OceanSide church of Christ
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Has The Kingdom of God Come?
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He said, “…thy kingdom come…” (Mt. 6:10). We ask, “What is this ‘kingdom’ and has it come?” This kingdom was spoken of by Daniel, the prophet over 600 years prior to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 6. Daniel foretold that “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44), that the Son of man would be given a kingdom, and “that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13, 14). It was announced as being “at hand” when Jesus was upon the earth by John the baptizer (Mt. 3:2), by Jesus (Mt. 4:17), by the apostles (Mt. 10:7), and the seventy on the limited commission (Lk. 10:9). The phrase “at hand” means near or nearby, approaching, ready to occur. It must then be the case that the kingdom of heaven was established or set up near the time when Jesus was preaching that the “kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17).
The Lord gave the “time-frame” of the kingdom’s occurrence. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1). The kingdom would come during the disciples’ lifetime. So, either the kingdom has come, or there are men walking around who are nearly 2,000 years old. The Lord also stated in this verse that the kingdom would “come with power.” In Acts 1:3, Jesus was speaking to His apostles “things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and that they “should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). In verse five, Jesus promised His apostles that they would be “baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Notice verses six through eight of Acts 1: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (emphasis added by W.R.). Jesus marked the time-frame by noting several key events: coming in the apostles’ lifetime, coming with power, and power from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost in the following chapter, Acts 2.
In that sermon preached, the Gospel was proclaimed (Acts 2:22-36), reference is made to Joel’s prophecy concerning the miracles being poured out from God’s Spirit on that day (Acts 2:14-21), and also prophecy is shown to be fulfilled by Jesus sitting upon David’s throne (Acts 2:30). The response of those gathered on that day was “men and brethren, what shall we do” (Acts 2:37)? Peter responds with their salvation needs by saying, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). They “gladly received his word” and “were baptized: and the same day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). The closing statement of chapter two is: “the Lord added to the church (to their number – ESV) daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). The kingdom had begun at this place where all of these prophecies were fulfilled of David, Joel, Daniel and Jesus.
When instituting the Lord’s Supper recorded in Matthew 26:26-29, Jesus said, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” If the kingdom has not come, then the Lord’s Supper cannot be eaten. But, we know that it was observed by the 1st century church (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-30). Logic dictates that the kingdom existed at that time. Concerning the Colossian Christians, Paul reminded them that they had been “translated them from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col. 1:13-14). One could not be translated into something that did not exist. Therefore, the kingdom was in place at that time, and the Colossian Christians were in it. The Hebrew’s writer says this concerning the kingdom: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29).
Yes, the kingdom of God has come, and if we wish to be in it, we must do as they did on that 1st Pentecost Day after Christ’s ascension into Heaven. Obey the Gospel as given to those who believed on the Day of Pentecost and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter told them to “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). Let us live faithful unto Christ and “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” in the His kingdom (Heb. 12:28-29).