Maybe you’ve all seen the acronym WWJD. It was pretty popular for awhile among Christians and was a symbol to remind them “What Would Jesus Do”. It challenged people to think about who Jesus was and how he acted during his time on earth. He was kind and compassionate to people, he healed the sick, he taught the lost, he helped the poor, he prayed to God; the list can go on and on.
One of the things that has been challenging me lately is talking to people about God and Jesus. It has never been a comfortable or easy thing for me, but I know it is something that we are called to do. It is also something that I WANT to do – God has done so much for me in my life that I want to share it with others, but I often find myself struggling to find the right words or just chickening out all together.
So I started to look at WWJS – What Would Jesus Say. Jesus was always gathering followers and helping people to have faith in God while he was here. And through some reading, conversations with others, and a few Bible studies I discovered that most of what Jesus teaches about is the kingdom of God.
Once you notice it, you realize just how MUCH he talked about the kingdom of God. Now, why do you think he taught so much on this subject? I think it was because people need to have something to look forward to. When this world gets tough and we get beaten down, we need to know that its going to get better – we need HOPE!
The writer of the book of Hebrews, when comparing the promise that God made to Abraham and the promise he has made to us, says “we who have found refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:18-19).
They are talking about our hope for the next life; and what does he call it? An anchor. An anchor is something that literally keeps you held to the ground. It helps a ship to stay in one place, even when the winds and seas around them are trying to blow them elsewhere. Do you ever feel like you the waves of life are trying to toss you around? Or how about the wind beating you from every direction, trying to take you off course? I know I do, and I bet you all do too.
That is exactly why God gave us an anchor. To keep us firm and secure in our hope we have in Him. And that is exactly why Jesus taught so much about the kingdom of God. He wanted our anchor to be real, to have meaning. It is hard to hold on to something that we don’t really understand. It’s hard to look forward to something that we don’t have a clear picture of. I want a vivid picture in my mind about what my next life will be like, so when someone asks me, I can give them an answer they can be excited about and can anchor them as well.
So let’s dive in. Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about the kingdom of God.
Jesus would have learned about the kingdom from reading the Old Testament, so that’s where I want to start.
- We will have perfect bodies – “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame man will leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute will sing,” (Isa 35:5-6). Who doesn’t struggle with some sort of health ailment at some point in their life? I know I do – we all have aches and pains, cuts and bruises, colds and diseases that plague us throughout life. I know for me, having to watch my husband struggle daily from being paralyzed, this promise of complete and whole bodies is near and dear to my heart.
- There will be no hunger – “They will not hunger nor thirst, neither will the heat nor sun strike them, for he who has mercy on them will lead them, even by springs of water he will guide them” (Isa 49:10). I have to admit, that I am fortunate enough to have never experienced not having enough to eat. Probably most of us in America, have not struggled with this, but there are A LOT of people around the world who have. God will provide perfect food and clean water for everyone – what an awesome thing to look forward to.
- There will be no death or sorrow – “He will swallow up death forever! The Lord Yahweh will wipe away tears from off all faces. He will take the reproach of his people away from off all the earth, for Yahweh has spoken it” (Isa 25:8). When God has restored his kingdom, there will be no more death. Can you even imagine a life like that? We won’t have to worry about getting old (because we will have perfect bodies!) or sickness, or falling off a cliff, or getting in a car crash. We will have immortal bodies and so will the people who are there with us. We will never have to lose someone we love again.
- The animals will live in peace with us and each other – “The wolf will live with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; the calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together, and a little child will lead them. The cow and the bear will graze. Their young ones will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play near a cobra’s hole, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den” (Isa 11:6-9). This was God’s original intention. Yes, he put man in charge of the animals, but it was never meant for us to have a predator/prey relationship with them. They will have no fear of us or each other.
- There will be no war, only peace – “They will beat their swords into plowblades
and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more” (Mic 4:3-4). Can you picture a world without war or fighting? Or what about a world where you don’t have locks on your doors or have security systems in your house? Or a world where the news isn’t filled with horrific and violent things that happened that day? I know I find it difficult to watch the news because there is just so many horrible things that people are doing to each other. But in the kingdom, God will put an end to that. We won’t have to worry about nation fighting against nation or even another person fighting against someone else. We will have complete peace and safety.
- The earth will be restored to its original paradise – ““Behold, the days come,’ says Yahweh, ‘that the plowman will overtake the reaper, and the one treading grapes, him who sows seed; and sweet wine will drip from the mountains and flow from the hills'”(Amos 9:13). If you think back to how God created the earth to begin with, it will give you a good idea of what it will be like when he restores it again. He created the earth to be perfect. To be lush with fruit-bearing vegetation and clean water and beautiful plants to adorn the earth. If the plowman is overtaking the reaper, that means things will not die. There will be such an abundance of food and water and sunlight that things will grow exponentially.
- The evil of the human heart will be cast away – “I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit inside you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit inside you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my ordinances and do them. You will dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you will be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezek 36:26-27). No more people talking bad about you, gossiping, plotting evil against you, no more fear, no more disliking yourself or your actions, no more hatred or bitterness. It is hard to even envision a world like this. People will get along, people will love, people will be happy and joyful. When was the last time that someone said or did something that hurt you? Or maybe you did something that hurt a friend or family member. All that will be gone. We will have clean and pure hearts to love God and each other.
And these verses are only the tip of the iceberg! There is so much more sprinkled throughout scripture, because God knows that we need something to hold on to, something to help us stay steady and firm in our beliefs. He knows that life is hard and we have heavy burdens to bear, but that is why He shows us all of these amazing things! We have something to look forward to in the next life and it will be truly spectacular.
I realize that I never even got to how Jesus spoke about all of these things, but I think that is enough for today, so I will keep you in suspense until next time…