THE KINGDOM OF GOD-WHAT WILL IT REALLY BE LIKE? -Lloyd W. Cary
What is the Kingdom of God? What with it be like? Where will it be?—in heaven or on earth? What is the Millennium? Is it the same as the Kingdom of God? Millions scoff; others are in total ignorance of it. Only Bible prophecy reveals the plain truth about the wonderful world of tomorrow!
by Lloyd W. Cary
When Christ came the first time, He came as the meek and lowly Lamb of God whose mission was to die for the sins of the world. But when He comes the second time, He is coming as a mighty conqueror—as King of kings, and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16)—and He will wage war with the nations who oppose Him (Revelation 13:7; 17:14; 19:11). But before worldwide reconstruction can commence, Christ must deal with His enemies—and they are many. He must “destroy them which destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18). The next holyday, the Day of Atonement, describes how our ultimate enemy, the great dragon, “was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9).
Christ—Our Warrior King
In Revelation 19:13,16, we see Christ returning as a mighty conquering warrior king: “And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God… And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” He will then execute the supernatural seven last plagues, which will ultimately bring rebellious mankind to its knees. Here we see another glaring Bible opposite.
As shocking as it may seem to those who picture the Lord Jesus Christ as only a sweet, harmless, loving Lord Jesus who would never hurt anyone, the first thing He is going to do at His return is KILL multiple millions of people! Revelation 6:17 declares, “the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
John writes: “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” (Revelation 19:11–15).
The Millennium Begins
“And 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” (Revelation 11:15).
Once Christ, the Conquering King, destroys His enemies with the “brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8), He will establish world headquarters at Jerusalem, and then proceed to gather the peoples of Israel and Judah into Palestine to repopulate the land (Hosea 1:10; Ezekiel 37:21,22)—thus, Israel will be restored as a nation; the people “shall dwell safely all of them” (Ezekiel 38:8); and “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls” (Zechariah 2:2–5). The Feast of Tabernacles will be reinstituted and enforced worldwide. Those nations who refuse to keep it will suffer the plague of no rain (Zechariah 14:16–19). At long last, all Israel—not just Judah—will be reconciled with God, and will become the model nation she was intended to be. Christ will at that time restore true worship, peace, and harmony in the land. The long-awaited Millennium—the prophesied thousand years of utopian peace, harmony, and global reconstruction—will then begin. “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” (Isaiah 2:3).
The Last Great Day
And finally, after the Millennium, comes the Last Great Day, a totally separate Feast day picturing the time when the rest of the dead (Revelation 20:5)—all those billions who never had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior during their lifetimes—will be resurrected to physical life and have their first and only opportunity to enter into the Kingdom of God. Clearly the Feast of Trumpets pictures the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in power and glory to begin His reign on the earth. Could any event in all history be more important, more pivotal, or more glorious than the return of Jesus Christ to rule the earth? Now, let’s take a closer look at what God’s Word reveals about the wonderful world to come—the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
Many well-meaning but mistaken ministers try to intimidate their audience by giving them them a choice: “Where will you spend eternity,in heaven—or in hell?” Heaven or hell! What an alternative! Yet, those are the two prospects placed before millions of Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. (For Catholics there is also a place called “purgatory”—a temporary holding place en route to heaven—proclaimed as a dogma by the Council of Florence in A.D. 1439.) Heaven or hell—is this all we have to look forward to? Is this what is predicted in your Bible? What ultimately lies ahead for mankind? You may be surprised and literally shocked as to what your Bible really says!
Few, even those in traditional Christianity, give any thought to what the Bible says lies shortly ahead. Few understand what the Bible foretells about that period of time referred to as the Millennium, or “the thousand years” in Revelation 20:5–6.
What is the Millennium?
Many have recited the prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) without thinking it through. The good news is that this oft-recited prayer will soon be answered in a magnificent way! Jesus Christ will soon return to put down the present wicked system of things and replace it with the long-awaited Kingdom of God.
The word “millennium” is derived from two Latin words: mille, meaning “thousand” and annus, meaning “year.” Millennium simply means “thousand years.”
The Millennium is the promised Kingdom of God—those first thousand years of Christ’s world-ruling reign on earth at the time of His return. It is mentioned six times in Revelation 20:2–7 and is alternately referred to as the Kingdom of God (Luke 19:11), the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 6:10), the Kingdom of Christ (Revelation 11:15), the regeneration (Matthew 19:28), the times of refreshing (Acts 3:19), and the world to come (Hebrews 2:5). At this time, Christ will be the undisputed Lord of lords and King of kings along with His resurrected spirit-composed saints who will reign in positions of co-rulership with Him (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 19:16; Isaiah 61:6; Daniel 7:18,22). This time is described in detail in Isaiah 2:2–4; chapters 11, 12, 35 and elsewhere. This millennial period is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants, and will be completely fulfilled when the New Jerusalem and God the Father comes down out of heaven to dwell on the new earth (see Revelation 20:4; 21:1–3, 7, 10).
The Kingdom of God
This period of time—often referred to simply as “the Kingdom”—was a central part of Jesus Christ’s message and is thus a major theme of the Bible. We read, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17,23; 10:7; Mark 1:15; Luke 1:14; 4:43; 9:2; 19:11; John 18:36).
So why is this Bible truth so rarely understood, and why isn’t it commonly taught in most churches today? The early church fervently believed and taught Christ would return to rule over the literal nations on earth. They were sent out to preach this message (Luke 9:2, 60). Christians proclaimed this message faithfully. It was on their minds constantly. They believed it absolutely. They prayed for it fervently. At one point during Christ’s ministry, the apostles asked Him, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [aion, age]?” (Matthew 24:3).
Again, just after Christ’s death and resurrection, and immediately before His ascension to heaven, they again wanted to know, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus told them it was not God’s intent that they should know exactly when this would happen; neither do we know today. He told them they should concern themselves with proclaiming His message to the world (Acts 1:7–8 and Matthew 24:14).
He instructed His disciples that He would die, but would be resurrected 72 hours later, and that He would go to prepare a place or position for them in His coming Kingdom (Mathew 16:21; Luke 22:28–30; John 14:2, 3). Initially, the apostles did not fully understand, believing the Kingdom would appear within their own lifetimes (John 20:9; Acts 1:6, 7). Later, when they received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), they realized the Kingdom was to be yet future. To enter into that Kingdom, they would first die, then be resurrected as spirit beings, for “flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom” (Philippians 3:20–21; 1 Corinthians 15:50).
Why Is So Little Preached About the Millennium?
You may rightly wonder, if these things be true, why is so little heard about the Millennium in the churches or religious circles of this world? Why—when—did mankind stop believing the message Jesus brought? Why is this, the central message of the Bible, no longer being preached? Instead, these Kingdom truths have been twisted, changed, and ignored. How unfortunate that most of mainstream Christendom’s churches have substituted that glorious hope with the ideas, philosophies, and theologies of men about heaven, hell, and the immortality of the soul! Because of much false preaching, countless millions of good, sincere, but deceived believers read their pagan notions of heaven and hell into the Scriptures instead of taking the Scriptures for what they plainly say.
On the contrary, most religious denominations today hold that the Millennium is not a literal 1,000-year period during which Christ will rule on earth, but a nebulous, fuzzy description of heaven. Not knowing the Bible well enough, most people pass over these scriptures with little thought, leaving such “deep matters” to the paid professionals. These plain, but often ignored scriptures are usually “spiritualized away” because they do not fit in with their popularized belief of departed souls immediately wafting off to heaven or hell at death. Some scholars teach that the Millennium is not an actual period of 1,000 years, but is only a long, indefinite period that may have started centuries ago and will continue to get better and better under man’s direction until we arrive at a virtual utopia. The New Catholic Encyclopedia reports that Augustine “advanced the theory that the millennium had actually begun with Christ’s nativity” some 2,000 years ago and is still continuing. (Be sure to request our article, What Does the Bible Really Say About the Millennium? and our CD, Questions About the Millennium.)
The very highly respected and voluminous French Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique defines “millennialism” as the “False belief professed by those who were awaiting a temporal reign of the Messiah, the length of which was sometimes considered by them to be a thousand years. . . . Since the fifth century, the millennium has no longer been spoken of, or very rarely, by a few cranky sects.”
“A few cranky sects”? Who’s calling who a sect? When we read the Bible itself, we see a completely different picture! Why such confusion? Just who or what are we to believe? Should we take stock of the commentaries, philosophies, and fantasies of men—or the very inspired Word of God?
Kingdom Truths Twisted, Changed, Ignored
Over the years, after the death of Jesus’ apostles, these clear biblical truths about the Kingdom of God and the Millennium became clouded over with philosophy and the traditions of men. Indeed, during the first century, the apostles exercised a restraining influence that helped to keep Christian doctrine pure. After they died, a great apostasy set in (2 Thessalonians 2:3–8; 1 Timothy 4:1–4).
How did that happen? Let the apostle Paul explain: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29–30, nkjv). He went on to say, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [yes, Satan has ministers!] also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13–15).
Christ warned repeatedly that we should “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and [by this means; saying that Jesus is the Christ] shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4–5, 11,24; Mark 13:5–6, 22; Luke 21:8).
Many surviving second-and third-century writings show that a great false church arose, mixing paganism with the true doctrines of first-century Christianity and soon led the whole world astray (Revelation 12:9). Among many other doctrinal changes, this also affected what was taught regarding the Kingdom of God, or the Millennium, for “… the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
The good news is that Jesus Christ will soon return to put down the present wicked system of things and replace it with the Kingdom of God.
Here’s the Best News You’ve Ever Heard!—
What It Will really Be Like in the World Tomorrow!
What will life be like on earth in God’s promised brave new world? The limited mind of man can scarcely fathom the glory and splendor of what life will be like for mankind during this time. For now, we see only in part, as through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12). This future thousand-year reign of Christ on earth—described in Isaiah 35 and elsewhere—will be a time of wonderful peace, joy, and blessing, the utopia men have hitherto only dreamed about!
One of the first things King Jesus will do is to put Satan and his demons out of commission—locked away in an abyss of inactivity. No longer will those evil, fallen angels be lurking behind the scenes, fomenting trouble, goading mankind into acts of disobedience to God (Revelation 20:1–3). What a relief!
During this time, the nations will become exceedingly prosperous. Undoubtedly, many advanced technologies will be discovered for the benefit of those who are on the earth.
The Millennium will be a time of perfect, beautiful weather, a veritable tropical paradise. There will no longer be extreme shifts in the weather to fear—droughts, floods, storms, hurricanes, or tornados—for God will maintain proper climate control year round (Joel 2:23).
After centuries of pollution and war, the land will be healed, restored, and enjoy her Sabbaths. God’s commandments will be strictly adhered to (Psalm 111:10; 119:44; Isaiah 2:3). God will once again bless the earth, returning it to its former glory of Eden. “For the lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3). The waters will come alive with every type of fish and become 100 percent pure for drinking, and the land will blossom with an abundant harvest. This will be a time of tremendous agricultural blessing. The earth literally will not be able to receive its bounty (Joel 2:24–26).
Millennial life will be active and productive (Isaiah 65:21, 22). God will change the nature of man so that he will greatly enjoy his labors (Isaiah 65:21–23). No more will a man dread going to his livelihood on Monday morning. He will be perfectly suited for the profession he has chosen and will do it with joy. Vibrant health will be the rule of the day. Lifespans will be increased. Those who are sick or afflicted will be miraculously healed (Isaiah 65:20). This great society will also be characterized by one universal language (Zephaniah 3:9).
The world will enjoy the absolute peace of God and be completely safe. Crimes such as murder, rape, and theft will be non-existent. Thoughtfulness and consideration will be the norm and social status. Vanity, jealousy, lust and greed will be a thing of the past.
All war materials and weapons will be destroyed. “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.” Imagine what it will be like being taught by Jesus Christ Himself! “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 pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2–4). With Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords, no one will need worry about nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom, for He will be our sole protector. No longer will man study war, but will covert their weapons into instruments of farming.
Does this sound too good to be true? We need not speculate, because the Bible plainly tells us, and what it says is thrilling, almost beyond belief to modern ears!
Take the Bible Challenge
We challenge you. Quick! Go get your Bible! Blow off the dust. Now, casting all human reasonings, church creeds, and traditions aside, let us lay out in outline form, verse by verse, what the Bible actually says the Kingdom of God will be like. Then, don’t believe us—believe your own Bible! Take the Bible literally where it is at all possible. Don’t try to reason your way around it or “spiritualize” it away. If symbolic, figurative, or typical language is used, then look for the literal truth it intends to convey. This is the surest and safest way to truly understanding your Bible.
Do not allow yourself to dismiss these scriptures simply because you are not familiar with them or are accustomed to a different belief system. Do not permit your minister, priest, or rabbi to use smooth words, shallow answers, or vague dismissals to reject or “spiritualize away” these plain scriptures! Instead, diligently search out these scriptures in your own Bible and ask God for understanding.
Throw aside all preconceived ideas. Insist on Bible answers! Copy the Bereans who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Following, in briefest form, is an outline of future world events, and it is the best news you have ever heard! For brevity’s sake, only the highlights are listed here. (Perhaps you might like to mark, color-code, or chain reference these in your Bible for future quick reference.)
Here, from the pages of your own Bible, is what the Millennium—the Kingdom of God—will be like.
1. Christ’s Kingdom Is Received From God:
The Lord God shall give to Him the throne. Luke 1:32–33
I will give thee the heathen. Psalm 2:8
For the kingdom is the lord’s: and He is the governor Psalms 22:28
2. It is To Be Established When Jesus Christ Returns to Earth:
When the Son of man shall come in His glory. Matthew 25:31
Christ shall judge at His appearing and kingdom. 2 Timothy 4:1
A parable: Christ went to receive the kingdom and return. Luke 19:12–27
In the regeneration the Son of man shall sit on the throne. Matthew 19:28
3. It Will Be Established In Power and Might:
He shall fight against those nations. Zechariah 14:3–5
In flaming fire He will take vengeance on the disobedient. 2 Thess. 1:7–10
Christ will destroy the wicked with His brightness. 2 Thess. 2:8
The Lamb shall overcome those who make war with Him. Revelation 17:13–14
4. Israel Will Be Regathered, Converted, Exalted:
Put a new spirit within you. Ezekiel 11:17–20
Exalted above the Gentiles. Isaiah 61:4–6
5. Christ’s Kingdom Will Supercede and Replace All Earthly Kingdoms:
The kingdoms of this world will become Christ’s. Rev. 11:15
Christ’s Kingdom shall never be destroyed. Daniel 2:44
Jerusalem will be the throne of the Lord. Jeremiah 3:17
6. The Worldwide Extent of Christ’s Kingdom:
Satan and his influences shall be put away. Revelation 20:1–3
Jesus Christ to be King over all the earth Zechariah 14:9
All nations will keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Zechariah 14:16
Gentiles shall seek Him. Isaiah 11:10
Uttermost parts of the earth. Psalm 2:7–9
All nations shall serve Him. Psalm 72:8–9
The Stone Who will fill the whole earth. Daniel 2:35–44
All people, nations, languages shall serve Him. Daniel 7:14
All dominions to serve and obey Him. Daniel 7:27
Christ’s Kingdom exalted above nations. Micah 4:1–3
Earth shall be full of glory. Isaiah 11:9
7. The Eternal Duration of Christ’s Kingdom:
There shall be no end to His peace and government. Isaiah 9:7
God’s kingdom shall stand forever. Daniel 2:44
His dominion is everlasting. Daniel 7:14
The saints to possess the kingdom forever and ever. Daniel 7:18
Of His kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:33
Christ’s kingdom to last forever. 2 Peter 1:11
Kingdoms of this world to be Christ’s forever and ever. Revelation 11:15
8. The Structure of Christ’s Kingdom—
Christ, King of Kings, Will Reign In Jerusalem:
Christ’s Kingdom to be exalted above the nations. Micah 4:1–4
Israel’s returned and praised among all people Zephaniah 3:20
The Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory. Matthew 25:31
Christ it sit upon the throne of His father, David, forever. Luke 1:32–33
9. The Church Will Be Glorified With Him:
We shall be joint-heirs with Christ Romans 8:17
We shall also appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:4
We shall reign with Him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6
10. All Nations That Are Left Will Serve the King of kings:
All nations and kings shall serve Him. Psalm 72:8–11
Nations to go to Jerusalem to be taught of His ways. Isaiah 2:2–4
11. The Temple Will Be Rebuilt
The temple described in detail. Ezek. 40– 48
Animal sacrifices temporarily reinstatedEzek.40:42–43; 44:11
Burnt, sin, meat, trespass, and peace offerings Ezek. 43:19–27; 45:17
12. The Character and Blessings of Christ’s Kingdom—
Christ Will Rule With Righteousness and Justice:
With righteousness. Psalm 72:8–10
With righteousness shall judge. Isaiah 11:3–5
Walk in his paths. Micah 4:2
In righteousness He doth judge. Revelation 19:11
13. God’s Laws, Sabbath, and Holy days to Be Strictly Enforced:
The Law shall go forth from Zion. Micah 4:2
All nations to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Zech. 14:16–19
All flesh shall worship God from one Sabbath to another. Isaiah 66:23
14. There Will Be Worldwide Peace Among Nations:
Israel will no longer be a prey to the heathen. Ezekiel 34:28
Men shall beat their swords into plowshares. Isaiah 2:4
No end to the increase of His government. Isaiah 9:7
The work of righteousness shall be peace forever. Isaiah 32:17
Men shall learn war no more. Micah 4:3
He shall cut off war and speak peace unto the heathen. Zechariah 9:10
15. No More Sickness:
Inhabitants shall not say, “I am sick.” Isaiah 33:24
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard. Isaiah 65:17–19
16. The Nature of Animals Changed:
A little child shall lead formerly fierce animals. Isaiah 11:6–9
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together. Isaiah 65:25
God will make covenant with the wild beasts of the field. Hosea 2:18
Christ will establish a covenant of peace with all beasts. Ezekiel 34:25
17. The Fertility of Earth Will Be Restored:
The wilderness shall be as a pool of water. Isaiah 41:18–19
Peace, singing, abound; no more thorns or thistles. Isaiah 55:12–13
Desolate lands rebuilt; earth to become a Garden of Eden. Ezek. 36:33–35
The plowman will overtake the reaper. Amos 9:13–14
There will be a restitution of all things. Acts 3:20–21
The creature shall be delivered from bondage. Romans 8:19–22
18. The Environment Will Be Made Friendly:
Protective covering cloud and flaming fire upon Zion. Isaiah 4:5–6
There shall be showers of blessing. Ezekiel 34:26
There shall be bountiful harvests. Ezekiel 34:27
The wilderness and solitary place shall be glad. Isaiah 35:1
19. Who Will Not Inherit the Kingdom:
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. 1 Cor. 15:50
The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom. 1 Cor. 6:9–11
Immoral persons shall not inherit the kingdom. Gal. 5:19–21
20. The Whole Earth to be Filled With the Glory of the Lord:
The whole earth shall be filled with His glory. Psalm 72:19
Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. Isaiah 11:9
The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory
of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14
Amen! What a world! Now read this list over again! Let it really “soak in.” We need to “prove all things” by the infallible Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Let’s Be Honest With the Scriptures!
So we ask again, does the Bible really tell of immortal souls spending eternity in heaven, hell, or purgatory as mentioned at the beginning of this article—or, instead, does it predict that God will bring a literal thousand years of peace and utopia to the earth? What a paradox! You be the judge. When people finally lay aside all manmade creeds and traditions and actually read the Book, they always find what the Bible says and what people are told the Bible says are two different things!
Down through the ages men have endeavored unsuccessfully to bring peace and harmony to this world, but the Word of God declares, “And the way of peace have they not known” (Romans 3:17). It will require a supernatural force—the strong, but loving and merciful hand of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to bring peace and harmony to this sin-sick world and release it from the curse of sin that has held it captive for thousands of years. What a wonderful, glorious future for mankind! Will you be ready?