Question:

I have a question that I have been struggling to answer recently: what does the Bible say about God's Kingdom?

Earlier this year I went to a big Pentacostal church (I have nothing against them) and they talked a lot about making God's kingdom here on earth bigger to let every nation know Him (i.e they wanted to expand the church's physical size and impact on the nation saying they wanted to let everyone know the Good News). I believe in spreading the Good News to everyone, but the fact they wanted to make their church bigger made me doubt their real intention. They raised money to build a new campus from donations from the people at church (about 3 million). Most of the time they talk about money and how we should give to them a lot as offerings to receive a lot from God. At first I followed them, but deep down there was a doubt that this church was right. I wasn't at all growing in my knowledge and desire for God but rather caught up in the high feeling of awesome lighting, big speakers, good singers and everyone else around jumping up and down.

I now have moved to another church which has taught me a lot about God and how to live like Christ. But recently I have been thinking about the Pentecostal church, how they said they wanted to bring Gods' Kingdom down here on earth and prepare the earth for His second coming. Is it right to think that we are the ones that have to prepare earth so that Jesus can come down? I know that when the whole earth has heard the Good News and were given the chance to repent or not then He will come, but I'm not sure that we are the ones who have to make this place like Heaven. Some use the line "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" to justify that we must do His will and make earth like Heaven. I don't really know what to think about this topic, whether I should try to help make earth like heaven, or rather just spread His Word.


Answer:

There are several points of confusion.

The kingdom is one of several terms for the church. Some others are the body, the mountain of the house of the Lord, and God's building. Each term emphasizes an aspect of the church because no single term can totally describe what the church is. In calling the church the kingdom, Christ is the ruler (which is why we call him our Lord) and we are citizens of that kingdom. See: The Church is the Kingdom for a detailed explanation with Scripture citations.

Jesus' second coming is not determined by when the Gospel is spread to all the world. Actually that was done nearly 2,000 years ago. "If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister" (Colossians 1:23). Take note of the past tense in what Paul said. Jesus stated that no one knows when he will return. It is not a predictable event. "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Matthew 24:36). Anyone claiming to know when the second coming will take place, to put it simply, is a liar.

This earth can never be made like heaven. It is filled with sin and decaying. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (I John 2:15-17). When Jesus comes again, this world comes to an end. Read II Peter 3:3-13.

What was being taught in that Pentecostal church is a doctrine called premillennialism (before the thousand years). While it is a popular belief, it contradicts many teachings in the Bible. See: Premillennialism and the Bible.

Finally, this church confuses the size of the congregation with the teaching of the Gospel. The church's duty includes spreading the Gospel. "And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:9-11). This can and is accomplished by small churches and large churches alike. It appears that this church tries to draw crowds by appealing to people's emotions. See: Who is Closer to God?