Right click and save the pdf:  Is the Kingdom Literal?

Right click and save the mp3:  070128

Right click and save the mp3:  070204

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 Revelation 1:9. 

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 Christ.

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 translation.

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 Kingdom?" 

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. 

Let’s read [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 6:31-33]

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 way:  For [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 Spirit.

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 both clauses:

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]

 When Paul 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 of light.

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 20:6.

[Luke 4:5-6]  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 for”, as in [Colossians 1:16; and for [eis] him], just three verses later.

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 change.  In 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.

[Revelation 11:15]  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 “companion”]  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 certainly did!

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!