Your Bible Question
December-07-22

Question: Acts 14:22 and the kingdom of God

ANSWER:

Thank you for your question.

There is no difference between the “kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22;), and the “kingdom of Christ” (Eph. 5:5; 2 Pe. 1:11; Rev. 1:9). In fact other words are used also in connection with kingdom:  “Kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:10;),  “Son of man...in his kingdom” (Mt. 16:28;),  “My Father’s kingdom” (Mt. 16:29;), etc.

One baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27;) receives the remission of sins (Acts 2:38;), and is added by God to Christ’s church, the kingdom (Acts 2:41,47;).

Now let us notice the verse our questioner raised: Acts 14:22, which reads:     Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”  Paul and Barnabas were travelling back through Lystra, and Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 14:21;). They were strengthening brethren (confirming the souls) – by teaching them to “continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22;).

The questioner seems to be asking, if these people were baptized and already in the kingdom, why then  were they told they would need to suffer tribulation to enter the kingdom of God. They were not! Read the verse again. They were being exhorted to faithfulness in the kingdom. They were already suffering persecution (tribulation).  See the persecution of even Paul, etc. in these same cities:  (Acts 13:14,50; Acts 14:1, 5-6; Acts 14:6-7, 19-20;).

The apostle Paul was telling these new Christians that they should not think such persecution to be unusual, and that wicked men would oppose their faithfulness. The tribulation they were suffering should tell them that their faith had been noticed.

Phil 1:28 reads: “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” Paul was not telling them they were not yet in the kingdom of God, but rather they were in it, and suffering tribulation – be faithful – continue.

Now it is true, we have not yet received the final salvation in the kingdom in heaven. That will take place when Jesus comes again, raises the dead, judges the world, and then returns the kingdom to God who gave it to him. See: 1 Cor. 15:24-28; 1 Pe. 1:3-9;

Thanks for your question.