The view of planet earth, seen from
outer space, is very beautiful indeed. Confirmation of this has
come from the astronauts who have gazed upon it. The earth is the
fairest jewel in God's creation and it is the chosen place in the
whole universe where He has promised to reveal His Kingdom in all
its glory. That is why it is so beautiful.
The earth, of all the planets in
the solar system, is the one that is perfectly suited to all forms
of life and the one that orbits at exactly the right distance from
the sun to provide comfortable conditions for the human race.
-- Sole Source of Information
The Bible alone can explain why this should be. The reason is that
"formed the earth and
made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he
formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is none else"
(Isaiah 45:1 8).
We think it is logical to assert
that if there is a Great Designer, and if He created a race of
beings to inhabit this planet and no other, then there must have
been an ultimate objective in His mind. Happily, we have not been
left to guess what that goal might be. From the day that God put a
human being on this earth, His one supreme purpose was that His
creation should willingly respond to His own perfection:
"For the earth shall
be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the
waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).
The final stage in fulfilling that
intention is what the Bible describes as THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON
Because it will be in every physical and political sense a real
kingdom it will have a king, a government, a capital, and an
international system of laws. God has already delegated "all power
in heaven and in earth" to His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is more, we learn that the date has been set in the divine
"God hath appointed a
day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that
man whom he hath ordained" (Acts 17:31).
The kingdom of God on earth will
soon be here. The abundant signs which confirm this are not the
subject of this booklet; but we are mightily convinced that it is
so! This coming Millennium will be the most exciting thing the
world has ever seen. It will overshadow all those periods in
history labelled with names like 'the age of enlightenment', 'the
classical age', 'the renaissance' and so on. The kingdom of God
will provide a superb environment on this lovely planet for all
who will acknowledge God as supreme Creator and Jesus Christ as
king of the world.
Use your imagination for a moment! Think of a world at peace, its
inhabitants healthy and well-fed and doing rewarding work. Imagine
a world in which there is full employment, where people are not
exploited and where a man can live a long and prosperous life; a
world in which famine and pestilence no longer kill one quarter of
the population and where the full resources of the land and the
seas are harvested. Already you are getting a picture of the
Kingdom of God.
Now ponder on the absence of
religious bigotry or sectarian strife; imagine the benefits of
internationally accepted laws, with justice administered by
fair-minded yet uncompromising judges. Conjure up a mental picture
of life without terrorism and child-abuse; where
good-neighbourliness prevails and evil tendencies are discouraged,
where governments establish good standards of behaviour, and
implement just forms of retribution. That will be the kingdom of
God on earth!
To many people, the Kingdom of God
is just a vague hope that one day man will bring about a state of
happiness on earth. To others, the Kingdom is a dream of heavenly
bliss in the skies. But the realist knows that the aspirations of
men are not producing a better world for us or our children. And
anyone who reads his Bible carefully knows that there is no
evidence for the common belief in an afterlife in heaven. The
Kingdom has to do with a real, tangible world empire which will be
set up when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth from heaven in
the near future.
The disciples of Jesus found prayer to God a difficult matter.
What to pray for? What are the priorities? The Lord solved their
problems by teaching them what we call "The Lord's Prayer". It
established their priorities for them: God is a Father, the
provider. God has a realm in heaven where His will is obeyed;
God's kingdom is to come to the earth. It was a powerful plea to
"Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven . . . For thine is
the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" (Matthew
Christendom still repeats the
prayer. "Thy kingdom come" should always be on the lips of the
For the most part, human beings act
as though there is no Creator and no purpose in the world around
them. But they are without excuse, for just look at the wonders of
the human body and the miracles of plant life! Did they occur by
chance or by design? Even atheists are forced to marvel at the
incredible wonders of living cells. The apostle Paul, a
well-educated man of his time, declared that atheism is untenable
because "that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for
God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from
the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by
the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so
that they are without excuse" (Romans 1: 1 9,20).
If there is a God, and He has a
future for the human race, then surely He has told us? Of course
He has! The whole Bible, from beginning to end, reveals His plans
for the earth. He spoke to the "fathers" and through prophets, and
"in these last days by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all
things" (Hebrews 1:1,2). That is why the Gospel was the centre of
Christ's ministry. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in
their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom"
(Matthew 4:23). He left no doubt when that kingdom would happen:
"When the Son of man
shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then
shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be
gathered all nations . . . " (Matthew 25:31,32).
Earth will it be?
To answer that question let us spend a few moments looking back to
Old Testament times. In those days the Jews thought that God's
kingdom on earth would be confined to Palestine. The discerning
Jew knew that God had promised Canaan (an earlier name for
Palestine) to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 1 5:18; 17:8). God
looked on this part of the earth with special favour. Palestine
was His land, because in it and around it He would demonstrate His
purpose with the nations. It was a good land, "a land that floweth
with milk and honey", well-watered and suitable for good crops and
fruits. The Jews knew that they were the "chosen race", due to the
extraordinary faith of their father Abraham that generated God's
After the exodus from Egypt the
special relationship built up between God and the Israelites
caused Him to name them as His kingdom. God was their leader and
they were His people:
"if ye will obey my
voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar
treasure unto me above all people ... a kingdom of priests and an
holy nation" (Exodus 19:5-6).
Israel could not keep their side of
the bargain for long and often degenerated to the level of the
nations around them. But in their prime, in the days of King David
and his son Solomon, they experienced what it was like to be the
Kingdom of God. They prospered and expanded and had peace in the
land. It was summed up by king David when he said: "He (God) hath
chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of
the Lord over Israel" (1 Chronicles 28:5).
Failure of the Jewish Kingdom
Sadly, this profitable phase of Israel's history was
shortlived. Human failure, arrogance and disregard for divine
standards pulled it down. It soon ceased to look anything like a
dominion in which God was King; so much so, that a few hundred
years later God had to bring an end to the royal line. A
Babylonian assault on Jerusalem was near -- there was to be no
more a visible kingdom of God for a long time. The last monarch
"I will overturn,
overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come
whose right it is; and I will give it him" (Ezekiel 21:27).
That statement was a tremendous
forecast of the desolation of the royal line until the greatest
heir to the throne should come-Jesus Christ! In other words, until
the kingdom of God should again appear on the earth.
It is not surprising, therefore,
that there was always a remnant of faithful Jews who were looking
for a Messiah from the line of King David of the tribe of Judah.
The disciples of Jesus were greatly excited at the prospect of the
renewed kingdom of God in Israel's land. After he had been raised
from the dead they asked: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore
again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6).
They were, in fact, in too much of
a hurry! They had seen his title "King of the Jews" placarded on
the cross outside the city walls of Jerusalem. He had come out of
the grave and once more was amongst them, alive and well, indeed
immortal, and they were impatient to see the crown on his head and
the kingdom of God restored there and then. It was not to be --
yet. The gospel of the kingdom had first to be preached to
all nations -- not only to the Jews. Jesus quietly told them:
"Ye shall be
witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts
-- Crossroads of the World
We have seen that the kingdom of God will be focused on a Jewish
State with a Jewish king. Now, every king must have a residence, a
capital, a central seat of authority. Jerusalem will be that
centre; and what place more fitting? One thousand years before
Christ the Jewish poets declared:
situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides
of the north, the city of the great king" (Psalm 48:2).
It will make a superb capital --
more central than New York, Moscow or Strasbourg -- and convenient
to the great land continents of Europe, Africa and Asia.
This kingdom of God is to be a
world empire and Jesus Christ the emperor. This was revealed long
ago. The prophet Daniel, interpreting a vision which forecast the
successive empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, to be
followed by a fragmented world of strong and weak governments
leading up to the coming of Jesus Chris pictured God's agent in
the form of a "stone" descending to crush the rebellious nations
at the time of the end:
"And in the days of
these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall
never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other
people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these
kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2:44).
Here is another prophetic
"The kingdoms of this
world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and
he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
on the World
Before we go any further let us remember that the return of Jesus
Christ will bring its terrors as well as its blessings. The
takeover of the nations will not be accomplished without much
resistance. Let us note four aspects:
- "All nations" gather against
Israel but Jesus will destroy the invaders (Zechariah 14;
Ezekiel 38, 39).
- Jerusalem will suffer a major
earthquake, with devastating results, when "his feet shall stand
in that day upon the Mount of Olives" (Zechariah 14:4).
- Some governments will challenge
Christ and will "set themselves against the Lord and against his
anointed" (Psalm 2:2), but there will be judgements on those who
oppose Christ (Isaiah 34; Revelation 1 8).
- There will be a resurrection and
judgement. Loud will be the cries of those who are rejected, who
had the opportunity, but rejected it! On the other hand, what
joy for those to whom the King will say: "Come, ye blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation
of the world" (Matthew 25:34).
Readers will find more details on
these traumatic happenings in the companion booklets Christ is
Coming!, Your Share in God's Promises and Raised to
With these events over
and the King having led his triumphal army of faithful followers
into Jerusalem, the real work of Christ's kingdom can begin. There
is a new temple to be built and the tribes of Israel are to be
allocated their respective divisions in the land of Israel.
National ambassadors will begin to
arrive to pay their respects to the King: "The kings of Tarshish
and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba
(Arabs) shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before
him" (Psalm 72:10-11). Even the survivors of those enemies which
invaded the holy city will come to worship, for "everyone that is
left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go
up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and
to keep the feast of tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16).
Nations will be rallying their
peoples: "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord".
They will do this because:
"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" (Isaiah
The effect of this education will
be remarkable. Nations will "beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks" -- a colourful way of
describing disarmament. There will be no more war.
of the Kingdom
We ought to clarify one or two matters about the inhabitants of
the kingdom of God. There will be two kinds of people: firstly,
the rulers and spiritual leaders, who will be immortal
(that is, never-dying) and, secondly, the citizens of the kingdom,
who will be mortal (that is, subject to death).
The first group will include Jesus,
the universal king; Abraham, David and other great "worthies", who
will have positions of honour in the empire; the twelve Apostles,
and the faithful followers of Jesus -- the 11 saints" -- who will
be the administrative rulers and educators of the new age.
The second group will consist of
the mortal peoples of the world who, at Christ's return, survive
the judgements on the earth and are willing for Jesus to be their
king. This will include Jews who are allowed to live in Israel.
Immortality is the gift of everlasting life that God will give to
those who have faithfully obeyed and practised His
commandments-those of all ages of history up to the return of
Jesus to the earth. These will be those who are:
"Redeemed ... out of
every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation ... and hast made
us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on
the earth ... They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years"
We must not think of an immortal
being as something like a ghost. Jesus, after his resurrection,
was immortal; but he ate and drank with his followers and showed
himself to have remarkable physical powers. The immortal body has
flesh and bones like others, but is energised by the Spirit of
God, suffering no disease or disability.
Jesus, like any wise ruler, will
delegate much of the conduct of his empire to others who have been
suitably trained. Prominent among those to be closely associated
with the King will be the great Biblical examples of faith: men
like Abraham, described as the "heir of the world" in Romans 4:13,
and "my servant David shall be their prince for ever" (Ezekiel
37:25). Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, Moses and Samuel, will be there;
women, too: Sarah, Rahab and Ruth, Mary and Elisabeth.
There will be a special role for the Lord's twelve apostles-as he
"Ye which have
followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in
the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matthew 19:28).
In the book of Daniel, the prophet
saw a vision of the kingdom of God on earth, and he was told about
those who should be in charge:
"The saints of the
most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for
What is so special about these
immortal rulers called "saints"? "Saint" means a holy or separated
one -- someone chosen for his dedication to divine principles.
Like the men who were first selected and given the Spirit of God
to help Moses to govern ancient Israel, they will be "able men,
such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness". But with one
big difference: those in times past died -- but the rulers
of the future will not die, and their qualities will not be
lost with age.
The King will have the discernment
to select the right men or women for the jobs on hand and to
utilize the skills of mind and body which they began to develop
during their service in this present life.
Quality of Eternal Life
Eternal life will convey marvellous benefits on these governors
and teachers. With healthy minds and physically perfect bodies,
they will not suffer the crippling effects of disease or
disablement: "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more:
neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat ... and God
shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Revelation 7:16-17).
Like their Master, they will "know what is in men's hearts" and,
with the unerring ability to diagnose the source of human
problems, will have the capacity to root out trouble-makers and to
promote trust between neighbours. Think what that could accomplish
in some of the world's present trouble-spots!
What a transformation will begin to
work its way across the earth when Christ's immortal
administrators are sent out from Jerusalem. New laws, based on
Biblical principles, will have the effect of cutting through
partisan politics and will rapidly remove the cause of so much
bigotry among contesting religions.
Years of Peace
Of course, it will take time for adjustments to be made and for
people to see the benefits to their way of life. It will not
happen overnight; but there is to be a period of one thousand
years for the glorious "refreshing" of the earth's peoples before
God's programme is complete.
We must not think of the coming age
as a fanciful, too-good-to-be-true fairyland. It will be a very
real world, peopled with those who have survived the judgements
and have come to accept that Christ is a world ruler who, for the
good of the whole civilisation, is prepared to rule with "a rod of
iron". But the mortal nations will still have their own
characteristics and cultures, and their own racial backgrounds.
The rulers will have the gift of speaking in other languages; but
it may be some time before the world's dialects are completely
changed into the one universal language that will reverse the
confusion of Babel (see Genesis 11) and allow the suspicions and
difficulties of multi-language communication to be dispersed.
System of Justice
At every level of civilisation throughout the world there are
forces at work which undermine happy and rewarding co-existence
between people. No ideology, capitalism or communism even the
tyranny of cruel despots, has been able to handle them. They are
the forces of greed, corruption, subversion, bribery and personal
power. All this is going to change. There will be justice for the
poor, and the under-privileged will get fair treatment. Jesus will
see to that:
"He shall not judge
after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of
his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and
reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite
the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his
lips shall he slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:3-4).
When "princes shall rule in
judgement" (Isaiah 32:1) the whole balance of society will change:
no longer one law for the rich and one for the poor! The same
rules will apply whether you live in Washington, Moscow or Peking,
because they will be based on the Sermon on the Mount and on
divine principles laid down by the King and his court in
How will this affect the lives of
the people? When criminals and hooligans perceive that the judges
can see right through them and that the punishment will always fit
the crime, the majority will soon learn that loving one's
neighbour and the virtues of honesty and truth are much to be
preferred in the attainment of a happy and prosperous life. Not
only does it mean that families and neighbours can live in
complete harmony but it will spill over into a release from
national and international tensions. As Isaiah said: "The work of
righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness
quietness and assurance for ever" (Isaiah 32:1 7).
The restraints imposed by the
immortal rulers will prevent the worst excesses of human nature.
Unrepentant sinners will suffer summary execution and the
otherwise long lives which people might enjoy will be cut short.
"With the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked"; and, "The
sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed" (Isaiah 11:4;
Isaiah also tells us that:
"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" (65:20).
This suggests that infant
mortality, which is still a scourge in many developing countries,
will be wiped out. If someone only reaches the age of 100 he will
still be accounted a child. What a change from the present, when
life expectancy in some countries is only 40 years or so, and even
in the medically advanced countries it only attains what the
Psalmist described as "threescore years and ten". Childhood will
be a joy, and old age no disgrace, for, "there shall yet old men
and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man
with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the
city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets
thereof" (Zechariah 8:4,5).
If Jesus, the Great Physician, in
his first ministry could heal the sick, cure blindness-from-birth,
make cripples walk, exorcise mental disorders and raise people
from the dead, then there is every certainty that he and his aides
will do that, and more, in the future. When the people of the
world are moved to turn to divine standards and to seek help in
the right quarter, then scourges like cancer and heart disease
will disappear. When families again have a reverence for the
sanctity of marriage and for correct sexual behaviour then
pestilences like AIDS will no more afflict the nations. The good
news is that:
"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 an hart, and the tongue
of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35:5-6).
Resources for the Good of All
It is a sad commentary on our modern civilisation that despite
large deposits of minerals and the abundant potential in the soil
for the production of food, man seems unable to feed the
ever-growing population. He cannot distribute the resources or
organize the labour so that everyone can have satisfying work and
lead a prosperous and contented life. But it can be done! The
resources have been there since the Creator designed this
bountiful earth. What it needs are right-minded people, with the
commitment and authority to solve the physical problems and to
organize the bounty.
It is worth remembering that Jesus
was a great organiser as well as a great teacher. What he could do
in feeding thousands of men, women and children in well-ordered
groups of fifty or a hundred, with a dozen assistants, he will
surely do among the starving millions when he is God's King on
earth. The heart-rending scenes we have seen reported from
Ethiopia or Mozambique or Bangladesh will be a thing of the past.
No food mountains will rot in European storehouses; no American
crops will be burned because the sale price is too low.
The Bible foresees the curse on the
ground being removed, and plentiful crops for all who will labour
for them. "There shall be an handful of corn ... upon the top of
the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon", said
king David (Psalm 72:16). "The mountains shall drop down new wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah
shall flow with waters", said Joel (3:18; see also Amos 9:13). The
farmer's crops will be abundant, for "the seed shall be
prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall
give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew"
Then there is the prophet lsaiah's
vision of the desert rejoicing and blossoming as the rose (35:1).
Think of the vast areas of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where
every year the sands are encroaching on fertile ground and
millions are dying. Governments seem unable to spend the huge sums
of money necessary to bring up the water that often lies just
below the surface! Then what a blessing it will be for desert
peoples to be engaged in huge irrigation schemes and to benefit
from the new fertility of their lands. These are the wonderful
things that will be possible in the kingdom of God.
Life to the Full
There will be less concentration of population in large cities:
city-dwellers moving out into pasture and woodland areas made
available by worldwide conservation schemes. God has never
encouraged people to live in large cities, where the worst traits
of humanity are expressed and where evil men hide in dark places.
On the other hand when, under the improved conditions of Christ's
reign, human fitness reaches its peak and men's minds are expanded
to their full potential, there will be abundant room for utilising
those skills, to the tremendous benefit of all the world's
inhabitants. Everyone will achieve what we call
"They shall build
houses, and inhabit them (a contrast with former times!);
and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They
shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant,
and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my
people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their
hands" (Isaiah 65:21-22).
Working with Jews
One of the most joyful prospects will be the harmony that will
exist between ancient enemies. The prophet's vision of the wolf
and the lamb feeding together is not only a beautiful description
of a restored harmony between man and the animal creation, but it
also has a special reference to future peace between previously
warring nations. Isaiah speaks of the Arabs, coming to Jerusalem
to "show forth the praises of the Lord" (Isaiah 60:6). He pictures
them helping to build up the walls of the new city, working with
their former half- brothers, the Jews, and feeding their flocks
and becoming farmers and vinedressers. That will be a wonderful
reversal of the present state of affairs in the Middle East: a
fulfilment of major promises which God made long ago to the Arab
branch of Abraham's family.
will it Last?
Will this benevolent state of affairs last for ever? In the sense
that God has designed the earth for man to live on for ever, the
answer is: Yes. But Christ's kingdom, controlled by ever-living
rulers, will still have a predominantly mortal populace. That is
to say, human propensities and sinfulness will still be there and
that is why God has set a time limit on it. By God's reckoning it
will take one thousand years fully to educate the inhabitants of
the world to divine standards of behaviour. By then they will have
a long-term understanding of the marvellous benefits to be enjoyed
by possessing eternal life themselves.
Eventually the Millennium must come
to an end. It will be marked by a deliberate easing of the King's
strong reign in order to allow vestiges of rebellion among some of
his subjects to come to the surface in a final desperate challenge
to his will (see Revelation 20). These disloyal subjects will
attack Jerusalem, but will be utterly destroyed. It will be
mankind's last death fling. It will provide the necessary marker,
a millennium-end "sign of the times", to the people of the world
that the finale is about to take place.
When the rebellion is over,
Christ's work as Saviour and King is nearly done. The dead of a
thousand years must be raised from their graves, to meet again
their King and Judge:
"And I saw the dead,
small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened ...
and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in
the books, according to their works" (Revelation 20:1 2).
Alongside those raised will stand
the millions who are living. They must now await Christ's
righteous judgement. The rebels and those who represent the worst
elements of human nature will die, consigned to the "lake of
fire", the death from which there is no returning. On the other
hand, the faithful subjects of Christ's kingdom on earth will then
receive their reward, everlasting life, just as their rulers had
done a thousand years before.
Following these dramatic events, the earth is to be inhabited only
by men and women who possess eternal life. The work of the Lord
Jesus as King is done. He has no mortal subjects to reign over and
the great destroyers of man's potential, sin and death, have been
conquered. God's will is now truly done on earth, and the "Lord's
prayer" has been answered. The Apostle Paul summed it up in 1
"Then cometh the end,
when he (Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even
the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority
and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under
his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death ... And
when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also
himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that
God may be all in all" (verses 24-28).
We may find it difficult to think
that far ahead, or to visualize what is meant by God being "all in
all". But it will be the climax of the Creator's great purpose
with the earth -- and it will be very wonderful!
"As truly as I live,
all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Numbers
Don't let this marvellous future
slip away from you! Jesus will be here soon. Please, read your
Bible, and pray with all your heart:
kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven".