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

Isaac Blesses Jacob - TissotPassages 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 specificity of the thousand years in Revelation 20 is a product of progressive revelation.  However, the transitional nature of the Millennium is more important, and it is this fact that was so often spoken of by the prophets.  The vast amount of passages that describe the Millennium are determined through induction.  This means that many promises and prophecies anticipate events or realities that could only fit in the Millennium.  For various reasons, these types of passages could not be rightly understood to find their fulfillment before the Millennium or in the Eternal State with God.  The following is a list of a tiny fraction of passages that find their home in the Millennium.  Many of the most prominent are not included due to their treatment in previous chapters, though some are briefly referenced again.  It is requested of the reader, that as you consider each passage, ask yourself if it best fits in the present age, in the Millennium or in the Eternal State.  The question is rhetorical, with the answering always being the same.  The point of the exercise is to appreciate the inductive study of Scripture, as prophecy so often demands.

THE TORAH

The first five books of the Bible, penned by Moses, contain powerful narratives, charged with millennial implications.  The first of two key passages considered here is Isaac’s blessing of Jacob in Genesis 27:27-29:

So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed!  May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine.  Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.  Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”

Jacob hardly enjoyed an abundance of food and wine provided especially for him, for a great famine forced the patriarch to move to Egypt simply to survive (Gen. 46-47).  Furthermore, peoples and nations never came to bow before Jacob and serve him.  On the contrary, Jacob served Laban for twenty years (Gen. 31:38).  He later bowed before his brother Esau seven times (Gen. 33:3), a tribute typically reserved for kings.  Jacob died without ever receiving parts of the blessing that were owed to him.  He must be resurrected in order to enjoy the fullness of the birthright.  While the blessing will in many respects continue in the Eternal State, the aspect of nations bowing before Jacob begins when Israel is set above them (e.g. Is. 2:2-4).  Indeed, the blessing has another application in gifts and honor being afforded to the nation that sprung from Jacob.  Both applications are realized in the Millennium.

Next, is the related Deuteronomy 26:18-19:

And the LORD has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.”

This concludes a small section following the dispensing of the covenant law to the people as they were about to enter the Promised Land (Deut. 5:1-26:15).  Moses reminded them of their oath to follow the LORD and obey His commandments (Deut. 26:16-17).  Israel could not maintain fidelity and so the LORD was under no obligation to place Israel above all the other nations.  Nevertheless, His evangelistic purpose for the nation was revealed (cf. Deut. 28; Is. 60:1-3).  Israel’s ideal state was not and cannot be reached in the present age, for it will end when she nationally returns to God with the recognition that Jesus is Lord and Savior (Matt. 23:39; Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 11:25-27).  When Israel is high and lifted up, nations and peoples will stream to Jerusalem to entreat the LORD and learn His ways (Is. 2:2-4; Mic. 4:1-3; Zech. 8:22-23).  In the Eternal State, only those already written in the Lamb’s book of life are allowed entry (Rev. 21:27).

PSALMS

Psalm 2:4-6:

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

Psalm 2 is a great royal psalm on the rule of the messianic King.  The nations will resolve to rebel against God and His Anointed, in an effort to unfetter themselves (vv. 1-3).  The Lord is amused at their efforts, for the Messiah will be reigning from Jerusalem.  He has been given the nations as an inheritance, and will rule over them with a rod of iron (vv. 7-9).  The rulers of the earth are counseled to worship the LORD and pay homage to the Son to avoid His wrath (vv. 10-12).  Jesus would need to return to begin His rule from Jerusalem, meaning the passage cannot be fulfilled in the present age.  In the Eternal State, there will be none who rebel against the Lord and His Son.

Psalm 72:8-11:

May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!

This passage reflects Solomon’s desire for his own rule but finds its fulfillment in the Messiah’s.  The area of the Messiah’s reign is to extend from the Euphrates to all over the world.  When did all the kings of the earth come to prostrate themselves before the Davidic King?  Our Lord did not receive the honor He deserved from His own people at the First Coming, let alone tribute from other nations.  In the Eternal State, no enemies of the Messiah will be granted an audience.

Psalm 110:2:

The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!

Again, the messianic King will rule from Jerusalem, and from there His authority will stretch forth.  This did not happen at the First Coming and so must occur at the Second.  Since the reign takes place in a world full of His enemies, it cannot be in the Eternal State.

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