Itis evidently true that Bible revelation is subject to differentiationas individuals’ biblical understanding varies. On this note, it is,therefore, inevitable that divergent views about Bible knowledge andrevelation are addressed in a unanimous manner by theologians so asto provide proper guidance to ordinary believers who might not bewell-versed with biblical revelations as the Bible is written inprophetic form.
Consideringthat both historical and prophetic kingdom are available inscriptures, it is proper that a final and harmonized revelation isprovided so as to lay all facts out in a transparent manner. Thepaper provides a detailed and comprehensive information about thekingdom in history and prophecy, and in a succinct form providesguidelines on how biblical revelations should not only be translatedbut handled.
Inthe Bible, the heavenly kingdom is best revealed in the Apocalypsebook which entails the end of time and how God will treat thefaithful and the sinful people. Although Kingdom revelation isexpressed in both the Old Testament and New Testament books, it isthe book of Revelation that provides substantial information on howthe Kingdom of God is, which is heaven and hell a place for sinners.Salvation revelations have been explicitly explained in the Gospelsbooks and also with the existing theological discussions (Galatians1:11, 13).
Itis important to understand that there exist no conflict betweensalvation and kingdom themes as they are presented independentlythough concurrently in a wider perspective. It is vital to note thatbiblical interpretation is incomplete without the Kingdom truth as itis the final point of understanding the Bible and consolation toChristians and all those who have ascribed to biblical teachings. TheEphesian and Colossian letters provide a record of the church or thehouse of God and Bride represent faithful Christians.
Biblicalteachings are clear that God will inevitably and ultimately triumphover all inequities in the earth during the judgment day (1Corinthians 15:24-28). Additionally, there will be a restoration ofthe universe to its initial blessedness and be under the authority ofGod. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, there is a mention ofthe reestablishment of the authority of God. Also, the Davidiccovenant provides substantial support to this evidence, in that thebond is said to be unlimited in terms of time. II Samuel 7:11- 17,provides evidence that indeed there is an eternal rule andgovernment.
Notably,God put it clear that David is his most valued believer and that itis him who will build Him a house and as a reward, God will establishhim a mighty Kingdom and that His throne shall be establishedforever. Moses, another great follower of God, had prophesied aboutthe history of Kinghood from David on up to the cessation of the lineof the kings.
Moseshad a prophecy on national apostasy. Most of Moses` prophecies arerecorded in the book of Deuteronomy 26:1 to 30:20, in this chapter,only a small portion of the prophecy exist. This scripture providessignificant prophecy that relates to Israel. It is, therefore, inthis context clear that ancient biblical prophecy from Moses` time tothat of Isaiah hold genuine and are very relevant. The New Testamentis used as the manifestation of the Old Testament as it is at itwhere old prophecies are fulfilled such as those of the comingMessiah which is Jesus. In the books of Gospels, Jesus is used toshow believers on the proper way of conduct and how God`s childrenare supposed to carry themselves so as to inherit the Kingdom of God,their heavenly home.
From the Old Testament, there are several prophecies about TheKingdom. Old Testament prophets spoke widely about the Kingdom. TheNew Testament is used as the fulfillment of some prophecies that arein the Old Testament. Most of the prophetic visions were provided inthe darkest hour of history of Israel which served as the light toIsrael`s coming glory. Some of the prophets who had visions of theKingdom and the coming glory of Israel spoke of these visions whilethey were in exile, before exile and after exile (Jeremiah 31:35-37Matthew 24:31-34).
Theseprophets condemned Israel`s sins and predicted chastisement that willbeget the nation and its people if they did not abandon their sinfulways. Besides that, the prophets also saw the future blessings of thenation and its population. It was prophesied that they will notaccept the King and they will crucify him.
Furthermore,there are several biblical passages that provident evidence ofprophecies talked about by early prophets about the coming Kingdomand the King which is later evident in the New Testament. First, theKing shall be named ‘Immanuel` which means God with us (Matthew1:22, 2:1). Isaiah, the prophet prophesied about the coming and lifeof the King. In his prophecy, prophet Isaiah, says that a virginshall bear a son and the son shall be named Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
Immanuel,the King, shall be the heir to David`s throne, and He shall be themost loved son of God. Jeremiah another Old Testament prophet alsoprophesied about the coming of the King. In the book of Ezekiel 34:23it is clear that God will raise David to be a righteous King who willreign, prosper and execute justice in the earth.
TheOld Testament and the New Testament are divided not just betweenMalachi and Matthew but by the Cross of Christ. In the New TestamentChrist, the King is presented as the coming Messiah/King asprophesied in the Old Testament. The Gospels that are the first fourbooks of the New Testament provide substantial evidence that linksJesus to the prophesied Savior. In the book of Matthew, Jesus Christis presented as the King, in Mark, He is portrayed as Lord`s servant,in Luke as the perfect human while in the book of John as the Son ofGod.
Jesusis clear on his mission He said that he did not come to change thelaw-Mosaic law but to expand its teaching and that he came to savethe lost. For this reason, therefore, the division between the Oldand New Testament is the fact that Jesus Christ came with grace andtruth. He is the most beloved Son of God.
InMatthew, Jesus is presented as the Son of Abraham, Son of David. Thisevent provides a trace of a divinely appointed Kingdom from the OldTestament to the New Testament. It is true that Jesus was David`sgreater Son. In the book of Luke 1:81 Jesus was to fulfill Israel`sblessings.
AngelGabriel had announced this even before the birth of Jesus Christthis is in the record in Luke 1:81-33: "And, behold, thou shaltconceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his nameJESUS. 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 forever, and of hiskingdom there shall be no end."
TheKingdom Rejected and Postponed
Thereare pieces of evidence that the children of God in several instancesrejected the Kingdom of God. In the Old Testament, it is evident thatthe Israelites had rejected the Kingdom of God, this is the solereason why they stayed in the wilderness for forty years. If they hadnot rejected God`s Kingdom, they could have entered the Promised Landin blessing. God had pledged to take them to Canaan under the reignof their King Immanuel (Deuteronomy 30:3-5 Isaiah 11:10-13).
Anotherevidence of Israel`s rejection of the Kingdom is that John theBaptist was imprisoned (Matthew 11:2). Considering that John theBaptist was the forerunner of the coming King is a sure indicationthat they did not like the future King. Even when the King providesinfallible proofs that He is the long-awaited Messiah, the Phariseeswent ahead and crucified him (Matthew 12:14).
Thekilling of John the Baptist is another indication that indeed showthat the people upon whom the King had come to save were in rejectionof the Kingdom (Matthew 14:1-13). When Jesus asked His disciplesabout how the people say about Him, they informed Him that peoplewere saying he was John the Baptist some Elias and Jeremiah.
Inparticular, this clearly shows that people held Jesus as John theBaptist, Elias, or Jeremiah but did not believe that He was thelong-awaited Messiah. It is clear in this context that they hadrejected the Kingdom of God as they ended up crucifying Him on theCross. They believed that the time for the Messiah to come and savethe world had not come and for that reason, they kept postponing theKingdom.
TheNew Testament provides present truth which is in line withChristianity. On this note, it is wrong to consider the Old Testamentobsolete. Jesus said that He did not come to change the law but toextend it. Peter, the apostle, said that his scripture is of thepresent truth (II Peter 1:12). The Old Testament is based on earthlyKingdom while the New Testament rests on the Heavenly Kingdom.Christianity is different from Judaism.
Basically,this is so as Judaism is limited to resources of a natural man andlife has been conditioned on earth while Christianity is all aboutthe Heavenly Kingdom and presents the elements of the present truth.In the New Testament, Nicodemus a well orderly Jewish man issurprised when he is told that for him to see the Kingdom of God hehas to be born again. He was ascribed to the teachings of the OldTestament and had not versed himself with the present truth.
Paulthe apostle who before converting to Christianity was with a clearconscience as per Israel` faith saw no crime persecuting faithfulChristians. He was changed into a new creature while going toDamascus after the incident that happens, the flash of light with thevoice of God he changed his ways. The new life by the Spirit ispresented in the Bible as the fundamental fact and basis ofChristianity.
Inthis context, the newly created creature is not of this earth but acitizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). A Christian, a new creatureevery condition in the new life is supernatural. Evidently, thisshows the differences that exist between the Old and New Testament,in the Old Testament, a service was majorly about offering sacrificein the temple or tabernacle for sins committed while in the NewTestament is about seeking forgiveness directly from God throughpraying.
TheChurch which is his Body
Theword ‘Church` has been introduced in the New Testament where it hasbeen used to mean ‘the called out ones.` In Matthew 16:18 Jesusspeak about the church "On this rock, I will build my church."In the Old Testament, Stephen referred to the Israelites in thewilderness as ‘the church in the wilderness` (Acts 7:38). Inseveral instances, the church is the body of Christ.
Inthe book of Ephesians, Jesus advises men to love their wives as Heloved his church, this is a clear indication that indeed the churchwas his body. Additionally, Christ said that he will come first forhis Church. Apostle Paul provides substantial information on churchand closure of Gentile distance to Christianity. He says that duringthis age, all hindrance has been removed, and Jews and Gentiles havebeen made one, `new man.`
Thechurch is formed by a process. The church began to be established atPentecost through the baptism of the spirit. The parable of the vineand the branches clearly illustrates this fact for the body is notone member, but many" (I Corinthians 12:12- 14). "So we,being many, are one body in Christ, and every one member one ofanother" (Romans 12:5).
Paulthe apostle sums it up and says that whether Gentile or Jew all havebeen formed one by Christ and that through creating a church whichPaul now talks about his personal body. That our bodies are templesof God, this fact deviates from what the books of Gospels says aboutthe church as a congregation of God`s people to body and soulsmatters. As to Paul, the apostle, he terms the church as the bodyand soul of a Christian.
TheBride, the Lamb`s Wife
TheNew Testament provides information on how Jesus referred to thechurch as the bride. The seven figures below have been used in theNew Testament as a reference to the relationship between Christ andhis heavenly body of people. First as sheep which are dependent uponthe shepherd. In the books of Gospels, Jesus says that he is theshepherd, and his followers are sheep. Second as branches which drawtheir life from the vine- Jesus says that he is the true vine. Likestones in a building, as newly created beings, as a Kingdom ofpriests, as members of His body and as the bride of the Lamb.
Inthe book of Ephesians, Jesus instruct husbands to love their wives asHe loved the church, this show the deep love that Christ had for thechurch. In the biblical context, the church is the faithfulChristians who wait upon the bridegroom who is Jesus Christ while thewaiting Christians are the bride.
Ina broader context, the church has been used in several instances toshow that God values most his faithful followers. And that theirfaith should not waiver as He promises them in the book of John 14:1that he goes to prepare a place for them in Heaven and that he willcome back for them. Christians are to believe and love to their Godfor the marriage between the bride and bridegroom has been arrangedand that they should persevere the troubles of this world that arefor a short while. A brief description of how things will be inHeaven shows that there will be joy and happiness for those who willwait upon the Lord, they will rejoice with angels and their God.
TheMystery of Iniquity
Sin,as depicted in the Bible, did not start at the time of creation ofman but in heaven when Satan started exalting himself and seeking thesame honor and glory as that of God. It is also in God`s purpose thatSatan and the wicked man with their sinful ways are in anexperimental test. On this context, then it is right to say that sinhad a definite start, its course is well defined, and it will come toan absolute and predicted ending.
However,the development of the course of evil in the earth will be underrestraint so that it can be consummated exactly at the divinelypredetermined time. The distinguishing elements of the mystery agestart with Israel`s blindness, out-calling of the Church and lastlymanifestation of the evil. It is, true to say that God has put Satanand the fallen man to an experiment. As everything to Him ispredetermined and he knows the beginning to the ending, He is theAlpha and Omega.
Severalprophets and apostles provided different names to the ruler of theEarth. Ezekiel refers to Satan as the ‘Prince of Tyros` (Ezekiel28:1-10). Christ speaks of him as ‘Abomination of Desolation`(Matthew 24:15 Daniel 9:27). John sees Satan as the rider on thewhite horse and the ‘Beast` while Paul calls him the ‘Man ofSin.` All these names are used in the scriptures to show that Satanis an enemy of God that his sole purpose is to kill, destroy and leadman astray.
Itis for this reason that God cautions man to be vigilant and standstrong in faith lest he falls to the treacherous ways of the evilwhich will lead to eternal destruction. It is on record that all thesinful things of the world will continue, and Christians warnedagainst involvement in them as there would come a time when the rulerof the earth shall exalt himself above God, and some Christians mightbe challenged to worship him. But they are advised to stay strong infaith for the Lord shall be with them.
TheMysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven
Thereare several mysteries about the Kingdom of Heaven that severalchapters in the Bible provide. Both the Old to the New Testamentscontain revelations about the Kingdom of Heaven. Daniel in a visiongets to see the Kingdom of Heaven which shall come after the Gentilenations have heard God`s word. In Daniel`s dream, he sees allprogression of events up to the coming of Prince of Peace to take hisfaithful followers.
Christiansare warned to be vigilant so as not to go astray and depart from theevil ways as there would come prophets with doctrines claiming thatthere is no God`s, and they will have great evil powers which willmake some to believe them. The Kingdom of Heaven will not come untilall people have knowledge of God.
Theparable of the mastered seed is an eye opener on how the gospelreaches people but some are weak in faith, and the devil quicklytakes away the little that they had gotten. It is, therefore,important that the faithful hold the word dearly so as to avoidsinning. Doing this will make them be strong in faith and stand alltrials of the devil.
Thebook of Revelation provides substantial information about the Kingdomof Heaven and the end of time. It requires considerable theologicalknowledge to translate biblical facts concerning the Kingdom ofHeaven as it is in most cases put in parables or dreams which are noteasy to interpret.
TheCall of the Bridegroom
Inthe Bible, the bridegroom has been used to mean the faithful onesthose waiting upon the Lord. Various books of the Bible have beenused to call attention to the loyal followers not to give up inwaiting as the time for the second coming of the bride is near.Additionally, the bride shall come after the bridegroom is ready thisis intended to motivate all people to depart from their evils waysand seek the ways of the Lord as a mean of making themselves readyfor the bride. Those people who will die in Christ, they will beraised first and together with the living saints, they shall rise andmeet the Lord, the Prince of Peace in the air (Genesis 5:24 II Kings2:11). Religiously clean people will go with God and be with Himforever.
Christtold his disciples that no one knows the hour, date, season of thecoming of the Lord and for that reason, the bridegroom should wait,watch and be ready for He shall surely come just like a thief comesat night. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 says that the not all people willdie and that some people should change as they wait for the coming ofthe Lord. In essence, what this implies is that during the coming ofthe Lord, there will be some faithful who will be on earth and theseare the one who together with those who had died in Christ shall riseto meet the Lord in the clouds.
Revelationsabout the coming Kingdom of God is available in several biblicalpassages. For examples, the book of Daniel and Revelations providesubstantial revelations about the Kingdom of God. In the books ofGospels, the history of the King is presented from his birth to hisdeath. On a similar note, the Old Testament traces the movements ofIsrael, the failures, success, and blessings. The church at thispoint is one of the mysteries of a mystery age.
Severalincidents that show that the King was not to be accepted by hispeople. Prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be rejectedin his hometown but a different area. The incarceration and killingof his predecessor John the Baptist is another sign that the peoplewill reject the King. The ‘Olivet discourse` was the Lord`s answerto questions posted to him by his disciples on the coming of Kingdomof God (Luke 21:20-24).
Jesusspent a lot of his time telling his disciples of the Kingdom ofHeaven how it is and when it shall come. He taught using parableswhich most of them did not comprehend as they had no Holy Spirit toguide them. Jesus told His disciples that the Kingdom of heaven shallcome just like a thief come at the night, that nobody knows the exacthour, not even the angels are aware of the time of the second comingof the Kingdom of God. He advises his disciples and Christians to bevigilant and not heed to false doctrines that will come wanting tomake them go astray claiming that God does not exist or othermalicious lies.
TheReturn of the King
TheBible provide certainty that God shall return to take His followersto Heaven where they shall rejoin forever, and there will be thedestruction of sin upon his coming. The importance of this assuranceis that it strengthens the weak faith of believers who wait upon theLord. In the book of John, Jesus promises His followers that inHeaven, there are several mansions and that He is going to prepare aplace for them and if it were not so he could have informed them.
Additionally,the book of Apocalypse provides substantial assurance that theKingdom of God shall come first to take the faithful to Heaven and todestroy the evil ones. Most books of the Bible provide evidence thatindeed the King will return to take His faithful to heaven anddestroy the sinners. Daniel the prophet was shown the heavenlyKingdom and all succession of events up to the coming of the Kingagain to the world to reclaim His faithful children and for the evilones, they will go to hell where there will be torment and suffering.
Similarly,the book of Revelation also provides evidence that indeed the Kingwill return as He had promised His disciples. In Revelation, there isa verse that says that a trumpet will be blown, and the dead inChrist shall rise and together with the living saints, they shallrise and join the King in the air. While Jesus was ascending toHeaven after the resurrection, he affirmed to His disciples thatindeed he will return to the world, but He will come to judge eachaccording to his or her deeds. Similarly, John the Baptist who spreadthe gospel of repentance foretold that after Him shall come the mostHigh who will not baptize with water but Holy Spirit. He says thatmany will denial and crucify him and so will He do the same on theDay of Judgment for the sinners.
TheGospels that are the first four books of the New Testament providessignificant information about the coming of the Kingdom. In Matthewand Luke, Jesus teaches his disciples on the proper way of praying.It is a belief that God`s Kingdom will be peaceful "The wolfshall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with thekid, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together and alittle child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feedtheir young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eatstraw like the ox.
Moreover,the Gospels insist on the second coming of Christ. It is in the bookof Matthew, where there is the Lord`s Prayer where it is on record onhow Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. On the first part of theprayer, Christians pray that may the Kingdom of God come. It is ofimportance for Christians to wish for the coming of the Kingdom ofGod for it is their business that with its coming they are to enjoyeverlasting life in Heaven. Jesus Christ in his teachings encouragesChristians to fast and pray day and night for the Kingdom of God isnear.
Froma different angle, it is clear and correct that by wishing theKingdom to come Christians will be praying for the annihilation ofthe evil as the coming of the Lord means judgment will result in thecondemnation of the devil and his members. Moreover, as lamentationsby Christians who are suffering from the evils of this world, and allthey want is rest. Through wishing the coming of the Kingdom of God,Christians will find rest upon the coming of the Kingdom as they willgo to their promised heavenly home.
(Acts7:38 KingJames Version)
(Daniel9:27 KingJames Version)
(Ezekiel28:1-10 KingJames Version)
(Genesis5:24 KingJames Version)
(IIKings 2:11 KingJames Version)
(Philippians3:20 KingJames Version)
(Matthew24:15 KingJames Version)
(IThessalonians 4:13-18 KingJames Version)
(Romans12:5 KingJames Version)
(John14:1 KingJames Version)
(Luke21:20-24 KingJames Version)