The church of Christ is the kingdom of Christ! Since the doctrine of premillennialism is built on the theory that the church and the kingdom are two different things, the fact that they are the same completely destroys this widespread premillennial heresy.
The prophet Daniel said, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44). The “these kings” refer to the “kings” or rulers of the Roman Empire. Jesus said in Mark 9:1, “Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” The “power” to which Jesus referred was the power of the Holy Spirit which came upon the apostles of Jesus on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
Of course, Daniel was not the only prophet who spoke of this great and powerful event. The prophet Joel said, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). The apostle Peter, whose words are recorded in Acts 2, said that the events of that day were the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Note his words: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit: and they shall prophesy” (vv. 16-18).
Jesus said that some of the people to whom He was speaking would not die until they had seen the kingdom of God come with power (Mark 9:1; Matt. 16:28). It should be noted that if the kingdom did NOT come, then there are some very old people living in the world today!
The teaching of the New Testament is clear. The kingdom of God does exist today. Those converted to the Lord have been delivered from the power of darkness, and have been translated into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13). But the kingdom of God is the church. The kingdom aspect of the church simply describes its type of government, a monarchy. Jesus is the King. And, He is the Head of the church which is His (spiritual) body (Col. 1:18). A simple study of the context of Colossians 1:12-18 demonstrates the fact that the church and the kingdom are one and the same institution.
To my knowledge all those who say that the church is unimportant in the scheme of redemption—that man can be saved outside the church—hold to the theory of premillennialism. As is true in other traditions, when one denies a plain teaching of the Scripture, he must concoct some theory in its place. May we all follow the clear teachings of the Scriptures. This is the “truth” that will make us free (John 8:32).
-Glenn B. Ramsey