Matt 3:2 The Kingdom of Heaven CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Dr. Peter Ruckman has often stated, “The main theme of the Bible is not salvation. The main theme of the Bible is a throne. The Book is about getting the right king on that throne.” That’s a very true statement. When the Bible opens, you find a man named Adam, in Genesis 2, who was given dominion over every living thing. Suddenly, in Genesis 3, the devil showed up and took control of Adam’s kingdom. And he has had control of it ever since (2 Cor. 4:4; Lk 4:5-6).
Until the coming of Jesus Christ, Satan had given power to control this kingdom to seven different kings or kingdoms. They were:
1. Nimrod – Genesis 10:8-9, 11:1-4
2. The Egyptian Pharaohs – Genesis 42:53-57, 47:5-6; Ex 1:8-14
3. The Assyrians Shalmaneser, Tiglathpileser, and Sennacherib – 2 Ki 15:29, 16:7-9, 17:3-6, 18:13, 19:16-18
4. The Babylonians Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar – Dan 3:1-6, 4:20-22, 5:1; 2 Ki 24:10-16
5. The Medes and Persians Darius and Cyrus – Dan. 5:31-6:3; 2 Chr 36:22-23
6. The Greek Alexander the Great and his successors – Dan 8:20-22; Dan 10:20
7. The Roman Caesars – Lk. 2:1, 3:1; Acts 11:28
When Jesus Christ came to the Jews, he came as their king (Matt 2:2), while they were under Roman authority. Thus, the Roman, Herod, tried to have him killed when he was still an infant. By the time Jesus was ready to begin his ministry, God sent John the Baptist to prepare the Jews for their king. Therefore, John the Baptist preached, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” as he was manifesting Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews, to Israel.
John the Baptist said in John 1:31, “And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Notice that he was not preaching the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). That gospel is the good news that is preached to get people into the kingdom of God, Christ’s spiritual kingdom. John did not preach that kingdom; he only preached the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom that would be inherited by the literal seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that will be ruled by Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:11-16, 20:1-3, 10).
The kingdom of heaven, therefore, will be a Jewish kingdom when Jesus finally takes control of it (Is 60). As such, we can locate the major events concerning this kingdom leading up to its final control by Jesus. Notice, the kingdom of heaven:
§ Covenanted – 2 Sam 7:10-17
§ Prophesied – Jer 23:5-8, 30:7-11
§ At Hand – Matt 3:2
§ Postponed – Matt 13:11-17
§ Rejected – Acts 7:51-53
§ Counterfeited – Rev 13
§ Realized – Is 11