APPENDIX D: Five Aspects of the Kingdom of God
In their attempts to divert the application of this parable from the saints of this dispensation, the advocates of the secret rapture plead that the word “kingdom” shows at once that the professing Church is not contemplated as the “wheat” and “tares,” “for,” say they, “the Church is not the kingdom. “The reply is, that although the Church is not the kingdom in the sense of being strictly coextensive with it, yet it forms a part of the kingdom of God, for to be in the true Church is to be in the kingdom; as is shown by the words of the apostle in Colossians 1:13, “who hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”
The subject will be simplified if we remember that “the kingdom of God” is viewed in Scripture under five different aspects:
1. As introduced into the world in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, its King and Head. See Mark 1:14 and 15, where “is at hand” should be rendered “hath drawn nigh” (hggiken).
2. As rejected by Israel, and therefore restricted—during this dispensation of evil in which Satan and “the rulers of the darkness of this world” guide the course of the age—to a body of men whose relationship to it is invisible, and only manifested by their subjection to its laws and principles. But this body of men forms what we know as the Church, the body of Christ. Now as the Gospel brings into this relationship those who believe, it follows that “to testify the Gospel of the grace of God” is equivalent to “preaching the kingdom of God” (See Acts 20:24,25).
3. In that outward visible aspect, in which, during this dispensation, it includes all who profess to belong to the Lord Jesus Christ—some truly, some falsely. It is, in this aspect, exactly equivalent to what is commonly described by the word “Christendom” (i.e. Christ’s kingdom), that it is spoken of in Matthew 23.
4. In the future, or millennial aspect, when the government of the Lord Jesus Christ will be manifested in power. The kingdom will then include (a) a heavenly department, the Risen “Church of the first‑born ones” (Heb. 12); and (b) an earthly department, consisting of Israel as a converted people, and also the converted Gentiles throughout the earth. It is in this aspect that we pray “Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.”
5. In the eternal aspect, as in the words “then cometh the end, when He (the Son) shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” etc. (1 Cor. 15:24).