The Church as the Kingdom of God

In the pages of Scriptures, the church is referred to in various ways, each of which emphasizes a different aspect, an important characteristic of its importance to God and to us. It is called the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23), as well as the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). There is also the analogy of the church being the kingdom of God; "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). The term kingdom is important in Scripture, being used over 150 times in the New Testament. It is important we understand and use it as Scripture does, so we can have assurance about being part of God's true eternal kingdom.


The primary meaning of the word kingdom is really "kingship," that is, royal power or kingly rule. When applied spiritually to God, we realize God has always had a kingdom. The kingdom of God refers to His majesty and activity, as well as His people; God is at work, ruling and accomplishing His purposes. The rule of God assumes there are people in whom His kingdom, His authority, can be established. "To the end that ye should walk worthily of God, who calleth you into his own kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

 Daniel prophesied of the church as God's kingdom in interpreting the vision of Nebuchadnezzar's statue. He told him, And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2:44). Jesus affirmed this when He said, "And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 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" (Matthew 16:18-19). Here Jesus uses the terms church and kingdom interchangeably. That the kingdom was already in existence in the first century is seen in Paul's words to the church at Colossae; who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins" (Colossians 1:13-14). The use of the past tense delivered and translated shows it in existence when Paul wrote by God's inspiration.

 The kingdom of God has been established in His church, and only by obeying the will of God is one added by the Lord to His church, His kingdom. "Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:5-6). The promise is wonderful, isn't it, that we can be part of God's eternal kingdom, that we have fellowship with all the faithful of all ages, and that one day we will all gather united in the presence of God, His eternal heavenly kingdom, for all of eternity. "Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:10-11).

 Robert Johnson, Longview TX