“A King Shall Reign In Righteousness”
Sad to say, this state of perfection was marred when Adam and Eve disobeyed the specific command of God not to partake of the fruit of “the tree that is in the midst of the garden”. For, having eaten the fruit, they fell from grace in the sight of their Creator and paid the penalty for their transgression:
“Yahweh God sent him [Adam] out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:23,24).
Wilful sin had cast its insidious shadow over the paradise that was Eden, as the Apostle Paul later explained to the believers at Rome:
“Therefore just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Adam and Eve had been placed in an environment where everything about them was just perfect for human habitation. They had been given every incentive to live in harmony with the will of their Creator. But they disobeyed the specific command not to partake of the fruit of that particular tree and followed their own instincts that alienated them from God. That brought upon them the sentence of death, for they were then told:
“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
World Away from God
Despite all that has happened, our Heavenly Father, in His great love and mercy, has offered sinful mankind a way out. We all have a big problem in that we are now affected by what happened to Adam in at least two ways. First, we are all dying, because we are mortal; so we must do something about that if we are not going to cease to exist.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Self-Will Run Riot
Today’s world is no different from that in which the descendants of Adam and Eve lived when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, a state of affairs that also existed later in Jewish society. Modern society considers itself ‘liberated’ from the constraints of any moral law. From careful observation, it becomes clear that human behaviour has not changed for the better over the centuries.
Indeed, because of man’s self-will in flouting God’s laws, the troubles of the world have escalated dramatically in recent years. Now there are wars, violence, crime, lawlessness, corruption, drug-taking and immorality, happening on a scale never known before. How is all this lawlessness going to be overcome? How can the world be restored to its original blissful state, if ever it can?
A Righteous King
If you can accept the possibility that the prophets of God were His spokesmen – and there are some remarkable fulfilments of their words that give credence to that possibility – then you can be assured of better days ahead. The title of this article is, in fact, a quotation from the writing of one prophet and, in his wonderful prophecy, he foretells a coming time when “A King shall reign in Righteousness” (Isaiah 32:1).
Like all the prophets, Isaiah foretells the Coming of the Kingdom of God which is to be established on the earth when Jesus Christ returns with great power and glory to rule the nations in righteousness, justice and peace. At that time: “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
The prophets give a truly striking description of just how wonderful the Kingdom will be, when a King reigns in Righteousness :
all who live in that happy state of affairs will be taught the ways of God relating to righteousness and true faith;
all the injustices, inequalities and discriminations now perpetuated in this present order will be finally abolished;
no longer will warring nations spend astronomical amounts of money on weapons of destruction while their populations languish in poverty, hunger and disease.
The world, as we know it today, will be completely transformed by the righteous reign of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, a city which will then be the capital of the world. The Psalmist presents us with a compelling picture of just how different things will be in the Kingdom of God upon earth, as he says of Jesus:
“He will judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice … He will save the children of the needy and shall break in pieces the oppressor …. In his days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace … He shall have dominion also from sea to sea … Yes, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him. For he will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy …He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in his sight… And daily he shall be praised … His name shall endure forever… All nations shall call him blessed” (Psalm 72:2-17).
Israel at Peace
How very different the situation will be in the Middle East, especially in the Land of Israel. This land that has been attacked and occupied by different powers throughout the course of its colourful history, by enemies whose purpose has been to destroy both the land and its people. But the God of Israel has decreed otherwise, as can be clearly seen in the irrevocable Covenant made with His faithful servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Land of Israel has always been a central feature of God’s eternal plan for mankind and the earth. The Prophet Isaiah portrays how peaceful things will be in the Promised Land during the glorious reign of Christ the King:
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain (11:9)”;
The earth, which has been so polluted and degraded as a result of man’s mismanagement and abuse, will be miraculously rejuvenated. So people in all countries can look forward to the restoration indicated by the Prophet Amos, as he writes :
“Behold, the days are coming,” says Yahweh, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it” (9:13).
Likewise, the Prophet Isaiah, touching on the rejuvenation of the earth in the Kingdom of God, proclaims with assurance that:
“the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose” (35:1).
How excited and enthusiastic we should all be at the very thought of the polluted and degraded earth being restored to the pristine perfection and beauty of the Garden of Eden! This truly exhilarating picture of perfection and glory in regard to the coming Kingdom of God on the earth, with Jesus Christ as its incomparable, universal King, is completed for us in the encouraging words of the Prophet Isaiah that say with certainty:
“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed” (65:20 NIV).
This will be a time of unimagined blessedness for all the inhabitants of the earth! The peoples of the world will be so happy and contented under the righteous rule of Christ the King that they will respond by wanting to learn about God and His laws, as the Bible assures us:
“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem” (2:3).
The Kingdom of God that is to come upon earth in the foreseeable future, with Jesus as its glorious King, is without doubt the much-needed government of righteousness, justice and peace for which all people of honest heart should hope and pray:
“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness … Then justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:1,16,17).
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”