Editor’s note: Joseph Farah is leading a tour of Israel through Nov. 13. While he is away, WND is republishing some of his relevant columns from the past.
As we look around the world today at the increasing chaos, terror, violence, hatred and upheaval, it increasingly raises the specter of “the end of the world.”
It seems most people – including most Christians and Jews – seem to believe that unspeakable tribulations like wars, pestilences and natural disasters will ultimately destroy the planet. For believers in the God of the Bible, they mostly assume that people will then go to heaven or hell.
But is that what the Bible actually says?
As I was researching and writing my latest book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” it dawned on me that something very important is being left out of the way we share the gospel of the Kingdom of God today.
I believe it’s the key to opening up the minds and hearts of those who resist a genuine, sincere, lifelong, penitent commitment to faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Israel and Jesus the Messiah.
We’re forgetting something when we teach, preach and share the gospel of the Kingdom. And that something is the Kingdom.
Jesus preached the Kingdom. It’s what He came to earth to do in addition to offering Himself as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.
John the Baptist, His forerunner, did the same, uttering these familiar words found in Matthew 3:2: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
After Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days in the wilderness, we’re told in Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
But, I believe, what we’re missing is the definition of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is given to us through all the prophets, but we’re just not recognizing it. In fact, Jesus Himself alludes to it in Matthew 6:9-10, in the most famous prayer of the New Testament when He taught His disciples how to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
As Israel’s Messiah and future King of Kings, Jesus came to Earth to preach the gospel of His Kingdom – a Kingdom He will return to usher in. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven after spending 40 days with the disciples in His resurrected state, He was asked by His followers in Acts 1:6 “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
This is what they were expecting of their Messiah because it is what the prophets foretold.
Jesus responded: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” And He directed them to take the gospel of the Kingdom to the uttermost parts of the Earth. It wasn’t yet the time for the Kingdom, but it is coming.
What Peter said in Acts 3:19-21 under the anointing of the Holy Spirit provided the inspiration for my book when He referred to this Coming Kingdom: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Emphasis added.)
Put simply, Jesus is not returning to end the world. He’s returning to restore the world to the way it was intended to be in the Garden of Eden before the fall.
That’s what God has spoken through all His holy prophets since the world began, Peter tells us. In “The Restitution of All Things,” I set out to search the Scriptures to see if that was true. Did every prophet indeed speak of the restored Kingdom on Earth? I found it to be 100 percent accurate. That’s our destiny. And it’s all good news.
And that’s the part of the gospel that has been left out by too many teachers and preachers and evangelists in our times.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a Garden of Eden-like setting where pure justice, peace, rest and righteousness reign over the entire Earth with Jesus sitting in His throne in Jerusalem?
Why instead do prophecy teachers focus so much attention on a brief period of time (seven years) of tribulation while leaving out a 1,000-year period of bliss on Earth – followed by an eternity in a new Earth, a part of the Kingdom of Heaven?
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for mankind to envision Heaven? That’s because we were not made for Heaven. Instead, we were designed by God for life on Earth. And the good news is that the Earth is going to be restored to its heavenly state when Messiah Jesus returns.
While most believers are expecting to go to heaven when they die, heaven, in fact, is coming to Earth at the end of the age. It’s not the end of the world we’re facing. It’s the end of violence, wars, injustice, hunger, poverty, cruelty, racism, bigotry, hatred and sin. If you die tomorrow as a child of that Kingdom, that’s where you will be resurrected and live for eternity.