Present Age, Millennium or Eternal State? New Testament – Part 4

Matthew 8 11The majority of New Testament passages pertaining to the Millennium are those that teach on the kingdom, when Jesus returns to reign from His throne (Matt. 25:31-34).  One of the most striking is Matthew 8:11:

I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,

Before anyone can sit at a table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the fathers need to be resurrected in the coming kingdom.  While the opportunity to spend time with the patriarchs will likely remain in the Eternal State, Gentiles traveling from around the world to visit them corresponds with previously considered millennial passages on Israel as a witness to the nations.  Jesus was probably alluding to the coronation banquet He will prepare at the beginning of the Millennium, as described in Isaiah 25:6-9 (cf. Is. 65:13-14; Matt. 26:29).

Acts 15:16-18:

“‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things  known from of old.’

James utilized Amos 9:11-12, applying it to the Messiah’s return to rebuild the tent of David, i.e. the kingly rule of his line, as promised in the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:13).  Jesus’ reign from David’s throne is eternal, but begins in a world among some people who do not know Him.  The remainder of the passage confirms the transitional millennial period in including the need for mankind to seek the Lord, precluding the Eternal State (Rev. 21:3).

1 Corinthians 15:23-26:

But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.  Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

The apostle writes on a stage of the kingdom that will begin after Christ’s return and end when He has defeated all of His enemies, including death.  This means that even after Jesus returns to reign, there will still be sinners and death in the world, just as the prophets foresaw (e.g. Is. 65:20).  When the Kingdom of God is handed over to the Father, it will be free of sin and death, identifying it as the Eternal State (Rev. 21:4, 8).  This is basic summary of future events, supporting the plain reading of Revelation 20.

Revelation 20:4-6:

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

For the purpose of this exercise, consider just this one point from Revelation 20.  There are two distinct mass resurrections bookending a one thousand year age.  Even if the thousand years is only meant to identify a lengthy period, when is it supposed to take place?  Since both resurrections occur along with or after the coming of Christ, then the period in between them would, by definition, indicate a transitional age.  There simply is no way to read this passage and deny the Millennium if the words are to have any real meaning.

MILLENNIAL DESTINY

Even after a brief consideration of a few verses, it is hard to escape Scripture’s uniform anticipation of the Millennium.  Not surprisingly, the prophecies are centered on the promises in the unconditional covenants to Israel being realized.  Everything God intended for Israel will come to pass, as she finds herself exalted over all other nations.  This is not because Israel is inherently superior, but because God keeps His Word.  Everything that will be glorious about Israel in the coming kingdom will reflect its source: Jesus the Messiah, King and Lord.  In hindsight, it is only too obvious that it would take the reign of the Messiah for the kingdom in Israel to operate as God desired.  And if it was to only manifest itself in a world free of unbelievers, then Israel could never fulfill her destiny as a light to the nations, showing them the way to the LORD.

Present Age, Millennium or Eternal State? Minor Prophets – Part 3

Blue Nile Falls - Cush

ZEPHANIAH Zephaniah 3:9-20 is a noteworthy summary of the Millennium, with a focus on blessings for both Jew and Gentile.  Verses 9-10: “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the … [Continue reading]

Present Age, Millennium or Eternal State? Isaiah and Daniel – Part 2

Redwood Tree Roots

ISAIAH Isaiah contains far more millennial passages than any other book in Scripture, including some of the most descriptive and comprehensive.  Following the classic depiction of the Millennium in Isaiah 11:6-9, is the instructive 11:10-12: In … [Continue reading]

Present Age, Millennium or Eternal State? Torah and Psalms – Part 1

Isaac Blesses Jacob - Tissot

Passages on the Millennium are found regularly throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.  Many fail to recognize this because a given writer did not explicitly mention a thousand year reign of the Messiah.  This is not a problem, as the … [Continue reading]

A Biblical Survey of the Kingdom: A Light to the World – Part 6

A Light to the Nations

After pleading with his Jewish brother to come to Jesus so that He may bring the kingdom (Acts 3:17-21), Peter referenced the Torah in Acts 3:22-23: Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall … [Continue reading]

A Biblical Survey of the Kingdom: Not Yet – Part 5

Luke 17 21

There is a popular theory on the Kingdom of God, first developed in the early 20th century by Geerhardus Vos, known as already but not yet.  The notion holds that the saints are currently partaking in the kingdom, while at the same time awaiting its … [Continue reading]

A Biblical Survey of the Kingdom: Still Coming – Part 4

Peter Solomon's Portico

That the kingdom did not come in the gospel accounts is vindicated with the apostles’ question and Jesus’ response in Acts 1:6-7: So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said … [Continue reading]

A Biblical Survey of the Kingdom: the Gospel of the Kingdom – Part 3

Matthew 25 Sheep and Goats

The theme of Matthew’s Gospel is Jesus Christ as King and the Kingdom of God.  Matthew wrote of the offer of the King and the kingdom He brings, mysteries and parables about the kingdom and Israel’s rejection of the King and thus the kingdom.  The … [Continue reading]

A Biblical Survey of the Kingdom: Kingdom of Priests – Part 2

Israelites at Sinai

Though promises were made to Abraham and his descendants through Jacob, the Israelites were not part of a kingdom for over four centuries.  After the Exodus from Egypt, the people came to Mount Sinai.  It was there where the LORD told Moses to tell … [Continue reading]

A Biblical Survey of the Kingdom: Kingdom at Creation – Part 1

Adam and Eve Exiled

Narratives on the Kingdom of God literally bookend the Bible.  The kingdom’s loss and expectation of its restoration is the very saga of the Scriptures.  This is the theme of the Bible and the overall story it tells.  The kingdom was active at … [Continue reading]