Christ’s Future Ministry

Αs with all the articles in this issue of the magazine, the subject is vast, and this is only a brief, broad overview of some aspects of the Lord’s future ministry.


“The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Joh 5:28,29).[1] This will take place over a period of time, beginning with the raising of dead believers from the Church Age at the Rapture (1Th 4:13-18), going on to the raising of Tribulation saints (and, I believe, Old Testament saints) at the end of the Tribulation (Dan 12:1,2; Rev 20:4,6), and ending with the raising of the unrighteous dead at the end of the Millennium (Rev 20:5).


At the Rapture, the Lord Jesus will receive His Church: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Joh 14:3). A few years later, He will receive the repentant nation of Israel, welcoming them to Himself: “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom 11:15). At the same time, He will receive the saved of the nations, who, with redeemed Israel, will enter His kingdom: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mat 25:34).


At various stages in the program for the future, the Lord Jesus will rescue His people. A notable example is at the close of the Tribulation, when Israel is facing what looks like certain destruction. Then He will come and grant both physical and spiritual deliverance: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zec 12:9,10); “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Rom 11:26).


At the judgment seat of Christ, He will reveal our works: “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1Co 3:13). When He returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, He will reveal Himself: “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” (Mat 24:30). Peter also writes of “his glory” that “shall be revealed” (1Pe 4:13; 5:1). We will have a part in that; Paul writes that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).


All will be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh 5:22,27). After the Rapture, believers of the present age “must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body” (2Co 5:10). When He returns in glory, He will judge those then living on earth, resulting either in “everlasting punishment” or “life eternal” (Mat 25:31-46). At the end of the Millennium, the unrighteous dead will be raised, judged “according to their works” at the great white throne, and “cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:11-15). Whether in reward or in punishment, He will always act righteously. “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people” (Heb 10:30).


Peter spoke of “Jesus Christ … Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things” (Act 3:20,21). At His return to earth, Satan will be cast into the abyss, where he can deceive the nations no more (Rev 20:2,3). At that time the Lord Jesus Christ will “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Act 1:6). During that one-thousand-year period, the earth will experience a restoration of favourable conditions, including fruitfulness (Isa 35:1,2; Amo 9:13,14), righteous administration (Psa 98:9; Isa 11:4,5), peace (Mic 4:3,4) and safety (Isa 11:6-9).


“And the Lord shall be King over all the earth” (Zec 14:9); “his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (9:10); “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” (14:16). Saints of the Church Age and of the Tribulation will reign with Him (Rev 5:10; 20:4-6). This reign will not cease at the close of the thousand years but will be eternal: “He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luk 1:33); “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev 11:15). This is “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Pe 1:11).


In his vision, John “saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away” (Rev 21:1). Doubtless, as with the creation of the original cosmos, the Lord Jesus will be the One through whom God carries out this action. This renewed cosmos will be free from any trace of sin, and there will be no possibility of sin ever entering into it.

Surely we, who “according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” should heed Peter’s consequent exhortation: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness …?” (2Pe 3:10-13).

Unto Him who loved us – gave us
Every pledge that love could give;
Freely shed His blood to save us;
Gave His life that we might live;
Be the kingdom, And dominion,
And the glory evermore.[2]

[1] Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV.

[2] Samuel Miller Waring (1792-1827)