God is sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Psalm 33:10-11; 50:1; 66:7; 93:1; 103:19; Isaiah 40:15, 17; Daniel 4:34-35; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 11:17). His sovereignty is indicative of His supremacy of position and power.
As sovereign, God has absolute control over every aspect of His creation. He does whatever He pleases and no person or plan can serve to alter His intent or obstruct His action (Psalm 33:11; 115:3; 135:6; Isaiah 25:1; 43:13; 46:10; Daniel 4:35; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 4:3b). Therefore, whether by divine directive or permission, all that occurs within the created realm is concordant with the eternal plan of God.
Kingdom of God
Relative to His sovereignty, God is King of Kings (Psalm 5:2; 10:16; 29:10; 84:3; 145:1; Matthew 25:40; 27:11; Mark 15:2; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15; Revelation 15:3; 17:14). His reign is absolute. There is no king, ruler, power or dominion with comparable authority.
The sovereign King of Kings reigns over a kingdom. In the English Bible, the primary words translated into the word “kingdom” are the Old Testament Hebrew malkuth (mal-kooth') (1 Chronicles 11:10; 14:2; Psalm 45:6; 103:19; 145:11-13; Daniel 10:13) and the New Testament Greek basileia (bas-il-i'-ah) (John 3:3-5; Acts 1:3; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20). According to George Eldon Ladd, “The primary meaning of both the Hebrew word malkuth in the Old Testament and of the Greek word basileia in the New Testament is the rank, authority and sovereignty exercised by a king. A basileia may indeed be a realm over which a sovereign exercises his authority; and it may be the people who belong to that realm and over whom authority is exercised; but these are secondary and derived meanings.”1 First and foremost, the kingdom of God is indicative of the rank, sovereignty and authority exercised by God.
Before the origin of mankind, the eternal kingdom of God was populated by angelic beings (Job 38:7; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:1-6). They were created holy, immortal and spiritual in nature (Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 20:36; Hebrews 1:14). The angelic inhabitants of the kingdom of God were also created with personal awareness. As a consequence, they have the capability for thought, emotion and choice (Matthew 8:29; Luke 2:13; 8:28-31; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Timothy 2:26; James 2:19; 1 Peter 1:12; Jude 6; Revelation 12:17). In addition, the angelic beings were given freedom of will. Therefore, they have the privilege of choosing whether or not to reciprocate the love of their King.
Unlike mankind, the angelic beings were not created to propagate (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25). Instead, their entire number was created simultaneously in a vast unknown quantity that never increases or decreases (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 68:17; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 12:22).
God populated His eternal kingdom with more than one type of angelic being. The Old and New Testaments reveal that there are angels (Psalm 148:2; John 1:51; 1 Corinthians 13:1), cherubim (Isaiah 37:16; Ezekiel 1; 10; Hebrews 9:5) and seraphim (Isaiah 6:1-7).
The English word angel is translated from the Hebrew mal`ak and the Greek angelos. Both mean “messenger” and, by implication, one who is sent to “announce or proclaim”.2 Referenced at least 200 times in the Old and New Testaments, the angels are representatives of God. They are sent by Him to proclaim His message and fulfill His will and work (Psalm 103:20-21; Daniel 7:10; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 1:14; cf., Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:24; 9:52; Galatians 4:14; Hebrews 1:7, 14; 13:2; James 2:25). Thus, angels serve as messengers and ministers of God (Matthew 1:20-21; Luke 1:11-20; 26-38; Acts 7:38, 53; Gal. 3:19; Hebrews 2:2; Revelation 14:6-11).
The cherubim and seraphim are nearest to God. They have important roles around the throne of God (Isaiah 6:1-7; Ezekiel 1:26-28; 9:3; 10:1-22).
The cherubim magnify God through worship and praise. As further evidenced by their symbolic inclusion in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, they represent God and guard the attributes of His nature (Exodus 25:18-22; 26:1; 1 Kings 6:23, 27; Ezekiel 10:1-14). The cherubim are also known to fulfill important tasks for God on earth (Genesis 3:24).
The seraphim are mentioned in only one passage in the Bible (Isaiah 6:1-7). According to Isaiah, they worshipped God, proclaimed His holiness, declared His sovereignty over the earth and acted as an agent for the divine purification of the Prophet Isaiah.
The unrighteous and the righteous are subject to different forms of governance. Unrighteous angelic and human beings are governed according to the rule of law. Conversely, the righteous are governed by the rule of life (zoe).
Synonymous with the principle of law or the Adamic law, the rule of law is reflective of the righteous nature of God. It provides a measurable standard of divine righteousness not for benefit of the righteous, but for the fallen or unrighteous (Romans 3:20; 7:7). The Apostle Paul plainly stated, “[the rule of] law was not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane….” (1 Timothy 1:9).
Clearly the kingdom of God is not populated with unrighteous citizens (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21). It is populated only with angelic and human beings that are righteous by nature.
In the kingdom of God, the angelic citizens remain in their original state of righteousness. In contrast, its human citizens have been awarded the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.
All of the citizens of the kingdom of God are righteous by nature. Transgression or sin is a nonexistent concept.
The rule of law was created for the sole purpose of revealing sin. It is unnecessary apart from the presence of sin and therefore, superfluous in the kingdom of God.
Rather than divine law, the citizens of the kingdom of God are governed by the gracious rule of divine life (zoe) (cf. John 14:6; Acts 3:15; 5:20; Romans 5:10, 17, 21; 7:4-6; 7:10; 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 4:10-11; 5:4; Colossians 3:3-4; 1 John 5:20). Therefore, they do not relate to God by obedience to the commands and ordinances encompassed in His rule of law, but by choice of faith to cooperate with the gracious presence of His indwelling life (zoe) (cf. Romans 1:5; 16:26).
Kingdom of God on Earth
The heavens and earth have not always existed in their present form. “In the beginning”, before the angelic beings, God created the perfect, eternal heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1). Rather than “formless and void” or a “domain of darkness”, they were perfectly formed by God and illuminated by the light of His presence (Genesis 1:2; Colossians 1:13; cf., Revelation 21:22-27; 22:5). Subject to the rule of divine life (zoe), the original heavens and earth existed within the realm of His heavenly kingdom.
God created the original, eternal earth as a habitat for the angelic beings. Their rule over the earth was distinguished by an ordered hierarchy of authority derived from God (Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; Colossians 1:16; 2:15; cf. Ephesians 6:12).
Satan was the highest ranking angelic being assigned to the original, eternal earth. He “had the seal of perfection” and was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12). Satan is further described as having been beautiful and splendorous (Ezekiel 28:17). Therefore, he was possibly the most extraordinary of God’s angelic beings assigned to the original earth.
Satan served God in distinguished fashion. His role on the original earth was revealed by his splendid attire. Similar to the Jewish high priest, his breastplate was adorned with precious stones (Ezekiel 28:13; cf., Exodus 28:17).
In addition to his priestly covering, Satan was equipped with “settings and sockets” (Ezekiel 28:13). They were indicative of either the receptacles that held his adorning stones, or, as distinguished by other English translations of the Bible, musical instruments. The Hebrew for “settings and sockets” has been translated “tabrets and pipes” (KJV) and “timbrels and pipes” (NKJV) (tambourines and flutes). The context does not conclusively promote one interpretation over the other. If Satan’s “settings and sockets” is a reference to receptacles for adorning stones, the relevance is not entirely clear. It would appear to be an unnecessary embellishment. Conversely, if “settings and sockets” is a reference to musical instruments, then Satan was equipped by God to worship Him with song.
The highest ranking angelic being assigned to the original, eternal earth, Satan was given an anointed position at the throne of God, priestly attire and musical instruments by which to worship God. In all likelihood, therefore, he served God on the original earth in the role of high priest.
As high priest, Satan would have been allowed intimate access to God. Accordingly, the Bible reveals that he had the lofty privilege of enjoying the presence of God in both “Eden, the garden of God” and on the “holy mountain of God” (Ezekiel 28:13, 14). They were specific locations in the kingdom of God where Satan was permitted privileged access to the presence of God.
“Eden, the garden of God” was not the same Eden known to Adam and Eve, but the archetypal Eden on the original, eternal earth. Like the subsequent Eden known to Adam and Eve, the original was associated with the intimate presence of God on earth in the midst of His created beings (cf. Genesis 2:8, 10, 15; Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 36:35). It was a place of fellowship between Satan and his King. Though presently unavailable, Eden will again exist in the future as a place of intimate fellowship between God and His created beings on earth (Isaiah 51:3; cf. Revelation 21:1-22:5).
In contrast, the “mountain of God” refers to the throne of God in heaven and, by implication, the authoritative rule of God over the earth (Exodus 3:1; 4:27; 18:5; 24:13; 1 Kings 19:8; Psalm 68:15; Ezekiel 28:14, 16). Satan, the high priest of God on the original, eternal earth, was allowed privileged access to the throne or "mountain of God". Consequently, his role was described as the “anointed cherub who covers” (Ezekiel 28:14). Covering or overshadowing the throne of God, Satan guarded the attributes of the divine nature. Like Eden, the “mountain of God” is not presently available on earth. However, it will again be accessible in the future (Isaiah 2:2-3; 65:17-25; 66:20).
In spite of his privileged position and proximity to God, Satan’s heart became “lifted up” or prideful (Ezekiel 28:17). As a result, he proclaimed: “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Regardless of his position of unparalleled privilege, Satan believed he could attain even greater importance and influence in the kingdom.
Coveting the glory of the King, Satan devised a scheme by which he would challenge Him for His throne. He was convinced that it would reveal God as vulnerable and weak and, thus, susceptible to deposition.
Satan’s scheme was founded on the presumption that the attributes of the nature of God cannot be expressed concurrently in an unbiased manner. Specifically, he questioned whether or not God could demonstrate love and mercy concurrently with justice.
In his finite mind, Satan believed the aforementioned attributes of the divine nature to be contradictory to one another. He presupposed that if God were to lovingly and mercifully forgive his rebellious scheme it would necessitate that He compromise justice. Conversely, if God were to justly punish it would require Him to compromise love and mercy. Misunderstanding the nature of God, Satan was confident that God would choose love and mercy over justice.
Satan was convinced that a divine neglect of justice would constitute legal compromise. Consequently, the authority of God would be discredited and His kingdom subject to division and, ultimately, co-rule by Satan.
Understanding the potential advantage of co-conspirators, Satan persuaded many of the angels to join him in his rebellion against God (cf., 12:3-4). By the “abundance” of his unrighteous “trade”(trafficking or conspiring) he convinced about one third of the angels that his plan would succeed (Ezekiel 28:16, 18; Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:3-4). As a consequence, they rejected their privilege of citizenship in the kingdom of God and followed his lead (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:3-4).
The scheme, perpetrated by Satan and a vast number of the heavenly host, was no small incident. It constituted a serious affront to the nature of God and a legal challenge to His sovereign rule.
All of God’s judgments are absolutely just. He is righteous or morally and ethically perfect. Concordant with the justice of God, He cannot dismiss unrighteousness within the realm of His presence. It is an affront to His righteous nature and sovereign rule.
All unrighteousness is subject to the perfectly righteous judgment of God. There is no partiality or prejudice with His judgment. Relative to His nature, it is absolutely just.
The judgment of the devil did not originate from the mind of a cold-hearted, biased judge. Instead, reflective of the divine nature, it was characterized by selfless love, unfailing mercy and absolute justice. Consequently, the judgment of the devil and his angels served their highest good, was infinitely commensurate with their crime and absolutely impartial.
Death, Darkness and Destruction
Relative to their judgment, the devil and his angels experienced separation from God. Therefore, they suffered loss of life (zoe) or death and were consequently banished to a darkened existence outside of the divine kingdom.
God is the source of both eternal life (zoe) and eternal light or spiritual illumination. “…. the Father has life (zoe) in Himself” (John 5:26a; cf., John 3:16; 17:3; 1 John 1:2; 5:11). “God is light” (1 John 1:5). “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John
Angelic loss of eternal life (zoe) and light was caused by separation from the eternal God. His life (zoe) shared with His creatures is the source of their eternal life (zoe) and light. Thus, separation from God outside of His kingdom is the equivalent of existing in a state of death and darkness (cf. “outer darkness” - Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).
The angelic rebellion not only produced death and darkness, but significant destruction. Designed and created by God, the original, eternal earth was perfectly suited for the fulfillment of His purpose. Isaiah informs, “He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). The angelic rebellion, however, caused the original, eternal earth to become “formless and void” (Genesis 1:2). In other words, it was characterized by waste, ruin and emptiness. The condition of the earth was also darkened. “…darkness was over the surface of the deep” (Genesis 1:2). Darkness in the Bible is commonly representative of divine judgment.
Genesis 1:1-2 can be translated, “Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth came to be ruined and despoiled – darkness lay upon the face of the abyss while God's Spirit brooded over the surface of its waters”.
The rebellion of the devil and his angels resulted in death, darkness and destruction. Not only were Satan and one third of the angels banished from kingdom citizenship, but the original, eternal earth became uninhabitable.
The judgment and sentencing of the devil and his angels was immediate (cf. John 16:11). However, the actual serving of their sentence was postponed by God (Isaiah 24:21-22; Matthew 8:29; Romans 16:20; Revelation 20:10). Separation in “eternal fire” for the devil and his angels was temporarily suspended to allow God the opportunity to vindicate His nature and silence any lasting presumption of vulnerability.
Precisely according to eternal plan, God renovated the original, devastated, uninhabitable heavens and earth to be inhabited once again (Genesis 1:2-31). After renovation, the heavens and earth were no longer “formless and void”. Concordant with the nature of God, they were perfect, lacking nothing. Consequently, God pronounced every aspect of His renovation “good” and His holy angels rejoiced (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; Job 38:4-7).
While waiting to serve their sentence, God chose to allow the devil and his angels access to the renovated heavens and earth. Within the divinely renovated environment, they were permitted the freedom to will and to work. However, their opportunities were moderated by God. As a consequence, they were congruent with the fulfillment of His eternal purpose and plan (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Romans 8:38; James 4:7; 1 John 5:18).
The heavens and earth were not renovated to serve as a habitat for spiritual, angelic beings, but for a new type of creature; mankind (Genesis 1:26-30). In contrast to the angelic beings, man was created with a physical or material body. The heavens and earth were renovated in suitable fashion.
It did not go unnoticed by the devil and his angels that God had chosen to replace them in His kingdom with mankind, an inferior being. It was clear that they were being replaced not only in regard to position and authority, but even more regrettably, as the primary objects of divine love and affection. As a consequence, they view humanity with intense jealousy and hatred.
Fall of Mankind
Similar to the original, eternal earth, the renovated earth was also characterized by a Garden of Eden. It allowed for intimate fellowship between God and Adam, the first man and high priest of God (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:5-8; Hebrews 2:5-9).
It was apparent to Satan that God had awarded Adam everything he had once valued. While Adam was experiencing the utter joy of intimate, shared-life fellowship with God, Satan’s existence had become bleak. It was characterized by death, darkness, subordination to God by rule of law, loneliness and fear of punishment. Even worse, the entire angelic host had witnessed his embarrassing transformation.
The whole ordeal was very difficult for a prideful, devilish being to endure. In fact, it was more than he could tolerate.
Motivated by anger and jealousy, Satan devised a new scheme by which he hoped to defend his choice of rebellion. He believed his scheme would demonstrate that the judgment of God was unjust. As a result, God would be compelled to exonerate him.
Satan was not ignorant about the activities of God on the renovated earth. He was aware that Adam and his “helper”, Eve, had been forewarned by God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was foundational to Satan's scheme.
In the guise of a serpent, Satan manipulated Eve into questioning the command of God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He hoped to plant seeds of doubt in her mind about divine authority. Carefully manipulated by Satan, Eve tragically believed Satan’s lie, doubted God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As forewarned, she suffered separation from God, immediate spiritual death and, as a consequence, began the long slow decline to physical death.
By her fallen countenance alone, Eve’s death was obvious. It was unmistakable to Adam. Eve’s fallen behavior likely made the reality of her death even more apparent.
Adam was forced to make an extremely difficult choice. He could reject his beloved bride and allow her to experience her appointed destiny without him. It would be both lonely and heart wrenching. Conversely, Adam could choose to remain in union with Eve by eating of the prohibited tree and join her in rebellious separation from God. Ultimately, Adam was forced to choose between God and His beloved Eve.
Eve was the one of whom Adam had stated with great excitement, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). No other earthly being could be to him what she had become. Unable to see beyond his earthly circumstances, Adam willingly chose to join Eve, ate from the tree and rebelled against the rule of God.
Satan had initially deceived Eve, not Adam (1 Timothy 2:14). However, by Satan’s deception of Eve he was able to manipulate Adam into making the choice to rebel against God. Adam rejected God and chose the path of self-governance under rule of law. Rejecting divine authority, Adam and Eve also became self-governed rebels, criminals and outlaws.
Congruent with selfless love, God allowed Adam and Eve to experience separation. Evidenced by their choice, it was the desire of their heart. Consequently, Adam and Eve were also banished from the kingdom of God.
Abdication of Authority
By the success of his scheme, Satan demonstrated legal superiority over Adam. Consequently, he regained the legal right to rule over the earth and its fallen inhabitants.
The New Testament corroborates. When tempting Christ in the desert, Satan said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish” (Luke 4:6). “Handed over”; “delivered” (KJV); “given” (NIV); are translated from the Greek word paradidomi. It “designates the act whereby something or someone is transferred into the possession of another.”4 Satan could not have made the offer to Christ had he not possessed at least some of the legal authority necessary to rule over the earth.
Satan regained the legal right to rule the earth when it was abdicated by Adam. He willingly traded his God-given authority over the earth for a future with Eve.
Judgment of the Earth
Relative to his misrepresentation of the renovated earth and abdication of his priestly authority, Adam experienced the judgment of God. The renovated earth, the appointed domain of his rule, was also subjected to divine judgment. Thus, the renovated earth, condemned like the original earth before it, was radically transformed into a fallen state. Separated from God, it became characterized by degeneration and darkness (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:19-21; Colossians 1:13).
Ruler of This World
Relative to his deception and Adam’s subsequent abdication, Satan regained some of his previous status and authority. Therefore, he presently and temporarily holds the legal titles of “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) and “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). According to the Apostle John, “….the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). However, the present status and authority of Satan related to the renovated, fallen earth is but a distant shadow of the former glory he once enjoyed. Rather than ruling the pristine, original earth, he now presides over a “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13).
The plan of God to address the death, darkness and destruction caused by His creatures wasn’t simply a reactionary response. With foreknowledge, it was predetermined.
According to eternal plan, God chose beforehand to restore His kingdom on earth and repopulate it with willing subjects. His work of restoration and repopulation was accomplished in perfect accord with the attributes of His nature. Therefore, it was characterized by selfless love, unfailing mercy and absolute justice revealed concurrently, in an unbiased manner.
The foundation of the eternal plan of God was the Messiah or Christ. Anointed by the Father as the Savior of the world, He was the means chosen to restore the kingdom of God on earth and repopulate it with willing citizens (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 4:14). The arrival of the Christ on earth was promised immediately after the fall of mankind, before Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15).
The identity of the Christ is revealed by more than 300 prophecies in the Old Testament and by specific name in the New Testament. The Messiah or Christ is clearly identified in the Bible as Jesus the Nazarene (cf. Matthew 1:1; Acts 2:22-24).
In fullness of time, Jesus the Christ was sent by the Father to the renovated, fallen earth. He was God incarnated in human flesh.
Jesus, the incarnate Christ, possessed both fullness of deity and fullness of humanity (John 1:1, 14, 18; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9). Therefore, He was uniquely qualified to represent both God to man and man to God.
Fully God, Jesus possessed absolute authority. Thus, He had the ability to exercise divine authority while on earth. However, while in human flesh Jesus “emptied Himself” of His divine authority. He chose not to act according to His own will or exercise His own authority (Philippians 2:7a).
Instead, Jesus took “the form of a bond-servant”, one without authority, and lived His earthly life in perfect dependence on His indwelling, heavenly Father (Philippians 2:7b). Through the authority and power of the indwelling Father He performed miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. Though fully God, Jesus freely emptied Himself of His divine authority and demonstrated an earthly life and ministry of radical dependence.
Fully dependent on the indwelling Father, Jesus “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). By His crucifixion, He paid the penalty for the sin of all mankind and, thus, provided the means for the divine forgiveness of human sin (John 1:29; 4:42; 1 John 2:2; 4:14). His death was utterly sufficient to fulfill the purpose for which it was intended. Therefore, there is no need for additional sacrifice for human sin (Hebrews 9:26; 10:12).
As stipulated by the Eternal Covenant, Jesus the Christ conquered sin and death and was resurrected by the Father (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; 10:45; John 2:18-22; 11:25-26; Romans 1:4-5; 1 Peter 1:3). His resurrection demonstrated approval of Jesus’ sacrifice, validated the truth of Jesus’ earthly message and provided the means for fallen man to receive justification from sin. Further, it opened the door to mankind for the possibility of resurrection to a union of eternal life (zoe) with God, the requirement for citizenship in His eternal kingdom.
Concordant with His eternal plan, God provided the means to restore His kingdom on earth and repopulate it with willing citizens. To the bewilderment of the devil and his angels, it constituted a perfect demonstration of selfless love, unfailing mercy and absolute justice.
Longing of the Angels
The holy angels have observed the redemptive work of God on the renovated, fallen earth with great interest and curiosity (Job 1:1-2:13; Luke 15:10; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 11:10; Ephesians 3:8-10; 6:12; 1 Timothy 3:16; 5:21; 1 Peter 1:12). The idea that God would restore His kingdom on earth and repopulate it with willing citizens by means of His own death and resurrection had been a complete mystery (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:9; 3:4; 6:19; Colossians 1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3). Once unveiled, however, they recognized that it was a perfect demonstration of the love, mercy and justice of God. As a consequence, it became a point of awe and wonder.
In spite of the rebellion and destructiveness of His creatures, God has promised the future regeneration of the earth. It is congruent with His eternal plan to vindicate His nature in heaven and on earth.
According to plan, the kingdom of God will be visibly manifested on the regenerated earth in the future (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13). It will accommodate the immediate, visible reign of Christ on earth and allow for the vindication of the divine nature through the restoration of the nation of Israel. As revealed throughout the Old Testament, the restoration of Israel to the covenant plan of God and kingdom citizenship has long been their national hope (cf. Psalm 24:1-10; 89: 3-4, 29, 34-37; Isaiah 1:26-27; 4:2-6; 9:6-7; 16:5; 27:12-13; 29:22-24; 30:18-26; 32:16-20; 33:20-24; 35:1-10; 43:5-7; 44:1-5, 21-23; 45:17; 51:3; 52:1-10; 55:12-13; 56:6-8; 60:1-14; 61:10-11; 62:1-12; Jeremiah 3:8, 17; 16:14-15; 31:1-40; 50:19-20; Ezekiel 11:14-20; 17:22-24; 20:40-41; 28:25-26; 34:25-31; 36:8-15, 24-38; 37:1-25; 40:1-43:27; 44:1-46:24; 47:1-48:35; Hosea 1:10-2:1; 14:4-8; Joel 2:18-32; 3:17-18; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4:1-8; 7:18-20; Zephaniah 3:9-20; Zechariah 8:1-8; 10:8-12; 14:9-11).
The divine regeneration of the earth will first necessitate the judgment of the degenerated earth. “….the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the [degenerated] heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the [degenerated] earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:7, 10). Every last trace of angelic and human rebellion related to the degenerated heavens and earth will be destroyed by the fire of divine judgment.
After the fiery destruction of the degenerated earth, God will regenerate the earth in temporal form. “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13; cf. Matthew 19:28). The newly regenerated heavens and earth will be suitable to accommodate the reign of Christ over the earthly nation of Israel.
The kingdom of God will then be manifested on earth in conjunction with the return of Messiah Jesus (cf. Psalm 2:6-9; Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:1-12:6; Jeremiah 23:3-8; 33:9-26; Matthew 25:31-34; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 19:11-20:6). He will arrive on the regenerated earth and reign as King over the nation of Israel for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-6). Providing a perfect demonstration of selfless love, unfailing mercy and absolute justice through the restored nation of Israel, His reign on earth will serve to vindicate the nature of God in a decisive manner.
At the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, God will re-create the heavens and earth. The Apostle John states, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away” (Revelation 21:1). Eternal in form, the re-created heavens and earth will be suitable for existence within the eternal kingdom of God. They will serve to accommodate the eternal God in the midst of all who have placed their faith in Jesus the Christ, Jew and Gentile alike. The faithful redeemed will then enjoy the unending, ever present reality of fullness of life shared with God.
New Testament Church
The devil and his angels were originally created in a state of holiness under rule of divine life (zoe). Relative to their original status in the kingdom of God and subsequent choice to reject God, they have no hope of redemption or restoration to kingdom citizenship.
In contrast, mankind begins existence outside of the kingdom of God in a fallen state under rule of law. He is completely unworthy of redemption.
Nevertheless, concordant with the stipulations of the Eternal Covenant, God has graciously chosen to provide mankind with the opportunity for restoration to kingdom life. By faith alone it is gloriously inclusive of justification from all sin, exultation in the amazing privilege of shared life and the astounding enjoyment of new citizenship under the intimate rule of divine life (zoe).
During this present age, the distinct church of the New Testament is the chosen instrument of God to repopulate His kingdom with willing human citizens. According to the Apostle Paul, it is an assembly of God’s chosen people in one spiritual body; an intimate, shared life community united and quickened by the indwelling Spirit of God (Acts 2:42-47; 8:3; 12:12; 17:1-9; Romans 12:5; 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:13-27; 16:19; Ephesians 1:23; 2:16; 3:6; 4:4; 4:12,16; 5:18; 23; 5:30; Colossians 1:24; 2:19; 3:15; 18:5-11; 20:20; 21:7-10; Philemon 2; cf. 2 John 10). The Apostle Peter adds that the New Testament church is “…a spiritual house for a holy priesthood” that is comprised of “…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession….” (1 Peter 2:5; 2:9a).
The banishment of the angels from the kingdom of God provided the need for its repopulation. During the present age, the New Testament church is the divinely chosen instrument. The selfless love, unfailing mercy and absolute justice of God established the motive.
© 2018 James Hiatt