None of these expectations, of course, had found fulfillment, nor could they do so. The Zealots tried again and again to bring the political freedom from Rome, and each revolt brought worse reprisals from Rome. The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD and finally in 132 AD the last vestige of a Jewish political body was destroyed by the Romans in the last revolt.
The Pharisees in the ideal of the Holy Commonwealth did not succeed in bringing about the Kingdom of God although they practiced the strictest kind of religion. For all its high-mindedness and strict practice, it did not make a Holy people out of the Jews, nor did it bring about the Kingdom of Heaven.
Nor did the Heavens open up and bring down the Son of Man in clouds of thunder and lightning. But they pounced upon every event to try to see in the event as indication that the Kingdom of God was coming. It did not come, because what they wanted was wrong.
It is against this background that the Son of God did come to earth, not to bring the Kingdom, but to reveal the Kingdom. Jesus did not come to bring a new religion. Jesus was born a Jew and His disciples were Jews, and His mission was not to destroy Israels’ faith, but to bring it to its fulfillment. And the Bible does not become two books of the New and Old Testaments, but is one book with two themes. The Theme of the Old Testament might be called the “Coming of the Kingdom of God.” And the theme of the New Testament could be called “The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
The study of the Kingdom of God is not a subject that can be wrapped up in one pots. Indeed, there are many books written about this one subject, and actually, the whole New Testament concerns this one overall theme. In accepting the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, is to accept the coming of the Kingdom of God, for it is precisely the business of the Messiah to establish the Kingdom. And this, the New Testament declares, Jesus has done.
But just what did He do? This question opens up a multitude of other questions, and at this point we seem to have arrived at a situation like the snake swallowing his own tail. Does the subject of the Kingdom of Heaven belong in the midst of other studies, or does the study of this subject not open up the whole study of Christianity? Probably the latter, for the establishing of the Kingdom raises these questions in our minds… What is the Kingdom? Who inherits it? How does its victory come?
In the limited time we have, these are some of the questions we would like to answer. In a sense, the Kingdom of God is a world between two worlds. It is the world to which men are called out of the physical evil word in which they are living, and the world which in living in it prepares men for the life in the world to come.