A key distinction between the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of God is that the kingdoms of the world are destined to perish, while the kingdom of God lasts forever.
We see this in Jesus’ assertion that, “the harvest is the end of the age” (Matt 13:39). Similarly, Paul claims, “Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away” (1 Cor 2:6). John, also, states, “The darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).
Consequently, though “this age” and the “age to come” currently both exist, there will come a day when “this age” will cease and the “age to come” will arrive in fulness.
A good way to understand the kingdom of God, then, is to recognize the the kingdom of God relates to the world as it will become when the New Creation comes in fulness. The kingdom of God is ultimately one of eternal life and immortality.
When the kingdom of God arrives in totality, then Revelation 21 will be fulfilled: God “Will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:4).
That the kingdom of God is eternal is why we should store up our treasures there.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt 6:19-20).
As I noted in a previous post, we read this verse incorrectly if we assume that “earth” means physical and “heaven” means spiritual. Instead, we should think in terms of kingdoms. When Jesus refers to “heaven” He means His eternal kingdom.
The same is true is the often misunderstood statement of Paul in Colossians 3:
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col 3:1-2)
Note that in this passage Paul defines the “things above” as “where Christ is.” This confirms my contention that the kingdom of God is the “reign of God.” After all, the place where Christ is seated is “at the right hand of God,” which refers to God’s throne. That is, the throne from which God rules!
Paul is not saying that we are to focus on spiritual things, but that we should focus on the matters of Christ’s kingdom as opposed to the matters of this world. This is why Paul spells out the things that we should focus on in Colossians 3:12-14:
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
In otherwords, the things above that we should be seeking correspond to the nature of Christ’s kingdom: “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, . . . [and] love.”