Kingdom of God: What the Bible Says About the Realized Kingdom Now

Kingdom of God: What the Bible Says About the Realized Kingdom Now

Kingdom of God: What the Bible Says About the Realized Kingdom Now

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The kingdom of God was first mentioned more than 700 years before the birth of Christ. the king of the kingdom. the prophet Isaiah was able to look into the future and prophesy, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains . . .” (Isa. 2:2).  A younger contemporary of Isaiah, Micah, prophesied about the same event: “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established . . .” (Micah 4:1).  The phrases, “in the last days” and “the mountain of the house of the Lord” have always sparked ta quest to understand the establishment of the “house of the Lord.” Exactly when it would be established has also been mystifying.

Several years after Isaiah and Micah, Daniel, revealing the dream of the king of Babylon, again spoke of “a great mountain [that would fill] the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35)  In the interpretation of the dream, the mountain is revealed to be the coming kingdom of God. This kingdom would “shall never be destroyed” and “stand for ever” (Dan. 2:34-35) The interpretation, also, revealed when it would be established.  God would destroy the kingdoms of men and establish his own kingdom by sending his Son into their world.

Kingdom of God is revealed to be the consummation of the ages.

Daniel revealed that the head of fine gold represented the king of Babylon. He proceeded to reveal how the kingdoms of men would degenerate from brilliance to drabness, from strength to weakness.  The golden age of man declined through silver, brass, iron, and finally to a mixture of iron and clay. It eventually would be broken and scattered by the wind.  And in the aftermath, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed . . . and it shall stand for ever.”  Daniel’s interpretation of the coming kingdom of God set the standard for Israel’s prophets in the following centuries.  They also prophesied of the coming Messiah (the anointed One) to establish his reign of peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God.  For Daniel and all the succeeding prophets, the establishment of God’s kingdom would be the consummation of the ages.

The expectation of the long awaited Messiah who would come to destroy evil and establish a kingdom of righteousness began in the days of Abraham. God promised a great nation would come to Abraham and his descendants. The nation would be blessed by God.  He promised to bless the descendants of Abraham. He also promised to bless the people that would honor and revere the nation that God would establish (Gen. 12:3). He also promised to curse the people who would curse this nation (Gen. 12:3). This promise of God to Abraham forever produced in his descendants the expectations of a coming kingdom of God that would be blessed and protected by God himself.

The descendants of Abraham have never been confused by the fact that God had promised a coming kingdom of peace, prosperity, and justice.  The wrongs of evil would be punished and the righteousness of the good would be rewarded.  This expectation and hope has grounded the people of God for centuries.

Kingdom of God from its earliest references.

The confusion occurs as to when this promised kingdom would be experienced in all of its glory (Luke 17:20).  Since the topic of the kingdom of God is once again so prevalent in the preaching of many today, perhaps a fresh look back to the earliest writings of Christianity would be beneficial.  In that record, it can be seen that the main topic of the preaching of Jesus was the kingdom of God.  The earliest written history of the church begins (Acts 1:3) and ends (Acts 28:31 )with statements concerning the kingdom of God .  It can be justifiably set forth from those records that the kingdom of God experienced by the disciples of Jesus was the basis for the radical change in their lives.

During the preaching of Jesus, he spoke so much on the kingdom of God that finally the Pharisees demanded, “. . . when the kingdom of God should come” (Luke 17:20).  The response of Jesus to their demand is perhaps the most precise teaching on experiencing the kingdom of God contained in the Scriptures.  This teaching of Jesus on the kingdom of God is the essence of this booklet (10 pages).

 

Preface

Confusion still occurs as to when this promised kingdom would be experienced in all of its glory. Even the descendants of Abraham, during the time of David, knew without question that they were experiencing the realized kingdom, the fulfillment of the promise of God to their father Abraham. Their hopes and dreams of experiencing the glory of the kingdom that would never end was shattered, however, when the kingdom of Israel under David began to deteriorate.

The Northern ten tribes of Israel were eventually defeated and deported by a foreign power. They would never be heard from again. When the holy city and the holy Temple were destroyed in the south, the destruction of the glory of the kingdom of David was completed.

During Israel’s captivity that followed the fall of the southern kingdom, the prophets held to their belief and with visionary zeal proclaimed that the promise of God was still true. There would be a kingdom of God that would not be destroyed. It would stand forever. This latter house of the Messiah, which will have no end, would be greater than the former house of David, which came to an end. Many of the descendants of Abraham are still waiting in expectation for the establishment of that kingdom.

After the advent of Jesus with its renewed emphasis on the kingdom of God, the Christian church eventually, around the year 500 A. D, came to believe that the physical presence of the organized church was the promised kingdom of God. The material and temporal kingdom of Roman Catholicism became the fulfillment of the expectation of that kingdom. With its desire to spread peace and justice, the visible church spread throughout the world with the hope of bringing the righteousness of God to the world.

Many in Catholicism still believe that they are the physical manifestation of the kingdom of God promised to their father of faith, Abraham. But, many within the Roman church have also had their dreams and hopes shattered. They have accepted that the visible church has fallen far short of the promised kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness. Many participants today in Roman Catholicism are again waiting in expectation for the fulfillment of the realized kingdom of God.

The emphasis of the visible church in Protestantism, after the Reformation primarily led by Luther and Calvin, turned to the experiencing of God in the individual’s life. The birth of modern day denominations gave rise to a diversity of ways to explain how believers were to experience their salvation in this life. With their time being taken by defending and promulgating correct doctrinal beliefs, the various factions in Christendom lost sight of the realized kingdom of God. The importance of experiencing the kingdom of God and the preaching of Jesus to come and establish that kingdom was gradually replaced with a focus upon a heaven and a hell in the next life.

It was not until the beginning of the 20th Century that a renewed interest in the physical kingdom of God being established on earth came to the forefront of man’s thinking. With the rise of conservative Biblical scholarship, a rekindled emphasis on the last days became prominent. This modern revival of the last days began when a group of Christians around the turn of the century began to interpret a biblical concept of history.

It was suggested that the entire history of man would eventually come to its consummation with the end of the present world and the beginning of a new world. They would later become known as premillenialists, because their emphasis was upon the return of Jesus to rapture the church into heaven before the literal 1,000 years physical reign of Jesus on earth. This “second” coming of Christ for the raptured church would be established as the realized kingdom of God in all of its glory. Most conservative and fundamental Christians today are waiting for Jesus to come and establish this physical kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness upon the earth.

To correctly understand the kingdom of God, we must first go back to the first recorded words of Jesus when he began his ministry:

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).

Matthew recorded, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom . . .” (Matt. 4:17,23).

This booklet will continue to take you into the depths of the kingdom of God examining such topics as:

Consummation of the Ages
Beginning of the Kingdom
Coming of the Kingdom
Confusion of the Kingdom
Is It a Physical Kingdom?
Understanding the Kingdom
Message of the New Testament
Jesus and the Kingdom
Kingdom Within You
Mystery of the Kingdom
Death and Resurrection
Challenge of the Kingdom
Kingdom of God Now

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©2022 Way of Christ

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