The Millenial Kingdom of God
When our Lord was on earth, Satan took Him up to an exceeding high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, but they had no charm for Him. There was no short-cut to universal dominion for our Lord; He knew that the challenge of sin had to be met first, and that the foundations of His Kingdom could be laid only at the cross. Let us rise to a higher mountain than that from which the kingdoms of the world were shown, the mountain of prophecy from whose lofty peak we may view, with supreme delight, the glorious reign of the Prince of Peace. On this holy mount, we may bathe in the glory of “things to come” and cry with renewed fervour, “Thy Kingdom come.”
The Scriptures leave us in no doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ will come back to earth to set up His Kingdom on a universal scale; righteousness will yet cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Our Great Melchisedec will minister blessings to all the earth, for as a priest upon His throne He is first, King of Righteousness as typified by David, and then, King of Peace as typified by Solomon. Let us look at five aspects of this wonderful Kingdom: its necessity, boundaries, nature, blessings, and purpose.
The Spirit of God emphatically has declared, “He must reign” ( 1 Cor. 15:25), and that for at least seven good reasons: (1) the Father’s decree ( Psa. 2:5-9 ). Amid the insurrection of earthly kings, the Father made His voice heard, “Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.” (2) The demands of justice ( Isa. 26:21 ); (3) the creatorial and redemptive rights of Christ (Rev. 5); (4) the cry of groaning creation whose deliverance is linked with His reign (Rom. 8:22-23 ); (5) the nature of His Kingdom which assures its perpetuity. All other kingdoms have the seeds of disintegration. Christ reigns over the minds of His subjects by truth, over their hearts by love, and their spirits by communion. These things we may enjoy in His spiritual Kingdom now, but the rule of Christ in the hearts of His own will yet expand to embrace the world when as King He comes back (Isa. 35): (6) The unity of all Scripture that puts Christ upon the vacant throne of David in Jerusalem (Rev. 19:10); (7) He alone is the remedy for the ills of a woe-begone world.
There are five conditions, however, which must be remedied before Christ can reign: the Church must be removed from earth, the Jew must be restored to the land of Palestine, the devil must be chained in the bottomless pit, the Lord Jesus must leave His Father’s throne in heaven and occupy His own throne in Jerusalem, and the enemies of Christ must be destroyed from the earth. There can be no Millenium while the Church is on earth, no Millenium while the Jew is scattered among the nations, no Millenium while the devil is at large in the world, no Millenium while Christ sits on His Father’s throne in heaven, and no Millenium while rebellious man shakes a God-defying fist before His face. The coming of our Lord alone can effect the changes that will transform our earth into an Edenic Paradise.
Every kingdom has its well defined boundaries. The Millennial Kingdom of our Lord is bounded by two resurrections, that of the just at its beginning, and that of the unjust at its close; by two thrones of judgment, one the judgment of the living and the other the judgment of the dead (Matt. 25:31-46. Rev. 20:11-15); by two great conflagrations (2 Thess. 1:5-10. Rev. 20:5-10); and, finally, by two new heavens and two new earths, the first partial, and the second final and complete (Rev. 6:12-14. 2 Pet. 3).
The dominion of our Lord will extend over every sphere of rule that the world has ever known. First, He will control the physical creation as this is typified in Adam’s threefold headship: over the creation, over the human family, and over the woman, Eve. Under the benign rule of the Son of Man, the curse will be removed from the earth, and this will result in the regeneration foretold by the Lord Jesus (Matt. 19:28).
Second, He will control all civil government as illustrated by Noah’s stepping out of the ark into a new earth. Righteousness will reign, and every defiance of His divine government will immediately be suppressed.
Third, He will control religion in the world as suggested in Israel’s history. The law of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. “All people that on earth do dwell shall sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.” As the glory of the Lord dwelt in the midst of Israel and shed its beams over the nation, so shall that glory return and shed its beams over all the world. “Blessed be His glorious Name forever, and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen and Amen.” Our prayers will then be ended and give place to everlasting praise (Psa. 72).
Fourth, He will control the world universally as exemplified in the great empires of the earth. Nations have sought and fought for this, but the right is reserved for the Prince of Peace. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; and shall fall down before Him and serve Him. Men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed (Psa. 72). “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord” (Isa. 66:23).
The titles of our Lord Jesus Christ are indicative of the extent of His reign: as Son of David He will ascend the throne of Israel; as Son of Abraham He will take possession of the land of Palestine; as Son of Man He will rule over the entire world, and the Kingdom of Stone (Israel under Christ) will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth (Dan. 2:34-35); as Son of God He will have dominion over the complete universe.
The blessings of the Kingdom may be viewed in three categories: physical, social, and spiritual. In the physical realm the curse will be removed from the earth, and “the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose…the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of our God… In the wilderness, shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isa. 35).
Man and animal will undergo a physical change, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing … The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa. 35).
In the animal kingdom, the ferocious nature of the beast will be unknown, “The wolf also will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together …And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp …They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11).
In the social realm, “He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth.” “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Psa. 46. Isa. 2:4).
It will bring joy and gladness to a people scattered and peeled, a social outcast among the nations (Isa. 18). Though poor Israel has yet to pass through the Time of Jacob’s Trouble when two thirds of the nation will perish in their sins (Zech. 13:8-9), yet God will refine the third part in the fires of the Great Tribulation, and bring them forth to look on Him Whom they pierced, and set them at the head of the nations, not the tail (Zech. 12:10. Isa. 4:1-6).
The Righteousness of Christ the King will bring to an end all social injustices. The oppression of the poor shall cease. The Church, though now rejected with her Lord and the off-scouring of all things, will be glorified to reign with Him for one thousand years.
In the spiritual realm, idolatry will be banished by the universal knowledge of the Lord. He shall be praised and worshipped from one end of the earth to the other.
The reign of our Lord in its mediatorial aspect is for one thousand years, but for an undefined period beyond that, His reign will be extended until all things are subdued to the authority of God, “He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet” (1 Cor. 15:25).
What we have said about the blessed reign of Christ is true, yet we must not forget that sin will still be present in the world, and so also will death. Many will be born into the world at that time by natural generation. These will inherit Adam’s fallen nature which will involve the necessity of regeneration through a personal choice of Christ. The flesh, apart from the devil, will prove a sufficient evil to keep many away from Christ. Should any lift his hand against the authority of Christ, he immediately will be struck down in his sins (Isa. 65:20); consequently, many will feign obedience, remaining inwardly rebellious. These will be the victims of the devil’s deception when he is loosed for a little season at the end of the Millenium (Rev. 20:7-10).
How long after he is loosed it will take the devil to deceive the nations again we do not know, and how long our Lord will bear with them, and perhaps plead with them, we cannot say. Moreover, what other parts of the Universe are stained by sin, we are not told. We are told, however, that the stars are not clean in God’s sight. What was it that defiled them? Is not defilement of the heavens linked with the fall of Satan and his hosts? All this requires the reconciliation of things in the heavens as well as things in the earth (Col. 1:20); of course, things are not beings. The infernal hosts headed by Satan will be cast forever unto the lake of fire. It is the spheres of their former habitations that will be brought back to their pristine beauty under the reign of the Son of God. We have no way of telling how long the period is between the end of the Millenium and the Eternal State. Dr. Trench has suggested in his book, “After the One Thousand Years,” that this period is called in Scripture (Eph. 1:10), “The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times,” and during this period Christ will gather together in one all things in Himself, both which are in the heavens, and which are on the earth. The reign of our Lord will gradually subdue all things unto God. When the last rebellion is subdued, when alienated territory is reclaimed, when the wicked dead are judged, when the last enemy is destroyed in the casting of death and hell into the lake of fire, “then cometh the end,’’ the end of time, and of the resurrection. Then shall the Son deliver up the Kingdom to His Father, and God shall be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Thus ends the great drama of time and begins the great Day of God, the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the new sabbath (Lev. 23:39) that will never again be disturbed by sin; the eternal repose of the redeemed creation of God.
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Where God’s finger points, there God’s hand will make the way.
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He tested me before He trusted me.—1 Tim. 1:12.
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God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.
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It is sad for a poor Christian to stand at the door of the promise, in the dark night of affliction, afraid to draw the latch, whereas he should then come boldly for shelter, as a child into his Father’s home.—Gurnal.
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I was crushed, so much so that I despaired even of life; but that was to make me rely, not on myself, but on the God who raises the dead.— 2 Cor. 1:8-9.