Table of Contents / Overview
In Lesson 14 we studied the past and present work of Jesus: in this lesson we turn our attention to his future work. In our last lesson we were concerned with the most profound teaching of Scripture - that which tells us of God's plan of reconciliation centred in Jesus. This reconciliation was essential before the great plan of God could be realised. The basic idea of this plan is the simple truth that the great God of heaven has promised to fill this earth with His glory, to banish all ill, even death itself; to bless His servants with perfect health, ideal surroundings and joyful companionship. In this setting his servants will delight to praise God and to occupy themselves in His service, finding in such service their own highest honour and joy. With our understanding of the principles of salvation we are now in a position to survey the wonderful future which God has laid up in store for those who love Him. So the closing quotation of the last lesson is equally appropriate to commence the present one: "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8 v 31-32).
In earlier studies your attention has been repeatedly directed to the FUTURE. For the follower of Christ the future is everything; for although serving Christ brings many PRESENT blessings (peace of mind, the guidance of God's word, the privilege of prayer, to mention a few), Christianity is not, and was not intended to be an end itself, in this life.
- 1 Corinthians 15 v 19
- Romans 8 v 23-25
- I Timothy 4 v 8
We list here the various matters that have been considered, all related to the FUTURE:
LESSON 4 - The Bible promises that in the future God's servants will be made like unto the angels - immortal.
- Luke 20 v 35-36
LESSON 5 - Jesus' destiny is a throne - he will reign on the earth as king in God's name.
- Matthew 2 v 1-2
- Matthew 19 v 28
- Luke 1 v 32-33
- Revelation 11 v 15
LESSON 9 - To Abraham God promised an inheritance he has NOT YET RECEIVED: also to bless all nations in him.
- Genesis 13 v 14-17
- Acts 7 v 5
LESSON 12 - God promised to David that his throne and kingdom would be established for ever by his descendant Jesus.
- II Sam. 7 v 12-16
- Acts 2 v 29-30
- Acts 13 v 22-23
LESSON 13 - Daniel also spoke of a day when God's kingdom would be set up on the ruins of human kingdoms, and WOULD STAND FOR EVER.
- Daniel 2 v 44
- Daniel 7 v 18 & 27
It is very evident from the foregoing points that there are a number of things God has promised which have yet to happen - for God cannot lie: HIS PROMISES WILL BE KEPT.
- Titus 1 v 2
These future events all focus upon the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
The doctrine of the second coming of Christ is fundamental to Christianity.
It was clearly taught by Christ himself.
- Matthew 24 v 30-51
- Matthew 25 v 13 & 31
- Mark 13 v 26
- Luke 21 v 27
- John 14 v 1-3
It was proclaimed in the most explicit terms by the Angel when Christ ascended to heaven.
- Acts 1 v 10-11
It was preached by the Apostles.
- Acts 3 v 19-21
It was referred to repeatedly by Paul and the other New Testament writers in their letters.
- Colossians 3 v 4
- I Corinthians 15 v 23
- Philippians 3 v 20
- I Thessalonians 1 v 9-10
- I Thessalonians 4 v 16
- II Thessalonians 1 v 7-8
- II Timothy 4 v 1 & 8
- I Peter 1 v 7 & 13
- I Peter 5 v 4
- I John 2 v 28
- I John 3 v 2
It formed the final promise by Christ in the Revelation.
- Revelation 22 v 7,12 & 20
As we have already learned from previous lessons, Jesus is to return to this earth to establish the Kingdom of God and to rule the world in righteousness.
- Acts 17 v 31
The choice of Jesus to be the world's future ruler is a guarantee that the kingdom of God will be quite different from any kingdom that has gone before. Its basis will be RIGHTEOUSNESS. We considered Christ's personal righteousness in the last lesson. This will be the standard he will set his subjects, and the basis on which he will rule them.
READ PSALM 72 (a description of Christ's kingdom) and note the number of times "RIGHTEOUSNESS" OCCURS.
CONSIDER TOO, THE WISDOM WITH WHICH THE KING WILL BLEND MERCY WITH JUSTICE AND PEACE WITH PROSPERITY.
Jesus came preaching the Gospel (good news) of this Kingdom.
- Matthew 4 v 23
The Kingdom of God will be ruled over by Christ and those who receive the reward of eternal life when he returns. It will initially last for 1,000 years (sometimes referred to as the Millennium). During this time all men will be taught the ways of God and at the end there will be another resurrection and judgment for the mortal inhabitants of the earth. Sin and death will then finally be destroyed and - in the words of Paul - "God will be all in all".
- Isaiah 32 v 1
- Luke 19 v 12-19
- Revelation 5 v 10
- Revelation 20 v 4-6
- 1 Corinthians 15 v 23-26
- Revelation 21 v 1-4
In this perfect order God has promised that we each can have a place. This is what Jesus died to make possible.
- Hebrews 9 v 15
- Colossians 1 v 12-14
- Revelation 22 v 12
If death should overtake a believer before Jesus comes, it will not have the slightest effect on his reward: for those who die in his service, Jesus will raise. That will be his first work when he comes. However, it is highly probable that the present generation of believers will see Christ come during their life time.
The signs are very strong. Some of them are listed below:-
- I Thessalonians 4 v 13-18
- I Corinthians 15 v 50-57
- The restoration of Israel is the great sign of our day. For nearly 2,000 years the Jews have been a people without a home. Since 1948 there has been a State of Israel again (not a kingdom - there cannot be a kingdom until their king returns to earth).
- Jeremiah 30 v 10-11
- Jeremiah 31 v 8-10
- Ezekiel 37 v 1-14
- Luke 21 v 29-31
- At the same time Jesus mentioned a time of WORLDWIDE TROUBLE AND DESPAIR at the time of his return.
- Luke 21 v 24-27
- Daniel 12 v 1
- Joel 3 v 1-17
- Luke 21 v 28
- Jesus also indicated that the moral state of the world would be very low at his coming - he compared it with the days of Noah and of Lot in Sodom, two particularly depraved epochs in history.
- Luke 17 v 26-30
- II Timothy 3 v 1-5
- II Peter 3 v 3-4
This restoration was foretold by Israel's prophets.
Jesus linked it with his coming again. (The fig tree is a symbol, in the Bible, for Israel - Joel 1 v 6-7).
The Old Testament Prophets had also spoken of this.
The mounting troubles in the world today are a cause of concern to many, but to those who know God's purpose it is no reason for alarm, but for confident faith.
The apostles too warned of a faithless, godless, irreligious age.
These facts, coupled with the uprise of Russia (see Lesson 13) are all Signs of the Times which converge on OUR AGE. We have these sure indications that Jesus will soon be here.
There is an obvious practical lesson in this - we must spare no effort in preparing ourselves for this great event.
- II Peter 3 v 11 & 14
God in His mercy has made possible a glorious, eternal future as Peter wrote to the first century believers.
"WHEREBY ARE GIVEN UNTO US EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES: THAT BY THESE YE MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, HAVING ESCAPED THE CORRUPTION THAT IS IN THE WORLD THROUGH LUST" (II Peter 1 v 4),
In return He expects us to make an earnest and continued effort to respond to His great love by doing His will.
The future prospect set out in this lesson is the hope which has sustained God's servants in every age. The return of Christ and the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth were essential features of the Gospel preached by the apostles. So strong was their faith in this wonderful future that they were able to face death with complete confidence. "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing". (II Timothy 4 v 6-8).
So wrote the apostle Paul as he neared the end of his life. He pleaded with the early believers to put their confidence in the same hope, to turn to God, and "to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come". (I Thessalonians 1 v 10).
The lapse of time has not changed this message. Most people will be caught unawares and unprepared by the coming of Christ. He himself said he would come "as a thief". We have the opportunity to prepare ourselves by studying God's word, learning of His great plan for our salvation and trying to obey his commands. Jesus has promised "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved". "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth".
- Write out THREE quotations, with references, to prove that Jesus will return to the earth.
- Describe TWO signs in the world today which indicate that Jesus will soon return.
- What will be the first work that Jesus will do when he returns to the earth?
- "If I go and prepare a place for you I will come again ..." John 14 v 2.
Explain what you understand by this statement.
- Where will the Kingdom of God be established and for how long will it last in its initial state?
- Describe in your own words some of the blessings of Christ's reign on this earth.