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 The Coming Kingdom of God

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PostSubject: The Coming Kingdom of God   Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:38 am

The Promise of a Coming 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).
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?
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, 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; 2:28). 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).The next two kingdoms are identified in Daniel 8:1-21. 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), 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). It has 10 horns (verse 7), which are 10 extensions or resurrections of the fourth great world-ruling empire (verse 24). 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 (verses 8-14).

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). 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, 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). 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), 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).
This government will not be ruled by selfishly motivated humans but by Jesus Christ Himself, under the direction of Almighty God!

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