Who Is Jesus: When Jesus said some of those standing with him would live to “see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,” was he predicting his transformation? Or the establishment of his church? Or his second coming?
Jesus uses the term “kingdom” or “kingdom of heaven” or ‘kingdom of God” in several different ways. In Matthew chapter 12, it appears that the kingdom is already a present reality: “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28)
Then again, Jesus indicates that the kingdom is not only present and spiritual, but internal as well: “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is’ or ‘There it is;’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
On other occasions, Jesus is obviously speaking of a future external kingdom: “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.” (Luke 13:28) And again: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’ ” (Matthew 25:34)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ ” (Matthew 25:41)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
Paul too speaks of a future external kingdom when he wrote: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Corinthians 15:50)