Q: According to Reformed Theologians, when did the Kingdom of God arrive? Pentecost? Jesus’ incarnation? Or the end of the age?

There is a translation debate about the verse saying “the kingdom of God is among/in you” so maybe that’s helpful to the debate??


Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21


Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21

But how do we compare Luke 17:20-21 with Mark 1:15? So the kingdom of God/Heaven is at hand, but it’s also in the Pharisee’s midst?

We also read:

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭1:14-15‬

(Post edited)

  • I'm questioning the scope of this question. Please see this meta post.
    – Luke Hill
    May 29, 2022 at 0:48
  • @LukeHill Made some edits.
    – Cork88
    May 29, 2022 at 1:23
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    cool! Just fyi, the question is going to vary depending on who you ask, regardless of denomination (for the most part). But there tend to be three views you should research. Pre-millennial, post-millennial, and amillennial.
    – Luke Hill
    May 29, 2022 at 1:46
  • 1
    This question doesn't seem very clear. — The final line says "is at hand", but that phrase doesn't appear anywhere in the rest of the question. — The title asks "when did [it] arrive", but the provided quotations don't mention when it arrives. — The difference between the translations is potentially interesting, but whichever way it's read, it doesn't directly relate to the title question. May 29, 2022 at 2:22

1 Answer 1


A wrong understanding of what the Kingdom of God is will lead to a wrong view of how it "arrives", and therefore of when it arrives. During Jesus' time on earth, not only the Jews who were opposed to him misunderstood Messiah's role in establishing the Kingdom, his own disciples were confused by that. Even immediately after believing in the resurrection of Christ, the Messiah, they expected him to restore the kingdom to Israel - Acts 1:6.

The Big Problem initially was Jewish expectation of a restored, earthly kingdom with a human king reigning from Jerusalem. A second problem that causes confusion is what the word "arrives" means, in context of the Kingdom of God. There is a need to consider what it means for the Kingdom of God to be "present". A third point is the need to establish whether the Kingdom of God has ever been without its King - did its King ever relinquish his sovereign right to rule? Did he acquiesce to a usurper's claim to have the right to rule over the earth? From this, it also becomes clear that there's a need to establish who the King of God's Kingdom is.

Despite these important points, I'll stick to your basic question as to what Reformed theologians say about the arrival of the Kingdom of God, though it hardly needs to be said that not grasping what they believe about those related points will impact of any understanding of the question under consideration.

"It is easy to identify Christ's kingship exclusively with his resurrection and ascension in glory. However, this misses the paradox that lies at the heart of the kingdom he brings. In this age, it is a kingdom of grace. The King's glory is hidden under the form of rejection and suffering. At no point was Jesus without a kingdom even in his ministry under the cross, and as we have seen, he is even now 'ever-living' at God's right hand to intercede for us. The crucifixion itself can be seen as a kind of exaltation, as we find in the fourth gospel: 'And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself' (Jn 12:32). We might be inclined to think at first to take this as a reference to Jesus' ascension, but the next verse corrects that impression: 'He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die' (v.33). He is the 'brass serpent' raised in the wilderness, to that ll who look upon him will be saved (Jn 3:14 with Nu 21:8-9)... Even as he was hanging on the cross in dereliction as the enemy of God and humanity, Christ was winning our redemption as our conquering King.

"There is no tribunal so magnificent," Calvin wrote, "no throne so stately, no show of triumph so distinguished, no chariot so elevated, as is the gibbet on which Christ has subdued death and the devil. (Commentary on Philippians-Colossians, 191, Grand Rapids; repr. 1979)...

Reformed as well as Lutheran theology has typically followed the eschatological distinction of Christ's kingship between the reign in grace (regnum gratiae) and his reign in glory (regnum gloriae). God has installed his King on his holy mountain and now demands universal homage [list of 13 scriptures]. But this kingdom is not simply an extension or reinvigoration of the kingship in Israel, as many of Jesus' admirers had expected..."

The kingdom of Christ, then, is in its present phase - before the second advent - weak and foolish in the eyes of the world." Pilgrim Theology, Michael Horton, pp214-6, Zondervan 2011

Don't forget, either, that the gospel accounts show Jesus to have been born on earth AS King (Matthew 2:2) so that even before his crucifixion he was rightly acclaimed as King (John 1:49 & Luke 19:38). Reformed theology often speaks of "The already/not yet" dialectic at work in understanding Christ's kingly office. It speaks of Christ's kingdom being present now (as it should be in believers who gain entry into it by the new birth) and the future consummation. It is a "semi-realized" kingdom. Christians live now in the tension between the kingdom's inauguration and its consummation when "the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).

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