Based on Psalms 45, 46, 50, 72, and 102 as a foundation, we saw the Messiah and His kingdom being established here on the earth. Then we took an extended tour of The Apocalypse of the Sabbath which is Psalm 92-99. We also looked at Psalm 2, Psalm 18, Psalm 21, and Psalm 110-118, otherwise known as the Grand Messianic Opus. Now it’s time to see things from our New Testament perspective. Why should it matter to us what those psalms in the OT prophesy is going to happen when the Messiah establishes His kingdom?
The New Testament does not change the Old Testament prophecies. As I noted in my post on Jesus and the Apostles’ views on the Messiah, they reconcile the prophecies, but do not override their original intent. The OT prophecies would be fulfilled literally, but in a mysterious way that many did not expect. The Messiah would first suffer, die, and be resurrected. Only some time after this would the Messianic Kingdom be established. There was never a time when Jesus or any of the apostles stated that there would be no literal fulfillment of the glory prophecies. In fact, the literal fulfillment of the prophecies at the first advent tells us that a literal fulfillment at the second advent is the best interpretation. Jesus literally was betrayed, suffered, and was pierced; it was not symbolic.
The Messianic Kingdom will be here on earth, not in heaven.
There are many scriptures in the NT which point toward our hope which is currently in heaven. But this will not always be the case. The psalms tell us that the Messiah is currently sitting at the right hand of His Father for a limited time only. There will come a day when He descends to rule His Kingdom from Zion. Jesus taught this during His ministry, but we forget the plain meaning of the scriptures. When Jesus and disciples preached that the Kingdom of God had drawn near, its power was literally working in their midst, Matthew 21:28-32, Luke 11:20. The work of the kingdom of God began with John the Baptist, Matthew 11:12-13, Luke 16:16-17, and continued into the ministry of Jesus and His disciples. Jesus proved that it was not the plan for us to ascend to a heavenly kingdom, but for God and Messiah to descend to mankind through the kingdom of heaven. God reaches down to us again and again.
“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus taught that those who are the blessed ones of the beatitudes are destined to receive the earth for an inheritance. This is an expansion on what was taught in Psalm 37 and Daniel 7:27. Further, there are two parallel beatitudes which state that these same blessed ones will inherit the kingdom of heaven. So how do we view the beatitudes? Jesus taught that this same group of blessed ones would inherit both the earth and the kingdom of heaven. It’s both/and not either/or. The solution is that the kingdom of heaven will be established here on the earth at some future point in time. But how do we balance this with the scripture in the same sermon which commands “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Obviously, Jesus was speaking to people living in a place where the kingdom of heaven was not established yet. Jesus condemned the current earth (current arrangement) as worthless but looked forward to a kingdom of heaven to be established at some future time. Matthew 16:27 teaches that the Son of Man will come from heaven to earth and give those heavenly rewards at that time. That treasure that we are storing up in heaven will be brought with Jesus to give to us when He comes. For the time being, those rewards await us in heaven but will be awarded here on earth.
“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus taught His disciples to pray for the kingdom to come to earth. When that happens, God’s will is done here on earth, just like in heaven. So the object of our prayers and efforts is not to abandon this earth, or to be whisked away to heaven, but for earth to be transformed into a place like heaven. The transformation will involve God’s will being done here on earth, just like in heaven. It’s such a simple lesson, but overlooked by so many. The petition within this prayer is for this earth to be transformed into a place where the will of God is done. Wherever God’s will is done, that’s where His kingdom is. Remember that His kingdom is His dynamic rule. The kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of heaven. When this prayer is finally answered, it will be a continuation of what God began when He gave the creation mandate in Genesis 1:28-30. God created the earth to be inhabited, Isaiah 45:18. Peter’s hope of the new heavens and new earth in II Peter 3:13 shows that Peter was not rewriting the hope of Isaiah 65-66. II Peter 3 explains that this current heaven and earth is slated for destruction by fire when Messiah comes again. Since God’s righteousness dwells in the new heavens and new earth that Peter writes of, this shows that Peter equated the new heavens and new earth with the kingdom of heaven. When His will is done here on earth, that’s where His righteousness will dwell.
The Messianic Kingdom is always portrayed as a multinational kingdom.
There will be individual nations within the Messianic Kingdom, some in submission to the Messiah, some not in submission to the Messiah. This is what we learned in the psalms. Psalm 2 shows the choice that the nations have when Messiah begins His rule from Mount Zion. Note that the nations do not go away, but become the inheritance of the Messiah, Psalm 2:8. Psalm 46 quite simply states that the nations will rage against Messiah, in response He stops the wars, then finally the LORD is exalted among these nations. Psalm 72 has the clearest vision of this multinational aspect of the Messianic Kingdom. Gentile kings fall before Him in reverence as He takes up the poor, needy, and oppressed as His chief concern, vs. 4, 10-14.
This is also what Paul taught when writing about the salvation of the Gentiles, Romans 15:8-12. He didn’t write that Gentiles become Israelites. Instead, Gentiles rejoice alongside the nation of Israel in the Messianic Kingdom. While every OT reference quoted in this passage in Romans is significant, I point to Isaiah 11:10 as quoted in Romans 15:12. Isaiah saw a future day (in Isaiah 11) when Messiah would come, smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, slay the wicked one, and begin to judge the poor of the earth, vs. 4. This would lead into a transformed earth where animals would be at peace with each other and with mankind, vs. 6-8. The earth would be filled with the knowledge of the LORD, vs. 9. At that same time, Gentile nations would seek after this Messiah whose resting place would be truly glorious, vs. 10. But far from God being done with Israel as a nation, at this time the second exodus will transpire, vs. 12-16. The Gentile nations begin to seek after the LORD at the same time that Israel is established as a nation.
Closing the canon, Revelation teaches the same thing. The overcomers are promised to have authority over the nations when Messiah rules them with a rod of iron, Revelation 2:26-27. When the city of the New Jerusalem descends to earth from heaven, there are nations existing here on earth, Revelation 21:24-26. The light of this city goes forth to the nations here on earth. The nations can be healed by the tree of life, Revelation 22:2. Some nations will walk in the light of the Messiah, some will not, Revelation 21:27, 22:14-15.
Gentile nations will be Christianized.
There is one issue that Post-Millennialists have right, they just place the event at the wrong time. Remember you Pre-Millers, Post-Millennialists don’t have everything wrong. Postmillennialism sees the nations being Christianized through the proclamation of the gospel. Christianized would be a term which I would use to describe a nation coming into the Messianic Kingdom. Christianized would mean Messiah-nized or coming under Messianic rule. Israel and then other Gentile nations will enter into the Messianic Kingdom as nations. They will retain their socio-political identity, but will now relate to the LORD Jesus and other nations through the New Covenant. It would be difficult to read Psalm 68:31, Isaiah 19:18-25, 45:14, 49:22-23 and 60:14 (and entire chapter) without this understanding.
But this is where I disagree with Postmillennialism. This process occurs after the glorious coming and a display of God’s wrath as Messiah begins His reign. Psalm 2 gives nations the choice: either submit to the Son willingly, or suffer His wrath. Psalm 72 shows that all nations will serve the Messiah, but this occurs during His reign here on earth from sea to sea. Psalm 46 tells us that He will make wars cease and then be exalted among the Gentile nations. I think Psalm 18 spells it out the plainest. After the Messiah defeats His enemies in a display of wrath, these Gentiles nations will come to trust in Him, Psalm 18:40-45.
This is, of course, exactly how it was fulfilled as David ascended the throne. The nations came against him, he destroyed their armies, then these nations submitted themselves to the rule of David. So these Postmillennialists have a great point, they just have it on the wrong side of the glorious coming of Messiah. Messiah comes in power and glory, and then the nations are Christianized. Those nations that refuse to submit to Messiah’s rule have only 1000 years. After the 1000 years are expired, Satan will deceive them once again. Portions of the earth that submit to Messiah’s rule will experience a transformation to paradise like conditions, Psalm 72:16, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 65:17-25, Joel 3:18, Amos 9:13. Nations that refuse will have even the rain held back from them, Zechariah 14:17.
Some nations may submit to the reign of the Messiah willingly by “kissing the Son”. Remember when David ascended the throne that most nations did come against him; but Hiram king of Tyre was his ally from the beginning, II Samuel 5:11-12; note the use of the word “kingdom” here. Other nations will have their military might smashed while the meek of those nations remain at home to inherit the earth, Psalm 18:41-45, Psalm 21:8-11, Psalm 110:5-6, Zephaniah 3:12. The devastation for some nations may be so great that they actually cease to be a nation at the time of the destruction, Isaiah 34:8-12. Sadly, some nations will have every opportunity to turn to the Messiah, but they will not through the entire 1000 year period, Zechariah 14:16-19, Revelation 20:7-9. This is not to say that some Messianic Gentiles (Christians) will be in those nations, but as a people group they will not experience a national salvation like that of Israel.
I’ll close this post with a quote from Rosenthal and then a thought from me. From the article titled The Woman and the Dragon from Zion’s Fire, the May/June issue of 2009 comes this quote:
It would be reasonable to expect that with the return of Christ to rule over the earth, the nations of the world would rejoice. At last there will be a King who will bring peace, joy, blessing, and righteousness to the earth. But instead, the apostle John surprises his readers with the response of the nations of the world to Christ’s coming with this blunt observation: “The nations were angry” (Revelation 11:18).
How shocking! How tragically shocking! For two thousand years godly men and women have prayed “Thy kingdom come.” But astonishingly, when Christ finally touches down on the earth at the end of this age, the sinful, unregenerate nations of the world will be angry. They will be characterized by defiant rage. The hostility of the nations will manifest itself in an insane attempt to fight against God and His only begotten Son.
I’m not saying that Rosenthal agrees with everything that I’m writing here. But he characterizes the nations which come against Messiah as unregenerate. This would give the impression that nations can be regenerated in some way. Will this happen? Will the nations be regenerated? I believe so, but in a way that we can’t completely comprehend. When Israel awakens from her spiritual sleep and her spiritual blindness is lifted, it will result in life from the dead, which is so much more than the reconciliation of the world, Romans 11:11-15. Psalm 33:12 seems to indicate that a nation can decide to have the LORD as their God. It is a corporate decision by the nation as a whole. It will determine the nature of the relationship between the Messiah and that nation throughout the course of the Messianic Kingdom. I’ll have more on this in another post. Until then…
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman