Mark D. Roberts: When is the Kingdom of God Coming? In the Future?
In my previous posts in this series (May 16, May 19), I considered the question: Where is the kingdom of God? I showed that in the teaching of Jesus, the kingdom of God is not just in heaven or in our hearts, though it touches both heaven and hearts. Rather, the kingdom of God is not so much a place as it is the reality of God’s sovereignty and power. The kingdom of God ultimately embraces all of creation, including both heaven and earth, including hearts and minds and even bodies (in a new form).
Perhaps even more intriguing than the question “Where is the kingdom of God?” is the question “When is the kingdom of God coming?” This is especially relevant these days, given the recent hubbub over the prediction by Harold Camping that the Day of Judgment would come two days ago on May 21, thus beginning the final restoration of God’s kingdom over all creation. The fact that you’re reading this piece today indicates that Mr. Camping wasn’t quite right in his prediction. But, still, you might wonder when the kingdom of God is coming?
Jesus proclaimed that the reign of God was coming to earth, but when? Did Jesus preach the coming of the kingdom as a future reality, as many Christian affirm? Or did he believe that the kingdom of God was truly present in his earthly ministry, as many other Christians affirm? In this post I want to lay out some of the basic evidence from the Gospels, focusing on the future kingdom. Then, in my next post, I’ll examine passages that suggest the kingdom of God is present. Finally, I’ll try to make sense of what Jesus teaches about the timing of the coming of the kingdom. ...