by Terry A. Hull
Are you pining and praying, hoping and longing for the King to come?
I am. I can’t wait. I know many of you feel the same way.
Don’t get me wrong. I love this world. Life is a great gift, and I try to enjoy every second of it. I’m not one of those who thinks the world “is going to hell in a handbasket,” if that means that the world is somehow worse today than it was a few decades ago.
It is obviously true that this world abounds with atrocities. But that describes every year since the days of Noah. This world is a beautiful place, and it is populated by millions of wonderful people. But we are desperately in need of a King. I can’t wait for Him to come.
A thrilling description
Here is one thrilling description of what lies ahead, in Isaiah 2:2-4:
“In the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it.
“And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’
“For 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 learn war.”
In the last days
“In the last days…” What a great phrase that is! Does your heart surge with anticipation when you consider the wonderful things that await us in the days to come, “the last days?”
To some people, I suppose, “the last days” are frightening. People fear “the end of the world.” In movies and literature the future is often a bleak, frightening time. Think about “Mad Max” and “The Stand” and “The Road” and “Falling Skies” and dozens of other books and movies and television shows of that genre. They all depict a future in which humanity is destroyed or nearly so by plague or world war or alien invasion.
Even the Bible describes a horrible time of Tribulation — of world war, lawlessness, famine and natural disaster (see Jesus’ famous end-times sermon in Matthew 24). But thankfully, that’s not how the story ends. Hardly. As a matter of fact, that dreadful Tribulation time will set the stage for the most wonderful time in all human history: Jesus’ coming Kingdom.
When Jesus began preaching (Matt 4:17), His first and repeated message was that the Kingdom is “at hand” (i.e., imminent). He traveled from city to city “proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom” (Matt 4:23). He instructed us to pray for the Kingdom to come, describing it as a time when God’s will “will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 4:10). Wow! Can you imagine?
The Messiah’s Kingdom is the No. 1 topic of the Bible. It is the main message from Genesis (where the coming Kingdom is part of the blessing God promised to Abraham) to Revelation (where the establishment of Christ’s millennial Kingdom is detailed).
The coming Kingdom is described in exhaustive detail in “The Prophets,” a huge section of the Bible. The Prophets are 17 Old Testament books, Isaiah to Malachi — a total of 250 chapters, about one-fifth of the entire Bible.
Right at the start of this exciting section of the Bible, in Isaiah 2, God calls our attention to the wonderful coming Kingdom. The Kingdom will come, says v. 2, “in the last days.” This is the Bible’s first use of the phrase “last days,” a phrase that is repeated several more times in the Old and New Testaments.
What does this introductory passage in Isaiah 2 tell us about Christ’s coming Kingdom? It says that in those days …
• Jerusalem will be the capital of the world. Earlier this month, Mitt Romney provoked controversy by calling Jersualem the capital of Israel. Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton have all made similar statements. Such statements are controversial because modern Jerusalem is partly under Palestinian control. However, in the last days, the Messiah will rule the world “from Zion,” “from Jerusalem.”
• “All the nations” of the world will submit to the Messiah’s rule. This Scriptures reveals the amazing truth that Christ will actually directly intervene between the nations, settling disputes and bringing justice to the world.
• Therefore, the Messiah’s Kingdom will be a time of world peace. Read v. 4 again. In our day, when the news is full of “wars and rumors of wars,” it is thrilling to read about a future time when war will be eliminated forever.
• The Messiah will preach and teach the ways of God. And, hang on for this, people will be eager to learn God’s ways. V. 3: “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’”
What a contrast to modern times, when many people do not appear to have any appetite for sound doctrine. Even many preachers and pastors seem to be more interested in anything and everything else other than God’s Word, and most church members seem to be quite content to allow God’s Word to be ignored and their churches reduced to places of entertainment.
But in the great days to come, when the Messiah reveals Himself in all His glory, the world will have an unparalleled thirst for sound doctrine, for God’s Law, and Christ Himself will be our Teacher.
It all sounds too wonderful to be true, doesn’t it. I agree with the Apostle John, who cried out, “Marana tha!” “Come, Lord Jesus!” (“Rev. 22:20).
“Spring is coming, Spring is coming.
And all we’ve been hoping and longing for soon will appear.
Spring is coming, Spring is coming.
And it won’t be long now, it’s just about here.”
Steven Curtis Chapman, “Spring is Coming” (2009)