Thursday, April 25, 2013

God's Mercy Extends Beyond Our Shortcomings

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Jesus’ life and death left a perfect example for us to follow. As Christians we tend to beat ourselves up when we fall short. Every day we fall short. Be comforted that God’s mercy extends beyond our shortcomings.
Here’s a biblical illustration: In 2 Chronicles, King Hezekiah reinstated Passover observance and true worship after the kingdom of Judah had been led into idol worship by many evil kings. King Hezekiah sent invitations to those who were left from the nation of Israel after captivity in Assyria. It says, “There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son” (2 Chronicles 30:26, New Living Translation).
What a joyous occasion! Judah and a few of the remnant of Israel would celebrate the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. The commanded Feasts of the Lord would again be observed in Jerusalem. Yet we see in verse 18 that some of those who traveled down from Israel had not properly cleansed themselves. They were not fit to eat the Passover. The law was clear as to what needed to be done, and they had not fulfilled it.
Hezekiah prayed to our merciful Father and asked that God would atone for the people who had not properly purified themselves. But he didn’t just ask for blanket mercy for the people. Hezekiah prayed for the people on a condition: “May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God , the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary” (emphasis added).
God listened to Hezekiah and atoned for the people (vs. 20). And God did it for them because they had prepared their hearts to seek Him. Many view God in the Old Testament as harsh and swift to punish. But here we see God’s abundant mercy. The people, according to the law, should not have eaten the Passover. But God’s grace and love for us allowed them to eat the Passover.
The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:27-28; that we should examine ourselves before we partake of the Lord's Supper. God, from the beginning, has always looked at the heart of a person. The mercy that God showed to the people of Israel is completely consistent with what he expects of us today as Christians. God considered their hearts.
We serve a loving God that wants us to be in soon coming Kingdom, as co-rulers and co-inheritors with the lord Messiah Jesus. When our hearts are in the right place and we submit ourselves in obedience, God’s mercy will always extend beyond our shortcomings.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Jews in Prophecy

The panorama of prophecy that relates to the Jews is breathtaking. It applies to the past, the present, and the future. It demonstrates God's love and grace as nothing else does except the Cross itself.

Paul was so overwhelmed by God's patient determination to bring a remnant of the Jews to salvation that he cried out in ecstasy: "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Romans 11:33).

Let's take a look at the incredible prophecies that pertain to the Jewish people, and let's begin with the prophecies that have already been fulfilled.

Fulfilled Prophecies

1) Dispersion — The Jews were warned repeatedly that they would be dispersed worldwide if they were not faithful to their covenant with God. Consider the words of Moses: "The Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other..." (Deuteronomy 28:64; see also Leviticus 26:33).

2) Persecution — The Lord also warned the Jews that they would be persecuted wherever they went. Again, the words of Moses are graphic in this regard: "And among those nations you shall find no rest, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul" (Deuteronomy 28:65).

3) Desolation — God promised that after their dispersion, their land would become "desolate" and their cities would become "waste" (Leviticus 26:33). Moses put it more graphically when he said, "the foreigner who comes from a distant land...will say, 'All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it'" (Deuteronomy 29:22-23).

4) Preservation — But God in His marvelous grace promised He would preserve the Jews as a separate people during their worldwide wanderings. (See Isaiah 66:22; Jeremiah 30:11; 31:35-37.) Isaiah puts it in a colorful way. He says the Lord could no more forget Israel than a mother could forget her nursing child (Isaiah 49:15). He then adds that God cannot forget Israel because He has them tattooed on the palms of His hands! (Isaiah 49:16).

God has fulfilled all four of these prophecies during the past 2,000 years. In 70 A.D. the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem and took the Jewish nation into captivity, desolating the land and scattering the Jewish people across the face of the earth. As prophesied, everywhere they went they were persecuted, with their persecution culminating in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.

But God also preserved the Jews, and the fulfillment of this prophecy has been one of the most remarkable miracles of history. No other people have ever been so dispersed and yet been able to retain their identity as a nation.

Current Prophecies

We are privileged to live in an age when God is fulfilling many promises to the Jews. What a testimony this is to the fact that God is alive and well, that God is on His throne and in control, and that God is faithful to His promises.

1) Regathering — The Old Testament prophets promise repeatedly that the day will come when God will regather the Jews to Palestine (see Isaiah 11:10-12 and Ezekiel 36:22-28). This remarkable regathering of the Jews from the four corners of the earth has occurred in our life time. World War I prepared the land for the people as the control of Palestine was transferred from a nation that hated the Jews (the Turks) to a nation that was sympathetic to their return (Britain). The Holocaust of World War II prepared the people for the land by motivating them to return.

2) Nationhood — The prophets stated that when the people were regathered, the nation of Israel would be re-established. This occurred on May 14, 1948 (see Isaiah 66:7-8; Zechariah 12:3-6). This is the cornerstone prophetic event of our age. It is an event that prophetic scholars have pointed to for 400 years amid much scoffing and ridicule by those who did not believe that Israel would ever exist again as a nation.

3) Reclamation — God promised that with the re-establishment of the nation, the land would bloom again (Isaiah 35:1-7; Joel 2:21-26). As Ezekiel put it, people would one day exclaim: "This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden!" (Ezekiel 36:35). And that is exactly what people exclaim today when they visit Israel, for it is once again a land of milk and honey. Over 300 million trees have been planted in this century. Rainfall has increased 450 percent. The former malaria infested swamps have been converted into cultivated land. Water from the Sea of Galilee has been channeled to the deserts, causing them to bloom.

4) Language — When the Jews were scattered worldwide in the first century, they ceased speaking the Hebrew language. The Jews who settled in Europe developed a language called Yiddish (a combination of Hebrew and German). The Jews in the Mediterranean basin mixed Hebrew with Spanish to produce a language called Ladino. The prophet Zephaniah implied a time would come when the Hebrew language would be revived (Zephaniah 3:9). It has been. Today the Israelis speak Biblical Hebrew. It is the only example in history of the resurrection of a dead language. The man God used to revive the language was Eliezer Ben Yehuda (1858-1922).

5) Jerusalem — Jesus said that one of the surest signs of His imminent return would be the re-occupation of Jerusalem by the Jews (Luke 21:24). This occurred during the Six Day War in June 1967.

6) Military Strength — Zechariah prophesied that when the Jews were re-established in the land, their military strength would be overwhelming — like "a flaming torch among sheaves" — and that they would "consume" all the peoples around them (Zechariah 12:6). Need anything be said about the fulfillment if this prophecy?

7) Focal Point — Israel is always pictured as the focal point of world politics in the end times (Zechariah 12:3; 14:1-9). This has been true since the Arab oil boycott in 1973. The West suddenly realized its dependence on Arab oil and began to line up behind the Arab obsession to annihilate Israel.

Future Prophecies

1) Tribulation — God will put the Jewish people through an unparalleled period of tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30), during which two-thirds of the Jews will perish (Zechariah 13:8-9). The purpose will be to soften the hearts of a remnant so that they will accept Jesus as their Messiah.

2) Salvation — A remnant of the Jews will "look upon Him whom they have pierced" and will accept Him as Lord and Savior (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:1-6,25-29).

3) Primacy — God will then regather all the believing Jews to Israel where they will be established as the prime nation in the world during the millennial reign of Jesus. (See Deuteronomy 28:1,13; 2 Samuel 7:9; Isaiah 60-62; Micah 4:1-7.)

God's Infinite Love

God set the Jews aside and put them under discipline because of their disobedience, but He did not cut them off from His grace.

He intends to bring His wayward wife home: "For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince... Afterward, the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God... and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days." (Hosea 3:4-5)

The loving kindness and faithfulness of God in keeping His promises to the Jewish people should be a source of encouragement to all Christians. As we watch God fulfill promises which He made to the Jewish people thousands of years ago, we can be absolutely certain that He will be faithful to fulfill all the promises He has made to the Congregation of God - the Israel of God.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Fig Tree Has Budded

We observe that Israel was a dried tree for about 1900 years and then miraculously the branch put forth leaves in one day on May 14, 1948.

Note: Rabbi Menachem Kohen of Brooklyn discovered that the land of Israel “suffered an unprecedented, severe and inexplicable (by anything other than supernatural explanations) drought that lasted from the first century until the 20th; a period of 1,800 years coinciding with the forced dispersion of the Jews.”

Journalist Joseph Farah, prompted by the research of Rabbi Kohen, later discovered that only after the Jews returned did the rain begin to come.

When one examines the rainfall data for 150 years in Israel beginning in the early 1800s and leading up to the 1960s. What one finds is astonishing; increasing rainfall almost every single year; with the heaviest rainfall coming in and around 1948, when Israel became a nation and 1967, the year when the Israeli forces captured Jerusalem.

For 1,800 years, it hardly ever rained in Israel. It was the barren land as Mark Twain discovered . So-called “Palestine” was a wasteland; nobody lived there. There was no indigenous Arab population to speak of. They came after the Jews came back. Beginning in A.D. 70 and lasting until the early 1900s;  about 660,000 days; almost no rain.

Jesus told us that when this happens his return is at the doors. He said that the generation that saw this would by no means pass away. A generation is the lifetime of a person and that is on average between seventy or eighty years. Thus, according to the above considerations we could write out our equation in the following manner:

1948 + 70 ≈ 2018
OR if by reason of strength
1948 + 80 ≈ 2028

The parable of the fig tree was the answer to the disciples’ original question at the beginning of the chapter:

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24: 3).

The observant student of scripture has noted that this reference to when the end of the age will be is in seeming contradiction to Jesus’ own words in Acts 1:6-8.

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And he said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,’ (Acts 1:6-8).

This apparent contradiction is resolved however, when we consider just who Jesus was talking to; the disciples that he was speaking to in Acts were the same men who; only some forty days earlier, he had told what to look for at the end of the age. And the sign that he told them would definitively mark the beginning of the generation that would see the end was nothing less than the fig tree putting forth its branch and becoming tender.

Thus, the solution is the fig tree. They asked a question which he had already answered for them; look for the revival of the fig tree (which Jesus had pronounced cursed).

In other words, there was no point in looking for the end of the age so long as Israel was a dried tree! There was no point in looking for the second coming so long as the fig tree remained cursed (that is: not a nation). Only when it would become tender could the restoration of the kingdom occur.

That is why Jesus told the disciples of what they would receive in the meantime (“but you shall receive power”) and what their task was to be (“and you shall be witnesses to me”) until the revival of the fig tree and ultimately his coming.

Therefore, until the fig tree (Israel) was revived, there would be no restoration of the kingdom to Israel; which is of course only logical: Israel cannot have the kingdom if they do not exist as a national entity (a dried tree). But within a generation (lifetime of a person) of the revival of the fig tree (Israel) the kingdom will be restored in the millennial/messianic era.

Occupy Until He Comes

We have seen that the biblical interpretation of the fig tree is clearly Israel. We have also seen that a generation is the lifetime of a person which according to Psalm 90:10 is generally 70 or 80 years. Whether or not the Lord is required to return within 80 years exactly we obviously cannot be dogmatic. Nevertheless, in light of the incredible accuracy of His first coming, we ought to be persuaded that the above dates are both reasonable and likely.

The Lord’s second coming, therefore, appears to be between 2018 – 2028.

The beginning of the Great Tribulation (subtract seven years) then would most likely commence between 2011 – 2021.

Remember we are to know the times and the seasons, yet Jesus said very literally that the day and the hour no one can know.

The Lord’s second coming between 2018 and 2028 is seemingly the time and the season, but is not predictive of the day or the hour.

In light of the events that are happening in numerous categories (economics, natural disasters, etc.) on a global scale, the Lord’s return within the 80 years from the reestablishment of Israel in 1948 appears almost certain.

Nevertheless, no matter when the Lord returns, occupy until He does and tell others the good news of the gospel. Heed Jesus’ warning:

“Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts may not be loaded down with self-indulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day will take you by surprise like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the earth. So be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to take your stand in the presence of the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 ISV).

Friday, April 12, 2013

How God’s Plan will be Accomplished through His son, Jesus

A prominent feature of Paul’s Christology involves the portrayal of Jesus as the “last Adam”, the counterpart of the “first Adam.

The idea of God’s man as the fulfiller of God’s purpose is a recurring one in the Old Testament; he is the man of Your right hand,… (the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself, so we will not go back from You: make us alive, and we will call upon Your name.  Turn us again, O YHVH God of hosts, cause Your face to shine; and we shall be saved - delivered),  for whose prosperity and victory prayer is offered in Psalm 80:17-19.

When on one man fails to accomplish God’s purpose (as, in measure, all did), God raises up another to take his place - Joshua to replace Moses, David to replace Saul, Elisha to replace Elijah. However, who could take the place of Adam? Only one who was competent to undo the effects of Adam’s sin and become the inauguration of a new humanity. The scriptures; and, and indeed the history of the world; knows of only one man who has the necessary qualifications. Jesus stands forth as ‘the Proper Man, who God Himself has called forth’

For those whom He has put right with God the old solidarity of sin and death, which was theirs in association with the first Adam, has given way to a new solidarity of righteousness and life in association with the ‘last Adam’.

So we understand Adam to be a counterpart or type of Jesus. As death entered the world through Adam’s disobedience, so new life come in through Jesus’ obedience. As Adam’s sin involves his posterity in guilt, so Jesus righteousness is credited to his people.

Adam we know was the first man, but he was more: he was what his name means in Hebrew - ‘mankind’. The whole of mankind is viewed as having existed at first in Adam. Because of his sin, however, Adam is mankind in alienation from God. The whole of mankind is viewed as having originally sinned in Adam.

So we see that through the lord Jesus the Messiah a new creation has come to birth; the old ‘Adam solidarity’ of sin and death has been broken up to be replaced by the new Jesus solidarity of grace and life. However there is an overlap between the two. ‘As in Adam all die’ applies in the physical realm to believers just as much as ‘even so in Jesus shall all be made alive’ does, so long as this mortal life endures. But here and now they do have the assurance that because they are ‘in the Messiah Jesus’ they will indeed ‘be made alive’, because here and now through faith in him they have received from God that justification [not guilty verdict] which brings life in its train.

The obedience of the Messiah Jesus to which his people owe their justification [not guilty verdict] and hope of new age life is not to be confined to his death. His death is viewed as the crown and culmination of that ’active obedience’ which characterized his life throughout its course. It was a perfectly righteous life that he offered in death on his people’s behalf. That righteous life in itself would not have met their need had he not carried his obedience to the point of death, ‘even the death on the stake’; but neither would his death have met their need had the life which he thus offered up not been a perfect life. See Isaiah 53:11... ‘by his knowledge shall My righteous servant make many righteous; for he shall bear their iniquities’.

So we see that if the fall of Adam brought all his descendents under the dominion of death, the obedience of the Jesus has brought a new race triumphantly into the realm of grace and life.

In Genesis 3, we see that by one man - Adam - sin entered into the world, and once sin entered into the world death followed, and death spread to all mankind because all men/woman sinned, that is to say in, Adam. It is not simply because Adam is the ancestor of mankind that all are said to have sinned in his sin, it is because Adam is mankind.

We understand from the scriptures that Adam was ‘the figure of him that was to come’, that is Adam, the first man, is a counterpart of ‘type’ of Jesus, who is referred to in scripture as ‘the last Adam’ and ‘the second Man’ 1 Cor:15:45,47). It is noteworthy that the only Old Testament character to be called explicitly a ‘type’ of Jesus in the New Testament is Adam. Jesus replaces the first man as the archetype and representative of a new humanity, even as Adam was the Federal head of all mankind, Jesus is the beginning of the new creation of God and those in him are under a new Federal head Jesus, as members of a new humanity.

Member of the new humanity having yielded their lives to the risen Messiah Jesus and the power of his Spirit working in them and through them are as a result being radically transformed; becoming new creations. They receive a new nature which delights to produce spontaneously the fruit of the Spirit - Jesus, whose graces are manifested in their striving to become perfect, even a Jesus the Messiah.

What is I written has been quoted from “The Epistle of Paul to the Romans’ by F.F. Bruce - part of the Tyndale New Testament  Commentaries. I have edited throughout where it seemed good to do so.

I cannot recommend "The Epistles of Paul to the Romans" by F.F. Bruce highly enough. If you don't have this book as part of your regular study then you are missing out on a great opportunity to know more about how we as believers are to live in this sick and dying age, with the constant motivation to have a part in the new age coming as members of the congregation of God.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A World View Of Messianic Believers

Who are we?

We are "in the Messiah", identified solely by our confession and faith/belief in him as the risen lord. We are the new covenant people, the Torah-fulfilling people, the worldwide family promised to Abraham by the One True God. We both believing Jews and Gentiles have been grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel and now constitute the true Israel of the living God - YHVH.

Where are we?

In the good creation of the One True God; a creation groaning in travail as a result of the failure of Adam to accomplish what he was created to become, as a result the creation is awaiting its own liberation from decay, but is already under the lordship of the risen and ascended Messiah.

What is wrong?

The world, and we ourselves, are not yet redeemed as we will be when we are resurrected. Most people in the world, Gentiles and Jews alike, remain ignorant of what Israel's God has done in Jesus the Messiah.

What's the solution?

In the long term, the Creator's great act of new creaton, through which the cosmos itself will be liberated, true justice and peace will triumph over all enemies, all the righteous will be raised from the dead, and believers alive  at the time of Jesus return will be transformed. In the short term, the good new about the soon coming Kingdom of God, Jesus message must be announced to the world, doing its powerful work of challenging, transforming, healing and rescuing, and thus creating "resurrection' people in the metaphorical sense. 

What time is it?

The 'age to come' has been inaugurated, but the 'present age' still continues. We live between resurrection and resurrection, that of Jesus and that of ourselves/ between the victory over death by our Passover Lamb Jesus and the final victory when Jesus 'appears' again.


The basic confession of Messianic faith is that Jesus is lord, and the fundamental belief upon which it is based that the Creator God raised him from among the dead, are the signs that covenant renewal has taken place, and that those who exhibit this faith are its true members and beneficiaries, even if born Gentiles and have never been part of the ethnic family of Israel. For now all Messianic believers Jews and Gentiles have been as a result of their faith in the One whom God has sent been grafted into the Israel of God and will as a result partake in the promises made to Abraham and his 'seed' Jesus the Messiah.

Through baptism in the lord Jesus the Messiah the believer is no longer 'in Adam' no longer 'in the flesh'. The believer still clearly possesses the 'flesh', as we see when Paul warns against living 'according to the flesh'. But Paul increasingly focuses his argument on the 'body', the body which at present is corruptible and doomed to death; and whose 'deeds' can still be aligned with the 'flesh'/ and yet which will be given new life, resurrection life, by the Spirit of the living God - YHVH. As baptised believers in the Messiah Jesus our goal is to look forward to the final resurrection state of the justified, which will mean sharing in the dignity, worth, honour and status that the Messiah's people will enjoy in the coming new age, sharing in the glory of the one who is now the world's true lord and will soon come to exercise that authority over all the nations. So we believers are those who patiently walk through the present wilderness, being led by the equivalent of the pillar of cloud and fire, in other words, by the Spirit of the lord Jesus and in doing so we will receive the 'inheritance' co-rulership and co-inheriting all that the lord Jesus the Messiah will  be given at his return from his God and his Father and ours.

In all of this we see God's righteousness in His faithfulness to the covenant He made with Abraham and David. His resurrection bringing about what God had said He would do - give Abraham a Jew-plus-Gentile family; while at the same time dealing with the universal sin that the Adversary brought about, to try and thwart the divine purpose of God. All this has been brought about by the only descendant of David who has been raised from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God - YHVH, which marks out this Jesus as the 'son' of Israel's God, that is the Messiah. What amazing grace!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Reflection on the Kingdom of God

For the Kingdom of God as Gospel
a class taught by Sir Anthony Buzzard

Jesus said in Luke 11:28, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” But what is this word of God that Jesus speaks of? Ac-cording to the Parable of the Sower, the word of God is the gospel of the kingdom. Our very salvation is dependent on our response to this gospel of the kingdom, which is made clear in Luke’s rendition of the parable of the sower where he says in chapter 8, verse 12: “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” You must believe the word about the kingdom and obey it in order to be saved.

So clearly, this is a message that we must fully understand, so that we can respond to it intelligently. What is the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached about? Is it the same gospel that is being preached in today’s Christian churches?

Tragically, it is not. Most churches today will focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus – but this is only part of the story! The message that Jesus preached was a message about the kingdom of God, a concept firmly rooted in the Old Testament scriptures. He taught about the Messianic king-dom that God would establish on the renewed earth at his second coming. This kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom where Jesus will reign as King, establishing world peace and ruling with justice and righteousness.

Rarely will you ever hear of the kingdom of God in church and even rarer still will you ever hear it preached as Jesus preached it. The church is peddling watered-down gospel, if we can truly call it that, because it is lack-ing the main ingredient of Jesus’ teaching. This is dangerous, because Jesus said we are to obey his word of the kingdom. How are we to obey, if we havn’t heard the gospel of the kingdom? It is impossible.

To make up for the loss of the gospel of the future kingdom of God, the church has adopted a view known as “realized eschatology,” which is the be-lief that the kingdom of God only refers to the present, where Christ reigns in the hearts of believers. They have lost their hope – their hope is no longer in the literal kingdom to be established on the renewed earth at the second coming of Christ. With no future kingdom to look forward to, their hope is heaven – a false hope. Thus it is essential to return to the teachings of the Messiah, our King, and understand them as he understood them – in light of the Old Testament. Only when we do this, will we understand the true gospel and have the opportunity to respond and obey the words of our King.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Kingdom of God and the Restoration of Israel

The restoration of the Kingdom to Israel is the principal theme of the message of the Hebrew prophets. With one voice they look forward to a great day coming when the Messiah, God’s agent, will rule the earth from Jerusalem. No New Testament writer ever doubted this. They do not need to repeat all that the prophets had written. From time to time, however, the New Testament believers refer to a coming time of Restoration (Acts 3:21). In Acts 1:6 the disciples of Jesus ask a final question of their Master. They want to know if the time had now come when God would intervene to restore the Kingdom of God to Israel.

It will be most instructive for the student's of New Testament Christianity to examine the commentaries on Acts 1:6 (quoted immediately below). It is astonishing how this text has been mishandled. So many commentators are strangely critical of the Apostles’ inquiry and unaccountably negative about a restored Israel. The reader may indeed access his/her own sympathy or lack of sympathy for New Testament Christianity by his/her reaction to this verse (Acts 1:6). After their intensive course of personal instruction in Kingdom theology from the Lord, including the crucial six weeks in his company following the Resurrection (Acts 1:3), the disciples are eager to establish one supremely important fact: “Lord, has the time now come for you to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6.)

The question, of course, implies belief in the future establishment of the Messianic Kingdom - God's Theocratic Government on earth, to which all the prophets had looked forward. It was the Kingdom to be restored by the re-gathering of the twelve Tribes of Israel, at the end of the age. The Kingdom was to be administered by Jesus, the apostles and resurrected saints. The Messiah himself had promised the apostles: “In the New Age, when the Son of man sits on the throne of his glory, you too will take up your positions on twelve thrones to rule the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:28).

The enthronement of Jesus and the disciples will occur at the Second Coming: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory..., then he will sit on the throne of his glory” (Matthew 25:31).

In these passages of Scripture we are at the heart of Messianism, a term which is synonymous with Christianity (“Christ” being only the Greek form of the Hebrew “Messiah” — the Anointed King).

Tragically, popular theology is most reluctant to accept the disciples’ question in Acts 1:6 as a valid one. The prevailing opinion is that the disciples were still in ignorance about their Master’s purposes for the future, and this on the eve of their being empowered as the New Testament Church at Pentecost! The spirit of error, it appears, has mounted a theological industry against the simple truth presented to us everywhere in Scripture, that Jesus was the Messiah promised by the Old Testament and that he has ascended to heaven only until the “Restoration of all things, which God has promised through the mouth of the prophets” (Acts 3:21). This restoration implies the re-gathering of the remnant tribes of the nation of Israel. The fiction that all Old Testament prophecy has been fulfilled in the Church, leaving no future of Israel, must be banished, if the Hebrew prophets are to be allowed to speak clearly to our generation.

A theological system which denies the future Kingdom of God on earth denies that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel; and this denial is the spirit of Anti-Christ (i.e. Anti-Messiah) (1 John 2:22).

Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question about the Restoration of Israel (Acts 1:6), which would involve the re-establishment in Jerusalem of the Davidic throne, gives not the slightest hint that the question was based on a misunderstanding (as so many commentaries would have us believe). That the Kingdom will be restored to Israel is assumed by Jesus and also by the apostle Paul: Romans 11:1, 25-27). Acts 1:7 shows that Jesus did not deny the premise of the question. Just when this restoration will take place remains unknown. Jesus had admitted ignorance about the date of his return in glory to establish the Kingdom: “But of that day or that hour no one knows” (Mark 13:32). “It is not for you to know the times and seasons which God has set in His own authority” (Acts 1:7).

The Restoration According to Isaiah

Since Jesus was sent to “confirm the promises made to the Fathers” (Romans 15:8), we must establish what future for Israel had been foreseen. The great prophet Isaiah, who is quoted in the New Testament more frequently than any other OT writer (some 85 times) has left us in no doubt about the divine future for Israel. Though the nation was constantly upbraided for its failure to measure up to its high calling as God’s chosen people to be a light the nations; her final restoration was assured beyond all question. The following survey of the message of Isaiah will put is in touch with the background against which Jesus preached the Good News of the Kingdom: “How the faithful city [Jerusalem] has become a harlot! It was full of judgment; righteousness once lodged in it, but now murderers.... Your princes are rebellious and companions of thieves. Everyone loves bribes and goes after rewards: they do not seek justice for the fatherless, nor consider the cause of the widow” (Isaiah 1:21, 23).

The time will come for God to punish His people for their apostasy, but with a view to refining and rehabilitating them: “I will avenge all my enemies... and I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterwards you will be called the City of Righteousness, the faithful city. Zion will be redeemed with judgment and those who return to God with righteousness” (Isaiah 1:26, 27).

It should be clear that the current condition of Israel, which has largely rejected its Messiah, does not fit the promised description of the Faithful City. But in the days of the Messianic Kingdom all will be changed:

“It will come to pass in the latter days [the days of Messiah] that the mountain of the Lord’s Temple will be established as the highest mountain and will be exalted above the hills and all nations will stream towards it. And many peoples will say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths;’ for from Zion instruction will go forth, and the Message of the Lord from Jerusalem; and He will act as international arbiter for the nations and will rebuke many peoples. And they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into scythes. A nation will no longer raise a sword against other nations, nor will they ever again learn to make war” (Isaiah 2:1-4).

The suggestion that this prophecy has been realized in the churches (who in time of international war have not hesitated to kill members of the same churches in enemy lands) can hardly be taken seriously. The promise of a world freed from the terrors of nuclear warfare lies at the heart of the Good News of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus. The message points to a time never yet fulfilled in human affairs. But where shall we find the Good News of the Kingdom being proclaimed?

The New Testament everywhere associates the “Day of the Lord” with the return of the Messiah in glory to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. It is precisely in that context that the promises of world peace are given; nevertheless, peace will not be achieved until a terrible worldwide judgment has occurred. The condition of the world at the Second Coming will be as godless as at the time of the flood: “They will not know until the flood comes and takes them all away” (Matthew 24:39).

“The day of the Lord shall come upon every one who is proud and haughty... and he shall be brought low... and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day... when He arises to shake the earth terribly.... Jerusalem will be ruined and Judah will fall.... A curse upon their soul! For they have rewarded evil to themselves. O my people, your leaders are causing you to go astray.... Therefore my people has gone into captivity, because they are without knowledge. Their leaders are starving and their people are parched with thirst. They have rejected the instruction of the Lord of Hosts, and despised the Message of salvation from the Holy One of Israel” (from Isaiah, chapters 3-5).

The result of Israel’s rejection of God is a judicial blindness. The prophet is told to “Go and tell this people, ‘Hear indeed, but do not understand; see indeed, but do not perceive. Make this people’s heart fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes: lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and become converted and healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10)

Jesus and Paul recognized that this insensitivity to the Gospel Message of the Kingdom would be a typical reaction to their preaching of the Message (Matthew 13:14, 15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40, Acts 28:26-27)

This blindness will last “until the cities are wasted without inhabitant and the houses without a man and the land becomes and utter desolation” (Isaiah 6:11).

Israel’s only hope is the promised Saviour: “Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son and will call him Immanuel: God is with us” (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, see 2 Corinthians 5:19: “God was in the Messiah”).

The promised son will become an international ruler. He is to administer the first successful world government:

“For to us [Israel] a child is born, a son is given. And the government will be upon his shoulders. His title will be ‘Wonderful,’ ‘Counsellor,’ ‘Divine Hero,’ ‘Father of the Coming Messianic Age’ [so rendered by Greek versions of the Hebrew], ‘Prince of Peace.’ There will be no end to the increase of his government and peace. From the throne of David he will reign and order his Kingdom, establishing it with judgment and justice from that time onwards for ever... The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will see that this is carried out” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Rebellious Israel must first suffer calamity at the hands of THE ASSYRIAN, whom God will use as His rod of anger, but “when YHVH has carried out His whole plan on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will punish the arrogant boasting of the King of Assyria and his haughty pride... The Light of Israel will be like a fire and His Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour the King of Assyria’s thorns and briars in one day” (Isaiah 10:12, 17).

The result will be that in the future Day of Messiah:

“The surviving remnant of Israel and those who escape of the house of Jacob will never again rely on the one who attacked them but will rely on YHVH, the Holy One of Israel, in Truth... The surviving remnant will return to the living God - YHVH... Lebanon will fall at the hands of a majestic hero and there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse [David’s Father] and a Branch shall grow out of his roots, and the Spirit of YHVH will rest upon him, the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of YHVH” (Isaiah 10:20, 21; 34:11:1-2).

The age-long dream of humanity for world peace will be achieved under his rule: “With righteousness he will judge the poor and reprove with equity on behalf of the meek of the earth. And he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth and destroy the wicked one with the breath of his lips” (Isaiah 11:4). (Paul cites this passage as applying to the destruction of the “Man of Sin” at the Return of the Messiah - 2 Thessalonians 2:8.)

Universal peace will result from the Messiah’s government:

“The wolf also will dwell with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear will feed and their young will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like an ox. The infant will play over the hole of the asp and the weaned child will be able to put his hand on the adder’s den. They will not harm or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day [the day of the Messiah] the root of Jesse will stand as an ensign for the peoples. The nations will seek him, and the [millennial] rest will be glorious” (Isaiah 11:6-10).

The restoration of Israel will be accomplished “in that Day” when:

“YHVH will set Himself the task of recovering for the second time [the first was at the Exodus from Egypt] the surviving remnant of His people, those who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, Pathos, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath and the coastlands of the sea. He will raise an ensign for the nations and assemble the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth...And the Lord will completely destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt. He will wave His hand over the River and His scorching wind will divide it into seven channels so that people may cross dry shod. And the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third nation with Egypt and Assyria, as a blessing at the center of the earth. YHVH of Hosts will bless them and say, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance” (Isaiah 11:11, 12, 15; 19:24-25).

The miraculous deliverance of Israel will cause a universal thanksgiving to be made to God who will now be present on earth in the person of His Vice-regent, Jesus the Messiah.

The Restoration of Israel will mean relief from the slavery inflicted upon them by Babylon, “for the Lord will have mercy on Jacob and will yet choose Israel and place them in their own land... They will take captive those whose captives they had recently been. They shall rule over their [former] oppressors” (Isaiah 14:1-2).

The King of Babylon, who prior to the return of the Messiah will have been “ruling the nations in anger, will be persecuted and no one will prevent this” (Isaiah 14:6). The universal relief is expressed in a beautiful picture of a world rescued from turmoil:

“The whole earth is at rest and at peace: They break forth into singing” (Isaiah 14:7). “In mercy the throne (of Messiah) will be established and He will sit upon it in the Tabernacle of David ruling and pursuing justice and hastening righteousness... In that day a man will look to his Creator and his eyes will respect the Holy One of Israel. And the Lord will be known to the Egyptians... Egypt will return to YHVH” (Isaiah 16:5, 7; 19:21).

The result will be international peace amongst those who were formerly enemies: “In that day there will be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria” (Isaiah 19:21-23).

The prophecies of Isaiah (and of the other prophets) describe with equal clarity both the devastation to occur when the Messiah intervenes and the peace which will follow in his Kingdom:

“The earth will be utterly emptied and spoiled. The earth is mourning and fading away... It lies polluted under its inhabitants who have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the covenant. The curse has therefore devoured the earth. The inhabitants are desolate. The world’s population is burnt up and few men survive... The earth will reel to and fro like a drunkard” (Isaiah 24:3-6, 20).

Then, when the Messiah appears at his return: “They will raise their voices and sing for the majesty of YHVH. They will shout aloud from the sea. The moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for YHVH of Hosts will reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and He will manifest His glory before His elders” (Isaiah 24:14, 23).

There will be a Messianic Banquet to celebrate the triumph of the Messiah (the non-conformist view of all use of wine as a sin will seem strangely out of place!): “And in this mountain YHVH of Hosts will prepare for all the peoples a banquet of fat things, a banquet of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well refined wines on the lees” (Isaiah 25:6).

The blindness will be removed from the hearts of the people: “And He will destroy in this mountain the covering that is cast over all the peoples and the veil that is spread over all the nations. He will swallow up death in victory” (Isaiah 25:7-8).

The world will be instructed to build a new system based on righteousness, for “When your [the Messiah’s] judgments - administration of justice are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).

Meanwhile the saints will have been resurrected to new age life at the Second Coming: “Your dead shall come to life; my body shall arise. Awake and sing you who dwell in the dust. For your dew is a dew of light and the earth will bring to birth its dead” (Isaiah 26:19).

Israel will be rescued from captivity and restored as the leading millennial nation:

“Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit...The iniquity of Jacob shall be purged...Israel will be gathered one by one... This is what will happen in that day: A great trumpet will be blown and those who are being exterminated in the land of Assyria and the outcasts in the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27:6, 9, 12, 13).

A general conversion of the nations will follow: “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the book, and out of their obscurity and gloom the eyes of the blind will see. And the meek will obtain new joy in YHVH and the poor among men will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:18-19).

[Isaiah gives the classic indictment of false religion, a warning to all who approach God: “This people draws near to me with their mouth, and with their lips they honor me, but they have removed their heart far from me, for their fear toward me is based on the teachings of men (Isaiah 29:13).

The very real possibility of attempting to worship God on the basis of a non-biblical, man-made system of belief will account for the tragic disappointment of the “many who will say to me [Jesus] in that day, ‘lord, lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and in your name done many miracles? We have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you have taught in our streets’” (Matthew 7:21, 22, Luke 13:26). Jesus will answer by telling them that he never recognized them as his followers (Matthew 7:23, Luke 13:27).

In the same context Jesus had warned of false prophets appearing in the guise of sheep (Matthew 7:15). Paul warned that Satan’s technique would be to preach another Jesus, another Gospel, and offer another Spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4). “Many” would be corrupting the Gospel (2 Corinthians 2:17). There could be no more serious warning than this.

Safety can lie only in a personal examination of the beliefs which one has accepted in the light of the Scriptures, with the recognition that it is fatally possible to worship in sincerity, but in vain (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7). The only acceptable worship is that offered “in Spirit and in Truth,” that is, based upon the system of truth revealed by and through the Scriptures (John 4:23).]

At the beginning of the millennial Kingdom of God many will come to understand the Truth for the first time: “And those who erred in spirit will come to understanding and those who murmured will accept instruction... For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem. You will weep no more. God will be very gracious to you at the voice of your cry... When He hears it He will answer you” (Isaiah 29:24, 30:19).

The rescue of Israel through the intervention of their Messiah will involve the destruction of their enemy, the Assyrian: “Through the Lord’s voice the Assyrian who struck Israel with a rod will be beaten down. The Lord will come down (cp. “The lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout...” 1 Thessalonians 4:16) and fight for Mount Zion and for its hill... Then the Assyrian will fall” (Isaiah 30:31, 31:4).

The Kingdom of God will be administered by the Messiah and the Saints:

“Behold a King shall reign in righteousness and princes will rule in judgment... The Spirit will be poured on us from on high and the wilderness will become a fruitful field... Then judgment will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will remain in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, quietness and assurance for ever. And my people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in sure dwelling places and quiet resting places... YHVH has filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge will provide stability in those times. Your eyes will see the King in his beauty... Your eyes will see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle which will not be taken down. Not one of its stakes will ever be taken down, nor shall any of its cords be broken. But there the majestic Lord will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams. For YHVH is our Ruler and law-giver. YHVH is our King; He will save us” (from Isaiah chapters 32, 33).

The joy of the Messianic Kingdom will be complete:

“The wilderness and the solitary place will be glad for Israel and the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It shall blossom in abundance and exult with joy and singing... Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. In the wilderness waters shall break forth and streams in the desert...  And those ransomed from exile will return and come to Zion with songs and the joy of the Age to Come upon their heads. They will obtain joy and gladness and sorrow will flee away” (Isaiah 35:1, 6, 10).

The Good News (Gospel) of the Kingdom of God is closely linked to salvation in the Messianic Kingdom. The Gospel is introduced by John the Baptist who quotes from Isaiah. The latter places the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” (Isaiah 40:3) in a setting which implies the ultimate establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. It is to that great event that John and Jesus invite us to respond when they say: “Repent and believe the Good News of the Kingdom” (Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:14, 15).

Thus the great future Kingdom makes its presence felt in the teaching of the called-out Assembly. It is the prospect of the return of the Messiah in glory to inaugurate the Kingdom worldwide which provides the stimulus to hope and endurance according to the New Testament writers. John the Baptist’s announcement and call to repentance imply a warning that the government of the world must ultimately pass into the hands of the one to whom it rightfully belongs, Jesus the Messiah:

“The glory of YHVH shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. The Message of our God will stand for ever. You who herald the Good News to Zion, get up into a high mountain. You who bring the Good News to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength. Do not be afraid. Tell the cities of Judah, Behold your God! He will come with a strong hand to rule, bringing His reward with Him” (Isaiah 40:10).

The prophet turns to the theme of the suffering servant who ultimately triumphs as King. The words are true of Jesus and of those who suffer with him (cp. “If we suffer with him, we shall reign as kings with him,” 2 Timothy 2:12):

“Behold my servant whom I uphold, my Elect One in whom my soul delights. I have placed my Spirit on him and he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice or make it heard in the street. Even a bruised reed he will not break and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged until he has established justice in the earth and the coastlands will wait for his instruction (Isaiah 42:1-4).”

In the days of Messiah, the House of Jacob will be restored:

“O Jacob, my servant, I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour my spirit upon your seed and my blessing upon your offspring. And they shall spring up like grass amid waters, like willows by flowing streams. Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. You will never again be ashamed or confounded... Sing, O heavens, rejoice, O earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, for YHVH has comforted His people and will have mercy on His afflicted” (Isaiah 44:2-4; 45:17; 49:13).

In the heat of the pre-millennial affliction, Israel will believe that she has been abandoned, but:

“Can a woman forget her sucking child and not have compassion on the son of her womb. Indeed, they may forget. Yet I will not forget you... Thus says YHVH, I will raise my hand to the Gentile nations and set up my standard to the people, and they will bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders... and all humanity will know that I YHVH am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:15, 22, 26).

The establishment of the Reign of God, announced as the Good News of the Kingdom of God; the Messianic Gospel;  is the great theme of Isaiah’s Message. Israel will suffer a final calamity from which she will be rescued by the return of her Messiah:

“Awake, awake! Clothe yourself in strength, O Zion, put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the Holy City. From now on the uncircumcised and the unclean will never again enter the city. Shake yourself from the dust. Arise and sit down, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the bands around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion... How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings Good News, announcing peace; who brings Good News of good things to come, announcing salvation, saying to Zion: Your God is reigning” (cp. the Reign or Kingdom of God, the content of the NT Gospel) (Isaiah 52:1, 7).

“Break forth into joy. Sing together, desolate places of Jerusalem. For YHVH has comforted His people and redeemed Jerusalem. YHVH has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations. And the whole earth will see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:9-10).

Israel will be instrumental in the conversion of the whole world, and she will be completely vindicated:

“YHVH God who gathers the outcasts of Israel says: I will gather others to him... And the Redeemer shall come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob. The abundance of the sea shall be converted to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you... In my wrath I struck you, but in my favor I had mercy on you. For the nation and Kingdom which will not serve you will perish, those nations will indeed be ruined... The sons of those who afflicted you will come and bow before you. All those who despised you will prostrate themselves at your feet... Violence will be no more heard in your land, there will be no more devastation or destruction within your borders... Your people will all be righteous and they will inherit the land for ever... You who make mention of YHVH, do not keep silent. Give Him no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 55:8; 59:20; 60:5, 10, 12, 14, 18, 21; 62:6-7).

The triumph of the righteous, the faithful elect from every nation, is expressed in moving terms: “For you will go out with joy, and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12).

With this heritage from Hebrew prophecy, it is little wonder that Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” and the petition of Isaiah could be added:

“O that you would rend the heavens and come down, so that the mountains might quake at your presence... to make your name known to your enemies, so that the nations may tremble at your presence... YHVH will appear to your joy... YHVH will come with fire... and with His sword He will plead with all flesh, and those slain by the Lord will be many... And this is what will happen: Every New Moon and every Sabbath everyone will come to worship in my presence. And they will go out and look at the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me. Their worm will not die, nor shall their fire be quenched. And they shall be viewed with abhorrence by all humanity” (Isaiah 64:1-3, 66:5, 15, 16, 23, 24).

This is a background to the New Testament announcement of the Good News of the Coming Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14, 15, Luke 4:43, etc.). An understanding of Hebrew prophecy is essential for a comprehension of the expectations of Jesus and his contemporaries. The removal of the Gospel from its Hebrew setting inevitably leads to its distortion. Many students of Scripture are reading the NT through the prism of later developments influenced by Greek philosophical thinking. The question that must be asked is whether this was a fair development or a defection from original Truth.

The Coming Kingdom in the Psalms

We may add further information from the Psalms, especially those which describe the activity of the Messiah, and which the NT quotes most frequently as prophecies of the career of Jesus. Psalm 2 describes the climax of history when the Kingdoms of this world are to be taken over by the Messiah and his Saints (cp. Revelation 11:15):

“Why are the nations conspiring and the peoples plotting in vain? The kings of the earth are assembling and forming a conclave in opposition to YHVH and against His Messiah. They say, Let’s burst their bonds and cast their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens will laugh. YHVH will have them in derision. Then He will address them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury, and say, ‘I have set my King [Messiah] on Zion, my holy mountain.’ [The Messiah replying says], ‘I will declare the decree: YHVH said to me, ‘You are my Son. Today I have begotten you.’ Ask of me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. Now, therefore, O kings, be wise. Be instructed, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss His feet, lest He become angry and you perish when His wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all those who put their trust in Him” (Psalm 2).

The Psalmist has the Messianic Kingdom always in view:

“All the corners of the globe will remember and turn to YHVH and all the families of the nations will worship in your presence. For the Kingdom belongs to YHVH and He is the governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:27, 18). “He makes wars to cease throughout the whole earth” (Psalm 46:9). “Let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 59:13). “All the earth will worship you and sing to you” (Psalm 66:4)... for you will rule the people righteously and govern the nations upon earth” (Psalm 67:4). “Because of your Temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring presents to you” (Psalm 68:29). “He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth... Yes, all kings will fall down before Him, all nations will serve Him” (Psalm 72:8, 11). “Arise, O God, rule the earth, for you will inherit all nations” (Psalm 82:8). “For He is coming to rule the earth. He will rule the world with righteousness, and the people with His Truth (Psalm 96:13). (Paul quotes this psalm to the people at Athens as a prophecy of the return of Jesus to reign in the Kingdom: Acts 17:31.) “YHVH is reigning. Let the earth rejoice” (Psalm 97:1). “He has remembered His covenant forever, the Message which He commanded to a thousand generations, the Covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath with Isaac... saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance” (Psalm 105:8-11).

It is constantly asserted by the NT writers that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, from the ascension until the Second Coming. At that time he will return to rule in his Kingdom. Psalm 110, which foresaw this plan to exalt the Messiah and then send him back to the earth, is the NT’s favorite psalm: “YHVH [God, the Father; the One God, 1 Corinthians 8:6] said to my [David’s] lord [the Messiah], ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. YHVH shall send forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies... YHVH at your right hand shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath” (Psalm 116:1, 2, 5).

The psalmist prays for the Second Coming, as did Isaiah: “Bow your heavens, YHVH, and come down” (Psalm 144:5). “Let Israel rejoice in his maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.... Let the Saints execute vengeance upon the people, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the judgment prescribed. This honour is given to all the Saints” (Psalm 149).

Thus the second psalm and the psalm second from the end (Psalm 149) contain the same central message about the Kingdom. The throne of David is the principal concern of Psalm 72, which closes the 2nd book of psalms (the psalms are divided in the Hebrew Bible into 5 books). Psalm 89 closes the third book and deals primarily with the Davidic throne. The Kingdom is the theme of Psalms 96-100, and 102. Psalm 2, containing the term Messiah (AV, “His Anointed”) is quoted often in the book of Revelation (12:5, 11:18, “The nations were angry,” Revelation 19:15, the Messiah implementing the Messianic “rod of iron,” Revelation 2:27, the promised rule with the Messiah for the saints).

It is not surprising, though astonishingly unfamiliar to most churchgoers, that the triumph of the Messiah in his coming Kingdom is the underlying theme of the NT proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom (the Gospel): “[Jesus] will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and YHVH God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob [not the Church! The called-out Assembly, the Congregation of God reigns with him, 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 5:10, 3:21, 2:26, 20:1-6], and of his Kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32, 33).

“Jesus said to them: ‘I must announce the Good News of the Kingdom of God to other cities also. That is the reason why I have been sent’” (Luke 4:43).

At the mention of the word “Salvation” (Luke 19:9), “and because Jesus was near to Jerusalem, they thought that the Kingdom of God would be manifested immediately” (Luke 19:11). Jesus then explained that he must depart to his Father [YHVH] and then return invested with the power to rule in the Kingdom (Luke 19:11-27). When he then entered Jerusalem, “the whole multitude of disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ‘Blessed is the Coming King...’“ (Luke 19:38). “‘Blessed is the Coming Kingdom of our Father David’“ (Mark 11:10, Nestles text). “‘Blessed is the King of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord’“ (John 12:13). The Pharisees then told Jesus to rebuke his disciples (not ignorant Jews!) for their Messianic fervour, which was not in the least out of place: “I tell you that if these [my disciples] were to keep silent, the very stones would cry out [for joy]” (Luke 19:38).

These episodes show the profound Messianism of the NT and underline the fact that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. On that solid rock the NT Assembly of God is being built.

A assembly which denies the Second Coming and the Reign of the Messiah in a renovated earth is founded upon sand.

The inheritance of the Kingdom and rulership over the earth were to be shared by Jesus with his disciples: “In the New Age you who have followed me in my trials will be enthroned to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:28).

This promise forms the very heart of the New Covenant (cp. Luke 22, “I appoint you to rulership as my Father appointed me. This is my blood of the New ‘Appointment.’“ the Greek verb “appoint” is the root of the noun translated “covenant”).

“Are you unaware of the fact that the Saints will rule the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2.) “How I wish that you had begun to reign (the aorist, ‘reign’ is ingressive), so that we might be reigning with you” (1 Corinthians 4:8). “If we suffer with him we shall also reign as kings with him” (2 Timothy 2:12). “Shall God not with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32.) “The Saints shall rule on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). They will sit with the Messiah in his throne (Revelation 3:21), receive power over the nations (Revelation 2:26), and reign as kings with him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4). “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) (not disappear to heaven!). The promise to Abraham and his seed was that they would inherit the world (Romans 4:13).

In view of this impressive biblical data, will anyone dare to criticize the Apostles when they inquire: “Lord, is this the time when you are going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6.)

Light was thrown on this question by Peter in his second sermon to the first converts to the called-out Congregation of God, the Israel of God. He urged repentance, “so that YHVH may send you Jesus the Messiah, who was previously proclaimed to you. Heaven must retain him until the times of the Restoration of everything; of those times all His holy prophets have spoken” (Acts 3:20, 21).

The destiny of the called-out Assembly of God is to reign with the Messiah over restored Israel and the world. The surviving physical remnant of Israel will form the nucleus of the world population destined to live into the New Age to be inaugurated by the arrival of the Messiah. There will be survivors from all nations who will live to see the dawn of a new era of civilization in which international warfare will be a relic of past history, no longer, as now, an ever-present threat. In that New World there will be One Congregation founded upon the worship of the One God, the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6, Zechariah 14:9), through His Son, Jesus the Messiah. The earth will be reorganized under a theocracy administered by the Messiah and his followers, the faithful of Old and New Testament times. At the resurrection, they will be granted new age life in transformed bodies, animated by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 15:23, 42-55). This transformation will occur for both the dead in the Messiah and the Messianic believers surviving in the flesh at the Second Coming (1 Thessalonians. 4:13ff.; there will be no “Rapture” 7 years before the end! All believers will be caught up (raptured) to meet Jesus the Messiah and then descend with him to the earth at the time when he comes in power and glory “taking vengeance on those who do not obey the Gospel” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-9).)

Such is the divine future proclaimed by the prophets and by Jesus himself. Such also is the Message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (or Heaven; the terms are entirely synonymous, cp. Matthew 3:2 with Mark 1:14-15) entrusted to the called-out Congregation of  God.

Why have all the churches around the world become so silent about the Christian’s glorious destiny and the world’s only hope? Is it because they are no longer a part of his body? No longer considered to be the Israel of God? No longer agree with the creed of Jesus:

Mark 12:29: And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; YHVH our God is ONE LORD:

No longer believe in the only true God - YHVH

John 17:3:  And this is life eternal, that they might know You, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, and Jesus the Messiah, whom You have sent - commissioned.

No longer believe in the one who was specially created in the womb of Mary, and had his beginning at that time; being the second man specially created of God; Adam being the first; and as such was also called the son of God. No longer believe the Jesus was a man, all man, and as such is the one who mediates for us now:

Galatians 3:20:  Now a mediator is not a mediator of one,
but God is one.
1 Timothy 2:5: For there is ONE GOD, and ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, THE MAN, the Messiah Jesus...