Is This Our Kingdom? :: By Jonathan Brentner

The claim that Jesus is already reigning over the nations is extremely popular in churches today. Its pastors preach that Jesus is fulfilling the words of Psalms such as 2, 46, 96, and 110 at this moment.

In light of the prevalence of such beliefs, we must ask several questions. Does what we see in our world reflect the character of what we would expect from Jesus’ reign upon the earth? Is our current experience of a kingdom the one to which the New Testament says we are heirs? Does Scripture support the widespread belief that Jesus has already received the nations as His inheritance from the Father, as Psalm 2:8 says will happen?

Please don’t dismiss this as a theological discussion with no significance for you. The nature of Jesus’ rule over the nations has profound implications for us. Is our current experience the promised kingdom that the New Testament says we will inherit? Or does Jesus’ reign over the nations of the earth await a future fulfillment?

I believe we can refute the claim that Jesus now reigns over the nations on the basis of the answer to one critical question:

Does what we see in our world at this moment match what Scripture tells us about the character of the Messiah’s rule?

No, it most certainly does not.

For us as believers, this is wonderful and joyous news; it signifies that our inheritance will be spectacular and amazing.

But first, let’s examine what the Bible tells us will characterize Jesus’ future reign in fulfillment of the Messianic Psalms (i.e., 2 and many others).

Jesus’ Reign Will End All Wars

Those who claim that Jesus now reigns over the nations by implication tell us that He now rules over a world filled with wars, violence, and unending ethnic strife. Such a belief not only contradicts what the Bible says about the character of the Savior’s realm but also dishonors His glorious Name to no small extent.

Psalm 46 tells us that when Jesus rules over the nations, wars will no longer exist on the earth. Psalm 46:9-10 reveals that although the nations will “rage” against the Lord (v. 6), warfare will not exist in His realm:

“He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!'”

Isaiah 2:4 emphasizes that Jesus’ reign over the nations will be one of absolute peace. Jesus is indeed the “Prince of Peace,” and that will characterize His coming kingdom.

Be very sure that when the government rests upon the “shoulder” of the child born in Bethlehem (Isaiah 9:6), wars and ethnic violence will most certainly cease to exist upon the earth.

Jesus will Rule in Righteousness

During the past fifty years, the worldwide total number of children murdered via abortion exceeds one billion. Sex trafficking has a yearly income of $32 billion and is promoted by pedophiles ruling in governments around the world, including that of the U.S. The explosion of worldwide support for the vile LGBQT+ agenda is far beyond anything I could ever have imagined just a decade ago. Those demanding a Palestine state fill the streets of our world with demonstrations of murderous and demonic hatred toward the Jews.

How, by any stretch of the imagination, can one say that we are now living under the righteous rule of our Savior? Such a suggestion is absurd at best.

How is it possible that Jesus is ruling over such vile wickedness with a “rod of iron,” as Psalm 2:9 tells us He will do when He inherits the nations? Does not the suggestion of this sully Jesus’ character? How could a wholly righteous King such as Jesus permit such vile wickedness and rampant bloodshed to flourish within his domain? He would not, and He will not do so when He truly reigns over the nations!

Here are a couple of verses that define Jesus’ rule as righteous:

“Behold, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule in justice” (Isaiah 32:1).

“And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins” (Isaiah 11:3-5, emphasis added).

The current condition of our world does not in any way align with the biblical descriptions of Jesus’ righteous rule. The claim that Jesus is now fulfilling the full extent of Psalm 2 is preposterous, contradicts the words of Scripture, and most certainly dishonors our Savior.

Justice Will Prevail When Jesus Reigns

When Jesus rules over the nations, justice will prevail throughout the entire planet. In Isaiah 32:1, the prophet states that “princes will rule in justice” during the time that Jesus is King.

Isaiah 11:1-8 tells us that when our Lord rules over the nations of the earth, He will act as a righteous judge, deciding all cases truthfully and with “equity.” The words of Jeremiah 33:15 emphasize the Savior’s just rule:

“In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”

The cries of our world for justice are heard in the screams of pain from the unborn, the suicidal grief of trafficked children, and the horrors of genocide taking place in many places in our world. Be very sure that our Lord hears these cries for justice and will someday soon administer justice through His outpouring of wrath upon this wicked world. (See Revelation chapters 6-18.)

During Jesus’ one-thousand-year rule upon the earth, justice will surely prevail.

Jesus’ Glory Will Fill the Earth

The Bible also tells us that someday “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14; see also Isaiah 11:9). I think we can all agree that this is not today.

Although, as believers, we participate in the new covenant because of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, it still awaits a greater fulfillment for Israel. Pay close attention to the words of Jeremiah 31:31-34:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The Lord declares in Ezekiel 36:22-38 that through the future restoration of a kingdom to Israel, He will declare His holiness to the nations so that “they will know that I am the Lord.”

When Jesus reigns, the entire world will know that He is God. Some will not like it, and many will rebel at the end of His rule, but everyone on earth will both see and recognize Jesus’ great glory and power.

The Fact that We as Believers Are Heirs to the Kingdom Assures Us of Its Future Reality

The New Testament reveals that we also have a stake in Jesus’ rule upon the “throne of David” in that we are heirs to His kingdom (Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 1:11-14; Colossians 1;12; James 2:5).

This assures us of two vital realities:

  1. It’s a future experience for all who know the Savior. Heirs, by definition, do not already possess the fullness of their inheritance.
  2. Typically, death has to occur before the inheritance becomes a reality.

Hmmm, that second point doesn’t sound like good news. However, 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 reveals that it’s an extremely welcome truth for us!

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”

Paul says that in our current form, with bodies patterned after that of Adam, we cannot take part in God’s future kingdom (see 1 Corinthians 15:47-50). It’s impossible; we cannot inherit the kingdom in our current mortal condition.

However, the over-the-top joyous reality is that when Jesus comes for us, He will make us fit for His kingdom by giving us bodies just like His. This is the exciting news that Paul also writes about in Philippians 3:20-21.

In short, what the New Testament describes as our inheritance of a kingdom will be both amazing and joyous far beyond anything we have experienced on earth. Please do not let anyone damper this wonderful expectation by saying the church is the kingdom and that Jesus is now reigning over the nations.

The news for us is beyond spectacular. Through Paul, the Lord tells us that we will experience our inheritance in incorruptible bodies that will never age, get sick, or die (1 Corinthians 15:50-55). We will reign with Jesus for a thousand years and then forevermore with immortal bodies. Wow!!

I will close with words of Isaiah 9:7, where the prophet distinctly reveals the nature of the future rule of the Christ:

“Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (My Emphasis)

This is the kingdom of which we are heirs and will forever enjoy.

Note: In Hereafter, It’s Far Better Than You Can Imagine, Terry James and I describe the future glory that awaits us as believers beginning with Jesus’ appearing to take us home. From beginning to end, we emphasize the jubilant joy that awaits us in Heaven. The last chapter contains twenty-seven frequently asked questions and answers about Heaven and our experience in paradise. (The book is now available for pre-order.)

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