The purpose of the coming kingdom of God, which encompasses the Millennium and the eternal New Earth to follow forever after, is another essential yet misunderstood subject.

The history of humanity is, in fact, the history of God's plan to redeem a willing remnant of a rebellious humanity from the consequences of their sinful rebellion through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The Scriptures record the history of humanity's first and continued rebellion against God, its tragic consequences in sin, violence, and death.

Finally the Scriptures reveal the prophecies of God regarding the final conflict and its resolution when Jesus Christ will appear and gloriously triumph over the armies of Antichrist at the Battle of Armageddon. All of the prophetic revelations of the Bible regarding the progressive unfolding of God's truth and His plan of redemption will culminate in the return of the Messiah to defeat Satan and his allies.

Then, following the Messiah's destruction of the Antichrist's armies, Jesus Christ will establish His glorious millennial kingdom. Christ's Second Coming will usher in the long-awaited kingdom of God that will endure throughout eternity.

The kingdom of God on earth provides the spiritual key to explaining human history, from the fall of Adam and Eve, to Jesus' First Coming, and until the final appearance of Christ at the end of this age. The prophecies about the coming kingdom provide the key to the true understanding of the Scriptures and God's plan for redeeming humanity from the curse of sin.

Throughout the Scriptures, God repeatedly promises His followers that the goal is the coming millennial kingdom and the New Earth to follow forever. The prophecies in both the Old and New Testament teach that this promised Kingdom will be a real global kingdom on the earth. The kingdom is not simply an allegorical picture of a spiritual state of mind. Tragically, beginning with Origin and St. Augustine during the third and fourth centuries after Christ, the allegorical method of scriptural interpretation gradually became the general teaching of the western Church. Following St. Augustine's book, The City of God, which rejected the future premillennial return of Christ to defeat Antichrist and establish His kingdom, the medieval Church generally abandoned a literal interpretation of the Bible's prophecies.

Jude, the brother of Jesus, knowing that the Church would someday abandon these biblical principles, wrote the following message to believers two thousand years ago: "It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). How should we evaluate all teachings that are presented to us regarding the doctrines of the Word of God? The best and most certain answer is found in the words of the Bible itself. We should evaluate all teachings according to this principle: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20).

Jude 3

3 Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith which is that sum of Christian belief which was delivered verbally to the holy people of God]. AMP

Isaiah 8:20

20[Direct such people] to the teaching and to the testimony! If their teachings are not in accord with this word, it is surely because there is no dawn and no morning for them. AMP

It is very significant that every single Old Testament messianic prophecy that came to fruition during the life of Jesus of Nazareth was fulfilled in a literal, common-sense way. Not one of the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection was fulfilled in a purely allegorical manner. The apostolic Church clearly taught that a personal Antichrist will literally arise in the last days to rule for seven years leading to the final Battle of Armageddon. This battle will end in the triumphant victory of the heavenly army of Christ. Then, He will establish His Kingdom ruling from the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem. The Millennial Kingdom of Christ will ultimately produce the greatest blessings the world has ever known. All of humanity's longings for peace, prosperity, health, justice, and righteous government will finally be realized when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom.

The promise of our Lord's return and His establishment of the kingdom of God is so fundamental to the revealed plan of God that the failure to understand this foundational doctrine will prevent a proper appreciation of Christ's plan to redeem the earth from the curse of sin. The promise of the coming kingdom is a golden thread that runs through the Scriptures from Genesis to the last chapter of the book of Revelation. Beginning in Genesis, God announces His unbreakable covenants with Abraham and his descendants that will ultimately be realized in the future kingdom that will be ruled by the promised seed, the Messiah. King David and Solomon constantly affirm the reality of the future kingdom when Christ will finally rule this earth.

Each of the Old Testament prophets added their inspired prophecies to reveal new details about the coming kingdom. Jesus Himself taught more about the Kingdom of God than any other topic. The Gospels and the epistles of Paul and Peter resound with assurances that Jesus will fulfill His covenants and promises in the last days. Finally, the prophet John was given the privilege of revealing the prophecies of Jesus Christ throughout the book of Revelation to enable us to see a clear vision of the coming Kingdom of God.

The New Testament revealed God's plan to use the Church to evangelize the world and call out a remnant of people to salvation in the name of Christ. The Church, by fulfilling Christ's command to go "into all the world, and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15), has led hundreds of millions of souls to repentance and prepares the world for the coming kingdom of God. It would take another complete book to explore the events involving the Great Commission of His Church that have been fulfilled during the last two thousand years as the Gospel has been effectively "preached in all the world." However, the focus of this book is the prophetic truth concerning the Second Coming and the kingdom of God.

Mark 16:15

15 And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race]. AMP

In a sense, the Church is designed for the present age of God's grace and Christ's offer of salvation to all those who will repent. However, the coming kingdom of God belongs to the future when Jesus Christ will return to earth to defeat the Gentile world empires and establish His righteous kingdom forever. When the kingdom of God arrives with the return of the Messiah, the Church of Christ will have completed its historical task of taking the gospel of salvation to the nations and calling out a remnant from all nations who will repent and be saved. Then the resurrected saints of the Church will take their promised exalted place as the "kings and priests" with Christ reigning over the billions of Jews and Gentiles that compose the worldwide kingdom of God ruled by His Messiah: "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).

Revelation 5:10

10 And You have made them a kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they shall reign [as kings] over the earth! [Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 61:6.] AMP

The evidence is overwhelming that the Old Testament prophets understood that God intended to establish a literal kingdom on earth under the rule of the Messiah. The word kingdom is used 342 times throughout the entire Scriptures, appearing 127 times in the Gospels alone. The phrase "kingdom of God" appears 68 times, and "kingdom of heaven" is found 31 times. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and prophesied that Jesus will rule the kingdom from "the throne of his father David." The prophecy of Gabriel declares, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32-33).

Luke 1:32-33

32 He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David,

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end. [Isaiah 9:6,7; Daniel 2:44.] AMP

The Jews, both His followers and enemies, affirmed that Jesus came as their king. For example, when Jesus was born, the Magi came to King Herod in Jerusalem and asked, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2). Note that Herod's officials did not dispute their expectation that the Messiah, the "King of the Jews" should be born at that time. In fact, they immediately directed the Magi to Bethleham, the city of David where Micah had prophesied the Messiah would be born (Micah 5:2). During Jesus' trial, Matthew declares that Jesus accepted the title "king of the Jews." "And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest" (Matthew 27:11). Mark recorded that a sign reading "King of the Jews" was placed on the Cross above Christ's head (Mark 15:26).

Matthew 2:2

2 Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east at its rising and have come to worship Him. [Numbers 24:17; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 9:9.] AMP

Micah 5:2

2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, you are little to be among the clans of Judah; [yet] out of you shall One come forth for Me Who is to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from ancient days (eternity). [Genesis 49:10; Matthew 2:5-12; John 7:42.] AMP

Matthew 27:11

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor [Pilate], and the governor asked Him, Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus said to him, You have stated [the fact]. AMP

Mark 15:26

26 And the inscription of the accusation against Him was written above, The King of the Jews. AMP

Critics of the belief in a premillennial return of Christ have often argued that Jesus did not teach that this kingdom was literal but that He taught the kingdom was only spiritual. However, the evidence is overwhelming that the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament followers of Christ believed in a literal kingdom on earth. If, as the critics argue, all of these individuals were mistaken in their understanding of this kingdom, then it is inconceivable that Jesus and His inspired apostles would have failed to correct their mistake on such a fundamentally important topic.

A careful analysis of the Gospels reveals numerous occasions when Christ immediately corrected His disciples from their mistaken belief or misunderstanding of some other issue or doctrine. For example, when Lazarus died, Jesus' disciples misunderstood His words. Jesus "saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well" (John 11:11-12). Immediately Jesus corrected their mistaken notion that Lazarus was only sleeping, "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead" (John 11:14). On another occasion Jesus warned them of the false doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees by saying, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). When the disciples misunderstood His words as if He spoke about real leaven and bread, Jesus immediately corrected their mistake. "Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:12).

John 11:11-12

11 He said these things, and then added, Our friend Lazarus is at rest and sleeping; but I am going there that I may awaken him out of his sleep.

12 The disciples answered, Lord, if he is sleeping, he will recover. AMP

John 11:14

14 So then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus is dead, AMP

Matthew 16:6

6 Jesus said to them, Be careful and on your guard against the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. AMP

Matthew 16:12

12 Then they discerned that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. AMP

Yet, Jesus never once challenged His disciples' repeated comments that revealed their belief in a literal coming kingdom. An example is found in the first chapter of Acts, which recorded Christ's teaching to His disciples following His resurrection. "They asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:6-7). Jesus affirms that knowledge of the precise timing of the future establishment of His kingdom is retained solely by God. If the Kingdom was not literal, but only spiritual, this would have provided the perfect opportunity to clarify the issue. However, He did not tell His disciples that their expectation regarding the setting up of a literal kingdom of God on earth was incorrect.

Acts 1:6-7

6 So when they were assembled, they asked Him, Lord, is this the time when You will reestablish the kingdom and restore it to Israel?

7 He said to them, It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings [the things and events of time and their definite periods] or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time), which the Father has appointed (fixed and reserved) by His own choice and authority and personal power. AMP

If the Lord wanted us to understand that the kingdom of God was purely spiritual and not a literal future kingdom, it is hard to explain why He repeatedly inspired His prophets and apostles to write about the kingdom in such literal and material language that was bound to convince readers of the real nature of the coming kingdom. If language is used meaningfully and purposefully in the Word of God, then the clear intent of the Lord is to teach us to expect a real kingdom of God. When you carefully examine the criticism of the preterists and amillennialists against the literal kingdom of God, you discover that many of them are emotionally uncomfortable with the concept of a real and earthly kingdom, as if this was too "material" or "carnal" for their liking. However, the real question for those who acknowledge that God alone is qualified to determine the proper nature of His future kingdom is this: Is the earthly kingdom of God taught clearly by Christ and the prophets in the Scriptures? If the answer is yes, then those who are faithful to His Word must acknowledge that the Lord intends to establish His real Kingdom of God on earth to complement His heaven above.

In considering the question as to whether the kingdom is material or spiritual in nature, let's look at the Scriptures that describe the characteristics of this kingdom:

The kingdom will be ruled forever by Jesus Christ as king: "And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33).

Luke 1:33

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end. [Isaiah 9:6,7; Daniel 2:44.] AMP

The king will rule "upon the throne of David" (Isaiah 9:7).

Isaiah 9:7

7 Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. [Daniel 2:44; 1 Corinthians 15:25-28; Hebrews 1:8.] AMP

The kingdom will be ruled "with judgment and with justice" (Isaiah 9:7).

It has a real government: "The government shall be upon his shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6).

Isaiah 9:6

6 For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 25:1; 40:9-11; Matthew 28:18; Luke 2:11.] AMP

Jesus' disciples will administer the land of Israel: "Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matthew 19:28).

Matthew 19:28

28 Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, in the new age [the Messianic rebirth of the world], when the Son of Man shall sit down on the throne of His glory, you who have [become My disciples, sided with My party and] followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. AMP

The faithful servants of Christ will administer cities of the kingdom: "Have thou authority over ten cities" (Luke 19:17).

Luke 19:17

17 And he said to him, Well done, excellent bond servant! Because you have been faithful and trustworthy in a very little [thing], you shall have authority over ten cities. AMP

The saints will rule and reign with the Messiah during the Millennium and "shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

Revelation 20:6

6 Blessed (happy, to be envied) and holy (spiritually whole, of unimpaired innocence and proved virtue) is the person who takes part (shares) in the first resurrection! Over them the second death exerts no power or authority, but they shall be ministers of God and of Christ (the Messiah), and they shall rule along with Him a thousand years. AMP

The saints will continue to reign with Christ forever in the kingdom in the New Earth: "They shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 22:5).

Revelation 22:5

5 And there shall be no more night; they have no need for lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will illuminate them and be their light, and they shall reign [as kings] forever and ever (through the eternities of the eternities). AMP

The kingdom will be ruled from the city of Jerusalem: "The Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 24:23).

Isaiah 24:23

23 Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, when [they compare their ineffectual fire to the light of] the Lord of hosts, Who will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His elders will show forth His glory. AMP

The kingdom will govern territory: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth" (Psalms 72:8).

Psalms 72:8

8 He [Christ] shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth. [Zechariah 14:9.] AMP

The Kingdom of God will appear in the future at the dramatic and public Second Coming of Christ, which the whole world will observe as Jesus announced to His disciples during the Olivet discourse:

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. . . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:27,29-30)

Matthew 24:27-30

27 For just as the lightning flashes from the east and shines and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

28 Wherever there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together. [Job 39:30.]

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. [Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:10,11; Zephaniah 1:15.]

30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and beat their breasts and lament in anguish, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliancy and splendor]. [Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:7.] AMP

All of the covenant prophecies and promises that God made with Abraham and His descendants - including the kingdom promises to David, Solomon, and all the prophets - will finally be realized during the millennial kingdom and the New Earth that will follow. These divine promises of peace, justice, prosperity, and eternal blessings for Israel and the Gentile nations will be fulfilled when Jesus Christ establishes His messianic throne in Jerusalem. In addition to these material promises, the Lord also promised a new spiritual covenant with Israel in which He would give them "a new heart," including the forgiveness of their sins and the divine empowering by the Holy Spirit of all the righteous inhabitants of the renewed nation. The prophet Ezekiel declared, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). This promised eternal kingdom of God will fulfill all of the hopes and dreams of the Chosen People forever. Zechariah and the other prophets affirm that all of the surviving Gentiles and their descendents will participate in these millennial kingdom promises as well.

Ezekiel 36:26

26 A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. AMP

Most Christians who accept the scriptural truth about the literal Millennium have unfortunately concluded that the Kingdom of Christ will only exist for a period of one thousand years. However, the Scriptures teach that Christ's Kingdom on earth and in heaven will be eternal. The Millennium will simply form the first chapter or portion in the eternal plan of God for humanity's future in the coming kingdom of Christ. Every one of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming kingdom of God are unlimited in duration. The apostle John was given a unique prophetic revelation of this initial period of Christ's rule that will last one thousand years. To emphasize its literal reality, the one-thousand-year duration of this initial period of Christ's kingdom is repeated six times in Revelation 20. John prophesied a number of specific events that would define this period of time. However, it is a fundamental error to believe that all of the Bible's many promises of the kingdom of God could ever be fulfilled in such a short period of time as one thousand years. The Old and New Testaments prophesy that the kingdom of God will truly commence with the Coming of the Messiah to usher in the millennial Kingdom and that it will continue forever.

Revelation 20:1-21:1

20:1 THEN I saw an angel descending from heaven; he was holding the key of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and a great chain was in his hand.

2 And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that old serpent [of primeval times], who is the devil and Satan, and [securely] bound him for a thousand years.

3 Then he hurled him into the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and closed it and sealed it above him, so that he should no longer lead astray and deceive and seduce the nations until the thousand years were at an end. After that he must be liberated for a short time.

4 Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted. Also I saw the souls of those who had been slain with axes [beheaded] for their witnessing to Jesus and [for preaching and testifying] for the Word of God, and who had refused to pay homage to the beast or his statue and had not accepted his mark or permitted it to be stamped on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived again and ruled with Christ (the Messiah) a thousand years. [Daniel 7:9,22,27.]

5 The remainder of the dead were not restored to life again until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

6 Blessed (happy, to be envied) and holy (spiritually whole, of unimpaired innocence and proved virtue) is the person who takes part (shares) in the first resurrection! Over them the second death exerts no power or authority, but they shall be ministers of God and of Christ (the Messiah), and they shall rule along with Him a thousand years.

7 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his place of confinement,

8 And he will go forth to deceive and seduce and lead astray the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth Gog and Magog to muster them for war; their number is like the sand of the sea. [Ezekiel 38:2,9,15,22.]

9 And they swarmed up over the broad plain of the earth and encircled the fortress (camp) of God's people (the saints) and the beloved city; but fire descended from heaven and consumed them. [2 Kings 1:10-12; Ezekiel 38:2,22.]

10 Then the devil who had led them astray [deceiving and seducing them] was hurled into the fiery lake of burning brimstone, where the beast and false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (through the ages of the ages).

11 Then I saw a great white throne and the One Who was seated upon it, from Whose presence and from the sight of Whose face earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.

12 I [also] saw the dead, great and small; they stood before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done [their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors] in accordance with what was recorded in the books.

13 And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades ( the state of death or disembodied existence) surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done [according to their motives, aims, and works].

14 Then death and Hades ( the state of death or disembodied existence) were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

15 And if anyone's [name] was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire. AMP

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled." (Revelation 20:1-3)

Revelation 20:1-3

20:1 THEN I saw an angel descending from heaven; he was holding the key of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and a great chain was in his hand.

2 And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that old serpent [of primeval times], who is the devil and Satan, and [securely] bound him for a thousand years.

3 Then he hurled him into the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and closed it and sealed it above him, so that he should no longer lead astray and deceive and seduce the nations until the thousand years were at an end. After that he must be liberated for a short time. AMP

After Adam and Eve sinned against God, Satan received the dominion of this world from Adam and became "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4) and "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). Christ will defeat Satan at His triumphant return at the Battle of Armageddon, and He will cast him into the bottomless pit for a thousand years. When the millennial kingdom begins, Jesus Christ will rule throughout this world in righteousness and justice. Humanity will still be tested as to obedience during this thousand-year period as they will live under the righteous government of Jesus Christ, but Satan cannot tempt them. Any sin will be dealt with judicially by Christ; John foretold that "she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron" (Revelation 12:5). Even in this ideal spiritual condition, the Bible foretells that many of the people who survive Armageddon will fail this final test of obedience.

2 Corinthians 4:4

4 For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers' minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God. AMP

Ephesians 2:2

2 In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. AMP

Revelation 12:5

5 And she brought forth a male Child, One Who is destined to shepherd (rule) all the nations with an iron staff (scepter), and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne. [Psalms 2:8,9; 110:1,2.] AMP

When the Millennium is almost concluded, Satan will be released from his imprisonment in the bottomless pit and set free for "a little season" (Revelation 20:3). During this time, Satan will gather a multitude of the sinful rebels of all nations throughout the earth to join in a last desperate attempt to defeat Christ in a great battle against "the beloved city" Jerusalem (Revelation 20:9). Satan will finally be defeated by Jesus Christ and will be sent to the "lake of fire" forever. John prophesies in the Apocalypse that God will renew the earth and the heavens with fire from heaven following His victory over Satan's final rebellion. In a similar manner, as God cleansed the earth from the pollution of sin with a great worldwide flood during the days of Noah, Christ will cleanse the earth and heaven from the pollution of sin with fire. Then the eternal kingdom of God, with Israel and the surviving Gentile nations, will continue throughout eternity to enjoy the blessings of God under the direct rule of Jesus the Messiah and the righteous saints of the resurrected Church acting as holy "priest-kings" of His divine kingdom.

Revelation 20:3

3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he would be released again for a little while. NLT

Revelation 20:9

9 And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God's people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. NLT

Numerous passages throughout the Word of God confirm that God's plan is that the earth and His kingdom will endure forever. For example, the first book of the Bible, Genesis, reveals God's promise to Noah following the Flood that He would establish His unbreakable "everlasting covenant" with humanity and "every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth" to never again "destroy all flesh" (Genesis 9:15-16). King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes the following statement: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever" (Ecclesiastes 1:4). His father, King David, wrote the following statement affirming the eternal nature of God's creation: "They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. . . . His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen" (Psalms 72:5,17-19). David also wrote: "And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever" (Psalms 78:69). In another passage David spoke of the Lord God as the Creator, "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever" (Psalms 104:5).

Genesis 9:15-16

15 I will [earnestly] remember My covenant or solemn pledge which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy and make all flesh corrupt.

16 When the bow [rainbow] is in the clouds and I look upon it, I will [earnestly] remember the everlasting covenant or pledge between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. AMP

Ecclesiastes 1:4

4 One generation goes and another generation comes, but the earth remains forever. [Psalms 119:90.] AMP

Psalms 72:5

5 So that they may revere and fear You while the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. AMP

Psalms 72:17-19

17 His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun [indeed, His name continues before the sun]. And men shall be blessed and bless themselves by Him; all nations shall call Him blessed!

18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who alone does wondrous things!

19 Blessed be His glorious name forever; let the whole earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen! AMP

Psalms 78:69

69 And He built His sanctuary [exalted] like the heights [of the heavens] and like the earth which He established forever. AMP

Psalms 104:5

5 You laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever. [Job 38:4,6.] AMP

These passages confirm that God will redeem the earth from the curse of evil after the Millennium. The renovated and sinless earth will continue forever as part of the eternal kingdom of God. Many Christians have misunderstood the scriptural references to the New Earth as if they taught that God would annihilate His original creation and replace it with a newly created New Earth. However, the numerous passages quoted above demonstrate that God created the original earth to exist forever as part of the eternal kingdom of God. When we examine the passages in the Bible that deal with the New Earth we find that the Lord plans to renovate the surface of the earth with fire similar to the renovation of the pre-Flood earth with water during the days of Noah. While the surface of the earth was transformed by the actions of the water, the original earth remained. Similarly, God will purge the earth with fire following Satan's final rebellion at the end of the thousand-year Millennium and present humanity with a New Earth cleansed of the pollution and remnants of humanity's sinful rebellion.

If this interpretation is correct, then the burning of the earth must be confined to the surface of the planet as occurred during the biblical Flood. The apostle John wrote: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away" (Revelation 21:1). The Greek word used in this passage Parerchomai indicates something that is transformed from one condition into another, but the word does not suggest the annihilation and replacement by something completely new and different. The words of Revelation 21:1 do not prophesy the annihilation of the existing heaven and earth but rather declare that they "passed away." Just as "the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water" (2 Peter 3:6) in the days of Noah, the present earth will be burnt with fire after the Millennium. While the ancient pre-Flood world "perished," the planet earth survived to be renovated following the Deluge. Similarly, God's plan for "the restitution of all things" will renovate His earthly creation into a holy and eternal kingdom of God on earth and in heaven. The inspired promise of God was recorded by Luke in the book of Acts: "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21).

Revelation 21:1

21:1 THEN I saw a new sky (heaven) and a new earth, for the former sky and the former earth had passed away (vanished), and there no longer existed any sea. [Isaiah 65:17; 66:22.] AMP

2 Peter 3:6

6 Through which the world that then [existed] was deluged with water and perished. [Genesis 1:6-8; 7:11.] AMP

Acts 3:21

21 Whom heaven must receive [and retain] until the time for the complete restoration of all that God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets for ages past [from the most ancient time in the memory of man]. AMP

All of the Gentile nations, as well as Israel, will witness the coming glory of God when Jesus Christ returns from heaven at the Battle of Armageddon. Christ's glorious return will demonstrate both His humanity and His divinity. He will demonstrate His multiple roles as Judge, King, Teacher, Shepherd, and the promised Redeemer of humanity in the sight of all men. As the true "son of David," Jesus will finally take His rightful place as King of kings upon the throne of David. Jesus is truly both perfect man and perfect God. Christ will show His righteousness, holiness, mercy, and goodness as He rules the planet. He will then receive the full and worthy worship of all humanity and fulfill each of the remaining prophecies of the Old Testament. A perfect and just peace will issue forth from Jerusalem, "the City of Peace," because the Prince of Peace will rule humanity with holiness and justice forever.

The problem many scholars face when they consider the prophecies about this real millennial kingdom is similar to the problem faced by the Jews during the lifetime of Jesus. Many Jews truly believed that God would send His Messiah to the earth at that precise time in history based on the clear prophecies of Daniel. However, when Jesus actually stood before the Jewish religious leaders as the promised Messiah in the flesh, many of them had a very difficult time accepting His physical reality. The tremendous truth that God had revealed Himself to man in the form of "the Son of Man" with a "real" material body was very shocking to the Jews.

The same difficulty is paralleled in some measure by many scholars today as they contemplate the reality of both heaven and the millennial kingdom. The prophesied kingdom of Christ will be visible and concrete, yet it is at the same time spiritual in its context. The concept of a totally material and natural kingdom, divorced from the spiritual, is obviously unscriptural. However, the alternative suggested by some scholars of a purely spiritual kingdom, without any tangible, earthly, and material element, is contradicted by the plain declarations of many passages in the Word of God. Christ has promised in the clearest language possible that He will establish His kingdom of righteousness on this earth.

God's Holy Spirit will be poured out on Israel as well as the Gentile nations and will transform humanity forever: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days I will pour out my spirit" (Joel 2:28-29). The Lord gave His Church the divine power of His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, spiritually giving birth to and empowering the Church of Christ almost two thousand years ago. However, this supernatural empowerment of the Spirit was only the foretaste of the coming millennial kingdom, in which the spirits of all natural men and women who are believers will be eternally renewed by the Holy Spirit of God. The transforming power of the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself in the glorious praise, joy, and worship of the saints forever. The emotional, social, and religious barriers that separate believers today will be removed forever by the divine supernatural unity and fellowship of God's Holy Spirit. When the Lord pours out His Spirit upon the Chosen People of Israel, their hearts will overflow with the joy of a bride who finally sees her bridegroom. The Gentile nations will also bask in the great blessings granted to Israel. All of the redeemed will share in the glory of Christ's kingdom.

Joel 2:28-29

28 And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

29 Even upon the menservants and upon the maidservants in those days will I pour out My Spirit. AMP

The Scriptures reveal that one of the greatest blessings that will flow from the millennial kingdom will be a true and lasting world peace. For the first time in human history, soldiers will truly lay down their weapons. They will be secure in the knowledge that their nations, homes, and families are safe at last. The prophet Micah prophesied that "he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Micah 4:3).

Micah 4:3

3 And He shall judge between many peoples and shall decide for strong nations afar off, 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 any more. [Isaiah 2:2-4; Joel 3:10.] AMP

It appears that Micah may be referring to the enormous release of financial, scientific, material, and human resources from the task of war, which will then be utilized to meet the real needs of humanity. Almost one trillion dollars is spent annually on the military around the world. The allocation of such presently unimaginable sums of money for the use of all people will allow us to solve many of the greatest problems facing us today. Today, we cannot find the funds to provide for the homeless on the streets of our cities, or feed the starving millions throughout the Third World. It is a sad indictment on our national priorities that such enormous funds are available for weapons of war but not for the truly needy in our societies. After the global devastation during the Great Tribulation and the cataclysmic Battle of Armageddon, the cities and infastructure of our planet will need to be rebuilt. Then, finally, all of the energies of this incredibly productive world can be turned to achieve something positive: the rebuilding of the planet's environment and the feeding of its precious children.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if we were living today in the millennial Kingdom of God? There would be no need for locks on our doors and security systems in our homes to protect our innocent children and ourselves. When the Millennium is introduced by the dramatic return of Jesus Christ, the life of every single human will be transformed forever when the influence of Satan will be eliminated from our planet as the devil is confined to the bottomless pit for a thousand years. For the first time in the history of humanity, we will be able to live without the threat of violence, without fear of constant hunger and devastating plagues and disease, without the ever-present threat of death of our loved ones.

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, will create a just society for all of humanity. Some Christian writers have imagined that the verses that promise that the Church will "reign and rule" suggest that Christ will passively rule the earth from His throne. However, when you consider the practical nature of God's plan and the enormous number of resurrected saints who will be available, it is probable that resurrected Christians shall provide millennial leadership in a multitude of roles, including government. The greatest adventure we could ever imagine awaits us in the coming kingdom of Christ.

The curse of sin, and the resulting judgment that God placed upon the earth following the sin of Adam and Eve, will finally be lifted when the kingdom of God is established during the coming Millennium. The deserts will blossom and the earth will produce abundantly under the blessing of God. The prophet Isaiah foretold that all sickness would be eliminated (Isaiah 33:24). All of the deaf and the blind will be cured as Christ heals people in the future millennial kingdom. Even the devastated land of Lebanon shall become a fruitful and productive nation when the Messiah renews the earth from the curse of sin. "Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness" (Isaiah 29:17-18).

Isaiah 33:24

24 And no inhabitant [of Zion] will say, I am sick; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity and guilt. AMP

Isaiah 29:17-18

17 Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field and the fruitful field esteemed as a forest?

18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and out of obscurity and gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. AMP

Triumphant Return by Grant R. Jeffrey