The kingdom of peace explained
Recently, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider engaged as a “futurologist” and brought the kingdom of peace “down from its pedestal”, as one of the assisting ministers put it, and “back into our reality”.
In the divine service on 14 November 2021 in our Berlin-Charlottenburg church in Germany he served with the familiar Bible text from Revelation 20: 6: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
The first resurrection is not a dream. In fact, it is simply divine reality, the Chief Apostle said. For Him the present, the future, or the past do not exist. What will happen is “as certain as though it had already happened to us”.
Blessed means: “Everything that makes up a person—body, soul, and spirit—will be completely satisfied in communion with God. All needs will have been met and there is eternal joy and satisfaction. The second death, meaning separation from God, can no longer take hold of us: “There will be ultimate happiness, which is no longer endangered.”
Holy means: “There is nothing earthly, nothing sinful any more.” The soul will be filled with divine life, the spirit will conform to His will, and the body will be like the body of the Risen One. Human beings “will be holy because God has sanctified them. God is active, but we must allow Him to work upon us”.
Holy also means “consecrated”. “Holy are those who have been consecrated to the service of God.” For “participation in the first resurrection is not a reward”, but a calling to a particular mission: “And that is glorifying Jesus. This is the mission of the priests of God.”
Reigning with Christ does not mean “taking control and reigning coldly and lovelessly with an iron hand. In fact, it means that we should already today treat one another with love”.
“These are not a thousand years as we count them. That simply means: it will take a very long time, but it will be a limited time. Long, but not indefinite. It will take long because God gives human beings the freedom of choice.”
“This is the kingdom of peace, as we call it in our New Apostolic terminology,” the Chief Apostle explained. Sometimes the term is misleading. Kingdom of peace does not mean that the conditions are like paradise. That will only happen in the new creation; that is much later.
“It is the kingdom of peace because Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, will be on earth.” That does not mean that all heads of state will be deposed. Rather, the reign of Christ means: “It will be manifest that He has conquered death and evil.”
Neither will the conditions of life on earth change, the Chief Apostle said: “People will continue to be born, to suffer, and to die. The separation between the living and the dead will remain. People will not see what is happening in the beyond.”
Satan will be bound, of course, but “that only means that he will not be able to prevent the gospel from being preached to all human beings”. “Human beings are still human beings. Evil is part of the human condition.”
Even in the kingdom of peace, faith in Christ is the only way to salvation. “Faith is much more than merely holding something to be true. Faith means devoting oneself to God entirely, trusting Him completely.” Not even His presence makes this any easier: “Remember when the Risen Lord came to the disciples. There were some who doubted.”
And how will the message of salvation be shared in the kingdom of peace? If Christ Himself walks on earth will there still be a need for messengers of Christ or signs of His presence? Will there still be Apostles or sacraments? “We don’t know,” the Chief Apostle said. “One thing is certain, however. Salvation will be bestowed and we are to contribute to this.”
“We must prepare ourselves for this,” the Chief Apostle said, citing three essential aspects. For one, we must make sure that God can work upon us. And then we must learn to love people as they are. And finally we must believe in the power of love.