The Kingdom Of God

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True Bible Teaching - About You and God and Your Hope of Salvation

The Kingdom Of God

The Kingdom of GodTHE KINGDOM OF GOD

The focus of the true Christian hope is the coming Kingdom of God on earth. The Lord's prayer shows this:

"Your kingdom come (that) your will be done on earth, as it is (now) in heaven" (Matthew 6:10)

At Christ's return, "the kingdoms of this world (will) become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15). Then God's will and desires will be completely and openly performed in this earth.

The Kingdom On Earth

The "kingdom of God" is a phrase interchangeable with "the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 13:11 cp. Mark 4:11). The Bible never speaks of the 'the kingdom in heaven'; it is the kingdom of heaven which will be established by Christ on earth at His return. As God's will is completely obeyed by the angels in heaven (Psalms 103:19-21) so it will be in the future kingdom of God.

Entering the kingdom of God at Christ's return is the end result of all Christian endeavour in this life (Matthew 25:34; Acts 14:22); as such, it is absolutely vital to have a correct understanding of it. The doctrine of the Kingdom of God forms a vital part of the Gospel message (Acts 8:12;19:8; 28:23,31).

"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22); it is the light at the end of the tunnel of this life, and therefore the motivation to make the sacrifices which the true Christian life involves.

Old Testament Prophecy Of The Kingdom Of God

Nebuchadnezzars ImageDaniel 2 is one of many prophecies in the Old Testament which speak of the Kingdom of God. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, wanted to know the world's future. He was given a vision of a great statue, composed of different metals. Daniel interpreted the head of gold as representing the king of Babylon (Daniel 2:38). After him there was to come a succession of major empires in the area around Israel until there would be a situation in which "as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly fragile" (Daniel 2:42). This speaks of the present balance of power in the world split between many nations, some strong and some weak.

Daniel then saw a little stone hit the image on the feet, destroying it. The stone grew into a great mountain which filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:34,35). This stone represents Jesus (Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4-8). The "mountain" which will fill the earth represents the everlasting Kingdom of God, which will be established at His return to the earth. Thus the kingdom will be on earth, not in heaven.

"And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed … it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44).

Christ The King

Christ will be the king and His personal return to earth will mark the start of the Kingdom of God. He will reign as supreme ruler over all the earth:

  • "He will reign ... forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:32,33).
  • "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15)
  • "He (Christ) shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth" (Psalms 72:8).

Co-rulers

Christ will share His rulership over the earth with His followers:

  • "And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10)."A king (Jesus) will reign in righteousness, and princes (the believers) will rule with justice" (Isaiah 32:1; Luke 19:17; 2 Timothy 2:12).

The Capital

Christ will reign from Jerusalem, the capital of the future Kingdom. Whilst people will be praising God at various places worldwide (Malachi 1:11), a temple will be build in Jerusalem which will be the focal point of the world's worship (Ezekiel 40-48). Nations "shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" around the temple in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:16). This annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem is also prophesied of in Isaiah 2:2,3:

"In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains … and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways … for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem".

There will be worldwide enthusiasm to learn the ways of God. People will be so motivated by this desire that they will travel from all ends of the earth to Jerusalem in order to gain more knowledge of God.

One Universal Legal System

One Universal Legal SystemInstead of the confusion and unfairness created by man's legal systems there will be one universal legal code - "the law, and the word of the Lord", which will be pronounced by Christ from Jerusalem. "All nations shall flow unto" these teaching sessions. The true knowledge of God will lessen the natural friction between nations. Respect will be paid to those who reflect God's characteristics of love, mercy, justice etc. in contrast with the present exaltation of the proud and self-assertive:

"In His days the righteous shall flourish" (Psalms 72:7).

Agricultural And Environmental Change

The absolute authority of Christ and total justice of His arbitration in disputes will result in the nations willingly changing their military hardware into agricultural machinery:

"Nations … shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4).

The Bible describes the dramatic change to the current environmental crises the earth currently faces. We will see a fertile, fruitful earth in God's kingdom:

  • "there shall be an abundance of grain in the earth on the top of the (once barren) mountains; its fruit shall wave like (the crops of) Lebanon" (Psalms 72:16)."The wilderness … shall be glad … the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall ... rejoice even with joy and singing … for waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool"(Isaiah 35:1-7).

Such immense agricultural enterprise will involve many people. The prophecies of the kingdom of God give the impression that people will return to a self-sufficient, agricultural lifestyle:

  • "Everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree; and no one shall make them afraid" (Micah 4:4).
  • "They shall build houses, and inhabit them (themselves); they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat … my elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain..." (Isaiah 65:21-23).

Even the natural aggression between the animals will be removed: "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together", and children will be able to play with snakes (Isaiah 65:25; 11:6-8). Life spans will be increased (Isaiah 65:20). Women will experience less sorrow in childbirth (Isaiah 65:23). "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35:5,6). This will be due to the miraculous Spirit gifts again being possessed (cp. Hebrews 6:5).

The Ultimate Purpose Of The Kingdom

The ultimate purpose of the Kingdom of God is to give glory to God:

"Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Numbers 14:21; Habakkuk 2:14).

Glory to God means that the inhabitants of the earth will appreciate, praise and copy His righteous attributes.

"The meek shall inherit the earth (in the Kingdom), and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" (Psalms 37:11).

Possessing eternal life will almost be incidental to the real reason for our being in the Kingdom - which is to glorify God. Just a few years of living in the joy of absolute perfection and good conscience with God would be worth all the trauma of this life. That this glorious state will last forever takes us beyond the limits of human comprehension!

An Outline Of Events At Christ's Return

  1. The responsible dead (those who know God's ways) will be raised and taken, together with the responsible living, to the judgment seat (Daniel 12:2).
  2. Those who knew of God's ways but refused to obey will be punished with death, and the righteous given eternal life. Judgment will also be given to the nations who resist Christ (Daniel 12:2; Psalm 2; Psalm 72).
  3. The righteous will then rule over those people who are then alive, but who are not responsible to God; they will teach them the Gospel as "kings and priests" (Revelation 5:10).
  4. This will last for 1,000 years. During this time all the mortal people will hear the Gospel and therefore be responsible to God. These people will live much longer and happier lives (Isaiah 65: 17-25).
  5. At the end of the Millennium there will be a rebellion against Christ and the saints, which God will put down (Revelation 20:8,9).
  6. At the end of the 1,000 years, all those who have died during that time will be resurrected and judged (Revelation 20:5,11-15).
  7. The wicked amongst them will be destroyed, and the righteous will join Christ and His saints in having eternal life.

The Meaning Of The Kingdom For Us Today

Being in the Kingdom of God should be a believer's supreme motivation to despise worldly advantages and materialism. Everything which we can now imagine and strive for is incomparable to the ultimate fulfilment of being in God's Kingdom:

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:30-34).

A believer needs to seek "(God's) righteousness", ie try to develop a love of God's character, which means that we want to be in God's Kingdom because righteousness will be glorified there, because we want to be completely morally perfect rather than just because we, personally, want to escape death and live an easy life for eternity.

If we are "seeking first the Kingdom of God" our perspective about this life will change. We will shun materialism and the effort which it demands. If we selfishly build up our own possessions through ignoring the needs of others, we have denied God's ways - even if we understand all the doctrines of God (1 Timothy 5:8; 6:10).

The fact that the Kingdom will be on earth not in heaven, means that we will not strive for present possession of it, neither will we be swayed by the pressure groups and political groups who only look at the state of the world as it now is (1 John 3:13).

By having this hope, we "draw nigh to God" (Hebrews 7:19). The Hope we have compels us to God's service. And that same Hope inspires us to repentance, too. For if Christ is soon to return, what manner of persons ought we to be? We will want to tell others of this hope (Matthew 10:7; Mark 6:12).

If we will eternally walk in God's ways in the Kingdom, we ought to now also:

"We labour and strive because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men" (1 Timothy 4:10 RV).

The Kingdom of God is not just a time of personal, physical benefit. Jesus Christ spoke of it as a time of peace, a time when God's principles would triumph over men's selfish desires. This can begin right now in a quiet way, in the hearts of those who will be in the future Kingdom.

If we believe we really will be there, then we will look more earnestly for the day to come. We can never be truly enthusiastic about the Lord's return if we are unsure He will accept us into God's Kingdom. The Apostle Paul encourages those who take on the hope of the Kingdom:

"When Christ … appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication …" etc. (Colossians 3:4,5).

The salvation God offers is by grace. This enables us to look forward with eagerness rather than uncertainty to Christ's coming, and our lives are thereby changed.

"The grace of God … teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts … looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:11-13).

A Personal Testimony

I was always worried about the future of the planet, I have a science background and felt we should do all we could to preserve the planet. But I eventually concluded that human selfishness is so great we cannot really do very much to save ourselves. And the reality of death kept on impressing itself upon me. I always thought the Bible was very abstract, that it spoke in vague terms about life on clouds or as a spirit somewhere. I remember some hymns we used to sing as kids at school, and those ideas stayed with me.

My wife got involved with some friends of hers who were into studying the Bible. I was happy for her, she seemed to like it, and they were really nice people she was in with. She must have told me so many times about the Kingdom coming on earth but it all meant nothing to me.

Anyway one day I picked up a book lying around in the bedroom, Bible Basics. There was a picture in it of some guy with his arm around a lion. Must have been a zoo keeper or something, and then there was the explanation that this is what the Kingdom is going to be like. Well I read further, all the Bible verses were quoted out in full so I didn't have to open the Bible itself at that stage, and it impressed me how real and concrete the Bible was. That this Kingdom is really going to be here on the planet we live on.

My wife then became sick and died, they were hard days for me. Her friends kept on about her being in the Kingdom and being resurrected when Jesus returned. Reality started to dawn on me. I read the rest of the book she'd been reading, I got baptized, and now my big hope is that our kids will get baptized when they are older.