D-Day (June 6th, 1944) was not the end of World War II. But that day was the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.
Although there were many important battles in the war, most historians would agree that D-Day was the turning point in the war. At this point, Hitler knew his days were numbered, so he began to turn his attention away from the front, speed up the killing of people in concentration camps, and ultimately retreat. Hitler knew he had lost the war, even though he had not surrendered or been captured yet. But he knew it was only a matter of time before he was finally defeated.
Victory was not fully realized until almost a year later, on May 8th, 1945. This is the actual V-E (Victory in Europe) day. Because of what happened on D-Day, there was a victory fully realized a year later.
What does this have to do with the Kingdom of God?
At the cross, Satan had a D-Day. He was in fact defeated. He is a defeated foe. His days are numbered. He knows this and he is on the retreat.
In this retreat, this age still exists. But there was something that happened on the cross, where there is a beginning to the end of this evil age.
In the meantime, Satan is trying to wreak havoc on this earth. He prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking people to devour (1 Peter 5:8), because he knows he is a defeated foe and he knows his days are numbered. But we anticipate a day, in the consummation of all things that there will be a V-Day, a victory day, where what began on the cross will be fully realized in the second coming of Jesus. Sin, death and the devil will be completely defeated.
George Eldon Ladd writes in his book, The Gospel of the Kingdom, “the Second Coming of Christ is absolutely essential for the fulfillment and consummation of God’s redemptive work. Yet God has already accomplished the first great stage in His work of redemption. Satan is the god of This Age, yet the power of Satan has been broken that men may know the rule of God in their lives. The evil Age goes on, yet the powers of the Age to Come have been made available to men.”¹
We live in this tension of “already, but not yet” in the Kingdom of God. The kingdom is here, this age has come, but it is not fully realized. The Kingdom is a present reality (Matthew 12:28), and yet is a future blessing (1 Corinthians 15:50).
What is the Kingdom of God? Ladd writes, “The Kingdom of God is basically the rule of God. It is God’s reign, the divine sovereignty in action. God’s reign, however, is manifested in several realms, and the Gospels speak of entering into the Kingdom of God both today and tomorrow. God’s reign manifests itself both in the future and in the present and thereby creates both a future realm and a present realm in which man may experience the blessings of His reign.”²
One of the blessings of God’s reign is that the power of sin has been broken. The day of slavery to sin is past (Romans 6:6).
Evil is in the world, but its power is not the same. People are no longer helpless before it, for its dominion has been broken.
Yet, because the kingdom is still coming (previous article), we war against evil in the world, including sin in our own lives. Paul a follower of Jesus writes about this, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15).
Just because you walk in the authority of Jesus doesn’t mean you won’t have to dodge a few bullets (or fiery arrows) as you engage in spiritual warfare in this age (Ephesians 6:10-17).
For this reason, it is vital to seek Holy Spirit empowerment (Acts 1:8), engage in spiritual disciplines like prayer, reading Scripture, and fasting. It is also vital to activate every believer’s spiritual gifts, within the local church, in order to advance the kingdom of God (where He rules and reigns) in our lives, and in the lives of those we come in contact with (Ephesians 4:7-16).
This is the mission of the church. Best described in Matthew chapter 24, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
But His kingdom won’t come like earthly kingdoms, who offer peace, prosperity, freedom and justice and then kill tens of thousands of people to make the point. Jesus’ kingdom isn’t like that. “Jesus’s death and his followers’ suffering are the means by which his peace, freedom, and justice come to birth on earth as in heaven.”³
The kingdom of God advances not through coercion or force but by self-giving love.
As shared in my book, The Resistance: The Church and its Mission, the mission is fulfilled through an authentic, loving, holy, truthful, and fervent community that is willing to suffer as it engages in this conflict of the ages.
What’s the result of us completing our mission? Jesus comes again and completes the work He began!
God’s Kingdom does require a decision. In order to enter the Kingdom, a person must submit themselves in perfect trust to God’s rule. The benefit of doing so, is to unleash the power of the Spirit to be set free from the power of evil in our world.
“This is the Good News of the Kingdom. Christ has wrested authority from Satan. The Kingdom of God has attacked the kingdom of Satan; This evil Age has been assaulted by The Age to Come in the person of Christ. All authority is now His. He will not display this authority in its final glorious victory until He comes again; but the authority is now His. Satan is defeated and bound; death is conquered; sin is broken. All authority is His. ‘Go ye therefore.’ Wherefore? Because all authority, all power is His, and because He is waiting until we have finished our task. His is the Kingdom; He reigns in heaven, and He manifests His reign on earth in and through His Church. When we have accomplished our mission, He will return and establish His Kingdom in glory. To us it is given not only to wait for but also to hasten the coming of the day of God (2 Peter 3:12). This is the mission of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and this is our mission.”†
For a great video series on the Kingdom of God, you can find a four-part “Kingdom of God” lecture series from Dr. Gordon Fee below:
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How has the kingdom of God come into your life? Share your comments below.
1 Ladd, George Eldon. The Gospel of the Kingdom. pg. 50.
2 Ladd, George Eldon. The Gospel of the Kingdom. pg. 11.
3 Wright, N.T. Simply Jesus. pg. 199.
† Ladd, George Eldon. The Gospel of the Kingdom. pgs. 139-140.