Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
Why do we see so much sadness, sorrow and suffering around us? Where is it all headed? Why is the world in such a precarious condition? With all this bad news, is there really any hope for the future of humanity?
by HOIM Staff
"...When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near" (Luke 21:31).
Today's headlines are filled with bad news -- wars raging around the globe; famines devastating entire countries; environmental catastrophes and natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts and floods killing multiple thousands of people; grinding poverty holding entire nations in its brutal grip; violent crime increasing in spite of man's best efforts to deal with it -- the litany of tragedies and bad news is relentless.
Accidents and diseases kill thousands every day. Tragically, accidents, suicides and murder are leading causes of death among teenagers and young adults in economically and technologically advanced nations. Drug and alcohol abuse and sexual promiscuity are rampant, bringing epidemics of broken marriages, broken homes and broken lives.
Baffling new diseases spring up around the world, defying the best attempts of scientists to contain or cure them. Other diseases, long thought to have been conquered by medical science, resurface with deadly vengeance, having grown resistant to the medications that easily cured them only a few decades ago.
Even religion, to which many look for solutions, is often a part of the problem. At any given time, wars and armed conflicts flare and burn, fanned by the fires of religious fervor. Wars are fought not only between major religions, but between sects of the same religion, supposedly out of devotion and service to the same God.
Human existence threatened
In the 20th century, more than 150 million people were killed in war alone. Well over 100 million more died from diseases and natural disasters. Terrifying nuclear, chemical and biological weapons have the capability to annihilate armies-- even entire nations -- in seconds. Government leaders grow increasingly worried about such frightening weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists who stop at nothing to achieve their ends.
Why do we see so much sadness, sorrow and suffering around us? Where is it all headed? Why is the world in such a precarious condition? With all this bad news, is there really any hope for the future of humanity?
Almost 2,000 years ago, Yeshua the Messiah was born in Judea and began prophesying a wonderful future for the people of Israel after an intense period of earthshaking calamities. His message, called "the gospel," means "good news" -- the very good news the world so desperately needs.
But what exactly is this good news -- this gospel -- the Messiah preached? Is it only a wonderful story about the Messiah's birth, life, activities, death and resurrection? Certainly these are an integral part of the good news of YEHOVAH's plan for His people Israel (Mark 1:1). But there is so much more to his message.
Message of salvation
We will see that the good news Yeshua the Messiah proclaimed is not just a message about his life and death leading to the salvation of YEHOVAH's people Israel; his message also concerns the meaning of salvation and how YEHOVAH God intends to save His people Israel from their present problems. The gospel reveals the glorious destiny of the Israelite people!
Sadly, humankind has reduced the gospel to the story about the person of Yeshua the Messiah while neglecting and overlooking the deeper and vastly more encompassing message he was commissioned to teach. He most certainly announced good news -- the most wonderful news this tired, troubled world can hear! An entire section of the New Testament is devoted to the historical record of the message the Messiah taught while on earth. This portion of the Bible, appropriately called "the Gospels," comprises the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The writers of these accounts all tell us that Yeshua's primary message was the gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
Mark tells us: "Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'" (Mark 1:14, 15, emphasis ours throughout). "The gospel of the Kingdom of God" is the message the Messiah instructs his followers to believe. This article will help you understand and believe this wonderful good news the Messiah announced to the people of Israel!
The Good News of the Kingdom ofYEHOVAH God
The theme of the Messiah's gospel message was the good news of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
"Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'" (Mark 1:14, 15).
The theme of the Messiah's message was the good news of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. This is made clear by Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke records the Messiah in his own words describing his purpose: "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent [commissioned]" (Luke 4:43).
Mark relates that, at the beginning of his ministry, "Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14).
Matthew tells us, "...Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'...And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom..." (Matthew 4:17, 23).
Luke 8:1 confirms that the Messiah did exactly what he said he would: "Now it came to pass, afterward, that he went through every city and village [of Israel], preaching and bringing the glad tidings [the gospel, or good news] of the kingdom of God..." This message of the Kingdom was the heart and core of the Messiah's teaching from the very beginning. Together, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John use the term "kingdom of God" in 53 verses. The gospel the Messiah brought is clearly about this Kingdom.
Others told to spread this message
What about his disciples? What did he command them to preach? "Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1, 2).
Later he instructed others to proclaim this same message. "After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place [of Israel] where He Himself was about to go." He instructed the seventy to proclaim, "The kingdom of God has come near to you" (Luke 10:1, 9).
The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was clearly the theme of the Messiah's ministry. In the Sermon on the Mount, one of the most familiar examples of his message, he pointed his followers toward the Kingdom. He began his message with, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3, 10).
The Messiah told his Israelite followers of the importance of obedience to YEHOVAH's law in entering this Kingdom: "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:19, 20).
He also warned that we of Israel must be submissive to YEHOVAH God's will to enter the Kingdom: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
He taught his followers to pray "Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). And notice this! He commanded them to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). Seeking to enter the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God should be our top priority.
Time and time again he used parables to illustrate aspects of the Kingdom (Matthew 13, 20, 22, 25; Luke 13, 19). In some of his last words before his crucifixion, he remarked to his disciples that he would not partake of the Passover symbols until he would once again do so "with you in My Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29).
Over a 40-day period immediately after his death and resurrection, Yeshua the Messiah was seen by his followers. Notice that even then he continued "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).
What message didthe Messiah's followers preach?
Yeshua the Messiah was not the only one to proclaim this message. Before Yeshua began his ministry, John the Baptist commanded people of Israel to repent, announcing that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2).
As we have seen, Yeshua's ministry centered on the Kingdom. In keeping with the Messiah's direction, his disciples continued to proclaim the Kingdom after his crucifixion.
The importance of the Messiah's life, sacrifice and resurrection was a vital part of the message taught by the apostles. The apostle Peter made this clear in his first public preaching on the very day the Church began with the miraculous outpouring of the holy spirit (Acts 2:22-24, 36).
Peter also spoke of the broader concepts of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God in his ministry. In 2 Peter 1:10, 11 we read, "Therefore, brethren [of Israel], be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our LORD and of the Savior Jesus Christ."
Notice, too, that people requested baptism as a result of Philip's message about the Kingdom. "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized" (Acts 8:12).
Paul proclaimed the Kingdom
What about the apostle Paul? The book of Acts records that early in his ministry, as he raised up congregationsof Israelites in various cities, he "strengthen[ed] the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God'" (Acts 14:22). Later, in Ephesus, "he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God" (Acts 19:8).
Paul described his own preaching in Corinth as relating to "the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 4:20). He referred to himself and his companions as "fellow workers for the kingdom of God" (Colossians 4:11). When under house arrest in Rome near the end of his ministry, Paul received a number of visitors, "to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening" (Acts 28:23). Notice that Paul used the Old Testament scriptures -- "the Law of Moses and the Prophets" -- to preach about both the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God and Yeshua the Messiah.
Paul is misrepresented as preaching a gospel about only the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah. The reality, however, is that Paul preached a message about both the Messiah AND the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. The last verse of the book of Acts describes Paul "preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Acts 28:31).
Those of Israel who followed in the Messiah's footsteps taught the same message he taught. The book of Acts and the apostles' letters to the early church make it clear that they taught about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
The gospel beforethe Messiah
Some have assumed the gospel was first introduced by the Messiah during his ministry. The gospel, however, is much older than that. It is called "the everlasting gospel" (Revelation 14:6).
The last four verses of Hebrews 3 speak of ancient Israel's unbelief and the sad fate of those who died in the wilderness, not entering the promised land. Hebrews 4:2 continues the story: "For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them..." Israel had heard the gospel but failed to respond because of lack of faith.
Hundreds of years before that, the patriarch Abraham also heard the gospel (Galatians 3:8). Both of these passages confirm that the gospel was being proclaimed BEFORE the Messiah's ministry.
In describing how, at His return, YEHOVAH God will reward those who have been faithful to His way of life, the Messiah revealed that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God has been prepared for those of us of Israel far longer than we can imagine. "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34).
This good news about the glorious future of His people Israel has been YEHOVAH's plan from the very beginning! The Messiah's part in that plan, including his sacrifice to pay the penalty for the sins of the Israelite people, was also established from the very beginning (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-20). This was the good news given to Abraham -- that through his descendant, Yeshua the Messiah, all nations would be blessed (Galatians 3:8, 16).
Few understood beforeYeshua the Messiah
The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was proclaimed by YEHOVAH's servants before Yeshua's ministry. King David, in some of his psalms, looked prophetically to YEHOVAH's Kingdom. As he wrote in Psalm 145:10-13: "All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, and Your saints [of Israel] shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power, to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations."
The prophet Daniel also knew of the coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. He, too, was inspired to write of the future reality of the Kingdom: "Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the [Israelite] people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him" (Daniel 7:27, New International Version).
However, even though the gospel originated at the foundation of the world and was proclaimed through the ages, few understood it until Yeshua the Messiah and the apostles declared it to the world of Israel.
But why? Ancient Israel, as noted earlier, lacked the belief and faith to understand and act on it (Hebrews 3:19; 4:2). In addition, the Old Testament scriptures did not connect all the pieces of the puzzle. They provided tantalizing glimpses of the Kingdom, but greater understanding had to wait until the coming of the Messiah, the revealer of "the mysteries of the kingdom" (Matthew 13:11).
When the Messiah began preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, he built on the foundation already planned by YEHOVAH the Father from the beginning and revealed by the earlier prophets. As the messenger of the Kingdom, he revealed vital truths that were not understood from the Old Testament prophecies.
One of the great misunderstandings about the Kingdom, not made clear until revealed by the Messiah, was that thousands of years would separate his life as the sacrificial Lamb of YEHOVAH God (John 1:29) from his appearance as the king of Israel and the return of YEHOVAH God as the conquering King of the Kingdom (Revelation 19:11-16). His life and ministry fulfilled a vital part of the gospel of the Kingdom -- his sacrifice to make possible our forgiveness, justification and ultimate entry into the Kingdom. His arrival in the future will help bring about the establishment of that incredible Kingdom. The Bible proclaims a consistent message from beginning to end concerning the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, a message delivered throughout the ages by YEHOVAH's servants. But, paradoxically, the part of the revelation about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God that was most fully and clearly described in prophecy after prophecy in the Old Testament -- a literal kingdom on earth ruled over by YEHOVAH God Himself -- seems to be the least understood aspect of the gospel today.
Many believe that the fantastic truth that the Israelite followers ofYeshua the Messiah will enjoy eternal life in an eternal Kingdom renders any need of a literal earthly reign over physical human beings totally unnecessary.
But what does the Bible say? Let's put aside all preconceived ideas and believe the plain teachings of YEHOVAH's Word.
Other Names For the Kingdom
Most often called the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, occasionally other terms are used in describing the Kingdom.
Although most often called the "Kingdom of God," occasionally other terms are used in describing the Kingdom. Three of the writers of the Gospels -- Mark, Luke and John -- use the term "Kingdom of God" to refer to the Kingdom by name.
"Kingdom of heaven" is a term used exclusively by Matthew, with 32 references in his account of the Messiah. However, he uses the terms "kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" interchangeably. In Matthew 19:23, 24, he uses the terms in consecutive verses, clearly implying that they were synonymous. Often he calls it simply "the Kingdom."
Why did Matthew call it "the kingdom of heaven"? Because heaven is where YEHOVAH presently is, as the Messiah made plain (Matthew 5:34, 45, 48). Matthew makes it clear that the Kingdom was not, at that time, an earthly monarchy like the kingdoms around them. However, he understood that it was a kingdom to come, for which the Messiah's followers are to pray (Matthew 6:10).
The apostle Paul usually refers to it as "the kingdom of God." However, acknowledging the role of YEHOVAH God as the Ruler of that Kingdom and the Messiah as the way by which we enter that Kingdom, he also calls it "the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5). He also expresses the deep, loving relationship between YEHOVAH God the Father and Yeshua the Messiah by calling it "the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1:13).
The apostle Peter, also acknowledging the centrality of YEHOVAH's role in the Kingdom, refers to it as "the everlasting kingdom of our LORD [YEHOVAH] and of the Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:11). YEHOVAH God is our LORD and will become King over the entire earth, while the Messiah will reign over Israel in the coming Kingdom (Revelation 11:15; Isaiah 24:1, 14-15, 21-23). As Savior of mankind and High Priest to YEHOVAH God, the Messiah is "the door" and "the way" by which we have access to YEHOVAH God the Father and salvation in YEHOVAH's Kingdom (John 10:9; 14:6).
These passages speak of "good news." This is, indeed, the true Biblical gospel -- the good news of the coming reign of YEHOVAH God, the "gospel of the Kingdom of God." The message includes, of course, the agency of the Messiah, as we know from other passages. However, its essential focus and emphasis, as these passages show, is NOT on the Messiah, but on YEHOVAH God Himself and His reign when He returns.
Are There Different Gospels?
Scripture occasionally calls the gospel by names other than "the gospel of the kingdom of God." For instance, the Bible speaks of "the gospel of Christ" and "the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1, 16).
The term "gospel of God" simply shows it originated with YEHOVAH God. YEHOVAH God delivered the message to earth through His servants. Peter tells us the gospel was "sent" from YEHOVAH God through the agency of the Messiah. Notice Acts 10:36-38: "He [YEHOVAH God] sent out the word to the sons of Israel to declare to them the good news of peace through Jesus Christ: this One [YEHOVAH God] is LORD of all [others]. You know the subject that was talked about throughout the whole of Judea, starting from Galilee after the baptism that John preached, namely, Jesus who was from Nazareth, how God anointed him with holy spirit and power, and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil; because God was with him"
The gospel of YEHOVAH God is YEHOVAH's good news about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. The gospel of Yeshua the Messiah is the good news that the Messiah taught as YEHOVAH's agent. All are the same gospel; all are part of the wonderful news of what YEHOVAH God has in store for His people Israel. In a similar manner, Paul sometimes used the term "my gospel" (Romans 2:16; 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8). This does not mean the message originated with Paul, nor was it a gospel about Paul. It was a message he received directly from the Messiah. "...The gospel which was preached by me...came through the revelation of Jesus Christ," he said (Galatians 1:11, 12). Paul's use of the term "my gospel" is proper because he was the one who proclaimed it.
The good news is also called "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). From the beginning we are called by grace, justified by grace and saved by grace (Galatians 1:6, 15; Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8). The "gospel of grace" is another appropriate term that focuses on a different aspect of the same gospel the Messiah preached: YEHOVAH's enormous love for us, expressed by His grace toward His people Israel. This message is also called "the gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13). Since our entrance, as Israelites, into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is synonymous with our salvation, there is no conflict in these terms for the gospel. Each complements and strengthens the other.
"The gospel of peace" is also used to describe the good news (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15). The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God will bring peace to the earth -- an important result of our believing in and acting on the gospel of the Kingdom. Prophesying of YEHOVAH's Kingdom, Isaiah said, "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:7).
All these terms describe the same gospel. They simply emphasize different aspects of the same wonderful message. Yeshua the Messiah preached the gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (Mark 1:14, 15), taught his disciples to preach the same message (Matthew 10:7) and continued to preach it when he appeared to the disciples after his crucifixion (Acts 1:3). After the Messiah rose from the dead, the apostles preached the same gospel, but with the added understanding of the meaning of the Messiah's sacrifice and resurrection. Although the terms that describe it may vary, the message is always the same.
The glorious truth is that this whole magnificent message is one seamless gospel, and "it is the power of God to salvation for everyone[of Israel] who believes..." (Romans 1:16).
The Promise of a Coming Kingdom
Yeshua the Messiah and the apostles preached the gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. But exactly what is that Kingdom?
"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44).
We have seen that the Messiah and the apostles preached the gospel -- the good news -- of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. But exactly what is that Kingdom?
There are many ideas about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Some think it is the church. Others believe it is an ethereal concept that resides in the hearts of Christians. Some think it is the collective good of humanity.
What does the Bible say? What is the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God?
The word translated "kingdom" throughout the New Testament is the Greek word basileia, which denotes "sovereignty, royal power, [and] dominion" (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, "Kingdom"). A careful examination of the Bible reveals that the next phase of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is nothing short of a world-ruling monarchy that YEHOVAH God will establish on this earth with the assistance of the Messiah!
An overview of world governments
This amazing truth is made clear in many Bible verses. The prophet Daniel was inspired to record a description of world governments spanning a period of thousands of years. His prophecy, recorded in Daniel 2:28-45, describes King Nebuchadnezzar's vision of five world-ruling empires. When we read these verses, we see that the fifth kingdom, the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, is a literal kingdom that has not yet come to earth.
In this passage, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, dreamed of a huge image of a man consisting of a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet composed of a mixture of iron and clay.
YEHOVAH gave Daniel, a prophet in Nebuchadnezzar's court, the ability to interpret dreams (Daniel 1:17; 2:28). Through YEHOVAH's inspiration, Daniel revealed that the four divisions of this image were actually four successive world empires. YEHOVAH God, through Daniel, identified the first of the kingdoms, the head of gold, as the Babylonian Empire (Daniel 2:38). The next two kingdoms are identified in Daniel 8:1-21. This chapter records a subsequent vision that foretold and gives more detail about the second and third empires. These two kingdoms are identified as "the kings of Media and Persia." History confirms that the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Median Empire (recorded in Daniel 5:30, 31), which was in turn toppled by the Persian Empire.
In chapter seven these four kingdoms are pictured again, this time as four beasts. This vision characterizes the empires as wild animals, predicting their harsh and oppressive domination of their subjects.
The fourth kingdom is characterized as especially cruel. History records that the Persian Empire was succeeded by the Islamic Empire founded by Muhammed. This kingdom is shown here as challenging the very authority of YEHOVAH God and persecuting His saints (Daniel 7:25). It has 10 horns (verse 7), which are 10 kings or nations of the fourth great world-ruling empire (verse 24). This fourth kingdom continued through history to our day, and is depicted as existing atYEHOVAH's return (verses 8-14).
Human governments replaced by YEHOVAH God
It is in the days of this fourth kingdom that YEHOVAH God will replace these earthly kingdoms with His Kingdom. "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44). We see that the fourth kingdom continues to rule until YEHOVAH God returns to establish His Kingdom on earth.
YEHOVAH's Kingdom -- foretold repeatedly in Daniel -- is the same Kingdom about which the Messiah preached. There can be no mistake about the nature of this Kingdom. The four kingdoms described in Daniel 2, 7 and 8 ruled over people and lands. They were great world empires with dominion and power to rule, warring against and conquering other nations. They had kings, governments, laws and subjects. They were literal kingdoms, whose ruins (except for the last one) are visible to this day.
So, too, will the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God be a literal kingdom ruling over the whole earth. Daniel 7:27, speaking of the establishment of this Kingdom, adds: "Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the [Israelite] people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him" (NIV).
Major powers will fall
The wonderful news of the coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is the heart and core of the Messiah's message for humanity. The Messiah will appear on earth (Revelation 10:1-3) and help establish this Kingdom. He will be king over Israel and YEHOVAH God will be the Ruler of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Notice this prophecy of YEHOVAH's return: "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our LORD [YEHOVAH] and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'" (Revelation 11:15). YEHOVAH God Himself will assume rulership over literal kingdoms on earth.
The governments of mankind, with their inherent inability to solve human problems that are rooted in humanity's inability to choose the right way to live (Proverbs 16:25), will be replaced by a form of government that can at last solve those problems. YEHOVAH God Himself will rule the nations of the earth!
This is the gospel -- the good news -- that the Messiah taught. The focus of the Messiah's message was the announcement of a coming world government (Luke 21:31). This government will not be ruled by selfishly motivated humans but by YEHOVAH God Himself, with the Messiah as High Priest and ruler of Israel under the direction of Almighty God!
Daniel was not the only prophet to speak of this time. Micah 4:1-3 also describes this time of unprecedented peace: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.
"Many nations shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; 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 any more."
As described in this passage, when YEHOVAH God establishes His government, the nations of the world will begin to recognize the blessings that come from obedience to YEHOVAH's ways and laws and will stream to Him to learn that way of life. YEHOVAH God will settle disputes between peoples and will have to "rebuke strong nations" that reject His direction and authority.
Prophecies of YEHOVAH God's rulership
Isaiah, speaking of the future reign of YEHOVAH God, describes what kind of ruler He will be: "Then Justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people [Israel] will dwell in a peaceful habitation, secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places..." (Isaiah 32:16-18).
"Justice" and "righteousness" will be hallmarks of YEHOVAH God's coming rulership, in contrast to the injustice, short-sightedness and oppression that all too often characterize the governments of the world. Peace will break out throughout the world -- in marriages, families, communities and nations. As prophesied, "there will be no end" to peace under YEHOVAH's reign. The King of the Universe will bring calm and goodwill to a world that has never known true peace.
Under YEHOVAH God's righteous rulership, mankind will at last learn YEHOVAH's ways and experience this wonderful peace. Educational institutions will teach people how to live, not just how to make a living. Biblical principles for healthy and lasting relationships will be thoroughly explained. "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" (Isaiah 11:9). The multiple millions of people who have never known YEHOVAH's laws or ways will at last have access to that wonderful, saving knowledge.
Causes of humanity's problems
Humankind has had thousands of years to experiment with governments, administrations and lifestyles, so why have we been unable to solve our problems?
Human government has not succeeded because, in the final analysis, humanity simply does not know how to live. Through the prophet Jeremiah, YEHOVAH warns that "it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).
Solomon, king of ancient Israel, put it bluntly: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
Sadly, mankind has proved the truth of those words for generations. Under human rule, the world has never seen a time that was free of war, strife, turmoil and suffering. Conditions today are so grave that mankind has the ability to erase human life from earth many times over!
Why should this be?
Our world is threatened by overwhelming problems because we have rejected YEHOVAH God. YEHOVAH Himself has made this clear over the centuries through His prophets. Under YEHOVAH's inspiration, King David wrote of mankind: "They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one" (Psalm 14:1-3).
The prophet Jeremiah also noted that humans are largely blinded by the deceit of their own evil motives and intents. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
Humanity separated fromYEHOVAH God
The prophet Isaiah added:
"Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity ...
"Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace" (Isaiah 59:1-4, 7, 8).
YEHOVAH's ways are different from man's. "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8, 9).
The apostle Paul described the inevitable results of rejecting YEHOVAH God and His way of life: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:28-32).
YEHOVAH God will intervene to save humanity
Left to itself, mankind would annihilate all life from earth. Does this sound shocking? It is. But Yeshua the Messiah himself said it is so! Describing the time immediately before he and his Father return to earth, he said: "It will be a time of great distress; there has never been such a time from the beginning of the world until now, and will never be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God's chosen [of Israel] it will be cut short" (Matthew 24:21, 22, New English Bible).
The glorious event of YEHOVAH God's return is described in great detail in Revelation 19:11-16: "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
The Messiah will precede YEHOVAH God. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:29, 30).
The millennial Kingdom and beyond
Yeshua the Messiah will usher in His Father's literal kingdom, the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, on earth. But this is not the end of the story. Notice Revelation 11:15: "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our LORD and of His Christ, and He [YEHOVAH God] shall reign forever and ever!'"
We have seen that YEHOVAH God will establish His reign over the nations in a literal kingdom. This kingdom is depicted in Revelation 20:3-7 as lasting 1,000 years. Yet, in the verse quoted just above, we are told that "He shall reign forever and ever." In other words, the thousand-year reign (commonly called the Millennium, Latin for "thousand years") is just the beginning of YEHOVAH God's eternal reign on the earth.
Indeed, the millennial reign that YEHOVAH God will share with the Messiah and the resurrected saints of Israel -- to whom the Kingdom will be given -- will take place for the very purpose of offering entry into the eternal Kingdom of YEHOVAH God to all of Israel. Millions of physical descendants of Israel alive at the return of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah will live into the Millennium, and in turn many generations of Israelites will be born and live during that time. They will all be given an opportunity to be changed from this physical life and body to spirit, to be granted eternal life and to enter into the eternal Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
The truth that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is ultimately an eternal kingdom, not just a thousand-year period, is made plain by the Messiah In Matthew 19:16. We read of a wealthy young man of Israel who asked the Messiah the fundamental question: "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Yeshua went on to explain what the young man must do. When it became clear that he was not willing to do what the Messiah commanded, Yeshua the Messiah went on to say in verse 24 that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Here, entry into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is equated with eternal life.
Yes, the millennial reign of YEHOVAH God will open the door for millions of Israelites, then already being ruled by the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, to be saved and actually enter into the eternal Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. The Millennium, a time of unparalleled peace, happiness and prosperity, will be just a foretaste of the even greater eternal Kingdom!
Transformed heaven and earth
After the thousand years are ended, yet another incredible sequence of events is prophesied, as we read in Revelation 21:1-7:
"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God ... And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.'
"Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' And He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful.' And He said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.'"
Access to the tree of life -- eternal life, from which the descendants of Adam have been cut off since the time of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:22-24) -- will be given to those of Israel who obediently keep YEHOVAH's commandments (Revelation 22:14).
Eternal life as children of YEHOVAH God awaits those Israelites who enter His Kingdom.
Is the Kingdom Here Now?
The Messiah made it plain that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was not here yet.
Shortly before his arrest, trial and crucifixion, the Messiah prophesied of a worldwide period of upheaval and unrest unparalleled in human history. This time would be characterized by religious deception, warfare, earthquakes, famines and disease epidemics, along with other great catastrophic events (Luke 21:7-28). In this discourse, the Messiah made it plain that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was not here yet.
He told his disciples that, after these events, people "will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory...When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near" (verses 27, 31). The Messiah clearly said that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God will not be established on earth until after His Father's triumphant return in power and great glory. The Messiah also made this plain on other occasions. How many of us have recited the LORD's Prayer without recognizing the plain meaning of the words as we said them? These familiar words were given by the Messiah in response to the disciples' request of him to teach them how to pray. "In this manner, therefore, pray," the Messiah told them. "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:9, 10). The most common prayer in Christendom acknowledges that YEHOVAH's Kingdom is not here yet and that true Christians are to fervently pray for its arrival!
Near the end of his life, while being questioned by Pilate before his crucifixion, the Messiah clearly stated: "My Kingdom [over Israel] is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36). Pilate then demanded to know if the Messiah were a king. Yeshua replied: "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world..." (verse 37). Hebrews 11 describes the faith of YEHOVAH's servant Israelites through the millennia. Summing up their history and experiences, verses 13-16 tell us:
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."
Even Abraham, the father of the faithful, "waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10). Although YEHOVAH's people today experience a foretaste of YEHOVAH's coming Kingdom in their lives, many scriptures make it clear that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God has not arrived, but will be established on earth in the future.
Is the Kingdom Within You?
Many people believe that the Messiah taught that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is something that exists only in the hearts and minds of believers. Such assumptions are incorrect for several reasons. They base this on Luke 17:20, 21, which says: "Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.'"
The Greek word entos, translated "within," is better translated "in the midst of" (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, "Within"). Several translations, including the Revised Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible and New English Bible, make this clear. The Messiah could not have been telling the Pharisees here that YEHOVAH's Kingdom was something that existed within their hearts or minds -- after all, they wanted to destroy him (Matthew 12:14, Mark 3:6).
Instead, in this passage the Messiah was pointing out the paradox that the Pharisees did not have the spiritual discernment to recognize that the message of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was at hand or being offered to them (Matthew 23:15-17). To punctuate this point, Yeshua, referring to himself, said "the kingdom of God is among you" or "in your midst." The spiritually blind Pharisees did not recognize Yeshua as the human representative of that Kingdom.
Rather than telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was something in their hearts, the Messiah warned them that they were so spiritually blind they couldn't recognize the very personification of that Kingdom in him. There is no basis in this passage for believing the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God resides in one's heart.
Is the Church the Kingdom?
The Bible never uses the term kingdom to apply directly to the Church.
Some think the Church is the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Although there is a connection between the two, they are not identical. The Messiah is the Head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22), which is the body of Israelite believers called byYEHOVAH God to proclaim the coming Kingdom.
The Messiah rules his Church, thus it is under his sovereignty and royal power. We might say the Church is the precursor of the coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Or, to put it in terms that the Messiah used, we can say that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is similar to the proverbial mustard seed, waiting for its germination and rapid growth at YEHOVAH's return (Matthew 13:31-32).
The Bible, however, never uses the term "kingdom" to apply directly to the Church. Instead, it refers to YEHOVAH's prophesied world-ruling government.
How Are Weof Israel "Translated Into the Kingdom"?
Colossians 1:13 describes physical saints of Israel as already having been translated into the Kingdom.
As such, this passage seems to imply that Christian Israelites are now in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. However, this clearly isn't the case, since 1 Corinthians 15:50 tells us that "flesh and blood [physical bodies] cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
Part of the confusion here comes from the meaning of the word kingdom. In addition to meaning a literal kingdom, the Greek word basileia, translated "kingdom," denotes sovereignty and royal power (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, "Kingdom").
This passage in Colossians shows that YEHOVAH God's sovereignty and power begin in the life of the Christian Israelite at conversion. The New International Version Study Bible explains that in this verse the word kingdom "does not here refer to a territory but to the authority, rule or sovereign power of a king. Here it means that the Christian Israelite is no longer under the dominion of evil (darkness) but under the benevolent rule of God's Son" and thereby under the rule of YEHOVAH God.
Virtually all other occurrences of basileia, when referring to the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, point to the literal dominion that YEHOVAH will establish at His return (Matthew 6:33; Revelation 11:15). As "heirs of God" in training to inherit that future Kingdom (Romans 8:15-17; Matthew 25:34; Revelation 20:4, 6), Christian Israelites are thus already subject to the sovereignty and authority of that Kingdom, although not yet residents of it.
Yeshua the Messiah, coming ruler of Israel and High Priest to YEHOVAH God, is the Lord and Master of Christians now (Philippians 2:9-11). He rules the lives of converted Israelite Christians who voluntarily obey YEHOVAH God and His laws. They submit themselves to YEHOVAH's basileia -- His royal sovereignty and power. They individually are part of the Church, the Body of the Messiah, which YEHOVAH God also rules. But the Church collectively looks to YEHOVAH's coming world rule when the basileia will be fully established.
The context leading up to Colossians 1:13 also helps clarify the meaning. Verse 9 begins a description of points Paul and Timothy regularly included in their prayers. One of the blessings they were thankful for was that YEHOVAH God had qualified them and the other Israelite members to receive the inheritance of the saints (verse 12). That inheritance, eternal life, does not come until YEHOVAH returns (1 Corinthians 15:50-52; Romans 8:17). This is why the Bible refers to the saints as heirs of the Kingdom (James 2:5).
Verse 13 of Colossians 1 continues this theme, adding that those of Israel qualified as heirs, those whose status had changed from non-heirs to heirs, were also "translated," or transferred, from the power of darkness to the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
Those of us of Israel, as modern-day saints, also exchange systems of government when we are converted. We now give our allegiance and obedience to the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, even though that Kingdom has not yet fully come.
In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul uses a different comparison to help us understand this, calling us "ambassadors." An ambassador is one who represents a kingdom or other government, but resides in a different land. Christians Israelites are thus ambassadors for YEHOVAH's Kingdom, representing His way of life in our current earthly situation and age in which we reside. We are not yet in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
How is the Kingdom At Hand?
The Messiah's message was that YEHOVAH's people Israel should repent, believe the good news that he announced and put that message into action, changing their lives to reflect their belief and commitment.
When the Messiah preached the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, he said it was "at hand" and commanded those of us of Israel to repent and believe the good news about the Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 4:17). The Greek word translated "at hand" is engizo . It means to draw near to something. It does not imply that something has actually come, rather that it is close.
The Bible in Basic English, the New International Version and Today's English Version recognize this distinction, translating the phrase in Mark 1:15 as "the kingdom of God is near."
Other translations, including the New Revised Standard Version, Modern King James Version and Green's Literal Translation, state that this Kingdom "draws near" or "has come near." They make it clear that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God has not arrived, but that it is near.
What the Messiah was saying had to do with the message of the Kingdom, as well as the availability of YEHOVAH God as the King of that Kingdom. The Kingdom in that sense was very near to them, even though it would not arrive in the literal way YEHOVAH had revealed it to Daniel for quite some time.
Yeshua the Messiah was the personification of the message of the Kingdom. He was its representative -- its agent and mediator -- the one through whom the people of Israel would be able to enter the Kingdom.
His message was that the people of Israel should repent, believe the good news thathe proclaimed and put that message into action, changing their lives to reflect their belief and commitment.
The Ruler of a Kingdom of Spiritual Darkness
The sad fact remains that this is not YEHOVAH's world.
YEHOVAH's Kingdom is still not of this world -- this present age -- as the Messiah made clear in John 18:36. It is even more tragic that another being is ruler of this world, right here and right now --Satan the devil.
The apostle Paul described the spiritual blindness that envelops the world and pointed out the source of that blindness. "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4).
Who is the god of this age? He is none other than Satan. He is truly this world's ruler. The Messiah recognized that, saying that in the judgment "the ruler of this world will be cast out" (John 12:31).
Although we cannot see Satan, his influence on the world is pervasive. Paul understood this, telling the members in Ephesus, "And you He [YEHOVAH God] made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:1, 2).
The result of the devil's influence is that, before conversion, "we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (verse 3).
Satan spiritually influences humanity to reject YEHOVAH God and YEHOVAH's law. Under Satan's influence, "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can [it] be" (Romans 8:7).
Separated from YEHOVAH God, man chooses to go his own way, with devastating and tragic results. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
Satan's influence is so great that he "deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). The entire world "lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19). Under Satan's influence, humanity has rejected YEHOVAH's revelation and guidance and built societies and civilizations on a wrong foundation.
When YEHOVAH God and the Messiah return, "the kingdoms of this world [will] become the kingdoms of our LORD [YEHOVAH] and of His Christ, and He [YEHOVAH] shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15). Satan's world, built on a foundation of lies and deception, will come crashing down, replaced by the Kingdom of truth and light.
Prophecies of the Coming Kingdom ofYEHOVAH God
What kind of future does YEHOVAH God have in store for planet earth? Through His prophets YEHOVAH reveals many specific details of how this world will be transformed in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Notice a few prophecies about the marvelous world YEHOVAH has planned for us:
A world of unparalleled peace
"...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 any more. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid..." (Micah 4:3-4).
"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" (Isaiah 11:9).
Wild animals' nature transformed
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them..." (Isaiah 11:6).
A world of agricultural abundance
"'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it...They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them'" (Amos 9:13-14).
"...I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase" (Ezekiel 34:26-27).
"...Waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water..." (Isaiah 35:6-7).
Sickness and disease healed
"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35:5-6).
Mankind given a new heart and spirit
"Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them...that they may walk in my statutes and keep my judgments and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God" (Ezekiel 11:19-20).
Nations will learn YEHOVAH's ways
"Many nations shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth...'" (Micah 4:2).
YEHOVAH God will rule the world
"Then YEHOVAH will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east...Then YEHOVAH my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!...And YEHOVAH WILL BE KING OVER ALL THE EARTH; in that day YEHOVAH will be the only One, and His name the only One. Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, YEHOVAH of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths" (Zechariah 14, selected verses).
The Gospel ofthe Messiah: Salvation in the Kingdom
Eternal life in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was made possible by the Messiah's sacrifice.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16).
We have seen that Yeshua the Messiah preached "the gospel of the Kingdom" and that he sent his disciples out to proclaim his message before his crucifixion. However, after the Messiah's death and resurrection, another emphasis appeared in the message preached by the apostles, one that had not been possible before the Messiah's death -- Yeshua the Messiah had paid the penalty for our sins! In doing so, he had become the Savior of all those of Israel who would accept his sacrifice and live the Christian life.
After the Day of Pentecost, the apostles continued to proclaim the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God just as they had done when the Messiah walked the earth, but now they understood and spoke another dimension: Eternal life in that Kingdom was now possible through the sacrifice of the Messiah as Savior of Israel and through his continuing role as our High Priest before YEHOVAH God.
Today, some view the biblical terms "gospel of the Kingdom" and "gospel of Christ" as though they were different messages. In reality, however, they are one and the same. The gospel of the Kingdom is the message that the Messiah announced and proclaimed. The gospel of the Messiah is also the message the Messiah preached, along with the message regarding his life, death and sacrifice on our behalf, which makes possible eternal life in that Kingdom. The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is attained only through the Messiah's central role as the personal Savior of all those of Israel who would enter that Kingdom.
The apostles' enhanced understanding becomes more evident in their epistles and other messages after the Messiah's death and resurrection. The people of Yeshua's day expected a conquering Messiah who would throw off the yoke of the Roman rulers of Judea and establish a new kingdom. Yeshua's disciples recognized him as that Messiah and called him "Christ" (Matthew 16:16), which in Greek means anointed -- the same as the Hebrew word "Messiah" (John 1:41; 4:25). The term anointed signified the one who had been chosen to be King of that Messianic Kingdom.
New understanding of the Messiah
Judahite believers of the early Church would have understood the phrase "the gospel of Christ" as a message encompassing far more than just the person of the Messiah. Since the word Christ means "Messiah," they understood the apostles' message as "the gospel of the Messiah" -- the good news of the King of the coming Kingdom of Israel. To them, the good news was not just that the Messiah had died for the sins of Israel, but that the Messiah had been among them and would return -- along with YEHOVAH God -- establishing his Kingdom over Israel and with YEHOVAH God ruling over the entire world, thus fulfilling the many prophecies of their glorious reign.
The concept of a Kingdom ushered in by the Messiah and ruled over by YEHOVAH God was not new to the Messiah's followers. Scripture records that "they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately" (Luke 19:11). When the Messiah appeared to them again after his resurrection, the disciples asked, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6).
What the disciples failed to grasp during the Messiah's lifetime was that the Messiah, whom they expected would arrive as a conquering king, would first have to die to pay the penalty for the sins of YEHOVAH's people Israel. Even when the Messiah revealed this truth to the disciples, they refused to accept it. Not long before his death, "Jesus began to show to his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, 'Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!'" (Matthew 16:21, 22). Not only did they not understand this aspect of Messiah's mission, but they flatly refused to believe it. It is understandable, then, that the disciples were shocked when their Leader, whom they expected to overthrow the ruling Roman occupational government, was arrested. "Then all the disciples forsook him and fled" (Matthew 26:56). Confused and devastated by this unexpected turn of events, they scattered as the Messiah was tried, condemned and executed as a criminal.
Later, after they received the holy spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the disciples came to understand that, as the Scriptures had prophesied, the Messiah would have to die and be resurrected. The apostle Peter, in his first inspired sermon to the Israelites gathered at Jerusalem, proclaimed that David, in one of his psalms, "spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay" (Acts 2:31, NIV).
Personal rescuer, or Savior, needed
Peter had to focus the minds of the Israelites of his day onthe Messiah's atoning sacrifice and role as a personal rescuer, or Savior, rather than only as a national leader: "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact...Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:32, 36, NIV). When those who were convicted asked, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter answered, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37, 38, NIV). Thousands of Israelites responded to this call to repentance -- a changed life -- and were baptized.
Peter helped them to see that YEHOVAH's promises regarding the holy spirit and salvation (verses 17, 18, 21, 33, 40) were possible only because of the sacrifice and resurrection of Yeshua, the prophesied Messiah (verses 24, 30-33, 36). Those to whom Peter spoke had not understood the need for the Messiah's sacrifice for their personal sins, nor had they realized that the one they had just condemned to death was in fact the Messiah for whom they all longed. The apostles labored to correct these misunderstandings.
Peter's next public message made clear how the Messiah's atoning, saving work leads to the coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God: "But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the LORD, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:18-21).
This magnificent message, which moved thousands more of Israel to believe, illustrates the way the gospel had been preached since the beginning, how it involvedYeshua as the suffering Messiah and how it was a message of the "restoration of all things" -- the wonderful hope of YEHOVAH's return as King of a yet future Kingdom.
Where the Messiah's sacrifice leads
The apostle Paul saw with great clarity the significance of the Messiah's sacrifice and where it ultimately leads. In his first epistle to the Corinthians, he described the message he taught: "...I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our [Israel's] sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
The Messiah's sacrificing of his life in our place is certainly good news. His paying the death penalty for those of us of Israel is wonderful news!
But Paul's description of the gospel he preached did not end there. After beginning with the Messiah's magnificent role in our personal salvation, he continued his explanation of the reason Yeshua the Messiah's resurrection is so important to the salvation of all Israel: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those [of Israel] who have fallen asleep. For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [the Messiah] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:19-22).
Allof Israel will be resurrected to life again
Notice that Paul says ALL of Israel will eventually be made alive. He continued by showing that this will occur in stages: "But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power" (1 Corinthians 15:23, 24).
Earlier we read of the Messiah's rule as king of Israel in that coming Kingdom. But notice that his assuming power as king is preceded by the resurrection of "those [of Israel] who are Christ's at His coming"!
Throughout this chapter, Paul explains this wonderful aspect of the gospel message he taught. In verses 50-53 he explained when and how we of Israel can enter the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We [of Israel] shall not all sleep [in death], but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
This is the awe-inspiring purpose for the Messiah's birth, life, death and resurrection -- the resurrection of many, many more of Israel to eternal life to "inherit the kingdom of God"! (verse 50). The Messiah's Israelite followers are to "inherit," or enter, the Kingdom "at the last trumpet" (verse 52), the great blast that signals YEHOVAH God's return to rule the earth forever (Revelation 11:15).
We see that immortal life in YEHOVAH's kingdom is made possible by Yeshua the Messiah, "who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10).
Was Yeshua the Messiah?
What was Yeshua's purpose? Why was he chosen by YEHOVAH God? Why will he come again?
The answers to these questions become evident when we examine the concept of the Messiah.
Messiah is a Hebrew word meaning "Anointed One." Anointing was used, among other things, to signify that kings had been chosen by YEHOVAH God (1 Samuel 15:1; 16:12-13; 1 Kings 1:34). Christ means "Anointed One" in Greek, the language in which the New Testament has been preserved for us -- the same as the Hebrew word Messiah. The two terms mean the same thing (John 1:41; 4:25).
A prophesied king and kingdom
The Hebrews understood that their Scriptures contained many prophecies of a divinely appointed ruler who would restore the glory and grandeur of the kingdom of Israel. For example, Isaiah 9:6-7 says: "...The government will be upon his shoulder...Of the increase of his government and 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..."
Jeremiah 23:5 adds: "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD [YEHOVAH], 'That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a king shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth" (more properly, "land").
After the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were taken into captivity by Assyria and Babylon, respectively, the Israelite people looked to these promises for a deliverer. In Yeshua's day, the descendants of the Judahites and Benjamites who had returned to their homeland from Babylon several centuries earlier were dominated by the Roman Empire. In their oppression they prayed and hoped for the promised Messiah, a conquering king who would deliver them from their Roman overlords and restore Israel to greatness.
From many prophecies they deduced, correctly, that the Messiah was soon to appear. Hopes ran high. When John the Baptist came on the scene, some thought he might be the Messiah. Scripture tells us that "the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ [Messiah] or not" (Luke 3:15).
John said he was not the Messiah, but he did point people to Yeshua of Nazareth. One of John's followers, a fisherman named Andrew, immediately believed in Yeshua. "He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which is translated, the Christ)'" (John 1:40-41). Both Andrew and Simon (Peter) became disciples.
Yeshua confirms he is the Messiah
Yeshua acknowledged that he was the long-awaited Messiah in a conversation with a Samaritan woman. "The woman said to him, 'I know that Messiah is coming' (who is called Christ). 'When he comes, he will tell us all things.' Jesus said to her, ' I who speak to you am he '" (John 4:25-26, emphasis added throughout).
Yeshua also acknowledged that he was the Messiah at his trial. "...The high priest asked him, saying to him, ' Are you the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Blessed?' Jesus said, 'I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven'" (Mark 14:61-62).
Yeshua knew that he was born to be a king. When Pontius Pilate questioned him before his crucifixion, he asked Yeshua if he were indeed a king. Yeshua responded: "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world..." (John 18:36-37).
The disciples' misunderstanding
That Yeshua's kingdom was not for that time was misunderstood by most of his followers. They had assumed that Yeshua the Messiah would lead a popular uprising that would throw off the Romans and establish a new political entity. Among themselves, some of the disciples even argued at times as to who among them would hold the primary positions in the new government (Matthew 20:20-21; Luke 9:46; 22:24).
Their understanding was limited. They didn't realize that the Messiah must first be born to suffer and die for the sins of Israel and only later would come as the conquering king they expected.
When Yeshua was tried and executed, they were dismayed. Their hopes and dreams of power were dashed. Peter and some of the other disciples returned to their old occupations as fishermen (John 21:1-3).
Even after Yeshua appeared to them again, they still didn't understand. They still hoped the Messiah would establish the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God then. Notice Acts 1:6- 8: "Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?' And he said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the holy spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.'"
Yeshua explained that the timing of that kingdom should not be their primary concern; indeed they would not know when it would be established. Their focus, the Messiah said, should be on the work he had assigned them. The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God would be established in due time.
Finally they understood. Yeshua of Nazareth was indeed the promised Messiah, but first he had to suffer and die for their sins. Later he would come as a conquering king to rule over Israel and help establish the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God over all of the earth.
The dozens of prophecies recorded by the prophets about a Messiah -- prophecies fulfilled by Yeshua the Messiah -- are among the strongest proofs that the Bible is the inspired Word of YEHOVAH God. The four Gospels recall the Old Testament prophecies and show how Yeshua the Messiah fulfilled them.
The Gospels also speak of his resurrection and ultimate return to earth as a conquering king. That is the message of the Gospels -- that Yeshua was the Messiah who is prophesied throughout the Old Testament.
How You Can Enter the Kingdom
Do you know how to enter the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God?
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
The salvation of Israel through the Messiah's life, death and resurrection is central to the gospel message. Yeshua the Messiah died, was buried and was resurrected for a reason: so we of Israel could inherit everlasting life in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (John 3:16). This astounding part of the gospel -- the entering into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God -- is the aspect so few understand. It is synonymous with salvation. Without understanding this part of the gospel, one cannot understand what salvation is. Do you know how to enter this Kingdom, to attain the salvation of which the Bible speaks?
Entering the very family of YEHOVAH God!
What will salvation -- eternal life in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God -- really mean to those of Israel who receive it? We have seen that salvation is the transformation from a fleshly, mortal human to an immortal son of YEHOVAH God. Notice how the book of Hebrews expresses it: "In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy [repentant and converted Israelites] are of the same family" (Hebrews 2:10, 11, NIV).
Have you ever grasped this before? Those of us of Israel who enter the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God are all "of the same family" -- YEHOVAH's family! All are YEHOVAH God's children, brought "to glory" -- a glorified state of immortal spirit (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) -- by Him. This is what salvation is all about. "So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, 'I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises'...'And again he says, 'Here am I, and the children [of Israel] God has given me'" (Hebrews 2:11-13, NIV).
That the Messiah is not ashamed to regard them as his own brothers (and sisters) shows just how personal this family relationship is. Those who enter the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God will share even YEHOVAH's divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) for all eternity.
YEHOVAH God will make those who enter His Kingdom fully like Yeshua the Messiah! The apostle John is explicit: "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!...Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:1-3).
Yes, those of Israel who enter the Kingdom ofYEHOVAH God will be given the glorious honor of being like the resurrected, glorified Messiah. "The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:16, 17, King James Version).
This is the awesome potential of all those of Israel who receive eternal life as members of the family YEHOVAH God is creating!
The reward of the saintsof Israel
The promised reward of the saints of Israel -- or salvation, as it is often called -- occurs at the resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:50-52). This takes place when YEHOVAH God Himself returns at the last trumpet and the kingdoms of the world become "the kingdoms of our LORD [YEHOVAH] and of His Christ" (Revelation 11:15). Those of us of Israel who are resurrected from mortal life to immortality will enter His Kingdom and assist YEHOVAH God and the Messiah in a 1,000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:4-6).
The gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God reveals that YEHOVAH God will set up His Kingdom on earth with His resurrected Israelite saints to give everyone of Israel the opportunity for eternal life. YEHOVAH's desire is for everyone of Israel to inherit the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, each in his or her own time (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26).
The true gospel reveals that the saints of Israel -- the faithful followers of the Messiah resurrected to eternal life at YEHOVAH's return -- will be actively involved in ruling with YEHOVAH God and the Messiah in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God when it is established (Revelation 5:10). Prophecies in the book of Isaiah reveal that YEHOVAH God will begin working with the human beings left alive after His return to teach them His ways. The resurrected saints will assist YEHOVAH in bringing about complete spiritual and physical healing of the nations (Isaiah 30:20, 21; 35:1, 5, 6).
The Messiah's faithful followers -- along with the Messiah -- now given eternal life, will assist YEHOVAH God as kings and priests in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (Revelation 1:6). They will become spirit and live forever (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 50-54).
This is YEHOVAH's incredible promise to them: "He [of Israel] who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son" (Revelation 21:7). What does this inheritance include? Hebrews 2:6-8 indicates that our ultimate destiny is to participate in rulership over the entire universe as glorified, immortal sons of YEHOVAH God!
A call to action
When we hear and understand the gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, Yeshua expects those of us of Israel to repent and believe the good news about this Kingdom (Mark 1:14, 15). YEHOVAH's Kingdom is something we must enter (Mark 10:23, 25).
Accepting the Messiah's command to repent and believe this message -- this good news -- is the first step. We can turn to YEHOVAH God for forgiveness and reconciliation through the Messiah and begin to live by the laws of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God as taught by the Messiah. Those who refuse to live YEHOVAH's holy way of life will be refused entrance into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God and eternal life (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5).
The Messiah warned of obstacles that can prevent our entrance into the Kingdom (Matthew 5:20; 19:23-25; Mark 9:47; Luke 18:17; John 3:5). To enter the Kingdom, we must gain a proper outlook -- a humble, teachable, childlike attitude -- accompanied by real repentance, baptism and the receiving of YEHOVAH's holy spirit (Matthew 18:3; John 3:3, 5; Acts 2:38).
Seeking YEHOVAH's Kingdom must become every Israelite's highest priority, no matter what the difficulties. Paul said, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). Yeshua encourages us to overcome these difficulties by keeping the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God as our primary goal (Matthew 6:33). He urges us to pray for YEHOVAH's Kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10).
When our lives are devoted to seeking YEHOVAH's Kingdom, our outlook will be like that of the patriarchs as recorded in Hebrews 11. Notice these inspiring words about their orientation: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth...Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them" (verses 13, 16). The patriarchs considered themselves "strangers and pilgrims" because they looked forward to the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Their lives were centered on that Kingdom, not on their physical, material life.
The Christian Israelites road map for the Kingdom
One way Christian Israelites can enhance their vision of the coming Kingdom ofYEHOVAH God is by understanding the meaning of YEHOVAH's seven annual Holy Days. Although most people think of them as only Jewish observances, YEHOVAH made it clear that they are, in reality, His festivals and Holy Days (Leviticus 23:2, 4). YEHOVAH gave these special observances to help those of us of Israel understand the Messiah's part in our salvation and how the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God will be established on earth.
In Colossians 2:16, 17, Paul referred to these festivals as "a shadow of things to come." Paul and the early Church kept them as reminders of the coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Even though others criticized the Colossians for the way they observed these days, Paul and the Israelite saints at Colosse grasped the connection between the purpose of these days and the gospel.
Understanding the meaning of these annual sacred assemblies can help us understand the wonderful message the Messiah taught -- YEHOVAH God's plan for His coming Kingdom and eternal life.
YEHOVAH reveals His wonderful truth to those of Israel He is calling now (John 6:44). The Messiah said YEHOVAH's message would be preached at the end time before His second coming. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations [of Israel], and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).
The message the Messiah proclaimed is called, appropriately, the good news -- the gospel -- of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. And it really is good news, the most wonderful news imaginable to the modern nations of Israel. The Messiah is asking you to believe that good news and "seek first the kingdom of YEHOVAH God" (Matthew 6:33). If you do, says Yeshua in Luke 12:32, it will be YEHOVAH's pleasure to give you the Kingdom!
Why Don't People Understand the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God?
The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was a central part of the Messiah's message and thus a major theme of the Bible. So why is it so rarely understood, and why isn't it commonly taught today?
About one billion people profess Christianity. True Christianity traces its origin and its beliefs to the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah, who lived almost 2,000 years ago.
Yet it is a paradox that today many of the adherents to "Christianity" are not aware of the Messiah's central teaching. As a result, it is rarely proclaimed.
The heart and core of the Messiah's message was that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God would be established on earth. This theme is to be found throughout the four Gospels. As historian Michael Grant puts it, "every thought and saying of Jesus was directed and subordinated to one single thing ...,the realization of the Kingdom of God upon the earth," and "this one phrase [Kingdom of God] sums up his whole ministry and his whole life's work" (Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, 1995, pp. 10-11).
Yet, as Grant puts it, modernso-called Christianity "prefers to dwell on quite different aspects of his career and instruction" (ibid., p. 29).
The Disciples Proclaimed the Kingdom
So why do we hear so little about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God -- as proclaimed in the Bible -- in modern "Christianity"?
The disciples of the Messiah obviously understood his message. References to the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God -- or the Kingdom of Heaven, as the Gospel of Matthew usually refers to it -- appear many times in their writings. Matthew alone contains 37 references. Together the four Gospels specifically mention YEHOVAH's Kingdom 86 times in addition to other, oblique, references to it. The remainder of the New Testament, from Acts through Revelation, mentions YEHOVAH's Kingdom many times.