Is the kingdom of God a major theme within Scripture?

Question
Is the kingdom of God a major theme within Scripture?
Answer
The kingdom of God is a major, unifying, covenant theme of both the Old and New Testaments. God, as the king of his kingdom, sovereignly reigns overall all (2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chron. 29:11; 2 Chron. 20:6; 36:23; Ezra 1:2; Psa. 24:7, 29:10; Isa. 37:16; Dan. 4:3, 17; 5:21).

In the Old Testament it’s prophesied that the suffering Messiah will be anointed and enthroned as King of kings and Lord of lords (Isa. 40:1-31; Psa. 22:1-31; Zech. 9:9). John the Baptist was the prophesied forerunner (Isa. 40:3-4) who would prepare the way for the kingly Messiah (Matt 3:2-11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:3-15; John 1:19-34). So, in the New Testament, we observe John the Baptist announcing that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:2). Jesus himself states that the kingdom of God is here (Matt 4:17; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 17:21; cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:18).

A kingdom must have a ruler as well as a people to rule. So, the kingdom of God consists not only of Christ's kingly rule, but also God's people who are in it — his covenant people, his invisible church (cf. Rev. 1:6; 5:10). This is how Peter wrote about it:

1 Peter 2:9-10: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

In Christ, the kingdom of God was inaugurated, it continues through his church, and it will be consummated at the last day. On that day every knee will bow "in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).

Related Topics

Kingdom of God: Already, not Yet?
Christ in the Old Testament

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).