THE KINGDOM OF GOD
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven." (Matthew 6:10 - Revised English Bible)
The Kingdom of God and Its Promised Blessings
With all our hearts we believe in the Kingdom of God spoken of so frequently in the Scriptures, and are convinced it will bring to the human race benefits and blessings unimagined by poets and philosophers, and a great many blessings as yet unenvisaged. Nothing short of Divine power will bring this about in its appointed time.
The present world order, symbolised in 2 Peter 3:7 by "the present heavens and earth" is to be destroyed, and God's righteous order will replace it. The "heavens" in Scripture symbolise governmental and religious arrangements, while the "earth" symbolises the social order among human beings. The Scriptures tell us that the literal, physical earth will not be destroyed, but will remain and be an everlasting home for the human race (Genesis 13:14-18; Acts 7:2-5; Matthew 6:10; Isaiah 45:18; Ecclesiastes 1:4).
The promised Kingdom of God will not consist of a new planet and a new atmosphere, but will be a new political, social and ecclesiastical order of things, a new world arrangement. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). The Greek word translated "world" is "kosmos", meaning "order of things." Jesus' kingdom is of another order of things, namely God's new and righteous order. The "promise" mentioned by the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:13 is recorded in many places in the Bible. One such record is Isaiah 65:17-25:
17 "For behold,
I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not
be remembered or come into mind.
1 "The wilderness
and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus
We learn from such passages as these that in God's Kingdom contentment and joy will prevail throughout the world, and weeping and crying will be no more. People will build houses and inhabit them. They will not build and another inhabit, and they will not plant and another eat. The eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be unstopped, the lame will leap like a hart, and the dumb will both speak and sing.
In God's promised Kingdom the desert will yield blossoms abundantly, in the wilderness waters will break out and streams will flow in the desert to make the parched ground become a pool, and the thirsty land will yield springs of water. Ravenous beasts will no longer roam the earth. Animals will be tame, and children will play with them. Nothing in God's Kingodm will hurt or destroy (Isaiah 11:6-9)
The people of God's new world order will be peace-loving and productive.
"They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more." (Isaiah 2:4 - New International Version)
The New Testament takes up the theme and promises of the Old Testament. John the Apostle writes in Revelation 21:
1 "Then I
saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first
earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."
5 And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new". Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true". (Revised Standard Version)
The Structure of God's Kingdom
But with millions dying and millions being born every year, and many thousands of millions in their graves, who will benefit from God's promises? Will a privileged few benefit and many be denied the blessings promised by God? God's Word, the Bible, will provide answers to these questions.
The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10 "Your will be done, on earth as in heaven". The Kingdom of God on this earth is the dominant theme of the teaching of Jesus Christ and His Apostles and Disciples (Matthew 4:23, 6:10; Luke 4:43; 2 Peter 3:13).
The Kingdom of God is not a vague concept of an existence for good people in heaven, but a real government from heaven that will rule over the earth with Jesus Christ as God's appointed King. The Bible tells us that "the government will be upon His shoulder" and that "of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:6, 7). He is the "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:16).
It has pleased God and His Son, Jesus Christ, to appoint assistants and co-rulers with him in heaven, and faithful believers of past ages to be "princes in all the earth" (Psalm 45:16). The promise to believers in Jesus Christ in this era of the Gospel is that they will "reign with Him" (2 Timothy 2:12) as a "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9) "in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 2:6).
The Kingdom of God must also have subjects. The Bible tells us that these subjects will be the many millions of people who are living and who have lived on the earth. All who have gone into the grave will hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ and will come forth (John 5: 28, 29). A resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, is promised (Acts 24:15). The majority of earth's millions, raised from death, will learn of Jesus Christ, believe on Him, and gain everlasting life on the earth, which will be transformed from its present troubled and polluted state into a safe, secure and beautiful paradise.
The Human Race Cannot Solve Earth's Problems
The problems facing the human race and the threats to the earth's environment need no proof or documentation from us. As Bible students we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, our Creator and our Heavenly Father, and that the Bible tells us that the cause of all our problems and all threats to our planet is SIN, that is, transgression by the human race of God's requirements and His law of love as expressed by His Son Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-40. Sin is the fundamental cause of the human race's alienation from God.
The Apostle Paul writes that "None is righteous, no, not one:" and "all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10, 23). Because the first man, Adam, sinned by disobeying God, the penalty for sin - death - has passed upon all of Adam's descendants. All people are sinners and under sentence of death (Romans 5:12; 6:23).
It stands to reason, then, that if sin were to be destroyed, the problems facing the human race and the earth would be overcome. The Bible informs us that this will indeed happen, and the means of destroying sin have been provided by God in Jesus Christ, Who is "the way and the truth and the life". (John 14:6)
For sin to be destroyed all people must believe in Jesus Christ and come to God through Him (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9, 10). Some people now believe in Jesus Christ and have been forgiven of all their sins, and have the promise of eternal life, but the great majority do not believe in Jesus Christ and continue as sinners before God.
God is well aware of this condition of the human race, and has promised that in His Kingdom sin will be overcome and destroyed.
The governments and ruling powers throughout the earth are sinners before God, and so are their subjects. The government of human beings by human beings depends for the greater part (in theory and also considerable in fact) upon the consent of the governed as expressed by the majority. But there seems always to be an unsatisfied and often seriously dissatisfied minority seeking to become a majority, so that it may have control. Stability is manifestly impossible with dissenting groups ever present and active.
The United Nations Organisation does not operate satisfactorily, as the various wars, terrorist ravages and world-wide problems of injustice and large-scale poverty bear witness.
It is our firm belief and assertion that human beings, however well-meaning and altruistic some of them may be, and however beneficial their proposals may seem to be, cannot bring about lasting world-wide solutions to earth's problems. Sin, which causes the innate selfishness of human nature, will always wreck the best of human endeavour. Only God can solve the world's problems, and He has promised to do so.
How and When Will God's Kingdom Come?
Concerning how God's Kingdom will come, the Bible tells us that God will directly intervene in human affairs. The prophet Daniel has written in Daniel, chapter 2:
44 "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms, and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever." (Revised Standard Version)
The specific action that God will take to bring this about has not been revealed to us, nor when this time will be. We are not told precisely when God's Kingdom will come, but we believe the time is near. Certain signs, however, have been given to us in such passages as Matthew 24:25-33 and Luke 21:25-36; and we endeavour always to understand and apply these signs to our observation of world events.
We invite all who are interested in the message of the Kingdom of God to consider some prophecies foretelling features of the end of this evil world order. The prophecies are recorded in Matthew 24:3-14; Luke 21:7-23, 25-31; and 2 Timothy 3:1-5
We exhort all who read these comments to compare them with the Scriptures, for to us they represent God's Word revealed from Him through His Son Jesus Christ and His chosen prophets, apostles and people of faith under inspiration of His Holy Spirit.
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