In my opinion, this is one of the most important questions that each individual must definitively answer. Let me be more specific: Can the Kingdom of God be manifested as God originally intended it to be – now? Your answer to that question will determine your perspective about how you see this world system, your purpose in life, and the future.
What Does “Manifested” Mean?
But first, we must begin with what “manifested” means. By manifested, I mean to make visible or actually be realized. Let me give you a biblical example. When our Lord Jesus Christ was ministering to the Judean Israelites in the first century, His message was this: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). This was “the gospel” or good news about the Kingdom.
There are two important points about Mark 1:15 that will help us get Jesus’ viewpoint about what was taking place at that time. The first point concerns the word “fulfilled.” This verb is in the perfect tense in the Greek text. In this case, it refers to a consummated process. In other words, Jesus was saying that there was a process going on in time past that was now fulfilled or brought to completion with continuing results.
So, for example, the Old Testament prophecies that God would restore the Kingdom to Israel through the promise to David that he would have one of his descendants sit on his throne (II Samuel 7:12-13) was now “fulfilled.” This was “the gospel” that Jesus announced. The perfect tense of “fulfilled” means that it was now realized.
Second, Mark 1:15 also contains the verb “at hand.” The “Kingdom of God is at hand…” This verb is also in the perfect tense. This verifies the previous verb “fulfilled” to mean that the Kingdom of God had now arrived. Furthermore, the Greek word for “is at hand” is eggiken (from eggizo) which means to make near. The process of time past had now come to completion and the Kingdom of God had come near.
The Lord Jesus was the Christ and the One whom the Father would cause to ‘reign over the house of Jacob”:
“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” – Luke 1:32-33
In the presence of Christ’s first advent in the first century, the King had come and the time was fulfilled. The Kingdom of God had arrived. The Kingdom was now manifested or realized in Christ Jesus. And to further evidence this fact, He performed many miracles. These signs and wonders, as well as His teaching, manifested and verified the Kingdom.
The Kingdom was realized in the Person and ministry of Jesus Christ. That was the beginning or inauguration of the process that would continue to grow and expand under the New Covenant through Jesus’ disciples who became Apostles in the first century.
The Manifested Kingdom in the First Century
After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father, he was seated on the throne of David (Acts 2:25-36), and His Apostles set out to preach that same good news of the Kingdom. That Kingdom was primarily manifested in and through the establishment of many local church assemblies wherever the Israelites resided. The Kingdom was further expanding and growing, confirmed through many miracles.
The New Covenant Kingdom of God was taking over while the Old Covenant Kingdom was fading away in that “present age.” When Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in AD 70, the Old Covenant Kingdom had come to an end and the New Covenant Kingdom was established.
The Manifested Kingdom after the First Century?
So, the question remains: Can the Kingdom of God be manifested from AD 70 to the present day as God originally intended it to be? Is it possible today? Or, are we to simply wait for another coming of Jesus Christ and only then can the Kingdom be fully manifested as God originally intended?
This is the theme of the Homecoming Conference in April. Are you coming?
In the meantime, I have written a book entitled The Manifestation of the Kingdom of God (Book Seven in the Covenant Heritage Series). It is currently at the printers and will be released soon! You can download the Introduction to this book now. Click here for your free download of Book Seven Introduction.
For the Kingdom!
Lawrence Blanchard, ND, MDiv