Exploring the Bible Course - 25

THE COMING KINGDOM OF GOD  

Throughout the preceding lessons it has been shown that God will set up a Kingdom on this earth and that Jesus Christ will return from heaven to reign as king over it.  

• “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)
• “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of  this  world  are  become  the  kingdoms  of  our  Lord,  and  of  his  Christ;  and  he  shall  reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
• “And  when  he [Jesus] had  spoken  these  things,  while  they  beheld,  he  was  taken  up;  and  a  cloud  received  him  out  of  their  sight.  And  while  they  looked  stedfastly  toward  heaven  as  he  went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why  stand  ye  gazing  up  into  heaven?  This  same  Jesus,  which  is  taken  up  from  you  into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
• Jesus also told the parable of the nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a Kingdom, and then return (Luke 19:11-27). In this parable Jesus portrayed that he would go to his Father in heaven, but gave assurance that he would return to set up God’s Kingdom on earth.

Events from the Present Time until Jesus Christ Returns
Taking these broad facts let us now follow through the remarkable detail that is provided in the Bible, showing the sequence of events that will take place from now through to the establishment of this Kingdom. As we gather these references to gether, we are impressed with the logical way by which  God  will  transform  this  world  at  the  return of  Jesus  Christ  to  the  earth,  and  the  benefits  that will result for mankind.

Moral Decline to Continue
The  world  will  continue  its  alarming  moral  decline,  which  inevitably  breeds  corruption  and violence. The effects produced are similar to those recorded of the days of Noah and Lot, when the earth was “corrupt before God and...filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11-13) as a direct result of man forsaking God’s ways. The outcome was marriage breakdown and the disintegration of family life. Men and women were filled with an all-consuming desire to indulge in every kind of base and evil behaviour  (Genesis  6:1-2,5).  Jesus  Christ  himself  said  that  the  world  would  sink  again  into  this state  prior  to  his  return  (Luke  17:26-27;  Matthew  24:36-39).  The  depraved  immorality  that  brought  the  destruction  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah  would  be  rampant  in  the  world  at  his  return  (Luke 17:28-33).  

A   lover   of   God’s   ways   must   surely   be   distressed   by   the   prevalence   and   acceptance   of pornography and the placarding of immorality and violence in society today.

A Time of Fear and Terror
Another  problem  the  world  will  face  leading  up  to the  return  of  Jesus  Christ  will  be  widespread fear and uncertainty of the future. When Jesus was asked by his disciples of the signs that would lead  up  to  his  return  he  said  that  there  would  be “men's  hearts  failing  them  for  fear,  and  for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26). The violence and threat of terrorism  that  has  brought  fear,  death,  suffering  and  destruction  to  so  many  was  foretold  by Jesus. Yet Jesus went on to say: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (v27-28). The terror and fear that is so widespread today is yet another sign that Jesus will soon return.

The “Latter Day” Invasion of Israel
The prophets Ezekiel and Daniel both predict the rise of a northern military confederacy that will sweep  down  into  Israel  and  the  Middle  East  at  the  very  time  when  society  is  in  this  morally degenerate  state.  Ezekiel  in  his  38th  chapter  and  Daniel  11:40-45  give  the  outline  of  this  latter day  conflict  in  Israel  and  the  Middle  East  (many  scholars  suggest  this  northern  power  is  led  by Russia—see Lesson 16 and map for details of these events).

The  prophet  Zechariah,  in  chapters  12  to  14,  also adds  further  detail  regarding  this  invasion.  When this northern confederacy of nations makes its united military push into the Middle East, which  will  draw “all  nations” into  this  conflict,  Israel  is established  there  as  a  nation  and  
Jerusalem  is  under  Jewish  control  (Ezekiel  38:8,12,16;  Zechariah  12:3-5).  This  very  fact,  which may not seem startling at first, identifies events which could not take place before 1948, for it was only then that the nation of Israel was established for the first time in nearly 2000 years.

As we read through Zechariah 12 to 14 we note the following details:

• God will make Jerusalem the centre of international controversy (Zechariah 12:1-3).
• All nations will gather to fight over Jerusalem and the Middle East (Zechariah 14:2-8; Ezekiel 38; Daniel 11:40-45).  
• In this conflict the Jewish population of Israel will suffer greatly (Zechariah 12:1-2), and many will be killed (Zechariah 13:8, 9–14:3).
• By this time Jesus Christ will have returned and will reveal himself personally to the people of Israel— “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:9-11; cp John 19:37).
• Jews will ask him: “What are these wounds in thine hands?” and he will answer: “Those with which  I  was  wounded  in  the  house  of  my  friends”  (Zechariah  13:6). They  will  finally  be convinced by this startling evidence that he is indeed their Messiah.  
• God,  will  cause  a  tremendous  earthquake  to  split  the  Mount  of  Olives.  This  will  terrify  the concentrated military might of the nations and
bring about their overthrow (Zechariah 14:4-8; Ezekiel 38:18-22).
• The northern confederacy will be destroyed “upon the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:1-6).
• God, through Jesus Christ, will be proclaimed King— “the LORD shall be King over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9).
• Jerusalem will become the centre of universal worship and just government, to which all who survive  among  the  nations  shall  go  to  learn  of  God’s  ways  and  to  worship  Him  (Zechariah 14:16; Jeremiah 3:17; Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1–2)

Armageddon—God’s Wrath upon the Nations
The message of the Old Testament prophets, which speaks of all nations converging on Jerusalem in a massive military invasion of Israel as they strive for world domination, is also described for us in the book of Revelation. There the conflict is called “Armageddon” and is recorded in Revelation 16:14-16.  The  apostle  John  was  shown  events  that will  culminate  in  the  destruction  of  this political  and  military  might  that  comes  against  Israel  at  the  return  of  Jesus  Christ.  In  verse  14 John  saw  a  spirit  of  “madness”  (AV  “devils”)  going  forth  to  gather  the  kings  of  the  earth  “to  the battle  of  that  great  day  of  God  Almighty”. The place where God gathers these nations is “called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (v16). Here John gives a remarkable clue to the meaning of the word “Armageddon”. The  New  Testament  is  written  in  Greek,  but  John  says  that  this  word  is  in the “Hebrew  tongue”. The  word  literally  means  “sheaves  in  a valley  for  threshing,  or  judgment”.  God intends to gather the nations as a man gathers in the harvest, to thresh or judge them, and reveal His great power and authority to this godless age.

The prophet Joel used similar language when he foretold the gathering by God of the “heathen” (or godless  Gentile  nations)  for  harvesting  and  threshing,  that  is,  for  judgment  (Joel  3:9-17).  Notice the sequence. Joel speaks of all nations building up arms and military weapons. Then they gather for the conflict in “the valley of Jehoshaphat” (meaning, ‘God’s Judgment’), which is identified as the  Kidron  Valley  on  the  east  of  Jerusalem, between  Jerusalem  and  the  Mount  of  Olives.  There they  are  “harvested”  in “the  valley  of  decision” (mg  “threshing”  v14).  The  end  result  is  that  the LORD God of Israel utters His voice and “the heavens and the earth shall shake” (v16). He becomes the  hope  of  His  people  Israel,  and  dwells  in  Jerusalem  through  the  person  of  His  Son,  the  Lord  Jesus Christ (v17) as “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).  

The Return of Jesus Christ—“Behold, I come as a thief”
Both  in  Zechariah  and  Revelation  we  are  specifically told  that  it  is  at  the  height  of  this  great conflict  in  Israel  between  the  northern  confederacy  of  nations,  Israel,  and  all  other  nations  that Jesus  Christ  will  reveal  himself  in  power  against  the  nations  (Zechariah  12:10-11;  13:6).  In  the account in Revelation of this “battle of that great day of God Almighty” we note that here a warning is given: “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:14-16). Thus while this gathering of nations for war in the Middle East is progressing, the faithful servants of Jesus Christ are told that this is the  time  to  expect  the  return  of  their  Lord.  They  are  given  a  warning  regarding  their  personal preparedness for this great event, and told: “Blessed is he that watcheth”. There is a need for us to be ever watching for his return, prepared to meet him. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins graphically  teaches  that  some  of  those  who  knew  that  their  Lord  would  return  were  not  ready when  the  cry  went  forth, “Behold,  the  bridegroom  cometh;  go  ye  out  to  meet  him” (Matthew  25:1-13). The lesson that Jesus taught from this parable was: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (v13).

Jesus  Christ  has  warned  us  to  watch  for  his return,  and  be  clothed  in  the  garments  of  righteousness  and  good  works,  lest  at  his  appearing our lack of faithfulness be revealed to our shame (Revelation 16:15). The first step in preparing to meet him is to believe the Gospel and be baptised into his name (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:12).

The Resurrection and Gathering to the Judgment Seat of Christ
All the great promises of the Old Testament depend for their fulfilment on the resurrection of the faithful  to  receive  their  reward.  There  will  therefore  be  a  gathering,  both  of  the  living  and  those who  have  died  and  been  raised  to  life  again,  to appear  before  Jesus  Christ  for  judgment  at  his return to the earth. This is referred to in many places in the Bible. The following quotations speak of this resurrection and judgment:  

• “I  charge  thee [Timothy] therefore  before  God  and  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  who  shall  judge  the quick [Greek zao, ‘living’] and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” (2 Timothy 4:1)
• “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And  many  of  them  that  sleep  in  the  dust  of  the  earth  shall  awake,  some  to everlasting  life,  and  some  to  shame  and  everlasting  contempt. And  they  that  be  wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:1-3)  

Daniel foretold the time of resurrection and gathering to judgment. He stated that the resurrection will be “at  that  time” (Daniel 12:1), referring to
“the  time  of  the  end” when“the king of the north” and  his  confederate  powers  sweep  down  into  Israel.  (Daniel  11:40).  In  the  midst  of  this  terrible “time of trouble” for the nations of the world, the resurrection and judgment will take place.

There will be rewards given at the time of judgment; some will receive immortality, and will enter into  the  Kingdom,  to  assist  Jesus  Christ  to  establish  God’s  ways  upon  the  earth.  However,  the unfaithful will be dismissed from his presence in shame, to die again for ever.

This appearing before the judgment seat of Christ is referred to in the following quotations:

• “We  shall  all  stand  before  the  judgment  seat  of  Christ... every  one  of  us  shall  give  account  of  himself to God” (Romans 14:10,12).
• “For  we  must  all  appear  before  the  judgment  seat  of  Christ;  that  every  one  may  receive  the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
• “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” John 5:28-29).
                                                                                         
“Many that sleep shall awake”—Who are the “many”?
The question has often been asked: “Shall every person that has ever lived since Adam and Eve be raised to be judged?” The simple answer is, “No”. Only those who are responsible to God among the dead and the living will be taken to give an account before Jesus Christ at his return. When Jesus  commanded  his  apostles  to  go  forth  and  preach  the  gospel,  he  said:  “Go  ye  into  all  the world,  and  preach  the  gospel  to  every  creature.  He  that  believeth  and  is  baptised  shall  be  saved;  but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).  

Here we have two classes of people. There are those who believe and have been baptised. They will stand before Christ to give an account of their service and if they have remained faithful they will be  given  immortality.  Jesus  made  this  clear  in  some  of  his  parables;  eg  the  five  wise  and  five foolish  virgins  (Matthew  25:1-13);  the  faithful  and  wicked  servants  (Matthew  25:14-30;  cp  Luke 19:11-27). Here we see that there will be a division at the judgment seat between faithful servants and those who proved to be unfaithful in their service to God.

However  there  is  another  class  of  people  who  are  responsible  to  God  for  they  heard  and understood  the  Gospel  message,  but  rejected  God’s  offer  of  salvation.  They  will  be  raised  and condemned at the judgment seat of Christ for refusing to obey. They heard but did not believe. Anexample of this class is to be seen in Ananias and Caiaphas who heard and spoke with Jesus, but rejected him and did not believe. They will be raised to account for their unbelief and wickedness at Christ’s return (Matthew 26:64).

There is yet another class of people—those who have never heard the Truth of God’s Word. This embraces the vast majority of people. They have lived their lives in ignorance of God and His Son. They  will  not  be  raised  to  be  judged  for  God will  not  raise  people  to punish  them  for their ignorance of Him. Of this class we are told: “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise” (Isaiah 26:14); and again: “Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20).

To grasp the simple Bible teaching on who shall appear at the judgment seat, let us set it out as follows:


Immortality and the Reward of the Faithful
Though many believe they have an ‘immortal soul’, we have seen that the Bible clearly shows that man is mortal; he dies and returns to dust. Among the vast number of the dead there are those who are said to “sleep”, for though dead, they will be awakened by the call of Jesus Christ at his return.  In  1  Corinthians  15  Paul  contrasts  the  mortality  common  to  us  all  as  descendants  of Adam  with  the  wonderful  hope  for  all  who  have “put  on  Christ”  through  baptism,  saying,  “In Adam all die — in Christ shall all be made alive... at his coming” (v22-23).

Paul describes the change of nature that those judged faithful will receive: “This mortal shall have put  on  immortality”, for “death  is  swallowed  up  in  victory” (v51-56). Thus,  those “who  by  patient continuance  in  well  doing seek  for  glory  and  honour  and  immortality” will  receive  
“eternal  life” (Romans 2:7).

Reigning with Christ  
The faithful servants of Jesus Christ will rejoice to be involved in the glorious work of establishing the  Kingdom  of  God  under  his  guidance.  They  will  reign  as  kings  and  priests  on  the  earth (Revelation  5:10).  Their  role  will  be  twofold.  The  function  of  a  king  is  to  rule,  in  this  case  with divine authority. A priest mediates between God and man, educating people about God’s laws and showing them how sin must be put away. Thus the saints will reign as kings to establish the law and order of the Kingdom, and officiate as priests to instruct the mortal population of the earth in the ways of God.

One  of  the  first  works  to  be  performed  by the  faithful  saints,  then  immortal  and “equal  unto  the angels” (Luke 20:36), will be to go forth with the Lord Jesus Christ to take control of the nations, who will be invited to submit willingly to Christ or be conquered by force (Psalm 2; Psalm 149:5-9; Revelation 2:26-27; 17:14).

Israel will be Regathered
As seen from Zechariah 12 and 13, there will be a terrible slaughter of the Jews living in the land, and  only  by  the  intervention  of  Jesus  Christ  will  some  be  saved  (13:8,9;  14:1-3).  Their  amazing deliverance  and  the  evidence  of  “the  wounds” in  the  hands  of  their  Deliverer  (13:6)  will  be sufficient  to  completely  humble  them  (12:10-14). Then  they  will  gladly  acknowledge  him,  whom their fathers rejected and crucified, as their “Messiah”.

The call will then go out to the remainder of Jewry, scattered still throughout the world, to come and  acknowledge  Jesus  Christ  as  their  King (Jeremiah  30:10-11;  Ezekiel  20:33-38).  Their regathering  is  likened  by  God  to  the  exodus  of  the  people  of  Israel  from  Egypt  under  Moses  (Jeremiah 16:14–15).

These Jews will also be required to acknowledge Yahweh as the God of Israel and Jesus Christ His Son  as  their  Messiah.  At  last  they  will  be  enlightened  about  God’s  purpose  in  sending  Jesus Christ  and  will  learn  that  he  died  that  their  sins might  be  forgiven  (1  Peter  2:24;  Isaiah  53:4). They will be made to accept that this “new Covenant” was confirmed in his blood (Matthew 26:28; Jeremiah  31:31-34;  Hebrews  8:8–12).  Those  who  will  not  submit  will  be  counted  as  rebels  and “purged out” and will “not enter the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 20:38).

Those who respond will be united with the Jews that are already in the land of Israel and become one nation again with them. Ezekiel depicts this united Israel under Christ’s rule in these words: “Thus  saith  the  LORD God;  Behold,  I  will  take  the  children  of  Israel  from  among  the heathen, whither  they  be  gone,  and  will  gather  them  on  every  side,  and  bring  them  into  their  own  land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king  to  them  all:  and  they  shall  be  no  more  two nations,  neither  shall  they  be  divided  into  two kingdoms any more at all” (Ezekiel 37:21-22; cp Jeremiah 23:3–8).

A Call to Turn from Error and Accept God’s Truth
One of the most dramatic challenges and changes that the majority of people worldwide will have to face is that their religion has been utterly false. They will come to the stunning realisation that their religious leaders have been wrong in their teaching, and they have been following man-made superstition.  

Just as the Jews will be made to realise that their understanding of what the Bible taught about the Messiah was wrong, so millions of people will
see that they have been following lies and vain superstition.  It  will  not  be  only  non-Christian  religions  that  will  be  made  aware  of  the  error  of their beliefs, but the majority of “Christian” religions will also realise that they have been following lies and fables taught in the name of Christ.

Both  Peter  and  Paul  foretold  that  error  and  fables  would  be  taught  in  the  name  of  Christ  and many would follow these teachers.  
                                                                                    
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they  heap  to  themselves  teachers,  having  itching  ears;  and they  shall  turn  away  their  ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
“There  shall  be  false  teachers  among  you,  who privily  shall  bring  in  damnable  heresies,  even denying  the  Lord  that  bought  them,  and  bring  upon  themselves  swift  destruction. And  many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And  through  covetousness  shall  they  with  feigned  words  make  merchandise  of  you”  (2  Peter 2:2-3).

History has proved these predictions correct and the multitude of Christian churches confirms the accuracy  of  these  prophecies.  The  true  faith,  as taught  by  Jesus  Christ  and  the  apostles,  was perverted as men sought to gather followers after themselves. New doctrines were introduced and the people, not able to read the Bible for themselves, were unable to see the errors that were being introduced. A church system was set up with bishops and archbishops, and finally the pope. The Protestants,  though  objecting  to  some  of  the  excesses  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  and separating from it, took with them the main false doctrines that the church had adopted.  

However  the  apostle  John  saw  the  day  when  Jesus  Christ  is  back  in  the  earth  and  the proclamation will go forth: “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come:  and  worship  him  that  made  heaven,  and  earth,  and  the  sea,  and  the  fountains  of waters” (Revelation 14:6-7).

People  will  then  be  given  the  opportunity  to  turn from  the  superstition  and  lies  they  have  been taught,  and  to  acknowledge  that  God  has  sent  Jesus  Christ  back  to  the  earth  to  set  up  His Kingdom.  We  are  told,  however,  that  Christianity will  not  readily  accept  Christ  as  King.  John foresaw  that  the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  together  with  other  Christian  churches,  will  mount  a challenge against the authority of Christ but their ambition will prove futile, for “the Lamb [Jesus Christ] shall  overcome  them:  for  he  is  Lord  of  lords  and  King  of  kings:  and  they  that  are  with  him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).

The whole Roman Catholic system, including many churches not far removed from her doctrines, aptly  described  in  the  Bible  as “Mystery,   Babylon   the   Great,   the   mother   of   harlots   and  abominations of the earth" will be utterly destroyed (Revelation 17:5). In that day it will be said of this  apostate  system  as  was  said  of  the  ancient  empire  of  the  same  name, “Babylon  the  great  is fallen, is fallen” and “shall be found no more at all” (Revelation 18:2-3, 21). People will then realise that this system of religion that has dominated the lives of millions for nearly 2000 years was but a man-made religion that could not offer its followers salvation. It did not follow Christ’s ways at all and was in fact the subject of many prophecies in which God warned people to beware of its apostate  ways.  The  warning  of  Christ  is  clear— “Come  out  of  her my people,  that  ye  be  not partakers  of  her  sins,  and  that  ye  receive  not  of  her  plagues.  For  her  sins  have  reached  unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5).

With false religions—Jewish, Christian and others —all exposed as error, the way will now be open for the education of the world in God’s ways of truth. Having overthrown all opposition—political, military  and  religious—Christ  and  his  immortal  saints  will  then  commence  the  great  work  of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Lord shall be King over all the Earth
Jerusalem  will  be  the  capital  of  the  Kingdom,  and  will  be  acknowledged  as  such  by  all  nations (Jeremiah 3:17-18). It will be the centre of just government and of education in “the  word  of  the LORD”. In fact, people of all nations will go up to Jerusalem from year to year to worship the king, Jesus Christ, and to learn of God’s ways:  

“And  it  shall  come  to  pass  in  the  last  days, that  the  mountain  of  the  Lord’s  house  shall  be established  in  the  top  of  the  mountains,  and  shall  be  exalted  above  the  hills;  and  all  nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in  his  paths:  for  out  of  Zion  shall  go  forth  the law,  and  the  word  of  the  Lord  from  Jerusalem”  (Isaiah 2:2-4).

“And  it  shall  come  to  pass,  that  every  one  that is  left  of  all  the  nations  which  came  against Jerusalem  shall  even  go  up  from  year  to  year to  worship  the  King,  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  to keep the feast of tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).  

All  nations  will  be  subject  to  Christ’s  rule  (Revelation  11:15),  with  Israel  being  governed  by  the twelve apostles (Matthew 19:28).

There will be a Temple, “a house of prayer for all nations”, built in Jerusalem, to which all nations will  come  to  learn  of  God’s  ways  and  to  worship  Him  (Isaiah  56:7).  Most  nations  will  come  up joyfully,  but  those  who  refuse to  come  will  suffer  for  their  rebellion  (Zechariah  14:16-17).  The details  of  this  Temple  are  set  out  in  the  last  chapters  of  the  prophecy  of  Ezekiel  (40-48).  From these  details  we  can  gain  a  mental  picture  of  this  magnificent  building  in  which  the  Lord  Jesus Christ will officiate.  

A word picture of this Kingdom and the benefits bestowed by the King for all mankind is portrayed in the words of Psalm 72 and Micah 4:1–5. Everyone will feel the immediate beneficial influence of Christ’s reign, as “the  work  of  righteousness  shall  be  peace;  and  the  effect  of  righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isaiah 32:1,17).

The 1000 Year Reign of Christ
The Apostle Paul states that Christ is to reign on earth “till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”.
When “all things” are subject to Christ then he will  deliver  up  the  Kingdom  to  God, “that  God  may  be  all  in  all” (1  Corinthians  15:24-28). Then truly “the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD” (Numbers 14:21).

The period of the duration of the Kingdom is given for us in the book of Revelation. There we learn that  Christ  and  his  immortal  saints  will  reign for  1000  years  (Revelation  20:4-6).  After  six thousand years of preparing a people to give honour  and  glory  to  His  name,  a  further  thousand years  is  set  aside  in  the  Divine  plan  for  the  King and  his  immortal  saints  to  fill  the  earth  with God’s glory. Throughout this millennium the mortal population of the earth will have opportunity to give faithful and obedient service to God and to Christ as King.

A description of some of the changes that will take place, with the associated blessings that will be experienced by the mortal population when harmony exists between man and his environment, is given in several places of Scripture (Isaiah 11:4-9; 65:17-25; Amos 9:11-15).

This period of the 1000 year reign of Christ will conclude with a second and final resurrection and gathering  to  judgment  of  those  who  have  lived  during  the  period  of  the  Kingdom.  This  event  is described  in  Revelation  20:12-15.  We  notice  that  at  the  conclusion  of  this judgment “death  and hell [the grave] were cast into the lake of fire” (v14), meaning they shall be finally swept away for ever  from  the  earth.  Then “there  shall  be  no  more  death” (Revelation  21:4),  for  mortality  will  be taken away forever from the earth (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). In Revelation 21:3-4 we read of this wonderful time: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall  be  his  people,  and  God  himself  shall  be  with  them,  and  be  their  God.  And  God  shall  wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”. At this time, as Paul foretold,
“God will be all in all”  (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Thus the Kingdom of God on earth is the final step towards the fulfilment of that glorious purpose that God had from the beginning—to fill the earth
with His glory (Numbers 14:21). Those who are His  sons  and  daughters,  having  developed  through the  trials  of  life  a  character  like  His,  will  be there  with  Him.  This  glorified  community  will  be  then  united  with  the  Father  and  His  Son,  as  Jesus himself prayed just prior to his crucifixion (John 17:20-23).

“Thy Kingdom Come”
From  the  above  overview  we  now  have  an  enlightened  understanding  of  this  glorious  Kingdom that  God  will  establish  upon  the  earth.  According to  God’s  revealed  timetable  He  will  very  soon send  Jesus  Christ  back  to  commence  this  great  work  of  transforming  the  world,  assisted  by  his  faithful and immortal followers.

With  faith  in  the  sure  Word  of  God  and  the  hope that  it  offers,  we  now  can  enter  fully  into  the spirit of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).

As we now await this day that God has promised, it is our privilege and responsibility to respond to Him in faith and obedience. The apostle Peter encouraged the disciples in his day, and likewise us today, when he said: “Give  diligence  to  make  your  calling  and  election  sure:  for  if  ye  do  these things,  ye  shall  never  fall:  for  so  an  entrance  shall  be  ministered  unto  you  abundantly  into  the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Summary Points

1. Jesus  Christ  will  return  to  the  earth (Acts  1:9-11) to  set  up  the  Kingdom  of  God  on  earth (Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15). In the parable of Luke 19:11-27 Jesus Christ foretold that he would ascend to heaven to his Father’s right  hand  and  later  return,  at  which  time  his  servants will be judged and rewarded.
2. Prior to the return of Jesus Christ the world will continue to decline to depths of immorality similar  to  the  corruption  and  violence  that  brought  God’s  wrath  on  the  world  in  the  flood  of  Noah’s day (Genesis 6:1-13; cp Matthew 24:36-39; Luke 17:26-27), and the destruction of
Sodom (Genesis 19; cp Luke 17:28-33).
3. The prophets give detailed accounts of the invasion  of  Israel  and  Jerusalem  by  a  northern  confederacy.  This  invasion  will  take  place  when the  Jews  are  back  in  the  land  of  Israel  and Jerusalem is under their control (Ezekiel 38; Zechariah 12-14).
4. At the height of this international conflict Jesus Christ will reveal himself with the power and authority of God, to cause all people of the earth to acknowledge God and accept him as the Messiah and Lord (Zechariah 12:9-11; 13:6; 14:4-9).
5. Armageddon is a Hebrew word descriptive of God’s great judgments that are to be poured out on all nations at the return of Jesus Christ
(Revelation 16:14-16; Joel 3:9-17).
6. The  return  of  Jesus  Christ  will  be  completely unexpected,  except  to  those  who  have  been faithfully watching and preparing for that great day (Revelation 16:15; Matthew 25:1-13).
7. The first step in preparing to meet the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe the Gospel message and be baptised (Mark 16:15-16).
8. When Jesus Christ returns to the earth he will raise from the dead those who must be judged, and gather together with them those responsible to judgment who are alive (2 Timothy 4:1; Daniel 12:1-3; John 5:28-29).
9. Those gathered for judgment must give an account of their service to God (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians  5:10). Many  parables  depict  the  judgment  seat  of  Christ  when  he  returns (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27).
10. Those who have been ignorant of God and His Word will not be brought to judgment. If they have died they will not be raised (Isaiah 26:14).
11. Immortality  will  be  the  reward  for  those  who  have  faithfully  endeavoured  to  serve  God  and Jesus Christ throughout their lives (Romans 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57).
12. The faithful servants of Jesus Christ will assist him to establish the Kingdom of God on earth (Revelation 5:10; 20:6).
13. Whereas  Jesus  Christ  will  reveal  himself  to  the  surviving  Jews  in  the  land  of  Israel  when  he returns (Zechariah  12:9-11;  13:6), the  Jews  still  scattered  throughout  the  world  will  be regathered to Israel, there to acknowledge that this same Jesus whom their fathers crucified is
their Messiah (Ezekiel 37:21-22; Jeremiah 23:3-8).
14. All  nations  will  be  called  upon  to  honour  Jesus  Christ  as  King (Psalm  2:10-12), and  to respond to the call to worship and serve God (Revelation 14:6-7).
15. The  apostate  systems  of  Christianity  headed by  Roman  Catholicism,  together  with  non-Christian religions, that have all deceived the nations with their false teaching, will be exposed and destroyed (Revelation 18:2-3,21; 17:5).
16. Jesus Christ will reign as King from the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the Kingdom of God on earth (Jeremiah 3:17; Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 14:9,16).
17. A Temple will be built at Jerusalem to which all nations will come and worship God. It will be called “a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7; Zechariah 14:16-17).
18. The Kingdom will be renowned for righteousness and peace (Psalm 72; Isaiah 32:1,17).
19. Jesus Christ’s reign on earth will continue for 1000 years (a millennium) (Revelation 20:2-5; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28), after which there will be a resurrection of all those who have lived and died in that period.
20. At  the  end  of  the  millennium  there  will  be  no more  death,  as  there  will  be  no  mortals remaining on the earth (Revelation 21:3-4).
21. God’s purpose to fill the earth with His glory will then be fulfilled (Numbers 14:21). God will be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Lesson 25 - Questions

1. List two Bible quotations that teach that God’s Kingdom will be set up on earth.
2. Give a Bible quotation that states that Jesus Christ will return to the earth.
3. In what area of the earth will the nations be gathered for Armageddon?
4. When will the resurrection of the dead take place?  
5. Who will be raised and gathered to judgment?
6. What reward will be given to the faithful?
7. When Christ returns to set up God’s Kingdom, what will happen to the Jews who are scattered throughout the world?
8. What will be the capital city of this Kingdom?
9. How will the nations of the earth learn God’s ways in the Kingdom?
10. How long will the reign of Christ continue?
11. What will happen at the end of the millennium?
12. In what way will life on earth be different beyond the millenni
 

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