Vol. 5, No. 9
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According to the Gospel of Matthew, the "kingdom of heaven" was the obvious topic of the preaching by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:17, 23) and the apostles (Matthew 10:7). "Both Jesus and John began their ministries preaching that 'the kingdom of God (sic, heaven) is at hand' (Matthew 3:2:4:17). The establishment of the church [kingdom] at this time was only about 3 years away." (Morrison 20). Lenski writes regarding the grammatical structure of Matthew 3:2, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand," that it "has been drawing near and is thus now at hand." (93). Further, Jesus Christ decreed that "the gospel of the kingdom" was to be the permanent topic of preaching until the end of time (Matthew 24:14). The phrase "kingdom of heaven" appears exclusively in the Bible only in the Gospel of Matthew, 32 times; the companion and equivalent phrase "kingdom of God" appears 69 times in the New Testament, four of which are in Matthew. Even Matthew used the phrases "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" interchangeably (19:23-24). "The nuance 'of heaven' suggests that the essential meaning is 'reign' and that this kingship does not arise by human effort." (Kittel).
The Greek word for "kingdom" is basileia, which means "properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively)." (Strong). The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says of basileia, it "denotes the lawful king (usually hereditary, later distinguished from the tyrannos, 'usurper'). … This term refers to the being or nature or state of a king, i.e., his dignity, and secondarily the expression of this in the territory he governs." (Kittel). W.E. Vine concurs that basileia first refers to the concept of being king and then by implication to the area of his governance:
Basileia is primarily an abstract noun, denoting sovereignty, royal power, dominion, e.g., Rev. 17:18, translated "(which) reigneth," lit., 'hath a kingdom' (R.V. marg.); then, by metonymy, a concrete noun, denoting the territory or people over whom a king rules, e.g., Matt. 4:8; Mark 3:24. It is used especially of the Kingdom of God and of Christ. (Vine).
When John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and the apostles preached the "kingdom of heaven," there was a biblically based and popular expectation that the Messianic kingdom of prophecy was about to be established. However, any concept of a spiritual kingdom was overridden among the masses by the erroneous and shallow national desire for the restoration of a physical kingdom -- to rival Solomon's and overthrow the stiff yoke of Roman domination. Remarkably, the Roman Governor, Pilate, understood better than the Jews (including the apostles) that the kingdom Jesus preached was not a physical kingdom (John 18:36-38), but an internal or spiritual kingdom (Luke 17:20-21). Had Pilate believed Jesus intended to be a king over a physical kingdom, then the governor could not have publicly declared, "I find in him no fault at all" (John 18:36) and remained a loyal Roman appointee. In contrast, the apostles still believed as far along as Ascension Day that Christ came to establish a worldly kingdom (Acts 1:6).
The language in which they were accustomed to describe this event was retained by our Saviour and his apostles. Yet they early attempted to correct the common notions respecting his reign. This was one design, doubtless, of John in preaching repentance. Instead of summoning them to military exercises, and collecting an army, which would have been in accordance with the expectations of the nation, he called them to a change of life; to the doctrine of repentance -- a state of things far more accordant with the approach of a kingdom of purity. (Barnes).
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary accordingly notes respecting the preaching that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, "…it was fitted at once both to meet the national expectations and to turn them into the right channel."
The phrases kingdom of heaven, kingdom of Christ, kingdom of God, are of frequent occurrence in the Bible. They all refer to the same thing. The expectation of such a kingdom was taken from the Old Testament, and especially from Daniel, Dan 7:13-14. The prophets had told of a successor to David that should sit on his throne 1 Kings 2:4; 8:25; Jer 33:17. The Jews expected a great national deliverer. (Barnes).
Jews who were conversant with the Jewish prophecies relative to the establishment of "the kingdom of heaven" or "the kingdom of God," nevertheless anticipated the advent of the Messiah and the commencement of his kingdom. The Gospel of Luke introduces two such godly souls contemporary with its introduction of the Christ child.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel … And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:25-32, 36-38).
In addition, after Jesus dies on the cross, Luke identifies a Jewish ruler who likewise "waited for the kingdom of God" (Luke 23:51).
Generally, though, from the masses to the disciples schooled by Jesus himself, the widespread expectation of great change through the fulfillment of kingdom prophecies was as widely misunderstood. During his ministry, some among our Lord's auditors sought to take him by force and make him king over an earthly kingdom (John 6:15). Even after the resurrection of Jesus, the apostles asked a question of our Lord that was indicative of their same misunderstanding regarding the nature of the Messianic kingdom: "…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). McClintock and Strong make the observation that the kingdom was expected to the degree that neither John the Baptist nor Jesus Christ had to define what they meant by the word "kingdom" in their preaching. Under religious circumstances of which the Jews were abreast through the Old Testament prophets, the Jews both understood what was meant by "the kingdom of heaven" and expected to see it come into fruition any moment. "In view of the Jewish Messianic expectation, it is no surprise that Matthew highlights the King and His Kingdom." (Jackson 36).
There is reason to believe not only that the expression kingdom of heaven, as used in the New Test., was employed as synonymous with kingdom of God, as referred to in the Old Test., but that the former expression had become common among the Jews of our Lord's time for denoting the state of things expected to be brought in by the Messiah. The mere use of the expression as it first occurs in Matthew, uttered apparently by John Baptist, and our Lord himself, without a note of explanation, as if all perfectly understood what was meant by it, seems alone conclusive evidence of this. (McClintock and Strong).
The whole of Judaism for its adherents who were attuned to its purpose rested on the hope of a future Messiah, whose advent could be traced to a historical time period outlined in the biblical prophecies (Daniel 2:31-45).
Daniel explained that in the days of the kings represented by iron, i.e. the Roman kings (100 B.C. to 450 A.D.), the Lord's kingdom would be set up or established. … The kingdom the prophets saw was divine in origin, first century in establishment, universal in scope, monarchial in government, and indestructible in nature. (Winkler 46, 48).
Consequently, from the beginning and throughout his ministry, Jesus was devoted to revealing the kingdom in his preaching and teaching. For instance, many of Jesus' parables were "introduced with the phrase kingdom of heaven: … Sower … Mustard Seed … Leaven … Hidden Treasure … Pearl of Great Price … Net … Unmerciful Servant … Householder … Marriage Feast …Ten Virgins … and …Talents." (D. Stevens 85).
The entire ministry of Jesus is understood in relation to this important declaration of the presence of the kingdom. His ethical teachings, for example, cannot be understood apart from the announcement of the kingdom. They are ethics of the kingdom; the perfection to which they point makes no sense apart from the present experience of the kingdom. Participation in the new reality of the kingdom involves a follower of Jesus in a call to the highest righteousness (Matt 5:20). … The acts and deeds of Jesus likewise make sense only in the larger context of proclaiming the kingdom. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
The College Press commentary, citing Edersheim, portrays the substance of both testaments as primarily relevant to "the kingdom of heaven." If we ignorantly miss or purposely disallow "the kingdom of heaven" in either testament of the Bible, then the Bible is emptied of its purpose and left hollow. The whole Bible is about the King and his kingdom!
The Old Testament contains several hundred prophecies about the King and his kingdom. Every prophecy about Jesus Christ (even the once veiled prophecy of Genesis 3:15; cf. Galatians 3:16, 19, 29; 4:4), because he is the King of "the kingdom of heaven," at least indirectly pertains to Jesus Christ our King. In the best book of which I am aware in which Messianic prophecies are explained at length, D. Gene West, in great detail, addresses 75 of those approximately 333 prophecies. "The kingdom of heaven" that John the Baptist and Jesus heralded cannot be comprehended apart from the biblical prophecies. "The idea of this kingdom has its basis in the prophecies of the Old Testament, where the coming of the Messiah and his triumphs are foretold (Ps 2:6-12; 101:1-7; Isa 2:1-4; Mic 4:1; Isa 11:1-10; Jer 23:5,6; 31:31-34; 32:37-44; 33:14-18; Ezek 34:23-31; 37:24-28; Dan 2:44; 7:14,27; 9:25,27)." (McClintock and Strong). That "the kingdom of heaven" is foretold in biblical prophecies is apparent and serves as one of the primary evidences of the divine inspiration of the Bible. For instance, Adam Clarke notes, "[The kingdom of heaven is at hand] Referring to the prophecy of Daniel, Dan 7:13-14, where the reign of Christ among men is expressly foretold."
Many of the Old Testament prophecies relative to the King and his kingdom are more easily discernible through New Testament scriptural verification and application to Jesus Christ. Psalm 2:7 reads "…Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee," and is applied to Jesus Christ in Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5. Psalm 145:10-14 acknowledges the place of the Messiah's reigning over a kingdom being Jerusalem. Earlier, God apprised David that through one of his descendants, he would establish an everlasting kingdom (2 Samuel 7:8-16).
Messianic prophets such as Isaiah wrote much respecting the Christ, our King, and his kingdom. Isaiah 9:6-7 prophesies that God would set up the Christ King, a descendant of David, over an everlasting kingdom. Isaiah 11:1-12 cites the Messiah as a descendant of Jesse who would rally Jews and Gentiles to the holy mountain (Jerusalem). Isaiah 24:23 says that the Messiah would reign in Jerusalem. Isaiah 65:17-19 describes the prophesied kingdom with the words "new heavens and a new earth" in "Jerusalem."
Jeremiah 23:5-6 states that the Messiah was to be a descendant of David. Jeremiah 31:31-34 (see Hebrews 8:6-13) chronicles the law or covenant of the kingdom of heaven over which the Messiah would rule. Jeremiah 33:14-18 refers to the Christ King as a descendant of David in Jerusalem. In one of the more prominent Old Testament prophecies of the King and his kingdom, Daniel 7:13-14 couples "the Son of Man;" the "kingdom" of prophecy; "all people, nations, and languages" and "everlasting dominion"; Daniel 7:27 speaks of "an everlasting kingdom."
Amos 9:11 corresponds to Acts 15:13-17 respecting the kingdom of prophecy. Micah 4:1-2 (and Isaiah 2:2-3) records that all nations (not just the Jews) were to be a part of "the kingdom of heaven" and that the kingdom would go forth "from Jerusalem." Zechariah 6:12-13 is a well-known prophecy that notes the Messianic King would be both king and priest. Zechariah 14:9 reveals the scope of the King's reign is "over all the earth."
Summarizing all the prophets who spoke and wrote respecting "the kingdom of heaven," Acts 3:24-26 records:
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Jesus himself used the words "church" and "kingdom" interchangeably (Matthew 16:18-19) and the apostle Peter applied all Old Testament kingdom prophecies to the establishment of the church on the Pentecost following the Ascension of Jesus Christ. Subsequently, the apostles Paul and John used the terms "church" and "kingdom" interchangeably and noted that the kingdom existed in the first century (Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9).
One ancient prophecy of the King and especially his kingdom outdistances all other prophecies in its eye-opening disclosure of precisely when "the kingdom of heaven" was to be established. Winkler rightly says of this passage:
Daniel 2:31-45 is a special prophecy concerning the kingdom. … Daniel's interpretation and prophecy constitute one of the most amazing kingdom-prophecies of the Old Testament, establish faith in the inspiration of the scriptures, as well as deepening respect and appreciation for the kingdom (which is the church… (45-56).
Nebuchadnezzar, great king of Neo-Babylon, experienced troubling dreams (Daniel 2:1); God was behind his dreams, one learns from the context, unlike too much pizza, unwisely watching a horror movie before bedtime or some traumatic experience spawning bad dreams in us. Nebuchadnezzar forgot the dream and could not relate it, though he remembered that a terrible dream troubled him. Therefore, he required his court magicians and other wise men to recall the dream for him and interpret it -- or face death (2:2-12).
On behalf of God, the prophet Daniel recounted the dream for the king.
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:31-35).
Next, God working through him, Daniel proceeded to provide the interpretation.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay (Daniel 2:36-43).
The crux of the prophecy specifies that the "heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18) was to be established during the fourth world kingdom from and including Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom.
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. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure (Daniel 2:44-45).
This kingdom of God would "never be destroyed" and "stand forever." Unlike the worldly kingdoms of Daniel's prophecy, the Lord's kingdom would not be displaced by another, more dominant superpower.
Historically, the rise and fall of empires that held sway from the lands ringing the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf from Nebuchadnezzar's time forward are incontestably documented.
Daniel prophesied that the kingdom would be established after the four-world kingdoms came into existence. They would be the Babylonian Empire (587-536 B.C.), the Medo-Persian Empire (536-330 B.C.), the Grecian Empire (330 B.C.-63 B.C.), and the Roman Empire (63 B.C.-476 A.D.). (E. Stevens 67).
Max Miller, in a series of articles, amply documents the historical detail of the Assyrian kingdom that immediately preceded the Babylonian kingdom, as well as the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman empires. His synopsis of information regarding these kingdoms in prophecy merely touches the highlights of available historical data. Each of the kingdoms involved in Daniel's prophecy were real, discernible and historical. Further, the fact that these prophecies predate their fulfillment up to several hundred years validates the Bible overall and the prophecies in particular as divine inspired and reliable.
The biblical record refers to nations before as well as after Daniel's prophecy. The prophecies of Daniel chronicle the development of Babylon and name the Persian and Grecian kingdoms (Daniel 2:31-45; 8:20; 10:1, 13, 20; 11:2), even naming the future king of the Persians, "Cyrus" (Daniel 1:21; 6:28; 10:1).
Nineveh became the capital of the ancient kingdom of Assyria, though it was first inhabited about the time of the Genesis 10 Table of Nations by a grandson of Noah 100 or more years earlier. "Assyria's national history began about 1810 B.C." and Assyria rose to world dominance through "pitiless conquests" and "inhuman treatment of defeated foes." (Miller, Assyria 8). Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel futilely tried to resist the Assyrians, which battles are recorded in the Monolith Inscription and on the Black Obelisk. Eventually, Assyria carried away Israel (721 B.C.) and significantly vanquished Judah, except that Assyria was unable to breach the walls of Jerusalem. Assyria ruled most of the people ringing the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. Finally, the Medes and the Babylonians joined forces to capture Nineveh in 612 B.C. (Miller, Assyria 9, 15).
Babylon exercised great power on two different occasions, the first about 2000 B.C. and the Neo-Babylonian kingdom from about 612 B.C. when it succeeded in capturing Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Egypt attempted to challenge the Babylonians and Medes, but failed to prevent them from assuming control of the lands formerly controlled by Assyria. Babylon also conquered the kingdom of Judah in 606, 597 and 587 B.C. The first of these three years marked the beginning of the 70 years captivity and the last of these three dates was when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. However, the Babylonian kingdom triumphed for only about 80 years before it was overcome by the Medes and the Persians in 539 B.C. A quick succession of weak kings after Nebuchadnezzar spelled doom for Neo-Babylon.
Belshazzar and his father, Nabonidus, were the kings of Babylon when Persia assaulted Babylon. Nabonidus was away and Belshazzar was involved in a drunken banquet when Persian soldiers marched into Babylon, without resistance (Daniel 5:25-28).
The Medes dominated the Persians until 550 B.C. when Cyrus revolted. The Medes and the Persians underwent a roll reversal where the Persians dominated the Medes.
Cyrus wisely ordered an administration that shared power with the Medes, thus, the Medo-Persian Empire. Persia became a vast collection of states and kingdoms reaching the shores of Asia Minor in the west to the Indus River valley in the east. It extended northward to southern Russia, and in the south included Egypt and the regions bordering the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. (Miller, Persia 6).
About two years after the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon, Cyrus permitted people enslaved and deported to Babylon by its former kings (including the Jews) to return to their homelands. The Jews were able to return with the Temple instruments taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. This event was the subject of divine prophecy.
One hundred years before his birth, while the temple yet stood, Isaiah (sic, Jeremiah) calls him by his God-given name, Cyrus, and defines his role in Israel's return to Palestine. Cyrus' decree in 539 B.C. set free the captives Babylon had taken during its harsh rule (Ezra 1:1-4). (Miller, Persia 7).
Under the auspices of various Persian kings, the Jews were able to rebuild Jerusalem, the Temple and the walls surrounding Jerusalem. Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were prophets during this period and the anonymous Book of Esther was penned in this era. (Miller, Persia 22).
The Persians overextended themselves by trying to muscle the Greeks into their empire. However, Alexander the Great overcame the Persians in 331 B.C. and instead incorporated the Persian Empire into the rising Grecian Empire. With this turn of events, the second kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar's dream faltered and the third came to the forefront.
Other than references in Genesis 10 about the Table of Nations relative to people settling in Greece, and Daniel's prophecy of the ascendancy of Greece in Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the Bible says nothing about the rise, exploits and demise of the Grecian Empire.
…the histories of the Greek nation occurred in a time when there was no oral or writing prophet in Israel. The age of Biblical inspiration closed before the rise of Greece as the nation of our interest came to the fore as a great power. The Old Testament closes with the Persian period, about 450 B.C. It opened again in New Testament times with the Roman Empire holding sway over the world. It was in this period of Biblical silence, the Greece of our interest occurred. (Miller, Greece 6).
Following civil wars in Greece, after which they were united, Greece successfully thwarted Persia's effort to expand its borders into the Greek world. Alexander the Great led 40,000 soldiers and 7,000 cavalry against a Persian army of 250,000, routing the Persians and killing between 40,000 and 90,000 of them, while losing only 500 Greek soldiers. Alexander's army was comprised of well-trained, disciplined volunteers. Alexander was merciful to the cities and nations he vanquished and unrelenting against all that resisted. In his day, Greece was invincible and conquered Phoenicia, Gaza, Egypt, Persia and parts of India. Alexander the Great achieved all in less than 13 years and died at the age of 33 in Babylon. After Alexander's death, his kingdom was divided among his generals. The Grecian Empire's greatest contribution to the world was a universal language, which provided the opportunity for the Gospel to be preached beyond the Jews when "the kingdom of heaven" was established. (Miller, Greece 22).
Italy experienced civil wars, after which Rome began to rise to a point of world dominance. The Roman Empire dominated the world from about 100 B.C. to 450 A.D. The Roman general, Pompey, conquered Palestine for Rome in 63 B.C., foolishly having been invited by brothers leading armies against each other in a Jewish civil war. The Roman Empire harshly conquered and sustained control over the nations ringing the Mediterranean Sea by brute force. It was during the reign of this kingdom, of which Daniel prophesied, that "the kingdom of heaven" came to fruition. When Jesus was born, Caesar Augustus ruled the Roman Empire and Herod the Great was his appointee in Palestine. Emperor Tiberius later appointed Pilate to govern Judea, before whom Jesus came and was sentenced to crucifixion. The Book of Acts was penned during the respective reigns of Claudius and Nero, and "the kingdom of heaven" or the church was established in Acts 2.
Nero ordered the retaking of Palestine after Jewish zealots successfully organized armies against Roman soldiers there and enjoyed several victories beginning in A.D. 66. Generals Vespasian (later an emperor) and Titus laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed it on September 7, A.D. 70. (Miller, Rome 8-9).
Rome became and continued to be a persecutor of Christians, irrespective of their race, though initially Christians were almost exclusively Jews. Finally, unable to eradicate Christianity, Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity (A.D. 313) and rewarded persons who would espouse it. Still later, Rome itself fell from a combination of internal decay and being overrun by their northern barbarian neighbors.
Truly, Jesus Christ is "King of kings and Lord of Lords" (Revelation 19:16). Scripture affirms that he is reigning now, and he will continue to reign over his kingdom until the Second Coming (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Our Lord's kingdom is everlasting, unlike the kingdoms cited in both the biblical and historical records.
In contrast to the Babylonian kingdom which fell to the Medes and Persians, in contrast to the Medo-Persian kingdom which was superceded by the Grecian or Alexandrian kingdom, and in contrast to the Grecian kingdom which fell to the Romans, the prophets affirmed God would set up a kingdom that would be indestructible. (Winkler).
The kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, all came to the dust of history. They are no more. The eternal kingdom came on Pentecost Day as recorded in the Book of Acts. (Miller, Babylon 17).
Armed with the knowledge of "the kingdom of heaven," discernible in both testaments, each accountable soul urgently needs to acquire citizenship in it with all that is entailed thereby, for this life and eternity to come. "The law of the kingdom is the New Testament … The king of the kingdom is Christ … The citizenry are Christians…" (Winkler).
The fundamental principle of the Kingdom is declared in the words of the Lord spoken in the midst of a company of Pharisees, "the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you," Luke 17:21, marg., that is, where the King is, there is the Kingdom. Thus at the present time and so far as this earth is concerned, where the King is and where His rule is acknowledged, is, first, in the heart of the individual believer, Acts 4:19; Eph. 3:17; 1 Pet. 3:15; and then in the churches of God, 1 Cor. 12:3, 5, 11; 14:37; cp. Col. 1:27, where for "in" read 'among.' (Vine).
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--- "The Five Ancient Empires of the World: Babylon." Gospel Gleaner. 16:2 (2000): 16-17, 21.
--- "The Five Ancient Empires of the World: Persia." Gospel Gleaner. 16:3 (2000): 6-7, 22.
--- "The Five Ancient Empires of the World: Greece." Gospel Gleaner. 16:4 (2000): 6-7, 22.
--- "The Five Ancient Empires of the World: Rome." Gospel Gleaner. 17:1 (2001): 8-10..
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