The Kingdom of God Pt 2

In Part 1 we looked at WHAT the kingdom of God is, and WHY it is coming, using two of Kipling’s ‘honest serving men’. In this study we will continue and examine what the bible teaches about WHEN this will take place and HOW it will be brought about.

WHEN is the awaited kingdom of God to be ushered in?

This is a question that the disciples were always eager to know the answer to.

Did Jesus say his return to set up the kingdom would be heralded with a loud trumpet blast?

Matthew 24:30-31 NRSV
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.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Did Paul also describe this event?

2 Thessalonians 1:5-8 NRSV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.
6 For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7 and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Notice in the scripture above who are granted rest and who are afflicted, particularly verse 8.

The kingdom of God was very real to the apostles and followers of Christ, and they keenly expected it’s arrival, but what were they told regarding timescales for this?

Acts 1:6-7 NRSV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.

Mark13:32-33 NRSV
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.

Matthew 24:36 NRSV
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Were all the heros of faith still awaiting the promises, not yet having received their inheritance (the kingdom) – and still haven’t to this day?

Hebrews 11:39-40 NRSV
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

When Jesus was preaching about the kingdom the people expected it to immediately appear, to correct their misunderstanding he told a parable about a nobleman receiving a kingdom. This was a picture of himself going to heaven to receive the kingly power from the Father and to return subsequently to reign as king over that kingdom:

Luke 19:11-12 NRSV
As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.
12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return.

Luke 19:15 NRSV
When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading.

Was this spelled out more clearly in Acts?

Acts 3:17-22 NRSV
“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer.
19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,
20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus,
21 who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.
22 Moses said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you.

Notice that Christ will be in heaven UNTIL God’s time to establish all that the prophets foretold. Also that in the mean time we are to listen to all that he told us – to repent, believe and be made ready.

Although we are told that we cannot know the time of Christ’s return, we are given certain signs which will indicate to us that this event is close and imminent:

Luke 21:25-28 NRSV
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

So we do not know exactly when to expect Christ’s return, however there are indicators we can look out for, but how will it happen when it does take place?

HOW will the kingdom of God be ushered in?

We are told that at the sound of a loud trumpet call (the signal for war) Christ will return in power and glory:

Matthew 24:30-31 NRSV
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.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Will he over throw the wicked with power when he comes the second time?

Isaiah 11:1-4 WEB
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
11:2 The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.
11:3 His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;
11:4 but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked.

Will he arrive on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem, to fight the nations assembled in that area?

Zechariah 14:1-4 WEB
Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst.
14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
14:3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
14:4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Were the apostles told that Christ (Yahweh’s anointed agent through whom he carries out His plan) would return in the same way as he had gone (into the clouds on the Mount of Olives, out of the clouds arriving on the Mount of Olives)?

Acts 1:11-12 NRSV
They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.

Will he destroy those who oppose God?

2 Thessalonians 2:8 NRSV
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.

Will all the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ when this trumpet is blown?

Revelation 11:15 NRSV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

We have seen that God’s kingdom will be ushered in, with Christ as king, when he returns from heaven with all the power and glory given he by the Father.

He will overthrow the wicked and destroy those who fight against God’s government with overwhelming power, setting people free from Satan’s bondage and instituting the right conditions for the loving and righteous rule of God to deliver universal peace, prosperity and joy for all remaining mankind.

In the next study we will look at WHERE this will take place and WHO will be involved.