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Last week we presented the case, from Scripture, that the kingdom of God is already here. This provoked a few questions from some inquisitive students of the Bible asking, “Can we identify with certainty when and where the kingdom began?” The answer is, “Yes! We can.” Again, simply by studying the Scriptures, we can distinguish precisely when and where. Still keeping in mind all the important aspects about the kingdom of God that we discussed in the previous article, let’s now look at some additional verses that teach about its inauguration.
We’ll start with Mark 9:1, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” Pay close attention to all the words of that verse! This statement places a very specific time limit on the event. This is Jesus speaking to His disciples, to whom He says some will live to see that day, with their own eyes, when the kingdom shall come into existence. He also states that it will come “with power.” These same words are also found in Matthew’s account, right after He had told Peter that He would give him “the keys to the kingdom,” (Matthew 16:19). Add to this, Jesus also uses the words “church” in verse 18 interchangeably with “kingdom.”
Now, in Acts 1:6, the disciples ask Jesus if He was going to “at this time restore the kingdom to Israel.” They were thinking of a physical, earthly kingdom like the days of David and Solomon. But, notice what Jesus says in verse 8, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you …” Do you see the connection and consistency with Mark 9:1? Read the first few verses of the next chapter, Acts 2:1-4. What do we see? We see miraculous power come to (or rather, fall upon) the apostles in the form of the Holy Spirit! Exactly as Jesus had promised in John 16:7-13.
Thinking back on the words of Mark 9:1, Jesus had said “some” would see the kingdom arrive. This implied that not all of them would, meaning some of them standing there wouldn’t be around on that day. So, were any of the apostles not there, or had someone died between the time Jesus had spoken those words and the day of Pentecost? Indeed, Judas, one of the men who was with Jesus back then had since passed on, (Acts 1:16-18; Matthew 27:5). Isn’t that exactly what Jesus said would happen? His words came true! And, speaking of fulfilled prophecy, look also at what Jesus said in Luke 24:46-48. He stated, “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” Where were the apostles when Peter preached that first Gospel message that we read in Acts 2:14-36? (Here’s a hint: Acts 1:12). The kingdom of God began on the Day of Pentecost, some 2000 years ago. It began in Jerusalem and is still in existence today. It is not some future event, nor will it be an earthly, physical kingdom, as so many erroneously teach. The identifying marks are easy to identify with Bible study, which refute such doctrine.
However, the most important lesson we can learn from the inception of God’s kingdom is what was said on that day. The apostle Peter stood up and began preaching. He preached Jesus. He preached the Gospel of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. He preached that He is the Messiah and is sitting at the right hand of God. What was the result of that sermon? Men were convicted of their sins (Acts 2:37), they responded to the invitation of Jesus by being baptized (Acts 2:38-41), and they were added to the church (Acts 2:47). What just happened there? Peter used the “keys of the kingdom” to open up the door (cf John 10:9) and the first converts were ushered in. That’s the main lesson for us! If we want to be saved, we must be IN His kingdom – the church of Christ, the Son of God (2 Timothy 2:10; Colossians 1:18; Galatians 3:27). TS