Kingdom of God
- Colossians 1:13
- "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into
the kingdom of his dear Son:"
- Great stress is placed by the Church of Christ on the words "hath" and
"into." It is argued that Colossian believers were already in the kingdom,
implying that the kingdom must be the "church" which was set up at Pentecost.
- The "church" was not set up at Pentecost. Stephen refers to the Israelites as
the ecclesia1. (Acts 7:38). Individuals in all dispensations who walked faithfully before God were
members of Christ's ecclesia. It requires stressing that "the gospel was preached
unto Abraham". (Gal. 3:8)2.
- Believers are not changed into the kingdom, but for the kingdom.3 The preposition "eis"
translated "into" in this verse is translated "for" in verse 16 -
"all things were created by him and for him". The passage in question,
therefore, can read: "Who delivered us from the dominion of darkness, and changed us for
[not into] the kingdom of the Son of his love." This reading is supported by a later
reference, " . . . These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God . .
. " (Col. 4:11). The companions of the Apostle were workers "unto", not
"in" the kingdom. ("Unto" is translated from the same Greek
preposition "eis.") This argument ought to be appreciated by the Church of
Christ since their expositors in emphasizing the forgiveness of sins in baptism, stress
that "eis" means "for" or "in order to" in Acts 2:38.
- That this is the correct interpretation of this passage is supported by the following:
- The status of a baptized believer is changed. The effect of the change of status
is to transfer the individual for the kingdom of God, the future "reward of
the inheritance". (Col. 3:24).
|the power of darkness (1:13)
||the power of the risen Christ (1:11)
|alienation and an enemy in mind and works (1:21)
||reconciliation (1:21), to be presented holy (1:22)
|dead in sins (2:13)
||dead with Christ to the flesh and rudiments of the world
(2:20) spiritually circumcised (2:11,12)
|under the old man with his deeds (3:9)
||under the new man renewed in knowledge (3:10)
- Paul speaks of the inheritance in other terms implying its future character:
- "Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance . .
. " (Col. 3:24). But if, as the Church of Christ contends, that by being baptized,
the believer enters the kingdom, then the Apostle could not speak of the future nature of
the inheritance. Therefore, believers have not yet entered the kingdom.
- "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in
glory." (Col. 3:4) Entrance into the glory is only given at the return of Christ,
therefore believers cannot now be reigning "spiritually" since the promised
thrones are thrones of glory. (cf. Rev. 3:21; Matt. 19:28).
- Other references in the New Testament likewise indicate that the kingdom is the future
inheritance of believers. Consider the following:
- " . . . Then shall the king say unto them at his right hand, Come ye blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom . . . " (Matt. 25:34). The invitation to inherit
the kingdom is only given after the Shepherd has divided the sheep from the goats.
This has not yet happened, and many who now think they are sheep will in the future find
out that they are goats. (Matt. 7:22-23).
- Believers are stated by James to be "heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to
them that love him". (Jas. 2:5). A believer cannot both be a possessor and an heir of
the same thing at the same time. The kingdom, therefore, must be a future possession.
- Peter wrote to believers emphasizing that the kingdom will only be entered by those who
bring forth the fruits of the Spirit: " . . . if ye do these things, ye shall never
fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the
everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:10,11). This
statement of Peter indicates the future character of the kingdom of God and implies that
believers are changed for the kingdom, but are not now in the kingdom.
- "Church" is translated from the Greek word, "ekklesia." It means
"that which is called out." Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy
Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965). The Septuagint (the Greek translation
of the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures in the 3rd century B.C.) uses the Greek word,
"ekklesia" nearly 100 times in the Old Testament. E.g. Deut. 4:10; 9:10; 10:4;
18:16 and 2 Chron. 30:13. Return
- The Church of Christ fails to appreciate the import of Jesus' ministry to "confirm
the promises made unto the fathers" (Rom. 15:8). In part, this deficiency is due to a
dismissal of the Old Testament as merely, "a part of God's eternal plan . . . only a
preparation or 'tutor' to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24). The New Testament teaches that
the Old Testament (or Old Law) was 'blotted out,' taken out of the way and nailed to the
cross". Don Morris, "What is the Church of Christ?" booklet, (Abilene,
Texas; Quality Printing Co., 1956), p. 4. A mistaken equation between the Mosaic Law and
the Old Testament is part of the faulty foundation of Church of Christ doctrine. The
Abrahamic Covenant can not be too strongly stressed with members of this religious group. Return
- It is translated this way by Benjamin Wilson, The Emphatic Diaglott: Containing
the original Greek text of what is commonly styled the New Testament. (New York:
International Bible Students Ass., Watch Tower Bible and Tract Soc., 1942 ed.). Return