What Is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?

Lesson 6, Part 11

12/12

The Reign of a New Kingdom

Will a miraculous, unprecedented event accompany Christ's return? Will people brought up in this resurrection rule with Christ in His Kingdom? Discover answers to these questions and more!

What happens after God removes the present “ruler of this world”? (John 12:31).

“. . . And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15).

Will a miraculous, unprecedented event accompany Christ’s return?

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

Does the Bible provide other details about this resurrection?

“What I mean, my friends, is this: flesh and blood can never possess the kingdom of God, the perishable cannot possess the imperishable. Listen! I will unfold a mystery: we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet-call. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise imperishable, and we shall be changed. This perishable body must be clothed with the imperishable, and what is mortal with immortality. And when this perishable body has been clothed with the imperishable and our mortality has been clothed with immortality, then the saying of scripture will come true: ‘Death is swallowed up; victory is won!’” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54, Revised English Bible).

“The sun has a splendour of its own, the moon another splendour, and the stars yet another; and one star differs from another in brightness. So it is with the resurrection of the dead: what is sown as a perishable thing is raised imperishable. Sown in humiliation, it is raised in glory; sown in weakness, it is raised in power; sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:41-44, REB).

Will people brought up in this resurrection rule with Christ in His Kingdom?

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

The return of Jesus Christ will mark not only the beginning of the Kingdom of God but the time when God will resurrect the dead in Christ and give them eternal life to reign with Jesus forever.

Who will be in this resurrection to eternal life in God’s Kingdom?

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21).

Will the 12 apostles play a special role during the millennial reign of Christ?

“But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30).

Will Jesus literally return to earth?

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south . . . Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You” (Zechariah 14:4-5; compare Revelation 5:10).

This prophecy describes Jesus Christ’s literal return to earth, where He will meet and be accompanied by the resurrected saints. He will return to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem from the city’s east side.

Mt of Olives

Jesus Christ will return to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem from the city’s east side.

What will be the status of Jerusalem after Christ’s return?

“Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain’ ” (Zechariah 8:3).

“At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts” (Jeremiah 3:17).

“For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name . . . You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:1-7).

Jerusalem, that ancient city over which so much blood has been shed throughout the centuries, will become the government and religious center of the world in the Kingdom of God.

Will the Messiah bring other nations under His rule?

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:2-3).

Notice that the Kingdom of God, established by Jesus the Messiah, will take control over the kingdoms the world. It will be a literal kingdom replacing the present systems of government, which have refused to accept and enforce the laws of God. This godly Kingdom will become a reality at the return of Christ.

How will Jesus Christ deal with people who will not come to Jerusalem to worship Him as He commands?

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORDof hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16-18).

Nations that lose their water supplies will soon realize their survival depends on the goodwill of the new King in Jerusalem. Eventually all the nations will respond to Christ’s summons and come to Jerusalem to learn the ways of God.

Three Facets of the Gospel

From the beginning God has shown His desire to build an eternal relationship with the human race. The gospel includes three aspects of His plan to build this spiritual relationship. All center on Jesus Christ.

Simply put, our entrance into this eternal relationship is by (1) what God has done for us, (2) what God is doing for us and (3) what God will do for us. All three are accomplished through Jesus Christ.

  1. The first facet of the gospel is the role of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in our salvation. Without this there would be no means to reconcile us to God and begin the process of salvation. This is where most theologians place the emphasis, but often to the exclusion of two other important aspects. Many interpret this part of God’s plan as the end of the salvation process. In reality it is only the starting point.

  2. The second aspect flows from Christ’s promise to send a “Helper,” God’s Spirit, to lead Christ’s disciples into understanding and living by the truth of God (John 14:16-26). When one repents in faith and receives the gift of God’s Spirit (Acts 2:38), he begins a Spirit-led life. Through His Spirit, as Paul explained, God “works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

    To help us gain salvation, Christ, as our High Priest, makes intercession for us at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Many passages in the book of Hebrews amplify this point. We are encouraged, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

  3. The third aspect of our relationship with God made possible through Jesus Christ is what will happen when Christ returns. At that time those “in Christ” (Romans 8:1), those with God’s Spirit, will inherit the Kingdom of God—becoming immortal spirit beings in God’s eternal family through the resurrection to eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). As kings and priests they will assist Christ in reigning over the nations (Revelation 5:10; Revelation 11:15).


Not one of these three aspects of the gospel should be emphasized over the other. Nor can any of the three be neglected without distorting the gospel taught by Jesus and His apostles. All three are essential elements of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

jerusalem.jpg

Jerusalem, that ancient city over which so much blood has been shed over the centuries, will become the government and religious center of the entire world in the Kingdom of God.

What will happen to the barren, dry areas around Jerusalem?

“For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3).

“I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together, that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it” (Isaiah 41:18-20).

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it . . . They shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God . . . The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes” (Isaiah 35:1-7).

What affect will these changes have on agriculture?

“ ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it’ ”(Amos 9:13).

Along with the transformation of the land, what change will take place among wild animals?

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den” (Isaiah 11:6-8).

What will happen to the state of people’s health during this time?

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert”(Isaiah 35:5-6).

flowers.jpg

“The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing.”

Will Christ put an end to war and violence?

“He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken” (Micah 4:3-4).

Will the world at last experience peace?

“My people will build houses and live in them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit; they will not build for others to live in or plant for others to eat. They will be as long-lived as a tree, and my chosen ones will enjoy the fruit of their labour. They will not toil to no purpose or raise children for misfortune, because they and their issue [descendants] after them are a race blessed by the LORD” (Isaiah 65:21-23, REB).

“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

The Kingdom of God, under Jesus Christ’s supervision, will bring blessings of peace and prosperity to the world. God will restore what He removed when He expelled Adam and Eve from the garden in Eden: access to the knowledge of Him through the tree of life (Revelation 22:1-2). Universal peace will result. God will allow no one, man or beast, to harm any part of His creation.

What is the key to this wonderful change?

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more”(Jeremiah 31:33-34).

Human beings, on their own, cannot achieve this incredible transformation of behavior and heart. It can come only as the result of God’s Spirit working in their minds and hearts, enabling them to obey His commandments from the heart (Zechariah 4:6; Ezekiel 36:25-37). God will change the very nature of man.

Human beings can then begin to achieve their unlimited spiritual potential. God can then shape all people—every race and nation—into His spiritual image, which was His original intent.

The Essence of the 'Everlasting Gospel'

God's message to mankind is eternal and consistent. He has always emphasized the importance of our having a relationship with Him as our Creator.

The apostle John tells us that, in a vision, “I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth; to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people . . .” Notice the essence of that everlasting gospel: “Fear God and give glory to Him . . . and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7).

God’s message to mankind is eternal and consistent. He has always emphasized the importance of our having a relationship with Him as our Creator. He said to Abraham, “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:7). God later repeated similar words to the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 29:13).

The term Kingdom of God implies much more than Jesus Christ’s administration of the righteous laws of God over the earth. It also encompasses the very children of God—God’s family. He reveals that the members of that family, which He is in the process of building, are His own sons and daughters who will share with Christ the administration of the laws of God over the nations.

Jesus promised, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21). What will they then do? “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26).

A remarkable relationship exists between Jesus Christ and those who will share responsibilities with Him in the Kingdom of God. “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers” (Hebrews 2:10-11, NIV).

Not only are they the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, but God the Father regards them as His own sons and daughters. “As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people . . . I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty’ ” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to “a mustard seed . . . which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32).

The gospel is the story of God building His family by first calling out of the world a small number of people who, like a mustard seed, will increase in number and scope until the earth is filled with the children of God.

No wonder Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). The Kingdom of God will consist of the children of God who receive the gift of eternal life as spirit beings at the return of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul describes how this will occur: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).

From the beginning, God has wanted to offer humanity the most priceless of gifts: the gift of eternal life as a member of His family in the Kingdom of God. Even as Adam and Eve were escorted out of the Garden of Eden because of their sins, God had already planned another opportunity for human beings to share in a loving, personal and eternal family relationship with Him.

Jesus Christ is even now preparing for the Kingdom and a future with us (John 14:1-3). God the Father offers us the opportunity to enter the Kingdom as His own immortal sons. As the apostle Paul said, “you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

Summary

Our world is dominated by the great deceiver, Satan the devil. Jesus Christ came bearing the good news, the gospel, of the Kingdom of God.

He is the “certain nobleman [who] went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” about whom He spoke in one of His parables (Luke 19:12). He tells us to pray: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

It is vital that all who trust in God remember, as the apostle Paul reminds us: “. . . The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

In the meantime, “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Faithful servants of God will continue to fulfill Christ’s command to His followers: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

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Points to Ponder

These questions are intended as a study aid, to spur further thought on the concepts discussed in this lesson and to help you apply them on a personal level.

We suggest you take the time to write out your answers to these questions and compare them to the scriptures given. Please feel free to write us with any comments or suggestions, including questions about the course or this lesson.

• Who is the God of the age in which we now live? Who convinces people that God’s ways are foolish? (1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Ephesians 2:2). The descendants of Abraham became the literal kingdom of Israel. A dynasty of kings was established over that kingdom. Who was born to inherit the throne to rule over this kingdom? (Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:32; Acts 13:21-23).

• What will happen to the kingdoms of this world, represented by the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? (Daniel 2:34-35).

• What is the “good news” of Daniel’s prophecy? Whose kingdom will replace the kingdoms of man? (Daniel 2:44).

• Who was born to be king over all kings, ruling a physical kingdom on earth? (Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 17:14; Daniel 7:13-14).

• From the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, what was His primary focus? (Mark 1:14; Luke 8:1; Acts 1:3; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 9:1-2; Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15).

• Do we need to be diligent against false gospels that may distort the teachings of Christ? (Galatians 1:6; 2 Peter 2:1-2; Galatians 1:8-9).

• Did Christ warn of false teachers? (Matthew 7:13-15; Colossians 2:8).

• Who will rule with Christ in His Kingdom on earth? (Revelation 20:6; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10).

• How will the earth be transformed under this new rulership? (Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 41:18-20; Isaiah 35:1-2, 7; Isaiah 11:6-8; Isaiah 35:5-6; Micah 4:3-4; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Congratulations! You have now completed Lesson 6.

Now click on the button below to take the Lesson 6 Review Quiz to ensure you have remembered the important points in this lesson.

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