This framework of how Jesus did and did not fit the expectations of His first-century audience and how Jesus, the secret king, set up His secret kingdom brings so much depth to our own understanding of Jesus’ words, actions, and events of the Gospels. And it explains the reaction to Him that sometimes puzzles us. The Jews tried to interpret the coming of the Messiah with a distinctively Old Testament mindset. Of course, this makes sense to us now as this was the revelation they had. And it was God’s revelation.
Throughout the Scriptures, God’s revelation is always true, but not always complete. We cringe at the idea of God’s revelation being progressive. We don’t want to hear anything that may alter our understanding of our eternal God; the same yesterday, today, and forever. Please understand the difference. The character and attributes of God have never changed and will never change. He is without beginning and without end, always the holy and unique God of creation. There is nothing progressive about God’s character or attributes. But His revelation is progressive.
At the time of Christ, most Jews – scholars included – were totally unprepared for Who was coming and the manner in which He came. They expected the Messiah to arrive explosively and carry out His judgment and restoration immediately. The arrival of the Messiah would be the clear demarcation between the old age and the new age (See upper chart below). Both a casual or detailed reading of the Old Testament fit this picture.
Given the advantage of hindsight regarding our Lord Jesus Christ and the explanation of the New Testament writers, we see that the Old Testament was actually announcing two comings. At His first coming, Jesus came to usher in the kingdom of God through His death on a cross providing the way for us to be saved from our sins and to become citizens of God’s kingdom. Salvation was the plan for Jesus’ first coming. And as we learned from the parable of the wheat and the weeds, God’s kingdom and the kingdom of Satan now exist together here upon the earth (See lower chart below). Judgment was not the goal of Jesus’ first coming which He made clear in both word and action.
Jesus’ second coming will finally usher in the Great and Awesome Day of the Lord. And Jesus will fulfill all the Old Testament prophesies regarding vengeance, judgment, and His righteousness covering the earth. Satan’s kingdom will be brought to an end and God’s kingdom, currently underground if you will, will become public in dramatic fashion and will continue forever. The secret king will be worshipped by all and take His rightful place on a public throne.