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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The Apostles: The Kingdom to Come

It will be glorious.

The Presence of the Kingdom: The New Testament (14)

And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name
shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 22.3-5

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless… 2 Peter 3.13, 14

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15.42-44

New heaven and new earth
We have discussed in prior installments the fact that the Kingdom of God is not only here and now, but also then and there. There is a glorious beyondness to the Kingdom, not only beyond our present time but also our temporality, our present material existence. The fullness of the Kingdom of God is yet to come, and when it comes, we will be made complete and perfect, lacking nothing, to spend forever delighting in and worshiping God in the fullness of His righteous, peaceable, and joyous rule.

The Kingdom presence yet to come will unfold in a glorious new creation, a new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells. The old heavens and earth will pass away, and new ones will be created and fused as one, where the goodness of God will abound; and the saints of God, clothed in new and eternal, glorious bodies, will dwell with Him and see Him—in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 3.1-3)—and enjoy Him forever.

There we will be like Jesus, perfect in righteousness. There we will know perfect and uninterrupted peace—no more sorrows, no more tears, no more trials or tribulations. And there we will abound in joy, worshiping our God continuously while we enjoy the full riches of the eternal Kingdom.

Sin and the curse will be forever banished, and we shall all serve God and Jesus Christ, in the full and perfect power of the Holy Spirit, rejoicing together eternally in His glorious light and life. Thus we shall reign with Him forever and ever.

New City
In the eternal Kingdom of God, the saints will be constituted as a glorious new city—a new Jerusalem adorned with all the beauty, brilliance, bounty, and blessings of God (Rev. 21.9-27). God will dwell in our midst to enlighten our lives and all our endeavors, and everlasting day will afford us many opportunities to bring the richness of city life to ever-increasing glory.

We should think of this new and glorious city in terms of Jerusalem in her Old Testament greatness. Glory and honor will pervade the city by the gifts and abilities people from every nation, culture, and calling bring to it. It will be a city thriving in cultural life, for being now perfected in the image of God our Creator, we will create wonders and marvels and all manner of everyday culture to serve one another, adorn the new creation, and glorify God. Even in our most quotidian of activities, we will delight to worship our Lord (1 Cor. 10.31). There we will work, play, create, rest, and serve God in complete righteousness, without competition or corruption, and as priests and kings together, gladly carrying out the rule of God’s holy and righteous and good Law.

Some things will change. There will be no night in this new creation, only everlasting day. Further, Jesus said that we will not be given to one another in marriage (Matt. 22.30), for our needs will all be met by our being together the Bride of Christ. Thus, it seems likely that no new children will be born, and family life—such as it may be—will be redefined according to the eternal economy of the eternal city.

We will eat in the new eternal city, but without there being any need of death to satisfy our hunger or thirst. We will use the resources of the earth—and perhaps the cosmos?—to make good, useful, and beautiful artifacts with which to delight ourselves, serve our neighbors, fulfill the creation’s purpose, and glorify God. But there will be no waste of creation’s bounty, no spoiling of God’s largesse, and no exhausting of His eternally renewing resources.

New Garden
The presence of the Kingdom in the new creation will be like the garden of Eden, had it never known the corruption of sin. A pure river of life will flow throughout it with the tree of life growing and bearing fruit on either side (Rev. 22.1, 2). The vast universe will be reconstituted to express a new and timeless cosmology where the rule of God over every creature proceeds in plain sight and full view of all. For His throne will be in our midst. We will see Him continuously and observe His rule in action, as angels and saints fly from His Presence—the heartbeat and control center of the eternal Kingdom—to accomplish without fail His every instruction or command.

The Kingdom presence we pursue now—the rule of Christ coming on earth as it is in heaven—should be a foreshadowing of what we expect forever in the new creation. We can only realize glimpses and brief trailers of the Kingdom presence yet to come, but they are sufficient to help us think in real and practical terms about what seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of God must entail in our daily lives.

For now, Jesus expects His Kingdom citizens and ambassadors to work: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward iswith Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Rev. 22.12, 13). We must take up those Kingdom labors according to our individual callings, receiving them day by day as having their beginning in Jesus, of being granted for our use and ministry, and of returning to Him in the end, adorned with the glory and honor which are His due. And Jesus holds out the promise of blessing for all who are faithful and diligent in this life to prepare for and point the way to the next: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22.14).

The Kingdom of God has come to earth, sent among us by the Father and the Son in the Person of Spirit and program of His Word. Here and now, we must seek the increasing presence of Christ’s rule by the good works prepared for us each day (Eph. 2.10), that the workmanship of God in us may demonstrate the faithfulness and goodness of God through us unto the coming day of the Kingdom’s eternal presence and glory.

For reflection
1. How often do you contemplate what the new creation will be like? Do you think there is value in doing this more often? Explain.

2. We do not take up our daily works to earn our salvation but to work out our salvation for God’s Kingdom and glory. Explain.

3. How can you use the vision of the coming Kingdom to encourage your fellow believers here and now?

Next steps—Preparation: We have only touched on the vision of Kingdom in its “then and there” aspect. Can you find more in Scripture to flesh this out further? Why would it be good for you to do so?

T. M. Moore

A companion book to this study of “The Kingdom Presence” is available at our bookstore. Listen to an excerpt from The Kingdom Turn, by clicking here. Then order your free copy. To learn more about the work of Jesus as He sits exalted in glory, order a free copy of our book, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? by clicking here.

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ReVision comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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