One thing we need to always be sure we do is compare Scripture with Scripture. There is plenty of Scripture that shows that Christ will literally come back to earth and reign. Let me just list a few:
(Rev 19:15 NKJV) Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.
(Rev 20:4 NKJV) And I saw thrones, and they sat on them...And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
(Rev 20:6 NKJV) Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
(Psa 96:13 NKJV) For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.
(Isaiah 2:2-4 NKJV) Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Isaiah 11 and 12 (esp. 11:4)
(Isaiah 16:5 NKJV) In mercy the throne will be established; And One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness."
(Daniel 2:44 NKJV) "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
(Zech. 2:10-12 NKJV) "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the LORD. Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
Zech. 8:3-8; 14 (all)
(Matthew 19:28 NKJV) So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
As I said, there are more. There are also many lines of proof based on the Davidic covenant and Christ’s genealogies, for instance. I simply tried to quote or refer to the ones that would be the most straightforward. These passages show that Christ will reign in the millennium but, since the Bible has always proved itself consistent, we need to see how John 18:36 fits in.
So let me return to the specific statement, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The solution lies in the grammatical construction translated “of this world’. It refers not to the ‘location’ or ‘sphere’ of His kingdom, but the ‘origin’ or ‘source’. If Jesus had wanted to say “My kingdom is not located in this world” there was another specific way to say that in the Greek language. He is saying that His kingdom is not one that originates in the principles and powers of this world system. His kingdom is a heavenly kingdom now and always.
Compare this to His words about His disciples in the great high priestly prayer of John 17. In verses 14 and 16 Christ uses the same phrase about His disciples, that they are “not of the world.” Yet the disciples were born in and lived in the world. If location were the issue, this would not make any sense at all. But if source or origin is what He has in mind, it makes perfect sense. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any one is in Christ, He is a new creation.” Jesus said His disciples (and beyond them all Christians) were not “of the world” because they were new creations. Christians are saved sinners who once had earthly origins and motivations but now are heavenly-natured.
Christ’s kingdom is not and will not ever be “of this earth.” Even when He is reigning physically and literally on earth, it will be a heavenly kingdom because that is its origin and source.
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