Is The Kingdom Here Now?
Shortly before His arrest, trial and crucifixion, Jesus Christ prophesied of a worldwide period of upheaval and unrest unparalleled in human history. This time would be characterized by religious deception, warfare, earthquakes, famines and disease epidemics, along with other great catastrophic events (Luke 21:7-28). In this discourse, Christ made it plain that the Kingdom of God was not here yet.
He told His disciples that, after these events, people "will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory ... When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near" (verses 27, 31). Christ clearly said that the Kingdom of God will not be established on earth until after His triumphant return in power and great glory. Christ also made this plain on other occasions. How many of us have recited the Lord's Prayer without recognizing the plain meaning of the words as we said them? These familiar words were given by Jesus Christ in response to the disciples' request of Him to teach them how to pray. "In this manner, therefore, pray," Jesus Christ told them. "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:9, 10). The most common prayer in Christendom acknowledges that God's Kingdom is not here yet and that Christians are to fervently pray for its arrival!
Near the end of His life, while being questioned by Pilate before His crucifixion, Jesus clearly stated: "My Kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36). Pilate then demanded to know if Christ were a king. Christ replied: "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world ..." (verse 37). Hebrews 11 describes the faith of God's servants through the millennia. Summing up their history and experiences, verses 13-16 tell us: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."
Even Abraham, the father of the faithful, "waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10). Although God's people today experience a foretaste of God's coming Kingdom in their lives (see "How Are We 'Translated Into the Kingdom'?"), many scriptures make it clear that the Kingdom of God has not arrived, but will be established on earth in the future.
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