Few people today would deny that this world is a very dangerous place in which to live. It has been said that God created the earth in six days, and man can now destroy it in two hours. While the end of the cold war seems to have eased international tensions, the threat of nuclear war is just as dangerous as it was in the past, perhaps even more so. National leaders warn us about the threat of terrorism, the possibility of germ warfare, and sporadic bombings which will continue to take place here and there. In many cities streets are not safe at night, not even in the daytime in some areas. Crime is rampant. Immorality has reached new depths. The sex industry is a multibillion-dollar enterprise. The entire fabric of western civilization appears to be at a crossroad.
Those who understand the Bible are not surprised at this. While still on the earth Jesus described what the world would be like shortly before His return. He said: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:37). The Bible tells us the following about the days of Noah:
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. . . .The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth (Gen. 6:5-6, 11-12).
Jesus said the world would become so dangerous that “. . . except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22). The Moffatt Translation says: “Had not those days been cut short, not a soul would be saved alive; however, for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.” God will intervene directly in the affairs of men to stop the certain destruction of mankind. The Bible tells us: “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18).
Christ Coming to Rule
Christ is coming to establish the Kingdom of God. He is coming to rule. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15). The resurrected saints will rule with Him. “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:26-27).
During His ministry on the earth, Christ told His disciples:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:31-34).
When Christ takes control of all human governments, He will manifest incredible glory and power. This glory is described in Revelation 1:13-16:
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (Rev. 1:13-16).
This same kind of glory will be given to the resurrected saints. Notice the description Christ gave:
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. . . . The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. . . (Matt. 19:28; 13:41-43).
Christ’s power will be directed against the nations of this earth. They are not willingly going to accept Him as world ruler; they will fight Him at His return. The Bible tells us: “These 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” (Rev. 17:14). These nations are angry and will face God’s wrath (Rev. 11:18). But this rebellion will be of no avail; “. . . 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” (Rev. 11:15).
At this point in the history of man, there is little awareness of the awesome power of God. God has not revealed that power for many generations. But, soon He will. Paul wrote: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:7-8). “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:24-25). “Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46:8-10). “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations” (Ps. 22:27-28).
The prophets had much to say about the rule of Christ. Here are a few examples: “. . . the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit” (Jer. 16:19). “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart” (Jer. 3:17). “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zech. 14:9).
Christ Fulfills a Promise
Just before His ascension into the heavens, the disciples asked Jesus, “. . . Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). What was Jesus’ answer, and what were the disciples promised?
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven (Acts 1:7-11).
God’s promise to mankind is that Jesus Christ will return-not as the Lamb of God who gave Himself for the sins of the world, but as the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords! Jesus described this event in Luke 21:25-27. He described the catastrophic events to befall man.
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
The Apostle John adds: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. . . ” (Rev. 1:7). On numerous occasions Jesus made the promise that He would return. Notice the following: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). Other examples include: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27). “Jesus saith unto him . . . Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64).
The apostles did not hesitate to affirm what Jesus promised:
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15-17).
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you (Acts 3:19-20).
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 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. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:11-16).
What we read in the Bible concerning this great event, an event which will rescue men from their own hellishness, is the fulfillment of the promise that Jesus made before His ascension into the heavens. While God has not revealed the time, He certainly has revealed the event. Thank God for that! If this event were not to occur, it would only be a matter of time before men would destroy this earth and themselves along with it!
Christ on the Throne of David
Christ will be seated upon a throne (Matt. 19:28). This throne is the throne of David. God promised King David that his throne would continue forever (2 Sam. 7:16, Jer. 33:17), and that the kingly office would never depart from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10). Jesus was a Jew (John 1:11). The angel Gabriel told Mary, the mother of Jesus, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:31-32). Christ will rule the world seated upon the throne of David. This rulership is described in Isaiah 9:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isa. 9:6-7).
Christ will rule on the throne of David, but He promised the 12 apostles that they would sit upon thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28)-the 12 apostles, under Christ, will rule Israel; Christ, as King of kings, will rule the entire world.
Christ-Our Great High Priest
King of kings is not the only office Christ will hold. He is our great High Priest, presently seated at the right hand of God the Father. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16). Christ holds the office of Great High Priest in perpetuity (Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20). During the Old Testament period it was called the “order of Melchisedec,” and it was in this office that Christ met Abraham after the slaughter of the kings.
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually (Heb. 7:1-3).
Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament (1 Cor. 10:1-4). One of His offices was that of High Priest. Hebrews 7:3 plainly tells us this Melchisedec was an immortal being. This could be none other than Jesus Christ-the God of the Old Testament. When Christ returns He will retain the office of High Priest. It is an office that will last forever.
Christ-the Lord of Lords
During His earthly ministry Christ was called the Lord (John 13:13). He did not occupy any kind of secular office during His time in the flesh. This was because His entire work was of a spiritual nature, in contrast to the physical religious leaders of Israel whose work was according to the letter of the law. Jesus came to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God and to raise up His church. He set the example for us to follow, and gave His life a ransom for the sins of the world. He exercised no lordship over man while on the earth, yet He was the Lord. This title or office prefigured the future. Jesus Christ is returning with all power! He is coming as King of kings and Lord of lords. Let us reemphasize: “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:15-16).
The resurrected saints will rule with Christ as kings and priests (Rev. 5:10). They will hold lessor offices than that of Christ, but they will rule (Rev. 2:26-27). Christ will be the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will be the King over many kings, the Lord over many lords. These resurrected saints, who will assist Christ ruling in the Kingdom of God, are the ones called of God during their physical lifetimes. They are the ones who have remained faithful to the Word of God, and have overcome the pulls of human nature (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 25; 3:5, 12, 21). They will reign with Christ on the earth (Rev. 5:10). The present rulers of this world are not qualified for this responsibility. They have proven they are not capable of ruling this world in obedience to the Law of God. The over comers-the resurrected saints -are the ones qualified to rule with Christ as kings and priests in the Kingdom of God.
An Everlasting Kingdom
God the Father told the Son: “. . . Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Heb.1:8). When Jesus’ disciples asked when He was going to restore the kingdom, they knew the Kingdom of God would be a literal kingdom. There are four requirements that are essential to any kingdom. These are: (1) a king; (2) laws by which to govern; (3) territory over which to rule; and (4) subjects over which to reign. All these requirements will be met when Jesus Christ sets up the Kingdom of God on this earth. Daniel the prophet spoke of this kingdom. It will take over and supersede the kingdoms of this world. Daniel described four world-ruling kingdoms (Dan. 2:31-43). Of the last one of these we read: “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” (v. 44). Notice the same thing in Daniel 7:13-14, 27:
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. 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. . . . And 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.
Jesus assured His disciples: “. . . I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me” (Luke 22:29). The saints will share in the rule of this kingdom-an everlasting kingdom. The world will be purged of evil and war, and man shall live in peace and happiness for the first time in thousands of years (Isa. 2:4; 11:4, 9). Judgment is soon to come upon this world. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14-15). The present time period is the time of man’s rule. But this rule will come to an end. The Kingdom of God shall replace all the governments of this world and it shall rule forever and ever.
Restitution of All Things
The Bible speaks of the restitution of all things-the world restored to its original condition before Adam and Eve sinned. Peter affirmed this when he said:
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
This restitution will begin when Christ returns. For 1000 years the world will prosper and be in peace. Abundance and health will reign. Here are some descriptions of the world during the Millennium:
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 unto it. 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. 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 pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it (Micah 4:1-4).
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, 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. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:2-4).
And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. . . . And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God (Hos. 2:18, 23).
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD (Zech. 8:20-22).
How wonderful will be the time when Christ sets up His kingdom on this earth. However, the complete fulfillment of the restitution of all things will take place after the Millennium. The Apostle John tells us in Revelation 21:1-4:
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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. 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” (Rev. 21:1-4).
What a glorious time ahead awaits mankind. What a contrast to this sin-filled world of violence, moral degradation, and war. Let us look forward to this wonderful time which will be ushered in by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!