“A long time ago in a kingdom far, far away…”

Many of us are familiar with this fairy-tale beginning to children’s stories. Upon hearing these delightful words, we know we are in for a treat—a story of knights and princesses, magic and dragons! We’re transported to a kingdom where good is victorious and evil is vanquished. We don’t have medieval, fairy-tale kingdoms today, but kingdoms still exist. They aren’t home to knights and dragons, but rather rulers and political powers. God Himself also rules over a kingdom. Through this kingdom, He will accomplish His purposes for humanity through Christ, His Son.

The Greek word for “kingdom” in the New Testament is βασιλεία (basileia), which has two related meanings. On the one hand, it can mean “territory ruled by a king,” which is commonly translated as “kingdom.” This is largely what the English word means. On the other hand, it can mean “act of ruling,”1 which could be translated as “kingship, royal rule.”2 (This meaning is not generally associated with the English word.) The former meaning focuses on geography, the area over which the king exercises authority; the latter focuses on power, the dominion which the king exercises.

The Bible recognizes the reality of earthly kingdoms that exercise power over a particular area. We recognize them as nations, political states, and governments. This is what Satan tempted Jesus with when he offered Him all the kingdoms of the earth (Matthew 4:8–9; Luke 4:5–7). But the New Testament testifies of a kingdom ruled over by God with Christ as its King! The book of Matthew refers to this as the Kingdom of Heaven (e.g., Matthew 4:17), and the rest of the New Testament refers to this as the Kingdom of God (e.g., Mark 1:15). God’s Kingdom is heralded by the gospel, the good news about Jesus (Matthew 4:23). It is marked by spiritual qualities empowered by the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). And God’s Kingdom will ultimately overtake the whole world (Revelation 11:15)! It’s no wonder, then, that believers long for Christ’s return when he will establish that kingdom (1 Timothy 4:8).

The Kingdom of God, as testified in the New Testament, is the manifestation of God’s rule over the people He loves in Jesus Christ. Our Lord’s teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection established Him as the King. He presently reigns over the church, and He will one day return to earth to rule over the full and final manifestation of God’s Kingdom. And that Kingdom is no fairy tale! Believers can rejoice that our great God rules over His Kingdom, and we can trust that Jesus Christ will bring this Kingdom to fruition at His coming. Now that’s a story worth telling!

Dr. Patricia Moore

Author: Dr. Patricia Moore

Dr. Moore holds a Ph.D. in Theological Studies from Christian Bible Institute and Seminary, and a Masters in Christian Education from Cohen Institute. Her heart’s desire is to see people grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so she founded Guarded Heart Bible college, as a way help build the Kingdom of God.  She has over 30 years experience in education with extensive focus on developing curriculum for youth and adult education programs and supports varied ministries as a Christian Education Coordinator and Advisor.