Author: Ron Graham
Kingdom Without End
—And the New Jerusalem
Time ~ 12. Kingdom in All the World
Span ~ 1900 years
Books ~ Secular history only
Figures ~ None in Bible
Begins with ~ Completion of NT scriptures
This the final lesson in the Times of Israel series. We have been on a long journey through time. Now we stand at the gates of eternity. One day, when its King returns, this kingdom will be taken from earth and into in heaven forever.
1 God’s Plan
Through all the times of Israel, God had a plan that was unfolding. It was a plan for an eternal and glorious kingdom, not on earth but in heaven. The king of this kingdom would be Jesus Christ the Son of God. He would also be its temple, its sacrifice, its High Priest and its light.
Anyone who wishes may gain an inheritance in this eternal kingdom, the "New Jerusalem" —if they will believe and obey Jesus. He will one day come personally to lead them into this glorious place. This will be the happy ending to the Story of Israel here on earth. And never will the saying be truer: “They all lived happily ever after”.
The gospel of this kingdom includes the belief that Jesus Christ is coming again one day, at the end of the world. He will gather up his spiritual Israel, from among the living and the dead, to take its every citizen into heaven for eternity (2Peter 1:1-11).
And so it is true to say that the story of Israel has no end.
2 The Kingdom of Heaven
In the first century of the Christian era, the message of the gospel was preached to "the whole creation" (Colossians 1:23) just as Jesus commanded (Mark 16:15-16).
By the time that the New Testament scriptures were complete, and the miraculous signs had ceased, the gospel had become known across the world in every nation. God's kingdom, Israel, was no longer a worldly kingdom, but rather a spiritual kingdom. This kingdom of Heaven, the new Israel, was spread throughout the world. It was a kingdom to which people of every nation belonged whether Jew or Gentile.
The king of this wonderful kingdom is Jesus Christ, who reigns from heaven. The new spiritual kingdom of God became a world wide kingdom just as Daniel had predicted when he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream. A stone struck the feet of image that Nebuchadnezzar saw. The image became dust, and the stone "became a great mountain that filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:35,44). This mountain represents a kingdom more powerful than all earthly empires, a kingdom which would endure forever. This is the church of Christ (Colossians 1:12-20)
3 The New Jerusalem
The earthly city of Jerusalem was specially chosen by God for his habitation. Jerusalem reached Its peak of earthly glory In the time of king David and of his son, king Solomon. (2Chronicles 6:5-6)
Because of disobedience to the law of God, the city and temple were allowed to be ruined and made desolate by the Chaldeans. (2Chronicles 36:11-21)
After seventy years a remnant of its people returned and struggled to rebuild the city. It was only a wretched shadow of Its former glory, and suffered oppression by foreign powers. However, Jerusalem was not without hope. The prophets foretold liberation for the afflicted city, and of a time when the sons and daughters of Zion would rejoice. (Isaiah 54:7-8,11-12). Once again God would choose Jerusalem for his habitation (Zechariah 2:10-12).
4 How Are These Prophecies Fulfilled?
- Jesus Christ is building a new Jerusalem in heaven. He will come one day to gather in its citizens (John 14:2-3).
- Jesus Christ is the Sanctuary, High Priest, and Sacrifice in the new Jerusalem (Hebrews 9:24-28).
- The promised liberation is in this Jerusalem above, not here on earth (Galatians 4:25-26). It is a liberation for all who want it, not just for the Jews (Galatians 3:26-27).
- This heavenly city was believed in by the Patriarchs of antiquity. Although they did not have as full a revelation as we, nevertheless they confessed their blessed assurance of a city to be prepared in heaven for them (Hebrews 11:8-16).
- Together with them and the angels, we have "come" to God's heavenly Jerusalem. This glorious Zion is not yet visible to us. We have not yet come there in sight.
- However, we have come there in faith and in promise. We are heirs and beneficiaries to an inheritance in heaven. Therefore it is already ours, but presently is held in trust by Jesus our Trustee.
- He will hand us the key at the appointed time. Then we can move in. We eagerly wait with perseverance for that great moment (1Peter 1:3-13, Romans 8:18,24-25).
- We are already citizens of the new Jerusalem. By our faith we are registered on the roll of citizens with full rights of residence in that heavenly and eternal city (Philippians 3:20, Hebrews 12:22-24).
- On this earth we have no permanent home, but as pilgrims in a foreign land, we seek the city to come (Hebrews 13:14).
- We look for a new heavens and a new earth, knowing that our present dwelling place is to pass away in fire (2Peter 3:10-13).
- In this new heaven and earth, we will behold the new Jerusalem, beautiful and glorious city, our eternal home (Revelation 21 and 22).
- To obtain all this we need meet only one condition: "If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven ...Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:22-28).