On understanding kingdom ministry – part 2
It seems in today’s church there are three main views on the Kingdom of God (with variations on whether the church has replaced Israel or not in God’s prophetic timetable):
1. Some believe the kingdom started with Jesus’ ministry and will continue until his second coming. They see the kingdom as “now” that is already present and having a purely spiritual meaning, that is, God’s rule in people’s hearts.
2. Others believe that the kingdom is purely physical and will not commence until Jesus’ second coming when there will be a physical resumption of the Davidic kingdom. So they see the kingdom as “not yet”.
3. A third view is that the kingdom is both “now” and “not yet”. There is a spiritual aspect to the kingdom – the rule of God in people’s hearts happening now but there is also a coming physical aspect to the kingdom which Jesus’ second coming will inaugurate.
I believe that Scripture supports this third view
The kingdom as the rule of God is not limited to the Church or even to people. The whole realm of nature, the spiritual world that we do not see, and everything that ever was, will one day be subject to the rule of God. However, “At present we do not see everything subject to him” (Hebrews 2:8). We see signs of the kingdom, we have a deposit not the full amount (Ephesians 1:13-14); we know in part but not fully (1 Corinthians 13:8-12); we are now children of God but we are not yet fully Christ-like (1 John 3:2). Thus there is a “now” aspect to the kingdom which is spiritual and a “not yet” aspect which is physical.
The “now-ness” of the kingdom reveals itself in a person’s life style, in their outlook on life, in their values, priorities, desires, and attitudes. Those who live out kingdom values will ultimately affect the communities where they live.