Study Committee Report

Kingdom of God


            The Kingdom of God Study Committee met at the Kutztown Bible Fellowship Church on the following dates: May 17, 2011, July 28, 2011, February 23, 2012.

            This year we devoted ourselves to the task of writing a proposed article for submission to the 129th meeting of BFC conference. We relied on our papers presented previously on February 17, 2010 at our Fellowship Manor seminar entitled: “A Fresh Look at the Kingdom of God.”

            The study papers previously presented can be found online at:

http://www.bfchistory.org/2011kingdomstudies.htm

            One can find video recordings of the presentation at the following address:

http://whitehallbfc.org/kingdom/

 

            The following article with Scriptural support was unanimously approved by the committee for submission to the 129th BFC Conference:

 

Article 27 – The Kingdom of God:

 

27-1 God is the almighty Sovereign who reigns eternally over all His creation.1 His kingdom triumphs forever according to His will. Even the sinful rebellion of mankind cannot defeat Him, but instead serves and glorifies Him.2

 

27-2 God’s plan, demonstrated throughout human history, has been to reveal His kingship on earth by delegating kingly dominion to human beings as His image bearers.3 Through Adam’s fall the exercise of this dominion has been corrupted, and man needs redemption in order to glorify God and reign in accordance with His will. As the Second Adam, Jesus in His humanity manifests the proper vice-regency of the kingdom of God for the purpose of redemption and restoration, which will ultimately usher in the glorious kingdom for which creation was destined.4 Thus, the kingdom of God is advanced in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension, and his present reign.5 Acknowledging this reign, Christians confess Christ as Lord and willingly submit to His rulership in their personal lives and welcome His authority over all creation. 6

 

27-3 The millennial reign of Christ is a further advancement of the kingdom whereby Jesus, through His second coming, brings His inaugurated kingdom to earth and makes it visible. During this reign, Christ will fulfill kingdom promises as He establishes righteousness, justice and peace throughout all creation.7 At the start of this period, saints will be resurrected bodily to join in the reign with Christ. Satan will be bound and His deceitful activities suspended. Nevertheless an undercurrent of human sinful resistance will continue through the millennium, though held in check as Christ rules with a rod of iron. At the end of this millennial reign, Satan will be released to lead a rebellion against God’s people and the Lord Jesus. In a climactic manifestation of his kingship, Christ defeats the rebellion.8

 

27-4 When Christ has subdued all enemies, including death, He will present the kingdom to His Father.9 The triune God will preside over new heavens and a new earth, and the people of God will dwell with him forever.10 All prophecies of Scripture will have been fulfilled. God’s eternal kingship, having been established and vindicated by the royal exercise of the Son, will now be present and manifest in full glory over all creation forever and ever.

 


 

1 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all (Psa. 103:19). His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation” (Dan. 4:34).

2 The LORD works out everything for his own ends – even the wicked for a day of disaster (Prov. 16:4). Surely the wrath of men brings you praise, and with the remainder of wrath you arm yourself” (Psa. 76:10).

3 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Gen. 1:26).

4 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17). The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom. 8:19-21).

5 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Heb. 2:9). For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’” (Acts 2:34-35). But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).

6 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved (Rom. 10:9-10). Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).

7 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. … On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:11,16). He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore (Isa. 2:4). With righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked (Isa. 11:4).

8 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. … When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle … But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:2-4, 7-10).

9 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery (Psa. 2:8-9). Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:24-26).

10 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (Rev. 21:1). No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever (Rev. 22:3-5).

 

The Committee presents the following:

 

Resolved: That the article on the Kingdom of God be adopted as first reading and further,

Resolved: That the article Kingdom of God replace Article 27 The Millennium in the Articles of Faith of the Faith and Order of the Bible Fellowship Church.

 

 

Study Committee on the Kingdom of God: Calvin T. Reed, Chairman; Timothy J. Bertolet, Secretary; Davis E. Duggins, Robert C. Katz, Richard B. Ravis, John C. Studenroth.