Kingdom of God
1 Cor. 15:25
Eph. 1:3; 2:6
1 Peter 2:9
- Luke 17:20-21
- "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
- These verses are long-time favourites with those who hold that the kingdom of God is the "church" or the spiritual reign of God in the hearts of believers. The language, "cometh not with observation" is taken as proof that the kingdom will not come with the return of Christ accompanied by the "signs of the times". The "kingdom of God is within you" is considered evidence that the kingdom of God is spiritual and not political in character.
- In what sense could the kingdom be within the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking? (vs. 20). It was the Pharisees who were indicted by the Lord, " . . . within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity". (Matt. 23:28). How can this passage be used to prove that the kingdom of God is a spiritual reign in believers' hearts?
- Those who cite these verses usually attempt to squeeze the Christadelphian into an "either - or" situation. Either the kingdom of God is spiritual or it is political. This dichotomy is unscriptural. The kingdom clearly refers to a divine political rulership in Dan. 2:44; 7:22, 27; for example. But the "kingdom" is also used of Christ himself. When Spirit powers of the Kingdom Age were exercised, or Jesus was present, it is spoken of as the "coming nigh of the kingdom". Note the following passages:
- "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." (Luke 11:20).
- "And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." (Luke 10:9, cf. vs. 11).
- "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come." (Hebrews 6:4-5).
- The intended sense of the passage is conveyed in the marginal rendering, "the kingdom of God is among you" or "in the midst of you", (R.S.V.). Jesus, the embodiment of the principles of the kingdom - the nucleus of the kingdom - and with the powers of the kingdom, is said to be the kingdom of God.1
- In the context of this passage, the Pharisees asked about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (the hope of the Jews - Acts 1:6). Jesus replied by using the kingdom in a sense synonymous with himself. (This is indicated by the subsequent verses concerning his coming). The first advent of Jesus was not "with outward show" (A.V. marginal rendering) or "narrow watching." It was said of God's Royal Majesty: "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory." (Matt. 12:20). When Christ comes the second time, he will come with outward show: "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." (Revelation 1:7). It is at this time that the kingdom will be established, and God will ultimately "perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham". (Lk. 1:72,73).
- Hence, the close association in the Gospels of the "king" and the "kingdom". Note the following parallels:
- "Behold thy King cometh . . . Hosanna to the Son of David" (Matt. 21:5,9 cf. Zech. 9:9)
- "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord . . . Blessed be the kingdom of our father David" (Mark 11:9,10).
- "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Luke 19:38). Return