a prophetic passage regarding the return of Jesus Christ to establish his Millennium Kingdom. “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in His presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, and like the spring rains that water the earth.” Peter said that a day to the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. (2 Peter 3:8).
Therefore, if the Lord returns 2,000 years from the start of the Kingdom of God, it definitely matters when the kingdom began. It either began in AD 33 at Jesus’ death or it began in AD 29 during his ministry. In part IV of In the Midst, I gave a hypothetical example of the timeline for the 7-year Tribulation, with Jesus returning to the earth in 2033. In 2033, it will be 2,000 years since Jesus was last on the earth. If you believe the Kingdom of God began in AD 33, then 2033 could possibly be the year of Jesus’ second coming.
However, if you believe that AD 29 is the beginning year for the Kingdom of God, then 2029 could be the year for Jesus’ return to the earth. Personally, I believe the latter theory has more merit due to several facts as I outlined them in part III of In the Midst. Let’s review them briefly: Israel will turn 74 years old in the year 2022. If the Antichrist confirms the covenant with the many (e.g., the government of Israel) this year, it will start the Tribulation. So, let’s speculate that the fall of 2022 is the start of the Tribulation. The spring of 2026 is the mid-point (in the midst) of the Tribulation, and the fall of 2029 is the end of the 7-year Tribulation.
Why is the number 74 significant? I believe it is relevant in the fact that the Antichrist’s name is equivalent to the number 666. Remember, the Antichrist starts the Tribulation when he confirms the covenant with Israel. The Antichrist’s number, 666, is the product of two relevant numbers, 74 and 9. In this example, the number 74 represents Israel because, as mentioned before, the modern Jewish nation will be 74 years old in 2022. The number 9 represents divine completeness, finality, and judgment in the Bible, especially for Israel. These two facts will confirm that he is the Antichrist for all those left behind after the Rapture, which will most likely happen a few years before the peace treaty is made (confirmed or made stronger) with Israel.
Another interesting phenomenon regarding these years (2022 – 2029) is that they mirror the years of the early 1st century. We are currently in the same solar calendar cycle as when Jesus walked the earth. The following table starts with the mirror years of AD 2020 and AD 27 and ends with the mirror years of AD 2029 and AD 36. The dates given are for the full moon of Passover – Nisan 14 on the Jewish calendar. Notice how the Gregorian dates of the 1st century and the 21st century align within a day or two except for the years the intercalary months are added to the Jewish calendar.
AD 2020 – April 7 AD 27 – April 6 Jesus the carpenter
AD 2021 – March 26 AD 28 – March 26 Jesus the carpenter
AD 2022 – April 14 AD 29 – April 13 Fall of 29 -Jesus starts his 3.5-year ministry
AD 2023 – April 4 AD 30 – April 2 1st year ministry
AD 2024 – April 21 AD 31 – March 23 2nd year ministry
AD 2025 – April 11 AD 32 – April 11 3rd year ministry
AD 2026 – March 31 AD 33 – March 31 Spring of 33 -Jesus crucified; start of Church
AD 2027 – April 20 AD 34 – March 19 Church
AD 2028 – April 9 AD 35 – April 8 Church
AD 2029 – March 29 AD 36 – March 27 Church
The theory is that the 3.5 years of Jesus’ ministry (29-33) will align with the first part of the Tribulation (2022-2026), starting with the confirming of the covenant with the many (2022) and ending with the abomination of desolation (2026). Jesus’ death was also an abomination. As Jesus rode humbly into Jerusalem on a donkey as the king of the Jews, the Antichrist will presumably do likewise, only on a white horse and definitely not humble. Both will die in Jerusalem and both are resurrected back to life: Jesus in 33 and the Antichrist in 2026. Both events will be on the same day of the year for both the Gregorian and Jewish calendars
The second half of Jesus’s seven-year ministry, which was cut short by the crucifixion, could coincide with the second half of the Tribulation. This is why we see the declaration of it by the angel in Revelation 12 at the midpoint of the 70th Week when the Antichrist is assassinated and then re-incarnated by Satan himself and God’s wrath ramps up to unbearable levels.
“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time’” (Revelation 12:10-12).
In this hypothetical timeline, the 2nd coming of Jesus on Trumpets (Tishri 1) in the year 2029 on the 9th day of the 9th month will align on the same day (Gregorian and Jewish calendar) as it did in AD 36, which was the 3rd year of the newly formed Church of Jesus Christ.
By all standards, the year 2020 has been a terrible year. Perhaps God is warning the earth that judgment is coming. 9 is the number for divine completeness, finality, and judgment, especially for Israel. In 9 years, on 9-9-2029 (Trumpets), Jesus could possibly return to the earth at the Battle of Armageddon and defeat the Antichrist and his followers. He will then begin the Kingdom of Jesus Christ /God and His saints (Jewish and Gentile believers), which will last for 1,000 years and unto eternity. For the unbeliever, though, it will be a different story.
“There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God. And, behold, those that are last shall be first, and those that are first shall be last” (Luke 14:28-30).
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.