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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 24. The Reign of God
We place our hope in the
reign of God and in its fulfillment in the day when Christ our ascended
Lord will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He will
gather his church, already living under the reign of God according to
the pattern of God's future. We believe in God's final victory, in the
end of this present age of struggle between good and evil, in the
resurrection of the dead, and in the appearance of a new heaven and a
new earth. There the people of God will reign with Christ in justice,
righteousness, and peace.
We believe that God, who
created the universe, continues to rule over it in wisdom, patience,
and justice, though sinful creation has not yet recognized God's rule.
Faithful Israel acclaimed God as king and looked forward to the
fullness of God's kingdom.  We affirm
that, in Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection, the time of
fulfillment has begun.  Jesus
proclaimed both the nearness of God's reign and its future realization,
its healing and its judgment. In his life and teaching, he showed that
God's reign included the poor, outcasts, the persecuted, those who were
like children, and those with faith like a mustard seed.  For this kingdom, God has appointed
Jesus Christ as king and Lord. 
We believe that the
church is called to live now according to the model of the future reign
of God. Thus, we are given a foretaste of the kingdom that God will one
day establish in full. The church is to be a spiritual, social, and
economic reality,  demonstrating now
the justice, righteousness, love, and peace of the age to come. The
church does this in obedience to its Lord and in anticipation that the
kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord. 
We believe that, just as
God raised Jesus from the dead, we also will be raised from the dead.  At Christ's glorious coming again for
judgment, the dead will come out of their graves"--those who have done
good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the
resurrection of condemnation."  The
righteous will rise to eternal life with God, and the unrighteous to
hell and separation from God. Thus, God will bring justice to the
persecuted and will confirm the victory over sin, evil, and death
We look forward to the
coming of a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem, where the
people of God will no longer hunger, thirst, or cry,  but will sing praises: "To the One seated
on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might
forever and ever! Amen!" 
(1) Exod. 15:18; Judg. 8:23; Zech. 14:9.
(2) Mark 1:15.
(3) Matt. 5:10; 8:10-12; 17:20; 21:31; Luke 6:20.
(4) Ps. 2:7; Mark 1:11; Phil. 2:9.
(5) Acts 2:41-47.
(6) Rev. 11:15; 15:3-4.
(7) 1 Cor. 15:12-58.
(8) John 5:28-29.
(9) Rev. 21:1-4; 7:9-17.
(10) Rev. 5:13-14.
1. The church is called to live now under the rule of God as a witness
to the reign of God. Our life together now is to be patterned after our
life together in the age to come. This means that the reign of God is
relevant to this world, and the ethics of God's rule should not be
postponed to some future time. Yet the church is not identical with the
kingdom, or reign, of God. Nor must the church harbor illusions that it
can bring about the kingdom fully in the present age, either all at
once or by gradually improving conditions in this world.
2. For some, the idea of
God's final judgment is problematic, because it seems to emphasize
God's wrath at the expense of God's love and mercy. God's loving
patience is so great that God will not coerce anyone into covenant
relationship, but will allow those who reject it to remain separated
from God. Moreover, God's justice means that unrepentant evildoers will
not go unpunished. Those who are suffering for righteousness' sake can
look forward to the coming reign of God as a time of vindication and
rescue from evil (Ps. 37; Rev. 6:9-11). In the age to come, there will
be surprising reversals as the powerful are brought down and the lowly
lifted up (Luke 1:52-53; see also Luke 3:5).
This justice for God's
people involves the resurrection of the dead and eternal life for those
who believe in Christ (John 6:40; 11:25-26). Just as God raised Jesus
from the dead, so those who belong to Christ will be raised from death
to life (1 Cor. 15:15-21). Now we follow Christ in our mortal bodies;
we look forward to life in Christ with new, resurrected bodies (1 Cor.
The New Testament says
much about the resurrection. It speaks much less frequently and clearly
about the state of persons between the time of their deaths and the
resurrection. Yet, we who are in Christ are assured that not even death
can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).
3. Both in the present
age and in the age to come, the city of God has a political and social
aspect. It is a corporate body, ruled by God through Christ its Lord.
Even in the age to come, the city of God is not a disembodied spiritual
entity, but participates in the new earth as well as the new heaven.
See "The Church's Relation to Government and Society" (Article 23).
Jesus counseled his
followers against trying to set dates for the coming age (Matt. 24:36).
We should also be cautious about too narrowly identifying persons,
places, or events of the end times with particular people, places, and
happenings of the present. Instead, God's people should always live in
righteousness, praising God, following Christ, led by the Spirit,
awaiting in hope the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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