Justsit wrote:In the interest of accuracy - Jesus specifically stated "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).
The historical Jesus might or might not have said that, and if he did who is to say what he meant by it? The general consensus of scholars is that John was the last gospel written, around the end of the 1st century, and the one least likely to contain much historical material.
The new kingdom was expected to be a transformation of this world, the old world as we know it would pass away, the new one would be a kind of combination of heaven and Earth. In that sense, you could say that it is not of "this" world.
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.
There are several passages in the New testament where Jesus talks about the resurrection and about the Messianic banquet that will be held (a mother asks him, for example, if her sons can sit next to him or there is the question about what will happen after the resurrection when a man has had more than one wife).
Paul explains what he thinks is going to happen like this:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Saint Justin Martyr, a leading Christian writer of the second century, complained against the tendancy already at his time to think life after death was just going to be about going to Heaven as a spirit:
"Seeing as ... the Saviour in the whole Gospel shows that there is salvation for the flesh, why do we any longer endure those unbelieving and dangerous arguments, and fail to see that we are retrograding when we listen to such an argument as this: that the soul is immortal, but the body mortal, and incapable of being revived?
The revived body however was expected to be a "glorious"one like Jesus's after he came back from the dead, immortal, with extraordinary powers etc.
One of the leading Christian theologians and one of the most senior bishops in the Anglican church, NT Wright, explains it here: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html Any period "in heaven" before resurrection, is just a temporary state, he says. "I am more interested in life after life after death".
All this is what the original Christians meant when they prayed "thy kingdom come" - they were waiting for God to act.
The Pharisees also believed in a resurrection into this world, and Jesus is not depicted disagreeing with this, just with criticising their obsession with ritual and legal rules and their moral hypocrisy.
Having said all this, it is arguable that this may only reflect what the early Christians believed. There is little agreement among scholars as to what the historical Jesus said and did. Some people even make a reasonable case that Jesus did not exist. I think he did, but I find it disappointing there is so little to go on. But if he existed, then it seems to me reasonable he taught resurrection and end times, and God intervening in this world.
One of my favourite Jesus sayings, about casting the first stone, does not even appear in the earliest gospels versions, so perhaps he never even said that (though some people argue he did say it and the memory of it was preserved orally before it was added in).