A few weeks ago a couple of nice gentlemen associated with a religious denomination knocked at my door. After introducing themselves, they got to the point they wanted to discuss: the kingdom of Christ. They insisted that the kingdom would soon be established. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, and I had plans for the day. Nevertheless, I invited the men in and asked them if they would be willing to listen as I shared biblical information about the kingdom. I then set forth the following thoughts:
First, Jesus taught, roughly 2,000 years ago, that the kingdom was then “at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The term “at hand” means “to draw nigh, approach, or to be near.” Therefore, the kingdom was “near” when Jesus was here on earth, about 2,000 years ago.
Second, Jesus promised that some who lived during the days of the first century would see the establishment of the kingdom. He 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). If Christians of our day are still waiting for the kingdom to come, then Jesus’ prediction failed. He predicted that some who lived during the first century would see the kingdom established. Did they? Or was Jesus wrong? Surely, no one would accuse Jesus of being wrong about His prediction.
Third, Jesus identified the kingdom as the church: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19). The church Jesus would build is identified in this text as the kingdom. This shows that the Lord’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.
Fourth, the church has already been established. Therefore, the kingdom (which is the church) is already in existence, and it has been since the time of Acts chapter 2 when the church was established. Paul wrote to the church: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). First century church members had already been “translated” into the kingdom, because the kingdom is the church.
Friend, Jesus is not coming to set up a kingdom in Jerusalem and reign for a thousand years on a literal throne. This is false doctrine. The Bible does not teach such. Rather, the Bible teaches that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual—it is the church!
I do not believe the kind gentlemen accepted these biblical facts, but rejecting teachings of the New Testament does not change the truth. Please accept the truth of God’s Word!
Chapman church of Christ