This was the great Divine purpose from the creation of this planet and it has been the dominating principle governing the history of the human race since the garden of Eden. God has chosen to reveal many details of His wonderful programme to selected individuals in different ages in order to strengthen and encourage them as they work, watch and pray for its fulfilment.

From the many signs around us it is evident that the world-shaking return of the Lord Jesus is one of the next stages in the master plan. Indeed unless God intervenes in the near future the selfishness and greed of men will destroy not only earth’s resources but also the human race. As the world hastens to its appointed end and troubles and trials increase it is important to keep our sights firmly fixed on the coming Kingdom, lest we too get caught up in the materialism, discontent and despair of this present age.

Perhaps a short consideration of some of the interesting prophecies of the Kingdom Age will help to make that wonderful time more real to us, so that we can look beyond present problems to the joy set before us.

We shall begin with the period following the resurrection and God’s terrible judgments on the nations, at the time when the Lord Jesus starts his reign of peace and righteousness. After the fearful devastation caused by wars and earthquakes there will have to be a mighty programme of reorganisation and re-construction on a world-wide scale. The earthquake which splits the Mount of Olives in two at Christ’s return will also destroy towns and buildings far and wide, removing the debris of centuries and this will probably be only one of many designed to prepare the face of the earth for God’s new order. It is interesting to note in passing that the fault-line of the Mount of Olives has noticeably increased in the last three to four years according to recent information.

The most urgent rebuilding work will centre on Jerusalem for it is to be the capital city and focus of the whole world. It will be the centre both of worship and of government:

“For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa 2:3).

Present Jerusalem is built on and around several hills which are in fact mountains in their own right for all are over 2000 feet above sea level. New Jerusalem will be higher still for when the earthquake divides the Mount of Olives in two the whole mountain block of Jerusalem will be raised as a total unit high above the surrounding area and will dominate an extensive plain (Zech 14:4,10). When built anew its towers and palaces and the great temple will be visible from a great distance, a fitting site indeed for the city of the great King. That many of the ancient physical features of the city will be retained seems evident, for landmarks are mentioned that will be recognised by saints of old.

Adequate supplies of fresh water have ever been a problem in this city for there is only one permanent spring. But in the Kingdom a new and perpetual fountain of pure water will issue from the very heart of the new temple. After supplying the needs of the temple it will flow out on the east side, deepening rapidly as it descends the mountain and passes through the new Olivet valley. At some unspecified point the river divides, half turning to reach the Mediterranean and the other branch flowing into and healing the Dead Sea. The new river will fertilise and irrigate the whole area and will be flanked by splendid trees that never fade and which yield fruit continuously, the leaves having medicinal qualities. The newly healed waters of the Salt Sea will then bring forth fish abundantly, providing occupation and food for many (Ezek 47:7–12).

Future splendour

There are many prophecies relating to the beauty and splendour of the future Jerusalem. Gentiles will help to build her walls and the kings and rulers of all the nations will bring their gifts and treasures and wealth to make her glorious (Isa 60,62,66; Psalms 48,132). This new city will have distinct areas and functions as of old. First there will be the great temple, which although Jewish in its ritual and worship is also to be a house of prayer for all nations. This will probably be on the same site as Solomon’s temple, the ancient Mount Moriah on the highest part of the eastern hill. It is to be built within a great square and separated from the rest of the city by its own wall and a clear space on all sides, emphasising that the whole temple area is holy (Ezek 40 ff). It seems that the sanctuary will be approached by a gradually ascending processional highway called “the way of holiness” (Isa 35:8).

When the temple is completed and the glory of the Lord has entered by the east gate there will be visible evidence of the abiding presence of the Lord as there was over the tabernacle in the wilderness, for we read:

“The Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence” (Isa 4:5–6; margin, “covering”).

This overshadowing canopy will veil the marvellous brilliance of the glory of God from casual gaze, protect the city from extremes of weather and be if necessary a wall of fire defending her (Zech 2:5).

The original city of David, ancient Mount Zion, was just south of the temple area, lower down the same ridge. It was protected by deep valleys and high walls. Here were the kings’ palaces, halls of judgment and various government buildings and royal gardens. At present this area is outside the city walls and is a run-down district with a few terraced market gardens. Its height has been reduced by quarrying, erosion and neglect and the adjacent valleys have been raised with centuries of rubble. According to many prophecies, Zion must be restored to her former beauty, a royal habitation for the King of Kings and his associates. Probably here, too, will be the centre of world government, the chief administrative offices. The word “Zion” in Scripture frequently denotes all that is loved, precious and sacred about Jerusalem and so can include the temple, the royal city of David and the western and northern extensions as the population increased. The future inhabitants of the city will spread far outside the ancient boundaries and occupy all the surrounding suburbs, dwelling safely without walls, tending their cattle (Zech 2:4). We read further in Zechariah 8:4:

“There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem and … the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.”

This is a wonderful picture of peace and security for that long troubled city and stresses that there will be a return to a simpler, more agrarian way of life.

Ezekiel tells us that there is to be another new city to the south of the sanctuary, foursquare and walled, named Jehovah Shammah, “The Lord is there”. This city is to be inhabited by members of all the twelve tribes of Israel but its particular function is not clear. It may be a hotel city for all the pilgrims coming to worship at the temple, as accommodation and facilities will certainly be needed for the thousands likely to be involved daily and certainly at the Feasts of the Lord.

World capital and chief nation

Just as Jerusalem is to be the world capital so Israel is to become the chief nation. The land with the extended borders promised so long ago will again become a tribal Jewish Kingdom of Israel. The twelve tribes are to be re-constituted and allocated parallel portions of land from west to east across the land north and south of the sacred portion. Thus the economic and climatic advantages of coastal plain and mountains will be more evenly distributed than in the past.

The Lord Jesus promised his apostles that they would sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel and so each tribe will have a particular apostle to deal with its special problems and through him will have direct access to the ear of their Messiah King. Each tribe will also have its mortal prince, who will be responsible for the collection of tithes and offerings for the temple. Probably each tribe will supply these on a monthly rota. The new Israel will be subject to a modified law of Moses, for this law was given by God and was holy, just and true, combining acceptable worship with right living. Sacrifices will again be offered at the temple by the mortal Jews for it is God’s way of teaching sinful man that the wages of sin are death. In an age when people will live much longer than at present this lesson will have particular significance. It will then point backwards to the one great sacrifice for sin made by their Messiah.

The pattern of life in Israel is to become a model for the rest of the world, teaching by precept and practice the ways of God. New cities will be built and the whole land gradually restored to full fertility and cultivation with wholesome occupation for all.

A great re-building programme will also be necessary in the rest of the world and will provide both healing and work in the earlier years of the kingdom. The master plans will issue from the King of Kings and be directed and organised by the saints. One of the favourite pictures of the Kingdom comes from Micah 4:4:

“They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid.”

This is a Bible way of saying that each family will have its own home and sufficient land to provide some produce and a place for relaxation after the day’s work. There will be no high-rise flats, tenements, slums and squalid insanitary hovels, breeding diseases of the mind and body. Children will be able to play safely in healthy surroundings and all will live in peace without fear.

A simpler way of life

There will be a return to a much simpler, more agricultural way of life as is indicated by the weapons of war being turned into ploughshares and pruning-hooks. Men and women were never intended to live out their working lives in city warrens, sitting or standing in one spot for hours at some machine. So with healthier, more natural lives the major causes of stress will be removed and with it the terrible dependence on medicinal drugs and stimulants. God has said that He will destroy those who destroy the earth and will therefore eliminate all those industries that injure and pollute.

When the earth is released from the curse of Eden it will then yield her full increase and reasonable toil will bring forth abundance of food. Never again will there be starving nations and hungry children. The saints will supervise proper distribution of this plenty and prevent greed, selfishness and waste (Psa 72).

At that time, God says:

“I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together” (Isa 41:18–19).

This is a wonderful prospect for all those barren lands of the middle east and the great deserts of the world, so many of them man-made.

We learn further that even the beasts of prey will become tame so that the lion will eat straw like the ox. How this change from meat-eating to vegetarian diet will be effected among the animals we are not told nor how far down the animal scale it will apply, but we do know “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord” (Isa 65:25; 11:6–8).

In Isaiah 35 we are further assured that the blind, deaf, dumb and crippled will all be made whole, a wonderful hope for all those who have suffered these cruel disabilities in this life and it will evidently apply to the mortal population of the Kingdom as well.

Under these ideal conditions there will be a return to the longevity that existed before the Flood for:

“There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old” (Isa 65:20).

Thus there will be no infant mortality or premature deaths of adults and anyone dying at 100 will be considered but a child. This would naturally exclude Divine punishment for wickedness and rebellion.

Longer life

It has been suggested that a slight change in the composition of the atmosphere could increase the efficiency of human metabolism and slow down our in-built time-clock. With this longer life span and general good health there will be less need to replace a dying population and it seems probable that physical maturity will come at a later stage and that the birth rate will be much slower than at present. This seems to have been the case before the Flood, if we notice the ages at which they had their first children.

If we think about it there would soon again be an over-population problem if the inhabitants of the Kingdom matured as early and reproduced as often as they do now in some countries, and were able to do so for hundreds of years and their offspring likewise. God would have to intervene to maintain the perfection of the Divine economy and balance of nature.