The preaching of Jesus announcing the kingdom, showed that the time was fulfilled, that the kingdom of God was at hand, that the people must repent and believe the gospel. We should distinguish between the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of our salvation. Christ is the centre of both; but there is a great difference between the preaching of a kingdom which is drawing near, and that of an eternal redemption accomplished upon the cross. It is quite possible that the two truths should be announced together. And, indeed, we find that the apostle Paul preached the kingdom; but he certainly also proclaimed an eternal redemption accomplished for us on the cross. Christ prophesied of His death, and announced that the Son of man should give His life for the ransom of many; but He could not announce an accomplished redemption during His life. Men ought to have received Him and not to have put Him to death: hence His testimony was about the kingdom which was drawing nigh.
The kingdom in its public power has been delayed because Christ has been rejected (see Rev. 11:17), and this delay lasts all the time that Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, until the time when He shall arise from the throne of His Father to judge. God has said, "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." (Psalm 110.) It is nevertheless true that the kingdom was already come in mystery, according to Matthew 13; this goes on during the time that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. But when God's appointed moment shall come the Lord will arise and set up the kingdom, and with His own power will judge the living; and peace and happiness shall be established upon the earth. And we who have received Him, whilst the world has rejected Him, shall go to meet Him in the air; we shall be for ever with the Lord, and shall come with Him in glory when He shall appear before the world, and shall reign with Him; and, what is still far better, we shall be like Him, and always with Him in the heavenly places in the Father's house. J. N. Darby.