by Phillip Vanwinkle
JANUARY 22, 2016

A Kingdom or Not a Kingdom? That Is the Question

Jesus stood and explained to His disciples:

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. (Mar 9:1)

Jesus was essentially saying, “There are some standing right in our midst, who shall not taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

Many in the religious world today look at that statement and don't really know what to do with it. Why? Because they believe that Jesus did not in fact start a kingdom.

Their line of so called reasoning goes something like this:

Yes, Jesus came to start an earthly kingdom. But, because of the Jewish influence and because the Jewish and Gentile leaders put Christ on the cross and killed Him, Jesus’ original plans were halted. Then instead of establishing a kingdom that would last for ever (Daniel 2:44), He simply came up with a different idea, and started a church in its place.

There are countless things wrong with such a statement, and over the next year we would like to address some of these. But I want to just think about Jesus’ statement in comparison with the religious belief that is stated in the world today.

So the question must be asked: Did Jesus start a kingdom, or did He not? This question calls for a yes or no answer. There is no middle ground. He either did what He said He was going to do, or He did not.

Let me suggest to you today that He absolutely did. But, let us look at a line of reasoning to find out what would be the end result of Jesus not starting a Kingdom. 

Remember that it was Jesus, God the Son, who said that there would be some still alive when the Kingdom of God came with power. If He was mistaken, or if the Jews thwarted His (God’s) plan, then one of the following things must be true:

Jesus Didn't Know

When Jesus made that statement, He really thought that He was going to set up a Kingdom, but was simply mistaken. If He was mistaken, then Jesus did not truly know everything. He must have just assumed some things, and hoped for the best that He would be able to justify His assumptions. And therefore, by not knowing, He was not really God, part of the nature of God being all-knowing.

Jesus Lied

Jesus said that there were some standing who would not die till the kingdom came. Some might say that when He made that statement, He knew the Kingdom was not coming, but simply stated that it was; which makes Christ a liar. And therefore He is not God, since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

Jesus Failed

If the Jews and Gentiles were able to stop God’s plan from happening, what does that tell us about God? In all the history of the world, mankind has never been able to stop God from accomplishing what He wanted to accomplish. For instance, God wanted the Israelites to come out of captivity. So what happened? They came out. If Pharaoh had given in on the first try, then God’s plan would have been carried out. But he resisted, and what was the outcome? God’s plan was still carried out. Also, Herod wanted to kill the Christ child, so he had all males killed under the age of two. God wanted Christ to continue to live, but was Herod able to thwart God’s plan? No! Neither were the Jews and Gentiles of Jesus’ day successful in preventing Him from establishing His Kingdom.

There Are Some Really Old People Alive Today

The only other viable option I see is this: If the Kingdom was not established as Jesus said it would be, then there must still be some people alive who were there when Jesus made that statement. If the Kingdom did not come as Jesus said it would, then there are people over 2,000 years old who are still upon the face of this earth, waiting for the kingdom to come with power.

So which option do you like best?

  1. Jesus did not know that the kingdom was not coming, and thus is not God.
  2. Jesus did know, but lied about it, and thus is not God.
  3. The Jews were more powerful than God, because He wanted to establish a Kingdom, but they would not let Him.
  4. There are still 2,000-year-old people alive, waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.

Either Christ established His Kingdom in the years of the Roman Empire (Daniel 2), or He did not—in which case Daniel was a false prophet, and our Lord is, well, anything other than God.

So why is there so much conflict today? Because just like some of the Jews in Jesus’ day, many people are expecting an earthly kingdom. But Jesus never intended to build an earthly kingdom.  He always had in mind a spiritual kingdom.

Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?

Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king…

(John 18:33-37)

Jesus said in verse 36 that His Kingdom was not of this world (earth). And yet He still acknowledged that He was a King (vs. 37).

If there is no Kingdom today, then what is Jesus king over?

Friend, the fact is that Jesus did exactly what He said He would do. He set up His Kingdom with power (Joel 2:28-30, Acts 2:25ff). To believe otherwise is to make some outrageous claims about our Lord, God’s prophets, and the Holy Bible.  The Kingdom was established the first Pentecost after the death of our Lord. In Acts 2 we read about the beginning of the kingdom: the Lord's church. 

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