Kingdom…Now or Later?

I am reading/studying/digesting Matthew in my own personal time with God and also with my church small group. So far I have been entrenched in this gospel for almost a year and I’m still going back over things, reading new things…there is a lot still left to cover. The basic question that I keep coming back to is: When and where is the kingdom of God that Jesus constantly talks about to take place? This seems to be the key question in Christian debate, whether or not the two sides recognize it.

On one side I see the “conservatives” (term used very loosely) who envision a future kingdom: Jesus will return and rule and put everything right. So this mindset leads to certain actions. If we are looking for a future kingdom, several things follow. And keep in mind I’m generalizing a lot:

  • This world is always going to be messed up. There’s really no use in trying to fix it.
  • The most important thing in life is whose side we will be on in the future kingdom. Will we be with Jesus or with Satan?
  • If the world is messed up and the future kingdom is what matters, we will isolate ourselves to prevent the world from influencing us. It won’t matter how we use resources because the world is expendable.
  • Spiritual life becomes very important.

On the other side I see the “liberals” (another very loose term) who envision a kingdom here and now: Jesus was promising a life of freedom, peace, love, and justice for those living. Now, I find myself siding more with the “liberals” because I see the need for such a kingdom. I also see a Jesus in scripture who is talking about these issues: justice for the poor, hope for the needy, life for the dead. But I’m trying to be unbiased and I think this mindset can lead to certain actions, some which might not be so positive:

  • Extreme concern for the poor and needy, to the point of putting physical need before spiritual need.
  • This world has the potential to be made good.
  • We promote relationships and community.
  • Physical life becomes very important.

It seems like almost every time I pick up the Bible I am confronted by these two mindsets. I see a later kingdom at times and a now kingdom at others. Sometimes I read Jesus saying:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Luke 4:18-19

And other times I read Him saying:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

This is something I feel that I must wrestle with (and especially look at what scripture has to say) because the answer defines our lifestyle. If Jesus is truly promising a kingdom now, then every action of the way we live becomes a part of building or destroying that kingdom. If we are looking only for a future kingdom, then…well, I’m not sure how to live. I suppose it means making evangelism our primary focus all the time. Personally, I think that both kingdoms exist. Jesus promised that we could enter the kingdom of God while we are still here on earth and that that choice has personal, spiritual and physical results. Also, He promises that at the end of time He will return and build a political kingdom.  I know that I will probably never come to the answer, but I want to make sure that the way I have chosen to live my life is following after the way of Jesus.


3 Responses to “Kingdom…Now or Later?”

  1. Emily Says:

    as with many answers to the questions in the Bible, I have to say BOTH!! The Kingdom is now and not yet. Christ established his Kingdom when he came (all his people throughout time) yet it will not come to consummation until his second coming at which time all will be made right! I’m pretty sure that’s what my church would say and I agree with it. =)

  2. Jeff Says:

    Hmmm. Interesting thoughts. This is quite an old post, you’ve probably moved on, but I thought I’d throw a few suggestions your way any how.
    “This Perfect Mess” By Rick Mckinley.
    “Surprised by Hope” by NT Wright.
    “Jesus for President” by Shane Clairborne.
    All (like myself) are fairly liberal in orientation. But they are incredibly persuasive. To oversimplify radically:
    I’d submit that God works through us to lay the foundations of the kingdom. The kingdom itself will not be built in this life. Even the foundations can not be built under our own power.
    One of the most important of these foundations is the sanctification and purification of us– in serving the poor and needy we ready ourselves for heaven.

  3. harvest999 Says:

    But at the moment,the whole process is partially completed,progessively-it takes TIME,EFFORT,PRAYERS OF VICTORY to eliminate UNHOLINESS and EVILNESS-we do not want to blame HUMANS (whom JESUS DIED PAINFULLY FOR out of HIS GREAT LOVE) when SATAN is the SECRET EVIL INFLUENCE).GOD PROCEEDS FORTH FAITHFULLY TOWARDS COMPLETION OF HIS PROMISES,not FALLING BACKWARDS BUT MOVING FORWARDS VERY FAST NOW especially when SINCERE PRAYERS from ANY SINCERE HEART THAT MOVES EXACTLY IN AGREEMENT WITH HIS PLANS ARE SPEEDED UP.There is a NEED TO WELCOME HIM and ask HIM TO REVEAL.As long as our hearts and mind contain JESUS,the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN also remains WITHIN US.Anything that is washed “clean” with HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD becomes a PARTIAL PART OF HIS KINGDOM,which is VERY LARGE AND SPREAD ALL OVER HIS CREATION,just AS LARGE AS HEAVEN ABOVE IS NOW,which HE WILL DO HIS “holy extension” towards the WHOLE EARTH,UNTIL EVERYTHING IS BROUGHT SUBJECT UNTO HIS HOLY REIGNSHIP.Even the DEVIL and HIS KINGDOM will BE DEFEATED and BOW to OUR LORD JESUS’s KINGDOM FROM HEAVEN UNTO EARTH.As all the prophets said,HE IS GOD OF HEAVEN and OF EARTH.He has the keys of hell and death-REV1:18.My NEW website will according to the SPIRIT OF THE LORD,according to my humble ability to UNDERSTAND HIS GREAT THOUGHTS,proceed WITH TIME to share what amount HE HAS GIVEN TO ME TO SHARE.My greatest learning out of my 37years with the LORD JESUS,was when my grandson was brought to heaven EVERYNIGHT FOR 3 MONTHS in HIS SPIRIT in his sleep at night.He saw ALL THE ANGELIC BATTLES BETWEEN MICHAEL and HIS ANGELS and SATAN and HIS ANGELS,with THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WATCHING NEARBY.BUT many times on “smaller battles”,OUR LORD NEED NOT BE THERE.He saw the CROSS-SHAPED “supper table”which he said seats amost 5billion and how we dined there with OUR LORD JESUS seated at THE MAIN SEAT,drinking only heavenly water,while we eat all sorts of food.He saw the JUDGEMENT DAY where souls burnt black UNRECOGNISABLE were taken out one by one for JUDGEMENT by respective angels allocated to each one.ONLY OUR LORD JESUS KNEW THEIR NAMES,because HE WAS STANDING THERE WATCHING.IT is of great effort to SEEK TO SHARE THIS GREAT DEEP HEAVENLY TRUTHS to OTHERS who must BE EQUIPED TO UNDERSTAND GOD FULLY.All we have to do is to ENTER INTO GOD’s DESIRES,FEELINGS,HEART,HOLY THOUGHTS,UNCONDITIONAL LOVE,GREAT FORGIVENESS and THINK and SEE HIS PATTERN OF DOING THINGS.Eradicate ALL OUR PATTERN OF THINKING which will actually BE UNHOLY UNTO HIM.Like Aaron was CONSECRATED,”HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD”,he was not even allowed to cry when his 2 sons died DUE TO OFFERING UNHOLY FIRE.Just remember that IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES,HE IS STILL THE RULING POWER regardless whether HIS KINGDOM now or after.IN THE TRUE SENSE,HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE GREATEST POWER SINCE HE CREATED CREATION,AMEN.

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