My Kingdom is Not of This World? #4

Wednesday, September 26, 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?

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ, just hours before His crucifixion, is standing before Judaean governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate asks Jesus, “Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?” Today’s Scripture is Jesus’ response.

Pilate asked Jesus how His own nation, Israel, and its chief priests could deliver Him to the Roman government to be sentenced to death. Our Lord’s reply was simple: (sinful, unbelieving) Israel rejected Him as their Messiah-King because He was righteous. They did not want God ruling over them, as the psalmist prophesied: “The kings of the earth [Roman rulers] set themselves, and the rulers [of Israel] take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [Messiah/Christ], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2,3; cf. Acts 4:25-28).

Interestingly, our Lord said, “but now is my kingdom not from hence.” His kingdom would be established on earth, just not “now,” not during His First Coming. As He knew, He could not reign as King until after He had gone to Calvary’s cross and died for man’s sins (Luke 17:24,25). In addition, the institution of our 2,000-year-long Dispensation of Grace has further delayed Christ’s reign on earth.

Upon Christ’s Second Coming, to conclude the seven-year Tribulation, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit during the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:1-3). Satan’s evil world system, and all its governments, will be demolished when Christ establishes His earthly kingdom (see Daniel 2:31-45). “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (verse 44).