The Kingdom Foreseen by the Prophets
Excerpted from The Coming Kingdom of the Messiah, pp. 19-21
What the prophets saw was a vision of utopian conditions on earth, following the conquest of the world by Yahweh (the Lord God) acting through His chosen agent, the promised King: “The Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem” (Isa. 24:23). “He [the Messiah] will speak peace to the nations, and his dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:10).
Obadiah & Jeremiah
Obadiah describes the supremacy of Israel in the coming Messianic rule:
The community of Jacob will regain territory from those who took it from them…They will recover the Negev from Mount Esau and the Shephelah from the Philistines. They will regain the region of Ephraim and Gilead. The exiles of the people of Israel will annex Canaanite territory as far as Zarephath. The exiles who were in Sepharad will reclaim the Negev towns. Then governors will go up to Mount Zion to govern Mount Esau, and the Kingdom will be the Lord’s (Obad. 17-21).15
Evidently the Kingdom of God is to be a new political and territorial order with its headquarters in the promised land of Israel. This is the unanimous view of all the prophets. Jeremiah, too, had recorded the words of the Lord promising national restoration for Israel under the Messiah:
Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I shall raise up for David a righteous branch, and he will reign as king and days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell securely (Jer. 23:5, 6).
Isaiah and Micah
Isaiah’s and Micah’s vision is no less clearly defined, with the additional guarantee of multilateral disarmament under the government of the Messiah:
A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on his [the promised deliverer, the Messiah’s] shoulders…There will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore…The law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he will judge between the nations and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war (Isa. 9:6, 7; 2:3, 4; Micah 4:2, 3).
One of the clearest descriptions of the Kingdom of God appears in Daniel 2:44. Following the destruction of hostile world powers, “the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom [clearly here a world empire] which will never be destroyed, and that Kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” In Daniel 7 the same promised Kingdom is to be administered by the Son of Man (Jesus’ favorite self-designation) and his followers, God’s chosen people:
And to him [the Son of Man] was given a dominion, glory and a Kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away; and his Kingdom is one which will not be destroyed…Then the power and greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the supreme God. Their royal power will never end and all rulers on earth will serve and obey them (Dan. 7:14, 27, Good News Bible).
The revolution associated with the Messiah’s installment in his Kingdom is described by Zechariah:
The Lord will go forth and fight against those nations…and in that day the Lord will be king over all the earth…Then it will act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In his come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts (Zech. 14:3, 9, 16).
These and many other passages in the prophets demonstrate beyond dispute that the Kingdom of God will be a new world government on earth, administered by the Messiah, God’s chosen King, assisted by a group of associates called in Daniel “the saints of the Most High” (7:27). The picture of a restored earth is common to all the prophets. It is the basis of the Messianic hope summed up by the term “Kingdom of God.”