"But Now Is My Kingdom Not From Hence"
When Jesus stood before Pilate, He gave this same teaching that His kingdom was postponed.
Pilate said to Jesus, "Art thou the King of the Jews?
" and "What hast thou done?
" (John 18:33, 35). The Holy Spirit tells us the clear answer of Jesus in John 18:36: "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence
The word "world
" used here means the present order or arrangement, the present system.
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world
," that is, not of the present system. And then He explained more fully "now is my kingdom not from hence
'My kingdom, rejected by the Jews, now will not come at this time and will not be of this present world order,' said Jesus in effect. The kingdom of Christ will not come until the end of this present world order. The present "world
" (the Greek word is kosmos
) will end at the return of Christ when present civilization and governments will be utterly destroyed. Then Christ will have His kingdom.
At the last supper with His disciples before the crucifixion, Jesus comforted the hearts of His disciples concerning His kingdom and promised them that they should eat and drink at His table in that kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
In Luke 22:28-30 Jesus said:
"Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And, I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel
The postponed kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, that is, not of this present order of things. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus gave a similar promise to His disciples and said they should reign with Him on twelve thrones "when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory
John the Baptist, Jesus, and His apostles preached, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand
" (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). Jews, as a nation, were addressed in these first messages, and enormous throngs representing the entire nation listened to these sermons. However, the nation did not repent and accept the King and His kingdom; so soon the character of the message was changed. Jesus and the apostles still preached the gospel, the "good news." But it was good news of salvation at hand, not any longer good news about a kingdom at hand. He called out individuals, saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
" (Matthew 11:28). He still commanded people to repent (Luke 13:3, 5), but He did not say, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand
John the Baptist, Jesus, and His apostles preached, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand
Peter, after the wonderful outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, again addressed the Jewish leaders and preached to representatives of the whole nation and said, "Repent ye therefore
He did not say in that passage that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand as it had been before the Jewish leaders and people rejected Christ and refused to repent. Instead He plainly tells them that they should now repent, not expecting the IMMEDIATE setting up of the kingdom and that their national sins should be IMMEDIATELY blotted out, but the sins of Israel as a nation should be blotted out AT THE RETURN OF CHRIST!
Read Peter's exhortation and see how different it is from the early teaching of John the Baptist and Jesus, that the people should repent to obtain the kingdom which was at hand.
Acts 3:19-21 says: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began
Of course, we know that an individual's sins are blotted out when he believes in Christ (John 3:18), but the sins of Israel as a nation will not be blotted out until "the times of refreshing
" when God "shall send Jesus Christ
" to the earth again "whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution
Then, in that time of refreshing and restitution of the things promised by the prophets, the throne of David will be restored, Israel will be restored and their sins as a nation will be blotted out from the sight of God, and they will be no more punished.