The Kingdom Prepared From The Foundation Of The World

God's predetermined intention will be successfully accomplished. The Sovereign of the universe does not undertake the accomplishment of a determined intention without His knowledge embracing all things relating to it. His understanding is infinite (Ps. 147:5). Hence, the whole creation was once future, or it was from eternity. Since creation had a beginning, it is not eternal. God's eternal knowledge of all things proves He knew what would be created before His act of creation. Likewise, prophecy is proof of God's infinite knowledge. If God does not know future things, He is ignorant. Prophecy is derived from God's foreknowledge. Therefore, He "...calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17).

God, in His perfect knowledge, saw the failure of human responsibility. Man has failed in every age: Adam in the garden failed in human responsibility. Noah with the sword of authority failed to govern himself. Israel broke the law that was given to her. The priesthood offered strange fire. Failure was written over kingship in Israel. Nebuchadnezzar's power caused him to be lifted up with pride. Local assemblies have proved to be no exception. On the other hand, there is no failure with God (Is. 6:13; Ezek. 16:60-63; II Tim. 2:19; Rom. 8:28-30). Therefore, God shall accomplish His eternal purpose concerning all things, including the kingdom under the righteous reign of Jesus Christ on earth.

God's truth, describing what He intends to perform, should be the highest priority in the life of every Christian. As the wisdom of this world cannot be understood without studying its philosophers, the wisdom of God on any Biblical subject cannot be acquired without considering what the Lord has said (II Tim. 2:7,15). Since the eschatological kingdom is one of the great subjects of the Bible, the truth concerning it is found only in Holy Scripture. Scripture does not describe it to mean one thing in one dispensation and something entirely different in a subsequent age. It is unchangeably the same in all Biblical prophecy until its fulfillment at Christ's second advent.

Some have likened the truth of the kingdom to a seed-germ that changes to a living plant and finally to the fully developed grain in its covering (Mark 4:26-29). Thus, they liken prophecy of the kingdom to the seed-germ, the assembly of Jesus Christ to the living plant, and kingdom of glory to the full corn in the ear. Every student of Scripture admits that there is progress in doctrinal revelation, but this progress by the Spirit through the apostles was only a clarification of Old Testament truths by means of their fulfillment. The progress of doctrine in the assembly and in the New Testament must be distinguished. When the last book of the New Testament was written, any further revelation of God's mind and purpose ceased. That which has been "once delivered" (aorist passive participle of paradidomi, which means to give over into the hands of another or to deliver something to one to keep)

(Jude 3) will have nothing added to it. Progress of doctrine in the assembly, however, has to do with man's apprehension of the truth of God revealed in both the Old and New Testaments—the original truth of both Testaments.

The following examples prove that original truth which portrays certain events that will transpire, prophecies that will be fulfilled, and promises that will be experienced cannot be a mere germ which will sprout into something entirely different: (1) The prophecies concerning the virgin birth of Christ, His impeccable life, vicarious death, resurrection out from among the dead, and coming the second time to establish His kingdom could not be a microbe that would germinate into another thing. (2) The promises concerning the new heart in regeneration and the hope of the glorified body could not be a micro-organism capable of evolving into a divergent substance. (3) All prophecies concerning the eschatological kingdom will not develop into the assembly, Christ's reign in the heart, or His present reign from heaven. Biblical doctrine is given to God's people for their spiritual growth, not that doctrine may be molded into things never intended by God.

The future kingdom of Biblical prophecy is the consummation of God's purpose. Christ said to those blessed by the Father, "...Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). Those "blessed" (perfect passive participle of eulogeo, which means having been blessed) by the Father and the kingdom "prepared" (perfect passive participle of hetoimadzo, which means having been prepared) are both perfect passive participles. The perfect tense looks not only to the beginning but to the consummation of the action. Hence, the perfect tense is used consummatively, which means the completed action is emphasized. God never starts something He does not complete. The main verb is "inherit," an aorist active imperative of kleronomeo, which means to obtain by inheritance or to receive possession of. All recipients of God's grace are heirs of the future kingdom (James 2:5), but not until the Son of Man comes in His glory will the King command them to inherit the kingdom (Matt. 25:31-34).

(1)The King, (2) the heirs, and (3) the kingdom—these great truths are revealed in Matthew 25:34. "Then the King shall say to those on his right hand, Come you who have been blessed of my Father, come into possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (translation). The names of the elect written in the book of life, the slain Lamb—Revelation 13:8, and the kingdom—Matthew 25:34, are all "from the foundation of the world [apo kataboles kosmou]". The same preposition (apo) is used in both verses. The Lamb "slain" (esphagmenou, perfect passive participle of sphadzo, which means having been slain) and the kingdom "prepared" (hetoimasmenen, perfect passive participle of hetoimadzo, which means having been prepared) took place before the foundation of the world. Furthermore, the names written in the Lamb's book of life are included in Jesus Christ who was slain before the foundation of the world. The verb "written" of Luke 10:20—"...because your names are written in heaven"—is a perfect passive indicative of the Greek verb eggrapho, which means "it stands written."

The King was foreordained "before the foundation of the world [pro kataboles kosmou]" to be the Savior of the elect (I Pet. 1:20). Christ could become the King of His promised kingdom only through His blood. Apart from His vicarious atonement, He could never say, "Come, you who have been blessed of my Father, Come into possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34—translation). The Father's eternally chosen Servant (Is. 42:1), Jesus Christ, as Mediator assumed the position of the willing Servant. Therefore, the foreordained (perfect passive participle ofproginosko, which means to determine beforehand or to foreordain) Savior by His election was the foreappointed King (I Pet. 1:20). His suffering must precede His glory (I Pet. 1:11). The time when Christ shall sit on the throne of His glory is predicted in Matthew 25:31-34.

The Greek words for "foreordained" in reference to the Savior, "blessed" concerning the blessed by the Father, and "prepared" relating to the preparedness of the kingdom are all perfect passive participles. The perfect tense emphasizes the completed action of Christ's Saviorhood, work of grace in the elect, and establishment of the kingdom. Christ's Kingship, His preparation for it in His suffering and death, and its culmination when He shall sit on His throne must all be viewed as parts of the whole from God's perspective. Those blessed by the Father's election, their preparation by the application of Christ's redemptive work in regeneration and subsequent progressive sanctification, and their ultimate perfection in glorification must also be viewed as parts of the whole. Moreover, the completion of the kingdom according to God's eternal purpose, its preparation by Christ's redemptive work, the salvation of the elect who shall inherit it, and its ultimate establishment must also be viewed as three parts of the whole.

The heirs of the kingdom were chosen in Christ "before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4). The heirs of the kingdom are not presently in the kingdom, but they are destined to be in it. Heirs of the kingdom are the elect gathered out of all nations. In their aggregate form, they will constitute a holy nation. The context of Matthew 25:34 speaks of the judgment of the living nations immediately preceding the establishment of the kingdom. Therefore, the living "sheep" are the subjects of the living nations. However, entrance into the transitional period of the kingdom will not be restricted to sheep in their mortal bodies. Heirs of the kingdom will include both sheep living in mortal bodies of flesh and blood and glorified sheep (Is. 61:4-11; 62:1-5; 65:20-22; II Thess. 1:5-10; 2:1; Rev. 19:1-11; 21:24).

All of God's sheep shall inherit the kingdom. The "sheep," a term used by Jesus Christ in His judgment of the living nations, include sheep from the nation of Israel, the Gentile nations, and those from among both Jews and Gentiles who constitute the assembly: (1) Christ's command to the twelve apostles in Matthew 10:5-6 proves God has some sheep from among the Jews: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (2) Christ's speaking to the Jews about sheep other than themselves proves God has sheep who are not of Israel: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:16). (3) Christ's judgment of the living nations (Matt. 25:31-46) subsequent to His judgment of Israel and prior to establishing His kingdom proves God has sheep from among both Jews and Gentiles who constitute the assembly: "...he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left" (Matt. 25:32,33).

The term "sheep" (probata, plural ofprobaton) is of great significance when it refers to God's elect. It is used seventeen times in John 10. It refers to the elect from among Jews and "other sheep" who were not from among the Jews (John 10:16). Two Greek words in John 10:16 must be understood. Although they are different, both are translated by the word "fold." (1) The first, aules, which means an enclosure by a wall or a sheepfold, is used for "other sheep" not of the Jewish fold. To the Jews, this fold held all the flock of God. As far as they were concerned all outside the confines of Judaism were nothing but dogs (Ps. 22:16,20; Matt. 15:27; Phil. 3:2). (2) The second Greek word, poimne, which means a flock, was used to speak of all sheep constituting "one fold [flock]." This is incorrectly translated in some translations of the Bible. "One fold [flock]" signifies that Christ's flock of sheep extends beyond the confines of the Jewish fold.

The great commission given to the eleven disciples in Matthew 28:19 extends to all nations: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations " Caiaphas, the high priest, did not know the truth that he spoke: "...he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad" (John 11:51,52). God has His sheep (elect) that He will call out "of nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" (Rev. 7:9). This stands in contrast to Christ's commission in Matthew 10:1-7 to the twelve disciples to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

There are some goats inside of Judaism: "...For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6). There are some sheep outside the fold of Judaism: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold..." (John 10:16). "Other sheep I have" of John 10:16 includes all nations and all ages. The Greek verb translated "I have" is a present active indicative of echo, which means "to have or to possess." Even before Christ's death for them and the Holy Spirit's regeneration of them, Christ could say, "I have them." They were His by covenant relationship. They had been given to Him by God the Father's election (John 6:37; 17:2,6,11,12,24; 18:9). Thus, God's sheep have been eternally Christ's sheep. They were His at the time He spoke, and they will be His forever.

There are saved sheep, and there are lost sheep. When Jesus Christ gave His life for the lost sheep (John 10:11,15,18), He absolutely and perfectly purchased salvation for them. The love that moved the Lord Jesus to die for the lost sheep in Israel was the same love that moved Him to say: "And I have other sheep, which are not from this sheepfold; it is necessary for me to bring them also, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd" (John 10:16—translation). In John 10:16, the Greek word translated "must" is dei, which means His bringing other sheep is binding, necessary, proper, or inevitable. Therefore, as Jesus Christ "must [dei]...be lifted up" (John 3:14), it is inevitable (dei) (John 10:16) that those for whom He died become saved sheep. The Greek word for "bring" is agagein, aorist active infinitive of ago, which means to bring or to lead. Hence, "it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing [agogonta, second aorist active participle of ago] many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10).

The lost sheep from among the Jews being saved during the dispensation of grace become part of the body of Christ, the assembly: "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Rom. 11:5). "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded" (Rom. 11:7). "...blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25). However, God will once again deal with national Israel (Rom. 11:26,27; Rev. 7:4-8). Furthermore, the lost sheep among the Gentiles who are being saved during the present assembly age become part of the constituted body of Christ. But some Gentiles will be saved after the completion of the assembly (Rev. 7:9; Matt. 25:31-33). Make no mistake, all the sheep, regardless of their race or nationality, will inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. Some will enter the millennium in their natural bodies and others in their glorified bodies, but all shall enter the eternal kingdom in bodies of flesh and bones.

The aforementioned things about Israel, the assembly, and the Gentiles are reprehensible to those who deny a future kingdom. However, the view of the present church/kingdom and no future kingdom should be even more reprehensible to those who believe the Scriptural teaching concerning the future kingdom. Matthew 25:31-34 proves, beyond successful contradiction, that the sheep's inheritance of the kingdom will be associated with Christ's coming as the Son of Man. There is not the slightest hint of Christ's kingdom until He sits on the throne of His glory. The kingdom will not be given to the sheep as they are saved one by one but to them when they will be gathered together as a flock.

The means by which the kingdom can be obtained and the kingdom itself are distinct. The following are preparatory prerequisites for entrance into the kingdom: (1) The new birth is a necessity. "...Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). "...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). (2) Denial of self is a requirement. "...Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8:34). (3) Perseverance is a demand. "...No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). The new birth produces both the denial of self and perseverance.

The kingdom was predetermined by God (Matt. 25:34). The kingdom, like the King and the heirs, was not an afterthought with God. It was His forethought. When God created the heavens and the earth, He had in mind the new heaven and the new earth (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 21:1).

This concludes Volume II in which we have considered the introduction of the King. This series will continue in Volume III with the next aspect of our study of Christ's future Kingdom.

SCRIPTURE INDEX

Genesis

1:2 105

1:28 158

2:7 105

3:15 13

3:24 106

6:3 105

9:6 132

15:17 106

18 106

19 106

35:19 44

Exodus

3:2 106

3:4 106

Exodus (Cont'd)

10:21-23 167

19:5 23

19:18 106

28:9-12 36

32 65

Leviticus

1-5 107

1:14 22

10:2 106

12:8 22

23:10 120

Numbers

10 109

Numbers (Cont'd)

24:2 105

24:17 41

32:13 9

Deuteronomy

4:24 129

16:9-16 120

22:13-21 14

32 140

32:9 23

32:41 132

Joshua

Judges

3:10 105

6:34 105

Ruth

I Samuel

15:28 154

I Samuel (Cont'd)

16:13 154

16:14 105

17:12 44

22:1-2 154

II Samuel

12:23 48

I Kings

17:3 58

18 58

18:36 63

II Chronicles

8:13 120

Psalms

6 111

8 158

19:1-14 157

22:16 177

Psalms (Cont'd)

22:18 138

23:4 36

33:6 17

33:9 17

35:9 20

5 0 133

5 1 111

51:5 48

58:10-11 132

69:11-12 11

110 96, 165

110:1-3 168

110:4 168, 169

110:5 169

110:5-7 169

119:18 12

132:14 23

139:21-22 133

Proverbs

4:18 32

Ecclesiastes

Isaiah

6:5 168

8:18 35

14 72

35:8 33

46:10 138

53:1-3 141

53:3 142

53:4 138

53:6 37

53:10 68

55:8-9 137

Isaiah (Cont'd)

6l:4-11 176

62:1-5 176

62:3 23

Jeremiah

2:31-37 S5

31:15 47

31:1S-19 57

63 131

65:19 23

Ezekiel

9 49

1S:30 S7

Daniel

3 65

3:19 7S

7 45

7:13-14 154

7:14 159

Daniel (Cont'd)

Hosea

Joel

S7 46

. . . . 107 107 . ... 107 10S . . . . 10S . . . . 10S .. . . 10S 10S . . . . 10S 107, 109 . ... 109

2:10 110

2:12-17 111

2:1S-19 112

2:20 112

2:21-27 112

2:23 112

2:30-31 143

3:1-16 131

3:14 131

3:16 133

3:17-21 112

Amos

Micah

3:12 43

Zechariah

9 45

14 45

14:10-11 62

Malachi

Matthew

2:13 14

2:14 43

3:11 5, 78, 99, 105, 106, 114, 115, 116, 119, 121, 127, 128, 129

3:11b 122

3:15-17 67

7 133

7:21-23 157

10 90

10:1-7 177

10:5-6 176

11:7

79, 80

11:8

79

11:9

63, 79

11:11

79, 80

11:11-14 . .

62

11:11-15 . .

80

11:12

. . 80, 81, 82

11:13

82

11:14

82,83

11:16-19 . .

83

11:28

31

12:28

5, 165

13

130

13:24

147

13:44

147

13:51-53 ..

147

14:1-12 ...

55

14:4

76

14:22

156

14:22-33 ..

156

14:24

156

14:25-33 ..

156

14:28

156

15:27

177

16

92

16:17

94

16:18

. . . 121, 125

16:19

147

17:1-13 . . .

. . .52, 60, 62

17:3

62

17:10

60

17:11

. . 52, 61, 62

17:11-13 . .

61, 63

17:12

18 92

18:5 89

18:20 89

19:9 15

19:27 134

19:28 135

19:29 135

20:10 14

21:27 102

21:30 86

21:31 147

21:32 86

27:3 86

27:51 111

1:12 70

1:14 163

6:14-29 76

8:34 179

13:32 114

16:16 4

Luke

1:13 76

1:34 13

1:37 17

1:38 15

1:44 76

1:46 19

1:48 25

1:66 75

2:22 21

2:24 21

2:44 14

2:46 69

3 128

3:7 114

3:7-18 115

3:12-14 89

115, 116, 119, 121, 122, 128, 129 3:17 .. 115, 116, 128, 129

3:23 14

7:29 102

9:62 179

10:10 162

10:11 163

10:20 174

11:20 165

12:32 5

19 153

19:5 153

19:9 153

153, 155

19:15 156

19:16 157

19:17 157

19:18 157

19:19 157

John

1:10 11

1:12 150

1:13 150

1:46 49

2:17 12

3:3 179

3:14 178

3:30 67

3:34 23

4:10-14 32

5:35 . . 5:40 . . 6:15 . . 6:37 . . 7:52 . . 8:12 . . 8:46 . . . 8:56-58 10 . . . .

54, 66 . . 142 . . . 82 . . 177 . . . 49 . . . 54 . . . 29 . . . 30 . . 176

10 10 10 10 10 10

1 7 147

10:30 31

11:51 177

11:52 177

12:37 141, 142

12:38 141, 142

12:39 142

12:40 142

13:10 33

17:2 177

17:6 177

17:11 177

17:12 177

17:24 177

18:9 177

18:36 39

20:21 116

Acts

1:6 113

1:7 113

2:12-15 120

2:17 116

2:30 144

2:36 154

3 156

3:12 70

3:13-16 70

3:17 70

3:18 70

3:19-21 135

4:12 31

7:25 14

8:16 100

8:20 14

10 121

10:48 100

11:15 89

11:18 86

12:12 92

13 91, 156

13:2 91

13:7 92

14:19 14

14:19-22 55

15 156

15:13-17 154

15:14 169

15:16 169

15:17 169

16:13 14

16:27 14

17:7 42

17:29 14

18 101

18:24 101

19 101

19:5 100

21:29 14

22:6-10 56

23:6 88

26:12-18 56

26:18 57

28 156

28:5 107

1:19-25 21

1:19-28 157

2:14-16 77

2:16 93

3:23 20

4:13 149

4:13-25 151

4:17 171

5:16-21 68

8 159

8:14 123

8:14-32 140

8:17 151

8:18-23 161

8:23 160

8:28-31 157

9:6 177

10:16 142

11 11 11 11

11-29

127 178 178 142

11:27 178

12:19b 131

13:12 162, 164

I Corinthians

1:7 160

1:26-31 155

2:16 137

4:7 155

5:12 133

5:13 133

6:3 129

7:26 14

7:36 14

9:27 111

11:31 133

12:11 155

121, 122

12:28 92

13:8 90

14:8 110

15:8 92

II Corinthians

1:22 123

2:12 168

2:13 168

2:14 167

2:14-16 115

2:15 167

2:16 167

5:5 123

5:10 134

7 86

10:14 93

Galatians

Ephesians

1:1-14 140

1:14 123

1:4 175

2:11-22 95

2:13 36

Ephesians (Cont'd)

Philippians

3:2 177

3:20 160

Colossians

I Thessalonians

I Thessalonians (Cont'd)

1:10 35

II Thessalonians

1:5-10 176

1:S 129

2 131

2:14 94

I Timothy

II Timothy

2:7 172

2:15 172

3:16 94

II Timothy (Cont'd)

4:18 36

Titus

3:5 135

Hebrews

1:2 151

2:6 158

2:7 158

2:8 158

2:9 158

2:10 177

10:10-14 68

10:30 131

11:1-3 141

11:39 152

11:40 152

James

1:13-15 72

1:17 149

5:7 112

I Peter

1:12 97

2:24 69

II Peter

1:19-21 140

3:1-18 140

3:6 149

3:10-13 151

3:13 130

3:17 42

I John

2:20 . . 94, 106, 123, 145 2:27 . . 94, 106. 123, 145

Revelation (Cont'd)

19 131

II John

9-11 155

Jude

16 79

Revelation

1:1

139

1:3

. . . 42, 53, 139

1:14____

107

2:4

S7

2:5

S7

2:26 . . . .

129, 134

2:27 . . . .

134

3:1S____

12

3:21 . . . .

144

7:4-S____

17S

7:9

177, 17S

5:10____

152

11

61

11:3____

147

11:15 . . .

. . 42, 152, 159

12:6 . . . .

147

13

131

13:S____

174

14:4____

13

14:6____

93

14:20 . . .

147

17:12 . . .

19:11-16 154

20 147

20:1-7 14S

20:2 147

20:3 147

20:4 147

20:5 147

20:6 147

20:7 147

21:3 36

21:14 135

21:24 176

22:1S 139

Books And Pamphlets By W. E. Best

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