Manage episode 275380170 series 2378296
The Bible reveals two major aspects of God’s rule over His creation. The first is His universal rule in which He sovereignly decrees whatsoever comes to pass and “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11). There are times when God accomplishes His will immediately without the assistance of others (such as in the creation), and other times He chooses to work mediately through creatures, both intelligent (angels and people), and simple (Balaam’s donkey). Concerning God’s universal rule, Scripture reveals, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psa 103:19), and “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” (Psa 135:6). Daniel writes, “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth” (Dan 4:34b-35a; cf. 5:21; 1 Ch 29:11-12).
The second is God’s earthly rule in which He governs through a theocratic administrator. The first account of such a rule is found in Genesis where the Lord assigned Adam and Eve to rule over the whole world (Gen 1:26-28). Theirs was a mediatorial rulership, which may be defined as “the rule of God through a divinely chosen representative who not only speaks and acts for God but also represents the people before God; a rule which has special reference to the earth; and having as its mediatorial ruler one who is always a member of the human race.” However, through an act of disobedience (Gen 3:1-7), Adam and Eve forfeited their rulership to Satan, a fallen angelic creature, who rules through deception (2 Cor 11:3, 14; Rev 12:9; 20:3, 8), blindness (2 Cor 4:3-4), and enslavement (Acts 26:18; Col 1:13). Since the fall of Adam and Eve, Satan has had dominion over this world and is called “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30; 16:1), “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2), and “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4). When tempting Jesus, Satan offered Him “the kingdoms of the world” (Matt 4:8-9), and they were his to give, saying, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish” (Luke 4:6). However, the Bible also reveals that Satan has been judged (Gen 3:15; John 16:11), and in the future will be cast out of heaven (Rev 12:7-9), confined for a thousand years (Rev 20:1-3), and eventually cast into the Lake of Fire forever (Rev 20:10). It must always be remembered that God sovereignly permits Satan a limited form of rulership for a limited period of time, always restraining him and his demonic forces, if they seek to transgress the boundaries He’s established for them (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Mark 15:1-13; 2 Pet 2:4).
In spite of Satan’s influence in the world, God is sovereignly directing history toward the establishment of a divinely appointed theocratic administrator who will rule on earth. The Lord focused specifically on David, promising that one of his descendants would rule forever (2 Sam 7:16; Psa 89:3-4, 34-37; Jer 23:5-6; 33:14-15). This descendant would be a righteous king (Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-9; Jer 23:5-6; 33:14-18), and his kingdom will last forever (Dan 2:44; 7:13-14; 1 Cor. 15:24). Jesus is identified as that king (Luke 1:30-33). When Jesus came, He repeatedly offered the earthly kingdom to Israel (Matt 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:5-7), a literal kingdom that was future (Matt 6:10; Luke 19:11; Acts 1:3-6). But they rejected Him and His offer (Matt 11:20; 12:14; Mark 15:12-15; John 19:15); therefore, the earthly kingdom was postponed for a future time (Matt 21:43; cf. Matt 19:28; 25:31; Luke 22:28-30; Acts 1:3-6; Rev 20:4-6).
We are currently living in the church age, which will come to an end when the church is raptured to heaven (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Afterward, there will be a period of time known as the Tribulation, which will begin when the Antichrist signs a seven-year peace treaty with Israel (Dan 9:24-27). The time of Tribulation will come to an end when Jesus returns to earth to put down rebellion (Rev 19:11-21) and establish His millennial kingdom (Matt 25:31; Rev 11:15; 20:1-6). The word millennium is derived from the Latin words mille which means “thousand” and annum which means “year”. The word millennium translates the Greek word χίλιοι chilioi, which occurs six times in Revelation 20:2-7. After His second coming, Jesus will rule the whole earth, from Jerusalem, on the throne of David (2 Sam 7:16; Psa 89:3-4, 34-37; Luke 1:30-33; cf. Mark 11:9-10), He will rule absolutely with “a rod of iron” (Psa 2:9; Rev 19:15), and afterward His kingdom will become an eternal kingdom (Dan 2:44; 7:27; 1 Cor. 15:24). King David himself will be resurrected to rule with Christ (Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:23-24). Jesus will rule the nations in righteousness, advocating for the poor and weak, as well as suppressing wickedness and rebellion (Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-9; Jer 23:5-6; 33:14-18). People will have good health (Isa 35:5-6), live long lives, and experience improvements in social and economic life (Isa 65:19-25; Amos 9:13-14), and a new worship system will be implemented (see Ezekiel chapters 40-46). There will be no more war (Isa 2:2-4; 32:17-18; Mic 4:1-4), and harmful animals will no longer be a threat (Isa 11:6-9; Ezek 34:25). Israel will possess all the Promised Land (Ezek 36:24; 39:25-29; Amos 9:15; cf. Gen 15:18-21), and will be exalted over the Gentiles (Isa 14:1-2; 49:22-23; 60:14-17; 61:6-7). The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Isa 11:9; Jer 31:33-34), and the Holy Spirit will indwell all believers (Ezek 36:27; 37:14; cf. Jer 31:33). The Gentiles will participate in the Jewish feasts and sacrificial system (Zec 14:16). Satan will be bound during the reign of Christ (Rev 20:1-3), but sadly, this will not change his rebellious nature, or the nature of those who follow him (Rev 20:7-10).
 Alva McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom (Winona Lake, Ind. BMH Books, 2009), 41.