The Millennium Kingdom
In this second article on The Kingdom of God, we deal with THE EARTHLY KINGDOM, that is, THE FUTURE KINGDOM OF GOD ON THIS EARTH - THE MILLENNIUM.
The belief that there is going to be a millennium, a utopia, a golden age, is shared by Christians and non-Christians, by Jews and Gentiles. This world needs it and most people accept that there is no hope for this old world unless a millennium can be brought about.
For the Christian, the future millennium means the kingdom of God on earth - the reign of Christ as King of Kings. It is good for us Christians to ask ourselves the question, "Where did this vision, this hope of a coming millennium come from?" I'm sure the answer is from the Word of God, especially the Old Testament. I believe, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that the ultimate goal for this world, through God's chosen race, is the kingdom of God on earth. Firstly then, we look at:
The Covenant Kingdom
This covenant was made to Abraham. It was to extend over the whole world, to all nations, to all kindreds of the earth, to all families. See GENESIS 12:3, GENESIS 26:24, GENESIS 28:14. This covenant was confirmed to Isaac and again to Jacob. Whilst there is no doubt that the spiritual seed of Abraham is included in these blessings,
"In Isaac shall thy seed be called..." ROMANS 9:7 there is here a definite prediction: a prophecy that all nations, kindreds and people are going to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of God on earth and that this will be through the natural seed of Jacob.
In this covenant to Abraham, the promised seed and
"the land" are linked together (See GENESIS 13:15; 15:18; 17:8). We conclude therefore, that this world-wide kingdom will come through that land and the people of that land, that is through Israel. The land and the seed are inseparable. They stand or fall together.
In no way can these blessings for all nations, peoples and kindreds be said to come through the preaching of the gospel. The preaching of the gospel of Christ crucified was never for the conversion of the nations, but for the salvation of individuals of those nations. To call out a people, to separate a people from the nations to be His church, the body and bride of Christ.
The covenant was confirmed to David (PSALM 89:34). God promises to establish a house, a kingdom and a throne.
"And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever" (2 SAMUEL 7:16). See PSALM 89:3,16,36. This Davidic covenant was confirmed to Mary by the angel:
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: AND THE LORD GOD SHALL GIVE UNTO HIM THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: AND HE SHALL REIGN OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOR EVER; AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END" (LUKE 1:31-33).
As the first of these promises were literally fulfilled -
"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest." So will the latter promises, that are yet future, be fulfilled literally. David's throne was in Jerusalem and that is the throne on which He will yet sit.
The reason why He did not fulfil the second part of the angel's message was, simply, that Jesus did not come to set up the earthly kingdom during His first advent. The purpose of His first advent was to bring about redemption for mankind, to bring the new creation into being. To build His church. He didn't go into Jerusalem to sit on the throne of David, but to die on the cross.
The remarkable thing is that Israel has not been a nation for nearly two thousand years and so the earthly kingdom could not have been during this time. Yet He is king of the Jews, albeit the rejected king, but He will come again, for what? To receive His church unto Himself and to set up His earthly kingdom. This He will do in keeping with the covenant made to David, through His nation, Israel. This is why they are a nation again, in the land of Israel, being made ready for His return. Their exile from the land is over; the King is coming.
Think Of The Glory of That Kingdom
This is what we read:
"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (HABAKKUK 2:14). The prophetic Psalm says,
"...blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen" (PSALM 72:19). When one remembers that the glory of the Lord was confined to the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem, that it was to there it came and from there it departed, what a promise this is:
"...all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD" (NUMBERS 14:21).
Can we possibly imagine what it's going to be like? Matthew's gospel says,
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations" (MATTHEW 25:31-32).
Then shall the nations learn war no more, they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation. When His kingdom comes,
"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" (ISAIAH 11:6). Why will it be so? Because
"...the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (ISAIAH 11:9).
We ask, how widespread will the earthly kingdom be? It will be world-wide. Isaiah tells us this,
"...all nations shall flow unto it... and he shall judge among the nations” (ISAIAH 2:2-4), Jeremiah joins Isaiah in these prophetic utterances saying:
“At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk anymore after the imagination of their evil heart" (JEREMIAH 3:17).
There are far too many references to quote here, showing that the reign of the Lord will be world-wide. I will just quote two more. The words of Zechariah,
"Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to pray before the LORD... In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you" (ZECHARIAH 8:22-23). And yet again,
"...he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth" (ZECHARIAH 9:10).
Jesus shall reign where'er the sun,
Doth his successive journeys run:
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till suns shall rise and set no more.
Will anyone dare to say these prophecies have been fulfilled or will not be fulfilled literally? The prophecies concerning the birth of the Saviour and where it was to take place, were literally fulfilled and so will these prophecies concerning the Coming King, Jerusalem and God's chosen nation be literally fulfilled. Let there be no mistake, the coming King of Kings will be Jesus, the city will be Jerusalem, the people through whom He will reign will be the chosen nation.
When Will It Be?
No man knows the day or the hour of His coming, but ACTS 15:14-18 states clearly that it will be
"After this" (verse 16). After what? James tells us, and he was agreeing with Peter, that it was after God would visit the Gentiles. For what purpose would He visit the Gentiles? To take out of them a people for His Name. Those are the called out ones, the ecclesia, His church. After this is completed I will return. What for?
"To build again the tabernacle of David" (AMOS 9:9-15). This makes it abundantly clear that this refers to the return of Christ. And why will He return to build again the tabernacle of David:
"That the residue of men might seek after the Lord" (ACTS 15:17). I have already pointed out from ZECHARIAH 8:22-23 that it's when the tabernacle of David has been rebuilt and He reigns, that nations and people will seek the Lord.
"...the government shall be upon his shoulder... Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (ISAIAH 9:6-7).
Do not these prophecies make us want to cry out, "Come quickly Lord Jesus, the whole world waits for you."
by John Foster (Bedford) - (Former Missionary to Israel in Jerusalem)
Source: 'Redemption Tidings'