The Jews Sought Political Deliverance
The Jewish people, under the power of the Roman government, were looking for the Messiah to come and deliver them politically as a nation when He set up His kingdom. They read the prophets foretelling of a time when the Son of God would reign with authority and there would be peace, healing, and deliverances. Before the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they too asked Christ, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The Jews, as a people, rejected Christ as the Son of God because their earthly kingdom was not restored. They and many professing Christians are looking for a time in the future when the Messiah will come and set up a kingdom on this earth. That day will never come. The Word of God teaches clearly that the Kingdom of God was established with the first coming of Jesus Christ. People waiting for a future day to come are missing out on the pleasure and joy of the Kingdom of God which is here and now.
The Kingdom of God Is Not Physical
Jesus knew that people were waiting for the Messiah to establish a literal kingdom on this earth. So before His crucifixion, He spoke plainly to Pilate. “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…” (John 18:36). This scripture alone dispels the teaching that the Kingdom of God is an earthly kingdom. The Pharisees demanded to know from Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. Jesus replied “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation…behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). The Kingdom of God is not a political government with an earthly throne and an earthly king.
The Kingdom Is Spiritual
The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom within the heart of every child of God. It is righteousness, peace and joy working in a believer’s life (Romans 14:17). True peace is not based on external conditions or governments. Peace is the result of the work of God in the heart. Jesus said “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth…” (John 14:27).
The Kingdom Was Established By Jesus
John the Baptist began preaching the message of the kingdom with the entreaty to repent. “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). Jesus taught plainly that “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The kingdom was not coming at a future date but was established through Christ. “Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”
How Do We Enter This Kingdom?
Jesus told Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Man enters the kingdom when he repents of his sin and allows Jesus to become the king of his life. The power of the kingdom was fully given on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled the hearts of believers (Acts 2). The fullness of the kingdom is enjoyed through the gift of the Holy Spirit which gives power, peace, joy, leadership, and holiness.
Reigning in the Kingdom
Jesus “…hath made us kings and priests unto God and his father…” (Revelation 1:6). Christians in this spiritual kingdom reign over sin, self, the world, and false religion. Christ is today an all-powerful king, reigning over His church (Colossians 1:18) and writing His law on the hearts of believers. Jesus delivers, heals and purifies.
There Is Access For All
The Kingdom has been set up and is accessible to every individual through Jesus Christ. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28). This kingdom was foretold in prophecy and was fulfilled with the first coming of Jesus Christ. There shall be no end to this kingdom but it shall last forever (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Note: When Jesus returns the second time, He is coming to usher all people to the judgment seat of God. This physical earth will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10-12). The righteous will gain entrance into heaven and the unrighteous will be forever in hell. This will be studied in the next edition of The Gospel Truth.