The Kingdom and Its Blessings

THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE of our Lord’s return is the establishment of a worldwide kingdom, or government, which will assure the people of peace, and the opportunity to enjoy health and everlasting life. Concerning Jesus and his place in the divine plan, the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. … The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”—Isa. 9:6,7

What will this new government be like? Will it be merely a holy influence that will sweep over the earth? It will indeed be such an influence, but in addition it will have a definite kingdom personnel. Christ will be the king, the invisible ruler. The church—all those who, throughout the age now closing, have faithfully followed in his steps—will be associated with Christ in the spiritual, or invisible, phase of that kingdom. The promise to these has been that if they suffer with Christ they shall also reign with him.—II Tim. 2:12

God’s promises to the faithful followers of the Master are spiritual, or heavenly. Jesus said to his disciples, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2,3) Misunderstanding the intent of these promises, many have concluded that it has been God’s purpose to take as many of earth’s inhabitants to heaven as believe on Christ in this life, and that all those who do not believe would be forever lost. But now it is seen that in preparing the followers of Jesus to reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom, the Lord has merely been getting ready to save and bless mankind in general, and will restore them to perfect human life here on earth.

The Scriptures reveal that while Christ and his church, exalted to heavenly glory, will be the invisible rulers of the world in the coming new social order, there will be present on the earth the human, or visible, representatives of this heavenly government. Just as Satan, the invisible prince of the present evil world, has operated chiefly through visible agencies, so Christ and his exalted followers who are brought forth in the first resurrection to live and reign with him, will have visible representatives.

The Bible tells us who these will be. Jesus explained that in the kingdom, men will “come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God,” with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets. (Luke 13:28,29) In Psalm 45:16 those of this same class are described as “fathers,” and the prophecy states that they will become the “children” of the Christ, and will be made “princes in all the earth.” This class will be made up of all the worthy ones of past ages, from righteous Abel to those at the first coming of Jesus. In Isaiah 32:1 both the heavenly and earthly phases of the messianic kingdom are identified. The prophecy reads, “Behold, a king [Jesus] shall reign in righteousness, and princes [the Ancient Worthies] shall rule in judgment.”

Possible with God

Let us not say that the establishment of such a kingdom is impossible. For the worthy servants of God of past ages to become the visible phase of the millennial kingdom means that they will have to be raised from the dead. Is it too much to believe that God is able to do this? Is it not a fundamental of the Christian religion that there is to be a resurrection of the dead? Surely if we are looking to the Bible for a solution of the world’s problems, we should be prepared to believe that God is able to do all that he has promised to do; and he has promised to restore his ancient servants to life in what is described as the “better resurrection.”—Heb. 11:35

This better resurrection of the Ancient Worthies awaits the completion of the church class, made up of the Master’s faithful followers. Paul explained that “they [the Ancient Worthies] without us should not be made perfect,” that is, restored to perfection of life as humans. (Heb. 11:40) As for the faithful followers of Jesus being raised to spiritual life with him, and with him reigning as invisible rulers for a thousand years, surely we should have no difficulty in believing this. Have not most Christians believed in spiritual existence after death, and that those possessing it are invisible to human eyes?

However, some have erroneously supposed the spiritual existence described in the Bible to be a natural outcome of the “cycle of life.” This is not so! “The wages of sin is death,” and “the dead know not anything.” (Rom. 6:23; Eccles. 9:5) The Scriptures teach that the hope of life after death for both the church and the world depends upon a resurrection of the dead. The Scriptures also clearly teach that in the resurrection some are given spiritual bodies. Thus Christ was exalted, and the same is true of his faithful followers. Together, these powerful spiritual beings will, through their human representatives, the Ancient Worthies, exercise control over mankind throughout the thousand years of the messianic kingdom.

While the Law of the messianic kingdom will go forth from Zion, the word of the Lord will go forth from Jerusalem, Micah declares. When Jesus said that in the kingdom the people would “sit down” with the Ancient Worthies, the thought is of pupils sitting at the feet of their teachers, or masters. These teachers will communicate the word of the Lord as they receive it from the exalted Zion class, and this is evidently what is meant by the word of the Lord going forth from Jerusalem. Besides, we think it quite possible that the visible phase of the messianic kingdom might have its headquarters in or near the site of the ancient city of Jerusalem.

New Heavens and Earth

The two phases of the messianic kingdom are also pictured in the prophecies of the Bible as a “new heavens and a new earth.” Through the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord said, “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. … Be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.”—Isa. 65:17-20

In vision the Apostle John saw the fulfillment of this wonderful prophecy. (See Rev. 21:1-4) The “Jerusalem” which is identified in Isaiah’s prophecy with the new heavens and new earth is seen by John to be the exalted church class, described as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (Rev. 21:9,10) The former heaven and earth, symbolic of Satan’s social order, is seen to pass away, and then “a new heaven and a new earth” appear—symbolic, as we have seen, of the heavenly and earthly phases of the messianic kingdom.

With the new heaven and new earth functioning, and the “new Jerusalem” established, God’s favor will be manifested toward the people through this governmental arrangement, with the result that “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The symbolisms of the Bible are always appropriate and fitting. The literal heavens and literal earth bear a certain relationship to each other which well illustrates the operation of the spiritual and the earthly phases of the messianic kingdom. The heavens, for example, control earth’s tides, atmospheric conditions, and seasons. Just so, the earthly arrangements of Christ’s new government will be under the direct influence and control of the spiritual, or heavenly phase of that government.

This is true also of the present symbolic heavens and earth. The social and governmental affairs of men have always been more or less under the influence of spiritualistic forces over which Satan has been the prince. (Eph. 2:2) These have frequently exercised their influence through false religious systems. Indeed, it has been chiefly through the religious emotions of men and women that Satan has held control over the world. In this social order, false religion has been the medium, or the connecting link between “the god of this world” and the social and governmental affairs of the people. One outstanding illustration of this has been in the union of church and state. Through this system “holy” wars have been fought, and the holy inquisition employed to control the people through fear of torture.

The Apostle Peter, writing of events which would occur as a result of Christ’s second visit to earth, tells us that “the heavens and the earth, which are now, … are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men.” (II Pet. 3:7) In this same prophecy Peter speaks of the heavens and earth which were before the Flood as passing away, so we know that he is not discussing the literal heavens and earth, for these have never passed away, and never will. We read in Ecclesiastes 1:4 that “the earth abideth forever,” and in Isaiah 45:18 that God created the earth “not in vain, he formed It to be inhabited.”

In Peter’s prophecy, speaking again of the destruction of Satan’s social order, he said that we should be “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” and adds, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Pet. 3:12,13) Yes, this coming “new heavens and new earth” will be established in fulfillment of the word or promises of God; and when the work of this new kingdom is completed, and the incorrigible, and Satan, destroyed, then shall come to pass the promise that “there shall be no more death.” This is a glorious outlook, and will be the final result of our Lord’s return, his second visit to earth.

The River of Life

In Revelation 22:1-3 we are presented with another meaningful symbol, or picture, of the messianic kingdom and the blessing which, through its beneficent rule, will flow out to the people. John wrote, “He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Here the kingdom is symbolically described as “the throne of God and of the Lamb,” the Lamb symbolizing the sacrificial aspect of Jesus’ ministry on behalf of the people, the fact that he gave his flesh in sacrifice for the life of the world. It is this sacrifice, providing the redeeming blood of the Lamb, that makes available the blessings symbolized by the “river of water of life.”

John sees the tree of life growing by the river, bearing twelve manner of fruit, and yielding its fruit every month. This is a meaningful symbol of the fact that through the two phases of the messianic kingdom, health and life will be provided for all the willing and obedient of mankind. John wrote that the “leaves” of the symbolic tree of life will be “for the healing of the nations.” How sorely in need of healing are the people of all nations today, and we rejoice that the loving God of heaven, through the returned Christ, has made such a grand provision for them.

Revelation 22:17 again mentions the “water” of this river of life, and in this text also we are given a wonderful assurance. We quote: “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Here again, the “bride” refers collectively to those who are the faithful followers of the Master throughout the present era in the divine plan. Revelation 19:7 speaks of the marriage of the Lamb that takes place after his “wife hath made herself ready.” The making ready of the bride class is still in progress, although we believe it will soon be completed. Then, with these “made ready” ones, united with their Lord as his bride, there will be a bride to say, “Come, … and take the water of life freely.” What an incentive this is for every follower of Christ to “give diligence” to make his “calling and election sure!”—II Pet. 1:10,11

Solving World Problems

With such a kingdom arrangement in force, supported by divine, miracle-working power, how wonderfully one after another of earth’s problems will be solved. Take the problem of war. When the kingdom first begins to function, it will find mankind devastated by the ravages of various types of warfare, “conventional” and otherwise. Revolution and social upheaval will doubtless have resulted in chaotic conditions throughout much of the world. In due time the nations will recognize divine intervention on behalf of Israel and the world, and having been saved out of the dreadful experience of Armageddon and rescued from the wilderness of despair, they will look to the power that was their salvation, and say:

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 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.”—Mic. 4:2,3

How wonderfully simple is this divine solution of the war problem! It reverses the age-old axiom that in order to keep the peace, the nations must be prepared for war. It also casts aside the wisdom of fallen man which has devised the theory that through a “balance of power” war can be averted. It starts, instead, at the very foundation of the problem, with a program of education in the arts and advantages of peace instead of war; and thus a genuine disarmament program will be put into effect. Then will the promises of God pertaining to Jesus as the Prince of Peace be fulfilled. Then will the angelic message of “peace on earth, goodwill toward men,” become a reality.

There is also the economic problem of today. How serious it is when seventy-five percent of humans go to bed hungry every night! This problem will be solved in the kingdom, for then the arrangements will be such that “every man shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”—Mic. 4:4

The problem of poverty is, and always has been, a menacing one to millions. The poor, the underprivileged, have ever been a pathetic group. But these shall no longer be an army of the hungry and unsheltered, as heretofore, but will be considered and blessed in that new government to come. Concerning this the psalmist wrote, prophetically: “He [Christ] shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. … For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that bath no helper.”—Ps. 72:4,12

Population Explosion

One of the serious problems facing the world today is the population explosion. This is at present one of the contributing causes of war, for governments are seeking living room for their expanding numbers of subjects. But the Lord has provided a solution for this problem also. First, we have the promise that all the waste places of earth will become habitable and productive. “The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose,” we are told. (Isa. 35:1,2) Think of all the unused lands in the Americas, in Australia, in South Africa, etc. With these parts of the earth made habitable and productive, and available for the people, surely there will be no need to shed blood in order to acquire additional territory.

But there could be other ways, perhaps more permanent, by which the population problem could be solved—possibly by the bringing to an end man’s power of procreation. When our first parents were created, they were commanded to multiply and fill the earth. It should be observed that once a sufficient number of humans have been born to fill the earth, the purpose of this divine command will have been attained; hence the means by which it was implemented might be caused to cease.

Or, it is possible that God could make provision for mankind to eventually extend their boundaries to other areas of our solar system and universe, made habitable for this purpose. For God, with whom all things are possible, can undoubtedly find many solutions which lie within the realm of feasibility. Thus there is no need for concern, for the matter will surely be solved to the entire satisfaction of all, and to the glory of God.

Environmental Pollution

Closely associated with the population explosion is the increasing menace of environmental pollution. The greater number of people who live in an area, the greater is the threat of pollution in the air, the water, and on the land. Governments are doing what they can about this problem, but human selfishness is hindering the effort so that progress in solving it is painfully slow. But the Lord, through the agencies of the messianic kingdom, will know how to solve this problem also.

Human selfishness has always been a contributing cause for essentially all the problems of fallen mankind. There could never be genuine peace and goodwill in the earth as long as selfishness plays such an important role in the affairs of men. Thank God that under the rulership of earth’s new government, the people will learn the value of love as against selfishness! Jeremiah 31:31-34 assures us that during the glad day of the Lord’s kingdom, the law of God—which is the law of love—will be written in the hearts of the people, and that eventually all are to become so well acquainted with the Lord and his ways of love that no one will need to say to his neighbor, Know the Lord: for all shall know him from the least of them unto the greatest of them.

Death to Be Destroyed

Finally there is the major problem of sickness and death. Unless this problem is solved the people would still need to travel through “the valley of the shadow of death.” In such an event there could be no lasting peace and happiness anywhere. Every peaceful and happy home would intermittently be blighted by the dread enemy, Death, that now counts its victims by the millions every year.

Christ, the great solver of human problems, will solve this one also, for during his reign sickness and death are to be destroyed. Paul affirms that Christ “must reign, till he bath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (I Cor. 15:25,26) Isaiah 25:8 declares the Lord will swallow up death in victory, and will wipe away tears from off all faces.

In solving the problem of death none are to be overlooked, for even those who have fallen asleep in death throughout the ages are to “hear his [the Son of man’s] voice, and shall come forth” from the tomb. (John 5:28,29) The living room problem having been solved, there will be an abundance of habitable land to take care of all—the living and those who will be raised from the dead. This means that no one will need to lament the fact that Christ’s kingdom did not come sooner—before father or mother, or other dear ones died—because these will be restored to life. The power of that blessed one who broke up funerals at the time of his first visit to earth simply by restoring the dead to life, will again be exercised, not on behalf of a limited few, but for the restoration of all the families of the earth. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

This does not imply universal salvation, for in order to continue living and to be restored to human perfection it will be necessary to obey the laws of the messianic kingdom and to accept the provision of life through the redeeming blood of Christ. Christ in his kingdom role is referred to in the prophecies as “that Prophet,” and Peter said, “It shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear [obey] that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”—Acts 3:23

Sunshine Over All

Thus it will be that the various problems now plaguing fallen man will be solved, and this as the increasing light of the Master’s second presence permeates one after another of the dark places of earth. One of the prophecies pertaining to the time of Christ’s rulership over the earth refers to him as “the Sun of righteousness.” (Mal. 4:2) And Jesus said that his faithful followers would also “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43) The healing rays of that Sun of righteousness will continually pour into the sin-sick and wounded hearts and lives of all mankind. From pole to pole that “Sun” will shine, and upon every continent, and the isles of the sea, the soothing, life-giving powers of that divine light of the Lifegiver will be felt for good.

The enlightening rays of Christ’s presence will fill the earth with a knowledge of the glory of God. All “doctrines of devils,” all nocturnal hallucinations and superstitions, all human creeds and dogmas, all the precepts of men by which people are taught to dread God rather than love him (Isa. 29:13), all political intrigues, as well as the thousand-and-one other evils that have plagued a dying world, are to be swept away and replaced by a true knowledge of God and of his love.

There will not be a nook or corner any place in the earth where the light from that glorious Sun will not penetrate. The warmth of its healing rays will assure a blessed reign of righteousness, and through that rulership of love and healing light all sin, unrighteousness, sickness, death, and all sorrow will finally be destroyed. Such is the ultimate and divine purpose to be accomplished by Christ’s second visit to the earth. May we rejoice in this purpose, and continue to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:10

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |