The statement, in Old English, does not say “are becoming” or “will be coming as” – let us make that very clear at the start. No matter what you were taught or what you believe in, please read first and find out the rest of the statement and the story.
“Are become” is what we refer to as the present perfect tense, a form of “has become”, meaning, a condition exists in the present because it was done in the past and still continues. (Remember: become-became-become, so become is in past perfect, just like seen in see-saw-seen) Hence, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of our Christ: and he shall reign forever and ever!” Rev. 11:15 (KJV) This rendering expresses a sense of formal inauguration of a fact rather than a simple statement of a given reality. That is, we somehow feel or see the actual crowning of Christ or the granting of His scepter, not a mere showing of a proof with Him already sitting on His throne.
“Are become” then simply means “are now”. When John the Apostle wrote the words, which were spoken by spirits in Heaven, it was a declaration of a changing of the guards, so to speak. It was not a prophecy by an angel, although a prophet wrote about it. Besides, an angel is not subject to time and what he sees or shows is what is actually happening at that moment. So, what he showed John may have been in the past or in the future for John or could be all in the past for us. After all, it has been two thousand years since he wrote it. Furthermore, how can that have referred to “this” world in a presumed heavenly scene after the Final Judgment if there would be no more world by then? Or if there was still one, why would Christ reign in a world He promised to replace with a new one? Unless John and Christ meant this world we still have today?
That is why many believe in a thousand-year reign by Christ before He changes worlds. Oh, so, why does He have to make us wait for a thousand years to see a new world He said He would prepare? It just does not make sense. Others say He will make this world new and reign over it. So, what is He preparing right now? Let us make up our minds, friends! There must be a way to unravel this.
For sure, Christ already began to reign when He ascended to Heaven. Peter and Stephen said so and even saw Him at His throne. He had wrested the reins of government from wicked and even righteous humans and placed them in His own hands. He reigns, rules and judges. Upon His return, He will bring our reward or punishment. Whereas He had not done so before, He now rules as crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Prior to that, during His ministry as a human, it was Satan who ruled over it, although the Father still had oversight over all things. But before He was born as a babe in a manger, He and the father had control over all things. We can probably say that Jesus Christ rules as the sole Sovereign God over this world because it pleased the Father to give it to Him as His inheritance and as He had promised. Jesus shares the glory of the Father in Creation, in Redemption (even as a man) and in the Completion of His works. Until we all realize that, we continue to walk blindly though life.
Yes, Christ created the Universe with the Father and the Spirit and administered it for millennia before sacrificing Himself to save humans. Is it not right that He should rule and eventually judge them in the end? For this world will expire. A New Earth and a New Heaven are in preparation and where the Kingdom, pure and redeemed, will be presented to the Father; and, then, all will be one for eternity. (Could the departed faithful in Paradise be the ones working now to prepare that place? Did He not, in fact, say before He died that He will prepare a place and that He was going to Paradise?)
That is the complete plan we see in God’s Word. We are past the middle of the story and near the end of it. The closing of the ages fast approaches. And so the enemy works overtime to pre-empt his ultimate defeat. How?
Let us look at the kingdoms of this world to fully understand. First, there is the State. Second, we have Organized Religion. Third, we have Corporations or Business. Politics, religion and enterprise: three things that make the world go round, supposedly. In truth, it is still money that makes the worlds of these three realms go round. Without taxes, fees, tributes, properties and labor, the State will not survive or function. So with denominational Religion. More so with Business, for it is business that generates the economy to sustain itself and the two, although the two can be said to be into business as well. Call it an Unholy Trinity. The only thorn in this troublesome threesome is the claim of Religion as the overall arbiter of all on behalf of God. Hence, it tries to meddle with and even participate in the affairs of the State and of Business as well, although individually in some cases or vicariously through designated proxies, whether companies, associations, clubs, foundations and NGOs.
So, where are the ordinary people? Well, they are everywhere where the three are: in the State as workers, civil servants, soldiers, governors, technocrats and hangers-on; in Religion as members, tithers, worshipers, ministers, lay people, freedom-fighters, rebels and teachers (faith and ideology are both religions); and in Business as tycoons, employees, scientists, academicians, artists, professionals, executives, manufacturers, suppliers, farmers, traders and vendors. No one escapes these three realms. In reality, it is one entire mechanism, one system running the whole world.
And where do these kingdoms get their resources? From God, of course! Monkeys did not give it to them. Nor did evil spirits who dwell in spiritual realms. But there are many who do believe the last two as the case but not the first. A few really odd and depraved guys believe all three is the case!
Many times in history, God turned His back and allowed humans to do as they pleased; and as many times, He came to the rescue of His crying people and saved them. Noah‘s story is the worst case so far, although the worst is yet to come for us all. A worldwide flood will be nothing compared to annihilation of this world by fire. And it is not fiction or theory. It is based on true events – or you would not be here if not for Noah. Next time you see a rainbow, think of it as the color code for intense fire that can burn up the entire electromagnetic spectrum of the Universe. Light has a beginning — and an end.
Because of human wickedness and the corresponding divine retribution recorded in Scriptures, God is often seen as a -wicked and despicable Being who loves to destroy humans and spirits who brought about the judgment, in the first place. Does the Creator have no right to do what He pleases with His Creation? Does He see suffering and not be merciful to those who ask for His mercy? Does He reward both the oppressor and the oppressed? Does He serve justice by lifting up the wicked and debasing the righteous?
Humans are the most intractable creatures to control and manage, primarily because they can be self-willed, proud and selfish when they are not selfless, humble and loving. God provided laws of Nature, as well as allowed humans to be governed by His righteous laws in order to teach them to live in peace and harmony with one another and with their environment. But in trying to do so, humans have invariably forgotten those laws and incorporated their own laws and systems that go around God’s righteous reign. Hence, the State, Religion and Business are run by laws so reprehensible and so contrary and inimical to His divine character. He and His prophets died trying to undo all of that. Still, they reject Him and have grown even worse.
God’s prophets kept warning His people not to trust in kings and princes. Not even in their chariots and horses. That should still apply today, whether we talk about kings and princes who sit – no, reign as virtual potentates and live in opulent palaces and residences — in political institutions, in religious organizations or in the corporate strata. Neither should we put our trust in their military might, political clout, ecclesiastical stature nor financial power to save us from the fears they themselves instill in us; for they are the real enemies of God. Their laws, their teachings and their merchandise, respectively, are meant to keep us their slaves.
In truth, God can use any one of these three to become a judge – even a scourge – to any one of the others. For instance, the Zealots of ancient Israel fought a rebellion against the State of Israel as well as the Roman colonizers because they wanted to free Judea from the foreign rulers and from wicked priests. They were extremely religious people who took the violent route to social and political reforms (sounds familiar?). The Essenes, on the other hand, took the placid way and lived in the caves of the desert. Either way, God was able to show to the rest of society how the State and Religion were failing in their mission.
Today, a State leader may take Religion to task for its abuses and its errors. He may even go so far as to question God by lambasting Religion’s interpretation and application of the Word. Such a leader may not even have to be a believer in order to expose the sins of others. Perhaps, he may have been abused as a child by a priest and lost his faith in Religion or its purveyors. In the eyes of the many who make up this diversified Religion – the mainstream, as well as the hundreds of denominations that populate this utterly disunited realm — he may no longer be deserving of the votes they gave him or of the trust they placed upon him as a leader for good reason, thinking that their seemingly righteous judgment puts them in a position to know what God is doing.
Who does, except God?
Now and then, God shakes violently the foundations of each of these kingdoms in order to discipline His people and to exact vengeance on His enemies. But is your faith strong enough to withstand a shaking of your faith? Is the Kingdom of God in you still unstable that a little shaking puts you in distress? Or are you shaking because you serve a worldly kingdom instead of a heavenly one?
For how can God do away with a State or a Religion or a Business that has existed for centuries or millennia and yet has failed to live up to its divine calling since its existence if He will not shake it to its very core? And how can anyone shake its foundation without also shaking himself in the process? Did Samson topple the columns of the building and ran away before he could die with his enemies? Sometimes the scourge and the scourged must both die and disappear before there can be real reforms. The soap must go with the scum down the drain after serving its purpose.
Reforms will always be needed and required. But when it was Jesus time to show His displeasure, He drove away the moneychangers and the animals from the Temple of Solomon. He overturned the greedy rule of both Religion and Business with one simple act: I came to pray, not to make anyone rich or to elevate anyone higher than anyone else. God is in His sanctuary; why should anyone turn it into a den of thieves who rob God of His glory and the people from His true spiritual blessings? (We wonder where our political, religious and business leaders put themselves in this picture: as Jesus, as the animals, as the moneychangers, as the simple people or as the Pharisees? How about you?)
Yet, it was an act that merely showed Christ’s displeasure at how traditions had become the centerpiece of worship. It was but a small thing for Jesus to overturn tables and drive away people and animals. A greater deed He had planned all along: Destroy the temple and drive away the Jews from the land. Remove their pride and glory attached to an idolized physical symbol and make them suffer for millennia for their rejection of the Messiah when He tried to save them. And along with the destruction of the temple, He gave Himself up as well. At His death, the veil in the temple was torn; at the death of thousands of Jews, Jerusalem was leveled to the ground.
All that Jesus had said came to pass. You still do not believe Him enough to follow Him alone and not your puny religious guides?
(To be continued)
(Photo above: Images courtesy of Google.com)