The Coming Kingdom

We saw how the prophet Isaiah (pbuh) prophesied the coming Son of the Virgin which was fulfilled in the birth of Isa al Masih (pbuh) many hundreds of years later. However, other prophecies in Zabur also predicted a coming time of peace and blessing.

In the History of the Israelites, the prophet and King Dawud (pbuh) was the first of a line of kings established by Allah to rule from Jerusalem. However, after Kings Dawud and Suleiman (pbut) most of the Kings were wicked. So living in their kingdom then was like living under the rule of the many dictators today; there was war and fighting between people and between nations – just like today; there was corruption and exploitation of the rich over the poor – just like today; there was death and misery all around – just like today. But the prophets of Zabur said that one day – in the future – a new rule would be established. This would be a Kingdom characterized by justice, mercy, love, and peace. Read how the prophet Isaiah (pbuh) predicted how life would be in this rule.

He (Allah) will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation nor will they train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:4)

No more war! This certainly is not true of our world today. But even beyond peace between nations, the prophecies even predict a change in natural ecology.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

This certainly has never taken place (yet). But the prophecies extend even further to lifespans and personal security.

“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat … my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox…” says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:20-25)

Security, peace, immediate answer of prayers… None of these prophecies have happened – yet. But they have been Spoken and Written down. Many think that there is perhaps some mistake in these hopeful prophecies – but the literal fulfillment of the Sign of the Virgin’s Son should make us take these prophecies seriously – and seek for their fulfillment.

The Kingdom of God

If we reflect we can understand why they have not occurred yet. These prophecies were declared in the context of the Kingdom of God – the rule of God in lives and affairs of people. Read another prophecy from Zabur on the coming Kingdom of God

All you have made will praise you O LORD; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might. So that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all He has made. (Psalms 145:10-14)

This was a message given by the King and prophet Dawud (pbuh) around 1000 BC (see link here to see when Dawud & prophets of Zabur lived). This prophecy foresees a Day when, the Kingdom of God will be visibly established. This Kingdom will have glory and splendor, and it will not be temporary like human kingdoms – it will be everlasting. This has not been brought about yet and that is why we have not yet seen these other prophecies of peace come about – because this peace comes with the Kingdom of God.

Another prophet in the Zabur, Daniel (pbuh) who lived about 550 BC in Babylon as part of the Israelite exile there, explained further how this Kingdom would be established.

When Daniel (pbuh) lived

When Prophet Daniel (pbuh) lived compared to other prophets of Zabur

Daniel (pbuh) interpreted dreams sent by Allah to the Babylonian king to prophesy the future unfolding of kingdoms through history. Here is how Daniel interpreted a dream of this king of Babylon.

… The God of heaven has given you (i.e. king of Babylon in 550 BC) dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. …After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—…so it will crush and break all the others. … In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands…. Daniel 2: 36-45

This kingdom starts out small (‘a rock cut out of a mountain’) but will eventually rule forever, like the prophecy from Dawud (pbuh) in Psalm 145 shown above. So why is Allah establishing His Kingdom so slowly? Why is it taking so long? Why has it not come about yet? When you think about it, all kingdoms have the following components:

  • A King or ruler
  • Citizens
  • A Constitution or Law
  • Nature

So for example, let us consider Canada, where I live, as a Kingdom. Canada has a ruler – which today is Justin Trudeau our elected Prime Minister. Canada has citizens – of which I am one. Canada also has a constitution or law which determines the rights and responsibilities of all its citizens. Canada also has a nature, in this case it is located in a certain part of the earth which gives it a certain physical size, climate, natural resources etc. All countries and Kingdoms, past and present, have all these four components.

You and I are invited to the Kingdom of God

And this is also true of the Kingdom of God. We have already seen from the prophecies above that this Kingdom will have a special Nature (glorious and everlasting) and a Constitution (of peace, fairness, harmony in nature etc.). It is the other two components that make the Kingdom of God possible: its King and its citizens. We look at the King in the next article. In the meantime you may want to ask yourself if you would want to be a citizen in this Kingdom of God – even yearn for it like a thirsty person. Here is how the prophet Isaiah (pbuh), through his message, invites all people who would want to be citizens in This Kingdom.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! … without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David… Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. (Isaiah 55:1-6)

Allah is inviting all those who are ‘thirsty’ for this Kingdom to come to it, and the love given to the ancient king Dawud (pbuh) will also be extended to all those who come for it. If you have an invitation to come to something that means you do not yet have it.  But the fact that Allah invites us, means that He wants us to become citizens in His Kingdom and live in this rule of peace. So at this point we have many questions of ‘how’ and ‘when’ regarding the coming of this Kingdom which we will continue to look at in further articles about the Zabur.  But there is also one other question that only you can answer: ‘Do I want to be in this Kingdom?’

The Sign of the Virgin’s Son

In the Introduction to Zabur, I mentioned that the Prophet and King Dawood (PBUH) started the Zabur with the inspired writings of the book of Psalms, and that other books were then added by succeeding prophets. A very important prophet, considered to be one of the major prophets (because his book is so long) was Isaiah. He lived about 750 BC. The timeline below shows when Isaiah lived in comparison with the other prophets of Zabur.

When Isaiah lived

Historical Timeline of Prophet Isaiah (PBUH) with some other prophets in Zabur

Though Isaiah lived so long ago (about 2800 years ago) he made many prophecies predicting future events, as prophet Musa (pbuh) had previously said a prophet should make. As explained in the Introduction to Zabur, the kings that followed Suleiman (pbuh) were mostly wicked, and this was true of the Kings in the time of Isaiah. So his book is full of warnings of coming judgment (which happened about 150 years later when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon). However, he also prophesied far beyond that and looked deep into his future when Allah would send a special sign – never yet sent to humanity. Isaiah speaks to the King of Israel, who is a descendant of Dawood (pbuh), which is why this Sign is addressed to the ‘House of David’ (Dawood)

Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. (Isaiah 7: 13-15)

This was certainly a bold prediction! Who had ever heard of a virgin woman having a son? It seemed such an incredible prediction that for many years people wondered if there had been some mistake. Certainly, a man simply making a guess about the future would not state – and write down for everyone in succeeding generations to read – such a seemingly impossible prediction. But there it was. And from the Dead Sea Scrolls that exist today we know that this prophecy was in fact written long ago – hundreds of years before Isa (pbuh) was born.

Isa al Masih (pbuh) was prophesied to be born of a virgin

We today, living after Isa al Masih (pbuh), can see that it is a prophecy of his coming. No other prophet, including Ibrahim, Musa and Muhammad (pbut) was born of a virgin. Only Isa (pbuh), of all humans ever born, has come into the world in this way. So Allah, hundreds of years in advance of his birth, was giving us a Sign of his coming and was also preparing us to learn things about this coming son of a virgin. We note two things in particular.

Called ‘Immanuel’ by his mother

First, this coming son of a virgin would be called ‘Immanuel’ by his mother. This name literally meant ‘God with us’. But what does that mean? It probably had several meanings, but since this prophecy was declared to the evil kings whom Allah was going to judge shortly, one important meaning was that when this son would be born it was a sign that God was no longer against them in judgment but was ‘with them’. When Isa (pbuh) was born, it seemed in fact like the Israelites had been forsaken by Allah since their enemies ruled them. The birth of the son of the virgin was a sign that God was with them, not against them. In fact, the Injil in the Gospel of Luke records that his mother Maryam (or Mary) sang a sacred song when the angel gave her the message of her coming son. This song contained the following:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation… He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” (Luke 1:46-55)

You can see that Maryam, when she was informed that she would have a son though she was a virgin, understood this to mean that the Lord was remembering his Mercy to Abraham (Ibrahim) and his descendants forever. The judgments did not mean Allah was never going to be with the Israelites again.

The son of the virgin ‘rejects the wrong and chooses the right’

The amazing part of this prophecy in Isaiah is that this son ‘will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right’. What Isaiah is saying is that this son, as soon as he is old enough to make conscious decisions, will ‘reject the wrong and choose the right’. I have a young son. I love him, but for sure there is no way that on his own he is rejecting the wrong and choosing the right. My wife and I have to work, teach, remind, admonish, set an example, discipline, provide the right friends, make sure he sees proper role models, etc. to teach him to reject the wrong and choose the right – and even with all our effort there is no guarantee. As a parent while I am trying to do this, it brings back memories of my childhood when my parents were involved in the same struggle in teaching me to ‘reject the wrong and choose the right’.  If the parents do not spend all that effort and work, but just let nature takes it course – the child becomes one who does not ‘reject the wrong and choose the right’. It is as if we are struggling against a ‘moral gravity’ where as soon as we stop effort it goes downhill.

This is why we all lock the doors of our houses and apartments; why every country needs policemen; why we have banking encryption and passwords; and why we continually need to keep making new laws in all countries – because we need to protect ourselves against each other since we do not ‘reject the wrong and choose the right’.

The prophets even do not always reject the wrong and choose the right

And this is true even of the Prophets. The Taurat records that on two occasions the prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) lied about his wife saying that she was only his sister (in Genesis 12:10-13 & Genesis 20:1-2). It also records that the prophet Musa (pbuh) murdered an Egyptian (Exodus 2:12) and on one occasion did not exactly follow Allah’s command (Numbers 20:6-12). The prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is commanded to ask forgiveness in Qur’an (Surah 47:19) – showing that he too did not always reject the wrong and choose the right.

So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place. (Muhammad 47:19)

The following hadith from Muslim shows how earnestly he prayed for forgiveness.

Abu Musa Ash’ari reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) used to supplicate in these words: “O Allah, forgive me my faults, my ignorance, my immoderation in my concerns. And Thou art better aware (of my affairs) than myself. O Allah, grant me forgiveness (of the faults which I committed) seriously or otherwise (and which I committed inadvertently and deliberately. All these (failings) are in me. O Allah, grant me forgiveness from the fault which I did in haste or deferred, which I committed in privacy or in public and Thou art better aware of (them) than myself. Thou art the First and the Last and over all things Thou art Omnipotent.” (Muslim 35: 6563)

This is very similar to the prayer of prophet Dawood (pbuh) when he prayed for forgiveness for his sins:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin…Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. (Psalm 51:1-9)

So we see that these men – though they are prophets – struggle with sin and need to ask for forgiveness. This seems to be the universal human condition of all the descendants of Adam.

The Holy son of the virgin

But this son prophesied by Isaiah rejects the wrong and chooses the right naturally and right from his early age. It is instinct for him. For that to be possible he must have a different lineage. All the other prophets, through their fathers, trace back to Adam, and he did not ‘reject the wrong and chose the right’ as we saw.  As genetics passes the nature of the father to his descendants, so this rebellious nature of Adam passed to all of us and even to the prophets. But the son born of a virgin, by definition, would not have Adam in his lineage as a father. The parental line of this son would be different, and thus he would be holy. This is why the Qur’an, when recounting the angelic message to Maryam about her virgin-born son, called the son ‘holy

He (the angel) said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.  She (Maryam) said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?”  He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’:It is a matter (so) decreed.”  So she conceived him, (Surah 19:19-22) Maryam

The Prophet Isaiah (pbuh) was clear, and the later Books affirm – there was a son coming who would be born of a virgin, thus having no earthly father and would not have this nature of sin, and would thus be Holy.

Flashback to Adam in Paradise

But it is not only the later books that speak of this coming son of the virgin. It was also there from the beginning. We saw in the Sign of Adam that Allah had Spoken a Promise to Satan. I repeat it here.

“And I (Allah) will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman (Eve), and between your offspring and hers; he (offspring of woman) will crush your (Satan) head, and you (Satan) will strike his (offspring of woman) heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Allah will orchestrate that both Iblis/Satan and the woman will have an ‘offspring’.  There will be ‘enmity’ or hatred between these offspring and between the woman and Satan.  Satan will ‘strike the heel’ of the offspring of the woman while the offspring of the woman will ‘crush the head’ of Satan.  These relationships are seen in this diagram.

The characters and their relationships in the Promise of Allah given in Paradise

Please note that Allah never promised the man an offspring like he promises the woman. This is quite extraordinary especially given the emphasis of sons coming through fathers through the Taurat, Zabur & Injil (al kitab/ Bible). In fact, one criticism of these Books by modern Westerners is that they ignore the blood lines that go through women. It is ‘sexist’ in their eyes because it just considers sons of men. But in this case it is different – there is no promise of an offspring (a ‘he’) coming from a man. It says only that there will be an offspring coming from the woman, without mentioning a man.

Isaiah’s ‘son of a virgin’ IS the ‘offspring of the woman’

Now from the perspective of Isaiah’s clear prophecy of a son from a virgin it is clear that what was meant even long ago in the Garden was that an offspring (son) would come from a woman only (thus a virgin). I urge you to go back and read this discussion in the Sign of Adam from this perspective and you will see that it ‘fits’. All the sons of Adam from the beginning of history suffer the same problem of not ‘rejecting the wrong and choosing the right’ as our ancestor Adam did. So Allah, right then when sin came into the world, made a veiled promise that someone holy and not from Adam would come and ‘crush’ Satan’s head.

But how was this holy son going to do this? If it was about giving a message from Allah, the other prophets like Ibrahim and Musa (pbut) had already faithfully given messages. No, the role of this holy son was different, but to understand this we need to explore further in the Zabur.