Talk about a hornet’s nest of issues … our 82d kingdom text (Luke 21:31) is surrounded with them. Here is the text:
25 ?There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.? 29 He told them this parable: ?Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 ?I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 ?Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.?
1. Jesus predicts “cosmic” disturbances, which I have said elsewhere is best understood to be apocalyptic language for the destruction of Jerusalem and the decentering of God’s people: it will no longer be just a Jerusalem-centered people.
2. The Son of Man “coming”, so I think, best refers to Jesus’ vindication before the Ancient of Days.
3. When these things happen, Jesus says, know that “redemption” is near.
4. That “redemption” is then interpreted to mean the “kingdom of God,” showing that kingdom is future.
5. The moral implication of the coming kingdom is readiness.
6. The Son of Man figures prominently in that coming kingdom — that is, as judge Jesus will become manifest and present.
What do we learn about kingdom here?
It is a future state of affairs, connected somehow to the Son of Man’s vindication and exercise of judgment.