God’s Method of
Setting Up His Kingdom

“At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.”
—Jeremiah 3:17

AS WE ENTER THE NEW YEAR of 2004, we find the Christian world still praying, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) Yet, as the Apostle Paul said, “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom. 13:11) The signs continue to point to the preparations being made by our Lord to set up his kingdom.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to wrestle with the problems of suicide bombers and the havoc they have wrought upon this tiny nation. The New York Times, on November 15, 2003, reported on a reaction by some of Israel’s past security chiefs, some of their air force pilots and soldiers all denouncing Ariel Sharon’s hard line against the Palestinian militants by hunting them down amongst the civilian population. This has caused Ariel Sharon to be willing to meet with Ahmed Qurel, recently installed Palestinian prime minister, to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian problem.

The Israeli government makes no pretense of seeking guidance from the Lord. An extremely small minority of the Jews who have gone to Palestine during recent years, when God miraculously started regathering natural Israel, have done so because of their faith in the promises of God. It is inappropriate to suppose that what we have seen taking place is related to the setting up of the long-promised kingdom of God.

The prophecies of the Bible reveal that Christ’s kingdom would be set up in the earth after a time of worldwide chaos and distress. Daniel’s prophecy tells us that the distress occurs when Michael shall “stand up” to start exercising his authority upon earth. (Dan. 12:1) As the prophecy continues it says, “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” Jesus referred to this prophecy and applied it to himself at the time of his Second Presence.—Matt. 24:21,22

This foretold ‘time of trouble,’ or tribulation, as it is described by Jesus, consists of “distress of nations, with perplexity.” (Luke 21:25) It is a time when the hearts of the people are filled with fear. This is true today not only of one nation, but of all nations, which, the prophecies show, were to be gathered “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” (Rev. 16:14) All nations do not participate in this final struggle of the ages in the same manner. There is a marked distinction between the way it affects the Gentiles, and the experiences through which the Jewish people pass in connection with it.

This is shown in the prophecy of Joel 3:1,2. Here the reference is to the time when the Lord would “bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,” and the forecast is that at this time “all nations” would be gathered into “the valley of Jehoshaphat,” defined later in the chapter as the “valley of decision.” The time of this gathering is described in the chapter as one in which the nations would beat their “plowshares into swords,” and their “pruninghooks into spears”—a time, in other words, of mad armament races such as have been characteristic of our day.—Joel 3:9-14

It is during this time that we have witnessed a beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promises to restore the natural descendants of Abraham to the land promised to their fathers. This accurate dovetailing fulfillment of prophecies is faith-strengthening, and should alert us to be on the watch for the momentous events to follow, which, when all the promises of God are fulfilled, will see the kingdom of Christ established upon the earth.


One of the prophecies pertaining to the regathering of Israel is Ezekiel 20:33-37, which reads, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule [Hebrew, ‘reign’] over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.”

To us it would be wresting the Scriptures to try to spiritualize this prophecy. There is only one people whose fathers were brought out of Egypt, and into a wilderness. It is this people, therefore the Jewish people, whom the Lord promised to gather out of the nations, reigning over them in fury in order to accomplish it. And how true it is that five million or more of the Jews now in Palestine were brought there under furious conditions!

They are not believers in Christ. Few of them even believe in the God of Israel. They did not go to Palestine because of the promises, but because the Lord, in his fury—and in order to fulfill his promises—overruled circumstances to force them to go. This is clearly implied in the prophecy. And there is more trouble ahead for them. They must yet ‘pass under the rod’ of chastisement and discipline that they might be prepared to enter into the ‘bond of the covenant,’ the New Covenant, that is, which the Lord has promised to make “with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.”—Jer. 31:31

But as yet this people, who have been gathered out of the nations, are actually in a condition represented by the experiences of their fathers in the wilderness. The prophet describes it as the ‘wilderness of the people.’ Technically, they are in the land of promise, but actually it is, as yet, a land of uncertainty and fear. They are experiencing the same problems as the rest of the world, and some that are worse. There is much trouble ahead for them, for they must continue to pass under the rod, as the prophecy shows.


The thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel portray the final outcome of their precarious situation, a situation which seemingly will become outwardly more peaceful and reassuring ere the final climax of their trouble. (38:11,14) In verses 1-13 of the chapter we have a description of the forces which make the final assault against regathered Israel.

The reason the Lord will permit this is that it will afford him an opportunity to display his glory before both the attackers and the attacked, for he will protect the Israelites, and disperse their enemies. Verse twenty-three of chapter thirty-eight says, “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”

Verse seven of the next chapter (39) reads, “So [that is, in the same way and by the same act] will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen [Gentiles] shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.” From this it is clear that the people of Israel regathered in Palestine will continue in sin and in unbelief until they see this manifestation of Divine power on their behalf. We should not expect, therefore, to see much evidence of Israel returning to the Lord now, for it would be contrary to prophecy.


As the prophecy shows, it will be in this final phase of the great “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1) that the eyes of Israel, and of the world, will be opened to behold the glory of the Lord. (Zech. 12:10; Isa. 40:5) Obviously, great changes will then rapidly occur in the viewpoint of Israel and of all nations. Having opened the eyes of the nations to his glory, the Lord will then reveal the manifestation of his kingdom power, and the mediatorial rule of righteousness will be under way.

When we think of a kingdom, we think of the personalities who are the rulers in that kingdom. Who will be the rulers in the kingdom of Christ which will take control of earth’s affairs after the Lord has revealed his glory? The natural descendants of Abraham were conditionally promised this high position (Exod. 19:5,6), but they failed to qualify. Their final test was the appearance of their Messiah, whom they rejected, and Jesus said then that the kingdom would be taken from them and “given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”—Matt. 21:43

This new nation to which the kingdom is to be given is spiritual, and is described by Peter, saying to the followers of Jesus, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” (I Pet. 2:9) This ‘holy nation’ is made up, first of all, of a remnant of natural Israelites who accepted Jesus and to whom he gave power to become the sons of God. To these are added the Gentile believers. The sons of God in the New Testament are God’s ruling house, the kingdom class.—John 1:11,12; Rom. 8:16,17

Thus, as Paul explains, Israel as a nation did not obtain “that which he seeketh for;” that is, the desired position of rulership in the kingdom. (Rom. 11:7) Natural Israel did not understand that inheriting this kingdom meant also exaltation to the Divine plane. When the two disciples asked to sit with Jesus in his throne they did not understand that the throne of the Messiah would be in heaven. They simply wanted to be corulers with him, and this was the coveted position of all Israel which, as a nation, was forfeited because of unbelief.

The kingdom class proper will consist only of our Lord and his ‘elect’ of this Gospel Age, to whom he said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) These will be “changed” (I Cor. 15:51) in their resurrection (the first resurrection, Rev. 20:6) and therefore will no longer be human beings, but “partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4), and as invisible to mankind as are God and the heavenly angels.

Consequently it will be necessary for some means of communication between this glorious church and those whom it will be judging and lifting up out of the degradation of sin and death. There are many instances recorded in the Bible of communication between spiritual beings and humans. But we do not expect that the communication between the spiritual rulers and their earthly subjects will be after this manner during the millennium.

The Scriptures reveal that God has made provision that a certain class of humanity, already tried (during the period before the Gospel Age) and found worthy of perfection and everlasting life shall, throughout the Millennial Age, serve as intermediaries between the spiritual kingdom, the saints, and their subjects, mankind. These, while not the kingdom in the proper sense of the word, will be so fully the representatives of it among men that they will be recognized as the kingdom by men. They will, indeed, represent the kingdom before men and be the only visible representatives of it. Hence, these may properly be termed the earthly phase of the kingdom.—Luke 13:28

These, “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and all the prophets and Ancient Worthies, referred to by our Lord and by the apostles, have passed their trial. (Matt. 8:11; Heb. 11:4-40) They will therefore be awakened from death perfect—fully restored to human perfection—and will not require a resurrection by judgment a thousand years long, as will the remainder of mankind. This perfection will enable them to communicate with the spiritual kings and priests directly, without need that the spirit beings assume fleshly bodies for the purpose of communicating the laws of the kingdom to the world. Just as Adam, while perfect, could commune directly with the heavenly powers, so will these Ancient Worthies commune, when restored to the same state of perfection.

That the earthly phase of the kingdom will be on terms of intimate communion, fellowship, and cooperation with the kingdom proper, the spiritual rulers, is evident. They will be related to each other as father and children, and as cooperative departments of the same heavenly government: the heavenly being the legislative, or lawgiving department, and the earthly the executive, or law-enforcing department. As it is written, “Out of Zion [the spiritual kingdom] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord [the Divine messages, through the “princes” (Ps. 45:16)] from Jerusalem.”—Isa. 2:3

Miracle-working power will then be operating. However, before this, will be the defeat of Israel’s enemies. It will be at this juncture that the resurrected Ancient Worthies may appear on the scene. We can only speculate as to the exact format God will use, but it is possible that as they begin to mingle with the Israelites, whose eyes have been opened to recognize their Messiah, their superior mental powers will distinguish them from all others. Their perfect minds will quickly grasp present-day knowledge and invention. Besides, these Ancient Worthies will, as we have seen, have direct communion with the spiritual kingdom.

The Israelites regathered in Israel, with their eyes opened by the miracle which saved them from their enemies, will have the first opportunity to receive the blessings of the kingdom. It was in order that they might enjoy this great advantage that God, with a powerful hand, gathered them out of the nations and reigned over them in his fury to move them into Palestine and later formed the nation of Israel. While originally they went there in various stages of unbelief, yet none shall be, in any degree, reckoned as a part, or even as supporters of, or associated with, the earthly phase of the kingdom, except as they shall first recognize Christ Jesus as the Son of God, the only Redeemer and Deliverer for Israel and the world.

The news of the defeat of Israel’s enemies will speedily be followed by the news of the appearance of their renowned ‘fathers’ resurrected, and the establishment of a government with these at its head, and of the general conversion of Israel to the long-rejected Messiah.

But the marvelous blessings resulting from the reorganization of government under the new auspices in Israel will work such wonderful and rapid changes in Israel’s welfare that the chaotic and fear-filled world will decide that the situation is worth investigating. To the people of the world it will soon appear that this is what all nations need. Then they will send to have these wonderful ‘princes’ extend everywhere their government, their yoke of righteousness seen to be so beneficial to Israel. It is this that is stated in Isaiah 2:2-4 and Micah 4:1-4.


How marvelously God’s wisdom is displayed by his preparing in advance those who participate in both the spiritual and earthly phases of the Messianic kingdom. Then, by God’s power raising them up to perfection in the resurrection—those in the spiritual phase of the kingdom to the Divine nature, and those in the earthly phase to perfect human nature—to form a perfect government. How miserably the best intentioned of imperfect humans have failed in governing nations, even though many of them have professed to do it in the name of Christ.

With the restored Ancient Worthies, it will be different. Having successfully passed their trial, they will be raised at once to perfection and be ready at once for the great work before them as the human agents of the Christ in restoring and blessing the remainder of mankind. As the spiritual nature is necessary to the accomplishment of the work of the heavenly phase of the kingdom, so perfect human nature is appropriate for the accomplishment of the work to be done among men.

This work will necessitate the establishment of a perfect government among men, with perfect men in positions of control, that they might rightly order the affairs of state. It will necessitate the appointment and implementing of proper educational facilities of every character, as well as philanthropic measures of various kinds. This noble work of elevating mankind—under the direction of the unseen spiritual members of the same kingdom—is the high honor to which the Ancient Worthies have been appointed, and for which they will be resurrected soon after the final wreck of the kingdoms of this world, or about at the close of “Jacob’s trouble.” (Jer. 30:7) And, as the Divinely honored representatives of the heavenly kingdom, they will soon receive the honor and cooperation of all men.

Because, in fulfillment of promise and his love for their fathers, the hand of God will have assembled many of the natural descendants of Abraham to the geographical land center of the new kingdom, they will naturally become the first to accept the new governmental arrangements being supervised by the Ancient Worthies. For this reason, and also because the majority of the Ancient Worthies are the natural descendants of Abraham, the earthly phase of the kingdom will be Israelitish.

However, although the future blessings, like the past, will be to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, it will be, in the matter of time only, that the Jews will have the precedence to Divine favor. Ultimately, every blessing promised to Israel, except those pertaining to the elected classes, will have not only its actual fulfillment in that people, but also its antitypical fulfillment in all the families of the earth. Under that government, God “will render to every man according to his deeds: … glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.”—Rom. 2:6,10,11

The name Israel signifies ‘prevailed with God,’ and is thus descriptive of all, in any age, who, through faith and obedience, obtain God’s favor. It is not a family name, but one that was given to Jacob as a reward. Thus all mankind, beginning with Israel after the flesh, may become Israelites indeed, the people of God. The typical lessons in God’s dealings with natural Israel indicate this. Throughout their typical age many Canaanites remained in the promised land. These were the heathen, the Gentiles. They were not God’s people.

But the picture of the kingdom set forth in Zechariah 14:16-21 shows that all nations—“all the families of the earth”—will “go up” to Jerusalem and participate in the functions of the new kingdom. But verse twenty-one declares, “there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord.” ‘All the families of the earth’ will be there, but not as Canaanites. They will all be the people of God.


The prophecies employ the city of Jerusalem as a symbol of the kingdom of Christ, for it was the seat of empire in the typical kingdom of God. However, it seems clear that literal Jerusalem will become the headquarters of the earthly phase of Christ’s kingdom—the members of which will be the Ancient Worthies. The “new Jerusalem” will be the heavenly phase of that government. (Rev. 21:2) There will not be two governments, but the earthly Jerusalem will represent the heavenly kingdom, the ‘new Jerusalem.’

Primarily this new government will be the kingdom of the Father, but the Father has voluntarily proposed to place the dominion of earth for a thousand years under the full charge of a viceroy—Christ and his bride exalted to the Divine nature and majesty. These Divine rulers will put down and destroy all enemies of God and of righteousness, and will restore all the willing and obedient to full harmony with the Father under the gracious conditions of the foretold New Covenant.—Jer. 31:31-34

In a secondary sense this new government will include the earthly ministers, or princes, who will be its visible representatives among men. In a still wider sense it will include all those who will render to it loyal submission and devotion when they recognize its establishment—both Jews and Gentiles; the Jews first because they will be the first to have the opportunity to come into harmony with it.

Since ‘Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,’ and all the prophets are to be the princes in all the earth, it will undoubtedly work greatly to the advantage of many of the natural Israelites. They will come more readily into accord with their own leaders of the past than will the remainder of the world. Thus in the beginning of the millennium, Israel as a people will again take the most prominent place among the nations.

So the new Jerusalem and its earthly headquarters, as seen of men, will be, as the name implies, a glorious city of peace. It is in the light that will shine from this glorious city (kingdom) of God that the nations (people) will walk on the highway of “holiness,” up to perfection and to full harmony with God. (Rev. 21:24; Isa. 35:8) But none can become an actual part of that city, or kingdom, who has not first been thoroughly tested.

One of the proofs of worthiness of continued kingdom blessings will undoubtedly be willingness—not only to obey the laws of the kingdom as administered by the Ancient Worthies, but also to cooperate unselfishly with them in the kingdom work. The natural Israelites will have the first opportunity of doing this, and thus of setting an example to others. But Gentiles will also have the same opportunities, and thus the kingdom influences will ultimately extend to all mankind, who, when they reach perfection at the close of the Millennial Age, will be admitted into membership in the kingdom of God and given the entire control of earth as at first designed.—Matt. 25:31-34

Thus it will be that the Christ, the great Deliverer, will “turn away ungodliness from Jacob,” in keeping with the promise of the New Covenant; and “so all Israel shall be saved.” (Rom. 11:26-32) And not only Israel, but all the families of the earth. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”—vs. 33

Dawn Bible Students Association
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