This article is part of a five-part study series on God’s Kingdoms as revealed to us in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) using the keyword “kingdom” as our guide.
Below are the keys to the three Kingdoms we will be assessing – with a brief definition of each – as outlined for us in the Scriptures. Thorough and expanding definitions of each Kingdom will be enhanced as we move along in our study.
Two Kingdoms are linked: The Salvation Kingdom will eventually culminate in the Eternal Kingdom. The Millennial Kingdom is for Israel and her Messiah, fulfilling God’s precious promises to His chosen people made throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament).
God’s Kingdoms Series
God’s Kingdoms – Part 2 – Matthew
God’s Kingdoms – Part 3 – Luke
God’s Kingdoms – Part 4 – Acts Through Revelation
God’s Kingdoms – Part 5 – Summary and Conclusion
Salvation Kingdom – From personal salvation, to being in heaven with Christ, through the Second Coming, the gathering of Israel, and preparation for the Millennial Kingdom.
Millennial Kingdom – The 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth.
Eternal Kingdom – The Everlasting Kingdom – that follows the Millennial Kingdom of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment – with a New Heaven and a New Earth.
All-Encompassing Kingdom – Inclusive of the three Kingdoms above, from personal salvation through to the Eternal Kingdom.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Context: Matthew 3:1-12.
Analysis: Though John does warn of the coming judgment and the need for salvation – especially to the Pharisees – the context of the “kingdom of heaven” being at hand is that of the Salvation Kingdom being initiated and consummated through the coming work of Messiah.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”
Context: Matthew 4:1-25.
Parallel Passage: Mark 1:14 where “kingdom of heaven” is rendered “kingdom of God.”
Analysis: The statement in Matthew 4:17 follows the temptation of Christ and a rendering of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2. “The gospel of the kingdom” in Matthew 4:23 speaks of the healing ministry of Jesus and salvation only through Him.
On both counts, the “kingdom of heaven” and “the gospel of the kingdom” is clearly the Salvation Kingdom found in the work of Messiah.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Context: Matthew 5:1-48.
Parallel Passage: Luke 6:20 where “kingdom of heaven” is rendered “kingdom of God.”
Analysis: Matthew 5 is the Sermon on the Mount and is intended solely for those who would come into the “kingdom of heaven” – the Salvation Kingdom – through Jesus Christ.
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven… And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Context: Matthew 6:4-15.
Parallel Passage: Luke 11:2.
Analysis: These passages come from Christ’s teaching on prayer and what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. This model prayer is directed to the Father and His Kingdom – “thy kingdom come” and “thine is the kingdom” – and the Eternal Kingdom is the only kingdom that will result in God making His abode with redeemed man on the new earth (Revelation 21:1-4), where heaven will finally be realized on earth.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Context: Matthew 6:16-34.
Parallel Passage: Luke 12:31.
Analysis: As the Sermon on the Mount continues, Christ proceeds to teach those who would put their faith and trust in Him what God expects of them.
The “kingdom of God,” as given here, is a kingdom that God prepares in His people’s hearts through faith in His Son. The Salvation Kingdom, therefore, primes His children in this life for future service in the other kingdoms, yet future.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Context: Matthew 7:1-21.
Analysis: The “kingdom of heaven” in this verse follows Christ’s teaching on hypocrisy, seeking God, the Golden Rule, the straight and narrow gate, the fruits of men (both good and bad), and culminates in the truth that many who claim to know Jesus will not enter the “kingdom of heaven” – the Salvation Kingdom – as they are false converts.
Immediately after, Messiah teaches on these false converts’ objections at the Great White Throne Judgment, which will happen just before the new heavens and the new earth is created for the Eternal Kingdom.
This verse is clearly a teaching on the Salvation Kingdom and those false converts who had deceived themselves, and thus will not enter in.
“And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Context: Matthew 8:1-12.
Similar Parallel Passage: Luke 13:23-30 where “kingdom of heaven” is rendered “kingdom of God.” Though the occasions and contexts are different in the Matthew and Luke accounts, the overall message is the same.
Analysis: The contextual setup of this passage is the remarkable faith of the Gentile Centurion that believed Messiah Jesus could heal his servant from afar. Just before Christ says what He did in Matthew 8:11-12, above, we read:
“When Jesus heard it [the faith of the Centurion], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
Here is the Greek to English Text Analysis of Matthew 8:11-12:
“I say now to you that many from east and west will come, and will recline with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens; the however sons of the kingdom will be cast out, into the darkness the outer, there will be the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth.”
Because Jesus is focused on faith – which always results in “the kingdom of heaven” as being the Salvation Kingdom because of this faith – we should observe that when “many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” this could very well, in specific, be an allusion to The Marriage Supper of The Lamb in heaven where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the other Old Testament Saints will be present with the bride of Christ.
But, in general, the teaching is that people from every nation, language, tribe, and tongue will be present in the “kingdom of heaven” and sitting down together in Paradise even before the resurrection/rapture of the bride of Christ. The Salvation Kingdom is a family kingdom in heaven for all those saved by grace through faith in Messiah Yeshua, and our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
Finally, the Salvation Kingdom will culminate in the Eternal Kingdom where we all will sit together in the “kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven” and dwell with God on the new earth, under a new heaven, in the New Jerusalem.
Here is how I suggest we breakdown the passage of the KJV [with my commentary]:
“And I say unto you, That many [those who put their faith and trust in Jesus] shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” [Jesus led captivity captive (Instantly Changed and Caught Up), including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when He took Paradise to heaven after His resurrection, and, since then, when a believer dies, they go to be with the Lord in Paradise in heaven where all Saints are awaiting their resurrections in their proper order]. But the children of the kingdom [the people of Israel, as the future Millennial Kingdom is for the children of Israel] shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [Those Israelites that lack faith and reject Yeshua as Messiah and Savior will at death go to hell/hades awaiting, ultimately, to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment along with all other unbelievers of every age and sent into the Lake of Fire just before the Eternal Kingdom commences.]
- Note: In Matthew 13:38, Jesus also uses the phrase “children of the kingdom,” and there, it is applied unmistakably to those who enter the Salvation Kingdom. Therefore, it is not necessary to consider this phrase exclusively as a Messianic Kingdom axiom. As always, context determines its application.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4-6
Just as the church – positionally before death and literally after death – sits in heavenly places, so too are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sitting in the kingdom of heaven with Jesus right now as they await their resurrection in their proper order!
The faith the Centurion had in Yeshua as healing Messiah – resulting in acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior – along with the faith of all of those who will accept Him in the future, is the foundational context of the passage. Considering the faith of the Centurion, and the lack of faith that Jesus often found in Israel, the contrast is made between the “children of the kingdom” (Israel) and those that will come from the east and the west (the Gentile nations, as the Centurion was, and as the church predominantly is).
The message quite simply is a warning to the “children of the kingdom” (Israel) that all people must enter into the Salvation Kingdom through faith in the person and work of Messiah, just as the Gentile Centurion exhibited through his faith in Yeshua as Lord and Savior.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
Analysis: Clearly, the “gospel of the kingdom” is the Salvation Kingdom.
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Context: The sending of the twelve disciples to preach in Israel.
Parallel Passage: Luke 9:2, where “kingdom of heaven” is rendered “kingdom of God.”
Analysis: The “kingdom of heaven,” being at hand, is the Salvation Kingdom Christ preached to the people.
“Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Context: Christ’s teaching on John the Baptist.
Parallel Passage: Luke 7:28, where “kingdom of heaven” is rendered “kingdom of God.”
Analysis: Even though John was the greatest man (excluding Christ, of course) up to that time and did an amazing job of paving the way for the Messiah, those Christians that would later follow John into the kingdom of heaven would have wonderful results due to the soon-coming indwelling Holy Spirit and completed Word of God.
This is the Salvation Kingdom.
“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
Context: Matthew 12:22-37.
Parallel Passage: Luke 11:20.
Analysis: This was when some of the people accused Jesus of casting out demonic spirits by the power of “Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Christ, as He said, cast out devils by “the Spirit of God” and that, therefore, “the kingdom of God” had come upon them.
Messiah Yeshua, by coming to earth, healing people, casting out demons, performing miracles, and preaching the “kingdom of God,” was initiating the Salvation Kingdom in their presence.
“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given…
“When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side…
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field…
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field…
“Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened…
“The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one… Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear…
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field…
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls…
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind…
“Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”
Context: Parables of the Kingdom, often referred to as the “kingdom of heaven.”
Analysis: All of these parables have personal salvation implications throughout the ages, most specifically the church age – which is the Salvation Kingdom – culminating in the Eternal Kingdom when “the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43), when they will dwell with God in the New Jerusalem, on a new earth, under a new heaven forever!
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Context: Matthew 16:13-20.
Analysis: This is when Christ asked His disciples who they thought He was, and His teaching on the church that He would build upon Peter’s confession of faith. Clearly, this is the Salvation Kingdom.
“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
Context: Preparation for the vision on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Analysis: This statement of Christ alludes to the coming Transfiguration on the Mount when the three disciples would see Him in His glory (Matthew 17:1-8).
This vision seems to be an allusion to how Christ, Moses, and Elijah appear in the Salvation Kingdom in heaven, and was a glimpse of Christ’s soon-coming glorification (Revelation 1:14).
“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Analysis: The “kingdom of heaven” that Christ revealed to His disciples – that they should be converted as little children if they desired to enter – is the Salvation Kingdom.
“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.”
Context: Matthew 18:23-35.
Analysis: This parable of the Wicked Servant – as with most of Christ’s parables – reveals truths concerning the Salvation Kingdom.
“For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”
Context: Matthew 19:1-12.
Analysis: This statement comes from Christ’s teaching on marriage and divorce.
There would be some that – in absolute gratitude, thankfulness, and love for the Lord who purchased them will His precious blood on the cross – would be willing to become eunuchs in order to further the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and to grow the Salvation Kingdom in total surrender to God and a fervent desire not to satisfy the flesh in any way.
“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.”
Analysis: The blessing of the children, their relationship to Jesus, and one coming to faith in Him as a child point the hearer toward the Salvation Kingdom.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Context: The Rich Young Ruler.
Analysis: Up to this point, the Salvation Kingdom is in view.
Additional thought: Immediately after this teaching, Peter had a question for the Lord and our Lord’s response to His disciples, as Jews, absolutely regarded their future roles in the Millennial Kingdom!
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” – Matthew 19:27-28
Then, our Lord’s attention goes once again to the Salvation Kingdom and everlasting life, which will culminate in the Eternal Kingdom.
“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” – Matthew 19:29
With this in mind, the entire passage does capture all of God’s Kingdoms and can ultimately be considered the All-Encompassing Kingdom.
The “kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven,” though, is clearly the Salvation Kingdom.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.”
Context: Matthew 20:1- 16. The Parable of the Laborers.
Analysis: As with most parables, this is the Salvation Kingdom.
“Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”
Context: The request of the mother of John and James. Matthew 20:20-28.
Analysis: The request seemed to be that of which the Jews clearly looked forward to – the Millennial Kingdom.
At first glance, though, it appears difficult to know exactly which kingdom Christ was referring to. Because He said that these positions were prepared by the Father, it seems pretty obvious that He was referring to the Salvation Kingdom, as the Millennial Kingdom is Messiah’s, and He will oversee the affairs on earth at that time.
Christ also asked if they were able to drink of the cup that He was to drink of, indicating His sacrificial death for the sins of the world, which would result in those being admitted into the Salvation Kingdom.
A further reason to believe that Christ was referring to the Salvation Kingdom is that the other disciples were very incensed of the request by the brothers and their mother. Christ went on to say:
“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:27-28
In Mark 10:35-45 we see the same event, though it was the brothers themselves who inquired of Jesus. This only means that the brothers and the mother were all involved in the request. But it is interesting to note that James and John asked:
“… Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” – Mark 10:37
Christ’s glory was clearly seen by John himself when he was in the Spirit and began to receive the book of Revelation from the Lord (Revelation 1:10-18). Later, when he visited heaven, John saw Jesus as a Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5:6). And later, still, he saw the glory of Yeshua in heaven as He prepared to depart to earth for His Second Coming (Revelation 19:11-12).
Given the context of Messiah’s sacrifice for sins, the declaration to the disciples to be servants of all, and the glory that Christ would have in heaven with His Father once again, I do not think there is much doubt that Christ’s response was that of sitting on His left hand and right hand in glory in front of the Father in the Salvation Kingdom in heaven, even though the question from the brothers and their mother was concerning the Millennial Kingdom which Israel had always been looking forward to.
“Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”
Context: Matthew 21:23-32.
Analysis: This parable was for the Pharisees and their refusal to go into the “kingdom of God” on God’s terms. The Salvation Kingdom is clearly in view.
“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
Context: Matthew 21:33-46.
Analysis: This statement of Yeshua follows The Parable of the Vineyard.
What God desired Israel to be and to do would be taken away from them for their rejection and killing of the Messiah and given to “a nation” (Greek “ethnos” – in this case, the multitude of people in the church, a holy nation) that would fulfill their role in bringing others into the Salvation Kingdom.
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.”
Context: Matthew 22:1-14.
Analysis: This is The Parable of the Marriage/Wedding in which our real Marriage/Wedding to our beloved Bridegroom will occur in the Salvation Kingdom after the resurrection/rapture and just before the Second Coming.
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
Analysis: The Pharisees kept others from entering the Salvation Kingdom.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Context: The Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24.
Analysis: “This gospel of the kingdom” is always the Salvation Kingdom.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”
Context: Matthew 25:1-13.
Analysis: The Parable of the 10 Virgins is a rapture parable and speaks of the Salvation Kingdom.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Context: Matthew 25:31-46.
Analysis: The Separation of the Sheep and the Goats is the judgment of those who survive the Tribulation and did not take The Mark of The Beast when “the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory” (Matthew 25:31).
In this particular passage of Scripture, there is an “eternal thread” that applies to both the Sheep and the Goats. Here is what I said in The Mystery of the Last Sheep concerning this eternal thread:
Both the Millennial Kingdom and Eternal Kingdom are in view in the Separation of the Sheep and the Goats as well as Hades/Hell in Sheol and the Lake of Fire.
In numerous articles, I have shown that prophecy often has a near and far application, and this prophecy is no different.
When Christ said the following to the goats – in addition to their wait in Hades/Hell in Sheol – he had in mind their ultimate destination in the Lake of Fire:
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” – Matthew 25:41
When Christ said the following to the sheep, He had in mind both Kingdoms beginning with the Millennial Kingdom and going on into the Eternal Kingdom:
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” – Matthew 25:34
In this passage, Christ had both the soon-coming Millennial Kingdom and the consummating Eternal Kingdom that was “prepared… from the foundation of the world” in view. Those that enter these kingdoms, of course, first entered the Salvation Kingdom.
Therefore, this kingdom passage is best summarized as the All-Encompassing Kingdom.
“But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Context: Matthew 26:20-30.
Analysis: This statement comes from The Last Supper with Christ’s disciples.
The “Father’s Kingdom” is the Salvation Kingdom in heaven where The Marriage Supper of The Lamb will take place in the presence of the Father just before we come back to earth with Jesus at His Second Coming.
This particular Salvation Kingdom event we should all be eagerly looking forward to, just as our Bridegroom is, as it is specifically to honor us as His bride and will be absolutely glorious!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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