The Kingdom Taught by Jesus
Excerpted from The Coming Kingdom of the Messiah pp. 28, 29
The Kingdom taught by Jesus is first and foremost the new order on earth associated with a great future crisis in history, to be marked by his return in power. For Jesus the Kingdom had not yet come. Its coming is to be prayed for.¹ Certainly the power of the Kingdom had been displayed in his ministry, but this was only a foretaste of the coming of the Kingdom, which still lay in the future, and depended entirely on the return of Jesus, as King, to set it up.
If the New Testament is read from a perspective which allows for both a present preliminary manifestation of the spirit and power of the Kingdom as well as its future worldwide inauguration and establishment at the Second Coming, it becomes clear that Jesus never for one moment deprived the Kingdom of God of the political and territorial significance given to it by the prophets and incorporated into Jewish religion as the nation’s great hope. Jesus did not, however, at his first coming expect to introduce the Messianic Kingdom as a worldwide political empire. Nevertheless, all his teaching was directed towards preparing his followers for the future arrival of the Messianic Kingdom. At the end of his ministry he submitted himself to crucifixion at the hands of Roman and Jewish authorities, promising that he would return after resurrection and an interval unspecified, to inaugurate the Kingdom politically, both in Israel and universally. This resolution of the divine drama would fulfill in every detail the predictions of all Old Testament prophecy, as well as vindicating Jesus’ claim to Messiahship.²
¹ Matt. 6:10, “Thy Kingdom come.” Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for it (Mark 15:43).
² Cp. The Century Bible, Introduction to Thessalonians, p. 30: “What the Jews looked for at the first coming of Christ, the Christians were inclined to look for at the Second Coming.”