THE DEFINING OF THE KINGDOM
A remarkable aspect of this discussion is that in the gospels, there is no indication of any explanation of the kingdom (Matt. 3:1-2; 4:17; Mark 1:14-15). It is as though Jesus assumed that his hearers fully understand his teaching (Matt. 22:29; Mark 7:9). The absence of any kind of formal explanation of what was meant by the kingdom, indicates that such an explanation would be absurd and unnecessary, apart from the introduction of a radical or novel concept related to the kingdom. The principle here is that when the Bible (or, in this case, Christ) tells us something, we are expected to bring with us everything God has already revealed to us up to that point.
Jesus never indicated that He was presenting a kingdom that differed from the Messianic kingdom portrayed in the Old Testament prophets. In fact, Jesus continually appealed to the Old Testament prophets to support his messianic claims. (Luke 4:18-21; 7:24-27).
It seems evident that the kingdom of God spoken of in the New Testament refers explicitly to the Davidic, Messianic kingdom promised throughout Scripture, and grounded centrally in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, 15), the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7; Psalms 2, 110), and its realization in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 36:25-27). Thus, the gospel of the kingdom was not some radically different message that was antithetical to the Jews’ expectations regarding the coming Messianic kingdom. However, there is an important issue to remember discussed in two very important posts – the first entitled: “The Promised Messiah and the Confused Disciples,” and its sequel: “The Promise and the Provision [Reflections on the Cross],” regarding the confusion of the Jews over Christ’s role after the rejection of the kingdom.
God does not revoke everlasting promises, nor does He break unconditional covenants. Christ’s kingdom was not redefined to something the Jews would never have been able to discern from the clear promises of Scripture. When the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, the kingdom was not then redefined or annulled, but rather postponed for a generation of believing Jews (Matt. 21:41-43). The promised Messianic kingdom of the Old Testament was legitimately offered to the Jews, rejected by them, and postponed, until a time when Christ will regenerate the heart of Israel, and the nation will enter the kingdom as a regenerated, restored people, having fulfilled for them the nation, seed, land, blessing, and kingdom, as promised throughout the whole of Scripture.
p.s… I think these verses are particularly fascinating regarding this discussion (HCSB, emphasis mine).
The book of Revelation is all about Christ defeating His enemies once and for all, and establishing His kingdom. In Revelation 19:6, we read,
“Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying: ‘Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign!'”
Speaking prophetically of the bringing in of the Kingdom, Zechariah 14:9 says,
“On that day, Yahweh will become King over all the earth – Yahweh alone, and His name alone.”
Speaking of His return, Jesus says in Matthew 25:31:
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His Glory.”