Thanks, Ed! Luke 17:20-21 certainly corroborates what you are saying. So do Jesus’s eschatological and judgement parables. The time of his appearing could be earlier or later than you think, he says, so always be ready. This is the constant refrain.
To me, this would mean using what God has given us to wisely and compassionately care for and bring healing to one another and his creation in the here and now. To bring this as advance notice of the fullness of his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It is to announce and continue to implement what Jesus has already achieved.
Thanks, Matt. Your arguments are why I do think that what the NT says is crucial. God ultimately revealed himself not by Law, divine command, and threatening power, but by the self giving love of Jesus. The kenosis in Philippians and the prologue to the fourth gospel sum it up. His summation of the entire Law and Prophets, “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” becomes how God expresses himself in word and deed.
IOW, we are no longer looking at a being of infinite power and following his commands because he declares them good from an authoritarian position. We are seeing a being who emptied himself of all power and tossed it all away for the good of his creatures, and entire creation. His call is to freely follow him on that same path. This is goodness. This is the basis of his authority, grounded in the materially demonstrated reality that he freely gave of himself in this way.
This is of course if one believes that Jesus is both divine and human.