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This pdf and this web page covers the two lessons on January 28th and February 4th. The audio is in two parts.
Is the Kingdom literal or mystical?
The phrase “kingdom of God” appears in 68 verses of
the NT and the single word “kingdom” appears 158 times in 150 verses.
The majority of passages on the kingdom can be easily proven by plain reading to
be something that is literal and future and will last a thousand years.
But, there are five main passages in the NT that are
used by those that believe that the kingdom of God is spiritual and in the
hearts of men rather than a physical, literal, and future kingdom that shall
last one thousand years. These passages are:
Luke 17:20-21; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20; Colossians 1:13; and
One thing to keep in mind is that these are exceptional
passages. A basic rule of Bible interpretation is that if the majority of
texts teach one view and there is an apparent exception to the rule that seems
to contradict the others, then the proper approach is to consider possible
interpretations of that exception that harmonizes with the clearer texts.
One thing is certain: God
does not contradict Himself in the Scriptures.
We’re going to look at how these exceptional passages harmonize with
the majority of passages.
The first verse that many use to try to perpetuate the idea of a
spiritualized Kingdom is [Luke 17:20-21]. Many
people, such as amillennialists, point to this translation of the Greek word
“entos” which has been translated by the KJV as “within you”.
They say that the Kingdom of God is only spiritual or is somehow
mystically inside a person. However,
in this passage, to whom is Jesus speaking?
Jesus is responding to the Pharisees, not His disciples!
Jesus is answering the Pharisees’ question, “When the Kingdom of God
should come?” In the next verse, verse 22, it begins, “And he said
unto the disciples”. In the same
context, he turns and addresses his own disciples in verse 22.
The Pharisees were not his disciples! In
verses 20 and 21, he’s talking to the Pharisees, and then
he turns to talk to his disciples.
The Pharisees rejected the signs
that Jesus had given to prove that he was the Christ; the Messiah.
How could God's spiritual kingdom be within them?
If the kingdom of God were within anyone
spiritually, would it have been within the unbelieving Pharisees?
This verse completely goes
against the view that the kingdom of God is within the hearts of people that
have accepted Jesus as the Messiah, because the only time in the Scriptures that
it is used, it is used in reference to those who had rejected Jesus to be the
The English translation “within you” does not make
any sense because the Pharisees had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The
1611 KJV translators were not sure how best to translate this word, so they
included a marginal note with the alternate reading, “among you”.
This is obviously the true meaning of the word in this context.
It is translated “among you” or “in your midst” in various other
translations such as the NASB, RSV, BBE, NLT, NJB, NET and the Rotherham
The Lord Jesus also used similar terms in other passages
such as Matthew 12:28 and Luke 10:9.
Matthew 12:28 says, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of
God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
In Luke 10:8-9, he’s giving instructions to the disciples as they’re
going into different towns, and he says, “And into whatsoever city ye
enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God
is come nigh unto you.” John 1:49 tells us
that Jesus, the Son of God, was the King of Israel.
Has that happened yet?
He was preaching to
the Jewish people that the Kingdom of God was at hand.
It was being offered to the nation of Israel on the condition of
repentance and their acceptance of him as the Messiah.
He was claiming to have the complete and absolute authority to establish
the Kingdom in their midst, upon these conditions.
Did he have that authority? He
backed up his claims by demonstrating his authority with supernatural signs,
wonders, and miracles. One of those
signs was his full authority over the demonic realm.
In Matthew 10:7-8,
Jesus commanded his apostles, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The
kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal
the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have
received, freely give.” The signs of the Kingdom were given to the nation of Israel
to demonstrate that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God, the King of
Israel, and the very God himself. (Matthew
11:2-5; John 3:2; 9:32-33; 20:30-31; Acts 2:22) The King was present (within or among them) and the Kingdom
could be established on the fulfillment of its conditions, which was the
repentance of Israel. In Matthew
12:28, Jesus as the King was referring to himself as being the embodiment of the
Kingdom at that time. This kind of
language is also found in other passages in the gospels.
So, when Jesus the King came
unto Israel it was the Kingdom offer that had come unto them.
The signs proved it! You cannot have a Kingdom without a King!
They did not have to wait any longer for the Kingdom to come.
However, the unbelieving Pharisees were being antagonistic toward Jesus
and they were being antagonistic to the suggestion that He would be the One to
fulfill the prophecies of the OT prophets concerning the coming Messiah King
that would sit on David’s throne and reign over the nation of Israel. By
questioning, “when the kingdom of God should come”, they were seeking to
trap Him by His words and discredit Him in front of the people. In other
words they were saying, "If you're the Messiah, where is your
The question was irrelevant and inappropriate because
Jesus, the Messiah, who was standing in their midst, was the one who could set
up the Kingdom, and the signs He demonstrated proved that; they authenticated
that he was genuine. The Pharisees
did not have to go looking “Lo here! or, lo there!” The healing of ten lepers in [Luke 17:12-19] that preceded
their question should have been enough to prove the fact that he was the King of
Israel and that they should not be going around looking for any other signs.
Leprosy was looked as a direct act of the finger of God, and as such, it
was illegal to try to cure it, because the one who could cure it would be the
Messiah. That is why He said,
“behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst”.
He was basically saying, “Hey, you're looking at the Kingdom of God!” All they had to do was look at the signs!
The Messiah was present in their midst; He was the embodiment of the
Kingdom, and all the miraculous signs He was doing should have proved to them
His claim was true! In their case the kingdom of God was not going to come
“with observation” because He had already shown them the signs of the
kingdom and no other signs were needed. This was all the kingdom that they
were going to see at His first coming.
By the statement “The kingdom of God cometh not with
observation” Jesus did not mean the Kingdom of God will
never “come with observation”. That
would contradict His words in other places where He plainly and clearly said
that His kingdom would come with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:30 is a good example of that:
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then
shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man
coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” However,
what He meant was that His Kingdom would not come in this manner yet;
it would not come that way at His first coming.
Jesus knew that His physical, literal Kingdom would not come to this
earth until His second coming, which would not happen until after His rejection
at His first coming.
This is apparent from other
statements by Jesus. For example:
[John 18:36; now
is come…] The key word
here is “now”. Jesus was saying
that at His first coming His Kingdom would not appear as a physical Kingdom.
The implication is that it will come later.
Jesus did not deny the coming of His literal, glorious Kingdom on the
earth. Rather, He taught that its
arrival was delayed until His second coming.
[Revelation 11:15], and compare it to another passage.
This is further revealed in [Luke 19] in the parable of the
pounds, just two chapters after Luke 17. [Luke
19:11; and because they (his disciples) thought…]
In the parable of the Talents that follows, Jesus indicated that He must
go away for a time (approximately 2,000 years) leaving His servants in charge.
But, He would return at some point “having received the Kingdom”, and
would then judge His servants. The
rewards given to the faithful in His absence would be authority as rulers in His
coming Kingdom. This would be at His second coming or at “His
appearing”, as we are told in 2 Timothy 4:1, which says, “I charge thee
therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and
the dead at his appearing and his kingdom”.
His second coming will come with
observation. That is clearly shown in [Luke 21] when Jesus told His
apostles about the signs of the end of this present age and His second coming to
this earth in order to establish His kingdom. In Luke 17:20,21, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, but
from 17:22 onwards Jesus turns away from the Pharisees and begins to address His
very own; his disciples. [Luke 17:22-26; but first]
Notice here Jesus did not tell
His disciples “the kingdom of God is within you”, but rather He tells them
that days are coming when, you, my disciples would want to see “the days of
the Son of man, but will not be able to”, which means right then they could
see the days but in future they will not be able to.
The reason for this is in verse 25, because the Son of man “first
must he suffer and be rejected of this generation”. “This
generation” is the generation of Jews that Jesus offered the kingdom to in His
first coming. Then He begins to
reassure His disciples and to explain to them exactly when they will once again
be able to see the days of the Son of Man, after he has been rejected.
He gives them the signs of His second coming and the Kingdom all through
chapter 17 up until Luke 18:8.
Another passage that some try to
use to perpetuate a spiritualized Kingdom is [Romans 14:17].
The parallel passage to Romans 14:17 is found in [Matthew 6]. Both
passages mention eating and drinking and they both also mention the Kingdom of
God and righteousness. [Matthew
Putting Romans 14:17 and Matthew
6:31-33 together, Paul does not mean that the Kingdom is right now on the earth,
or something mystical we simply experience in the heart.
Jesus did not mean, that the kingdom is present somewhere in the earth or
in the heart that we should run and seek it.
When Jesus said, “seek ye first
the kingdom of God”, he meant be diligent to do things
that will give you entrance into the future coming Kingdom.
Seeking the Kingdom first is not to be preoccupied with what we will eat
and drink, but to be occupied with seeking righteousness.
We are not living in the kingdom now, but we must
live for the kingdom now if we expect to enter into it in
the age to come. (Don’t confuse
this with spiritual salvation. When you believe, you are born from above, and you will
see the Kingdom; but, entering in requires diligence.)
Paul meant the same thing in Romans 14:17.
In this context this makes perfect sense, and is not contradictory, nor
is it confusing. In this chapter
Paul is telling the brethren not to make food habits a big issue in the church
specifically with another brother. Eating
or not eating certain foods is not going to commend us to God (1 Corinthians 8:8
says, “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the
better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.”); just as eating or not
eating certain foods is not going to commend us to God, neither is it going to
give us an entrance into the future kingdom.
In other words those that are
seeking the kingdom first are not preoccupied with eating
and drinking, but they are following after righteousness,
peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Therefore,
Romans 14:17, when understood in the light of Matthew 6:31-33 can be read this
[seeking] the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but [seeking] righteousness,
and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. [verse 18]
For he that in these things [righteousness, peace, and joy] serveth
Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
The “righteousness, peace, and
joy in the Holy Spirit” which Paul is writing about is not a mystical position
or an invisible feeling in my heart. These are things you can experience
now in your practical daily walk by seeking first the
kingdom. In fact, verse 18 defines the righteousness, peace, and joy in
verse 17. It is in reference to serving Christ in an
acceptable way. To be acceptable to God we must serve the Lord in
righteousness, peace, and joy.
The phrase, “In the Holy
Spirit”, speaks of the source. Today, the Holy Spirit works indirectly
in our lives through the means of the written word of God which is called “the
sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6:17. The Holy Spirit never works in
our lives apart or separate from the written scriptures, which He moved the holy
prophets to write. If He did work directly in our lives today, we
wouldn’t even need the written scriptures!
Just throw them away. The
word of God, which is “living and powerful”, defines righteousness, peace,
and joy so you can apply these terms to your daily living. Only then will your works be works of faith. We can be
approved of men, if we are serving them in peace and joy.
We cannot be approved of the brethren if we are lording over them and
trying to be preeminent.
If the kingdom of God is now a
spiritual experience in the heart through righteousness, peace, and joy, then
what happens when I do not experience these things? In that case, has the kingdom ceased to exist?
Or does it mean I am no longer in the kingdom?
Putting it together, a disciple of Christ is seeking to enter into
the future Kingdom at the second coming of Jesus Christ by not being occupied
with meat and drink. We seek the
future Kingdom by serving the Lord in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy
Another passage that people use to try to perpetuate some sort of
mystical Kingdom, instead of the true, literal, future Kingdom is [1
Corinthians 4:17-20; teach, speech, word]
Paul was teaching “in every church” the message concerning “the
Kingdom of God”. [1 Corinthians 6:9-10; “shall inherit”; future,
active, indicative] In this
passage, Paul defines “the kingdom of God” as the future inheritance that is
to be received by the faithful elect at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Or more appropriately, he describes who will not inherit the Kingdom.
But, it’s talking about inheritance, and it’s talking about works.
Who shall inherit the Kingdom?
[Matthew 25:31-34; then shall the king say; inherit] Revelation 20:6 tells us that Kingdom shall last for a
thousand years. The preaching and
teaching of the Kingdom addresses the present lifestyle of those in the local
churches of Jesus the Christ. It
warns the saints against sinful and worldly living, which could disqualify them
from their future inheritance. This
message was contrary to the puffed-up speech and worldly wisdom of those at
Corinth who caused division and contention.
Paul’s teaching on the kingdom of God was not “in
word”, meaning that it was not foolish, empty, or barren talk, but
rather it had the power to transform one’s life.
[1 Corinthians 2]
Look with me at what Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
[1 Corinthians 2:4-5] The
message of the kingdom of God came “in power”. It
had the ability to produce fruit and it had the ability to change the lives of
those who embraced it as the truth.
We read 1 Corinthians 4:20 a moment ago. The parallel passage of 1 Corinthians 4:20, which helps us to understand it, is [1 Thessalonians 1:5-7; not in word only, but also in power]. [1 Thessalonians 2:12; kingdom and glory]
This Gospel was not delivered to them “in
word only, but also in power”.
That power is the grace of
God, which gives us the ability to change our former way of living and serve the
Lord acceptably. Acts 20:32 says,
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which
is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are
sanctified.” “2 Corinthians
12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my
strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory
in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
That power was demonstrated in the lives of those at
Thessalonica. The brethren there “became
followers…of the Lord” and “were
examples to all that believe”. That
revealed to Paul that the Thessalonian Christians had received Paul’s Gospel
of the kingdom, not “in word only, but also in power”. The power of the Gospel caused or enabled the Thessalonians
to make changes in their lives and to prepare for the return of God’s Son.
[1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; “is
delivering” present tense]
Another verse that people use to try to promote this fallacy is [Colossians
1:13; power = authority]. Many have
wrongly been led to think that the above passage teaches that the kingdom is not
future or literal but rather now and spiritual. Let us break down the verse into two parts and thus cover
1. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness…”
What does it mean when Paul says that God the Father delivered us from
the power of darkness? The word “power” can be translated as authority.
An authority is someone or something that we submit to or yield ourselves
to in order to obey or follow. Therefore,
whoever or whatever we let control and guide our behavior is the authority over
our lives. For example, the Roman
centurion, in [Matthew 8:9], had soldiers under his authority. That’s the same word in the Greek text. This Roman centurion had soldiers under his authority.
Those soldiers listened and obeyed his commands!
Therefore, to be under “the power of darkness” means that darkness is
controlling your life. It means to
be controlled by darkness.
[1 John] The
apostle John, in 1 John 1:6, tells us that “walking in darkness” is the
opposite of practicing “the truth”. [1
John 1:6] The Apostle John is
writing to saved people. Saved
people can “walk in darkness”. When
John refers to “the truth” it is in reference to future things or “things
to come” (specifically “the reward of the inheritance,” that we find in
Colossians 3:24) which the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of the truth,” reveals
to our understanding.
What is the Spirit of [the] truth? John 16:13 tells us, “ Howbeit when he, the Spirit of [the] truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” [Ephesians 1:18]
In Colossians, Paul was
preaching the truth about “things to come” at the church of Colosse.
The message or good news that the saints at Colosse were hearing (the
word of the truth of the gospel), we find in [Colossians 1:5; word of the
truth]. Paul says “the truth”
contains the good news about “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.”
This hope is the inheritance, which is defined for us by comparing it
with 1 Peter 1:3-4, which says, “Blessed
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant
mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead (He was raised from the dead, exalted, and given
glory, 1 Peter 1:21, and He received His inheritance, Acts 2:33), To [towards]
an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved
in heaven for you.”
The inheritance is in reference to the Kingdom reward, which comes to the earth when Christ comes again in His glory to rule. Those that inherit the kingdom will rule as overcoming sons with Christ in that kingdom. [Matthew 25:31, 34] [Colossians 3:24; “shall receive; future] [Revelation 22:12] [Revelation 21:7; future, active, indicative]
Therefore, to be to be under “the power of darkness” or “walking in darkness” means that you do not live according to “the truth”. It means that although you may come to know about the truth and the reality of future things, you choose rather to live according to your flesh and are “earthly minded”. You live a lifestyle in which you are not at all prepared or even concerned about these future things, such as the judgment seat of Christ, the resurrection, and ruling and reigning with Christ, “in that day”, in His glorious Kingdom at His second coming. You live only for the things of this present world, blinded by its fleshly pleasures, pride, and your own pursuits. You are under the authority of “the rulers of darkness of this world”. I believe these are demons. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
[Colossians 1] This
specific deliverance “from the power of darkness” did not happen to the
Colossian saints when they first got saved and became Christians, as is commonly
taught. This was a deliverance made possible some time after their initial
salvation by teaching and preaching unto them “Christ in you, the hope of
glory”. [Colossians 1:27-29]
writes about “the glory” in [verse 27], it is in reference to the second
coming of Christ and His coming kingdom on this earth.
Mark 13:26 tells us, “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in
the clouds with great power and glory.”
Titus 2:13 says, “Looking
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the
great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Paul labored in preaching and
teaching so that those in the churches would have Christ in them,
which is not something mystical, but rather, it is “the hope of glory”.
He defines “the hope of glory” in [Colossians 3:4], and that is the
message that delivers one from the power of darkness.
God the Father, through Paul’s
ministry of the word of the truth, the hope of glory, is now making fit; he’s
making ready a group of people to be partakers of the inheritance.
[Colossians 1:12-13; qualified=made fit]
Notice that Ephesians 5:8 says, “For
ye were sometimes darkness (living in the vanity of the mind), but now
(delivered from the power of darkness, Colossians 1:13) are ye light in the
Lord: walk as children of light.
Ephesians 5:8, which is a companion passage to Colossians 1:12, shows us
that deliverance “from the power of darkness” is so we can walk as children
Those that are called “the saints in the light”, in
Colossians 1:12, are they that have been delivered from the power of darkness.
They were once in darkness but now they are “light in the Lord”.
In other words, being “in the light” is the opposite of having ones
lifestyle under “the power of darkness.” Paul defines “the light”,
in [2 Corinthians 4:6], which is consistent with his writings in Colossians.
The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is in
reference to “the hope of glory”, which is mentioned in Colossians 1:27.
It has to do with hope of hearing “well done thou good and faithful
servant”. Matthew 25:21, which is
part of the parable of the talents, the master says to the faithful servant,
“Well done, thou good and faithful
servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over
many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
It was “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” which shined
into the hearts of the Colossian Christians, making “the saints in the
light”, delivering them from the power of darkness, which formerly had blinded
their minds from seeing the light of the truth.
Now, let’s look at the second
part of [Colossians 1:13]: “Hath
translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”
This portion of Colossians 1:13 has resulted in a good deal of confusion. It has caused many to believe that the Kingdom is here now in a spiritual form and all Christians enter into the Kingdom at the point of initial salvation. There can be nothing further from the truth! The Kingdom is not spiritual! Rather, it is literal and it comes at the second coming of Christ. Even the thief on the cross that was next to Jesus understood this reality when he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom”. (Luke 23:42) The kingdom comes when Christ comes again! 2 Timothy 4:1 tells us, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;”
This is also why Paul declared
in 1 Corinthians 15:50 that, “flesh and blood (physical bodies) cannot inherit
the kingdom of God”. In other
words, the Kingdom awaits the future resurrection of the body.
It is also recorded that Joseph of Arimathea, “a good and righteous
man”, who buried the body of Jesus was someone that “waited for the Kingdom
of God”. (Luke 23:50-51; waited
– anticipated; imperfect) If the
kingdom of God is now, why would Joseph of Arimathea be waiting for it?
The literal kingdom reign of Christ is future, not
present, and it will last “a thousand years”, as we are told in Revelation
All the kingdoms of the world are presently under Satan, as we are told
in Luke 4:5-6. At the second coming
of Christ, they shall be taken over by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 11:15 says, “The kingdoms of this world are become the
kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever”.
Anyone who thinks he is ruling in the kingdom today
would be ruling under Satan and not the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are several ways to show that that “the kingdom
of His dear Son”, which is mentioned in Colossians 1:13, is future and
literal, instead of present and spiritual.
First, take careful notice that “the kingdom of His dear Son” is synonymous with “the inheritance of the saints,” mentioned in Colossians 1:12. [Colossians 1:12-13] Comparing scriptures with other scriptures proves that the inheritance is the future Kingdom of God. Matthew 25:34 says, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” 1 Corinthians 6:9 tells us, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit [future] the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” James 2:5 says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
[Colossians 3] In the same context in the book of Colossians, Paul writes, in [Colossians 3:24], that the inheritance, which is “the kingdom of His dear Son,” shall be received as a reward for serving Christ. Scripture teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ does not reward His servants now in this present age but rather in the age to come when He returns in His glory to establish His glorious kingdom. [Matthew 16:27] Revelation 22:12 says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Secondly, the phrase
“translated into” in the Greek text can be rendered differently. The word “translated” is the Greek word “methistemi”
which can be rendered in the English language to mean, “to change”.
The preposition “into” (eis in the Greek text) can also be translated
as in [Colossians 1:16; and for [eis] him], just three
This translation of the
preposition is supported also in Colossian 4:11 where Paul makes the
only other mention of “the Kingdom” in the book of Colossians:
[Colossians 4:11; for [eis] the Kingdom].
This word, “methistemi”,
occurs five times in the New Testament: of putting out
of the stewardship, in Luke 16:4; of the removal
of Saul from the kingdom, in Acts 13:22; of Paul turning away
much people, in Acts 19:26; and of removing mountains, 1
Corinthians 13:2. It has to do with
Colossians 1:13, a change of kingdoms is indicated.
Therefore, the phrase “hath
translated us into the kingdom” can be translated “hath changed us for the
kingdom”. This translation makes more sense within the context and is
also consistent with Colossians 4:11 and is generally agreed among scholars to
be a better translation. We are not
changed into the kingdom of His dear Son, but rather, God's elect are changed
for the kingdom of His dear Son. We
need to be changed now, if we desire to enter into the
future Kingdom of His dear Son. That
change takes place through hearing “the word of the truth the gospel”.
If you hear and believe and apply the word of the truth of the gospel to
your lives, it will produce “fruit”!
[Colossians 1:4-6; ye heard; fruit] The saints at the local church of Colosse had been changed by
the gospel which they had heard from Paul and they were showing forth that
change by their lifestyle of faith in Christ Jesus and continual love for the
saints. This change was produced in
them because of the good news of “the hope which is laid up for them in
heaven”. Therefore, a better
translation of Colossians 1:13 would be: “Who
hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath changed us for the
kingdom of his dear Son.” This
translation supports the context of Colossians and remains consistent with the
whole of Scripture, which teaches that the Kingdom is literal and future and
will begin when Jesus the Christ returns to this earth.
The last verse that most people use to promote this fallacious doctrine
is [Revelation 1:9]. Some
use this verse to jump to the conclusion that John was referring to himself as
being in the Kingdom of Jesus the Christ while writing the Book of Revelation.
By doing this they have failed to take the entire verse into
consideration. If John were in the kingdom, then the question that needs to
be answered is, “why was he also experiencing tribulation?”
How could John be experiencing the joy of the Kingdom and also the
sufferings of tribulation at the same time?
This verse gives no hint of John
saying that he was in the Kingdom while suffering as an apostle of Christ on the
island of Patmos. There are several
other clear verses in the Book of Revelation, which tell us exactly when the
kingdom of Christ is established.
In Revelation 11:15, the Kingdom is established at the seventh trumpet,
which marks the end of the tribulation and the second coming of Christ.
[Revelation 12:10] In
Revelation 12:10, the time of Christ's Kingdom to be established comes after
Satan is cast down from heaven. Until
then the kingdoms of the world belong to Satan. Therefore, the kingdom will be established at the second
coming of Christ.
This is in harmony with all
Scripture. John was waiting for the
kingdom to come. John’s last
prayer, in Revelation 22:20, was, “Come, Lord Jesus”.
To what then does Revelation 1:9
refer? The answer lies in comparing
Revelation 1:9 with other verses which talk about the relation between
tribulation and the Kingdom for a disciple of Jesus Christ.
There are many passages that explain this relationship.
Let’s look at a few of them.
[Acts 14:22] [2 Timothy
2:12: If we suffer [now], we shall
also reign [in the kingdom in future] with him: if we deny [sufferings] him, he
also will deny us [reigning]:] [2
Thessalonians 1:5-7: And to you who
are troubled [like Paul] rest with us [companions with Paul in the Kingdom]
From these verses we can see
that the entrance into the Kingdom is through enduring tribulation.
To be a brother and a companion in the kingdom in the future
you have to be a brother in tribulation first. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, is very clear in explaining
that the kingdom of God is a rest for the people of God from all tribulations.
In the Kingdom there will be no tribulations, but until then we
must suffer. The phrase
“rest with us” signifies
companionship in the kingdom with Paul and other faithful disciples who have
endured trials and testing.
Concluding our thought on
Revelation 1:9, the Apostle John is saying that he is one of the brethren, like
many in the world, who are enduring tribulations for the Word of God and for
their testimony of Jesus Christ. Brethren
are those who are being obedient.
[1 Peter 5:9]
These people will be the same group who will be companions in the
kingdom, and he, John, will be one of them.
[1 Peter 5:1; “partaker” – same root word as in Revelation 1:9 for
In 1 Peter 5:1, Peter was
confident that he would be a partaker of the glory in the kingdom, because he
was a witness of the sufferings of Christ.
This word “witness” is from the Greek word “martus”, and it can
be one of four things: 1.
A spectator. 2. One who
testifies to what he has seen. 3.
In a forensic sense, a witness in court.
4. One who vindicates or confirms his testimony by suffering.
In other words, a martyr. (“martus”
– martyr) Now, the first three
have to do with only seeing with a view to giving a testimony, which Peter does.
But, did Peter suffer? He
This expression made by Peter
cannot be limited to the mere fact that he saw the things he preached.
This is especially true, because when Peter wanted to emphasize that
something was only seen, he employs a different word.
[2 Peter 1:16] God is not
the author of confusion. Peter was
a participant, in the sufferings of Christ, and he would be a participant in the
glory of Christ, and John is showing the same confidence in Revelation 1:9.
One can be a brother in the
Kingdom, as long as he is faithful in tribulations and afflictions, just like
someone can be in the book of life because he was a fellow laborer with Paul, as
we are told in Philippians 4:3. Yet, being in the book of life does not
guarantee an entrance into the kingdom. One can fail to overcome and thus
be blotted out of the book of life, as we are told in Revelation 3:5. (This
has to do with overcoming; with ruling and reigning; not with spiritual
salvation, which is secure in Jesus Christ.)
The Kingdom is literal and future, and my exhortation to you today is to persevere to the end and overcome and not be blotted out! Rule and reign with him when he comes in his glory!