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The Kingdom and Civil Government of God
Understanding our Place in the Kingdom of Heaven, in God’s Civil Government during the History of the World, and in the Age to Come
by Kerry Lee Morgan
First: What Is the Kingdom of Heaven
Second: The Kingdoms of Heaven in World History
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE KINGDOM AND GOVERNMENT OF GOD
6. Who Is the Least and Who is the Greatest In The Kingdom of Heaven?
Jesus tells us that among those born of women there is none greater in the world than John the Baptist. We also know that John the Baptist was given the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb. Yet, of John the Baptist, while being the greatest in the history of the world, Jesus says that he is the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is difficult to understand how this can be, but Jesus says this is so. Perhaps it may help in accepting it by recognizing that citizens of the kingdom will not have bodies of flesh and blood, but rather of flesh and bone. Those bodies of flesh and bone will be like the angels, though will not be angels. Luke 24:39; Matthew 22:30.
Perhaps the playing field will be more level in the Kingdom because John had the advantage of being born with the Holy Spirit while all others did not. Yet, in the Kingdom of Heaven both John and each one that is in the kingdom will have these new bodies. Interestingly, these bodies will be eating bread and drinking wine, though we also know that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness. Romans 14:17.
Another indication of those who are the least and those who are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven was described in Matthew. Here Jesus declares that those who follow the law and teach others also the law of God will be the greatest in the kingdom. On the other hand, those that set aside the law, or diminish the law or simply ignore the law and teach others the same are considered the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. We have previously touched upon the unfortunate implications of this verse for modern church teaching which ignores the law of God or worse, declares it is no longer applicable.
Likewise, those who use their talents are rewarded in the kingdom with more talents. They are given positions of greatness over many cities. Luke references the parable of talents alluding to the Kingdom where faithful servants were given authority over five and ten cities. But those in this world that don’t use their talents will lose all of them in the next world. They will rule over nothing and may even find themselves excluded from the kingdom. Luke 19:17-20. It is the righteous who will shine in the kingdom and we are admonished to train for the kingdom in this life. Matthew 25:28-29 is instructive. “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Likewise those who are virtuous and their day to day living reflects their virtues which supplements their faith (as 2 Peter 1 declares) shall be greater in the kingdom than those who pay no attention to adding virtue to their faith. Here is how it is put: “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
By supplementing faith in this way we can be rich when we enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But only those who are born again will enter the Kingdom.
7. What Kingdom Is Your Church Actually Preparing You For?
We may pause here from our discussion about the particulars of the Kingdom of Heaven to address some immediate and pressing considerations. Is your church preparing you for the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of Hell, or the earthly Kingdom of Your Pastor? Don’t be offended by the question.
Having discussed who is eligible to inherit the kingdom, who is in the kingdom, who is not in the kingdom, and who is the least and the greatest in the kingdom, a normal person will be evaluating their situation to know how they stack up. But what about your pastor? Will he be doing likewise? There are several church implications for all of the foregoing.
To begin with, we are all admonished to first seek the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness. Matthew 6:33. This stands in sharp contrast to modern church teaching which stresses evangelism and discipleship as the first and in many cases, the only or exclusive purpose of congregating or meeting. If the church you attend is serious about following Jesus and his teaching regarding the Kingdom of Heaven, then it should be reflecting the idea of seeking that kingdom throughout its programs.
The second point involves the use of God-given talents. We read that those with talents that are used on earth will receive more in the Kingdom of Heaven and those who did not use them will have them taken away. Thus, the church, in order to encourage people to be great in the kingdom, should be encouraging the use of their talents. Is that what happens in your church on Sunday or any other time? If not, why not? Do your church leaders not want you to be great in the kingdom? Do they really know anything about the Kingdom of Heaven? The wise seek answers and if none are to be found, then leave that place barren as you found it.
It has been suggested that spiritual gifts are like talents. We know from Romans 11:29 that the “gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 12:6 affirms that even though our gifts “differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” Gifts are given by God to be used. You must judge for yourself if the exercise of spiritual gifts serves an immediate church or kingdom purpose. In either case, however, spiritual gifts should be taught and encouraged, not as the distraction as is common, but rather to increase faith and with it righteousness and good fruit.
If your church does not believe in spiritual gifts or does not encourage you to develop your own spiritual gift, can it be said that your church is assisting you to become great in this life or the kingdom to come? Such a church is herding you into the mediocre life of either not entering the kingdom or being ranked near the bottom. Consider talking to your board of elders or pastor about refocusing the church’s programs in the direction of talents and gifts.
A third important element which ought to be reflected in church life is the teaching of the law of God. As noted previously, those who teach the law are greater in the kingdom. In addition, “every scribe who has been trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Are you being trained for the Kingdom? What is your church teaching about the laws of God that govern all mankind (we are not referring to the laws specifically applicable to Israel as a nation)? Are they teaching God’s laws do not apply or have been superseded by “grace,” or that learning about the laws of God are merely optional? If so then your church is really keeping you low on the kingdom totem pole. Jesus says these scholars and leaders will be least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Thus, if you attend such a church and neither its pastors nor teachers teach the law of God, or they teach that “grace” has superseded all the laws of God, then know this you and your pastor will be among the least in the Kingdom.
Perhaps a fourth element or implication for the church of the foregoing is that there needs to be teaching about righteousness. This means that your church should be identifying the sins of those who cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. It ought to also be discussing the virtues of supplementing one’s faith as described in 2 Peter. This includes an emphasis on wisdom and all of its fruit. If your church is not warning you to avoid unrighteousness or not teaching you how to be righteous, then it is not really doing its job. Nor is it likely that you can change the leadership. For your own future’s sake and the sake of your family, you will need to undertake these purposes though independent study if you cannot find a body of believers that considers these matters. Why stay if it is not preparing you for the kingdom? Otherwise, you are consigned to a life of mediocrity in the next life to come by your own choice.
A fifth and additional ministry the church should be focused on is healing and casting out demons if there are any among that body with this gift. These are essentially signs that the kingdom is coming and Jesus talked about them in Matthew 12 and Luke 9. The church that engages in these types of activity is one that shows the unbeliever what is to come. Jesus specifically gave his disciples this authority. Perhaps he will give that authority to you if you ask? Perhaps not if you can’t be trusted to use it except to enrich yourself or go on television.
Finally, the church should be proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven. That was the message of Jesus, the founder of the church. Is it too much to ask that the church follow its own founder? There are many examples in the book of Acts where the apostles and those noted there, essentially proclaimed the kingdom.
Thus, at the end of the day the church has a clear mission, and it’s not evangelism only, nor is it evangelism first and foremost. The churches’ first and foremost duty is to train others for life in the kingdom. Matthew 13:52. This means teaching the law of God. This means teaching about talents and spiritual gifts. This means teaching about humility in action and righteous conduct and avoiding unrighteous conduct. It means calling sin, sin and virtue, virtue. It means using one’s authority to heal and cast out demons. This is true discipleship.
While no local church is perfect, the church that understands these tasks is a church that is going to help you in this life and as Jesus says, in the next life to come in his kingdom–the Kingdom of Heaven. The church that specializes in potluck dinners and ceremonies and traditions of men, the church that specializes in evangelism for evangelism sake and discipleship that cannot get past the milk of the word, is not training you for the Kingdom of Heaven at all, or is merely training you live in the Kingdom of Heaven on the lowest possible rung.
Don’t let the clergy deceive you about how great their mission and ministry is if they’re not doing the things discussed herein. They run the risk of being the ones unto who God says, “I never knew you” or “You didn’t teach these things so you’re the least in the kingdom.” It is your job not to be dragged down with them and their mediocre teachings on a variety of other issues. It is your job to figure out and decide what’s best for you in keeping with the commands of God to prepare yourself for the coming kingdom. Whatever you do, avoid entering the Kingdom of Hell with your thoughtless friends. Strive to also avoid expending your strength in the few days you have, serving in this life on earth in the Little Church Kingdom of your Pastor. Your pastor’s Kingdom will pass away.
8. The Battle Of Armageddon Is The Start Of The Kingdom of Christ.
Returning to our discussion of the coming Kingdom and what precedes it chronologically, we see that war, not love will initiate the Kingdom of Christ. Let us recall the context of Jesus’ return. His return is timed precisely at that moment in history, on that one day, yes a 24-hour day, in which the kings of the earth and all their great generals have collectively amassed the greatest army the world has ever seen. This army has but one purpose. That purpose is to attack and destroy the remnant of God’s people, Jew and Gentile on the face of the earth. This means that the battle will be a worldwide battle from one end of the earth to the other and not just located in one central place. But the main battle will be at a physical place in northern Israel called Armageddon, and it will affect or encompass the whole earth. Jeremiah 25:32-34.
Nevertheless, it will also be a battle for control of Jerusalem ultimately but will take place in northern Israel. Ezekiel 39:17-20. Remember, the Kings of the earth are doing the bidding of the Antichrist. His corrupt reach is worldwide. The military empires of the world are at his disposal and this is the Antichrist’s idea of the final assault upon the people of God and the nation of Israel to destroy them and it once and for all, and wipe them and it and every vestige of them both from the face of the earth. All of the military might of the kingdoms of the earth have been amassed for this very purpose.
Suddenly Jesus appears in the sky. He is coming in the clouds. Every eye shall see him. This is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is riding on a white horse and the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen white and pure, are following him on white horses. This means those throughout the entire world will see him, and his armies. The Saints will not fight. How this is physically or technologically possible? No one can say, but the Scripture says every eye will see him in the heavens, not on television. It is a worldwide event. He has summoned forth from the grave the righteous and the believers who are dead and whom he has made alive again and given new immortal bodies. The peoples and leaders of the earth see this. Their natural reaction would be fear but they have seen the Antichrist do all sorts of things like this on television and in the movies.
Jesus looks out over the horizon and sees this massive military army set up on the plain around in northern Israel, reputed to be the valley of Jezreel. The armies of the earth in their various tactical locations look up and see Jesus and his summoned followers, now alive. Does this shock them? Does this strike fear in their hearts? This is not their first engagement. Perhaps they are not impressed by this sight. After all they’ve seen the Antichrist do miracles. They have seen the Antichrist do all kinds of miraculous and unusual things. So Jesus merely appearing in the clouds on a horse may not strike fear. Not only that, he hasn’t taken up any defensive position. He is advancing in the open without cover. Plus all of his followers lined up behind Jesus don’t have any weapons. This will be viewed as just another tactical blunder by Jesus. The armies of the earth probably believe their guy can kill this guy. They have Special Forces. They have troops, they have planes, tanks and artillery. They have cavalry too. What does Jesus have, two angels and a bunch of civilians? The armies of the earth may not be impressed, at least not yet.
The war now begins. Jesus makes the first and only move. Jesus opens his mouth to launch his campaign. It is the words of his mouth that kill the armies of men worldwide or result in their deaths. The angels of death swing their sickles wide to harvest the living. The battle at Armageddon is over. The battle over the nation of Israel in the Middle East is likewise concluded. The blood of that battle alone flows as high as a horse’s bridle for 184 miles. Where is this river of blood flowing? The Mediterranean Sea is only 25 miles or so from the valley of Jezreel where the battle at Armageddon is supposed to take place. See Revelation 14:20. Topographically it may be that the river of blood runs toward the Jordon and down into the Dead Sea rather than over to Haifa and into the Mediterranean.
The slaughter is so great that God calls it’s a “great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel” and sends the birds to “eat flesh and drink blood.” Ezekiel 39:17. All the birds will be gorged with the human flesh that has been destroyed. Revelation 19:17-21. They will eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” All of these were gathered to make war against Jesus and against his army. It is an utter defeat for the Kings of the earth. It is annihilation.
If you can grasp it, you would see that such a military slaughter would now strike fear and terror into the hearts of the peoples of all nations. Their political leaders would stand there dumbfounded. At some point somebody will say: “What’s next? Maybe Jesus will come to our country and destroy everyone here too?” That is the time when Jesus could offer a peace treaty. That is the time when Jesus could propose to the political leaders of the earth that God is in charge. The kings may be informed that Jesus will set up his earth civil government and govern all the nations with justice as their King, by their consent. Consent will likely be granted considering the alternatives. This is speculation of course.
9. What Will Happen After The War?
After the war, Jesus will turn to the administration of his worldwide civil government. After war, comes peace. What will the followers of Jesus Christ with their incorruptible bodies actually do during the millennial kingdom of Christ? The best guess at its most simple level is that they will work. Let us remember the context. The armies of the world have just been destroyed. The dead are piled everywhere. Much of the infrastructure has been destroyed by earthquakes. Many of the technological advances of men have also been destroyed or ruined. The earth population has been decimated. There’s a lot of cleaning up to do. There are a lot of new things to be built.
The people who will undertake these tasks will need someone to show them how it is to be done according to the legal and policy directives issued by Jesus in connection with his civil government. There will also be laws to enforce and courts to be administered. Marriage, giving in marriage, family and children, parent based education, the ownership of land, agriculture, trade and industry, worldwide commerce, all these things will continue for those with human bodies. Those with immortal bodies will not enter into marriage and will not bear children. We cannot here undertake an enumeration of everything that must be done. We can analogize in some ways to things that are currently being undertaking by the civil governments of the world to the extent they actually seek to govern according to the immutable laws of justice. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.
After the war is over, who will be alive in the millennial kingdom and what will be the state of affairs?
10. Who Will Be Resurrected to Reign in The Millennial Kingdom?
We have touched on who will be present in the Kingdom with Jesus. Let us pay closer attention to the details. As Jesus descends from heaven to earth he will call the dead from the grave to join him in the First Resurrection. Does this include all of the dead from the beginning of the world? No. These are not all the dead but only those dead who at the time of their death were Christians, meaning they believed that Jesus was the son of God and accepted his offer of eternal life. We speak generally here. Also included among this group are those that lived prior to the time of Jesus whom God for reasons known to Him, declared them to be righteous. These include Noah, Daniel, and Job as well as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for instance. Matthew 8:11; Ezekiel 14:14. The group also includes those who were alive after the time of Christ and never heard of him, but nevertheless they sought out God and God declared them to be righteous according to His standards.
The rest of the dead will remain dead and will not live in the millennial kingdom. They will come to life and be judged at the great white throne judgment spoken of in the book of Revelation, 20:11-15. Those persons who died as the dead physical descendants of Abraham will not be among those who Jesus calls to life in the millennial period merely because they are the physical descendants of Abraham. They must fall within one of the foregoing groups to then be resurrected.
Once the dead are called to life in the First Resurrection, another group will join them. This last group is composed of those Christians who are living at the time that Jesus returns. They will not see death as the others have seen death. Each person in these four categories (dead Christians, the dead righteous before Jesus, the dead righteous after Jesus, righteous living Christians alive when Jesus comes back) will receive a new body of flesh and bone in lieu of the bodies they had or used to have of flesh and blood. Jesus says of himself after he was resurrected in Luke 24:39: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
We refer here to the “righteous” as those whom God declares as righteous who have never heard of Jesus. What that standard of righteousness is we cannot say. If you say “This cannot be as only believers in Jesus enter the Kingdom.” In such a case accept what you can and reject what you must but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Do not reject this entire article over this point.
Their new body will be their resurrected body compliments of Jesus who was the first human to be resurrected from the dead and clothed in a new body by God. That event set the pattern for the dead and living Jesus will call unto him as he descends to the earth. This group will not face the second judgment at the great white throne judgment and the new bodies which they have been given will be immortal. More importantly, the new bodies given to the former dead and now resurrected and living people will be incorruptible. Pslam 16:10. Acts 2:31.
This group will be citizens of the kingdom of Christ. Philippians 3:20-21 declares “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” What does this citizenship signify? It means that we will have the right and authority to be stewards appointed by Jesus Christ in the administration of his worldwide civil government. Christ will operate his government from the capital located in Jerusalem.
Finally, those who survived the tribulation period and the war at Armageddon and have not died will also be alive. They will remain in their old body of flesh and blood. They will continue to marry and bear children and populate the earth, taking dominion along the way as does all mankind in the present age.
11. By What Authority Will Jesus Govern Israel And The Nations?
In one capacity Jesus will sit on the throne of David as its rightful heir and he will govern the reconstituted nation of Israel according to the laws laid down by God through Moses. Speculation may lead to the view that the actual public servants administering the government of Jesus with regard to the nation of Israel alone will be composed only of biological Jews resurrected at Christ’s coming.
So too we speculate that the administration of all the other kingdoms of the earth through the worldwide civil government of Jesus Christ may be assigned to Gentiles resurrected at Christ’s coming. Christ will rule the nations not because he has authority to do so as the son of David, as such authority is only limited to the governance of Israel. He will rule the nations either because of a treaty or covenant yet to come in which the kingdoms of the earth agree with Christ, acknowledge their military defeat, and recognize his civil government as their sovereign.
Now you might ask how or why the nations of the earth would ever enter into a covenant or a compact with Jesus Christ recognizing his authority to govern the nations of the earth during the millennial kingdom period. That is a good question. Remember, that when Jesus is given the throne to begin the new millennial age, the state of the earth will be grim. Most of the major cities of the world will have been already been reduced to rubble, destroyed by earthquakes and hailstorms. The arable land will have been destroyed by pestilence. The food supply will be severely diminished. Business and agriculture will have come to a grinding halt. The military-industrial complex will be bankrupt and out of business. The economy of the world will be ruined and every insurance company either bankrupt or out of business. Wall street will be no more. Facebook and Google gone.
God himself will have already executed His judgment of death upon at least one half of the earth’s population. That is a lot of people not paying their cell phone bill. He will have rendered useless, damaged or destroyed most of the things of man. His inventions, technology, and personal property which he created and idolized are ruined. God will also have reshaped, repurposed and reclaimed for His Son’s particular Kingdom use, the face of the earth itself, meaning the physical land. He will reshape the earth’s geography though earthquakes hail and blood, and other expressions of His divine will. He is preparing the people and the earth for His Son’s reign as both the King of Israel to rule as the genealogical heir of David through Solomon. He is also preparing the land, nations and remaining governments of the world for the worldwide Kingdom of His Son.
As noted, this may be accomplished through national treaties between King Jesus and the governments of the other nations of the earth by mutual consent. It is plausible to reason that, after having their military annihilated at the battle at Armageddon, there would be nothing left for the nations to do except to sue for peace. The way of earthly Kings is and has been from the beginning, war, unjust wealth, and slavery. I Samuel 8. The way of the King of kings is truth and justice. Revelation 15:3. Isaiah 2:4 declares that: ” He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; 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 anymore.”
12. God Has Authority Over The Nations And Will Give It To His Son.
Revelation 2:26-27 states that “[T]he one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” Here God gives authority over the nations to His Son to rule the nations.
We must remember God has authority over the earth as its Creator. See Genesis 1. He reaffirms this to Israel declaring “all the earth is mine.” Exodus 19:4. God established the Nations in Genesis 10 by inducing the people to scatter across the face of the earth from the uncompleted Towel of Babel. He also said to Abraham in Genesis 17:4 that He would make Abraham “the father of a multitude of nations.” Recall He said to Israel in Exodus 24:34 that He “will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders.” Acts 17:26-27 provides additional insight: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” Ezekiel 14:12-20 indicates God is at liberty to judge any land or people with famine, wild animals, pestilence or the sword. See also Jeremiah 18:7-10.
God has authority over the nations because He created them, made them, and already has a covenant with the father of a “multitude of nations.” Genesis 10; 17:4. It should come as no surprise therefore that He says He will give the nations to His Son to govern, to rule and to judge them. Speaking of His Son, God says: “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” Revelation 19:15. Swords, iron rods, winepresses, fury these are not instruments of advice or entreaty. These are instruments of coercion and force. Therefore, Jesus as King (and not as Savior) shall “rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Revelation 12:5) and Jesus as King (and not as Savior) will receive authority from God to so rule. God now has such authority as the Creator and Maker of nations. He can grant that authority to whomsoever he pleases. Yet, if the governments of the earth consent to be governed through a peace treaty, that would be an acceptable means to legitimate His rule.
13. Jesus Has Authority To Enforce His Peace Treaty With the Nations.
Jesus will be fully authorized to use whatever force is needed to impose his laws, executive orders, and judicial decisions adopted by his civil government, upon the nations and over the other governments of the earth through a treaty or otherwise. Perhaps it will not come to force and violence on every occasion as in most cases people will understand the new order of the ages and accept it for what it is to be governed by a man who was dead and came to life; a man who defeated the militaries of the world in a single day; a man whose father previously judged and put to death every other human being on the face of the earth and who leveled every mountain and raised up every valley and made the uneven ground level (Isaiah 40:4-5); and a man in whom the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and whom “all flesh shall see it together.”
14. What Will It Be Like Once Jesus Is Given His Kingdom?
Though we cannot be certain, consider some other scenarios. Jesus will degrade the military industrial complex, the surveillance state, and the various alphabet federal agencies. He will render the Republican and Democratic parties politically irrelevant. He will abolish prisons and government control of education. Parents will recover the authority to educate their own children by their own consent. Families will recover the authority to exercise dominion over their own land, property and animals, as provided for in Genesis 1 and 9. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22. The seasons will continue under the reign of Jesus in the millennial Kingdom.
That means the curses of Genesis 3 will continue. It means that women who do not have redeemed bodies will continue with pain in childbearing. It means that their desire shall be contrary to their husband, but he shall rule over his wife. It means that the ground is still cursed, and in pain shall human beings eat of it all the days of their life. It means the ground will grow thorns and thistles. It means mankind shall work the land by the sweat of his face. It means those without redeemed bodies shall return to the ground in death, for out of it mankind was taken and to dust he shall return.
His civil government and kingdom means that agriculture will continue. It means the earth shall bring forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. The seas, sun and the moon and the planets will also continue during this time. The waters will swarm with swarms of living creatures, and the birds will fly above the earth across the expanse of the heaven. The earth will also bring forth living creatures according to their kinds livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.
God will continue to make mankind in His image and likeness, male and female. He shall continue to give them every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. They shall have them for food, and they shall have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Marriage and family shall continue, though not for those with new bodies who have once been dead and whom now Jesus has made alive again. Matthew 22:30.
Jesus may also elect to restore some form of the legislature, the executive branch and the judicial branches of the governments of the nations of the earth. This is speculative. The nations will obey the rule of law and do justice, not serve the corporatocracy, military ambition, material greed, lust for power, war or human hatred. Thus, politics as we know it will cease. The equivalent of these changes will occur among each nation of the earth, not just the United States. The United States is not really an important nation to God in fulfilling His plans. It may be simply one of the nations of the earth at that time if its existence continues. “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:3-4. Justice is the hallmark of His government. The governments of the earth will see this, fear, and follow His just laws.
The worldwide Church of Christ Jesus previously instituted when he was here first will continue but there will no longer be a need to employ the clergy or elders or utilize any corporate superstructure. “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6. In other words, the believers and the righteous will be priests and share in His reign. The vocation of priest or clergyman will be non-existent.
Radio, cable and network television will not look the same. The film industry from “A to Z,” or in this case from Bollywood (India) to Zollywood (Zimbabwe), with Hollywood (USA) and Hallyuwood (Korea) in between, will also be re-envisioned. The things that will be the same, different or non-existent deserve additional consideration, but space does not permit further speculation here. Perhaps all you care about is if the bars will still close at 2 pm. or if your favorite sports team will still be around. Ok, at least that is a start. But who can say?
III. UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IN THE AGE TO COME
The Kingdom of Heaven, of God and Christ in New Heaven and New Earth
Continuing our historical chronology from before time, to the Garden of Eden, to the nation of Israel and through the millennial civil government of Jesus, we now turn to the end of the age. In Revelation 21:3 John states: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” John tells us that God was “seated on the throne” and said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5-6. There was no temple in the City the New Jerusalem. “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” Revelation 21:22.
Moreover, in Revelation 22:3, John states that in the new heaven and new earth and its New Jerusalem will be the seat of God’s throne. His government will be fully operational. “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.” It will be a governmental operation. It will have citizens the righteous of God. Its citizens will be shining bright as the sun with their daily civic responsibilities on behalf of the King and in the Administration of the Kingdom. The idea that the righteous will instead be floating around strumming harps or talking with the Prophets, Moses or Jesus all day is an unfounded tradition of men. Jesus will be busy governing.
In Ephesians 5:5, Paul states that: “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Conversion to Christ can change one’s inheritance status and make one eligible to inherit the Kingdom. Entrance into the Kingdom requires one to be born again as flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom. John also refers to the Kingdom of Christ and God as a place in which some are excluded. This is also affirmed in Revelation 22:15 which verse declares that: “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
Here God describes a physical place in the future for His Kingdom with the throne of God and Christ governing the City and the nations of the new earth from the New Jerusalem located on the new Earth. “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21, 23-27. Note the reference to nations on the face of the new earth. The kings of the earth will bring their glory into the New Jerusalem. This means there will be nations on the new earth with civil governments of their own who will bring the glory of those nations to the New Jerusalem, the seat of God’s Kingdom and government. Nations will have populations. Not everyone will live in the New Jerusalem but the righteous will be free to come and go.
Many people often regard this Kingdom as being in heaven only, but in fact the Kingdom of God and Christ is located and administered from the world’s new capital-the New Jerusalem in the new earth. It will be established in the New Jerusalem on the new earth at the end of the age. The new earth will be a physical place. The New Jerusalem will be a physical city. The nations of the earth will be located on a physical planet. The New Jerusalem’s stunning and mammoth physical dimensions, gates, and foundations are all describe with particularity in Revelation 21:15-21. For fans of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Mordors of this world cannot compare.
For our purposes here, what is important is to recognize that God’s kingdom governing the nations of the new earth at that time will not be a new or extraordinary concept. God has been in the kingdom business since before the beginning of the Earth. He governs the heavens as King even now and rules over all his dominions. His angelic agents and beings do His will as their King. His Kingdom is from everlasting to everlasting.
God has always wanted to live with his people and govern them since the first opportunity presented itself in the Garden He planted at Eden. He has wanted to live with the people of Israel and govern them according to their consent as a people of His own in the land He promised to them as a nation. He has wanted to live and govern the nations of the earth through his son Jesus Christ in the millennial period and has prepared a place and work for the believer and for the righteous to perform.
Are you ready to do that work? Are you preparing yourself now for that work in these future kingdoms? Can we agree that Christ talked about the Kingdom of Heaven, both the millennial kingdom and the New Jerusalem kingdom to come? Can we agree that because he talked about it quite a bit, maybe we should give it some more thought? Maybe we should be thinking about what we can do to prepare ourselves to serve with Him as He governs the nations, restores the earth to the state He has intended, and governs all of the kings and the kingdoms on the face of the earth during the millennial period, in the age to come and throughout all eternity.
Let us not throw away our chance to prepare for this future by thinking that since we are believers and saved nothing further is required by way of preparing for these future kingdoms. That would be a grave mistake, and a waste of the talent and the gifts which God has given you. You know best how to mature and develop your own gifts. Our hope is that you are prepared on that day instead of having nothing to say or offer because you never thought in this life about reigning with Jesus or service in his Kingdom. “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6. Are you ready to reign with him for a thousand years? Have you prepared yourself by studying the law of God and his standard of truth and justice? Are you able to do your part to establish and to uphold His government with justice and with righteousness, from this time forth and forevermore? It’s not too late to start. It’s not too late to understand our place in the Kingdom of Heaven, and God’s civil government in the history of the world, and in the age to come.
First: What Is the Kingdom of Heaven
Second: The Kingdoms of Heaven in World History