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Many passages appear to suggest that Christ's Kingdom arrived in the first century. Is this true, or are we to look forward to this kingdom?

"Kingdom of Heaven"

  • Matthew 3:2: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Matthew 4:17: "From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"

"Kingdom of God"

  • Matthew 12:28: "But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
  • Mark 1:15: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
  • Luke 11:20: "But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
  • Luke 17:20-21: "[Behold], the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
  • Luke 10:9: "Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’"
  • Acts 28:31: "Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance."
  • Daniel 2:44: "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever" (cf. Dan. 7:27).

Simply "Kingdom"

  • Matthew 24:14: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
  • Colossians 1:13: "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,"
  • Psalm 103:19: "The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all."

The list of verses that suggest the kingdom has arrived seem quite numerous, including, but not limited to the following: Matthew 4:17, 6:33, 13:11, 16:19, 19:14, 25:34, Mark 1:15, Luke 12:32, John 3:3, 3:5, 18:36, Acts 28:23, Romans 14:17, etc. (There are many others.)

How should we view this matter, particularly in terms of Luke 11:20 (and perhaps Matt. 3:2)? Is the kingdom a future event, or has it "come upon us" now?

NOTE I have reordered the passages according to "Kingdom of Heaven", "Kingdom of God", and the more generic "Kingdom" for a bit more clarity.

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  • Which of the Kingdom(s) are you asking about? [Mark 1:15 on earth, Psalm 103:19 in Heaven] Sep 7 at 19:38
  • @חִידָה Thanks for your question. From what I can see, there seems to be only one being described in Lk. 11:20, Matt. 3:2, and others. Perhaps that is incorrect?
    – Xeno
    Sep 7 at 19:43
  • Are you asking if the NT verses listed describe the future Kingdom of "Jerusalem" from Isaiah 65:17-18? .... Instead of Psalm 103:19 which refers to the Kingdom in Heaven established prior to Genesis. Sep 7 at 20:12
  • @חִידָה Well, no חִידָה, I'm merely asking about "kingdom" in the verses I've cited. As I searched for "kingdom" these and nearly 50 other verses appeared. As I related to Dave below, I did not cherry pick these; they were merely the first ones on the list. But you may notice that I've now separated them into 3 categories: K of Heaven, K. of God, and merely K if that helps.
    – Xeno
    Sep 7 at 20:23
  • So when you read Luke 4:18-19, do you not immediately read [ Isaiah 61 ]? The prophet Yeshayahu wrote about a future Kingdom in [ Isaiah 61-65 ] in a new heaven/earth called יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֛ם Jerusalem -- which Revelation 21 attempts to reference. | Are you asking if the Gospels declare the future Kingdom of Revelation 21 as the same ancient Kingdom of Psalm 103:19 but now Its descended to earth? Sep 7 at 20:49
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The OP has compiled a convincing series of Bible references showing that the "Kingdom of heaven/God" began in the time of Jesus. I fully agree as that is the message of Bible data quite consistently.

However, there is a distinction to be made between:

  • The present kingdom of God/heaven, whose citizens are Christians, among all the kingdoms of the world
  • The future kingdom of heaven/God (the continuation of the present kingdom of God/heaven) when it will be the sole/only kingdom of God/heaven; that is all other worldly kings will have been removed.

Rev 11:15 - “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.”

Interestingly, the OT prophecy of the great image appears to say this, ie, that the kingdom of God would be established during the time of these earthly kingdoms before it finally swept them away:

Dan 2:44 - In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will shatter all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself stand forever.

Note Benson's comments:

Daniel 2:44-45. And in the days of these kings — That is, kingdoms, or during the succession of these four monarchies; and it must be during the time of the last of them, because they are reckoned four in succession, and consequently this must be the fifth kingdom. Shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom — This can only be understood with propriety, as the ancients understood it, of the kingdom of Christ. Accordingly, his kingdom was set up during the days of the last of these kingdoms, that is, the Roman.

So, let me say quite emphatically, the answer to the OP's question is a very definite "Yes" the kingdom of God arrived 2000 years ago and all people are called to be its citizens and celebrate the Lord Messiah as its eternal and supreme king! This kingdom will be eternal and vanquish all others to become the only kingdom.

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  • The following verses have confused me as it seems that Christ will hand over the kingdom to the father: 1 Cor. 15:24-25, 28: "[Then] comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet... 28When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all." This leaves me wondering if, in the paradise of God, a "kingdom" exists any longer at all. +1.
    – Xeno
    Sep 7 at 21:36
  • "He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet" is Hebrew idiom for Jesus reigning (now) until all other earthly kingdoms are removed. Recall that monarchies were really the only kind of government that existing in NT times and so the language is in terms of "kingdoms". However, Jesus reign as "king" will be very different from all others as it is a kingdom of grace!
    – Dottard
    Sep 7 at 21:42
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The problem some will have with this question is that you have assumed that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are the same.

Some, like myself, do not interpret this as you have. Yes there are very many similarities, even to the point of being the same, but there is one key difference, and that difference will reflect in the answer, and as you clearly see these two Kingdoms as the same, you will not accept this answer, nevertheless, for consideration…..

The Kingdom of Heaven is an earthly kingdom. One that has a physical King on a physical (aka ‘real’) throne. And that king is Messiah. This kingdom is for those ‘in the flesh’. And Jesus came to offer himself as the Messiah. But He was rejected by the Jewish leaders.

The Kingdom of God is within you.

LUKE 17:21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

This verse cause much debate - over its interpretation - for the very reason I opened with - are the two kingdoms the same? But we know that there is one specific requirement to enter the Kingdom of God….

JOHN 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Because the Kingdom of God is within you - it’s spiritual, unlike the kingdom of heaven which is for the flesh.

Many of Jesus’s early parables were kingdom (of Heaven) parables - and they highlighted ‘works’, doing the right ‘thing’, that is, living ‘right’ - in the flesh. Living ‘right’ here on earth. And via this you are then ‘seen’ as righteous. Where as in the Kingdom of God, righteousness comes by faith. (Which also results in right living!).

ROMANS 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

So this is how so,e would answer your question - “Is the kingdom a future event, or has it now "come upon us"?

The Kingdom of Heaven is a future event. Because the Jews rejected the King. But this will be - this will come, during the Millennium reign, Christ on earth, on the throne, in Jerusalem. (Reminder - I stated this view is a view some have).

Whereas the Kingdom of God is now. All believers are ‘in’ (part of) this kingdom. This kingdom is about authority, and that authority comes via of from Jesus. That’s why the apostle Paul described it as such in Romans 10.

So the answer to your Question depends on your theology. And the one outlined here says both future (re: the Kingdom of Heaven) and present (kingdom of God.).

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  • I appreciate your response. Perhaps I should have paused to consider the millennial view as you have, but the verses I cited don't appear to be referring to a millennial kingdom. It's also hard for me to differentiate between the two (if there are two) based on what I've presented.
    – Xeno
    Sep 7 at 19:48
  • @Xeno Yes, but to answer your Q in relation to those verses requires your view of the two kingdoms being the same, so I couldn’t directly answer the Q as you wanted it because we don’t ‘see’ the same ‘thing’. So my response is for consideration, not specifically to answer your Q - although I actually did :-)
    – Dave
    Sep 7 at 19:50
  • Well, thanks for that Dave. I went through nearly 50 verses on the "kingdom" and, I assure you, I did not cherry pick them. The ones I presented were merely the first ones on the list (give or take). +1.
    – Xeno
    Sep 7 at 19:54
  • Dave has correctly pointed out the reality of the, ‘here but not fully yet’ paradigm. We already have our true king, but his reign over all will commence after his return.
    – steveowen
    Sep 7 at 22:39

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