A primary role of government is to maintain peace. One way in which governments attempt to maintain peace is through law enforcement. Every government creates laws for the people to obey. But not all people obey the laws of the land, and therefore peace is disrupted. Governments have two main ways of dealing with law breakers who disrupt the peace of society:
- They attempt to change the law breaker’s will, via counseling or fines or threats, etc.
- They suppress the law breaker’s will, via prison or death, etc.
What this means is that in order to maintain a peaceful society people either have to die or be physically suppressed or have a change of heart. A government cannot just let everyone be how they naturally are, because every society has law breakers and disrupters of peace. Therefore, because there is evil in every generation, intentional action is always needed to suppress the evil and keep the peace. This brings us, then, to the words of the prophet Isaiah, who spoke of the coming Messiah, also known as the Prince of Peace:
A great question to ask is will this kingdom of the Prince of Peace (the kingdom of God) maintain peace like the governments of the world or will peace be maintained in a new way? To answer, we must understand who is in the kingdom of God, and how they got there. The kingdom is populated by those who have had their hearts supernaturally changed by God’s Spirit.
Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3: 7 – 8)
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1: 13)
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach…(Colossians 1: 19 – 22)
Since God supernaturally changes the hearts of those who are brought into His kingdom, there are no dissidents to be jailed or killed, for everyone who is born of God wants to be in God’s kingdom. So yes, the kingdom of God operates very differently from the kingdoms of the earth, when it comes to maintaining peace. Everyone in the kingdom desires to be there, desires to obey the laws of the kingdom, and desires peace.
But what about those who say the Biblical teaching on hell proves that God’s kingdom operates just like the kingdoms of the earth, suppressing wills by inflicting violence?
Those people are mistaken.
Hell is not a place for those within the kingdom of God whose wills need to be suppressed. Hell is a place for those who were never part of the kingdom of God, during their life on earth. The final judgment and the sending of people to hell is not a purge of malcontents from the kingdom of God; it is the removal of God’s enemies, who are outside of His kingdom.
The second coming of Christ, which Advent anticipates, will consist of the Prince of Peace ruling over His people, whom He will give new and sinless hearts. Together they will occupy a physical space from which the kingdom of evil has been forcibly removed forever. The result of it all is the Son of David, Son of God, reigning supreme, with His government perpetually ruling a peaceful people on a prosperous plot of land, with no threats ever approaching the border.
Regarding this coming kingdom of the Prince of Peace, John the Revelator summed it up nicely: