The Bible explains that God’s kingdom is coming on this earth and that King Jesus will rule from the throne of God’s kingdom – in Jerusalem. A kingdom needs people – subjects of the king – as well as a land and a throne. Who will the subjects be, and what are the chances that we might be among them?
God made crucial promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob about these kingdom people. They were told that their seed would dwell in the Promised Land, and so they did for many generations. But for nearly two thousand years the Jewish nation was separated from that land – they were in dispersion; Jews were to be found almost anywhere but in the land they had once occupied. Yet the promises of God remained unchanged. For example, Jesus had promised his disciples that in the coming Kingdom they would sit on thrones ruling over the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). So, the Jews had to be brought back to their land if that promise was to be fulfilled – and there are many others that also require that to happen. Further, they have to dwell in peace in that land, under the rule of their King. They once rejected him, it is true, but when he comes again they will have to acknowledge him. The prophets are insistent that will happen. For example, the prophet Zechariah says of that time:
“I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).
… This is what Ezekiel says of the rebirth of Israel, and what Micah says about their eventual settled condition:
Thus says the Lord Yahweh: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am Yahweh their God” (Ezekiel 28:25,26);
“Everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of Yahweh of hosts has spoken. For all people walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God forever and ever” (Micah 4:4,5).
Notice that all three prophets, including Zechariah, speak of a time when Israel will once again be a nation that is entirely dependent upon God as their protector and defender – a state that does not yet exist in the country, which is fiercely dependent upon its own military muscle and speed and force of action.
The prophecies we have considered foretell members of the Jewish race being settled and at peace in the land of promise. But what about other people, from other races and nations? It is self-evident that those who oppose Jesus, and who seek to resist his Coming – as the Bible says some people will try to do – will not become citizens of the Kingdom of God. The coming of the Lord Jesus will be accompanied by the destruction of all his enemies. Thus, in one of his parables, Jesus said:
“Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:27).
And there are many such passages that foretell the utter destruction of nations and individuals who seek to resist the return and rulership of the Lord.
After this judgement there will be many people left alive on the earth who will become the subjects of the new King. They will be mortal citizens of the Kingdom of God, subject to his control and direction. They will have to learn the right way to live. They will be given laws by God and will have to obey them. Only in this way can the world be brought out of the absolute mess into which man had brought it by the mismanagement of it’s resources and by war. Those people will have to change their way of life very considerably, including the way they worship God. For God’s Kingdom will be a time when God is glorified and worshipped as He deserves to be by all His creation. The prophet Zechariah says:
“It shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (14:16).
And the prophet Micah writes:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations 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 the law shall go forth, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; 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. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of Yahweh of hosts has spoken” (4:1-4).
These two prophecies and, again, there are many more like them, give us a flavour of what it will be like for the mortal inhabitants of God’s Coming Kingdom – when the Lord Jesus rules from Jerusalem over all the world. Things will be absolutely different from how they are now. People will work together, and worship together. There will be peace and safety everywhere; there will be united worship – of the One True God – and the result will be a world that will be in harmony with God. It will be fruitful, stable, righteous and friendly – everything we could want for our children and ourselves. ….