THE KINGDOM IN THE ACTS
Some Christians say that after the Lord Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He suspended the kingdom and that another dispensation, the dispensation of the church, began on the day of Pentecost. In other words, they say the kingdom was temporarily set aside and the church age began. However, Acts 1:3 says that the Lord Jesus spoke with His disciples concerning the kingdom for forty days following His resurrection. Furthermore, after Pentecost, Philip preached the kingdom of God to the Samaritans (Acts 8:12). Also, Acts 19:8 says that the Apostle Paul preached the kingdom of God. In Acts 20:25 Paul told the elders at Ephesus that when he was with them he had preached the kingdom of God. When Paul was in Rome, he talked to people about the kingdom of God (Acts 28:23b, 31). In the light of all these references, how could people say that the kingdom has been suspended?
THE KINGDOM IN THE EPISTLES
The kingdom is also revealed in the Epistles. Romans 14:17 says, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." According to the context of Romans 14, the kingdom is the church life. The reality of the church life is the kingdom. The kingdom is not merely a dispensation or a sphere; the kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God is something in the Holy Spirit. This is the church life. Later we will see that Romans 12 tells us about the Body life and that Romans 14 speaks of the kingdom life. In Romans, the kingdom life is simply the reality of the Body life.
In 1 Corinthians the kingdom of God refers to the real church life (4:20; 6:9-10; 15:50). Also, both Galatians and Ephesians tell us the same thing—that the kingdom in the Spirit is the proper church life (Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5).
Now we come to Colossians 1:13: God has "delivered us out of the authority of darkness." The authority of darkness is the kingdom of Satan. God has delivered us out of the kingdom of Satan and has "transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love." We all have been transferred. Once we were in the kingdom of Satan, but now we are in the kingdom of God’s Son. Hallelujah! What a transfer! Have you been transferred? We all must testify boldly, "I’ve been transferred from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God!" Forget about yourself and look to the Lord Jesus. You must say, "Hallelujah! I’ve been transferred! I’m in the kingdom of God!"
Perhaps you have been told that the kingdom of God will come some day in the future and that today, the age of the church, has nothing to do with the kingdom. Perhaps you have heard that the church age is now and that the coming age, the millennium, will be the age of the kingdom. But here in Colossians 1:13 we are told that we have been transferred into the kingdom. Are you sure that you have been transferred into the kingdom of God? If today is the church age and the kingdom has not yet come, how can you be in the kingdom now? Are you certain that you are in the kingdom now? I am very concerned that after you put this book down you will start to doubt. You may begin to think that it is too much to say that we are presently in the kingdom of God. You may look at your wife and think, "Rebellious!" You may look at your husband and say, "No love!" You may look at your children and say, "Too sloppy, too loose!" Whether you believe we are in the kingdom or not, we have the pure Word. We have Colossians 1:13. Hallelujah! We have all been transferred into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
In Colossians 4:11 Paul tells us something further about the kingdom. He says that he and his co-workers worked for the kingdom of God. What are you doing in the city where you are? We all need to be able to declare in a definite way that we are working for the kingdom.
First Thessalonians 2:12 tells us that we have been called into the kingdom. Christianity talks about being called into heaven, but I cannot find a verse telling us that we have been called into the heavens, but we do have a verse telling us that we have been called by God into His kingdom and glory. Also, 2 Thessalonians 1:5 says that we are worthy of the kingdom. This is wonderful! In 2 Timothy 4:18 Paul was assured that the Lord would save him into His heavenly kingdom. Paul did not say that God would save him into the heavenly mansions, but into the heavenly kingdom. Then, Hebrews 12:28 says that we have received an unshakable kingdom. We have received a kingdom that can never be shaken. Hallelujah! James 2:5 says that we are those who love God and that we are heirs of the kingdom. We shall inherit the kingdom. This is our hope. Second Peter 1:3 says that His divine power has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. So we are partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). This is for a rich entrance into the kingdom (1:11). All things pertaining to life and godliness, even partaking of the divine nature, are for a rich entrance into the kingdom.
THE KINGDOM IN REVELATION
Revelation 1:9 says, "I John, your brother and joint partaker in the tribulation and kingdom." John knew that he was in the kingdom. To him, the kingdom was not merely a future dispensation; he was in the kingdom already. Therefore, he could say I am "your brother and joint partaker in the...kingdom."
One day the kingdom of God will be manifested. That will be the fulfillment of Revelation 12:10. The kingdom of God will come in full manifestation. The kingdom of the world will "become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (Rev. 11:15). He will reign as a king forever and ever.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)