The Kingdom of Heaven -- By: John F. Walvoord
BSac 124:495 (Jul 67) p. 195
The Kingdom of Heaven
The concept of the universe as a divine kingdom over which God as King rules sovereignly is a familiar theme in the Scriptures (cp. 1 Chron 29:11–12). The Psalmist for instance wrote: “Jehovah hath established his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Ps 103:19, ASV).
Within the universal kingdom of God, however, various subdivisions exist. Matthew 12:26 refers to Satan’s kingdom, i.e., the sphere of rule which God has permitted Satan. The Scriptures also recognize earthly kingdoms over which God has allowed evil men to rule (Dan 4:17). It was this sphere of the kingdoms of this world which Satan offered to Christ (Matt 4:8).
Within the universal kingdom of God, however, there are other concepts referred to as kingdoms. Principal among these are the kingdom of God, found seventy-two times in the New Testament, and the kingdom of heaven, found thirty-two times, all in the Gospel of Matthew. Many other expressions can be related to the kingdom of God such as “thy kingdom” (Matt 6:10), “heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim 4:18), “kingdom of his dear Son” (Col 1:13), “kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph 5:5), “my Father’s kingdom” (Matt 26:29), “everlasting kingdom” (2 Pet 1:11), “my kingdom” John 18:36; Luke 22:30), “his kingdom” (Matt 6:33; Luke 12:31, ASV), and many references simply to “kingdom.”
Countless books have been written in an effort to expound the precise meaning of the concept of the kingdom in the Scriptures. Among conservative scholars there is general agreement that God is sovereign over the universe. However,
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challenging this sovereignty is the kingdom of evil, directed by Satan. A spiritual rule of God also exists in the hearts and lives of those who put their trust in Jesus Christ. The precise character of the kingdom and its place in the unfolding of the divine plan of God remains, however, in controversy.
One of the principal areas of deb...
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