Eschatology and the Kingdom of God

Matthew 6:10
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The Bible speaks of a coming thousand year period when Satan and his evil influence will be banished from the earth. The Book of Revelation teaches this predicted millennium of peace will begin following a series of supernatural plagues that will be reminiscent of the Hebrew/Egyptian Exodus. Horrible judgments of evil and marvelous vindication’s of the righteous are relayed in the Bible’s last book.

Revelation also informs its reader of Satan’s ultimate release following this prophesied period of global Christian rule. His release will signal the second of two global confrontations between good and evil that will usher in Jesus Christ’s ultimate triumph, and the creation of a new planet where a perfect society of redeemed men and women will dwell eternally, unmixed with evil.

Knights, Dragons, and Fair Maidens in Distress

Hebrewmaiden

Mankind’s tales of antiquity have spun the very sort of good versus evil scenarios that are actually revealed in Revelation’s intriguing text. The conscience of man innately requires it (Romans 2:13-15).

The proverbial dragon and maiden of fairytale lore come to life in Revelation 12. The ultimate of all villains, complete with evil sorcerer, is written of Revelation 13. And in Revelation 19 you will find the epitome of all White Knight conquering heroes in the Second Coming of Christ.

So any treatment of John’s Revelation is a commentary on the ultimate triumph of good. This is the subject of eschatology, and the purpose of this book.

What Is Eschatology?
Translated from the Greek noun, ESCHATON (last), and the Latin noun, OLOGY (study), eschat-ology is the “heady” subject heading under which biblical scholarship has cataloged the study of the Bible’s prophetic record, or the doctrine of “last things.”

Some would say the last things spoken of in God’s Word are either too good, or (depending on one’s disposition) too bad, to really be true. Nevertheless, biblical eschatology proclaims the future annihilation of evil in all its present forms. There will be a culmination of our Creator’s efforts in making right the things that have gone so wrong over the centuries because of Adam’s sin. This is the message of eschatology: God’s “righting” of sin’s wrong.

For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face.
—Psalm 11:7

According to the Bible’s eschatological record, perfect, holy righteousness will be the ruling order of a promised future day. The Bible opens with a perfectly created man walking in fellowship with his Creator by the tree of life (Gen. 2:8,9). It closes with a perfectly recreated man in fellowship with His Creator by the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-4).

God’s redemptive lifeline of salvation has been slowly pulling man back to what Adam originally was (whatever that was); and He has been pulling, from age-to-age, according to His set schedule. But before this perfect era arrives on His redemptive calendar will come this one thousand year era in which Satan will bound. According to Jesus Christ, resurrected men and women will be, like the angels in heaven (Matt. 22:30) during this millennial age to come. According to the Zechariah and Revelation, sin will be curbed, yet still allowed (Zech. 14:11-19; Rev.20:7-9).
Kingdom Now and Kingdom Come

The gospel prophecies of Jesus Christ heralded a message of one Messianic kingdom with two separate time periods during which it would flourish. This age, and the age to come:
“And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.”
—Matthew 12:32 (also see Mark 1:29,30)

So did the New Testament writings of the apostle Paul:

Ephesians 1:20,21
…which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

                            This Age: The “Kingdom Now” Age of the Church

The spiritual salvation and reintegration of lost humanity into God’s care and dominion is the “this age” plan and purpose ministry of Jesus Christ. The biblical word for kingdom, BASILEIA, means “dominion,” “rule,” “reign.” So victory in the midst of Satan’s oppressive, destructive power was Christ’s message and example concerning our current age of the church. The kingdom “now” that He came to inaugurate existed privately and violently within the framework of His earthly ministry, then expanded proportionately through the birth of His church. It would, He taught, be realized and encountered by some, but not by all inhabitants of the earth:

Matthew 11:12
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
Jesus earmarked His earthly kingdom’s presence with the following statement in Matthew 12:28:
“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

                                          The Age to Come; or, “Kingdom Come”

But Jesus also preached about another kingdom over which He would rule physically on earth: a kingdom in which death and its evil influence would no longer be a reality for its faithful subjects:

“The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; for neither can they die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
—Luke 20:34-36
This prophesied time period has not yet arrived, will be succeeded by a timeless age reminiscent of Adam’s earliest days, and will be inaugurated by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Peter On the Kingdom

In his stirring Pentecost sermon, the apostle Peter divided these two kingdom periods for us in this way:

Kingdom Now

“Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you…”

Kingdom Come

“…whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”
—Acts 3:19-21
                                                 The “Mystery” of the Church

We will see in Chapter 2 that God’s Old Testament prophets understood and prophesied as best they could about this restored earthly kingdom spoken of by Peter, but that they had very little to say about our current age of the church. In fact, they actually seemed to have looked right through it. To them, as a mystery, God’s New Testament Revelation was sealed up concerning the church:
And referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit.
—Ephesians 3:4,5
But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time….
Daniel 12:4a
                            Resurrection/Rapture: Two Powerful Kingdom Come

Revelations of the Bible’s Eschatological Text

Two other startling revelations of the Bible’s eschatology await Christ’s coming kingdom and our present age’s end. A bodily resurrection of the righteous dead; and a mind boggling heavenward snatching of the living Christian church:

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?
—1 Corinthians 15:54,55

In this “how to” study, you will discover the relationship between these and other eschatological events as God has scheduled them over the centuries in His redemptive plan. Some have occurred, others are still in the future. But all have been declared in advance.

“Behold, I have told you in advance.” —Matthew 24:25

Only God has seen the beginning of man’s history through to its final redemptive end. So only He can bear the burden of accurately predicting earth’s end in advance. This is the prophetic revelation of eschatology. It is eternal, proceeding from the timelessness of God into the time-consciousness of man. And it can be studied for practical understanding in the here and now. This is man’s burden, and the major concern of this eschatological Work.

In pages that follow you will be introduced to every major passage of prophetic revelation in the Old and New Testaments, and you will be given the interpretive tools to discern their context and meaning. The rest will be up to you.

BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.
—Revelation 1:7
Keep looking up!
Mark

The Spirit of the Antichrist Is Here

ss2

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know (1 John 2:18-20).

When John warned his first-century church of the antichrist’s influence in this First Epistle passage, the deluding demonic spirit was just as alive then, as it is today. The local history of his warning involved the many false brethren who spent just enough time around the church to twist the truth of Jesus’ ministry to deceive their spiritually hungry world.

2 John 1:7
7          For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

In particular, the apostle warned Christ’s fledgling church of the confounding mysticism of Gnosticism, that was as huge in John’s world as evolutionary humanism is in ours today. Sparing some differences and detail, their message is the same, “Jesus is not God’s Son, look to us, not God, for practical social truth.”

Today, more than ever, the political climate of western civilization is hostile to the truth of God’s Word that brought us out of the dark ages, and appears intent more than ever to withdraw from God’s light again. Their professorial and political prophets rail against those who declare God’s absolute truth, and they condemn Christian faith as medieval superstition.

This wasn’t true in America a generation ago. Then, you may not have believed in the truth of the Bible, but you kept it to your inner-circle; not in arrogant platitudes shouted from the housetops.

A new dark age is on the horizon, and its current day proponents masquerade as “intellects.” Their “Godwolvesnsheep is dead” campaign of the ’70s tunneled into the institutional “God is irrelevant” campaign of today.  Mainstream college professors and humanist politicians work its philosophy as foundational administration, and those who contend against them are accused of foolish, nonprogressive ways.

“Humankind is not the product of God’s divine creation!” their Ph.D’s and statesmen  profess.

“People are the product of haphazard happenstance, and we who have evolved to our intellectual stature are gate keepers of the day!”

Notice how today’s “keepers” fight over the deception of evolution in America’s schools. Condemning Genesis as outdated myth, evolutionists involve less science in their modern theory than creationists. There is no fossil record to substantiate evolution theory, and Darwin himself denied his infamous assumptions in his remaining, bed-ridden days. Few of Darwin’s disciples will admit their ethereal missing link is godhood in a Hindu reincarnation as new age dogma teaches. Creation science has archaeological evidence to substantiate Scripture and a cataclysmic fossil record that points to a worldwide flood.

When eschatology’s “antichrist” manifests, he will be saying the same things America’s humanist educators and politicians are saying today. The difference at that time will be his politically correct dogma so prevalent in today’s universities, media, and politics, will be Imperial law. And those who choose to think differently will be imprisoned and killed.

Visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and you will read from panel-to-panel the length to which the spirit of the antichrist went in 1930’s Germany to propagandize a national political position that Jews were a genetically inferior threat to the human race. The trumped-up science experiments and genealogies of their plotted genocide eventually locked up and killed six million for simply being alive. The same deception will apply to Christians in “the” antichrist’s era.

Lenin’s 1917 communist revolution introduced modern gulags where Christians were tortured and exterminated for refuting the communist state.

Today in China, North Korea, and Cuba political dissenters are investigated, then “removed” from their antichrist worshipping state. The same is true in Islam.

It was happening in Iraq (where Sadaam Hussein venerated infamous communist strongman Joseph Stalin) until America removed him from power.

1936+nuremburg+rally                                                                        Shadow and Type
As a researching eschatologian and historian over the past 28 years, I never cease to amaze at how Old and New Testament history seems to shadow and type one another and later historic events. No serious student of history or eschatology should ignore these historic shadows that are interwoven into man’s future and past. How things seemingly happened as a historical precursor is a mystery on the whole, much like God’s sovereignty. But it’s hard not to connect the dots.

Israel’s rise to prominence and fall was repeated by the first-century church. The dark ages of each were enlightened by the revelation of God’s Word.

Daniel’s prophesied kingdoms shadowed and typed their predecessors as each spelled out their own doom.

Rome’s Christian extermination, Christianization, then pagan corruption is a lesson many assess as a forewarning of the spirit of the antichrist’s current American wave.

Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich enacted an astounding number of atrocities the antichrist of Revelation 13 will repeat in greater mass (1/4 of the earth). As history neared the Eschaton in the mid-twentieth century, an amazing shadowhitler3 and type arose from the world’s deadliest-ever war. World War I took more lives than every world war that preceded. In its wake rose Adolf Hitler, an antichrist figure with technology like no dictator before. His atrocities were primitive compared to the coming one’s twenty-first century standards, but they were similar in scope. Hitler’s use of mass communication and modern weaponry accomplished his European enslavement and genocidal attacks. And his war was recorded with modern technology for students of eschatology to see.

Hitler’s cultic SS knights (Schutzstaffe, German for “Protective Corps,” abbreviated SS) bore a mark his national subjects were seduced to embrace. Penalty for rejecting his mark of allegiance, the swastika, was death. The great political lie of his rule was “the good of the people” through national German socialism. “An equal life for all.” The dark truth behind it was a diabolical militarism and racism that invited his nation’s death.

Displayed in 1936 at the Reich’s infamous Nuremburg rally, the “Fuhrer’s” mystic, religious symbolism was paraded for all the world to watch. Pomp and circumstance, symbolic banners, and religious ceremony were as important to him as they will be to his fulfilling Last Days type.

2 Thessalonians  2:1-4
1    Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him,
2    that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3    Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
4    who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

HitlerflagWhen Paul’s prophesied man of  lawlessness takes his seat in the temple displaying  himself as “being God,” the greatest religious show ever on earth will beam around the world. Satan will draw from the mystic deep of every one of his false  religions dating to the Sumerian plane. His pomp and circumstance will appear regal. Like the false religion snapshot of John’s white horse rider of the apocalypse, his last-days emissary will dress in the robes of “righteousness”  that  cover his deceit. His false prophet will appear in  the robes of  religious piety masquerading as a lamb.

Revelation 13:11
11   And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.

Study the Third Reich and you will see the costumed splendor of Hitler’s “holy Arian knights” everywhere he goose stepped.

2 Corinthians 10:14
14   And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Most prophetic in shadow and type was Hitler’s innovation of modern mass media propaganda. The fuhrer understood the power of mass communication visual opinion making. His false prophet Joseph Goebbels convinced Germany’s masses they were the master race and led them to destruction through a pernicious game of mass comm show and tell. Communication studies call the propaganda technique, “cultivation.” In the day of eschatology’s antichrist, repetition of themes and ideology will convince millions to take his mark of allegiance under the guise of world peace.

Revelation 13:16-17
16   And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead,
17   and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

9

Hitler’s  “final solution”of exterminating Europe’s Jews was the most telling shadow and type of them all. The rage of Satan focused on eliminating God’s natural seed where he had power to do it produced the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler had the power to hunt down 6 million Jews and exterminate them in mass. But more than unarmed Jewish civilians died in Nazi death camp hands. A total of 15 to 20 million “enemies” of the racist German state died in Hitler’s 42,500 Ghetos and concentration camps (U.S. Hollocaust Museum estimate).

Revelation 13:7-8
7   And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
8   And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Today the spirit of the antichrist’s politically correct lecture in western politics sounds something like this:

“Religion is the opiate of the masses and should be left to impractical ethereal thinking, not where humanity actually lives. The collective good of the ‘people’ (state) is the only profitable good.”

This is communism’s message that is used today in China, North Korea, Russia, and Cuba to imprison and kill any who dissent.

Added into the mix of modern American PC is a philosophy of diversity that accuses absolute truth Bible believers of bigotry, and worse.

“Diversity of all philosophies, religions, and lifestyles must be condoned, regardlePhoto5ss of what your antiquated Bible says. If it feels good, do it, and don’t dare show yourself intolerant, for there is no room for bigotry or racism in the modern American way.”

The real intolerance of the antichrist’s spirit today is heard in the mood of his mainstream propaganda. Social and administrative punishments doled out for PC offenses in 2015 America come in the form of ostracism on university campuses and slander in the press. Tomorrow, when the administration of the times is full: arrests, imprisonment, and death.

1 Corinthians 16:13
13    Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

The reality of our present times, though, shouldn’t give cause to worry and fear. Understanding through the Spirit’s anointing how and why the antichrist is among us (1 John 2:20) should motivate the church to understand the last-days are near, and with them some very spiritually positive, provocative things.

Joseph-GoebbelsListen to today’s humanist politicians weave their crafted speeches that include “right-wing intolerance” as they relate to policies that promote immorality, homosexual perversion, and abortion. See how they invent charges to catch who they can in the fowler’s snare (Psalm 91:3). The spirit of the antichrist prowls about freely in America today as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But only those who cower before him become prey.

Look at the lawless one’s new movies, television shows, and talking head cadre that promote homosexuality. The huge majority of western public cringe at the debased horror of homosexual sex, but the twenty-first century antichrist keeps pushing.

Paul warned us of last days pandering to rebellion and base things of the flesh (2 Timothy 3:1-8). God blesses the faith of his people at the ballot box in the U.S., and more Christians yearly are awakening to this truth.

Hebrews 12:26-27
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens. angelbowlsIn time, God will shake to the core the nations that submitted to the antichrist, with evangelism’s remaining key.The  trumpets and bowls of Revelation’s coming judgments will judge and save, according to God’s will. Until then, missiology teaches that nation- changing evangelism has always manifested in the midst of political turmoil, and America is looking riper everyday. When the Bamboo Curtain came down in the 1980s they discovered the underground  church had exploded in size. It’s still there today, growing exponentially, enduring persecution, imprisonment, and  death. The African and Russian church is exploding too. And South America’s Banana Republic countries have seen a huge ingathering over the past thirty years.

Today in America there are more of us in the church who understand what real spiritual warfare is, and are applying it, than any generation ever on earth. It is us, and other members like us in Jesus’ global body, who are discerning the times upon us, and are restraining the antichrist’s work. We are praying God’s Word (John 15:7) over those in authority, for souls in the world, and in the Spirit for God’s perfect will (1 Corinthians 14:3; Romans 8:26).

24 King of Kings and Lord of LordsWhen God’s sovereign will has run its full course, when all the last-day’s Pauls who contend against the truth as spiritually-blinded foes are brought as the apostle into the fold, then that lawless one will be revealed to be destroyed by the sword of Christ’s mouth.

2 Thessalonians 2:7, 8
7    For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
8    And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming…

If you haven’t been praying for our new president, for worldwide revival, and for the Second Coming of Christ, Christian, it’s still not too late to start. Simply obey Paul’s injunction in 1 Timothy 2:1-4:

1 Timothy 2:1-4
1    First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
2    for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Pray God’s Word.

Pray in the Spirit.

Do it because it is right. Be vigilant. Vote. Speak out. Hitler’s Third Reich taught us what to expect, and his forerunners are here now; but “the” antichrist will be revealed in God’s good time. Until then, America is ripe for salvation. Stay in the fields.

3    This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4    who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 John 2:22
22    Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

Mark Norris, Publisher Eschatology Today, M.A.