What is kingdom now teaching?
Question: "What is kingdom now teaching?"
Answer: All throughout the Old Testament, God promised the nation of Israel a literal, earthly kingdom. It was a kingdom that was tangible, concrete, and visible. It was also a kingdom that was promised to the nation for the future. The Lord, in speaking with King David, told about a person that was to come and "He shall build a house for My name sake, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever" (2 Samuel 7:13). The prophet Jeremiah spoke about a coming kingdom where God's law was written on the hearts of men and done so in a perfect way. A time where teaching men to know God will be no more (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
Obviously, this earthly kingdom as prophesized in the Old Testament never came to its fruition. The question posed by many Bible students today has to do with the kingdom and its actual realization. When is the earthly kingdom going to be established? There are basically three views espoused by Christians. First, there is the view that the kingdom is entirely future. Those who hold to this view see the kingdom becoming realized in its complete, earthly fullness in Revelation 20.
Second, there is the view that sees the kingdom as a present reality. While an earthly kingdom was promised to Israel in the Old Testament, this view believes that Israel's disobedience forfeited these promises found in the Old Testament. Third, there is the view that sees the kingdom as now and future.
It is these last two views that we have an interest in, for both views see some kind of present, abstract kingdom as opposed to an only future and concrete one. Both of these respected views believe that the New Testament reinterprets the Old Testament. So when Jesus says that the "kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17), He is speaking about the future age that has invaded the present age. According to these views, Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God--in its abstract, invisible form, and it is the responsibility of the church to proclaim the kingdom message of Christ.
Ideas have consequences, and those that propagate a kingdom now theology do so with practical ramifications. Since the kingdom is now, some people use this theology to handle snakes. Others use this theology to see the miraculous of Jesus and the apostles as ministries the church should be duplicating today. Others go so far as to say that the present kingdom enables the church make disciples of all the nations, where the entire world will eventually become Christian. Some even defend Christian involvement in politics on the basis of a kingdom now theology and practice.
In summation, kingdom now theology is the belief that Jesus inaugurated the future kingdom (however you define the future kingdom--heaven, earthly kingdom, or both) into the present age. It is this present kingdom, according to its adherents, that gives the Christian power to defeat evil and conquer humanity with the gospel of Christ.
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