The prophecies considered in Chapter One indicate that we are at the end of the age,
therefore the selection of the church is nearly completed. The great time of trouble
foretold in Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21 is upon us. Haggai 2:7 contains a thrilling
promise that we should cherish in these troubling times.
Speaking of this
“Time of Trouble” Haggai prophesied, “And I will shake all nations and the
desire of all nations will come.” How comforting! The legitimate desires of all
nations or peoples shall come. The Scriptures show that one of the reasons for the
“Time of Trouble” is that the various segments of society are demanding both
just and fancied desires from each other. And nations are superimposing their desires upon
other nations. The result is the disintegration of our present evil world. But all people
have legitimate desires that God will fulfill after the tribulation demonstrates that
selfish man cannot establish his own utopia.
What are some of these
desires the Kingdom will fulfill? If we asked the working man struggling to keep his head
above water, “What is your desire?” his answer would be, “If only we had
economic security.” Speaking of the Kingdom, Isaiah 65:21-23 says, “They shall
build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall
not build and another inhabit. They shall not plant and another eat. They shall not labor
in vain nor bring forth for trouble.”
There will be no
unemployment problem, fear of automation, inflation, depression or any economic problem.
In the Kingdom, all will have economic security as symbolized by these words of Isaiah.
If we stopped a man on the
streets of Harlem and asked him what he desired, he would reply, “Why, if the needs
of the poor and minorities were only understood, and if we could only be assured of
justice, then life could be beautiful.” The Kingdom will satisfy these desires. Then
“He [God] will defend the cause of the poor, deliver the needy and crush the
oppressor.” (Psalms 72:4) And Isaiah 9:7 again tells us, “Of the increase of his
[Christ’s] government there will be no end…. It will be established with justice
and righteousness forevermore.”
If we asked one of our
elderly in our crime ridden cities what is his desire, he would probably reply, “If
only there were no more crime and violence.” This desire will also come, for in the
Kingdom we read, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [Kingdom],
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the
sea” (Isa. 11:9).
What would be the desire
of patients in hospitals? Of course, they would say, “If only there were no sickness
and crippling diseases, no cancer, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy. If only the
blind could see, the deaf could hear and the crippled walk.” Oh! Thank God! These
desires will be fulfilled! Of the Kingdom we read in Isaiah 33:24, “And no inhabitant
will say I am sick.” Isaiah 35:5— “Then the eyes of the blind shall be
opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the
tongue of the dumb sing for joy.”
And what would be the
desire of youth? One of their many idealisms is, “Can’t there be a world without
war? And why can’t the billions of dollars and the cream of technology that is wasted
on the armament race be harnessed for peace and human needs?” In the Kingdom we read
in Isaiah 2:4, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into
pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war
If we went to the
sub-Saharan drought belt of Africa where over a million have starved to death in a recent
six-year period, and ask, “What is the one desire in life you want?”—with
one accord they would say, “Oh, if only the rains could be depended on, so that we
could be assured that the land could bring forth food to feed our children.” The
climatic conditions in the Kingdom will be ideal. The earth will bring forth in abundance.
In Isaiah 35:1,7, we read, “The desert shall blossom as a rose…. And the parched
ground shall become a pool and the lands springs of water.”
Think of the countless
millions who have lost loved ones in death. Their one desire is the return of these dear
victims. And in the Kingdom they will be united with their loved ones. Speaking of all
that died, Hosea 13:14 says, “I will ransom [deliver] them from the power of the
grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be your plagues; O grave, I will be
your destruction.” Is it any wonder Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?
Is Man Too Selfish?
Well, someone might say,
God will wonderfully bless mankind in the Kingdom, but there is still the problem of man.
If history has taught us anything, it is that man is too selfish to permit an ideal
society. This has been true, but the reason the Kingdom will work is that God intends to
change man’s selfish heart of stone into a heart of love. We have seen in the chapter
on the permission of evil that the basic lesson God is now teaching man is the exceeding
sinfulness of sin. Man alienated himself from God by disobeying and man without God
results in selfish havoc.
The Kingdom of Christ will
rule in righteousness; the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover
the deep so that all will know the Lord (Isaiah 11:9). Satan will be bound so that he
cannot deceive the people (Revelation 20:1-3). The love of God will abundantly bestow
blessings of life, peace and happiness upon all. The very spirit or influence of this
Kingdom arrangement will have an overwhelming transforming effect on the hearts of men.
Of this mighty working of
the spirit we read in Ezekiel 11:19-20, “And I will give them one heart, and I will
put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will
give them a heart of flesh. That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances,
and do them: and they shall be my people. and I will be their God.”
The Iron Rule
For many an iron rule will
at first be required in order to change their heart of stone into a heart of flesh. The
laws of the Kingdom of Christ will be far more exacting than those of any previous
government and the liberties of the people will be restricted to a degree that will be
galling indeed to many now clamoring for an increase of liberty without responsibility.
Liberty to deceive, to
misrepresent, to overreach and to defraud others, will be entirely stopped. Liberty to
abuse themselves or others in food or in drink, or in any way to corrupt good manners,
will be totally denied to all.
Liberty or license to do
wrong of any sort will not be granted to any. The only liberty that will be granted to any
will be the true and glorious liberty of the sons of God-liberty to do good to themselves
and others in any and in every way. Nothing will be allowed to injure or destroy in all
that holy kingdom. (Isaiah 11:9; Romans 8:21)
That rule will
consequently be felt by some to be a severe one, breaking up all their former habits and
customs, as well as breaking up present institutions founded upon these false habits and
false ideas of liberty. Because of its firmness and vigor, it is symbolically called an
iron rule, “He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” (Compare Revelation 2:26,
27; Psalms 2:8-12, and 49:14.) Thus will be fulfilled the statement, “Judgment will I
lay to the line and righteousness to the plummet. And the hail [righteous judgment] shall
sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters [truth] shall overflow the hiding
place,” and every hidden thing shall be revealed. Isa. 28:17; Matt. 10:26.
Some will feel rebellious
against that perfect and equitable rule. Now under the influence of Satan, they lord it
over their fellow men. In the Kingdom, these will attempt to live wholly at the expense of
others without rendering compensating service. This present life of self-indulgence and
gratification will naturally demand and receive many and severe disciplines under that
reign, before such will learn the lessons of that Kingdom-equity, justice, righteousness.
Psa. 89:32; Luke 12:47,48
But, blessed thought! When
the Prince of Life has put in force the laws of righteousness and equity with an iron
rule, the masses of mankind will learn that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin
is a reproach to any people.” They will learn that God’s plan and laws are best
in the end for all concerned, and ultimately they will learn to love righteousness and
hate iniquity. (Psalms 45:7; Hebrews 1:9) All under that reign who have not learned to
love the right, will be counted unworthy of lasting life and will be cut off from among
the people. Acts 3:23; Rev. 20:9; Psa. 11:5-7.
beautifully sums up the work of the Kingdom: “God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall
there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
At the end of the
thousand-year Kingdom of Christ, as mankind stands at the threshold of eternity, they will
look back upon this present life of suffering, sickness and sorrow. Though this experience
seems dark and interminable at present, then, by contrast with eternity, it will seem
trifling. With this grand perspective, what this world is coming to now is seen as only a
necessary bridge that passes over into life everlasting.
Men will thank their God
for this experience with sin and evil, and at that time all creatures in heaven and every
creature on earth will raise their voices in that grand Hallelujah chorus recorded in
Revelation 5:13, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him [God] that
sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb [that was slain] for ever and ever.” Amen.