The Establishment of the Kingdom

Bible reading

Not everyone agrees about when Jesus established His kingdom. There are three major views on the date of its establishment – (1) the first Pentecost following the ascension of Christ (Acts 2), (2) A.D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, and (3) some future date when Christ returns. Let us notice five key passages that show us when Christ’s kingdom was established.

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19).

We can see in these verses the terms church and kingdom being used synonymously. We can also see that Peter would have a role to play in its establishment.

And Jesus was saying to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mark 9:1).

Jesus said the kingdom would be established during the lifetime of some of those who heard Him speak that day. This means the kingdom had to have come in the first century. He also said it was going to come with power.

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:4-5, 8).

The kingdom was going to come with power. In this passage, shortly before His ascension (Acts 1:9), Jesus said the power would come with the coming of the Holy Spirit. He said this was going to happen in a matter of days.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).

Here we have the coming of the Holy Spirit. This indicated the time of the coming of the kingdom. On this occasion Peter preached to the crowd that had assembled. Those who “received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41). The Lord then added them to the church (Acts 2:47). The church is the kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19) which came with power (Mark 9:1) at the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Therefore, we can clearly see the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom in Acts 2.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).

Paul told the Colossians they had been transferred (past tense) into the kingdom. This would not be possible if the kingdom had not yet been established. Paul wrote this around A.D. 60, about ten years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore, the kingdom could not have been established in A.D. 70.

The Lord’s kingdom is here. It was established in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem. Let us not wait for some future establishment of the kingdom. Let us serve the Lord in His kingdom today, rendering obedience to Him as our King.

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