Kingdom of God on Earth Now or Later?
As believers striving to know the message of the kingdom of God on earth, it is important to answer the question of whether the kingdom of God has in fact come to be with men.
In many end times paradigms, the kingdom of God on earth now is not possible. We are told by some believers, particularly those who hold a dispensational view that more end times events must occur before the kingdom comes. This results largely from their hyper-literal interpretations.
Kingdom of God Announced At Hand by John the Baptist
John, the Baptist, was an important messenger who came to prepare the way before Christ. His message is central to a proper understanding of the kingdom of God on earth now.
When he began preaching he announced the kingdom of heaven as at hand or near. (Kingdom of God on earth and the kingdom of heaven are used to refer to the same kingdom of God as Jesus taught his disciples regarding God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven).
John preached saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He meant that the time for its arrival had drawn near. To the hearers of his day (a point we call audience relevance meaning how a text applies to the original hearers present at that time) John was preparing them for the arrival of the kingdom of God.
Jesus Also Preached That the Kingdom of God on Earth Was At Hand
When we say the kingdom of God on earth was at hand, we do not mean that a literal kingdom with land, territory and a throne will be established in Jerusalem. The kingdom is “in this world” but not “of this world”.
Jesus told Pilate, “But now is my kingdom not of from here, for if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews”. (John 18:36)
The Kingdom of God on Earth Is Not Postponed
According to some, God postponed the kingdom due to the failure of the Jews to accept Christ as the Messiah. There are several problems with this view. The first is one that Don Preston points out, namely, that the Jews did not reject Christ until he first had already rejected their offer of a national kingdom.
They were under the yoke of Rome, an odious offense to the Jews at the time. Their nationalistic aspirations led them to believe that a prophet would lead them to freedom from Rome.
When they saw Jesus’ capability to feed an army when he fed the 5000, they (John 6), they immediately tried to take him by force and make him a king. He refused their offer. It is at after that time that they rejected him.
The Kingdom of God Comes
In the book of Revelation, the kingdom of God on earth is manifested. At the time the 7th angel sounded, God announced that the kingdoms of the world had become the kingdoms of God and of Christ and he would reign forever and ever, (Rev. 11:15). The kingdom is co-equal with the tabernacle of God for Christ would be a priest on his throne, and the saints reign with him as kings and priests., (Rev. 1:5-6) God announced that the tabernacle of God is with men, (Rev. 21:3).
Having come down out of heaven to be with men, the kingdom of God on earth is now a reality. We now enjoy our fellowship with God on earth. Redemption is consummated and life in the new heavenly kingdom thrives and prospers on earth.