I have expressed, in my message on “The Theme of the Bible,” my belief that the Kingdom of God is the theme of the Word of God. That is not to say that God, even the Lord Jesus Christ, is not the Main Character of the Bible. Nor is that to say that understanding the gospel of salvation is not the most important thing for us to know and understand about the Word of God. Yet I do believe that the Kingdom of God is the ultimate theme of all that God has written, since it has to do with His plans and purposes in all that He has done in relationship to mankind.

Now if the Kingdom of God really is the theme of the Bible, then it is most important for us to discover what exactly the Bible has to say regarding that Kingdom. If the Kingdom truly is the theme of the Bible, then one message, of course, will not be sufficient to plumb the depths of all It has to tell us upon the subject. Nevertheless, in this message, I will take us through some of the passages that deal with the most basic truths regarding the Kingdom, and we will examine what the Bible has to say about what things will be like upon earth during that future time.

And He shall judge the world in righteousness,                                                       He shall minister judgment to the peoples in uprightness. Psalm 9:8

Our first passage here, from the Old Testament book of Psalms, gives us perhaps the most basic truth of the coming Kingdom of God. Through David, we learn that the LORD Himself (for “He” refers back to the “LORD” in verse 7) will judge the world in righteousness. The word “judge” here has a similar meaning to the way the word is used in the book of Judges. In our society, judges are the judicial branch of the government, and their job is to interpret the laws. But in the Biblical concept, a judge is at once the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches of the government. The judge makes the laws, the judge enforces the laws, and the judge interprets the laws. That is what this verse is telling us that the LORD will do for the world in the future. He will judge it in righteousness. He will minister His judgment to the peoples of the earth in uprightness. What an amazing thing this is to think about! That day when He does this will undoubtedly be most different from the day we live in now.

It is not just David who speaks of this time. Paul too in the New Testament speaks of this same truth.

“Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”    Acts 17:31

Paul is here speaking to the Greek philosophers gathered at the Areopagus in Athens. These were men who did not know the Old Testament Scriptures. Thus, this concept, which needed really no explanation to the Jews who knew the Bible so well, really needed to be explained to these men. Paul lays it out for them: God has appointed a day (that is, a time,) on which He will judge the world (that is, order or arrange it how He desires it to be) in righteousness by the Man Whom He has ordained (of course, Jesus Christ,) and He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. What an amazing truth it is to know that the system of this world, as messed up and sinful as it is, will someday be ordered and arranged by God Himself! Think how completely different this world will be when that takes place. Surely the change will be the most drastic alteration imaginable.

Arise, O God, judge the earth;                                                                                         For You shall inherit all nations. Psalm 82:8

This verse calls on God to do what the previous passages we studied promise that He will do: arise to judge the earth. When God does this, He will order and arrange the world the way He wants it to be. Then we have the incredible promise that God shall inherit all nations. When He does this, they will totally and completely be under His control. Of course, He has such power over all nations even now, but we all know very well that God is not arranging things in this world the way He wants them to be. If He was, then we would find Him a very disappointing God! Some in ignorance attribute to Him every thing that happens in this world, good or bad. But God has not yet arisen. He has not yet inherited all nations. Someday He will, however, and then we will see what a wonderful God He is!

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; 
He burns the chariot in the fire. Psalm 46:9

Could anything be more obvious than the fact that God has not yet done this? Wars continue, and the weapons of war abound. God has not made wars to cease. He has not destroyed the instruments of war. Yet this verse promises us that someday, God will do this. If He never does, then the Scripture will be broken, and the Scripture cannot be broken, as the Lord Himself said in John 10:35. We can be assured that someday God will do this. And when He does, then the Kingdom of God will be a reality upon the earth.

A few more things can be said on this passage. For one, the phrase, “the end of the earth,” is not an indication that the writer of Psalms was an ignoramus who thought that the earth was flat. This phrase was a figure of speech meaning “the most remote places.” In the darkest jungles of Africa, we might say, where the most inaccessible tribes live, this action of the Lord will not fail to reach. Wars will cease there as surely as elsewhere. The instruments of war that they use will be destroyed just as surely as our instruments of war will be.

Some would question why what are pretty much antiquated instruments of war are mentioned here. This is not an indication that God did not know that these things would not still be in use when these things occurred. The Holy Spirit through the inspired author spoke of what were the common instruments of war in the day in which this was written. We are fully capable of understanding that that is what was meant. Today, our weapons run more along the lines of guns, bombs, and tanks. Yet these will be broken as surely as bows, spears, and chariots would be. What is being revealed here is that the instruments of war will be destroyed, not which instruments of war they will be.

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:5

Remember that glory has to do with character, with reputation, with esteem, and with value. When the glory of the LORD is revealed to all flesh together, then all on earth will have a realistic understanding of Who God is, of what God is, and of what His character is really like. Imagine what a change this would make upon the earth! If all men were to suddenly see at once what kind of a Being God really is! Surely this alone would change the world more than we can even imagine. But this is not just imagination. This verse tells us that this will happen. Someday, all flesh will see the glory of the LORD together.

Now some might argue the meaning of the phrase “all flesh.” They might wish to tell us that this refers to a limited number of people, perhaps just to believers, or just Israelites. Yet following out a study of this word will reveal that this is not so. The word here for “all flesh” is the same word used in Genesis 6:13, which reads, “And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” This same word is used throughout the story of the flood, in Genesis 6:12,13,17,19; 7:15,16,21; 8:17; 9:11,15,16,and17. Can there be any doubt what was meant when God said that all flesh was destroyed through the flood? And if any point out that Noah and his family were the exception, then we would say that the exception proves the rule here, for there were no other exceptions. All flesh meant at the least every human being, and ultimately even every animal being upon the earth not inside the Ark. Can one honestly argue that Isaiah 40:5 means anything different?

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the LORD:                      And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. Psalm 22:27

This is another amazing promise, as we consider all the remotest places of the earth remembering the LORD and turning unto Him. This word “remember” is the Hebrew word zakar. This word has to do with bringing something to one’s mind. This can be by your own effort, or as a result of someone else requesting your notice or forcing such knowledge upon you. In this case, those living in the remotest parts of the earth have something brought to their minds that, quite likely, they had never known nor thought of before. The result of this knowledge being brought to their minds is that they turn unto the LORD, and all the kindreds of the nations worship before Him. This word “kindreds” is the Hebrew mishpachah, and is usually translated “families,” “kinds,” or “kindreds.” Remember, the idea of “race” is one foreign to Scripture. This is a Darwinian concept, brought into being from the idea that different nationalities are the result of men evolving to different levels. The Bible knows nothing of race, but only of nations and families. In this verse, all the different kinds, all the families, of all the nations worship before the LORD. This is not just Israelites, and this is not just what we would call “Christians” today. This is everyone. The word “worship” here is the Hebrew word shachah, and has to do with bowing down, prostrating oneself, or worshipping. The idea is that they do obeisance to the LORD because of the knowledge of Him that they now have. Whether or not this is the wonderful worship of a heart fully yielded in love to God, it is hard to say. For some it may be, for others it may not. But ultimately, this knowledge causes all to bow down.

I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. Joel 2:28 (quoted in Acts 2:17)

Again, this passage speaks of a most amazing event, when God’s Spirit is poured out upon all flesh. Again, this phrase “all flesh” cannot be made to mean less than it means in Genesis 6:13. This is the same Hebrew word in Joel 2:28 as we had in Genesis 6:13. This passage tells us in no uncertain terms that God is going to pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh with no exceptions.

Now we should not think the wrong thing here. Many think that if they have the Spirit poured out upon them, then this is a sign that they are saved, and they will become flaming witnesses for the truth. Yet having the Spirit poured out on you does not have to have anything to do with salvation, nor does it need to have anything to do with witnessing. When God pours out His Spirit upon someone, it does in that person’s life whatever God intended it to do. For example, in Exodus 31:1-6, we read:

1. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2. “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4. to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 5. in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.
6. “And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:”

So here we see that God had filled this man Bezalel with the Spirit in order to give him the ability to create all the things God wanted built: the tabernacle, the ark, and so forth. This man Bezalel need not have been a great artisan before God did this. He might have been a common laborer, with no more knowledge of how to build things requiring such craftsmanship than any other laborer in Israel had. Remember, the people were slaves in Egypt, and it is doubtful they would have been trained in doing such masterwork. Yet that little mattered, for God gave this man the ability to do these things by filling Him with the Spirit.

Therefore, when God gives a person of His Spirit, it is given to that person so that he can accomplish whatever it is that God wants him to do. It could be witnessing. It could be becoming a master craftsman. Or it could be any number of other things.

Moreover, having the Spirit poured upon you does not have to mean you are saved. For example, we read in I Samuel 19:19-23.

19. Now it was told Saul, saying, “Take note, David is at Naioth in Ramah!” 20. Then Saul sent messengers to take David. And when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21. And when Saul was told, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. Then Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. 22. Then he also went to Ramah, and came to the great well that is at Sechu. So he asked, and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Indeed they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23. So he went there to Naioth in Ramah. Then the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah.

Now Saul and his messengers certainly weren’t acting according to the will of God here. They were trying to capture and kill God’s anointed future king. So we cannot say by any means that the Spirit came upon these men because they were saved. Rather, we see that the Spirit came upon them to stop them from their purpose of arresting David. He treated them, in fact, as His enemies, coming upon them to forcefully keep them from their purpose. So we cannot say that having the Spirit come upon you is the same thing as being saved.

In the future, when the Spirit is poured out upon all flesh, it does not come upon them for the purpose of saving them. Neither does it come upon them for the purpose of making them witnesses, for if It came upon all, who would be left to witness to? Nevertheless, it is poured upon all flesh, and we can imagine that the results upon earth of this will be most spectacular indeed.

But the meek shall inherit the earth,                                                                           And delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37:11

Too often we have the idea that those who are “meek” are weak. But “meek” does not mean “weak.” Those who are meek have a humble and submissive attitude before God. Basically, the meek are those who have yielded their lives to God. The time is yet coming when those who have submitted themselves to God will inherit the earth. To inherit something means to have a place or enjoy a portion in it. This basically means that these people will be in positions of authority on earth. This is quite the opposite of today, when we can say of the vast majority of those who hold dominion over the earth, that the last thing they would want to do is submit themselves to God. Yet someday, this passage assures us, those who are controlled by Him will be the ones with power and authority in the earth.

The result of this will be that these men in charge of the earth will delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Today, peace is not had on earth in abundance. If we have an abundance of anything, it is war, not peace. Yet this verse assures us that someday, the earth will enjoy an abundance of peace. Moreover, it lets us know when this will come about: it will be when the meek will be the ones inheriting the earth. This will take place in the coming Kingdom of God.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9

It is my conviction, though it sometimes seems to have to do with religion, that the symbolic meaning of a “mountain” in Scripture is basically a government. (Indeed, in the Biblical sense there is little difference between these, for there is no “separation of church and state” when God rules.) So this verse tells us something that will be truth in God’s holy government. There shall be no hurting or destroying anywhere in it at that time. Wars and battles will have come to an end.

Then, we read the amazing statement that the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. This might seem at first to us to be an odd statement, for in our minds the sea IS the waters. Yet we need to realize that, in the Hebrew mind, the sea didn’t so much consist in the waters, but in the “bowl” that the waters were in. For example, in I Kings 7:23, we read that Solomon made a sea for the temple, “And he made the Sea of cast bronze.” Of course, this is nonsensical if we imagine him making the water, but if we imagine instead him making the bowl that the water went in, then we know exactly what it was he was making.

So what Isaiah is picturing for us here is making us imagine being on the bottom of the sea, standing on its bed. From there, of course, no matter where we would look, left, right, forward, back, up, or down, everywhere we looked we would see water. So it will be in God’s Kingdom. The earth will be so full of the knowledge of the LORD, that no matter where you looked in it you could not help but see it. The knowledge of the LORD will cover the earth like the waters cover the seabed. No place will be missed. No person will be excepted. Everyone on earth will have this knowledge. What a far different place the earth will be when this is true!

I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. Isaiah 41:19

It is clear that sin has marred the very planet on which we live. Great deserts cover much of the land, and science tells us that these are growing at a rate of many square miles per year. Left unchecked, these deserts could grow to cover the earth. Yet we see in this verse that no such eventuality will come to pass. For the LORD will heal the environmental damage that has been done to so much of the earth, and the dry places will spring with water. What a blessing simply this in itself will be! And yet it is only one of many wonders that will take place when God’s Kingdom comes upon earth.

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21

Now this verse speaks of the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. In our day, we often wish that we could have God’s guiding presence in our lives. Yet He does not speak to us directly of our circumstances, so we are often left guessing or making our own decisions. Yet here it is declared that, in that time to come, God will no longer be silent. Rather, He will communicate to every single person individually, speaking a word in their ears to let them know the way He wants them to go. What a great blessing that would be, in any age!

I am going to take a minor sidetrack here, and go where angels fear to tread, as I often do, I think. Most people have certain ideas about the life to come that they have formulated from their own minds or things they have heard other people say, yet which have little backing in the Word of God. These things, because they have to do with our reward and the life to come, which God’s people cling to, are often considered off limits to any kind of logical analysis or Biblical examination. One is just expected to accept them without question. People are allowed to say just about anything they want to about the life to come, and since they hold these things with conviction and great emotion, we are supposed to just go along with them, even if they are nonsensical or un-Biblical. Well, this I just refuse to do. We must examine all ideas in the light of Scripture to see if they are true or not. Just because something is emotional or has to do with the life to come, I will not simply accept it because it would be bad form not to.

Now it is the thought of most people, I think, that the first thing they will see when they get to the life to come will be Jesus Christ. I remember when I was in grade school watching a film. I do not remember what the whole film was about, but I remember it featured Helen Keller. I do not know if it was actually her or an actress, but since she died in 1968, it certainly could have been her in the film, and my memory is that it was. Anyway, in case you didn’t know, Helen Keller was a famous Christian and lecturer who was both blind and deaf. In this movie, she was speaking of her expectations for the life to come. She said she was looking forward to the first thing she ever saw being Jesus Christ. She said this with conviction, and it seemed to be a beautiful sentiment. Yet, even at my young age at the time, it seemed to me to be a questionable idea. After all, I knew that there are many, many people who die…almost beyond our comprehension, I think. And though many of them do not know the Lord, many of them do. Is it really possible, or even likely, that He will personally be there to greet every one of them and welcome them to the life to come?

We often do not think in these terms, but I believe that Christ, in His human form, is limited to one place at a time, as we are. That is not to say that He would need to follow such a limitation if He wished, but that it is His choice to do so. The Holy Spirit, however, is not so limited, but can truly speak to every single person individually and personally.

I think that when we consider the life to come, we often think of it as if we will be there, and we will be with our own little church family or group of friends. I know when I attended Bethesda Church, it was easy enough for me to talk to the pastor. Often I could find him somewhere in the church to speak with him. On a weekday, if I were to come in and find him in his office, chances were he could take the time to stop and speak with me, and I did this many times, especially when we were writing plays together. Sunday morning was a bit less that way, as he would often be running around busy with planning various things, but even then there were times when I could catch him (or he would catch me) and we could share a few words. After the service, I might have to stand in a bit of a line to speak to him, but even then, it would only be for a few minutes.

But I know that there are much bigger churches than Bethesda. Some churches have thousands of members, and their attendance on a Sunday is huge. To speak to the pastor of such a church on a Sunday morning would be most difficult indeed if you were not one of his close circle of helpers. Even if you waited in line to speak to him after the service, chances are you would be waiting a half hour or more, and then you could only exchange a few words with him before he would be on to the next person. To speak to him during the week would be equally more difficult. There would be no just walking into his office. You would have to make an appointment, and even then you would probably have to wait several days for him to have an open timeslot.

Now imagine with me, if you will, a mega-church, not with thousands of members, or even tens of thousands, but a church of millions of members. How difficult would it be, in that case, to speak to the head pastor? The line after that service would just be impossible to navigate. The waiting list to speak to the pastor during the week would be not days, but years. Unless you were quite lucky, you would have to wait for a very long time to speak to the pastor at all. And even when you did, it would just be one conversation. The chances of you developing a close relationship, or even a working relationship, with that pastor, as I did working with my pastor, would probably be very small.

So now we have a context for imagining life, not just with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but also with millions upon millions of other saints from down through the ages. We speak of ever being with the Lord, and someday we will be, but at the same time, if being constantly close to God required being close to the Lord Jesus, we would have to admit that, unless there is something we are not understanding, the chances of that happening are small. With so many believers from down through the ages, unless our Lord multiplied Himself into tens of thousands of people, it is highly unlikely that we would be able to, for example, spend the kind of time with the Lord that His twelve disciples did in Scripture.

Having said this, I know this is not the most pleasant thing to think about. We would all like to imagine ourselves constantly with the Lord Jesus, as close to Him as, say, we are to a marriage partner in this life. This is what emotionally we would like to believe, but shining the light of reality on such thoughts makes this seem unlikely.

That said, I do not believe that the Bible gives us a picture of never being able to get close to God. Quite the opposite, we can learn that this very reason is one of the primary ones why the Holy Spirit needed to be given. Unlike the Lord, Who is, as far as we can tell, limited to one place at a time, the Holy Spirit is not so limited. He can be close to as many believers at once as He wants, or as believers there are to be close to. And that is the wonderful message of Isaiah 30:21, that someday the Spirit of the Lord will speak to us, and share with us personally and individually what God wants for our lives. It is through Him that we will all be able, even untold millions of us, to be as close to God as to a brother or a spouse. And with Him, we can never be far from Him, He will never be absent when we need Him, and He will never be too busy to help us and speak to us. With the Holy Spirit speaking to each of us, we can be assured that we all will have a close, day-by-day relationship with God.

Now I know that some will be upset and disappointed with such an idea. I know that we are beings who exist in physical bodies, and thus physical contact is important for us. I know that we would all love to be able to shake the Lord’s hand, to give Him a hug, or to look into His eyes when we are thanking Him for all He did for us. I would love to do these things as much as anyone. And I am not saying we will never get to do this. What I am saying is that if that is our hope for contact with God in the future, I hate to think how long the line will be to do so. If we really think about it, I believe that we will see that a close relationship with the Holy Spirit is what we can really most look forward to, a relationship where He does not just seal us, as He does today, but where He actually speaks to us, interacting with us personally and allowing each of us to have a relationship with God as close as any of the disciples of the Lord Jesus in the New Testament. That will never happen, or it would at least take a prohibitively long period of time, if it must be done by our getting to know the Lord Jesus in bodily form. But it can happen to all of us at once, if it happens through the Holy Spirit.

So, to return to my subject, that is what Isaiah 30:21 describes: a Holy Spirit Who speaks and has personal interaction with everyone. God is as close to us as our shoulder, and we can have constant fellowship and receive constant direction from Him. And the time when this takes place is in the Kingdom of God.

Now, to wrap up our consideration of these passages, we have learned through this study many facts about the Kingdom of God to come.

1. God is going to judge, that is, order or arrange, the world in righteousness.

2. God is going to inherit, or take control of, all the nations.

3. God is going to end all war.

4. God is going to reveal Himself to all flesh at one time.

5. All peoples living everywhere are going to be turned toward the LORD.

6. All kinds of people everywhere will worship before the LORD.

7. God’s Spirit is going to be poured out on all flesh.

8. The meek, those submissive to God, are going to inherit, that is, have authority in, the earth.

9. There will be an abundance of peace, and no one will hurt or destroy anyone else.

10. The earth will be so full of the knowledge of the LORD that it will be like being covered with water at the bottom of the sea.

11. God is going to repair the environmental damage that has been done to the earth.

12. The Holy Spirit will speak to, and thus have personal interaction with, every person on earth.

These are wonderful promises, and wonderful things to think about. By considering these things, we can start to form a picture in our minds of what the Kingdom of God will really be like.

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