What does the Kingdom of God refer to? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
One of the big debates in eschatology really centers around the Kingdom of God. This is something that I disagree with the way I see futurism and dispensationalism presented. The question is what does it mean for the Kingdom of God to come and then when does it begin.
I plan to look at various passages about the Kingdom of God, but mainly I want to talk about what it means. Even secular scholars today now agree that one of the main messages of Jesus was the Kingdom of God. One of the great gifts N.T. Wright has done for the church is to open our eyes to what this means.
When Jesus shows up in the Gospels even at an early point, aside from John which hardly mentions this, He is talking about the Kingdom of God. This would be significant because though Israel had returned to the land, the land wasn’t their home again entirely. After all, the Romans were ruling over the land. Israel was supposed to be sovereign over the land.
A number of figures rose up wanting to end Roman rule and claiming to be the Messiah. These figures were often going to bring an end to Roman rule. As you should know, none of them did. Jesus shows up and He claims the Kingdom of God, but He has something different in mind than booting out the Romans.
Jesus is saying that God is going to be king again. The true monarchy that God intended through David is going to be restored. David had been one king in history who had fulfilled three roles of prophet, priest, and king. His son, the Messiah, would fulfill those roles.
The true enemy though was not the Romans. It was sin. God was through Jesus proclaiming that His rule would begin and it wouldn’t be limited to just a piece of land in the Middle East. God was going to rule the whole world.
This then gets to a debate about when the kingdom of God began. For a Preterist like myself, when Jesus says “soon”, He means it. God is going to being His rule. He is going to defeat the devil. He is going to conquer. He will reclaim the world for Himself.
Thus, the question then is when did Jesus become king or when is He going to be king? For someone in my position, the answer is Jesus is king right now. Now I know some of you could be saying “Well if Jesus is king right now, then why is there still evil in the world?” That was answered in part in our look at Psalm 110:1 and we will see more of this in the Gospels. Jesus is reigning now and His enemies are being made a footstool for His feet. We are His ambassadors going around announcing the news that Jesus Christ is king of this Earth.
So as we look at eschatology, expect a lot of verses to look at the Kingdom of God. There’s more in there than you likely realized.