At this point in our study of life in the Kingdom, the thoughtful reader will probably be asking, 'Doesn't this picture of the Kingdom of God all seem rather human?' People in the Kingdom will still be producing babies (Isa. 65:23) and even dying (Isa. 65:20). These people will still have disputes which Christ will settle (Isa. 2:4), and will still need to work the ground in order to survive, even though this will be much easier than at present. This all seems a far cry from the promises that the righteous will receive eternal life, and a nature like God's, being made equal to the angels, who do not marry or reproduce (Luke 20:35,36) The answer lies in the fact that the first part of the Kingdom of God will last for 1,000 years - a 'Millennium' (see Rev. 20:2-7). During this Millennium there will be two groups of people on earth:-
1 The saints - those of us who have followed Christ acceptably in this life, who will have been given eternal life at the judgment seat. Note: a 'saint' means 'a called out' person, and refers to any true believer.
2 The ordinary, mortal people who did not know the Gospel at the time of Christ's return - i.e. they were not responsible to the judgment seat.
When Christ comes, two men will be in the field, one will be taken (to judgment), and the other left (Lk. 17:36); those who are "left" will be in this second group.
Having received God's nature at the judgment seat, the saints will be unable to die or produce children. The descriptions of people experiencing these things in the Kingdom must therefore apply to the second group - those who are alive at the time of Christ's return, but who did not know God's requirements. The reward of the righteous is to be "kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10) . Kings have to reign over somebody; those people who were ignorant of the Gospel at the time of the second coming will therefore be left alive, to be reigned over. Through being "in Christ" we will share His reward - which is to be the king of the world: "He that overcometh. . . to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron...even as I received of my Father" (Rev. 2:26,27).
Christ's parable of the pounds now falls into place - the faithful servants were rewarded with ten or five towns to rule over in the Kingdom (Luke 19:1219). Knowledge of God's ways will not spread immediately Christ is declared King in Jerusalem; the people will travel to Jerusalem in order to find more knowledge about God (Isa. 2:2,3) . Recall, too, how the mountain of Dan. 2:35,44 (representing the Kingdom of God) gradually spreads over the earth. It will be the duty of the saints to spread the knowledge of God and therefore His Kingdom.
When Israel was the kingdom of God previously, the duty of the priests was to teach the knowledge of God (Mal. 2:5-7) . For this purpose they were placed in various towns throughout Israel. In the more glorious re-establishment of the Kingdom, the saints will take over the role of the priests (Rev. 5:10).
Should Christ come today:
1. The responsible dead will be raised and, along with the responsible living, taken to the judgment seat.
2. The responsible wicked will be punished with death, and the righteous given eternal life. Judgment will also be given to the nations who resist Christ.
3. The righteous will then rule over those people who are then alive, but who are not responsible to God; they will teach them the Gospel as "kings and priests" (Rev. 5:10).
4. This will last for 1,000 years. During this time all the mortal people will hear the Gospel and therefore be responsible to God. These people will live much longer and happier lives.
5. At the end of the Millennium there will be a rebellion against Christ and the saints, which God will put down (Rev.
6. At the end of the 1,000 years, all those who have died during that time will be resurrected and judged (Rev.
7. The wicked amongst them will be destroyed, and the righteous will join us in having eternal life.
The purpose of God with the earth will then have been completed. It will be filled with immortal, righteous beings. God's Name 'Yahweh Elohim'
(meaning 'He who will be revealed in a group of mighty ones') will then be fulfilled. Never again will sin, and therefore death, be experienced on earth; the promise that the seed of the serpent would be totally destroyed by being hit in the head, will then have been completely fulfilled (Gen. 3:15) . During the Millennium, Christ will have reigned "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 (God), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (God) that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:25-28).
This is "the end, when he (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father" (1 Cor. 15:24). What will follow in this period when God is "all in all" we are not told; all we know is that we will have eternal life, God's nature, and we will live to glorify and please God. It is presumption to even enquire further into what the state after the Millennium will be like.
An understanding of "the gospel of the kingdom of God" is vital for the salvation of every reader of these words. May we plead with you to re-read this study and look up the Bible passages quoted.
God wants us to be in His Kingdom. His whole purpose was designed for us to have a real part in, rather than just to express, His creative ability. Baptism relates us to the promises concerning this Kingdom. It is hard to believe that baptism, followed by a few years' humble obedience to God's word, can gain us entry to that glorious, eternal age. Yet our faith in God's vast love must be firm. Whatever our short-term problems, surely we have no sensible reason to resist the Gospel's call?
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).
"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18).
"Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17).
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