Is the Kingdom of Christ Present or Future?

In what is often called the Lord’s prayer, the Lord taught his disciples to pray "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth" (Matthew 9:10). When the Lord gave this instruction in prayer it was right to pray for the kingdom to come. The kingdom was still in the future.

In about A.D. 60 Paul wrote to the Colossians. He praised God for what he had given man through Jesus His Son. In his praise of God, Paul noted that God "delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love" (Colossians 1:13). Paul recognized that the kingdom was a present reality and that he was part of it.

The apostle John wrote Revelation in the last decade of the first century. In this message of ultimate victory in Christ John said Jesus "made us to be a kingdom," and that he was a "partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus" (Revelation 1:5, 9). Like Paul, John was in the kingdom.

With these three verses we must conclude that the kingdom began sometime between the prayer Jesus taught the disciples and the letter Paul penned to the Colossians. The time it began is easy. The kingdom, Jesus said, was to come in the days of those who heard his words and it would come with power (Mark 9:1). He told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem till they received power from on high (Luke 24:49). That power was associated directly with the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit and was fulfilled in Acts 2 (Acts 1:5-8; 2:33). The kingdom, then, began on the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ (see Acts 2).

This is an important truth. We do not look for Jesus to establish his kingdom in some future time, but we rejoice that his kingdom is present and can partake in it. How do we partake in it? Read Acts 2:22-47. Follow Peter’s instruction to enter the kingdom and live the Christian life described there to remain in the kingdom. Jesus is king!

By Greg Weston

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