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 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.
The All-Encompassing Kingdom – Inclusive of the three Kingdoms above, from personal salvation through to the Eternal Kingdom.
“And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
Context: Luke 1:26-38.
Analysis: This was the angel Gabriel’s message to Mary, who would bear the Messiah of the world.
This All-Encompassing Kingdom comprises the Salvation Kingdom (Luke 17:20-21) and the Millennial Kingdom (Matthew 19:28, Revelation 20:4-6), and culminates into the Eternal Kingdom (Revelation 21:1-3) when Jesus will “reign over the house of Jacob [and all people] forever” (Revelation 21:12-14) and that kingdom “shall [have] no end” (Revelation 21:4-7).
“And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.”
Analysis: Christ, as His mission was, “must preach the kingdom of God” – the Salvation Kingdom.
“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.”
Context: Luke 6:17-23.
Parallel Passage: Matthew 5:3 where “kingdom of God” is rendered “kingdom of heaven.”
Analysis: This is the Salvation Kingdom.
“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Context: Luke 7:24-30.
Parallel Passage: Matthew 11:11 where “kingdom of God” is rendered “kingdom of heaven.”
Analysis: The Salvation Kingdom.
“And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him… And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”
Context: Luke 8:1-15.
Analysis: Christ went about “preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God,” teaching The Parable of the Sower, and acknowledging that His disciples would be “given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God” as they taught others of the Salvation Kingdom.
“And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick… And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”
Context: Luke 9:1-11.
Parallel Passage: Matthew 10:7 where “kingdom of God” is rendered “kingdom of heaven.”
Analysis: The 12 disciples were sent out into Israel “to preach the kingdom of God,” and Messiah healed the people as He “spake unto them of the kingdom of God” – the Salvation Kingdom.
“But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”
Context: Luke 9:27-36
Analysis: Peter, James, and John, through a vision, did “not taste of death till they [saw] the kingdom of God” as Christ communed with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, prefiguring their time together in heaven in the Salvation Kingdom.
“And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Analysis: As Christ sought more disciples, they were commissioned to “go” and “preach the kingdom of God,” and he who looks back from their divinely given mission is not “fit for the kingdom of God.”
Messiah’s disciples are to grow the Salvation Kingdom.
“And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”
Context: Luke 10:1-17.
Analysis: As the commissioning of the 12, now Christ commissions 70 to go into the coasts of Israel preaching the Salvation Kingdom and that the “the kingdom of God is come nigh unto [them].”
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”
Context: Luke 11:1-4.
Parallel Passage: Matthew 6:10.
Analysis: This model prayer from Jesus to His disciples is directed to the Father and His Kingdom – “thy kingdom come” – and the Eternal Kingdom will be that kingdom where God will make His home with man on the new earth (Revelation 21:1-4).
“But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”
Context: Luke 11:14-26.
Parallel Passage: Matthew 12:28.
Analysis: Some of the people accused Jesus of casting out demonic spirits by the power of “Beelzebub the chief of demons.” Christ, as He said, cast out devils by “the finger of God” and that, therefore, “the kingdom of God” had come upon them.
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.
“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Context: Luke 12:22-34.
Parallel Passage: Matthew 6:33.
Analysis: This is in the midst of Christ’s teaching on God’s provisions.
Some might suggest that Yeshua was speaking of the Millennial Kingdom in verse 32, as the “little flock” in front of Him were Israelites. While I do not disregard this possibility entirely, I personally favor the Eternal Kingdom interpretation.
Messiah commands all to seek the “kingdom of God” – which is clearly the Salvation Kingdom in verse 31.
Then, the Good Shepherd focuses in on those He knows would receive His Salvation Kingdom – His “little flock” (John 10:14) – and references the Eternal Kingdom that would be the “Father’s good pleasure” to give them.
Though the Millennial Kingdom will be wonderful in many respects, it is not the Kingdom God has prepared for those who love Him!
“Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?… And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?”
Context: Luke 13:18-21.
Analysis: This passage is the very short parables of The Mustard Seed and The Woman and the Leaven.
In both parables, “the kingdom of God” is the Salvation Kingdom, focused on the progression of the church age and the increasing corruption – represented by fowls and leaven – that enters the church from the world.
“When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
“There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye 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.”
Context: Luke 13:23-30.
Similar Parallel Passage: Matthew 8:1-12 where “kingdom of God” is rendered “kingdom of heaven.” Though this is an entirely different event than that of Matthew 8:11-12, Jesus does use very similar terminology.
Analysis: Here is the immediate context of our passage:
“Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” – Luke 13:23-24
Clearly, the subject matter is salvation and “many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”
We also need to acknowledge that this passage uses parabolic language.
Here is how I suggest we breakdown Luke 13:25-29:
“When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door…”
Messiah, as Savior, is “the master of the house,” and He will personally shut the door when someone rejects Him as Creator, Savior, and Redeemer.
“and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us…”
Since the focus is on salvation and Yeshua is addressing Israelites, many Israelis, after the door has been shut for personal salvation, will make their case for admittance based solely upon, as they often did, their national heritage and relationship to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, without understanding that they must come through the “strait gate” (Luke 13:24).
(As a nation and a people, Israel, in a secondary sense, is clamoring together at the door for Messiah to let them in after they have collectively as a nation and a people – but not individually – rejected Yeshua as their Messiah.)
“and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are…”
Because they rejected their Messiah and His free gift of salvation, Yeshua says He knows them not and not whence they are.
“Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.”
Many Israelites (and false converts to Christianity, for that matter) will recognize at death that Yeshua was the Messiah and that He indeed ate and drank in Israel’s presence and taught in their streets. Israelites, after their deaths, will have finally recognized too late that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, and are again claiming their rights based solely on their heritage.
(When it comes to the church, as a secondary application, Jesus is preached in our streets by us – or at least we should be – and we partake of communion with Him).
“But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.”
Unfortunately, most of Israel has been spiritually blinded and will not recognize their Messiah until it is too late as, at death, they will have been shut out of the “kingdom of God” and will have to hold on to their iniquity because they refused to allow Yeshua to pay for their sins while they were alive.
Obviously, this is the same with all people, including false converts to Christianity (Matthew 7:21-23).
“There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out…”
We must remember that the context of this passage is salvation and the Jews in the days of Jesus, even up to today and beyond.
The Greek phrase for “shall see” is ὄψησθε “opsēsthe,” used only this one time, from Strong’s 3700 ὀπτάνομαι “optanomai,” likely a later cognate of 3708/horáō – become seen or appear, and most often means a physical seeing or an appearing, or perceptive seeing.
If this passage is speaking of a physical seeing of the patriarchs and the prophets by dead unbelievers, then the only time this will occur is at the Great White Throne Judgment just before the establishment of the Eternal Kingdom.
But if this is a perceptive seeing, then the verse could be rendered: “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall perceive 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.”
As with the Matthew 8:11-12 passage, Jesus confirms that the “kingdom of God” will contain many people from all nations from the ends of the earth.
Just as the church – positionally before death and literally after death – sits in heavenly places, so too are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and all the saved since creation) sitting in the kingdom of God with Jesus right now as they await their resurrection in their proper order!
“… And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:6
In all, the focus of the “kingdom of God” in this passage, based on salvation as the foundational context, is the Salvation Kingdom, which, as we have repeatedly stressed, will ultimately give way to the Eternal Kingdom.
“And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.”
Context: Luke 14:1-24.
Analysis: This event occurred when Yeshua dined with the Pharisees on a Sabbath day.
The comment, made by one attending the meal, came after the Lord taught them on giving out invitations to “the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind” that they may receive blessings.
No doubt the Israelite who made this statement had the Millennial Kingdom in mind, but this is not the “kingdom of God” that Christ preached, and, as such, Yeshua countered the claim with a parable of what the true “kingdom of God” is — that of the Salvation Kingdom.
The parable is an allegorical teaching on The Marriage Supper of The Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9) – that was initiated by the statement from the Israelite, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” – and the rejection of those who would be bidden, refused, and made excuses (Israel as a nation, in general, and many Israelis, in particular), and those who would, of their own free will, come to His supper from “the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind” (vs. 21).
Messiah ended the parable with the following words:
“For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” – Luke 14:24
Compare with Revelation:
“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” – Revelation 19:9
The Salvation Kingdom – the kingdom of God – is the kingdom that Christ was always focused on in His ministry, and The Marriage Supper of The Lamb will be one of the last climatic events of this Kingdom along with the subsequent Second Coming of Christ to the earth, the regathering of Israel, The Separation of the Sheep and the Goats, and preparations for the Millennial Kingdom.
Of course, the Salvation Kingdom will eventually give way to the Eternal Kingdom as they are intrinsically linked together.
“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
Analysis: Yeshua is not saying that salvation was attained by the law and the prophets “until John,” but rather that the law and the prophets were all that the world, in general, and Israel, in specific, had up until John. Now Israel had the Messiah in their midst with His teachings and His mission to seek and to save that which was lost through His soon-coming sacrifice on the cross!
That is, up until John the Baptist, “the law and the prophets” were the criterion given to men by God. But “Since that time, the ‘kingdom of God’ is preached” and men will attempt to “presseth into it” by their own works – “the good that hopefully will outweigh the bad,” as the Gentiles attempt to do, and through the works of the law, as well as one’s own good works, which the Jews strive to obey and achieve even today.
Jesus, though, is the standard by which any man or woman can enter the “kingdom of God.” That is, only those who put their faith and trust in His finished work alone may enter the blessed Salvation Kingdom.
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Analysis: As the Jews often did, they mistakenly assumed the “kingdom of God” that Messiah preached was the promised Messianic Millennial Kingdom.
The Lord countered their erroneous assumption and insisted that the “kingdom of God cometh not with observation” (as the Millennial Kingdom would) but that the kingdom of God – the Salvation Kingdom – “is within” the person who is saved by coming to Christ alone for Salvation.
This is an immensely important passage in our study.
“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”
Analysis: Obviously, the Salvation Kingdom comes to an individual when they steadfastly believe “as a little child” and comes to Jesus Christ in true humility and sincerity of faith.
“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Context: Luke 18:18-27.
Analysis: This passage followed the dialogue between Jesus and The Rich Young Ruler on how one may obtain salvation and enter the Salvation Kingdom to “inherit eternal life” (vs. 18).
Even though Christ emphasized the law and works – which The Rich Young Ruler said he kept from his youth on up – Jesus was getting to the heart of the issue with The Rich Young Ruler, and that was that The Rich Young Ruler had wealth as an obstacle in coming to a saving and active faith.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” – Luke 19:10-11
Context: Luke 19:9-27
Analysis: This is the conversation that took place between Jesus and those who were present at the house of Zacchaeus.
There are two possibilities that I see when it comes to Luke’s statement that the Jews “thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”
- This could be one more example of the Jews conflating Messiah’s teaching of the Salvation Kingdom – the kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven – with the Millennial Kingdom.
- They may have understood the prophesied rescuing of Israel from her enemies by the kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven – in their day, Rome – through the agency of Messiah.
This second possibility would be correct thinking on their part, if this was indeed the case. We will elaborate more on this in the Assessment of Luke 21:31.
In Messiah’s Parable of the Pounds, we read the following concerning Messiah receiving His Kingdom:
“He said therefore, A certain nobleman [Yeshua] went into a far country [heaven] to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants [professing believers], and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.”
“But his citizens [Israel] hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.” – Luke 19:14-15
Notice that Messiah [The Nobleman] received “for Himself a kingdom” when He “went to a far country” [when Yeshua returned to heaven and brought the saved souls of Paradise with Him after His resurrection], and that He had already “received the kingdom” when He “was returned.”
The Parable of the Pounds, similar to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, is clearly a parable on the Salvation Kingdom and what the Lord’s people will do with talents, gifts, and resources God has given to them while Christ, as the Nobleman, is away “to receive for Himself a kingdom.”
All of this is the Salvation Kingdom.
When Christ says, “Occupy till I come,” He is, in essence, urging His followers to preach the gospel, make disciples, and grow His Salvation Kingdom with what He has entrusted to us.
Ultimately, though, the faithful servants within the Salvation Kingdom of the Nobleman will rule and have authority over cities in the Millennial Kingdom (Luke 19:17), which will follow the Salvation Kingdom. The third kingdom – the Eternal Kingdom – is also linked as we are told we are to rule and reign in that kingdom as well in Revelation 22:1-5!
Proportionally, we can see the All-Encompassing Kingdom represented within this entire passage.
“So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
Analysis: So, what is this “kingdom of God” – also known as the “kingdom of heaven” – that will be “nigh at hand” at the end of the Tribulation? It is one of the climatic events of the Salvation Kingdom, the Second Coming of Messiah!
The “kingdom of God” will be “nigh at hand” to rescue the surviving remnant at the end of the Tribulation. The Millennial Kingdom is not the kingdom that will save God’s chosen people – for it will not even begin for another 75 days after the Second Coming – it is the coming “kingdom of God” descending from heaven that will save them!
Christ’s Second Coming, the holy angels gathering Israelites back into her land, The Separation of the Sheep and the Goats Judgment, the preparations for setting up Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom to fulfill God’s promises to His chosen people, Israel, will all be the concluding acts of the Salvation Kingdom.
“For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.”
Context: The Last Supper.
Analysis: At the institution of Communion at The Last Supper, Jesus said that He would “not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God,” and that He would “not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come.” This eating and drinking will occur at The Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven, in the presence of the Father (Revelation 19:6-9).
For “the kingdom of God” to come, resurrections must first take place in their proper orders and will be initiated by the pre-Tribulation resurrection/rapture of the bride of Christ.
Following The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the Salvation Kingdom – the kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven – will come to earth to save the remnant of Israel and the Gentiles in preparation for the upcoming Millennial Kingdom, as we discussed in Luke 21:31.
“And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Context: The Upper Room Discourse.
Analysis: This statement by Jesus to His disciples followed The Last Supper as the disciples argued over who would be greater.
Because Yeshua did not mention the “kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of heaven,” and Messiah mentions “a kingdom” that His “Father hath appointed unto [Him],” and that the disciples would “eat and drink” at His “table in [His] kingdom” while they would “sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel,” there can be no doubt whatsoever that this kingdom is the Millennial Kingdom!
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Context: The Repentant Thief on the Cross
Analysis: Here, not surprisingly, we see another Jew who may have been equating Messiah’s “kingdom” with the Millennial Kingdom. We have no indication that he ever heard Yeshua preach; therefore, he was only going on what he knew already.
Jesus, though, assured the repentant thief that that very day he “shalt.. be with [Yeshua] in paradise.”
Paradise was located in Sheol that housed the spirits of the saved after death – also known as “Abraham’s Bosom” – and was separated by a large, unpassable gulf with hell/hades (or “torments”) that housed the spirits of the unsaved dead that we read about in Luke 16:19-31 – The Rich Man and Lazarus.
Later, this man and all of those who were in Paradise were taken up to heaven – the kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven – by Jesus, presumably with Paradise itself. Since then, all who die in Christ are present with Him in the Salvation Kingdom in heaven.
“And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.”
Context: Luke 23:50-56.
Parallel Passage: Mark 15:43.
Analysis: Following the death of Messiah is the account of Joseph of Arimathaea pleading for the body of Yeshua to lay Him in his own tomb.
Joseph of Arimathaea, “himself, waited for the kingdom of God,” which is the Salvation Kingdom that Christ taught his counterpart, Nicodemus (John 3:1-21, John 19:38-42), and which Joseph himself surely knew about and understood.
The Salvation Kingdom would come to all people, who would be born again after putting their faith and trust in Messiah Jesus, once the Lord was risen from the grave!
Praise, honor, and glory to Jesus Christ our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, King, and sovereign Lord, forever and ever – Amen!!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
➢ Email: email@example.com – I would love to hear from you!
➢ If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ and are seeking answers about God, Jesus Christ, the gospel, and salvation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
➢ I am still taking questions for the Questions from the Body of Christ series. If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.
➢ To view my entire catalogue of articles, please visit my Home Page on FaithWriters.com.