Every day of gloom and doom is one day closer to the final showdown… when Jesus returns and rids the world of all of this chaos and godlessness
By Linda Sargent
At the end of 2014 the national and global news was more disturbing than it was the year before: wars, floods, earthquakes, famine, pestilence, rapes, murders, genocides, unspeakable immorality and depravity. There was no shortage of worldwide tragedies and transgressions of Biblical proportions. Network journalists and self-proclaimed messiahs continued to speculate if the world was on a collision course with the Apocalypse.
The good news is that every day of gloom and doom is one day closer to the final showdown between good and evil when Jesus returns and rids the world of all of this chaos and godlessness. But…after that, what then? What follows World War 3, the annihilation of nations and billions of people and the bloody Battle of Armageddon? Is there a good ending to this story?
Is There Hope?
In the Book of Revelation Jesus revealed to the author, John, a glimpse of the days in which we now live “…to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…” (Revelation 1:1). John recorded his visions of God’s throne, the seven seals, the four horses and their riders, the two witnesses killed in the streets of Jerusalem and raised up after three and a half days, the beast with seven heads and ten horns, the fall of Babylon, and the seven plagues, vials, trumpets, and angels. Then, in the middle of all the calamity, John dropped a clue about what happens next.
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets (Revelation 10:7) (emphasis added).
“The mystery of God should be finished”…what is the mystery of God? In short, the mystery of God is His plan to reveal and establish His kingdom here on Earth. It applies to all Christians—both Jews and Gentiles. If the mystery of God refers to His kingdom, the next step is to understand the Kingdom of God. What is it? Who is in it? When does it begin?
What is the Kingdom of God?
From Genesis to Malachi, the Old Testament records God’s promise of a savior to Israel. He spoke through the prophets, judges and kings. Then, there was silence for 400 years. Instead of deliverance, the Israelites were taken into bondage by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Solomon’s Temple along with the Holy of Holies was destroyed. Where were their God and promised Messiah?
After four centuries of silence, another prophet, John the Baptist, came preaching in the wilderness of Judea and heralding Israel’s salvation. John the Baptist proclaimed, “Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” (Matthew 3:2). Could it be Jehovah was in their midst again, and at long last His covenant with His people was about to come to pass?
Generally, a kingdom requires a king, territory, subjects and laws. “Kingdom” as used in the New Testament is the Greek word, “basileia,” (Strong’s Concordance 932) meaning sovereignty, royal power and dominion.
There are 1,518 verses in the Old Testament that speak of this coming kingdom.[i] The phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” is found over thirty times in the New Testament but only used by Matthew. “Kingdom of God” appears over sixty times throughout the New Testament and is mostly spoken by Jesus.[ii]
The kingdom of heaven and the Kingdom of God are often interchangeable. Some Bible scholars argue that the kingdom of heaven refers to a physical and political kingdom on earth while the Kingdom of God is the spiritual, future reign of Jesus.[iii] In the end, both refer to the same thing.
When Jesus began His own public ministry, He echoed John the Baptist.
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into
Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and
saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is
at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14-15)
(In this format the period should be before the reference since it’s obvious that the reference is referring to the previous words. In the other format it is necessary to keep within the period because it needs to be connected with previous words and not confused with being connected to the following words.)
Jesus defined his mission for coming to earth by saying, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; for therefore am I sent,” (Luke 4:43). Jesus took this message to anyone who would listen.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their
Synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom
and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of
disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23-25)
Notice from these verses that the person of Jesus was not the gospel. Also, Jesus did not say his mission was to preach the gospel of salvation or the gospel of miracles. No, the gospel of Jesus was the Kingdom of God. He preached and commanded, “…The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to:
- A man who sowed good seed in his field (Mark 4:26-29)
- A small mustard seed that grows into the greatest of all plants (Mark 4:30-32)
- A nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom (Luke 19:12)
- A treasure hidden in a field worth more than all earthly possessions (Matthew 13:44)
- A pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46)
- Ten virgins preparing to meet their bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13)
- A man with a good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:14-30)
When Jesus called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority, he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2). Later, He appointed seventy more disciples and sent them into every city to announce the Kingdom of God had come (Luke 10:1-9). Jesus instructed his disciples to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” (Matthew 6:9-10); and to “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” (Matthew 6:33).
As word of Jesus’ teachings and miracles spread, those in authority in Jerusalem, both Jewish and Roman, became uneasy that their reign was in jeopardy. Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God ultimately led to His arrest and trial before the Jewish chief priests, elders and council. They sought His death and delivered Him to the governor, Pontius Pilate, who asked if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus answered,
My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of
this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not
be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not
from hence. (John 18:36)
Although Jesus admonished all to repent, love God and love one another, His primary message in word and deed, and the central theme of the New Testament was that the Kingdom of God had come. This message was the reason Jesus was hated, rejected by his own and ultimately crucified.
What is the Kingdom of God? In his book Jesus Revealed, Mark D. Roberts sums it up best by explaining that “The kingdom of God is not a place where God reigns, but rather the reign of God itself.”
Who is in the Kingdom?
God predestined the Kingdom of God; however, He did not predestine who would be in it. He gave each individual the free will to make that decision.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews who recognized that God sent and empowered Jesus. Even so, as a Pharisee, Nicodemus lacked the spiritual discernment that the Kingdom of God already was present in the person of Jesus Christ. He visited Jesus to learn more of His teachings.
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him,
Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God:
for no man can do those miracles that thou doest, except
God be with him. (John 3:2)
Even though Nicodemus acknowledged that he and others realized Jesus operated by the power of God, Jesus let him know that was not enough.
Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
Perplexed, Nicodemus pressed Jesus to explain.
How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:4-7)
These verses clearly show that Jesus emphasized two aspects to the Kingdom of God: seeing the kingdom and entering the kingdom. It is only through the new birth, namely salvation that one sees and enters the kingdom and becomes a member of the family of God. When a person is born again, he or she accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord. The individual renounces self-will and accepts the sovereignty of God over his life.
After being born again, the new Christian begins to conform his lifestyle to the principles of Jesus Christ that He taught while here on earth. Jesus said in John 8:31 to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians urging them to walk in obedience to the spirit and not to live after the flesh:
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. …Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:17, 19-21)
Paul similarly warned the church at Corinth:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
In a kingdom there can be only one king. One cannot be a loyal subject to the Kingdom of God and still rule himself.
When will it Begin?
Actually, God established His kingdom before the beginning of time, and He ruled over all that he had created. The Garden of Eden was peaceful and in order. There was no sickness or death. Even the animals were safe from harm because God gave the inhabitants trees and plants for food. When Satan prevailed in the Garden of Eden, he took authority over earth and unleashed sin and death.
Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah and misunderstood the timing of the Kingdom of God. The Jews had suffered for centuries under harsh Egyptian and Roman rule. They expected a savior, a warrior leader—one who would deliver them from their enemies. They believed when their Messiah appeared he would oust their enemies, set up a literal kingdom, and make Israel the ruling nation of the world. Israel focused only on their own physical deliverance and ignored their need for spiritual deliverance.
When Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead He defeated the curse of sin and redeemed the world through His blood and resurrection. His disciples recognized that Jesus was the much-awaited Savior; however, they also misunderstood the timing of the physical Kingdom of God.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of
him saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the
kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, it is not for you
to know the times of the seasons, which the Father hath put
in his own power (Acts 1:6-7).
Jesus taught the Kingdom of God as being present but also something yet to come. Although the Kingdom of God returned to earth through Jesus and is present, its fullness is a future literal kingdom with Jesus as king. In the meantime, Satan and his demons rule the nations. This is why Paul explained to the Ephesians:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
So, when is the Kingdom of God? According to Daniel 7, Revelation 13 and 17 and Matthew 24, certain events must occur prior to the return of Jesus when He establishes the future Kingdom of God. There will be:
- The re-birth of the Holy Roman Empire
- The confirmation of God’s Abrahamic covenant with Israel
- The re-built Jewish temple in Jerusalem with daily sacrifices
- The revelation of the Antichrist who stops the daily sacrifices
- The 3½ years of the Great Tribulation
- The Battle of Armageddon
Jesus foretold another event that would occur prior to the future Kingdom of God. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all of the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end [of this age] will come,” (Matthew 24:14). Many of these events have occurred or are on the horizon.
Secretary of State John Kerry, under the President’s mandate, is pushing for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that will include the confirmation of God’s covenant. According to the scriptures, this “peace agreement” will usher in the final seven years, the last half of which will be a time of great tribulation such as the world has never seen.
The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has prepared all of the utensils and furnishings necessary for the daily sacrifices and worship in the re-built temple. Satellite television and the worldwide web broadcast the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The Kingdom of God is near.
The Ultimate New World Order and One World Government
So what exactly does all of this mean? Israel rejected Jesus when He came the first time. Since then, the status of the Kingdom of God has been shrouded in mystery. Jesus presently reigns in the hearts of the believers; however, soon He will leave His dwelling place in Heaven and return to Israel. He will establish and reveal His physical kingdom on Earth. (always capitalized without an article in front of it-makes it a proper noun). Jesus will remove all governments in place and rule the inhabitants of the earth from Jerusalem with a system of laws that conform to his teachings—the ultimate New World Order.
Mankind’s governments have proven unable to solve the world’s problems. When Jesus rules the nations there will be no more political parties, no more manmade forms of government that have no answers, no more fundraisers and back door deals for politicians, no more coronations and no more dictators. There will be a theocracy with Jesus Christ himself reigning over literal kingdoms on the earth. He will unite Jew and Gentile, black and white, rich and poor and male and female. His sovereign power and authority will prevail globally.
Daniel foretold of this future global kingdom.
And there was given him [Jesus] dominion, and glory, and
a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages, should
serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which
shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not
be destroyed. (Daniel 7:14)
God does not intend for His mystery to be inexplicable. In the Bible, mysteries are not something spooky or mystical. Instead they refer to something veiled and something to be revealed. According to Revelation 10:7, the mystery of God is a work already in progress but unfinished—to be revealed in His time when the seventh angel sounds.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
At the 7th and last trumpet the mystery of God will be finished. Until then Christians pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)