According to the
prophets, the goal of the Messiah’s coming into the world was the founding of
the Kingdom of God, into which a new, spiritually renewed Israel should have entered. The prophets described this Kingdom
fairly thoroughly. In this article we have taken as a goal to present the
prophecies relating to the Messiah, and to show how they were fulfilled in
Jesus Christ. We will present the prophecies relating to His Kingdom here
fleetingly, dwelling only on the main and most common qualities of this
When speaking of the Messianic Kingdom, the prophets portrayed it as a society
of spirituallyrenewed people. In addition, besides the Jews,
other nations were to enter into this society as well. The main distinctive
feature of this Kingdom was to be the abundance of the gifts of grace within
it. Receiving its beginning from the time of the Messiah’s coming to earth, in
the end of the world’s existence and after the universal judgment of God of the
nations, it was to be transformed in its external appearance. Then, on the new,
transfigured earth, all physical distresses will disappear, and there will
reign among the citizens of this Kingdom bliss, immortality and the fullness of
God’s blessings. This, in a few words, is the essence of these prophecies. Now
we will dwell on several particulars.
Speaking of the messianic times, the prophets pointed out, that they will be
the times of a New Testament (Covenant) between God and people. As we know, the
Old Testament between God and Israel was concluded in the presence of Moses at Mount Sinai.
At that time, the Jews promised to fulfill the commandments written on the
stone tablets, and they received the land, promised to Abraham (the Promised
Land), as a reward from God. Here is what is written about the New Covenant by
the Prophet Jeremiah:
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a
new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not
according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took
them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they
brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be
the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith
the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their
hearts; and will be their God, and they shall by my people. And they shall
teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know
the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest
of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember
their sin no more” (Jer. 31:31-34).
prophet Isaiah calls the New Covenant eternal: “Incline your ear, and
come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting
covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David” (Is. 55:3, see Acts ).
The distinguishing feature of the New Covenant, as compared to the Old, was
that other nations will be called to it besides the Jews, who all together will
form a new Israel, the blessed Kingdom of the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah
thus wrote about this summoning of the heathen nations in the name of God the
“It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the
tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee
for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of
the earth” (Is. 49:6).
A little further on the Prophet Isaiah expresses joy on this occasion:
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth in
to singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child, for more are
the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife...For thou
shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit
the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited” (Is. 54:1,3, see Gal. 4:27).
the prophet portrays the Old Testament Hebrew Church in the form of a married
woman, and the heathen nations — in the form of a barren woman, who will later
bear more children than the first wife. Osee also predicted the calling of the
Gentiles to take the place of the Judeans fallen from the Kingdom (Os. 1:9 and ). In the Old Testament period the affiliation with the
Kingdom depended on nationality. In the New Testament times the necessary
requirement for belonging to the Kingdom of the Messiah would be faith, about
which wrote Habbakuk: “The just shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4, Is.
In contrast to the Old Testament laws, written on stone tablets, the new law of
God will be written on the hearts themselves of the New Israel, that is, the
will of God will become an inseparable part of their being. This inscribing of
the law on the hearts of the renewed Israel will be done by the Holy Spirit, of which write the
prophets Isaiah, Zechariah and Joel. As we shall see, the prophets, when
speaking of the grace of the Holy Spirit, often call it water. Grace, like
water, refreshes, cleanses, and gives life to a person’s soul.
The prophet Isaiah first prophesied about the spiritual renewal: “For I will
pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will
pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Is. 44:3).
In Zechariah we read: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they
shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one
mourneth for his only son...In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the
house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for
uncleanness” (Zech. 12:10-13:1, 14:5-9, Is. 12:3).
A commentary from Sukkah 52a (ancient Hebrew writing on Zechariah 12:10): “What
is the cause of the mourning...It is well according to him who explains that
the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees
with the Scriptural verse, And they shall look upon me because they have thrust
him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son.”
Here, in addition, is predicted that penitent grief which the inhabitants of Jerusalem experienced after the death of Christ on Golgotha (see
John , Acts ). The
prophet Ezekiel also wrote about the spiritual renewal:
“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you
out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness,
and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart
out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of
flesh (flesh--soft, kind). And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you
to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them” (Eze. 36:24-27).
next prophecy of Joel supplements the three previous predictions:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my
spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your
old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the
servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I
will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars
of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to
pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered” (Joel -32).
predictions began to be fulfilled on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of
Christ (see Acts 2). Compare also with Isaiah 44:3-5, Eze. 36:25-27 and Rom. . The end of the prophecy of Joel about the darkening of
the sun refers to events before the end of the world.
The Messianic Kingdom is sometimes portrayed by the prophets in the form of a
high mountain. This symbol, taken from the holy MountZion, is comparable to the Messianic Kingdom because it, like a
mountain, leaning on the earth, leads people to the heights, to Heaven. Here is
how the Prophet Isaiah writes of the Kingdom of the Messiah: “And it shall
come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established
in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all
nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let
us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he
will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall
go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Is. 2:2-3). The
prophets called Jerusalem not only the capital city of the Hebrew nation, but
also the Kingdom of the Messiah. So, for example, Isaiah cried out:
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the
Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness
shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise
upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come
to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes
round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee.”
allegorical portrayal of the Messianic kingdom is repeated with new details in
a vision of the prophet Daniel. In his prophecy, besides a mountain, he speaks
of a stone, which tore itself from the mountain and destroyed the image (idol)
standing in the valley. The stone, as we have already explained, symbolizes the
Messiah. Here is the description of the vision:
stone cleaved from the mountain without the help of hands, it hit the idol’s
iron and clay feet and shattered them. Then, everything broke into pieces:
iron, clay, copper, silver and gold became as dust on the summer threshing
floors, and the wind scattered them, and no trace was left of them, but the
stone having shattered the idol became a great mountain and filled the whole
on the prophet Daniel explains this vision: “And in the days of these kings [Babylonian,
later — Persian, Greek, and finally, Roman] shall the God of heaven set up a
kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to
other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and
it shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:34, 44).
Here the idol represents earthly kingdoms. No matter how much the enemies of
the Messiah would feud against His Kingdom, their efforts will not be
successful. All the earthly kingdoms sooner or later will vanish, only the
Messianic kingdom will last forever.
Sometimes, as we shall see, the prophecies about the Messianic kingdom speak of
ideal living conditions on the earth, joy and bliss. Here the reader may begin
to have the following doubts: are these descriptions of the Kingdom an
impracticable dream? Or, maybe, the NewTestamentChurch itself does not have the right to lay claim to the name of
the Kingdom of God, since in its history there were so many deviations from
that ideal which is outlined in the prophecies?
In order to correctly understand the prophecy of the Messianic Kingdom, one
must remember, that often different epochs are united in them, separated one
from the other by many centuries, and sometimes — millenniums. For in the
Messianic kingdom the external is determined by the internal: happiness,
immortality, bliss, complete harmony, peace and other blessings are not
implanted forcibly and mechanically. They are the result of the voluntary inner
renewal, through which the members of this kingdom must pass. The process of
spiritual renewal was to begin immediately at the moment of the coming of the
Messiah, but will conclude at the end of the world’s existence.
For this reason, the prophetic visions of the blessed kingdom of the Messiah
encompass in one grandiose picture many eras of its existence — the times near
to the prophets and to the coming of the Messiah, and, simultaneously, times
far in the future, relating to the epoch of the end of the world and the
beginning of a new life. This comparison of the near and distant futures in one
picture is very characteristic of prophetic visions, and if one remembers this,
then the reader may correctly understand the meaning of the prophecies regarding
the Messianic kingdom.
In the following prophecy Isaiah writes about the joyous conditions in the
triumphant kingdom of the Messiah.
“… with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for
the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked... The wolf also shall
dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf
and the young lion and the falling together; and a little child shall lead
them...They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in
that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the
people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Is.
11:4-10, see Is. 43:16-28, see Rom. 15:12).
the “wicked” who will be slain by the Messiah, should be understood as
the last and greatest of the wicked — the Antichrist. Here are two more
predictions of the great prophets, referring to this same era:
Prophet Jeremiah: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise
unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall
be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer.
23:5 and 33:16).
Prophet Ezekiel: “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall
feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their
shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among
them.” (Eze. 34:23-24). And David my servant shall be king over them;
and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and
observe my statutes, and do them” (Eze. 37:24).
Among the Old Testament prophets, the coming Kingdom of the Messiah results in
the hope of overcoming the final evil of humanity — death. The resurrection of
the dead and eternal life is the final victory of the Messiah over evil.
Chapters 25 to 27 in the book of the prophet Isaiah contain a song of praise of
the Church to God, rejoicing over the victory over death:
“Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city
of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the
poor, a strength to the needy in his distress...And in this mountain shall the
Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on
the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And
he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people,
and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in
victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the
rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth...Lo, this is
our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have
waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For in this
mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest...Open ye the
gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou
wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he
trusteth in thee...Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn
righteousness” (Is. 25:3-10 and from the 26th chapter).
prophet Osee also wrote about the victory over death: “I will ransom them
from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be
thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction” (Hos. ). The hope of resurrection was expressed by the living in
ancient times the muchsuffering Job in the following words: “For I know that
my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see
God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job
In conclusion we will present the following prophecy, relating to the second
coming of the Messiah:
“Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to
the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given
him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and
languages, and everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom
that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14, see Matt. 24:30).
Summarizing here the given prophecies about the Messianic Kingdom, we see that
all of them speak of spiritual processes: about the necessity of faith, the
forgiveness of sins, cleansing of the heart, spiritual renewal, the outpouring
of blessed gifts on the faithful, the knowledge of God and His law, the eternal
covenant with God, the victory over the devil and the forces of evil. The
eternal blessings — victory over death, the resurrection of the dead, the
renewal of the world, the restoration of justice, and, finally, eternal bliss
will come as a reward for virtue.
If the prophets, in portraying future bliss, used expressions such as wealth,
abundance and similar worldly terms, they did this because the human language
does not contain the necessary words to describe that blessed state in the
spiritual world. It was these particular words about the external blessings,
understood by some in their crude materialistic meaning, that
served as the grounds for all sorts of distorted representations about the
earthly messianic kingdom.
It must be said, that not only the Jews of the times of Christ incorrectly
visualized the messianic times in the form of worldly well-being. Similar ideas
continue to arise to this day among the sectarians in the form of, for example,
the teachings of the 1000-year kingdom
of Christ on earth (chiliasm). The prophets, Jesus Christ and the
Apostles predicted the transfiguration of the physical world, after which
complete justice, eternal life and heavenly bliss will be realized. These
universally desired blessings will come only after this material world,
poisoned by sins, is transfigured by the power of God into “new heaven and
new earth, in which resides truth.” Then a new, eternal life will begin.
Those desiring to inherit the transfigured Kingdom of the Messiah must go to
this new life by the narrow path of self-reformation, as Christ taught. There
is no other way.