The last earthy sight of the pierced hands and feet of Christ, going up through the Shekinah cloud, is presently the sight of all who are now in heaven, including the disciples who witnessed His ascension. The Lord has gone up, un-submissive to the forces of gravity, and in defiance of the prince and power of the air, He ascended on high and sat down. (Ep. 1:21) However, this position is temporary, and only until His “enemies be made his footstool” (He. 10:13) the Son of man will come again and be crowned Lord in His own Kingdom.
This kingdom is often coupled with heaven, or expressed as heaven on earth. Probably because of the nearness and communion with Christ and that all saints will reign with Him. But there is a definite difference between the place of spirits presently occupied by millions and the kingdom supremacy which is yet to begin on our present earth. The prophets wrote of this kingdom, and ancient prophecy will be fulfilled, the Lord of hosts will reign in mount Zion, which is Jerusalem. (Is. 24:23) “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness…” (Is. 32:1) “…There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel.” (Nu. 24:17)
The Rule of the Kingdom. (Ps. 96:1-13)
There are four past kingdoms referred to in scripture; Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Rome. The king Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, a stone cut out without hands, which smote the image, and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.The large statue made of iron and clay in chapter 2 is prophetic of past kingdoms which will be overtaken by the kingdom from heaven. (Da. 2:44) Daniel’s dream in chapter 7 reveals that these kingdoms are four, and that the last kingdom is the Roman Empire. They are represented by beasts, because of their fierceness, cruelty, and tyranny. Our Lord’s kingdom is represented by a man, because of the lawful-humanity-rule of the messiah kingdom. He will govern with a rod of iron to judge sin, but in fairness and mercy to all who will obey the laws of the just kingdom. Daniel saw the son of man coming from heaven, not rising out of the sea, or from the earth.
Commendable Bible students agree that the ten horns are ten kings or leaders of nations who will be within the Roman Empire of nations. The other leader (Da. 7:24) who will arise after them is the man of sin who will dominate all, but especially three of the ten kings. Paul writes of the same man to the Thessalonians near five hundred years later. (2 Th. 2:4) Our generation has seen the rise of the European Union, which may be a “resurrection” of the Roman kingdom. The Son of Man coming from heaven and receiving the kingdom from the ancient of Days (Da. 7:13) is certainly Jesus, who will take the kingdom from His Father’s hand.
Jeremiah also, writes of a coming King: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will raise unto David a righteous branch.” (Jer. 23:5, 6) Such Illustrative names of Israel’s promised messiah express his character, but are also expressive of His reign. He is presently the door, the way, the truth and the life. He will be the bright and morning star. (Re. 22) and He will be the beautiful and glorious branch. (Is. 4:2) Isaiah writes; “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Is. 11:1)
In Zechariah’s prophecy, He is called my servant the Branch. (Zec. 3:8) and the man whose name is the Branch. (Zec. 6:12) These scriptures concerning our Lord as future King have been associated with the four Gospels, and are also associated and characterise his future reign.
A very different word is used in Isaiah 53, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, as a root out of a dry ground” that tender plant was cut down by Israel, but will be the Branch who will reign in righteousness.
In the New Testament He is the vine, and we are the branches. (Jn. 15:5) The fruit of the true vine is spread and seen today through the church. But will be more seen in the kingdom age. Our Lord instructed his own to pray; “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…..” (Mt. 6:10) We note that the kingdom is the Father’s, for Jesus said; “thy kingdom come.” but the same kingdom will be given to the Son. (Mt 26:29, Lu. 22:30, Da. 7:14)
The psalmist writes of God giving the world to his Son for an inheritance. (Ps. 2:6) He told his disciples that they would sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Mt.19:28) He spoke of the kingdom to his friends in the upper room. (Luke 22:18) In His kingdom there will be adivine banquet, at which Israel will sit. Part of Israel will be in resurrection state; for at this table will sit Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and others. This was the faith of the penitent thief. (Lu 23:42) Jesus was common and suffering a disgraceful death, but the penitent thief believed that He had a kingdom. The Lord promised him paradise or the third heaven, until the kingdom.
The mother of Zebedee’s children, desired that her two sons would have a prominent place in his kingdom. (Mr. 10:35-40, Mt. 20:21-23) We see that our Lord does not deny distinctions of honor, but teaches that before glory there will be suffering, and that He himself must drink of a bitter cup, and be baptized with a bloody baptism. And after suffering both Israel and the church will reign and be glorified together. Today our Lord sits in his Father’s throne, but in the kingdom state, he will have a throne distinct from his Father, in which His saints will sit with him, (Re. 3:21) there will be positions given, as rulers over ten cities, and over five cities. (Lu. 19:19, Re. 20:4)
John saw twenty-four thrones surrounding the throne of God. (Re. 4:4) We know that the number twelve is suggestive of government. Double twelve is suggestive of Israel and the church which will both have a part in future world government.
The apostle spoke of the kingdom as the “world to come” (He. 2:5) the first world, under Adam is now under judgement because of sin. Satan, the enemy of God tempted our first parents in the garden, and Adam did not rule long over the works of God’s hands. But the eternal Son, the last Adam, will have dominion in the new world. All things will be in subjection to him in the glorious “world to come.” Which will be a world where saints will have dominion over all Satan inspired sins, for Satan will no longer be the prince and power of the air. Wrestling and combat against him, as described in Ephesian 6 will be over. Although wicked men will live in the kingdom state, they will not be deceived by Satan, but controlled by their own selfishness and pride. The sin nature and the wickedness of the human heart will again be revealed. Satan is incorrectly blamed for many things today, the wickedness of the human heart is active without any movement of Satan. Even a thousand years of peace and prosperity will not change the sin nature, for at the end of the millennium wicked men will surround the camp of the saints, waiting for Satan to lead them. (Re. 20:7)
The People of the Kingdom. (Ro. 4:13)
The kingdom will include many people. (Re. 5:10; Israel will be “made princes” and lowly believers will be set among princes, and shall inherit the kingdom, and shall reign with Him who said; “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Mt. 5:5) Psalm 45 speaks of great majesty, and of a triumphant conqueror. (Ps. 45:1-17) Of a brilliant court and a queen, with honourable women, and maids of honour. The king’s daughters, and the rich among the people are also mentioned in the psalm, which illustrates the church, Israel and degrees of honour given to saints. His reign will include many who will come from the four parts of the earth. (Lu.13:29) And all who have died, while waiting for the kingdom, as the unnamed thief, Simeon, Anna, and many others will be raised to reign with them. The people of his reign will include Abraham, the patriarchs, and the prophets of the Old Testament.
The eternal Son will reign in the glory of his deity, and in the glory of his human nature. Israel will reign with their Messiah and will serve Him with great delight and joy. Priests in the temple will draw nigh to him, and offer up sacrifices as in days of old. They will be free from the evils of the antichrist and the evils of a hostile world. They will be in the perfect enjoyment of all their land, promised to their forefathers, but not yet possessed.
Jesus will be as a young bridegroom, for the church was chosen for Him before the foundation of the world. The church will be honored in the kingdom, as Paul tells us. (Ro. 8:17, 2 Tim. 2:12, 1 Co. 4:8) John wrote of our Lord’s promise; “To him that overcomes, will I grant to sit with me on my throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Re. 3:21) Every saint today is an overcomer, as it is written, we are more than conquerors through the gift of salvation. (Ro. 8:37) As His children we are heirs of God. (Ro. 8:17) Christ is heir of all, and we are joint heirs with him. We will share in his honour, dignity, and glory. (Re. 1:6; 3:21; 5:10)
As Jacob saw angels ascending and descending from heaven, (Gen. 28:12) so it will be in the millennium age. Glorified bodied saints will descend to earth from the heavenly city. So the mount of transfiguration, (Mt. 17) gives us a preview of that glorious day, when mortal men will see resurrected men in Israel.
The Establishment of the Kingdom (Re. 19:11)
Ezekiel has written much about the kingdom, and events preceding it. “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more until he come, whose right it is, and I will give it Him.” (Eze. 21:27) Worldly empires have been overturned, and will be more prior to the reign of Christ. There were overturning’s of empires before his coming to Bethlehem and there will be political overturning before the designate of the Father is established king.
Ezekiel saw the glory of Elohim entering the east gate. (Ez. 43:4) Which has been falsely interpreted as the Lord entering Jerusalem immediately after he descends to the Mount of Olives, the east gate of the city of Jerusalem being the accessible gate from the Olivet garden. We remember that our Lord entered Jerusalem through the east gate from the Mount of Olives in Matthew 21. In the year 1540 the east gate of Jerusalem was sealed shut by the then dictator of the Ottoman Empire. The Muslim leader thought to stop the messiah, and sealed the gate with a very thick wall of cement. However this gate is not the gate that Jesus rode through in His triumphal entry in AD 30. The sealed gate was not constructed until centuries after the time of our Lord on earth. The original gate that Nehemiah built is B.C. 445 is now underground, as documented by archaeologist James Fleming in 1969.
It is clear that the Lord will come first to the Mount of Olives, but his entering Jerusalem may not be until after Armageddon (Re.16:16) Zechariah 14 tells of the people of Israel being rescued by a valley created from the split mount of olives, (Zec.14:4) so we can assume that Armageddon will immediately follow his coming to the Mount of Olives.
Isaiah writes that the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun”, (Is. 30:26) and of a day of great slaughter. Namely the great slaughter of kings, captains, and mighty men; which John describes as the supper of the great God, to which the fowls of the air are invited to prey upon. (Re. 19:17, 18)
That the Lord will enter the temple on Mt. Moriah, there is no doubt, but it is not clear when the event, long waited for by Israel, will be. The prophet’s vision of the glory of the Lord departing from the temple (Eze. 10) is maybe a reference to the temple destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BC., and chapter 43 may be a reference to the Lord entering the millennial temple. For in chapter 44, Ezekiel states that the eastern gate is to remain shut because the God of Israel has entered through it. This shut gate is symbolizing the permanent presence of the Lord among His people. In the millennium the glory of the Lord will not depart from the temple again. The gate will only be opened on the Sabbaths and New Moons to allow for the priestly duties of the prince. (Eze. 46:1–2) We also wish to emphasize that the east gate in Ezekiel 43, is the gate of the temple, not the gate of the city of Jerusalem.
The Land of the Kingdom. (Zec. 14:4-10)
In this day of world-wide pandemics and global pollution we do well to remember the prophetic word regarding planet earth. The land of Israel will extend to the river Euphrates. Which is over one thousand kilometres east of Jerusalem. (Ge. 15-18, De. 11-24, Jos. 1-4) Most of Iraq, Jorden and Syria will become Israel in the age of the kingdom. The prophet Ezekiel also underlines the overall size of the land and temple. The temple will be one mile long and wide, (1609 meters) and a very large parcel of land given to temple priests.
All land, and the root element of all matter, was spoken into existence by the breath or word of God. The same Hebrew word is used ten times in the first chapters of Genesis. However another Hebrew word is used in Genesis 2; “the Lord God FORMED man from the dust of the ground.” The two words are found many times in the Old Testament. All bodies, both human and animal, were formed from the ground. The body of the first woman was formed from the body of the man. The creator finished his work of creation. (Ge. 2:1) But His forming or re-making work is not finished. Before the Kingdom era the earth will be re-formed or redesigned. This re-structuring will happen during a specific time period prior to the thousand year reign, as scripture indicates both by the prophets and by John the Apostle. The first re-making of the earth is recorded in Genesis 1:3. There was a remaking during the flood, there will be another re-making during the great tribulation period, and again, a complete re-making after the thousand years. Nature and the land will be healed (Isaiah 11) and there will be a healing river. (Ezekiel 47) It will flow from the temple altar through the east gate and afterward flow south. The river will enlarge after it leaves the temple. It will flow through Jerusalem and divide in two, half will flow into the Mediterranean and half into the Dead Sea. This earth renovation will result in longer physical life.
No man or woman previous to the kingdom lived a thousand years. Adam and Methuselah lived long, but the kingdom reign will first see one thousand years of life.
Because of the healing of the land and sea, travel will be without peril. It may be that the sun/wind power movement which has begun in our generation will be the means of travel power. Fossil fuel and pollution will have no place in the new clean future world. The prophets write of abundant food production from a healed earth. (Is. 30:23, Amos 9:13, Zec. 8:12; 10:1)
The City of His Kingdom. (Is. 52:1)
There is no city that has so stirred the prophets, so motivated kings, and has so interested the mighty men of our world as Jerusalem. Jews have always been attracted to it, and have always called the city their home. Many Psalms reveal thoughts of the deported Jews, during the long centuries of dispersion. This profound desire for Jerusalem and the Temple, has given inspiration to numerous prophecies, many of which have not yet been fulfilled. The Lord loved Jerusalem, and wept over it. He knew the street leading to the temple and ate the Passover with His friends in the upper room. His triumphant entry into the city was hailed by many, but His death outside Jerusalem’s walls crushed their faith and even true believers doubted that the Nazarene was the Messiah. (Lu. 24:21) But Jesus will walk the streets of Jerusalem again, as we read in Psalm 24.
Jerusalem is first recorded in Ge. 14:19, when Melchisedek, the priest-king met Abraham. The town was then known as Salem, a smaller city near several hills, which included mount Moriah. Here Abraham offered up Isaac, but an angel stopped him. Years later another angel who came to judge the army of Israel was seen by David on the same mount. (2 Sam. 24:16) Because of these memorable events, mount Moriah became the site of the temple. The city is also known for the house of David, and not far away, on mount Ophel was a great tower, and the residence of the Levites.
Historians tell us that the name Jerusalem means “the foundation,” or the “inheritance of peace.” Ancient Rabbis have combined Jireh and Shalem, and say that Abraham called it “Jehovah-Jireh.” (Jehovah will provide) Others say that Shem had named it “Shalem.” Jirah was joined to make; “Jireh-Shalem”, or Jerusalem.
It is by divine choice that Palestine became the country of Jehovah’s people, and Jerusalem its capital. As we perceive in the call of Abraham and Jerusalem taken by David years later. (2 Sam. 5:7) The Middle East has since become the battlefield of nations, and the last battle will gather all nation in the valley of Jehoshaphat, not far from the city.
A most memorable time of Israel’s past is the gathering of thousands on the eve of their harvest festivals. (Leviticus 23) From every part of Israel they came and were impressed with the Holy city, as the Psalms and other scripture seems to indicate. Approaching Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, or coming from the east, the whole city, about four miles in circumference, came into view. According to Jewish historians, two million were often counted at the time of the Passover.
Alas, because of Israel’s idolatry the years of blessing and worship ended. Jehovah permitted Nebuchadnezzar to come against His people, and in 600 B. C. the city was besieged and the temple destroyed. (2 Ki. 24:13, 2 Ch. 36:7) The valuable furnishings of Solomon’s magnificent temple were taken to Babylon. (Is. 64:11)
There was much excitement and rejoicing when Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah and many more of the captivity returned to Jerusalem in 539 B. C. And some years later the rebuilding of the temple was completed. (Ezra 2:2; 5:6-17; 6:1-15)
After five hundred years of decay and assaults of hostile armies, the temple again needed rebuilding. King Herod, willing to please the Jews, began a massive reconstruction work in 18 B.C. Which continued during the life of our Lord on earth. (Jn. 2:16-21) Completed in A.D. 65, but five years later the temple was again destroyed. General Titus of the Roman army, gave instructions to preserve the temple.
However God’s predicted word is never wrong, (Lu. 19:44) and the temple was utterly destroyed in A.D. 70, and was never rebuilt.
The prophets agree that a new temple in Jerusalem will receive the messiah, and that Jerusalem will be the prominent city of the Kingdom reign. Ezekiel writes of the future Jerusalem, and called it; “Jehovah shammah” the Lord is there. (Eze. 48:35)
The New Jerusalem. (Re. 21:23)
Another city was seen by John and long looked for by Abraham. John saw it in heaven, and he saw it coming down to earth. Its brightness is underlined, so much so that many on earth will walk in its light. (Re. 21:23) The Lord tells us that the city will be a place of security and eternal citizenship, for in Revelation 3:12 the Name of God and the name of the city are written on the overcomer. Its dimensions are four-square proclaiming the culmination or the perfect completion of all divine labor with humanity. It will be the home of the bride, and of repentant Israel. The salvation of both was foreordained and designed to fit into the city, and not the city made to fit the redeemed.
The foreknowledge of God is clear and the scriptures tell us that the church and Israel were in the mind of God even before creation. (Ep. 1:4) Divine inspiration wrote the names of twenty-four men on foundations and doors of a heavenly city before they were born. The throne of God is at the top of this city. Gabriel told Mary of the power of the Highest, and Isaiah writes of the Most High God, the high and lofty One. (Is. 57:15) El-ion appeared to Abraham in Genesis 14, which Name has that meaning. And Christ is called: “The Son of the Highest.” (Lu. 1:32)
But we notice that the names on the foundations are not the sons of Jacob, as we would suppose, but the names of the Apostles. This would indicate that the Church was the “foundation” or in the mind of God before Israel. It is to be noted that Israel is from the foundation of the world. (Mt. 25:34) but the church was given to Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. (2 Tim. 1:9)
The New Jerusalem is contrasted with Babylon,
(Revelation 18) which was the world-renown known city of its day. It was 28 kilometres long and wide, built on both sides of the river Euphrates. A river also runs through the heavenly city, (Revelation 22) but it is 2000 kilometres long, wide, and also 2000 kilometres high.
The New Jerusalem is also contrasted with the mother of harlots, which is the false church system. (Revelation 17) She promises salvation to the nations in exchange for prestige, fame and riches. The true bride invites the nations to drink freely of the living water, and seeks no riches or fame. (Revelation 21)
John also writes of a two-creature contrast; the beast and the Lamb. The beast will force men to worship him when Satan is cast on the earth during the days of Jacob’s trouble. Satan cannot do so now, men will follow him, or the lamb, voluntarily.
The New Jerusalem will come down from God, will pause over the earth, and will come to the new earth. The first world city, Babel (which means confusion) moved up from men, (Ge. 11) and confusion has “moved” through the centuries, propelled by men of every age. The heavenly city, (the opposite of confusion) will come to men from God.
The size of the city and the millions that will fill it reveals the greatness of God. Its moving to earth reminds us that the will of God was always to dwell with men; in Eden, in the tabernacle and temple, in the Church and lastly, in the New Jerusalem.
The prophet Zechariah writes; “in that day shall there be one Lord, and his Name one.” (14:9-20) Zechariah also writes of holiness which will be so universal, that, proverbially speaking, it will be written on the “bells of the horses,” and every pot in Jerusalem and Judah, shall be sacred to the Lord of hosts. There will be no more distress, and the Lord will encourage all to come to him, to find plenty and protection. (9:9) His dominion will be all the earth, (14:9) the land of Judea, and the city of Jerusalem, will be inhabited in safety, (14:10) the nations, and the inhabitants of many cities, hearing that the Lord of hosts is in Israel, (8:20) will come up to Jerusalem to see the wonder and glory of Christ and His house. (9:17)
Zechariah 11:12 was fulfilled when our Lord came to Bethlehem. But the scripture “they will look on him whom they have pierced” (12:10) is yet to be fulfilled. The repentance of Israel will be as mourning for a firstborn son. (12:11) indeed, there will be a conversion of Jews in latter days. Israel will repent of the crucifixion of their Messiah. Isaiah 53 will be fulfilled, the Nazarene’s death which they thought to be the judgement of God on an imposter, will be recognized as the necessary sacrifice for their sins. The scattered sheep will turn to the Lord. A cleansing fountain for the cleansing of sin will be opened for Israel. (13:1)
The Temple of His Kingdom. Ezekiel (40~43)
As previously mentioned, it seems that the Lord will enter the mount Moriah temple only after Armageddon, which will be preceded by His descend to the Mount of Olives.
But Ezekiel writes of a new temple, on a high mountain north of Jerusalem. This literal temple will be erected for the world, and many will go up to see the glory of the God of Israel. (Zec. 14:16) the preacher has told us that the Lord’s Supper is a looking back to the cross, a looking in, a looking forward, and a looking up. (1 Co. 11:23-32)
In the kingdom era Israel will look back, remembering the Lamb who gave Himself. They will certainly look up, praising Jehovah and also looking to the heavenly city. They will also look forward, to a thousand years of worship and peace in their land. And they will look in, for they will still be mortal sinful men.
But we must remember that sacrifices were first a symbol of devotion. Israel worshiped by altars before Leviticus days. Twice in Ezekiel 44, verse 7 and verse 15, we read of the fat and the blood. The fat mentioned first reminds us of Abel who offered the fat. Which was symbolic of energy, or of self on the altar.
The offering of sacrifices has never left scripture theology, the church has an altar, as Hebrews 13:13 tells us. We offer sacrifices today, 1 Peter 2 tells us to offer spiritual sacrifices and Romans 12 exhorts us to offer living sacrifices, to offer our bodies, or ourselves. The Levitical sacrifices takes us to the cross, where we meditate on His death, especially at the Lord’s Supper. But the pre-Levitical sacrifices points us to Romans 12, which is the personal devotional part of our Christian life. We do not forget that the greatest, or largest sacrifices are associated with thanksgiving, not with sin. The sacrifices of Noah after the flood and Solomon, after the building of the temple. The careful reader will find no ark or mercy seat in the new temple. No scapegoat, and no red heifer are mentioned. In Ezekiel chapter 44, where contact with a dead body is mentioned, there is cleansing seven days, but no red heifer ashes. Ezekiel is most detailed in his book and we believe that no temple items are forgotten. These temple items not present, predict a change in temple worship. The priest and the people will be occupied with devotion and remembrance, much as the order of our worship today.
Immortal Bodies in the Kingdom. (1 Co. 15:52)
The Christian hope is the rapture of the church, when every saint who died in Christ, and is presently in heaven, will be united to their bodies again. Every believer who is still in their mortal bodies will be changed at this time, and will join the resurrected believers in the air. (1 Th. 4:16) Souls in heaven are now fully conscious spirits, but all were originally designed to have an eternal body. This is the “abundant life” which the Lord described in John 10:10. It will be unlike any life previously created. Superior to angels, for angels will never possess eternal spirit-bodies.
Perfecttangible body life will begin at the resurrection. Gabriel and the angels at the tomb, are predictive of our new bodies. As was the Lord who appeared to Abraham and others. But both the human body and the resurrection body of our Lord had no precedent. We cannot wholly describe this body, only read of our Lord’s appearing suddenly, walls of building being no hindrance, yet eating with his disciples and inviting Thomas to touch Him.
The mind is the spirit of man, skillfully interwoven into our bodies, so has been infected by sin. Our dictionary of knowledge now has malfunctions, as to understanding, and as to recollection. We will have the same mind in the resurrection, but with perfect understanding and recollection. Our mind storage limit will be the same. Our minds are presently limitless as to storage, we may not remember, but all knowledge and experiences of life is stored in our minds. …We are created in the image of God. General physical aspects of the body may also be the same, as taught figuratively in 1 Corinthian 15. Some seed resemble the grain sown, some do not. Infants who died will not have an infant body. Believers who died in mature adulthood will be young. Believers who died at old age will be young again.
The apostles wondered why the establishment of the kingdom could not be immediately after His resurrection. (Acts 1) The Lord spoke of the Holy Spirit who would come and divine power given to preach the Gospel to the whole world. It is also clear that the resurrection of past Israel saints must happen before the kingdom, physical men will share in a physical reign.
The resurrection of the just began with the eternal Just One, our Lord Jesus Christ, the church at His coming will follow, then the resurrection of Israel and the martyred saints who will be raised immediately before the kingdom reign. (Re. 20:4) So mortal men will see immortal people in the kingdom. Resurrected saints will include a large part of Israel, a large number saved from the Gentile nations, and all of the church. We assume that the home of these immortals will not be on the earth, which is made for mortal men. Their home will be in the city above the earth.
There will be a large number who will still be in mortal body state; the 144 thousand Israelites, (Re. 7:4) a great number of Gentiles who will be among the “sheep” at the judgement of the living nations. They believed the Gospel and were preserved through the “great tribulation” (Re. 7:14) as the twelve thousand from the twelve tribes who will be sealed or divinely protected by the Lord.
The Glorious World Kingdom. (Lu. 1:32, 33)
Isaiah writes that Israel will be the center of worship for the whole world (Is.56:7; 56:23) and that the Lord will delight in His “Hephzibah”, His “Beulah.” (Is. 62:4-5) David writes that all will know of the kingdom, they will speak to one another of its glory, majesty, and duration. (Ps. 145:11) David, in other psalms, writes of the glory of the King, and the wonder of his kingdom. We recall the queen of Sheba who visited Jerusalem during Solomon’s reign, she said “the half was not told me” (1 Ki. 10:7) His glory will be told in the kingdom. Since many years the glory of God has been stolen by man. The kingdom period will see the whole world occupied with the glory of God, and of the Son.
I mentioned the brilliant light of the city. The “light-bearers” (sun and moon) will not be necessary. Scientific discoveries reveals that the sun, moon and stars are composed of a molten matter, surrounded by a luminous atmosphere from which light is magnified. We remember that the light is mentioned on the first day. (Ge. 1:3) The sun and moon were created on the fourth day and were only reflectors of the Light. (Ge. 1:19) the reflectors or light bearers will not be necessary in the eternal city, for our Lord Himself will be its light.
Gabriel assured Mary that His reign will be without end, but there will be an intervening after a thousand years. During this pause there will be the fire Judgement upon Satan and upon the Gog and Magog nations. (Re. 20:7)
There will also be the destruction of this earth, and the G. W. T. judgement. (Re. 20:11) After a new earth with no sea is formed, the New Jerusalem will descend and the reign of Christ will continue.
Signs Declaring the Kingdom. (Lu. 21:32)
Coldness in the hearts of many is among the signs predicted by our Lord in Matthew 24. Also, that false preachers will arise and will mislead many. (Mt. 24:11)
Other signs were told by our Lord, and by other men who were divinely inspired. These signs or predictions were given to Israel, but if the church perceives their near fulfillment, the church must warn the world of the end of man’s government, and of the near establishment of the Lord’s governmenton earth.
The Lord spoke of wars and rumors of wars. (Mt. 24:6) War was not new to Israel, but we note that the word war is plural. News of wars in many areas of the world is now heard by instant media coverage. Famines and earthquakes were also not new to Israel. (Mt. 24:7) But because of the world’s population reaching seven billion people, world famine in our generation has had no precedent. The number and intensity of earthquakes is also at a level never seen. The earthquake seismic monitor shows that earthquakes are more frequent and have quadrupled in the last century.
Many in our day are occupied with global warming and we wonder if references to the sun in Revelation 7 is telling us of excess heat from the sun. “…neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” (Re. 7:16) There is also reference to the sun being smitten, (Re. 8:12) the moon, stars and daylight being changed seem to indicate a change in our solar system which will be part of the changing or reforming of the earth, as before mentioned.
Jews have long been persecuted but our Lord tells of a persecution which will surpass all others. (Mt. 24:8-9) The time of tribulation which Israel will undergo after the rapture of the church will surpass the Holocaust. “…they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of my Name.” Although Matthew 24 is predictive of Israel after the church is removed, we can see their partial fulfillment in our generation. Also, Christians today are under attack throughout the world. In China, Sudan, Africa, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Russia, and many Muslim nations, Christian suffer persecution and die for their faith.
The Lord adds that a short time before the establishment of the kingdom the Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world. (Mt. 24:14) This prophecy could hardly be fulfilled without television and radio. And without the translation of the Bible into many languages. People all over the world now hear the message of the cross, soon they will hear the message of the coming kingdom. The 144 thousand sealed Israelites and others will preachthe coming king. There will be a large ingathering of people from every nation and the prophet Zephaniah predicted one pure language. (Zep. 3:9) “For then I will return to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the Name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. “Prior to the restoration of Israel in 1948, Hebrew was a dead language. Now Hebrew is spoken throughout Israel.
For several other end time prophecies to be fulfilled, the Jerusalem temple will have to be rebuilt. There has been considerable movement associated with the Jerusalem temple in our generation, (www.templemountfaithful.org) and other Jews are occupied with temple clothing, instruments and other equipment required for temple worship.
Islam’s Dome of the Rock?
Some Bible students believe that Solomon’s temple site is near one hundred meters south of the Islam site, quoting Revelation 11:2. Others believe that the man of sin will negotiate peace between Israel and the Islamic world. It would seem that the beast will be supported by the United Nations, which will be a uniting of ten kings, as mention in Daniel’s prophesy.
The International Criminal Court, the UN peacekeeping force, and other world agencies are indications of a united world governing force. The increasing terrorist threat and the Middle East conflict will make the formation of this governing body necessary. It is logical that as the Lord had twelve men so the wise counterfeiter will have twelve leaders, the ten kings, and the two beasts. (Re. 13:11) The false prophet, (Re. 16:13) makes thirteen. Is it a coincidence that the false prophet appears on the last pages of scripture, the same as Paul who was the 13th and last Apostle?
It is also logical that not every nation will agree with the U. N. strategy. Is Ezekiel’s prophesy concerning the nations of the north, (Ez.38:2; 39:1) revealing this fact? As we observe the instability of nations, we wonder if the Lord was telling Ezekiel of a war between the United Nations and the armies of the North. If so, this war will take place before Armageddon. Victory over the enemies of Israel will cause joy and zeal amongst the Jewish people, and the building of the temple.
There is much symbolism in the book of Revelation. But every symbol lesson is coupled with a literal meaning. The very large army (Re.9:16) reminds us of the arms race of our generation. John’s vision is certainly a foretelling of war. Is John trying to explain instruments of war which were unimaginable and unexplainable in his day?
Another point to consider regarding signs of the nearness of the kingdom is knowledge and travel noted by Daniel. Our generation has seen no precedent on air and space travel, on DNA research and computers. I quoted Daniel on page two, as among the first of the kingdom prophets. We read in chapter 12 of his book; “But as for you Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” (Dan. 12:4) We are familiar with the words of Revelation 13; “…it causes all, both small and the great, both rich and poor, both free and slave to be marked on the right hand or on the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” (Re. 13:16-17) In 2019 employees of a company in Sweden received a biochip implant. Made of silicon the biochip is a small transmitter about the size of a grain of rice injected under the skin. It transmits an ID number whenever it is within a few feet of a special receiver unit. Described as “a miniaturized, implantable, radio frequency identification device, (RFID) it can be used for security, emergency and healthcare applications. That the biochip is the mark of the beast, we do not know. What is significant is that people are being softened to the idea of an identification implant stamped on the body. In our lack-of-security world people will see the reasoning and the need for such technology. We see then that the mark described in Revelation 13 is not only possible, but will be logical.
Revelation 11 adds to prophesy fulfillment; “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophecy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.” We then read that many will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be buried, and that there will be rejoicing and celebration, and exchanging of gifts. Only television and the 24-hour news networks will make it possible for people around the world to see the dead prophets and rejoice at their deaths. The specific mention of “peoples and tribes and tongues and nations” underlines the many people from many nations, and cannot be only Israel or visiting Gentiles.
Another prophesy which is being fulfilled is the return of Jews to Israel. The prophet Zephaniah writes; “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my worshipers, my dispersed ones, will bring my offerings. In that day you will feel no shame because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against Me; For then I will remove from your midst your proud, exalting ones, and you will never again be haughty on My holy mountain.” (Zep. 3:10-11)
In 1991, Operation Solomon flew 20,000 Jews to Israel from Ethiopia. A further airlift began in June of 1999, aimed at transporting the last 3,000 members of the Quara Jewish community from northeastern Ethiopia to Israel.
Jeremiah writes; “…behold, the days are coming declares the Lord, when they will no longer say, as the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt, but as the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I have driven them. Then they will live on their own soil.” (Jer. 23:7-8)
50 years ago there was a mass exodus of Jews coming out of Russia. The Associated Press reported this dramatic increase of Jewish immigrants who came back to Israel.
Paul the apostle also writes of the period of time preceding the kingdom. “But the spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. By means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” (I Tim. 4:1-3)
“…in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5, 7)
We remember our Lord’s words to Israel; “… when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”(Lu. 21:28) “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place.” (Lu. 21:32)
Zachariah writes of Israel’s repentance and recognition of their Messiah, and of the Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths, which will be celebrated again in Jerusalem. (Zech. 14:16) we remember this holy convocation (Lev. 23) typified the future rest of the earth.
It will be published in that day; “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Re. 21:3)
We recall our Lord refused the world offered by Satan, (Luke 4:6) but He will accept the world from His Father’s hand. (Psalm 2)
Another psalm (118) was sung by Israel onthe eighth day, the great day of the feast. We remember our Lord’s words in John 7: “If any thirst let him come to me…” we read that some said: “this is the Christ.” We note the two prophesies in this Psalm: “Blessed is HE that cometh in the Name of the Lord” and “the stone which the builders refused is become the Head of the corner.”
The ‘Parable’ Kingdom. (Mt. 13:3)
Presently there is a kingdom on Earth. That is, the government of God is present in the hearts of men and woman. The world has to admit its existence, as it has transformed people and continents.
Now the Gospel is preached and sinners are invited to enter the kingdom through the new birth. (Jn. 3:3) Now grace and forgiveness flows from the throne of God.
This present kingdom was taught by our Lord in parable form. (Mt. 13) It commenced with our Lord, for He is the sower who went forth to sew. This present Kingdom in on earth now, and will continue after the church is taken away, and into the tribulation years.
The beginning of the physical kingdom is illustrated in Matthew 13:47, when many believers and many professors will be gathered in Palestine, as a large net gathers fish of every kind. This will be the judgement of the living nations when the Lord himself will separate the sheep from the goats. The unconverted are typified as goats in Matthew 25:31, and as five foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1. Goats resemble sheep to the untrained eye, the virgins, like the other five virgins had a burning light in their hand.
Other points of truth are illustrated by the Master of preachers in Matthew 13. The birds in the mustard seed tree, and the tares, illustrates false religion, evil spirits, and Satan himself taking place in the kingdom work. And the leaven is an illustration of present hidden religious pride which has risen-up over the centuries.
Our Lord had a treasure marked out before he left heaven. (Verse 44) Israel and the church were hid, and the Lord left heaven to seek and to find his hid treasure. Verse 45 compares saints and the church to pearls. Jesus was the merchant man, He came, He found the pearl of great price.
So our Lord spoke of a non-physical kingdom. He spoke of “the kingdom among you.” And the “kingdom of God is within you.” (Lu. 17:21)
Today the physical kingdom has been postponed. The church, or His bride is being chosen, who will reign with him in the Day when His physical kingdom is established.
Other Scriptures Referring to the Physical Kingdom
Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mr.14:25, Lu. 22:16)
Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. Mr 15:43 Lu 23:51)
But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. Lu 9:27
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. Lu 13:28,29
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Lu 14:15
So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Lu 21:31
Other Scriptures Referring to the Present Kingdom.
And he said, “unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” (Mt. 25:14)
The Lord compares the kingdom to a vineyard, where some have labored from early in the morning. Other have labored in the afternoon, and we are the evening laborers. The night cometh, and the vineyard will be closed. (Mt. 20:1)
“Suffer (allow) the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mr. 10:14,15)
“Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Lu. 18:16, 17)
And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and saith unto them, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” (Mr. 10:24)
“Jesus said unto him, let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” (Lu. 9:60)
“But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” (Lu. 11:20)
Our Lord told Nicodemus that entering the kingdom was possible in his lifetime, and Peter wrote to believers that WERE born again, therefore WERE in the kingdom. (John 3, 1 Peter 1)
Sources and other recommended readings:
Esquisse de Theologie Biblique. H. C. Thiessen
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.
Smith’s Bible dictionary.
Newberry Bible Notes.