The Kingdom of Messiah

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“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Messiah . . .” (Psalm 2:1-2).

The coming of the Messiah and his Kingdom is the pervasive theme of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. His existence is from everlasting (Micah 5:2) and through him all things were created (John 1:3). He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End (Rev. 21:6). The writers of the Talmud, though not recognising the Messiah, concur with these words, “All the prophets prophesied only for the days of the Messiah” (Sanhedrin 99a), “The world was created but only for the Messiah” (Sanhedrin 98b).

The Kingdom announced

History confirms that the atmosphere was pregnant with anticipation of the appearance of the Messiah at the time of Jesus. Into this atmosphere of heightened expectancy came John the Baptist, calling Israel to repentance and announcing that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand. Shortly thereafter Jesus appeared on the scene, walking among the people in the simplicity and humility of a servant, with the startling announcement that the time was fulfilled, and the long-awaited Kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:14-15).

Why then did the majority of the Jews not accept Jesus as the Messiah? According to his genealogy Jesus was unquestionably a descendant of David, but the Kingdom he announced was not the Kingdom they were anticipating. At that time they were under the iron fist of Rome. The glory of Solomon’s kingdom had long since been overshadowed by centuries of humiliating subjection to successive pagan rulers. They expected the Messiah to overthrow their oppressors and restore the glory of David and Solomon’s Kingdom, giving them pre-eminence over all the nations. Their messianic hopes were centred on narrow political/national aspirations for power and dominion rather than on the glory of the Messiah who would be a light to all nations. Their conception of the kingdom was based on selective Scriptures, combined no doubt with a degree of fanciful speculation not unlike the fanciful speculations that abound in our day. It was not the Scripture that was at fault – it was their understanding that was erroneous.

When John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” they quite clearly meant that it was about to be revealed in that generation and not some time in the far distant future: On one occasion Jesus told the people, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1). But the Kingdom that Jesus announced was coming in a way quite unexpected and the power of this Kingdom was unlike anything the world had ever known. It was neither visible nor tangible. “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There!” for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:20-21).

The proclamation that the Kingdom of God was at hand was in effect saying to them that the Kingdom of God had arrived and the King was gathering his subjects, but entrance into the Kingdom was not a foregone conclusion. Jesus challenged the complacency of the Jews who thought that they were assured of a place in the Kingdom of God by their natural birth, i.e. by being children of Abraham. The only way to enter the Kingdom of God is by spiritual birth: In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). The Kingdom that he came to establish is a Kingdom of righteousness, but not even the Pharisees, who were sticklers for the Law, were fit to enter the Kingdom by their own righteousness. Jesus said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

When Jesus was brought before Pilate he made it very clear that the Kingdom of God does not come by military conquest like the kingdoms of the world: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36). Many Jews who had suffered under the cruelty of Rome were disappointed when Jesus, having performed spectacular miracles and having taught with such authority, did not lead a victorious rebellion to overthrow the Roman rulers. Instead he told them, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles,” and, “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt 5:39; 41). This was radical, but not the radicalism of the zealots, nor the ungodly compromise that the ruling party had with Rome. It went against every natural instinct of man, yet it held such power that not even the mighty Roman empire, though it tried with every conceivable cruelty, could arrest the advancement of the Kingdom of God through the preaching of the gospel.

Jesus not only preached such a message, he fulfilled it, going meekly as a lamb to the slaughter though he had done no wrong. The Great eternal King humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the humiliating and agonizing death on the cross. What the Jews were hoping their Messiah would achieve by military conquest he accomplished by the very opposite, by laying down his life as a willing sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. What would appear to the world as the final defeat was actually the final victory – the triumph over the last enemy, death itself, for death was the result of sin.

The cross is the turning point in the history of mankind, the pivotal event that signalled the reversal of the curse that had befallen mankind through Adam’s fall: “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). The true manifestation of the Kingdom of God accomplished so much more than could be contained within the narrow nationalistic dreams of the zealots. This was not just the liberation of Israel – it was the liberation of mankind, setting us free from the power of sin and death and reconciling us to God. It is thus fitting that the history of mankind is divided, according to our calendar, by the advent of the Messiah.

The arrival of worldly Kings and rulers was usually heralded with great pomp and ceremony. Only important and influential people would be given an audience with the King. There was a strict protocol to be observed in the presence of earthly kings (see examples in Esther and Nehemiah), but Jesus came into this world in the humility of a servant, mixing with ordinary people. This was the real messianic mission as foretold by the prophets, particularly Isaiah: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (53:2). The eternal King was despised and rejected by the proud and self-righteous, the important and influential leaders of the day, but he revealed himself to the lowly and the humble who acknowledged their sin and unworthiness.

These he invited into his confidence and called them his friends just as Abraham was called God’s friend. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:12-15).

The invitation into his Kingdom is not accompanied by the honour and respect that is shown to friends of earthly kings and rulers, but to complete self-denial: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus came to serve, not to be served and those who are called to follow him are also called to be servants, to be witnesses (martyrs!) to the ends of the earth. His subjects are to follow his perfect example of true humility, demonstrated when he stooped down to wash his own disciples feet. God reveals himself to the humble, but resists the proud. This is the great mystery of the kingdom of God: “The meek shall inherit the earth.” The Good News is good news to the broken and the humble, but it is foolishness to the wise men, the philosophers, the scholars and the rulers of this age (see 1 Cor. 1:18-2:8). Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15).

The Death, Resurrection and Royal Enthronement

Though Jesus was crucified at the hands of wicked men, Peter makes it clear in his sermon on the day of Pentecost that “he was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:33). Jesus’ following had attracted a great deal of attention and consequently he had become a threat to the uneasy compromise that the Jewish leadership had established with Rome which gave them a level of religious freedom and autonomy over Jewish affairs. Thus they plotted to kill him in fulfilment of all the prophecies which predicted that the Messiah would be cut off (killed) [cf. Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:26, Psalm 22, Zech. 12:10].

When they handed Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified, Pilate offered to set Jesus free. When Jesus made no attempt to defend himself, Pilate said to him, “Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:10-11). When Pilate said to the Jews, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15 see also the parable in Luke 19:11-27).

This was the conclusion of the representatives of the nation that God had established to be his chosen nation over which he would reign as King. Formerly, when they had demanded a king to rule over them, to become like the other nations, the Lord said to Samuel, “It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:10). Now they were declaring the lordship of Caesar over that of their Messiah whom God had sent to restore them to his rule.

After the resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). Though the rulers of this age imagine that all authority belongs to them they are subject to the one to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given. His throne is established far above all earthly rule and authority: “The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).

Daniel was given a vision of the Messiah’s enthronement in the heavenly realm: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve (worship) him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

Though sometimes associated with the second coming, it is quite clear that this scene depicts the enthronement of the Son of man after his resurrection and ascension into heaven. In his sermon on the day of Pentecost Peter proclaimed the risen Jesus as both Lord and Messiah, exalted to the highest place, and seated at the right hand of the majesty in heaven: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear . . . Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32-36 cf. Hebrews 1:3). In his first epistle Peter speaks of the risen Jesus, “who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1 Peter 3:22).

Jesus himself claimed that the authority of his word, (which is associated with his dominion), is everlasting and shall never pass away (cf. Daniel 7:13 quoted above), “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

This is the good news of the Kingdom that we proclaim – God has exalted Jesus to the highest place and given him the name above all names, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). However, just as Joseph’s brothers were indignant at the thought of bowing to their own flesh and blood, many Jews resist the idea of bowing to Jesus Christ because they perceive him only in his humanity, not as the resurrected and glorified “Son of man” in Daniel’s vision.

Jesus occupies a throne that is higher than King David’s, for David knew that his throne only typified the eternal rule and reign of his greater son, Jesus the Messiah, whom he paid homage to, calling him my Lord: “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’” (Psalm 110:1).

“And as for the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David’ ” (Acts 13:34 referring to Isaiah 55:3).

The Establishment of the Kingdom

The book of revelation commences with greetings from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5). Is he presently “the ruler of the kings of the earth” as he declared himself to be?

“The Lord will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies” (Psalm 110:2).

The coming of the Messiah was never separated from the coming of the Kingdom of God – the purpose of the Messiah was to establish God’s Kingdom. According to the word of the Lord the Messiah, (God’s Anointed King), would be revealed during the time of the Gentile kings (the kings of the earth) and they were destined to set themselves up in opposition to him. The book of Daniel reveals how the Kingdom of heaven is established and advances in the midst of the Kingdoms of the earth until it finally overthrows them. This was revealed to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream:

“You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue–an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”

The interpretation given to Daniel was: “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will endure for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The Lord revealed in the Psalms that the Messiah would be inaugurated as King over Israel and all the nations. His dominion would be universal, extending beyond the borders of the land of Canaan to the ends of the earth, drawing people from every tongue, tribe and nation:

“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill. I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the Gentiles your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:6-12).

The Lord declares that the rebellion of the nations and the kings of the earth is futile: “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:4). His dominion is now and for ever. This does not mean that his authority is manifested in the framework of the earthly kingdoms in an obvious and visible manner as expected by some people, but it is indeed set up in the time of the kings of the earth, as revealed through the prophet Daniel.

This is the apparent paradox that confronts us. We are assured that Jesus has been exalted to the highest place, that everything is subject to him, that victory is assured, indeed that the victory is already won, yet the battle still rages: “It has been testified somewhere, ‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honour, putting everything in subjection under his feet.’ Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:6-10, cf. Psalm 8:4-6).

The battle is for the hearts and minds of men and women. The enemy is defeated, Jesus has triumphed over death to set the captives free, but the Kingdom is established in the midst of the enemy. This is why Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matt. 11:12). It is more than passive acquiescence to an abstract ideal that is required. We actively bring ourselves into submission to his authority through obedience to his word. We submit to him by filling our minds with the knowledge of his will through the diligent study of his word as part of our worship of the only true God and Saviour (Rom. 12:1-2, Col. 3:16). We continue to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done,” acknowledging our obligation to submit to him as Lord everyday and in every situation and to advance his Kingdom by continually sowing his word.

It was revealed to the apostle John that although the kingdom of God has been established in the very midst of the kingdoms of this world that oppose God’s Kingdom and his Messiah, the day will come when they will be finally crushed and it will be manifestly evident that, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). However, Jesus began to reign from the moment he was exalted to the right hand of God. He reigns within the hearts of all who repent of their unbelief and give place to his life changing, powerful and everlasting word by which all things are presently sustained (Hebrews 1:3 & 4:12-13).

To illustrate how the Kingdom of God is established in the very midst of the rebellious kingdoms of this world, Jesus told the following parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matthew 13:24-30).

By speaking the living word of God we sow the seed which gives spiritual life, and all those who hear and believe enter the Kingdom of God and are assured of eternal life. It is in this present life that we enter the kingdom of God and to show that we have truly found the pearl of great value (Matt 13:46) we must be prepared to lose everything, even our very lives, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our great King, Redeemer and Saviour.

A brutal clash with the kingdoms of this world, who demand the allegiance of their subjects, was inevitable. The Kingdom of God demands our allegiance, even to the point of death and the kingdoms of the world are only too willing to oblige by passing the sentence. There is only one thing that can sustain our faith in the face of cruel tortures and even death, and that is the absolute certainty that our God reigns, that he has overcome the world, that he is the resurrection and the life!

Just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to submit to the edict of Nebuchadnezzar and bow down to the image of gold, choosing to endure the brief torment of the furnace rather than dishonour God, Polycarp, the venerable Bishop of Smyrna, who was converted under the ministry of the apostle John, is an example of the courage and fortitude of one who had entrusted his life to Jesus and who paid him the homage that is due to the Ruler of the kings of the earth, refusing to say, “Caesar is Lord,” though it cost him his life. Compare this with the admission of the chief priests who said, “We have no king but Caesar.”

“When he was brought to the tribunal, there was a great tumult as soon as it was generally understood that Polycarp was apprehended. The proconsul asked him, if he were Polycarp. When he assented, the former counselled him to deny Christ, saying, ‘Consider thyself, and have pity on thy own great age’; and many other such-like speeches which they are wont to make: — ‘Swear by the fortune of Caesar’ — ‘repent’ — ‘Say, “Away with the atheists”’ (meaning the Christians).

Then Polycarp, with a grave aspect, beholding all the multitude in the Stadium, and waving his hand to them, gave a deep sigh, and, looking up to heaven, said, ‘Take away the atheists.’ The proconsul urged him, saying, ‘Swear, and I will release thee; — reproach Christ.’ Polycarp answered, ‘Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?’ . . .

‘I will tame thee with fire,’ said the proconsul, ‘since you despise the wild beasts, unless you repent.’
Then said Polycarp, ‘You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour, and is soon extinguished; but the fire of the future judgment, and of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly, you are ignorant of. But why do you delay? Do whatever you please.’

. . . When they would have fastened him to the stake, he said, ‘Leave me as I am; for he who giveth me strength to sustain the fire, will enable me also, without your securing me with nails, to remain without flinching in the pile.’ Upon which they bound him without nailing him. So he said thus:— ‘O Father, I bless thee that thou hast counted me worthy to receive my portion among the number of martyrs’.” (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs).

Why did Polycarp, when offered a reprieve from a cruel death, refuse to deny Christ and to say ‘Caesar is Lord’? The answer is that he owed his allegiance to a King whose authority overruled the authority of all earthly rulers and he belonged to a Kingdom that is not of this world. He acknowledged that the Kingdom of God is both a present reality, which was evident throughout his life and testimony, and also an eternal Kingdom in which we have an assured inheritance through Jesus our Saviour, who tasted death on our behalf. The gates of hades (death) could not prevail against the church because the last enemy, death, which may once have caused even brave men to shrink from their faith, has been conquered by our King.

The certainty that Jesus is the eternal King upon his heavenly throne right now, gives us absolute confidence to make him our refuge because we know that whoever trusts in him will never be put to shame: “A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary. O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water” (Jeremiah 17:12-13). The resolute courage with which the martyrs faced unthinkable tortures and death was such a powerful testimony to their faith and assurance in the resurrection that many who witnessed their executions were converted.

All authority has been given to Jesus and so, in all things, we look for his approval even if it means the disapproval of the rulers of this earth, be they political or religious. Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him” (Luke 12:5). In seeking his approval, we may also petition him as the King of kings, but only in complete reverence and humility, according to his will, not according to our own desires – “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.”

The Glory of the Kingdom unveiled

“Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he ‘has put everything under his feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Cor:15:25-28).

The Kingdom of God presently seems unimpressive to those who are impressed by the power and wealth of the worldly kingdoms. Carnal minded men ridicule the true King and his kingdom as “pie in the sky,” but when he returns in power and glory, those who followed the way of the cross will also be revealed in his glory. All who worship him now, even enduring persecution and shame for his name’s sake, will be given honour and eternal life: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3). When Jesus appears for a second time he will destroy the lawless one by the splendour of his coming and bring to an end all rebellion to the Kingdom of God (2 Thess. 2:8-12 cf. Isaiah 11:4). “The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory” (Psalm 102:15).

We are told to eagerly anticipate his coming because he is coming to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Heb. 9:28).

Those who die in the faith die in the expectancy and assurance of the resurrection at his coming because his Kingdom is eternal unlike the kingdoms of the world. Daniel was given the assurance, that though he would sleep he would receive his inheritance in the Kingdom of God at the resurrection (Dan. 12:13). We are inheriting an eternal Kingdom that the rulers of this world cannot touch, “that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:4). The letter to the Hebrews exhorts us: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:28). We cannot receive it in this present world because, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Cor. 15:50), but we take hold of it by faith now.

The writer to the Hebrews was at pains to stress the importance of our present response to the word of God because judgement will follow for those who fail to heed his word: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion’” (Heb. 3:13, cf. Ps. 95:8). Just as an entire generation, except Joshua and Caleb, failed to enter the promised land because of their unbelief, those who do not believe in the Messiah will not enter the Kingdom of God.

Today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). Jesus warned his listeners, “If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:23). It is at the peril of eternal condemnation that we adopt a ‘wait and see attitude’ or encourage others to do so, assuming that we can await the second advent of the Messiah to confirm whether he is the Messiah and ruler of heaven and earth. Nothing in Scripture indicates that it will be the time of salvation for those who have rejected and despised him. Rather it signifies that their opportunity has passed by, just as death closes the door of opportunity for all who die in their sins.

Our allegiance to Jesus Christ as King and the extent to which we submit to him now does not hinge upon any future event. The question is, “Does Jesus Christ reign now? Are you prepared to bow before him as the King of kings or will you join with the kings of the earth in their rebellion? We either acknowledge, and submit to Jesus as our King now, or we are in rebellion to him now. He said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23). This includes indifference as well as active opposition. There are essentially only two kingdoms – Everyone is either in the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light. Those who spurn the light of the world, choosing to remain in the darkness will find that their eternal inheritance is outer darkness. As the psalmist warned, “Kiss the Son, (pay homage to him), lest he be angry and you perish in the way.”

“But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth.” (Psalm 74:12).

“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:11-13). Amen!