BIBLE FACTS about THE KINGDOM by Kevin Charlesworth
The importance of having a correct understanding of the Kingdom of God cannot be over emphasised. Jesus says, in Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God". This message was central to Jesus' preaching: "He went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God" (Luke 8:1)
After offering praise to God, the first thing we are to ask for, according to the Lord's Prayer, is:
"Thy Kingdom come" (see Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2).
After his death and resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days
"speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).
After his ascension, the Apostles continued to preach this message
(see Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23).
What Is The Kingdom?
Despite the clear teaching of Jesus, many have placed their own interpretation on the Kingdom.
Some say the Kingdom is -
where God is
the church ruling spiritually on earth
Jesus Christ ruling in men's hearts
Jesus Christ ruling on earth
It is only the last of these views that fits what the Bible says. This is demonstrated in Acts 1:6. Here the Apostles ask Jesus: "Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?". The Apostles were talking about the real and physical kingdom of King David that had been in existence over 1000 years before.
Jesus did not tell them they were wrong about the kingdom, only about the timing.
"It is not for you to know the times or the seasons", he said, "which the Father hath put in his own power".
The prophets had told of a Messiah who would re-establish this kingdom here on earth. King David had been told by God
"I will set up thy seed after thee ... and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever"
(2 Samuel 7:12,13).
What Will The Kingdom Be like?
The Bible tells us that it will be marvellous, beyond our wildest dreams. It will last forever, be peaceful, righteous and fruitful.
To find out more, read the following passages. Psalm 72:7-19; Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 65:17-25;
Amos 9:13-15: Micah 4:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 14:9
Who Will Be There?
Daniel 7:27 tells us that the kingdom will be given to "the people of the saints of the most high". The word "saint" means someone who is separate or holy. It applies to all those who have believed
the Lord Jesus Christ, been baptized into his saving name, and who try to follow his footsteps. Where he leads, his people are to follow.
What Does The Future Hold? by Gareth & Helena Edwards
Today we live in a world that is more scientifically and technologically advanced than ever before. Even so, the world today is faced with huge problems.
These are the same problems that have affected all generations – violence, crime, wars, diseases, famines and poverty, to mention just a few. Yet, despite all its know-how and expertise, mankind seems unable to deal with these issues effectively. And the problems appear to be getting worse not better. So people worry about what the future holds and wonder whether these problems will ever be resolved.
The good news explained in the Bible is that God made the world to last, not to be burned up, or frozen solid. He made it to be inhabited and means it to be a permanent inheritance for His people, age without end. He has a plan and purpose. Here’s some of the evidence:
"This is what Yahweh says – he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – he says: "I am Yahweh, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:18).
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).
But when such promises are made, it is not envisaged that the earth will carry on as it is at present, beset with problems and difficulties. God intends to take charge of world affairs and to establish a better society,
with the Lord Jesus – His Son – as King of the entire world.
Mankind was given that opportunity – to rule for God on more than one occasion. First Adam and Eve had the chance to take control, to exercise dominion:
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:28).
But they lost control of themselves and of the earth. Then God found a faithful and obedient man called Abram and promised to make of him a great nation and, through his seed, to bless all nations of the earth:
Yahweh had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing" (Gen 12:1,2).
Abraham’s descendants grew into the nation of Israel and were God’s special people, but they too lost control and, because of their persistent faithlessness and sin, God put an end to the Kingdom of God that had existed for a few hundred years when kings reigned on "the throne of Yahweh"
(1 Chronicles 29:23).
But the Kingdom has not been lost forever. King David was promised that one day his descendant would reign from Jerusalem over a worldwide Kingdom:
"When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son … Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
Jesus preached to the Jews about this kingdom, telling them that as he had come the Kingdom was now at hand (Mark 1:15). The coming of this Kingdom was something the followers of Jesus eagerly anticipated, for after the Lord had been crucified and then raised to life again by his Father, they asked him when this kingdom would be, when peace and righteousness would be established:"Lord", they asked, "will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). Jesus told them that first they had to preach the "good news" of the kingdom to all nations, teach them that they needed to repent of their sins and be baptised in order to be granted the opportunity to be in God’s kingdom. Then Jesus ascended to his Father in heaven where he lives now, awaiting the time when God will send him back to earth to establish this kingdom.
The Future Kingdom
What will this kingdom be like? The prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament paints a wonderful picture of this future kingdom age.
"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… They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, As the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Unlike the political rulers of today Jesus:
"shall not judge by the sight of his eyes, nor decide by the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth … Righteousness shall be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt of his waist" (Isaiah 11:3-5).
Jesus will rule as King in God’s kingdom until death itself has been destroyed, and with this accomplished will hand over all things to his Father, "that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Time of the End
God has left us many pointers in his Word to help us understand the time when Jesus will return. The many problems we now see in the world are precisely what God said would happen. They are serious and grievous problems, but they can encourage us at the same time when we realise that they are signposts to the nearness of the Coming of Jesus Christ to reign as King. ...
God in His mercy has given us this opportunity now to change the way we live our lives and follow him so that when Jesus does return we, through his grace, may be found worthy of a place in his glorious kingdom.
Make no mistake, when Jesus comes the world will be totally transformed: it will be the world in which you and yours will want to inhabit, given the chance:
"I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, God himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:3,4).
The key to our entry to that wonderful world to come is in our hands now. The Bible is a guidebook both for this life and the life to come. It contains God’s promises and they are absolutely guaranteed. And it tells us what we have to do: there is no other way. God asks us to believe Him and to trust implicitly in Him. He wants us to follow the example Jesus has given and to commit our lives in faith, so that we can prepare now for the wonderful changes due to occur when Jesus returns.
Gareth & Helena Edwards
The following articles are by Anthony Buzzard
THE GREATEST CAREER OPPORTUNITY OF ALL TIME — FOR YOU!
Stop and listen!
We have some spectacularly good news for you and your family. Some time in the future, Jesus of Nazareth is going to become the world’s first successful super-ruler. He will totally reorganize human society, and produce the peace on earth which we all want.
Under Jesus’ government, there will be no more wars, no more famine; no more murder, rape or theft; no more alcoholism and depression; no more divorce, and no more poverty.
Does this sound too good to be true? God, the Creator of all things, has personally promised that a Golden Age for all mankind will come. He has been promising it since He first placed man on our earth. The arrival of that era of glorious peace and prosperity is guaranteed.
What you have just been told is the heart of the Christian Gospel. Very probably you have not heard it before.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus came to announce the dramatically important good news concerning the future divine government on earth. He is coming back to take up his office as world super-ruler — and he is now recruiting men and women to assist him in the administration of his coming Kingdom. He wants you to be a ruler in that Kingdom.
What a tragedy if you were to allow this greatest of all career opportunities to pass you by. You can so easily neglect the information you have just been given. But don’t do it. Do yourself and your family a favor. Check up on the facts. We might just have given you the greatest piece of Truth you have ever heard!
There was a time when we did not know that Jesus wants to train men and women now for positions in the world government of the coming New Age on earth. When we found out, our lives were radically changed. We want to share with you what we have discovered about the Christian Gospel — the Good News about God’s coming world government.
If you will contact us at the address below, we will point you to the source of our information. You will then be able to find out for yourself that what we have been saying is true.
Don’t delay. Don’t brush us aside. Remember, God wants you to help administer a world government with His Son Jesus, when he comes back.
There could be no greater honor. It is high time for you to be preparing, with God’s help, for that position of responsibility. Your training will entail tests and trials to ensure that your character and integrity are beyond suspicion. God does not intend to allow corrupt rulership to continue anywhere on earth once His Son comes into office.
Act now! Find out more about the Christian Good News. Peace is coming. And you can help to bring it about.
The Simplicity of the Christian Message
The point and purpose of Christianity has been buried under a mass of theological tradition. There is general agreement only about the ethical demands of the present Christian life: a Christian must love and serve his neighbor. But almost nothing at all is known of the ultimate purpose and goal which Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, intended for those who follow him. Contemporary religion, which claims the name of Christ, has abandoned the purpose of the faith which is clearly spelled out by Jesus in his Gospel message --
the Gospel about the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:43, etc.).
In the purpose of the faith proclaimed by Jesus lies the very reason for our existence as individuals. The key to our personal future and that of humanity at large is found in Jesus' Gospel Message about the Kingdom of God.
This is simply the Message of the Good News that God, in the person of His Son and Agent, Christ, the promised Messiah, intends to establish just government and universal peace on earth and to grant immortality to those who love Him. The future of the earth, and of the whole universe, is related to the future of the individual believer in this way: The Kingdom which will be established on earth when Jesus returns to the earth will be administered by those to whom God grants immortality.
The scheme implied by the Good News of the Kingdom is the very opposite of complex. The mind of a child is required to grasp it. Jesus said: "Unless you reorient your life and become like little children, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of God."
To understand the Christian message, words must be taken as any child would take them -- in their natural and normal sense. The Kingdom of God, about which Jesus spoke constantly, is thus a real Kingdom, a divine government on earth, to be administered by Christ and the saints, with a renewed Jerusalem as its capital. Luke 19:11 should be taken as a key to the whole New Testament: "Because Jesus was near to Jerusalem, they thought that the Kingdom of God was going to appear immediately." This verse gives us the clue to the meaning of the principal theme of all that Jesus taught. He was expecting to establish the Kingdom as a worldwide rule on earth.
Much of what goes by the name of theology is no more than an exercise in the evasion of the plain meaning of words, an excuse for unbelief. The churches have abandoned hope in the Kingdom which Jesus promised would be inaugurated at his return. It is obvious that the Kingdom has not yet been established. It will be manifested on earth at the (second) Coming of the Messiah in glory. For this Christians are to pray: "Thy Kingdom come!"
In answer to the very reasonable question as to what his followers might expect to receive in the Coming Age of the Kingdom, Jesus promised the disciples positions of rulership with him in the coming Kingdom
(Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28). This promise was extended to the whole church
(1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; 3:21; 2:26; 20:1-4).
It was the natural confirmation and clarification of the promise made to Abraham, the father of the faithful, that he would one day possess the world (Rom. 4:13).
The Kingdom will have Jerusalem as its capital, as foreseen by all the Old Testament prophets, and it will be established by a spectacular divine intervention (Ps. 2), when the process of universal disarmament (Isa. 2) leading to total world peace will begin. The vision of the world at peace under the government of the Messiah is read annually at Christmas, but few believe it. They have been persuaded that the promises of universal divine government do not mean what they say. (See, for example, Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1-9; Zechariah 14:9; Micah 4:7.)
The reason for this is twofold. People have been taught from childhood that the reward of Christianity offered in the Bible is to depart to a realm "beyond the skies" as a disembodied soul/spirit. Such a notion is completely without foundation in the Scriptures and must be banished from the thinking process before any progress in understanding the New Testament can be made. The dead according to the Bible are at present all dead, not alive in another place! They are waiting to be resurrected from the dead! They will then inherit the earth, i.e. the Kingdom of God on earth (Matt. 5:5; Rev. 5:10).
Secondly, it has not been realized that the "everlasting life" promised by the New Testament properly means
"the Life of the Coming Age." This is a well-known expression used by Jesus and his contemporaries; the restoration of this definition of the goal of Christianity allows us to understand that the object of the Christian life is not to disappear at the moment of death to another world: It is to participate through a future resurrection from the dead in the Future Age, the Age of the establishment on earth of the Kingdom of God.
It is everywhere taught in Scripture that the faithful dead are now "sleeping," unconscious in the grave, awaiting the resurrection to occur at the Coming of Jesus (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28, 29). All the faithful will then share with Christ in the promised Kingdom.
In the light of this simple scheme, the New Testament can be read with complete understanding, for the facts noted here represent the presupposition held by the New Testament writers. The challenge to the reader is one of belief. Jesus' first recorded utterance in Mark's Gospel is a command to repent (i.e. reorient one's mind and life) and believe the Good News about the Kingdom! (Mark 1:15) It was when potential converts believed the Good News (Gospel) Message about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ that they were baptized into the faith
(Acts 8:12). This is the process by which we are to be initiated into the faith.
The Gospel of the Kingdom thus confronts each of us as individuals at the moment he receives the proclamation of it by Jesus or the New Testament Evangelists. Thereafter, his response to the Divine Message is all-important for salvation:
A warning about the danger of ignoring the invitation to the Kingdom of God was given by Jesus:
"When anyone hears the message about the Kingdom (Matt. 13:19) and does not understand it, the devil comes and snatches away the Message which was sown in his heart so that he may not believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).
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