In it we see present-day attitudes to Christ and His kingdom: “We will not have this man to reign over us” (v.14). But there is no doubt that He will reign, that His kingdom will be established on earth: “He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). The Child born at Bethlehem, the Son of God given for our salvation, will carry the government upon His shoulder for ever (Isaiah 9:6-7). Into this world which rejected and crucified Him, He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).
Here are the main points to keep in mind about this kingdom.
- It will extend over all the world: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth . . . All nations shall serve Him” (Psalm 72:8,11). In Revelation 11:15 we read: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ”.
- It will be centred on the nation of Israel. Gabriel said to His mother Mary, “The Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever” (Luke 1:32-33).
- It will be perfect. Isaiah wrote, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness” (Isaiah 32:1). Psalm 72 describes some of its beauty and bounty.
- It will last for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6). It is sometimes called The Millennium.
- His kingdom is eternal, it will never end. God said to His Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Your kingdom” (Psalm 45:6 and Hebrews 1:8).
When will it begin?
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 along with John 14:3 tell us clearly that one day, soon perhaps, the Lord Jesus is coming for His people to take them all to be with Him in heaven. This is often called The Rapture, because the whole church will be raptured, or caught away, into glory forever.
Then 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 (and 1 Thessalonians 3:13) along with Jude 14-15 tell us that He is coming with all His saints and the angel-armies of heaven to punish evil doers and establish peace and justice on earth. This is often called The Appearing, because the Lord Jesus will then appear in sight of everyone, including His enemies (Revelation 1:7).
His return will be to the Mount of Olives as stated in Acts 1:11, and described in Zechariah 14:1-11. In His mighty power as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:11-21), He will deliver the nation of Israel from worldwide enemies which have persecuted it during a period of “great tribulation”, crushing these enemies at the battle of Armageddon (16:16).
That is when His kingdom will be established on earth, as He said Himself: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days . . . Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven: and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30).
Here is what else will happen then.
- The nation of Israel will repent of their terrible sin of rejecting Christ (Zechariah 12:10-14; 13:1-2). They will receive Him as their promised Messiah and King: “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).
- The nation of Israel will occupy their land and enjoy prosperity and peace as never before (Ezekiel 36:24-32). God had promised this land to Abraham (Genesis 15:18).
- He will judge all the nations of earth (Matthew 25:31-33). His throne will be in the ancient city of Jerusalem (Psalm 2:1-6). From there He will govern the whole world in righteousness (Psalm 72:2-4).
- He will remove the devil and his influence from the earth. That old enemy of God and man will be imprisoned for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3).
What will it be like then?
The world will be a completely different place then, when Christ is on the throne, as the following Scriptures tell us.
- Isaiah 32:1,16-18: government rule will be perfect. Righteousness will bring prosperity and peace to all, justice and truth will prevail for everyone (11:1-5).
- Isaiah 2:2-4: peace will be enjoyed and wars will be no more. With harmony between nations, huge warfare and defence expenditure will be used for better purposes.
- Isaiah 35:1-2,7-10: agriculture will be more productive without wastage or loss, favoured by a more benign climate (30:23-26), and everywhere will be beautiful. There will be no famine or shortages or inequalities – there will be plenty for everyone.
- Isaiah 25:6-8; 65:17-25: disease and death will not prevail; joy and prosperity will take the place of weeping and mourning “in that day”.
- Isaiah 11:6-9: wild creatures will no longer prey upon each other. Everything will be renewed in the natural world and everyone will enjoy it. Creation will be restored to its original condition, freed from the results of man’s sin (Romans 8:21).
God intended that man would care for his environment, but instead, the land, the sea and the air have been polluted, resources have been wasted and plundered. But the perfect man, Christ Jesus, will restore everything for God’s glory and for man’s good. After so many centuries of sin spoiling everything, the world will become as God intended it to be, in conditions similar to those before sin entered.
How long will it last?
Revelation 20 tells us it will be for 1,000 years (see how often you read “a thousand years” in vv.2-7). Under Christ’s perfect rule and government, it will be the most wonderful period of time in all the history of this world. The devil will be locked up in “the bottomless pit”, unable to tempt and annoy mankind. The kingdom of God will have come and the will of God shall be done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11:2).
But what happens at the end of this millennium? It is sad to read in Revelation 20:7-10 that when the devil is released from his prison, he leads a new rebellion against God. It is quickly crushed by “fire from heaven” and the devil is cast into the lake of fire for ever.
The perfect kingdom of our Lord Jesus continues for ever. After 1,000 years on earth, with every enemy defeated, He will deliver the kingdom of God to His Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). His kingdom and rule will continue in a new heaven and a new earth, and His people will reign with Him for ever and ever (Revelation 22:3-5). Amen!
Spotcheck No 3: What am I looking forward to in the future kingdom of God? For myself? – For all creation? – For Christ?