The Golden Age
A Treatise on the One Thousand Year Reign of Christ on Earth
Arthur W. Pink
Luther C. Peak
The Golden Age is available from The Berea Baptist Bookstore.
It is a 77 page paperback booklet.
Click on the link below or picture above to order the book:
An Introduction by Milburn Cockrell
It is with great pleasure that I write the introduction to the republication of this book. It has not been seen or even heard of by many. Two distinguished men of a generation ago penned this book. Arthur W. Pink is a well know writer to most of us. Luther C. Peak is not so well known, but he too was a great theologian of the past. These two brethren put together what may be one of the most condensed and sound treatise on the thousand year reign of Christ ever printed.
Four churches are responsible for the republication of this booklet. First, there is Bethel Baptist Church, 113 Campbell, Pasadena, Texas 77502, and Pastor Billy A. Langford. Second, there is Landmark Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, 5618 Oak St, Fort Worth, Texas 76140, and Pastor Kelly Hinson. Third, there is Berea Baptist Church, 1441 E. Blanco Blvd., Bloomfiled, New Mexico 87413 and Pastor Richard L. Eckstein. Fourth, there is Berea Baptist Church, P.O. Box 39, Mantachie, Mississippi 38855 and Pastor Milburn Cockrell.
I sincerely pray that this book shall have a wide circulation among many of the Lord's people. It is sorely needed, as we see many brethren leaving premillennialism for amillennialism, the historic view of the Roman Catholic Church.
January 18, 1994
TABLE OF CONTENTS
When The Golden Age was last printed, the year was 1950. Most people who remember those years look back to that time as one of relative peace and prosperity. Prayer played an important part in the public school systems. Abortion was properly viewed as murder and was punished accordingly. Homosexuals were careful to keep their abominable lifestyles "in the closet," and divorce was almost unheard of. Even with conditions so seemingly favorable, Brothers Pink and Peak could see indications of the end times. They eagerly anticipated Christ's imminent return, which resulted in the writing of this book. If what they wrote in the following pages was relevant then, how infinitely more timely it is today.
Gang violence is no longer restricted to large inner cities, but is commonplace in nearly every town in America. The murder of unborn children has been given the blessing of our government, and a push for special privileges for sodomites is being advanced. Nearly half of all marriages today are expected to end in divorce within ten years. Prayer in public schools is not only unacceptable; but any mention of it all is met with angry opposition.
Many unregenerate who still retain a sense of morality have the insight to realize that "Things cannot continue on like this." As believers, we have the assurance from the Word of God that this is indeed true. As seemingly out of control and chaotic as the world is, we know that we have a sovereign God Who is in complete control of the situation.
It is our prayer that this book will reaffirm the faith of mature Christians and offer hope and peace to new believers. In the midst of all the turmoil, Christians can have the comfort of knowing that Christ's return is not only very near, but that He will reign supreme with His rod of iron for one thousand years.
Editor, The Historic Baptist
March 15, 1994
From the remotest antiquity men have longed for and talked of a Golden Age, of an age in which righteousness and peace shall prevail, and oppression and war shall cease. None are satisfied with present conditions; all are hoping for better and brighter days to come. But upon what are these hopes based? To this question a variety of answers have to be returned. With the majority of people, no doubt, the wish is father to the thought - they desire to see the introduction of better conditions, and therefore they look forward to the time when this desire will be realized. But a hope grounded on nothing more than desire may prove to be only a credulous fancy, a beautiful dream never to be materialized. More over hope deferred maketh the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). A desire long cherished and which fails to be realized, ends in disappointment and despair. But with each generation there is born afresh the impulse to look toward the future with eager longing and with yearning for the dawn of a better day. And so it is that all through the centuries there has been preserved the well-nigh universal expectation of a coming era of bliss, an era when the dark clouds of adversity and sorrow shall flee away, and when the sun shall shine upon a scene of prosperity and joy. Poets have sung of it, politicians have dreamed about it, reformers have discussed it, and in all lands eager eyes have been turned toward it.
The only ground upon which the intelligent Christian bases his hopes is the written Word of God. He must have a "Thus saith the Lord." Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). All real faith rests upon the Holy Scriptures. And surely this is not unreasonable. We know, and can know, absolutely nothing about the future except what God has been pleased to reveal to us. Outside of this all is but speculation and guesswork, speculation which is worthless, and guesswork which is futile. What does the wisest of men know concerning the morrow? He knoweth not what a day may bring forth (Prov. 27:1). Before us all there hangs an impenetrable veil which no mental acumen can pierce. Whenever man attempts to forecast the future he does but expose his ignorance and folly. During the last few years men have sought, again and again, to turn prophets, but only to show their powerlessness to invade a sphere of knowledge entirely beyond the reach of finite intelligence, and to demonstrate by way of contrast the value of inspired prophecy.
When we turn to God's Word we find much revealed concerning the Age to come. There we learn what is to precede it and prepare the way for it. There we are told how it is to be ushered in. There we discover the exact length of its duration. There we have described its distinctive features, the principles of its administration, the character of its economy. There is depicted its joys and glories, its uniqueness and blessedness. And vastly different are these from the conceptions and speculations of men. The Millennial era is not to be the time of unbridled human selfishness. The Corning Age will not witness the top-stone laid upon the successful achievements of the proud schemes of the human heart. No, in that day the loftiness of man shall be laid low and the Lord alone shall be exalted. In that day men will realize their blessings and prosperity depend upon their obedience to the Law which shall go forth from Jerusalem. In that day the nations shall be made to know that the source of all blessings is in subjection to the King that shall reign there.
The Millennium, or Kingdom Age, is that era in the future history of the world when the Lord Jesus shall receive from God the rule and government of the earth. This era is to last one thousand years. No less than six times in the first seven verses of Revelation 20, we find this expression "The thousand years." They are, of course, to be understood literally, as defining the duration of Christ's earthly reign. While it is true that Rev. 20 is the only scripture which specifically mentions the thousand years, yet there are many passages, both in the Old and New Testaments, that set forth the character and describe the blessings of the Age to come. In fact, so numerous are the scriptures which treat of and bear upon the Corning Age that our chief difficulty is to classify them. It would seem that there are more passages dealing, directly and indirectly, with the next dispensation than with any other separate subject or period treated of in God's Word. For almost three thousand years God has been directing the eyes of His people toward the future, to teach them to walk by faith and not to be occupied with the present things of sense and sight. God would have us anticipate and appropriate the blessedness of the things which He has been pleased to reveal, and revel in those things which must shortly come to pass. Instead of being occupied, unduly, with the evil around us, He would have us look forward to the time when much of the evil shall be removed, and when the remainder shall, largely, be held in subjection by the rule of the Iron Rod.
The Millennium is referred in the Scriptures under various titles, each of which contributes its own light to our understanding of its scope and character. In Matthew 19:28 the Millennium is spoken of as "The Regeneration." This denomination views the earthward character of the Coming Age. The earth is to be born again as it were: old things will pass away and behold all things will become new. This planet, which for six thousand years has groaned beneath its burden of sorrow, shall be rejuvenated. This planet, which for sixty centuries has been but a giant graveyard, shall be endued with new life, so much so that even the desert place shall be made to rejoice and the wilderness blossom as the rose. The force and aptness of this title also appears in that as every birth is preceded by travail so it will be with the ushering in of the Coming Age. It, too, shall be brought about by sharp travail. Indeed, this very term is used by Christ when speaking of the Tribulation period which shall immediately precede the Millennium - the literal rendering of the Greek in Matthew 24:8 is "Au these are the beginning of the birth pangs." Hence the appropriateness of styling the Age which issues forth from the travail pangs of the Tribulation the "Regeneration."
The Millennium is Termed 'The Last Day" (John 6:40)
This denomination looks at the dispensational place of the Coming Age. It will be the closing Day of this earth's Week. It will, so far as this earth is concerned, be the anti-typical fulfillment of the Sabbath. It will be the time when creation, shall at last "rest" from its protracted groaning. A hint of this was given at the beginning, when God, after six days labour, rested from all the works of His hands. Viewing the seven days of the first week in the light of that inspired word "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day" (2 Pet 3:8) we gather that earth's history was to be completed in seven thousand years. Six thousand years will have passed since the time when the first Adam made his appearance on earth till the time when the last Adam appears on earth in power and glory to reign in righteousness for a thousand years. This thousand years reign will be earth's "Last Day."
The Millennium is Termed 'The Times of Refreshing" (Acts 3:19)
This denomination speaks of the blessedness of the Coming Age. The Greek word here rendered "Refreshing" is anapsu, and signifies "cooling." It tells of the blessed reviving which shall be wrought in and on God's handiwork. It points a contrast from the preceding Ages. It suggests the new life, and fertility which follows a bountiful shower after a long drought. It intimates the beneficent results which will succeed the removal of Satan from the princedom of this world to the rule of the Lord of Glory in his stead. It will be not only a time of refreshing for the earth itself, but for Israel, for the nations, and may we not say, reverently, for God Himself. Yes, the personal presence on earth of the Lord of Life, the word of Jehovah Himself going forth from Jerusalem, the missionary activities of Israel in that day, and the flowing out of the knowledge of the Lord till the whole earth shall be covered by it as the waters cover the sea, will indeed issue in "Times of Refreshing."
The Millennium is called 'The Times of the Restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His Holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21).
This denomination views the results which will be brought about in the Coming Age, for of the next age, be it noted, and not of the Eternal State, Acts 3:21 speaks. It is the restitution only of those things spoken of by all God's prophets. We call attention to this limitation because there have been those who have quoted the first part of this utterance and have based upon it a theory which ignores and sets aside the qualifying clause which immediately follows, and which guards it against a perverted application. The Old Testament prophets knew nothing of any future "restitution" of Satan and the wicked. Universalism finds no Support in the Scriptures of Truth. That which is to be "restored" in the Millennium is the earth to a condition of fertility and blessedness approximating to the Edenic state. Israel is to be "restored" to the place of God's favor as His peculiar and covenant people. The duration of human life will be "restored" to that which equals and surpasses the longevity of the patriarchs before the Flood. The animal creation will be "restored" to its state before the effects of the Curse were visited upon it. The sun and moon shall be "restored," probably to their pristine glory, for in the Age to come their light will be increased sevenfold.
The Millennium is Termed "'The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times" (Eph. 1:10).
This denomination marks the relation of the Coming Age to God. It reveals the connection between it and the Ages which have preceded it. It tells how the Millennium is the goal toward which the other Ages have moved. It points to the completion of the purpose of God concerning the earth. The force of this expression may be gathered from the similar one found in Gal. 4:4 - 'When the fullness of time was come God sent forth His Son." The fullness of time signifies ripeness of opportunity and consummation of need. The first advent of Christ and the proclamation of His Gospel introduced a new era, but it also marked the climax of the old. The world was prepared through long processes for the coming of the One and the preaching of the other. From Eden to Bethlehem the centuries were preparing for the advent of Immanuel. As the process of creation prepared the earth for man, so all history prepared the way for the birth of the Saviour. The Holy Scriptures focus the preparation in one race, but all peoples shared in the process. Outside the elect nation, God was at work, and all streams converged to one center. As it was in connection with the first advent, so it is concerning the second. Just as there was a definite and unmistakable movement in all history making ready the way for the Dispensation of Grace, so there is a similar one going on now making ready the world for the Dispensation of Glory. Just as the world's urgent need was fully demonstrated before the Saviour appeared among men so shall it be ere He comes back as the Prince of Peace to take the government upon His shoulder.
The Millennium is known as "The Day of Christ" (Phil. 1:6)
This denomination calls attention to the exaltation and glory of the King Himself. When our blessed Lord was here before, He was despised and hated: He came to His own and His own received Him not. And outside of the company of God's elect, He has been despised ever since. At His birth there was no room for Him in the inn, and ever since there has been no room for Him in the schemes and plans of men. The interval of His absence from the earth is known as "Man's Day" (1 Cor. 4:3). But Man's Day is not to last forever. God has defined its limits, and has decreed that it shall be followed by "The Day of Christ." Then shall the Holy One of God come into His own. Then shall He enter into His possession. Then shall His glory be displayed. Then shall His authority be universally owned. Then shall His enemies be made His footstool. Then shall He reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. For a thousand years all shall bow before His scepter "And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord and His name one" (Zech. 14:9).
The Millennium is styled "The Kingdom of Christ" (Rev. 11:15)
This denomination has reference to the personal dominion and majesty of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Long before the incarnation God made known through His prophets that His Son should be the Head of a Kingdom. Not a spiritual and heavenly kingdom, but a literal and earthly one. In Jer. 23:5 we read "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." And again we are told "And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:14). The time when these promises were to be made good had not arrived when Christ was here before: then was the period of His humiliation; but when He returns it shall be in power and glory. Satan offered to Him all the kingdoms of the earth, but not from him would He receive them; nor had the appointed time arrived; still less would He accept them on the terms named by the great Adversary. But the hour is near when it shall be said "The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11:15 R.V.). The Kingdom over which Christ shall reign is that which God "prepared" before the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34). It is known as "The Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 3:2); the "Kingdom of the Son of Man" (Matt. 16:28); the "Kingdom of God" (Luke 19:11); the "Kingdom of David" (Mark 11:10).
As to what will lead up to and bring in the Millennium there has been wide difference of opinion. Not that the Scriptures do not speak plainly on this point; they do. But in many instances the plain teaching of God's Word is set aside by the fancies and theorizing of men. Men of the world suppose that an Age of prosperity and blessing can be produced by political legislation and social reform. It is held that the present ills may be removed by man's own efforts. We are told that our present troubles are the result of ignorance and selfishness, and that what is needed to remove them is education and the propagation and practice of nobler ideals. The theory of evolution is applied to human history, and its advocates declare the race is steadily climbing to a higher plane of existence. These apostles of progress boast loudly of the advances of civilization. Attention is called to the inventions of the last century, the discoveries of science, the spread of knowledge, and the wonderful things man expects to do in the near future. According to this view, all that is needed is a wider belief in "the Brotherhood of Man" and a putting into practice of the golden rule, and lo, the Golden Age will be here - ushered in by man himself. But surely it needs little penetration of mind to see the vanity of such a dream. Apart from Divine revelation, human observation and experience refute this theory. God has given men six thousand years to work out their schemes, and what are the results? Human selfishness is as real, as apparent, as universal as ever it was. Greed and graft are more noticeable now than ever before. Politics, instead of improving as education advances, were never more corrupt. Crime is on the increase, lawlessness abounds on every side, in the home, the churches, and the State. Never was there less contentment. With all our inventions and discoveries there is as much sickness and sorrow as ever before, and death is just as prevalent and invincible.
But if this idle dream of man bringing in the Millennium by his own efforts is dispelled by the sober and solemn facts of life, still less it will bear examination in the light of Scripture. Again and again is the question asked in the Word of God, Can an evil tree bring forth good fruit? Can thorns produce figs? Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Can an unclean thing bring forth that which is clean? The theory of evolution and the dreams of reformers ignore the awful fact of human depravity. Man is a fallen being. His heart is desperately wicked, and no amount of education or reformation can improve it. The trouble is too deep-seated for the hand of the creature to reach. Legislation may sometimes regulate human actions, but it cannot change human nature. Moreover, the preachers of human progress fail to take account of Satan. How can there be any radical change in human affairs while the Devil is at large? What hope is there for this poor world while Satan is its Prince? What improvement is possible while the Evil One is blinding the minds of those that believe not and leading them captive at his will? No; if help is to come to man it must come from outside of himself. If Satan is to be removed from these scenes, Divine interposition is imperative. There can be no millennial era of blessing until Christ returns to the earth and takes the government on His shoulder.
What will lead up to and bring in the Millennium? One other theory must be noted ere we give the answer of Scripture. Above we have looked at the answer returned by leading men of the world, what then is the concept held generally by the churches? On this point professing Christians are divided into two parties, known as pre-millennialists and post-millennialists. By far the greater number of preachers are post-millennialists. Post millennialists believe that Christ will not return till after the Millennium. They believe in a Millennium without Christ. They believe in a Millennium brought about by missionary activities, by the preaching of the Gospel, by the prayers of the saints, by the efforts of the churches. They think that ultimately the Church will convert the world. This theory of post-millennialism is expressed in different ways and with various modifications and amplifications, but all the post-millennialists are agreed that the Kingdom is to be brought in by united efforts of the churches. They are also unanimous in interpreting the Messianic prophecies in a non-literal sense. The Kingdom they look for is to be a spiritual one, not a literal. Christ’s rule is to be internal not external. The King is to govern from heaven and not to reign on earth.
Post-millennialists imagine they can see in present day conditions promise of the early realization of their hopes. They believe that great progress has already been made in the Christianizing of the world. They point to the enormous development made in missionary activities during the past century. They tell of the advances made in modern scholarship. They boast of the spread of the spirit of liberalism now aboard in the churches, of the breaking down of sectarian barriers, of the prospects of a united Christendom. They call attention to the multiplication of our colleges and seminaries, of the increase in church membership, and of the immense wealth of the leading denominations. All these things are regarded as good omens of the future. But all is not gold that glitters. The theory of post-millennialism, like the theory of political and social reformers, must be examined in the light of Holy Scripture. The things we are asked to admire, and to regard as so many signs of an approaching Millennium produced by the churches, must be weighed "In the balances of the Sanctuary."
Close inspection of modern religious conditions should soon convince any impartial inquirer that things are far otherwise than our post-millennial friends would have us believe. Instead of spiritual conditions being better now than they were a few generations back, they are far worse. True, missionary activities have greatly increased, but have they kept pace with the earth's population? No, indeed. There are many millions more of human beings alive on the earth today who have never heard the name of Christ than there were a century ago. Moreover, an ever increasing number of those who go out as missionaries, instead of preaching Christ as the alone Saviour for lost sinners are, sad to say, preaching anything and everything but this. And what of conditions at home? True, we have more colleges and seminaries, but what is being taught in them? For the most part, that which is directed against undermining the faith once delivered to the saints. Those who are being prepared for the ministry are, only too often, being taught to doubt the Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures. The neology and higher criticism of Germany have been widely adopted in America and Britain. And what of individual life? True, there is much boasting, much activity, and much giving, but what of the things which are vital to spirituality? What of the prayer life of our churches? What of the removal of the family altar from thousands of our homes? What of the elimination of the Bible from our day schools? And again, if present conditions are an advance on previous ones and indicate further improvement in the near future, why is it that thousands of earnest Christians are deploring the spiritual lethargy in their churches, and are crying to God for a Revival!
But our final court of appeal is not human observation and experience, but the inspired and infallible teaching of the Word of God. Where in the Scriptures is there any promise of the coming Age of Glory being ushered in by the efforts of the church? Where in the Scriptures is there any declaration that the church will convert the world? True, we are commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature, but where are we told that the time shall come when all men, or even a majority of men, will believe it? Instead of the Scriptures setting before us such a prospect, they plainly foretell the very reverse. The more sure Word of Prophecy warns us that this Age is to end not with a worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but with the outpouring of the vials of God's wrath. The Saviour Himself taught that in the closing days of this Dispensation the love of many would wax cold, that false christs and false prophets should arise and deceive many, that there should be wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom, that men's hearts should fail them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. The same testimony was uniformly borne by the apostles. Through them God made known that in the last days of this Age perilous times should come, that "men should be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (2 Tim. 3:1-5). Thus we find that instead of present day conditions showing the failure of God's purpose they only go to demonstrate that what He foreknew and foretold has come to pass exactly as He declared. It is not God but the professing church which has failed. Instead of the church converting the world, the world has converted the church. And this brings us, once more, to the point where we see that the only hope lies outside of man.
The Millennium is to be brought about by nothing else and nothing less that the personal return of Christ to this earth. Nothing short of Divine intervention can bring to an end the present age wherein abounds sin, selfishness and suffering. It was the personal intervention of God which began the Edenic Dispensation. It was the personal intervention of God which began this Gospel Age. And it will be the personal intervention of God which shall bring in the Kingdom Dispensation. Nothing less than the personal return and presence of the Lord in manifested power and glory can remove Satan from this scene, can lift the curse from the groaning creation, can set up the Kingdom of God on earth, and can establish a reign of righteousness, peace and blessing. There is no Kingdom where there is no King, and there can be no Millennium without Christ, no reign of peace without the presence of the Prince of Peace. It is view of this that believers ought to cry with ever increasing earnestness. "Come Lord Jesus." Come to Thy people who will welcome Thee eagerly, come to this poor world that needs Thee so sorely; come to Israel who are so wretched without Thee; come, and all creation shall break forth into praise and thanksgiving - "Even so, come Lord Jesus."
As we have said, the Scriptures which treat of the Millennium are very numerous, so much so that our chief difficulty is to classify them. For purpose of simplification we shall now consider the Millennium under seven heads, namely, The Millennium in relation to Satan, to Christ, to the Church, to Israel, to the World, to Creation, to Sin.
One of the greatest mysteries of all centers around the person and work of Satan. That there should be any evil in a world which has been created by the thrice Holy God, and over which He still rules in absolute dominion has furnished a problem which no human mind has ever fully solved. But that the Almighty God should have an Adversary, that He should suffer one of His creatures to openly defy Him, that He should allow him a protracted freedom, that He should permit the Evil One to systematically and continuously act in opposition to Him, that he should be the head of organized hosts of other fallen Spirits, that God should give His consent for Satan to go about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, tempting men, deceiving them, and leading them captive, at his will; and above all, that the old Serpent, the Devil, should have been given power to bruise the heel of the Christ of God is passing strange. And yet this is precisely what Scripture reveals about the arch-enemy of God and man. But the mystery deepens when we learn from the Word of God that there is a Trinity of Evil, three awful persons who will yet appear on the stage of human history in open revolt against the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, persons who, in the last book of the Sacred Canon, are denominated the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet.
Into the origin of Satan we shall not now enter, and regarding the position he has occupied and the work in which he has been engaged during the past Dispensations, we shall not here consider. But a few words will be in place touching his future activities. In the twelfth chapter of the Revelation we are told that shortly after the Rapture of the saints, and a few years before the setting up of Christ's Kingdom, the Dragon and his angels are cast out of heaven (v.9). The reference, no doubt, being the second heaven where Satan as the "Prince of the power of the air" now has his headquarters. On being cast out into the earth we read, "The Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time" (12:12). The later chapters of the Apocalypse, together with certain prophetic portions in the Old Testament, make known to us the course Satan follows and how he employs the "short time" left him ere he is cast into the Bottomless Pit.
First we are told, "And when the Dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child" (Rev. 12:13). The "woman" here (see context) is the Nation of Israel and particularly the remnant in who are faithful to God, for even at that time the Lord will preserve to Himself a testimony in the earth. Ever since the days of the patriarchs, the Devil has waged relentless warfare against Abraham's seed. But following his ejection from heaven he makes his final attempt to blot out the name of Israel from under the sun, an attempt which will prove no more successful than his previous ones, God once more thwarting him by miraculously preserving a part at least, of Jacob's descendants.
The Beast or Antichrist
Next, we are told that the Dragon gives "his power, and his throne, and great authority" to the Beast (Rev. 13:2) who is the Antichrist, the second person in the Trinity of Evil. Many are the Scriptures which speak of this mysterious person, and here we can do little more than briefly refer to one or two of them. The Antichrist to whom Satan "gives" his "power, and great authority," just as God "gave" to His Son "all power in heaven and in earth, (Matt. 28:18) is at every point the antithesis of the true Christ. He is denominated "the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition" (2 Thess. 2:3). Scripture contains hints which seem to show he will enter this world by supernatural generation - the Devil's parody of the Divine incarnation. This awful being, who will be a real man, yet also the "seed" of the Serpent (Gen. 3:15). The son of Perdition, will, at first claim to be the true Messiah of Israel, but later he will throw off his mask and will stand forth as the opponent and defier of the Lord Jesus. He will be the Antichrist. In him will be headed up all the forces of wickedness. He will be "The Man of Sin." He will be the "Lawless One," the personification of lawlessness, as the Lord Jesus was the "Holy One of God," the personification of holiness. He will be the man of Satan's counsels, his final and most powerful instrument and agent.
The False Prophet
In addition to the Antichrist, there will appear on earth at the End-Time another mysterious person termed the "False Prophet" (Rev. 19:20), the third person in the Trinity of Evil. He will be Satan's travesty of the Holy Spirit. Just as the third person in the Blessed and Holy Trinity ever delights in magnifying Christ, drawing out the hearts of the redeemed in worship of the Saviour, so will the third person in the Trinity of Evil cause men to yield submission to the Antichrist and to worship his image (Rev. 13:11-15). This false Prophet will be endued with supernatural powers being able to do great wonders, making fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiving them by means of miracles which he will perform. Inseparably connected with the Antichrist and False Prophet will be the Devil himself, the first person in the Trinity of Evil.
The climax of evil and the climax in evil will be witnessed just before the Lord Jesus comes back to earth and sets up His Kingdom. A determined attempt will be made to prevent His return to earth. This attempt will assume the form of a huge organized revolt against God and against His Christ. The first part of the second Psalm refers to this. The kings of the earth will assemble and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His anointed One, and will say "Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us." But behind them inspiring, and over them leading, will be the whole Trinity of Evil. In Rev. 16:13,14 we read "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False Prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." This will be the battle of Armageddon. It is described in particular in Rev. 19:19 - "And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army." The One that "sat on the horse" is the Lord Jesus (Rev. 19:11), and those who accompany Him are the saints "clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (Rev. 19:14). The end of this revolt is not left in doubt. A short work will our Lord make of the proud rebels. As well might a worm seek to resist the tread of an elephant as the creature hope to succeed against the Almighty. As well attempt to roll back the ocean as aim to frustrate the counsels of the Most High: "For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (Isa. 14:27). And thus we are told "And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the Beast was taken, and with him the False Prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the Beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into the Lake of Fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, whose sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh" (Rev. 19:19-21). This disposes of the second and third persons of the evil trinity. But one still remains to be dealt with. Before the Messianic Kingdom can be set up the great Usurper must first be cast out.
There can be no thousand years of righteousness and peace on earth while the great Enemy of God and man is at large. As we have said before, post-millennialists who expect the Kingdom to be brought in by the preaching of the Gospel plus the activities of the Church, and peace idealists and social reformers who look for a Golden Age to be established by legislation and civilization all leave out of their account one dominating factor, namely, the Devil. Behind all antichristian systems, back of all the inveterate opposition to the Gospel, beneath the evil and wickedness which stalks rampant through the earth is that old Serpent the Devil. And nothing finite can remove him. None on earth can bind him. Man is incompetent to cope with his mighty adversary. Legislation cannot reach him, and the Church is powerless to rid the world of his awful presence. The only One who is mightier than he is God - the Almighty, and there can be no real and lasting blessing on earth until the Son of God Himself returns in person and removes and imprisons the Arch-Foe.
The removal of Satan from this earth is described in Revelation 20:1-3,
"And I saw an ~ come down from heaven, having the key to the Bottomless Pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the Dragon, that old Serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the Bottomless Pit, and shut him up and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years shall be fulfilled."
Satan will be "bound" which is the fulfillment of our Lord's word in Matt. 12:29 "How can one enter a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house." The "strong man" is our Adversary, the Devil; his "house" is the children of this world, in contradistinction from the children of God who are the "House" of Christ (Heb. 3:6); the 'binding" of the Strong Man is described in the passage quoted from Rev. 20; the "spoiling of his house" is the delivering of his captives (see Isa. 42:7). Satan will be "cast into the Bottomless Pit" which is the fulfillment of Isaiah 14 -
"How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the Pit" (verses 12-15)
Satan will be shut up in the Bottomless Pit, and a "seal" shall be set upon him, which is God's answer to that of which we read in Matt. 27:66, "So they went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a "watch" - what he has sown that shall he also reap. Thus will terminate that struggle which has lasted for six thousand years, a struggle which has been waged for the dominion of the earth.
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*** We believe this "angel" to be the Lord Jesus Himself - the uncreated Angel of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1) If it should be asked, Why term Him an angel? the answer is, To connect Him with Israel, the covenant and earthly people. See Gen. 22:15,16; 48:16; Ex. 3:2; and compare Rev. 7:2,3; 8:310:1. ***
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At last the "roaring lion" (I Peter 5:8) will have been overcome, overcome by the lion of the tribe of Judah. The Man with the bruised heel will have crushed the Serpent's head, and the words spoken in Eden will then be fully accomplished. And who can describe or even imagine the blessed consequences! No more shall the brethren be accused before God (Rev. 12:19). No more shall the daughters of Abraham be "bound, lo, these eighteen years" (Luke 13:16). No more shall Satan tempt and try, harass and hinder the saints of God. For a thousand years the earth shall be rid of the Evil One, and his place there shall come "Times of Refreshing from the presence of the Lord." Then it shall be said:
"0 clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the Lord most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. for God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with the understanding. God reigneth over the heathen; God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted" (Psa. 47).
It has been Divinely ordained that our Lord should fill three great offices - The Prophetic, the Priestly, and the Kingly. As Prophet, He acts as God's Spokesman: revealing God's mind, communicating God's will, unveiling God's heart. As Priest, He acts as Mediator between God and men, and by means of His atoning sacrifice He reconciles believers to God, represents His people's interests before God, interceding for them and pleading their cause. As King, He will reign over men, enforcing God's laws, and upholding on earth the claims of His Throne. It is of Christ as King we shall now speak.
Toward the close of David's reign, the word of the Lord came to Nathan, bidding him to go to the king, and among other things, tell him, "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy Seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels. And I will establish His kingdom. He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His Kingdom forever" (2 Sam. 7:12-13). At a later date, in one of the great Messianic prophecies, it was announced concerning our Lord that "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 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 forever" (Isa. 9:6,7). Hence, the very first verse of the New Testament reads, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, (thus linking Him with Israel's throne) the Son of Abraham," which connects Him with the land.
Just before our Lord was born an angel appeared unto Mary and said, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and salt 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 forever: and of His Kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:30-33).
Some time during our Lord's infancy certain wise men, who were led by a star, came to Jerusalem (the royal city), asking, 'Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" (Matt. 2:2). Our Lord, then, was born King of the Jews, but as the inspired Word informs us, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11). Israel would not own Him; instead, they cried, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15). And when Pilate wrote and inscription and placed it over the Cross - "This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews," they desired him to alter it, and substitute "He said I am King of the Jews" (John 19:21), which is further proof that the Jews had rejected Him as their King.
It was announced then, in Old Testament prophecy, and confirmed by the angel to Mary, that our Lord should occupy the throne of David. In order to the fulfillment of this, our Lord according to the flesh, sprang from one who was a lineal descendant of David, and therefore, He was born "King of the Jews." But as we have seen, Israel rejected their King and crucified Him. And what we now desire to emphasize is, that, Jesus Christ has never yet assumed His Kingship! On the contrary, He taught His disciples to pray "Thy Kingdom come." Furthermore, He said, "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for Himself a Kingdom, and to return... And it came to pass that when He was returned, having received the Kingdom" etc. (Luke 19:12,15). Christ's receiving of the Kingdom and His return synchronize (cf. 2 Tim. 4:1). Christ, then, is not King today, for He has not yet received the Kingdom, nor has He yet occupied the throne of His father David. Nowhere in the Epistles do we find Him denominated "The King of the Church." Jesus Christ is Saviour of the Church, Lord of the Church, Head of the Church, but He in not King of the Church, for He has not yet entered upon His Kingly office, and He will not do so until the beginning of the Millennium. In the Millennium Christ will rule and reign over the earth, not only as King of the Jews, but as King of kings and Lord of lords. It is then that the prophecy of Zechariah shall be fulfilled - "And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day (a yet future day - see the context) shall there be one Lord, and His name one" (Zech. 14:9). Our Lord's Kingship over all the earth leads us to the consideration of another important line of truth.
When Adam was created God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, and let them have dominion." At the beginning, earth's scepter was committed into the hands of man (see Psa. 8:4-8). But right on the scene of his creation came one who disputed Adam's right to earth's sovereignty, and who succeeded in wresting the scepter from his hands. Satan brought to bear upon him a diabolical temptation: Adam succumbed, and falling, he forfeited his dominion over the earth. As the consequence, Satan became "The Prince of this world," and as such approached our Lord in the temptation, when he took Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and "showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matt. 4:8,9). But on the Cross, the Lord Jesus regained the scepter which Adam lost; and here is the key to Rev. 5.
In the 5th chapter of the Apocalypse a remarkable scene is brought before us. The beloved apostle sees a book - "written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals" - in the right hand of Him which sat upon the Throne. Then he hears an angel saying, 'Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" Next we are told, "And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and read the book, neither to look thereon." Many have been the conjectures concerning this mysterious "book," but by comparing scripture with scripture we think there can be no doubt as to what is here in view. In Jer. 32:5-15 we read of a field being bought and the receipt (the "evidence") of the purchase is termed a 'book," and this book was "sealed." It is to a similar transaction that Rev. 5 refers. The book seen by the apostle contains the title deeds to this earth. These title deeds which Adam lost have been recovered by Christ. They have been recovered by "purchase," and the price paid by the precious blood of the Lamb. In Matt. 13:44 we read of a Man who "goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field," and in verse 38 of the same chapter we are told, "the field is the world." Hence it is that the apostle was told, 'Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (Rev. 5:5). What is seen in vision in Rev. 5 becomes actual fact when the Lord Jesus returns to this earth. It will be at that time that the "purchased possession" - the earth - is "redeemed" (Eph. 1:14). Hence, when He comes back, His first act will be to eject Satan from it, establish His Kingdom upon it, and exercise "dominion" over it.
Another scripture which throws light upon the Millennium in relation to Christ is 1 Pet. 1:13. Here the second coming of our Lord (to the earth) is termed, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." This is in contrast from the first advent. When He was here before, His Divine glory was veiled, and much of His power and majesty were concealed. But when He comes back again, His Divine glory shall be fully manifested. Instead of appearing as the gentle Lamb, He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Instead of standing before human tribunals to be judged of men, He will summon all nations before Him and sit in judgment upon them. Instead of appearing in humiliation, weakness, and shame, He will be revealed in regal power and majesty. Instead of coming to be the victim, He will return as the Victor, to sit upon the Throne of His Glory. So, then, the Millennium is the time when our Lord enters into the exercise of His Kingly office, when He will reign in power and exercise dominion over all the earth, and when His personal glory shall be fully manifested.
The full manifestation on earth of the personal glory of Christ in the Millennium was wondrously foreshadowed on "the holy mount." Many who have written of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus have quite missed the point of its meaning and teaching. The key to it is found in 2 Pet. 1 where we have, in a brief word, God's own interpretation. The apostle tells us, "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (2 Pet. 1:16,17). The transfiguration, then, was a visible though transitory showing forth of the glory of Christ in the Millennium. Further proof of this is contained in the Lord's own words to His disciples as recorded in Matt. 16:28 - 'Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom." The fulfillment of Christ's promise is seen in the words which immediately follow - "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up in a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them." According to the express declaration of our Lord, His transfiguration was the Son of Man "coming in His Kingdom." That is to say, it was a foreshadowing of that glorious event: it was a visible setting forth of it. The details recorded of this blessed event all serve to confirm this conclusion.
The Transfiguration; A Type of the Kingdom
First we note that the Transfiguration was a seventh day scene. Matthew says it occurred "after six days" (i.e. from the time Christ told His disciples they could see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom). Luke tells us it was "About an eight days after these sayings" (Luke 9:28). This seventh day carries us back to the seventh day of Gen. 2:2. The first Sabbath on which God "rested" was, as said before, a type of the Millennial reign of Christ, which is the great Sabbatismos (Heb. 4:9), the Millennial rest.
"And His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light" (Matt. 17:2). During the days of Christ's humiliation when He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, we are told "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men" (Isa. 52: 14), ~ but here on the Mount His face did shine as the sun. The disciples were favored with a glimpse of Him in His resurrection glory. It is thus the Lord Jesus now appears in heaven, which is evident from the blinding effects of His glory as manifested to Saul on the Damascus road. And it is thus He will appear when He shall return to this earth arising as "The Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings" (Mal. 4:2).
"And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with Him" (v.3). From the fact that Moses (representative of the Law) and Elijah (standing for the Prophets) were with Christ at this time, we may learn that the Old Testament saints shall have their part and place with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. There is also another feat revealed here - precious thought! - when our Lord returns to the earth He will be accompanied by two classes of saints, here represented by Moses and Elijah, namely, those who have passed through death and those who have been "changed" and raptured to heaven without seeing death. The three disciples - Peter, James, and John - may be regarded as representatives of the Church, not, of course, the Church in its Divine unity, but in individual capacity.
"While He yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him" (v.5). The mention of the "bright cloud" here is deeply significant, the more so as it was out that the Voice of God was heard speaking. This was the "Cloud" which had been withdrawn from Israel centuries before but which now suddenly appeared again. This was the "Cloud" in which Jehovah appeared of old - the Cloud of the Shekinah glory. It was the "Cloud" which filled the Tabernacle - "Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the Glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle" (Ex. 40:34). This was the "Cloud" which guided Israel throughout their wilderness wanderings - "And when the cloud was taken up from over the Tabernacle, the children of Israel went forward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up" (Ex. 40:38,37). This was the "Cloud" in which Jehovah appeared in the Holy of Holies upon the mercy-seat (Lev. 16:2). This was the "Cloud" which filled the Temple of Solomon (1 Kings 8:10). Little wonder then that the disciples "fell on their faces and were sore afraid" (v.7)! The appearing of the Shekinah "Cloud" on the Mount of Transfiguration was the intimation that it shall be visible again to Israel in the Millennial Kingdom. That it will be is further evident from the prophecy of Isa. 4:5 - "And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of Zion, and upon her Assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for above all the Glory shall be a defense" - the context here shows this has reference to the Millennium, See further Ezek. 43.
"And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only" (v.8). This touch to the picture is a beautiful one. It tells us that in the Millennium our blessed Lord shall be exalted high above all, that He shall occupy the position of pre-eminence, that all human glory shall pale and disappear before His. As it is written, "And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isa. 2:17).
The hour when the Transfiguration occurred is significant From Luke's account we gather that it happened at night, for, we read, "But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep" (Luke 9:32). Thus will it be at the close of the long dark night of Israel's dispersion, - they will look up and behold their Messiah returning in power and glory, accompanied by ten thousands of His saints who will be on such terms of holy familiarity with Him (compare "Moses and Elijah talking with Him") that the world shall marvel at that wondrous grace which made them "joint-heirs with Christ."
The Transfiguration also revealed the blessedness of that time when Christ shall set up His Millennial Kingdom. "Lord it is good for us to be here" (v.4) was the exclamation that fell from the lips of the astonished Peter. Thus will it be in the Millennium. "Lord, it is good for us to be here" will well express the contentment and the joy of those who will be upon the earth in those days. 0! what a time that will be. Satan removed, the Antichrist destroyed, and all that opposes the Gospel swept from the face of the earth. Israel penitent and restored, the heathen nations then completely evangelized, and creation itself delivered from its bondage of corruption. The saints "with Christ," wearing their glorified bodies, and participating in His reign over an earth full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Christ Himself on the throne, the Holy Spirit poured out upon all flesh, and outwardly God's will done upon the earth as it is in heaven. Yes, then indeed, shall it be said, "Lord, it is good to be here."
Striking indeed was the vision vouchsafed to the three favored disciples. Remarkably full was that manifestation of the glory of Messiah's coming Kingdom. But, the sequel to the Transfiguration was equally wonderful in its typical signification, and was needed to complete this spectacular setting forth of the Redeemer’s return to the earth.
"And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down to Him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is a lunatick, and sore vexed: for oftentimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water . . . . and Jesus rebuked the demon: and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour" (vss. 14,15,18). What a sight was this which confronted our Lord and His disciples as they came down from the "holy mount"! What a picture of Israel in particular and of the world in general! Thus will it be at the time of our Lord's return to this earth. The first thing which the Saviour did after He had given the disciples a vision of His glory in the coming Kingdom, was to cast out a demon; and the first thing He will do when He returns to the earth, will be cast out the Devil and secure him for a thousand years in the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 20:2, 3). God hasten that blessed day!
At the first stage of Christ's second coming (which will be into the air) the Church is removed from the earth, being raptured miraculously like Enoch and Elijah. Hence, when the Saviour returns to the earth, the Church will accompany Him. This is clear from Col. 3:4 and Jude 1:14 - 'when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory". And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints."
Exactly what part the Church will play during the Millennium it is not easy to say. Few details are revealed. A moment's reflection will show why this is the case. It is in the Old Testament that the Millennium receives the fullest consideration, whereas the Church is a heavenly creation, and has a heavenly citizenship and destiny (see Phil. 3:20; 1 Pet. 1:4). Nevertheless, one or two things are sure. The Church will be with Christ throughout the Millennium, and not only so, the saints will reign with Him - "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on (or "over") the earth (Rev. 5:9,10). And again we read, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: upon such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6). Who can picture the blessed accomplishment of this promise! For two thousand years the saints have (more or less) lived as strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Many of them have been maligned, ostracized, persecuted, and martyred. They went forth unto Christ "without the camp. bearing His reproach" (Heb. 13:13). But now shall they be richly rewarded. They suffered "with Him" and now shall they also be "glorified together" (Rom. 8:17). And then will it be fully manifested that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18).
In the Parable of the Pounds we have a scripture which sets forth one aspect of the reward which shall be enjoyed by the faithful in that day - "And He (Christ) said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities" (Luke 19:17). This scripture seems to intimate that during the Millennium the saints will occupy a prominent part in the government of the world. Yea, it is written, "Do ye not know that saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2). Ah! How different things will then be. The first shall be last, and the last first. Positions shall be completely reversed. Today the children of God (that is, those who really walk as such) are despised and hated by the world, but they shall be placed in authority over the world. This is the promise of our Lord: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter they shall be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father" (Rev. 2:26, 27). Yes, Christ's position, Christ's power, Christ's prerogatives shall be shared by His people, for He and they are one.
Again; it is during the Millennium that the Unity of the Church - in contradistinction from the innumerable sects in Christendom which now divide believers - will be fully manifested, and our Lord's prayer of John 17:22, 23 fulfilled: "And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are One": I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me. Not until the "Day of Christ" will the world "know" these things, for then it is that we shall all have come "in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). Yes, and then it is, also that Christ shall come "to be glorified in His saints and admired in all them that believe" (2 Thes. 1:10). In that day, the Church will be an object of beauty, wonderment and admiration to all the world. It will then be fully seen what great things the Lord hath done for His Church, in giving it a higher place - a place nearer to Himself than that which even the holy angels will occupy.
"And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying, Unto thy seed Have I given this land" (Gen. 15:17,18). Here the two great periods of Israel's history were made known to Abram in figure. The vision of the smoking furnace and the burning lamp intimated that the history of Abraham's descendants was to be a checkered one. It was a prophecy in symbolic action; and like all prophecy was to have a double fulfillment. The order was first the sorrow and suffering, and then the glory and joy. There was first the smoking furnace of Egyptian bondage, and then the burning lamp which typified the brilliant reign of Solomon. After which there was the furnace again, the furnace of the Babylonian captivity, and since Israel crucified her Messiah the furnace has been seven times hotter than ever before. Yet it is written, "For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth" (Isa. 62:1).
A remarkable statement is found in Deut. 32:8, which antedates the actual history of the Jews: 'When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel." Israel is here seen to be present before the mind of God six hundred years before the birth of their father Abraham. Yet, even at that remote period, God assigned to the descendants of the then scattered sons of Adam, their position in the earth according to the number of people which was not then born. Here, then, we learn God's purpose concerning the chosen nation -- Israel is God's earthly center.
In Gen. 13:14,15 we read, "And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward and westward. For all the land which thou seest to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever." And again in Gen. 15:18 we are told, "In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto they seed have I given this land, from the River of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." The land of Palestine has been given unconditionally to Abraham and his descendants, "for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29). But these Divine promises have never received anything more than a partial fulfillment. The patriarchs themselves were but sojourners in a strange country, so much so, they needed to purchase a burying ground in it for their dead. It is true that in the days of Joshua Israel entered into possession of the promised land, but it is to be particularly noted that they entered Caanan under the Covenant of Law (see Deut. 27:1-3, 8-10; 28:1, etc.) and hence their continued tenure of it was conditioned upon their obedience to Jehovah. But, as is well known, they failed to walk in the Divine statutes, and turned aside after false gods. And long did Jehovah bear with their waywardness. Prophet after prophet was sent unto them, calling them to forsake their sins and return unto the Lord and He would abundantly pardon. But in vain. Ultimately the point was reached when God's patience became exhausted, and in judgment upon them He sent them into captivity, from whence nothing more than a remnant has ever returned to their own land. It was to the descendants of this remnant that the Lord Jesus came. To the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" He was sent (see Matt. 10:5-7; 15:24). But He received no better treatment at their hands than did the prophets who were before Him - "He came unto His own and His own received Him not." He was despised and rejected of men, and Israel disowned their King and put Him to a shameful death. While their Messiah was hanging upon the Cross, "All the people said, His blood be on us, and on our children" (Man. 27:25), and God took them at their word! A few years later Jerusalem was besieged, captured and destroyed by the armies of Titus; hundreds of thousands of Jews were slain, and the remainder of them carried into captivity. Since that time they have been a homeless nation, and wanderers on the face of the earth. Literally has the prophecy of Hosea been fulfilled, "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king" (Hosea 3:4). And yet, in spite of all, they have preserved their national individuality, and have never been absorbed by the other nations.
Now, it is evident that the nation of Israel has been preserved for a purpose, and what that purpose is God's Word makes known. A marvelous future awaits these descendants of Abraham. Jerusalem is now trodden down of the Gentiles, but it is only to continue thus "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). The tabernacle of David, now fallen down, is to be restored (Acts 15:16), and the one who had been for so long the sport of the nations shall yet become their "head" (Deut. 28:13).
The restoration of Israel occupies a most prominent place in the Scriptures of Truth, and three things should be particularly noted in connection therewith. First, the restoration of Israel cannot take place until after the Church has been removed from the earth. Second, the restoration of the entire nation will be a gradual one. Third, restored Israel will occupy a much more exalted and glorious position than any it has held in the past, not excepting the reign of Solomon. The first of these three statements is based upon Acts 15:14-17 where we are expressly told that it was not until "after" God has taken out of the Gentiles a people for His name that He will return and build again the tabernacle of David. The second and third statements above, will now be considered at more length.
In Zech. 12:9, 10 we are told, "And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Here is the starting-point of Israel's moral restoration, namely, the repentance of Judah. Be it noted that this prophecy contemplates the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem only, for it is not until a later date that God deals with the Ten Tribes. With the above scripture should be linked 2 Cor. 3:15, 16 - "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it (Israel) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." One of the first consequences of Judah's turning unto the Lord in repentance will be the removal of the veil now upon their heart.
The restoration of the Ten Tribes is brought before us in Ezek. 34 - the whole chapter should be read: a new covenant:
"For thus saith the Lord God; behold, I, even I, will both search My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day he is among his sheep which are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark days. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them among the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good field, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God" (vss. 11-15).
The Ten Tribes restored to Palestine shall be united to the House of Judah and the two Houses become one again:
"Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side and bring them into their own land: And I will make them a nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one King shall be king to them all and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so they shall be My people, and I will be their God. And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one Shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land which I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children forever: and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them: it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and will multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them forever more. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore" (Ezek. 37:21-28).
With the restored and reunited twelve tribes God will make a new covenant:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not 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 brake, although I was a Husband unto them, saith the Lord; But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My love in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And 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 unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer. 31 :3l-45; cf: 32:37-40; Isa. 59:20, 21).
The position which restored Israel will occupy in the Millennium, their distinct and wondrous blessings, their relation to the other nations, the service the Lord will entrust to them, and many other deeply interesting points, are fully treated by the Old Testament prophets. A large volume might well be written on these things, but sufficient here if we touch upon the outstanding features.
The headquarters of the Messiah on earth during the Millennium will be Jerusalem - "The City of the great King" (Matt. 5:35). Jerusalem occupied a prominent place in Judaism of old, but it shall hold a still more important position in the days to come. Even now, signs are not wanting to show that in the near future Jerusalem will be given a place among the leading cities of the earth. More and more will Jerusalem come into prominence, and at the time of the appearance of Antichrist the ancient capital of Palestine will be the great center of the land. But at the close of his career, when the false Messiah throws off his mask, he will seek to blot out everything that bears witness to God. Just before Christ comes back to earth the Man of Sin besieges Jerusalem (see Zech. 14:1, 2) and virtually destroys it. But early in the Millennium Jerusalem will again be rebuilt. This re-building of Jerusalem is referred to by the prophet Jeremiah - "This saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy upon his dwelling-places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap (little hill), and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof" (30:18, and cf. 31:38-40).
One of the early acts of the King in the coming Age will be the erection of a magnificent Temple - "Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord: Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne" (Zech. 6:12,13). This Temple which is fully described in Ezek. 40 and 41 will be an imposing structure of vast dimensions, upwards of a mile in extent. Into the Temple shall the Shekinah Glory enter, and from which it will irradiate the whole earth -
"And, behold, the Glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His ....... and the Glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect was toward the east. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the Glory of the Lord filled the house" (Ezek. 43:2, 4, 5).
From Ezekiel chapters 45 and 46 we learn that there will be a restoration of Jewish sacrifices, though with certain modifications. It is to this that Jer. 7:26 refers:
"And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the Lord."
The sacrifices and feasts as instituted by God in Old Testament times were anticipative, those offered and celebrated in the Millennium will be commemorative. It is unto this Temple the nations shall go to worship the Lord of Hosts, (Zech. 14:16-19.) We would point out in passing that there will be no "Ark" in the Millennial Temple. This is in striking accord with Jer. 3:16 - "And it shall come to pass, when ye become multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. The reason why there will be no "Ark" in the Millennial Temple is given in the verse which follows - "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" (Jer. 3:17).
Out from this Temple shall flow a wonderful river about which not a little is told us. In Ezek. 47 we read:
"Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under, from the right side of the house at the south side of the altar... afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over" (vss. 1, 5).
And again in Zech. 14:8 we read:
"And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be."
The Psalmist rejoiced in spirit as he contemplated this river: "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High" (Psa. 46:4). The fertilizing value of this river and its beneficent effects are also mentioned by the Psalmist:
"Thou visitest the earth and waterest it: Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: Thou preparest them corn, when Thou hast so provided for it Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: Thou settlest the furrows thereof: Thou makest it soft with showers: Thou blessest the springs thereof Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness; and Thy paths drip fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; and the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing" (Psa. 65:9-13).
The beneficent effects of the river are also seen in that its waters will heal the Salt (or "Dead") Sea:
"Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed, and everything shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine" (Ezek. 47:7-12).
The City of David will be the Metropolis of the whole earth:
"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:1, 2).
Great topographical changes will usher in the Millennium, one of which will be the literal elevation of Jerusalem above the level of the rest of the land, and possibly to the highest point in whole earth, which may have been leveled during the Tribulation Period (see rev. 6:14). One of the topographical changes is described in Zech. 14:
"And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south ... all the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it (Jerusalem) shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses" (Zech. 14:4, 10). Further reference to this is also made by the Psalmist - "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. (Psa. 48:2).
During the Millennium the land of Palestine will be apportioned equally among the Twelve Tribes, a separate section being set apart for the priests and Levites - see Ezek. 47 and 48 - and upon thrones shall sit twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel: "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me in the Regeneration (i.e. the Millennium) when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt.19:28). Apparently it was to this that Isaiah referred when he wrote - "Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment" (Isa. 32:1).
Many are the passages which describe Israel's Millennial glory and blessedness. The last six chapters of Isaiah are occupied more or less with this theme, and from them we quote a few portions. After speaking of the Redeemer's return to Zion (Isa. 59:20, 21), the prophet cries - "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isa. 60:1). The prophet continues - "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and the kings to the brightness of thy rising... surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in My wrath I smote them, but in My favor have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night; that men may bring unto thee the wealth of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish: yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. ... The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. ... Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified" (Isa. 60:3, 9-12, 14, 20, 21). The Lord shall "appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your ploughman and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named of the priests of the Lord: men shall call you the ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves" (61:3-6). And again, "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy hand any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Beulah (Married): for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married" (62:2-4).
Not only will Israel enjoy glorious blessings themselves, but, in the Millennium they shall be a blessing to "all families of the earth" (Gen. 12:3). Then will be fulfilled that word, "He shall cause them that come to Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isa. 27:6). And further we are told, "And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass" (Micah 5:7). Thus will be realized the eternal purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. Thus will be vindicated God's righteousness dealings with His ancient people. Thus will be wrought out the counsels of the Most High who separated unto Himself Abraham and his descendants to be a lasting object lesson to the other nations of the earth, to be the outstanding witness of His sovereign favors, and to be the instrument for bringing, ultimately, blessing to all peoples. Thus will be displayed the faithfulness of Jehovah by fulfilling, literally and completely, the many promises made of old to the patriarchs and prophets. Thus will be seen the great reason why the Almighty has kept the Jews through all their strange vicissitudes and preserved them through all these many centuries. Thus will end the long dark night of Israel's sorrow, to be followed by the morning without clouds. Thus will be manifested the matchless grace of the God of Jacob who will yet take the very people who rejected and crucified His beloved Son and make them "the head of the nations, and no longer the tail," and who will bless them with blessings before which even the prosperity and glories of Solomon's reign shall seem as nought.
The Millennium will be the time when, instead of Satan being the world's "Prince," Christ shall be its King. Then it is that the government shall be upon His shoulder. when He was on earth before, the Devil had the effrontery to offer Him all the kingdoms of the world, but not from the great Adversary would He receive them. And again we read, "when Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone" (John 6:15) - the time for this had not arrived. But when He comes back again then shall God say to Him, "Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" (Psa. 2:8). Then it is "The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever" (Rev. 11:15). This Kingdom of Christ will be a literal and external one. From Zion shall He reign in visible majesty, and not unseen in the hearts of men.
Perhaps at this point it would be well if we endeavored to meet a difficulty which many inquirers experience in connection with the Millennium. It may be stated thus: If the saints are all caught up to meet the Lord at His descent into the air, and the wicked are all destroyed during the Tribulation period, who will be left to inhabit the earth during the Kingdom Age? The answer is simple. It is a mistake to suppose that all who are left behind at the Rapture will be subsequently destroyed by God's judgments. It is true that "the slain of the Lord will be many," yet the earth will not be entirely depopulated. This is evident from Matt. 25:31, where we read that at our Lord's return to the earth and when He is seated upon the throne of His glory that then shall be gathered all nations before Him. It is also true that "all" who now believe not the truth will "perish" during the Day of God's vengeance (see 2 Thess. 2:10- 12), yet many of the children of these unbelievers will be spared. Not all of those who will be gathered together for the battle of the great day of God Almighty will be slain, as is clear from Isa. 66:19, where we read of "those that escape." The slaughter at Armageddon will be inconceivably dreadful, for from that battlefield will flow a river of blood two hundred miles in length and several feet in depth, yet we know from Zech. 14:18 that a "remnant" will be spared - "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts." Finally; there will be a Jewish remnant miraculously preserved by God (Rev. 12) and these, together with their resurrected brethren who were slain by the Antichrist (Rev. 20:4) will form the nucleus from which will spring the Millennial Israel.
The Form of Government
The form of Christ's government will theocratic, not democratic - "And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one" (Zech. 14:9). Many have been the experiments of politicians and reformers for the establishing of a government that should be equitable, stable, and pure; but all have been in vain. Ever since the flood, four thousand five hundred years ago, God has allowed man every opportunity to develop his schemes, but ancient and modern, Oriental and Occidental, monarchies and republics, all have served only to demonstrate that man is a colossal failure. The record of human government is tyranny and oppression, greed and discontentment, war and bloodshed. How all this serves to show the crying need for One who has all power and yet all compassion, One who is God and yet Man. Under the rule of Christ shall be solved every problem of capital and labor, wealth and poverty, war and peace.
The Scope of His Government
The scope or range of Christ's government will be worldwide. Mankind will still be divided into nations, each having their own separate and responsible heads, but all the Gentile rulers shall be directly subject to the King of kings - "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him; and His enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him" (Psa. 72:8-11).
The Seat of His Government
The seat of Christ's government will be Jerusalem, not London or New York or Paris - "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we shall walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:2,3). And again we read concerning the capital of Palestine, "The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there" (Ezek. 48:35).
The Character of His Government
The character of Christ's government is brought before us in Isa. 11:3-5 - "And He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins." Think of a Kingdom under the absolute control of a Monarch so wise as never to make a mistake, so righteous as never to dispense, impartially, strict justice to all; so holy and benevolent that He will seek no other object than the glory of God and the blessing of His creatures; so powerful as to secure the complete and prompt submission of every subject in His dominions! Ah, what a Kingdom that will be!
The Results of His Reign
We turn now to consider some of the results of Christ's government. During the Millennium our Lord will rule as the Prince of Peace. For the first time since the Flood the earth will be completely delivered from the horrors of war. Then it will be seen that "He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth" (Psa. 46:9). The Kingdom age will be a time of universal peace - "And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:4).
During the Millennium there shall also be universal blessing. An exceedingly sublime picture of the conditions that will then obtain is to be found in Isa. 35:5-10:
"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring man, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
And again we read, "And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And He will destroy in the mountain the face of the covering cast over all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it" (Isa. 25:6-8).
At the beginning of the Millennium there shall be a universal worship of Christ - "And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 14:16). Then shall idolatry be made to cease entirely - "The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire" (Matt. 13:41, 42). And again we read, "And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish" (Isa. 2:17, 18).'!' the Millennium God alone shall be worshipped - 'Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord" (Zech. 8:22).
What a glorious time the Millennium will be for our poor sin- cursed earth! Universal righteousness, universal peace, universal blessing, and universal worship! Surely we have reason to pray "Thy Kingdom come."
The Millennium will witness not only great and blessed changes in the government of the world, but it will also bring innumerable blessings to the individual. The span of human life will be immeasurably increased. There will be a return to the conditions which prevailed during the early days of human history. The longevity which was obtained among the patriarchs will be granted unto many who live during the Kingdom Age. And every death will then be the exception rather than the rule. A verse in Isaiah brings this out clearly, "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for a child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed" (Isa. 65:19, 20). The continuation of this same passage gives us a beautiful prophetic picture which describes the happy conditions that will obtain on earth in the days to come:
"And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their off- spring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord" (vss. 21-25).
And again we read, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 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" (Isa. 35:5, 6).
But the blessings which will be brought to the world upon the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom will not be confined to the human family, but will be extended to all creation. The Curse which was pronounced by God upon the ground in the day of Adam's fall, and which has issued in a creation that has groaned and travailed ever since, is yet to be revoked. Creation is not to remain in bondage forever. God has set a hope before it, a hope which, like ours, centers in the personal return of Christ. Mention of this is made in Rom. 8:19-21, "For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God" (R.V.). A passage closely connected with the one just quoted is found in Psa. 96 - "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth" (vss. 11-13). This scripture portrays the joy of all Nature consequent upon the Advent of its Creator to the earth. No longer shall the earth bring forth thistles and thorns, but "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off' (Isa. 55:3). And again we read, "Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us" (Psa. 67:6). How far these conditions apply to all the earth is difficult to say, most noticeably will they prevail in Palestine. Of Israel's land it is said, "For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things" (Zech. 8:12). And once more we are told, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed: and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt" (Amos 9:13). A further hint of the botanical conditions which will be enjoyed in the Millennium is found in Ezek. 47:12 - "And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." During the Millennium in the Holy Land at least, there will be no fading leaf, no killing frost, no withering blight, and no cessation of fruit.
Another illustration of the Curse being removed from the ground is found in Isa. 35:1, 2, "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 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." This is further amplified in Isa. 41:17-20 - 'when the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it."
Not the least of the beneficent changes introduced during the Millennium will be the restoration of the animal kingdom to its Edenic state. The present ferocity of the wild beast is abnormal and due to the fall of man. It is very clear from Gen. 2 that, originally, man had full dominion over all the animal kingdom, but this was forfeited when he rebelled against his Maker. In the Kingdom Age the fierce nature of the beast will be subdued, for in that day:
"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. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw as the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. 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" (Isa. 11:6-9).
Not only shall there be great physical changes in the earth, the removal of the curse from the animal creation, but there will be wonderful astronomical changes as well. In Isaiah 30:26 we read, "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day the Lord bindeth up the breach of His people, and healeth the stroke of their wound": note it does not say the heat of the sun shall be increased, but its "light"; thus the night at full moon would be almost as bright as our day now is. And again we are told, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light" (Zech. 14:6, 7).
By comparing Scripture with Scripture it would appear that during the Millennium there will be no earthquakes, nor tornadoes, no storms at sea, but all Nature will be at rest and shall share in the general blessing which the personal presence of Christ will bring. And yet, there will be droughts and plagues on the rebellious and disobedient (see Zech. 14:18, 19), which brings us to the next division of our subject, namely, the Millennium in relation to Sin.
In spite of the fact that Satan will have been removed from the earth, and that Christ reigns in person over it, yet conditions here will not be perfect even in the Millennium. Unregenerate human nature will remain unchanged. Sin will still be present, though much of its outward manifestation will be restrained. Discontent and wickedness will not be eradicated from the hearts of men, but will be kept beneath the surface by means of the "rod of iron." Multitudes will yield to Christ nothing but a "feigned obedience" (Psa. 18:44, margin). This "feigned obedience" will be the product of power, not of grace; it will be the fruit of fear, not of love. In Psa. 72, which gives a graphic picture of millennial conditions, we read, "They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him; and His enemies shall lick the dust" (v.9). Again, we are told in Psa. 149, wherein the children of Zion are bidden to "be joyful in their King, we are told that His saints shall "execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints. Praise ye the Lord" (vss. 7-9). In Micah 5, where we have another description of the judgments which the remnant of Jacob will execute upon the Gentiles, we are told, "And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he can go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off' (vss. 8-10). These verses do not conflict with those Scriptures which speak of great blessings, spiritual as well as temporal, coming upon the Gentiles during the Millennium, but warn us that the Kingdom age is not the perfect state, and that while most if not all will worship outwardly, yet at heart many are still the enemies of the Lord.
In perfect accord with the above Scriptures - and in what striking harmony! - we read that though in the Millennium the Curse will be removed from the animal creation, "And the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain saith the Lord," yet we are also told "and dust shall be the serpent's meat" (Isa. 65:25). Thus does God leave before the eyes of men a perpetual reminder of that which introduced sin, namely, yielding to the Serpent; as well as a symbolic warning that the Kingdom Age will end with the liberation and manifestation of Satan on earth again.
At the close of the Millennium, Satan will be temporarily released from his prison in order to test humanity:
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Cog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went upon the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city" (Rev. 20:7-9).
Thus will be fully and finally demonstrated the incurable evil of the human heart. Even a thousand years of millennial blessedness, with Satan away from the earth, will not effect any change in man. Let Satan be loosed and allowed to go forth once more and deceive the nations, and it shall be seen that the carnal mind is still at enmity against God, and prefers a murderer to the Lord Jesus. Nothing avails short of a new creation. Miracles, a beneficent environment, temporal blessings - nothing without, can alter fallen and depraved human nature. "Except a man be born of water (the Word) and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
The final revolt of man under the leadership of the Devil will meet with swift judgment - "And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them" (Rev. 20:9). What follows is told us in few words. Satan himself is cast into the Lake of Fire where the Beast and False Prophet are, and all of the unsaved dead from Cain onwards will be raised from their graves, to stand before the Great White Throne and be judged according to their works. The purpose of this judgment is to determine their respective sentences, for there will be degrees of punishment among the lost, as there will be degrees of glory among the redeemed. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire" (Rev. 20:15). Oh, my reader, is your name written in the book of life? If it is not, there is nothing before you but a hopeless and endless eternity of suffering, so fearful that no human pen or tongue can adequately depict it.
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire." Unsaved reader, what an awful prospect is thine! The day of reckoning fast hastens on. God is yet going to call you to account and take full satisfaction to His justice. Long have you defied Him, but soon He will put forth His power and deal with you in judgment. What He has threatened, that He will most surely perform. The Lake of Fire! Eternal suffering! Tormented day and night, forever and ever! Such a portion will be unendurable, and yet it will have to be endured by every Christ- rejecter, and endured forever and ever. "Can thine heart endure, or thy hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it" (Ezek. 22:14).
Following the Great white Throne judgment and the casting of the lost into the Lake of Fire, Christ will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, "when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (I Cor. 15:24, 25, 28; and see further Rev. 21:1-5).
In the preceding pages, we have set forth from the Scriptures, the glorious truth of the Golden Age, this is indeed the hope of mankind, although there be few who have entered into it. The great mass of mankind has never entered into fellowship with the Creator by faith. All men are not the children of God. God is the Creator of all men, He is the Father only of those that believe. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." (Gal. 6:10).
It is a current and popular doctrine that God is the Father of all men, and that all men, regardless of race, color or creed are spiritual brothers. This doctrine is of the enemy. It is Satan's propaganda to prepare the way for the coming World Church, which will become the bride of Antichrist. It violates both the letter and the spirit of the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation.
From old, even from the beginning, only those souls who entered into fellowship with God by faith in the promised Messiah have been His children. Abel, Enoch, and others before the flood. Noah and his sons at the time of the deluge. Shem and his descendants following the flood. Then the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The children of Jacob (spiritual Israel); Moses and the people of Israel, and that spiritual remnant through the centuries. "For they are not all Israel which are of Israel, neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children, but in Isaac (Christ - Messianic faith) shall thy seed be called." (Rom. 9:6-7).
Read the 11th chapter of Hebrews and follow the "faith line" from righteous Abel into the New Testament period and the Apostolic Age, and it is seen at once, that only those who walk the highway of faith are the children of God. "Therefore, we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the Living God, who is the Saviour of all men (if they will believe) especially of those that believe." (I Tim. 4:10). Speaking to the religionist Nicodemus, Jesus said, 'Ye must be born again." See John 3. This alone would enable him to enter into the household of faith. Speaking to the unbelieving Pharisees, Jesus said: 'Ye are of your father, the Devil." (John 8:44).
Thus while we move forward toward the Golden Age, the mass of mankind sees nothing but chaos, destruction, atomic wars ahead. Of course, we have a few optimists scattered about, who like the ostrich, hide their heads in the sands and refuse to see anything to be alarmed about, but realists know better. Outside of a Divine, Supernatural intervention in the affairs of this world, civilization is doomed and the planet itself may become uninhabited and uninhabitable.
What of the Faith of Those who Are the Children of God?
Alas, we would that we could answer that every one of God's children had his heart firmly fixed upon the coming Golden Age, as the Spirit would have it. Among God's people, Satan has done his work also. He has attacked the Truth of our Lord's Return, in every conceivable way. He has misrepresented it. He has built fanatical doctrines upon it and about it. He has abused those who preach it and teach it among the people.
Broadly speaking, among God's people there are three groups today with respect to the Second Coming of Christ and the Golden Age. These are (1) the Postmillennial, (2) the Premillennial, and (3) the Amillennial.
The Amillennial (non-millennial) view is a denial that the Scriptures teach any Millennium at all. The reader, after the preceding chapters, is well qualified to judge as to the baseless claims of those who maintain this view. It is to be classed, along with the denials of modernists who reject the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, the Atonement of Christ and the Resurrection, for it actually amounts to infidelity, although claiming to be Christian. This leaves only two views: the Premillennial and the Postmillennial, which we shall now compare.
Premillennialism and Postmillennialism Contrasted
These two views of the Second Coming of Christ are poles apart, and in order to thoroughly understand the issues involved, we must clearly define each of them.
Postmillennialism teaches that the world is getting better and better, morally, materially, and spiritually in every phase of its development. Postmillennialists believe that Christianity will prevail, in this age, in overcoming and conquering the world, before Christ comes back again, hence the term, "postmillennial" which means after the millennium, Christ will come. Postmillennialists believe that the Gospel will permeate the world in this age, until we have a converted world, and that this converted state will continue for a thousand years, before Christ comes back again.
Postmillennialists believe that in addition to preaching the Gospel, it is our business to clean up the world, making it a better place in which to live. Thus they are working through pacifist organizations to eliminate war. They hope by medical science and hospitalization to eliminate disease. They hope to banish ignorance and illiteracy by education. Thus they couple up with the Gospel all social and governmental projects for the social and economic welfare of social and so-called "social gospel" is the result.
Premillennialism on the other hand, is just what its name implies. Premillennialists believe that the world is under the curse of God. We believe that this world will continue to get worse and worse, until at last, this age is concluded in dreadful sin and apostasy. We believe that terrible wars will sweep across the world until it is wrecked and ruined. We believe that as the age draws to a close, earthquakes, famines, sea disasters and plagues that defy description will mark its ends.
Premillennialists believe that the only hope is the "Blessed Hope" (Titus 2:13) of our Lord's return. We believe that the only business of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, is not to regulate politics, abolish war, educate the world, clean up and reform society, but to preach the Gospel of God's redeeming Grace to lost sinners, to win souls, to baptize them and to indoctrinate them in the Word of God. Premillennialists believe that it is the business of the
Christian to be ready to
meet Jesus when He comes.
Premillennial truth emphasizes uplifting the sinner; postmillennial error puts the emphasis on law.
Premillennial truth puts the emphasis on witnessing unto Christ; (rightly dividing the word of truth) postmillennial error emphasizes systematizing theology.
Premillennial truth puts the emphasis on building Bible Institutes to train preachers and missionaries in rightly dividing the Word of Truth and in winning souls; postmillennial error puts the emphasis on building theological seminaries, to train a ministry to put on, support and maintain a denominational program.
Premillennial truth puts the emphasis on crowning Christ King; postmillennial error puts the emphasis on crowning human leadership.
Premillennial truth has produced the fundamentalists of today; postmillennial error has produced the modernists.
The premillennial program is destined to a glorious success; all postmillennial programs are destined to complete and utter failure.
Premillennial Truth as Revealed in the Bible
Fundamentalists believe the Bible. To them, the Bible is the only final authority on all matters of faith and practice. Therefore, when it comes to a discussion of the Second Coming of Christ, as on all other doctrinal discussions, the all important question is, 'What does the Bible say?" if the Bible teaches that the world is going to get better and ultimately reach a converted state, before Christ comes, then let us believe and preach that; but if, on the other hand, the Bible teaches that Jesus may come at any moment, that we are to witness to every soul upon the earth in our generation of the power of Christ to save, then let us be through with man made plans, programs, drives, institutions, etc., and be up and about our Master's business.
W.E. Blackstone of immortal and blessed memory has pointedly summarized the teaching of the Word of God on this very important and timely subject We are quoting all Scripture references in order that all who so desire may go to the Word of God themselves and settle, to their own satisfaction, the question as to what the Bible teaches about the Second Coming of Christ
1. He shall come Himself. 1 Thess. 4:15.
2. He shall shout. 1 Thess. 4:16
3. The dead will hear His voice. John 5:28.
4. Believers will be caught up to meet Him in the air. 1 Thess. 4:17.
5. He will receive them unto Himself. John 14:3.
6. He will minister unto His watching servants. Luke 12:37.
7. He will come to earth again. Acts 1.11.
8. He will come to the same Mount Olivet from which He ascended. Zech. 14:4.
9. He will come in flaming fire. 2 Thess. 1:8.
10. He will come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Matt 24:30; 1 Peter 1:7; 4:13.
11. He will come and stand upon the earth. Job 19:25.
12. His church, the saints, will come with Him. 1 Thess. 3:13; Jude 14.
13. Every eye shall see Him. Rev. 1:7.
14. He shall destroy the Antichrist 2 Thess. 2:8.
15. He shall then sit in His throne. Matt. 25:31; Rev. 5:13.
16. All nations will be gathered before Him and He shall judge them. Matt. 25:32.
17. He shall occupy the throne of David. Luke 1:32; Isa. 9:6,7
18. He shall have a kingdom. Daniel 7:13,14.
19. It will be upon the earth. Jer. 23:5,6.
20. He shall rule over it with His saints. Dan. 7:18-22; Rev. 5:10.
21. All kings and nations shall serve Him. Psa. 72:11; 49:6,7; Rev. 15:4.
22. The kingdoms of this world shall become His kingdom. Zech. 9:10; Rev. 11:15.
23. The people shall be gathered to Him. Gen. 49:10.
24. Every knee shall bow before Him. Isa. 45:23.
25. They shall come and worship the King. Zech. 14:16; Psa. 86:9.
26. He shall build up Zion. Psa. 102:16.
27. His throne shall be in Jerusalem. Jer. 3:17; Isa. 33:20,21.
28. The Apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28-30.
29. He shall rule all nations. Psa. 2:8,9; Rev. 2:27.
30. He shall rule with judgment and justice. Isa. 9:7.
31. The Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt Ezek. 40-48.
32. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed. Isa. 40:5.
33. The wilderness shall be a fruitful field. Isa. 32:15.
34. The desert will blossom as a rose. Isa. 35:1,2.
35. His rest will be glorious. Isa. 11:10.
Here is a very simple outline of the teaching of the Word of God on the Second Coming of Christ which Fundamentalists believe, exactly as revealed in the Bible.
Postmillennialism, A Modem Religious Fad
Premillennialism, An Age Old Truth
Postmillennialism is comparatively of modern origin and is rightly classified as modernism, for indeed, it is a system, which if followed out to its logical conclusion, leads to the fullest endorsement of modernism in its rankest form. It was brought forward by Daniel Whitby about two hundred years ago in order to give the Roman Catholic church a doctrinal basis for its church-kingdom theory. The similarity between postmillennialism and evolution is quickly noted. Indeed, they are inseparably connected in that they both agree that the world is progressing steadily forward. It is also a matter of note that modern evolutionists are without exception postmillennialists, while you never find a premillennialist who is an evolutionist.
Some postmillennialists with an air of intellectual superiority convey the idea, to all who listen to them, that premillennialists are to be classified with the great group of religious cultists and faddists of our day, such as Russelites, Seventh Day Adventists, etc. They exhibit amazing and colossal ignorance, to be men of education, to say the least. Not only does the Bible, as has been shown, clearly and unequivocally teach the personal, imminent and premillennial return of Jesus Christ to this world, but great and good men, in every age since the days of the apostles have so understood and taught.
The Church Fathers Were Premillennialists
Polycarp who was a convert of the Apostle John, was born 69 A.D. He was burned at the stake in 167 A.D. after a most tremendous and blessed ministry and when he was urged to renounce his Christian faith by his persecutors he replied, ('Four score and six years have I served Christ and He never did me any harm; how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour? If we obey Christ and please Him in this present age, we shall receive the age to come. He will raise us up from the dead and we shall live and reign with Him. The saints shall judge the world.
Justin Martyr was born in 89 A.D. and converted in 132 A.D. He was put to death for his testimony in 163 A.D. but before he died in triumphant faith, he wrote, "I and whatsoever Christians are orthodox in all things, do know that there will be a resurrection of the flesh and a thousand years in the city of Jerusalem, built, adorned and enlarged according to the prophets."
Clement was put to death in 100 A.D. He was a man of great influence, a devout Christian, a scholar who carefully spent most of his life in research, investigation and study. About 116 A.D. he wrote "A Narrative of the Sayings of Our Lord." In this book, he says, "If I met with any that had been conversant with the elders, from him I diligently inquired what were the sayings of the elders - The elders who had seen St. John, the disciple of our Lord, taught concerning these things, (the thousand years), and said 'The days come when the vine shall bring forth abundantly - and all the fruits - and all the animals shall become peaceful and harmonious, one to the other, being perfectly obedient to man. But these are credible only to those who have faith.' Then Judas, the betrayer, not believing and asking how much fertility should be brought about, our Lord said, 'They shall see who comes to these times." On another occasion, Papias said, There will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ shall be established on the earth."
Irenaeus wrote about 178 A.D. He heard Polycarp preach many, many times and it will be remembered that Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John, who leaned upon the very breast of the Lord Jesus, Himself. Irenaeus says: "But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in the world, he will reign three years and six months and sit in the temple at Jerusalem, and then shall the Lord come from heaven in clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those that follow him into the Lake of Fire, but bringing for the righteous the times of the Kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance in which Kingdom the Lord declared that 'many shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob."'
Tertullian is another one of the church fathers who lived from about 160 A.D. to 240 A.D. He was a very prolific writer and is described as "one of the most eminent Christians of that age." Concerning the coming of Christ and his Kingdom he said, 'We profess that a Kingdom is promised us on earth, before that in heaven, but in another state, namely - after the resurrection, for it will be one thousand years in a city of divine workmanship, even Jerusalem, brought down from heaven; and this city, Ezekiel knew and John saw. This is the city provided to receive the saints in the resurrection wherein to refresh them with an abundance of all spiritual good things, in recompense of those, which in the world we have either thought lightly of or lost"
Cyprian wrote from 220 A.D. to 250 A.D. and was put to death in 258 A.D. As he was led to the block to be beheaded, the people lamented and wept, crying "Let us also be beheaded with him." This faithful servant of God, who paid for his faith with his life, wrote, 'lit were a self contradictory and incompatible thing for us, who pray that the Kingdom of God may quickly come, to be looking for a long life here below. Let us, in anxiety and cautiousness be waiting the second advent of the Lord, for those things which were foretold are come to pass, as also those things will follow, which are promised; the Lord Himself giving assurance and saying, When you see these things come to pass, know that the Kingdom of God is near at hand."
Lactantius was one of the most learned of the church fathers. In about the year 300 A.D. he wrote: "It is so arranged by God, that the same Christ should come to earth twice, once to announce to the nations the one God, then again to reign. Then the Heaven will be opened in a tempest and Christ shall descend with great power and there shall go before Him a fiery brightness and a countless host of angels, and all that multitude of the wicked shall be destroyed and torrents of blood shall flow. But the nations shall not be entirely extinguished, but some shall be left as victory for God. About the same time also, the Prince of the Devils shall be bound with chains and shall be imprisoned during the thousand years of heavenly rule of righteousness which shall reign in the world. They who shall be raised from the dead, shall preside over the living as judges. Throughout this time, the beasts shall not be nourished by blood, nor birds by prey. The King and Conqueror shall Himself reign with the saints on the earth and will build the Holy City and this Kingdom of the Righteous shall be for a thousand years."
Leaders of the Reformation Were All Premillennialists
When the Roman Catholic Church arose and withheld premillennial truth from the masses of people, the Dark Ages were the result. Premillennial truth was preserved in this period by such "sects" as the Waldenses, Paulicians, Novations, Albigenses, etc. At last, when Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliff, William Tyndale, John Calvin, and Zwingli broke away from Catholicism in an effort to restore New Testament Christianity, it is not all surprising to note that many of them were strong premillennialists.
John Wycliff who is called "the morning star of the Reformation" wrote a book in which he discussed the reign of Christ on earth. Among other things, he said, "The Redeemer's return is the object of hope and constant expectation of the church of God."
Martin Luther who was the most famous of all the reformers says: "Some say that before the latter days, the whole world shall become Christian. This is a falsehood forged by Satan."
John Knox who prayed in great agony of soul, "Oh God, give me Scotland, or I’ll die," and who led the great Scottish reformation, answered, "It never was, nor yet shall be, till the Righteous King and Judge appears for the restoration of all things. But we know that He shall return and that with expedition."
William Tyndale, who because of his translation of the Bible, was first strangled, then burned at the stake, said: "We are commanded to look every hour for that day. Christ and His Apostles taught no other, but that we should look for His coining again every hour."
Most Outstanding Men, Pastors, Evangelists, Missionaries and
Bible Teachers of Christian History Were Premillennialists
The most illustrious men in all ages of Christianity have been premillennialists. Likewise, the men who are doing most today to win souls, build New Testament churches and teach the Word of God are premillennialists. Here is a list of more than one hundred men, all prominent Christians, who were or are premillennialists.
Paul De Godet
John F. Paton
Charles H. Spurgeon
T. Dewitt Talmadge
Mark A. Matthews
Bishop H.C.G. Moule
Baptists and Premillennial Truth
It is one thing to be a Christian. It is quite another thing to be a New Testament Christian. Acceptance of Christ as a personal Saviour makes a Christian, but to walk in the full light of the Truth of the New Testament makes a New Testament Christian; or a Fundamental and Premillennial Baptist. All three of these words are descriptive adjectives: Fundamental means "pertaining to the fundamentals" or "foundational principles." By this, is meant the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith, or the great theological doctrines of the Bible. Premillennial has been defined in this chapter. Baptist means "Baptizer" and is definitely not a name, but a descriptive term for those so described today, as it was for John the Baptizer of the Baptist, in the New Testament.
The order of New Testament believers, has continued from the day of John until now. In fact, the ministry of the Gospel for this Dispensation began with John, as is seen from a number of Scriptures, such as the following:
"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as it is written in the prophets: Behold I send my messenger before my face, which shall prepare the way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Mark 1:1-4.
Readers will note from the above Scripture, that this preaching and baptizing ministry of John the Baptist (Baptizer) was "the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." It will be further noted that the baptism that John administered was a baptism "of repentance for the remission of sins" which is identically the same baptism as was administered by the first church at Jerusalem, for Peter, in baptizing the multitude on Pentecost said: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
There are not many water baptisms in the Word of God. There is only one. The baptism that John administered was identical with the baptism administered by Jesus and His disciples. Jesus Himself received it from John, and then called twelve of John's disciples as His own disciples. Through them, Jesus baptized the converts that He made (John 3:23) and after His ascension to glory, the early church elected one to take the place of Judas, who by transgression fell that he might go to his own place, and the stipulation was that whoever was elected must be one "Beginning from the baptism of John." Acts 1:22.
These followers of the Way, of New Testament times met in visible congregations, at regular times and for specific purposes. These assemblies were called "churches" or assemblies. Since there was only one kind of assembly in existence, it was not necessary for these bodies to wear any distinguishing labels, for there was nothing to be distinguished from. Thus in the New Testament, we read simply of "the church which was at Jerusalem;" "the church which was at Antioch"; the church which was at Colosse" and so on.
These were premillennial in faith, as we have shown from the quotations from the early church fathers, who were converted under the ministry of the Apostles themselves. Gradually, however, error began to creep in, and ritualism began to develop in the body of professing Christianity, as has been true in every age. By the fourth century, Catholicism as a system reared its ugly head. Persecution of those who remained true to the Word and work of our Lord soon began. Then it was, that in order to survive they went underground. The Dark Ages followed, and during this period of several hundred years, they were known by various names:
Paulicans, Novations, Albigenses, Waldenses, Bogomils, etc.
When the Dark Ages passed and the Reformation took place, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huss and Zwingli broke the power of Roman Catholicism, by swinging large segments away from Rome, and Protestantism was born. It was so called, because it was a movement of Protest against the corruption of the Roman system. when this took place, these "sects" which had survived from the Apostolic period came out of their hiding, still holding to their faith.
Because they were uncompromising on the point of baptism, they were dubbed Anabaptists by both Catholics and Protestants. "Ana" means "re," thus they were called "rebabtizers" because of their practice of rebaptizing all who came to them, insisting that they must receive the ordinance as it had been committed to them, from the Apostles, who had received it from John and which had been commanded by Christ.
In time, the prefix was dropped and they came to be known simply as Baptists. In comparatively modern times, denominationalism has arisen among us, which is opposed to the Premillennial Coming of Christ, and which fosters a postmillennial program, but it is a matter of record that outstanding preachers and theologians and preachers among us, have been premillennial in their faith.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, illustrious Baptist preacher of London, universally acknowledged as the greatest preacher of the Gospel since the days of the Apostle Paul, said: "I do look for His premillennial advent and expect He will come here again. Jesus, our Lord is to be King of all the earth and rule all nations in a glorious personal reign."
John A Broadus, one of the founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, Kentucky and one of the world's greatest New Testament scholars and preachers, says in his commentary on Matthew, chapter 24, "It follows that our Lord's Coming certainly cannot be at the end of a thousand years of universal and perfect piety, for in that case, all would know the exact time and all would be devoutly and eagerly expecting the event."
Dr. E.Y. Mullins, world famous as a theologian and philosopher, perhaps the greatest in his field in the past century, in his book, "Christianity; It's Doctrinal Expression" says on page 471, "Christians should cultivate the New Testament attitude of expectancy. We should ever be as men who look for their Lord, because He commanded it. The postmillennialist certainly has an impossible task in trying to find a place in his conception of the future, for the New Testament attitude is of expectancy for the Coming of Christ"
Dr. EC. Dargan says concerning Revelation 20:1-10, "The passage itself seems to mean that the millennium will follow the arrival of our Lord and at the close of that period, will be the judgment day."
Dr. J.B. Gambrell said, "I don't mind telling a secret I mildly lean to the Pre theory. That looks like it might be so, more than the other." (Baptist Standard, October 3rd, 1918).
Premillennial Truth and Present Day Baptist Programs
With the rise of German rationalism and the development of modern, present day interdenominational endeavor, postmillennial ism, that most subtle and dangerous type of modernism, has increasingly wielded much influence in the official life of Baptists. Baptist people as a whole, are today, strongly premillennial, but there is a little clique who have succeeded in putting a postmillennial yoke upon the churches in the form of the "program."
Not only is the program postmillennial, but they are injecting this modernistic poison into the very veins of Baptist life. Preachers are being trained in postmillennial colleges and seminaries and taught how to explain away and "spiritualize" the Word of God. Postmillennialism is being written into the Sunday School literature. Thus the whole stream of Baptist thought and life is being polluted, poisoned, and contaminated by this unscriptural teaching.
And what is the result of this appalling departure from the truth? The emphasis has been taken off of personal work and put on programs. So called "social service" is slowly but surely supplanting the old time Gospel, revival meetings and soul winning effort.
No preacher, evangelist, pastor, missionary, Bible teacher or individual Baptist can be a consistent premillennialist, and at the same time support postmillennial programs. There are hundreds of premillennialist who face this question. They see that it is a departure from the faith. They see that it is a departure from the Word of God. What to do? That is the question.
The Revival of the Age-End Preparing For The Golden Age
Just as God preserved His true churches through the long, dark night of the Middle Ages when "they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and in caves of the earth" (Heb. 11:38) 50 He has preserved them in this day of modernism.
All over the world, there is a coming out of believers; there is a coming out of those who desire to gather themselves into New Testament assemblies. Thousands are coming out from all denominations; Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, Denominational Baptist, Church of Christ, Christian, and many, many others. These newly organized churches have come to be known, as Fundamental Baptist Churches. They would be quite content to simply be called churches, as in the New Testament, if necessity did not demand otherwise, to distinguish themselves from the existing confusion on every hand, in the religious world.
There are now, individuals who have become Fundamental Baptists in faith, who are yet in various denominational systems. They cannot come out as yet, for there is no New Testament assembly for them to affiliate with. But they are awaiting the hour, when the Spirit of God shall raise up a testimony to which they might attach themselves. This coming-out of thousands of God's children, and the formation of New Testament churches has produced a revival, at home and abroad. Multiplied thousands of souls have been and are being saved in these Scriptural assemblies.
In the midst of the modernism, socialism, evolution, worldliness, communism and infidelity that characterizes present day Christendom, these independent congregations of New Testament believers bear their testimony, to all of the Fundamentals of the historic Christian Faith. Premillennial in faith, they preach and teach the word of Prophecy (II Peter 1:19) knowing the Golden Age is nigh, even at the doors.
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726