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.

Comments

  1. Hi Matthew, my name is Jim Smith and I work with Jennifer at BDCHS. I told her on Friday that I have a group of believers that meet at my house once a week to study God’s word and that we were in Revelation 19 currently studying the marriage supper of the Lamb. She told me I should take a look at your site… Praise God, I’m so pleased that I did. I know it’s no coincidence that your study is right where we are going next. And after reading part 4 I would like to read it to the group and use it as a talking point for next weeks meeting. I really just wanted to say hi and thank you for your insight into things that a lot of the folks in my group have never read or know anything about. I’m sure I will be writing again… thanks Jim

    • Matthew Ervin says:

      Hello sir,

      Thank you so much for the comment. It is encouraging to know that I can be of help. I only briefly mentioned this feast as part of this particular exercise in placing various passages in the prophetic timeline. I have some more extensive and currently unpublished work on it that I could send you if you like.

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