What Are We Waiting For?
Amidst difficult times and world conflict, it seems as though the religious world gets louder. Convictions and ideas of all sorts begin to swirl; many of which involve the end of time. One of these ideas we hear, is that at the end, God will establish His Kingdom as a government and that Jesus will rule over the earth from a heavenly government. This notion begs the question, what is God’s Kingdom? Are we still waiting for God’s Kingdom to come? If not, what are Christians waiting for? Let’s see what God’s Word has to say.
Some say that we are still waiting for the Kingdom of God/Heaven to arrive and cite Jesus teaching his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-10, “..Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This use of the word “kingdom” is the same usage we see in the teachings of John the Baptist and in the early ministry of our Lord. Jesus taught in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” and again in John 3:5, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” Not coincidentally, the same criteria Jesus taught in these verses required to enter the Kingdom of God is the same criteria we see needed to be saved and added to the Church [Belief (Mark 16:16), Repentance (Acts 2:38), and Baptism (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21)]. Therefore, one can conclude that the Kingdom of God and the Church are one in the same as opposed to the Kingdom being some type of “government”. This is further substantiated in Matthew 16:18 where in the same breath Jesus said “...I will build My Church.” and told Peter that He would give him the “...keys of the kingdom of heaven.”. I think we see Peter use these keys by preaching the gospel as the Church is beginning. God had Peter preach to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, allowing them entrance into the kingdom. Then later in Acts 10, Peter baptizes Cornelius and his household which opened the kingdom to the Gentiles. Another fact to note is that after the church is established in Acts 2, we do not read ANY teaching of the kingdom of God/Heaven being “at hand” or in future tense as we did before the Church was established. So, since the Bible has clearly shown us that we are NOT waiting on the Kingdom, the Church, to come, what are we waiting for?
We are waiting for Jesus to return. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 the Bible says, “For the Lord Himself will descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” This will be a joyous coming for those that are faithful but a very sad day for those who are not found faithful. We are waiting for our new home. Jesus said in John 14:2-3, “...I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Our new home will be with Jesus, and God’s Word also reveals to us that when the Day of the Lord comes “...both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” – (2 Pet 3:10). Finally, we await Judgement. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that “...It is appointed for a man once to die, but after this the judgement.” I pray that we will all be found watching and waiting when the Lord comes as a “...thief in the night” – (2 Pet 3:10). Eternity is fast approaching. What are you waiting for?