Today’s Thought – When is the kingdom of God?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
June 1, 2010
And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” (Mark 9:1)
When is the kingdom of God? This is an interesting statement by Jesus to his disciples. We must remember several important things: 1) this statement was said to all of his followers, not just the twelve. There were many others that “followed” Jesus, including women. 2) It is kind of an contrast of his previous comment, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38) Jesus is presenting a positive reinforcement here. 3) Jesus emphatically states that, “some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come in power.” So, is he referring to his resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, or the destruction of Jerusalem, the transfiguration that will happen shortly, the coming of the church age, or his second coming?
The mere thought that Jesus was simply referring to his transfiguration does not make sense. It was a rather startling event, filled with wonder and awe, but it is extremely odd Jesus would say that “some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of god come with power,” and then wham, he does the transfiguration. Did Jesus therefore mean they were all going to die shortly afterwards? I don’t think so. While the resurrection was full of the power of God or the coming of the Holy Spirit was also dramatic, however, both are far more important than the transfiguration. The church age was full of some awesome things, but does not compare to the resurrection or the Holy Spirit’s coming. While the destruction of Jerusalem was extremely a dramatic incident, and eyewitnesses saw some incredible things occurring, it does not compare to Jesus second coming. But the Second Coming cannot be what Jesus is referring to unless somewhere right now several of the followers of Jesus are still alive! So, what was Jesus referring to here? I am glad you asked!
I believe Jesus is referring to all of these things. The kingdom of God was already here with the coming of Jesus, but its full potential and power had not been demonstrated. It was as Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and later rose from the grave. But we continue to see its power as the Holy Spirit is given, the early church is established, and with the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus’ Second Coming is not the establishment of his kingdom, because it is already established. Jesus rules and reigns now. Sure, we get a new heaven and earth (universe) because all things will be made new, but that is the fulfillment and culmination of his promise, not the God’s kingdom coming in power (Revelation 12:10). Besides, again, none of his disciples would be alive in the world when that occurs.
Some could twist semantics by saying, “Pastor Lee, won’t all believers be alive when Jesus returns?” But Jesus is talking about the establishment of God’s kingdom “with power” right then. And, his meaning is clear, he meant for them right then at that time; literally, that it was occurring, would occur shortly, and would be fulfilled in the disciple’s lifetime.
So, what does this mean for us today? We should ask ourselves, “When is the kingdom of God?” The answer is right now and I pray you are part of it.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission…