Sunday, September 23, 2012
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36 KJV).
What did Jesus mean when He spoke today’s Scripture?
Within Christendom, there is a strange doctrine that, because Jesus Christ’s kingdom has never been established literally, visibly, and physically on earth, it must have been a “spiritual kingdom,” an invisible kingdom “in the hearts of men.” Today’s Scripture is often twisted to promote this warped theology. Such nonsense is the result of a failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), a negligence to understand and believe the Bible dispensationally.
“JESUS… shall reign over the house of Jacob [Israel] for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33). Did this ever happen? No. Jesus Christ came to earth and left 2,000 years ago as Israel’s rejected King: He never did rule Israel, for Israel declared in John 19:15: “We have no king but Caesar!” So, how can Luke 1:33 say Jesus Christ will rule Israel “for ever?”
Dispensational Bible study relieves us of confusion and consternation. Luke 1:33 is to be taken literally, but it is to be believed dispensationally. Israel’s prophetic (kingdom) program, the program to which Luke 1:33 belongs, is currently suspended. God is not restoring the earth’s governments today. Instead, He is forming the Church the Body of Christ, a heavenly people whom He will use to restore the heavenly governments in the ages to come (see Colossians 1:16-20).
While our Dispensation of Grace is operating, Israel’s kingdom program is delayed. Once our dispensation ends (at the rapture), then God will resume Israel’s program and Christ will return at His Second Coming to fulfill Luke 1:33 (establishing His literal, physical, visible earthly kingdom).
Returning to today’s Scripture, what then did Jesus mean there? His kingdom is a literal, physical, visible kingdom, so how is it “not of this world?” We will study the Scriptures for the answer.