The Kingdom of God
What is the Kingdom of God and when does it come?
Reference to "the kingdom of God" (also known as "the kingdom of heaven") appears throughout the Synoptic Gospels — Matthew, Mark, and Luke — and carries largely the same relevance to the disciples of Jesus' time as it does to us, as Second Millennium Christians. The kingdom of God throughout Scripture has an almost dualistic meaning, speaking to both a present reality and a future consummation.

The present reality of the kingdom is spoken of in Luke 17:20ff: "The kingdom of God is within you." This speaks of a heavenly reality — focusing on a kingdom viewable via faith rather than sight (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:18 and Hebrews 2:8-9). Even Paul speaks of this presently come kingdom, saying that even now we are raised up and seated together with Christ Jesus in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). And the author of Hebrews claims that we, by our faith, are already come to the Holy City and the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22).

By this understanding, the kingdom is already come and its ruler is Christ: the Davidic Messiah who rules over the throne of David forever (cf. Isaiah 9:6-7, Matthew 28:18, Revelation 19:16, and especially Colossians 1:13). We see the fruit of the kingdom in our lives everyday. Christ's reign in our lives, His power and grace to changes lives, and the dwelling of His people, the church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23), as "strangers and pilgrims" (1 Peter 2:11) in this earthly land all speak to the fact and the glory of His arrived kingdom.

The future consummation for which we hope is that promised return of our King at which point, the heavenly kingdom, once see by faith alone, will thence be seen by sight. In all promised glory, Christ will return and establish forever the visual fulfillment of His heavenly rule. The old heavens and earth shall be done away with and shall be replaced by the Kingdom Eternal, begun at Christ's advent through faith and founded at His return in vision ever glorious!

These two understandings of the kingdom are both truly taught by the Word of God and coexist in a type of already/not yet reality. They are so interwoven that to refer to them as separately is a misstatement; rather, we ought speak of the two aspects of the kingdom as truly a future kingdom that has penetrated the present.
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