In part one of this series we looked at the king coming as a babe, who would be a servant and establish personal salvation through His death on the cross and His resurrection. The Gospel Age began. People (Jew and Gentile) would become members of Christ's spiritual kingdom. This kingdom exists now. You must be born again to comprehend it (John 3:3-8).
The next phase of Christ's kingdom is a very physical and visible kingdom. Jesus will come to this world and rule an earthly kingdom, fulfilling promises made to both Israel and the Church. This is called the Millennial kingdom. It is yet to appear to mankind.
In this lesson, we now explore the third and final phase of the kingdom of Christ. When Jesus has put down all enemies He will surrender His kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all. The old heaven and earth will pass away. There will be a new heaven and earth. There will also be a New Jerusalem. This is an eternal kingdom that is the climax of all things. This kingdom is the perfected result of all things that God the Father has chosen to do through His Son. Thus will be fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:7, "Of the increase of His government and of His peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Click here to see a diagram.
In I Corinthians 15:20-23 (from our Scripture reading) we see comments on things pertaining to the first two phases of Christ's kingdom:
- Christ's first coming (His death and resurrection gave us eternal life / salvation from sin)
- Christ's second coming (Preceded by the physical / bodily resurrection of His people)
In I Corinthians 15:24-28 (from our Scripture reading) we see the transition to the third and final phase of Christ's kingdom - The eternal kingdom:
- No more enemies
- No more curse
- Complete harmony with God in His universe
You can see this graphically portrayed in Revelation 20:7 - 21:8. The events after the great white throne judgement will be discussed in the next / final lesson of this series (Revelation chapters 21 & 22).
Many people are unable to see the effects of Christ's kingdom today. They see religious people, religious institutions, and religious activity. They see enthusiasm, apathy, sincerity, insincerity, humility, pride, efforts to unite, and arguments. They see competing systems of religion, philosophy, political science, commerce, economics, technology, and culture in a deadly gridlock.
But for all of the pros and cons of all those who name the name of Christ on earth, most people, even Christian people don't see the greatness of Christ's kingdom! Jesus Christ is accumulating millions / billions of people to be citizens of His eternal kingdom. Christ's kingdom is making a crescendo, growing and affecting multitudes of people. To appreciate this, you need to understand that all those who die with faith in Christ are kept / saved forever. Those who die without faith in Christ, perish. They are lost forever (John 3:16-18,36; 5:24; 8:21-24; I John 5:12; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; Psalm 1:1-6; 2:1-12; 9:1-20; 37:1-40; 46:1-11). There is no increase of power to those who are damned. They only increase in their number. Look at the remains of ancient empires of the past. We can only see decaying ruins now.
To envision the increase of Christ's kingdom, and its ultimate climax, we must…
- Have faith in the character and the promises of God (Hebrews 11:6, 8-10). This requires continual feeding on the Word of God (Romans 10:17; 15:4; II Timothy 4:1-4).
- Have grace and gratitude, thankfully worshipping and serving God with reverence / godly fear and awe (Hebrews 12:28-29 - RE: "fire" cp. Matthew 3:1-12).
- Have a sober / serious / disciplined mind that is careful to observe things and people that need our attention and our ministry of prayer (I Peter 4:7 cp. I Corinthians 15:24 - RE: "the end" = a climax or completion, a purpose fulfilled, i.e. God's purpose fulfilled / completed). RE: Prayer - see I Timothy 2:1-6; Ephesians 6:10-12,18-20; Matthew 26:41.
Those who can embrace Christ's eternal kingdom will examine themselves and purify their thoughts and actions, as they eagerly contemplate a future world that is filled with righteousness and peace. This hope will give them renewed energy and joy for serving God in an ungodly world. See II Peter 3:10-15; Psalm 15:1-5; 24:1-10; Isaiah 40:29-31; Titus 2:11-14; II Timothy 4:5-8,18.