The Kingdom of God-Thesis 2-Final
In the Kingdom, God rules over you by sovereignty, and the life, mind, heart, nature, power, wisdom, knowledge, and will of God enter into you to become your reality. In its simplest definition, the Kingdom of God means that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! He must be Lord in you, and He must be Lord through you. That is the mark and seal of Christ to make you a child of God. That is the power of the Kingdom.
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, ye, and believe the gospel (Mk. 1:14-15).
Theologians and others have involved themselves in controversy over the precise meaning of the Greek word ENGIKEN, here translated “is at hand.” The simple Greek word from which it is formed (ENGIZO) means, “draw near,” but ENGIKEN is the perfect tense of this verb. It is an important tense in Greek for which we have no exact equivalent in English. It indicates an action that has occurred in the past but has a continuing effect in the present.
The New English Bible seeks justice to this Greek perfect tense by translating it, “The kingdom of God is upon you.” The verb could also be translated as “The kingdom of God has arrived,” that is, it is a present reality now, not just a future eventuality. The importance of the message of Jesus was that God’s chosen time had arrived ‘NOW .’His Kingdom was already breaking into the world of men. It was no longer a promise for some distant future for which men must wait with hope so fragile that it soon dwindles into disillusionment. God’s action had begun; Satan’s realm was already threatened, invaded, and conquered.
In Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son, the new age of the Kingdom, had arrived. Its privileges and powers were available, and He used them freely and fully. Although the priests and other leaders of the static religious system of the day were busy with their time-worn routines of the dead past, and the slumbering world was doing business as usual, a new day had come, and Jesus came forth in the life of the Kingdom. Now the Son of God had to reveal Himself personally to all Israel, establishing a new order and providing the necessary guidance for all who believe and follow Him.
The Kingdom came when the King came. Jesus is King of kings and LORD of Lords. Nothing can be more evident than that. In His battle with evil, Jesus saw the foretaste of the ultimate triumph of God on the earth. Because He came preaching the Kingdom of God, He demonstrated that Kingdom’s glory and power. He showed the Kingdom’s glory’s wealth through His deeds for the few, which eventually will be done for all when His Kingdom’s light covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. In His death, He engaged in mortal combat with him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and conquered. Jesus was declared by the Father to be the Son of God with power because of His resurrection from the dead. At the right hand of God, He continues to reign through His body on earth and shall continue to reign from victory to victory, and from glory to glory, until “He hath put all enemies under His feet” (I Cor. 15:25).
We see the initial victory in Christ’s incarnation, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension. Through Jesus’ disciples during this dispensation of the Church, we see His continuing and increasing victory. And in the manifestation of the sons of God, we see His ultimate victory. The Kingdom spans generations and ages, from the advent of the firstborn Son in the world to the manifestation of God’s sons. The Final victory shall be achieved at Christ’s second coming. Then shall the Kingdom be delivered to God, even the Father, “that God may be all in all” (I Cor. 15:28).
The Practical Difference Between The Church And The Kingdom Of God
The Kingdom is the rule of God, and the Church is a society of women and men that are followers of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom creates the Church, works through the Church, and is proclaimed in the world by the Church. In contrast, the Church is the custodian of the Kingdom. In Jesus, the reign of God manifested itself in a new redemptive event, unexpectedly displaying the powers of the eschatological Kingdom. God is the King that reigns in the Kingdom, so the Kingdom takes its point of departure from God while the Church is from human beings.
The Church in this age will never attain perfection; it must display the life of the perfect order, the eschatological Kingdom of God. The entrance into the Kingdom is the participation in the Church, but entrance into the Church is not necessarily synonymous with entrance into the Kingdom. The first missionaries preached the Kingdom of God and not the Church (Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). The subjects of God’s reign that share Christ’s reign forms the Church. The Church comprises people over whom God rules. The Kingdom as the present sphere of God’s rule is invisible and not a phenomenon of this world, whereas the Church is an empirical body of human beings. We can conclude that the Church is the custodian and community of the Kingdom, but never the Kingdom itself. Believers, therefore, cannot be equated with the Kingdom.
It is important not to confuse the ‘Kingdom of God with the ‘Church’; we must separate the two to understand the Kingdom better. The Church includes those who are not true children of the Kingdom. Thus the empirical Church has a two-fold character; it is the people of the Kingdom, and yet it is not the ideal people, for it includes some who are not children of the Kingdom. The Church must come to grip its mission to witness for the Kingdom. Jesus gave the Church the great commission. In complying with this commission, the Church is to witness God’s redeeming acts in Christ, both past and future.
The Church must display the life of the perfect order, the eschatological Kingdom of God, and the display of kingdom life like forgiveness, love, humility, etc. The Church, as the instrument of the Kingdom, must be separated from the Kingdom. The power of the Kingdom that worked through Jesus Christ also worked through Peter, Paul, and other disciples. As they went preaching the Kingdom, they too healed the sick. They cast out demons (Matthew 10:8, Luke 10:17).
The present-day disciples are also empowered to use their delegated power from the authority given to Jesus Christ to heal the sick and cast out demons. The Church is to be the instrument of God’s Kingdom in the Messianic struggle with the powers of Satan and death. The Church is the fellowship of those who have experienced God’s reign and entered into the enjoyment of its blessings, so it promotes the daily oiling of fellowship with God.