Monday, November 16, 2009

When is the Kingdom Coming?

This post is influenced by The Gospel of the Kingdom by George Ladd. If you find this post interesting and you want to know more I would recommend reading it. I don't agree with everything he says, but I definitely think that the book is worth reading.

I've already talked about what the Kingdom of God is and why the Kingdom of God is important. Today I'll be talking about an even more challenging issue. When is the Kingdom coming?

Perhaps the most common view is that God's Kingdom will come in the future. According to this view we only truly enter the Kingdom of God when Christ returns or when we die.

If we look at scripture we will find some support for this view. Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God as an inheritance which we will receive in the future. Also, the book of Revelation speaks of the day when the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

However, if we continue to look at scripture we will see many instances where Jesus seems to be saying that the Kingdom is about to arrive or that it is already here. He talks about people entering the Kingdom of God now and he tells people that the Kingdom of God has come upon them.

After reading all these passages it can seem a little confusing. In some it seems as though the Kingdom has already come. In others it seems as though it won't come
until Christ returns.

How do we make sense of all this? Amid the sea of seemingly contradictory statements that the Bible makes about the Kingdom of God, there are two parables that Jesus uses to describe God's Kingdom that will help us to understand what is going on.

Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is like a tiny seed or like a small bit of yeast. The tiny seed grows into a bush so big that the birds of the air can build their nests in it. The small bit of yeast is eventually works through an enormous batch of dough so that the whole thing rises.

The Bible makes it clear that the Kingdom of God is here among us right now. Jesus brought it with him when he came to earth as a small, seemingly insignificant baby. Through the ministry of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit God's Kingdom has come to earth.

At the same time the Kingdom of God isn't fully here. The Kingdom of God still needs to grow and expand and do its work. In the meantime we wait for the day when we can say that, at last, God's Kingdom has come.

So to answer the question I started with, the Kingdom of God has already come, it is coming right now, and it will come in the future. I hope that clears things up for you.

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