The Coming of the Kingdom [5/5]

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The Church is Not the

In the last four days, we have looked at every passage about the timing of the coming of the kingdom. Before we sum up the recent articles, add some additional thoughts, and talk about some implications. We need to define what the is. The coming of the kingdom is not what it seems, but it is the time when the saints would inherit it in its fullness. The kingdom has always existed.

Some equate the church with the kingdom, and while there is overlap, the two are not exactly the same. This conclusion comes from a misinterpretation of Matthew 16:17-18.

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:18–19

This passage does not teach that Jesus would build the like the church, but that He gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. One doesn’t give someone else keys to something that doesn’t already exist. Peter is told that the keys will bind things that have already been bound and loose things that have already been loosed.

The of God Has Always Existed

The expression “ of God” means the reign of God, and God has always reigned; however, God has manifested His reign in various ways and through different people. Notice the following passages:

Therefore I say to you, the of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.

Matthew 21:43

I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the of heaven; but the sons of the will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 8:11–12

So, when the New Testament talks about the coming of the kingdom, it is speaking of transferring the from one group of people to another and transitioning the kingdom from one nature to another.

Past, Present, or Future?

During this transition, the disciples of Christ spoke of the kingdom as being present, being received, and future as we have seen. How they talked about the kingdom depended on the perspective they took. For example, in Colossians 1:13 and Colossians 3:1ff, Paul speaks about the kingdom and the resurrection as being a present but ongoing reality with an emphasis on the past, whereas in 1 Corinthians 15, he speaks of both as being a future but ongoing reality with an emphasis on the future.

Once the church possessed the kingdom, the kingdom arrived. This language isn’t foreign to us. When watching sports, we may say that a player “showed up” when they finally make a good play. The kingdom has always existed, but it has “shown up” throughout history with the final “showing up” in the first century through the “first” and “second” coming of Jesus. In one article I said, “The kingdom of God is present!

Summary and Implications

In the first article, we looked at the writings of Luke. One of the biggest take aways from that article is that, after mentioning the kingdom over thirty times, Jesus said the kingdom of God would come at the fall of Jerusalem (Luke 21:31). Also, the kingdom would arrive at the resurrection of the just, so the resurrection of the just would happen at the fall of Jerusalem as well (Luke 14:12-14). In that passage, Jesus talks about a grand banquet in response to a comment by someone at the table, and the entire thing is from Isaiah 25, which is one of Paul’s primary sources for this resurrection teaching in 1 Corinthians 15. This places the 1 Corinthians 15 resurrection at the fall of Jerusalem as well.

The second article also connected the resurrection of Abraham with the coming of the kingdom. In Matthew 8:11-12, Jesus said,

I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 8:11–12

This means that the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob happened when the kingdom came. This, of course, makes sense because the resurrection would happen at the end of the age, and Jesus said the end of the age would come within that generation (Matthew 13:36-43; Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 24:34).

Mark and Paul also see the kingdom as a future (to them) reality. While they put it off to the future, they also claim it was coming before the death of some Christians living (Mark 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:50-51).

Finally, John places the coming of the kingdom at the judgement.

The first passage places the coming of the kingdom at the sounding of the last trumpet, the judgement of the dead, the rewarding of the prophets, and the rewarding of the saints. This would all happen at the fall of the city where Jesus was slain (Revelation 11:8). In fact, John places the entire book between two sets of passages which mention that the things within the book were at hand (Revelation 1:1, 3 and Revelation 22).

Daniel on Revelation 11:15-18

With all of this evidence in mind, how could anyone see Pentecost as the fulness of the kingdom? While we should affirm that the kingdom was among the people at Pentecost, the church did not inherit it until the coming of Christ at the fall of Jerusalem.

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One Reply to “The Coming of the Kingdom [5/5]”

  1. I have read many essays on the Kingdom of God; yet, this series is the clearest exposition that I have encountered in my 70 years of preaching and teaching. I encourage everyone to download the complete essay and share with others. Hopefully, we will not forget that the church is God’s task force designed to announce God’s kingdom.

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