The Kingdom of God's Son
Number 7 of 12 in the Second Coming Series
The kingdom of Jesus Christ is spoken of as a present reality in
the pages of the New Testament. We have seen in previous articles in this series
how that the kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament are said to be fulfilled in
the New Testament. The Holy Spirit makes it clear that Jesus is now on His
throne, not a physical throne but a spiritual throne; that He reigns at the
present time far above all other authority; that His kingdom does dwell in peace
and harmony wherever men and women truly submit to His rule. He has indeed
brought riches and prosperity unto us in a very real, but spiritual sense. The
Holy Spirit affirms that this is in fulfillment of all that the ancient prophets
had prophesied (ACTS 3:24).
We have also seen that when Jesus was born, it was announced that the king had come. He stressed that His kingdom was at hand and some of those of that generation would not die before seeing it come with power. Jesus also stated that His kingdom was not an earthly one, but of another realm entirely. He did not come to reign like Caesar or wage war like Napoleon. Those who suggest that He will come again to fight a carnal war and rule over an earthly kingdom are indeed mistaken.
All the above has been dealt with in previous issues. You may consult them for more information regarding the above statements. Jesus will never receive more authority in a future age than He already has, because He affirmed that the Father has already given Him "all authority in heaven and on earth" (MATTHEW 28:18-20). You cannot get more of anything if you already have "all" of it! Let us turn our attention to some important things that the new Testament says about the already existing Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
THE USES OF THE TERM "KINGDOM" IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
"But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized men and women alike" (ACTS 8:12). What is the kingdom of God exactly? Like other terms, there is more than one sense in which it is used in the New Testament, but it never refers to a future reign on earth over a literal kingdom by Jesus. The "kingdom" essentially refers to the authority and reign of Jesus over the lives of men and women (MATTHEW 6:33;EPHESIANS 5:5). Sometimes we equate it with the church, and it certainly includes that (MATTHEW 16:16-19), but it also sometimes refers to God's providence in the earth and among the nations of mankind whether they willingly submit to His rule or not (REVELATION 1:5; 11:15). There are even occasions where the throne of God refers to heaven as He controls the universe, which is also His domain (REVELATION 4). And then there are references to the future glorified kingdom in heaven (I CORINTHIANS 15:50; II TIMOTHY 4:18).
TRANSFERRED TO THE KINGDOM
"For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (COLOSSIANS 1:13). Those who have been delivered from Satan's domain and rule by faith have been transferred to the kingdom of God's Son. We are therefore compelled to "walk in a manner worthy of our Lord" now, and to bear "fruit in every good work" as well as to increase "in the knowledge of God" (COLOSSIANS 1:10). Yes, we have been "qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light" (COLOSSIANS 1:12).
There can be no doubt that we are citizens of the kingdom in this present age. With this citizenship comes responsibilities as well as blessings. If one does not accept Jesus' rule over His life then he cannot expect to enter His kingdom. One must repent of ungodliness to inherit the Kingdom of God (I CORINTHIANS 6:9,10). We must "walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory" (I THESSALONIANS 2:12).
AN UNSHAKEABLE KINGDOM
"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). As citizens of the kingdom of Christ, we are a part of something eternal. Our kingdom will survive every onslaught against it. It will even survive the removing of the heavens and earth from existence (HEBREWS 12:25-29). Brethren and fellow citizens, we are a part of something eternal, wonderful and with destiny; the kingdom of Christ.
HE MADE US TO BE A KINGDOM
"He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (REVELATION 1:6). The kingdom of Old Testament prophecy and the teachings of Christ is now a reality. This spiritual kingdom stands today and offers praise and worship to God as priests of God. John said that he was a fellow-partaker in the kingdom with the saints of the first century (REVELATION 1:9).
THEN COMES THE END
"Then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death" (I CORINTHIANS 15:24-26). When Jesus comes again, it will not to be to establish His kingdom. King Jesus has already done that. But it will be to gather His kingdom together and to deliver it up unto God to begin a victorious celebration that will never end. Peter urges us to develop qualities such as diligence, faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love, "for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (II PETER 1:5-11).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 6.7; July 1999