Over the past months, we have been looking together at the lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only is He Lord, He is King, and is coming to take up His kingdom. This is a vast subject, and, because this series is not on future events, but specifically on His Person, we will not enter into an extensive discussion of God’s program for the future. Rather, we will briefly, over a couple of articles, outline some of the features of His coming kingdom. We will think of its certainty, commencement, character, climax, and continuation.
The Certainty of His Kingdom
Paul writes that “He must reign” (1Cor 15:25, KJV). It is an absolute necessity and certainty. God has said that it will happen, and so it will. The Old Testament speaks consistently of it. “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness” (Isa 32:1, KJV). “Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion” (Psa 2:6, KJV).
When He was on earth, the Lord Jesus did not rescind the Old Testament promises. On the contrary, He spoke of Himself, in parable, as going “to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (Luke 19:12, KJV). This was for the instruction of those who “thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (v11, KJV). They were not wrong as to the actuality of the kingdom; their mistake was that they thought that it was about to appear, whereas the Lord had to teach them that He had to go away first, and return as king (vv11-27). The thief on the cross spoke of Him coming into His kingdom, and the Lord did not contradict him, but promised him a much more immediate blessing (Luke 23:42-43). When the disciples asked Him, as He was about to ascend, “Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” He did not deny that that kingdom would come; rather, He confirmed it, referring to “the times” and “the seasons” (Acts 1:6-8, KJV).
The epistles also tell of it. A notable example is in Hebrews chapter 2, where the writer writes of “the world to come” (v5) and shows that it is God’s purpose that it be subject, not to angels, but to man. This is “not yet” seen (v8) but we are left in no doubt that it will be seen, and Who the Man is: “we see Jesus …” And, of course, the book of Revelation has many references to His return and reign.
The last view a godless world had of Him was on the cross, with His superscription, “King of the Jews.” That cannot be its last view of Him: “every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him” (Rev 1:7, KJV). He must be vindicated here, where He was rejected, and acknowledged as “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16, KJV).
The Commencement of His Kingdom
During the Tribulation that is coming to the world, the Church, having been raptured, will be with Him in heaven. The Lord told His disciples that, at the culmination of those dark days on earth, “then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt 24:30, KJV). The beast and his associates “shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Rev 17:13-14, KJV). His decisive victory is graphically described in Revelation 19:11-21. Satan will be cast into the abyss for 1000 years (Rev 20:2-3). The Millennium – His 1000-year reign – will begin, when saints of the Church age and of the Tribulation will reign with Him (Rev 5:10; 20:4-6).
The Character of His Kingdom
His kingdom will be the very opposite of what we see in the world today. It will be universal: “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one” (Zech 14:9, KJV); “His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zech 9:10, KJV). It will be a righteous reign, with justice administered fairly: “He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psa 98:9, KJV). There will be peace: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid” (Micah 4:3, 4, KJV). Jerusalem will no longer be a place of conflict, but the centre to which the nations gladly come to worship: “Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited … And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts (Zech 14:11, 16, KJV). There will be worldwide knowledge of Him: “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa 11:9, KJV). Natural disasters, sickness, oppression, hunger, and so many other sorrowful consequences of the fall will be gone, for creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21, KJV).
We eagerly anticipate that day, when all that is so grievous to us in this world will be put right, and when He reigns in the place where the attitude to Him is still “Away with Him.” How we delight in the truth of the words by Isaac Watts:
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Doth its successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
In the next (and concluding) article, God willing, we will look at the Climax and the Continuation of His Kingdom.