November 20, 2014

A Biblical Exploration of “Kingdom”: The New Testament

by Lyndon Unger

In my previous post, I explored the Old Testament teaching on the concept of “kingdom” and specifically looked at the promised Davidic kingdom; a kingdom that would be ruled by one of Davids’ descendants in righteousness and be an everlasting kingdom.  I looked at how this kingdom appeared to be established with Solomon but was not, and we saw how Isaiah offered reassurances to Israel that Solomon’s sinfulness in no way negated the certainty of the coming Davidic kingdom.  I also commented on how the expectation of the kingdom was one of a physical, national kingdom that would be centered in Israel but would also be global in scope.

So, when the New Testament era came around, it’s fairly logical to think that this kingdom mentioned in the OT was the expectation, right? Let’s look at the New Testament usages of “kingdom” and explore what is said.  As before, I’ve done this only with an English concordance so this is far from comprehensive or exhaustive, but it’s a definite start.  I list the usages of the word “kingdom” according to their meaning, and I’ve written some notes about references that are either important or may be slightly confusing.  This is going to be a lot to process, so here goes:

The Kingdom: NT Usage –

1. Human empires & reign (national) or Satan’s empire and reign on earth.

HumanKingdom_zps51a0f9a0

Matt. 4:8, 12:25-26, Mark 6:23, 11:10, 13:8, Luke 1:33, 4:5, 11:17-18, 21:10, Heb. 11:33; Rev. 11:15, 26:20.

a. In Rev. 11:15 when the heavenly voices say “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever”, that’s saying that the earthly kingdom (i.e. all of the kingdoms of mankind summarized in the phrase “the kingdom of the world”) has become his kingdom.  This is a blatant statement that he will have an empire and reign on earth as opposed to in heaven.

2. God’s universal empire and rule. *

Master Scutum Fide

Matt. 6:10, 26:29; Luke 11:2

a. Matt. 6:10 (“your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”) suggests that Christians should pray that God’s universal rule and expression of his moral will becomes the rule and moral nature of the earth in like manner and extent that it is in heaven.  Also, though it seems obvious, it’s worth pointing out that if Christians pray for “”your kingdom come” and “your will be done”, that seems to suggest that the kingdom is not currently here and God’s will is not currently being done on earth like it is in heaven.

3. General/passing references to “kingdom”, “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of Heaven” in the gospels.

(This third point ended up being a rather long exploration, so I’ve broken it into two separate posts: the gospels and the rest of the NT).

Kingdom of God

Matt. 3:2, 4:17, 23, 5:3, 10, 19, 20, 6:10, 33, 7:21-22, 8:11-12, 9:35. 10:7, 11:11-12, 12:28; 13:11, 19, 24, 31, 33, 38, 41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 52, 16:19, 28, 18:1, 3, 4, 23, 19:12, 14, 23-24, 20:1, 21, 21:31, 43, 22:2, 23:13, 24:7, 14, 25:1, 34; Mark 1:15, 3:24, 4:11, 4:26, 30, 9:1, 47, 10:14-15, 23-25, 12:34, 14:25, 15:43; Luke 4:43, 6:20, 7:28, 8:1, 10, 9:2, 11, 27, 60, 62, 10:9, 11, 11:20, 12:31-32, 13:18, 20, 28-29, 14:15, 16:16, 17:20-21, 18:16-17, 24-25, 29, 19:11-12, 15, 21:31, 22:16, 22:18, 29-30, 23:42, 51, John 3:3, 5, 18:36

a. Matt. 5:3 & 10 appear to be an inclusio on the beatitudes, which I take to suggest that the start and end of the list are characteristics of those who are citizens of the kingdom (and thereby every characteristic in between as well).  This doesn’t at all suggest that these are only relevant to the millennial kingdom (as some Dispensationalists have wrongly suggested…or at least that’s the accusation I’ve heard), since that would seem to deny the current reality of the kingdom; every Christian is a citizen of the kingdom (see below) and should both evidence and aspire to these characteristics.

b. Matt. 5:20 suggests a general temporal sequence; righteousness precedes kingdom entrance.  Unless your present reality is a Pharisee-surpassing righteousness, your future can never include entrance into the kingdom.  The entrance requirements for the kingdom are essentially moral in nature; entrance requires moral perfection.  This is also taught in 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:20-21; Eph. 5:5; 2 Peter 1:5-11.

c. Matt. 6:10 is a prayer for the kingdom to come, which logically assumes that it’s not already here but Matt. 6:7-9 suggests that this is a prayer for believers. When Jesus was standing in plain sight on earth, manifesting his power and forgiving sin, he told believers to pray that the kingdom would come.  This suggests that it cannot be a prayer for people to “get saved” and it cannot be a prayer for some sort of esoteric manifestation of moral conduct (i.e. “Dear God, please rule in my heart today!”).  The Jews would have no concept of a “spiritual” kingdom from the OT or the previous teaching of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew; the “kingdom” concept would have most certainly have included a king, a country, and servants in a non-metaphorical sense.

d. Matt 6:33 instructs believers to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” instead of seeking food, clothing and riches, with the promise that “all these things will be added to you”.  This separates seeking the kingdom from seeking God’s righteousness (they’re not entirely synonymous), but they’re related (in a way that Jesus doesn’t explain at that moment).  I would suggest that one seeks the kingdom (future) by seeking God’s righteousness (present); Jesus has already suggested this temporal progression in Matt. 5:20.  Also, the promise seems to ring false if believers don’t get money, food, and clothing though (“and all these things will be added to you”; it seems like a golden prosperity gospel promise), unless the promise is ultimately a promise that is fulfilled, in full, in the kingdom.  It’s worth remembering that elsewhere in the NT believers are promised suffering in this life, not material bounty.  God will provide the needs of believers in this life, but in the kingdom they will receive an actual material bounty as a tangible reward for their faithfulness to God’s commands in this life.  Matt. 19:28-29 also teaches something along these lines; future material reward for faithfulness in this life.

e. Matt. 7:21-22 talks about the entrance to the kingdom as a future event (“On that day…”).  This is also the case in 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 2 Tim. 4:18.

f. Matt. 8:11-12 speaks of the reclining alongside the patriarchs in the kingdom as a future event (“many will come…”).  If the kingdom is a present reality, one needs to explain the present reality of “the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness…(where there is)…weeping and gnashing of teeth”.  It sounds like the reclining with the patriarchs is a concurrent reality with the throwing out.  If the “throwing out” hasn’t occurred yet, neither has the “reclining”.

Also, in the context of the faith of the centurion and the juxtaposition of his faith and the lack of faith in Israel, the “sons of the kingdom” who are thrown out are likely the sons of the kingdom citizens; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (i.e. unbelieving ethnic Jews who assume that they’ll gain entrance into the kingdom due to lineage).

g. Matt. 12:28 suggests clearly that there is present reality to the kingdom, for if Jesus casts out demons by the Holy Spirit, “then the kingdom of God has come upon you”.  I’d take a stab in the dark and suggest that the idea is that Jesus (as a representative of the kingdom) is present and manifesting his kingly authority over Satan, which everyone can plainly see.  If the king has arrived and is administering his authority, the kingdom is present (in some sense) and functioning (though not present and functioning in the way that it will eventually be present and functioning). This is also the implication of Heb. 12:28 as Christians are receiving a kingdom.

Catsing out Demons

h. Matt. 13:52 is very interesting in that it finishes Jesus’ revealing of kingdom mysteries (Matt. 13:11, 35).  The one who knows the Old Testament well and is instructed in the kingdom will have ancient knowledge (i.e. the Old Testament kingdom promises) as well as contemporary revelation (i.e. the New Testament revelation regarding the strange nature of the kingdom’s beginnings and why this “kingdom” currently looks so bizarre).

i. Matt. 16:28 includes a promise that “there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”, and this occurred in Matt. 17:1-8 at the transfiguration.  I am well aware that some well known theologians wildly disagree with my understanding here, but I would side with the apostle Peter in 2 Pet. 1:16 where, well before the destruction of the temple in 70AD, Peter claims to have already seen Christ’s parousia; his powerful return and unveiling of glory on the mount of Transfiguration (2 Pet. 1:17-18).  Peter speaks with apostolic authority on this issue so that it is both settled and closed.

Related to Matt. 17:1-8, it’s worth noting a detail about the Transfiguration that I rarely hear.  In Matt. 16:28, Peter is told that he’s going to see “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”, and so in Matt. 17:4 when he says “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”, it’s not Peter being “Peter the dopey disciple” and recommending that they camp out there and bask in the moment.  Peter knew his Old Testament well and knew that in the Kingdom, Zech. 14:16-19 says that the one feast that will be celebrated will be the Feast of Booths.  In Matt. 17:4, Peter is expressing belief that this is the Kingdom, and in his excitement he wants to keep the Feast of Booths RIGHT NOW!  He’s completely overwhelmed with emotion that the promised kingdom has arrived and he wants to do what Zechariah said would be done. He’s not as dumb as some have portrayed him to be.

j. Matt. 18:1-5 has little to do with sentimental love of children and far more to do with being a lesson on how one receives the gospel and the kingdom.  The entrance to the kingdom comes with humility (Matt. 18:4) and not seeking glory (Matt. 18:1).  A similar message is found in Matt. 19:13-15.

k. Matt. 19:23-24 comments on how it seems impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom because it’s a divine work of God for anyone to enter the kingdom (remember Matt. 5:20).  Money, power, intellect, influence, and even philanthropic benevolence all exclusively condemn one as a sinner and in no way qualify one for kingdom entrance.

l. Luke 9:62 comments on how one cannot be fit for the kingdom if they’re double-minded; much like the inability of a believer to not love God and money equally, no person can love the world and it’s system/pleasures and equally love the kingdom.

m. Luke 10:9-11 is very interesting.  When Jesus sent out the 72 to preach the kingdom, saying “the kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:9), and if they were rejected they were to shake the dust off their feet, move on and find solace in the fact that the rejecting town has had the kingdom of God come near (Luke 10:11).  This appears to not be saying that the kingdom has come (in some sort of full manifestation), but rather that the kingdom has come near to those who hear their message and witness their miracles.  I suspect that those who witness the miracles and hear the gospel come near the kingdom in the sense that they are as close as one can be to the kingdom; they’re hearing the message of the kingdom and witnessing miraculous confirmation of the truth of that message.  An overwhelming majority of people in history didn’t have that sort of proximity to the blatant truth and tangible proof of the reality kingdom.

It’s also worth recognizing the subtle difference between Luke 10:9-11 and Matt. 12:28.  When Jesus performed miracles, “the kingdom of God has come upon you”.  When Jesus’ disciples preached and performed miracles, “the kingdom of God has come near to you”.  Jesus’ disciples had a share of his power and authority, but Jesus’ disciples weren’t the same as Jesus.

n. In Luke 17:21 Jesus says “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you”, and that is in answer to their question of when the kingdom was coming.  Jesus first said that the kingdom is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will people see it somewhere and say “look, here it is!”.  These two negative qualifiers indicate that the coming of the kingdom is not something that can be prophetically predicted with an awareness to search for the “right” prophetic signs (since all the signs they should have looked for had already occurred), and the kingdom will not arrive in some form that only the discerning will see and then point out.  When the kingdom comes, the Pharisees would not see it coming in any way, but I would suggest it’s because it had come (in Christ); they would not see it because they already did not.  Again, this is a passage that I would suggest points out the “already” aspect of the “not yet” kingdom.

Also, the phrase “in your midst” doesn’t mean “in your heart” or “inside you”; that’s likely not the case since Jesus is talking to unregenerate Pharisees when he says it (seems obvious, right?).  The phrase “in your midst” likely is a geographic location; namely right in front of your noses!  Since Jesus was in the midst of the crowd of Pharisees and other people, the kingdom (represented by its monarch publicly exercising his authority) was also in the midst of that very crowd.

the_kingdom_of_god_within_color_by_joshuafenimore-d5ea0ss

o. In John 18:36, when Jesus says “my kingdom is not of this world”, he’s not saying that his kingdom is “spiritual” meaning immaterial as opposed to material (I’d suggest reading this to understand my confusion).  Jesus explains himself in John 18:36 when he says in the last clause “my kingdom is not from this world”.  Christ’s kingdom is one that will be on earth, but it’s not from earth.  When Jesus returns to set up his kingdom, he’ll come to earth and bring his subjects with him (Zech. 14:5; 1 Thess. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:10; Jude 1:14 all comment on this).

When the kingdom finally comes, it will arrive in the form of a foreign invasion led by Jesus Christ.

Next post, I’ll continue on and look at all the rest of the general/passing references to “kingdom”, “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of Heaven” outside the gospels.

As always, I welcome all interaction, questions, or even rebuttals.

* It is really hard to find a picture having to do with God’s universal kingdom and rule without finding something horribly cheesy or grossly insufficient.  I made the (admittedly cheesy) Masters of the Universe/Scutum Fide picture to visually communicate a concept, not give an actual representation of anything.  If I offended anyone, I plead “mind-altering drugs”.

Lyndon Unger

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Lyndon is a pastor/teacher who’s currently between ministry work and in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Witness Protection program. If you think you saw him somewhere...you didn’t.
  • Jason

    I’m so glad you covered the transfiguration. I’d always heard the “dopey disciple” explaination and it just didn’t sit right, but I’d never found my way ar0und to studying 2 Peter with that in mind.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Yeah. It’s a connection that is a rather striking one!

  • Labby

    I understand that this is one of the main reasons that those remaining in the Jewish religion reject Jesus, because He did not set up the earthly kingdom they were expecting to see so he could not possibly have been their expected Messiah.

    • Lyndon Unger

      I’d say that the offer he gave them was legitimate (as it was in Saul, David and Solomon’s day), but in their sinfulness they rejected it (was they had done multiple times before).

      The problem with the Jews has always been the presence of sin and unbelief, but in the end God will remedy that problem as well when the elect Jews are brought to saving faith after the tribulation.

  • Tiffany Perry

    I love these posts, thank you for getting sick: ( and exploring the kingdom! I have so many questions and there are quite a few spots that make my heart speed up

    • Tiffany Perry

      Tongue in cheek, of course, i’m really not glad you got sick.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Feel free to toss thoughts and questions here. I make no promises about being able to answer every question, but I can take a stab at it.

  • Bill Comstock

    There is certainly a full coming of God’s kingdom in a future physical form, but nonetheless His kingdom is here and now to those who would come in through His Son. Jesus declared the Kingdom of God is at hand … here now and accessible through Jesus (Jn 14:6). His Kingdom (His rule and authority has no beginning nor end..Ps 145:8-13). So Jesus’ template for prayer in Mt 6 is a prayer for His rule and reign to be full within my life. And the Jewish concept of heaven, to which Jesus also spoke, was that heaven is near, and not just a gazillion miles away. Our Father,who art in heaven, is about God who is always near. Seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness (which cannot be separated), is Jesus’ invitation to that which is really able to be found.

    • Lyndon Unger

      I’m not sure why you strung John 14:6 and Ps. 145:8-13 together in order to give an interpretive key to Matthew 6. John 14 mentions coming to the Father, not coming to the kingdom (the difference being salvation involves immediately going to the Father) and Ps 145:13 mentions God’s universal rule, not the mediatorial kingdom (I addressed that Psalm in the first post).

      Bill, what you’ve presented is rather pronounced and textbook eisegesis.

      You can say that “Jesus’ template for prayer in Mt 6 is a prayer for His rule and reign to be full within my life”, but the two verses you’ve strung together give me absolutely no reason to believe you.

      As for the Jewish concept of heaven, I’d say that you’re also somewhat confused. The Old Testament taught that there were celestial and terrestrial “heavens”, and God did not reside in the terrestrial “heavens” (הַשָּׁמַיִם or “shamayim” in Hebrew), for the “heavens” are essentially “the sky”.

      In Neh. 9:6 the phrase שְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם (sh’mey hashamayim) occurs, which means “heaven of the heavens”. This is the actual dwelling place of God in the Old Testament. That phrase (שְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם (or “heaven of the heavens”) appears in Deuteronomy 10:14, 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Chronicles 2:6, 6:18 and Psalm 115:16 as specifically referring to the celestial heaven, over and above the terrestrial heaven.

      The reason we can make that claim is because the phrase שְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם (“heaven of the heavens”) appears in four out of six of those references (Deuteronomy 10:14, 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Chronicles 2:6, 6:18) alongside the phrase הַשָּׁמַיִם (“heaven”) to clearly differentiate between the terrestrial heaven (הַשָּׁמַיִם) and the celestial heaven (שְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם). The word הַשָּׁמַיִם (“heaven”) always clearly seems to refer to the terrestrial heaven in the Old Testament. That’s not the dwelling place of God.

      So, if we’re talking about what the Jews thought, when Jesus says “Our Father in heaven”, we need to remember that though the Greeks had one word for “heavens” (ouranos), the Jews differentiated between the celestial and terrestrial heavens. The Jewish understanding of the concept should provide our framework for understanding Jesus’ prayer in Matt. 6.

      The concept of “heaven” (specifically referring to the dwelling place of God, or the “heaven of the heavens”) wasn’t one of imminence to the Jews, but rather one of transcendence. The Jews didn’t think of “heaven” in reference to distance, but separation.

      • Bill Comstock

        Hello Lyndon, Thanks for your responses, and blessings to you. Let me try to reply in kind. As you also point out, the Jewish concept re: heaven is multiple — i.e. heavens. The very basic concept is that heaven is where God is. Note Gen 22:11 — God’s proximity in His call to Abraham (with Isaac). Also God’s proximity in His call to Hagar (Gen 21:17), and Jacob’s response (Gen 28:17). In this Jewish context, Jesus in Matt (written to Jewish people) refers to the Kingdom as the Kingdom of the Heavens (plural), though modern translations make it singular. Unfortunately many today refer to heaven as only something distant (as you noted it is not distance), and in that context they think of Mt 6:9 as our Father, who is afar off — which is certainly not the Jewish sense that Jesus was communicating, but rather Our Father, who is always near.

        But my main response was for a broader understanding of
        the kingdom — the rule and reign of God, and not about geography, and from OT & NT context much more than just future millennial Kingdom. God’s Kingdom did not begin with Jesus — e.g. the reference in Psalm 145 is that His Kingdom is eternal. It is what His people declare (Ps 145:11-13), as knowable now. And in the fullness of time Jesus announces that this Kingdom is accessible to all now (e.g. Mk 1:14-15; Lk 4:43). Of course the accessibility was through Jesus (I am the Way – the way into the Kingdom of God, and the truth/reality of God Himself, and of course eternal life – knowing Jesus and the Father is what eternal living/life is all about: Jn17:3). So these and most NT passages about the kingdom are about a life so incredibly fulfilled in living under the rule and reign of God. In fact Jesus likens it to a man who finds a great treasure – Mt 13:44-46. It is this life, through Jesus, that we seek, with the expectation of finding it now (Mt 6:33). And it is this message about the Kingdom of God that Jesus even continues to instruct his followers about after He is risen: Acts 1:3; and which Paul continues to talk about in conjunction with declaring Jesus, even in his detention in Rome: Acts 28:23,30-31. It is this Kingdom of God that we are transferred into (not future, but present): Col 1:13.

        So I think your exposition re: the Kingdom of God is great material in this broader context of what Jesus was proclaiming, both here now, as well as the physical fulfillment to come when He returns. And of course it stretches far beyond a millennium, through all eternity, where we will be living out Rev 22:5, reigning under Him forever and ever.
        For some further references in this context:
        http://dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=150
        http://dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=92

        • Lyndon Unger

          Bill, I’m not sure what to say. You’re just bringing a bunch of irrelevant or factually untrue statements.

          In Gen 22:11, the angel of the Lord calls to Abraham. It’s not God the Father doing doing the calling, and it’s easily reasonable to suggest that “heaven” there means sky; the angel was actually flying (it would rather help him get noticed, right?). Same goes for Gen. 21, and Gen 28:17 certainly doesn’t make your point if you pay close attention to 28:12-13. The ladder went to the top of heaven (the sky) and the Lord was “above” that (above the top of “heaven”).

          In Matthew, the term “heaven” in “kingdom of heaven” is singular. Basileia is the singular Greek form. That whole line of reasoning is factually incorrect.

          I don’t know where you’re getting your “Jewish ubderstanding” of heaven from, but it doesn’t seem to be the Jewish scriptures.

          • Bill Comstock

            Lyndon, of course you are correct in clarification for the 2 passages in Genesis (angel of God), and then there is Jacob’s declaration that God was in that place (vs 16) – these are examples of how in the Jewish mind, “heaven” was not far off and distant. And there were multiple heavens in the Jewish thought (either 5 or 7, depending on which scholars you’d refer to).

            Nonetheless, heaven itself was not my main point, but rather that Jesus refers to the gospel (the great news!) as the Kingdom of the heavens being at hand/now accessible (very Jewish reference in Matt, versus “Kingdom of God” being used in the other gospel accounts as well as remainder of New Testament). Do note you gave the Gr word for kingdom and not heaven. Check out “heaven” in the Greek (e.g. Mt 4:17) and note that it is in the plural form. The logic does indeed flow — but maybe we will need to agree to disagree for now, or pursue this thread offline via an email.

            Your main blog article was in regard to the Kingdom in the New Testament. My point is that Jesus’ declaration of the gospel ties in intimately with OT thought and is about accessibility to the Kingdom of God now through Himself. – much more than about a future millennial kingdom – though that is not at all insignificant!! Please do read the references I added at the end of my previous response for further context. Blessings…

          • Lyndon Unger

            You’re right. τῶν οὐρανῶν is plural. I read the wrong word and don’t understand how I made that mistake outside of Sofosbuvir-induced brain fog.

            I disagree with Dallas Willard’s ideas about the kingdom. It’s interesting how he cannot produce any scripture to support his ideas, but just rambles and pontificates.

            I don’t really feel like this is going anywhere at all, and I don’t have the energy to pursue this thread.

            Blessings.

  • tovlogos

    Item K is qualified by Luke 12:21: “…So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, ‘and’ is not rich toward God.” So, we know it not impossible….but excruciatingly difficult to have outrageous fortune; and still possess the simplicity and spiritual hunger required to enter heaven.

    Regarding “outer darkness,” I heard a theologian suggest that it was neither heaven nor hell; but an area “further from the “light.” And a comparison was made between Matthew 25:30, speaking of the “wicked, worthless servant/slave; and believers who have failed the Lord in service, but still have an opportunity (despite the characterization of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”). He used Matt. 16:23, where Jesus called Peter Satan to support his proposition. I don’t see the comparison between Peter and the wicked servant in Matt. 25:30; since Peter was a true disciple who stumbled, in contrast to the wicked servant who never had any love for the Lord.
    Nevertheless, this subject is one of the most lengthy analyses, that requires many pages to search out. But even though I can’t make a comparison between Peter and the servant in Matt. 25:30, for sure.

    • Lyndon Unger

      I hear you and somewhat agree with the point, but I’d want to warn you at how you arrive there.

      Matthew 19:23-24 is explained by Luke 12:21?

      No sir. That’s not the place to go.

      I’d take a stab in the dark and say that Matthew 19:23-24 is explained in Matthew 19:25-26:

      “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”

      Jesus used the word “impossible”, so I used it too (except that I included the word “seems” in order to qualify it). I’d caution you from mashing the gospels together and using a phrase from an unrelated parable in Luke in order to interpret a historical narrative in Matthew. That’s not what is meant by “scripture interprets scripture”. I only mention this to stop you from falling into exegetical traps that will lead you into much frustration.

      Still, you’re point is right. Matthew 19:23 says “only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven”. Jesus didn’t say “no rich person may ever enter the kingdom.” So we understand “impossible” to not mean what it sounds like, but rather that giving up one’s devotion to money is “impossible” in the sense that it cannot be done by any unregenerate person and rather can only be done by a work of the Holy Spirit.

      • tovlogos

        Absolutely no disagreement; so is the gift of the Holy Spirit, which only He can give. I took the leap to emphasize the positional benefit of the man who is right with God.

        • Lyndon Unger

          Good stuff! I’m then in agreement with you as well!

          • tovlogos

            Cripplegate is keeping me on my toes, which is great for me; after my long illness. Thanks a lot.

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