Every accomplishment large or small starts with an idea. But before the idea becomes accomplished reality, it must be developed into a plan that can be executed. In September 2004, construction began on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After $1.5 billion USD in construction costs and almost four and a half years, the tower opened in January 2010. The Burj Khalifa stands over 2,700 feet tall, stretching more than a half mile into the sky above Dubai. Creating such a mammoth architectural structure required years of design, planning and testing before the first work ever began on site.
In similar fashion, humanity has built other inspiring creations, like the first manned vehicles of the 1960s space race. The forethought and execution required to fire humans into the unrelenting void of space and bring them home safely pushed the boundaries of what many thought possible.
Over and over again, men and women have taken it upon themselves to chase after seemingly unattainable achievements that stand like roadblocks in the path of human progress. From global circumnavigation to pushing past the sound barrier to breaking the four–minute mile, individuals and teams attacked these challenges, finally coming up with a plan and course of action to break through and prevail.
But what about the most unachievable accomplishments mankind has been chasing: lasting peace, universal prosperity, contentment and justice? Who has the plan for that? National governments constantly create plans for their citizens, but which of those has turned out to be enduring and successful? Corporations achieve stunning levels of output and profitability, but the majority of the benefits are retained by those at the top of the ladder. Science and academia propose theory after theory—with the experts often disagreeing with other experts in their field—yet still there is no universal solution to the problems of crime, hunger, war, poverty and the suffering that most of the world knows.
A glance at recent headlines is enough to spark a severe bout of depression. Economies crumbling, war and the threat of war—potentially of the nuclear variety—environmental disasters of unprecedented scale. The Apostle Paul described such a time in II Timothy 3:2–5: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self–control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
Who has the answer?
Some think the answer is a world–ruling human government, and they are partially correct. There is a need for a world–ruling government, but the previous millennia have shown that humans have always failed at every attempt to create a functioning world government.
In the aftermath of World War II, the victorious allied nations led an international effort to create an organization that would ensure the future security of the human race. The United Nations was formed during a conference in San Francisco in 1945 with delegates from 50 countries participating. The Charter of the United Nations includes a number of purposes including maintaining international peace, suppression of acts of aggression and developing “friendly relations among nations. But now, over six decades later, war has continued to be a consistent fact of life for many of the world’s nations, and the UN has developed a questionable record as an effective platform for resolving conflicts.
If we cannot look to the higher institutions of humanity, where can we look? Who actually has a plan to address these problems and bring about a fair government that will truly serve the governed? Can anyone really stop the human race from destroying itself?
There is a solution, and it has been laid out by the Master Planner, God. What may be surprising to many people is that this is not some vague, hazy concept that God has. He has a specific plan for implementing and establishing a government that will resolve—once and for all—the problems that have been unresolvable since the first civilizations.
What may be even more surprising is the fact that God’s plan is what Christ came to preach and what He directed His disciples to preach after His crucifixion. Surprising, but true! The true Gospel is the message that Christ taught, a message that is present throughout the Bible and that shows the way to peace and prosperity for all. The true Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, a real, literal kingdom that will be set up as a world–ruling government.
Some may say, “Isn’t the gospel about the good news of Christ and His sacrifice?” The word “gospel” means “good news”, and that certainly is good news. Without the sacrifice of Christ, we have all earned the death penalty by our actions and would have no hope for eternal life. But is that actually the gospel that Christ preached? Christ came to bring a message from God.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Here we have a firsthand account of the beginning of the gospel of Christ. Continuing on, it is made completely clear what Christ’s message was: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (vv 14–15).
The gospel includes the Ruler
We see clearly that Christ is not the gospel. The miracles He performed are not the gospel. The story of His crucifixion is not the gospel. What Christ preached is the gospel. And we are told in Mark 1:14–15 to believe what He preached: the gospel of the Kingdom of God!
Some feel that this is disrespectful to Christ, that the gospel of the Kingdom of God leaves Christ out or lowers His position as the Savior of every human. In fact, the true gospel constantly points to Christ as the Ruler, the Leader, the One at the center of it all. Every kingdom requires a king, and the Kingdom of God will have none other than Jesus Christ Himself as the King.
In a familiar prophecy, Christ’s position as world–ruler is foretold centuries before His human birth: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever” (Isa. 9:6–7). Christ Himself confirmed this shortly before His death. “Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.’” (John 18:37).
A kingdom with territory
Where will this government be established—where will the King have His throne? Many think that the future for those who are saved in this life will be a life spent in heaven with Christ. Again, the Bible lays out the future for those who are saved and resurrected, and it differs from common tradition.
Revelation 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” There is a definite job for the saved, a future of activity, serving and ruling as resurrected spirit beings under the leadership of Jesus Christ. But again, where will this activity be based?
“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9–10). Will this government led by Christ actually rule the earth? As incredible as it may sound, this is what the Bible clearly says over and over. Many other verses specify the earth as the location of Christ’s rulership and the inheritance of the righteous (Zech. 14:4, Matt. 5:5).
This kingdom will be a world–ruling, terrestrial government, with the headquarters established in Jerusalem.
A functioning government must have a rule of law that is universally applied to ensure a fair application of justice. Life in this coming kingdom will be governed by the perfect Law that has been in effect throughout human history.
The Ten Commandments are the foundation of that Law. These basic rules guide those who follow it along a path of behavior that leads to happiness and peace for themselves and those they come into contact with. Humans have consistently broken those Laws throughout our history. But just like the laws of physics or aerodynamics, there are automatic consequences when a law is broken, predetermined reactions for each action, and benefits when those Laws are followed. All of the misery we see around the world today can be traced back to humanity’s disregard for these Laws and the unavoidable consequences of breaking them.
Laws to govern human relationships
Controlling your human emotions and desires so you will not murder, hate, steal, or break marriage vows never results in painful consequences. Consider how your own life would be different if everyone you interacted with was completely honest. What a difference it would be if you never had to worry about the integrity of those you dealt with and the truth of what they told you. This is a Law that explains in practical detail how to truly show real, sincere love for our fellow humans.
A beautiful description of the im–pact of this Law can be found in the prophecies of Micah: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken” (Mic. 4:1–4).
Imagine the state our world would be in if every individual, nation, corporation and organization followed a universal set of rules and exercised a real concern for others. Even in developed nations today where the rule of law is supposed to be a foundation of civilized society, there are countless examples of injustice. Too often, those who have the right political or business connections or can afford the right lawyer are able to delay or skirt the application of justice. Those in the legal profession often admit the many failings of the system, while also defending it as “the best we can do.” No human institution today can bring about such a utopian ideal, but it will be an absolute requirement under the divine government of Christ.
When we realize the true gospel is not just about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we begin to understand how vital it is. This is not some message that just talks about a man who was born, who grew up to teach some followers, and was crucified by Roman authorities. This is a message for today—and our future—that explains the answers to all of the problems our world struggles with day after day, year after year, millennium after millennium. This is the true gospel of the Kingdom of God and it is a gospel for today.