The Kingdom Of God (Part 2)

We will continue our study of the kingdom of God working from the Hebraic concept which we established from the Hebrew Scriptures, i.e. the kingdom of God = the restored kingdom of Israel = the restored kingdom of David. Since the Hebrew prophets so clearly predicted, by the Spirit of God, the restoration of this kingdom under a final and ideal descendant of David, and since the NT declares Jesus of Nazareth to be this descendant, it behooves us to ask the questions, “Is Jesus presently reigning as king?” and “Are we presently living in the kingdom age?” Most Christians would answer yes to these questions, believing that the kingdom of God was indeed put into effect at the time of Jesus’ life on earth and has been a present reality in the world since then. Most would  also believe that Jesus has been reigning as king for the past two thousand years.

What I will present in this article will be so contradictory to what is commonly believed on this subject that most will not be able to receive it. I ask that the reader carefully weigh everything by the Scriptures and be convinced only by the Scriptures.

Seated At The Right Hand Of God – Psalm 110

It is directly stated at least twelve times in the NT (not including parallel passages in the gospels and depending on whether Mk. 16: 19 is original) that Jesus is in some way at ‘the right hand‘ of God. Eight of the twelve passages say that he is “seated” at God’s right hand, two simply say “at” the right hand of God, and two that he was “exalted to” the right hand of God {Matt.26:64 [with Mk. 14:62 & Lk. 22:69]; Mk. 16:19; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22}. Two of these verses {Heb. 8:1 & 12:2} state that Jesus “sat down at the right hand of the throne of [God].”

What we want to determine is just exactly what these authors intended their readers to understand by this terminology. Were they referring simply to the physical location of Jesus or does this terminology infer something more than that? It is evident that they derived this language from one specific passage in the Hebrew Bible – Psalm 110:1 – so we will need to take a look at that Psalm. The Psalm begins:

Yahweh declares to my lord: “Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

It is clear that the authors of the passages noted above, believed Jesus to be the one referred to in this verse as “my lord.” But this does not mean that the Psalm was meant exclusively of Jesus. Many scholars point out that, notwithstanding it’s NT application to Jesus, the words, in their original context, refer to the reigning king of Israel. Jewish scholars offer various candidates for who it might be referring to, such as David or Solomon. I don’t think it was meant to refer to any specific individual king but was a psalm extolling the high position of the king, Yahweh’s anointed one. It should be understood as an idealistic depiction of the king in the same vein as Psalms 2, 45 and 72. The psalm is not necessarily a prophetic depiction of the future coming Messiah ( i.e. from the standpoint of the author of the psalm), but would, of course, apply to him as Yahweh’s anointed one.

The circumstances in which the psalm was written are unknown and so anything said on that subject is pure conjecture. I can envision David composing this song while in Saul’s service {see 1 Sam.16:14-23} and then later it was employed, along with his many other psalms, by the Levitical singers in the Temple {see 2 Chron. 29:25-30}. It may have been used at the coronations of kings in David’s line, where Yahweh, as it were, is inviting the newly appointed king to share His rule with Him over God’s people, as His vicegerent.

In ANE and ancient Egyptian literature and art, gods and kings are depicted as placing at their right side those whom they intend to reign on their behalf (e.g. the Egyptian king Horemheb is depicted in art as seated at the right side of the god Horus). To be seated at the right side of a deity or king is symbolic of being given the highest place of honor and authority under that deity or king. The image of being ‘seated’ denotes a position of ruling i.e. as from a throne. That this is meant to be understood metaphorically can be seen by the fact that when persons are presented in Scripture as literally and physically sitting at the right hand of the king it does not necessarily signify a ruling position, but simply a place of honor {see 1 Kings 1:19; Ps. 45:9}. Therefore, one can be said to be ‘seated at the right side‘ of another without having to be to be literally and physically seated at the right side of that one, and that this designates rulership under the authority of that one.  And this is precisely what was said of the reigning Davidic king, not only in Psalm 110, but also in Ps. 80:17:

“[O God of hosts] … may your hand be upon the man at your right hand, upon the son of man you have established for yourself.”

Most commentators take this verse as a reiteration of v. 15, which clearly refers to the nation of Israel, which is spoken of under the figures of a vine and a son, two metaphors seen elsewhere {see vv. 8-11; Jer. 2:21; Ex. 4:22; Hosea 11:1}. Verse 17 need not be a restatement of v. 15 and should not be taken so since Israel is never referred to under the figure of a man or a son of man at God’s right hand, in fact, to my knowledge, Israel is never likened to a man at all. Israel, though, is presented under the figure of a women, even an unfaithful wife {see Hosea 2}.

The psalmist refers first to the nation in v. 15 and then to the leader of the nation, the king, in v. 17. Of those commentators that do see this as a reference to the king, most regard it as prophetic of Jesus, because in the NT Jesus alone is said to be seated at God’s right hand. But this is circular reasoning. It is better to understand the NT image of Jesus at the right hand of God as based upon the status and position of the Davidic king as seen in both Ps. 110 and 80.

Also relevant to the metaphor of  the king as “sitting at the right hand of God” is Psalm 45, another Psalm praising the exalted status of the Davidic king. While it does not use the same terminology it does make a remarkable statement concerning the one anointed by God to be king in his place:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God, your God, has anointed you above your companions with the oil of gladness.”    Ps. 45:6-7

In this verse the king seems to be addressed as God. If this is true no one should get upset, for it would certainly be calling him God in a representational sense i.e. as the one who sits on God’s throne and rules for him {see 1 Chron. 29:23; 2 Chron. 9:8}, and not in an ontological sense. If this is the sense of the verse then it shows the close relationship between Yahweh and his anointed one that is suggested by the metaphor of ‘sitting at the right hand of God.’

But another possible way to understand the passage is to see a sudden shift by the psalmist from addressing the king in vv. 2-5 to addressing God in v. 6, and then back to the king in vv. 7-9. This kind of shifting back and forth occurs frequently in the Psalms and even occurs a few more times in this psalm. In vv. 10-12, the queen is addressed; vv. 13 -15 then shift from addressing the queen to speaking about her; vv. 16-17 then shift back to addressing the king. If this is correct and God is being addressed in v. 6 then it would be saying that the throne on which the king sits is God’s throne. This would also be in line with the two passages noted in the previous paragraph, which present the Davidic king as Yahweh’s vicegerent.

One other passage that deserves note is Zech. 13:7 which reads:

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is my associate,” declares Yahweh of hosts. “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered… “

What man was the associate of Yahweh? The Hebrew term amith denotes one who is close, a companion. The word is translated in various ways by different versions:

  • NIV – “the man who is close to me”
  • ESV – “the man who stands next to me”
  • JPS Tanakh – “the man who is near unto Me”
  • ISR 1998 – “the man who is my companion”
  • HCSB – “the man who is my associate”

The answer to who this man is is in the text; Yahweh calls him, “My shepherd.” The shepherd motif is used consistently for the king throughout Scripture, e.g. 2 Sam. 5:2; 7:7-8; 24:17; Ps. 78:71-72; Ezek. 34:23; 37:24; Micah 5:2-4; Matt. 2:6. The Davidic king is God’s associate in ruling over His kingdom in that he rules for God as his representative. The king is the visible expression of Yahweh’s invisible rule. This is what is denoted in the idea of being seated at the right hand of God.

In the NT Jesus is portrayed as the final and ideal Davidic king who will rule over God’s kingdom forever. This is done by applying to him the same language applied to the Davidic king in the OT, especially the being at God’s right hand language, as we have already seen, but also the shepherd language {see John 10:11,14,16; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4; Rev. 7:17}. Besides this, all of the major OT passages which present Yahweh’s anointed one (i.e. the king) as ‘son’ and as ‘ruler of God’s kingdom’ are applied to Jesus in the NT {see Acts 4:25-26; 13:33; Heb. 1:5[Ps. 2:1-9] _ Heb. 1:8-9[Ps. 45:6-7] _ Lk. 1:32-33; Heb. 1:5b[2 Sam. 7:12-16] _ Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 1:3,13[Ps. 110:1]}.

Whose Throne Does Jesus Sit On? 

Luke 1:31-33 – “You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” 

Rev. 3:21 – “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

So what are we to make of these statements? On what throne does Jesus sit – David’s, the Father’s, or his own? We must first understand that the word ‘throne‘ is simply a metonymy for the authority and/or the right by which one rules. These verses are not referring to the literal, ornately decorated chair that a king sits in when conducting royal business. The throne is the symbol of one’s kingship.

So in the passages above, are we meant to understand that Jesus has three thrones or three different kingdoms over which he rules? Of course not! What we learn is that the kingdom Jesus rules over can be called the kingdom of David, the kingdom of God (his Father) and his own kingdom. In part 1 we saw this same concept applied to Solomon. He was said to sit on David’s throne {1 Kings 2:12}, on Yahweh’s throne {1 Chron. 29:23}, and on his own throne {1 Kings 1:37}. Each one of these is equivalent to being at the right hand of God.

Now I am going to say some things which may be shocking to the ears of many. Pertinent to the question of whether or not the kingdom of God is at present a concrete reality in the earth is a correct understanding of the throne to which the Messiah would be destined. Most Christians today and indeed for many centuries, have understood Jesus’ ascension into heaven and his being seated at the right hand of God to mean that Jesus is ruling over the universe as God. This may be the popular view but is it correct? Even premillennialists, who believe that Jesus must return in the future to reign from the throne of David over the house of Israel, hold that Jesus is ruling presently in this sense. But this is due to the mistaken belief that Jesus is ontologically synonymous with God. In general, Christians think that because Jesus is said to have sat down with his Father on His throne or to be seated at the right hand of God, Jesus is therefore ruling as God along with the Father. But one glaring question then stands out to me – is the throne of David in heaven and is the throne of David the throne of the universal rule of God as creator?

Let us be clear on this matter. The NT explicitly and unambiguously says of Jesus:

The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever; his kingdom will never end.    Lk. 1:32b-33

It seems to me that this statement must be taken at face value as literal, while statements about Jesus being at the right hand of God and sitting on his Father’s throne are ambiguous, being metaphorical language. Of course, these passages could mean that he is reigning in heaven as God but do not have to be interpreted that way for them to make sense. If one holds the belief that Jesus is God then it is inevitable that he will see these passages in that light. But if this is true then how does it square with the passage quoted above and with the OT depiction of Messiah upon which this promise is based.

That the Hebrew Scriptures predicate of the coming Messiah that he will reign on David’s throne, over the kingdom of Israel, is easily ascertained by a simple reading of the relevant passages:

“He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom (i.e. Israel), to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”   Is. 9:7

“… out of you (Bethlehem) shall come forth one to reign for me in Israel… ” Micah 5:2

“… I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah… I will raise up to David a branch of righteousness and he shall reign as king…”      Jer. 23:5

“Your (i.e. David’s) house and your kingdom (i.e. Israel) will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.    2 Sam. 7:16

“I will place over them (Israel) one shepherd, my servant David (metonymy for Messiah), and he will tend them… I will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them.   Ezek. 34:23-24

“In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it – one from the house of David – one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.”     Is. 16:5

“In that day… they (i.e. the Israelites) will serve Yahweh their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.”     Jer. 30:9

“I will take the Israelites out of the nations.. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over them… they will be my people and I will be their God. My servant David (i.e. Messiah) will be king over them… ”       Ezek. 37:21-24

If the kingdom of Messiah is involved with the restored kingdom of Israel and his reign is a continuation of the Davidic dynasty, then his kingdom and his rule is not to be carried out from a heavenly location, but on this earth. Is the throne of David located in heaven? I do not think that such an idea can be substantiated from either the OT or the NT. That the ‘throne of David‘ is synonymous with the ‘throne of Yahweh‘ as per 1 Chron. 29:23, does not mean that Messiah rules from heaven as God the creator, but rather that he is destined to rule over that particular kingdom which belongs to Yahweh in a special way, distinct from all other kingdoms of the earth, and which has been entrusted to the house of David forever. Therefore, I must emphatically declare that our Lord Jesus is not at this present time reigning as king.

This necessarily raises the question, “If the kingdom has not already been inaugurated and Jesus the Messiah is not yet reigning, then why does the language of the NT seem to suggest otherwise?” All the statements about Jesus being at the right hand of God use present tense verbs to express this thought, and all passages which speak of his being exalted are in the past tense.

Already / Not Yet

In 1964, with the release of George E. Ladd’s  Jesus And The Kingdom, the world of American Evangelicalism was introduced to the concept of  already/not yet concerning the kingdom of God. Ladd believed that the only way to reconcile the tension between passages which seemed to portray the kingdom as a present reality and those which seemed to place it in the future was to accept both as true. Ladd saw the already aspect as God’s rule in the lives of believers who have submitted to Christ’s lordship, and the not yet aspect as the eschatological manifestation of God’s rule in the material cosmos. While I am a premillennialist I do not agree with Ladd’s assessment of the kingdom. He appears to have almost completely missed the biblical Hebraic understanding which I laid out in part 1 – that of the the restored kingdom of Israel under the rule of a final Davidic king in accordance with the the covenant God made with David and with the promises of God in the prophetic scriptures. So while I don’t find his already/not yet concept satisfactory with regard to the kingdom, I do think it could help resolve the tension between Jesus’ being already exalted and seated at God’s right hand and the fact that he is not yet reigning.

If we understand the ‘seated at the right hand of God‘ language as a metaphor of exaltation to a position of rulership over God’s kingdom rather than a reference to the present, physical location of Jesus, then it is not difficult to conceive of him being chosen, anointed, made immortal, and already, in the plan and purpose of God, exalted to the position of king, but not yet actually exercising that rule at the present time. I believe we should regard this language about Jesus as proleptic in nature. Merriam-Webster.com defines prolepsis as the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished. This is not just some fanciful attempt to justify a position but is a real rhetorical device used repeatedly in the Bible. Scripture portrays God himself as using this rhetorical device. When God wanted to encourage Abram in his faith in God’s promise to give him a son he spoke to Abram saying:

“No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, because I have made you a father of many nations.”     Gen. 17:5

How could God tell Abram, “I have made you a father of many nations” when as yet Abram wasn’t even the father of one nation. Could it be because from God’s perspective it was already in his plan and purpose. The fact that it would not become a concrete reality in the real world until many centuries later did not prevent God from speaking of it as if it were a present reality. The apostle Paul picked up on this, recognizing that this is just the way God sometimes speaks:

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God whom he believed … the God who is calling things not existing as if existing.        Rom. 4:17

There are a number of examples of prolepsis in the NT; here are a few:

  • In God’s plan all things have been placed under Messiah’s feet {Eph. 1:22}, although this is clearly not a present concrete reality { 1 Cor.25-28}.
  • Believers are said to be raised with Messiah and seated with him (a position of ruling) {Eph. 2:6}, yet we are not now experiencing that but only awaiting it {Heb. 2:6-8; Rom. 8:22-25; 2 Tim. 2:11-12; Rev. 5:10; 2:26-27; 3:21}.
  • Believers are spoken of, in the plan of God, as already glorified {Rom. 8:30} yet we are still awaiting it to become a reality {Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:17-18}.
  • The resurrection body is something that we are said to have, obviously in the predetermined plan of God {2 Cor. 5:1}, yet we are still awaiting it to become a concrete reality {Rom. 8:18-25; Phil. 3:20-21}.
  • In God’s plan the authority structures of the new creation have already been created in Messiah {Col. 1:16}, yet this is still, from our standpoint, only a future reality {Eph. 1:9-10}.
  • Jesus spoke of the glory that was not even yet his experientially as having already been given to him and that he in turn had already given to his disciples {John 17:22,24}.

The point of proleptic speech is to convey the idea that the future action or development being spoken of is as good as done, i.e. nothing can stop it from happening. All of the examples of prolepsis above speak of things which are predestined by God to be in the age to come, as if they already exist. There is a sense in which Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of God already, and even though that language denotes rulership it does not necessitate that he is presently exercising that rule.

Why The Ascension?

I do not believe that Jesus’ ascension into heaven is synonymous with his being seated at the right hand of God. I suspect most Christians picture Jesus ascending into heaven and literally taking a seat at God’s right hand to assist him in running the universe. But this is pure mythology. Only four of the twelve verses I listed earlier connect the ascension of Jesus with his being at the right hand of God. Since I understand the language ositting at God’s right hand as figurative of being given authority to rule on God’s behalf over his kingdom, and that this language also applied to the Davidic kings who reigned over Israel in the past, obviously then I don’t believe it was necessary that Jesus ascend into heaven in order to obtain this status. I see the ascension of Jesus as serving two purposes:

  1. It serves as a symbolic but visible representation of his exalted status. What better way to assure the followers of Jesus that this is the man chosen by God, from among David’s descendants, to rule forever over his kingdom. The ascension, along with his resurrection, mark him out as the chosen one {Acts 2:29-36; 1Pet. 3:21-22}.
  2. It removes the resurrected and immortal Jesus from the earth while he waits for the appointed time for his reign to begin {Acts 1:6-7; 3:19-21; Heb. 10:12-13}. Since the kingdom was postponed and a time was set in the future for his reign to begin, he could not remain on earth as an immortal man during the interim. Nearly two thousands years have passed since Jesus was raised from the dead. If he had remained on earth what would he have been doing all this time while awaiting the time which the Father has set by his own authority?

If The Kingdom Is Now Then Why…?

The most obvious problem with the kingdom now view espoused by both postmillenialists and amillenialists (as well as by premillenialists who hold the already/not yet view) is that Jesus, our Lord, is not currently reigning as king over the house of Jacob from the throne of David {Lk. 1:33}. The concept that Jesus somehow established the kingdom of God at his first appearing, in a spiritual and invisible sense, is one of the main things that have kept Jews from accepting Jesus as the prophesied Messiah for the past 1700 years. To declare that Jesus fulfilled all Scripture and established the kingdom on earth at his first appearing is to lose any connection whatsoever with the covenants of promise made to the Hebrew patriarchs and with the prophetic word. This is just laughable to Jews. The only Scriptures fulfilled by Jesus at his first appearing are those which foretold his rejection by the Jews, his suffering and death, and his resurrection. No prophecy concerning his rule over the restored house of Israel from the throne of David has ever been fulfilled to date. The Gentile Christian church has put a huge stumbling block before the Jewish people by insisting that Jesus has already fulfilled these prophecies (in a non-literal sense in the church), established the kingdom of God, and is currently reigning over it; rather than declaring to them that because he was rejected by their fathers in the first century, the kingdom age was postponed, and that it is incumbent upon them to repent and acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah in order to speed his return and the dawning of the kingdom age {Acts 3:13-23}. If Jesus does not return to literally fulfill the promises made by covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David then he never has been, is not now, nor ever can be the Messiah of Yahweh.

If the kingdom of God became a reality in the earth nearly two thousand years ago then why aren’t the prophesied effects of that kingdom evident in the world? One of the foremost characteristics of the Messianic kingdom is worldwide cessation of war { Is. 2:4; 9:7; 11:6-7; Micah 4:3; Zech. 9:9-10}. Yet from the first century until today there has never been a time when there was not war or conflict somewhere in the world. Even worse than that is the fact that over the centuries many wars have been fought in the name of Christ. Someone will say that the establishment of this peace is to be progressive rather than abrupt, but could the kingdom of God be a present reality in the earth for two thousand years without any discernible change in this regard. One might even say that things have progressed in the opposite direction with the invention of weapons of mass destruction. When the kingdom does come we will recognize it by the absence of weapons of war.

Another characteristic of the Messianic kingdom which is inconspicuous in the world today is universal justice and righteousness {Ps. 45:6-7; Is. 9:7; 11:1-5; 16:5; 32:1; 42:1-4; Jer. 23:5-6}. The kingdom of Messiah will be distinguished for it’s rule of justice, unlike the present governments of the world which are all corrupt at some level. Presently, the rule of the day is injustice and unrighteousness, as it has been down through history. The prophetic picture cannot be made to fit some spiritual sense in which justice and righteousness is prevailing; justice is failing on every level of society and government today. It is only when their is one universal king and one universal law established in the earth that the justice and righteousness depicted in the prophets’ words will prevail in the earth {Acts 17:31}.

Our Present Sufferings

The NT clearly depicts the present time as one of rejection and suffering for those who follow Messiah and await his return {Matt. 10:22; John 15:18-19; Acts 14:22; Rom. 5:1-5; 8:17-25; 2 Cor. 1:3-7; 4:7-12, 16-18; Phil. 3:10; 1 Thess. 3:2-4; 1 Tim. 3:12; Heb. 10:32-39; 1 Pet.4:12-19; 5:9-10; Rev. 1:9}. But this is entirely inconsistent with the idea that the kingdom of God has already been established. The NT portrays the kingdom age as one in which the people of God will reign with Messiah. This privilege will be given to those who endure this present suffering and rejection and remain faithful to Messiah {Rev. 2:2:26-27; 3:21; 1:9; 20:4; 2Tim. 2:12-13; Acts 14:22; Matt. 5:10-12; 19:28-29}. The kingdom age is linked with the appearing of Messiah {2 Tim. 4:1; 2Pet. 1:10-11; Matt. 25:31, 34; Luke 21:31; 22:29-30} and therefore we are not now reigning. If Messiah is not yet reigning, as I have presented in this study, then neither are we. How can we be presently reigning with Messiah when Messiah himself is not yet reigning. This present age is not our time of reigning and of glory, but of our rejection by this world and our suffering with Messiah, i.e. participating in his rejection and suffering. We in the West sometimes forget that believers all around the world are suffering greatly for their faith in Jesus and have been for centuries. The seeds of persecution have begun to grow in Western civilization as well in recent decades.

Not only do we, as Messiah’s followers, suffer on account of our faith in him, but we also suffer the same ills of society as our fellow unbelieving neighbors. We are subject to the corruption within governments, suffering because of the failures and irresponsibility of our leaders. We suffer due to economic collapses brought about by fiscal mismanagement and natural disasters and war. We also suffer from the same communicable diseases and health issues brought about by the toxins in our food and water supplies. We suffer injustice from the court systems and by unjust laws. Is this the kingdom of God? Is Messiah currently reigning over this mess? All of this shows that we are not reigning with Jesus in this present age and so ipso facto Jesus is not now reigning.

The Kingdom Is Yet Future

It is true that the NT contains some statements that put the kingdom of God into the future while there are others that seem to imply that the kingdom of God was begun while Jesus was on earth and so is a present reality.  There are also passages which might suggest that the kingdom is an internal or spiritual reality, and hence invisible, in contradistinction to the concept of a literal and tangible kingdom which I have presented. This spiritual understanding of the kingdom goes hand in hand with the idea that the kingdom is now. In Part 3 we will examine the passages which seem to imply this concept. For now, here is a list of passages which clearly place the kingdom at a future time:

  1. Matt. 6:10 – Jesus taught his disciples to pray that God’s kingdom would come, clearly implying that it was not yet being experienced.
  2. Matt. 7:21-23 – Here Jesus associates entering the kingdom with “that day” which seems to be the time of future judgment.
  3. Matt. 8:11-12 – Many Gentiles will have a place in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which implies the resurrection of these patriarchs and places the kingdom age at that time.
  4. Matt. 13:36-43 – This parable seems to place the kingdom in the future at the end of this age when Messiah returns.
  5. Matt. 16:28 – If some who were standing there at that time would not see death before they saw the kingdom of God, then that means some standing there did die without ever seeing the kingdom.
  6. Matt. 18:1-4 – Verse 3 implies that the disciples had not as yet entered the kingdom of God.
  7. Matt. 19:16-30 – This whole pericope equates having eternal life with entering the kingdom and places it “at the renewal of all things, when the son of man sits on of glory.” See vv. 16, 17, 23-24, 28-29.
  8. Matt. 20:20-23 – Again the kingdom seems to be future.
  9. Matt. 25:31-34 – The kingdom is what we will inherit when the “son of man comes in his glory.”
  10. Matt. 26:29 {Lk. 22:15-18} – Future orientation.
  11. Luke 13:24-28 – Again, the kingdom is placed after the resurrection of the dead.
  12. Like 22:30 – Future orientation.
  13. Acts 1:6-7 – Apparently the kingdom had not yet begun.
  14. Acts 14:22 – Apparently they had not yet entered the kingdom.
  15. 1 Cor. 6:9-10 – The kingdom is what we inherit in the future.
  16. 1 Cor. 15:50-54 – Places our inheriting the kingdom after the resurrection.
  17. 2 Thess. 1:4-10 – Places kingdom at the end of this age when Jesus returns.
  18. Hebrews 12:28 – Future orientation.
  19. 2 Peter 1:11 – Future orientation.
  20. Rev. 11:15-18 & 12:10 – Future orientation.

These passages are in accord with the OT concept of the kingdom which I have presented in Part 1 – the literal, restored kingdom of Israel under the rule of the final chosen descendant of David, Jesus of Nazareth.

One Final Note

Although I have presented the kingdom of God as synonymous with the kingdom of Israel I do not limit it’s extent to that nation alone. The Hebrew word for kingdom can denote more than just an individual nation. It can also denote what we call today an empire. An empire is formed when one particular nation extends it’s authority over other nations bringing them under the rule of it’s own king. Historians speak of the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Roman empires because these countries expanded their dominion beyond the borders of their own nation and brought other countries into submission to them. The kingdom of God should most definitely be thought of in this way. Although this kingdom is associated with the restored nation of Israel it is not confined to that nation alone; the kingdom of God will surely be a world-wide empire, bringing all the nations of the world under the dominion of God’s appointed ruler, our Lord Jesus.  Amen , come Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Troy Salinger

I am 55 yrs. old. I live with my wife of 32 yrs. in Picayune MS. I have been a believer in the Lord Jesus since August of 1981. I have no formal theological education, but have been an ardent student of Scripture for 36 yrs. I am a biblical Unitarian i.e. I believe the Father is the only true God (John 17:3) and Jesus is His human Son, the Messiah.

One thought on “The Kingdom Of God (Part 2)”

  1. Great writing!! Here are a few tidbits for your consideration…
    Acts 7:55,56 indicates that Stephen saw the Messiah “standing at the right hand of God”. I’m not sure why that vision has Jesus standing as opposed to sitting in all the others…
    I agree that Jesus is already exalted but not yet reigning… and that the phrase “sitting at the right hand of God” is a metaphor. Given that Jesus presumably still has an immortal body, where is he, and what is he doing? Does the possession of a body require a specific localized reality (as opposed to him being omnipresent)? I suspect so.
    I hope in one of your future writings you address the issue Paul outlines in 1 Cor. 15:50-58. We are informed that “flesh and blood” will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Only immortals can participate. What is your understanding of this passage?

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