desire has been more eagerly expressed; no wish has been more
sincerely wished; no need has been more earnestly felt than
for a kingdom of peace, joy, and happiness to replace present
conditions on planet earth.
center their beliefs, their very lives, around Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus centered his life, and his teachings around this theme
of a coming kingdom. He taught about it in his words: But they
which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the
resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in
marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal
unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children
of the resurrection (Luke 20:35-36).
illustrated the coming kingdom in his parables: Then shall the
King say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation
of the world (Mat 25:34). He demonstrated its power in countless
miracles: he gave sight to the blind; he made the lame to walk,
he even raised the dead!
was the kingdom he promised; this was the kingdom he preached;
this was the kingdom he died to achieve!
Will That Kingdom Be Like?
this kingdom was the central theme of Jesus' life he did not
originate the idea. The concept of this kingdom permeated Old
prophets foresaw a kingdom of health, with harmony between man
and his fellow. They foresaw a kingdom of peace, with total
economic security. Isaiah spoke of all these promises: They
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain (11:6-9);
they shall beat their swords into plowshares (2:4); mine elect
shall long enjoy the work of their hands (65:21, 22).
prophets foresaw a kingdom with harmony between man and animal;
natural enemies of the earth will dwell together in complete
peace and harmony; and formerly harmful creatures will no longer
be hurtful or dangerous.
wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie
down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling
together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and
the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together:
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child
shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall
put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor
destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isa
foresaw a kingdom of peace with harmony amongst men and no more
war: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke
many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up
sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more
foresaw a kingdom of total economic security; mankind will reap
the rewards of their labor and live in security without fear
of loss: they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they
shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.... mine elect
shall long enjoy the work of their hands (Isa 65:21-22).
New Testament apostles foresaw a kingdom in which even death
would be done away; there shall be no more death (Rev 21:4).
And the best part is that these were not idle dreams. They were
not wishful thinking. They spoke of living verities for one
simple reason—they knew what they were talking about for
they had been witnesses. The Apostle Peter said: For we have
not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto
you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were
eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father
honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the
excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were
with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of
prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed (2Pet 1:16-19).
the Apostle Paul, when speaking of himself, wrote: I knew a
man in Christ...caught up to the third heaven (2Cor 12:2). In
the next verse he calls this third heaven paradise. These Biblical
writers could speak with such authority, with such sureness,
for one simple reason; and to most of their kingdom prophecies
the reason for their positiveness is appended: For the mouth
of the LORD of hosts has spoken it!
Will That Kingdom Be For?
will be for the righteous (Mat 13:43)! That kingdom will be
for the Christian (Acts 16:31)! The kingdom will be for the
Jew (Ezek 16:55)! The kingdom will be for the pagan of Sodom
and Gomorrah (Mat 10:15)! The kingdom will be for the heathen
of Tyre and Sidon (Mat 11:22)! In fact the kingdom will be for
ALL people! "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming
when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth,
those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those
who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (John
who are in their tombs will be raised to life—the Jew
and the Arab; the Christian and the Atheist; the Catholic and
the Protestant; the saint and the sinner; the priest and the
master of voodoo—ALL! But that seems impossible! The Bible
clearly says: "Neither is there salvation in any other:
for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby
we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
One must be a Christian to be saved. One must believe in Christ
to live forever in that kingdom. Yet the Bible just as clearly
states that the men of Sodom and of Gomorrah, of Tyre and of
Sidon, will be there. Can both be true? Yes! Both are true because
both are in the Bible. And the Bible is true!
harmony between these seemingly conflicting concepts is in a
simple statement of the will of God concerning man by the Apostle
Paul: "God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved,
and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one
God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time"
(1Tim 2:3-6). God will have all men to be saved! Jesus Christ
gave himself a ransom for all! How much plainer can it be stated!
ALL—Jew and Gentile; saint and sinner; Christian and Jew
and pagan—ALL! Yet..."there is no other name whereby
men must be saved than that of Jesus Christ." Both are
scriptural statements! Both must be true! But, How?
phrases in Paul's words to Timothy must be examined to answer
this question. FIRST, let us look at the phrase: "to be
saved." Saved from what? What does it mean to be saved?
The answers come readily. Saved from death! Saved from sin!
These answers are correct, but they reveal only half of the
truth behind the words: "all men to be saved."
Bible is a complex book. But its central theme is simple. It
is the story of redemption. It begins with man created perfect
and placed in a perfect garden home—Eden. It soon sees
the original pair—Adam and Eve—sin and plunge the
entire race into the consequences of sin—death.
Bible closes with man restored to perfection in a perfect earth,
an earth cleansed from the defilements of sin—including
death itself. In between it weaves a story of promise and fulfillment,
of despair and hope, of prediction and reality, of man being
redeemed by one man—Jesus.
Ransom for All!
word "ransom" itself shows the principle on which
the Bible's offer of salvation is based. It is taken from the
Greek word "anti-lutron", meaning "a price to
simple balance scale illustrates it well. Adam sinned and brought
upon himself and his posterity the merited penalty of death.
The scales of justice demanded it. Christ died as a corresponding
price—a perfect man for a perfect man—to offset
the sin of Adam and bring the scales of justice back into balance.
Simple? Yes, it is simple! It is scriptural! And it is true!
all of Adam's children (and thus their descendants as well)
were born after the first sin, they were born into a dying condition.
The Psalmist David expressed it well: "Behold, I was shaped
in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Pss
Adam's descendants include both good people and bad people,
both saints and sinners, both believers and unbelievers, they
are all guaranteed salvation through the shed blood of Christ,
which was freely given for Adam and all his descendants.
Apostle Paul summarized the whole of the Bible message into
two short sentences: "For since by man came death, by man
came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1Cor 15:21-22).
was from this death sentence on the human race, then, that all
men are to be saved. This salvation is guaranteed by the death
of Christ to all men—the good and the bad.
it is one thing to obtain salvation; it is quite another thing
to maintain that salvation. While the death of Jesus promises
life from the grave for all, it does not promise that that life
will be maintained forever.
and Eve were given life in the Garden of Eden. They did not
deserve it. It was simply a gift. It was God's grace. They could
have maintained that life forever. They did not because they
sinned. In this same manner all men will receive life in God's
kingdom. They do nothing to deserve it. It is simply a gift.
It is of God's grace. They can maintain that life forever. But
will they? Just as with Adam and Eve, the option will be with
Knowledge of the Truth
is where the second phrase of Paul's statement to Timothy needs
to be examined. "Who will have all men to be saved, and
to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1Tim 2:4).
the order! God will first have all men to be saved, and, second,
come to a knowledge of the truth. Wouldn't you expect that order
to be reversed? That men must first know the truth—know
Jesus—before they are saved? That would seem logical.
But that is not what the Bible says.
plan is for all men to "hear the voice of the Son of Man
and come forth" from the graves; and then to be instructed
in "the knowledge of the truth." That's what God's
kingdom is all about. It has two parts. First, raise all men
from the grave. Second, instruct them in the rules of God so
that they might keep them and maintain the life they have been
given. That is God's plan. That is the beauty of the kingdom!
That assures the permanence of salvation! That is the promise
of the Bible!
is that not giving man a second chance? Indeed it would be if
sin and evil had caught God by surprise. But they did not—more
about that later. Because God permitted sin and evil for a purpose,
life from the dead for all is not a second chance but merely
the completion of what God had originally planned for man.
The Long Delay?
if God's kingdom is so wonderful why is it so long delayed?
Jesus died nearly 2000 years ago and there is still no kingdom.
Instead of improving, many feel that world conditions have gotten
worse. Why the long delay?
Bible outlines three reasons for the delay. FIRST, to fully
populate the earth; SECOND, to let man have a thorough experience
with sin and its consequences; and THIRD, to develop a class
of individuals to help Christ uplift the human race to life,
perfection, and happiness. When God first made man and placed
him in the Garden of Eden he gave him a commission. "And
God blessed them, and God said to them, `Be fruitful and multiply,
and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the
fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every
living thing that moves upon the earth'" (Gen 1:28 RSV).
experts today say that this is just the problem. The earth has
a population explosion which threatens our existence. But is
this truly so? The Bible indicates that man has been on this
planet for a little over 6000 years. The total population from
creation to the present has been estimated at between thirty
and fifty billions. That's a lot of people!
the earth is a big place. Fifty billion people could each have
60 square feet of space on the island of New Zealand alone.
But that's not much space, you say! True! But New Zealand is
not a great part of the earth, either!
only does man need more space to live on, land is required to
grow the necessary food for man's sustenance. This, too, has
been provided in God's plan. Notice, once again, the words of
the prophet Isaiah: "The wilderness and the solitary place
shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom
as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with
joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it,
the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory
of the LORD, and the excellency of our God" (Isa 35:1-2).
Desert Shall Blossom as a Rose
and thousands of square miles today are filled with desert—the
Sahara, the Gobi, America's great Southwest Desert, the outback
of Australia. Countless more miles are unproductive wilderness
area and scrub land. Think of all of these blossoming as a rose.
Think of the productivity of the world's breadbaskets: the Ukraine,
the vast prairie provinces of Canada, the great plains of the
United States. Think of these joined by the vast areas of today's
deserts! Yes, there is room, and even enough room for more.
And God's commission was to "fill the earth." This
"filling" is one of the reasons for the great delay
in ushering in that kingdom for which we are taught to pray.
Permission of Evil
experiences on the earth have been hard ones. Not only has he
had to earn his living by "the sweat of his brow,"
but the inhumanity of man to man has filled all decent men with
revulsion. Natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, famines,
volcanic eruptions, have added to the misery of the human scene.
Does man really want to live forever in such conditions? If
there is a God, why has he permitted such suffering?
is a purpose—and a good one—for all of this evil.
Listen to the words of King Solomon: "And I gave my heart
to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that
are done under heaven: this sore travail has God given to the
sons of man to be exercised therewith" (Eccl. 1:13). Sin
was introduced on this earth through the intervention of an
evil personality—Satan. His influence has made such evil
epidemic. Every being who has ever lived can well identify with
the words of David of old: "Behold, I was shaped in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Pss 51:5). One of
the reasons for the success of the kingdom of God is based on
a simple premise—that evil influences will be restrained—Satan
will be bound.
I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the
bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold
on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan,
and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless
pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should
deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should
be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season"
Satan bound while man is educated in the laws of God and righteousness,
human beings will have the wonderful opportunity to compare
two life styles—sin, with its consequences of misery,
sickness and death; and righteousness, with its consequences
of happiness, health and life. Is there any question which they
will choose! Certainly they will choose life.
God Permits Evil
as the wise man said, "this sore travail has God given
to the sons of man to be exercised therewith." Comparing
the brief span of man's present life under sin and evil with
an eternity of life under kingdom conditions, all will echo
the sentiments of the Apostle Paul: "For I reckon that
the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom 8:18)
there is still one more reason for the long delay. The work
of the kingdom is a big work. God's plan is that there be helpers
to assist Jesus in this great human uplift project. When Jesus
reigns, there are those who will reign with him. "If we
suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also
will deny us" (2Tim 2:12). "Blessed and holy is he
that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second
death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of
Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev
is the selection of this class and their training which has
occupied the centuries since the death of Christ to the present.
These will be with their Lord in heaven, assisting him in the
work of restoring men to perfect life on the earth. "Beloved,
now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what
we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall
be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1John 3:2).
these three reasons—the filling of the earth, the full
permission of man to experience evil and its consequences and
the selection of a class of co-workers with Christ in the kingdom—there
has been a delay of some twenty centuries in establishing that
rule of righteousness. But come it will in God's own due time.
Will That Kingdom Come?
will we know when that kingdom comes? Is it near? Yes! It is
near! The Bible contains abundant signs of changes that would
take place in world conditions introducing that kingdom. Many
of these are found in a sermon by Jesus located in Matthew,
chapter 24, based on a prophecy in the book of Daniel, chapter
12. We will look briefly at just four of these:
A Time Of Trouble Threatening To Destroy All Flesh:
then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning
of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be And except
those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:
but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened"
until the second World War let loose the age of nuclear warfare
has man had this ability to destroy all flesh. Today the dreaded
word "overkill" heightens man's fear with the ability
to destroy all flesh many times over.
A Knowledge And Transportation Revolution:
you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to
the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge
shall be increased" (Dan 12:4).
the introduction of compulsory education, the widespread availability
of printed material, and the introduction of the computer age,
knowledge has been exploding exponentially—doubling every
five to eight years. Means of rapid transportation are so common
that we may forget that our ancestors of only 150 years ago
were restricted to the speed of a horse, and most died without
traveling more than a few miles from their homes.
people of Israel...shall build the waste cities and inhabit
them...and I will plant them upon their land and they shall
no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them,
says the Lord your God" (Amos 9:14-15).
a modern miracle, a people wandering homeless for 2000 years,
have returned to their ancient homeland. Despite numerous onslaughts
by overpowering numbers of enemies, they have endured and stand
strong today among the family of nations.
Preaching The Gospel:
this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world
for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come"
the early 1800's Bible societies were established in Europe
and the United States for the sole purpose of distributing the
scriptures all over the world. Today the Bible is still a best
seller and is available in more than one thousand languages.
Now, once again, hear the word of the Lord: "So likewise
you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the
kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (Luke 21:31). We are living
in a day when man has the potential to destroy all flesh. We
are living in a day when knowledge has been increased and many
run to and fro. We are living in a day when the rebirth of Israel
in her ancient homeland is a fact. We are living in a day when
the Gospel—the Bible—is being published throughout
the world. Therefore we are living in a day when the kingdom
of God is nigh at hand!
man has prayed for many things. He has prayed for nothing harder
or more often than the kingdom. And that is a prayer that will
soon be answered. "Our Father which is in heaven; hallowed
be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth
as it is in heaven" (Mat 6:9-10).