Is The Church Being Referred To As The Kingdom In Luke 21:31?
As a Christian is diligent in rightly dividing the word of truth, he must understand how a word is used in its immediate context (2 Timothy 2:15). One of the mistakes commonly made is assuming that a word always has the same meaning in every context. Such is the case with the word “kingdom.”
While it is true that the church is sometimes referred to as the kingdom (Matthew 16:16-18; Colossians 1:13), it must never be assumed that kingdom refers to the church in every case.
The word “kingdom” can also mean“God's reign or sovereignty.” God has always reigned over His creation since the beginning of time (Psalm 95:1-3). He established His throne above the heavens (Psalm 103:19); and it was through Adam and Eve, His vice-regents, (Genesis 1:26,27) and mankind that He set up His dominion over the earth.
When John the Immerser and Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of God was near (Mark 1:15), they were especially putting emphasis on the fact thatGod's reign through the Messiah was about to take place. God the Father was giving His Son, Jesus Christ, to reign at His right hand. Every single person is amenable to the King of kings, but unfortunately, many rebel against God and choose not to allow His will to be a guide and to dwell in their lives (Luke 19:11-27). Therefore, the kingdom (or reign) of God does not have dominion in their heart.
After His ascension to heaven, Jesus began His reign at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-11; Hebrews 1:1,2). When the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 occurred, it served as an additional sign that Jesus was reigning as King. Therefore, Luke 21:31 refers to Jesus exercising a powerful display of authority and judgment as King by utilizing His providential rule through the Roman armies in destroying the physical city of Jerusalem (which sheds further light of the proper understanding of Luke 21:31). Another way to translate this passage is as follows: "the reign of God is near." People would recognize the awesome power of this King! The overthrowing of this Jewish nation is further proof of Who was in charge!
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