by Terry Wane Benton
Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of four consecutive world empires (Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman) and in the days of the fourth kingdom on earth (Roman) God would “set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44) and “it shall stand forever.”
Jesus Reigns as King
Daniel had another vision in which he saw “One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14). The “Son of Man” here turned out to be Jesus, the “Ancient of Days” is the Father. Jesus ascended "to the Ancient of Days” in the clouds at His ascension (Acts 1:9-11), and sat down at the right hand of God. Right before Jesus’ ascension, He announced that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18-19). It was as good as done as far as the disciples would be concerned.
On Pentecost (Acts 2) Peter announced that David the prophet and king of Israel had said that God “would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:30) and “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus has been made both Lord (ruler) and Christ (anointed king).
Jesus had a 3 ½ year ministry in which He and John the Baptist had been teaching that the kingdom of God was “at hand.” Mark records that Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel (good news) of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled (the time frame Daniel had spoken of-TWB), and the kingdom of God is at hand (almost here)” (Mark 1:14-15). That was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
It would take Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection to bring this kingdom into reality. The kingdom of God brings great spiritual treasures that are dependent on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and His power over death. Without the death and resurrection, the kingdom of God could not come.
All verses before Pentecost (Acts 2) speak of the kingdom of God as coming in the near (to them) future (Mark 9:1), and all verses after Pentecost speak of it as in place, in existence, and people being translated into it (Colossians 1:13). On Pentecost, Peter could announce that Jesus is now both Lord and Christ (anointed). He was anointed king and High Priest long before AD 70. He has all authority long before AD 70 (Ephesians 1:20-23). We are not waiting for the kingdom to be established in our future. We are being born again and entering the kingdom now (John 3:1-6). It is not an earthly kingdom that can be destroyed. It is a spiritual kingdom that cannot be destroyed (John 18:36). Those who come out of the darkness (blindness and ignorance) of this world by the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17) are presently being “translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
Jesus Built a Temple
While the kingdom of Daniel 2:44 was to come in the fourth earthly kingdom period, which is the Roman empire period, Zechariah said that “He shall build the temple of the Lord” (Zechariah 6:12). That temple is spiritual too. It is the church Jesus said He would build (Matthew 16:18). In Ephesians 2:18-22, long before AD 70, Jesus was the chief cornerstone and the apostles were part of the foundation of this holy temple. Each Christian was built up from this foundation and together formed “a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:22).
Peter notes that it is a “spiritual house” (I Peter 2:5). So, the reason that Jesus’ kingdom, centered around His spiritual temple, is one that “cannot be destroyed” and will last forever as opposed to those four great kingdoms of the earth is that it is not physical. You cannot touch it with your physical hands and you cannot see it with your physical eyes. You see this with “the eyes of your understanding” (Ephesians 1:18-19). It has a “mountain that cannot be touched” (Hebrews 12:18) and has not an “earthly Jerusalem” but “the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22).
Our citizenship in this kingdom is not on this earth, but our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21). Jesus has already built the temple and established that we can enter the spiritual temple of His heavenly kingdom in heavenly Jerusalem. That is the kingdom that we get “translated into” (Colossians 1:13) when we are born of the water and the Spirit (John 3:1-6). That which is spiritual is spiritual. That which is earthly can and will fall. Jesus established a kingdom that cannot be destroyed by earthly kingdoms of men.
Jesus Is Both King and Priest
This spiritual kingdom has the king in heaven but ruling hearts in heaven and on earth. Zechariah 6:13 goes on to say that “He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on his throne; so He shall be priest on His throne” and “the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (both his kingship and His Priesthood). His ruling as king combines with His priesthood. Under the Old Testament system, the kings were from the tribe of Judah and the priests were from the tribe of Levi. But Zechariah prophesied that the Messiah would combine kingship and priesthood together in one and the counsel of peace would come from Him filling both positions.
Now, at the same time, Jesus became our Priest is the same time He became our king. Jesus was High Priest long before AD 70. Therefore, He became King and Priest in AD 30-33, and Pentecost of Acts 2 is when the “counsel of peace” became realized by 3,000 Jewish converts and growing daily. They had “remission of sins” because Jesus was both Lord and Christ (anointed). He was anointed king and priest in one and gave out the counsel of peace from then onward. The kingship and Priesthood of Jesus were in full operation from Pentecost forward. This destroys the AD 70 contention that the kingdom was not established till AD 70. It also destroys the Premillennial doctrine that the kingdom was postponed till He comes again. If Jesus is Priest and King now, then His kingdom is in full operation now and has been in full operation since the Pentecost of Acts 2.
Jesus' Kingdom Cannot Be Destroyed
Daniel said the kingdom of God set up in the days of the fourth kingdom (Roman Empire) would “never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44). You cannot destroy a spiritual kingdom. The seed of the kingdom is the word of God (Luke 8:11). To destroy the kingdom of God you would have to destroy every Bible and every person who held knowledge of the Bible in their hearts. That was tried in the second and third centuries and more disciples took to writing out more copies to share. Plant the seed of the kingdom in hearts and the kingdom of God keeps spreading. The Bible continues to be the number one seller because it is true, it still converts the soul, and it gives meaning, purpose, light, and hope for people in a sin-burdened world.
With all the historical efforts to burn, ban, and destroy the word of God, the Bible, man only creates more interest in what is in that book, and why are dark and evil hearts so set against it? It is a powerful testimony to God and His plan to redeem those who want redemption and forgiveness and a better life here and eternal life beyond this life. How can such a message of love and truth be destroyed by man?
Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20-21). When the word of Christ dwells in you richly (Colossians 3:16) it cannot be cut out by swords of men. It rises up to “let the peace of God rule in the heart” (Colossians 3:15) in the face of persecution. Many Christians who knew Jesus through the Bible would rather burn at the stake than renounce the One who loved them and was crucified for them.
The Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires have all fallen, but the church of Jesus Christ is still marching on. These dedicated disciples are still spreading the seed of the kingdom, and the kingdom keeps shining through hearts into good deeds. As the world gets darker in sin and hate, the kingdom of God shines through in righteousness, holiness, and love. The headquarters of the Lord’s kingdom is in heaven. It cannot be bombed or shot down. The king is seated on His throne at the right hand of the Father.
People Change Upon Entering the Kingdom
The seed of the kingdom is still being planted in the hearts of people who want to know the truth (John 8:30-31) and the truth is setting them free from the burdens of sin. People are leaving adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness, thievery, and malice. Even in a town as corrupt as Corinth, Paul could write “such were some of you” (I Corinthians 6:8-10). What changed them? The seed of the kingdom of God was planted in their hearts. This led to their being “sanctified” (set apart from the world and dedicated to God), justified (forgiven of their past sins), and to their joy inexpressible and full of glory hearts (I Peter 1:8). They entered His “marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9). That is how the kingdom of God moves from one person’s faith to another (Romans 1:16-17). It powerfully moves “from faith to faith.”
Have you heard the call to your heart? God is calling through the message of the cross. He is gathering His people into His church in His kingdom. The forces of darkness are hoping you will dismiss that call. The forces of light are hoping you will “search the scriptures daily whether these things are so” (Acts 17:11). Is the kingdom of God within you? Are you a citizen of His kingdom? Is His kingdom shining through you?
The Kingdom Was a Promise Kept
The kingdom was promised to come in the days of the fourth empire (Roman) according to Daniel 2:44. The Roman empire has been gone for a very long time. But God’s promises do not fail. Therefore, the kingdom came in the days of the Roman Empire. Jesus said it was going to come before His disciples died. Thus, it had to come in the first century. If it did not come in the first century, then God’s promises failed. But God’s promises never fail. The kingdom came on the Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13).
"And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1 KJV).
Judas died by hanging himself after his foolish act of selling Jesus’ location to the murderous priests. The kingdom was coming, and it would come with a powerful display on Pentecost after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NKJV).
The power would be received, and therefore the kingdom received when the Holy Spirit came upon them in an awesome display of unusual miracles. This happened about ten days after Jesus’ ascension to sit on His throne at the right hand of the Father.
"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4 NKJV).
"Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?" " (Acts 2:7-12 NKJV).
Jesus was “now both Lord (ruler) and Christ (anointed, which means that He was anointed as king)” (Acts 2:36). So, Jesus was officially reigning over His kingdom in Acts 2.
Entering Jesus' Kingdom
If you do not know if you are in His kingdom, or have been told that the kingdom was yet future to that Pentecost day, you have not been translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13). You don’t enter His kingdom by accident, and you don’t enter it without knowing it. If you know when you were born again, born of the water and the Spirit (John 3:1-6), you know exactly when you were translated into the kingdom.
The 3,000 Jews were born of the water and Spirit when they “gladly received His word and were baptized” (Acts 2:37-41). That is the moment they “rose to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-6). It is a newness of life because that is when you enter the kingdom of God.
Unfortunately, modern churches teach that the kingdom is still in the future and are thus keeping people from entering the kingdom. If you don’t know that we are in the kingdom now through the new birth, then you have not been born again. You cannot know about the new birth without also knowing about what happens at the new birth, entering the kingdom of God. “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Of course, the reverse of that is you see (with the “eyes of your understanding” - Ephesians 1:18) the kingdom of God when you are born again. Born of water and the Spirit equals “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). So, if you did not enter the kingdom, you were not “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) because that is the moment of entrance into His kingdom. You must know the process of seeing and entering the kingdom of God that came with power on Pentecost of Acts 2. If you see how the 3,000 entered the kingdom of God’s dear Son, you see how you must enter the kingdom. Have you seen and entered the kingdom of God’s dear Son?
Rejecting Jesus' Kingdom
Psalm 2 shows that in spite of the kings of the earth and rulers taking counsel together and setting themselves against the Lord and His “Anointed” that God would hold them in derision and still “set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (Psalms 2:6). So, God fully anticipated the human effort to thwart His plan. The rejection of Jesus was fully anticipated, and it did not stop God from setting up His kingdom at the prophesied time.
There are many religions today that teach that Jesus came to set up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem, and that plan failed, and so God substituted the church as plan B until He can come back again and set up that earthly kingdom the next time. This teaching is an insult to the wisdom of God. God planned a spiritual kingdom all along.
The rejection of Jesus only aided in the setting up of the kingdom. It did not “postpone” it. In Isaiah 2:1-4 the nature of this kingdom would not require an earthly military with carnal weapons, and so as far as God’s people (kingdom) is concerned, you can turn those weapons into instruments of farming. It is a spiritual army now. A spiritual kingdom does not require an earthly military with earthly weapons. It requires a spiritual army equipped with God’s spiritual armor to fight spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:10-18; II Corinthians 10:4-6).
Jesus' Kingdom Cannot Be Located at Physical Jerusalem
The “house” of God was elevated “above the hills” (Isaiah 2) in such a position that “all nations could flow to it.” Jerusalem is on a hill, not “above the hills.” And think how difficult it would be for all nations to flow to earthly Jerusalem to learn from God. No! The Jerusalem God had in mind is “above the hills,” situated in “the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3) that is accessible to every seeking disciple from any place in the world. A person in Japan has the same access to the heavenly Jerusalem as a person in Florida or England. The kingdom of God is spiritual but real.
Jesus is the exalted King of kings, ruling from “Jerusalem above” (Galatians 4:25-26; Hebrews 12:22). He is reigning now. He will not come to set up anything on earth. When He comes He will “deliver up” the kingdom to the Father (I Corinthians 15:22f). In other words, when He comes He will take His kingdom on earth, His people, and deliver them up to heaven (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). They will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and ever be with the Lord. The earth and all the elements of the earth will be burned up (II Peter 3:1-12). The new heavens and new earth will be glorious, untainted by evil and sin. The kingdom of God enters its glorified and immortal state.
If you do not come to the mountain that cannot be touched, to heavenly Jerusalem now, you will not be among those who make it to that glorified and immortal state in heaven. The time to enter that kingdom is now. As for entering the kingdom by means of the spiritual rebirth, it is now or never! Your eternal destiny is in the balance. You either stay aligned with Satan or you exit his domain and become a servant of God and a citizen of His kingdom. The choice you make determines your own eternal destiny, whether Heaven or Hell. Knowing the terror of the Lord we try to persuade people to be wise. Judgment day separates the wise and foolish for all eternity. Be wise!
Jesus' Kingdom Was Established Before the Fall of Jerusalem
The kingdom of God was prefigured in the reign of David, Israel’s greatest king. David’s descendant, Jesus, would be the new and better David. Long after David was dead Amos prophesied, “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and will repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does this thing” (Amos 9:11-12). Gentile inclusion in this new king David (Jesus) day was fulfilled by Acts 10-11, and Peter said this prophecy of Amos was fulfilled (Acts 15:14-17). Thus, Jesus’ spiritual house, the church, which includes both Jews and Gentiles, and which was established on Pentecost of Acts 2 and brought in the Gentiles in Acts 10-11, was rebuilt long before AD 70.
We have apostate brethren claiming that the kingdom of God was not established until AD 70. They are sorely mistaken. We have others who are claiming the kingdom was postponed until Jesus comes again. They are sorely mistaken. Micah 5:2 said the ruler would come out of Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He is the One who would be the ruler or King. But Zechariah 6:13 said He would be “priest on His throne.” So, whenever He was Priest is when He was also King ruling on His throne. He was High Priest long before AD 70. Hebrews shows that Jesus could not be a priest on earth according to the Levitical priesthood and that in order for Jesus to be a priest “there is a change of the law” (Hebrews 7:11-12). Jesus was after the order of Melchizedek who was also a king and priest (Hebrews 7:1ff). Psalm 110 is David speaking of Jesus, saying, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” and Hebrews 7:17 is saying it is fulfilled in Jesus. Thus, Jesus was both king and priest like Melchizedek had been in Genesis 14:18-20. If the Hebrew writer could say “we have” (present tense, which is before AD 70) a High Priest in Jesus, then Jesus was anointed High Priest and was operating as High Priest and King on Pentecost of Acts 2.
If people were receiving “remission of sins” in Acts 2, and this remission of sins was in the name of Jesus Christ, then Jesus was the authority (king) and mediator (High Priest) who was right then in the position to remit sins. We see 3000 people rejoicing that they now have remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:37-47). Thus, the tabernacle of David typified the rule and salvation work of Jesus, and that means that when remission of sins was given in the name of (authority of) Jesus, the kingship and priesthood of Jesus had officially begun.
Isaiah 9:6-7 says that a Child that would be born, who would be called “Mighty God” would be “upon the throne of David and over His kingdom.” That is a prophecy of Jesus as the “Prince of peace.” But His peace was in operation long before AD 70 as seen in Ephesians 2:15-18. Thus, His peace that He granted the Jews began in Acts 2, extended to Gentiles in Acts 10-11, and therefore His Priesthood and Kingdom was in full operation long before AD 70. People were entering His kingdom and peace from Pentecost forward (Colossians 1:13). If Jesus is not King over His kingdom now , then He is not Priest and has no authority to give you the forgiveness of sins. If you admit of His priesthood and sacrifice, and if you admit of authority in His name to have remission of sins, then you must admit that His kingship and kingdom are in full operation now and has been since the Pentecost of Acts 2.
If Jesus is King and Priest and has full authority in His name to give remission of sins, then those who receive remission of sins in His name are the ones who have been translated out of darkness and into His kingdom. The 3,000 on Pentecost were translated out of darkness into the Kingdom (Acts 2:47; Colossians 1:13). Thus, the kingdom was not postponed, and it was not waiting to be established in AD 70. It was in full authoritative operation in Acts 2.
Jesus' Throne Was Established in Mercy
Isaiah 16:5 prophesied, “In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.”
Jesus established the throne in mercy. It was mercy that drove Him to the cross to provide the means of satisfying justice by paying for our sins. It is a throne that provides for mercy, justice, and righteousness. Romans 3:24 says regarding believers, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” and through His mercy He would demonstrate “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). The believers are justified from sin because of the mercy, truth, and seeking of justice under His rule (throne).
Whenever believers were justified is when we find His throne and kingdom “established.” We find 3,000 justified “in the name of Jesus Christ” in Acts 2:37-41. Therefore, Jesus’ throne was established in mercy and inasmuch as they “repented and were baptized for forgiveness of sins” we find that Jesus was “hastening righteousness” on that Pentecost forward.
Jesus Brought a Covenant of Peace
Further, since Jesus is the antitype of king David, then as soon as Jesus was giving a new covenant of peace, He was king offering a covenant of peace to those entering His kingdom. Ezekiel described Jesus prophetically in the following words:
"Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd."
Note: Jesus is the “David” antitype, and Jesus is the “good shepherd” (John 10:14).
"And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods."
Note: Jesus gave a covenant of peace after His death on the cross (Hebrews 9:15-17). Therefore, that covenant of peace was entered by 3000 on Pentecost, which means that the antitype of David was ruling from His throne over His kingdom that entered His covenant of peace in Acts 2.
"And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing."
Note: Showers of blessing came to the 3,000 on Pentecost. They had remission of sins, adoption as sons, became heirs of God, and came under the wonderful headship of the King of kings. Every spiritual blessing was showered upon them and all who enter the covenant of peace with Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-22).
If the covenant of peace has been put in place, then Jesus is the king and shepherd, and the church is the flock and kingdom of God’s dear Son. This kingdom is spiritual in nature (John 18:36), and the blessings are spiritual in nature (Ephesians 1:3ff). The army is spiritual with spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:10-18). The temple is spiritual (Ephesians 2:18-22). We offer spiritual sacrifices (I Peter 2:5-9). We are a spiritual house and a spiritual nation. That is why it cannot be destroyed by man. The seed of the kingdom is the word of God (Luke 8:11). It germinates in the heart and spirit, producing new citizens of His kingdom. The word of God is still living, active, and powerful winning souls to Jesus the King.
Peter Was Given the Keys of the Kingdom
If Peter was given “the keys of the kingdom” then this would mean that he would have the power to open the door of entrance into the kingdom. If Peter could not open the door of entrance into the kingdom before he died in AD 67, then Jesus’ promise that Peter would have the keys of the kingdom would be false. Peter was promised the keys, and Jesus’ promise cannot fail. Therefore, the kingdom could be entered when Peter used the keys of the kingdom.
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus promised to build His church and that Peter would have the keys of the kingdom. The church started on Pentecost of Acts 2, and therefore the keys of the kingdom were used by Peter in Acts 2.
So, what are the keys of the kingdom? The keys are the testimonial gospel of Jesus Christ. The key to entering the kingdom is knowledge of the death, burial, and resurrection, and Lordship of Jesus (I Corinthians 15:1-11). Paul said, “so we preached and so you believed.” That preaching was key to believing (Romans 10:17). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17).
Peter preached the gospel that gave the Jews entrance into the kingdom in Acts 2, and Peter opened the door also to the Gentiles in Acts 10-11. Thus, Peter had the keys in the gospel he preached. If Peter preached the truth of God’s word of the kingdom, then Peter had therein the keys of the kingdom. If he used the keys and gave 3,000 entrance into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13) then the kingdom came with power on the Pentecost of Acts 2. The kingdom was not “postponed” as many denominations teach today. Nor did the kingdom wait until after Peter died to come in AD 70 as Realized Eschatologists among us teach today. The kingdom came with power on Pentecost of Acts 2, and Peter used the keys of the kingdom to give 3,000 Jews an open door into the kingdom.
When they were “added to the number” and “added to the church” (Acts 2:41,47), they were translated into the kingdom. "Church" is a term that means “called out” of the world and into God’s domain of blessing. The word “kingdom” is used in various ways. It can mean His whole sphere of influence, or it can mean the specific people who have consciously yielded to His terms of citizenship. 3,000 met the terms of entrance into the citizenship of His kingdom in Acts 2.
In Revelation 1:5-6 Jesus is described as “ruler over the kings of the earth.” I Timothy 6:15 speaks of Jesus as “the only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” There is none higher than Jesus on the earth. But this “King of kings” has “made us kings and priests to His God and Father.” (Revelation 1:6). Thus, the kingdom of God is composed of His special nation, who themselves have been made a kingdom of kings and priests. We were made kings and priests, a “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:8-9) long before AD 70. Therefore, AD 70 had nothing to do with establishing His kingdom. The events of AD 70 may have further displayed the fact that Jesus was in charge and His kingdom will always be ultimately victorious, but AD 70 did nothing by way of bringing about the kingdom with its kings and royal priesthood. Further, we are not waiting for the kingdom to come in our future. We are waiting for the kingdom to be “delivered up to the Father” (I Corinthians 15:22ff). That will be the last day of mortal life, and the beginning of the eternal phase of the kingdom.
New the Kingdom
The Passover would be “fulfilled in the kingdom” (Luke 22:16). Jesus is our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7) who has been sacrificed for us. Thus, the Passover is fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice. What did Jesus mean when He said he would not take this Passover “till I drink it new with you in the kingdom?” The kingdom would soon come in Acts 2, the Passover was fulfilled in Christ and had “new” meaning in Christ.
Before it concerned remembering the great deliverance from Egyptian bondage and the “Passover” that gave the Israelites the way of escape. Now, it is “new” in that the greatest deliverance of all is from the bondage of sin and condemnation. We drink the fruit of the vine to remember the blood of Jesus, we take the unleavened bread to remember His sinless body. We have a new and greater deliverance. If the Lord’s Supper is practiced then the kingdom came. For we are taking it new in the kingdom.
The breaking of this bread in this new way began in Acts 2:42. Thus, the 120 and the 3,000 were “drinking it new in the kingdom.”
I’ve had some AD 70 apostate brethren tell me that the kingdom did not come until AD 70 and that Jesus did not drink it with them until AD 70. That is false! Jesus was drinking it new with His disciples from Pentecost onward (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; I Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23ff; Acts 2:42). To establish that the kingdom came in Acts 2 and the Lord’s Supper was being practiced new in the kingdom from Pentecost forward, let us establish all the necessary elements to this undeniable truth:
- All things were “new” in Christ (II Corinthians 5:16-6:2). The “new” covenant was in place in Acts 2 (Hebrews 9:15-17).
- We remember a greater deliverance from the power and control of Satan (a greater ruler than Pharaoh) who kept us hopelessly enslaved to sin and condemnation. Jesus broke the power of Satan to hold us in bondage to sin, providing “remission of sins” by the blood of the cross. The blood saves us from spiritual death. Thus, we have a "new" Passover in Christ.
- Now we “commune” new with Christ. Is Jesus communing new with us? Certainly! "Communion" is a form of the word “fellowship” (sharing, partnering, communing). If we have fellowship with Jesus (I John 1:1-4), then in “communion” we break bread together. I asked Steve Baisden if we have communion with or without Christ. He wouldn’t answer! If we have a communion of the body and blood without Christ, it is no communion at all. If it is communion with Christ, then He is eating it new with us in the kingdom, and He began eating it new with us starting in Acts 2. They were “translated into the kingdom” (Colossians 1:13) long before AD 70, and were eating the Passover new in the kingdom. This is inescapable.
- Communion by the Lord’s Supper element is with Him till he comes (I Corinthians 11:26). Now, this form of communion is not the only form of communion. We have ongoing communion in the heart at all times. But this form of communion (Lord’s Supper communion) will be done only “till he comes.” The physical elements of bread and grape juice discontinue as the world and all its “elements” will melt with fervent heat (II Peter 3: 9-12). The elements did not melt in AD 70. The Lord did not catch up the church into heaven in AD 70 (I Thessalonians 4:13-18), and that is why the church continues to break bread each first day of the week (Acts 20:7). We are still eating it new in the kingdom, and are waiting till he comes (I Corinthians 11:26) when He “delivers up the kingdom to the Father” (1 Corinthians 15:22ff) and changes us to immortality. At that point, we will no longer be dealing with physical bread and drink. We do this “till He comes.” We are presently communing with Jesus. We will cease the physical Lord’s Supper when He comes.
- So, the AD 70 brethren are wrong! They should cease the Lord’s Supper since they claim that the only coming of the Lord was in AD 70. But everybody kept dying and marrying after AD 70 (Luke 20:30-31) and the Lord’s Supper kept right on, and everyone continued to die physically and spiritually after AD 70. That should not be the case. The kingdom started in Acts 2, not in AD 70. So they are mistaken all the way around!
- So, the denominational folk who say the kingdom was “postponed” and will come in the future are wrong. If the Lord’s Supper is “new” and “communion with Christ” takes place now, then it is new in the kingdom ever since Pentecost of Acts 2.
It is true that the kingdom came with power on Pentecost of Acts 2, and it is true that disciples ate bread together with Christ in spiritual communion from Acts 2 forward. We will do this till He comes. He will not come to set up His kingdom. He will come to “deliver up” His kingdom. We must be born again and enter His kingdom now while we have the chance.
If you are told that the kingdom didn’t come in Acts 2, then there is no way you can be in Christ and in His kingdom now. You don’t get in without knowing it. So, you are still outside. You need to be baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:26-27) at which moment He “translates you into the kingdom” (Colossians 1:13). Then live the new life in Christ in His kingdom. Have you entered the kingdom? Are you communing with Him in the kingdom?
We Join with Others in the Kingdom
We have proven that Jesus went to the Ancient of Days in His ascension (Daniel 7:13; Acts 1:9-11) and “received the kingdom.” We have seen that the kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36). We have seen that the kingdom is “within you” and not observable with the physical eye (Luke 17:20-21), but it is seen “with the eyes of your understanding” (Ephesians 1:18) where you see “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” and Jesus “seated at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:19-23). We see with the eyes of our understanding that “He put all things under His feet” (imagery of a king conquering the enemy). We have seen that all of this was in place on Pentecost of Acts 2 when Peter told the Jews that “this Jesus whom you crucified is now both Lord and Christ (anointed King)”(Acts 2:36). Jesus had said the kingdom would come with power before the disciples all died (Mark 9:1) and it came with power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. People were translated out of darkness and into the kingdom long before AD 70 (Colossians 1:13).
No doubt we “see” and “enter” the kingdom when we are “born again” (John 3:1-6). You won’t see and enter it if you are not born again. We “see” with the eyes of our understanding that we have come to the mountain that cannot be touched (Hebrews 12:18) and that we have “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born who are registered in heaven.” Do you “see” this with the eyes of your understanding? We see Abraham in this general assembly and all the faithful of old. We see Peter and Paul and throngs of disciples. We see people from all directions of the compass gathered together in this general assembly that gathered together at this heavenly Jerusalem from Acts 2 onward. People are still coming and flowing to this heavenly mountain, the house of God (Isaiah 2:1-4; I Timothy 3:15). Remember that Jesus said, “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven “ (Matthew 8:11).
Indeed we are sitting together in the heavenly places in Christ right now (Ephesians 2:4-6). Have you been “raised up together?” Did He make us “sit together?” Are we not sitting together in the heavenly places in Christ? Is Abraham sitting with us in this exalted house? He certainly is if you and he are in Christ. Notice that Paul is speaking long before AD 70 and he is speaking of what is presently the case. We were dead in trespasses (Ephesians 2:5) and “you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5) and raised up (when you were saved) and ‘made us sit together” (when you were saved).
All this mercy and grace that saved started being realized in Acts 2, and became the Ephesian experience in Acts 18-19. When people are saved, they are raised out of spiritual blindness and death and are translated into the kingdom, sitting together “in the heavenly places” (places that are not seen with earthly eyes). We see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sitting together with us in God’s house in God’s kingdom. Hebrews 11 gives a long list of people we see gathered together in this heavenly Jerusalem. Are you able to see this?
Now sitting in this spiritual kingdom means that we have a foretaste of the coming glorification of this kingdom. This kingdom has one last enemy to conquer (I Corinthians 15:22ff). Death is the last enemy. Jesus has already proven by His resurrection that He has power over death. He will put it down permanently for us when He comes again. At that point, there will be no more marrying or dying (Luke 20:30f). So, the kingdom has an everlasting, glorified future of immortality. We who have come to the mountain that cannot be touched, who are gathered together in Christ in the heavenly places, will “be changed” in the twinkling of an eye. The dead will be raised with an immortal body, and the living will be changed from their mortal bodies to immortal bodies. This will happen when Jesus comes to put down the last enemy, death.
The people who remained outside this kingdom, who remained aligned with Satan and his angels will be cast into outer darkness. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth! Death and Hades also will be cast with them into the lake of fire (Revelations 20:9-15).
If your eyes have not been opened, you cannot see these things. You are still in the dark. You have not been translated out of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13). Look at the evidence “with the eyes of your understanding” (Ephesians 1:18) so that you can see His marvelous light! If you cannot see, keep looking at the evidence we have presented in this series. Where you spend eternity is at stake! You cannot afford to remain spiritually blind! Come into His “marvelous light” (I Peter 2:5-9).
There Is No Higher Position Than the One Jesus Now Holds
Jesus could get no higher in authority than He held when He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:18), forty years before AD 70. He is “far above all principality and power” (Ephesians 1:18-23). He would not get higher in authority than that in AD 70 or anytime in the future. He has the name above all names (Philippians 2:9). Notice that He possessed this authority and name long before AD 70. The New Covenant was in place as His authority took over after His death and resurrection (Hebrews 9:15-17). Thus, the kingdom came with power on Pentecost of Acts 2.
Wasn't the Kingdom Established in A.D. 70?
With that in mind, why did Jesus say that when you see Jerusalem surrounded by the Roman armies (Luke 20:20) then “know the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 20:31)? The Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem in AD 68 and Jerusalem fell in AD 70. So, is that not the time of the “establishment” of the kingdom of God? No! It is not saying it is “near to being established,” but near to your perception. Jesus’ disciples would see something that brought the invisible kingdom, already in place at Acts 2, nearer to their physical perception. When Jerusalem was torn down before their eyes, they would see that King Jesus was behind this, that God was not in this physical temple and not with these rejecters of Jesus. Jesus said it would happen (Matthew 24). Jesus is vindicated of the unbelieving Jews and His disciples and kingdom are vindicated in the fall of Jerusalem.
He told the signs to look for. When it happened the kingdom of God was made near in perception. To see this point more clearly let us consider the time when Jerusalem fell before in the Babylonian period. Jeremiah had warned about the Babylonians coming to destroy Jerusalem but showed in his book of Lamentations (lamenting the Babylonian crushing of Jerusalem) that this Babylonian invasion was actually “the Lord having afflicted her” (Lamentations 1:5) and that this was “the day of His fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12), and that this was “the Lord trampling as in a winepress” (Lamentations 1:15). In other words, while the Babylonians were the instrument by which Jerusalem was crushed, people could see that the rule of God was propelling this and bringing it about. You could see the arm of the Lord brought near to your perception.
When Egypt fell to the Babylonians, Ezekiel called it “the day of the Lord is near” (Ezekiel 30:3-4). Did that mean that the “day of the Lord” was about to come into existence? No! It meant that this day of the sword against Egypt would make people realize that the day of the sword was actually a day of the Lord, a day of showing His judgment against Egypt by use of the Babylonians. The day of the Lord was “near” to their perception. They would see that more was involved in this than just the Babylonians defeating them. They would see this as the Lord's day of punishment to them. Likewise, when the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem in AD 68-70, they would see that this is the day of the Lord, a coming of the Lord in judgment against them, a time for His kingdom to be perceived more vividly.
It was not when the kingdom was established. It was when these unbelieving Jews would see King Jesus and His kingdom was not on their side. The kingdom of God came closer to their perception than they allowed it on Pentecost of Acts 2. If they would not (by refusal to see) see it in the resurrection and powerful display of Pentecost in the blessings it would bring before them, then they would see it in the wrath they experienced from the curses Jesus announced in Matthew 23 and in their experience of Jesus’ curses in AD 68-70. Blessings would be coming in the kingdom on Pentecost of Acts 2, but if you refused the blessedness of the kingdom (Matthew 5:1-12), you would see the kingdom “near” in the experiences of the “woes” (Matthew 23-24). So, AD 70 is not the kingdom “established” for the first time, but the kingdom already established being brought near in its curses upon unbelieving Judaism.
Seeing the figs meant summer is near, and seeing the signs of distress meant the kingdom is near. Not near to coming into existence but near to show its power over the dead tree of Judaism and near to redeem the disciples of Jesus from their oppressed condition when Judaism seemed to have had the upper hand (Luke 21:28). Disciples were already redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb long before AD 70 (Ephesians 1:3,7). So, what “redemption” was drawing near when the hard times leading up to the fall of Jerusalem began to appear (via Luke 21:28)? This is a different kind of redemption. In this case, it is not redemption from the slave market of sin and condemnation. That happened from Pentecost forward (Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:3-7). The redemption of this text is being vindicated and delivered from the oppressive unbelieving Jews.
All that history of Jews oppressing Christians from the stoning of Stephen to the many persecutions against Paul and all disciples of Christ, when this harlot (Judaism centered in Jerusalem) is finally put down, the Christians are redeemed from that oppressive regime. The kingdom of God is near to their perception as well. They see that God is near and brings His rule into greater focus when Christians saw the fall of oppressive Jerusalem. So, brethren long redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Ephesians 1:3-7; I Peter 1:18-19), were looking forward to being redeemed in another way, redeemed from the oppressive High Priests approving of persecutions and oppressing of the churches. That redemption happened when the Romans captured and destroyed Jerusalem.
In all of this, the kingdom of God was seen as “near” to their visual experience. The kingdom was visibly seen in the effects of Pentecost in Acts 2. It was established among men then but was brought near to visible perception when you saw the signs of doom coming against Jerusalem in AD 68-70. You can’t point to the kingdom of God (Luke 17:20-21) except you see the effects of it near in judgments it announces and brings it nearer to our perception. The disciples were in it spiritually from Pentecost onward but saw the effects of the kingdom of God in the pre-announced judgments activated within sight in the fall of that harlot once and for all. The kingdom of God stands forever, and we can still see the effects of it in various lives as it continues to conquer one heart after another! Has the kingdom of Jesus taken your heart into captivity to gladly obey Him (II Corinthians 10:4-6)? Are you seeing the fruitful effects of the kingdom of God within you? The kingdom of God is near to others when they see the fruit of the Spirit in Christians.
The Kingdom Transforms Its Citizens
The kingdom that came with power on Pentecost of Acts 2 has a transformative plan in the heart of each disciple. It requires transformation from the inside. Jesus said it requires poorness of spirit, mourning over sin, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, meekness, a pure heart, a merciful heart, etc. It is a kingdom of citizens of a certain quality of faith-life. People were translated into this kingdom on Pentecost forward (Colossians 1:13) but with a hope of immortality. Jesus said, “great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). The people of this spiritual kingdom have a great reward to anticipate with great assurance and confidence. So, while we have established citizenship in this kingdom (Philippians 2:20) in heaven, we are waiting “eagerly” for the “Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may conform to His glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).
This will happen on the “last day” of mortal life on earth (John 6:39-40, 54; 11:24). That day of resurrection will be the end of this mortal phase of the kingdom. Those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Ephesians 1:3,7; I Peter 1:18) will see their bodies redeemed from slavery to corruption (Romans 8:11,23). On that day that ends this mortal phase of our existence, the kingdom will not be “set up” on earth. Instead, the kingdom that is already set up since Pentecost will be “delivered up” to the Father (I Cor.15:22ff).
The kingdom will enter the eternal and immortal phase when Jesus comes to raise the dead, change the living and dead into immortal bodies, and meet the saints “in the air.” We will be “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). The dead will rise with a change from mortal to immortal, and the living will be changed to immortal (I Corinthians 15:51-52). We will see Him as He is and be changed to be like Him (I John 3:1-3). We will be conformed to “His glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21). We will be like Him, immortal with a glorious body. When this happens, the “last enemy, death” (I Corinthians 15:25-26) will have been permanently destroyed.
Obviously, this did not happen in AD 70, and we are still waiting eagerly for it. This will be the time that Jesus described as “in the resurrection” when you do not marry, never die, and become like the angels (Luke 20:30f). Obviously, that did not take place in AD 70. We are still waiting for it eagerly!
At that same time, the earth and the heavenly bodies above the earth will “melt with fervent heat” (II Peter 3:7-11). The earth that was flooded before has been reserved for fire. On that final day, this earthly system will be destroyed, and new heavens and new earth will take their final position.
“When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). The nations will all be judged and separated into the categories of sheep and goats, wise and foolish, believers and unbelievers, obedient and disobedient and will go to everlasting life in glory or into the darkness of Gehenna fire (Matthew 25:33ff). Death and Hades will go to the lake of fire along with the devil and his angels (Revelation 20:10-15). Kingdom citizens will enter their glorious eternal phase, and those who neglected so great salvation (Hebrews 2:1-4) will not be able to escape their doom.
"He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matthew 13:37-43 NKJV).
There is “inheritance” for those in the kingdom (Ephesians 5:5). There is no inheritance in the kingdom for those who live ungodlily (Galatians 5:19-21). God is trying to call you into the kingdom and glory through the testimony of the gospel (I Thessalonians 2:12). You can answer that call today and be born again, being translated into the kingdom. In the kingdom, there is a transformation that goes on that prepares you for the eternal inheritance and glorification of the kingdom. That will happen in the end when the last enemy is put down. Are you preparing for that great harvest day of glory? If you miss it you will have missed the whole purpose of your life. As the song says, “It will be glory, be glory for me!”