The Kingdom Of God
a.k.a. The Kingdom Of Heaven
Webster's defines a *kingdom as: a politically organized community or major territorial unit having a monarchical form of government headed by a king or queen. And also as: an area or sphere in which one holds a preeminent position.
●Acts 1:6-7 ...So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority."
The particular kingdom, of which Jesus' Jewish friends asked, is the Davidic monarchy that God established in 2Sa 7:11-16, and Ps 89:4-5, and detailed in the Old Testament books of Isaiah and Zechariah.
●Acts 1:9-11 ...After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
You would be amazed at the number of professing Christians who don't believe Jesus is returning some day to rule the world; in spite of the fact that a prolific author of New Testament letters spoke of the kingdom as something that would appear as a consequence of Jesus' return.
●2Tim 4:1 ...In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
Man's day of controlling the cosmos is approaching the point when God will step in and set up a person who can be trusted to run things His way. In this chapter, we'll show that the kingdom of God a.k.a. the kingdom of Heaven is not only corporeal, and will be on the earth, but will also occur in two distinct phases: a brief period on the current earth, and a final, permanent phase on an entirely new earth in a brand new cosmos.
Objection: The kingdom is already here. There's lots of New Testament passages attesting to that fact.
Quite a few theologians of the past— many with better educations, and higher IQ's than either mine or yours —have already debated, argued, and thoroughly studied the nature of the Kingdom for a good many years without clearly, conclusively, and without ambiguity, convincing their opponents and reaching a consensus. Do you really think that either of us, here in the armpit of the world wide web, are going to achieve any more solidarity than they did? The very best either of us can do is resurrect the arguments and rebuttals that have already been discussed in the past by Christian scholars and theologians better qualified than ourselves.
According to 1John 2:27, there is a special group of Christians within the sphere of Christianity blessed in such a way that they are able to recognize, to understand, and (most importantly) to accept the real truth. The identities of those special Christians are known only to God. But of one thing I am very sure; all others are vulnerable to error; even many like you and me who are convinced in their own minds that they know what they're talking about.
Kingdom knowledge consists of closely-guarded divine secrets (Matt 13:16-17, Luke 8:10) so it's no surprise there's divided opinion going around. Can we guarantee that we're among those special Christians? No we can't. But it's a catch-22. Even if we could produce impeccable credentials proving we were: you yourself would have to be one of those special Christians too before you could accept what we're about to tell you.
Objection: I am well educated and possess an above-average IQ. God gave me this mind, and I truly believe he expects me to use it in understanding the Bible. You and your wife haven't even been to seminary. I am certain based on solid fact, history, and linguistics, that you are not able to, nor even qualified to, identify the correct meaning; nor do I believe you are able to "get it" because you have no formal training in biblical languages, hermeneutics, Church history, or theology,
You are making the common error of evaluating our "getting it" on the basis of human intellect; while overlooking the tremendous advantage we enjoy, as adoptees in God's own home, of personal tutelage with God's spirit.
●1John 2:26-27 …I have written these things to you because you need to be aware of those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he inhabits you, so you don't need anyone to help you identify the truth. For the Spirit guides you in all things, and what He shows you is true— it is not a lie. So continue in what He has shown you
●1John 2:26-27 . .These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
According to the New Testament's Jesus, the majority of the human race is going to Hell.
●Matt 7:13-14 …Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
●Matt 22:14 ...For many are invited, but few are chosen.
Of the minority that's going to Heaven, a relatively small percentage are intelligent and/or educated, including Jesus himself.
●John 7:14-18 …The Jews then were astonished, saying, "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?"
●Acts 4:13 …The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had no education.
●1Cor 1:26-29 …Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes …. when God called you.
●1Cor 2:1-5 …When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. …My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
●1Cor 1:19-22 …As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas." So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe.
IQ and education work against people of above-average intelligence; they're actually handicapped; and have a better chance of going to Hell than ordinary people. In the long run; education and IQ only serve to make people vain and conceited.
●1Cor 8:1-2 …Knowledge puffeth up …and if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
●John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
The *earthly things that Jesus had just finished discussing with Nicodemus in the first eleven verses of John 3 regarded two things: the kingdom of heaven, and the mandatory second-birth requirement to enter it. Both the kingdom and the seconc births are said to be earthly, not heavenly. So the kingdom of heaven will be set up down here on the planet, not up in the celestial regions. And it will be a genuine regency; a fully functioning government.
●2Sam 7:16 Your house and your kingship shall ever be secure before you; your throne shall be established forever.
●Ps 89:4 I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to My servant David: I will establish your offspring forever, I will confirm your throne to all generations.
●Ps 2:6-12 Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. "I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'" Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him.
It's essential to a proper understanding of the Kingdom to accept that Jesus is actually heir to two distinctly separate thrones.
●Luke 1:32-33 …The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.
David’s throne, and Jacob’s house, have always been identified with planet earth in the country of Israel.
Since Jesus is both son of Man and son of God, then he is not only supposed to take over his father David’s throne, but his father God’s throne too.
●Re 3:21 …I …am set down with my Father in his throne.
Failure to discern between David’s throne and God’s throne has led far too many well-meaning, poorly informed Christian folk into some silly errors regarding Jesus’ jurisdictions and the locations of his two thrones. They typically put both in Heaven; when David's is obviously sited on earth. Although Jesus is now sitting upon God's throne, he isn't sitting on David's throne yet, but one day will return in person and fulfill the very thing God promised in Luke 1:32-33.
●2Sam 23:5 Is not my House established before God? For He has granted me an eternal pact, drawn up in full and secured.
That pact God made with David, permanently designated the selection of a royal family for Israel; kind of like a Jewish house of Windsor. So Israel's final, and permanent, form of national government will be a monarchy, and the king will be one of David's descendants.
The most exciting part of David's covenant is an additional promise, contained in its wording, of one last restoration of Abraham's community to permanent occupancy in Israel.
●2Sam 7:10 I will establish a home for my people Israel and will plant them firm, so that they shall dwell secure and shall tremble no more. Evil men shall not oppress them any more as in the past, ever since I appointed chieftains over my people Israel. I will give them safety from all your enemies.
So the people of Israel have a great future out ahead. And one day they will dwell secure, without fear, and without anxiety. Which means that all of their enemies must be crushed first before God's promises can become a reality. Today they are not secure, nor without fear in that land. The Gulf war with Iraq proved that much; and Islamic terrorism, water shortages, and Palestinian conflicts continue to buffet the Jews who live in Israel today (the vast majority live outside). So the promises that God made in David's covenant have not yet been realized because there is no monarchy, and because there is no peace and safety in Israel, nor has there been a full return to that land.
The covenant God made with David is the foundation upon which Christ's kingdom is built. Jesus is David's royal descendant and will one day take charge and rule— not just his homeland —the entire world.
●Dan 7:13-14 As I looked on, in the night vision, one like a human being came with the clouds of heaven; he reached the Ancient of Days and was presented to Him. Dominion, glory, and kingship were given to him; all peoples and nations of every language must serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.
Jesus' kingdom will have jurisdiction not only in heaven and on the earth; but also in Hell.
●Php 2:9-11 ...Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
●Rev 1:18 ...I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and of Death.
The Eradication Of All Religions
It is a fact of life: A world divided in its religion, cannot be unified in its politics. The religions of the world have to be whittled down to just one if Man is ever going to enjoy world peace. Islam especially, has got to go. It must be neutralized and banned forever. Hinduism too, must go, right along with everything else contrary to the Bible's God. However, even those measures won't work unless The Deity himself takes a direct hands-on approach to running the world.
That day is coming, but it is not the responsibility of Biblical Christians to make it happen. The Bible's God himself will eventually step up to make it happen all in His own good time; and God pity those who resist.
●Ps 2:7-9 ...I will proclaim The Lord's decree: He said to me; You are My son; today I have become your Father. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.
●Isa 11:9 . .They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of The Lord, as the water. cover the sea.
●Zech 14:9 ...And The Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.
(Even among religions whose God is The Lord, His name is not "one", no His name is spread out over a pretty large diversity of incompatible theologies ranging from Judaism to Mormonism. That will no longer be the situation in Messiah's Kingdom.)
●Matt 13:40-43 ...As weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
●Php 2:9-11 ...Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Supreme, to the glory of God the Father.
There will be swift justice against criminals.
●Isa 11:1-4 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.
●Jude 1:14-15 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
●Matt 13:40-43 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
Harmony In Nature
The kingdom will be characterized by the absence of cruelty in nature.
●Isa 11:6-9 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
●Rom 8:19-22 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
●Isa 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," says the Lord.
It will also be characterized by an abundance of health, peace, prosperity, and a complete lack of violence between fellow human beings.
●Isa 2:2-4 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
●Isa 65:17-23 Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.
The earthly phase of the kingdom is not the place where people will live forever with eternal life, but is specifically described as "he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed." So people won't live forever in the earthly phase they will just live longer.
The Kingdom's Duration
The kingdom of God will be eternal. It will, in point of fact, be the one, and the only kingdom in history that never fell.
●Dan 7:13-14 I was watching in the night visions, and behold, one like [a] son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before Him. Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.
However, although the kingdom is eternal, its first phase is not: it is in two distinct phases each in a separate location. The first phase is relatively short; only a thousand years, and situated on the current Earth. The second phase is permanent, and situated on a brand new Earth in a brand new cosmos.
●Rev 20:1-5 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
...And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Objection: Notice that it said that only those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. A literal rendering of this verse eliminates everybody else.
In your mind's zeal to create an exclusion, you overlooked a nondescript group of people whom John described as; "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them (Rev 20:4).
I myself fully expect to be among those nondescript they and them who will sit upon thrones, and to whom authority will be given to judge. Not only will the world be under my jurisdiction, but so will angels.
●1Cor 6:2-3 …Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?
●1Cor 6:3 …Know ye not that we shall judge angels?
You see, there won't be any need for judges in the eternal phase of the kingdom because everyone in it will be 100% righteous. But the millennial kingdom will need law enforcement and criminal justice because it will be populated by a good number of ordinary people; many of whom will later be organized by Satan for one last final rebellion against God.
●Rev 20:7-8 ...And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
The reason that the Devil will be able to organize civil war in the kingdom is because the thousand-year phase will take place on the current Earth where the population will be a mixture of born-again people and non born-again people just like it is now an amalgam of the Godly and the unGodly; the saved and the lost.
The insurrection will be summarily crushed.
●Rev 20:9-10 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Immediately after the rebellion is crushed, the current Earth, and the current cosmos will be completely destroyed; as predicted by Isa 65:17 and 2Pet 3:10-13. Some time later, after the Great Judgment of Rev 20:11-15, where the damned are judged, punished, and discarded; and the permanent portion of the kingdom will be set up.
●Rev 20:11-21:1 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
...Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
●Rev 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."
Objection: Revelation introduces itself as a book of signs (signified); viz: a book in apocalyptic language (the language of symbolism) so you can't really take it literally.
Since that's the case, then wouldn't it be anybody's guess what the book of Revelation really says? Too bad; but I prefer my own guess to yours.
A New Covenant
The new covenant has a direct application in the kingdom and is therefore totally different than the first covenant God made with the Jews in Moses' day; which was a covenant made to control the conduct of sinful beings; whereas the new covenant removes the sinner's evil nature and has the potential to remake him a being who never sins.
It is sometimes confusing, and frustrating, to try and analyze the new one through the lenses of Moses' covenant; especially in regard to the atonement method of the new one. The two covenants are so different in their scope that it is impossible to harmonize them. They have to stand alone. It just doesn't work to try and fuse the two together; neither is the new one built upon the old one; as if it was designed to enhance the old one in some way. Like Forrest Gump said to his friend Jenny about Viet Nam: "It's a whole other country." Here's the wording.
●Jer 31:31-34 See, a time is coming declares the Lord when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers, when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, though I espoused them declares the Lord.
...But such is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after these days declares the Lord: I will put my Teachings into their inmost being and inscribe it upon their hearts. Then I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they need to teach one another and say to one another, "Heed the Lord"; for all of them, from the least of them to the greatest, shall heed Me declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sins no more.
Today, the vast majority of the Jewish people are secular and do not "heed the Lord". The very purpose of the new covenant is to ensure that individual Jews will heed God. The covenant also has provisions to forgive every imaginable sin, even the ones that cannot be forgiven through Moses' covenant e.g. capital crimes, and violations committed by offenders who know what they are doing is wrong, a.k.a.: deliberate sin.
●Acts 13:38-41 . .Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is acquitted of everything you could not be cleared of by the law of Moses. Beware that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: Look on, you critics, be astonished, and vanish; for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone were an eye witness.
Every beneficiary of the new covenant, both Jew and Gentile, will live, not just obedient to God, but actually follow God willingly and cheerfully; because righteousness will become second nature to them, and a part of their normal personality. The new covenant contains provisions to supernaturally, and quite literally regenerate a person into a new man. Moses' covenant did not have provisions for rehabilitation and, its rituals aside, was really only good for law and order. The new covenant is not like that. One of its strong points is, in point of fact, rehab, and makes a person self disciplined instead of forcing them to be civil by means of law enforcement and criminal justice.
Years ago, lobotomy experiments were tried in an effort to control criminal behavior. Well, those didn't really succeed too well and sometimes left the patient messed up. The new covenant performs something much better than a lobotomy. The operation is supernatural and actually performs the creation of a brand new human being sans the sinful nature they had in the old one. Years ago, back when I was lost and on my way to hell, I thought to myself if only it wasn't so difficult and so unnatural to follow God's law. If only I could please God naturally, without so much effort, then it would be much easier. Praise God! The new covenant is the answer to my wish.
Jeremiah wasn't the only prophet who predicted the new covenant and its benefits. Ezekiel predicted it too.
●Ezk 36:24-28 I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your fetishes. And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh; and I will put My spirit into you. Thus I will cause you to follow My laws and faithfully to observe My rules. Then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people and I will be your God.
The laws and rules of the new covenant are not exactly the same as the ones in Moses' covenant. There are major differences in the two pacts. Although the laws and rules of the two covenants were enacted by the same God, the covenants clash and cannot dwell together in harmony. So it is impossible to participate in both covenants at the same time.
●Matt 9:16-17 ...No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
●Jer 31:38-40 See, a time is coming declares the Lord when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate; and the measuring line shall go straight out to the Gareb Hill, and then turn toward Goah. And the entire Valley of the Corpses and Ashes, and all the fields as far as the Wadi Kidron, and the corner of the Horse Gate on the east, shall be holy to the Lord. They shall never again be uprooted or overthrown.
That promise "they shall never again be uprooted or overthrown" could never become a reality if Abraham's posterity were permitted to remain under the Mosaic covenant's jurisdiction because according to Deut 28:15-68, Moses' covenant stipulates mandatory eviction whenever the Jews become too decadent.
Even if there were no such thing as Jeremiah's new covenant, reason would cry out for one so the Jews could stay put in Israel instead of being kicked out of it and/or dominated by foreign powers again and again.
Messiah's kingdom would be jeopardized too without a new covenant. He might be an okay guy himself whose methods please God alright; but his countrymen's typically half baked attitude towards God's authority would most likely ruin things for him in short order. But God has guaranteed Messiah's kingdom to be an everlasting kingdom which will never fall. So his constituents absolutely have got to be made one hundred percent God fearing to protect Messiah's best interests.
I think history has proven well enough that the people of Israel cannot be trusted to be faithful to Moses' covenant. But the new covenant does not rely upon their inconsistent human will power. God's spirit will take charge and reform the people in spite of themselves; and done in such a permanent way that they will never lose the benefits of Messiah's leadership, nor any of his kingdom's peace and prosperity. The new covenant is a very good deal.
It's possible to become a citizen of the kingdom right now, while we live in this life; before we die and move on; and before the kingdom is fully up and running.
●Col 1:12-14 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
●1Pet 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a viable expectation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
The objections we are going to answer in this next section are a direct result of people's limited knowledge of the Bible.
According to Rev 22:12, Jesus was supposed to come back quickly. It's been almost two thousand years now. Where is he?
●Rev 22:12 …And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
The Greek word translated *quickly in that passage is tachu (takh-oo'); which means: shortly, i.e. without delay, soon, or (by surprise) suddenly, or (by implication, of ease) readily.
Jesus' so-called "soon coming" is not really supposed to be soon, but rather, imminent; which Webster's defines as: ready to take place; i.e. hanging threateningly over one's head.
His return will be as sudden and unexpected as the strike of a lightning bolt.
●Luke 17:24-25 …For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.
Jesus' return is going to catch a lot of people by surprise.
●Matt 24:43-44 ...But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
●1Thes 5:1-5 …Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
●Rev 3:3 …Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly and turn to me again. Unless you do, I will come upon you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.
According to Luke 17:20-21, the kingdom is not a literal federal state, but an invisible, spiritual condition in people's minds and hearts.
Anyone who's read down thus far on the page and still holds to that position, is really asleep at the wheel. But nevertheless, we'll respond to it because it's a very common one.
●Luke 17:20-21 . .Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say,' Look, here it is!' or,' There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
The passage is taken from a conversation between Jesus and some hostile Pharisees, whom Jesus, in other places, vehemently accused of being hypocrites, liars, fathered by the Devil, a generation of poisonous snakes, cruel to widows, murderers, sacrilegious, sanctimonious, extortionists, blind guides, lacking a sense of fair play, kindness, and faith; and children of Hell.
It needs to be emphasized that Heaven, and the Kingdom of God (a.k.a. the kingdom of Heaven) are not one and the very same thing. In the Gospels, the "kingdom" is specifically the sphere of David's royal jurisdiction, which has always been the geographical land of Israel. Jesus is David's final successor, and as such, he is the monarch of the coming kingdom.
●Luke 1:31-33 . .You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.
Obviously then, since the kingdom is a physical jurisdiction, then the KJV words "within you" actually mean "in your midst" in the person of the king himself which is why Jesus had his helpers go about broadcasting that the kingdom of God is at hand. It isn't at hand for now because the Jews rejected their king and murdered him. However, he is returning, and next time: it's no more Mr. Nice Guy.
●Luke 17:24-37 . .For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
. .Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
. .It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.
. .Where, Lord? they asked. He replied; Wherever there's a dead body, there the vultures will gather.
●Rev 1:7 . .Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
Additional evidence that the kingdom is a physical jurisdiction is Jesus' promise that he will again imbibe the fruit of the vine in the kingdom just as he did at his last meal (Matt 26:29). Since spirits and ghosts have neither a mouth, nor lips, nor an esophagus, nor a stomach, nor a digestive tract; it would be impossible for Jesus to keep his promise unless he returned to earth with a physical body.
●Luke 24:37-43 . .They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and astonishment, he asked them; "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it while they watched.
When Jesus said: "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;" he meant the date for it has not been revealed. The Pharisees specifically asked him for a date in Luke 17:20. Jesus' disciples asked of him the very same thing just before he left.
●Acts 1:6-7 …Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority."
Several attempts have been made in the past to predict the exact moment of Jesus' return. All have failed because Jesus said the Son of Man will come in an hour when you think not.
●Matt 24:43-44 ...Know this: A homeowner who knew exactly when a burglar was coming would stay alert and not permit the house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected.
The particular kingdom about which the Pharisees questioned Jesus in Luke 17:20-21, and about which the disciples questioned him in Acts 1:6-7, was, in Old Testament Judaism (the one God-given religion that Jesus, and the Pharisees, and the disciples professed to believe and practice) the Davidic monarchy; and their question was justifiable since the Old Testament profusely predicts restoration of the house of David's control over the land of Israel under the patronage and guidance of Almighty God.
At the very end of Jesus' ministry, after he had already been crucified and risen from the dead, and just moments before leaving, he spoke of the kingdom as yet something future. If the kingdom of God (a.k.a. David's monarchy) were only "in people's hearts", as some allege; then the disciples' question, and Jesus' answer, would have been a non sequitur. But they all, including Jesus, expected the actual kingdom to be set up at some later date. And the kingdom will be set up neither in people's hearts, nor out in space; but in the land of Israel and all over the world.
According to the Bible, Jesus' return will be neither spiritual, nor invisible, nor will it be in secret; but will be very public because every eye shall see him arrive.
●Rev 1:7 …Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.
There will be no need to tell people the kingdom is here, nor will it be necessary to tell them where it is, because the kingdom will have worldwide jurisdiction; and its tentacles will take hold of everybody on the whole planet.
●Isa 11:9 …for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
●Ps 2:6-12 Yet I have set My king on My holy hill of Zion. "I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'" Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him.
●Dan 7:13-14 I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.
You're supposed to keep the Old Testament separate from the new one. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2Tim 2:15).
Ruling out the Old Testament would render Philip's discussion with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-35 completely meaningless. He based his explanation of Jesus' recent crucifixion upon the 53rd chapter of Isaiah; a premier Old Testament messianic passage. Also, there are many Old Testament predictions regarding Messiah found quoted in the New Testament that specifically find a fulfillment in Jesus. And Paul, in 1Cor 15:1-4, said that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead in accordance with the scriptures. The scriptures to which he referred are the Old Testament's writings, not the New Testament's writings because in his day the New Testament hadn't been compiled yet.
Jesus clearly taught that he himself can be found in the Old Testament if one knows where to look.
●Luke 24:38-44 He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
The Old Testament is a vital teaching tool.
●Matt 22:29 ...Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures
●Rom 15:4 ...For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us
●1Cor 10:11 ...These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us
●2Tim 3:14-17 ...But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
In order to "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed" it is absolutely essential to have a solid working knowledge of both Testaments, along with the skill to apply them intelligently, conscientiously, and correctly.
The division in the Bible between the Old and the New is man-made. There aren't two separate holy books; just the one continuous tome. The Old Testament by itself is an incomplete revelation that looks ahead to some very important things. Working with just half of the Bible is equal to skipping the first twelve years of public school and going directly to college. You can imagine how dumb that would be!
The Greek word translated "rightly dividing" is from orthotomeo (or-thot-om-eh'-o) which means: to make a straight cut (as opposed to a crooked cut).
Orthotomeo doesn't mean to keep things separate. It means to be conscientious rather than haphazard and sloppy. The word appears only one single time in the entire New Testament; right there in 2Tim 2:15.
There is a specific Greek word for a dividing that actually does separate things from each other. The word is merismos (mer-is-mos') which means: separation or distribution. That's the word used in Hebrews 4:12.
● For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Old Testament and the New Testament are artificial, man-made divisions in the Bible. It's not supposed to be two separate holy books. It's supposed to be one systematic, consistant coordination from first to last. It's no wonder people tend to spiritualize the kingdom. They have forced themselves into that position by ruling out the Old Testament's predictions regarding the kingdom as a fully functioning, world dominating, corporeal federal regency; controlled and directed by a Davidic monarch with headquarters right here on the Earth in downtown Jerusalem.
According to John 18:33-37, the kingdom is specifically "not of this world."
It just amazes us how seemingly intelligent people can disregard so many clear cut depictions of the kingdom's corporeal, physical jurisdiction on the earth. However, since this too is a common objection, we'll answer it.
●John 18:33-37a Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this about Me?" Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?"
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here." Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king.
What was Jesus saying? That his kingdom would not be set up on planet Earth? No. I've already shown from many passages of both the Old Testament and the new one that his kingdom is predicted to not only be set up on planet Earth, but to completely dominate it.
You have to take into consideration who Jesus was talking to. It was a Roman governor very familiar with the customary routes men normally take to obtain their power. Pilate would quite naturally think that Jesus either expected to be appointed to a position of power by Caesar, or take it from Rome by force via an insurrection in Palestine. However, Jesus will not come into power by earthly methods nor like men are accustomed. His kingdom is neither of this world nor is it from this world. It is of God, and it is from God.
●Heb 10:12-13 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
If Jesus was already officiating in his kingdom, then his enemies would already be crushed; but they're not.
The kingdom is here now because if it wasn't, then the people of whom Jesus predicted would see it before their deaths, would still be alive waiting for it.
That is one of the air-headed objections commonly raised by unbelievers whose ambition is to prove the Bible is full of errors rather than make an honest effort to understand it.
●Mark 9:1 And He was saying to them, "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power."
Unbelievers contend is that if the kingdom of God has not yet come, then the ones who stood before Jesus when he spoke that prediction would still be alive today. However, Jesus' meaning in that passage was not the actual coming that everyone is expecting; but rather, a preview of the coming. The precise meaning of Jesus' words are explained in the very next verses of that very same passage.
●Mark 9:2-7 And six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified. Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!"
Peter understood his experience on the mount as seeing the coming of the kingdom of God.
●2Pet 1:16-19 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased" and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
Peter of course was referring his experience to Matt 17:1-9 and Mark 9:2-7, which he identified as "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." So the full event itself is yet future and will actually happen at some later date. His mountain top experience emboldened Peter to believe in the Old Testament's predictions regarding the new world and the Messianic kingdom as realities, instead of just scriptural pipe dreams.
When asked by the disciples when the second coming would occur, Jesus said "Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
That objection is almost laughable because the people who promote it have defeated themselves by their own narrow definition of the word "generation."
●Matt 24:34-35 …I assure you, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.
The generation of which Jesus spoke in the 24th chapter of Matthew is still in existence. Everyone of earth is a part of it right now. It's the world as we know it today. There was a generation prior to the Flood; headed by Adam, and there is a generation now after the Flood; headed by Noah. Jesus said; "Heaven and earth will disappear." So there is yet to come a whole new generation; viz: another Genesis (Isa 65:17, 2Pet 3:10, and Rev 21:1-5). The next Genesis is called the regeneration (Matt 19:28).
Perhaps the second coming will be something like the first coming; viz: go unnoticed by nearly all of mankind.
Nobody will miss Jesus' next arrival.
●Rev 1:7 …Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the earth will weep because of him. Yes! Amen!
It's impossible for Jesus to rule the entire planet all by himself. He's just one man. No, the kingdom isn't literal. It is spiritual, and Jesus rules in people's hearts through God's spirit.
I seriously don't understand how the one would be any more difficult than the other. And besides, Jesus isn't going to do everything all by himself anyway. Messiah will be in charge, but the people of God will do all the real work of running the world; like a huge corps of federal bureaucrats.
●2Tim 2:11-12 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:
●1Cor 6:2-3 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?
●Dan 7:21-22 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
●Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them ...and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
The apostles were specifically promised positions of authority in the kingdom.
●Luke 22:28-30 ...You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The world has yet to see the apostles judging even one tribe of Israel; let alone all twelve. Shouldn't that be happening if the kingdom were already here? None of them are doing anything like that yet because their jurisdictions are contingent upon Messiah's kingdom being actively up and running in Eretz Israel; and himself present and in charge, ruling upon David's throne.
Why would Jesus' promise to the twelve include Judas if he already knew that Judas would betray him and go to hell?
According to Luke 22:28-30, Judas was indeed promised a throne. His response mirrors the reaction of all those who lack confidence in the cross for one reason or another. I guess he just didn't take Jesus' promise seriously enough; nor believe Jesus actually meant what he said. Judas is like so many others to whom Jesus promises eternal life if only they will trust him; but don't.
●John 3:14-18 ...Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert [Num 21:5-9], so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God was so concerned for the world that He donated His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God didn't send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to rescue the world through him. Whoever has confidence in him is not condemned, but whoever doesn't stands condemned already because he isn't trusting in the credibility of God's one and only Son.
●2Pet 2:20-22 …For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.
I have met lots of Christians who are just like Judas. They rub shoulders with the Bible and with Bible believers every Sunday, even discussing the Bible in Sunday school classes at great lengths, and sharing in prayer time; and yet remain non-committal. Judas was no fake apostle; he was a real one, and he could raise the dead and heal the sick and cast out demons just like the other eleven when Jesus sent out the twelve (Matt 10:5-8).
There's a sober lesson in that. The ability to conduct crusades, hold seminars, teach a Sunday school class, lead a church and/or perform genuine miracles does not prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone truly has Jesus' best interests at heart.
●Matt 7:21-23 …Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day; Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly; I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
When Jesus uses a word like "many" I have to assume he means the opposite of a few; so that the numbers of artificial, Hell-bound Christians that are out and about must be quite considerable, and includes not only traitors and back-stabbers like Judas, but also popular humanitarian luminaries like Mother Teresa of Calcutta (a.k.a. Kolkata).
The most frightful aspect of Messiah's kingdom is the preparatory events prior to its installment— a seven year period of history predicted in Daniel, and described at length in the book of Revelation, known as the great tribulation and known also as the time of Jacob's trouble. The tribulation is a brief era of unequaled Divine wrath. But just as Noah was protected from the first world-wide judgment: fortunately no born-again Christian living prior to its commencement will have to endure the second.
●Rom 5:8-9 …But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now acquitted by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
●1Thes 1:10 ...wait for His son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
●1Thes 5:9 ...For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive protection through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Things To Come
By J.Dwight Pentecost
Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus