Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come (remember the Lord’s Prayer as it is called?), but he also said the kingdom of God is “in the midst of you” or “among you.” (Note that the King James and several other versions translate this incorrectly as saying, “…the kingdom of God is within you.”) So which is it — is it coming or is it ‘in the midst of” us?
That’s a good question that needs to be answered from the Scriptures. There is a teaching that the Christian Church is the kingdom of God on earth and that it is our responsibility to perfect the earth for and prior to our Lord Jesus’ return from heaven. This in fact is the doctrinal position held by most major denominations of Christianity. But is it true? Let’s explore this.
A kingdom on earth requires a plot of land. A kingdom requires a king. If there is no land and no king, there is no kingdom.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then my servants wohe kiinguld fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; now, therefore, my kingdom is not from here.
But Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world, meaning it must be a heavenly kingdom. Jesus entered Jerusalem as their king, humbly on a donkey, but Israel as a whole rejected their king. They used the Roman government to crucify him rather than embracing him as their king. But God raised Jesus from death and set him at His own right hand in the heavens (the spiritual realm).
So what did Jesus mean when he asked us to pray for “Thy kingdom come…”?
The kingdom of God will one day be on earth. You can read about it throughout the Old Testament and in the book of Revelation. It’s often called “the millennial kingdom” of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will return to the earth to establish his throne in Jerusalem from which he will rule the world. That has not yet happened, obviously, so how can anyone say that we are living in the millennium now?
But then we read some verses like this.
Colossians 1:13 [God our Father]Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
Clearly, Christians have been ‘translated’ or ‘transferred’ from the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of His son (or as some translations say, ‘the son of His love.’
The kingdom Christians are part of now is spiritual. God has not given us the world to rule at this present time. This is the age of man, man’s government and man’s dominion over the earth. The Christian church is present, representing the Kingdom of God on this earth, but we have not been given a piece of land nor is our King physically present. During this ‘age of Grace’ or “dispensation of Grace’ the kingdom of God is here spiritually only.
The time is coming when our Lord Jesus shall indeed return from heaven to gather his own. Then there is a period of trouble coming like has never been experienced on this earth. Following that period, which culminates is the biggest earthquake ever, that removes mountains and islands from their place and levels every city on earth, Jesus will return with those he gathered first and will set down all rule and authority. He will physically rule from Jerusalem and all will see him.
We are not cleaning up the world to pave the way for our Lord Jesus to return. While we do our best to establish Christian culture, to live the Word of God here on earth now, we know from God’s Word that things will continue to get worse and worse. There is no way, and I’m speaking from the revelation of God’s Word, that we will get the world anywhere close to God’s righteousness without Jesus Christ physically returning to set down all rule and authority.
We look forward to our Lord’s return, knowing he will set things right. In the meantime the kingdom of God is in our midst through the church with Christ it’s head and us members as his body. We make spiritual impacts when we do what God wants us to do and we know that this world is not our home. We’re just passing through as the song says, but while we are here our job is to make an impact for Christ in this world.
I hope this has answered the question for you, “Is the Kingdom of God here now?” The answer of course is yes and not yet. Spiritually it is, in the Christian church, but physically it will not be until Jesus returns and establishes his millennial reign.
Praise God and let’s pray together, “Lord — they kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”