The Kingdom of God

1Corinthians 4:17-21 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will you? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness? 

‘Timotheus’ this is Timothy (2Cor. 1:1; 1Tim. 1:2, 18; 6:20; 2Tim. 1:2; Phm. 1:1; Heb. 13:23). Converted by Paul on his first trip when he was at Lystra and Derbe (Acts 14:6-7 with 1Tim. 1:2). Part Jew and Greek, uncircumcised, but a good Christian (Acts 16:1-3). A miracle worker like Paul (1Cor. 16:10). Paul’s companion from Acts 16 (Acts 16:1-3; 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Rom. 16:21; Php. 2:19). It is believed by some that he was Paul’s scribe in writing Hebrews and Galatians. He had the gifts of the Spirit (1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6). He was a great student of Scripture (2Tim. 1:5; 2:15; 3:15). ‘Son, and faithful in the Lord’ – he was a son in the faith (Acts 16:1).

‘Puffed up, as though I would not come to you.’ Some of their teachers were puffed up and haughty supposing that Paul would not visit Corinth. He said to them that he would to them shortly, not knowing the speech of them that was puffed up, but the power, for the kingdom of God that he demonstrated, was not in word only, but in power. He would prove his calling by a manifestation of power when he got there. He asked them whether he should come with a rod to correct them, or in love, and in a spirit of meekness?

‘Power’ [Greek: dunamis] inherit power; the power of reproducing itself, like a dynamo.

‘Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.’ The sovereignty of God over the universe and includes the kingdom of heaven. It is moral and universal and has existed from the beginning and will know no end. The Kingdom of God existed even before the creation of the Earth. The angels and other spirit beings were in this kingdom when the Earth was created (Job 38:4-7). The Kingdom of Heaven could not have existed then, for there was no Earth for the kingdom from the heavens to rule (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 5:3, 10, 19, 20; 7:21; 8:11; 10:7; 11:11-12; 13:11, 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 52; 16:19; 18:1, 3, 4, 23; 19:12, 14, 23; 20:1; 22:2; 23:13-14; 25:1). It is noticeable that all these references are found in Matthew. The reason for this fact is that this gospel presents Christ as Jehovah’s King. The word Heaven in all the above passages is in the plural, and the phrase Kingdom of Heaven literally means the kingdom from the heavens. It is a dispensational term and refers to the Messiah’s kingdom on the Earth. It is not from or out of this world. The sovereignty comes from Heaven, because the King is from there (John 18:36). It was to this end He was born, and this was the first subject of His ministry (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). The usage of the two terms in parallel passages may be explained as follows: The Kingdom of Heaven is a lesser term than the Kingdom of God. It is the earthly sphere of the universal Kingdom of God, and in this respect the terms have almost all things in common. Therefore, in an earthly sense, everything that is or could be spoken of the Kingdom of Heaven could be spoken also of the Kingdom of God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is the earthly sphere of the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, there are some statements made of the Kingdom of God in this age that could not possibly be spoken of the Kingdom of Heaven. When the two terms are used in parallel passages they refer to this age only, for the Kingdom of Heaven during this age has been changed from a literal kingdom to the sphere of profession, because of the rejection of the King who will be the earthly King of the Kingdom of Heaven when it is finally set up in the next age.

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