The Kingdom

(See also SALVATIONS)

 

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
(Matthew 6:10)

How many times over the centuries have these words been uttered?  How little thought has been given to their meaning by those who have prayed them!  This is so true that the famous British historian, H. G. Wells, an impartial observer, noted that:

 “As remarkable (as) is the enormous prominence given by Jesus to the teaching of what he called the Kingdom of heaven, (so is) its comparative insignificance in the procedure and teaching of most of the Christian churches.” (The Outline of History, page 530.)

Much of Christianity has, indeed, lost track of the PRIMARY PURPOSE OF GOD FOR MANKIND.  The concept of an actual restorative Kingdom HERE ON EARTH under the administration of Messiah was the very basis of ancient Judaism.  It was not rejected, but actually promulgated, by Jesus.  Early Christians understood that the REASON they would (if faithful) be going to heaven with Jesus is so that they would REIGN WITH HIM over this Kingdom on the earth.  (II Timothy 2:12; Matthew 19:27, 28; Revelation 2:10)

The Apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that God cherished this concept in His mind. The Weymouth translation of Ephesians 1:9, 10 words it especially beautifully:

 “And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it—the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one head in Christ; yes, things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him.”

Dark-Age theories about God’s burning the earth at the “end of time” all are ferocious lies inconsistent with Scriptural testimony, with God’s character, and with reason.  As God had Solomon write in Ecclesiastes 1:4, “The Earth abideth forever.”

Isaiah is perhaps the most eloquent prophet regarding the Kingdom.  Who among us is not familiar with Isaiah’s words in 2:25?  They are even on the walls of the United Nations Building:  “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares…”  In 9:6, 7 Isaiah tells of the ultimate significance of Jesus’ birth:  “…the government shall be upon his shoulder…of the increase of his government and peace, there shall be no end.”

Throughout the chapters of Isaiah, description after description of the Kingdom flows freely.  Chapter 11 tells of wolf and lamb dwelling together, and of there being no hurt or destruction or ignorance.  Chapter 35 promises fruitfulness in the deserts, sight in the blind, hearing in the deaf, leaping by the lame, and singing by the dumb.  It promises a road of joy and learning with all stumbling-blocks removed.  It promises the raising of the dead in happiness, and the banishment of sorrows.  All of this is because, as chapter 45:18 states, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens, God himself 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!”

Even as Isaiah closes his book of prophecy, he exults in the promised Kingdom and its blessings, Isaiah symbolically calls the new order a new heaven and a new earth (a new religious rulership and a new social order). God promises a permanence so that the old landlord-tenant relationship will be a thing of the past.  He promises to hear the needs of mankind before mankind even realizes the needs!  (Isaiah 65:17-25)

This earthly half of the Gospel has been hidden so long that it has nearly been forgotten.  Even Jews, who once know only of earthly promises, now expect to go to heaven!  But we short-change ourselves when we ignore all that God has to say about the future.  As Paul states in I Timothy 4:10, God “is the savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”  The believers receive a special salvation (in heaven) with their Lord.  They will, according to the promise made to Abraham, (Genesis 18:18; Galatians 3:8, 29), be the blessers of all the families of the earth—all mankind who in this first lifetime have not been among the faithful believers.  Then the earth will yield her increase (Psalm 67:6), the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9), and the whole wonderful world of mankind will break forth into singing (Isaiah 14:7).

 

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