What and Where is the Kingdom of God?


Throughout the New Testament we read that Jesus came to establish a kingdom. In the opening section of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus begins his ministry by proclaiming, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV) His preaching, healing, and exorcism ministry continued throughout the Gospels as a demonstration of the power of the coming kingdom of God. Indeed, in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he asked of the Father, “Your kingdom come, your will be done…” (Matthew 6:9)

Later, the kingdom also proves to be the substance of the Apostle Paul’s gospel message: “He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:23).

But what exactly is God’s kingdom? Do any and all acts of kindness or compassion qualify? Does it exist outside of the church? In today’s Seven Minute Seminary, Dr. Scot McKnight makes the case for what he calls a robust kingdom, which is marked by at least the five following qualities:

  1. The kingdom of God has a king, and this king is Jesus.
  2. The kingdom of God has a king who rules.
  3. The kingdom of God has a distinct people.
  4. The kingdom of God has a law.
  5. The kingdom of God has a land.

View all of the references to “kingdom” in the Old Testament on Scot’s blog here. View the New Testament references on Bible Gateway here. Scot McKnight has written a book about the kingdom of God called Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church (Brazos Press, 2016). Get it here (affiliate link).

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Dr. Scot McKnight is the Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament at Northern Seminary. He is the author of numerous books and blogs regularly at Jesus Creed (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/). He is ordained in the Anglican Church of North America. He and his wife Kris are active in their church, Church of the Redeemer.