Paul D. Wagner
There is much misunderstanding today about the kingdom. Let us look at some plain teaching from the Bible.
In Daniel, chapter 2, the king had a dream. Daniel told him that it represented four kingdoms. Daniel (through God’s revelation) identified the first as the Babylonian kingdom. Daniel 8:20, 21 identified the second as Media-Persia, and the third as Greece. History is very plain: the fourth is the Roman Empire. God was going to set up His kingdom during the fourth kingdom.
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2. “And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 10:7.
In Luke 3:15, the people were expecting the kingdom. “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18, 19. Jesus uses church and kingdom interchangeably.
In Acts 1:6, the apostles asked Jesus if He was going to restore the kingdom. In answer, Jesus said that when they received power from the Holy Spirit, they were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth. “Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47.
When the gospel was preached and obeyed, people were added to the church, the kingdom. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Colossians 1:13. “And He is the head of the body, the church …” 1:18. Paul spoke of the kingdom as already being in existence in his day. He used kingdom, church, and body interchangeably.
“And he said unto them, 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. If the kingdom has not yet come, there are some mighty old people running around today!
In John 18:36, Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’” In Matthew 26:52, 53, Jesus said that He could appeal to His Father to send twelve legions of angels to save Him and to help Him. “But Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and he will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?’” If it had been His plan to set up an earthly kingdom, He could have done so. Jesus came to set up a spiritual kingdom, the church, and He did.
In Ephesians 3:10, 11, we see that the church was in God’s mind from eternity. “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -602 North Cowan St., Decatur, TX 76234.
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