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We’ve already covered Matthew and Luke, and our conclusions were the same in both works. Let’s see what Mark and Paul contribute to the discussion. Mark uses the word “kingdom” 20 times; Paul has 17 times including Hebrews.
Here are the uses:
lemma:βασιλεία in Mark and Paul
Mark 1:15; 3:24; 4:11, 26, 30; 6:23; 9:1, 47; 10:14, 15, 23, 24, 25; 11:10; 12:34; 13:8; 14:25; 15:43
Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 6:9, 10; 15:24, 50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 1:13; 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:1, 18; Hebrews 1:8; 11:33; 12:28Exported from Logos Bible Software
Again, we will try to interpret these passages independently from the previous two studies until the conclusion.
Beginning in Mark 1:14-15, Mark says this about Jesus:
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”Mark 1:14–15
Hopefully, by this point, you are fairly used to this expression. The kingdom of God was at hand two-thousand years ago! Jesus even said, “The time is fulfilled.” This is similar to something that Paul says in Ephesians 1 and Galatians 4 when he talks about “the fullness of time.”
The next mention of the word “kingdom” that we will look at is in chapter 4.
And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.”Mark 4:11–12
While there doesn’t appear to be any time statement attached to this passage, the solution comes in the quoted passage: Isaiah 6. After Isaiah says the above, he asks how long he should preach:
Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate, “The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.”Isaiah 6:11–12
While this might not be rock solid evidence, it does seem to place the preaching of the mystery of the kingdom in a time when great judgement would come upon the land, but since we don’t have access to Matthew and Luke, we can’t really say just yet.
In Mark 8:38, there is a passage that will be familiar to us, but it has been unfortunately stripped from its power because of an unnecessary chapter division. This chapter division may be why so many in the Church of Christ use this passage instead of Matthew 16:27-28.
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”Mark 8:38–9:1
Here there is a clear connection between Jesus coming again within that generation and the coming of the kingdom before some would die. The statement about the generation and the comment about His disciples being alive are parallel.
Now, another passage about fire.
If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.Mark 9:47–48
This passage places the entrance into the kingdom at a time of judgement. Some would be cast into Gehenna while others would enter the kingdom of God (or enter life). This, along with Mark 9:1, seems to place the judgement within that generation.
And that about does it for Mark! There are some other passages, but none of them, as far as I can tell, contribute much to this specific discussion. Let’s move on to Paul.
By the way, the reason I include Mark and Paul together is for time’s sake. There isn’t any special reason.
First, we turn to 1 Corinthians 6.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?1 Corinthians 6:9
It seems from this short excerpt that they hadn’t inherited the kingdom of God yet. We will see why momentarily.
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.1 Corinthians 15:50
Ah. Now we see that the reason they hadn’t inherited the kingdom yet is because they were still “flesh and blood.” See my free commentary on Romans 8 for more information on that. One additional point from this passage: in the very next verse Paul indicates that there would still be some alive at the consummation of the resurrection.
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,1 Corinthians 15:51
Alright, next we come to Colossians 1 which is everyone’s favorite passage to prove once and for all that the kingdom came on Pentecost.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.Colossians 1:13–14
So, this passage teaches that they had already been transferred to the kingdom of Jesus. How does this fit with the passages we just read that teach that the kingdom would be received at the resurrection? The answer comes 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. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry… Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.Colossians 3:1–11
This passage shows that they had been raised. So, which was it? Had they or hadn’t they? There are other connections between this passage and 1 Corinthians 15, such as the comment about all in all, but the main point is that their resurrection was a process. Though they had been raised, it had yet to be revealed, and this is how the kingdom is as well. Though they had been transferred to the kingdom, the kingdom had yet to “come with power and glory” at the coming of the Lord.
For example, check out these two passages from 2 Timothy 4.
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom…2 Timothy 4:1
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.2 Timothy 4:18
So the appearing of Christ and His kingdom are connected. This shouldn’t be surprising to you. Also, Paul was still waiting to be brought to the kingdom. So, which is it Paul? Were you in the kingdom or were you not? The answer, of course, is yes… to both. This is explained in the next passage.
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;Hebrews 12:28
Notice the tense of the word “receive.” Other versions say, “…we are receiving…” It was a process, so one could talk about it in past tense and future tense. If you are remodeling a house, you both have possession of it and not yet posses it as the same time. You posses it in that you technically own the house, but you don’t posses it because you don’t really consider it yours until you finish the job. Another example: I have purchased something from the store, but it won’t arrive to my house until my birthday on January 6th. Do I own it? Well, in a sense, but I don’t yet posses it. My bank account, of course, knows no difference.
What is the conclusion then? See below, and while you reread each conclusion, notice the similarities.
The saints would enter the kingdom soon, but it would be at a time of judgement called “the end of the age” that would be a fulfillment of the Law and the prophets, including Daniel 9 and 12, and Abraham would be resurrected into this kingdom. The judgement in the previous statement would take place within that generation.
According to Luke, their entrance into the kingdom would be when Jesus would come again at the fall of Jerusalem. At this time, judgement would take place and the righteous would be resurrected.
Mark and Paul
They were in the kingdom in a sense, but they hadn’t inherited it yet because it wouldn’t come until a time of judgement and resurrection before some there would die.