There tends to be a little confusion about the Kingdom of God.
Slightly longer article today but I hope you'll stay with it so you can clearly see how everything comes together effortlessly by the end. No forcing and no presuppositions.
If you were to ask 1000 believers if they believe we are currently part of the Kingdom of God, I would bet just about every one would answer with an emphatic YES!
Now if you were to ask those exact same 1000 believers if they believe Christ has already come as He predicted He would, I would be willing to bet that roughly 950 (maybe more) would answer with an emphatic NO WAY!
But do these two beliefs fit and work together ? What if they didn't?
What if the Kingdom COULD NOT COME UNTIL CHRIST CAME?
When Jesus instructed His disciples to pray a certain way, He told them to begin it like this....
"Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:9-10
Take note of the fact that they were praying for the Kingdom to COME. It hadn't come yet. Even though Christ had told them it was "in their midst", He still emphatically placed the coming of the Kingdom at the end of the Old Covenant age. (ad70)
Let's skip forward for a moment to look at what Paul said in Ephesians chapter 1 regarding this Kingdom that was coming. He says.....
"Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him." Ephesians 1:9-10
So here we have again the mentioning of this heaven and earth concept. Gathering together His people into One, in the dispensation of the fullness of times. Fullness of times!? Just another way of saying "the eternal age to come" or "Kingdom". Remember, it hadn't come yet when Paul wrote this.
But back to the prayer.....Christ instructed them to pray and ask for this Kingdom to come and to ask for His will to be done BOTH on earth and also as it is done in heaven. The only way this is possible is to have members of the Kingdom both on earth and in heaven. The Kingdom was going to involve heaven and earth. Physically dead and physically living saints. Jesus also said...
"Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosedf in heaven" Matthew 18:18
So we know for a fact that the Kingdom of God was something they were praying for. They were anxiously awaiting the arrival of this Kingdom when God would gather together His elect both dead and living into One new Kingdom. A spiritual Kingdom.
What do we know about what will happen at the time this Kingdom comes?
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom" 2 Timothy 4:1
There we see that Paul links His appearing AND His Kingdom as coming together. Happening at the same time.
The word for "appearing" is "epiphaneia" G2015 and it's main definition is - appearing, manifestation, glorious display.
Now, a lot of people want to cling to a false theory that epiphaneia MUST MEAN A PHYSICAL BODILY APPEARANCE. But the truth is that it does not at all have to mean this. In fact Thayers Greek Lexicon states that the ancient Greeks used to use this word when describing a manifestation of God's power or a stepping in of God to display His glory or power.
A couple of the top synonyms for "manifestation" are - SIGN and INDICATOR
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this "appearing" is most definitely a display of God's glorious power and wrath. His Coming and appearing would bring both salvation and judgement.
Same exact concept in Matthew 16:27-28 where Christ says they would "SEE" Him come before they died. The word for "see" there is " horao" G3708. This word has a few meanings but the main two meanings are 1) to see with the eyes and 2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know, understand or experience.
The "see" in Matthew 16:28 and the "appearing" in 2 Timothy 4:1 are THE SAME. This was a glorious manifestation that would be understood and known by all that it was the Coming of the Lord in great power to bring forth salvation and judgement.
But also take a look at what Paul said would happen at His appearing and His Kingdom.....
It would also be at that time that the judgment of the living and the dead would occur.
Let's examine quickly the words of Jesus again....
"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (<----THE JUDGEMENT) “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Matthew 16:27-28
IS THAT NOT CLEAR THAT THE JUDGMENT WOULD HAPPEN BEFORE THOSE MEN DIED? Jesus is also assuring that He would come in His Kingdom before those first century men standing there would die.
Quick recap so far:
So far we have the following 3 things that have been linked TOGETHER and would happen before some of those men standing there in the first century would die...
-His Kingdom Coming
When we examine this all against Daniel chapter 12 what do we see? Well we clearly see from Daniel 12 that the resurrection and judgement would occur "when the 42 month tribulation on the Jews was finished" We know for a fact this happened at AD70.
Now since Paul links the resurrection and judgement to His "appearing and His kingdom" in
2 Timothy 4:1 and since Jesus assures that the judgment and His Coming would occur before some of those men standing there died in Matt 16:27-28, then what do we know for sure?
We know FOR SURE, that the Coming of the Lord (which is also His appearing or manifestation) absolutely occurred at the end of the Old Covenant Age in ad70. This was when His Kingdom arrived. The living saints and the dead saints were gathered together into ONE new Kingdom so the will of God would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We have the following two events:
1) The arrival of the Kingdom on earth
2) The coming of the Lord to usher in that Kingdom
You CANNOT have one without the other.
If the KINGDOM is here, then Christ THE KING, has come.
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