We have seen that Jesus Christ and the apostles preached the gospel—the good news—of the Kingdom of God. But exactly what is that Kingdom?
There are many ideas about the Kingdom of God. Some think it is the church. Others believe it is an ethereal concept that resides in the hearts of Christians. Some think it is the collective good of humanity.
What does the Bible say? What is the Kingdom of God?
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
American King James Version×).
The word translated “kingdom” throughout the New Testament is the Greek word basileia, which denotes “sovereignty, royal power, [and] dominion” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “Kingdom”). A careful examination of the Bible reveals that the next phase of the Kingdom of God is nothing short of a world-ruling monarchy that God will establish on this earth through Jesus Christ!
An overview of world governments
This amazing truth is made clear in many Bible verses. The prophet Daniel was inspired to record a description of world governments spanning a period of thousands of years. His prophecy, recorded in Daniel 2:28-45 Daniel 2:28-45 28 But there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed, are these;
29 As for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind on your bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that reveals secrets makes known to you what shall come to pass.
30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that you might know the thoughts of your heart.
31 You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible.
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34 You saw till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image on his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces.
35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
37 You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38 And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.
39 And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
41 And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, for as much as you saw the iron mixed with miry clay.
42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43 And whereas you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not join one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45 For as much as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
American King James Version×, describes King Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of five world-ruling empires. When we read these verses, we see that the fifth kingdom, the Kingdom of God, is a literal kingdom that has not yet come to earth.
In this passage, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, dreamed of a huge image of a man consisting of a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet composed of a mixture of iron and clay.
God gave Daniel, a prophet in Nebuchadnezzar’s court, the ability to interpret dreams (Daniel 1:17 Daniel 1:17As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
American King James Version×; Daniel 2:28 Daniel 2:28But there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed, are these;
American King James Version×). Through God’s inspiration, Daniel revealed that the four divisions of this image were actually four successive world empires. God, through Daniel, identified the first of the kingdoms, the head of gold, as the Babylonian Empire (Daniel 2:38 Daniel 2:38And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.
American King James Version×).The next two kingdoms are identified in Daniel 8:1-21 Daniel 8:1-21 1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, even to me Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. 2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. 3 Then I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. 5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran to him in the fury of his power. 7 And I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and broke his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped on him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped on them. 11 Yes, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. 12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said to that certain saint which spoke, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14 And he said to me, To two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. 15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. 17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell on my face: but he said to me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. 18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. 19 And he said, Behold, I will make you know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. 20 The ram which you saw having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
American King James Version×. This chapter records a subsequent vision that foretold and gives more detail about the second and third empires. These two kingdoms are identified as “the kings of Media and Persia” and “the kingdom of Greece.” History confirms that the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire (recorded in Daniel 5:30-31 Daniel 5:30-31 30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. 31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about three score and two years old.
American King James Version×), which was in turn toppled by the Grecian Empire of Alexander the Great.
In chapter seven these four kingdoms are pictured again, this time as four beasts. This vision characterizes the empires as wild animals, predicting their harsh and oppressive domination of their subjects.
The fourth kingdom is characterized as especially cruel. History records that Alexander’s Grecian kingdom was succeeded by the Roman Empire. This kingdom is shown here as challenging the very authority of God and persecuting His saints (Daniel 7:25 Daniel 7:25And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
American King James Version×). It has 10 horns (Daniel 7:7 Daniel 7:7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
American King James Version×), which are 10 extensions or resurrections of the fourth great world-ruling empire (Daniel 7:24 Daniel 7:24And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
American King James Version×). These resurrections of this fourth kingdom continue through history to our day, and the final resurrection of this empire is depicted as existing at Jesus Christ’s return (Daniel 7:8-14 Daniel 7:8-14 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. 9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spoke: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
American King James Version×).
Human governments replaced by God
It is in the days of this fourth kingdom that God will replace these earthly kingdoms with His Kingdom. “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
American King James Version×). We see that the fourth kingdom continues to rule until Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on earth.
God’s Kingdom—foretold repeatedly in Daniel—is the same Kingdom about which Jesus Christ preached. There can be no mistake about the nature of this Kingdom. The four kingdoms described in Daniel 2, 7 and 8 ruled over people and lands. They were great world empires with dominion and power to rule, warring against and conquering other nations. They had kings, governments, laws and subjects. They were literal kingdoms, whose ruins are visible to this day.
So, too, will the Kingdom of God be a literal kingdom ruling over the whole earth. Daniel 7:27 Daniel 7:27And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
American King James Version×, speaking of the establishment of this Kingdom, adds: “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him” (NIV).
Major powers will fall
The wonderful news of the coming Kingdom of God is the heart and core of Jesus Christ’s message for humanity. Jesus will return to earth and establish this Kingdom. He will be the Ruler of the Kingdom of God. Notice this prophecy of Jesus Christ’s return: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×). Jesus Christ will assume rulership over literal kingdoms on earth.
The governments of mankind, with their inherent inability to solve human problems that are rooted in humanity’s inability to choose the right way to live (Proverbs 16:25 Proverbs 16:25There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×), will be replaced by a form of government that can at last solve those problems. Jesus Christ Himself will rule the nations of the earth!
This is the gospel—the good news—that Jesus Christ taught. The focus of Jesus Christ’s message was the announcement of a coming world government (Luke 21:31 Luke 21:31So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is near at hand.
American King James Version×). This government will not be ruled by selfishly motivated humans but by Jesus Christ Himself, under the direction of Almighty God!
Daniel was not the only prophet to speak of this time. Micah 4:1-3 Micah 4:1-3 1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it.
2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
American King James Version×also describes this time of unprecedented peace: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.
“Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; 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.”
As described in this passage, when Jesus Christ establishes His government, humanity will begin to recognize the blessings that come from obedience to God’s ways and laws and will stream to Him to learn that way of life. Christ will settle disputes between peoples and will have to “rebuke strong nations” that reject His direction and authority.
Prophecies of Jesus Christ’s rulership
Isaiah, speaking of the future reign of Jesus Christ, describes what kind of ruler He will be: “… The government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever …” (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.
American King James Version×).
“Judgment and justice” will be hallmarks of Christ’s coming rulership, in contrast to the injustice, short-sightedness and oppression that all too often characterize the governments of the world. Peace will break out throughout the world-in marriages, families, communities and nations. As prophesied, “there will be no end” to peace under Jesus Christ’s reign. The Prince of Peace will bring calm and goodwill to a world that has never known true peace.
Under Jesus Christ’s righteous rulership, mankind will at last learn God’s ways and experience this wonderful peace. Educational institutions will teach people how to live, not just how to make a living. Biblical principles for healthy and lasting relationships will be thoroughly explained. “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” (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.
American King James Version×). The multiple millions of people who have never known God’s laws or ways will at last have access to that wonderful, saving knowledge.
Causes of humanity’s problems
Humankind has had thousands of years to experiment with governments, administrations and lifestyles, so why have we been unable to solve our problems?
Human government has not succeeded because, in the final analysis, humanity simply does not know how to live. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God warns that “it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23 Jeremiah 10:23O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.
American King James Version×).
Solomon, king of ancient Israel, put it bluntly: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×; Proverbs 16:25 Proverbs 16:25There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×).
Sadly, mankind has proved the truth of those words for generations. Under human rule, the world has never seen a time that was free of war, strife, turmoil and suffering. Conditions today are so grave that mankind has the ability to erase human life from earth many times over!
Why should this be?
Our world is threatened by overwhelming problems because we have rejected God. God Himself has made this clear over the centuries through His prophets. Under God’s inspiration, King David wrote of mankind: “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Psalms 14:1-3 Psalms 14:1-3 1 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.
2 The LORD looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one.
American King James Version×).
The prophet Jeremiah also noted that humans are largely blinded by the deceit of their own evil motives and intents. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
American King James Version×).
Humanity separated from God
The prophet Isaiah added: “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity …
“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:1-8 Isaiah 59:1-8 1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perverseness.
4 None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eats of their eggs dies, and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper.
6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whoever goes therein shall not know peace.
American King James Version×).
God’s ways are different from man’s. “ ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’ ” (Isaiah 55:8-9 Isaiah 55:8-9 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
American King James Version×).
The apostle Paul described the inevitable results of rejecting God and His way of life: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32 Romans 1:28-32 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
American King James Version×).
Jesus Christ will intervene to save humanity
Left to itself, mankind would annihilate all life from earth. Does this sound shocking? It is. But Jesus Christ Himself said it is so! Describing the time immediately before His return to earth, He said: “It will be a time of great distress; there has never been such a time from the beginning of the world until now, and will never be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God’s chosen it will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×, New English Bible).
Jesus Christ tells us that He must intervene to save us from ourselves. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 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” (Matthew 24:29-30 Matthew 24:29-30 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And 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×).
This glorious event is described in greater detail in Revelation 19:11-16 Revelation 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
American King James Version×: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The millennial Kingdom and beyond
Jesus Christ will usher in a literal kingdom, the Kingdom of God, on earth. But this is not the end of the story. Notice Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’”
We have seen that Jesus Christ will establish His reign over the nations in a literal kingdom. This kingdom is depicted in Revelation 20:3-7 Revelation 20:3-7 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
American King James Version×as lasting 1,000 years. Yet, in the verse quoted just above, we are told that “He shall reign forever and ever.” In other words, the thousand-year reign (commonly called the Millennium, Latin for “thousand years”) is just the beginning of Jesus Christ’s eternal reign in the Kingdom of God.
Indeed, the millennial reign that Jesus Christ shares with the resurrected saints-to whom the Kingdom will be given-will take place for the very purpose of offering entry into the eternal Kingdom of God to all mankind. Millions of physical human beings alive at the return of Jesus Christ will live into the Millennium, and in turn many generations of humans will be born and live during that time. They will all be given an opportunity to be changed from this physical life and body to spirit, to be granted eternal life and to enter into the eternal Kingdom of God.
The truth that the Kingdom of God is ultimately an eternal kingdom, not just a thousand-year period, is made plain by Jesus Christ. In Matthew 19:16 Matthew 19:16And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
American King James Version×, we read of a wealthy young man who asked Jesus the fundamental question: “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus went on to explain what the young man must do. When it became clear that he was not willing to do what Jesus commanded, Jesus Christ went on to say in Matthew 19:24 Matthew 19:24And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Here, entry into the Kingdom of God is equated with eternal life.
Yes, the millennial reign of Jesus Christ will open the door for millions of human beings, then already being ruled by the Kingdom of God, to be saved and actually enter into the eternal Kingdom of God. The Millennium, a time of unparalleled peace, happiness and prosperity, will be just a foretaste of the even greater eternal Kingdom!
Transformed heaven and earth
After the thousand years are ended, yet another incredible sequence of events is prophesied, as we read in Revelation 21:1-7 Revelation 21:1-7 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.
3 And 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.
4 And 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.
5 And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
American King James Version×: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth 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 … And 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.’
“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’”
Access to the tree of life—eternal life, from which humanity has been cut off since the time of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:22-24 Genesis 3:22-24 22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from from where he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
American King James Version×)—will be given to those who obediently keep God’s commandments (Revelation 22:14 Revelation 22:14Blessed 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.
American King James Version×).
Eternal life as children of God awaits those who enter His Kingdom.