Beyond Today

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow | Learn more...

You are here

The Everlasting Kingdom of God

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

Jesus tells us to pray to our heavenly Father “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10 Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
American King James Version×
). He also tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×
). What is the Kingdom of God that it should be our highest priority in life? Is it simply a new or different administrative system directed by faithful servants of God? Or does it exceed our previous concepts of what a kingdom is?

The apostle Paul went right to the heart of the matter by explaining that “flesh and blood”—physical human beings—”cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50 1 Corinthians 15:50Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
American King James Version×
). The Kingdom of God is the family of immortal beings —God and all His children. Those whom God adds to His family will inherit and oversee “all things” God has created (Revelation 21:7 Revelation 21:7He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
American King James Version×
).

Speaking of this destiny of man, the book of Hebrews tells us: “For in that He [God the Father] put all in subjection under him [man], He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8 Hebrews 2:8You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
American King James Version×
). Revelation 21-22 describes the time when “all things” will be under those who enter the Kingdom of God.

How, then, does a human being enter the Kingdom? Paul explains: “This perishable body must be clothed with the imperishable, and what is mortal with immortality. And when this perishable body has been clothed with the imperishable and our mortality has been clothed with immortality, then the saying of scripture will come true: ‘Death is swallowed up; victory is won!’” (1 Corinthians 15:53-54 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
American King James Version×
, Revised English Bible). The Kingdom of God is something human beings can enter only by receiving the gift of eternal life as children of God.

Notice something essential for receiving the gift of eternal life: “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ ” (Matthew 18:1-4 Matthew 18:1-4 1 At the same time came the disciples to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child to him, and set him in the middle of them, 3 And said, Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×
).

A necessary conversion —a transformation of our way of thinking—is needed. This transformation is possible only through the kind of humility that produces genuine repentance, which, after acknowledgment through the ceremony of baptism, can be completed through the gift of God’s Spirit working in our lives (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
).

As mankind’s Savior, Jesus of Nazareth paved the way for us to inherit the Kingdom of God by opening the door to eternal life through the forgiveness of sin. That required that His first coming be devoted to teaching and explaining repentance and to allowing Himself to be crucified for the sins of humanity. That is why Mark wrote: “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

At His first coming Jesus trained disciples who would, after His crucifixion and resurrection, help establish His Church. He came the first time to lay the foundation for the establishing of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus Christ will return to establish that Kingdom on earth at His second coming, at last bringing the peace mankind has always longed for but never achieved. At that time the firstfruits of God’s spiritual harvest (James 1:18 James 1:18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
American King James Version×
; John 4:35-36 John 4:35-36 35 Say not you, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.
American King James Version×
) will receive eternal life and enter the Kingdom. These spiritual firstfruits will then reign with Christ until the last phase of God’s judgment, when the final separation of the righteous from the wicked is complete.

Revelation 21-22 describes at that point a new and dramatically different heaven and earth. It is also at that point that all the children of God—all who inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God—begin to experience the fullness of their salvation. What will it be like?

The community of God’s children

John writes: “Now I saw a new [transformed] heaven and a new [transformed] earth, for the first heaven and the first earth [in their former state] had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-2 Revelation 21:1-2 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
American King James Version×
).

This description of God’s immortal children is that of a family community grown large enough to inhabit a city “fifteen hundred miles” square and equally as high (Revelation 21:16 Revelation 21:16And the city lies foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
American King James Version×
, NRSV). This community is described as a bride, “the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:9 Revelation 21:9And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
American King James Version×
), who will be subject in everything to Christ as her husband (Ephesians 5:24 Ephesians 5:24Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
American King James Version×
).

This wonderful city will be the home of God’s family. He “will dwell with them, and they shall be His people” (Revelation 21:3 Revelation 21:3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
American King James Version×
). The peace, harmony and contentment in the family community of the saved will be so great that “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 Revelation 21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
American King James Version×
). All who previously chose to reject the way of life that produces love, peace and cooperation will have already perished “in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8 Revelation 21:8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
American King James Version×
).

God describes the nature of the city of New Jerusalem. It is depicted as having been built of the finest and most valuable materials. It is exquisitely adorned like a bride wearing the finest of jewelry. It reflects the very “glory of God” (Revelation 21:9-21 Revelation 21:9-21 9 And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like to a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lies foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like to clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
American King James Version×
).

This family community is organized under “the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” with its “twelve foundations” having on them “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:12-14 Revelation 21:12-14 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
American King James Version×
).

Clearly, this is the end result of what God began with Abraham, the father of the family that became ancient Israel. And that was only a forerunner of the eternal family, the family “of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11 Romans 4:11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also:
American King James Version×
). The “light” illuminating New Jerusalem comes from God (Revelation 21:24 Revelation 21:24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.
American King James Version×
). Nothing that “defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie” will ever be allowed to enter it.

A summary of the story of man

When God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, He placed them in a garden with the tree of life. The fruit of that tree represented the way of life God wanted them to accept and follow. But near the tree of life was another tree, a tree whose fruit represented a mixture of good and evil. God commanded them to avoid the second tree. He would have preferred to spare them from reaping the fruits of a way of life that is a mixture of good and evil.

But Eve’s curiosity overwhelmed her. She yielded to the deceptive influence of “that serpent of old,” then persuaded Adam to join her in tasting the fruit of evil. All of mankind has followed them in that choice. The end result is the nearly unimaginable human tragedy depicted in the book of Revelation.

But God was in no way defeated by this turn of events. He planned and intends to complete the redemption and salvation of all who will repent. When all is said and done, the community of repentant people will fill the vast city of New Jerusalem described in chapter 21.

In Revelation 22 we see the community of the saved in a setting similar to that of Adam and Eve. In New Jerusalem is a river “flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life” (Revelation 22:1-2 Revelation 22:1-2 1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

The biblical story of man begins in the Garden of Eden with his rejection of the tree of life. It closes with God’s immortal family dwelling together before His throne while enjoying the fruits of the tree of life. It is the kind of fruit—the product of righteous relationships—that will make eternal life worth living.

John writes: “The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place’ ” (Revelation 22:6 Revelation 22:6And he said to me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show to his servants the things which must shortly be done.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Our world is confused and deceived. But it won’t forever remain that way. Jesus Christ gave us the book of Revelation to inspire confidence, hope and a clear purpose in life in all who will believe and serve the living God.

Jesus Himself personally utters Revelation’s closing message: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last … I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:12-16 Revelation 22:12-16 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
American King James Version×
).

John ends with these words: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (Revelation 22:20-21 Revelation 22:20-21 20 He which testifies these things said, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
American King James Version×
).

This wonderful future can be yours. You, too, can become one of God’s immortal children, a member of His eternal family in the Kingdom of God. You must, however, experience true repentance, receive God’s Spirit and learn how to “keep the commandments of God” by refusing to be entangled in the ways of this present evil world (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 12:17 Revelation 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
; 2 Peter 2:20-21 2 Peter 2:20-21 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
American King James Version×
).

To learn more about how you can accomplish this, be sure to read the following: The Ten Commandments , What Is Your Destiny? and The Road to Eternal Life . And for a broader look at biblical prophecy, be sure to read The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy , The Middle East in Bible Prophecy , Are We Living in the Time of the End? and You Can Understand Bible Prophecy .

You might also be interested in...

The dramatic symbolism of the book of Revelation comes from the divine author...
In the biblical book of Revelation, Jesus Christ foretold many more signs of...