Before Jesus was born as a human being, an angel told Mary, His mother, that His destiny was to take over an actual throne and rule on this earth.
You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. – Luke 1:31-33
These are familiar Christmas season verses that give us all hope. While many are looking forward to a future kingdom age when Jesus returns, I would argue the Kingdom of Christ has been here since Christ’s first coming and continues even unto this day. From Augustine to the Reformation the arrival of the Kingdom had been identified with the formation of the Christian Church. This view was later abandoned by some Christian Churches and by the beginning of the 20th century, some Protestant churches had adopted the apocalyptic interpretation of the Kingdom.
Yet, when Jesus began His ministry, He announced the coming of the Kingdom (Mark 1:15) and using many parables throughout the four gospels Jesus taught what His kingdom was like. (Matthew 13:44, Matthew 13:45-46, Matthew 13:52, Matthew 13:33, Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:26-29, Matthew 13:47-50)
Jesus pointed out that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and is here now (Luke 17:20-21). It won’t be something proclaimed by a military leader or a great conqueror marching into a city to claim it. It will come as the hearts of men are won to Christ and His reign begins in their lives.
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever: Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel; so the house of Jacob primarily signifies the Jews, who were the natural branches. Christ’s kingdom extended beyond the house of Jacob as others were to be joined to the house of Jacob, (Isaiah 14:1). The house of Jacob today signifies the whole church, all that should believe in Christ. All believers who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, are by the apostle determined the circumcision Philippians 3:3, and he is a Jew who is one inwardly, Romans 2:28-29.
They will advance the Kingdom of God as they influence the world around them living out kingdom principles in their lives. This spiritual reign of Christ advances as the Holy Spirit is poured out and men come under conviction and then repent and turn to Christ as Lord and Savior.
And of his kingdom there shall be no end: distinguishes the kingdom of Christ from all kingdoms of the world, which all shall have their periods. It also assures us of the continuance of the gospel church, which is Christ’s kingdom. All this is in agreement with Old Testament prophecy concerning the kingdom of the Messiah (Psalm 145:13, Daniel 7:14, Micah 4:7).
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7
This spiritual reign of Christ permeates throughout a nation as more and more people come under Christ’s Lordship and then influence the society around them for good.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. – Ephesians 1:7-10
As followers of Christ, we have been given rulership over the earth with Christ… NOW, not some time in the future.
Jesus went about preaching the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. – Matthew 9:35
The message Jesus preached is the good news that God was restoring peace on earth by establishing His divine Kingdom over all nations. He didn’t preach a future establishment of His Kingdom, but a kingdom that was near.
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” – Mark 1:15
He then sent out His disciples to further the message.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. – Mark 16:15-16
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.- Luke 9:1-2
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20