Kingdom of God
1 Cor. 15:25
Eph. 1:3; 2:6
1 Peter 2:9
- Revelation 1:9
- "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ . . . "
- The Church of Christ argues that for John to be in the kingdom requires that the kingdom must have been in existence. The passage is taken, therefore, to support the doctrine that the kingdom is the "church".
- John wrote of the "things which must shortly come to pass". (Rev. 1:1,19). One of the subjects of his writing was the kingdom of God. He pointed out by revelation that it was not until the seventh angel sounded, and the second woe had passed that "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever". (Rev. 11:15). John was obviously not in this kingdom since the kingdoms of this world have not yet become the kingdom of God.
- There is never a hint in Scripture that those in the literal kingdom will be in tribulation. The evidence is all the other way. Tribulation is presented as an essential preparation for entry into the kingdom. The Apostle Paul said, "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22). He was not referring to entry into the ecclesia, since he was already in the ecclesia. (1 Cor. 12:13). Since John says that he was a companion in tribulation, in what sense, then, was he in the kingdom? Only in the sense that those who respond to the teaching of its King come under its training for future rulership.
- John combines the language of fact and hope as one companion might say to another, "I am your friend in adversity and in prosperity". One does not infer that the companion must be in adversity and prosperity at the same time. Similarly, John was literally in tribulation, but he was only "in" the kingdom in so far as he was under training in hopeful anticipation that he would be in the kingdom in the future age when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of God and His Son.