Vol. 6, No. 10
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One of the most interesting conversations recorded in the Bible took place between the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate and our Lord Jesus Christ on the day he was betrayed into the hands of sinners. The conversation is recorded in John 18:33-38, which reads as follows:
Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, Are You the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here. Pilate therefore said to Him, Are You a king then? Jesus answered, You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. Pilate said to Him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, I find no fault in Him at all. (NKJV)
One of the reasons this conversation is so interesting, in addition to the fact that Pilate found no fault in our Lord, is that Jesus had opportunity to explain to a Roman ruler the nature of his kingdom. Furthermore, Pilate understood the nature of the kingdom of Christ and saw that it posed no threat whatsoever to the Roman Empire. He was ready to set Jesus free because he found no fault in him. In the conversation, Pilate asked Jesus if he were a king, and the Lord answered in the affirmative. He said he was born to be, came into the world to be and bore witness to the fact that he was a king. On the basis of what the Lord said here, Pilate could have very easily surmised that Jesus was someone who was plotting to overthrow the Roman Empire, as many of the Jews were doing at that very time. However, a previous statement made by our Lord dispelled all such surmising, and told Pilate the precise nature of Christ's kingdom.
In the 36th verse, the Lord said to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." It is upon this verse we wish to center our attention. Let us first look at the word "world." The Greek word translated "world" is "kosmou," which is the genitive singular of "kosmos," which in this passage means, the secular or earthly world. Jesus meant that his kingdom is not earthly in its nature, and it did not come from the secular world of human kingdoms, which rise and fall. If the kingdom of the Lord is neither secular nor earthly, it must be spiritual and heavenly in its nature. If it is spiritual and heavenly in nature, we need never expect to see it physically established on this earth. It is not an earthly entity, but a spiritual one, whose ultimate interest is not in earthly things. That is the reason for Paul's admonition in Colossians 3:1 when he said, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God." God has never promised to establish a physical kingdom on the earth, like those of Babylonia, Greece, Rome or even the Jews, as some mistakenly believe.
There are various religious groups who live in expectation of Christ's coming to establish his kingdom in this physical world. Their expectations are vain, for that is never going to happen. Neither the Father, the Son nor the Holy Spirit ever promised such a thing in the Old Testament or in the New Testament. The promise of an earthly kingdom in which Christ will reign with a rod of iron over the nations of the earth is a myth and nothing more. We challenge anyone to refute the words of Jesus in the passage above and prove that he will establish an earthly kingdom like that of the Jews in the days of David, or of any other nature. It cannot be proven from the Bible.