TFTW | The Coming of God’s Kingdom
November 6, 2012
“Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.” And answering they said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.” ” — Luke 17:20-37 (NASB)
People knowing that I will be leading another Bible Study tour to Israel in December, often ask about the signs of the end times. They want to know if the world events we see happening, especially those surrounding Israel, are indications that the Lord’s coming is near.
Human nature has not changed. The Pharisees also had asked Jesus about the coming of God’s Kingdom. People look for signs, but Jesus warned against such. “The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed…. The Kingdom of God is in your midst,” He said.
They often thought of the Kingdom of God as something far off. And it is. But, the Messiah was with them, and they failed to recognise Him and make Him the King of their lives. They refused to acknowledge Him.
Jesus instructed His disciples about His going away. False teachers would speculate and misdirect them about His Coming. He warned against following such instructions, because His coming would be obvious. Everyone will know when the time comes.
Jesus addressed this teaching concerning His Second Coming to the Jews, not the Church, which had not yet been established. This Coming is called the “Parousia”…Jesus’ personal coming with His saints in power and glory to judge the nations and establish the long-promised kingdom of peace and righteousness.
Many confuse this Parousia with the Rapture of the Church, when “…the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air….” (1 Thessalonians 4:16b,17a)
Jesus warned that the time of His Parousia will be like the days of Noah. He lived righteously and warned concerning impending judgment. But his message was ignored.
Similarly, Lot lived righteously before the people of Sodom, and was mocked. People went about life as normal…eating, drinking, marrying, selling, planting, building. On the day of Judgment, Noah and his family went into the ark by faith and they were saved, but the unbelievers were drowned. Lot, by faith, went out from Sodom while the sinful men who remained were destroyed (vs 26-30).
Jesus warned against going after material goods. At the Parousia they must immediately follow God’s instructions. Lot’s wife was cited as an example of the materialistic spirit that brought judgment (vs 31-32).
The subject of the Coming of God’s Kingdom will continue to raise the curiosity of many people. I hope you are not one of those who will blindly follow the speculations of false teachers. As God’s children, we should dig into God’s Word so that we are correctly informed.
What is happening in the world today is a reminder that things will only get worse. But before the Parousia, our Blessed Hope is for the Rapture. How have you prepared for that day?
Thought For The Week (TFTW) is contributed by Dr Koh Siang Kiang, Associate Professor (Christian Education) at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). She graduated from SBC and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), USA, and has served in various ministries for more than 35 years, including teaching at DTS. Dr Koh has been with SBC for the last 10 years, and has a passion for people and teaching the Word of God. She also loves to make the Bible come alive by leading tours to the Holy Land, and has led 12 such trips. To help her relax, Dr Koh likes to cook and cross-stitch.