Ruling in a Universal Kingdom--Part 6
Feb 03, 2012
Each of the covenants throughout history must be taken into consideration when studying the Kingdom of God. Each covenant establishes something unique in the progression of revelation.
The covenant with Noah in Genesis 9 establishes the scope of the Kingdom. It is pictured by a rainbow, which covers the earth with an arch (or arc). We read in Gen. 9:9-10,
(9) Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you; (10) and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth."
As for the rainbow, we read in verse 17,
(17) And God said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.
This clearly tells us the scope of the covenant. It was a covenant between God and "all flesh that is on the earth." This is what establishes the Kingdom as "Universal." The basis of this covenant, of course, is the fact that God is the Creator of all things. He therefore enjoys ownership rights over all that He has created. Not only that, but He also has the power to save all mankind.
Although the law appeared to limit His ability to save all mankind, God has the wisdom to save all mankind without violating His law. In the first 7,000 years of Adamic history, He has worked primarily to raise up many citizens and a few rulers (overcomers). But by no means does this current phase of the Kingdom bring about universality. The only universal feature in this 7,000 year period is the fact that He has taken a few from every race and tongue and nationality to provide rulership over all nations. We read this in Rev. 5:9,
(9) And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (10) And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
This is the divine plan for the first "week" of Adamic history. After this comes the Great White Throne, where the rest of humanity, "all flesh," are raised from the dead and brought before God. There, "every knee will bow," and all flesh will confess Him as Lord and King, so that they may all become citizens of the Universal Kingdom. Yet they will also receive divine judgment by the "fiery law" (Deut. 33:2) for the deeds that they have done during their previous life time.
All of those former unbelievers will confess Him as Lord and "swear allegiance" to Him (Isaiah 45:23). This is essentially a picture of a citizenship oath of the Kingdom. These will be sentenced by the law to pay restitution for their sins (Ex. 22:1-4), and since it is obvious that no man can fully pay his debt for sin, they must be "sold" to others (Ex. 22:4). Some will receive rather severe judgments, especially those who tortured others or who abused their authority in their previous life.
For a fuller study on The Consequences of Sin, see the weblog series I did over a year ago, beginning with Part 1:
Following this, they will pay for lesser sins by being "sold" to the overcomers and those who became believers during the first 7,000 years. Those overcomers and believers will rule over them according to the true character of Jesus Christ, teaching them the ways of God and overseeing their labor in building the Kingdom.
The sinners being judged at the Great White Throne are those who did not avail themselves of the blood of Jesus Christ as payment for their sins. Hence, they will have to pay for their own sins according to the law. It is obvious, however, that no sinner can really pay for his own sins in the ultimate sense. For this reason, those sinners will remain under the authority until they are finally set free by the Law of Jubilee. I believe this will take place after 49,000 years of Adamic history. The judgment will occur at the end of the first 7,000 years, leaving another 42,000 years of divine judgment before all things are fully subdued under the feet and He has reconciled all creation to Himself in the fullest sense. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:28,
(28) And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.
Then, too, will John's vision come to pass from Rev. 5:13,
(13) And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
It is plain from many Scriptures that God intends to save all mankind. At the same time, the law demands judgment for sin. These concepts are not contradictory, if one understands that those judgments are limited by the law of Jubilee. The biggest hurdle that Christians see before them is when the Bible appears to teach "eternal judgment."
That translation is unfortunate, because the Hebrew word olam actually means a hidden or unknown period of time. See Gesenius Lexicon, and scroll down to the explanatory text:
"pr. what is hidden, specially hidden, long time; the beginning or end of which is either uncertain or else not defined."
One cannot assign a specific duration to olam, because it could mean anything from a day, a year, or even thousands of years. Hence, it is "either uncertain or else not defined." This is the normal word translated "everlasting" in the Old Testament. Yet the "everlasting covenant" made with Phinehas in Num. 25:13 turned out to be limited to just 300 years, when his priestly descendants were replaced by Zadok in 1 Kings 2:35.
Likewise, Jonah's time in the belly of the whale was "forever" (actually, olam) in Jonah 2:6. We know that this was just three days.
The Greek equivalent in the New Testament is aionian, "an age." See Young's Literal Concordance or numerous examples in Young's Literal Translation of the New Testament. Because this was a Greek word meant to express the Hebrew concept of olam, we need not look further at the precise Greek usage of the word. It was close enough for the Septuagint translators to use aionian as the near equivalent of olam.
And so also, the time of judgment is not "everlasting" but more properly "pertaining to an age." For a more complete study in the doctrine of the ages, see chapter 5 of my book, The Judgments of the Divine Law:
In conclusion, we see that the Universal Kingdom is yet limited in the first "week" of Adamic history. At the present time, God is calling out for Himself a few citizens and a remnant of rulers, who will be used in the Age to come to teach the ways of God to the rest of humanity after the Great White Throne judgment.
This is the sixth part of a series titled "Ruling in a Universal Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.