The Kingdom of God

The foundation promises of the Kingdom

“And THE LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever”. Genesis 13:14-15

“And in thy (Abraham’s) seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice”. Genesis 22:18

“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;” Genesis 26:3

We can see from this reference that one of the promises that make up the gospel (Galatians 3:8) was that Abraham and his seed would inherit the promised land – the land of Israel – forever. We can also see that not just the promised land is related to these promises but in fact the whole earth and all the nations in it who will be blessed through Abrahams promised seed, the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 3:16). We read in the Bible that these promises have not yet been fulfilled:

“These (Faithful people of old of whom Abraham is mentioned in verse 17) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth”. Hebrews 11:13

So this future blessing of all the nations of the earth being blessed, and the promised land being given to Abraham and his seed forever, are still future. It is a plain Bible teaching that God’s purpose is with the earth – consider these references:

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”. Matthew 6:10

“…all the earth shall be filled with the glory oF THE LORD”. Numbers 14:21

“For thus saith THE LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited…” Isaiah 45:18

“…THE LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Zechariah 14:9

These promises will be fulfilled in a future Kingdom which is to be set up on the earth by Jesus Christ at his second coming.

Israel was the Kingdom of God in the Past

To fully appreciate the future Kingdom of God a little bit of history needs to be understood. A kingdom requires a king, a law, a people and a territory. This was the situation in the past when God was King over Israel (see Psalm 44:4), His chosen people Israel followed His law in the land of Israel (Exodus 19:5) and they become His “kingdom” (Exodus 19:6, Psalm 114:1-2). In this time period God raised up Judges to help the people to stay loyal to Him (Judges 2:16).

The Bible shows us that Israel eventually rejected God as their king and wanted a man to be their king, King Saul (1 Samuel 8:7). God allowed these kings to rule but they were only ruling on behalf of God (2 Chronicles 9:8). Again, this is described as God’s Kingdom in the past – this is what is said about King David’s son, Solomon:

“And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel”. 1 Chronicles 28:5

King David therefore, saw his rulership as being on behalf of God over the Kingdom of God. The Bible tells us that because Israel sinned they were punished and scattered by the Babylonians and then by the Romans. See also 1 Chronicles 29:23 and 2 Chronicles 9:8 where the throne of the Kingdom of Israel in the past is described as Gods throne. The Lord Jesus Christ (The Messiah) is coming back to restore this Kingdom which will eventually grow and take over the whole earth. He will sit on that throne in that day over the restored kingdom.

“And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he (Jesus Christ) shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness”. Isaiah 16:5

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old”. Amos 9:11

The Re-establishment of the Kingdom

This future Kingdom then will be the Kingdom of God in the past, it will have a righteous King (Christ, Gods representative) a Capital city (Jerusalem or Zion), a law and a territory. This was the hope of the apostles. When Jesus was ressrected he appeared to his followers and expounded all the things concerning Him that were written in the scriptures for 40 days. At the end of this we have the following, very telling question asked:

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel”? Acts 1:6

The Bible teaches that Jesus is to come and sit upon king Davids throne, over the Kingdom of God:

“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”. Luke 1:32-33

The Bible teaches that Jesus will return and set up the Kingdom in Jerusalem but it’s influence will grow until all nations have come into subjection to it and are “blessed” within it:

“And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem”. Micah 4:7-8
“And 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

“They shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all nations shall be gathered unto it; neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart”. Jeremiah 3:17

“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…” Zechariah 14:16

The Kingdom of God in the past then is to be re-established with Christ as it’s king – but this time ALL nations will be in subjection to it. This Kingdom will bring peace to the earth and all peoples will know about God and want to worship Him. This is then the fulfillment of God promises to Abraham right back at the beginning, that because of Abraham’s seed, Christ, all nation’s would be blessed.

Who will be in the Kingdom?

For the fist 1000 years (Revelation 20:4) of this Kingdom there will be two classes of people within it:

The Kingdom’s immortal rulers

These rulers will be made up of faithful followers of Christ who have been raised from the dead and given the gift of immortal life. When Jesus returns there is to be a judgment where people who have known the gospel will be judged as to what they have done with this knowledge, whither they accepted God and tried to do His will, or whither they rejected Him. Consider these verses:

“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”. Daniel 12:2

“we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body…” Philippians 3:21

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22

“And hast made us (the accepted believers in Christ) unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10

“And I appoint unto you (the disciples) a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke 22:29-30

To be a ruler with Christ and to be given the gift of immortality to show forth the glory of God is promised to those who believe in the gospel, are baptized and strive to live Godly lives after the example of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that we can be part of this new world order but we need to do something about it now.

It’s mortal citizens

The citizens of the Kingdom will be mortal (subject to sin and death) and who will live under the reign of the immortals. These will be the peoples of the earth who have humbled themselves and accepted the reign of Christ. Consider these verses:

“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…” Zechariah 14:16

“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 2:3

“And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”. Micah 4:3

During this time we are given glimpses of what it will be like to live in the Kingdom as a mortal. There will be such benefits as:

  • A peaceful safe existence (Isaiah 2:4, 32:17, 65:21-22, Zechariah 8:4-5)
  • A “righteous” system of justice (Isaiah 11:3-4, 32:1)
  • Good health and long life (Isaiah 35:5,6, 65:20)
  • A healthy earth which will produce an abundance of food (Joel 3:18, Amos 9:13, Psalm 72:16, Zechariah 8:12, Isaiah 35:1, Ezekiel 36:34-35

After this 1000 year reign another judgment and resurrection will take place where the citizens of the Kingdom will be judged and given immortal life (Revelation 20:12). Then, with an earth with an immortal population the Kingdom if given to God. The apostle Paul writes of this:

“Then cometh the end, when he 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 hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son (Jesus Christ) also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all”. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

Author: M. Davies, Nottingham, March 2009

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