The Already… and the Not Yet

The Greek word erchomenos is a strange one. It means both ‘coming’ and ‘going’. You only know which meaning is in view by its context. Was Jesus coming to Jericho or going from Jericho when he healed blind Bartimaeus? Jericho had two sections, an old section, and a new administrative zone (built by Herod) a mile away, which makes this even trickier, but helps explain the discrepancy between Jesus leaving (in Mt 20:29), yet approaching (in Lk 18:35). Can something be coming and going at the same time? Was Jesus ‘going’ from the earth or ‘coming’ into heaven at his Ascension? Depends on one’s perspective! Is a fierce storm coming or going? Depends where (or when) you are. If you’ve ever experienced a hurricane and were caught in that calm period in the ‘eye of the storm’, you know it can be both!

We all experience times being caught in between – trouble has gone, but more trouble is coming; out of the frying pan and (not yet) into the fire. What about Jesus coming into the world? Past event, or future hope? Both of course – if we believe the Bible. Jesus came once, but he’s coming again to finish his work. Already… and not yet. That’s what many theologians believe is the best way to understand the times we live in. Our present age is ‘caught in-between’ his first coming and second coming; fulfilling the OT prophecies (in part), yet looking ahead to a future ‘fuller-filment’. What of the Kingdom of God? Here already? Or not yet come? Can it be both? Let’s see:

We are already saved, but our salvation has not yet been made complete
Jesus has already triumphed over Satan, but Satan is not yet banished from this earth
Sin has already been forgiven on the cross, but we are not yet free from its power
Death has already been conquered, but we are not yet free from its effects
Christ already reigns in our hearts, but is not yet reigning on the earth
Our King has already come as a servant, but not yet come in glory
The Kingdom has already been established, but is not yet here in its fullness
It’s already visible in the church, but not yet as the pure spotless bride of Christ
It’s already functioning on earth, but not yet under its direct, kingly authority

Already, not yet: ‘Your kingdom come!’

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