The Coming Of The Kingdom
In the realm of “religious studies”, there are many who have taken the position that Jesus failed when He came in the first century A.D. Their reasoning is that Jesus wanted to establish His earthly kingdom, but because of the wide rejection amongst the Jews, He could not. This belief presents many problems that are either ignored or unaccepted. Let us notice some of them.
First of all, when Jesus put on flesh, that did not change the fact that He was still God. John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). Often times, Jesus is referred to as the Son of God. In the first century, if you identified someone as the Son of another, then you were equating the two individuals. This is true of Jesus. John also wrote, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). Being God, there is absolutely no way that Jesus failed in anything. On the contrary, Jesus clearly stated, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4).
Secondly, Jesus never came to establish an earthly kingdom. This problem goes back a long way. In the first century, there were people who anticipated that the kingdom of Christ would be a physical kingdom. Even the apostles of the Lord struggled with this. Before His ascension, the apostles asked Jesus, “…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6)? After being with the Lord for about three years, the apostles, for whatever reason, still did not understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom. It certainly was not because Jesus refrained from teaching such. When before Pontius Pilate, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). If Jesus had come to establish an earthly kingdom, then He had the perfect opportunity to do such, but instead, He refrained. “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (John 6:15). Strange behavior if Jesus wanted to have an earthly kingdom.
Then, there is the problem of age. What do I mean by that statement? Notice carefully what Jesus once said. “And he said unto them, 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” (Mark 9:1). Having already established that Jesus is God, we can be sure that He did not lie. Paul readily affirmed such when he wrote, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2; cf. Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18). During the life span of some first century men, the kingdom was to come. Either there are some men walking the Earth who are approximately 2,000 years old, or else the kingdom came in the first century. Which do you think is the more reasonable choice?
The coming of the kingdom is not hard to identify, so long as we diligently search the Scriptures. It is a non-physical kingdom that came with “power” in the first century A.D. If we can determine when the “power” came, then we can determine when the kingdom came. Before His ascension, Jesus told His apostles, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This “power” was to come, which meant that the kingdom would come, once the Holy Ghost/Spirit came upon the apostles. We can pinpoint that event to the very day. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). The kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost following Christ’s resurrection and ascension. It just so happens, that is the same day that the church of Christ was established (cf. Acts 2:47). It is no coincidence. The kingdom of Christ, and the church of Christ, are the same body (cf. Matt. 16:18-19; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). Paul, and other Christians, were already in the kingdom because they were added to the church (Col. 1:13). We are not waiting for Christ to establish His kingdom when He returns. He did that almost 2,000 years ago.
~ Corey Barnette