Continuing from my last post, it is interesting that Amillennialists, Post-millennialists, and Preterists all claim that we are in the millennial reign today, and claim it is the purpose of the Church to reign NOW in Christ’s place! This has the effect of lifting up men, and not Christ, protests to the contrary notwithstanding. The bible however has much to say about the future reign of the saints on this earth, with Jesus personally living and reigning from Jerusalem.
The Multi-Faceted, First Resurrection
Revelation 20 tells us that the saints who die during the Tribulation will be resurrected and will reign with Jesus throughout the millennium;
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Here is the thing; The first resurrection has already begun. Jesus Christ is the first of the first resurrection, and His resurrection occurred almost two thousand years ago.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
In addition to Him, there were others who were resurrected at the same time;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Matthew 27:52-53
I have heard prophecy scholars state that these people were resurrected in natural bodies, like Lazarus, and that they eventually died again. The problem is that we hear nothing from any of these saints again. It is like they arose and then disappeared!
And, that is exactly what happened.
If they were resurrected in their natural bodies, we would expect that they would have joined the Church, and we would have heard of them in the history of the early Church. The passage says “many” of them arose, and so we should have heard many stories from them, unless they were not resurrected in natural bodies.
This is what I think happened, and this is what the evidence supports; These saints, who arose shortly after Jesus‘ resurrection, were resurrected in their eternal bodies, and they accompanied Him when He ascended to Heaven. No one ever saw them on earth again, because they went to Heaven. Though they are a part of Israel, and not the Church, they are also a part of the first resurrection.
This event shows us that the first resurrection is a multi-faceted event, and not a one-time only event, which onlyoccurs after the Tribulation. It has already begun! Thus, when the Tribulation saints are raised, it is a continuation of the first resurrection, which began right after Jesus was raised, and will resume when the Church Age saints are raised, before the Tribulation period begins at the time of the rapture.
You should note that the resurrection of Revelation 20:5 comes AFTER the armies of the saints in Heaven mount their horses, and return with Jesus to wage war against the Antichrist in chapter 19. Those armies will have already been resurrected from immediately before the time of the rapture, at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19:15
I am not convinced that the sharp sword is allegorical. I think it may be literal (see Isaiah 28:21), but note the next statement: “He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Jesus is not going to put up with any funny business, or hanky panky when He rules the earth. By “funny business” I mean sin. People who break His law will be put to death!
The Delusion of the Millennial Residents
This will lead to a time of unprecedented prosperity on earth. The side effect will lead many of those who are not put to death, to believe they are not sinners! The biggest sins of the millennial reign will be sins of the mind, but they are still sins, and those who commit them are still lost, though it might not appear so from the outside!
It is not hard to convince a murderer that he is a sinner, or a drunkard, but imagine how hard it will be to convince someone who’s only sins are sins of the mind, that he is a sinner. While the millennial reign of Christ will be the best time this world will ever experience, there is a deep undercurrent of unbelief that will spoil it for many. This is why Paul says;
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) II Corinthians 6:2
I don’t believe that one person who goes through the Tribulation, and makes it into the Millennial reign, will ever abandon the Lord. They will have seen such horrors, and such amazing things, that they will cling to the Lord for dear life, but their descendants will be a different story. Many of them will grow up at a time when the evidence of the Tribulation will be fading. The world will be an amazing place, and it will get harder and harder to believe the stories the old people will be telling, of the Tribulation, and of Christ’s victory over the Beast.
What else do we know about the millennial reign? Jesus will spend most of it in Jerusalem.
Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. Isaiah 24:23
Yes, Jesus is the Lord of Hosts!
Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. Zechariah 8:3
He spoke of this return in Hosea 5:15-6:3.
People will live a long time during the millennial reign, and earth’s population will explode;
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Zechariah 8:4-5
I think that when it says “every man” it means “every man who enters the millennial reign” will survive throughout this period. Not only is their purpose to repopulate the world, they are also here to be witnesses of the events of the Tribulation, to their descendants, for the duration!
When the Lord is ruling the earth in person, things will finally be done His way;
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18
Notice that His creation of the earth is for the purpose of filling it with people! His will shall be done. The modern earth with seven billion will seem like a small village compared to the earth of the millennial reign! Don’t listen to those who tell you the earth is overpopulated! It is actually quite empty! But, more on this later.
Earthquakes and their End
Several notable prophecies of the End Times speak of an increasing frequency of earthquakes as the Day of the Lord approaches (Mat. 24:7, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11, Rev. 6:12, 8:5, 11:13, 11:19, 16:18). These earthquakes are preparing to reshape the earth. As the Lord returns, the mountains will fall, the continents will expand, and the oceans will shrink. This will take the planet back to its pre-flood condition, it will provide millions more square miles of inhabitable land.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:3-5
These prophecies are literal… not allegorical, and not merely poetic! The Rockies, and the Himalayas, and the Alps, and Andes will all come down! Those who tell us the mountains took millions of years to form, will be astonished as they fall before their eyes (and maybe, on top of them!)! Those who build bunkers in the mountains will find themselves crushed by falling rocks;
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: Revelation 6:15-16
Who’s afraid of a lamb? But the great men of the earth, and all those who worship the Antichrist, will be hiding themselves from this Lamb! The only safe place is to be in Christ! So does the phrase “I come as a thief” mean that He is coming without warning? These and many other passages indicate that there will be warning enough!
The Millennial Earth
This is all leading up to His reign;
The deserts shall blossom;
1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2
Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Isaiah 35:6
The whole world will become a paradise,
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 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. 10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. Isaiah 11:6-10
(Note: Isaiah 14:29 associates a “cockatrice” with a “fiery flying serpent”, and while many believe this to be a mythical creature, I think it is a reference to a pterodactyl-type of dinosaur. The word “fiery” probably is a reference to its appearance. It could actually be telling us that extinct species of animals may revive, or may not be entirely extinct, as is commonly supposed.)
The exception to this paradise will be the lands of the Antichrist; Idumea, or Edom, and Babylon, which will be desolate, and earthly prisons for the demons. (Isaiah 13:19-22, 34:6-17)
The world will experience a time of peace that has eluded it since the Garden of Eden;
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and 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. Isaiah 2:4
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Micah 4:3
In a world where guns, tanks, and armored cars have replaced swords, how will they “beat swords into plowshares”? Not only will Israel use the material from these weapons to make tools and consumer products, but so will the rest of the world. This will be the situation for the Millennial reign, and all the energy that today goes into weapons research and production, will be channelled into producing useful products, and engineering marvels.
The picture Scripture paints of the Millennial reign is a most beautiful picture. It is no wonder that Hitler and New Agers today talk about a millennial reign as if it were theirs! But it isn’t It belongs to Jesus Christ!
But what of the time as the end approaches? The bible says that the millennial reign will only last one thousand years, so what of the unsaved people who live in year 989 of the millennium? What will be their reaction to the fact that the Lord is preparing to end it all? Like people throughout history, they will have a greater love for the works of their hands, than for the Lord Himself! They will look at the beautiful cities they have built, and at the amazing technology they have developed, and they will realize that it is all about to disappear and they will be aghast!
This is the time which Revelation 20 speaks about;
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
These people are descendants of believers, and have lived with the physical presence of the Lord on the earth throughout their lives. They have heard the stories of the Tribulation, and of Christ’s defeat of the Little Horn and his armies, they may have even seen the resurrected saints walking and talking in their neighbourhood, yet a little word from Satan, and they are ready to rebel again!
Living in a perfect world, living a holy lifestyle, is not enough to change the hearts of mankind. While the lifestyle of these generations will be more squeaky-clean than the most ardent fundamentalist legalists today, these masses of humanity will be just as lost as western secular society today, and probably more so.
This is why the Lord allows us to live in a sin-stained world. This is why we suffer hardship, disease and death today. While it doesn’t work this way for every one, there is a much greater chance that our sin will prick our conscience, and we will seek the Lord today, than in that day.
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) II Corinthians 6:2
Come back soon for the third instalment of this topic, there is much more to discover!
Brother Dan, you make some interesting statements, often with little explanation. For example, you said the following:
“This will lead to a time of unprecedented prosperity on earth. The side effect will lead many of those who are not put to death, to believe they are not sinners! The biggest sins of the millennial reign will be sins of the mind, but they are still sins, and those who commit them are still lost, though it might not appear so from the outside.”
Just my opinion, but I think a little clarification is in order. I have a few questions for you:
What do you assert will be the basis of salvation in the MK?
Are you asserting that it will be possible to remain sin free in the MK?
Will the covenant confirmed in the blood of Christ still be in effect in the MK, and if not, when does it end?
Will people born into the MK have the possibility of becoming “born again”?
Just curious as to how you view these issues!
Salvation has always been by faith. Never by works, nor even by the blood of bulls and goats. Those sacrifices were always looking forward to the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
People, however, are only responsible for that which they have knowledge of. They did not need to know the name of the Messiah to be saved, before He came.
So, salvation during the MK will be as it always was, by faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. What God does with those saints is what is different.
The status of the saved from before Christ, and after the Rapture will be different than for Church-age saints. Another thing is that God tends to reward faith. Those who live during the MK will not need faith. They will have sight. I think this is why the gift of the Holy Spirit is a limited-time offer.
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
The Holy Spirit was not yet given in the way that He has been given during the Church age.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
So somehow, the Holy Spirit will not indwell people as long as Jesus is personally here on the earth. I take it that when He returns it will be the same, although those who are now indwelt will never experience the loss of the Holy Spirit.
I go back to Jesus’ statement about John the Baptizer to understand pre-Christian saints;
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
John was only born of a woman, he was not born-again, yet he is a saint, and is in Heaven today. John did not experience the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
It was the same for Abraham, and David, and Joseph, indeed all the OT saints. While they knew the Holy Spirit, and were inspired of Him to write Scripture, there is no place where we are told that the Holy Spirit permanently indwelt anyone.
This is why we are told in II Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
I think those who live in Israel will have a much greater chance of being saved, because they will be able to see the Glory of Christ, and they will see the daily sacrifices, and know that this is what God did for them on the cross.
I have no doubt that the gospel will be known throughout the world, but most will not think they are sinners. Just like today when people can sit in a pew for seventy years, and still think they don’t need the gospel, only magnified several times.
I know a lot of people who think they are “good persons”. An awful lot, even among Baptists, but the truth is I have never met a “good” person! Not in relation to Jesus Christ! I have met people I believe are saved, but they too are sinners, and have no goodness in themselves.
While the earth will change, people will not.
I think this is a lesson that the Lord has for the Church. This is why fleshly humanity will only have a total of seven thousand years. The flesh always tends toward sin, even with the Lord Jesus Christ ruling the earth in person.
While Jeremiah 31 says that all (Israel) shall know Him, I am not certain that this means they all will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I think it is a stretch to say that it does.
After writing the above, the Holy Spirit brought to mind something He had said in Hebrews;
“For if he (Jesus) were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:” Hebrews 8:4
So, think about it; When He returns He will once again be on the earth. According to Hebrews 8:4 He does not qualify to be a priest on the earth, under the law.
“For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” Hebrews 7:14
Jesus’ priesthood is in Heaven, not on the earth. He will return as King, not as priest. While I am not entirely sure how it all works out, I am certain that the Lord does not contradict Himself; Jesus is not a priest on the earth, but King. As far as I can see, that leaves room for the Levitical priesthood during the millennial kingdom.