What did Jesus mean by the “Kingdom of God comes?”
A study of the phrase “kingdom of God” in the New Testament showed, similar to an earthly kingdom, that it has a King, laws, and citizens:
- Its King is God.
- Its laws are given in the Bible; Jesus used parables to explain how the kingdom of God works (Mark 4:26, 30; Luke 8:9-10)
- Its citizens are the saved (Matt 19:24; 21:31; Mark 4:11; 9:47; 10:14-15, 23-25; 12:34; Luke 6:20; 9:62; Acts 14:22).
Jesus said to the Jewish religious rulers, “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it” (Matt 21:43). God, therefore, entrusted the Jews with the kingdom of God, which is understood as meaning that the chosen nation became the custodian of the information about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is what we preach (Luke 4:43).
The kingdom of God is not something that will one day come, for it already exists. Jesus said:
“If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt 12:28).
“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20-21).
When we pray “Your kingdom come” (Matt 6:9), we do not pray for the physical return of Christ, but that His kingdom will come today in our hearts and in our lives.
Jesus also made the following solemn statement to Nicodemus”
“Truly, truly (amen, amen, an expression of strong affirmation),
I say to you, unless one is born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Therefore, although the kingdom of God already exists, it is not something physical that you can see in the same way as you see the stars, the sun, or the moon. “The kingdom of God” is spiritual. It is only visible to the saved.
But one day it will become visible to all. Jesus said:
“I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on
until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:18).
Here He refers to a specific future event by which the visible Kingdom of God will be established.
Since the kingdom of God is only visible to the saved, when Jesus said, “There are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mark 9:1; compare Luke 9:27; Matt 16:28), then it technically can mean that some “standing here” will not die until they are saved, but that would be a somewhat illogical conclusion. Furthermore, the “with power”, which Mark adds, seems to eliminate that possibility. Other possible interpretations are that it refers to the new dispensation that came with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, or to the Return of Christ.
Conclusion: The point is, since the “kingdom of God” already exists, but is invisible to non-believers, when Jesus said, “the kingdom of God comes”, we should always allow the context to determine the meaning.
Articles in this series
- When and how will Jesus return?
- Christ’s Return in the book of Revelation
- What did Jesus mean by “the End of the Age”?
- Little Apocalypse – Jesus’ description of the End
- Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 side-by-side
- “This generation will not pass away until …” (Matt 24:34)
- “You will not finish … until the Son of Man comes” (Matt 10:23).
- What does “the Kingdom of God” mean?
- “Some standing here shall not taste death until …“ (Matt 16:28).
- Jesus said and His disciples believed that He would return soon.
- Did He return “soon” by His Resurrection?
- Did He return “soon” by the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70?
- Why did Jesus not return soon?
- List of articles with brief descriptions