Almost 600 years before Christ was born, the prophet Daniel foretold of three kingdoms which would come after the Babylonian Empire. Then Daniel revealed that God’s kingdom would be established during the last of those kingdoms: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed ..and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). History shows that the kingdoms were: the Medo-Persian, the Greek, and the Roman empires. “And in the days of these kings ” – the Roman Empire – Jesus was born, died, arose, returned to heaven, and began His kingdom.
Before the physical life of Jesus began, Gabriel told Mary, “…you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:31-33).
Before Jesus began preaching, John the Baptizer preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! ” (Matt. 3:2). “At hand” means close in distance, near enough to reach with your hand. In this verse it means near in time – soon!
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 “‘ (Mk. 1:14-15). Later, Jesus sent out his twelve apostles and told them, “..-as you go, preach, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand “‘ (Matt. 10: 7).
Jesus also told His disciples, “…Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power ” (Mk. 9:1). The kingdom would come in the lifetime of some who were there. Jesus could not say, “all” standing there would not taste of death till they see the kingdom. One of them would die before the kingdom would begin. Judas would betray Jesus, then kill himself, and would not see the kingdom.
The kingdom came in Acts 2, after the death of Judas, before the death of any other apostle. Peter told the great audience that God had raised Jesus from death, exalted Jesus to His right side, and “…has made this Jesus, whom you crucified both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). He was announcing that Jesus is now reigning as King! The kingdom began with power that day! Great miracles occurred, which caused the people to listen. Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). After further preaching, “…those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them ” (Acts 2:41). It was the beginning of the kingdom of Christ, which is His church. “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved ” (Acts 2:47).