Did Christ promise an earthly kingdom? One of the big deceptions of Dispensationalism is its teaching that Christ came to establish an earthly political kingdom. They see the modern Zionist Israel as a key player in the fulfillment of kingdom prophecy. Here are reasons from the scriptures why Christ’s kingdom is present, spiritual and non-political.
The Kingdom of God Is At Hand
Christ announced that his kingdom had drawn near. Citing Daniel, he preached the kingdom of God saying, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14-15) Daniel prophesied God’s time for the kingdom as the “days of these kings”, i.e. during the ancient Roman Empire, existing 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)
Did God Promise and Earthly Kingdom? The Kingdom of God Is Upon You
One of the testimonies of Jesus’ divinity involved the working of miracles, (John 10:37). These miracles testified of the kingdom’s soon arrival. “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Luke 11:20) Christ spoke these words to his then present generation.
The Kingdom of God is Within Man
To those who hoped their political aspirations for a kingdom defined Christ’s mission, he said God reigns in the hearts of men. “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; “now will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
From this text we understand the impossibility of a physical political kingdom with an army residing within a man. Standing on trial before Pilate who interrogated Christ regarding his status as king, Jesus’ reply demonstrates the spiritual nature of the kingdom. “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36)
Pilate’s “I find no fault in him at all” exonerated Jesus from the charge of insurrection and seeking to overthrow the Roman government by setting up a political kingdom. Jesus rejected the Jews offer of an earthly political kingdom. John 6:15. He knew this ran counter to the plan of God’s rule over his people, (1 Sam. 8:7-8). God had once given Israel a political kingdom in his anger, but took it away in his wrath, (Hosea. 13:11). All the kingdoms of the world as offered by Satan failed to persuade Christ to set up an earthly kingdom, (Matt. 4:8-10).
The Scepter (Power) of Christ’s Kingdom is Righteousness
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17) Paul writes the following to the Hebrews Christians: “But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.” (Heb. 11:8)
As a spiritual kingdom, God’s warfare engages the sword of the Spirit, i.e. the word of God, (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongh9olds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Believers Were Receiving the Kingdom in the First Century
While the Old Covenant world began to shake from its foundations, the New Covenant world’s foundation firmly established itself. As prophesied by Ezekiel 37:24-25, God would set up David (prophetic description of Christ) who would reign over his people in the kingdom. According to Paul, they were then currently receiving their inheritance in the kingdom. Paul wrote Hebrews from the mid to late 60’s of the first century.
He uses an interesting word “paralambanontes” a present tense participle 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 ways, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken…”
The Kingdom Arrived In Fulness in 70 A.D.
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 fullness of the kingdom arrived when Christ returned in 70 A.D. This is the time Jesus taught that all things written would be fulfilled, (Luke 21:20-22). When Jerusalem fell by the Romans, God destroyed the Old Jewish kingdom and political state forever. He simultaneously permanently established the kingdom of God. “So you also, when you see these things happening, now 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.” (Luke 21:31-32).
The first century generation could not pass until God had completed all things promised in his word. that included the kingdom.
The Kingdom Continues to Increase Without End
While many today are looking for the end of the world, continuously being deceived both by many honest evangelicals heralding a “Christ is coming” soon message, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. His kingdom is said to have no end, therefore, it does not have an eschatology or last day. It is eternal. Isaiah prophesied. “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice form that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. See also Luke 21:32-33.