It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 13:11
The prophets and the apostles preached the coming kingdom of God (Dan. 2:44, Acts 28:31). But it was Christ Jesus that revealed the mystery phase.
1. What is the Kingdom of God?
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The kingdom of God is when God’s Messiah-Christ is directly ruling the nations from Jerusalem, Israel. His will is done, not by majority vote or a dictating oppressor’s whim. His righteous law will be the constitutional order and employed with equity for the meek, removal of the wicked, and justice for all (Isa. 2:2-4; 11:4-9). Isaiah says: “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us” (33:22). He is the judicial, legislative, and executive branch all in one. Then there will be peace on earth, good will toward man, and the wolf will lie down with the lamb.
2. How Does the Kingdom Come to Earth?
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed…but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44). The heavenly kingdom comes to earth not by religious revival, social refinement, or political renewal but with a destroying cataclysmic judgment: a wrecking ball. Then the sinner and the serpent are violently removed and the Son and His saints peacefully rule. The new replaces the old.
We see this truth in imagery form in Daniel 2. Here a glorious human statue crafted by man’s hands represents worldwide kingdoms. A stone cut without human hands (the kingdom of God) smashes the statue image at the feet. The whole image comes crashing down and breaks into a million pieces. Then the wind comes and blows it away. Here today, gone tomorrow. The stone cut without hands then begins to grow into a huge mountain and covers the whole earth. Good has replaced the evil. There is no coexistence.
3. What is a Mystery?
“the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven—things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13:11, 35). A biblical mystery is a truth that God did not fully reveal in the Old Testament. But He did reveal it in the New Testament for us to understand His plan and ways. As Ephesians 3:4-5 says: “(…the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” Therefore, there will be something about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven that will be new and different (Matt. 13:52).
4. What is the Mystery Kingdom?
“Let both wheat (children of the kingdom) and tares (children of the wicked one) grow together until the harvest…As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world” (Matt. 13:30, 38, 40). In the kingdom’s mystery phase, the enemy Satan will still be active (Matt. 13:19, 25, 39). As the Lord sows His gospel seed in the world, the devil plants tares (weeds) among the true wheat. And rather than root out the tares now, thereby damaging the wheat, the Lord said to let “both grow together” until the end. Here evil is not smashed. Evil and good are permitted to coexist. It’s only at the King’s coming His angels remove the evil.
5. How Does the Body of Christ (Church) Fit In?
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body / And He is the head of the body, the church” (1 Cor. 12:13, Col. 1:18). The church is not the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is not king of the church but its Head. Kings can fire their servants and don’t share their riches and glory with them. But a head and body are one and thus go together and share the blessings. What a relationship! The church is not to rule this world now or to fight holy wars to banish evil (John 18:36). The church is not Israel, a political nation, but a spiritual body (1 Pet. 2:5).
“Christ and the church” is also a great mystery (Eph. 5:32). In between Israel’s rejection of their king-Messiah and His coming back to earth as King, the Lord is forming a spiritual holy nation: the church (1 Pet. 2:9). The church is called out from all nations to uniquely glorify the Name of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in a world that doesn’t (Acts 15:14). Christ’s body is comprised of peoples of all nationalities who have been baptized with His Spirit and equally share His eternal life. The body alone has the life of its Head, and is under His direct rule (Eph. 1:19-23). In the body of Christ there are no tares. The Lord knows His own.
6. Do Local Churches Have to Deal With the Coexistence of Evil?
“the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30). Because the churches of God exist on earth at the same time of the mystery kingdom phase, there will be evil to guard against that coexists in the form of tares (not true wheat). Tares profess to be under God’s rule but don’t possess His Spirit. Tares claim to follow Christ but work against God’s plan and will do so in the Name of Christ. “Christendom” is its name (kingdom of all who name Christ). Christendom has tares and bears evil. The body of Christ does not have tares and it bears Spirit-fruit. The two coexist in the mystery phase where evil is not yet smashed.
Titus 1:16 reminds us of those who profess God but deny Him in works. Timothy was told that demons would seduce some with false teaching. Also, some would turn their ears from the truth desiring their needs to be satisfied (1 Tim. 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 4:1-5). So, don’t let the presence of evil discourage you. It is predicted and will exist until the end. Don’t share in the evil but overcome it with good. Be prepared to endure afflictions.
7. The Churches Will Be Replaced On Earth By the Kingdom of God.
“I also will keep thee (a church) from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world…The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ…thy wrath is come” (Rev. 3:10; 11:15, 18). Revelation, the prophecy to the churches, shows this age ending in cataclysmic judgment. The wrath of God falls: the wrecking ball. It’s not for environmental pollution but moral pollution. It’s not for failure to recycle but failure to repent (Rev. 9:18-21). The greatest earthquake happens. Islands disappear as mountains crumble with 100-lb ice chunks (Rev. 16). Space stars fall like fruit from a tree during a hurricane (6:13). A river of human blood will flow.
The church is taken to heaven before this wrath of God (1 Thess. 5:9). In Revelation 6-19, we don’t see the church mentioned on earth during these judgments. Then the Lord Jesus returns as King. Believers come back with Christ as His wife to reign in glory (Rev. 5:10). The mystery phase is over. “Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).