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“There has never been a time when God was not ‘king’. His kingdom is eternal. There is no part of creation (visible or invisible) over which God does not exercise kingly control. His kingdom is universal” (The Reign of God, Jim McGuiggan, pg. 21).
Nevertheless the Scriptures say the kingdom of God was at hand in the first century and Jesus taught his disciples to pray for the coming of the kingdom.
What is the kingdom of God in the first century sense?
It is used as follows:
What is kingdom living?
Jesus is the greatest example of kingdom living we know. His life was completely surrender to do the will of the Father in every aspect. But His death is the ultimate example of kingdom living. His death was a meaningful death. He voluntarily sacrificed Himself. He had the power and ability to vanquish His enemies but He choose not to use that power.. He became obedient to death by crucifixion, death on a cross, the cruelest most humiliating death man could devise.. In His death He did not threaten and curse; He did not revile and plead for His life. He was silent before His tormentors. He loved instead of hating; He forgave instead of cursing.
The sermon on the mount is the greatest example of kingdom teaching. It begins with “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” the surrendered life. Blessed are those that mourn for their sins and for the lost, blessed are the gentle, those that hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted. Don’t be angry with you brother, do not lust for sin, do not make oaths, do not retaliate, love your enemies, pray for them. Don’t be hypocritical in your faith, in prayer and in fasting. Don’t be anxious for this life and its rewards. Ask in prayer, seek and knock. God will hear you. Enter the narrow gate, stay on the way. Do God’s will.
What is the power of the kingdom?
The power of the kingdom is not in healing the sick or casting out demons. The power is not in speaking in tongues or prophesizing although these things demonstrate the power of God. The power of the kingdom is a life surrendered to God, a life in which God rules and reigns.
What was the purpose of John the Baptist?
John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 3: 3; John 1: 23).
What was his message?
John cam preaching the kingdom was at hand and a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 3: 1, 2; Mark 1: 4; Luke 3: 3).
John 1: 23, 33
What did Jesus, Himself, preach about the time of the coming of the kingdom?
Jesus also taught that the kingdom was at hand and that it would come with power within the life time of those that heard him (Matthew 4: 17; 10: 7; Mark 9: 1; Luke 21: 31).
We live in a time when certain individuals have made a hansom living writing about the establishment of the kingdom when Jesus returns again. Now don’t get me wrong; they have a right to do so; they have a right to espouse their beliefs. But just because they claim their teaching is based on Biblical prophecy, does not make it so. Each one of us has a right and a responsibility to examine their claims and decide their correctness for ourselves.
Your first reaction may be, “I don’t have the time or the expertise to become completely familiar with so much teaching and especially teaching that has so much variety of opinions. Well, there is good news. We don’t have to. If the kingdom of God was established in the first century, then all theories about a future establishment 2,000 years later are false. The view that God delayed the coming of the kingdom because the Jews, for the most, did not receive Christ is preposterous. Man can do nothing to thwart the sovereign purpose of God. On the contrary, God set Christ upon the throne in the face of the opposition of man (! Corinthians 2: 7-9; Psalm 2: 1- 9)
There is another idea, that the kingdom was established in AD 70, that we will also take a look at. that view. In another article.
What evidence did Jesus cite which demonstrated that the kingdom of God had come near to people of the first century?
He cited the following:
What did the Jews of the first century expect in regard to the Kingdom of God?
They believed that when the kingdom came:
What did John promise those who came out to hear him?
He said that Jesus would baptize them with the Spirit and fire (Matthew 3: 11; Mark 1: 8; Luke 3: 16; John 1: 33).
Did those who were baptized in water, of John receive the Spirit?
No, John baptized with the baptism of repentance telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is in Jesus. They had not heard whether there is a Holy Spirit (Acts 19: 1-7).
How does one enter the kingdom of God?
Unless one is born again, he can not see the kingdom of God. One is born again when he is born of water and the Spirit (John 3: 3, 5).
Unless one is converted and becomes as a little child, he can not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18: 3).
How is one born of water and the Spirit?
A birth is a coming forth from the womb into a new life. Similarly the new birth is a coming forth from water and the Spirit into a new life in Christ. You cannot come forth from water unless you have been immersed in water; similarly you cannot come forth from the Spirit unless you have been immersed in the Spirit.
When does this take place?
Peter said, Repent and let each of you be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When we repent and are baptized Christ pours out the Holy Spirit so richly and abundantly that we are immersed or baptized in the Spirit. When we come forth from this experience we come forth from the water and the Spirit.
When did Jesus become King?
Jesus became King:
When did the kingdom come to earth?
The kingdom came when Jesus began to rule and reign in the hearts and lives of individual (John 17: 20, 21). This occurred on the first Pentecost after His ascension (Acts 2: 34-36).
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