Chapter 7:

The Kingdom of God Is Near!

"Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near!" was the theme of Jesus’ ministry (Matt 4.17, 10.7, Luke 10.9). But peace on earth did not come then, and it still isn’t here 2000 years later. What did Jesus mean? How was God’s Kingdom near then? What has become of it since then?

There were several ways in which the Kingdom had come "near" at that time. Matters involving the Kingdom were advancing: the Christ, the one chosen by God to be King, had come. Kingdom prophecies were being fulfilled. The opportunity was opening up for those with faith to be selected as kings!

But only those with spiritual vision could see it. The Pharisees, who rejected Jesus, once asked him when the kingdom of God was coming. He answered them: "The kingdom of God is not coming with striking observableness. For, look! the kingdom of God is in your midst!" (Luke 17:20, 21) Yes, in effect, it was standing right in front of them in the person of Jesus Christ, yet they could not see it.*

Some Bibles read, "the kingdom of God is within you." It certainly was not within those Pharisees. Marginal notes in some King James Versions give as an alternate reading "is among you", which is more accurate.

But of course, many Kingdom prophecies were not fulfilled in those days. Remember, the disciples were eager to see the wicked nations destroyed, and for their beloved Christ to reign in glorious power. How near was that? Well, one day, while they were admiring the magnificent temple in Jerusalem, Jesus said that the whole place would be destroyed, levelled to the ground. (Matt 24.1, 2) That must have puzzled them very much, since they expected Jerusalem to dominate the world, and soon. So later that evening, they asked Jesus about it. We read at Matthew 24.3: "While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?"

After asking about the temple, notice that they also asked, "What will be the sign of your presence?" (Many Bibles here read "the sign of your coming".) He was right there in front of them, and at that time they did not yet understand that he would be going away. So what did they mean by his "presence" or "coming"? Obviously, they had a particular kind of presence in mind; they were asking what would signal the begin of his glorious reign, which they hoped was very soon. —Lu 19:11, 18.32-34.

Also, they wanted to know what would be the sign of "the end of the world." (AV) Remember, as Jews they believed in the paradise earth to come; they did not yet understand that anyone would go to heaven. So they were not asking about the end of planet Earth. Actually, the word they used (aionos) means "age". Certainly when the Kingdom arrived and swept away the system of things as we know it, bringing in a peaceful new world, that would be the "end of an age."

Why would they ask for a sign? Wouldn’t you know it when the world ended? Of course, the sign would come first; it would act as a warning that the end was near. Did Jesus say that there was no way of knowing, that it would come without any warning? No, Jesus gave them what they asked for: signs! Then he said: "When you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors." "When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near." Yes, according to Jesus, these are things that can be known, not merely guessed at or assumed. —Matt 24:33, Luke 21:31.

In his answer, Jesus described events of sweeping scale: great wars, famines, lawlessness, persecution of Christians, false Christs. Despite the troubles, he said the "good news of the Kingdom" would be preached all over the world. Then, "the end will come." —read Matt 24.4-14.

All of these things would take some time. It might seem that the Kingdom was long in coming. But Jesus reassured them: "Truly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." —verse 35.

"But," you may say, "that generation is long gone and the end is not yet. What did he mean?" Well, remember their first question? Much of what he said applied directly to that very generation, to the Jewish nation. For example, he mentioned a prophecy of Daniel concerning desolation on Judea (verses 15-22, see also Luke 19.41-44, Luke 21.20-24). Their nation was in its "last days". Those were unusually distressing times for the Jewish people. The Christian congregation did preach the good news throughout the known world of that time (Col 1.23). And Jesus was "present" (invisibly, sitting at God’s right hand in heaven) as King of the Christian congregation. (Matt 28.20, Col 1.13) Finally, the end of the Jewish nation did come, exactly as foretold, when the Romans desolated Judea in the year 70 C.E. When his words came true, no doubt those opposers "saw" (mentally) Jesus "coming on the clouds of heaven"; they were forced to admit that he had been raised up and glorified. —Matt 24.30; compare 26.64.

But that is not what the disciples had in mind when they asked Jesus about his "presence" and the "end of the age." The fulfillment in their time did not involve "all the tribes of the earth", nor did Christ’s reign subdue all his enemies earthwide, bringing peace to all mankind. We can be sure that just as his prophecy about Jerusalem came true, so those other things too must occur. But what "generation" of mankind will see it?

Remember, Jesus had said, "When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near." This means that the same kind of signs that told them long ago that Jerusalem’s end was near, would serve again later to alert us to the nearness of the end of the entire system of things.

In every generation since Christ’s time, many have tried to identify events of their day with these signs. They were wrong. It has been so long that most have become tired of being watchful. Yet if the Bible is true and Jesus is Christ, there would finally come a generation in whose time the signs would be fulfilled. Jesus said: "Keep looking, keep awake, for you do not know when the appointed time is." —Mark 13:33.

We should obey that instruction. So let us look closely at events of our generation. Do they fulfill the sign?

Do We See the Sign?

Civilization's nuclear sunset
Civilization's Sunset

WAR: In the past 80 years, since 1914, we have seen two wars so great that they came to be called "World Wars". World War I surpassed in destructiveness the sum of all the wars of the preceding 2,400 years! Then World War II was four times more destructive than World War I! It ended with the nuclear annihilation of two cities. After that the world has been in dread of any instability that could trigger a third world war, which could easily cause the end of civilization. Towards that end, the nations have spent trillions of dollars arming themselves with the most fiendish and destructive of weapons imaginable: biological, chemical and ‘smart’ bombs, multi-megaton nuclear bombs, intercontinental missiles, anti-personnel mines by the millions. Dead Iraqi in GW II At the same time the political stability of some of the most powerful of nations has become highly questionable. Fanatic nationalism is on the rise, old ethnic and religious animosities are becoming inflamed. In fact, the situation worldwide is similar now to the conditions that triggered World War I and II. In 1994 Rwanda, a small nation in Africa, proved how tensions can suddenly explode; church-going neighbors turned on one another with genocidal fury! About 800,000 died; the true number may never be known. Even women and children that took refuge in churches were hacked to death by machete.* Grief in DarfurThe following multinational war in Africa has claimed perhaps 2,500,000 lives, almost completely ignored by western news media. After all, what is newsworthy anymore about African misery? India and Pakistan have been exchanging angry threats backed by nuclear missiles recently. What will the economic instability of 2009 lead to? Leaders tremble when they contemplate what could happen. This we can say for sure: Jesus’ words have come true in our time!

The book We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families is a revealing history and analysis of these events. Link is to a preview by Google books website. If link is broken, google the title.

FAMINE: War usually causes famine by disrupting farming. Following World War I came the greatest famine in all history. During the worldwide Depression of the 1930’s Stalin engineered death by starvation for millions of his own countrymen. After the second World War, it is said, a fourth of the world was starving! More recently, corruption and war has starved millions in Angola, Somalia, Ethiopia and North Korea. Zimbabwe, once a "breadbasket" of Africa, now has a corrupt and brutally racist regime that has shut down its most prosperous farms, deliberately creating a food crisis. Food aid pours in from the West, but the regime directs it only to those willing to sing its praises, using selective starvation to crush dissent. Totalitarian cruelty causes starvation in N Korea In all these places wealthy nations are having "compassion fatigue," tiring of the unending need for aid. Now sometimes the news media just ignore situations until hundreds of thousands are already dead. In other places, the problem has been not war but grotesque inequality: the markets of the rich are sumptuously stocked, while just across town the poor cannot afford even a sustenance diet. All too frequently the poor in so-called "developing" lands have to stand by watching with empty hands and empty stomachs while bumper harvests are exported for hard cash— which is then used to buy weapons to strengthen the government against its own people, and to give a few morally bankrupt persons a life of leisure. The World Health Organization estimates that over 5 million children die each year from malnutrition. At the same time in more prosperous countries, many children are grossly obese. How long can this go on?

PESTILENCE (epidemic disease): After World War I came the Spanish Flu, the greatest epidemic of all history. Some 21 million people died in just a few months! Since then, there have been amazing advances of medical science. One would think that this would have stopped this feature of the sign cold. Not so: some killers of the past have been pushed down, but others have popped up in their place. War, poverty, and irresponsible behavior have fed epidemics of malaria, cholera, venereal disease, heart failure and cancer. Homosexuality established AIDS, which is slowly tightening its grip on the world because of heedless promiscuity. By 2006 AIDS had become a pestilence of truly Biblical proportions: it had killed more people than all the wars and natural disasters in history combined. Drug addiction has even revived tuberculosis in a new form, resistant to antibiotics. Tobacco and other forms of pollution are causing an ever-increasing incidence of cancer and heart disease. Strange new diseases pop up briefly, causing serious concern because antibiotics sometimes can’t touch them. What next?

Tsunami roars in on village. APTN

EARTHQUAKES: This is the only part of the sign that isn’t directly caused by human activity, as far as we know, except that the increase of human population has ensured that any quake will be noticeable. Records indicate that indeed the years since 1914 have been unusual in the frequency and severity of earthquakes. Just to name some recent examples, a great quake devastated northern China in 1976, killing up to perhaps 300,000. In early 2001, a severe earthquake hit Bhuj, India, killing perhaps 20,000. Then Bam: 32,000 in Iran in late 2003. Then a disaster such as has not been seen in generations hit the coastlines of the Indian Ocean in late 2004. Whole towns were swept away by the tsunami. The Sichuan quake of 2008 made 5,000,000 people homeless and killed about 90,000, with much of the damage worsened by corrupt building practices. The great Haitian quake of 2010 snuffed out perhaps 300,000 lives, again much of it due to the extreme poverty and delinquent government. The most recent as of this writing is the great tsunami in northern Japan. Besides these great temblors there have been too many lesser ones to count. God is not causing this destruction, but he did forewarn us of it.

The Greek word for "earthquakes" (seismoi) literally means "a shaking." Besides shaking of the ground itself, there have been tremendous upheavals in societies and governments in the past century. Mighty empires have been broken up, and great divisions have split nations along ethnic and religious lines. (The partition of India in 1947 is one example.) In fact, Jesus’ words have been fulfilled more dramatically in this figurative sense than literally. In 2008 there was a near-collapse of the world economy due to greedy financial manipulation. In early 2011 we saw major political shaking in the despotic Islamic states of the Middle East. And now we are again seeing rumblings of deep economic instability, caused by national debts so enormous that few seriously believe they will ever be repaid. Like a fault line long locked but with mounting tension and ready to break, something will have to give way, and it appears that will be soon.

LAWLESSNESS: Do you leave your doors unlocked when you leave home or go to bed? In many places, people put two, three or even more locks on their doors, plus heavy steel bars over their windows. Yes, today the honest people are in "jail," while criminals stalk the streets. Yet the courts seem determined to set confessed rapists and murderers free time after time, finding every technical excuse to do so. Children mustn’t talk to strangers. Women should not walk alone. Couples often live together without marriage, and infidelity is common. Casual sex by teenagers is considered normal, so condoms are handed out in schools. In some places 80% of all children are born to single mothers; sometimes she can’t even guess who the father might be. Sex crimes, even real murders, are committed before cameras and the video distributed to millions of eagerly waiting customers. Many semi-slave laborers, often very young, work for grotesquely low wages in extremely dangerous conditions, producing pretty toys for the children of wealthier lands. Poisons are poured out into rivers while people downstream have no choice but to drink the water. Large multinational corporations hide their trail of unjust profits in a legal jungle of contracts. Government officials turn a blind eye for a price. How much longer can this stand?

adapted from www.populationinstituteofcanada.ca
exponential population growth since 1700

Another reason to expect an end is near is the exponential rise in the human population in our time. It is quickly approaching an unsustainable level as more people adopt modern lifestyles of consumption and pollution. True, the rise has been enabled by some improvement of sanitation, nutrition, and medicine (not for everyone, of course), so that many more infants have been surviving to reproductive age. Not everything in the last days is negative. But there is a wall ahead: the earth is finite. Futurists have been predicting imminent calamity for some time, but their predictions have not come true yet, causing some to scoff. Technology seems to have put off the inevitable day of reckoning, but it cannot do so for much longer. Conflicts are increasing over essential resources, especially water and energy. Many are sounding alarms about accelerating climate change, which they believe is caused by man's ever-rising consumption of fossil fuels. Political and economic instability plus nuclear weapons does not a hopeful equation make. In other words, the population may suddenly become self-limiting, "solving" the problem, but not in a happy manner. That is not the end foretold in the Bible, but it does underscore the fact that we urgently need God to act. If he did not, we would do the job ourselves, and as usual, not very well (James 1:20).

People who are paying attention to the current situation are gravely concerned, even terrified, just as Jesus said (Luke 21:26). They are working hard to turn mankind's course aside. They will fail, but there may be some kind of hope-inspiring development, whether technical or political, that produces the last "sign" scripture tells us to watch for: a widespread feeling or announcement that "peace and security" is at hand or has been achieved. That joy will be quickly followed by the real terror as everything comes unglued. —1 Thess 5:3.

FALSE PROPHETS: Where is the clergy in all of this? Often being exposed as pedophiles, seducing or raping little boys and girls. Performing homosexual marriages. Turning a blind eye; again, for a price. You’re a big contributor? Then we won’t make a fuss about your adultery or your sharp business practices. Some clergy have taught "liberation theology," which supports violent resistance by oppressed peoples. Others have been part of the oppressive system that lives in luxury off the slavery of the poor. All the while they loudly proclaim their love for Jesus. False prophets indeed! —see Titus 1.16.

There have also been political "false prophets", such as Hitler and Lenin and Pol Pot, who misled millions into doing very wicked things. Besides those large examples, there have been many smaller ones. Some have used religion as part of their appeal. The current primary example is Al-Qaeda, although truth be known, those who win the war get to write the history. So there are highly lauded Western leaders who have only much later been exposed as cunning and cruel hypocrites.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS: For many decades in communist lands, Christians spoke to others about their faith only at great risk to their lives. Even in the "free world," in times of war, inflamed nationalistic patriotism, often whipped to fever pitch by the clergy, has caused mistreatment of those who, like Christ, would be "no part of the world" and "learn war no more." —John 18.36, Isaiah 2.4.

THE KINGDOM PREACHED: At the same time, Christ foretold that the Kingdom would be preached "in all the world," so the persecution would be unable to stop Christians from spreading the Good News. In 2010 7,200,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in 235 nations spent over 1.6 billion hours visiting people in their homes or in public places to teach them about God’s Kingdom. The Witnesses held private home Bible studies with over 8,000,000 families to teach them how to serve God and survive the end of this system of things. Unlike other evangelical organizations, they did not teach political involvement and social programs as a solution, nor did they encourage revolution and civil disobedience. Like Christ, their message has been, "God’s Kingdom is near!"

Yes, we can be sure of it! These are the last days of this world! God’s Kingdom is near! Just how near is it? "This generation shall not pass away until all things take place." Jesus gave that promise to emphasize its nearness. Notice that the signs began with a bang with the sudden outbreak of World War I in 1914. Very few people alive today can remember that year; in fact not many people alive today have even met someone from that period. How much longer can it be? The Bible warns that God’s day of reckoning could seem to be delaying, from our point of view. But it urges: "For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late." —Habakkuk 1.1-4, 2.3.

How God’s Kingdom is Near Now

Since our time is a greater parallel of the last days of the Jewish nation in the first century C.E., we can also expect that the Kingdom is "near" now in a sense similar to, but greater than, the way it was "near" then. Kingdom prophecies are being fulfilled, and Kingdom interests are advancing. The door of opportunity to enter that Kingdom is open wide, and millions, not just 144,000, are streaming into it. Notice how this fulfills a "last days" prophecy, at Micah 4:1-4. Are you one of those learning the ways of Jehovah?

You may read another prophecy that is being fulfilled, at Matthew 25:31-46. Every one of us is being examined by the reigning King, Jesus Christ, who will soon "arrive" to pass judgment on all of us. (Compare Ps 96.10-13.) He is watching now to see how we respond when his "brothers", those who are anointed to lead his preaching work today, come calling with the Kingdom message. The parable says that these "brothers" have difficulties, even imprisonment. No, they are not popular or prominent in the world. Does that cause us to avoid them? —see Matt 28.18-20, 12.47-50.

In that final hour he will say to the "sheep": "Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you." To the "goats" he will say: "Be on your way from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels." The wicked ones are surprised and protest, but it does them no good. Which command will ring in your ears? —see also Matt 24.30, 7.21-23.

Why the Last Days Are So Bad

Why is the approach of the end marked by such terrible events on earth? Since the Kingdom preaching is at its greatest now, why is the majority of mankind more bent on wickedness than ever before? At Matthew 24.39 Jesus gave one reason. Comparing the last days to the time just before the Flood (Genesis 6-8), he said "they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away." People today are resisting the message being presented to them. They do not want to hear that their party is about over. They laugh at it, just like they laughed at Noah warning of the Flood. On the other hand, you and I want to take the warning seriously. —see also Prov 1.22-33.

There is another reason why the end times are very bad. Turn to Revelation 12 and read verses 7 through 12. Here we read of a war in heaven; Michael the archangel fights the dragon Satan and hurls him, and the angels that take his side, out of heaven down to the earth. Then it says: "Be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time."

This defeat puts the Devil into a really foul mood. It spells "woe" (trouble, sorrows) for the earth. And he knows he has only a "short period" to vent his anger before he is put away for a very long time. This explains why the last days are filled with such wickedness. Satan says, "If I can’t have it, nobody can" and he tries to take everyone down into destruction with him. He wants you to die too, so it is very important to guard against any pressure to do wrong. —1 Pet 5.6-10.

Many believe that the Devil was cast out of heaven long ago, even before he tempted Eve. But a closer look at this passage proves otherwise. Notice that he is called the "dragon, the original serpent, who is misleading the entire earth." In other words, he was a serpent, but now he has grown into a great dragon. By the time he is cast down, there is a whole earth already deceived, not just two people. And notice that, before being hurled down, he had already been accusing "our brothers" before God, but those "brothers" had overcome the accusations by the "blood of the Lamb" and by the "word of their witnessing." The Lamb refers to Jesus in his role of sacrificial Savior, who gave his blood for the forgiveness of our sins (see chapter 5 of this book.) That blood was given, and the witnessing work begun, in the year 33 C.E. So, this casting out has to occur sometime after the Christian congregation is established, long enough for many to become martyrs, as it says, "they loved not their souls even in the face of death." Finally, Job 1.6, 7 shows Satan was able to visit heaven at will in Job’s day, about 1500 B.C.E., long after Eve’s time. That freedom of movement was at last removed by this war in Revelation 12.7.

When, then, did it happen? The event would be plainly detectable on earth by a sharp increase in woes. Jesus had already said that the signs of the end, most of which are woes, would stand out and be easily seen against the background of history, just like the budding of all the trees plainly mark the beginning of spring. We have no trouble identifying 1914 as the year it happened. —Luke 21.29, 30.

Looking back at Rev 12.10, notice the announcement made when the war was won: "Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down!"

The winning of this war was not the establishment of God’s Kingdom (Christ received great authority to act from the time he was raised up [see Matt 28.18]), but this victory was certainly a major advancement of that Kingdom. In ancient times, whenever God performed a mighty act, the song of praise always arose: "Jehovah has become King!" (see Psalms 93.1, 2, 96.10-97.1) Of course, no one meant he had not been King before that. Likewise, when Christ defeated Satan’s hordes in heaven and threw them down, the song could be sung as never before: "Now have come the...kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ!" This great event deserved such a loud outcry of triumphant praise. So this was a watershed event in the coming of God’s Kingdom. Christ was no longer "awaiting" the time for his enemies to be subdued, it was time to fight! —Hebrews 10.12, 13; compare Psalms 110.1, 2, 5, 6, Rev 6.1-8.

But this war is not over yet. There is one more great battle to come. We will be in the thick of this one, yes, we will see it with our own eyes. Whether or not we survive depends on our preparations now. Are you ready?

Review Questions  |   Back to top

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Matt 4.17
From that time on Jesus commenced preaching and saying: "Repent, you people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near."

Matthew 10:7
As you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.'

Luke 10:9
Cure the sick ones in it, and go on telling them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'

Matt 24.1, 2
Departing now, Jesus was on his way from the temple, but his disciples approached to show him the buildings of the temple. In response he said to them: "Do you not behold all these things? Truly I say to you, by no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down."

Lu 19:11
While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself immediately.

18.32-34
Jesus told them: "The Son of man] will be handed over to the nations and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon; and after scourging him they will kill him, but on the third day he will rise." However, they did not grasp the significance of his words; the saying was as if hidden from them, for they did not understand what he meant.

Matt 24.4-14
In answer Jesus said to them: "Look out that nobody misleads you; for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. And you will hear of wars [nearby] and reports of wars [far away]; do not be alarmed, for these things must happen, but it is not yet the end. For nation will be roused up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are just a beginning of the pangs of distress. Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you. You will be objects of hatred by all the nations, on account of my name. [Because of this] many will fall away and will betray one another and will hate one another. Also many false prophets will arise and mislead many people, and because of the increasing lawlessness the love of most people will cool off. But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

Matt 24:33-35
Now learn this from the fig tree as an illustration: Just as you know that summer is near when you see its young branch grow tender and put forth leaves, likewise know that [the Son of man] is near, right at the door, when you see all these things happening. Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.

Matt 24:15-22
"Therefore, when you see the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house; and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment. Woe to the pregnant women and those suckling a baby in those days! Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the sabbath day; for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.

Luke 19.41-44
And when he got nearby, he viewed the city [Jerusalem] and wept over it, saying: "If only you had discerned in this day the things having to do with peace— but now they have been hidden from your eyes. Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected."

Luke 21.20-24
When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her; because these are days for meting out justice, that all the things written may be fulfilled. Woe to the pregnant women and the ones suckling a baby in those days! For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and the nations will trample Jerusalem underfoot until the time appointed to the nations comes to its end.

Col 1.23
. . . that good news which you heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven.

Matt 28.20
Look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.

Col 1.13
[The Father] delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.

Matt 24.30
Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, as they see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
[This cannot have been fully fulfilled in 70 C.E., since the great tribulation of that time involved only the Jewish nation. However, a "minor" or miniature fulfillment can be said to have occurred, as Jesus indicated in Matt 26.63, 64:]
So the high priest said to him: "By the living God I put you under oath to tell us whether you are the Christ the Son of God!" Jesus said to him: "[It is] just as you say. Yet I say to you men, From henceforth you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven."
[They had to have admitted privately (never publicly) that Jesus had been of supernatural origin, when they saw the darkness and the earthquake and the tearing of the great curtain in the temple when he died, and continuing after that when other signs occurred in support of his disciples, culminating in the most pointed "sign" of all, when they saw their system being crushed by the Romans, exactly as Jesus foretold.]

James 1:20
Man’s wrath does not work out God’s righteousness.

Luke 21:26
. . . while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

1 Thess 5:3
Whenever it is that they are saying: “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.

Titus 1:16
They publicly declare they know God, but they disown him by their works, because they are detestable and disobedient and not approved for good work of any sort.

John 18.36
Jesus answered: "My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source."

Isaiah 2:4
He will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.

Habakkuk 1.1-4, 2.3
. The pronouncement that Habakkuk the prophet visioned: How long, O Jehovah, must I cry for help, and you do not hear? How long shall I call to you for aid from violence, and you do not save? Why is it that you make me see what is hurtful, and you keep looking upon mere trouble? And why are despoiling and violence in front of me, and why does quarreling occur, and why is strife carried? Therefore law grows numb, and justice never goes forth. Because the wicked one is surrounding the righteous one, for that reason justice goes forth crooked.
2.3
And Jehovah proceeded to answer me and to say: "Write down the vision, and set it out plainly upon tablets, in order that the one reading aloud from it may do so fluently. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late."

Micah 4:1-4
And it must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream. And many nations will certainly go and say: "Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them afraid; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.

Matthew 25:31-46
When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked, and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty, and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to you?' In reply the king will say to them, 'Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left, 'Be on your way from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I became hungry, but you gave me nothing to eat, and I got thirsty, but you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, but you did not receive me hospitably; naked, but you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, but you did not look after me.' Then they also will answer with the words, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them with the words, 'Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did not do it to one of these least ones, you did not do it to me.' And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.

Ps 96.10-13
Say among the nations: "Jehovah himself has become king. The productive land also becomes firmly established so that it cannot be made to fall. He will plead the cause of the peoples in uprightness. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be joyful. Let the sea thunder and that which fills it. Let the open field exult and all that is in it. At the same time let all the trees of the forest break out in joyful song before Jehovah. For he has come; for he has come to judge the earth. He will judge the productive land with righteousness and the peoples with his faithfulness.

Matt 28.18-20
Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: "All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the very end of the age."

Matt 12.47-50
So someone said to him: "Look! Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to you." In answer he said to the one telling him: "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And extending his hand toward his disciples, he said: "Look! My mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Matt 24.30, 7.21-23
Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matthew 7:21-23
Not everyone saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?' And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

Prov 1.22-33
How long will you unwise* ones keep loving foolishness, and how long must you ridiculers enjoy your ridiculing, and how long will you stupid ones keep hating knowledge? Turn back at my correction. Then to you I will cause my spirit to bubble forth; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called out but you keep refusing, I have stretched out my hand but there is no one paying attention, and you keep ignoring all my counsel, and my reproof you have not accepted, I also, for my part, shall laugh at your own disaster, I shall mock when what you dread comes, when what you dread comes just like a storm, and your own disaster gets here just like a storm wind, when distress and hard times come upon you. At that time they will keep calling me, but I shall not answer; they will keep looking for me, but they will not find me, for the reason that they hated knowledge, and the fear of Jehovah they did not choose. They did not consent to my counsel; they disrespected all my reproof. So they will eat from the fruitage of their way, and they will be glutted with their own counsels. For the turning away of the unwise* ones is what will kill them, and the easygoingness of the stupid is what will destroy them. As for the one listening to me, he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.
*literally, 'simple-minded', but not in the congenital sense. It refers to those who refuse to consider anything that would educate them in goodness (only wanting to party), or to gullible ones who are easily led astray.

Rev 12.7-12
War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels fought, but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! And they conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death. On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has only a short period of time."

1 Pet 5.6-10
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; while you throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you. Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone. But take your stand against him, solid in the faith, knowing that the same things in the way of sufferings are being accomplished in the entire association of your brothers in the world. But, after you have suffered a little while, the God of all undeserved kindness, who called you to his everlasting glory in union with Christ, will himself finish your training, he will make you firm, he will make you strong.

Job 1.6, 7
Now it came to be the day when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and even Satan proceeded to enter right among them. Then Jehovah said to Satan: "Where do you come from?" At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: "From roving about in the earth and from walking about in it."

Luke 21.29, 30
With that he spoke an illustration to them: "Note the fig tree and all the other trees: When you notice that they are already in the bud, you know for yourselves that now the summer is near."

Psalms 93.1, 2
Jehovah himself has become king! With eminence he is clothed; Jehovah is clothed— with strength he has girded himself. The productive land also becomes firmly established so that it cannot be made to fall. Your throne is firmly established from long ago; You are from time indefinite.

96.10-97.1
Say among the nations: "Jehovah himself has become king! The productive land also becomes firmly established so that it cannot be made to fall. He will plead the cause of the peoples in uprightness." Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be joyful. Let the sea thunder and that which fills it. Let the open field exult and all that is in it. At the same time let all the trees of the forest break out in joyful song before Jehovah. For he has come, for he has come to judge the earth. He will judge the productive land with righteousness, and the peoples with his faithfulness. 97 Jehovah himself has become king! Let the earth be joyful. Let the many islands rejoice.

Hebrews 10.12, 13
But [Christ] offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.

Psalms 110.1, 2, 5, 6
The word of Jehovah to my Lord is: "Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet." The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, saying: "Go subduing in the midst of your enemies." . . . Jehovah himself at your right hand will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger. He will execute judgment among the nations; He will cause a fullness of dead bodies. He will certainly break to pieces the head one over a populous land.

Rev 6.1-8
I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice as of thunder: "Come!" And I saw, and, look! a white horse; and the one seated upon it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest. And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say: "Come!" And another came forth, a fiery-colored horse; and to the one seated upon it there was granted to take peace away from the earth so that they should slaughter one another; and a great sword was given him. And when he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say: "Come!" And I saw, and, look! a black horse; and the one seated upon it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice as if in the midst of the four living creatures say: "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the olive oil and the wine." And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say: "Come!" And I saw, and, look! a pale horse; and the one seated upon it had the name Death. And Hades was closely following him. And authority was given them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with a long sword and with food shortage and with deadly plague and by the wild beasts of the earth.

[A brief explanation: the whiteness of the first horse and the crown and bow indicates a righteous king waging righteous conquest. The remainder of the horsemen are not his friends; they depict the great suffering on earth due to the war, famine, and disease that coincide with the ride of the righteous king. This lines up with Rev 12, where Michael wages war against the dragon, yet the result is woe on earth.]

Review for Chapter 7

How was God's Kingdom near in the first century?

What mistaken expectation did the disciples have?

What did they ask Jesus for, and why?

How did he answer them?

How can we know in advance that the Kingdom will soon arrive?

What is implied by the promise, "this generation shall not pass away until all things take place"?

How was that fulfilled within their generation?

How do we know there would be a greater fulfillment?

How has today's generation seen the sign?

What sign should you help fulfill?

In what way is the Kingdom near to you now?

Why is the world so wicked in the last days?

What date marks the beginning of the sign in our time?

Restore Scripture View