Scripture Revealed

A Revelation of Jesus Christ – Revelation 1:1

Which Kingdom Did Jesus Come to Establish?

Did Christ come to set up an earthly kingdom? Did Jesus come to establish two kingdoms?  Many of the Hebrews believed that Christ was to come to re-establish the earthly political kingdom of Israel. Many Judaic and Christian Zionists believe the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 is a precursor to the physical, millennial reign of the Judaic Messiah. However, the scriptures declare that the kingdom of God was “at hand” in the first century A.D.

Believers were told to repent and believe in the gospel “for the kingdom of God was at hand.”  So did Christ bring the kingdom of God to his people? Are will there be a future physical millennial kingdom of Israel? Let’s explore what the scriptures reveal.

The Ancient Kingdom of Israel

Abraham’s children left Canaan for Egypt, but God promised Abraham that his seed would be regathered back to the promise land. Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt during the Exodus. Under Joshua’s leadership, the Israelites conquered Canaan and divided the land by lots of inheritance. Jacobs’s offspring established the Kingdom of Israel and proclaimed their kingdom in 1030 B.C.E.  It endured until it fell to the Assyrian Empire in 722 B.C.E.

Under the Mosiac covenant, the Israelites lived under a Theocracy. God was to be their King, and the Levites were to administrate his laws and statutes. The Lord used Patriarchs; and later Judges, before an establishment of an earthly kingdom. Because the people rejected God as their king, they appealed to the prophet Samuel for a physical king like the nations around them. The United Kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon endured for 120 biblical years and then split into two nations.

The Kingdom of Israel Comes to an End

The Romans, in the 1st century BCE, conquered much of the known world, ending the reign of the Greeks and the Hasmonean dynasty in Israel. Their reign lasted until 476, when the Eastern Roman Empire, or the Byzantine Empire, gained control. The “Kingdom of Israel” had come to an end.

At first, the Romans allowed the Jews some authority over their internal affairs. However, frequent rebellions by the Jews led the Romans to stamp out that autonomy. Around 40 BCE, the Roman Senate proclaimed Herod the Great as “King of the Jews.” This Edomite King was established as governor of all Judea.

Throughout the Old Testament, we read about the Hebrew people looking for their Messiah. This yearning came to a head during the time of Jesus. How did they know that Messiah was to be appearing soon?  Well, they were very much aware of the prophecies of Daniels 70th week.  The countdown to freedom had begun with their release from Babylonian captivity.  Under the heavy bondage of Roman rule, the Jews looked for the physical restoration of the “Kingdom of Israel.” Even his disciples thought he would restore a physical kingdom.

Acts 1:6 (KJV) – When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

But how did Jesus answer them?  Jesus pointed to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost which would come to pass very shortly.

Acts 1:7-8 (KJV) – And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Why didn’t Jesus answer the question concerning the restoration of the physical kingdom of Israel? Well because Jesus knew the Kingdom of God would be in each of them very soon after they received his Spirit. The disciples needed the word of God written in their hearts to bring to their remembrance the writings of Ezekiel’s 36th chapter. Ezekiel 36:24-27 clearly prophesies that Israel would be regathered; for the Messiah to make atonement for his people sins, and to put Christ’s Spirit in their hearts. The fulfillment of this prophecy was accomplished on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 36:24-27 (KJV)  – For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Jesus is the prophesied King who brings all nations and people into the spiritual Kingdom of God.  But many Judaics; as well as Christians, apply the 37th chapter of Ezekiel to the modern state of Israel. But in order to believe that these scriptures apply to the “Jews” of our day, you would have to deny that Jesus is the King of Kings.

The Kingdom of God Is At Hand

Time statements are critical to our understanding of the Kingdom of God.  God really can tell time.  Throughout the New Testament, we are told emphatically that the “kingdom of God is at hand.”  At hand does not mean thousands of years in the future.  Jesus was citing the book of Daniel when he preached the kingdom of God.

Mark 1:14-15 (KJV)  – Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Daniel prophesied God’s time for the kingdom as the “days of these kings.”  The ancient Roman Empire existed in the days of Christ. John the Baptist, preached during the reign of Tiberius Caesar announcing that the kingdom had drawn near. (Luke 3:1-2)

Daniel 2:44 (KJV)  – And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

Wow!  Do you see the power of Daniels words?  The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will NEVER be destroyed.  This kingdom will stand for ever and will eventually consume all other kingdoms.

Where’s the Kingdom of God?

The Jews, hoping for a physical, political kingdom were greatly disappointed.  The scriptures reveal that God reigns in the hearts of men.  The Pharisees wanted to know when the kingdom of God would come.

Luke 17:20-21 (KJV)  – And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

So according to Luke chapter 17, the kingdom of God will not be seen by observation.  It’s not a kingdom that can be seen with the eyes of man.  It’s a kingdom that can only be entered by being born again of water and Spirit.

Pontius Pilate interrogated Christ as to his status as King of the Judeans.  Jesus’ reply, in John chapter 18, demonstrated the spiritual nature of His kingdom.

John 18:36 (KJV) – Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Pilate is deemed by many as the villain in the trial of Jesus. But he shows more understanding of the nature of the kingdom of God than do many of today’s Christians who are looking for a physical kingdom.  Notice Pilate’s reply: “I find no fault in him at all.”  Pilate was declaring that Jesus is NOT GUILTY of the charge of insurrection to overthrow the Roman government.  Pilate was convinced that Jesus did not come to set up a political kingdom. Jesus was offered and rejected all the kingdoms of this physical world by Satan (Matt. 4:8-10). Jesus rejected the Judaic offer of an earthly political kingdom as well.

The Kingdom is Righteousness

Romans chapter 14 tells us what the kingdom of God is and what it is not.

Romans 14:17 (KJV)  – For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Paul, the Apostle, writes the following to the Hebrew Christians:

Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) – But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

As a spiritual kingdom, God’s warfare is by using the sword of the Spirit.  The sword of the Spirit is the word of God (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:1).

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (KJV)  – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warefare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds

The Kingdom in the First Century

While the Old Covenant world began to shake from its foundations, the New Covenants’ world foundation firmly established itself. As prophesied (Ezekiel 37:24-25), God would set up David (prophetic description of Christ) who would reign over his people in the kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:24-25 (KJV) – And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.

According to Paul, they were then (1st century A.D.) currently receiving their inheritance in the kingdom. Paul wrote Hebrews from the mid to late 60’s of the first century.

Paul uses an interesting Greek word paralambanontes.”  Paralambanontes is a present tense participle used to express an action (then present) when he wrote the book.  It means to be in the process of receiving at that time. Thus he says in Hebrews 12:28 that “Wherefore we receiving (paralambanotes) a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

The Kingdom Arrived In Fulness

Jesus spoke a parable of how the kingdom began and grew until it reached maturity, (Mark 4:26-29). The mature state equals the harvest or the time of the end. This corresponds with the “end of the age” mentioned in the parable of the tares and wheat. (Matthew 13:39-43)  Note from these two parables, no intermediate rapture of the church from the world occurred. Both (tares and wheat) wicked and righteous continued until the harvest at the end of the age. This corresponds to the “Parousia” or return of Christ. The Greek word “parousia” is Strong’s word #3918.  This is Strong’s definition: a being near, i.e. advent (often, return; specially of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked); (by implication) physical aspect: – coming, presence.”

The fullness of the kingdom arrived when Christ returned in 70 A.D. to execute judgment on apostate Israel.  This is the time Jesus taught that all things written would be fulfilled, (Luke 21:20-22). When Jerusalem fell to the Romans, God finally puts an end to the Temple and animal sacrifices. The earthly Kingdom of Israel was left desolate and destroyed forever. Christ simultaneously established the kingdom of God for all Nations.

Luke 21:31-32 – “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.”

The first-century generation could not pass until God had completed all things promised in his word. That included the kingdom.

The Kingdom of God Increases – Without End

Judaics and many Christians are looking for a 1000 year physical kingdom and not the spiritual Kingdom of God.  Likewise many are looking for the end of the physical world.  They never realize that they have been deceived by the message of a future physical kingdom of God. His kingdom is said to have no end. Therefore, it does not have an eschatology or last day. Once established it is eternal as Isaiah prophesied.

Isaiah 9:7 (KJV) – Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Conclusion

The Disciples of Jesus asked him in the book of Acts chapter one (1) about restoring “the kingdom to Israel.”  The kingdom that they were thinking of was not a spiritual kingdom but the restored Kingdom of Israel which would throw off the yoke of Roman rule and set them up as eventual rulers of the entire world.

Acts 1:6 (KJV)  – When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

So the question becomes did Jesus come to restore the “Kingdom of Israel” or some other kingdom?  Jesus answered his disciples in a somewhat vague manner.  Look at the next verse in Acts 1:

Acts 1:7-8 (KJV)  – And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

What is clear is that Jesus NEVER taught that a literal, physical “Kingdom of Israel” would be restored.  The “kingdom” that Jesus came to establish would be a spiritual Kingdom – “The Kingdom of God.”  This Kingdom would not come by observation (Luke 17:20).  This “kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).  This “kingdom” would be a reality in the lives of the disciples of Jesus.  That’s why Jesus could declare that some of them standing before him “shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”(Mark 9:1).

This spiritual kingdom could be “seen” when a man is “born again” (John3:3).  This kingdom of God would not be “meat and drink but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom.14:17).  When the Holy Ghost fell on the Day of Pentecost the long prophesied “Kingdom of God” had arrived!

Do you want to learn more about being “born again” and how to enter the Kingdom of God?  Here are a series of articles that address this subject:

Salvation – The Gospel

Repent and Believe the Gospel

Water Baptism – Burial

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Ron

Managing Editor at Scripture Revealed
I’ve studied and taught the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom since 1985. My goal is to reveal the biblical truths I’ve come to see through prayer and study. I believe that the scriptures are revealed to those that study and rightly divide the "Word of Truth.”
Ron

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Ron

I’ve studied and taught the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom since 1985. My goal is to reveal the biblical truths I’ve come to see through prayer and study. I believe that the scriptures are revealed to those that study and rightly divide the "Word of Truth.”

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R. Crawford
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R. Crawford

Well done, Ron. Very interesting and flowing. Nice to see you writing again. And your interpretation of Scripture is right on.

K. Ives
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K. Ives

Hey Ron, well said and spoken like a mature son! I agree with everything you said. If we could only convince our other deceived brothers. Instead they ostrisize us and call us heretics. But I guess I am because I don’t follow the rich and long doctrines of men established since the beginning the unholy union of Roman paganism and the remnants of the early Christian Church. I am so tired of the lies being taught about Christ in Christian circles, especially concerning eschatology. I am not inclined to follow precepts (rules and regulations set up by the nicene creed… Read more »

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