“The Kingdom is here! The Kingdom is now!”
Have you heard this recently? It’s a popular phrase for many Christians who believe we are living in the Kingdom of God now. But are we really living in the Kingdom of God today?
Setting Up the Kingdom
When God created the universe, His purposeful order produced a well-constructed world. He made it functional, sustainable, and beautiful. His creation included light, oceans, dry land, vegetation, birds, fish, animals—everything needed to foster the cycle of life in the world. All that was missing was people—human subjects to populate, care for, and enjoy the earth. A kingdom is not a kingdom without subjects. Likewise, God’s Kingdom was not complete without people to serve under, worship, and have fellowship with the King.
So God made man and woman. When He put them together, His Kingdom was perfectly set up: It had human subjects who could govern His creation and commune with Him without boundaries.
At some point they sinned, severing their position as God’s representatives ruling over creation. They were cast out of the perfect Garden of Eden and separated from their Creator. By rejecting God’s authority, they chose to live under Satan’s rule. From that point forward, all of humanity was subjected to living under Satan’s kingdom.
The Path to Restoration
However, God was not caught unaware by humanity’s sin. He set in motion His plan to restore His Kingdom by sending His only Son, Jesus, to defeat Satan. Though Satan would bruise Jesus’ heel, Jesus, the promised Seed of the woman, would crush his head (Genesis 3:15). To fulfill this promise, God chose a unique people, beginning with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to protect the bloodline that would one day bring about Jesus the Messiah.
Before the Kingdom could be restored, its subjects had to be liberated from sin and brought back into a right relationship with God. So God fulfilled His promise to send the Seed of the woman through the line of Abraham. He sent Jesus the Messiah to be born as the one perfect, sinless Man, being worthy to pay the price for our sin and redeem us from its captivity by His death and resurrection. Jesus’ heel was bruised when He was crucified, but He did not stay in the grave for long, as He rose from the dead three days later.
Some say Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and resurrection brought His Kingdom here to Earth, meaning we’re already living in His perfect domain prophesied in Scripture on Earth. But this world doesn’t feel like the kind of kingdom ruled by our holy God, does it? That’s because Jesus is not physically reigning over all the earth today in His Kingdom. When He ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He returned to the right hand of God the Father, where He remains today.
Make no mistake: God is in control of all things, but He has not established His physical Kingdom here on Earth yet.
Make no mistake: God is in control of all things, but He has not established His physical Kingdom here on Earth yet. That will happen when He comes again to rule and reign physically from Jerusalem.
What Does This Mean for the Church?
Not even the church—beloved as it is by God and as much as it strives to serve Him—is a fulfillment of God’s promise to establish His physical Kingdom here on Earth. But the church has a crucial and valuable commission today directly from Jesus. We are to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit to the end of this present Church Age (Matthew 28:19–20).
In the meantime, we’re playing on Satan’s turf. Right now, the world is his domain (1 John 5:19). As Jesus said, we are in this world, but not of it (John 17:14–19). This is not our home. Thankfully, we do have the Holy Spirit residing in us, empowering us to walk faithfully and lead others to the saving knowledge of our Lord and His coming Kingdom in our time on Earth. But until He comes again, we’ll be in a battle against Satan’s sinful world system.
Looking to the Coming Kingdom
Scripture makes clear reference to the physical nature of God’s coming Kingdom. It will begin when Jesus comes again and stands on the Mount of Olives, the very spot from which He ascended to heaven after His resurrection. In that day, the Lord will be recognized as the rightful King over all the earth, over all His creation which He purposed to be part of His Kingdom since time began (Zechariah 14:9; Obadiah v. 21).
When His perfect Kingdom comes, it’ll be here to stay.
This Kingdom faces no threat that could ever take away its glory. The prophet Daniel summed up its majesty well while interpreting Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Comparing it to the human kingdoms of the dream, which all crumbled before long—Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome—Daniel said, “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). When His perfect Kingdom comes, it’ll be here to stay.
Because the majority of humanity will still be in rebellion against Him when He comes to set up His Kingdom, God will judge them and bring justice to the earth, as Jesus will return to remove the rebellious and restore man’s right to rule over His creation. He will crush Satan’s head as prophesied, finally defeating him once and for all and casting him into the Lake of Fire forever. We who believe on Jesus for salvation will enjoy His reign in His Kingdom for 1,000 years before joining Him in the new heavens and earth in His eternal Kingdom, which will never be destroyed.
In the 1,000-year reign, Israel will recognize its Messiah and be restored to its rightful place in God’s order. God’s special relationship with Israel will culminate in the Jewish people’s place of prominence in the Kingdom, as its blessings are both for Israel and the church. Israel’s exaltation is good news for the church. It demonstrates that God’s fulfillment of His promises to Israel in this time means we can trust His promises to the church will be kept too.
The Kingdom is not on Earth today. But that means the best is yet to come! We are privileged to enjoy the Holy Spirit’s presence within us as we navigate the troubles and trials of this world. Until Jesus comes again, we’ll walk by faith in anticipation of His glory and His Kingdom, which will never be destroyed.