As we Christians long for the return of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, we know that His coming will mark the beginning of His rule on earth and He will be known as, “The Lord Our Righteousness,” and the “Prince of Peace.” He will return as a warrior King, defeating those, “Who would not have this man to reign over us,” and the assembly arrayed against Him will be sore afraid but still daring to fight. Their fate is described in II Esdras chapter 13 which describes their annihilation. His return may be a good topic for another article, but I wish to examine what we know about the Kingdom in which Jesus rules.
What is the law with which Jesus shall rule? It is the law of the Lord, that which we refuse to accept to this very day. We think our deviations from the law are enlightened, modern, practical, intelligent, inclusive, but they are simply self serving. Peter warned us of this problem in his first epistle chapter 2: 15 & 16, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; As free and not using your liberty for a CLOKE OF MALICIOUSNESS, but as the servants of God.” Psalm 19: 7 assures us that the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple.” We are told in Rev 12: 5, “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” This is demonstrated in the book of the Acts. You will recall that the early Christians pooled their resources so that the needs of all may be met. When Ananias withheld some of the value from the sale of his possessions, Peter admonished him and then asked, “Why hast thou conceived this thing in your heart? (This reference reminds us that God judges not by appearances but by looking on the heart) Thou hast not lied unto men but unto God. And Ananias, hearing those words, fell down and gave up the ghost.” Peter might well have said, your life is forfeit. Now that is an example of tough rule within the kingdom.
It is clear that Jesus will assign authority to many in the kingdom. We do know about the apostles; in Luke 22: 29 & 30 where we read the response of Jesus when asked by the disciples what their future should be. “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto Me; that ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Furthermore, Paul tells us that the dead in Christ shall rise first and enter the Kingdom. These are the Elect, chosen from the foundation of the world. These are the reborn, being raised from their graves incorruptible with spiritual bodies like unto Christ’s glorious body. They are filled with Christ’s spirit and God’s laws are written on their hearts and in their minds. Isaiah comments on this in 61: 6, But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord; men shall call you the Ministers of our God.” Peter, in his first epistle makes a similar statement showing that the Elect are Israelites; consider of whom he speaks in Peter 2: 9 & 10, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praise of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; Which had not obtained mercy, but now have OBTAINED MERCY.” So, this is an entirely new situation here on earth. Mortal man, who continues through the thousand years of Christ’s rule until Satan is loosed from the pit, IS RULED BY IMMORTALS!!
We have Isaiah’s prophecy found in 9: 6,7, “For 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, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. OF THE INCREASE OF HIS GOVERMENT and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even for ever.” In the process of extending the kingdom throughout the world, there will be no war. Isaiah spells it out, 2: 2 – 4, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountains of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; AND ALL THE NATIONS SHALL FLOW UNTO IT. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, Isaiah’s final word on the subject is found in 60: 12, “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.”
The Kingdom will have a new capital, new Jerusalem. In John’s vision of the city, we must remember that it descends from heaven into the new earth that has no sea. Rev 21: 1 & 2, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. This suggests that the whole surface of the earth would be available to be occupied which is probably necessary since the city is a cube with dimensions of 1,500 MILES A complete description is found in the chapter, and I will only note that it is made of precious materials, and the twelve gates, three on each side, are named after the patriarchs, Jacob’s sons, and the twelve foundations are named after the twelve apostles. I believe that Jesus was referring to the new Jerusalem when, as recorded in John 14: 2 & 3, He said, ” In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself so that where I am, there ye may be also.” Rev 21: 22 – 27 tells us of some of the attributes of the city as follows: And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need for the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it, and the gates of it shall not be shut by day; for there shall be no night there; and they shall bring their glory and honour into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
The benefits of the kingdom will abound. Isaiah comments on matters of health in chapter 35: 5 & 6, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the dessert.” And then we have Rev 21: 3 & 4, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.
Those who are a part of the first resurrection shall have no fear of the second death. When we think about the Kingdom, which Jesus said was at hand, we realize the importance of repenting, praying for forgiveness, and learning of the law of the Lord, to try and make ourselves worthy to stand before the Lord, clothed in righteousness due to His grace, to be invited to the marriage supper and to have a role to play in the Kingdom.