Summary: If I were to ask you, "What is the Kingdom of God?', what would your answer be. Did the Kingdom of God begin with Jesus' appearing on earth? God's Kingdom has to do with God's rule: When did He begin to rule and how?
The Dynamic Coming of the Kingdom of God in Creation
What is the Kingdom of God?
The coming and presence of the Kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus: His teaching was designed to show men the truth of the Kingdom of God and how they might enter the God’s Kingdom of God (Matt. 5:20; 7:21, 13:11). His mighty works proved that the Kingdom of God had come upon them (Matt. 12: 28). When He taught His followers to pray, at the center of that model prayer were the words, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10). On the eve of His death, He assured His disciples that He would share the happiness and the fellowship of the Kingdom with them (Luke 22:22-30). Jesus promised that He would appear again on the last day to bring the fulfillment of the Kingdom to those for whom it was prepared (Matt. 25:31, 34, John 6:39-54)
The term "Kingdom of God" occurs four times in Matthew (12:28; 19:24; 21:31; 21:43); Matthew actually prefers the term "Kingdom of heaven" which he uses over 20 times in his gospel referring to the Kingdom of God. Mark uses Kingdom of God fourteen times, Luke- thirty-two times , twice in the Gospel of John (3:3, 5), six times in Acts, eight times in Paul, and once in Revelation (12:10).
How can we define the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven”? Graeme Goldsworthy has summarized a definition of the Kingdom of God as "God's people in God's place under God's rule." (Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament, p. 53)
Anthony Hoekema has described God's Kingdom as "the reign of God dynamically active in human history through Jesus Christ, the purpose of which is the redemption of his people from sin and from demonic powers, and the final establishment of the new heavens and the new earth." (The Bible and the Future, p. 45.)
George Eldon Ladd notes that "The primary meaning of both the Hebrew word malkuth in the Old Testament and of the Greek word basileiain the New Testament is the rank, authority and sovereignty exercised by a king. A basileia may indeed be a realm over which a sovereign exercises his authority; and it may be the people who belong to that realm and over whom authority is exercised; but these are secondary and derived meanings. First of all, a kingdom is the authority to rule, the sovereignty of the king." (What is the Kingdom of God? (George Eldon Ladd; http://www.theopedia.com/kingdom-of-god)
In view of the entire Bible, The Kingdom of God is the dynamic rule of God which invades history in the person of Jesus. “The Word (of God, sent from God, who is very God) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The Kingdom of God is parallel to the salvation and power of God and of the authority of His Christ.
Secondly, the Kingdom of God is not of this world. It is other-worldly. In John 8:23, Jesus said: "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” The world is finite, as is all of creation since the fall of Adam and Eve into sin, but the Kingdom of God is infinite because the Creator Redeemer King is infinite. His sovereign rule knows no end.
Thirdly, the Kingdom of God is primarily the reign of God in the human life: His Kingdom is waited for, unshakable, heavenly and eternal; it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, as Paul clearly states in Rom 14:17: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The Kingdom of God goes beyond the physical realm, but certainly includes the physical. We have become children of the Kingdom through a birth from above, even though we still live here on this earth in our bodies.
But we realize by faith that God’s Kingdom is not restricted by time and space. It is the reign of God in the human heart and life rather than geographical space. It is where one finds salvation and eternal life.
God’s Kingdom presence in this age is a mystery and restrictive: It is both present and future with a tension between the “ALREADY” and “NOT YET”. As children of the Kingdom of God, born again and becoming heirs of all of God’s Kingdom promises, we only now know “in part.” There may be many questions that we have concerning the “how” and “when” of God’s complete fulfillment of His promises, but we live and walk by faith. We have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us according to God’s written and infallible Word in order to live righteous and holy lives, and yet we have a sinful nature within which continues to battle against the new nature given from above.