The Millennium – Part 1
God's Plan for the Ages – Dispensations Lesson #30
October 21, 2014
"Father, we are thankful for this time we have to come together this evening to focus upon Your Word for Your Word is a clear source of stability for us and tells us that You have declared the end from the beginning and that you are in charge of history. That no matter what may happen within history, no matter how chaotic things may get in our own individual lives or in nations; nevertheless, we know that You are in control. Our Father, we are so very grateful for all that You provided for us. Father, this congregation stands for the truth of Your Word and we seek to faithfully teach it and also to apply it as well as to explain the gospel to those who come into our periphery; and that is really our mission, primarily evangelism and secondly education of those who are believers. Father, we pray that You might help us to focus more consistently in our own lives on opportunities to communicate the gospel to those around us; for ultimately the only hope for this nation come through the gospel and a return to biblical values. Father, we pray for this election that began today, at least in Texas for early voting. We pray that You will provide good leaders for this nation as a result of this election and we can turn back the tide that has been sliding in the wrong direction for so long. And that we can have some strong leaders who can focus, can lead, and can direct this nation in a way that will restore stability and financial prosperity to this nation. We know that that can only happen on the basis of Your Word.
And Father, we pray for Jeff, for Jim, for others who are involved with this DM2 ministry down in Brazil over the next week of so. We pray for opportunities for them to make the gospel clear, to teach Your Word well, and we pray that You would keep them healthy that they would be strong, they would be rested, and that You would watch over them. And Father, we just pray for us tonight that we would be responsive to the teaching of Your Word, understanding more clearly Your plans and purposes and the destiny for each of us as we continue our study in dispensations and Your plan for the ages, in Christ’s Name, Amen."
Tonight we are coming to the end (slide 2). Open your Bibles with me to Revelation 20 and we’re going to start working through what the Scripture teaches about the Millennial Kingdom. We’re looking at the Millennial Kingdom and just to give us a framework (slide 3) we’ve looked at Church Age, which ends with the Rapture, then there is a transition period before the beginning of the Tribulation. The Tribulation lasts for seven years. It begins with the signing of a treaty between the Antichrist and Israel and ends with the Second Coming of Christ rescuing Israel from total destruction, destroying the Antichrist, and sending the Antichrist and the false prophet directly to the Lake of Fire, and also confining Satan and the demons to the Abyss for the duration of the thousand years of His reign on the earth. So this is what our focus is; it is on this kingdom. This is really important to understand. How we view the future impacts on how we understand the present. How we view the future in terms of God’s plan and purpose impacts our understanding of the spiritual life today: where we are going in our spiritual life; why it is important to live our spiritual life and to persevere in obedience; what God is doing in us in preparing us for our future destiny to rule and reign with Him during the Millennial Kingdom.
The end of the Tribulation is sort of the culmination of God’s judgment upon the angels and mankind for the rebellion against Him; and then when the Lord Jesus Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom we enter into a new environment. It’s not an environment of perfection, as we have in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall, but it is an environment where the curse of sin has rolled back to some degree. For example, the passages we’ve studied before: the wolf will lie down with the lamb, the child will put his hand into a cobra’s den; and it will be a time when men will beat their swords and spears into pruning hooks and plowshares and man will learn war no more. So it will be a time of relative utopia. There will still be sinful men. One of the lessons we see for the Millennial Kingdom is that even though it is perfect environment; we have perfect rule, perfect government, perfect education; we have an administration that is ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ and administered by the resurrected saints from the Old Testament (OT) for Israel, and from Church Age believers over the Gentiles; that nevertheless, there will be problems because the people who are born during the Millennial Kingdom still have a sin nature.
So one of the things that is pointed out in the Millennial Kingdom is that the real problem isn’t our environment; it’s not the government; it’s not politics; it’s not the education system; it is the sin nature; it is that we are all basically flawed and unless we are walking in obedience to the Lord there’s really no solution. Right now we are in the midst of the political season, especially with the election that comes up in two weeks. Early voting started yesterday. I hope you have all voted early and it is already over with, but that is what we need to do to be involved, but it is the ultimate solution. It is simply part of our responsibility and obligation as believers during this age.
We are looking at the Millennial Kingdom and its role and purpose. Among Christians we know that not all Christians, not all Bible believing Christians believe in a literal future reign of Christ. This last week I received an email from George Meisinger that came from a retired Brigadier General, who has got some background in biblical truth and doctrine, who is going to a Presbyterian Church. That raises all kinds of questions because Presbyterians usually don’t believe in a literal millennium. He teaches a Sunday School class and wanted material from Chafer Seminary on the Millennium because he was going to be teaching on the Millennium in Sunday School. George wanted to get some material via the program that Tom Wright has put together. George emailed me and wanted to know how to contact Tom. Tom was able to put together some material to send to this retired general to teach in this Bible class.
This may not be the kind of thing where you are running into an issue in your experience of why this is important, but it is. It also plays a role in how some Christians view politics today. There is a group of Christians known as Christian Reconstructionists. They do not hold to a future literal Millennium as a 1,000-year reign of Christ upon the earth. They are generally postmillennial and they believe that the church is going to eventually have revival from the Holy Spirit and that through this revival that the Millennium will be brought in and Jesus doesn’t return until the end of the Millennial Kingdom and so that is their focus. These folks are very much involved in a lot of education. They have been working for forty years and producing a lot of home school material. If you or your children are homeschoolers it is very likely that a lot of the material that they are using, that teaches history and teaches politics, is produced by people who are coming out of this Christian Reconstructionists postmillennial background. That doesn’t mean the material is bad, but it means that if you’re teaching this through a lot of this curriculum you need to have your radar on because this will show up at different times within the curriculum. They are also vehemently anti-dispensational and to listen to them, the next worst thing in history to the Antichrist is John Nelson Darby, who was the theologian who systematized dispensational theology.
There have been several debates that have taken place between people like Tommy Ice and Dave Hunt (and the Reconstructionists). One time back in the 1980s there was a major debate that took place in the Dallas area between them and Gary DeMar and another one who was on the Reconstructionists' side, but they had a huge debate. This impacts politics. Why would I bring that up? I’m not going to be able to tie all the dots together on this, but one of the ministries that is post-Millennial just this last week or so, when this issue with the Houston mayor came out, one of their writers put out an article, an editorial, and an e-mail; and his position was diametrically opposed to what I explained last week. In fact, some of what I said was directed toward correcting this notion. He had not done his homework and he was saying this is that the conservatives are making a much bigger deal out of this. I am not sure how this connects to his post-Millennialism, but I do know that Charlie Clough replied in a very well informed e-mail straightening this individual out. I am just saying that this issue related to the future kingdom of Christ on the earth is an important issue and does play an important role within a lot of political discussion, how you view history, and how you view what is going on in the here and now; because how you view today is often shaped and shaded by how you view the future.
When we look at Scripture (slide 4) and we understand Scripture on the basis of a literal, historical, grammatical interpretation, it is pretty clear that the Bible presents the kingdom of Israel, the kingdom of Christ, as a literal earthly, geopolitical kingdom. In the announcement of Jesus’ birth, the angel Gabriel informs Marry that she is going to conceive; she is going to give birth to a Son who will be great. In Luke 1:32 Gabriel says “He will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” When you read that you think that this is an earthly throne; that this has to do with David’s literal throne where he ruled from Jerusalem. You don’t think that this is some spiritual throne up in the heavens. So literal interpretation, the way you would normally read this, is that this is a literal throne on the earth.
The next verse (slide 5), Luke 1:33, Gabriel goes on to say, “and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” Again, we take this as a literal physical kingdom. Mary doesn’t ask him, well, what do you mean this kingdom? What do you mean the throne of David? She understands exactly what the angel is announcing because she has read her Hebrew Scripture and she understands exactly what he is talking about; that is the frame of reference. We have studied this in our study in Matthew; that when John the Baptist and Jesus showed up on the scene saying, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” people didn’t go, well, wait a minute, we haven’t heard about this kingdom; what do you mean? They were very clear on the concept from what they had already learned from the OT. In the OT, as you will see, there is this presentation of a future literal kingdom.
The word “Millennium” (slide 6) that we use is one of those words that are based in Latin. It is a word that means a “thousand.” It is taken from the Latin word mille, which means “a thousand” and theologically it is used to refer to the thousand-year reign of Christ based on the text of Revelation 20:1-6. It is very clear in the Greek. The word for a “thousand” is used five times. It is almost as if God is saying: “Knock-Knock-Knock-Knock! Hello! Pay attention! It is a 1,000 years!” Five times in six verses or seven verses He says it is a 1,000 years! It is very clear when people come along and say, well wait a minute, it’s not really 1,000 years. So mille is a Latin word for a 1,000. In Greek the word for thousand is CHILIOI. In the early church they were called CHILIASTS. Those who believed in a literal future 1,000-year kingdom were called CHILIASTS. We call them premillennialists. They believe that Jesus will return “pre” or before the millennial kingdom.
How do we know that this is literal because that is the battle, whether or not this is a literal 1,000-year reign from a literal throne in literal Jerusalem (slide 7)?
1. We learn from our study of Revelation that symbols in Revelation are all either defined in Revelation or they’re elsewhere in the Scriptures.
See what happens is the other side, those who don’t agree with us, would say, well, this isn’t to be taken literally. A “thousand” is just a symbol for a long time or a period of perfection. It is not to be taken literally as a specific number. The answer to that is that these symbols in Revelation always speak of something that is literal and they are defined as something literal, even though you have the woman who rides the beast; she represents a literal geopolitical kingdom.
2. We notice is that the term “a thousand” (1,000) is used five times in this passage, which indicates that this means something; that God is trying to get the point across.
3. We see that there are other numerical terms such as the 1,260 days, 42 months, and 3½ years that are viewed as literal in the book of Revelation. In fact, when we look at Revelation 7 we are told that there will be 144,000 selected from the twelve tribes of Israel. And then John says, it will be 12,000 from the tribe of Judah, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin, 12,000… and he goes through the whole list of each tribe and lists all twelve tribes and says there’ll be 12,000 from each one. He really is driving home the point that those numbers should be taken literally not the 12,000, just some sort of ideal number, but that each one of those twelve tribes will have 12,000 selected who are sealed for a specific mission during the Tribulation period.
So since the other numbers in the book of Revelation are presented as numbers we should take literally, when we get to Revelation 20 the number 1,000 should not be taken as symbolic. It should be taken as literal.
4. The basis for belief in the Millennium is in OT prophecies (and promises and covenants). The only thing that we have that states the length of time for the kingdom as 1,000 years is the Revelation 20 passage. But there are dozens and dozens and dozens of passages in the OT that predict a future literal geopolitical kingdom on the earth based in Jerusalem where the Messiah reigns over the earth from Jerusalem.
So as we look at the verse (slide 8) let’s just walk through a little bit, Revelation 20:1, John says, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.” The bottomless pit is the abyss.* Remember when we were studying in Matthew just two or three weeks ago; and we studied the episode where Jesus casts the demons out of the two Gadarene demoniacs and they’re questioning Him: Are you here already or are you going to send us into the abyss?
The fact that they’re asking shows that they understand that the next thing that is going to happen to them judgment-wise is that they would be confined to the abyss. This is where Satan will be confined and even though Satan is the only one who is mentioned in Revelation 20, based on the fact that in all the gospels they all record this conversation that Jesus has with the Gadarene demoniac and that is their concern: Are we going to be going into the abyss now? So that is clearly their destiny. Somebody asked me this not long ago and was wondering if just Satan or Satan and the demons were confined. At that time I didn’t click to what was being said with the Gadarene demoniac conversation, but having gone through it I think that is exactly what happens. It is that Satan and all of the fallen angels that have followed him are confined in the abyss until they are released at the end of that 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:2-3 (slide 9), “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while." Then in Revelation 20:4 (slide 10) we read, “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:5 (slide 11) “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished….” Revelation 20:6 “and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
When we read that how many people here think that a thousand years just means a long time? It is not to be taken literally? I mean, if you just look at the terminology it would be that way, but you have a large group of people (slide 12) who come along and say that this not to be taken literally. They are what is known as amillennialists, which is kind of an odd word in terms of its creation because that prefix “a” comes from Greek. “Mille” comes from what language? Latin; the alpha privative, which is what it is called, comes from Greek. So you take a Greek prefix, which basically means “not.” It is like the English prefix “un.” You take a Greek prefix and attach it to a Latin word. So somebody just made it up. It’s a strange little word. It is called “Amillennialism” which means no Millennium, no 1,000-year earthly kingdom. And for these folks, they believe that 1,000 is merely a symbolic number.
The chart here shows how they view the kingdom. They view us as being in the kingdom right now. Now when you look at those descriptions of the kingdom where the wolf and the lamb lie down together and the child puts his hand in the cobra’s den, and people are beating their spears and their swords into pruning shears and plowshares; it is pretty obvious that if this is the millennial kingdom in any way shape or form, something is really, really wrong! Unless, of course, you are an idealist and you really believe in the United Nations (UN) because that verse from Isaiah 2 that talks about beating your swords into plowshares and your spears into pruning hooks is carved over the entry of the United Nations building. That verse (Isaiah 2:4) is talking about the real genuine military peace that the Messiah will bring to the world.
But if you are a utopic liberal, and I repeat myself, if you are a liberal and all liberals are utopic; that is essential. They don’t believe that people are essentially bad. Then you really believe that mankind and government can improve the earth and bring in the kingdom. That idea is very close to the postmillennial idea. There is a liberal and a conservative view of postmillennialism, which we will get to a little later on. But the liberal view of postmillennialism from the 19th century was that we were getting better and better in every way and that we could bring in world peace. That was destroyed on the fields of Flanders in World War I (WWI). WWI was such a horrible bloody violent vicious war that it destroyed all of that optimism; so much so that theologians wrote that postmillennialism was dead after that. But it has reared its head again, but from a conservative viewpoint.
Amillennialism is a view that there is no literal kingdom and what they have is a spiritual kingdom and that is this blue shaded box here. “Christ is reigning from His throne now in heaven” and that runs coterminous or runs at the same time as the Church Age. So, according to them we are in the Kingdom; Jesus is ruling; the Kingdom is in your heart and Jesus is ruling from heaven. They view the “First Resurrection” that Revelation talks about as being spiritual. That is what happened when you trusted Christ; you were resurrected. You went from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive, so that they don’t interpret Scripture literally. Then at the end, sometime in the future, Jesus is going to return to the earth. They have no Rapture, nothing like that at all. Jesus just returns to the earth and this is the “Second Resurrection” and all judgment will take place at that point and then we just go into eternity with the new heavens and the new earth. That is basically the amillennial position. They see us living in the Kingdom right now, but it is not a literal earthly political kingdom for them because they don’t believe in literal interpretation.
Zion, which used to refer to Israel, Mt. Zion. That Mt. Zion has sort of shifted its reference a few times. Mt. Zion originally referred to the old city of David, which is just south of the Temple Mount. Now it refers to the mountain just to the west of the old city of David, and generally it is applied to Jerusalem as a synonym sometimes or to all of Israel; but in the OT it always refers to the Jewish focus, especially the Jerusalem focus in God’s plan. But for the amillennialists Zion no longer means Israel or anything related to literal physical Israel; it refers to the church. They make no clear distinction between Israel and the church; that Israel was the church in the OT and the church is Israel in the New Testament (NT). Israel is no longer a term that refers to those who are physically biologically related to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is their non-literal interpretation that shows up. They don’t make a distinction between Israel and the church and so we are in the kingdom now and we are the kingdom and God no longer has a plan or purpose for Israel. They also teach that if these passages like Revelation 20 teach that Satan is going to be confined during this 1,000 years. If we are in that 1,000 years and this is just a symbolic number, then Satan is bound right now. Satan is not alive and well on planet earth as Hal Lindsey termed it in the title of his book. They believe that Satan is bound right now, but their concept of being bound just means that he is not quite as powerful as he was before; they change the meaning of the word “bind.” As we see, amillennialism changes or spiritualizes the plain meaning of Scripture.
What is interesting is that amillennialism is somewhat related to postmillennialism because both of these views have their origin in Covenant Theology and Calvinism. Now before you really go too far with that, a lot of premillennialism has its origin in a Calvinistic framework as well, but not the covenant aspect of Calvinism. So postmillennialism, emphasizing that word “post” (slide 13), means that Jesus comes back at the end of the Millennium. He returns after the millennial kingdom. So that means that they view, even though they see that life may even get much much worse on this planet, that eventually as God the Holy Spirit works in the human race, the church will emerge victorious. They are very optimistic. In fact they will refer to us as pessimillennialists because we see things just getting worse and worse until the Tribulation, and how much worse can it get than the Tribulation. So you guys are just a bunch of “pessimists” and they are optimists. They’re optimillennalists. They believe in a utopic view that somehow the Holy Spirit is going to work and improve culture and improve society. That is why these guys are producing so many, in some cases really good works on the law from the OT, on a biblical view of society and culture and politics and law. These guys produced some great works on American history and that is because they believe that this will become a model pattern for this future improvement that comes biblically.
We have to be careful. These conservative postmillennialists try to be biblical, but they still have a non-literal interpretation. But they do produce some good material related to history and culture and law. It is just the framework in which they put it that has to do with this utopia. They do view a future utopia that the church will bring this in, bring in the kingdom, and bring in world peace, but it is not the liberal view of it, but it is still the same idea. And it is not until all this gets brought in by the church, and then Jesus will return. For them the Church Age is not identical with the Kingdom (slide 13). The Kingdom gradually comes in towards the end of the Church Age and they would probably say they were somewhere in this area right here in the middle of this graph and not toward the end of it. They see a continual progress. I don’t know about that. I don’t see much of a progress over the last 2,000 years, but they do. Like the amillennialists they see the First Resurrection as spiritual conversion and then the Second Coming is when there is the Second Resurrection and then all judgment takes place and then into eternity. So there are a lot of similarities.
What’s interesting is as a baby boomer I recognize that the baby boomer generation, and that is a technical term. It refers to everybody born from January 6th or 7th, 1946 that is exactly nine months after the end of the war in Europe. If you look at the demographics on births, on January 6th it goes like this (arm motion upward). I mean it just takes this leap because everybody got really excited and celebrated when the war in Europe ended. And made a lot of babies! And that is why it is called the baby boom. That graph goes sky high and stays sky high until 1963 and then it drops like a rock; and so all those born between about January 6th or 7th until 1963 are considered baby boomers. Baby boomers were characterized by a lot of different things, but one of them was we’re characterized by a lack of respect for authority generally speaking; that they were a rebellious generation. But when you go to seminary you are really restricted in how you can manifest your rebellion. If you went to Dallas Seminary one of the ways you would manifest rebellion, during the time that I was there, is that you would become a hyper-Calvinist and you would throw away your dispensationalism and you would go covenant or go amillennial.
If you were at Westminster Seminary, which was sort of the Calvinist counterpart to Dallas Seminary, then you would throw away your amillennialism and you went postmillennialism. That was sort of the time when postmillennialism was reborn and everything grew very rapidly and the influence of people like Rufus Rushdoony and Gary North and a number or the others really began to grow and take root. So that is just a little bit of a historical perspective. This (slide 13) pictures postmillennialism. I remember when I first went to seminary you hardly heard the term postmillennialism. In fact (slide 14) there was a book written by this guy, Lorraine Boettner, who was a postmillennialist. I remember Randy Price saying you need to get this book because it is the only book in print on postmillennialism. He recommended Boettner’s book and this is what Lorraine Boettner says in that book: “That view of last things which holds that the kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals.”
The postmillennialists don’t view this as a political end crusade. They are not trying to do it through politics. Some people have misrepresented them that way because Christian Reconstructionists tend to be very involved politically, but they don’t see that the politics is the way to bring in the kingdom. I just need to make that clear so it’s not misrepresented. The idea of postmillennialism has quite a history. Back at the turn of the last millennium, not long after that, there was a huge fervor of eschatological expectation when they were approaching that first millennium. You think Y2K stirred up a lot of excitement, well when it was Y1K they thought that Jesus was coming back and everything was going to happen and Revelation was going to come true and it didn’t happen. There was probably more disappointment then than there was in A.D. 2000 when Y2K didn’t actually take place.
One of the major figures at that time, who lived from A.D. 1135-1202, so that would be in the 12th century, was a man by the name of Joachim of Fiore who was an early exponent of a postmillennial scheme and he tried to present sort of a periodization of history based upon the Trinity. He said in the OT the first age is the Age of the Father when mankind lived under the OT. The second age is the Age of the Son, the period of grace that was covered in the NT. And then now, the third age is the Age of the Holy Spirit, which he said began in his lifetime, around A.D. 1260; and during that age all of the world would be converted and then Jesus would come back. He’s got sort of a rudimentary postmillennial system.
The real father of postmillennialism was a Anglican clergyman by the name of Daniel Whitby who lived from A.D. 1638 until 1726, the end of the 1600s early 1700s, and he wrote quite a large number of books one of which is called A Treatise on the True Millennium. He taught that after the world was converted then the Jews would be restored to the land. You had a lot of postmillennialists in the 1700s and even in early 1800s who were very pro Israel. Whitby was very pro Israel and believed in a future restoration of the Jews to the land. So a lot of the theologians and pastors that were a part of British restorationism in the 1700s were postmillennialism up into the early 19th century, but then as an emphasis on a literal interpretation became more consistent in the 19th century, Anglican clergy shifted away from postmillennialism and amillennialism to premillennialism. One Anglican theologian by the name of J. C. Ryle commented that probably half the Anglican clergy, half the English clergy in the 19th century were premillennial, and of course all of them would be very pro Israel and very pro Jewish. They were postmillennial but they were pro Jewish; whereas the modern iteration of postmillennialism is very much out of a different covenant theological strand and they are not as pro Israel and as pro Jewish as Whitby and those in the 19th century.
Now we come to premillennialism (slide 15). This is a chart showing premillennialism. We are now living in the Church Age. We believe we are sometime near the end of the Church Age. The Rapture will occur then the Tribulation takes place. This ends with the Second Coming of Christ, which precedes the Millennial Kingdom, and then that ends with the great white throne (judgment). So the first resurrection is the resurrection of the dead, which are OT saints and the dead Tribulation saints. The first resurrection actually comes in two stages. One occurs with the rapture of the church. The rest of it occurs at the end of the Tribulation period. Then we have the Millennium and the second resurrection, which is the resurrection of the dead unbelievers at the end of the millennial kingdom and the great white throne judgment. This is the picture of these three different approaches to the Millennium. So, what do premillennialists believe (slide 16):
a. Premillennialists believe that a literal interpretation of the OT covenants and promises to Israel in the OT require an earthly kingdom, a physical earthly geopolitical kingdom.
b. They believe also that the Millennium is the last of the ages in time.
The millennial kingdom will end with the destruction of the present heavens and the present earth and there is a creation of the new heavens and new earth and we go into eternity. The messianic kingdom is literal and forever. It has two stages: Stage one is the 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth, there is the judgment, and we go into Stage two, which is on into eternity.
c. Eternity will not come in until the Millennium is complete according to passages such as Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1. So eternity does not come in until after the great white throne judgment.
d. (Slide 17) The Millennium will be characterized by the binding of Satan and the severe limitation of sin. There will be a rigorous government that will impose harsh penalties on criminality and sin in that arena. There will be a righteous rule upon the earth and it’s characterized in Scripture in several places that the Lord Jesus Christ rules with a “rod of iron.” This isn’t going to be some sweet little liberal Sunday School Jesus who is patting everybody on the head. It will be a very strong righteous rule during the millennial kingdom.
e. Revelation 19-21 must be interpreted sequentially. These events take place one after the other. These are not just presented as random snapshots, but there is an order of events:
i. (Slide 18) Christ returns in Revelation 19. That comes first. Remember there weren’t any chapter divisions in the Greek Text.
ii. Following Christ’s return Satan will be bound for a thousand years.
iii. Saints are resurrected at that time, the Tribulation saints are resurrected to reign with Christ for the thousand years, Tribulation saints and OT saints. They will be resurrected. Remember, Church Age saints are already resurrected at the Rapture before the Tribulation.
iv. Satan is released at the end of the thousand years or near the end of the thousand years and he will lead a final revolt against God in what is called the “Gog and Magog” revolution. So this is different from the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion of Gog and Magog into Israel. Those are two different things.
v. The devil is then cast into the Lake of Fire. The devil and the demons are cast into the Lake of Fire in Revelation 20:7-10.
vi. The unbelievers of all time will be resurrected to stand at the great white throne judgment, Revelation 20:11-15. God will rain down fire and brimstone and completely destroy this army that Satan raises at the end of the millennial kingdom and they are just going to be incinerated, instantly vaporized by God at the end of the millennial kingdom. Then all unbelievers are resurrected and we have the great white throne judgment in Revelation 20:11-15.
vii. Following that, God creates a new heaven and new earth, Revelation 21.
When you look at this literally and you look at the fact that there is an order of events here that is logical, then it helps to recognize that this is talking about a future literal kingdom that will be upon the earth. It is not something that is happening now. The next thing that we see that takes place. All of that had to do with point e from slide 17, which had to do with the order of events. Back to point f (slide 19):
f. None of the variations of amillennialism or postmillennialism can adequately account for the sequence of these events in the book of Revelation.
They so allegorize or spiritualize what the Scripture says that that sequence of events is not explainable by them. And finally in this overview or this summary:
g. The premillennial position puts the literal return and reign of Christ within human history and it is visible to the world. This is a demonstration of God’s grace and God’s judgment. So we are not merely believing in some just sort of general spiritual victory near the end but it is a belief that God will specifically and genuinely intervene in the course of the world to bring about justice and peace.
That God isn’t just off somewhere in heaven; and that is important to realize as believers because we live in a postmodern world that as a result of the influence of modernism, which denies revelation and authoritative revelation. They have so created a division between the so-called religious or spiritual and the everyday here and now that the religious isn’t supposed to affect/effect or impact the physical and the real. In other words, the religion, what you believe on Sunday morning should have nothing to do with your politics or your economics or how you vote in the voting booth and those things need to be kept separately.
If you pay attention to what is being said in this debate over this HERO ordinance and the referendum and the petitions; it is very clear that that is how the mayor understands this situation. They are asking for sixteen different types of communication. They took one out. They said we don’t want sermons; and as I pointed out Sunday morning, the term “sermon” does not have a technical legal definition. The term “speech” does not have a technical legal definition. These are not terms that are distinguishable. So when they ask for any kind of verbal communication with the congregation how is that distinguishable from a speech or a sermon? And so by saying, well we took the word “sermon” out, because “sermon” has to do with spiritual things, but we just want to know about their “speeches” and the kind of instruction they gave to the congregation. It is just smoke and mirrors. It is a head fake for people who don’t know very much and cannot think very clearly. Trust me, the mayor knows exactly what she is saying, she is not a dummy. I mean this respect for the mayor that I hear, oh, well, she really didn’t see those subpoenas and she doesn’t understand the significance. If I were her I would want to slap them silly except they’re trying to help her, but the reality is that she knows exactly what has been going on because they are engaged in a fishing expedition and lawyers cannot use subpoenas to fish for any kind of information they want. They’re restricted by that; so it is going to be interesting to see how this plays itself out.
But what we see here is that God of the Bible is involved. He is intricately involved in every aspect of our lives; He’s concerned about how we spend our money. He invented economics. He’s concerned about how we sing, what we sing; He is concerned about food; He is concerned about every detail in life. He is concerned about our relationship; He is concerned about politics; He is concerned about all of these things and there is information about all these things that are in the Word of God. He is not just off somewhere unengaged with what is going on in human history. He many not be directly revealing Himself in this Church Age, but He is nevertheless just as involved. We see that He will eventually be involved at the end of the millennial kingdom and bring judgment to bear. Let’s have an overview of the Kingdom of this millennial or messianic kingdom (slide 20), Revelation 20:1-10. First of all we need to look at a couple of different terms. When we talk about it as a “Kingdom” it emphasizes Jesus’ reign as King. There is a rule. There is a domain and there is someone in charge who is considered a king. That is a fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. The term Millennium emphasizes the length of the kingdom, so let’s just break it down in terms of the different categories that we’ve had. I think I have eight or nine different categories here related to how we distinguish a dispensation:
1. There is usually a steward, someone or a group that is responsible for God’s administration. God will administer the age on the earth through that individual or that group. So the person through whom God will administer the kingdom is Jesus Christ, as the Greater Son of David who will rule over the earth. He has sort of a dual aspect to His rule, one is that he rules over the earth and the second is He rules over Israel and over Jerusalem.
2. The term “Kingdom” emphasizes His (Jesus’) reign as King in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. God’s promise to David that David’s descendant would rule over Israel forever and ever.
3. Responsibility. The responsibility of the believer, the earthly believers during the millennial kingdom is to the King and His laws. The law during the Kingdom is not the same as the OT law. That was related to the Levitical priesthood. It is going to be different in the millennial kingdom. It is not the same. There will be some similarities, but there are some specific differences. So there is a responsibility to obey the King and to obey His laws.
4a. The test in the millennial kingdom will relate to accepting Jesus as Messiah.
Remember, those who survive the Tribulation as believers will enter into the millennial kingdom with mortal bodies and they will marry and they will procreate and their children will inherit sin natures.
Everything else is going to have the curse rolled back, but their nasty little sin natures are just going to be as bad as yours and mine so not all of their children are guaranteed to be believers. There will be many who will be unbelievers and it seems from the language, it is difficult to understand, but it does seem from the language in the prophets that no Jew will reject Jesus as their messianic ruler and Savior in the same way that no Jew rejected God’s provision for their deliverance under the tenth plague in Egypt. From all of the information we have biblically and extra biblically no Jew lost his life during that tenth plague because they all believed. Just because they all believed doesn’t mean God makes them believe. It is not a volitional violation. It’s that they all are going to respond; whereas in this dispensation and in the OT dispensation a lot of the Jews were characterized in the Scripture, both OT and NT, as being stiff-necked and rebellious. Apparently that aspect of their culture is going to pretty much end with the battle of Armageddon and not going to be a characteristic in the future. I can’t explain how that works. I can just tell you that’s what the Scripture says.
4b. All the new humans that are born are going to have sin natures and they are going to need to be saved.
5. (Slide 21) The failure is that there’s going to be a minority. When I say that it is going to be a large minority, 49.9% is a minority; right? We don’t know how large that minority is, but it will be a huge number according to Revelation 20 that will be seduced by Satan into a rebellion and they will follow him when he is freed at the end of that thousand years. They will follow him in a rebellion against God.
It shows that the problem isn’t the culture; the problem isn’t the education or economy or any of these other things we blame now. Everybody says, well if everybody would just quit smoking we’d all be healthy; if we got rid of slavery then we would have a perfect environment; if women got to vote we’d have perfect environment. No, it still doesn’t work. Okay, if everybody would just quit drinking and we got rid of demon rum then everything would be great! And that is what motivated progressivism. It’s utopianism. If we can just cleanup society; if we can just have a perfect education system; if everybody could just vote; if everybody could just run across the border of the Rio Grande and come into the United States then we’re going to have a utopia! Those aren’t the problems. The problem is sin. The problem is rebellion against God.
So what we see is that through the 1,000 years of perfect government, perfect environment; there won’t be any hunger, any plagues, illness, war, famine; yet the sin nature still revolts against God because people choose to reject God.
6. Grace will be displayed in that all of God’s covenant promises to Israel will be fulfilled. The Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled; the Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled; the New Covenant will be fulfilled; the Land Covenant will be fulfilled. All of these covenants will be fulfilled and it will be a time of unprecedented prosperity and peace and welfare on the whole planet because we have a righteous government and a righteous ruler.
7. There is a judgment factor that those who reject the gospel will be judged.
So this lays out the parameters and the characteristics of the millennial kingdom. Now one thing that I would add is:
8. (Slide 22) How does this fit with the angelic conflict? It helps resolve the angelic conflict because it demonstrates that the major issue is volition. This was Satan’s primary sin. He chose to go against God and he couldn’t blame it on anything else. When Adam and Eve sinned it was their volition. They couldn’t blame it on anything else; of course they tried. Eve said well it was the serpent. Adam said it was the women. They all tried to blame something else. What is demonstrated is that in the millennial kingdom it’s man’s problem. It is a volitional issue and that is the basic issue. This brings the angelic conflict to its final resolution.
Now next time when we come back we are going to continue talking about the background for the millennial kingdom because it is directly related to understanding all of those covenants before; so we will tie that together.
"Father, thank You for this opportunity to look at these things this evening, to see Your plan and purposes, how things are going to resolve themselves and how it’s only in the millennial kingdom that all of those promises, everything that is stated and promised and prophesied in the OT is finally brought together, tied together, and Your plan and purposes for history are finally resolved. Father, we pray that we might never forget that the major issue in history is volition and the focal point should be the Cross; that Christ died for our sins so that we could have everlasting life only by believing in Him and Him alone and we pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."