Blog note. Occasionally, I post an article or letter written by another Christian that I believe is ‘spot on’ regarding his or her assessment of scripture as applied to prophecy or things of the ‘end times.’ The following is one such article that I think is extremely accurate in terms of how scripture is applied to today’s events, circumstances and the general conditions in our country and on earth. You are welcome to disagree or agree with this person’s assessment and comments. These are not my comments, but I agree with them and feel urged or motivated to share them. As is my practice, I blog and post many articles and ‘proof’ regarding the accuracy of the ‘season’ in which we live and of the unfolding developments which lead to the Tribulation. As a watchman, it is my job to report what I see and apply it to God’s word as provided in scripture. I’m not a theologian or a seminarian. However, my goal is to discern what I see as happening and apply the ‘proof’ of what I see against what God says/said would happen. The amount of ‘proof’ occurring today is astronomical. More so, than I believe any time prior. Other ‘watchmen’ see the same things. We all can’t be wrong. Yes, perhaps some of our interpretations are off, after all we are human. However, God asks some of us to be ‘watchmen’ and to sound a warning or alarm. That time has come. Maybe some in the church will ‘wake up’. Thank you for following my blog. I pray that the Spirit will help you discern these things. Be a “Berean” and research these things yourself. Come to your own conclusion about the truthfulness of these things. Don’t take my word for it. God gave all of us intellect and minds capable of understanding His word and applying it as appropriate. Thank you Mr. Lauer for sharing your insight and comments. As a fellow watchman, your interpretation and theology is 100% correct and truthful. I have shared similar comments in my pervious blogs. Today, it takes strength and courage to share the gospel and scripture as it is related to the ‘season’ of the end times and to pose the question to readers regarding the status of their eternal souls. End of note.
Greg Lauer — 2018/#2. alittlestrength.com
I recently wrote about the judgment seat of Christ or the Bema, an event following on the heels of the Rapture in which Christians will be rewarded for their works that qualify (and forfeit rewards for those that do not). In that article, I made the comment that I believe part of our rewards will include more substantive roles in the Millennial Kingdom right back here on earth, where we will rule and reign with Christ for 1,000 years.
Thinking about the Millennial Kingdom, however, motivated me go back and dust off an article that I started working on about a year ago—an article that got pre-empted and shelved in lieu of something else, and it has to do with some of the reasons why the Millennial Kingdom is a biblical certainty.
People who interpret the Bible in an allegorical manner typically end up with interpretations of end-time prophecy that are all over the map, assuming they see any future prophetic fulfillment at all. If you listen to those who teach amillenialism, postmillennialism, preterism, or any one of a number of schemes that involve hefty doses of allegorical or spiritualized interpretation of Scripture, you end up being confronted with quite the end-time grab bag, even within the friendly confines of the same ism. Scarcely any two such people see things exactly the same way, and spin various passages of Scripture—especially passages pertaining to the end-time scenario—in a stunning variety of creative ways. And the reason is simple:
Since their theories contradict clear teaching in Scripture, they are in error and thus they have no choice but to get creative.
As just one example, consider the kingdom that God promised Israel, often referred to as the Millennial Kingdom. You may read from various allegory-prone individuals that:
- It’s a spiritual kingdom, and it only exists in the hearts of Christians.
• This is the kingdom—we’re in it now.
• Christians are to go out and build the kingdom themselves.
• A literal kingdom? No no no…it’s an allegory for Good vs. Evil, you see.
(And Good wins! Yay!)
Interpretations of various passages in the book of Revelation get even more creative treatment, and many of these people end up so confuzzled they reach the point where they throw their hands in the air and say:
“There’s just no way we can know for sure what any of it means—praise God for keeping us guessing!”
And that’s exactly what they do: keep right on guessing.
On the other hand, if you talk to people who hold to the literal, historical-grammatical, rhetorical style of interpreting Scripture (which is a 50-dollar way of saying that God says what He means and means what He says, that the Bible should be taken as literally as common sense and context allow, and that the cultural and historical context as well as the different literary genres present in the Bible should be taken into consideration), you’ll notice something interesting.
This approach to interpreting the Bible leads inexorably to a dispensational, premillennial, pretribulational interpretation of Scripture, and precludes the allegorizing and spiritualizing away of the bits that just don’t suit modern sensibilities. People who hold to the above-mentioned approach to Scripture will almost invariably lay out for you a surprisingly consistent description of the end-time scenario, and although some may differ on a couple of minor details or points of order, the gist of it can be summarized as follows:
- We are currently nearing the end of the Church Age, or the Age of Grace, a period that began on the day of Pentecost 50 days after the Resurrection and during which God is putting together a body of people who hear the message of the gospel, respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and believe in faith in the finished work of atonement Christ accomplished on our behalf. Not only that, but we believe in faith, without having seen so much as a wisp of the tangible, physical evidence that the Jews had paraded before them in spades two thousand years ago prior to rejecting their Messiah and having Him crucified (John 20:29).
- The next major prophetic event on the agenda is the Rapture, which will end the Age of Grace by removing the Church from earth prior to the outpouring of God’s judgment on the nations of the world. The Holy Spirit will not actually leave (as erroneously claimed by those with opposing views), but will simply stand down from His current ministry of indwelling and sealing living believers on earth. This will lift the current restraints on Satan’s activity and usher in a time of great deception, complete with lying signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:1–12). In heaven following the Rapture, the Church will appear before Christ at the Bema Seat, where we will be rewarded for the works of our earthly lives that warrant them.
- At some point after the Rapture, the seven-year Tribulation will begin. Its primary purposes are to (a) purge Israel and bring forth a remnant of Jews who will finally embrace their true Messiah (Deut. 30:1–2), and (b) judge the nations of the world who have persecuted His people Israel and rejected the grace that He expressed to the world through Christ (Rev. 6–18). During the second half of this seven-year period, the world will be under the rule of a satanically indwelt world dictator known as the Antichrist. His religious sidekick the False Prophet will compel the world to worship the Antichrist as God on pain of death and to take his mark in order to participate in the global economic system that will be implemented (Rev. 13).
- At the climax of the Tribulation, the Jewish remnant—after having been betrayed and persecuted by the Antichrist—will have their backs against the wall and will call upon their Messiah to save them, and save them He will (Hos. 5:15). Jesus will physically return to earth, defeat Israel’s enemies by the word of His mouth, cast the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the lake of fire, lock Satan up in the abyss, gather the believing Jewish remnant from all over the world into Israel, and establish His 1,000-year kingdom on earth—the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 19–20). This will begin with a judgment of living Tribulation survivors, who will either be granted or denied entrance into said kingdom based on their actions and faithful endurance during the Tribulation (Matt. 25:31–46). And please note that these people are not part of the Church, who will return with Christ at the Second Coming and will assist in ruling the Gentile nations of the world in the kingdom.
- After 1,000 years of living in peace under the rule of Jesus Christ in a world that has been restored to its pre-curse condition, Satan will be released for a season and will gather legions of unbelievers who have been born during the Millennial Kingdom to mount one final rebellion against God. God will crush this rebellion, cast Satan into the lake of fire for eternity, and then all the unrighteous dead of all ages will be resurrected to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, after which they will be thrown into the lake of fire along with Satan, where they will join the Antichrist and the False Prophet for eternity (Rev. 20).
- Then the Church’s new home, a huge dwelling called the New Jerusalem, will descend from heaven and remain near earth, and God will create a new heavens and a new earth so that Israel can continue to enjoy her promised earthly kingdom under the rule of the Messiah forever (Rev. 21).
Of course, this is just a thumbnail sketch, and again, there isn’t universal agreement on every little detail. For example, some people are inclined to believe the New Jerusalem may come to earth at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, and they can put forth a plausible scriptural argument to support this possibility.
And that’s fine…I’m not trying to be dogmatic about things. I’m just saying that you’ll find a surprising degree of overall consistency in the end-time scenario as painted by people who hold to a dispensational, pre-mil, pre-trib view of Scripture, more so than those who hold to other views. And at least in my mind, that seems to lend support to the fact that a dispensational, pre-mil, pre-trib view of Scripture is in fact the correct view and that other schemes just come up short and leave people floundering without strong scriptural undergirding.
The Millennial Kingdom is
an absolute necessity,
because it’s the only way
God can fulfill specific
promises He has made.
I’ve written about the Millennial Kingdom before, mainly to refute the notion that we are in it now (as two-thirds of the corporate Church seems to believe); but I want to revisit this topic because there are aspects of it that I feel are worth emphasizing.
First of all, my goal in this article is not to describe in detail every aspect of life in the coming Millennial Kingdom. That would require a book, and a number of such books have been written by eminently capable individuals.
All I want to do in this article is discuss a few of the reasons why the Millennial Kingdom is not just something dispensationalists believe is going to occur due to their private interpretations of a few obscure Scriptures. It’s not some strained speculation that is subject to the opinions of people who view Scripture differently. And it’s certainly not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy.
Understand this: The Millennial Kingdom is an absolute necessity, because it’s the only way God can fulfill specific promises He has made.
We need to remember that above all things, God keeps His promises. So when Jesus said “Thy kingdom come,” it can mean only one thing:
It’s a dispensational thing
I have long believed that one of the primary purposes of the kingdom is related to the dispensational nature of the Bible. The Millennial Kingdom is regarded by most dispensationalists as the seventh and final dispensation, during which Christ will rule the nations of the world with a rod of iron, there will be peace, Satan will be bound, the curse that God placed on the earth when Adam and Eve sinned will be lifted, the 12 disciples (in their glorified bodies) will rule Israel, the Church (also in our glorified bodies) will rule the Gentile nations, and the only natural-bodied people who will enter are those survivors of the Tribulation who trusted the Messiah for their salvation and maintained a faithful testimony by virtue of their actions, while those natural-bodied survivors who failed to do so will be removed.
In other words, the Millennial Kingdom represents a situation where a population of 100 percent believers will enter into a perfect environment, Satan’s influence will be removed, and Jesus Christ Himself will rule the world from Jerusalem with the iron rod of truth, justice, and righteousness.
Now, under such ideal conditions, surely natural man will finally be able to show that he can live in peace with a holy God, right?
Uh, not so fast. There’s still a fly in the proverbial ointment. Yes, the kingdom will be inaugurated with a population of 100 percent redeemed believers. But the survivors of the Tribulation who enter the kingdom, although believers, will be in their natural bodies.
Q: Do born again believers in their natural bodies still sin?
A: You already know the answer to that one.
Of course we do! Sin dwells in our flesh, and it still dwells in our flesh after we are born of the Spirit.
That fly in the ointment isn’t spelled F-L-Y, it’s spelled S-I-N.
Yes, there will be sin in the Millennial Kingdom from day one. Why do you think Christ has to rule with a rod of iron? Not only that, but those natural-bodied people will begin to repopulate the post-Tribulation world by having natural-bodied children, and those natural-bodied children will grow up and they will have natural-bodied children and, well…you get the idea.
And remember: All those natural-bodied individuals who are born during the Millennial Kingdom will have a sin nature, just like their Tribulation-surviving forebears did, and just like you and I do today. Even though they will be (a) living in peace on a planet that has been restored to its pristine, pre-curse condition, (b) living free from the influence of Satan and his demons, and (c) living under the perfectly just rule of the Son of God Himself, these natural bodied-people born during the Millennial Kingdom will still have to believe the gospel in faith to be forgiven of sin, just as people do now.
And just as people do now, some will and some won’t.
That’s why Satan will be able to round up vast legions of unbelievers to join him in his last stand against God at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. Satan isn’t going to be alone—he’s going to have help. Lots of it.
This also explains why the Millennial Kingdom is not the same as the eternal state (Rev. 21:1). Rather, it functions more as a bridge to it. To inaugurate the eternal state, God will create a new heavens and a new earth for us to enjoy for eternity, and the old will pass away. The Millennial Kingdom will still be infected with sin, which must be dealt with and purged once and for all, whereas the new heavens and new earth that will be created afterwards will never be tainted by the presence of sin.
The point is that I have always believed that one of the main purposes of the dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom is to demonstrate once and for all that man in his fallen, sinful condition can NEVER live in peace with God, no matter what—even under the most ideal conditions. In other words, our inability to live in a manner pleasing to God in our flesh isn’t because of a harsh environment. It isn’t because of the influence of Satan and his demons. It isn’t because of corrupt, unjust human government.
It is solely because of the sin that infects the human heart.
God wants to get it through to us once and for all that there is absolutely no way whatsoever that man in his natural, sinful condition can ever live in peace with Him except through faith in the finished work of atonement for our sin that His Son accomplished for us on the cross two thousand years ago. There is no other way. There are no other options. The problem is sin—and it must be dealt with.
The reason I am writing this article is because it occurred to me that the reason there will be a Millennial Kingdom boils down to one simple fact, and it’s not merely the fact that it fits or makes sense in a dispensational framework (which it certainly does).
There must be a future Millennial Kingdom because it is the only way God can fulfill certain promises He made in His Word.
In other words:
If there’s no literal, earthly, 1,000-year kingdom ruled
by Christ in our future, then I’ve got some bad news:
God is a liar, and His promises mean about as much as
a money-back guarantee from a snake-oil salesman.
The Bible tells us a number of things about the Millennial Kingdom, but the point I want to focus on here is the fact that God made a number of promises that can only be fulfilled through the Millennial Kingdom, a time when (a) nature is restored to a pristine condition, (b) Jesus Christ rules the world, (c) sinful men are no longer be in positions of power, and (d) the influence of Satan and his demons is removed.
The promises I am speaking of can roughly be divided into four categories:
- Promises made to Israel. 2. Promises made to Jesus. 3. Promises made to the nations of the world. 4. Promises made to creation itself.
As we review some of these promises, the scriptural necessity of a literal, 1,000-year kingdom on earth ruled by Christ will become manifestly clear. Not only that, but I hope it is equally clear that we cannot be in the kingdom now, nor can sinful man ever hope to build this kingdom on his own.
- Promises made to Israel.
In the Old Testament, God made a number of overarching promises to His people Israel, normally referred to as covenants. Some aspects of some of these covenants have already been fulfilled, such as the part of the Abrahamic Covenant that promised Abraham he would be the father of a great nation (Gen. 12:2). That’s been fulfilled in the Jewish people.
Some aspects of God’s covenants with His people have been partially fulfilled. For example, He promised them a very specific geographical region as their land, which they partially claimed in Old Testament days. The closest they came to possessing it all was under King Solomon, but even then they never possessed it in its entirety. In modern times and in a stunning fulfillment of prophecy, they are currently back in their land in a nation called Israel. In spite of that, however, to date the Jewish people have yet to possess 100 percent of the land God promised them.
There are three covenants God made with Israel that won’t be completely fulfilled until after their Messiah Jesus Christ returns to earth at the Second Coming to establish His literal, physical kingdom. More to the point:
These three covenants are not and cannot be completely fulfilled at the present time, or by the efforts of sinful men. They can only be completely fulfilled after Christ’s physical return to earth to establish the Millennial Kingdom. Nothing less will cut it.
The three covenants God made with Israel that I am speaking of are normally referred to as the Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant, and each one of them is unconditional in nature. In other words, their fulfillment doesn’t depend on Israel’s performance—it only depends on God’s faithfulness. What I want you to see is how impossible it would be for these promises to be fulfilled through any means other than a literal kingdom on earth ruled by Christ after His return to earth.
- The Land Covenant
Also referred to as the Palestinian Covenant (I know it’s silly, but I just can’t bring myself to call it that—the word “Palestinian” just catches in my throat), the Land Covenant promised Israel a region that would be theirs forever—aka the Promised Land.
The specific region God promised Israel is referred to in several places in Scripture (Gen. 12:5–8; 13:14–15; 15:18–21; Num. 34:1–12; Josh. 1:4), and God promised Abraham that his descendants would inhabit this land forever:
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you, and to your seed after you. 8And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land wherein you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
(Genesis 17:7–8 AKJV / emphasis added)
While the precise interpretation of the boundaries may differ somewhat, the first thing that jumps out at you is the obvious fact that the region described is waybigger than what Israel occupies today.
Just to give you an idea of what I mean, here is a common rendering of the biblical boundaries set forth in Scripture:
As I said, such maps do vary…but most show Israel’s biblical Promised Land as including sizable chunks of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, a bit of Kuwait, about half of Iraq, about two-thirds of Syria, a bit of Turkey, and all of Jordan, Lebanon, and Gaza. Not to mention all the land Israel currently occupies, disputed or otherwise.
The point is that God says in His Word that Israel will inhabit all the land He promised them. The gist of the Land Covenant is given in Deuteronomy 30:
1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where the LORD your God has driven you, 2And shall return to the LORD your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3That then the LORD your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations, where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4If any of your be driven out to the outmost parts of heaven, from there will the LORD your God gather you, and from there will he fetch you: 5And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.
(Deuteronomy 30:1–5 AKJV / emphasis added)
God says He will scatter the Jews all over the world as a result of the curse they brought upon themselves through their disobedience, but then He would sovereignly bring them back from the places He scattered them when they return to Him with all their hearts—which is exactly what the Jewish remnant will do when their backs are against the wall at the climax of the Tribulation.
Although they have partially returned to their land, it is only when their Messiah returns that He will bring about the complete, final fulfillment of the promises contained in this passage of Scripture and gather the Jewish remnant into their land (Matt. 24:31, which is NOT the Rapture!) and launch the Millennial Kingdom, and it is only then that God will fulfill the Land Covenant and the Jews will finally possess the land God promised them in its entirety, just as promised in His Word.
Now, if you think we’re in the kingdom now or that we’re supposed to build the kingdom ourselves, take another look at the above graphic showing Israel’s biblical inheritance and ask yourself the following question:
- In light of today’s global political realities, what would it take for Israel to possess all the land God promised them? A war to end all wars? A treaty to end all treaties? A forced relocation of every Jew on the planet coordinated by the governments of the world?
A. Try an act of God.
And that “act of God” is none other than Christ’s return to earth to establish the future Millennial Kingdom, and gather the Jewish remnant into their land to enter that kingdom.
That’s what it will take for the Land Covenant to be fulfilled.
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet: It cracks me up sometimes when I hear the Palestinians and the nations of the world that support and sympathize with them bawling and squalling about how Israel is “occupying” their own land that they’ve shed their blood to win back from their enemies—land that rightfully belongs to those poor, oppressed Palestinians. Yeah, right. Let me put it this way: If they think Israel is “occupying” too much land now, wait till they get a load of what Israel is going to look like in a few years!
Or as Pastor J.D. Farag once quipped:
“Pre-1967 borders?? Do you mean AD or BC?”
- The Davidic Covenant
In 2 Samuel 7, God gives the prophet Nathan a message for King David, and it forms the basis of the Davidic Covenant:
16And your house and your kingdom shall be established for ever before you: your throne shall be established for ever. 17According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak to David.
(2 Samuel 7:16–17 AKJV)
In other words, Israel would live under the rule of King David’s descendants (or descendant singular) forever. Note that the Throne of David has not been in place continuously since Old Testament days; however, the day will come when the Throne of David will once again be established and will never end, and a descendant of David will always sit on that throne.
About a thousand years later, God sent the angel Gabriel to speak to a young betrothed woman named Mary, and he spelled out in no uncertain terms exactlywho that descendant would be:
30And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God. 31And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
(Luke 1:30–33 AKJV / emphasis added)
Clearly this will be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom, although Jesus will continue to rule Israel forever in the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21:1–8) after the Millennial Kingdom comes to a conclusion.
When God says forever, He means forever.
Note that this is not only a promise to Israel, in a sense it’s also a promise to Jesus Himself. So, we’ll be swinging by this one again before we’re done.
- The New Covenant
The Old Covenant was a conditional agreement God made with Israel that was in effect during the Age of Law, and it was essentially God telling Israel that if they obeyed Him and were faithful to Him, He would bless them. If they disobeyed Him and followed after other gods, He would curse them. Thus, it was basically up to Israel to please God through obedience to the Law of Moses, a burdensome morass of rules, regulations, and sacrificial requirements (“carnal ordinances” according to Heb. 9:10) that, if faithfully followed to the letter, would only cover their sins temporarily (Heb. 10:4) and allow God to account it to them as righteousness.
It was physical, external, and written on tablets of stone. Moreover, its true purpose (which to this day is lost on Israel), was to convince men of their utter inability to keep it to God’s perfect standards, and as a result point them to Christ, the Messiah who would do so on their behalf (Gal. 3:23–25).
The New Covenant, however, made the Old obsolete (Heb. 8:13). It is based on the shed blood of Christ—the perfect, one-time sacrifice that would remove sin, which rendered the repeated offering of the blood of sheep and goats of no effect (Heb. 10:1–4). It is internal, spiritual and written on hearts of flesh (2 Cor. 3:3).
Well, that’s all fine and dandy for those who hear the message of the gospel and believe in faith in Christ’s finished work of atonement—in other words, for the Church.
But what about Israel?
Although the New Covenant was cut for God’s Chosen People the Jews, the Church consists of those who have been grafted in to Israel’s covenant through faith, a sweetheart of a deal which was only made possible by their rejection of Christ and the New Covenant He established (Rom. 11:11–24). After Israel rejected Jesus and had Him crucified, God placed upon them a partial hardening toward their Messiah, and they won’t be unhardened until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, which is absolutely a reference to the Rapture (Rom. 11:25).
So the Jews have been hardened toward their true Messiah for two thousand years, and hardened they remain.
How hard is “hardened”? Try standing on a busy street corner in any city in Israel, brandishing a New Testament and speaking to people about the gospel of Jesus Christ. You will quickly learn the meaning of “hardened.” If you’re lucky, someone will call the police before the rocks start flying.
And they would stay hardened permanently if it were not for one thing:
God promised to unharden them.
Contrary to the thinking of some Christians today who don’t know the Word as well as they should (or who have been unfortunate enough to sit under some bad teaching), the New Covenant we are part of in Christ is not something exclusive to the Church and found only in “our” New Testament, thus making it something that somehow excludes Israel in some way.
Far from it. The New Covenant we are grafted into by faith in Christ was promised to Israel through Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Jeremiah:
31Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD: 33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, said the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
(Jeremiah 31:31–34 AKJV / emphasis added)
Ezekiel reiterates this prophecy/covenant, and also spells out exactly why God will fulfill it in the future:
21But I had pity for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, where they went. 22Therefore say to the house of Israel, thus said the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the heathen, where you went. 23And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which you have profaned in the middle of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, said the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
(Ezekiel 36:21–28 AKJV / emphasis added)
God is going to do it for His name’s sake, which Israel has “profaned among the heathen.” He will do it to sanctify His holy name and show not only His people Israel but the Gentile nations as well that He is the LORD.
So Jeremiah tells us what, Ezekiel tells us why…and Isaiah tells us who:
20And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn from transgression in Jacob, said the LORD.
21As for me, this is my covenant with them, said the LORD; My spirit that is on you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seed’s seed, said the LORD, from now on and for ever.
(Isaiah 59:20–21 AKJV / emphasis added)
The Redeemer, that’s who.
Although he doesn’t mention the New Covenant per se, even Moses speaks of a time when God will circumcise the hearts of His people Israel and draw them into a new and deeper relationship with Him:
6And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. 7And the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on them that hate you, which persecuted you. 8And you shall return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command you this day. 9And the LORD your God will make you plenteous in every work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers: 10If you shall listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.
(Deuteronomy 30:6–10 AKJV / emphasis added)
OK, but has this happened yet? Have the Jews entered into that New Covenant? Is God’s law written on the hearts of the people of Israel today? Do they all know God? Have their hearts been circumcised so that they love the LORD their God with all their heart and soul?
Mmm, not so you’d notice. This is clearly a future event, and I want you to ask yourself another question:
- What would it take today for all of Israel to suddenly turn to God and know Him and love Him with all their heart and soul?
A. Another act of God.
The point is that Israel has never existed as a nation that universally worshiped God the way these verses describe, let alone accepted the Messiah He sent them. But in the Millennial Kingdom, they will.
To get a sense of the first part of the above sentence, all you have to do is go back and read Paul’s anguished lament over his people in Romans 9–11.
I used to puzzle over precisely when this prophecy/covenant concerning Israel would be fulfilled, but I finally realized there’s no point in trying to pin it down—it’s not going to happen overnight. After all, we’re talking about a radical, life-altering experience for millions of people.
I believe its fulfillment will begin when God finally turns His full attention back to Israel with the intention of unhardening them as per Romans 11:25, and I for one believe that this will occur when He supernaturally intervenes to save them from the hands of the Gog Magog coalition of Ezekiel 38–39 and in the process show Israel and the world that He is the LORD (Ezek. 38:23; 39:27–29). I won’t be dogmatic about it, but I will say I’m in good company on this one. I think His intervention on Israel’s behalf in the battle of Ezekiel 38–39 is God’s way of saying “I’m b-a-a-ck!”
Gog and the Rapture: I tend to agree with those who see the battle of Gog Magog in Ezekiel 38–39 occurring after the Rapture. The reasons why I believe that are beyond the scope of this article, although I wouldn’t rule it out as a possible future topic, should the Lord tarry. In my humble opinion it makes an awful lot of scriptural sense.
I see this promise’s fulfillment continuing throughout the entire Tribulation, thanks in part to the efforts of the 144,000 Jewish apostle Pauls that will be unleashed on the post-Rapture world, and I believe it will see its complete fulfillment at the Second Coming, when Christ returns to earth with the Church in tow, and His angels gather the Jewish remnant from all over the world back into the land of Israel in order to usher them alive into the Millennial Kingdom (that’s what’s happening in Matt. 24:31).
So, just as with the Land Covenant and the Davidic Covenant, the New Covenant will finally be completely fulfilled when the Jewish remnant is ushered into their long-awaited kingdom, with their circumcised hearts finally embracing their true Messiah with the kind of single-minded love and worship He richly deserves.
And it’s inconceivable to me that national Israel would somehow return to God with all their hearts and fully embrace their real Messiah in any context other than the Millennial Kingdom ruled by that Messiah.
- Promises made to Jesus.
God the Father has also made several promises to His Son that can only be fulfilled via the Millennial Kingdom, and here are three. We’ve already been introduced to one of them in Luke 1:30–33:
- God promised that Jesus would inherit the Throne of David and would rule Israel forever.
That is, He promised to fulfill the Davidic Covenant through His own Son.
Note, however, that in order for Jesus to inherit the Throne of David, He must be in the lineage of David—a physical descendant with full rights of inheritance. But that poses a potential dilemma, and here’s why:
In Jeremiah 22:30, one of David’s descendants named Jeconiah was so evil that God placed a blood curse on him, stating that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne. Unfortunately, that was the line of David that Joseph (Mary’s husband) was in. So, this blood curse would appear to disqualify Jesus from assuming the throne.
Not so fast. Matthew’s genealogy traces Christ’s lineage back to David through his adoptive father Joseph (Joseph was not His biological father—God was His Father). This establishes Jesus’ full right of inheritance as an adopted son under Jewish law. Thus, He is legally qualified to inherit the Throne of David in that regard. But what about the blood curse on David’s descendants through Jeconiah? Jesus must also be a blood relative of David, and if He had been so through Joseph’s lineage, the blood curse would have disqualified Him (not to mention disqualifying Him as the Son of God, which reduces Christianity to an absurd fiction).
Note that Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage back through David’s son Solomon. Luke, on the other hand, also gives us a genealogy of Jesus, but Luke traces His lineage back through His mother Mary, a line that goes back to David through his son Nathan, not Solomon. Thus, since Mary was Jesus’ biological mother, her lineage not only completely circumvents Jeconiah and the blood curse, but also establishes that Jesus is a blood relative of David.
Taken together, the genealogies of Matthew and Luke establish that Jesus (a) possesses the legal right of inheritance to the Throne of David as an adopted son of Joseph, who is in the male line of inheritance of David, and (b) is a blood descendant of David through His mother Mary. Thus, Jesus is uniquely qualified to sit on the Throne of David and thus fulfill the Davidic Covenant.
So, for those who think we’re in the kingdom now or that there won’t be a literal kingdom, the question is this:
- How can the Davidic Covenant be fulfilled through Jesus unless He assumes the Throne of David, and how can Jesus assume the Throne of David unless He returns to earth, re-establishes the Throne of David and inaugurates the Millennial Kingdom—which is…you know, what He is going to actually rule in the first place as King on the Throne of David?
A. I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?
The point is that if there is no literal Millennial Kingdom on earth, then the Davidic Covenant cannot be fulfilled (much less fulfilled through Christ Himself) because the Millennial Kingdom is the very means through which it is fulfilled. Denying Christ’s future kingdom on earth leaves people with no choice but to take the Davidic Covenant—which is a promise to both Israel and to Jesus—and allegorize it into Malt-O-Meal, which is precisely what the bulk of the corporate Church has done.
And that leaves Jesus all dressed up and nothing to rule.
- God promised Jesus to make His enemies His footstool.
1The LORD [God the Father] said to my Lord, [God the Son] Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.
(Psalm 110:1 AKJV / emphasis & [comments] added)
In Old Testament times, it was common practice for a conquering king to order the kings who had fought against him (and lost) to be brought before him so he could literally place his foot on their necks as a public display of their subjugation—an act which was often followed by their brutal execution. For an example, see Joshua 10:16–28.
God will place the nations of the world who persecuted His people and rejected the grace and mercy He expressed to them through His Son in complete subjugation to the same, and this includes what will happen right after His return at the Second Coming:
15And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
(Revelation 19:15–16 AKJV)
And we’re gonna be there to watch Him do it—and not to belabor the obvious, but the only conceivable context in which this can be fulfilled is when Jesus returns to earth to establish His literal kingdom.
Never forget that the ultimate goal of much of what the Father does is to honor and glorify the Son.
- God promised Jesus that He would rule the world.
In several places in the Old Testament, the Bible teaches that Christ will rule the entire world. For example, in Daniel’s vision of the four beasts (Dan. 7), Daniel describes the future kingdom of the Ancient of Days (Christ):
14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: [i.e. the whole world]his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
(Daniel 7:14 AKJV / emphasis & [comments] added)
The kingdom being spoken of here is the Millennial Kingdom ruled by Christ, and it will be a worldwide kingdom that will eclipse every previous kingdom the world has ever known, and it will stand forever. Thus this promise clearly requires a literal kingdom on earth ruled by Jesus to be fulfilled.
- Promises made to the nations of the world.
God not only made promises to Israel and to Jesus, He made a number of promises to the nations of the world. Here are two that absolutely require the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom ruled by Christ:
- God promised the nations of the world they would live in peace.
God promised the nations of the world that they would enjoy the complete absence of war under the rule of the Messiah:
3And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
4But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
(Micah 4:3–4 AKJV)
Neither shall they learn war anymore. Although expert opinions vary, over roughly 6,000 years of recorded history, mankind hasn’t gone longer than a few decades without some form of armed conflict breaking out in some region. In fact, according to some experts, there has never been a point in time in the entire history of man when the entire world has been completely at peace.
Thus, it goes without saying that the world will never enjoy anything remotely resembling a stable, long-lasting world peace until the Prince of Peace is ruling on the throne, and that will be the case during the Millennial Kingdom—and not a day sooner.
Note also that this tends to confirm the idea that mortal men with sin natures will no longer be in positions of power during the Millennial Kingdom. The 12 disciples (speculation alert: possibly with the aid of certain Old Testament saints) will assist in ruling Israel (all with glorified bodies without a sin nature) and the Church (similarly in glorified bodies sans sin nature) will assist in ruling the Gentile nations of the world. Although sin will certainly exist during the Millennial Kingdom, it will not be allowed to infect positions of authority. If it did, it would be impossible for Christ’s rule to be characterized by truth, justice, and righteousness.
Don’t tread on me: I believe this condition of having millions of mortal people with sin natures living under the rule of immortal people in their glorified bodies will be a significant factor in setting the stage for the final rebellion against God at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. To see what I mean, you don’t have to look any further than today’s news headlines.
Today’s world is splintered into a kaleidoscope of groups who all insist on others respecting their rights and who stridently demand to be catered to and shown inclusion, tolerance, equality, and affirmation. Can you imagine what the Millennial Kingdom will be like? I can just see angry crowds of mortal protesters, carrying signs saying things like:
“EQUAL RIGHTS FOR MORTALS!”
“THROW OFF THE YOKE OF IMMORTAL OPPRESSION!”
“DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MORTALS MUST END!”
The specter of political correctness will rear its ugly head with a vengeance, and as a result Satan will have no difficulty finding legions of willing people to join him in his final rebellion against God. Just as he does today, Satan will promise them everything their fleshly hearts desire. And just as people do today, they will eagerly follow him to their destruction to get it.
- God promised the nations of the world they would know God.
The nations of the world will also universally know God (and I mean the God of the Bible—not Allah, not Buddha, not Vishnu, nor any other of the worthless, man-made phonies that Satan has popularized). God promised that the knowledge of Him will fill the earth:
9They 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.
(Isaiah 11:9 AKJV)
There are roughly 4,300 different religions and denominations in the world today. Satan has been a busy boy, spreading the seeds of deception and filling the world of the red herrings of man-made gods and religions.
Clearly it will take nothing less than the Millennial Kingdom ruled by the Son of God Himself to winnow that down from 4,300 to one.
- Promises made to creation itself.
Finally, God’s promises extend to creation itself—the earth and every living thing on it. Remember that when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they not only lost their spiritual relationship with God, they forfeited to Satan the dominion over the earth that God had entrusted them with. So, the law of sin and death doesn’t just apply to man, but to all of creation.
When Christ was crucified and resurrected, He not only won our redemption, He broke the curse of sin and death and won the redemption of all of creation. In Revelation 11:15–17 (at the seventh trumpet), Jesus officially claims His throne and begins to reign as King, and this includes the redemption of the earth and nature itself. In other words:
- God promised to lift the curse on the earth and on nature.
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. 23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
(Romans 8:18–23 AKJV / emphasis added)
When Christ assumes the Throne of David in the Millennial Kingdom, the curse on the earth will be lifted, and the damage it has caused will be reversed. Diseases will be eliminated (Ezek. 34:16), and nature will be restored to its original idyllic condition:
6The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together; and a little child will lead them.
7The cow and the bear will graze. Their young ones will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the ox.
8The nursing child will play near a cobra’s hole, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
When I read about the United Nations’ ambitious Agenda 2030 and its laundry list of environmentally focused Sustainable Development Goals, it reminds me how utterly futile man’s efforts are in merely slowingthe rate at which we are damaging the environment, much less restoring it to its pristine condition. As is always the case, man can’t do it—only God can.
Again, clearly this promise includes things that can only be fulfilled by virtue of the Millennial Kingdom on earth ruled by Christ.
I hope I have succeeded in showing you that the coming Millennial Kingdom is as rock-solid certain as anything else in God’s Word, and I have no doubt whatsoever that we are closer to it than many in the Church suspect.
How close? Straight up—there isn’t a cowboy out there who knows for sure. But no matter how close it is, whether it’s six days or six years, rather than getting caught up in efforts to pin down the date of the Rapture and then being crestfallen when another “high-watch date” passes, I would much rather focus on other things.
I want to be kingdom-minded.
That’s our future. That’s our destiny. Whatever you do, don’t entertain the foolish notion that it’s so much pie-in-the-sky in the sweet by and by. The Millennial Kingdom is as real as it gets, and we are going to have very real parts to play in it very soon. In just a few years we will be right back here on good old terra firma, in our glorified bodies, doing our jobs and carrying out our assigned tasks under the leadership of our Lord and Savior.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait—it’s going to be mind-blowing.
Thy kingdom come. That’s where my head is, that’s where my heart is, and that’s why I just don’t have a taste for the obsessive date-seeking that is going on in some circles. It’s also why I have been quietly distancing myself from those few individuals out there who seem to have an unhealthy obsession with that—and there are a few.
Being a watchman is one thing—living in eager expectation of the Rapture and having the ears to hear what God is currently revealing to us and observing and studying how God is stirring the prophetic pot. But being obsessed with precise dates and as a result living in a state of distraction, frustration, and disappointment is another thing entirely.
Hey, if one of those guys gets lucky and actually nails it, trust me—none of us will care. If they just keep on missing it, trust me—this guy won’t care.
God wants us to simply trust His Word, be aware of the signs He actually has given us of the Rapture’s nearness, pay attention to what He’s doing, and be content in the knowledge that the Rapture is coming.
So rather than getting caught up in being obsessively date-minded in regard to the Rapture, perhaps we should consider being more focused on what comes after it. Maybe we should be getting a bit more kingdom-minded.
Because it’s coming, too.