Kingdom of God
15th April 2008, mgh
2) A Kingdom
A Kingdom requires a country and a king.
The Kingdom of Israel
Because of the great faith of Abraham in God, promises were given to him that his seed (multitudinous) would become a great nation, which was Israel, and through his seed (singular), all nations of the earth would be blessed. His seed was the nation of Israel, but because of the disobedience of the people they were scattered and the nation destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Through the work of Jesus (seed singular), Israel's promised Messiah, the hope of the Kingdom was offered to the Gentiles through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ who was the offering for sins. He was the first to be raised to life eternal, which is the promise to the faithful of life in the Kingdom of God.
Some Jews did recognise Jesus as their Messiah and they were to become the first Christians. Famous followers of Jesus such as Paul, Peter and John were among those who took the hope of the Kingdom of God to the Gentiles. Jesus' disciples were promised a special role in the Kingdom as explained in Matthew's gospel.
“Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19: 28)
This promise requires the resurrection of the disciples who all died in hope of the Kingdom and also the revival of Israel as a nation, which occurred 1948. For a fulfilment of this promise we await the return of Jesus to the earth when the dead will be raised.
The future Kingdom
Before the Kingdom is established there will be judgements on the nations. The nations will gather against Israel and Jesus Christ will destroy the invaders, when he returns to the earth. (see Zechariah 14 and Ezekiel 38) There will be a major earthquake in Jerusalem that will have widespread disastrous consequences. Some nations will challenge Christ, but there will be judgements upon those nations. There will be a resurrection and those who have been judged faithful will be granted eternal life, that is immortality. Those who are alive at Jesus' return will if faithful and waiting Jesus' return will be granted eternal life.
In the Kingdom there will be two classes of people. The rulers will be immortal and include Jesus as king and great worthies of old such as David, Abraham, the prophets, the apostles and the faithful from all ages. They are those who have been faithful and obedient to God's commandments. Those who have survived the war and devastation of the earthquake will constitute the mortal population which will still be subject to death.
The Kingdom will last a thousand years at the end of which time there will be a resurrection and judgement of those mortals who lived during the thousand years. After this wonderful period of peace there will still be those who oppose the rule of Jesus and these will be destroyed and we are told the following by Paul in 1 Corinthians.
“Then comes the end, when he (Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death... And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15: 24-28)
This is the climax of the Creator's purpose with the earth, where there will be men and women who are immortal, possessing the attributes that reflect the character of Jesus.
“As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Numbers 14: 21)
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)
This may be one of the most misunderstood passages of the Bible. Paul is notorious for long sentences of connected thoughts, and this is part of a complex wide ranging thought which lasts 2 chapters, and includes what seems opposite advice:
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Cor. 5:11-13)
As I was thinking to write this article, having just read Psalm 46 as I do each year on that day, on January 25th a Bible was found untouched after a tornado hit Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
The Messiah taught his disciples to pray and an important aspect of this prayer is the reference to the “Kingdom”, twice, as recorded by Matthew (Matt 6:9-13). In this prayer the Father's name is hallowed and to him is to be attributed all power and glory.
It was promised that there will be peace on earth...
We have been given many time periods to prophetic events in the Bible. Many people think it too hard, and do not make an effort to understand them. However, if they were not to be understood, why were they given? And the Bible says the wise shall understand (Daniel 12:10).