- John the Baptist first announces that the kingdom is at hand (Matt 3:2).
- Jesus takes over this message as he begins his ministry (Matt 4:17).
[Personal side note: Paul ends his ministry preaching this same message (Acts 28:31)].
- The Kingdom of God was a late-Jewish apocalyptic expectation
- The hope was for God to restore Israel to prominence and liberate them Gentile control by the Messiah.
- The hope for the Kingdom of God is closely tied with the restoration of David’s throne.
- Divine Judgement is a key element in the preaching of the Kingdom (Matt 3:10, 13:41, etc).
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
The Kingdom is Present
Jesus proclaimed the kingdom as already present in His person and ministry – “… if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matt 12:28, Luke 11:20). The casting out of demons shows that Jesus has entered into Satan’s domain and plundered it (Matt 12:29, Luke 10:18). The Kingdom is also evidenced by Jesus healing the sick, forgiving sin, and raising the dead – (see Matt 11:2, Luke 7:18). Justification and the forgiveness of sin are the key witnesses to the present reality of the kingdom. Says Ridderbos, “…salvation is announced and offered as a gift already available…So too the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed, not merely as a future reality to be accomplished in heaven, nor merely as a present possibility, but as …offered today…through Jesus…”. These things testify clearly that Jesus is the promised King now, not only in the future.
- The Future Aspect of the Kingdom
- The Kingdom Proclaimed by the Apostles