Series 1 - The Bible and You: Practical Answers—Real Hope
Hi friends! Welcome to the fifth lesson in our series about "The Bible
and You: Practical Answers—Real Hope."
When we face problems, whether crime in our neighborhood or unemployment,
threats of terrorism or potholes in the street, it is natural for us to
look to our governments to help solve them. But we've all heard the cynics'
comments about government:
- Henry Ward Beecher said: "The worst thing in this world, next
to anarchy, is government."
- Milton Friedman said: "The government solution to a problem is
usually as bad as the problem."
- And P.J. O'Rourke quipped, "Giving money and power to government
is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
Why does it seem that our governments are helpless in the face of problems
or can become the cause of more problems? Corruption plagues governments
around the globe. And conflicts between governments seem to spiral out
of control as our world becomes a more and more dangerous place.
But Jesus Christ promised a solution to all these problems! He is coming
back to this earth and promises a perfect form of government that will
truly serve your needs and the needs of every human being! Explore this
wonderful news from the Bible in this lesson, "A Real King Who Will Return
to Rescue Humanity."
Lesson 5: A Real King Who Will Return to Rescue Humanity
Humanity hangs on the brink of self-annihilation. Human governments can't or won't stop it, but Jesus Christ promised to come back to save us from ourselves. He also said He will come as the King—a real leader with real solutions to our most difficult problems!
The statistics, and the human stories behind them, are horrifying. Dictators,
tyrants and leaders of every stripe have cheated, robbed, starved, repressed,
jailed, tortured, raped and murdered their own subjects.
For example, some estimates claim Kim Jong Il was responsible for the deaths
of 4 million or more of his own people, an incredible statistic considering
North Korea has only about 23 million people. While he required his malnourished
people to watch the public executions of people caught stealing food or trying
to flee the country, he continued to spend extravagantly on his own lavish
According to the UN World Food Program, the average 7-year-old boy
in North Korea is almost 8 inches shorter than a South Korean the same
age and more than 20 pounds lighter (David Wallechinsky, "The World's
10 Worst Dictators," Parade, Jan.
Sadly, there are many more stories like this today, as there have been
throughout history. Think of Suharto, estimated to have embezzled $15
to $35 billion during his rule of Indonesia, and Stalin, who killed
thousands in his purges of "enemies of the people" and starved millions more Russians with "the worst
man-made famine in human history" (www.infoplease.com; www.pbs.org).
Before them were countless others—from Nimrod to Nebuchadnezzar to Nero to
Napoleon—with power and the corruption that seems to inevitably follow.
Share Your Story
God's Rescue Plan: The Return of the King
This world desperately needs leaders to pull us out of the death spiral
we seem to be in. We need leaders to protect us from terrorist attacks
and wars, crime and poverty, epidemics and financial crises. But too often
our leaders become mired in bureaucracy or entangled in corruption. Instead
of helping solve our problems, sometimes our leaders become a major cause
of our problems. The Bible shows that human leaders, both the best and
the brightest and the lowest of the low, will bring humanity to the very
brink of extinction.
But then God promises a new Leader will come to rescue us! This is the
good news—the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The best news ever announced
is that Jesus Christ is coming back soon as a real King to rule this planet.
His rule will have none of the shortcomings of human leadership, and He
will provide all the benefits earth's citizens dream of.
Jesus Christ is commonly known as our Savior. What other important
roles and titles was He prophesied to have?
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government
will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of
His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David
and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and
justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of
hosts will perform this.
"He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and
the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will
reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will
be no end."
Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to
"Are You the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking
for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?"
Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests
have delivered You to me. What have You done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom
is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants
would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now
My kingdom is not from here." Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You
a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a
king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into
the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is
of the truth hears My voice."
Jesus came the first time to give His life to become our Savior. But
as He said (and the Old Testament prophets and the angels proclaimed)
He was born to be a King. His second coming will highlight this role,
as His government and peace will increase forever (Isaiah 9:7).
The "throne of David" had messianic overtones (Jeremiah 23:5-6; compare
Isaiah 11:1, 10 and Daniel 7:14). It symbolized ruling over not just one
nation, but God's Kingdom, which will expand to include all nations.
When Christ said His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36, Greek kosmos),
He meant it was not of this order of things, this society. He was not
saying it was not of this planet. Kosmos can also mean "the whole
mass of men alienated from God" and "world affairs, the aggregate of things
earthly" (Thayer's Greek Definitions).
What will the world be like just before Christ's return?
Matthew 24:5-8, 21-22
"For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and
will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See
that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but
the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes
in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
The religious deception, war, famine and disease epidemics mentioned
in verses 5-8 parallel and help explain the four horsemen of the Apocalypse
described in Revelation 6:1-8. (You can learn more about these in our
reprint series The
Horsemen of Revelation.)
Verses 21-22 go on to describe an unprecedented time of trouble called
the Great Tribulation. Verse 22 also identifies it as a time when humanity
can wipe itself off the face of the earth, something that was not possible
before the invention of nuclear weapons. As the dangers in our world increase,
we can see we are rapidly approaching this terrifying time. (See Are
We Living in the Time of the End? for much more detail on this
What is the good news that Jesus and the New Testament Church
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the
gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority
over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom
of God and to heal the sick.
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world
as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."
Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received
all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things
which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding
Gospel is an old English word that means good news. Christ,
His original disciples, the apostle Paul and the first-century Church
of God all preached the same good news—that Christ would come back and
set up God's government, the Kingdom of God! This will not only prevent
human annihilation, but begin a time of peace and prosperity that will
spread around the whole earth.
How will Christ's return be heralded?
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven,
saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of
our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
The rulership of all nations will be transferred from the incompetent
hands of man to the perfect hands of our Creator, Jesus Christ (Ephesians
3:9). Christ will wear His title: "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation
What will the King of Kings do when He returns?
Zechariah 14:3-4, 9, 16
Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights
in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount
of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives
shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley;
half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall
Lord is one," and His name one...
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations
which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship
the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
After defeating the deceived armies of the earth who will make a futile
attempt to stop His return, Christ will take over as "King over all the
earth" (verse 9). Then will begin the massive effort to teach the way
of peace to all nations and to repair the war-torn world. (More about
this in the next three lessons.)
How is Jesus Christ's approach to leadership completely different
from what this world has known?
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers
of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise
authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires
to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires
to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man
did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom
Jesus' motivation and methods of leadership are never selfish. In fact,
He gave everything—even His life! Everything He does is for the eternal
benefit of those He serves. We will see more about how Christ is training
His people to serve others in the Lesson 7.
In this lesson we have seen that Jesus Christ will come back as a real
King to set up the Kingdom of God! In the next three lessons we will explore
more about this central focus of the Bible and the only real hope for
mankind: The good news of the Kingdom of God. A real kingdom has four
necessary elements: the King (discussed in this lesson), the
be discussed in Lesson 6), the
subjects (Lesson 7) and the
8). The reality revealed in the Scriptures is both a dream come true—and
beyond our wildest dreams!
In discussing the times of trouble leading up to His return, Jesus Christ
told His followers, "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be
counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and
to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). The context shows there
are two areas we are to watch and pray about: the conditions in the world
and our personal spiritual condition.
As you watch the world news today, jot down items that show the seriousness
of our times, and take them to God in prayer. Christ taught us to pray
"Your kingdom come" (Luke 11:2). And pray also for God's help to make
spiritual changes in your life. Make a commitment to watch and pray about
these two areas every day this week.
Next Lesson: God's Law of Love: Making Life Work
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Are We Living in
the Time of the End?
#1: Human Survival
Biggest News Story in History: CHRIST RETURNS!
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the Kingdom of God Mean for You?
Was Jesus' Gospel? from the booklet Jesus
Christ: The Real Story