Jesus’ Reign on Earth—What Will It Be Like?

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Jesus’ Reign on Earth—What Will It Be Like?

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When on trial for His life, and asked by the Roman governor if He were a king, Jesus Christ replied: “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world” (John 18:37 John 18:37Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

Jesus plainly stated that He was born to be a King and He came to be a King. And He will return to earth to be a King to reign over the entire earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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; 19:16).

The Bible contains dozens of scriptures and prophecies about these events. They give us great hope for the future, of a far better world beyond today.

However, over the centuries many people have become so focused on when this will happen—timing the Father has not revealed (see Matthew 24:36 Matthew 24:36But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
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)—that they missed the most important point for us to understand. And that is how Christ will reign and govern. What will His Kingdom and government be like? What will His reign be like when He is the ultimate King and Ruler over the entire earth?

The Kingdom of God on earth

Jesus spoke repeatedly of the Kingdom of God, and in this He was continuing the message of God’s prophets who had come before. He referred often to His return to earth to establish the Kingdom these earlier biblical prophets had foretold. In His lengthy prophecy given in response to His disciples’ question, “What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
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), He described the arrival of His divine reign on earth to usher in a new age and to end all human-led governments with their history of abuse, oppression, death and destruction.

Christ specifically answered the disciples’ question in Matthew 24:30 Matthew 24:30And 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.
American King James Version×
: “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

When Jesus came to earth the first time, He proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom of God and how we can be a part of it. And when He returns at His second coming, He will come as the world’s all-powerful ruling King to establish His Kingdom over the entire earth and make that good news a reality!

He continued with His prophecy of His return: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 25:31-34 Matthew 25:31-34 [31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. [34] Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
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).

The Kingdom Jesus referred to is the same Kingdom of God of which He often taught. As He said, this Kingdom has been in planning “from the foundation of the world.” And the goal of God’s great plan for mankind is that those who are “blessed of My Father”—who have a close, loving, reverential relationship with God—will “inherit the kingdom prepared” for them. Jesus will be the King of this Kingdom. How we may become part of this Kingdom is a vital part of what Jesus came to announce. This was the heart of His message to “repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15 Mark 1:15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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).

A Kingdom of everlasting peace

We read about Jesus Christ’s mission to establish this Kingdom in a remarkable prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7 [6] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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(New Living Translation): “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”

This tells us that Jesus the Messiah will establish God’s government forever, and He will be King over all creation. And how will He reign? We see that in the words used here to describe Jesus Christ as king: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” There will be no end of peace under that government. It will be established and upheld with fairness and justice forever. That is the kind of king and ruler Jesus Christ will be!

Isaiah 2:3-4 Isaiah 2:3-4 [3] And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [4] And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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(NLT) further prophesies of that time: “People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.”

After thousands of years of human history marked by war, violence and corruption, Jesus Christ will lead a massive reeducation effort to teach people God’s way of outgoing love—of giving rather than the selfish way of getting. This is the only way that leads to true and lasting peace!  

Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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tells us what the result of this worldwide reeducation effort will be: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

As the waters fill every crack and crevice in the basins of the seas, so will the knowledge of God fill the entire earth. People who have never known the true God—who have been spiritually blinded by atheism and false religions that teach lies rather than God’s truth—will at last have their eyes and minds opened to learn about the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. And as we just read, people will stream to Jerusalem from all over the world to learn about God’s truth and His way of life!

A Ruler unlike any human ruler

But what will make God’s government on earth different from all governments, kingdoms and empires that have gone before? Jesus Himself described the contrast in a gentle rebuke to His own disciples who, knowing Jesus was destined to be a king, had themselves been selfishly jockeying for positions of power and prestige. What did Jesus tell them?

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles [the nations of the world] lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28 Matthew 20:25-28 [25] But Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority on them. [26] But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; [27] And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: [28] Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
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).

Jesus packed a lot of punch into this teaching moment. His disciples were well aware of the kind of abusive and corrupt rulership exercised by the governing Roman administrators and their lackeys. Like many government officials today, many of them made fortunes from “serving” the people, using their positions to enrich themselves.

Jesus made it clear that He and those who follow Him—and who will rule with Him when God’s Kingdom is established on earth (Revelation 1:6 Revelation 1:6And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
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)—must follow a very different model of leadership. “It shall not be so among you,” He told them. Instead, “Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The model for governing in God’s government will be giving rather than getting. It will be serving others rather than being served. It will be rooted and grounded in God’s character of genuine love, which is outgoing concern for others rather than self-centeredness.

Jesus modeled this kind of giving, serving attitude throughout His ministry on earth. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. He raised up the oppressed. He gave hope to the hopeless. He took the role of a slave and washed His disciples’ feet, and took the role of an ultimate sacrificial offering to die in our place, taking on Himself the punishment we deserved for our sins (John 13:12-15 John 13:12-15 [12] So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said to them, Know you what I have done to you? [13] You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am. [14] If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. [15] For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
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; Romans 5:6-8 Romans 5:6-8 [6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
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).

Isaiah 40:10-11 Isaiah 40:10-11 [10] Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. [11] He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
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is another prophecy of Jesus Christ’s coming reign on earth: “Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand . . . He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.”

His rule will be marked with kindness and compassion, love being the foundation of God’s way of life and all of His laws (Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40 [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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). This is not to say that He and those ruling with Him will not exercise firm power when necessary. At times it is required to prevent people from harming one another. But the key difference will be that all decisions will be based on righteous, perfect laws that benefit all those concerned (Psalms 119:172 Psalms 119:172My tongue shall speak of your word: for all your commandments are righteousness.
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; Deuteronomy 6:24-25 Deuteronomy 6:24-25 [24] And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. [25] And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.
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; James 1:25 James 1:25But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
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). It will truly be government for the good of the governed. 

Beyond the horror and hardship of human government today, this is the wonderful future mankind has to look forward to—a world of peace, purpose and plenty under the loving rulership of God the Father through Jesus Christ. Join us in praying, “Your Kingdom come!” and in striving to live those righteous qualities in your life now so you can be part of that Kingdom then!