Kingdom Truth - What is the Kingdom of Heaven in the Bible?
Chapter 2, Part 3
The Time Periods of the Kingdom
In the previous discussion, the "Kingdom" refers to the future and will be realized when the gracious Lord descends from the clouds. Then why did Jesus say: ''The Kingdom is in your midst?" Furthermore, he spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people at that time, ''Truly I say to you, tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the Kingdom of God before you!" If the Kingdom is not in existence, how can the tax-gatherers and harlots get in? He also said: ''Therefore,I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it! Here it tells us that the Kingdom already existed in Old Testament times. Also, it was ready to be given to the Israelites. However, the Israelites wasted the opportunity and were irresponsible and this privilege was taken away! (Matt. 21 :43) But at the same time,the Lord wants us to pray: ''Thy Kingdom come!" So, if His Kingdom is already in our midst, would this not be an absurd prayer? Moreover, the Scriptures clearly tell us that only when the seventh angel sounded the trumpet, "the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever." So, does the Kingdom exist already or do we need to look forward to it in the future?
This question is perhaps best answered by Jesus Himself. The Scriptures tell us that when the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him, He will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world". This simple proclamation revealed the time frame of the Kingdom. There are two time periods of the Kingdom: the period of '"Inheritance" and the period of "preparation", or the "period of realization" and the "period of preparation". When Jesus said, ''The Kingdom of Heaven is in your midst," it refers to the Kingdom in its preparation. The Kingdom of the Lord and Christ when "the seventh angel sounded the trumpet" refers to the period of inheritance. The ''The Kingdom of Heaven is like..." verses in Matthew 13 all refer to the Kingdom in its preparation. When the Lord said, 'When you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God... And they will come from east and wesy, and from north and south and will recline at the table in the Kingdom of God." He referred to the Kingdom of inheritance. In John's words, "...fellow partaker in the tribulation and Kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus...", the Kingdom refers to the Kingdom in its preparation. In Peter's words, "for in this way the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you", it refers to the Kingdom in the inheritance period. Praise the lord!