Reading 13. Kingdom Living. Living Between The Times. The Consummation of the Kingdom

➡ Average Reading Time: 8 minutes
Observing the Text!

Tension Between the Two Ages

We live in the tension of the two ages: this present evil age and the age to come. In his first coming, Jesus brought the future into the present. We do not have to wait to experience the future at some future date. We can experience the kingdom now even in this present evil age. The death of Jesus on the cross made it possible for us to enter into the age to come now. In that event, believers have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God (Col. 1.13). This is good news. Believers can live the life of the age to come now. When Paul speaks of being “in Christ,” he is saying that believers can experience the power and life of the age to come in their present reality (2 Cor. 5.17).

…we live in this present evil age but with the life and power of the age to come.

As we have said repeatedly, we live in this present evil age but with the life and power of the age to come. While the present experience of the future kingdom is only partial, it is real. The complete power of the age to come will not be fully expressed at every moment while this evil age remains. To complete the work that Jesus has already begun, i.e., the inauguration of the updated kingdom, he must return for the consummation of the kingdom to occur.

Interpreting the Text!

The Consummation of the Kingdom (The Second Coming)
The following are the words the New Testament uses for the event of the Second Coming. They are:

This Bible word can be translated presence (1 Thess. 3.13) and arrival (1 Cor. 16.17). The word is often used in a semi technical sense of a visit of a person who has a high rank, especially of emperors or kings who were visiting their provinces. Jesus is pictured in the New Testament as seated at the right hand of God in heaven. He will visit the earth again in person (Acts 1.11) at the close of the age (Matt. 24.3). He will come in power and glory (Matt. 24.27) to raise the dead in Christ (1 Cor. 15.23). He will gather his people (2 Thess. 2.1; see. Matt. 24.31) and destroy evil (2 Thess. 2.8).

This word is translated by revealed (2 Thess. 1.7). It could also be translated unveiling or disclosure. The Second Coming will disclose the lordship of Jesus to the world (Phil. 2.10-11). His apokalypsis will be the revealing to the world the glory and power that are now his (2 Thess. 1.7).

This word is translated coming (2 Thess. 2.8). This word could be translated appearing and would indicate the visibility of the return of Jesus. While largely limited to the so-called Pastoral Letters, Paul used the word to tell the church at Thessalonica that Jesus will slay the man of lawlessness by the breath of his mouth and destroy him “by the epiphaneia of his parousia” (2 Thess. 2.8). The return of Jesus will not be secret or hidden but will be a visible breaking into history of the glory of God.

The Second Coming is the personal and visible return of the same Jesus who departed as recorded by Luke in (Acts 1.11).

The Second Coming is the personal and visible return of the same Jesus who departed as recorded by Luke in (Acts 1.11). The first time Jesus came, he brought the power of the kingdom of God and defeated Satan. The second time he comes, there will be a full restoration of the rule of God in the world. The classic position found in the early church creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed is different from the position taken by modern dispensational theologians. Dispensational theology teaches that the coming of Jesus will occur in two parts: the first, a secret rapture of the church; the second, some seven years later. Often called pretribulational dispensationalism, this view is espoused in the Scofield Reference Bible and modern teachers like Hal Lindsey. Dr. John Walvoord, the former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, admitted in his book The Rapture Question (1957 first printing) that pretribulationism, a coming of Jesus for the church before the great tribulation, is not explicitly taught in Scripture. This admission which appeared in the first printing of the book in 1957 was deleted from later printings (Ladd. A Theology of the New Testament. Revised. 602).

Catching Up (Rapture)
The most commonly used term about the catching up of Christians at the Second Coming is rapture. This event is described in 1 Thessalonians at 4.16-17. The catching up of believers is Paul’s way of expressing the sudden transformation of the living for the weak, corruptible body of this physical order to the powerful, incorruptible body that belongs to the new order of the age to come. It is the sign of passing from the level of mortal existence to immortality (Ladd. A Theology of the New Testament. Revised. Revised. 610-611.)

The most commonly used term about the catching up of Christians at the Second Coming is rapture. Click To Tweet

The Day
Another phrase is the day. This expression takes several different forms, including the day of the Lord, the day of the Lord Jesus, the day of the Lord Jesus Christ, the day of Jesus Christ, the day of Christ, and that day. In view of the fact that for Paul and the early Church the exalted Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:11), efforts to distinguish between the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ, (finding in them two different eschatological programs – one for Israel and one for the Church) are misguided. They all refer to one event.

The Coming of Jesus is an event for all people. It will mean either salvation or judgment, depending on one’s relationship to Jesus. Salvation is not just concerned with people; it also concerns the transformation of the physical order. The coming of Jesus is a cosmic event in which God, who has visited men already in the first coming of Jesus, will visit them again as the glorified Christ. The goal of redemption is nothing less than the establishment of God’s rule over all of creation.

Other Terms to Note:

Rebellion is the word is apostasy and has been translated by some Dispensational Theologians as departing. There is no support for such a translation in ancient literature. The word usually means outright opposition to God. This is not a falling away as has often been suggested as much as it is apathy toward God and his authority (1 Tim. 4.1).

The Man Of Lawlessness Revealed
This phrase is usually understood as referring to the Antichrist. Here is an interesting thought. If verse 1 means the rapture of the saints before the tribulation as stated by John Walvoord in The Rapture Question (152), and in verse 2, the day of the Lord is the second coming of Jesus, and the rebellion and man of lawlessness are revealed during the tribulation when the church has already been raptured, then Paul is telling the Thessalonians something they did not really need to know because they would already be gone in the rapture. Obviously, he is telling them something that they should observe has not happened so they may be calmed about the report which they had received. Paul leaves his readers with a description of the character of the Antichrist. The spirit of Antichrist is always here (1 John 4.3). At the conclusion of this present evil age, all evil appears to be embodied in one human being-the Antichrist. He will arrogate to himself all authority both secular and sacred. He will demand total submission including worship. His character is lawless. His destiny is to be doomed to destruction. His activity will be to set himself up against God. I do not believe that Paul is referring to a rebuilt temple. The temple had not yet been destroyed and the word he uses is not the whole temple but the innermost shrine. He uses this word later in his book to the Corinthians to mean the church (1 Cor. 3.16-17). It is a metaphorical way of expressing defiance to God by the Antichrist.

The Coming of the Kingdom

…all evil appears to be embodied in one human being-the Antichrist.

When Jesus speaks of consummation, he does so with symbols. The Gospel of Mark briefly describes the end of this present evil age and the coming of the kingdom. Jesus speaks about this event in a catastrophic language in which the whole cosmos will be affected. Heavenly bodies contort like the sun darkening and the moon turning to blood. We must remember that this is poetic language and is best understood against an Old Testament background. Dr. Ladd suggests that these words in Mark 13.24-25 are not meant to be taken in exacting literalism while at the same time they do point forward to actual cosmic events. In the First Testament, this language often suggests divine judgment is on the verge of occurring.

What Then Should We Do?
Several remarks of Jesus could cause us to believe that the coming of the kingdom is imminent (Matt. 10.23; Mark 9.1; 13.30-31). On the other hand, there are other sayings that indicate there is a delay before the consummation will come (Mark 13.7-10; Luke 19.11). The tension between the impending and delayed coming of the kingdom is characteristic of kingdom theology. We live in the present and waiting on the not yet. This uncertainty is often difficult for the Westerner to accept. We all too often try to harmonize what should be left in tension. When we take one side above the other, we emphasize one picture to the exclusion of the other. We must understand biblical thought patterns in the historical context in which they were given, rather than forcing them into our own modern analytical categories.

It is clear. Jesus will return. It is not clear when that moment will be. What are we to do? Be busy teaching the words and doing the works of the kingdom in this present evil age.It is clear. Jesus will return. It is not clear when that moment will be. Click To Tweet

Living into the Text!

It is always important to live into what you have learned. Pause at this point and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to meditate on and put into practice some or all of the following.

  • How does living in the tension between the ages affect your day-to-day life? What are you not doing that you should do?
  • In what ways has dispensational theology, which espouses a pretribulational rapture of the church, caused you to live out your present kingdom life?
  • How does the consummation of the kingdom drive you to teach the words and do the works of Jesus? If they don’t, why not?
  • What three things can you do this week to ensure that you are giving away the kingdom of God to those around you?

The articles below come from various Bible Dictionaries and other sources. The posting of these brief articles are to introduce some readers to the vast amount of information that is provided to enhance your reading of the text of the Bible with a hope that it will lead to a better understanding of the text and will lead the reader to an improved praxis in his or her community of faith and personal life. You might read the articles offline in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try Revell Bible Dictionary. Revell Bible Dictionary is no longer in print but is available from Amazon. One of these should suit your personal needs.

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Read Me First


Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.


I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."


Happy Reading!

Read Me Second


Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.


Happy Reading!

Read Me Third


The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.


Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.


Happy Reading!



Guide Yourself into a Kingdom of God Mindset in 13 Readings, which covers a matrix through which you can view the writings of the New Testament about the subject matter of the kingdom of God. You can enjoy this material completely in just 13 readings. Of course, you can take all the time you want, say 13 Days or 13 Weeks. It's up to you. To get the most from your reading, it is important that you read the biblical text along with it. The New International Version (NIV: Electronic Version 2011) is the text on which the studies are built.

The first section of each reading is called Observing the Text, which is an introduction to the section that is being read. Next, you will encounter Interpreting the Text, which suggests an interpretation of the section your are reading. Then, there is Living into the Text, which suggests questions, which may help you live into the text. This final section BibleInfoResources!, provides you with some articles that may interest you. After all, the text of Scripture was originally written for a community of Yahweh or Jesus followers to help them in their pursuit of God. The text was never meant to be for the accumulation of personal knowledge. Of course, the Holy Spirit is the final word for living your life and for the life of a community of Jesus followers. Listen to what he may be saying to your community of faith and personally about what you are reading. But, on a personal level, don’t get a personal application for you mixed up with the meaning of the text in Scripture. Remember this easy rule of thumb: one meaning, many applications. NOTE: Throughout the text, you will see words that have a thin dashed underline. When you place your cursor over the word(s) a small tooltip box will appear with more information about the word(s).

Each reading may include some of the following icons and sections:

Observing the Text! What does the text say? Provides you with a quick overview of the passage.
Interpreting the Text! What does the text mean? Helps you gain an understanding of the meaning of the text as those who first heard or read it may have understood it.
Living into the Text! What does the text mean to my community of faith and to me? Some reflections to help assist your community of faith and you to live into the Story of God.
WordTreasures: Defining the Text! Definitions of key words and phrases.
Behind the Scenes: Historical Background of the Text! A look at the historical background of the text
BibleInfoResources! Helpful resources for further readings. The Resource Information appears at the end of each of the studies. Reading this material in the noted reference popup will enrich your comprehension of the material under consideration.





Antichrist can be defined as against Christ, or an opposition Christ, a rival Christ. The word is used only by the apostle John. Referring to false teachers, he says (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7), "Even now are there many antichrists."

(1) This name has been applied to the "little horn" of the "king of fierce countenance" (Dan. 7:24, 25; 8:23-25). (2) It has been applied also to the "false Christs" spoken of by our Lord (Matt. 24:5, 23, 24). (3) To the "man of sin" described by Paul (2 Thess. 2:3, 4, 8-10). (4.) And to the "beast from the sea" (Rev. 13:1; 17:1-18).

Easton's Bible Dictionary: Antichrist


Jesus Followers


There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.


(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)