Kingdom of God to Come to Earth
Zechariah 14 is all about Jesus Christ's coming to reign over the earth, establishing His rightful kingdom. Verses 9 and 16 indicate that He will become the King over all the earth at His second coming. This truth was rejected by mainstream Christianity many centuries ago.
Acts 1:1-11; 3:19-21; Daniel 2:34-36, 39-45; 7:13-18, 23, 27; Jeremiah 23:3-8
Is Christ really going to reign on earth? Will there really be a world tomorrow? The answer is, emphatically, YES! The four world-ruling empires which Daniel wrote about in chapters 2 and 7 of his book were to be followed by another, literal, world-ruling kingdom, a super-world-government of God—which will fill the earth.
In Acts 1, the apostles knew Jesus had come to establish the kingdom of God on earth. They had been looking for it to be established then, in their time (Luke 19:11). They knew what Jesus meant when He spoke of God's kingdom: the Messiah would establish a world-ruling kingdom headquartered at Jerusalem, Israel, as Bible prophecy foretold.
Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:9; Heb. 2:5, 6:5; Luke 18:30
These verses speak of a “world to come,” an age of total peace on earth. A Messiah (or Savior) will rule from David’s throne.
Jeremiah 3:17; Joel 3:17, 20; Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12:22, 13:14
Jerusalem is to be the city from which Jesus and the saints rule.
Luke 1:31-33; 22:29-30; Revelation 2:26-27; 5:10; 11:15; 12:5-6; 15:4; 19:15-16
The kingdoms of this world will be ruled by Jesus. The saints will help Him. The meek shall inherit the earth, the Bible states plainly. We in the church might take these things for granted, having heard them for so many years. But we should realize that for almost 1,900 years the world had not heard this truth. Satan must have thought he wiped it out entirely. Realize that Mr. HWA’s worldwide preaching of the gospel (1934-1986) is not something to be taken lightly. The fact that this truth—the real gospel—is available at all today is astonishing!
2 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 5:1-9
Read this now with the understanding that we are to reign on earth. We will meet Jesus in the air at His return, which comes at the end of a countdown to the 666 (see the Bible study on the end-time countdown). At the last trumpet, Christ and His Wife assemble on earth as one body and establish God’s kingdom, here—again, on the earth.
Psalm 2:2-12 is all about this. Be wise, it says—get in line with this kingdom now, because it is coming, most assuredly!
The promises to Abraham are found all throughout Genesis and repeated many times in the rest of the Bible. They will be fulfilled on earth!
Joel 3:20, Ezekiel 37:25-28, Luke 1:33; Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15
God's kingdom on earth will last forever.
As a side note, there does not need to be a physical temple to which Christ returns—the temple of the New Testament is the CHURCH! It isn't likely that the Jews are going to begin animal sacrifices and build yet another physical temple. Mr. Armstrong mentioned this a number of times. Rather the “sacrifices” of Daniel’s abomination of desolation is a Bible code word for God's true church, and the phrase “abomination of desolation” refers to the time when the ”beast religion” will become again a real force to be reckoned with—and anyone trying to retain God's truth will be persecuted by it.
Daniel 8:9-14; 11:31-35
God’s enemies fight the true religion. They try to stamp out the truth and often do prosper! Historically, these verses signified a lengthy period of time when the true church would be low, and its enemies exalted. Except for a brief intermission when Mr. Armstrong preached, the situation persists right up to this day. In the first century AD, the true members of the true church were driven out of the main body and supplanted by an ”abomination of desolation.” But this abomination will be removed (Daniel 8:14, 26)—the “sanctuary” will be cleansed! Christianity will be purified—and the whole world along with it, by the very end of the age.
Now, it’s very important to notice that the promises to Abraham must still be fulfilled. We know that in Joshua's time, God began to fulfill His promise to plant Israel in Canaan (Joshua 21:43-45). But there would be a great deal of fulfillment yet to occur. The promises to Abraham were intended to last forever (Genesis 17:8; Psalm 105:8-11). But God also prophesied that Israel would be punished if they failed to obey Him in the Promised Land (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28; read the whole chapters). The culmination of the promises to Abraham will be in the world tomorrow.
(Satan tries very hard to suppress these truths because he hates them! He is going to be completely removed, and he doesn't want to be. See Revelation 12:12.)
At this point we read out of the fifteenth chapter of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon recorded the process of stamping out truth from the true church. Around 130 A.D. a man named Marcus, a Latin (Roman) church leader, persuaded what Gibbon called “Christian Jews” (or “Nazarenes”) to renounce the Mosaic laws. Why? Because mainstream Christianity had by now given up anything that resembled Judaism. We'd say they turned to heresy. This church organization had gotten in league with the civil government and forbade anyone who obeyed the Mosaic laws (including the Sabbath and Holy Days) from entering the city of Jerusalem. Marcus persuaded Sabbath-keeping Christians to join mainstream “Christianity” by giving up all laws that made them appear Jewish.
Now there were no more Nazarenes, but a very few people of this group remained faithful to God's laws. History re-named them “Ebionites” and they constituted the true church of their day. Gibbon did not know what happened to them. He said they melted away, likely into the Jewish synagogues or finally turning to mainstream Christianity.
The new, now-mainstream Christianity eventually ordered the executions of many true Christians. They were martyred by the civil government. This is what it means in Revelation 17 and 18 when it says that the great harlot became drunk with (and guilty of) the blood of the saints. She herself didn't kill them, but she caused their deaths by turning them over to the Roman government.
To recap, we read in Gibbon's work a short history of how God's truth was stamped out. The first thing Satan destroyed was the true gospel of Christ reigning on earth. When a Christian church stops proclaiming that Jesus will reign on earth, it’s just not the true church at all.
Lastly, we covered reasons why we all must keep the Sabbath. Dad mentioned that Jesus kept it when He lived on earth as a human being, and that we must follow His example; that Jesus was the One who made the Sabbath holy at the time of creation (John 1:3; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2), and is Himself the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28); that He was the God of Israel who spoke the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai (1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 11:26, 12:18-29); that He wants true Christians to keep the 10 Commandments as well as the Two Great Commandments as a prerequisite of entering into eternal life (Matthew 5:17-19, 19:16-19; Luke 10:25-28, 18:18-20; Romans 13:8-10; Hebrews 8:10, 10:16); and that He expects Gentiles as well as Israelites to keep the Sabbath (Isaiah 56:2, 6-8; Romans 15:8-12, 18).
To conclude, we read Revelation 20:1-6. This describes the “Millennial Sabbath Day.” The doctrine of Jesus’ 1,000-year reign on earth had not been proclaimed openly to the world for 18 1/2 centuries until Mr. Armstrong came along. The very name of his program, “The World Tomorrow,” was chosen because the millennium is the heart of the the gospel! It’s very near! So hold onto this truth. It is our destiny to be a part of it.
This Bible study was given by Matthew Kalliman on 11/28/09