15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
In Matthew, he says the kingdom of heaven. Either they are the same or both things are being offered at the same time. The truth is that the kingdom of heaven is the physical kingdom offered to the Jews and the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom into which they and later the Gentiles can enter by the new birth. This was shown in Matthew. When Jesus is physically present on the earth they are both being presented at the same time. When He is not physically present we have the kingdom of God inside each of us who believe waiting for the kingdom of heaven to be established upon Christ’s return.
Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
The kingdom of heaven is a physical kingdom and Matthew presents them both speaking some things of the kingdom of heaven and some things of the kingdom of God. Notice this verse in Daniel on a physical kingdom that smashes all others.
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
If you lay out the verses containing the kingdom of God and the verses containing the kingdom of heaven in Matthew you can see the differences between the two, subtle as they are. Insisting that they are both the same begins to cloud the imminent return of Christ to set up His kingdom on earth.
The main theme of the Bible is a kingdom. First, you have Satan coveting the throne of God over the universe.
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Adam is given the dominion over created life by the God who created him.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
With Adam’s disobedience he loses his rightful, lawful dominion over creation, surrendering it to Satan who is now the god of this world.
2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
The world systems and all of the things that man holds as glorious and important; war, financial success, power, education, art, architecture, music, sports, and every part of the world system is controlled by the god of this world not by the God of the Bible. There are no Christian nations, only Christian people. The God of the Bible doesn’t rule the modern nation-state, He rules in the hearts of His people, in their lives.
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
The men and women who rule over mankind; kings and presidents, prime ministers and sultans, are the lowest of the low in God’s estimation. Remember, from the book of Job, that Satan can’t do anything to us without God’s permission, often for reasons we can’t possibly understand.
Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
When Christ returns, THEN He takes over the kingdoms of the world.
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Every barbarity and act of murder committed by so called Christians throughout history from the crusades to burning Anabaptists or others has been performed by people trying to bring in the physical kingdom of heaven without the king present, with themselves in His place, but without having the kingdom of God in control of their innermost selves. Anyone who tells you right now that he, she, or his or her church is ruling the world in Christ’s place or will rule the world as Christ’s agent on earth before His physical return either is a bloody, mass murderer or has the potential to become one. Beware of anyone talking about “bringing in the kingdom” or any other such talk who mixes in talk of physical conquest or control as a means of establishing Christ’s rule on the earth without Christ physically present. You can identify them as people who will baptize infants who have no idea of what’s happening to them and they will attempt to control governments and infiltrate political parties, all, of course, to further God’s cause. They are often either control freaks or sheep following the control freaks. Some of their character traits include misogyny as well as a contempt for God’s other creations. They love war and see it as simply another means of diplomacy all in God’s name. They will justify their murders as doing God’s will and they often sincerely believe their own press. They want their version of Armageddon to come and they will do their part to bring it on. They are more dangerous than any atheist or secularist could hope to be.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
God acknowledges that the time is ready for both of these kingdoms to be offered, to wrench control from Satan, who is not a counter God, a bad God in opposition to the good God as in the Persian religion. God is and always has been in control over all things. God has allowed Satan, because of man’s sin, to run things in opposition to Him while He redeems mankind from his sin and rebellion and here Jesus Christ is offering the two kingdoms in one, with God ruling over all.
God’s timetable called for Jesus to come the first time as He will the last time by God’s timetable, not ours;
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Christ will come back one day, in His time, and set up the Jew as promised.
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
God has a timetable and nothing can thwart it.
John 1:29 ¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
John 1:43 ¶ The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
John 2:1 ¶ And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
The third day from what? There is no reason of chronology to put “the third day” in this passage except for prophetic importance. This gives us the timing of a marriage feast. The marriage supper of the Lamb is what I’m assuming.
Revelation 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Note what Jesus says to His mother in the passage in chapter 2.
John 2:4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
Jesus in other places shows that God’s timing is important.
John 7:6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
The gospel of the Kingdom of God preached here is not the same gospel that we would preach today. Look at this;
Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
This isn’t the gospel of grace that Paul preaches. This is the gospel that will be preached in the Tribulation. A casual reading of Revelation will show this. When you read the Tribulation epistle, Hebrews, you see in chapter 6, verses 4 to 6, that if they lose their salvation by “falling away” or going over to the enemy they can’t get saved again. This is not the gospel of salvation by grace through faith that Paul preached. This is a different gospel for a different time. Without the dispensationalism of the early church the Bible is a confused mess. Rightly divide the word of truth as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15.
Preachers who say that it’s all the same from beginning to end and that God doesn’t have different plans for people under different dispensations make the Bible contradict itself. Why do they force something that isn’t true? To give themselves authority over the word of God. Satan will set up two conflicting authorities so that a man has to be the referee and be the final authority rather than the clear words of scripture. The Catholics and modernist Protestants are always calling into question what God has said. The so-called Bible Believing King James Bible Baptist simply will confuse the word of God so the end result is the same; you can’t understand the Bible without the Pastor, and you will be taught to twist the scriptures to justify your own personal convictions or your church doctrines, thereby destroying the source of your convictions. This is the dark side of fundamentalism in America and the reason we can safely call this church age as the Laodicean Age with Laodicea meaning “the people judge” or even “the people’s rights”.
Doctrinally, the King James Bible, the Authorized Version, is set up in doctrinal order with the four gospels being a transition between the Old and the New Testament, with Acts being a transitional book showing the ongoing revelation to the early church, Paul’s letters referring to the age of the Christian church, the General Epistles with the Tribulation, and then Revelation with the end. This is the simple rule of understanding. Any verse in the Bible that does not contradict the verses in the Church Age letters of Paul can be safely applied to you in this dispensation. However, it is clear that some conditions exist in Moses’ time that do not apply in Paul’s and afterward.
So, here the kingdom of God is offered. The Jews are told to turn from what they are dependent upon to justify themselves, to repent, and turn to their Christ, their Messiah, their King. They are called to believe the Gospel of Christ’s authority over them, of the salvation He is offering to the nation of Israel. Remember, He is alive and has not been crucified or rose for the dead yet. No one is justified by faith in His resurrection yet. This is a different Gospel, a Gospel of Christ’s direct and present rule over His people, Israel. It is “at hand” or as that phrase is used in the Bible, there is nothing that by necessity stands between the kingdom of God and its fulfillment. Nothing except the Jews reception of it. The proverbial ball is in their court.