Many, many religious people would readily agree that Jesus has not yet established His kingdom. It is a doctrine believed and taught by many today. If you were to ask a number of religious people, “Will Jesus at some time in the future establish His kingdom, and will it be an earthly kingdom?” they would answer, “Yes.” They would reply, “Jesus came the first time to set up an earthly kingdom, but the Jews rejected Him and He wasn’t able to establish the kingdom. Since He wasn’t able to establish it the first time, He will come a second time, and the kingdom will be established then. It will be an earthly kingdom, and He will rule over it in Jerusalem for a period of 1000 years.” Let us go to God’s word to find the answer to the question: “Has the kingdom already been established, or is the establishment of it in the future?”

If an earthly kingdom was what Jesus came to establish, then He didn’t realize it. In John 6, after Jesus had fed over 5000 with five barley loaves and two small fishes, the men who had seen it said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.Jesus perceived that “they were about to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, He departed again to a mountain by Himself alone.In verse 38 of this same chapter, Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.In the very chapter that Jesus turned down an earthly kingdom, He also said He came to do the Father’s will. Either Jesus didn’t know what the will of His Father was, or else to set up an earthly kingdom was not the will of His Father.

The Jews misunderstood the nature of the kingdom. It was never intended to be a literal, earthly kingdom. It was spiritual. In answering Pilate’s question, “Are You the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33), Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). In other words, “Yes, I have kingly claims, but My kingdom is not of this world. It is not an earthly, secular, political kingdom.”

There are a number of Old Testament prophecies concerning the kingdom. We will examine only three that will help us understand when the kingdom was to be established. There are others, but we will limit our examination to these three. They are 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Daniel 2:44, and Daniel 7:13,14. An examination of these passages reveals the following: (1) When David’s days are fulfilled and he rests with his fathers, God will set up his seed after him, who will come from his body, and God will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for God’s name, and God will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:12,13).

(2) That in the days of the Roman kings the God of heaven would set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, (Daniel 2:44), and (3) Daniel saw one like the Son of Man come to the Ancient of Days, and there He was given a kingdom which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13,14; all emphasis mine, JP).

When we come to the New Testament, we find Gabriel telling Mary in reference to Jesus that (1) the “Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, (2) He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and (3) of His kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:32,33). Jesus informs the apostles that some of them will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power(Mark 9:1). After His resurrection and before His ascension, He announced to the apostles that “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

Let us put this all together and see when the kingdom was established. Acts chapter two reveals to us: (1) The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit (2:4). But the power was to come when the Spirit came (Acts 1:8), and the kingdom was to come when the power came (Mark 9:1). Thus the kingdom came on the day of Pentecost following the Lord’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension. (2) The events of Acts 2 are in the days of the Roman kings, and in the city of Jerusalem. This is in harmony with Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 2:44 that the kingdom would be set up then. (3) Ten days prior to the day of Pentecost, Jesus had ascended to the Father. On the day of Pentecost, He is in heaven, exalted at the right hand of God in harmony with Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 7:13,14 as to when the kingdom would come and where Jesus would be. (4) Jesus received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33) in harmony with Luke 1:32,33, and (5) David was dead and buried (Acts 2:29,30), fulfilling 2 Samuel 7:12,13 that Christ would be raised up to sit on his throne.

Jesus will not establish the kingdom when He comes again; He will deliver the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:23-27).

Every passage prior to Acts 2 has the kingdom in the future; every passage after has the kingdom in existence. This is exactly what we would expect since it is at that time the kingdom was established. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14). Entrance into the kingdom is by being born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5).

John Priola