January 17, 2021
“Now and Not Yet”
Three major theological views of the Kingdom of God:
Amillennialism – The Kingdom Has Fully Come
Amil Christians believe Christ’s kingly rule over the Earth is primarily a spiritual (non-earthly, non-visible) reality, not a literal one. The Kingdom of God exists spiritually in the community of worldwide Christians and exists side-by-side with the kingdom of darkness until Jesus Christ returns at the end of the world. All the promises and prophecies in the Bible concerning the end-times, including the stated thousand year reign of Christ on the Earth, are not to be taken literally, but they are meant to be allegorical representations of God’s ultimate victory over Satan.
Post-Millennialism – The Kingdom is Coming Progressively
Postmil Christians believe that the time between the resurrection and the second coming is known as the “millennium.” This is not a literal thousand years, but an extended period in which the Church exists in the world. During this time, the Kingdom of God will progressively grow through evangelism efforts on Earth. The Church will spread and influence the world culturally, politically, and economically to such a degree that Christ will eventually have total dominion through Christianity’s growing power, respect, and influence. Ultimately, the world will be so effectively Christianized that evil will be a negligible force. It is at this point Christ will return, and the Kingdom of God will be fully realized.
Pre-Millennialism – The Kingdom is Coming in Stages
Premil Christians believe that Jesus came to set up both an inward spiritual Kingdom and a literal one thousand year earthly Kingdom and that both will be inaugurated in stages. They believe the Kingdom is already here in a spiritual sense within believers’ hearts and within the Church. At the same time, the Scriptures state that Jesus will return to establish His rule upon the Earth. This rule will be represented by a literal throne in Israel from which He will judge the nations. During these thousand years, God will fulfill all His covenant promises to the nation of Israel, fulfilling all Old Testament prophecies perfectly and literally. Christians living in the present age are therefore living in a Kingdom that is a spiritual reality (“now”) and will yet be a future physical reality (“not yet”).
Point 1: The Kingdom comes in stages.
Scripture Cross References: Matthew 4:17; 10:6-7; 10; Acts 1:3; Psalm 24:1; Deuteronomy 10:14; Mark 11:10; Matthew 4:17; Mark 10:24; 15; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 14:22; Philippians 2:10-11; Revelation 20:4-6; 2 Samuel 23:5; Deuteronomy 30:1-10; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; Isaiah 2:4; 42:1; 11:6-9; 2:3; John 3:19; Titus 2:3