Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

Free copy of Bible Basics


5:4 The Kingdom Of God In The Future

Sections 1 and 3 of this Study have yielded a fair amount of information concerning what this Kingdom will be like. We have seen that Abraham was promised that through his Seed people from all parts of the world will be blessed;  Rom. 4:13 extends this to mean that the whole earth will be inherited by those people who are 'in' Abraham's Seed, i.e. Christ. The image prophecy of Dan. 2 explains how Christ will return as the little stone, and then the kingdom will gradually spread world-wide (cp. Ps. 72:8). This means that the Kingdom of God will not just be located in Jerusalem or the land of Israel, as some maintain, although these areas will certainly be its heartland. Romans 8 comments upon the curse put upon the natural creation in Genesis 3. Paul's inspired comment is that the earth "groans" but is in hope of being delivered from this in the day when the children of God likewise are released from the effects of Adam's sin (Rom. 8:18-25). This alone rules out any ultimate physical destruction of the planet as a result of human sin. God's plan is to release this fair earth from the curse and return it to its original state.

Those who follow Christ in this life will be "kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10). We will rule over settlements of various sizes and number;  one will rule over ten cities, another over five (Luke 19:17). Christ will share his rulership over the earth with us (Rev. 2:27; 2 Tim. 2:12).  "A king (Jesus) shall reign in righteousness, and princes (the believers) shall rule in judgment" (Isa. 32:1; Ps. 45:16).

Christ is to reign for ever on David's re-established throne (Luke 1:32,33), i.e. he will have David's place and position of rulership, which was in Jerusalem. As Christ will reign from Jerusalem, this will be the capital of the future Kingdom.  Nations "will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts” in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:16).

This annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem is also prophesied in Isa. 2:2,3: "In the last days, the mountain (kingdom - Dan. 2:35,44) of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains (i.e. God's Kingdom will be exalted above the kingdoms of men)...and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come, 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...for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem".  This appears to be a picture of the early days of the Kingdom, as people spread the knowledge of Christ's reign to others, and they go up to the "mountain" of God's Kingdom, which will be slowly spreading world-wide. Here we have a picture of real enthusiasm in religious worship.

One of the greatest human tragedies of our day is that most people 'worship' God for political, social, cultural or emotional reasons, rather than upon the basis of a true understanding of Him as their Father and Creator. In the Kingdom there will be world-wide enthusiasm to learn the ways of God; people will be so motivated by this desire that they will travel from all ends of the earth to Jerusalem in order to worship and learn of God.

Instead of the confusion and unfairness created by man's legal systems and administration of justice, there will be one universal legal code - "the law, and the word of the Lord", which will be pronounced by Christ from Jerusalem. "All nations shall flow unto" these teaching sessions, implying that this common desire to find the true knowledge of God will lessen the natural friction between nations, as it does between individuals who dedicate themselves to gaining such knowledge in this life.

This description of all the nations flowing unto Jerusalem is similar to the picture presented in Isa. 60:5, where the Jews "flow together" along with the Gentiles (non-Jews) to worship God in Jerusalem. This connects perfectly with the Kingdom prophecy of Zech. 8:20-23:-

 "There shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities;  and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go continually (A.V. mg. - cp. Zech. 14:16 'year by year') to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yes, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem...ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you".

This creates the picture of the Jewish people being made "the head, and not the tail" of the nations, due to their repentance and obedience (Deut. 28:13); the Jewish basis of God's plan of salvation will then be appreciated by everyone.  The ignorance of this amongst contemporary Christianity will then be abruptly ended. People will then enthusiastically discuss these things, so that they can tell the Jews, "we have heard that God is with you".  Conversation will then revolve around spiritual things, rather than the vain phantoms which fill the world's present thinking.

Given this greater commitment to Godliness, it is not surprising that Christ "shall judge among the nations...they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:4). The absolute authority of Christ and total justice of his arbitration in disputes will result in the nations willingly changing their military hardware into agricultural machinery, and abandoning all military training. "In his days shall the righteous flourish" (Ps. 72:7) - spirituality will then be exalted, and respect will be paid to those who reflect God's characteristics of love, mercy, justice etc. Contrast this with the present exaltation of the proud, self-assertive and selfishly ambitious.

The willing beating of "swords into plowshares" will be part of a much greater agricultural change which will come upon the earth. As a result of Adam's sin, the ground was cursed for his sake (Gen. 3:17-19), with the result that great effort is presently needed to get food from it. In the Kingdom "there shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the (once barren) mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like (the crops of) Lebanon" (Ps. 72:16).  "The plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine" (Amos 9:13), such will be the improved fertility of the earth, and the reduction of the curse on the ground pronounced in Eden.

Such immense agricultural enterprise will involve many people. The Kingdom prophecies give the impression that people will return to a self-sufficient, agricultural lifestyle:-

 "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree;

 and none shall make them afraid" (Mic. 4:4).

This self-sufficiency will overcome the abuses which are inherent in any system of employment of labour for cash. Spending a lifetime working to make others rich will then be a thing of the past.

 "They shall build houses, and inhabit them (themselves); and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain..." (Isa. 65:21-23).

Isaiah 35:1-7 contains a matchless prophecy of how infertile land will be changed, resulting in an aura of joy and happiness almost oozing from the land, due to the easier and more spiritual way of life of those who work it: "The wilderness...shall be glad...the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall...rejoice even with joy and singing...for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool".  Even the natural aggression between the animals will be removed: "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together", and children will be able to play with snakes (Is. 65:25; 11:6-8).

In the same way as the curse which was placed upon the natural creation will be greatly reduced, so that which was placed on mankind will also be lessened. Thus Rev. 20:2,3 speaks in symbolic language of the devil (sin and its effects) being "bound", or restrained, during the Millennium.Life-spans will be increased, so that if someone dies at 100 years old, they will be considered but a child (Isa. 65:20). Women will experience less sorrow in childbirth (Isa. 65:23).  "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isa. 35:5,6). This will be due to the miraculous Spirit gifts again being possessed (cp. Heb. 6:5).

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the Kingdom of God should not be seen as a tropical island paradise, which the righteous will enjoy in a similar way to which men enjoy sunbathing amidst the glories of nature. The fundamental purpose of the Kingdom of God is to give glory to God, until the earth is full of glory to Him "as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14). This is God's ultimate aim: "As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Num. 14:21). Glory to God means that the inhabitants of the earth will appreciate, praise and copy His righteous attributes; because the world will be in this state, God will allow the physical earth to reflect this, too. Thus "the meek shall inherit the earth (in the Kingdom), and shall delight themselves in the abundance of (spiritual) peace" (Ps. 37:11), rather than in enjoying the easy life. Those "which do hunger and thirst after righteousness...shall be filled" with it in the Kingdom (Matt. 5:6).

Just the thought of possessing eternal life in the Kingdom is often used as a 'carrot' to induce people to an interest in Christianity. However, our possession of it then, will almost be incidental to the real reason for our being in the Kingdom - which is to glorify God. In what time may remain to us after our baptism, our appreciation of this should continually develop.

To the writer, just ten years of living in the joy of absolute perfection and good conscience with God would be worth all the trauma of this life. That this glorious state will last for ever simply blows the mind, taking us beyond the limits of human comprehension.

Even when viewed in slightly more physical terms, being in the Kingdom of God should be our supreme motivation to despise worldly advantages and materialism. Instead of taking excessive thought for the immediate future, Jesus advised, "Seek you first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:30-34). Everything which we can now imagine and strive for is incomparable to the ultimate fulfilment of being in God's Kingdom.

We need to seek "(God's) righteousness", i.e. to try to develop a love of God's character, which means that we want to be in God's Kingdom because righteousness will be glorified there, because we want to be completely morally perfect rather than just because we, personally, want to escape death and live an easy life for eternity.

All too often the hope of the Gospel is presented in ways which appeal to human selfishness. Obviously our motivation for being in the Kingdom varies tremendously from day to day. What we are suggesting here is an ideal; our first priority is to learn the Gospel and show our submission to it in baptism from a motive of loving obedience to God. Our appreciation of the hope God is offering, and our exact reasons for wanting to be in the Kingdom, will grow and mature after our baptism.

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||