“Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—MATTHEW 6:10.
1. What will the coming of God’s Kingdom mean?
WHEN Jesus taught his followers to pray for God’s Kingdom, he knew that its coming would bring an end to thousands of years of human rule independent from God. During all that time, God’s will was not being done on earth in general. (Psalm 147:19, 20) But after the establishment of the Kingdom in heaven, God’s will is to be done everywhere. The time for the awe-inspiring transition from human rule to God’s heavenly Kingdom rule is getting very near.
2. What will mark the transition from human rule to Kingdom rule?
2 Marking this transition will be the period of time that Jesus called the “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (Matthew 24:21) The Bible does not say how long that time period is to be, but the calamities that are to take place during it will be worse than anything the world has ever seen. At the beginning of the great tribulation, something will happen that will be a severe shock to most people on earth: the destruction of all false religion. That will not be a shock to Jehovah’s Witnesses, for they have long anticipated this. (Revelation 17:1, 15-17; 18:1-24) The great tribulation ends at Armageddon when God’s Kingdom crushes the entire Satanic system.—Daniel 2:44; Revelation 16:14, 16.
3. How does Jeremiah describe the destiny of disobedient ones?
3 What will this mean to people “who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news” about his heavenly Kingdom in the hands of Christ? (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9) Bible prophecy tells us: “Look! A calamity is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest itself will be roused up from the remotest parts of the earth. And those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth. They will not be bewailed, neither will they be gathered up or be buried. As manure on the surface of the ground they will become.”—Jeremiah 25:32, 33.
The End of Wickedness
4. Why is Jehovah justified in ending this wicked system?
4 For thousands of years, Jehovah God has tolerated wickedness, long enough for righthearted individuals to see that human rule is a catastrophe. For example, in the 20th century alone, more than 150 million people were killed in wars, revolutions, and other civil disorders, according to one source. Man’s viciousness was especially seen during World War II when some 50 million were killed, with many of them dying horrible deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Just as the Bible foretold, in our time ‘wicked men and impostors have advanced from bad to worse.’ (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) Today, immorality, crime, violence, corruption, and contempt for God’s standards are rampant. Thus, Jehovah is fully justified in bringing this wicked system to its end.
5, 6. Describe the wickedness that existed in ancient Canaan.
5 The situation now is similar to that in Canaan some 3,500 years ago. The Bible says: “Everything detestable to Jehovah that he does hate they have done to their gods, for even their sons and their daughters they regularly burn in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:31) Jehovah informed the nation of Israel: “It is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you.” (Deuteronomy 9:5) Bible historian Henry H. Halley noted: “The worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and other Canaanite gods consisted in the most extravagant orgies; their temples were centers of vice.”
6 Halley showed how gross their wickedness had become, for in one of many such areas, archaeologists “found great numbers of jars containing the remains of children who had been sacrificed to Baal.” He said: “The whole area proved to be a cemetery for new-born babes. . . . Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist? . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”
Inheriting the Earth
7, 8. How will God cleanse this earth?
7 Just as God cleansed Canaan, he will soon cleanse the entire earth and give it to those who do his will. “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) And the psalmist says: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more . . . But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:10, 11) Also removed will be Satan, so that “he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.” (Revelation 20:1-3) Yes, “the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
8 Summing up the grand hope for those who want to live forever on earth, Jesus said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Likely he was referring to Psalm 37:29, which foretold: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” Jesus knew that it was Jehovah’s purpose to have righthearted ones live on a paradise earth forever. Jehovah says: “I myself have made the earth, mankind and the beasts that are upon the surface of the earth by my great power . . . , and I have given it to whom it has proved right in my eyes.”—Jeremiah 27:5.
A Marvelous New World
9. What kind of world will God’s Kingdom usher in?
9 After Armageddon, God’s Kingdom will usher in a marvelous “new earth” in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) What a tremendous relief it will be for Armageddon survivors to be rid of this oppressive wicked system of things! How delighted they will be to have entered the righteous new world under the heavenly Kingdom government, with marvelous blessings and everlasting life in view!—Revelation 7:9-17.
10. What bad things will no longer exist under Kingdom rule?
10 No more will people be threatened by war, crime, hunger, or even predatory animals. “I will conclude with [my people] a covenant of peace, and I shall certainly cause the injurious wild beast to cease out of the land . . . And the tree of the field must give its fruitage, and the land itself will give its yield, and they will actually prove to be on their soil in security.” “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 tremble.”—Ezekiel 34:25-28; Micah 4:3, 4.
11. Why can we have confidence that physical ailments will end?
11 Sickness, sorrow, and even death will be eliminated. “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’ The people that are dwelling in the land will be those pardoned for their error.” (Isaiah 33:24) “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away. . . . ‘Look! I am making all things new.’” (Revelation 21:4, 5) When he was on earth, Jesus demonstrated his ability to do those things by the power that God had given him. With the backing of the holy spirit, Jesus went throughout the land healing the lame and curing the sick.—Matthew 15:30, 31.
12. What hope is there for the dead?
12 Jesus did even more. He raised the dead. How did humble people react? When he resurrected a 12-year-old girl, her parents “were beside themselves with great ecstasy.” (Mark 5:42) This was another example of what Jesus will do earth wide under Kingdom rule, for then “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Imagine the great ecstasy when group after group of the dead come back to life and are reunited with their loved ones! No doubt there will be a great educational work under Kingdom supervision so that “the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isaiah 11:9.
Jehovah’s Sovereignty Vindicated
13. How will the rightness of God’s rule be shown?
13 By the end of the thousand years of Kingdom rule, the human family will have been restored to perfection of mind and body. The earth will be a global garden of Eden, a paradise. Peace, happiness, security, and a loving human society will have been attained. Never in human history before Kingdom rule was anything like this seen. What a vast contrast will then have been demonstrated between the previous thousands of years of miserable rulership by humans and the magnificent rulership by God’s heavenly Kingdom of a thousand years! The rule of God through his Kingdom will have been shown to be completely superior in every respect. God’s right to rule, his sovereignty, will have been totally vindicated.
14. What will happen to rebels when the thousand years end?
14 At the end of the thousand years, Jehovah will allow perfect humans to exercise their free choice as to whom they want to serve. The Bible shows that “Satan will be let loose out of his prison.” He will again try to mislead humans, some of whom will choose independence from God. To prevent ‘distress from rising up a second time,’ Jehovah will annihilate Satan, his demons, and all who rebel against Jehovah’s sovereignty. No one could object that any humans who are destroyed eternally at that time did not have a chance or that their wrong course was due to imperfection. No, they will be like perfect Adam and Eve, who willingly chose to rebel against Jehovah’s righteous rule.—Revelation 20:7-10; Nahum 1:9.
15. What relationship will loyal ones have with Jehovah?
15 On the other hand, likely the vast majority of people will choose to uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty. With every rebel annihilated, the righteous will stand before Jehovah, having passed the final test of loyalty. These loyal ones will then be accepted by Jehovah as his sons and daughters. They therefore come back into the relationship that Adam and Eve had with God before they rebelled. Hence, Romans 8:21 will be fulfilled: “The creation itself [humankind] also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” The prophet Isaiah foretells: “[God] will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8.
The Hope of Everlasting Life
16. Why is it proper to look forward to the reward of everlasting life?
16 What a wonderful prospect awaits faithful ones, to know that God will forever shower down on them an overflow of spiritual and material benefits! The psalmist rightly said: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the [proper] desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16) Jehovah encourages those of the earthly class to have this hope of life in Paradise as part of their faith in him. While the issue of Jehovah’s sovereignty is more important, he does not ask people to serve him with no prospect of a reward. Throughout the Bible, loyalty to God and the hope of eternal life are inseparably bound together as necessary parts of a Christian’s faith in God. “He that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.”—Hebrews 11:6.
17. How did Jesus show that it was proper to be sustained by our hope?
17 Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Here he tied in knowing God and his purposes with the reward that this brings. As an example, when a wrongdoer asked to be remembered after Jesus came into his Kingdom, Jesus said: “You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) He did not tell the man to have faith even if he did not get a reward. He knew that Jehovah wants his servants to have the hope of everlasting life on a paradise earth to help sustain them as they meet with various trials in this world. Thus, looking forward to the reward is a vital help in enduring as a Christian.
The Future of the Kingdom
18, 19. What will happen to the King and the Kingdom at the end of the Millennial Reign?
18 Since the Kingdom was a subsidiary government that Jehovah used to bring the earth and its human inhabitants into perfection and reconciliation to him, what role is there for the King Jesus Christ and the 144,000 kings and priests after the Millennium? “Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet.”—1 Corinthians 15:24, 25.
19 When Christ hands over the Kingdom to God, how are the scriptures to be understood that speak of it as lasting forever? The Kingdom’s accomplishments will endure forever. Christ will be honored forever because of his role in working for the vindication of God’s sovereignty. But since sin and death are then completely removed, and mankind has been redeemed, this ends the need for him as a Redeemer. The Millennial Rule of the Kingdom will also have been fully accomplished; so there will no longer be a need for a subsidiary government to remain between Jehovah and obedient mankind. Thus, “God may be all things to everyone.”—1 Corinthians 15:28.
20. How can we find out what the future holds for Christ and the 144,000?
20 What future role will Christ and his joint rulers have after the Millennial Reign is completed? The Bible does not say. Yet, we can be certain that Jehovah will give them many further privileges of service throughout his creation. May all of us today uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty and be granted eternal life, so that in the future, we will be alive to find out what Jehovah has purposed for the King and his fellow kings and priests, as well as for his entire awesome universe!