PreMillennial Basics 2
At the very end of typing up my last post, I accidentally hit some key which deleted my entire post just before I finished. Fortunately there is this wonderful function call "undo". If only we had that option in life. Have you messed up to point where you don’t want to face someone? No problem! Just hit the "undo" button. Did you blurt out the most unimaginable thing and embarrass yourself completely? No worries! Our little "undo" button will solve all your problems.
As I began the last post, I thought that I would write a synopsis of both articles in one post. Toward the end, though, I realized with the length of the post that it would be better to break it up into two. Most people get bored with posts that are too long. I know that any readers of my blog (that I may or may not have) only possess so many hours in the day. So I have a slow-but-sure mentality in my posts. Even though I am off from work with more time on my hands, I’m not going to start posting tons of material which no one has time to keep up with. I’ll try to limit my posts to one per day at the most.
Anyway, here is the rest of what I intended to write in my last post. The article entitled "The New Testament Prophecies of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom" by Paul Toms is found in Watching and Waiting. It also contains many PreMillennial Basics that so many Christians are severely ignorant of. Just this past Sunday I heard someone say "we will be with God forever in heaven". Now I can’t outright deny this statement as I believe that heaven itself will break forth to the earth at the revelation of Christ. But statements like this show us that A-Millennial thinking is alive and well in our PreMillennial churches. Blue denotes direct quotes from the articles. Underlining is mine.
The article starts off anticipating what so many A-Millennialists presuppose concerning the mention of the thousand years in Revelation 20. It is my belief that where Scripture can be taken literally and with sense, then it must be taken literally; and where the language and words of Scripture obviously have a symbolic and figurative meaning then the meaning of the figure is to be sought out, prayerfully, for the understanding thereof. The speaker goes on to cite examples in scripture where literal time periods were predicted and fulfilled. Then he goes to Luke 1:30-33 with the mention of "the throne of His father David."
This intimates that He will have an earthly kingdom, a kingdom that will centre itself not only in the Nation of Israel, but also in Jerusalem where David’s throne was, His chosen city. The message went on to say that "He shall reign over the house of Jacob." This can only indicate that this rule shall be an earthly one; but the earthly reign will never detract from the heavenly reign, it will be alongside this and equal with it. The apostle Peter spoke of this when, on the day of Pentecost, he said that David had prophesied in the Psalms that God would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne (Acts 2:22-31). Now we know from history that the Lord Jesus Christ never, in His first appearing upon the earth, exercised this earthly rule, nor sat upon the throne of His father David.
The speaker concludes His rule is yet future.
The Teaching of the Lord Jesus
We look first at the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. We find His words to His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13. "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father Which art in heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven… Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." The Israelites looked, and many of them still look for the Messiah, the One Who will come and reign on this earth. This prayer that the Lord taught was not only for His earthly disciples but for all believers through this age to pray. It requests that God’s kingdom will come and that His will be done in the earth as it is in the heavenly courts above. We know that God reigns as sovereign in heaven and earth.
[But] We can say of a certainty that God’s will is not, at present, done on earth as His will is done in heaven. Yet the Lord teaches us to pray that this will be done, and we have a God who loves to hear and to answer the prayers of His saints. He has said in Isaiah 65:24, which is a millennial verse but with an application for all ages, "Before they (and the context here is the blessed of the Lord) call, I will answer." So God has already heard the prayers of His myriads of people who have thus prayed, for He has appointed a time when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come in power and in great glory and He shall reign Whose right it is to reign upon this earth. We should look forward to that age when the Lord shall reign triumphant upon this earth, and all nations shall be subject to Him, and His will shall be done upon the earth.
In Matthew 19:27-30, we read of Peter saying to the Lord Jesus that the disciples had forsaken all, and he asked what their reward would be. The Lord gave him the answer, "Ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." That "regeneration" is not the new heavens and earth, but a regeneration of the old earth. This is a period of great spiritual blessing upon the earth, when the earth shall witness the regeneration, the re-birth of many people. This would point to a time when Israel will have a national identity, something which we witness in these days, as the Nation of Israel has to battle against all those around her who would seek her removal from the face of the earth.
In Luke 22:29-30 the Lord spoke of similar things. Here again, He spake of the disciples "judging the twelve tribes of Israel", but He also said that they will "eat and drink at My table in My kingdom," a kingdom that has been appointed unto Him by His Father.
Luke 19:11-27 records the parable of the nobleman going into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom. In this passage the Lord taught that it was He Who was to leave (and now has left) this world scene. But the purpose of this is that He has returned to his Father in heaven to receive the kingdom unto Himself, for He said in John 14:3, that He will come again to receive His people unto Himself. But we read on in the parable that His command to His servants was to "occupy till I come," to use the talents that He has bestowed to each of His people, to bring forth fruit unto Him. He will also call to reckoning His own servants for them to account for what they have done towards the furtherance of His kingdom whilst He has been away. This will be when the Lord will return to this earth to take the heaven-given authority, to rule on this earth which has for the meantime been delegated to earthly rulers; but the scene of His humiliation and death will be the scene of His victorious triumph over the kingdoms of this world and they all shall become the kingdoms of our God.
The speaker briefly mentions the quotation of Psalm 118:26 in Matthew 23:30, then moves to John 5:24-29. At first, I thought this was weak, but later on, the speaker uses I Cor. 15 to come to the same conclusions as he does in this passage. And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know I agree completely with the conclusions from I Cor. 15. In John 5:24-29, We see initially that He spoke in verse 24 of the gospel age, and how that those who hear the Word of God and believe on Him shall pass from death unto life and shall not be condemned. He then went on to state that as the Father has given to the Son life, so He has also given to Him authority to execute judgment. But we notice from the verses that the order of the events shows that there is belief in the Lord Jesus Christ that exempts believers from condemnation, then there is the resurrection of life when the dead in Christ shall rise first; followed by the giving of judgment to the Son of God; and finally we have the second resurrection when those who have done evil shall rise to a resurrection of damnation.
We then look at the Lord’s words as He departed bodily from this world. His disciples asked Him the question in Acts 1:6-8, "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" They had come to see that in His first coming He did not fulfil the prophecies in relation to this. The Lord, far from making any denial of what non-millennialists would call an absurd question, stated that it was not for them to know the times and the seasons in relation to these matters. Before the Lord comes again, before He will restore the kingdom to Israel, the gospel is to go forth throughout the whole world, to every nation, tongue and tribe. He made no denials of a kingdom being restored to Israel, but just that it was not for them to know the time of this.
The Teaching of the Apostles
The speaker starts out with Acts 3:12-26. At the repentance and conversion of Israel, verse 19, the times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord when He shall send Jesus, verse 20. He also speaks of the times of restitution of all things, verse 21, and the promise for all kindreds of the earth to be blessed through Israel, verse 25.
Acts 15:14-18 is a passage which speaks about a dissension in respect of the Gentiles hearing and believing the gospel but not being circumcised. James said that God had visited the Gentiles to take out a people for His Name, a people elect from the foundation of the world. It is after these people have been brought out (verse 16) that He will return, and what would He do? He will rebuild the tabernacle of David, and the residue of men will seek after the Lord. These two ages, the present age of the in-gathering of the elect, when the Lord will take out a people for His Name, and the age when the residue of men will seek the Lord, are intersected by His return, signifying there will be a time, after His return, when the residue of men shall seek Him. Great insight, Mr. Toms.
Let me just add to the insights above that had the salvation of the Gentiles and formation of the church been something which the prophets spoke nothing about, why did the apostles point to this very prophecy as being fulfilled in their very time? James was correct in citing this passage from Amos which clearly states that when Christ returns to rebuild the tabernacle of David that there will already be Gentiles called by the name of the LORD. How few of our current Bible students are unaware of the application of this passage!
We come now to the Book of Romans and perhaps our thought turn straightaway to chapters 9-11 which speak so much of the restoration of the Nation of Israel. But in chapter 8:22-23 the apostle spoke of the whole of creation groaning and travailing. Paul did not speak of a new creation, but of this current creation being delivered from the bondage of corruption. So we come to those chapters that deal with the restoration of Israel. In chapter 11 we read that "God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew" and that as the falling away of the Nation of Israel has been to the blessing of all nations, so the gathering in of them, when they shall be grafted back into the "tree," will be to the greater blessing and enriching of the world. Paul said that God will raise out of Sion the Deliverer, and He shall turn ungodliness away from Jacob (verse 26). The fulfilment of this prophecy is not the in-gathering of the redeemed, but the restoration of the Nation of Israel.
We turn to the letters to the church at Corinth and in 6:2-3 Paul spoke of the saints judging the world. This judging is not in the context, as we see it today, of passing sentence upon people, but more in the ruling of the world by the saints. They shall rule the world and pass judgment in the matters of life. Paul then spoke of the judgment of angels, and Jude wrote about this judgment of the angels which fell from their first estate. This is when the Lord shall reign with His saints upon this earth. We then turn to chapter 15:23-28, where we see the order that God will have in resurrection, "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then… the kingdom… when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet." Christ must and will put down all His enemies before He presents His people to God, and this putting down must only be upon the earth, where He will reign. The last enemy is death, and death will be present till the end of time. As the apostle went on to say, "death is swallowed up in victory" (verses 54-57). This is a quote from Isaiah 25:8 where the prophet spoke of the time when Israel shall be delivered. In 2 Corinthians 3:13-16, we see that Israel shall be delivered, when they turn to the Lord with their whole heart, then He will take away the vail that is blinding their minds.
We come to the Epistle to the Hebrews where Paul quoted much from the Old Testament, and in particular, from the Psalms. In chapter 2:5-9 he spoke of "the world to come," and said that God hath not put it (the world) in subjection to the angels, but went on to say that all things are put under the subjection of His feet, and here he is talking about the Son of Man Who has been crowned by God with glory and honour. He was made for a while to be a little lower than the angels, but God has set Him to be over all the works of His hands. But in the final part of verse 8, Paul said that this has not yet happened. This speaks of a future time when all creation shall be under the rule of King Jesus,
when He comes to reign over all creation upon this earth.
The Teaching in the Book of the Revelation
Turn to chapter 2:26-27, where we have that blessed promise of the One Who stood in the midst of the candlesticks, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He said, that he that overcometh, and keepeth, or abides by His works to the end, shall have power over the nations and shall rule the nations with a rod of iron. This can only mean an earthly kingdom, for it is a ruling over nations, and there are no nations in heaven; and there will be no need in heaven to rule with a rod of iron for only the redeemed of the Lord shall be there.
In chapter 3:21 we have a distinction between the throne of God in heaven and the throne of the Lord Jesus, which is the throne of His father David upon this earth. Once more, the promise was to those that overcome, that they shall sit with Him upon His throne, i.e. to rule over the nations. In chapter 5:10 we have the new song that is sung to the Lamb, that He has made us to be kings and priests
(note: better translation is "made them to be kings and priests"), "and we shall reign on the earth" (again: better translation is "they shall reign on the earth"). This is a wonderful promise of Scripture that though we now live in days when the wicked flourish, there will be a day when the saints will rule in majesty upon this earth. Then we read in chapter 11:15 those remarkable words confirming all that the prophets, and particularly Daniel, had spoken in centuries gone by, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." There will be a day when all earthly kingdoms will be handed to our sovereign Lord, and He shall rule over the nations in majesty. John, in his vision, heard that song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb, and he recalled in chapter 15:4 that "all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest."
Then the speaker comes to Revelation 20 regarding the Millennial rule of Christ. And what other conclusion can we come to with the above scriptures speaking to us so plainly. He sets for the classic PreMillennial position here as it has been set forth in the previous New Testament scriptures.
For those of you who have made it through to the end of this post, remember my comment above about someone saying "we will be with God forever in heaven"? Instead of language like this, what if we starting speaking and thinking in terms of the PreMillennial position? We would say things like, "I’m looking forward to Christ coming again and restoring this earth to what He originally intended it to be". "I can’t wait to receive the inheritance that God has for me in His Kingdom." "I don’t have time for the things of this age, my heart belongs to the age to come when Christ will be ruling the nations." We would pray for His kingdom to come, like He commanded. Think about it.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13 (now you know a better context for the verse)
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