Coming World Crises --Part 16

Coming World Crises
Part 16

James Gunn

These are the notes of lectures given to the Men’s Bible Class which meets every two weeks during the winter at Central Gospel Hall, 25 Charles St. E., Toronto, Canada.

“Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” As a light shining in a dark place, during these lectures prophecy illuminated areas which to the human mind seem quite obscure:

The Future of the Ecumenical Movement.
The Return and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Future of the Nations.
Europe in Prophecy.
Who is Anti-Christ?
Russia Invades Israel!
Will the Church Go Through the Tribulation?
The Millennial Reign of Christ.
Climax of the Ages.

The Millennial Reign

Third, the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Psa. 89:34; Jer. 33:22-26): It has been pointed out that the three elements of God’s convenant with David are concisely stated in 2 Samuel 7:16: “thine house,” “thy kingdom,” “thy throne.” God promised that these three would be established forever. David accepted this promise in a most literal sense. In the Psalms he poetically records the promise saying, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before Me.”

Fourth, the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34): This covenant is also called the eternal covenant in Isaiah 24:5; 61:8. It is a covenant of grace, wholly dependent upon the faithfulness of God. The New Covenant in one respect is the extension of the Abrahamic covenant of blessing. This covenant deals with the matter of salvation, which is purely of grace. The New covenant, says Jeremiah, is not according to the terms of the covenant of the law made at Sinai. At Sinai God wrote His law upon stone that was broken; with the New covenant God will write His law upon the hearts of a restored Israel. This New covenant not only assures the recovery and salvation of Israel, but it also assures the world of blessing through Israel.

It is only upon the ground of the New covenant of grace that was sealed and ratified at Calvary that anyone is saved (Heb. 9:8-10:20).

The Apostle Paul reminded Titus that God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). In this all Christians concur; consequently, it must be maintained that God literally will fulfil these covenants which He made concerning His chosen people Israel.

Premillennial Preparation

During the premillennial struggle among the nations, God will not leave Himself without a witness, nor will this witness be unsuccessful. God will have a remnant among the tribes of Israel: “It shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the House of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the Mighty God” (Isa. 10:20-21).

God has sealed a remnant for Himself out of all the tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:1-8), and finally will regather them from the four winds of heaven (Matt. 24:31). He will gather them from the places to which they previously had fled during the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-19), the places where they undoubtedly will have spread the gospel of the kingdom.

Attention here should be drawn to the conclusions of many spiritually minded scholars. They suggest that some years, probably 40, that is two generations, will elapse between the rapture of the Church and the 70th week of Daniel. It is to men of a new generation that the gospel of the kingdom is preached. Man is lost (Luke 19:10); he is condemned already (John 3:18). Only by grace through faith can man be saved (Eph. 2:8). To neglect, not reject, the gospel results in eternal loss (Heb. 2:3).

The testimony of God’s remnant will result in the conversion of many Gentiles. These Gentiles form an innumerable multitude and are pictured in Revelation 7:9-17. That verses 940 and 15-17 describe a scene in time and on earth becomes clear from a contrast between the eternal state of the redeemed and the enjoyment of the Gentile multitude. In the eternal state of the Church there is no night, sun or moon (Rev. 21:22-26), and there is no temple. These Gentiles serve God day and night; therefore this must be a scene in time. Furthermore, they enjoy the sun, and serve God in the temple; consequently, this must be a scene on earth.

The Judgment of the Nations

The great Gentile multitude, the conversion of which caused the angels and the four and twenty elders to worship God, appears with all other Gentiles at the Judgment of the Living Nations (Matt. 25:31-46). There are some features of this Judgment of the Living Nations which must be considered: First, its time: this judgment takes place before the Millennium. It should not be confused with the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Great White Throne Judgment. Second, its purpose: The purpose is seen in the parables of the kingdom in Matthew 13 where the genuine is separated from the false at the end of the age: “So shall it be at the end of the world (age); the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from the just” (Matt. 13:49-50). “He shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend” (Matt. 13:41). Third, the Judge: The Lord Jesus as Son of Man is the Judge, “Before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. Those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb will be the sheep (Rev. 7:9-17). Fourth, the outcome: “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand (the sheep), Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). These are saved and purified not to be a part of the Church in Heaven, but to enter into the kingdom of the Son of Man on earth.

To the goats on His left hand, He will say, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire; prepared for the devil and his angels.”

There are some who find this passage in Matthew 25 difficult for they feel that it implies salvation by works. A consideration of the details in the light of Revelation 7 demonstrates that here we have works which accompany salvation. These Gentiles know the Lord and address Him as such. Their love to the persecuted Jewish remnant was a proof of their love to Him. In the attitude of these Gentiles we see how the godly of Israel will be helped when, figuratively speaking, “the serpent casts out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman (the nation through whom Christ, the man child, came), that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman… and swallowed up the flood” (Rev. 12:15-16).

Through the Judgment of the Living Nations the Millennium will commence with a population of Hebrew and Gentile believers, all faithful followers of the Lamb.

As God gave to humanity in Noah a new beginning after the flood, so He will give to those sealed and purified believers a beginning in a restored earth. Shall it likewise end in failure as did the Noahic beginning? Yes, sinful nature will manifest itself.

The Everlasting Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is eternal; the Kingdom of the Heavens is temporary. The Kingdom of God is genuine and pure; the Kingdom of the Heavens contains hypocrisy and sin. The Kingdom of God embraces all who have been born again (John 3:5-7); the Kingdom of the Heavens, both good and bad (Matt. 13:47-50).

The Kingdom of God is found throughout Scripture in three aspects: First, the spiritual aspect: The charge against Paul and his associates at Thessalonica was that they said, “There is another King, one Jesus” (Acts 17:7). Later, in writing to the persecuted believers in Thessalonica, Paul reminded them of “God who hath called you into His kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12). Similarly, in writing to the Colossians, Paul exhorts them to give thanks unto God their Father “who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).

There is a spiritual aspect of the everlasting kingdom which stands in contrast to Satan’s domain, and into this believers now enter.

Second, the kingdom in manifestation: In the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel told him, “In the days of the kings (while one of the four kingdoms was still in existence) shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44). That kingdom would cover the whole earth.

In teaching His disciples to pray, the Lord instructed them to say, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The Pharisees thought only of the kingdom in manifestation (Luke 17:20-21), and yet they ignored the presence of the King. Just before our Lord’s ascension, the disciples asked Him, “Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). They too looked for the kingdom in its manifestation.

Third, the everlasting kingdom: The Kingdom of God will never end. To the Lord Jesus it was declared, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness in the sceptre of Thy kingdom (Heb. 1:8). His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11. Of that kingdom it is stated, “His domain is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14).

The Character of the Millennium

Some of the major features of the Millennium will be: the restoration of Israel to the Lord and her prominence and glory among the nations, Christ ruling as Israel’s king, as the Son of David sitting upon the throne of His Father David (Luke 1:32). Under Him there will be a prince of the house of David to help in the administration of the affairs of the nation (Ezek. 37:25; 44:3; 45:7; 46:2).

There will be numerous beneficial changes when Christ establishes His kingdom on earth. We shall group some of these changes under seven groups:

Geological changes (Zech. 14:3-9): Christ shall return personally to the Mount of Olives. When He does an earthquake will divide the mountain leaving a valley running east and west, a valley that will extend from the eastern sea to the western sea. Into this valley living or flowing waters will stream, going out from Jerusalem toward the eastern sea, the Dead Sea, and toward the western sea, the Mediterranean. Some have concluded from this that Jerusalem during the Millennium will become a sea port. Be this as it may, these waters will never dry up; they will remain the same during summer and winter. They will irrigate the country imparting life where they flow.

Zoological adjustments (Isa. 11:68): This remarkable messianic chapter pictures the ferocious and domesticated animals as living and eating together. It pictures the infant as perfectly safe among reptiles of the worst kind, and an immature child imposing his will upon animals of the yoke and of the forest. This poetical picture is to impress upon all the calm, peace and security which will prevail throughout creation during the kingdom reign of our blessed Lord Jesus. See Isaiah 65:25.

Horticultural conversion (Isa. 35:12): Isaiah personifies the wastelands (deserts of sand and of ice) and speaks of their being glad because of a heretofore unknown fertility. So great will be the change when Messiah reigns that it will seem as if the glory, the ornament of Lebanon, her mighty cedars, has been imparted to the deserts.