Is The Kingdom Now And Not Yet?
The big question that unites some and disunites others. If you ask a prosperity preacher is the kingdom now and not yet, the answer which you get might just be the former. Having said that - you may see where I am going with this.
God’s kingdom isn’t the same as ours. The kingdom is dynamic and not static which means that if a demon has been cast out of someone, 'then the kingdom has come upon you’, or, the kingdom spreads upon the person. If a sick person is healed (1 Cor 4:20), the kingdom comes upon the person, if someone comes out of poverty, the kingdom comes upon the person.
The kingdom is basically his will being done on earth as it is in heaven. The kingdom is a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When all of this come upon someone, it is the kingdom advancing or extending over the person. The kingdom also effects racial and ethical issues among the people of God.
The Kingdom Is Now And Not Yet
The kingdom of God is present ‘now’. In Luke 17:20-21 "Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Lo, here it is!' or 'There! for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
The pharisees want to know how they will be able to visibly see when the kingdom has come, and, were probably wondering if Rome would be overturned, but, Jesus says that the kingdom is 'already' in the midst of you.
The kingdom is now, it is present, yet, it is also coming. In Galatians 1:4, it says that we are living in the present evil age. The kingdom will come in it’s fulness at Jesus’s second coming. And, in this present evil age, we are bringing the powers of the age to come. When we extend the kingdom we bring the presence of the future. In the future there is no poverty, so as we feed the poor we bring the future kingdom into the present evil age.
But, the kingdom is also not yet as explained by Jesus in Luke 19:11-12 "As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return.”
In this parable Jesus is explaining that the nobleman had to go to a far country to receive the kingdom. Here, Jesus is stating that he will be going back to heaven for a period of time before he returns to establish his kingdom in it’s fulness by slaughtering his enemies before him .
Hence, the kingdom is also clearly 'not yet’ and there will always remain a ‘not yet. Sickness will remain, poverty will not be completely eradicated, disease will remain, as, we are living in times where kingdom is rising against kingdom (Mathew 24:7). However, in the midst of all of this we are still to pray as if the kingdom is ‘here’ and ‘now.
Fighting The Battle Of Not Yet
A big battle we face now is battling the not yet of the kingdom. Some pastors struggle with it not being here yet. If you look at Luke 19:11-12 and what Jesus says - you'd have to be quite daft to disagree with him on that!
However, the kingdom being not yet should not be a license for us to give up on the miraculous happening in our lives. Yes, the theology does help some people who don't see healings to say "That's why". But, if you take Bill Johnson for example - the amount of the kingdom he sees far exceeds what many parts of the world see! How? I have no idea, but he does! It's visible.
I remember hearing an interview where he said I will pray for someone absolutely convinced that God wants to heal the person. If s/he doesn't get healed, I don't allow that to stop me from praying for the next person to get completely healed. Do I know why s/he wasn't healed? No. But I keep going on and on.
Don't allow your theology to stop seeing the kingdom keep moving in peoples lives and your own!
Living in the kingdom
Every human person has a kingdom, and, to be responsible to it, we have to live under God, but, the temptation is to step out of it and not live under God and to have a kingdom of our own, and, the threat to God’s kingdom in our life is our own kingdom.