Acts 26:18 says, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power (mastery, control, authority) of Satan unto (the mastery, control, authority of) God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Notice what Jesus commissioned Paul to do. He told Paul to open their (lost people’s) eyes; to turn them (the lost) from (the kingdom of) darkness to (the kingdom of) light; and from the kingship, power, mastery, control, authority of Satan, unto (the kingship, power, mastery, control, & authority of) God. Why? So that they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and receive an (eternal) inheritance among those who are sanctified (set apart as holy) by faith (believing on Jesus Christ as Master and Savior). This is the message of the Kingdom of God. This is the great commission. This is what we are to preach.
As I mentioned last week, the Kingdom of God is THE message the church is to preach until the end of the age (Mt 24:14). It was the message of John the Baptist, Jesus, The Twelve, The Seventy, Peter, Philip, Paul, James, & John. The Kingdom of God speaks of God’s rule, His reign, His authority, His kingship, His sovereignty. Secondarily, it speaks of His subjects and domain. This week, we will talk about the Kingdom and the Ages.
Some confusion arises about the Kingdom of God, because some verses speak of it being a present reality (Mt 12:28, 21:31; Mk 10:15, Rom 14:17), and other verses speak of it being a future hope (1Cor 15:50, Mt 8:11, 25:34) . Is it now - or is it to come? Well, the answer is - yes. It must be entered into now, if it is to be entered in the age to come. It can be experienced partially now, in this age; and will be experienced fully in the age to come. Even The Lord’s prayer makes this distinction. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come” (future); and then we end the prayer with “For Thine is the Kingdom” (present). His is the Kingdom now - yet His Kingdom is to come in the future.
While there are subdivisions of time, the Bible speaks of two main ages - The present evil age (Gal 1:4), and the age to come (Mk 10:30). Satan is the god of this age (2Cor 4:4). His kingdom, the kingdom of darkness, operates in this age. This present evil age is his domain. It is in this age that sin, evil, disease, perversion, and wickedness dwells in. These are the fruit - the marks - of this present evil age. This is who Satan is and this is what he brings.
On the other hand, Jesus is absolute sovereign King in the age to come. In the age to come dwells love, righteousness, peace, and joy. It is The Lord’s Kingdom, and He reigns supreme. It is the Kingdom of Light, and it is His domain. These two ages are separated by the Second Advent of The Lord Jesus. Things are going to drastically change when He comes back to earth. He (King Jesus) will rule with a rod of iron.
Does this mean, that until Jesus returns, we can never experience any love, righteousness, joy, peace, goodness, etc.? Are we totally at the mercy of the Satan and the Kingdom of Darkness? Are we just to hold our breath and wait for the age to come? Absolutely not! You see, there is another age running parallel to the present evil age. It is an age that started with the first advent (the incarnation), when God became flesh and dwelt among men. We are speaking of the age of grace, or the church age. I know, technically, the church age started at Pentecost; but that discussion is for a different time. For this present study, we are showing when the present evil age was invaded by the Kingdom of Light. That started in Bethlehem, not the upper room.
The Bible talks about tasting the powers of the world (age) to come (Heb 6:5), now in this time. You see, the powers of the glorious Kingdom to come can be tasted of now, in this time - in this present evil age. They can be tasted of by those under the authority of the King of the age to come, Who is, of course, Jesus Christ. Those under the Kingship of Jesus, still walk in Satan’s backyard, but are no longer under his authority. Disciples of Christ are now citizens of a different Kingdom. We are now in the enemy’s camp, to spoil his goods. This present evil age, though we are in it, we are not of it. We are here as ambassadors for Christ, to do what Jesus commissioned Paul to do in Acts 26:18. We are here to declare another King - One Jesus, The Christ! There is so much more to say on this, but until next time, rejoice in The Lord!