THE BIBLE STUDY PROJECT

Topically arranged messianic Bible studies
covering the broad range of Bible knowledge


"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."

~ Matthew 24:35 ~


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A KEY DOCTRINAL OVERVIEW
AND EXEGESIS

A Compendium of Messianic Bible Studies

By Norman Manzon

PAGE 4 OF 5

MAJOR TOPICS IN SYSTEMATIC PROGRESSION:
PAGE 1:
The Scriptures; God the Triunity; Angels; Satan and Demons; The Doctrine of Man; Salvation
PAGE 2: Israel; The True Roots of Anti-Semitism; The Christian and the Law of Moses
PAGE 3: The Church; The Ministries and Gifts of the Holy Spirit; Divine Healing: Another Perspective
PAGE 4: The Future, the Afterworld and Eternity
PAGE 5: ADDENDUM STUDIES, Page 1

16. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17. so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ~

CONTENTS: PAGE 4 OF 5

THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY
1. THE DESTINIES OF THE DEAD
2. THE RAPTURE
3. THE GREAT TRIBULATION
4. THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST
5. THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM
A. INTRODUCTION
B. THE INHABITANTS OF THE KINGDOM
C. THE TWO FOUNDATIONAL REALITIES
D. THE KINGDOM ENVIRONMENT

E. ISRAEL IN THE PROMISED LAND
F. WORSHIP IN THE KINGDOM

G. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM
6. THE MILLENNIUM-ETERNITY INTERVAL
PART 1: THE FINAL REBELLION AND THE RETURN OF THE KINGDOM
7. THE MILLENNIUM-ETERNITY INTERVAL
PART 2: THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT

PART 3: THE HEAVENLY AGES

All Pages of A Key Doctrinal Exegesis:
Page 1; Page 2; Page 3; Page 4; Page 5

CONTACT, DONATE, SOCIAL MEDIA, ETC.


~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

1. THE DESTINIES OF THE DEAD

It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.

~ Hebrews 9:27 ~

CONTENTS

AMC STATEMENT
I. HEBREWS 9:27
II. FROM ADAM TO THE ASCENSION
A. PASSAGES AND POINTS
B. EPHESIANS 4:8-10
III. FROM THE ASCENSION TO THE RAPTURE
IV. THE RAPTURE
V. FROM THE RAPTURE TO THE GREAT TRIBULATION
VI. DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION
VII. DURING THE MILLENNIUM
VIII. DURING THE ETERNAL AGES
IX. SUMMARY OF THE DESTINIES OF THE DEAD
A. DESTINIES OF THE UNSAVED
B. DESTINIES OF THE SAVED
X. ONE MORE THING
ENDNOTES

We’ll begin with the entire Association of Messianic Congregations' statement on last things, and then proceed with The Destinies of the Dead.

AMC STATEMENT (1)

Last Things

We believe that upon physical death believers enter into the joyous presence of God, whereas non-believers enter into conscious suffering apart from God. We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God. (Jeremiah 30:7 Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10)

Excerpts Relevant to The Destinies of the Dead

We believe that upon physical death believers enter into the joyous presence of God, whereas non-believers enter into conscious suffering apart from God. . . . Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God.

Hebrews 9:27 declares, It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.

With the exception of those who experience death, resurrection and then death again (as those whom Jesus raised during His earthly ministry), or who bypass death and are carried directly into Heaven or cast into the Lake of Fire (examples will be given), the great mass of humanity dies once and, at that time, discovers experientially whether their eternal fate will be one of blessing or of woe.

This study will include glimpses of what Scripture tells us about the various destinies of the dead. Since Heaven has been mentioned already, we'll begin with a glimpse of what Scripture tells us about Heaven.

In 1 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul states that he had been taken up into the third heaven. The first heaven in Scripture is the atmosphere, where the birds fly and the clouds hover, as in Genesis 1:20. The second is outer space, where the sun, moon and stars and other “heavenly bodies” are located, as in Genesis 1:14-17. The third heaven, the Heaven of note in this study, is not part of the natural world as we know it, but is the dwelling place of God, which can be seen in Revelation 11:13 and numerous other passages.

We will now examine a number of scriptures and establishing a few points.

1. In Acts 2:25 and 27, Peter declared, 25. For David says of [Jesus] . . . . 27. Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades.

Peter quoted from Psalm 16:10, from which we see that the Greek word Hades was translated from the Hebrew word Sheol. The point of note here is that Sheol and Hades are identical.

2. Psalm 89:48: What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?

What can be seen here is that the souls of both the righteous and the unrighteous went to Sheol or Hades upon death.

3. Luke 16:19-26:

19. Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. 20. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21. and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24. And he cried out and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.” 25. But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.”

The passage describes the rich man as being in Hades, a place of torment, and Abraham and Lazarus being in a place of comfort. Relative to Lazarus, the place of comfort was called Abraham’s bosom, a term denoting closeness of relationship and security (John 13:23). Between the two places there is a great chasm fixed. It would seem from the passage that Abraham and Lazarus were not in Hades. Nevertheless, on the basis of Psalm 89:48, which we've just looked at, we can conclude that all three were in Hades. How can that be? New York City is in New York State. The Hades that the rich man was in is like New York City. Some may find the similarity striking, but it is strictly coincidental; and the Hades that all three were in is like New York State, the greater Hades, so to speak, with Abraham and Lazarus living comfortably out in the suburbs or in some other pleasant part of the State beyond the City.

4. In Luke 23:43, Jesus said to the thief on the cross who had expressed faith in Him, Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise. While Jesus' body was yet on the surface of the Earth (Matthew 27:57-60), His spirit, not His body, went to Paradise.

At this point, it would be good to note several things:

1. The greater Sheol or Hades, which includes both the torment and the comfort sections, is described as being in the earth beneath, the lower parts of the earth, the heart of the earth or some similar designation (Ezekiel 31:14,16,18; 32:18,21,24; Matthew 12:40; Ephesians 4:9).

2. Other designations for the torment section are:
a. the Pit (Ezekiel 21:16; 26:20; 31:14,16).

b. Abaddon (Hebrew), which means destruction, and its Greek derivative, Apollyon (Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; Psalm 88:11; 27:32).

Abaddon and Apollyon are also designations for the angel of the Abyss, a third portion of Hades, which is a temporary abode for fallen angels (Luke 8:31; Revelation 11:9; 17:8; 20:2-3). Another portion of Hades, called Tartarus, is reserved for a particularly odious class of fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6,7). The term is derived from the Greek tar-tar-o'-o in 2 Peter 2:4, and appears as Tartarus in only a few translations, such as, Young's Literal: having cast them down to Tartarus.

3. Another designation for the comfort section of Hades is Paradise (Luke 23:43). According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Paradeisos (Greek), means “’an orchard of pleasure and fruits,’ ‘a garden’ or ‘a pleasure ground.’” As has been noted, in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul reported that he had been caught up into the third heaven, which he also called Paradise. In addition, a comparison of Revelation 2:7 and chapters 21 and 22 shows that the final destination of the saints of all ages is called both Heaven and Paradise. Paradise, then, is used in Scripture of both Abraham's Bosom and Heaven.

To summarize some essentials,
1. Sheol or Hades, in the heart of the earth, is where the spirits of both the unrighteous and the righteous went after death. The unrighteous went to the torment section, called Hades, the Pit, Abaddon and Apollyon, and the righteous went to the comfort section, Abraham's Bosom.

2. Heaven is the place where God dwells, and is the final destination of the saints of all of Earth's ages.

3. Paradise denotes a place of great pleasantness, and is used in Scripture of both Abraham's Bosom and Heaven (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7).

B. EPHESIANS 4:8-10

8. Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” 9. (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10. He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

~ Ephesians 4:8-10 ~

Matthew 12:40: For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

From the Ephesians passage especially, and others that we will examine, we learn that our Lord’s Ascension marked a significant dividing line in regard to the destinies of saints.

In the two passages just noted, Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth, the heart of the earth. We can thereby tell for certain that He descended into the greater Hades. But into which section? Luke 23:24 makes that clear: Jesus said to the thief on the cross, today you shall be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:24). It was the comfort section, Abraham's Bosom, to which He descended. In addition, from such passages as Matthew 27:60 and Mark 15:43-45, which describe the handling and burial of Jesus' corpse, we see that it was only His spirit that descended into Abraham's Bosom, not His body.

Jesus was no ordinary man. He was God. Why, then, did He go to Abraham's Bosom, and not to Heaven until it was time for His resurrection? Perhaps the answer lies in this: The sacrifices that the pre-Ascension saints had offered for their sins merely covered their sins and qualified them for entry into Abraham's Bosom, but not Heaven (which explains why they are called captives in the passage, though they were in a place of comfort); but now that the Lamb of God had offered Himself as the true sacrifice, they could now be welcomed into Heaven. Apparently, Jesus descended into Abraham's Bosom to announce to the pre-Ascension saints that He had prepared the way for them to enter Heaven and that He was shortly to escort them there. On the third day, His spirit rose from Abraham's Bosom to join His body, and He was resurrected. Upon His Ascension to Heaven forty days later, He escorted the souls of the pre-Ascension saints with Him into the presence of God in Heaven, leaving the unrighteous in the Pit. (Other passages that we will address indicate that the resurrection of the bodies of the pre-Ascension saints is for a future time.)

III. FROM THE ASCENSION TO THE RAPTURE

Hades was emptied of pre-Ascension saints upon Jesus' Ascension, but we can deduce that the souls of the pre-Ascension unrighteous are still in the Pit portion of Hades, and that the souls of the post-Ascension unrighteous who die right up to the end of the Millennium will go there, because Revelation 20:14 tells us that, at the end of the Millennium, Hades [will be] thrown into the lake of fire.

What about the spirits of the post-Ascension righteous? In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul said, we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord; and in Philippians 1:21-24,

21. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 22. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24. yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

From these passages, we see that the souls of saints who die between the Ascension and the Rapture - the period of time in which Paul made the declarations, and in which we live - enter immediately into the presence of God in Heaven to join the souls of the pre-Ascension saints, whom Jesus escorted there.

After the Ascension, the Rapture will constitute the next dividing line in the destiny of the saints. The Rapture is an event yet future that is alluded to in several passages, but is described most clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18. Some key excerpts:

1 Corinthians 15:51-54:

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory."

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

16. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Unlike the various ages we are considering, the Rapture takes place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Prior to the Rapture, the bodies of all saints remain somewhere in the natural world; but at the moment of the Rapture, in the twinkling of an eye, the bodies of those saints in Christ will be caught up (2) to join their spirits and become alive, resurrected, to always be with the Lord; and those saints who are alive on Earth at that time will not see death, but will be caught up, body and soul, also to always be with the Lord. The bodies of all who are caught up will no longer be the earthly bodies that we are familiar with, subject to decay and death, but will be glorified, transformed into bodies that are imperishable (not subject to decay) and immortal (not subject to death), fit for life in the presence of God in Heaven.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 says, the dead in Christ will rise first. Only those in Christ will be raptured. In Christ, or in Messiah, is a term that is used in Scripture only of believers between Pentecost and the Rapture. Only the church saints, the saints between Pentecost and the Rapture, will be raptured.

16. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17. and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21. that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25. But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

~ Romans 8:16-15 ~

It is not the Rapture that signals the beginning of the Great Tribulation, but the signing of the seven-year treaty between Israel and the anti-Christ (Daniel 9:27). If the Rapture and signing occur concurrently, then there will be no interim between the two events. If the signing takes place subsequent to the Rapture, then there will be an interim. If there will be an interim, then the spirits of believers who die during this period will go to Heaven, and their bodies will remain in the natural world. The spirits of nonbelievers who die will be sent to the Pit, and their bodies will remain in the natural world.

VI. DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION

The beginning of the Great Tribulation will be marked by the signing of the seven-year treaty, and the events leading to its end will be initiated by the Lord’s Second Coming (Zechariah 14:1-4; Matthew 24:30-31; Acts 1:11; Jude 14-15).

Having been raptured, the entire body of Messiah will be with the Lord in Heaven during the seven year period of the Great Tribulation. However, great multitudes on Earth will come to believe during this period, and will be martyred (Revelation 6:9-11; 14:13; 17:6). Others who come to faith will no doubt die by other means, just as they do today; but by whatever means they die, their bodies will remain in the natural world, and their spirits will go Heaven to be with the Lord, as Revelation 6:9-11 shows is the case with the souls of the martyred. The bodies of nonbelievers who die will remain in the natural world, and their spirits will be sent to the Pit. The anti-Christ and the false prophet will not die, but will be thrown alive, body and soul, into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).

Another term for the Lake of Fire is Gehenna. It is a term not found in all translations, but in some. For example, in Matthew 5:22 in Young’s Literal Translation, Jesus declares, whoever may say to his brother, Empty fellow! shall be in danger of the sanhedrim, and whoever may say, Rebel! shall be in danger of the gehenna of the fire. Another passage that identifies Gehenna with the Lake of Fire is James 3:6 (YLT), where we find the phrase, set on fire by the gehenna. Geenna (gheh'-en-nah) is the Greek term found in both passages. In Matthew 5:22 it is usually translated by such terms as fire of hell, or hellfire, and in James 3:6, by such terms as fire from Hell or fire by Hell.

The term Gehenna is derived from the Hebrew Ge bene Hinnom, the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom. It is a valley on the outskirts of Jerusalem where idolatrous Israelites in pre-Captivity times offered their children as burnt offerings to the heathen God Molech, and which had since served as a place for the burning of the carcasses of animals and criminals and all sorts of refuse.

VII. DURING THE MILLENNIUM

The harbinger of the Millennium (meaning, the Thousand Year Period) or Kingdom Age is the Second Coming of the Lord, and the end of the Millennium will be marked by the passing away of our present heaven and Earth (Revelation 21:1). No doubt the heaven referred to here refers to the created heavens, the atmosphere and outer space, for it is the creation that bears the curse of Genesis 3, not the Heaven where God dwells. As it says in Romans 8:22, For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

When the Lord returns from Heaven, He will bring all the church saints with Him in their glorified bodies to reign with Him for the thousand years (Jude 1:14; Revelation 20:6). Shortly after, all pre-Ascension saints will be resurrected (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2) as will the Tribulation saints, the latter group of whom will also reign with Messiah (Revelation 20:4).

As for the kinds of bodies the Millennial saints will have:
1. All Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26) at the very end of the Tribulation. They will remain in their natural bodies as the Lord builds the Kingdom and renews the Earth.

2. The bodies of the church saints were glorified at the Rapture, and they will retain their glorified bodies when they return with the Lord, and throughout the Millennium.

3. As far as I have been able to discover, Scripture does not state explicitly whether or not the pre-Ascension or Tribulation saints will receive glorified bodies at their resurrection. However, since they will not be taken into Heaven, but will be resurrected to life on Earth, it seems doubtful.

Isaiah 65:20 makes it clear that there will be human death during the Kingdom. There will certainly be no death for those in their glorified bodies, and surely nonbelievers will be included among those who die. The passage also seems to imply that saints in their natural bodies will die as well, though their lives will be much longer than ours today. Virtually all commentators hold to this position, even the noted Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch. The bodies of the deceased will remain in the natural world, and the spirits of the nonbelievers will be sent to the Pit. Where will the nonbelievers come from? All who enter the Kingdom will be believers, but those who are born in the Kingdom from those in their natural bodies will still need to exercise faith in Messiah for salvation. Revelation 20:7-9 informs us that, after Satan is released from his prison at the end of the thousand years, he will have no problem gathering a great multitude (of nonbelievers, obviously) from all over the Earth to attack the camp of the saints and the beloved city. Where will the spirits of deceased saints go? Good question! Abraham's Bosom had been cleared of the spirits of the pre-Ascension saints, Heaven had been cleared of the spirits of church saints, and the Lord Himself will be on Earth. Why, then, should the spirit of any saint who dies during the Millennium be sent either to Abraham's Bosom or to Heaven?! Perhaps this is an indication that no saint at all will die during the Millennium!

The Kingdom will terminate with the Great White Throne Judgment, at which time all the unrighteous of all the Earth’s ages will appear, body and soul, before the Lord to determine their degree of eternal punishment, body and soul, in the Lake of Fire (John 5:22; Revelation 20:4-6; 11-15; 21:8), And Death and Hades (the bodies and souls of the unsaved, respectively) were thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14).

VIII. DURING THE ETERNAL AGES

According to Revelation 21:1-2, after the Great White Throne Judgment, there will be a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God will rest upon the new Earth. It is here that the saints of all ages will dwell, body and soul, in the presence of God for all eternity.

22. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23. to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24. and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
~ Hebrews 12:22-24 ~

IX. SUMMARY OF THE DESTINIES OF THE DEAD

With the exception of those who experience death, resurrection and then death again, or who bypass death and are carried directly into Heaven or cast into the Lake of Fire, the great mass of humanity dies once and, at that time, discovers experientially whether their eternal fate will be one of blessing or of woe.

A. DESTINIES OF THE UNSAVED

From Adam until the Great White Throne judgment, the bodies of the unsaved who die will remain in the natural world, and their spirits will be in the Pit portion of Sheol or Hades. They will be resurrected at the Great White Throne Judgment to hear the degrees of punishment that they have earned, and will then be cast alive into the Lake of Fire, to remain there for eternity.

B. DESTINIES OF THE SAVED

The Pre-Ascension Saints
Upon their decease, their bodies remained on earth, and their spirits went to Abraham's Bosom, the Paradise portion of Sheol or Hades. When the Lord ascended, He escorted their spirits into Heaven. Shortly after the Lord's return, their bodies will be resurrected and rejoined with their spirits for life on earth in the Kingdom.

The Church Saints
These are the saints who live between Pentecost and the Rapture. As for those in this group who become deceased, their spirits will instantly go to be with the Lord in Heaven, and their bodies will remain on earth. At the time of the Rapture, they will be taken up to Heaven and be rejoined with their spirits.

Those church saints who are alive at the moment of the Rapture will bypass death as they will be raptured, taken into Heaven, body and soul.

All church saints will receive glorified bodies at the moment of the Rapture and will remain in Heaven with the Lord until His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation, at which time they will return with the Lord to Earth for life in the Kingdom.

The Saints on Earth from the Rapture Until the End of the Tribulation
The bodies of believers who die between the Rapture and the end of the Tribulation will remain on earth, and their spirits will be in Heaven.

Kingdom Saints
During the Kingdom, those who are in their glorified bodies will never die. If, indeed, there will be any death among believers in their natural bodies, it seems that Scripture is silent as to what will become of their bodies and spirits. Surely their spirits would be in a Paradise.

Saints in the Eternal Ages
During the Eternal Ages, all believers since Adam will live in the new Jerusalem on the new Earth in the new heavens along with the holy angels, in the presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, forever.

X. ONE MORE THING

It is rather obvious that one's eternal destiny is a concern of the greatest import. However, in God's eyes, there is an even greater concern: whether or not one has the humility to admit that he or she is a sinner that has offended God and man, and to run to God for salvation.

16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.

~ John 3:16-21 ~

He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him
[Jesus].


~ 2 Corinthians 5:21 ~

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

~ Romans 3:23 ~

No one can enter the presence of God in Heaven with the stains of sin on their souls, but God loved us so much that He made a way for us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place for our sins so that we would not have to pay the penalty for our sins for eternity, and Jesus willingly paid the ultimate price for our salvation. There's only one thing left for us to do: believe.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works [any action we can take], so that no one may boast.
~ Ephesians 2:8-9 ~

Grace is a free gift. All we need to do is to believe in this great act of God's love on our behalf for the salvation that Christ died for to become ours.

Do you believe? Will you believe? If you believe, thank God. If you are not yet sure, spend some quiet time alone before Him, and ask Him is this is true.


Bless you, in Jesus' Name,
Norm

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.


ENDNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of Page 1 of this compendium.
2. Caught up. har-pad'-zo (Greek). According to Strong, "From a derivative of [hahee-reh'-om-ahee]; to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
3. Destinies takes an overview of the Earth’s ages. Therefore, a number of statements made herein concerning the future are not supported in detail, but will be examined more thoroughly in future studies of the series.

The Destinies of the Dead
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2012
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

2. THE RAPTURE

6.The dead in Christ will rise first. 17. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ~

CONTENTS

AMC STATEMENT
I. WHAT IS THE RAPTURE?

II. THE TIMING OF THE RAPTURE
A. PROPHETIC PLACEMENT IN THE FEASTS OF ISRAEL
B. TIMING IN GREAT TRIBULATION PASSAGES
C. TIMING RELATIVE TO THE 70 A.D. DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
D. TIMING RELATIVE TO THE PRESENT MOMENT
E. THE TIMING OF THE RAPTURE: CONCLUSION
III. THOSE IN CHRIST WILL BE RAPTURED
A. THE SCRIPTURES SAY ALL
B. WHO IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION FOR?
IV. PASSAGES MISTAKEN TO SAY OTHERWISE
A. "TARE" BELIEVERS
B. CARNAL BELIEVERS
1. Passages in Question
2. The Corinthian Man
C. GENERAL TRIBULATION PASSAGES
D. PASSAGES IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
E. "WE MUST PRAY TO ESCAPE THE TRIBULATION"
V. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RAPTURE
VI. BIBLICAL ATTITUDES CONCERNING THE RAPTURE
A. WE ARE NOT TO DOUBT, BUT BELIEVE
B. WE ARE NOT TO BE TROUBLED OR AFRAID, BUT AT PEACE
C. WE ARE TO WAIT EXPECTANTLY AND THANKFULLY IN HOPE
VII. BIBLICAL ACTIVITIES IN LIGHT OF THE RAPTURE
VIII. CHURCH SAINTS REWARDED
ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING


AMC STATEMENT

Last Things

We believe that upon physical death believers enter into the joyous presence of God, whereas non-believers enter into conscious suffering apart from God. We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God. (Jeremiah 30:7 Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10)1

Excerpts Relevant to The Rapture

We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. (Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10)

I. WHAT IS THE RAPTURE?

The two central passages on the Rapture are 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

50. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 ~

13. But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ~

Let us begin by examining some of the text.

Asleep, used in both passages, is a euphemism for the state of those who have died, and is used in this manner in both Testaments by those who believed in the resurrection because of the obvious parallel between resurrection from death and awakening from sleep. For example, in Matthew 9:24, Jesus referred to the synagogue official's daughter as being asleep before He resurrected her, and in John 11:11, to Lazarus as being asleep before He resurrected him, who had been in the tomb for four days (verse 17).

Caught up, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, is translated from the Greek harpazo. It is the same word used in Acts 8:39, where the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The word rapture is derived from the Latin raptus, which itself is derived from harpazo, and means "to snatch up or away" and other similar meanings. Therefore, although the English word rapture is not found in Scripture, it has come to identify the event plainly described in the above passages.

Now as to the meaning of clouds and air. It is more than reasonable to take air literally. After all, the Lord descend[ed] from heaven to catch up believers from the Earth to meet the Lord in the air and bring [them] with Him to Heaven, and literal air exists between Earth and Heaven. What about clouds? At times, Scripture uses clouds to refer to the clouds of the air, and at other times, to the Shechinah Glory cloud, as in Solomon's dedication of the Temple: then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God (1 Chronicles 5:13-14. Also, most likely, in Luke 21:27 and Revelation 1:7). All things considered, there doesn't seem to be a way to definitively determine which kind of cloud is referred to in the Thessalonians passage, but it is reasonable to believe that Jesus will meet the saints in the literal air.

Now, to summarize the key points of the Rapture: At one point yet future, the Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven into the atmosphere. Then, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (twinkling. Gr. rhipe, rhee-pay'. A quick movement), He will resurrect those who have died in Christ, that is, deceased Church Age believers, into glorified, immortal, imperishable, heavenly bodies. An instant later, the bodies of those in Christ who are alive at that moment will likewise be translated2 or transformed into heavenly bodies, and will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air to always be with the Lord from that time forth. Though all of the events from the descent of the Lord through the catching up of the saints into Heaven may be thought of as the Rapture, the actual catching up of the saints is the Rapture proper.

One thing we must note: Neither the passages we've already reviewed nor any other passage shows any indication that the Rapture is to be taken symbolically or allegorically. Scripture straightforwardly presents it as a literal event involving literal resurrections and translations and instant bodily removal of the saints to meet the Lord in the clouds.

II. THE TIMING OF THE RAPTURE

There is no passage that tell us exactly when the Rapture will occur. In fact, Jesus declared, But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matthew 24:36); but there are passages that locate it relative to other events or periods of time.

A. PROPHETIC PLACEMENT IN THE FEASTS OF ISRAEL

In Leviticus 23 and elsewhere, God enjoined Israel under the Law to observe seven annual feasts, each of which carries prophetic significance, and which together constitute a blueprint for God's plan from Calvary to the Millennial Kingdom. They are divided into spring and summer festivals with a significant summer hiatus between. Here they are in summary.

The Spring Festivals

1. Passover or Pesach (Leviticus 23:5)
Passover is prophetic of the crucifixion of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). For Christ our Passover also has been crucified (1 Corinthians 5:7b).

2. Unleavened Bread or Chag HaMatzot (Leviticus 23:6-8)
Unleavened Bread speaks of the sinlessness of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7).

3. Firstfruits or Chag HaBikurim (Leviticus 23:9-14)
Firstfruits is prophetic of the resurrection of Jesus. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20).

4. Pentecost or Shavuot (Leviticus 23:15-21)
Pentecost is prophetic of the formation of the church. Part of the ceremony consisted of the simultaneous offering of two leavened (sinful) loaves before the Lord (Leviticus 23:17). On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Spirit baptized two sinful “loaves” into one body: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles (1 Corinthians 12:13) that He might make the two into one new man (Ephesians 2:15).

The Summer Hiatus

After prescribing the four spring festivals and before prescribing the three fall festivals to begin four months later, the Lord declared, When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God (Leviticus 23:22).

This seems completely out of context. What was the Lord up to here? Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples: Do you not say, “There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest (John 4:35).

Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and Pentecost have all been fulfilled, and now is the season for us, Jesus' disciples, to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19) and thereby bring in the harvest for Him. We see, then, that the four month summer hiatus is also prophetic and has its fulfillment in the sequence of events from Calvary to the Kingdom. It is prophetic of the Church Age. (See also the Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4:3-9.)

The Fall Festivals

5. Trumpets or Yom T'ruah (Leviticus 23:23-25)
At some point after the Babylonian captivity (586-516 B.C.), the holiday came to be called Rosh HaShanah, the Head of the New Year, because of the belief that God created the heavens and the earth on the first of the month of Tishrei; so although the biblical new year begins in the month of Nisan (Abib) (Exodus 12:2), the fourteenth day of which Is Passover (Leviticus 23:5), Rosh HaShanah is recognized as the first day of the year in Israel today even though it is six months away from the biblical first day.

The only biblical requirement for the keeping of the Day of Trumpets is the blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn. Scripture gives no reason for it; but does the blowing of trumpets ring a bell in regard to the Rapture? 1 Corinthians 15:52: the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable. 1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. We see, then, that Trumpets is prophetic of the Rapture, and in the sequence of prophetic events, it occurs after the Church Age.

6. Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:27)
The Day of Atonement is not a feast, but a day of solemnity in which all Israelites were to afflict their souls for their sinfulness. A goat was to be sacrificed, and its blood brought by the high priest into the holy of holies as an offering for the sins of the people. A second goat was then driven into the wilderness, symbolically carrying Israel’s sins away. Leviticus 16:10: But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Cf. Leviticus 16:1-34)

The removal of Israel’s sins will be actualized at the end of the Great Tribulation when all Jews who survive Satan’s most virulent attempt to annihilate them (afflicting their bodies as well as souls) will receive Jesus as their Messiah, fulfilling the key provision of the New Covenant that God made with them: they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them (Jeremiah 31:34), the basis of Paul’s declaration in Romans 11:26, all Israel will be saved. (Also Zechariah 12:10, 13:1.) The fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, then, is the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7 ASV), the central purpose of which is the salvation of all Israel, meaning all Israelites alive at that time.

We see, then, most significantly, that the Rapture takes place at the end of the Church Age and before the Great Tribulation. But to complete our picture of the prophetic significance of the Feasts, we'll take a look at the seventh and final feast.

7. Tabernacles, Booths or Chag HaSukkot (Leviticus 23:33-44)
Of the first coming of Jesus, John tells us, the Word became flesh, and dwelt (Greek. tented, tabernacled) among us. Of the presence of the Lord with His people in the New Heavens and New Earth in the Eternal Ages after the Kingdom period, he tells us, Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them (Revelation 21:3). Note how He is identified with the tabernacle. Paul and Peter likewise refer to their own bodies as tabernacles (2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Peter 1:13-14 [ASV]). It is clear, then, that whenever the Lord dwells bodily with His people, He tabernacles with them. And indeed, the Lord does return to Earth to tabernacle with His people Israel, the glorified church saints, the pre-church saints and those who come to faith during the Great Tribulation,3 as it is the salvation of all Israel at the end of Yom Kippur that triggers His return (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39). Zechariah 14:16 tells us that, during the Kingdom, Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. Indeed, they will celebrate of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles in the presence of the Him who is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.

To conclude, the placement of the Feast of Trumpets between the summer hiatus and the Day of Atonement is powerful proof that the Rapture will take place at the end of the Church Age and before the Great Tribulation.

B. TIMING IN GREAT TRIBULATION PASSAGES

Some representative passages:

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
9. For they themselves report . . . how you . . . 10. wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Wrath is one of the terms used in Scripture to refer to the Great Tribulation. It does not refer to Hell in the passage: No believer is in jeopardy of being sent to Hell,4 and the thrust of the letter has to with the Great Tribulation, not Hell. Paul was pleased that the Thessalonians were wait[ing] for [God's] Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. It is obvious that the Thessalonians were waiting for deliverance before the Tribulation began, and we know that the Rapture is the deliverance that they were waiting for because in 4:13-18, Paul answered a concern that they had about the Rapture, namely, what happens to believers who die before it takes place. So this passage likewise shows that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation.

1 Thessalonians 5:9
Verses 1-10 are set in the context of the Tribulation; and in verse 9, Paul assures the Thessalonians unequivocally that God has not destined us for wrath. Again, no Church Age believer is destined for the Great Tribulation. Of necessity, then, the Rapture must occur before the Tribulation.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Paul described the Rapture in his first letter to the Thessalonians; but some had, since that time, become concerned that the Tribulation had already begun because of persecutions that they had endured (1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4,6). In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul responds to that concern:

1. Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2. that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4. who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

In this context, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ obviously refers to the Lord's coming in the clouds for the Rapture, not to His return to Earth, a subsequent event. In verses 2-4, Paul assures the Thessalonians that the Tribulation will not begin until anti-Christ is revealed. He had not been revealed at the time of Paul's writing, nor has he yet been revealed because Daniel 9:27 informs us that he will be revealed when he signs a seven-year covenant of peace with Israel, and no such treaty has yet been signed. In other words, the passage says that the church will be gather[ed] together to Him at the Rapture before anti-Christ is revealed - before the Great Tribulation.

Revelation 3:10

9. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie - I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

Who say that they are Jews and are not may either be taken literally, just as many through the centuries have said that they are Jews and are not, (e.g., British Israelites) or it may mean literal Jews who are not fulfilling their calling as Jews by believing in their Messiah, Jesus, as in Romans 2:28-29 as understood in the context of verses 14-29, particularly verse 17. In any case, those who have kept the word of My perseverance are distinguished from the obvious unbelievers referred to in verse 9, and the Lord promises that He will keep them from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. He did not say that He will snatch them out of the Great Tribulation, but keep them from it, necessitating a pre-Tribulation Rapture.

The Structure of the Book of Revelation
Revelation 1-3 deals with church events prior to the Tribulation, and 19-22 deals with events involving the church beginning with the Second Coming of the Lord from Heaven with His church; but the church is not so much as mentioned in chapters 6-18, the chapters dealing with the Great Tribulation. Where was the church during the Tribulation? In Heaven with the Lord, having gotten there by means of the Rapture prior to the Tribulation.

C. TIMING RELATIVE TO THE 70 A.D. DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM

In Luke 21:28, Yeshua said to His disciples, But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. This redemption is the same as the redemption of the body in Romans 8:23 and the day of redemption in Ephesians 4:30, namely, the Rapture.

But what things? The main body of this (Olivet) discourse (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-6) consists of Jesus' answers to three questions that His disciples asked: Tell us, when will these things happen? and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age (Matthew 24:3b)? To paraphrase, "What will be the sign 1. of the destruction of Jerusalem (cf. Matthew 24:1-2), 2. of Your Second Coming, and 3. of the end of the world as we know it before the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom?

But when will these things begin to take place? Chronologically, the first of the three events was the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. In addition, and significantly, Yeshua opened the discourse by saying of the temple, Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down (Matthew 24:2). His focus was not on the sign that the destruction was about to take place, which was the siege of the city in 66 A.D., nor on the flight of the believers which He commanded once the city became besieged (Luke 21:20-21) - and if He commanded them to flee, the Rapture certainly could not have taken place before their flight! - but on the actual destruction of the city, which was God's judgment on Israel for rejecting Him (Matthew 23:37-39). We can reasonably conclude, then, that the Rapture could have taken place any time after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

D. TIMING RELATIVE TO THE PRESENT MOMENT

First some verses, then conclusions:

Verses

In John 21:22, Yeshua said to Peter of John, If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? He didn't say that He would come while John was still alive, but He could have come between the destruction of Jerusalem and the death of John.

In John 14:2-3, The Lord told His disciples, 2. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. Before the Lord comes to Rapture His church, He must complete the dwellings places for all church saints, and only He knows when they are complete.

Romans 13:12: The night is almost gone, and the day is near.

James 5:8: The coming of the Lord is near.

Philippians 4:5b: The Lord is near.

One meaning of the words for near in the previous three verses is approaching, which is consistent with the way a number of translations have it: draweth nigh, or draws near.

The Lord says three times in Revelation 22, I am coming quickly (verses 7,12 and 20). According to Strong, one possible translation of quickly is (by surprise) suddenly. Even in common speech quickly doesn't always mean right away. It can mean suddenly: "When you cross that street, be careful. Traffic will be coming quickly."

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10: 9. For they themselves report . . . how you . . . 10. wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Yeshua, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Other verses exhorting believers to wait for our resurrection, glorification, and our hope of righteousness in state as well as in present standing are Romans 8:25 and Galatians 5:5. In all three of these verses, the Greek word for wait means to eagerly wait.

Conclusions
In light of these possible translations and the fact that the Rapture has not occurred in the more than nineteen hundred years since these scriptures were written, it seems reasonable to conclude the following:

1. The intended meaning was not that the Rapture was near, or was to be coming soon (a minority translation instead of quickly or swiftly), but that it was approaching.

2. When it will occur, it will occur suddenly - yes, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye!

3. Based on John 21:22, even before the Lord revealed that the destruction of Jerusalem must occur before the Rapture, He wanted His saints from very early in the Church Age to realize that the Rapture could occur at any time, that it is imminent.

E. THE TIMING OF THE RAPTURE: CONCLUSION

The Rapture could have occurred immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Relative to the present moment, it will occur after the Lord has completed the dwelling places for His church saints, and it will occur at the very end of the Church Age and before the Great Tribulation. From our limited perspective, it can occur at any time: It is imminent.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 states that those in Christ will be raptured. Also, 1 Corinthians 15:22-23: 22. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming. Again, the Festival of Firstfruits is prophetic of Christ's resurrection, and Trumpets is prophetic of the Rapture of those who are Christ's at His coming. In light of verse 22, the latter part of verse 23 refers specifically to the resurrection of the deceased in Christ. But who, exactly, is in Christ?

Obviously, it includes only believers. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 distinguishes those in Christ from the rest who have no hope, and verse 17 states that they shall always be with the Lord. But believers since Adam?

An examination of Scripture will show that in Christ and other such terms, in Yeshua, in Christ Jesus, in Him, in whom and in the Lord, are used, without exception, for believers from Pentecost through the Rapture - in other words, for church saints; for the Church Age began at Pentecost and will terminate with the Rapture.5 Remember: On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Spirit baptized two sinful “loaves” into one body: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles (1 Corinthians 12:13) that He might make the two into one new man (Ephesians 2:15).

All pre- and post-church saints will likewise come to dwell with the Lord in Heaven,6 but the Rapture involves only those in Christ, the church, believers from Pentecost to the Rapture - and all in Christ.

A. THE SCRIPTURES SAY ALL

The church is raptured before the Great Tribulation; yet, there are many who believe that at least some believers who are alive at the time of the Rapture will be left behind by the Lord to remain on Earth during the Tribulation. We will now address this issue.

The Scriptures say all:

1 Corinthians 15:51
We will all be changed.

1 Thessalonians 5:3-5

3. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5. for you are all sons of light and sons of day.

The Tribulation will not overtake the Thessalonian believers like a thief, because they are all sons of light and sons of day.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
A plain reading of the passage gives the impression that all will be included, and no hint is dropped that any will be left out. We who are alive and remain is found twice, in verses 14 and 17, and is all inclusive.

In verse 18, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians, Therefore, comfort one another with these words. Now, if Paul had left any impression that some of the Thessalonians might be left behind at the Rapture, on what basis could they comfort one another?

These all passages leave no loophole for "most" or "some."

B. WHO IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION FOR?

To emphasize the fact that no Church Age believer will miss the Rapture and be on Earth during the Tribulation, let us see who the Tribulation is for.

1 Thessalonians 5:3-5

3. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5. for you are all sons of light and sons of day.

The Great Tribulation is not for church saints, who are all sons of light and sons of day, but is for those who are in darkness, a reference to those who have not received the Lord as Savior.

2 Thessalonians 2:8-13

8. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9. that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10. and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,12. in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 13. But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

The Tribulation is not for those who have been chosen . . . for salvation, but is for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For what reason is the Tribulation for them? That they all may be judged who did not believe the truth. Can a passage be more exclusive of Church saints than this?

Both passages clearly distinguish between believers, who will not experience the Tribulation, and unbelievers at the time of the Rapture who will be left on Earth to be judged during the Tribulation because they chose darkness and wickedness over light and salvation.

IV. PASSAGES MISTAKEN TO SAY OTHERWISE

All church saints will be Raptured and none will experience the Tribulation; yet, some passages have been misunderstood to mean that some church saints will be left behind for the sake of chastisement or sanctification. Often such misinterpretation is influenced by having observed some who claim to be believers but act as if they are not, and by the fact that believers are promised chastisement by the Lord as a means of sanctification (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:5, Hebrews 12:6-11). To begin with, personal observation ought never to be used as a basis for interpreting Scripture: Scripture ought to be used to interpret our personal observations! Let us now examine some relevant categories of Scripture.

A. "TARE" BELIEVERS

Not all who appear to be believers really are believers. They appear to the natural eye to be members of the church, but they have never, from the heart, exercised faith in the Lord to be saved (cf. Romans 10:9-10). In Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, the Lord metaphorically identifies such as tares. A tare is a weed that looks like wheat, but is not wheat. They are not believers, at all, and those who are alive at the time of the Rapture will be left behind. Tares are also the subject of Matthew 7:21-23:

21. Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 21. Many will say to Me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?" 23. And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS."

Of course, tare "believers" will be left behind at the Rapture. They were never believers, at all: I never knew you.

B. CARNAL BELIEVERS

Carnal (KJV) or men of flesh (NASB) believers are to be distinguished from what 1 Corinthians 3:1 refers to as babes (KJV) or infants in Christ (NASB). Verses 1-3 describe carnal believers as ones who are no longer babes, but have not yet matured, who act as if they had never been saved. It is this class of believers that is truly the subject of the issue: Will they be left behind for the sake of chastisement and sanctification during the Great Tribulation? Let us examine some passages that are often taken to say that they will, and then a real eye-opener that shows who could have gotten raptured.

1. Passages in Question
Probably, the two most popular are Matthew 24:40-42 and 25:1-13.

Matthew 24:40-42
40. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 42. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

Which event does this refer to, the Rapture or the Second Coming? At the judgment of the sheep and goats immediately following the Second Coming, none will remain in the field or at the mill as the Lord said that He will gather them all for the judgment (Matthew 25:31-46, esp. v. 32); but in this passage, some will be taken and some left, a phenomenon consistent with the Rapture.

Will any believers be among those who will be left? The passage simply does not say so, and we must be content to answer our question on the basis of the "all" passages: All believers living at the time of the Rapture will be raptured.

Matthew 25:1-13
In this passage, the five virgins who had oil in their lamps were welcomed to the wedding feast, and the five who did not were refused entry. Do the five foolish virgins represent believers who did not make the Rapture?

The passage must be understood on the basis of the Jewish wedding traditions of the day, which those whom Jesus was addressing knew well:

"In the Jewish wedding system, when the marriage was to be consummated, the bridegroom would go to the home of the bride to fetch her and bring her to his home. As he approached his own home, he would be met by a procession of virgins who would conduct the bride and groom for the marriage ceremony to be followed by the marriage feast. This is the background of this parable.

"When the bridegroom, the Messiah, returns to earth with His Bride - the Church - for the marriage feast, the virgins will be responsible for both watching for His return, and being ready to light the lamps upon His return. The five virgins who were wise will be the ones who are believers; hence, they will be both ready and watching. They are the ones who have the oil, a common symbol of the Holy Spirit. Only the wise ones enter the marriage feast, the common symbol for the Messianic Kingdom. Because the Messiah is pictured as already with His Bride, the Church which had been raptured, these who have the oil are people who became believers during the Tribulation. They are saved and invited to the wedding feast as guests. The five foolish virgins will be the unbelievers and, therefore, will be neither ready nor watching. They do not have any oil. It should be noted that the text does not say that the foolish virgins ran out of oil, but that they have no oil with them. They never had the oil or the Holy Spirit to begin with."7

The passage does not refer to the Rapture, but to those survivors of the Tribulation who are and are not allowed entry into the Messianic Kingdom. It cannot be taken to indicate that some believers will be left behind at the Rapture.

2. The Corinthian Man
Surely, in the Corinthian and Thessalonian churches to whom Paul addressed the "all" passages there must have been some carnal believers; yet Paul told the Thessalonians 4. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5. for you are all sons of light and sons of day (1 Thessalonians 5) - but let's look at one Corinthian believer of especial notoriety.

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul spends thirteen verses taking the Corinthians to task. He begins, It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife (v. 1). Paul considered this man's offense so severe that he urged the church to excommunicate him (v. 13), and he himself decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (The destruction of his flesh refers to the destruction of the body, even unto death, if necessary, if there is no repentance.) Now note: Paul did not know whether or not the man would repent; yet it was to this same church - in the same letter - that he wrote, we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - even that Corinthian man.

C. GENERAL TRIBULATION PASSAGES

There are passages that refer to tribulation that is common to all believers, but do not refer to the Great Tribulation. Such passages may be thought of as general tribulation passages, and must be distinguished from Great Tribulation passages. Yet, some believers confuse the former with the latter and conclude that some believers will experience the Great Tribulation.

Two such passages are John 16:33 and Romans 8:35.

John 16:33: In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

Romans 8:35: Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

On what basis shall we distinguish between the two classes of passages? If there is no direct or contextual reference to the Great Tribulation, it is only reasonable to view it as a general tribulation passage.

D. PASSAGES IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION

The Book of Revelation reveals that there will be multitudes of believers on Earth during the Great Tribulation. Some take this to mean that some church saints will miss the Rapture and experience the Tribulation. However, a simple, thoughtful reading of Revelation 7:4-10 will indicate that these people become saved during the Tribulation: 144,000 Jews will be sovereignly saved by God, and these, in turn, will lead multitudes to salvation.

E. "WE MUST PRAY TO ESCAPE THE TRIBULATION"

But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

Does this mean that if believers don't pray for strength to escape all these things that they will be left behind at the Rapture to endure the Great Tribulation?

Strength is translated be counted worthy in many other translations, including Young's Literal and the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible. Also, the same Greek word translated escape is found in Romans 2:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:3, and Hebrews 2:3; and in all of these cases, it clearly means "to avoid." Therefore, the verse cannot refer to believers escaping out of the Tribulation, but of avoiding it completely. Other than dying before the Tribulation, how may one avoid it completely? By receiving the Lord - the only way of being counted worthy (2 Corinthians 5:21) to be Raptured and to stand before the Son of Man at the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven to receive their rewards (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Now, the disciples whose questions Jesus was responding to were already saved; so when He used you, He could not have been referring to them: He must have been prophetically exhorting all of Israel to receive Him as their Messiah and to thereby be sure of avoiding the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) - yet, He spoke it in the hearing of His apostles, for it was to be their commission to carry these and all of His words to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 1:16).

He was not exhorting believers to pray to be counted worthy to avoid the Tribulation. He was prophetically exhorting unsaved Israelites to be counted worthy to avoid it by receiving Him as Christ.

V. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RAPTURE

There appear to be three major points of significance in regards to the Rapture:

  • End of the Church Age. The Rapture marks the end of the Church Age. This, in turn, is significant because the Lord will deal differently with those who come to faith after the Rapture than He does with the church.

  • Absolute Victory. The Rapture marks the commencement of absolute eternal victory for the church and all of its members (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). It is when deceased believers become resurrected, when all church believers receive their heavenly bodies, and when the church will forever be delivered of the sin nature and of sinning, and to thenceforth and forevermore always be with the Lord.

  • It Sets the Stage for the Consummation of All Things. After two thousand years or more since the epochal event of Pentecost, the Rapture of the church will set the stage for the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Great Tribulation, the salvation of Israel, the Second Coming, the Messianic Kingdom, the Great White Throne Judgment and the Eternal Ages.

VI. BIBLICAL ATTITUDES CONCERNING THE RAPTURE

A. WE ARE NOT TO DOUBT, BUT BELIEVE

2 Peter 3:3-4: 3. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4. and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." The passage is specific to the Lord's Second Coming, but it may easily said of the Rapture, as well.

The Bible records events akin to the Rapture, and we believe that they actually happened; yet, when it comes to the Rapture, some wonder. Perhaps reviewing these events may strengthen faith where such strengthening is needed. It is suggested that the reader decide which elements of the Rapture are in common with these events, which are different, and which we cannot discern as not enough information is given. For example, the Rapture takes place in an instant, but we know that the Lord's ascension was gradual because it is recorded that His disciples watched Him rise.

  • Enoch
    Genesis 5:24: Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

    Hebrews 11:5: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.

  • Elijah

    11. As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. 12. Elisha saw it and cried out, "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw Elijah no more.

    ~ 2 Kings 2:11-12 ~

  • Jesus' Ascension
    Mark 16:19: So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

    Luke 24:51: While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

    2. until the day when He was taken up to heaven . . . . 9. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

    ~ Acts 1:2, 9-11 ~

  • Philip
    Acts 8:39-40: 39. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. 40. But Philip found himself at Azotus . . . .

    The Greek word translated snatched here is harpazo, the same word translated caught up in 1 Thessalonians 4:17: Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds . . . .

  • Paul

    2. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3. And I know how such a man - whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows - 4. was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

    ~ 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 ~

    Caught up here is also harpazo.

  • The Apostle John

    1. After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things." 2. Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.

    ~ Revelation 4:1-2 ~

  • Various Resurrections
    Then, of course, there are the various resurrections apart from that of the dead in Christ at the Rapture, such as, Elijah's resurrection of the widow of Zarephath's son (1 Kings 17:17-24); the Lord's resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:1-12:17); the Lord's own resurrection (Matthew 289:2-8, Mark 16:2-8, Luke 24:1-8); Peter's resurrection of Dorcas (Acts 9:36-42).

Do we believe these things? If so, there should be no doubt about the Rapture, either. Speaking specifically of a pre-Tribulation Rapture, Paul exhorted, Therefore, my brothers, stand fast and hold the teachings which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

B. WE ARE NOT TO BE TROUBLED OR AFRAID, BUT AT PEACE

John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28. You heard that I said to you, "I go away, and I will come to you." This exhortation appears to make immediate reference to His resurrection, but it obviously has application to the Rapture, as well.

C. WE ARE TO WAIT EXPECTANTLY AND THANKFULLY IN HOPE

Romans 8:23: And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57: 55. "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" 56. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57. but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:10: and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. Also Romans 8:25 and Galatians 5:5.

Titus 2:13: looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ . . . .

VII. BIBLICAL ACTIVITIES IN LIGHT OF THE RAPTURE

These passages were all written in the context of the Rapture:

  • We Are to Stand Fast in the Word
    2 Thessalonians 2:15: Therefore, my brothers, stand fast and hold the teachings which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter.

  • We Are to Comfort and Encourage One Another
    Thessalonians 4:18: Therefore comfort one another with these words.

    9. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10. who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

    ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 ~

    2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: 16. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17. comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

  • We Are to Steadfastly Abound in the Work of the Lord
    1Corinthians 15:58: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

    2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: 16. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17. comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

VIII. CHURCH SAINTS REWARDED

Once the church has been raptured and in Heaven with Christ, each of its members will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Romans 14: 10b. For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. . . . 12. So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God; 2 Corinthians 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad; and Luke 21:36, which we already addressed: But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. Here, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, each believer will be rewarded for the quality of his or her service for Christ while here on Earth. Paul declared,

10. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13. each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

~ 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 ~

Some passages shedding light on what the Lord will look for as He judges, and the rewards that He will bestow, are Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5, 4:8; James 1:12, 3:1-9; 1 Peter 5:1-6 and Revelation 2:10.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of Page 1 of this compendium.
2. The raising of the dead is called resurrection, but the catching up of the living is called translation, a term found in some translations in Hebrews 11:5: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death (KJV).
3. See the author's study, The Destinies of the Dead, above.
4. See the author's study, Eternal Security on Page 1 of this compendium in the Salvation section.
5. Biblical support for this point may be found in section VI.B.8 in the author's study, Who Is Israel? Who Are the Jews? on Page 2of this compendium.
6. See the author's study, The Destinies of the Dead, above.
7. Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, pdf, p. 645. Available at Ariel Ministries in various formats.

RECOMMENDED READING

By Norman Manzon
1. The Destinies of the Dead, above.
2. Eternal Security, at http://www.biblestudyproject.org/Eternal-Security-messianic.htm.
3. The Prophetic Feasts of Israel, at http://www.biblestudyproject.org/feasts-of-israel-messianic.htm.


The Rapture
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2013
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

3. THE GREAT TRIBULATION

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred
since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will
.

~ Matthew 24:21 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT
I. WHAT IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION?
A. THE TERM
B. OTHER DESIGNATIONS
C. CONCLUSION
II. GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE
III. WHEN WILL IT BEGIN?
A. THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL
1. Historical Placement in the Seventy Weeks
2. What Specific Event Will Mark Its Beginning?
3. Who Are the Many?
B. RELATIVE TO THE RAPTURE
1. Placement in the Prophetic Feasts of Israel
2. How Soon After the Rapture?
C. IN LIGHT OF RECENT WORLD EVENTS
IV. ONE FULL WEEK
V. WHO IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION FOR?
VI. WHY SUCH A TERRIBLE JUDGMENT?
A. OVERVIEW OF MAN'S REBELLION THROUGH THE AGES
B. SUMMARY OF MAN'S REBELLION
VII. GOD'S GOALS FOR THE GREAT TRIBULATION
1. For the Nations in General
2. For Israel in Particular
VIII. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION
IX. TRANSITIONAL PERIOD BETWEEN THE TRIBULATION AND THE KINGDOM
X. THE PUPIL OF GOD'S EYE
XI. WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES
ADDENDUM: DEFENDING THE TRIBULATION SCRIPTURES
A. DEFENDING THE LITERALITY OF THE PROPHECIES
B. DEFENDING THE CHRONOLOGICAL PLACEMENT OF THE PROPHESIES
ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING

INTRODUCTION

This study is an attempt to convey the nature of the Great Tribulation, place it in its prophetic setting and present an outline of its key events; but even more so to explain the why of it. Why will the Lord bring such a terrible judgment? What purposes will He accomplish by means of it? May the reader be built up in his understanding and appreciation of this aspect of it especially.

It is impossible in this brief study to prove the context of every passage presented or to connect all the dots in regard to the sequence of events. It is suggested that the reader remember these limitations when formulating his or her own doctrine - not rejecting what is presented, but holding it in abeyance until he or she gathers more information. For this purpose, I cannot recommend better sources than The Seventy Weeks of Daniel by Dr. David Cooper and The Footsteps of the Messiah by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, both of which are noted in the Recommended Reading section at the end of the study.

Immediately preceding this study in our series on future things is a study entitled, The Rapture. It is suggested that it be studied or reviewed before proceeding further as much foundational material for this study will be found there.

We’ll begin with our entire AMC Statement on Last Things. Some details were covered our recent studies on this page, The Destinies of the Dead and The Rapture, some will be covered in this present study, and the rest will be covered in subsequent studies.

AMC STATEMENT

Last Things

We believe that upon physical death believers enter into the joyous presence of God, whereas non-believers enter into conscious suffering apart from God. We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God. (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10)1

I. WHAT IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION?

A. THE TERM

Tribulation simply means "pressure (literally or figuratively): - afflicted, (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble" (Strong), and can refer to anything from the daily trials of life to very severe trials including persecutions for the faith (1 Thessalonians 1:6; Revelation 1:9; 2:9-10); but what we refer to as the Great Tribulation is derived from:
Matthew 24:21: For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will,
Revelation 2:22: Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds,
and Revelation 7:14: And he said to me, These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

B. OTHER DESIGNATIONS

A review of other designations for the Great Tribulation should impress upon us its essential character.

In the Old Testament, the most common name for the Great Tribulation is the Day of Jehovah or the Day of the Lord. . . . It is also found in various passages of the New Testament. . . . But there are a number of other names or designations for this time period found in the Old Testament. Following the translation found in the American Standard Version of the 1901 edition, these names include:2

The Time of Jacob's Trouble - Jeremiah 30:7
The Seventieth Week (a seven) of Daniel - Daniel 9:27
Jehovah's Strange Work - Isaiah 28:21
Jehovah's Strange Act - Isaiah 28:21
The Day of Israel's Calamity - Deuteronomy 32:35; Obadiah 12-14
The Tribulation - Deuteronomy 4:30
The Indignation - Isaiah 26:20; Daniel 11:36
The Overflowing Scourge - Isaiah 28:15, 18
The Day of Vengeance - Isaiah 34:8; 35:4; 61:2
The Year of Recompense - Isaiah 34:8
The Time of Trouble - Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15
The Day of Wrath - Zephaniah 1:15
The Day of Distress - Zephaniah 1:15
The Day of Wasteness - Zephaniah 1:15
The Day of Desolation - Zephaniah 1:15
The Day of Darkness - Zephaniah 1:15; Amos 5:18, 20; Joel 2:2
The Day of Gloominess - Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
The Day of Clouds - Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
The Day of Thick Darkness - Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
The Day of the Trumpet - Zephaniah 1:16
The Day of Alarm - Zephaniah 1:16

The New Testament names and designations include:
The Day of the Lord - I Thessalonians 5:2
The Wrath of God - Revelation 15:1, 7; 14:10, 19; 16:1
The Hour of Trial - Revelation 3:10
The Great Day of the Wrath of the Lamb of God - Revelation 6:16-17
The Wrath to Come - I Thessalonians 1:10
The Wrath - I Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 11:18
The Great Tribulation - Matthew 24:21; Revelation 2:22; 7:14
The Tribulation - Matthew 24:29
The Hour of Judgment - Revelation 14:7

C. CONCLUSION

The nature of the Great Tribulation is summed up in the following passages:

Daniel 12:1: At that time . . . there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.

Matthew 24:21: For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

II. GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE

How much of the world will the Great Tribulation encompass? Enclosing Matthew 24:21, just quoted, are these verses: 14. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come, and 30. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn. Each places the Great Tribulation in a worldwide context. Isaiah 24 does the same: 19. The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. 20. The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack.

The Great Tribulation will be an event which encompasses the whole world.

III. WHEN WILL IT BEGIN?

A. THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL

1. Historical Placement in the Seventy Weeks
In Daniel 9, the angel Gabriel gave Daniel insight into epochal events of the future both near and far:

24. Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

Seven weeks means seven groups of seven years, or 49 years, and sixty-two weeks means sixty-two groups of seven years, or 434 years, for a total of sixty-nine weeks or 483 years.3 Using the Bible’s method of counting “regular solar years"4 from the creation of Adam,5 Dr. David Cooper determined that from the year of the decree of Cyrus the Persian to permit the Jews who were captive in Babylon to return to Judea to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until Jerusalem was rebuilt, was 49 years; and that 434 years later, Messiah was cut off. “From all the data, we see that the terminal date of the 483-year period is the time of Messiah's being cut off or executed for the sins of His people. From this conclusion there cannot possibly be any escape."6

Connected with the end of the sixty-ninth week (the sixty-second week after the first seven weeks) when Messiah will be cut off is the following event: The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Who is this prince? He could not be Messiah as it was not Messiah's people who destroyed the city and the sanctuary . . . with a flood (a symbol of a military invasion [e.g., Isaiah 8:5-8 and Nahum 1:8]). It was the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. The Prince is the one we've come to know as the Antichrist, and he will be a Roman, for the people of the prince are Romans.

Now, even to the end of the period between the destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of the seventieth week, there will be war in the Promised Land. True to the prophecy, since 70 A.D. numerous wars have been fought over the trans-Israeli trade routes that join Egypt and the rest of Africa with nations north and east, and over possession of the entire Land; and because of the wars, desolations are determined. The Promised Land has been made desolate and will remain so until the end of the seventieth week. Despite the agricultural and industrial wonders that have taken place in modern Israel, one is still struck by the desolation of vast areas of it.

To sum up, within the seventy weeks of Daniel, the Tribulation will begin at some point after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. during which the land of Israel will be decimated by warfare.

2. What Specific Event Will Mark Its Beginning?
2 Thessalonians 2 declares that the Tribulation will not begin until Antichrist is revealed:

2b. the day of the Lord . . . will not come unless . . . the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4. who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

But how will he be revealed?

And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

~ Daniel 9:27 ~

The verse reveals three things: 1. He will make a covenant with Israel. 2. It's duration is to be a full week, or seven years. 3. Its nature: We can determine from the but clause of the verse that the covenant is one by which Antichrist will guarantee Israel's security so that the Temple sacrifices and offerings may carry on unhindered: but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering. In other words, after three and a half years, he will put a stop to that which he guaranteed. It is by virtue of this unique seven year covenant that Antichrist will be revealed and the Tribulation will begin.

3. Who Are the Many?
Antichrist will make a firm covenant with the many. Who are the many?

The entire passage has to do with Daniel's people, the Jews, and focuses primarily on events in Jerusalem. Therefore, the treaty must be with the nation of Israel; but is the nation of Israel the many? Compared with the rest of the world, they are the few. There are two other views that I am aware of. One is that the many are the Israeli leadership. At least today, any treaty that Israel enters into must be made with the support of its Knesset (Parliament) - but how can such a tiny percentage of Israel's population can be considered the many? The other is the view held by Dr. Cooper, that the many are those Israelis who agree with the treaty.7 Keil and Delitzsch agree with this. They comment, "the many, i.e., the great mass of the people in contrast with the few, who remain faithful to God; cf. Mat_24:12." (Matthew 24:12-13 reads, Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.) Dr. Cooper writes, "Should one speak of this section of the Jewish race in terms of present-day phraseology, he would say that those making the covenant are the modernistic crowd, which has given up largely the national hope and has abandoned faith in the inspiration of the Scriptures and the plan of God. One also comes to the conclusion that the faithful, orthodox Jews who believe in the Scriptures as the Word of God are the ones who hold aloof from such an alliance." To my mind, the best solution seems to be a combination of the latter two views; but I would say that the many will be those Israelis who favor the proposed treaty after having rejecting any spiritual insight that the Lord may offer. How can a treaty be made with them? Through their representatives in the Knesset who would carry the vote.

What will be the fate of the many during the Tribulation? It is possible that some of them will be saved during the preaching of the first half of the Tribulation. The rest will subsequently take the number of the Beast along with those of other nations who have resisted the preaching, and will be the rebels whom God will purge out of Israel by means of death (Ezekiel 20:36-38). What of the few who disagree with the treaty? No doubt the Lord will draw the 144,000 from among them. Others may be saved from among them during the first half, as well, and the saved from among the few who disagree with the treaty and survive until the middle of the Tribulation will be among those in the world who refuse the number of the Beast. More on these details below.

B. RELATIVE TO THE RAPTURE

1. Placement in the Prophetic Feasts of Israel
As was demonstrated in The Rapture, the seven annual feasts of Israel are prophetic of seven sequential landmark events in the Lord's timetable from the crucifixion to the Kingdom. Four have been fulfilled by the crucifixion, the sinlessness of the slain Lamb of God, His resurrection and the Day of Pentecost. The next two feasts to be fulfilled are Yom T'ruah or the Feast of Trumpets, which will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the church, and then Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, which will be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation will occur after the Rapture.

2. How Soon After the Rapture?
Scripture does not say. Having said that, Luke 17:26-30 calls for examination.

26. And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27. they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29. but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

At first glance the passage seems to indicate that the Tribulation will begin right after the Rapture on the same day. The reasoning is thus: On the day that Noah entered the ark . . . the flood came and destroyed them all. . . . on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Therefore, the Tribulation will begin right after the Rapture on the same day. But there is a problem here: It is true that on the same literal day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven (Genesis 19:12-25. The day was reckoned from sundown to sundown); but it is not true that on the same literal day that Noah entered the ark . . . the flood came. Genesis 7:7-10 states that it was seven days after Noah entered the ark that the rain began. According to Strong, the Greek for day can refer either to a literal twenty-four hour period or "figuratively a period (always defined more or less clearly by the context)." As Genesis reveals, the Luke passage contains an example of each. The passage cannot therefore be used to prove that the Great Tribulation will begin on the same literal day as the Rapture, nor can any other passage. There may be a significant "period" of time between the two events.

C. IN LIGHT OF RECENT WORLD EVENTS

In light of certain events prophesied to take place relevant to the Tribulation, at least these three things need to be in place:
1. Israel needs to be in the Land of Israel, and they are. After being countryless for nineteen hundred years, God brought them back to their own Land en masse beginning in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, and on May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence as a sovereign nation.
2. Israel needs to be in possession of the "old" city of Jerusalem, that part of modern Jerusalem which contains the Temple Mount, and they are. In 1967, in the defensive Six Day War that contained much evidence of divine intervention, Israel took possession of the old city.
3. The nations of the world need to be able to act quickly and as a unit; and indeed, with modern modes of communication and transportation, they can.

It is easy to see how the Lord is setting the stage for the Great Tribulation.

Two other signs are these:
1. The great bulk of the nations of the world are turning against Israel, which is in keeping with the great worldwide persecution of the Jews that Antichrist will lead (Revelation 12, esp. vv.1-2, 5-6, 13-17); and
2. The great apostasy of the modern visible church. The Lord commanded John to write letters to seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, each of which represents a period of church history. The first six periods have been fulfilled. The seventh and last period, which is characterized by apostasy, is being fulfilled today and has been for the last hundred and fifty years. Apostasy is a departure from the truth that one professed to have. Though beliefs vary on different issues within the apostate church, it has generally departed from belief in the Bible as the Word of God, the virgin birth, Jesus' divinity, the atonement aspect of His death, and His bodily resurrection. The apostate church does not believe or preach the Gospel.

2 Thessalonians 2:3: Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first.

1 Timothy 4:1: But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.

2 Timothy 3:1-5: But realize this, that in the last days . . . men will be . . . holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.

IV. ONE FULL WEEK

There are those who believe that the Great Tribulation encompasses only the last three and a half years of Daniel's week because it is during that period that Antichrist attempts to annihilate all Jews as well as all those alive who have come to believe the Gospel (Daniel 2:25, Revelation 12), but consider these key facts:

1. Tremendous judgments of God are exercised on all of mankind for the full seven years. An examination of the judgments of both halves of the week should convince anyone that what the Lord characterized in Matthew 24:21 as one of great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be, and is that which is called the great tribulation in Revelation 7:14, lasts for the full seven years.

2. The seventy weeks are concerned with your people, that is, the Jews.

  • The seventieth week begins with the antichrist's signing of a seven-year treaty with your people, Daniel's people, Israel.

  • It is divided into two exact halves by Antichrist's declaring himself to be God in the Temple of the Jews.

  • It climaxes near its very end when the Lord spiritually and physically saves the Jews and ascends the Mount of Olives in Israel.

3. This point alone should carry the day: Revelation 7, especially verses 9 and 14, reveal that a great multitude of martyred saints will come out of the great tribulation - and they will come out of it during the first half. This, combined with the fact that the Bowl judgments of the second half (Revelation 16) are more severe than the Seal and Trumpet judgments (Seal: Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1. Trumpet: Revelation 8:1 - 9:21; 10:6-7; 11:15) of the first half can hardly limit the designation, the great tribulation, to the first half.

The seven years of unprecedented judgment coinciding with the seven years of the Lord's final dealings with Israel to fulfill the new covenant that He made with them (Jeremiah 31:31-34) should leave no doubt that the Great Tribulation encompasses the full seventieth week of Daniel.

V. WHO IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION FOR?

The Rapture made it abundantly clear that no church saint will miss the Rapture and endure the Great Tribulation; but whom does Scripture say the Great Tribulation is for?

3. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5. for you are all sons of light and sons of day.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:3-5 ~

The Great Tribulation is not for church saints, who are all sons of light and sons of day, but is for those who are in darkness, a reference to those who have not received the Lord as Savior.

8. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9. that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10. and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,12. in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 13. But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

~ 2 Thessalonians 2:8-13 ~

The Tribulation is not for those who have been chosen . . . for salvation, but is for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For what reason is the Tribulation for them? That they all may be judged who did not believe the truth.

Both passages clearly distinguish between believers, who will not experience the Tribulation, and unbelievers at the time of the Rapture who will be left on Earth to be judged during the Tribulation because they chose darkness and wickedness over light and salvation.

Though multitudes will be saved during the Tribulation, all on Earth when the Tribulation begins will be unbelievers.

VI. WHY SUCH A TERRIBLE JUDGMENT?

This question will be addressed in two stages. The first will be an overview of the key areas of rebellion prior to the Great Tribulation, and the second will be with a view toward the goals of the Great Tribulation.

When one considers the epochal, dispensational (age-related) dealings of God with mankind, he finds that they progress in a logical manner. (This is not to judge what might have been God's best courses of action, but we can see the logical progression in what He has chosen to do.)

God began by giving our first parents every possible advantage to make the right choice. He created Adam and Eve without a sin nature and placed them in an Eden. Everything they needed for sustenance and enjoyment was at their fingertips and they had an untainted and glorious relationship with one another and with God. Nevertheless, they broke the one "thou shalt not" that He had given them to demonstrate their recognition of their dependence upon Him for all good things. God necessarily applied judgment, set in motion the process by which He would send His Son to die for the sins of the world, and consistent with their choice to lean on their own understanding, withdrew the sweetness of His fellowship and close guidance from them and left them and their descendants in a state in which they would be tested to see if they would obey Him on the basis of the dictates of their own consciences.

But man refused to live by the dictates of his conscience. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). God therefore destroyed the entire race by means of a flood, sparing only righteous Noah, his wife, their three sons and their three wives. Having begun afresh with a righteous patriarch, God took the next logical step to bring the wild dog of man's sin nature to heel: He put the fear of capital punishment in them for murder: Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man (Genesis 9:6). In so doing, it is implied that God authorized the establishment of a police force to make arrests, a judicial system to conduct fair trials, executioners to carry out their duty, etc., and an overseer or body of overseers to manage these activities. In other words, to promote respect for human life because of the image of God in man, God authorized the establishment of human government or, shall we say, human governments, because He also commanded them to be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it (Genesis 9:7), repeating what He had commanded Adam and Eve before their Fall: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28). This "dominion mandate" was a commission to man to take stewardship of the resources that God had provided for the blessing of mankind and the glory of God.

True to form, man defiantly spurned the command to fill the earth, and subdue it. "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4). The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:9) represented an active rejection of God Himself. It was an astrological observatory built for the purpose of seeking guidance from the stars instead of the Creator; and Romans 1:21-23 in conjunction with 1 Corinthians 10:19-20 tells us that it is only a step from the turning to creation for guidance to idolatry and the worship of Satan and demons.
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

The Tower of Babel, then, was the institutional fountainhead of all the false and demonic religions and philosophies in the world. (The woman of Revelation 17:3 is called BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Babylon and Babel are translated from the same Hebrew word, bavel, which means confusion; abominations is a common term for idols; and harlotry is a common term for idolatry.) God therefore confused their languages to scatter them for the purpose of restraining their collusion in evil and that the earth might be filled and subdued. This scattering also divided mankind into the first nations, which served another purpose.

26. and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27. that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

~ Acts 17:26-27 ~


Mankind again proved himself unwilling to seek or obey God, so God took the next logical step. He called out one nation, Israel, to be His channel of revelation to all the nations (Genesis 12:1-3). Yet even Israel rebelled against Him continually, sinking even into Baal worship, which required them to lay their children in the red-hot metal arms of the idols of Baal where they burned to death. God expelled them from the Land for this by the hand of cruel conquerors, but returned them to the Land that they might receive their incarnated Messiah and be saved from their enemies and from their sins. True to form, however, they turned Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified; and yet, this was the next logical step that God took to shock Israel and mankind into the conviction of sin and repentance toward God. However, Israel hardened their hearts even after the miraculous events surrounding the crucifixion, not the least of which was Messiah's resurrection; and these same Romans whom the Israelites turned to for deliverance from their Deliverer proved to be the rod of God's judgment upon them. They destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple with a great slaughter and scattered the survivors from the Land.

If Israel would have received Jesus during His earthly ministry He would have established His earthly Kingdom (Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 23:37-39) and Israel would have been His ministers to the rest of the world (Zechariah 8:23), but they did not; and though God did not reject Israel as His chosen nation (Romans 3:6; 11:1,11) and will yet fulfill all His promises to them and purposes for them, He orchestrated the crucifixion and resurrection and then took the next logical step beyond that. On the Day of Pentecost He began to call out a new man (Ephesians 2:15), the body of Christ, the church, composed of all believers, whether Jews or Greeks (1 Corinthians 12:13), to be His ministers to the world. He commanded, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Corollary to this command to the church is this command to the hearers of the Gospel: God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent (Acts 17:30); but despite the fact that the Gospel has already penetrated most of the world, only a small percent of the world's population has received it. Indeed, major world religions and numerous national governments oppose it. As for the visible church, its history is rife with self-aggrandizement and has engaged in such horrors as military conquests, forced conversions, mass persecutions of Jews and true believers; and, as has been pointed out, gone apostate to a great degree, denying the very basics of the Gospel.
Two other principles need to be addressed:
1. The integrity of the family unit. A healthy family unit is necessary for the optimum well-being and spiritual influence of its members, and is most conducive for the bearing and nurturing of future generations who can, by number and spiritual health and maturity, best fulfill the dominion mandate and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). The family unit begins with one man and one woman committed to be sexually and emotionally faithful to one another and to bless one another "for as long as they both shall live." While monogamous marriage is not explicitly mandated in Scripture, it is that form of marriage that God established in Eden, honored when He selected four monogamous couples to board the ark, upheld as the picture of marital happiness in Psalm 128:1-6 and Proverbs 31, honored by the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, upheld as the picture of Christ and His church in Ephesians 5:22-31, and is, without exception, that form that is upheld as ideal by Jesus and the New Testament writers (Matthew 19:8-9; Ephesians 5:22-27; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6). In contrast, Deuteronomy 17:17 says that a king shall not multiply wives for himself, and Scripture graphically reveals the strife that is so easily engendered in polygamous or polygamy-like relationships in the story of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah (Genesis 16-18, 21) and in the childbearing olympiad between Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29:31 - 30:24).

Has man adhered to the ideal model of marriage and of wholesome child-rearing? Of course he hasn't. The world is filled with fornication, homosexuality, adultery, polygamy, divorce, abortion and infanticide, all of which are destructive of the family unit and the carrying out of the dominion mandate and Great Commission, and all of which are denounced by Scripture or, in the case of polygamy, shown in a negative light. It should be noted that God destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities of the Dead Sea valley because of widespread homosexual practice (Genesis 18:16 - 19:29), and that by May 14, 2013 (the day that this paragraph was written), fourteen nations of the world had legalized same sex marriage.8

2. The necessity of blessing Israel. God declared to Abram, I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. Scripture records that God did bless and curse individuals and nations according to the manner in which they treated Israel and individual Jews (e.g., Genesis 39:1-5, 41:55-57; Obadiah 1:10; Zechariah 12:9), and Jesus prophesied that He will judge the sheep and goat Gentiles on the basis of how they will treat these brothers of mine (Matthew 25:31-46).

How have the nations treated Israel? Egypt tossed Israeli male newborns into the Nile, and Israel was invaded by Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome and was dispersed by Rome to the four corners of the earth where it has, in turn, suffered persecutions unmatched by any other nation in scope and frequency. Since Israel's reestablishment as a nation in 1948 they have fought four major defensive wars and are continually defending themselves against attacks of lesser scope. At the time of this writing (Spring, 2013), virtually the entire Arabic and Islamic world is in favor of Israel's disappearance, and a significant portion of that world is actively pursuing that end. Anti-Semitism is rising at a rapid rate in Europe and other parts of the world and is manifesting itself in forms ranging from insults to lies to physical attacks to academic and economic divestitures and boycotts. In one week in December of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly issued twenty-two resolutions condemning Israel, and only four for the entire rest of the world while all the while, in Syria alone, forty thousand people have been killed, more are being killed, and millions of Syrian refugees are suffering the cold of winter.9 Surely the overall level of anti-Semitism through the ages will be a factor in God's judgment of the world.

For thus says the LORD of hosts, "After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple [pupil] of His eye.

~ Zechariah 2:8 ~

I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.

~ Joel 3:2 ~

Note the last phrase in light of today's political efforts to further divide the Land of Israel.

As a whole, man has rejected every opportunity that God has given him to demonstrate his trust in Him by obedience to Him.

  • He has spurned and attacked the family unit.
  • He continues to murder and kill by means of abortions, personal vendettas and 21st century weaponry. By the end of 2012, eighty-six of the world's two hundred countries had departed from the Noahic mandate to execute murderers, and abandoned the death penalty for all crimes.10
  • Man has not carried out the dominion mandate. Though vast areas of the earth have been populated and much of its resources have been brought into the service of mankind, vast areas remain unpopulated while in hundreds of thousands of cities and towns people are stacked in layers in apartment buildings, condominiums and office buildings; nor have as much of Earth's resources been brought under control for the elimination of disease, hunger and homelessness as could have been. Counterproductively, much of the earth has been decimated and polluted. Imagine the progress that could have been made if the trillions of dollars that nations and individuals have invested in warfare, defense and security been invested in housing, agriculture, industry and medical research. Eskimos have learned to live in the Arctic, and Arabs have learned live in the desert; and as for turning such forbidding places into productive food-bearing areas, and the seas into fish and vegetable farms, look what Israel has done with its malarial swamps and much of its deserts since the latter half of the nineteenth century, even while defending itself against annihilation.

    A former forest ranger wrote me the following in February of 1999:

    All the population of the world could be placed on a chair with plenty of elbow room within the city limits of Jacksonville, Florida. The Mesopotamian Plain, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, if irrigated (as it was in Nebuchadnezzar's day) could raise enough food to feed the population of the world. The arable land in the rest of the world is more than adequate to feed the whole population of the world.

    If man had allowed God to take the lead he could easily have fulfilled the dominion mandate by now without ravaging and poisoning much of the earth as he has.

  • Major nations and peoples have attempted to destroy Israel and, as prophesied, the entire world is turning against her. (Zechariah 12:2-3; 14:2)
  • Even in this day of mass and instant communications the great bulk of humanity continues to reject God and His Son. On the contrary, the world is filled with vast numbers of atheists, idolaters, and adherents to numerous false religions and philosophies. Much of this is true even of Israel.
  • Much of the visible church has embraced the imperial power structure of the world with its pretension, pomp, ostentation and gaudiness, in contrast to the servanthood and humility exemplified by Jesus (John 13:3-17; 1 Peter 2:21-23); and, as has been pointed out, has turned apostate.
1. But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3. unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4. treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5. holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.

~ 2 Timothy 3:1-5 ~

So what will be the next logical step? God delayed Israel's exodus from Egypt, return to Canaan and conquest of its inhabitants because the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete (Genesis 15:16). The day will come when the iniquity of our present world will be complete and man will have demonstrated that he is hopelessly wicked and incapable of establishing anything approaching an edenic earth without God - yet, he will not repent. Then will come the Great Tribulation, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). It will be a judgment so severe as to destroy every ungodly man-made institution and humble mankind to the point where multitudes will to turn to God, including every Jew alive at the end of it.

Therein lies the why of the Great Tribulation.

VII. GOD'S GOALS FOR THE GREAT TRIBULATION

1. For the Nations in General
God's goals for the nations in general may be summed up as follows:
1) The destruction of every ungodly man-made institution, philosophy and religion.

26. "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN." 27. This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

~ Hebrews 12:26-27 ~ (cf. Haggai 2:6)


2) That they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness (2 Thessalonians 2:12. Also Isaiah 13:11).
3) The humbling of the proud and the exaltation of Himself. The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:17).
4) The completion of the Great Commission. Matthew 24:14: This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
5) The salvation of multitudes.

9. I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count from every nation and tribe and people and language standing before the throne and before the Lamb . . . 14. “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

~ Revelation 7: 9-14 ~

Also Revelation 5:9 and 14:6.
6) The setting of the stage for the Millennial Kingdom.

2. For Israel in Particular

Daniel 9:24 declares the six purposes of the 490-year period for your people - Daniel's people - the Jews:

Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.

1) The third mentioned purpose, which laid the foundation for all the rest, has already been accomplished: to make atonement for iniquity. Iniquity refers to the sin nature. In the context of your people, the phrase refers to the atonement made for the sin nature of Israelites after the sixty-two weeks following the first seven weeks when the Messiah [was] cut off. The other five will be completed either during, or as a result of, the events of Daniel's seventieth week. They are:
2) to finish the transgression. Transgression is the committing of a known sin. The phrase addresses the transgression, the one transgression that towers above the rest: Israel's rejection of Messiah. With all the first-coming prophesies and pharisaic benchmarks for recognizing Him,11 there was no excuse for Israel's rejection of Him. This ongoing transgression will be finished by Israel's reception of Him at the end of the seventieth week.
3) to make an end of sin. Does this simply mean that Israel will be made a holy, godly people? Ezekiel 27:23 clarifies the matter. The NASB translation is representative of many: They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. The phrase, to make an end of sin, is to be taken literally: Israel will be made permanently and absolutely sinless.
4) to bring in everlasting righteousness. The bringing in of everlasting righteousness will commence with the Lord's establishment of His Messianic or Millennial Kingdom.
5) to seal up vision and prophecy. Old Testament prophets did not see beyond the Messianic Kingdom. The eternal ages beyond the Kingdom is a New Testament revelation. Therefore, from Daniel's perspective, what the phrase means is that by the end of the Kingdom Age, which the Great Tribulation will prepare the way for, all Old Testament prophecy will be fulfilled.
6) to anoint the most holy place. There will be a new Temple in the Millennium (Ezekiel 40:5-43:27), and its anointing will also be brought about on the foundation of the events of the seventieth week.

VIII. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION

I am no expert on Tribulation prophesies. Therefore, with bibles, commentaries and the very scholarly studies of Drs. Cooper and Fruchtenbaum in front of me, I have compiled the following sequence of Tribulation highlights with as much critical judgment as I could muster. Both men point out that chapters six through nineteen of the Book of Revelation describe those Tribulation events that Revelation deals with. In addition,

Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes,

"The value of the Book of Revelation is not that it provides a lot of new information, but rather that it takes the scattered Old Testament prophecies and puts them in chronological order so that the sequence of events may be determined."12

and Dr. Cooper writes,

"Those chapters which give the chronological order of events are: 6, 8, 9, and 16. The other chapters give details concerning the conditions which will then obtain upon the earth."13

The following sequence is not to be taken as "gospel," but as a best effort.

  • The Tribulation begins when Antichrist enters into a seven-year treaty with Israel guaranteeing her his protection. (Daniel 9:27)

  • Great and devastating world wars and judgments abound throughout the Tribulation and destroy great portions of the earth, the seas and humanity, even affecting the heavens. (Jeremiah 24:23-26)

  • Two witnesses begin a three and a half year prophetic ministry supported by signs and wonders that will center in the Temple and include messages of judgment and repentance, particularly to Israel. (Revelation 11:3-6)

  • 144,000 Israelites will be saved; many, perhaps, as a result of the preaching of the two witnesses, and are sealed by the Lord for protection. (Revelation 7:1-17)

  • The 144,000 will preach the Gospel throughout the world and lead great multitudes to salvation. (Isaiah 24:1-23; Jeremiah 4:23-26; Revelation 7:1-17)

  • The world-wide apostate church

    reigns over the kings of the earth . . . and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.

    ~ Revelation 17:1-18 ~

    This false church will slaughter multitudes of those who were saved during the first half of the Tribulation.

  • Before the end the first three and a half years, Antichrist destroys ecclesiastical Babylon, freeing him to exercise absolute political and religious control over the nations of the earth. (Revelation 17:17)

  • As the first three and a half years draw to a close, Satan and his demons are cast out of heaven to Earth and thoroughly fill Antichrist. (Revelation 12:7-13)

  • In the middle of the Tribulation, Antichrist breaks his treaty with Israel, puts a stop to the Temple sacrifices, sits in the Temple of God as a king, and proclaims himself to be God. (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1-3; Revelation 13:11-15)

  • An angel preaches the Gospel to every nation, tribe, language, and people, offering a final call to receive the Lord. (Revelation 14:6-7)

  • The False Prophet prohibits buying and selling by anyone who refuses to ally himself with Antichrist by taking the number of the beast (Antichrist), 666. He creates and gives life to a statue of the Beast so that it will kill anyone who refuses to worship the Beast and his statue (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; Revelation 13:11-18). Jesus had warned the Jews,

    15. Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16. then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

    ~ Matthew 24:15-16 ~

    Those who take the mark and worship the Beast and his statue will be those who rejected the preaching of the two witnesses, the 144,000 and the angel.

  • Antichrist launches a furious campaign to annihilate all left alive of those who received the Lord, and all Jews, and eventually, the Lord Himself. His persecution of the Jews continues almost until the end of the seven years by which time he succeeds in killing two-thirds of them, the rebels, those among the many who agreed with the treaty and resisted the preaching of the first half of the Tribulation. (Psalm 2:2; Jeremiah 31:33-34; Ezekiel 20:36-38, 36:22-27; Zechariah 13:8; Matthew 24:15-28; Acts 4:26; Romans 11:26-27; Revelation 12:1-17, 17:14)

  • Near the end of the seven years, the surviving third of the Israelites, the non-rebels, recognize Jesus as their Messiah and call upon Him to return; and thus all Israel will be saved (Isaiah 53; Hosea 5:15; Zechariah 12:10, 13:8-9; Matthew 23:37-39, 24:13; Romans 11:26-27) - not just most of them, as many commentators claim, but "'They will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the LORD, 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more'" (Jeremiah 31:34).

  • Jesus responds to the Jews' appeal and returns to Earth with the raptured church saints. (Matthew 23:37-39; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Revelation 16:12-21; Jude 1:14)

  • The Lord ascends the Mount of Olives as the seventh Bowl Judgment is poured out. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, It is done, announcing the conclusion of God's Day of Wrath (Revelation 16:17). The great cataclysms of this judgment destroy Antichrist's world capitol city of Babylon and the armies that he gathered at Armageddon to destroy the Lord. The Lord Himself will slay Antichrist. Daniel 9:27b: a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. 2 Thessalonians 2:8: Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming. (Psalm 2:2-3; Joel 3:2; Habakkuk 13:3b; Zechariah 14:3-4; Matthew 24:22; Revelation 16:12-21, 17:14)

IX. TRANSITIONAL PERIOD BETWEEN THE TRIBULATION AND THE KINGDOM

There will be a brief transitional period between the Tribulation and the establishment of the Kingdom. During this period,
1. Antichrist is resurrected and he and the False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20)
2. Satan is cast into the abyss and is imprisoned there for a thousand years, until the end of the Kingdom Age. (Revelation 20:2-3)
3. Those Gentiles still alive face the Lord's Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46). (The word ethnos in the passage, often translated nations, also has the meaning of Gentiles. That's how it should be taken here as eternal salvation or condemnation is based on the decisions of individuals, not of nations.) The "sheep" will be those who provide aid to the persecuted Jews of the Tribulation - these brothers of mine Jesus called them - and will be welcomed into the Kingdom. The "goats" will be those who refuse to aid the Jews, and will be killed and cast into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. The respective salvation and condemnation of the sheep and the goats will not be on the basis of their works, but their works in regard to the persecuted Jews will evidence the state of their hearts. Cf. James 2:17-18.

X. THE PUPIL OF GOD'S EYE

Notice how events involving Israel provide the framework of the Great Tribulation and its aftermath. Antichrist's treaty with them; the two witnesses in Jerusalem; the salvation and ministry of the 144,000; Antichrist's proclamation of his divinity in the Jewish Temple; his attempt to annihilate the Jews; the salvation of Israel, which triggers the Lord's return; the Lord's ascent up the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem; His destruction of Antichrist, the arch enemy of Israel; the Judgment of the Sheep and Goat Gentiles on the basis of whether they did or did not aid the persecuted Jews. Among the earth's nations, Israel is still the apple (pupil) of God's eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).

XI. WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him;
for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.

~ Hebrews 12:5-6 ~

The passage originally appeared in Proverbs 3:11-12, where it is addressed to the sons of human fathers, and was quoted in Hebrews for the benefit of the sons of God by the new birth. However, it has an application for all who will endure the Great Tribulation, for all people are sons of God in another sense, by virtue of the fact that He created our first parents. It was to an audience of non-believers that Paul made this statement on Mars Hill:

29. Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.

~ Acts 17:29-30 ~

Whom does the Lord scourge? He scourges every son whom He receives. Whom does the Lord discipline? Whom the Lord loves He disciplines. Whom does the Lord love? For God so loved the world (John 3:16).

Though God will severely chastise all on Earth during the Great Tribulation, it will be because He loves them that He might turn them to the Truth. He will appeal to them thrice by preaching of such quality and power as perhaps only the Lord Jesus Himself displayed: by the two witnesses, the 144,000, and the angel from Heaven. This principle of the chastisement of an entire people for the purpose of turning them to righteousness is seen in Hosea 5:15, which refers to God's chastisement of Israel for the purpose of turning them to Himself: I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. In the passage, the Lord prophesied that He would leave Earth because of Israel's rejection of Him, and will return when Israel seeks Him because of their affliction; and indeed that is what will happen at the end of the Great Tribulation. Cf. Matthew 23:37-39.

Many will harden their hearts even more and confirm their rebellion against God, but an innumerable company will receive salvation: the 144,000 themselves, those who received their evangelistic appeal, namely, the great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (Revelation 7:9), and a full third of the nation of Israel. Based on today's figures, that's almost four and a half million Jews. Perhaps this great harvest is the most significant of God's goals for the Great Tribulation. After all, we love, because He first loved us, and God is love (1 John 4:8,16,19).

~

ADDENDUM: DEFENDING THE TRIBULATION SCRIPTURES

A. DEFENDING THE LITERALITY OF THE PROPHECIES

There are those who believe that the Tribulation is to be taken as an allegory of the continued persecution of believers since the crucifixion. Yet, just as the decree of Cyrus, the subsequent return of the Jews to the Land, the 49-year rebuilding of Jerusalem, Jesus' crucifixion and the continued warfare and desolation of the Land all took place literally, it is perfectly consistent to believe that the prophesies of the Great Tribulation and all of its details will likewise take place literally. If the first sixty-nine weeks and the subsequent period of desolations have been fulfilled literally, it defies logic to believe otherwise concerning the seventieth week.

There are three reasons that I am aware of for believing that the Tribulation prophecies are to be taken allegorically: being taught that they should; refusing to accept the fact that Israel is still God's chosen people according to natural generation; and because the Tribulation accounts, especially in the Book of Revelation, seem so inscrutable, containing such a multitude of symbols. Yet, the only cure is to realize and accept that each symbol is explained somewhere in Scripture and is representative of a literal thing or event. According to Dr. Fruchtenbaum, "The Book of Revelation has no direct quotations from the Old Testament, but it has about 550 references back to the Old Testament. The majority of the things found in the first twenty chapters of the Book of Revelation are found elsewhere in the Old Testament. Only the last two chapters deal with things totally new."14

God wrote the Bible to be studied and understood. It therefore behooves the student of prophesy to search out the literal meanings of the Bible's symbols wherever in Scripture they may appear and wherever their meanings may be found. For example, Revelation 12:1 introduces a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. The passage may seem that it is open to a variety of interpretations until it is realized that Genesis 37:9-10 makes it clear that the woman represents the nation of Israel.

B. DEFENDING THE CHRONOLOGICAL PLACEMENT OF THE PROPHESIES

It is important to know the prophetic placement of the Tribulation as there are those who hold impossible views. For example, some believe that the Tribulation was fulfilled with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. Yet it is impossible for the Tribulation to have already taken place because many of the events unique to it have never taken place. No world leader has ever signed a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, no group of 144,000 Jews has ever preached to the world, no group of Jewish evangelists has ever had the success that the 144,000 will have - nor has the Lord returned yet! It is also important to get a grip on the sequence of Tribulation events as such lessons can be learned from it as the extent to which the Lord will go to destroy the evil in the world, keep His promises with Israel and vindicate all who are His.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

ENDNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of Page 1 of this compendium.
2. Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, pdf, pp. 173-174.
3. That "weeks" is to be understood here as seven year periods is based on the prophecy’s context and on other biblical usages of weeks as seven year periods. For example, in Genesis 29:20-28, it says in one place that Jacob served Laban for Leah seven years, and in another place, for a week. It also says the same for the time that Jacob served for Rachel. See Dr. David Cooper, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel.” http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc-bk-swd02.htm, chapter 2, section II.
4. Dr. Cooper determined that the years were “regular solar years” based on the books that Daniel studied. Cooper. Chapter 2, section I, subdivision 2. B., paragraphs 1-3.
5. Cooper. Chapter 2, section IV, last paragraph.
6. Cooper. Chapter 2, section V, last paragraph.
7. Cooper. Chapter 5, section I, paragraph 6. http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc-bk-swd05.htm
8. Lior, Ilan. "As France becomes 14th country to approve same-sex marriage, Israel still lags behind." Haaretz May 15, 2013. http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/as-france-becomes-14th-country-to-approve-same-sex-marriage-israel-still-lags-behind.premium-1.517358.
9. Geller, Pamela. "UN Adopts 22 Resolutions against Israel and 4 for the Rest of the Entire World." Atlas Shrugged. December 20, 2012. http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2012/12/un-adopts-22-resolutions-against-israel-and-4-for-the-rest-of-the-entire-world.html.
10. Robinson, B.A. " The Death Penalty." Religious Tolerance. August 14, 2012. http://www.religioustolerance.org/executh.htm.
11. The healing of a Jewish leper, the healing of a man born blind, and the casting out of a demon causing muteness.
12. Fruchtenbaum, 10-11.
13. Cooper. Chapter 5, section II, paragraph 2. http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc-bk-swd05.htm.
14. Fruchtenbaum, 10.

RECOMMENDED READING

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Available at Ariel Ministries in various formats.

Dr. David Cooper. “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel.” http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc-bk-swd01.htm, esp. chaps. 4 and 5.

Dr. Henry M. Morris. God and the Nations. (Green Forest: Master Books, 2002).


The Great Tribulation
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2013
All rights reserved
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

4. THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. . . .16. And on His robe and on His thigh
He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

~ Revelation 19:11,16 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT
I. THE TERM "SECOND COMING"
II. THE PROPHETIC PLACEMENT OF THE SECOND COMING
III. THE TRIGGER OF THE SECOND COMING
A. THEOLOGICAL GROUNDWORK
1. The Promise of Salvation to All Israel
2. The Offer of the Kingdom to Israel
a. The Nature of the Promised Kingdom
b. The Condition for the Kingdom
c. When Israel Will Meet the Condition
IV. THE MANNER OF THE SECOND COMING
A. ACTS 1:9-11
B. OTHER PASSAGES
GROUP 1
Malachi 3:2-3
GROUP 2
Parallel Passages Matthew 24:27-30 and Luke 21:25-27
Matthew 25:31
Matthew 26:64
Revelation 1:7
GROUP 3
Revelation 16:16-21
Revelation 19:11-21
Zechariah 14:1-4
2 Thessalonians 2:8
V. THE LOCATION OF THE SECOND COMING
VI. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SECOND COMING
A. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE WORLD SYSTEM
B. THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE LORD'S FAITHFULNESS
C. THE PREPARATION OF THE WAY FOR THE KINGDOM
VII. SUMMARY PASSAGE
VIII. CONCLUDING PASSAGE
ADDENDUM: FIRST COMING, RAPTURE, SECOND COMING: COMPARISONS AND CONTRASTS
ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING

In our Last Things series, we have thus far seen that every member of the church, whether living or deceased, will be lifted from the earth and given a glorified body in an event called the Rapture. At some point after the Rapture, the Lord will bring judgment upon the earth during a seven-year period of time called The Great Tribulation, which the prophet Daniel described as a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time (Daniel 12:1), and which the Lord described as a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will (Matthew 24:21). During this period, the Lord will destroy every ungodly human institution, and all who will not repent will be killed. Multitudes from all over the world will repent in response to the preaching of 144,000 Israelites, and multitudes from among that multitude will be martyred. In mid-Tribulation, Antichrist will claim divinity, prohibit all Temple worship, and engage on a campaign to destroy every believer still alive, every Jew, and even the Lord Himself. His persecution of the Jews will continue almost until the end of the seven years by which time he will succeed in killing two-thirds of them. (Psalm 2:2; Jeremiah 31:33-34; Ezekiel 20:36-38, 36:22-27; Zechariah 13:8; Matthew 24:15-28; Acts 4:26; Romans 11:26-27; Revelation 12:1-17, 17:14)

We'll review our AMC Statement, and then pick up from there.

AMC STATEMENT

Last Things
We believe that upon physical death believers enter into the joyous presence of God, whereas non-believers enter into conscious suffering apart from God. We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God. (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10)1

Excerpt Relevant to The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 11:25-27)

I. THE TERM "SECOND COMING"

"Second Coming" is not a term that is found in Scripture. For that reason, a theological definition of the term cannot be found there. It is a term whose meaning must be agreed upon by those engaging in conversation about the event or events that they have in mind. Unfortunately, many use it to include two significant future events, and many use it to refer only to the second, breeding confusion.

There are at least three good reasons for viewing the coming of the Lord in the air for the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and the actual feet-on-the-ground Return of the Lord to Earth, as two aspects of the Second Coming:

1. The Lord comes to the earth in each event, though only into the atmosphere in the first.

2. The word coming is used in reference to both. For the Rapture: 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1. For the feet-on-the-ground Return: Malachi 3:2; Matthew 24:27, 29; 26:64; Luke 21:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 1:7; 3:11; 22:20. In 2 Thessalonians 2, notice how Paul uses coming twice in the same context; once in reference to the Rapture (verse 1), and once to the Lord's feet-on-the-ground Return (verse 8).

3. The Rapture and the feet-on-the-ground Return are as bookends to the Great Tribulation, and relevant to it. With the Rapture, the Lord rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). With His Return, He brings the Great Tribulation to a close.

Dr. Chafer takes this view:

"Thus it may be seen that this period of unsurpassed trial upon the earth, when the blasphemous claims of Satan and man are to be proven and God's testimony is to be vindicated, is bounded by the two events in the Second Coming of Christ: when He comes for His saints (I Thes. 4:16, 17), to gather to Himself His heavenly people, and when He comes with His saints (Rev. 19:11-21) to be the complete fulfillment of all the covenants of God with His earthly people."2 (Italics by N. Manzon)

There is also good reason for viewing only the second of the two events as the Second Coming because it is the only event of the two in which the Lord will actually touch down on earth as He did for His first advent. It also conveniently distinguishes it from the Rapture.

For clarity's sake, then, let it be known that for this study what will be referred to as the Second Coming will solely be the actual feet-on-the-ground Return of the Lord.

It is not the intent of this study to parse every scripture relevant to the Second Coming. However, we will examine its prophetic placement, situational trigger, manner, location and significance. We will also do some comparisons and contrasts between the First Coming, Rapture and Second Coming.

II. THE PROPHETIC PLACEMENT OF THE SECOND COMING

With the Law of Moses, the Lord chose to highlight seven epochal events from the cross to the Kingdom in the seven annual prophetic feasts of Leviticus 23, namely, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. The first four have been fulfilled by the crucifixion, the sinlessness of the sacrificed Lamb of God, the Lord's resurrection, and the formation of the church on the Day of Pentecost. Yet to be fulfilled are Trumpets by the Rapture, the Day of Atonement by the Great Tribulation, and Tabernacles by the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom.3 Inasmuch as the Lord's Return will bring the Tribulation to an end, it will, of necessity, be "pre-millennial," as our Statement declares.

III. THE TRIGGER OF THE SECOND COMING

We have seen that the Lord will Return very near or at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation; but what specific event will be His cue, the "trigger," for His Return?

A. THEOLOGICAL GROUNDWORK

1. The Promise of Salvation to All Israel

The Lord made a covenant with Israel that has come to be known as the New Covenant.

31. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

~ Jeremiah 31:31-34 ~

The New Covenant was not made with mankind in general, but specifically, with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, that is, with all Israel. Even after the crucifixion and the formation of the church at Pentecost, Paul spoke of my kinsmen according to the flesh who are Israelites, to whom belongs - present tense - the covenants . . . and the promises (Romans 9:3-4). Though God opened the door of salvation and membership in the body to individual Gentiles as Paul explained in Ephesians 2:12-13 and 3:16, there can be no question that, in Romans 9:3-4, that same Paul was speaking specifically of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.

There is a promise in the Jeremiah passage that God has not extended to the Gentiles in general or to any Gentile nation: they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, which Paul reiterated in Romans 11:26-27:

26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS" (cf. Isaiah 59:20-21).

Speaking specifically of Israel, Paul declared to the Romans believers in the next verse, From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

Why were they, at that late date, still beloved for the sake of the fathers? Verse 29: for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable - speaking specifically of Israel.

To sum up, there is a promise that God made solely to Israel that He has yet to fulfill: they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. See also Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:25-29.

2. The Offer of the Kingdom to Israel
Matthew 3:1-2: 1. Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mark 1:14-15: 14. Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15. and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."4

Both John and Jesus announced to Israel that the Kingdom is at hand, or as other translations have it, is near.

a. The Nature of the Promised Kingdom
The kingdom that they preached at that time was not the kingdom that is within (Luke 17:21, KJV) or among you (NASB). The only prophesied kingdom that Scripture had revealed until that time - and copiously, at that - was the earthly, physical Kingdom of God on earth that Israel was looking forward to, where Israel would be delivered of her enemies and during which

2. Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. 4. Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

~ Micah 4:2-4 ~

It was this literal, physical Kingdom of God on earth that John and Jesus preached to Israel, and it was offered to Israel on condition.

b. The Condition for the Kingdom
What was the condition? Repentance and belief in the Gospel.

Matthew 3:2: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mark 1:14-15:The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.

Jesus offered to establish His Kingdom if only Israel would receive Him as their Messiah. This is brought out clearly in Matthew 23:37-39 in His rebuke to the spiritual leaders of Israel:

37. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39. For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!"

~ Matthew 23:37-39 ~

They were unwilling to allow Him to gather them, and their house, their temple, their heart and hearth of national life, would be left desolate until they receive Him as Messiah, saying, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!" And indeed, instead of Jesus establishing His Kingdom, He allowed the Romans to destroy both the Temple and the political nationhood of Israel in the dual military blows of 70 and 135 AD.

What did Peter say to Israel in his sermon shortly after Pentecost?

20: Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20. and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21. whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

~ Acts 3:19-21 ~

He called upon Israel to repent of its sin of having rejected Jesus so that their personal sins may be forgiven in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, that is, so that the Kingdom would be established for which purpose God will send Jesus . . . whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things, that is, until it was time for Him to establish His earthly Kingdom. However, Israel as a nation did not repent. Chapter 4 begins with the priests and the Sadducees arresting Peter for preaching Jesus.

The condition for the Lord's Return is brought out again in Hosea 5:15, where the preincarnate Son prophesied, I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face.

To sum up, the condition that Israel must meet for the Lord's Return to establish His Kingdom is the acknowledgment of their guilt in rejecting of Him, and in their plea for His forgiveness and favor.

c. When Israel Will Meet the Condition
The full Hosea 5:15 passage reads, I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

In their affliction. During the terrible time of Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, ASV) - they will earnestly seek [His] face.

In mid-Tribulation, Antichrist will launch a furious campaign to annihilate all Jews once and for all, and will succeed in killing two-thirds of them. They will be the rebels of Ezekiel 20:36-38 who will reject the spiritual insight that the Lord will offer in regard to the seven-year treaty of protection that Antichrist will propose to make with Israel. They will successfully lobby for its passage in the Knesset (Parliament) and, in mid-Tribulation, take the number of the Beast (Antichrist). The remaining third will receive the insight that the Lord will offer, lobby against the treaty, though unsuccessfully, and will refuse the number of the Beast. Whereas the Lord will allow Antichrist to kill the rebels, He will protect the non-rebels from Antichrist's slaughter, and will, near the end of the Tribulation, reveal His messiahship to them, and they will believe in Jesus. They will acknowledge Israel's guilt in their rejection of Him at His first advent, and will earnestly seek [His] face. (Ezekiel 20:36-38; Zechariah 13:8-9; Matthew 24:22. Also, The Great Tribulation, above.)

Immediately following Hosea 5:15 is 6:1-3:

1. Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. 2. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. 3. So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.

~ Hosea 6:1-3 ~

Also Zechariah 12:10:

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

And their lament shall be

2. For He [Jesus] grew up before Him [God the Father] like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

~ Isaiah 53:2-6 ~

He who spared them physically from the wrath of the Beast will now save them spiritually.

In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity (Zechariah 13:1).

He will save every last one of them: "for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more"; and He will return.

Let us return to the Zechariah 12:10 passage. The clause, they will look on Me whom they have pierced implies that they are looking on the Lord's physical Person, meaning that He had already returned. But the Lord said He would not return until after they repent - so how could they look on Him before they repent? The answer is in the translation of the word often translated on (as in the NASB) or upon (as in the King James). Dr. Fruchtenbaum points out that it should be translated unto,5 which does not necessitate His presence on earth; and indeed, that is how the acclaimed American Standard Version and the Revised Version have it: they shall look unto me whom they have pierced. Also Young's Literal Translation: they have looked unto me whom they have pierced. The Jewish Publication Society Bible: they shall look unto me because they have thrust him through. The Complete Jewish Bible, the Easy to Read Version and the International Standard Version render it they will look to me, which also does not necessitate His presence on earth.

Thus, the "trigger" that will move the Lord to return to earth will be the national repentance of Israel for having rejected Him at His First Coming, and their longing for Him to return and be reunited with Him. He left when they rejected Him, and He will return when they embrace Him. They will look unto Him in repentance, and He will return.

IV. THE MANNER OF THE SECOND COMING

Manner is a rather tame word; yet it is used in certain translations of Acts 1:11 to describe certain aspects of the Lord's Return. However, the word lacks the drama and the passion that so many passages exude when describing His Return. Manner, though, seems to be the best English word to cover all the bases. In our use here, it will certainly include the "mechanics" of His Return, but my prayer is that, by the grace of God, through the descriptions of His Return in the passages presented, the reader may be captivated by those intangible aspects of Scripture that theological studies often fail to convey. May this presentation impress upon the reader the dignity, the deportment, the regality, the glorious bearing, the divine demeanor of the Lord upon His Return. May we not smother ourselves in the dry nuts and bolts of this amazing event and render ourselves impervious to its vigor, its vibrant life and its fiery spectacle. The anticipation of the Lord's Second Coming should move us to our core. Grasping the "mechanics" of the Lord's Return is important. It's like locking oneself into a roller coaster. As one must not allow himself to be thrown out of a roller coaster, neither must he allow himself to be thrown out of the safety of sound theological thinking. For this, the nuts and bolts are important. Yet, one rides a roller coaster for the enjoyment of it. As servants of the Lord our priority is not enjoyment, but service. Nevertheless, Scripture does say, for the joy set before Him [He] endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Therefore, in our effort to grasp the "mechanics" of the Second Coming, let us also be swept above the mundane cares of our present world system by the drama and the passion of the Lord's Second Coming and by its song of hope.

A. ACTS 1:9-11

Before the Lord's Ascension, He met with His disciples on the Mount of Olives and gave them their final instructions before His departure.

9. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way [manner] as you have watched Him go into heaven."

The Lord will return from Heaven in just the same way that His disciples saw Him ascend into Heaven.

In what way (or manner, ASV, KJV, etc.) did He ascend?

  • He ascended in a real body with substance, not as a spirit or in some wispy, spirit body.

    After His resurrection, He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to [His disciples] over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

    He appeared in a body of flesh and bones, as He Himself stated, one capable of eating physical food (Luke 24:39-43). He also proved His bodily presence to Thomas by bidding him put his hand into his side (John 20:27-28). If there were no substance for Thomas to feel, how would he have been convinced?

    It was a flesh and bones body that He rose in, and it will be in a flesh and bones body that He will return in.

  • He ascended in a flesh and bones body, but in a heavenly, glorified, immortal flesh and bones body.

    20. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. . . . 42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43. it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44. it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. . . . 49. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

    ~ 1 Corinthians 15:20-57 ~

    The Lord will not be returning in any allegorical, symbolic or figurative sense. His Return will be "personal, bodily, visible," as our Statement reads, but in a glorified, imperishable, heavenly, flesh and bones body.

  • He ascended gradually, that is, slowly enough so that His disciples were able to observe His ascent.

    He ascended gradually, and will return gradually. In fact, every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7).

  • A cloud received Him out of their sight. Surely this cloud must have been a cloud of the Shechinah Glory of God as a number of the passages describing His Return speak of His Coming in great glory. (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27)

One thing to note is that the passage makes it clear that the Lord ascended from the Mount of Olives, but it does not say that He will touch down on the Mount of Olives. It merely says that He will come in just the same way. He will, indeed, stand upon the Mount of Olives, but it will not be the location at which He will touch down. Where He will touch down will be examined shortly.

B. OTHER PASSAGES

The following passages will be presented in groups. At the end of each group comments will be made.

GROUP 1

Malachi 3:2-3:

2. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.

The Lord will come for the purpose of fiery purging and purification. One of the objects of His purifying fire will be the members of the tribe of Levi, those Levites who are among the non-rebel survivors at the end of Jacob's Trouble, so that when the new order of Temple worship is instituted in the Kingdom, the Levitical priesthood will be in place to serve. (cf. Isaiah 66:20-23; Ezekiel 40:1-46:24)

GROUP 2

Parallel Passages Matthew 24:27-30 and Luke 21:25-27:

27. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. . . . 29. But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

~ Matthew 24:27, 29-30 ~

25. "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26. men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27. "Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.

~ Luke 21:25-27 ~

Matthew 25:31: But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him . . . .

Matthew 26:64: You will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN."

Revelation 1:7: BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

In the midst of terrible and fearful cataclysms in nature, both earthly and celestial, the Lord will come SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, meaning, with the full authority of God the Father. All the holy angels will be in His train. All of them. A countless number. Revelation 5:11 describes the number of angels around the throne of God as myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands.

His entry will be as dramatic and obvious as a flash of lightning across the sky, and it will capture the attention of everyone on earth. Every eye will see Him as He will be coming with power and great glory in a cloud of the Shechinah Glory of God that will fill the sky around the planet. This all-pervasive, overwhelming cloud of glory will be the sign of the Coming of the Son of Man. It is no wonder that All the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him - not in repentance (Revelation 16:9,11), but in perplexity and fear of the great and apocalyptic judgments He will yet bring. One "tribe" alone will mourn in repentance, even those who pierced Him - but their mourning triggered His return. According to the passage, they will yet be mourning, though their mourning will, no doubt, be overtaken by joy.

GROUP 3

Revelation 16:16-21:

16. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.17. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done." 18. And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. 19. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. 20. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

Revelation 19:11-21:

11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." 17. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18. so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great." 19. And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Zechariah 14:1-4:

1. Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

2 Thessalonians 2:8: Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.

From the vantage point of Antichrist's will, it will be he who will gather the world's armed forces on the vast plain known today as the Jezreel Valley near Mount Megiddo (Hebrew: Har-Magedon), some sixty miles north of Jerusalem (Revelation 19:16), and it will be for the purpose of destroying the Jews; but from the vantage point of the divine will, it will be God who will gather Antichrist's forces (Zechariah 14:2), and it will be for a different outcome altogether. It will be God, not Antichrist, who will orchestrate the outcome. The Lord will come as a conquering king to strike down the armies of the nations gathered against Israel and Himself. He will be coming not only with the entire company of the holy angels, but with His raptured saints, as well: And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. Though myriads of angels and saints will accompany Him, Scripture provides no description of them assisting Him. There will be no "contest" between the combined forces of puny man and the omnipotence of God, and He will handle Antichrist like a rag doll. He will slay him with the mere breath of His mouth. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. He will resurrect Antichrist, and throw him and the False Prophet alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. He will rain down great hailstones on human populations to the accompaniment of lightning and thunder, and will strike the planet with an earthquake so great that the cities of the nations will be leveled. Jerusalem itself will be split in three, and Antichrist's world capitol, Babylon the great, was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. When the forces of Antichrist are vanquished, the Lord will ascend the Mount of Olives in victory.

Thus, with the outpouring of this last series of Tribulation judgments, the Great Tribulation comes to an end. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done," a cry that is reminiscent of the Lord's final cry on the cross: It is finished (John 19:30). Though the Greek words are different, the basic concept is the same: In each case, the Lord declares the completion of an epochal work for which He had waited and prepared for millennia of earth time. Indeed, the first purchased the second, and the second will constitute a major portion of the fulfillment of the purposes of the first.

We are now in a position to examine where the Lord will first touch earth upon His Return.

To the east of Israel across the Jordan River is a long series of mountain ranges that extends far beyond Israel's northernmost and southernmost points and passes through the territories that touched Israel's eastern biblical border, namely (from north to south), they are Bashan, Ammon, Moab and Edom. In regard to the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the Lord warned, But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20-21). It was to these mountains that the Judean believers fled in 68 AD during a break in the Roman siege of Jerusalem, specifically to Pella, a city of the biblical Decapolis in northern Jordan, between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. In a manner similar to which He warned that former generation of Israelites, the Lord also warned the Tribulation generation through His apostles,

14. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15. Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16. then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

~ Matthew 24:14-16 ~

It will be to these same mountains to which the Judean non-rebel Jews will flee for refuge from Antichrist, but it will not be to Pella. It will to be to a place called, in Scripture, Bozrah. It is known today as Petra, in southern Jordan, half way between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Eilat (Israeli name) or Gulf of Aqaba (Arabic name). It is here to which the Lord will return to save the believing Israelites from the hand of Antichrist. (Isaiah 34:1-7; 63:1-6; Habakkuk 3:3; Micah 2:12-13 and Judges 5:4-5)

VI. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SECOND COMING

Three major points come to mind.

A. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE WORLD SYSTEM

Since the Fall, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Satan has been the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4); but the Second Coming of the Lord will mark the deliverance of this world system with all of its grievous evils from the hand of the evil one. When this happens it will be joyously declared, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15).

B. THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE LORD'S FAITHFULNESS

With the Lord's Second Coming, God will prove to be a keeper of His promises to Israel, to the church, and to every believer from Adam to the last believer in the Millennium.

C. THE PREPARATION OF THE WAY FOR THE KINGDOM

His Coming will prepare the way for the establishment of His thousand-year Millennial or Messianic Kingdom on Earth, for the form of this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31).

VII. SUMMARY PASSAGE

1. Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 ."Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!" 4. He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. 5. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, 6. "But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain."

7. "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9. 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'"

10. Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. 12. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled.

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

~ Psalm 12:1-12 ~

VIII. CONCLUDING PASSAGE

He who testifies to these things says,
"Yes, I am coming quickly."

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord
Jesus be with all.
Amen.

~ Revelation 22:20-21 ~


ADDENDUM: FIRST COMING, RAPTURE, SECOND COMING:
COMPARISONS AND CONTRASTS

The Lord came to earth before His conception in Miriam's womb. He came as the Shekinah Glory in the form of a light, a fire or a cloud (e.g., Exodus 13:21-22). He also came as the Angel of the Lord on a number of different occasions, as with Abraham (Genesis 18:1-3). But the Lord's comings via the womb of Miriam, the Rapture and the Second Coming are comings in human form, and are of immense significance in the outworking of God's plan for ages. We will therefore do some comparisons and contrasts regarding the three.

FEATURES FIRST COMING RAPTURE SECOND COMING
WARNING STATUS
AS TO TIME
Before He was cut off 434 years after Cyrus' decree to permit the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Daniel 9:24-26. See The Rapture, above. None Almost 7 years after
Antichrist signs treaty with Israel
PROPHESIED PRECONDITION See above None Israel's belief in His Messiahship
PROXIMITY TO EARTH Touch down The air Touch down
THE NATURE OF
THE LORD'S BODY
A common, mortal human body A glorified, immortal human body A glorified, immortal human body
ASPECT OF THE LORD'S NATURE EMPHASIZED Humanity Divinity Divinity
HUMAN CHARACTERIZATION Suffering Servant Deliverer (1 Thessalonians 1:10) Conquering Warrior-King
CENTRAL PURPOSE Die for the sins of the world Deliverance of the church from the coming Great Tribulation
(1 Thessalonians 1:10)
Replace the kingdom of the world with the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15)
PURPOSE CONCERNING
ISRAEL
Offer of national salvation and Kingdom Clear the way for judgment of Israel unto repentance and salvation of non-rebels Save non-rebels from annihilation
and for coming Kingdom
PURPOSE CONCERNING
THE UNSAVED AMONG THE NATIONS
Lay groundwork for offer of salvation Clear way for their judgment in the Great Tribulation and for final offers of salvation via repentance Utter defeat of all opposition
from among them
PURPOSE CONCERNING
THE CHURCH
Lay groundwork to
establish His church
Coming for His church Coming with His church

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

ENDNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of page 1 of this compendium.
2. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer. Satan (1909: In the Public Domain), Chapter 8. http://readcentral.com/massappealnews//chapters/Lewis-Sperry-Chafer/Satan/009
3. See author's study, The Prophetic Feasts of Israel.
4. Matthew's kingdom of Heaven and Mark's kingdom of God are one and the same: the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom. Mark took the liberty of using "God" as he was writing to the Romans, but that was a liberty that Matthew couldn't take as using "God" would offend the Jews, to whom he wrote.
5. Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 310. Also Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah, p. 12.

RECOMMENDED READING

By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
7. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
9. Messianic Bible Study 034: The Bible and Divine Revelation
10. Messianic Bible Study 038: The Sequence of Pretribulational Events
11. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
12. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
13. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
14. Messianic Bible Study 075: The Resurrection of the Messiah
14. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation
15. Messianic Bible Study 113: The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of the Messiah

* All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening and reading.


The Second Coming
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2013
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

5. THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

A. INTRODUCTION

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices
in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever."

~ Revelation 11:15 ~

CONTENTS

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS
I. RECAPITULATION
II. DESIGNATIONS FOR THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM
A. THE MOST COMMON NAMES
1. The Millennium or The Thousand Years

2. The Kingdom, The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ
3. The Messianic Kingdom

4. Olam Haba, The Age to Come or The World to Come
B. OTHER DESIGNATIONS
III. THE PROPHETIC PLACEMENT OF THE MILLENNIUM
A. THE COMING IN OF THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES
B. THE WEDDING FEAST
C. THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THE WHOLE WORLD
D. THE SALVATION OF ALL ISRAEL
E. THE RETURN OF THE LORD
F. THE FULFILLMENT OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES
G. THE CRUSHING OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S STATUE BY THE STONE
H. THE FEASTS OF ISRAEL

I. CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY
IV. A POLEMIC FOR LITERAL INTERPRETATION
A. THE POLEMIC
B. TWO COMMON OBJECTIONS

ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING


AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS [1]


The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)

In our Last Things series, we have thus far seen that every member of the body of Christ, whether living or deceased, will be lifted from the earth and given a glorified body in an event called the Rapture. At some point after the Rapture, the Lord will bring judgment upon the earth during a seven-year period called The Great Tribulation during which He will destroy every ungodly human institution, and all who will not repent will be killed. Multitudes from all over the world will repent in response to the preaching of 144,000 Israelites, and multitudes from among that multitude will be martyred. In mid-Tribulation, Antichrist will claim divinity, prohibit all Temple worship, and engage on a campaign to destroy every believer still alive, every Jew, and even the returned Lord Himself. His persecution of the Jews will continue almost until the end of the seven years by which time he will have succeeded in killing two-thirds of them. Those Jews whom the Lord will preserve alive will be those who have proven receptive to spiritual truth, and He will bring eternal salvation to them all. Upon Israel's reception of the Lord Yeshua as their Messiah, He will return to earth, destroy the army that Antichrist has gathered from around the world to destroy the Jews, crush all satanic world power and mode of operation, and slay Antichrist. These events will bring the Tribulation to a close after which a brief transitional period will follow before the commencement of the Millennium or Messianic Kingdom.

During this transitional period, three significant events will occur:
1. Antichrist will be resurrected and he and the False Prophet will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20)
2. Satan will be cast into the abyss and imprisoned there for a thousand years, until the end of the Kingdom Age. (Revelation 20:2-3)
3. Those Gentiles still alive will face the Lord's Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46). (The word ethnos in the passage, often translated nations, also has the meaning of Gentiles. That's how it should be taken here as eternal salvation or condemnation is based on the decisions of individuals, not of nations.) The "sheep" will be those who provide aid to the persecuted Jews of the Tribulation - these brothers of mine Jesus called them - and will be welcomed into the Kingdom.

Some assume that these brothers of mine are those who are already saved, but consider: During the second half of the Tribulation, Antichrist will launch a tremendous campaign to annihilate all Jews; and in the Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats passage it is obvious that these brothers of mine is a distinct group from the sheep, who are already saved. If the saved will provide aid to a group distinct from themselves, who else can these brothers of Jesus refer to but the Jews? There is no other group. Therefore, these brothers of mine must refer to the persecuted Jews.

The "goats" will be those who refuse to aid the Jews, and will be killed and cast into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

The respective salvation and condemnation of the sheep and the goats will not be on the basis of their works, but their works in regard to the persecuted Jews will evidence the state of their hearts. See James 2:17-18.

Having thus cleansed the earth of all satanic influence and human opposition, the Lord Jesus will assume His earthly throne and thus mark the beginning of His Messianic or Millennial reign.

The remainder of this study will concern itself with the Messianic Kingdom. Inasmuch as a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute an entire volume, what is herein presented must be recognized as a much abbreviated outline and summary.

II. DESIGNATIONS FOR THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM

A. THE MOST COMMON NAMES

1. The Millennium or The Thousand Years
The most popular name for the Lord's future earthly Kingdom is the Millennium, which mean a period of a thousand years. This title is derived from Revelation 19:11 - 20:15: The Lord will return and bind Satan for a thousand years (20:2), the Tribulation martyrs will reign with Christ for a thousand year (20:4), and all who have a part in the first resurrection . . . will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (20:6). The thousand years is found in the same context in 20:3, 5 and 7. Revelation 21:1 begins with the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, marking the beginning of a totally new era, emphasizing that the Kingdom will indeed be brought to a close after the thousand years. Thus, the Millennium, or thousand-year Kingdom.

2. The Kingdom, The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ
These titles are really one and the same, and are derived from such passages as Revelation 11:15: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. He will begin His absolute monarchical reign of righteousness with the Millennium, and it will continue on forever and ever into the Eternal Ages beyond the Millennium.

Though, in different places in Scripture, "the Kingdom of God" refers to different realms over which God reigns as King, one of its meanings is the future earthly Messianic Kingdom. This is seen in Luke 22:17-18: 17. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves; 18. for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes." (Also Matthew 3:2; 4:17, et al. Matthew uses kingdom of heaven where other Gospel writers use kingdom of God.)

3. The Messianic Kingdom
The title Christ is merely the Greek translation of the Hebrew Mashiach, which is transliterated into the English Messiah. Inasmuch as Revelation 11:15 refers to The kingdom. . . of [God's] Christ, we can just as readily call it The kingdom . . . of . . . Messiah or the Messianic Kingdom. Many favor this name over the Millennium inasmuch as Millennium merely denotes the period of time that the Kingdom will last whereas Messianic Kingdom declares that which characterizes the Kingdom, namely, the reign of Messiah, which is far more significant. Of course, when the time duration is the focus, Millennium is the most appropriate designation. In any case, both terms are biblical and are often used interchangeably.

4. Olam Haba, The Age to Come or The World to Come
O-lam' ha-ba' is Hebrew for The Age to Come, and is the most popular rabbinic designation for the Kingdom. Jesus used the term in Matthew 12:32: either in this age or in the age to come, and in parallel passages Mark 10:30 and Luke 18:30: and in the age to come, eternal life. It is also found in Hebrews 2:5: For He did not subject to angels the world to come, and 6:5: and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.

B. OTHER DESIGNATIONS

The Kingdom is also called by other names in Scripture: the regeneration (Matthew 19:28); the wedding feast (Matthew 25:10), the times of refreshing (Acts 3:19); the period of restoration (Acts 3:21); the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10, KJV); perhaps others.

III. THE PROPHETIC PLACEMENT OF THE MILLENNIUM

There are many passages which place the Kingdom in a particular time frame. Here are some major indicators, which the author has attempted to set in chronological order:

A. THE COMING IN OF THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES

In Romans 11, Paul instructed,

25. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

~ Romans 11:25-27 ~

This passage indicates two things that must occur before the Millennium. The first is that the fullness of the Gentiles must come in. When will this occur?

Although multitudes of Gentiles will receive salvation between the time that the church is removed from the earth at the Rapture and the Return of the Lord, the period of the calling out of the fullness of the Gentiles appears to be limited to the Church Age. Consider:

  • Although many Gentiles were saved before the Church Age, in the Acts 15 council, James declared, Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name (verse 14). The point here is twofold:
    1. This calling does not have to include Gentiles saved between the Rapture and the Return, and
    2. The taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name begins shortly after the beginning of the Church Age.

  • The Lord Himself had already called the church the ecclesia (Matthew 16:18), which means "the called out ones," which is consistent with taking out a people for His name.

  • Ephesians 1:22-23 calls the church . . . the fullness of Him who fills all in all. The fullness is limited to church saints, which must be made up of the fullness of Jewish church saints and the fullness of Gentile church saints. The fullness of the Gentiles must certainly mean all Gentiles saved between Pentecost and the Rapture.

What this means is that the Rapture must precede the Millennium.

The second thing that must occur before the Millennium is that THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM [or to or for] ZION, which will be addressed below.

B. THE WEDDING FEAST

The Parable of the Ten Virgins places the wedding feast, a metaphor for the Kingdom, at some period after the Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven, and the marriage of the church, the Bride of Christ, to Christ, in Heaven. For background, let us turn to this explanation of The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-25), which must be understood on the basis of the Jewish wedding traditions of the day, which those whom Jesus was addressing knew well:

In the Jewish wedding system, when the marriage was to be consummated, the bridegroom would go to the home of the bride to fetch her and bring her to his home. As he approached his own home, he would be met by a procession of virgins who would conduct the bride and groom for the marriage ceremony to be followed by the marriage feast. This is the background of this parable.

When the bridegroom, the Messiah, returns to earth with His Bride - the Church - for the marriage feast, the virgins will be responsible for both watching for His return, and being ready to light the lamps upon His return. The five virgins who were wise will be the ones who are believers; hence, they will be both ready and watching. They are the ones who have the oil, a common symbol of the Holy Spirit. Only the wise ones enter the marriage feast, the common symbol for the Messianic Kingdom. Because the Messiah is pictured as already with His Bride, the Church which had been raptured, these who have the oil are people who became believers during the Tribulation. They are saved and invited to the wedding feast as guests. The five foolish virgins will be the unbelievers and, therefore, will be neither ready nor watching. They do not have any oil. It should be noted that the text does not say that the foolish virgins ran out of oil, but that they have no oil with them. They never had the oil or the Holy Spirit to begin with. [2]

The garments of the church saints will be cleansed after the Rapture at the Judgment Seat of Christ where all their unrighteous deeds will be burned as "wood, hay and straw," leaving only their righteous deeds, their "gold, silver and precious stones" (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), thereby preparing the Bride for her marriage to Christ in heaven.

7. "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." 8. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

~ Revelation 19:7-8 ~

At some point after the marriage of the church to Christ in heaven, Christ and His Bride will return to earth where He will set things in order for the Kingdom.

C. THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THE WHOLE WORLD

In Matthew 24:14, the Lord declared, This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The completion of worldwide evangelism during the first half of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7) will prepare the way for the end of satanic rule over the world and the commencement of the Kingdom.

D. THE SALVATION OF ALL ISRAEL

In Romans 11, Paul instructed,

25. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

This passage indicates two things that must occur before the Millennium. The first, that the fullness of the Gentiles must come in, which was addressed above. The second is the salvation of all Israel when THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION and REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.

This second requirement seems to say that the Lord will first return to earth and then, at some point, proceed from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem to bring Israel to salvation. This calls for discussion.

  • FROM ZION or out of Zion or a similar translation appears to be the universal or near universal translation.

  • Paul was quoting Isaiah 59:20-21, which reads, A Redeemer will come to Zion . . . (NASB), and to is the almost universal translation. Keil and Delitzsch translate the Isaiah passage, And a Redeemer comes for Zion.

Out of and to are opposite directions. Why the discrepancy between the Old and New Testament translations? Well, perhaps the New Testament translators should have translated it to in conformity with the Old Testament translation.

Consider:

1. According to John Gill on Romans 11:26, "whereas, in the prophet Isaiah, he is said to 'come to', and by the apostle, 'out of Zion', this may be reconciled by observing, that the servile letter ל [in the Isaiah passage] sometimes signifies 'from', as well as 'to', when it is put in the room of מ; of which instances may be given, as Exo.16:1 compared with 2Chr.11:4."

2. According the Strong, the Greek word in question, ek, sometimes has the meaning of "for," which carries the same basic meaning as "to" as the Lord must come to Zion [Israel] in order to come for her.

The point is that the valid to or for translation allows for what has been demonstrated in previous studies, namely, that the salvation of Israel will precede the Lord's Return which, in turn, will precede the Millennium.

E. THE RETURN OF THE LORD

The salvation of all Israel will trigger the Return of the Lord. (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:37-39)

F. THE FULFILLMENT OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES

In Luke 21:24, the Lord declared, and they [the Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Israel will experience military invasion, enslavement and scattering, and Jerusalem will undergo major periods of Gentile control, until the last period of Gentile domination that the Lord has determined will be fulfilled. These times of the Gentiles began with the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., and will last until Yeshua purges Jerusalem of Gentile rule, which will occur after the His Return. After this, Israel will no longer experience Gentile persecution and scattering, but will be returned to her Land and be under the protection of the Lord in the Kingdom.

G. THE CRUSHING OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S STATUE BY THE STONE

In about 601 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had an amazing dream that was interpreted by his advisor, Daniel. The dream and its interpretation revealed the succession of the world empires that have oppressed Israel and are central to Bible and world history and prophecy: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Rome split into eastern and western divisions, and a coalition of ten kingdoms which will, in turn, be crushed by a stone, which represents Christ.

44. "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 45. "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy."

~ Daniel 2:1-45 ~

All but the ten-kingdom coalition have come and gone. Once it has arisen, the Lord will destroy it upon His Return, and thereby bring down the whole edifice of Gentile empires that have oppressed Israel; and the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.

H. THE FEASTS OF ISRAEL

In Leviticus 23, the Lord chose to highlight seven epochal events from the cross to the Kingdom in seven annual prophetic feasts that Israel was to observe under Mosaic Law, namely, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. The first four have been fulfilled respectively by the crucifixion, the sinlessness of the sacrificed Lamb of God, the Lord's resurrection, and the formation of the body of Messiah on the Day of Pentecost. Yet to be fulfilled are Trumpets by the Rapture, the Day of Atonement by the Great Tribulation, and Tabernacles by the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom. The Millennium will occur after the Great Tribulation.

In regard to the Lord's first coming, John said, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (literally, tabernacled) among us (John 1:14). During the Millennium, the Lord will again tabernacle bodily among us, thus fulfilling the Feast of Tabernacles. [3]

I. CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY

In chronological order, then, the Millennium will occur after the Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ and the marriage of the church to Christ; after the completion of world evangelism, which will take place in the first half of the Tribulation period; after the salvation of all Israel; after the Return of the Lord; after the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, when the Lord will purge Jerusalem of Gentile rule; after the Lord completely crushes and brings down the age-old edifice of Gentile rule over Israel and the world. After having accomplished these tasks, the Lord Jesus will again tabernacle among His people in the Kingdom.

This polemic is given much space in this study because of the devastation brought upon the church and the Jewish people due to the prevalence of unwarranted allegorical interpretation of much of Scripture by church theologians and other teachers. A major early church thrust of unwarranted allegorization was directed at the great multitude of passages concerning the Second Coming and the ensuing Messianic Kingdom, and this thrust was of tidal proportions leading to tidal devastations to this day. Thus the placement of this polemic here.

An allegory is an extended or continued metaphor, a story in which characters, places and events are symbolic or representative of ideas, principles or concepts. John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is a perfect and familiar example. There are multitudes today who believe that the biblical descriptions of the Second Coming and the Millennial Kingdom are not to be taken literally, but allegorically, that is, that the Lord will return to rule and reign - not literally, but in the hearts of believers. (The belief that there will be no literal Millennium is called amillennialism.)

A recent survey has revealed that one significant reason that millions have left the church in England is because the allegorization of Second Coming and Kingdom prophecies have left them with a sense of hopelessness concerning the future of the planet. [4] As concerns the Jews, allegorization is the parent of Replacement Theology, the belief that Israel has forfeited its position as God's chosen people because of her rejection of Messiah, and that God has replaced Israel with the church as the "new Israel." [5]. In turn, Replacement Theology has led to great persecutions of the Jews by the church and has, for more than seventeen hundred years, caused Jews to abhor the thought of calling Jesus their Messiah. [6]

Normal, logical thinking demands that, if a literary work states that something will take place, it is reasonable to take it literally unless there is good reason to take it symbolically or figuratively.

In regard to Scripture, Dr. David Cooper stated it this way:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise. [7]

I must add that, even when "the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise," all such figurative or symbolic phrases or passages ought not to be interpreted fancifully or whimsically, but by means of logical principles of research, with the understanding that their interpretations are grounded in unequivocal literal realities. For example, in Revelation 22:16, Jesus figuratively refers to Himself as the bright morning star. Simple logic dictates that He did not mean that He is a literal star, or the planet Venus, but that He is the bringer of divine light in a spiritually dark world. Another example is Revelation 12:1, which introduces a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: symbolic language, to be sure; but its concrete, literal meaning is discovered in Genesis 37:9-10. The woman represents the nation of Israel.

Three points to consider:

  • 2 Peter 1:20-21 affirms Dr. Cooper's assertion: 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21. for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Of the more than thirty translations that I examined, all are unanimous in declaring that all true prophecies are conveyed to the prophet by the Holy Spirit (verse 21). As concerns verse 20, two literal translations emphasize that no true prophet fabricated his prophecy, giving the verse the same basic meaning as verse 21. 20. . . no prophecy of the Writing doth come of private exposition (YLT. Similarly, LITV), which implies that the interpreter of a prophecy must seek its interpretation with godly fear, for its source is God. On the other hand, the great bulk of the translations, including various authoritative ones, place the focus of verse 20 on the interpreter: But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation (NASB. Similarly, ASV, KJV, ISV). If one takes this to be the proper translation, then it implies that Scripture is not a ouija board, and that digging out its meaning it is not akin to reading animal entrails: It is not to be interpreted in a mindless, intuitive state, but by means of sound research carried out under the illumination of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11-13).

To quote the full passage again in a translation that represents the most favored understanding of verse 20, But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21. for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (NASB).

To sum up, one must interpret prophecy with a reverence for God who authored it, and seek out the single literal meaning of it that the Spirit intended when He first delivered it. Inasmuch as no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, one must forsake human intuition, and search out its meaning through the use of logic and reason [8] under the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Another important and related principle is that we do not begin with the outcome we desire and then place, force or allegorize the Scriptures into that mold. Examples of where this principle must be held fast are: determining whether the moderate drinking of alcohol is permissible, whether women may teach in the plenary meeting of the church and, to bring the matter to our present focus, whether the Second Coming and Millennium are to be taken literally or figuratively. To do otherwise is to put the cart before the horse - and when the horse pushes, the cart rolls into a ditch dragging the horse in after it.

Unwarranted allegorical interpretation forsakes reason and feeds on wishful thinking, whimsy and bias. It invites wholesale eisegesis, the reading into a passage one's own fancies, presuppositions, biases and agendas. It can open the door to doctrines of demons, as it most certainly has (See 1 Timothy 4:1)! Literal interpretation, on the other hand, demands exegesis, the drawing out of a passage that which logic demands is already in it, and nothing else. During the time of Luther, the Protestant Church formulated this very valuable rule: "Do not carry a meaning into [the Scriptures], but draw it out of [the Scriptures]."

  • All of the prophecies concerning the Lord's First Coming were fulfilled literally. It would defy logic to believe that the prophecies of His Second Coming are to be taken symbolically; and if one believes that the Second Coming prophecies are to be taken literally, and yet believes that the Millennium is to be taken figuratively, then what is to become of the Lord after His Return? Will He evaporate into someone's allegory? There is a direct logical connection between the literality of the First Coming, Second Coming and Millennial Kingdom.

  • Various civic oaths oblige the oath taker to swear to certain things without "mental reservation." Various U.S. civic oaths contain the phrase, "I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion." [9] One meaning of mental reservation is: without disclosure of a hidden meaning in the mind of the oath taker. Now, God made some breathtaking promises to Israel that Scripture states will be fulfilled during the Lord's Kingdom reign: They will be all be gathered to live in peace within the full borders of the promised Land; they will be a nation of priests; they will be sought after by other nations; all Jews born during the Millennium will receive salvation, and more. If God knew that His Second Coming and Kingdom declarations to Israel were allegorical, and gave no hint of it to any of His prophets, then He would be guilty of mental reservation and deception on an order that the Deceiver himself could not match, for the Deceiver is finite in his understanding and power, but God is infinite in both. Let the one who would hold to allegorical interpretation note what his beliefs imply.

There are allegories in Scripture. Galatians 4:22-31 is a good example. Hagar, the bondwoman, represents bondage to the Law, and Sarah, the freewoman, represents the freedom that believers have under the New Covenant. Verse 24 plainly declares, This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants. Pharaoh's dreams of the cows and ears of grain are other allegories as are Nathan's "You are the man" story to King David, and Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the statue. However, wholesale allegorization is like the stone that brought down Nebuchadnezzar's statue; only in this case, the statue is faith in the written Word of God, and the caster of the stone is the Devil. If one can allegorize away a volume of plainly stated passages regarding the Kingdom, then what is to prevent the allegorization of the Creation and Exodus accounts? Indeed, these accounts have been allegorized. Even the virgin birth has been allegorized. [10] After gutting the Word of God of its literal meaning - after divesting the Son of God of His divinity - what solid ground is left for the seeker or believer to stand on? Unwarranted allegorization is a destroyer of the true meaning of the Word of God and is a hindrance to, and destroyer of, the faith of millions - a destroyer of the church of God.

B. TWO COMMON OBJECTIONS

The objections presented here are representative of others and are limited to the issue of the literality of the Millennium.

Objection: In Luke 17:21, Jesus said, the kingdom of God is within you (KJV) or in your midst (NASB). The Kingdom, then, is not an earthly kingdom with a physical King sitting on a physical throne.

Response: Whether Jesus meant that the Kingdom is the reign of God in the hearts of believers, or that the fullness of the Kingdom was within Him who was in the midst of His questioners, it certainly could not refer to a full-fledged earthly Kingdom. Yet, that does not preclude that there are other facets to God's Kingdom.

In 1 Samuel 8, Israel desired to replace the LORD with a human king to rule over them in an earthly, governmental sense. The people besought Samuel, 5. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations, and 7. The LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

Thus we have established that the Kingdom of God can refer to at least two realms of God's kingship: the aspect that is within you or in your midst, and the aspect of God's kingship over ancient Israel known as the Theocratic Kingdom, which began with the giving of the Law and lasted until the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. [11] Therefore, since the Kingdom of God can refer to more than one realm of God's kingship, such passages as Luke 17:21 should not be a stumbling block to believing that there could be a future, literal, earthly kingdom with Yeshua on the throne.

Objection: 2 Peter 3:8 says, one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Therefore, we cannot take the thousand-year length of the kingdom as a literal millennium.

Response: What Peter is saying is, though the Second Advent may seem a long way off to us, it is not far off in the Lord's perspective, and we need to be patient.

The thousand years used here is merely representative of a long period of time in our perspective, which does not preclude the possibility of it being used literally in Revelation 20. There is no good reason to take the thousand years in Revelation 20 as having the same representative meaning that it has in 2 Peter 3:8, or as taking it any way other than literally, for Revelation 20 is not narrated from the Lord's time perspective, but from man's.

Revelation 20:2-7:

20:2: And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. Note how the symbolic dragon and serpent are resolved into the literal devil and Satan. Why take the thousand years to be symbolic?

20:3: and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. This verse directly follows verse 2. Why take this same thousand years to be symbolic?

The thousand years in each of the following verses obviously refer to the same literal thousand years.

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

~ Revelations 20:4 ~

20:5: The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

20:6: Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

20:7: When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison.

Note the phrase the thousand years in verses 3, 5 and 7. The definite object the lends weight to the argument that the thousand years is to be taken literally.

Note how the entire passage describes a sequence of events, begging the clarity of a specific, literal time span.

Note also how the phrase is repeated six times in rapid succession. In Genesis 1:10-25, and God saw that it was good is repeated five times, and in verse 31, God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. Why does Genesis 1 state God saw that it was good six times, once for each phase of creation, and not just once for the whole process? Obviously, for emphasis. Why, in Revelation 2 and 3, does the Lord admonish seven times, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, not just once? Obviously, for emphasis. And there are other such examples. Why does the Lord repeat the phrase a (or the) thousand years six times in Revelation 20? Obviously, for emphasis; and when one seeks to emphasize something, it serves his purpose to state his case as clearly as possible - another reason to believe that the thousand years is to be taken literally.

To sum up, the points of evidence for believing that the thousand years in Revelation 20 is to be taken literally are:

  • Revelation 20 is not narrated from the Lord's time perspective, but from man's;

  • the symbolic dragon and serpent are resolved into the literal devil and Satan;

  • the definite object the in the thousand years;

  • the entire passage describes a sequence of events, thereby begging the clarity of a specific, literal time span;

  • the six-fold repetition of the thousand years for emphasis.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

ENDNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of page 1 of this compendium.
2. Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio, Tex. (P.O. Box 13266: Ariel Press,1982. Print. 644-645.)
3. See author's study, "The Prophetic Feasts of Israel." Manzon, Norman A. "The Prophetic Feasts of Israel." The Bible Study Project, Web. 27 Dec.2013. http://www.biblestudyproject.org/feasts-of-israel-messianic.htm.
4. Nyberg, Bob. "A Case for Literal Interpretation." 4HimNet. Web. 27 Dec.2013. http://www.4himnet.com/bnyberg/literal_interpretation.html.
5. For a discussion of this subject, see Who Is Israel. Who Are the Jews? and Replacement Theology on Page 2 of this compendium.
6. For a historical overview of allegorical interpretation, Replacement Theology and their results, follow the "Christian Anti-Semitism" series by Daniel Gruber beginning in this Shofar at ezine38-dg-antisemitism-messianic.htm.
7. Dr. Cooper calls this The Golden Rule of Interpretation. Cooper, Dr. David L. "Biblical Research Studies Group-The Golden Rule of Interpretation." Biblical Research Studies Group. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page47.html.
8. For the affirmation of the use of reason in spiritual discourse, see Isaiah 1:18 and 1 Peter 3:15. Also, Daniel 4:36 demonstrates that the ability to reason is part of a state of blessedness.
9. See:
The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. "The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America." U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test/naturalization-oath-allegiance-united-states-america.
Oaths of Office for Federal Officials. "Oaths of Office For Federal Officials - Congress." About.com US Politics. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://uspolitics.about.com/od/usgovernment/a/oaths_of_office_4.htm.
Oaths of Enlistment to the U.S. Military and for the Commissioning of Officers. "Oaths of Enlistment and Oaths of Office - U.S. Army Center of Military History." U.S. Army Center Of Military History. Web. 27 Dec.2013. http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html.
10. "Virgin birth of Jesus - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, Web. 28 Dec. 2013.
11. See Footsteps of the Messiah, 662-670: "The Five Facets of God's Kingdom Program." Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio, Tex. (P.O. Box 13266: Ariel Press,1982.) Print.

RECOMMENDED READING

By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum*
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic bible Study 015: The Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah
7. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
9. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
10. Messianic Bible Study 034: The Bible and Divine Revelation
11. Messianic Bible Study 038: The Sequence of Pretribulational Events
12. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
13. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
14. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
15. Messianic Bible Study 075: The Resurrection of the Messiah
16. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation
17. Messianic Bible Study 113: The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of the Messiah

* All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.

By Dr. David L. Cooper

"The Millennial Reign of Christ" section of "What We Believe." Cooper, Dr. David L. "Biblical Research Studies Group-What We Believe." Biblical Research Studies Group. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://biblicalresearch.info/page792.html.

By Dr. Louis Sperry Chafer
"The Kingdom in History and Prophecy." www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=s6fW4Fyce6U%3d&tabid=292&mid=968.

The Messianic Kingdom
Part 1: Introduction
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2013.
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

B. THE INHABITANTS OF THE KINGDOM

an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade
away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the
power of God through faith for a salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time.

~ 1 Peter 1:4-5 ~

CONTENTS

RECAPITULATION OF PRIOR FUTURE EVENTS
The 75-Day Transitional Period
1. Scriptural Clarification
2. Significant Events during the Transitional Period
THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM Part 2: THE INHABITANTS OF THE KINGDOM
AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS

V. WHO WILL INHABIT THE KINGDOM?
A. HUMAN INHABITANTS
1. God's People on Earth at Tribulation's Close
a. The Lord Jesus
b. The Body of Christ
c. The Jews Saved During the Tribulation
d. The Sheep Gentiles
2. Those Returned Alive to Earth During the Transitional Period
a. Those Resurrected During the Transitional Period
1) The Old Testament Saints
a) The Old Testament Israelite Saints
b) The Old Testament Gentile Saints
c) The Martyred Tribulation Saints
b. Those Returned to Earth from Heaven
1) Enoch and Elijah
2) The Two Witnesses
3. Those Born into the Kingdom
B. WILL HOLY ANGELS DWELL ON EARTH IN THE KINGDOM?
C. ANIMALS AND PLANTS
VI. THE NATURES OF KINGDOM INHABITANTS
A. THE BODILY NATURES OF KINGDOM INHABITANTS
1. The Bodily Natures of People in the Kingdom
a. The Surviving Saved Mortals of the Tribulation
b. Those Who Will Return from Heaven
c. Those Resurrected During the Transitional Period
2. The Bodily Natures of Animals and Plants in the Kingdom
B. THE SPIRITUAL NATURES OF KINGDOM INHABITANTS
1. The Spiritual Natures of Those with Glorified Bodies
2. The Spiritual Natures of Those with Natural Bodies
3. The Nature of Plants and Animals
ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING


RECAPITULATION OF PRIOR FUTURE EVENTS

In our Last Things series, we have thus far seen that every member of the body of Christ, whether living or deceased, will be lifted from the earth and given a glorified body in an event called the Rapture. At some point after the Rapture, the Lord will bring judgment upon the earth during a seven-year period called The Great Tribulation, which will be followed by a brief transitional period before the commencement of the Kingdom. During the Tribulation and transitional period, the Lord will destroy every ungodly human institution, and all who will not repent will be killed. Multitudes from all over the world will repent in response to the preaching of 144,000 Israelites, and multitudes from among that multitude will be martyred. In mid-Tribulation, Antichrist will claim divinity, prohibit all Temple worship, and engage in a campaign to destroy every believer still alive, every Jew, and even the returned Lord Himself. His persecution of the Jews will continue almost until the end of the seven years by which time he will have succeeded in killing two-thirds of them. Those Jews whom the Lord will preserve alive will be those who had proven receptive to spiritual truth, and He will save them all. Upon Israel's reception of the Lord Yeshua as their Messiah, He will return to earth, destroy the army that Antichrist will have gathered from around the world to destroy the Jews, crush all satanic world power and mode of operation, and slay Antichrist. These events and others to be mentioned below will bring the Tribulation and the transitional period to a close, which will be followed immediately by the dawning of the Messianic Age or Millennium.

The 75-Day Transitional Period

1. Scriptural Clarification

That such a period will exist, and that it will last for seventy-five days, may be shown thusly:

And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

~ Daniel 9:27 ~

In the middle of the week [literally, seven; seven years, the Great Tribulation period] he [the prince of verse 26, Antichrist] will break his treaty with the many [the majority in Israel], take over the temple by force, cause worship to cease, and persecute the Jews for one thousand two hundred and sixty days (Revelation 12:6) until he is slain at the Lord's Return (2 Thessalonians 2:8), which brings the Tribulation to a close. Based on thirty-day months, one thousand two hundred and sixty days is equal to three and a half years.

Daniel 12:11-12: 11. From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!

In mid-tribulation, Antichrist not only prohibits all Jewish Temple worship, but the wing of abominations (9:27) or the abomination of desolation (12:11) is set up. In the Old Testament, abomination is often used in reference to an idol (e.g., Deuteronomy 27:15). Now according to Daniel 12:11, the Abomination of Desolation will remain standing thirty days beyond the end of the Tribulation (1290 minus 1260), and 12. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days, which must certainly refer to the commencement of the Kingdom Age. The Kingdom Age begins 1,335 days after the midpoint of the Tribulation, and the Tribulation ends 1,260 days after the midpoint. Thus, there is a transitional period of seventy-five days from the end of the Tribulation until the commencement of the Kingdom (1,335 minus 1,260).

2. Significant Events during the Transitional Period

We have seen thus far that during this transitional period, three significant events will occur:
1. Antichrist will be resurrected and he and the False Prophet will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20)
2. Satan will be cast into the abyss and imprisoned there for a thousand years, until the end of the Kingdom Age. (Revelation 20:2-3)
3. Those Gentiles still alive will face the Lord's Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46). (The word ethnos in the passage, often translated nations, also has the meaning of Gentiles. That's how it should be taken here as eternal salvation or condemnation is based on the decision of individuals, not of nations.) The "sheep" will be those who provide aid to the persecuted Jews of the Tribulation - these brothers of mine Yeshua called them - and will be welcomed into the Kingdom. The "goats" will be those who refuse to aid the Jews, and they will be killed and cast into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. (The respective salvation and condemnation of the sheep and the goats will not be on the basis of their works, but their works in regard to the persecuted Jews will evidence the state of their hearts. See James 2:17-18.)

Other significant events will occur, as well. To place them all in a logical order, though not necessary the actual order in which they will occur, they are:

1. The removal of the Abomination of Desolation from the Temple (Daniel 12:11);
2. The resurrection of Antichrist and the casting alive of him and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20);
3. The casting of Satan into the abyss and the imprisonment of him there for a thousand years, until the end of the Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:2-3);
4. The judgment of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46);
5. The renovation of the heavens and the earth (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13). These passages are not to be confused with the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21:1, which describes a totally new and perfectly holy order for the Eternal Ages following the Millennium (Revelation 21-22).
6. The resurrection of the Old Testament saints;
7. The return from heaven of the two witnesses;
8. The resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs.

Those events not yet addressed, as well as some others that have, will be touched on below.

Having cleansed the earth of all satanic influence and human opposition and gathered together all who are His since Adam, the Lord will assume His earthly throne and thus mark the beginning of His Messianic or Millennial reign.

THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM

Part 2: THE INHABITANTS OF THE KINGDOM

Whereas important introductory material was address in The Messianic Kingdom, Part 1: Introduction, Part 2 will address the inhabitants of the Kingdom; and Part 3, our next study, key aspects of Kingdom life. Inasmuch as a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute a book, what is presented must be recognized as a much abbreviated outline and summary.

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS (1)

The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)

V. WHO WILL INHABIT THE KINGDOM?

Scripture makes in plain that there will be human, animal and plant inhabitants, and we will address the possibility of holy angel inhabitant. There will be demons present on earth in two restricted areas, but we will deal with that in our next study.

A. HUMAN INHABITANTS

The human inhabitants of the Kingdom may be categorized into three groups based on time periods:

  • God's people on earth at Tribulation's close,

  • those returned alive to earth during the transitional period and

  • those who are born into the Kingdom.

1. God's People on Earth at Tribulation's Close

God's people on earth at Tribulation's close will be Jesus Himself, the body of Christ which had returned with Him, the saved Jews and the sheep Gentiles.

a. The Lord Jesus
Having returned to earth by Tribulation's end, the Lord Jesus will remain on earth through the transitional period and into the Kingdom Age to once again “tabernacle” or dwell among us just as He did at His first coming of which John wrote, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (Greek. tented, tabernacled) among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). His presence during the Kingdom will be the ultimate fulfillment of the annual Mosaic Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44; Amos 9:11; Zechariah 14:16).

b. The Body of Christ

The Body of Christ, the church, will return to earth with the Lord (Jude 1:14) and remain on earth through the transitional period and for duration of the Kingdom Age. Passages that we are yet to look at speak of the church on earth during the Kingdom Age.

c. The Jews Saved During the Tribulation
These are that third of Israel who remain alive at Tribulation's end. It is comprised of the 144,000 Israelite witnesses of Revelation 7 and those Jews who will receive Jesus as Messiah at the end of the Tribulation. A multitude of passages, some of which we will look at, show Israel in the Kingdom.

d. The Sheep Gentiles
These are those Gentiles who receive the Lord during the Tribulation and display their regenerated state by assisting the Jews whom Antichrist will seek to annihilate. They will differ from the other saved survivors of the Tribulation in that they will still need to pass a test for entry into the Kingdom: the Judgment of the Sheep and Goats during the transitional period, a test which they will all pass (Matthew 25:34-40). Verse 34: Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

2. Those Returned Alive to Earth During the Transitional Period

This group is comprised of those who will be resurrected and those who will be returned to earth, body and soul, from Heaven. The bodies of the resurrected will already be on earth in some form and will be joined with their spirits, which are now in Heaven. Those who will be returned to earth, body and soul, from Heaven are Enoch and Elijah, who had been raptured in Old Testament times, and the two witnesses, who will have been raptured in mid-Tribulation.

a. Those Resurrected During the Transitional Period

1) The Old Testament Saints
All Old Testament Jewish and Gentile saints from Adam to Pentecost will be resurrected during the transitional period to dwell on earth during the Kingdom.

a) The Old Testament Israelite Saints
Matthew 24:31: And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mark 13:27: from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.

Context indicates that His elect refers to Israelite saints. The Lord will send forth His angels to gather the bodies of deceased Israelites from the earth to join their spirits gathered from Heaven. Daniel 12:1-2 provides the timing.

1. Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

~ Daniel 12:1-2 ~

Your people, Daniel's people, are the Jews. After the time of distress, the Tribulation, those deceased Israelites worthy of everlasting life will be resurrected to dwell in the Kingdom. That they will remain on earth to dwell in the Kingdom is made plain by passages we are yet to look at. Those unworthy will be resurrected at the very end of the Millennium to face the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11).

b) The Old Testament Gentile Saints
Matthew 8:5-13:

5. And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6. and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented." 7. Jesus *said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8. But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9. "For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." 10. Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11. "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12. but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13. And Jesus said to the centurion, "Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very moment.

~ Matthew 8:5-13 ~

There are three groups, all of which include or are comprised solely of Gentile saints, that Jesus must have had in mind when he said, many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

1. Old Testament Gentile Saints
That the centurion was a Gentile is clear from verse 10 and by the fact that Jesus contrasted him with the sons of the kingdom, that people to whom the promises of the Kingdom were made, the Jews. That he and other believing Gentiles will have a place in the Kingdom is made plain by verse 11 and by the fact that Jesus identified him as a case in point. That he was an Old Testament believer when he exercised faith is clear by the fact that he did so before the cross; and, of course, he, as well as all other Old Testament Gentile believers, would need to be resurrected and gathered from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

An important thing to note is that the gathering must be from outside of Israel to Israel because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, being Jews, will dwell in the Land. Numerous passages declare that all Jews in the Kingdom will dwell in the Land, e.g., Ezekiel 36:24-28:

24. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

2. The Body of Christ
If the centurion lived long enough to be baptized by the Spirit into the body after Pentecost, then he would be a church saint who would die, be resurrected and raptured prior to the Tribulation along with the rest of the church, return with Jesus from Heaven and almost certainly remain localized with Him in Southern Jordan where He will defeat's Antichrist's armies (Isaiah 34:1-7; 63:1-6; Habakkuk 3:3; Micah 2:12-13; Revelation 19:11-21). If that will be the case, then he and the rest of the body would need to be gathered from [the] east to recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

3. The Sheep Gentiles
The centurion, being Gentile, must also have brought to Jesus' mind the Sheep Gentiles, who will be gathered from east and west.

I cannot conceive of Jesus not having any of the three groups in mind when He made the declaration; and for the Old Testament Gentile saints to enjoy the Kingdom, they must be resurrected prior to Kingdom; and Scripture does not indicate, nor is there any reason to believe that they will be resurrected during the grim time of the Great Tribulation. The only reasonable conclusion is that they will be resurrected during the transitional period at or about the same time as the Old Testament Israelite saints.

Apart from the passage, another way of looking at it is this: The Old Testament Gentile saints will certainly need to be resurrected in time for the Eternal Ages that will follow the Kingdom, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:50), and no resurrection of any these groups is said to occur after the Millennium begins;and again, there is no reason to believe that they will be resurrected during the grim time of the Great Tribulation. The only reasonable conclusion is that they will be resurrected during the transitional period at or about the same time as the Old Testament Israelite saints.

c) The Martyred Tribulation Saints
Multitudes of those who exercise faith in Messiah during the Tribulation will be slain (Revelation 7:7-11); but Revelation 20:4 says of them, and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Obviously, if they are to reign with Christ for a thousand years, they would need to be resurrected before the thousand-year Kingdom; and if the point of the statement is that their resurrection will result in their reigning with Christ, then surely they will be resurrected just prior to the beginning of Hiss reign, that is, during the transitional period.

b. Those Returned to Earth from Heaven
1) Enoch and Elijah

Enoch and Elijah were raptured in Old Testament times (Enoch: Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5. Elijah: 2 Kings 2:11). Whereas those resurrected for the Kingdom will have their bodies joined with their spirits at their resurrection, Enoch and Elijah will already be residing in Heaven body and soul, and will return to earth in their glorified bodies just as Christ and the body will already have returned in their glorified bodies; but whereas Jesus and the body will return prior to the end of the Tribulation, Enoch, being a (pre-Abrahamic) Gentile, will likely return with the resurrected Old Testament Gentile saints, and Elijah, being Jewish, with the Old Testament Israelite saints.

2) The Two Witnesses
Perhaps the two witnesses will be among the Jews saved during the Tribulation. If they are, they are a special case. They, whom Antichrist will slay in mid-Tribulation, will be resurrected after three and a half days and be taken into Heaven (verses 7-11), which necessitates the glorification of their bodies. In view of the facts that the Lord will evangelize the world through 144,000 Jewish men, and that the two witnesses will have their ministry in Jerusalem (verse 8: the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified), they must surely be Jewish; and since the Lord has promised to gather all Jews into the Promised Land for the Kingdom (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27), they will likely be gather[ed] together to earth during the transitional period as will the Old Testament Israelite saints.

3. Those Born into the Kingdom

As we will see further, some will enter the Kingdom with glorified bodies, and some with natural bodies; and according to Matthew 22:28-30, no one with a glorified body can bear children: For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. However, those who enter the kingdom with natural bodies will bear children who, like their parents, will have natural bodies; and they too will bear children.

B. WILL HOLY ANGELS DWELL ON EARTH IN THE KINGDOM?

Angels will return to earth with Jesus and the body of Christ (Matthew 25:31), an angel will bind Satan in the abyss for the duration of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3) and angels will gather all Old Testament Jewish believers to the Promised land (Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27); but will the angels remain on earth beyond these events? These passages and Hebrews 1:14 may be indicators, as well as the fact that the angels worship Him (Hebrews 1:6); but I have searched in vain for a passage that states plainly that they will. I must therefore conclude that Scripture simply does not say.

C. ANIMALS AND PLANTS

Such passages as Isaiah 65:25a and Micah 4:4 show that there will be animals and plants in the Kingdom:

Isaiah 65:25a: The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food.

Micah 4:4: Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

VI. THE NATURES OF KINGDOM INHABITANTS

A. THE BODILY NATURES OF KINGDOM INHABITANTS

1. The Bodily Natures of People in the Kingdom
a. The Surviving Saved Mortals of the Tribulation

Those saved mortals alive on earth at the end of the Tribulation will remain on earth through the transitional period and the commencement of the Kingdom and will retain their natural, mortal bodies. This is corroborated by the fact that there will be death in the Kingdom (Isaiah 65:20; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26). This group includes the Israelites saved during the Tribulation and the sheep Gentiles.

b. Those Who Will Return from Heaven
Those raised bodily to Heaven and returned to earth will have glorified bodies (2). This is shown plainly by 1 Corinthians 15:50: Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable, the context of which is the resurrection and Rapture of the body of Christ into Heaven. Of necessity, then, the same must also be true of Enoch, Elijah and the two witnesses, who will return from Heaven.

c. Those Resurrected During the Transitional Period
What of this group? At least two passages shed light on the matter:

1. Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

~ Daniel 12:1-2 ~

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life: The passage refers specifically to the bodies of the deceased faithful in Daniel's day. Not only will their spirits experience eternal life, but their bodies will awaken to everlasting life. If these saints will arise in their natural bodies, which would die again, it could not be said that their bodies will awaken to everlasting life. The passage must certainly refer to resurrection in glorified bodies.

1 Corinthians 15:23 speaks of Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming. Christ is the first fruits of those who will receive their glorified bodies. These will include all the righteous who will be resurrected during the transitional period, namely, the Old Testament saints and the martyred Tribulation saints.

From these passages we can conclude that not only will those who return from Heaven possess glorified bodies, but also all of the righteous who will be resurrected during the transitional period will have glorified bodies, as well.

2. The Bodily Natures of Animals and Plants in the Kingdom
Isaiah 65:25a: The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food.

Micah 4:4: Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

If lions will be eating straw, there must of necessity be modifications in the bodies of at least some animals: Perhaps lions will have flat teeth, which are common to herbivores today, and modified digestive systems; also of some plants as well, such as the presently flesh-eating Venus flytrap. In addition, the thorns on at least some plants are thought to be modified or unopened leaves. If all plants and animals will be benign in the Kingdom, then perhaps what are now thorns will open to become beautiful leaves, evidencing the lifting of the thorns and thistles aspect of the Adamic curse (Genesis 3:18). Even so, we can assume that plant and animal bodies and structures will be natural and not glorified as Scripture simply does not say that they will be glorified. Further, the serpent must of necessity have a natural body as the Isaiah passage declares that the curse of Genesis 3:14 will still be residing upon it.

B. THE SPIRITUAL NATURES OF KINGDOM INHABITANTS

1. The Spiritual Natures of Those with Glorified Bodies
All those in their glorified bodies will have been healed of their sin natures, leaving natures that are pure, holy, undefiled and incapable of sinning, a condition which theologians refer to as "confirmed creaturely holiness." The garments of the members of the body of Christ will have been purified at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Revelation 3:5,18; 4:4; 19:7-8, 21:9-11), and we can assume that all others in glorified, immortal bodies receive a comparable purification at the time of their glorification. Death is the result of sin; and if their bodies will not die, then the sin nature cannot reside within them. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).

2. The Spiritual Natures of Those with Natural Bodies
Those with natural bodies will not have gone through a spiritual cleansing process as those with glorified bodies, and they will retain their sin natures. There will be sin in the Kingdom (Isaiah 65:20; Zechariah 14:17-19; Revelation 20:7-9), and it certainly cannot come from those in glorified bodies. It can only come from those in natural bodies.

3. The Nature of Plants and Animals
Scripture does not speak of animals or plants having a sin nature, but it is obvious that sin has perverted them. Carnivores devour other animals and humans, males engage in fights for females, and such plants as the Venus flytrap devour insects. However, their natures will be changed for the Millennium.

6. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. 7. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.

~ Isaiah 11:6-8 ~

Isaiah 65:25a: The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food.

At the time of the renovation of the earth for the Kingdom, the behaviors of animals and of at least some plants will be changed. Animals will not devour or harm one another or harm even a little child. Further, if the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den, then it follows that the Lord will not allow any poisons that animals or plants may retain to harm anyone. More likely, animals and plants that are now poisonous will be purged of poisons.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.


ENDNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of page 1 of this compendium.

2. For the nature of glorified bodies, see 1 Corinthians 15:36-50.


RECOMMENDED READING

By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum*
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
7. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
9. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
10. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel

* All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening and reading.

By Dr. David L. Cooper
Cooper, Dr. David L. "Biblical Research Society - What We Believe: The Millennial Reign of Christ." Ariel Ministries: Home. The Biblical Research Society, n.d. Web. 24Apr.2014. http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm.

By Norman Manzon
Manzon, Norman A. "The Prophetic Feasts of Israel." The Bible Study Project, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. http://www.biblestudyproject.org/feasts-of-israel-messianic.htm.

Manzon, Norman A. The Faithful Remnant of Israel on Page 2 of this compendium.


The Messianic Kingdom
Part 2: The Inhabitants of the Kingdom
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2014
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

C. THE TWO FOUNDATIONAL REALITIES

The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory
of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

~ Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14 ~

CONTENTS

AMC STATEMENT
VIII. THE RENOVATION OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH
A. WILL THE HEAVEN OF GOD BE RENOVATED?
B. AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION
C. WHEN WILL THE RENOVATION TAKE PLACE?
IX. THE DIVINE PRESENCE
A. THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
B. THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
X. SUMMING UP
FOOTNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING

We will begin with a restatement of those declarations in the AMC statement that have relevance to the Kingdom. Those aspects of it that have not yet been addressed will be addressed in this and subsequent studies.

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS [1]

The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)

Beyond all other factors, two will dominate the Kingdom: the renovation of the heavens and the earth, which will determine the physical environment of the Kingdom, and the divine presence, which will determine its spiritual environment.

VIII. THE RENOVATION OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind (Isaiah 65:17). Also 2 Peter 3:13, which references the Isaiah verse: But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

A. WILL THE HEAVEN OF GOD BE RENOVATED?

It is clear that the earth will be renovated, but not so clear as to which heavens will be renovated. This may be illustrated by John Gill's comment regarding the word heaven in the Genesis 1:1 creation account: "By the heaven some understand the supreme heaven, the heaven of heavens, the habitation of God, and of the holy angels." [2] If some "understand" that the heaven of creation is God's Heaven, then some may also understand that the heavens of the Isaiah and Peter passages may include God's Heaven. Let us consider the matter.

There are those who believe that Scripture speaks of two heavens. One is the Heaven where God dwells: He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (Matthew 16:16), and the other refers to all of the universe that is above the surface of the earth, which we commonly refer to as the atmosphere (atmosphere-stratosphere-ionosphere) and outer space. If it is true that there are but two heavens, then it would seem that one of the heavens that will be necessarily be renovated is the Heaven where God dwells - but there are other factors to consider.

Firstly, in 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul writes of a third heaven: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a man was caught up to the third heaven.

The People's New Testament comments, "The third heaven. A Jewish expression for that heaven which was beyond (1) the air, and (2) beyond the sun and stars; the secret place of the Almighty."

Albert Barnes (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible) agrees:

The Bible speaks of but three heavens, and among the Jews in the apostolic ages also the heavens were divided into three: (1) The aerial, including the clouds and the atmosphere, the heavens above us, until we come to the stars. (2) the starry heavens, the heavens in which the sun, moon, and stars appear to be situated. (3) the heavens beyond the stars. That heaven was supposed to be the residence of God, of angels, and of holy spirits.

This being the case, then the heavens of the Isaiah 65:17 and 2 Peter 3:13 could easily refer to the two heavens of the atmosphere and outer space, exclusive of the Heaven where God dwells.

Secondly, heaven in the Hebrew is always in the plural even when it is used in such phrases as birds of heaven (1 Kings 21:24) - and birds can exist only in the atmosphere, one heaven; and the stars of heaven (Genesis 26:4) - and the stars of the night sky exist only in outer space, one heaven. It is because heaven in the Hebrew is always in the plural that Genesis 1:1 is often translated, In the beginning, God created the heaven (singular) and the earth, and often, In the beginning, God created the heavens (plural) and the earth. Therefore, even if one holds the two heaven view, heavens can still refer solely to the single heaven of the natural world, the atmosphere-outer space heaven, exclusive of the Heaven of God.

To sum up thus far, whether one holds the two-heaven or three-heaven view, the renovation does not need to include the Heaven where
God dwells.

Yet, the question remains unanswered: Will God's Heaven be among those heavens that will be renovated? But why would it have to be renovated? Can it even be defiled or corrupted?

Hebrews 9:11-12 tells us that, after His crucifixion, Messiah cleansed the tabernacle in Heaven with His own blood:

11. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12. and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Whether Heaven itself was actually defiled by Satan's rebellion and subsequent activity there (such as his slander of Job or accusation of the brethren in our present age) or whether Hebrews 9:11-12 is a picture of the acceptance of Messiah's sacrifice by God, one thing is certain: When Messiah cleansed the heavenly tabernacle through His own blood, He cleansed it of all possible satanic defilement there whether by sins committed by Satan past or future to that event - just as He cleanses us of all defilement through His own blood at the moment of our salvation whether by sins committed by us past or future to that event. The point is this: Whether Heaven is impervious to defilement or whether it was cleansed of defilement, it will not need to be renovated because of defilement.

Romans 8:22-23 lends clarity to what will be renovated:

22. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

It is the matter-energy-space-time creation that groans and suffers because of the curse of sin, and it will do so until our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body, meaning that after the saints receive their glorified bodies at the Rapture, the Lord will move to bring about those conditions that will set the stage for the renovation of our present curse-ridden physical universe.

The Heaven where God dwells will not be included in the renovation. What will be renovated will be the physical universe that now bears the curse of sin, which leads us to consider an important distinction.

B. AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION

These new heavens and new earth must be distinguished from the new heaven and new earth introduced in Revelation 21:1 and described in chapters 21 and 22, for two reasons:

1. Peter presents the new heaven and new earth as following on the heels of the Great Tribulation, whereas Revelation 21 and 22 present a new heaven and new earth that will follow the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Kingdom Age.

2. The context of Isaiah 65:17 presents imperfections in the Kingdom even after the renovation, to wit, death (verse 20) and the Adamic curse on the serpent (verse 25); but Revelation 21 and 22 present a state that is immaculate, the perfectly flawless state of the Eternal Ages.

C. WHEN WILL THE RENOVATION TAKE PLACE?

During the seventy-five day interval between the Great Tribulation and the Kingdom Age, the Lord will purge the earth by the removal of the Abomination of Desolation from the Temple, the casting of the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire, the casting of Satan into the abyss, and the casting of the goat Gentiles into the Lake of Fire; and the Lord's pattern throughout Scripture is to first purge by judgment and then rebuild. Evidently then, the renovation will take place at some point or duration of time after this purging. However, this does not clarify whether the renovation will take place before the end of the seventy-five day period, during the Kingdom, or begin before the end of the seventy-five day interval and continue on into the Millennium. But let's consider further.

Every indication in Scripture is that the entire thousand years of the Kingdom will be characterized by a marvelously renewed earth. Consider, for example, Micah 4:4: Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. Can it be imagined that conditions during any part of the Millennium would be otherwise? It would appear, therefore, that the renovation must be completed before the Millennium begins.

From these clues we can safely conclude that the renovation will take place at some point or duration of time after the Lord purges the earth during the seventy-five day interval and before the beginning of the Millennium.

But what of Matthew 19:28? Yeshua said to Peter, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

To clarify, regeneration here does not refer to the regeneration of human spirits, but to the renovation of the heavens and the earth. (According to the IVP Bible Background Commentary, "'Regeneration' was a term used for the future renewal of the world in Greek circles and naturally applied to Jewish expectations of a new world order.") But does the regeneration refer to the period when the regeneration would take place over a period of time, or does it refer to the period when the regeneration will already have taken place?

Of the thirty or so translations I have examined, many are ambiguous, as the NASB translation of Matthew 19:28, above, and a few would cause one to believe that the renovation will take place during the Kingdom; but far more translate it as referring to the period after which the renovation had already taken place, that is, the Kingdom. For example, in the new age (AMP); in the future world (CEV); in the regenerated world (CEJ); the time of the new world (ERV); in the New Age (GNB); in the world to come (GW); in the renewed creation (ISV); in the new world (Murdock). Consistent with these translations, John Gill refers to the regeneration as "the new state of things."

It is safe to say that the renovation of the new heavens and the new earth will take place at some point or duration of time after the purging of the earth during the seventy-five day period, and before the commencement of the Kingdom Age.

IX. THE DIVINE PRESENCE

As the renovation of the earth will characterize and determine the physical environment of the Kingdom, so will the nature of the divine presence on earth - specifically, the overwhelming and dominating influence of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit - characterize the Kingdom's spiritual environment.

Various aspects of the presence and sway of these two divine Persons will be addressed in due time, as will aspects of the renovated earth, but now we'll look at some chief passages that prophesy their presence.

A. THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Although the Lord had been physically present on earth in various appearances as the Angel of the LORD (Genesis 16:7-14; Genesis 22:11-18; Judges 5:23; 2 Kings 19:35; et al) and during His sojourn as Jesus, He had never on any of those occasions reigned as King; but in the Kingdom He will reign as King over Israel and over the whole earth.

Some of the passages that prophesy the kingship and sway of the Lord during the Kingdom Age are as follows. The sequence of events in these passages overlap, but I have set them in chronological order according to their key thrusts:

God Promises the Son the Throne of David

31. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.

~ Luke 1:31-33 ~

From the Great Tribulation to the Kingdom

1. Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3. "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" 4. He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 6. "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." 7. "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9. 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'" 10. Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11. Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

~ Psalm 2:1-12 ~

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

~ Revelation 19:11-16 ~

The King Will Sit on His Throne
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. (Matthew 25:31)

The Kingdom Is Established

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."

~ Revelation 11:15 ~

B. THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Though the Spirit had been present on earth both before and during the days of Jesus, He will be present in an overwhelming way in the Kingdom as prophesied in these Old Testament passages presented in the order in which they appear in Scripture: [4]

15. Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest. 16. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile field.

~ Isaiah 32:15-16 ~

1. But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen. . . . 3b. I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.

~ Isaiah 44:1-3b ~

28. "Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29. I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel," declares the Lord GOD.

~ Ezekiel 39:28-29 ~

28. "It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days . . . . 3:1. When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem.

~ Joel 2:28 - 3:1 ~

10. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication. . . . 13:1. In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.

~ Zechariah 12:10-13:1 ~

Technically, the Zechariah event will take place near the end of the Tribulation; but we can be sure that the Spirit poured out upon Israel then will remain with them throughout the Kingdom because during that period and beyond they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them (Jeremiah 31:34).

These two Persons, who hold the authority of Creators of the earth, will exercise their authority in the Kingdom in marvelous ways. The result of their sway? The earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

X. SUMMING UP

The renovation of the heavens and the earth and the presence of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit operating in their full authority are the two foundational realities that together will constitute the physical and spiritual environments of the Kingdom and set the tone for all else that will take place on earth during the Kingdom Age.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.


FOOTNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of page 1 of this compendium.

2. Gill, John. Exposition of the Whole Bible.

3. Compare formless and void in Genesis 1:2 with the its uses in Jeremiah 4:23-24 and the use of desolation and emptiness in Isaiah 34:11. For a complete discussion, see Dr. Fruchtenbaum's Messianic Bible Study 186: The Seven Days of Creation, listed below.

4. In Steven Ger's The Book of Acts: Witnesses to the World, (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers,2004), chapter 1, subsection Spirit and Kingdom, Steven writes, "Another reason the apostles would have asked their question is that the Davidic Kingdom, the kingdom of God, is linked five times in the Hebrew Scriptures with the return of the Holy Spirit, the Shekinah glory of the Lord, to Israel (Is. 32:15-20, 44:3-5, Ezek 39:28-29, Joel 2:28-3:1, Zech 12:10-13:1)."

RECOMMENDED READING

By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
7. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
9. Messianic Bible Study 034: The Bible and Divine Revelation
10. Messianic Bible Study 038: The Sequence of Pretribulational Events
11. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
12. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
13. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
14. Messianic Bible Study 075: The Resurrection of the Messiah
14. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation
15. Messianic Bible Study 113: The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of the Messiah
16. Messianic Bible Study 186: The Seven Days of Creation

All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.


The Messianic Kingdom
Part 3: The Two Foundational Realities
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2014
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY ~

THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

D. THE KINGDOM ENVIRONMENT

"The Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord
and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."

~ Revelation 11:15 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS
XI. SPIRITUAL CONDITIONS
A. THE PRESENCE OF JESUS AND THE SPIRIT
B. THE CONFINEMENT OF SATAN AND HIS DEMONS

C. THE NON-DIVINE PERSONS IN THE KINGDOM
1. The Groups in General
2. The Jews
3. The Gentiles
D. THE ABSENCE OF INSTITUTIONALIZED FALSE RELIGIONS AND PHILOSOPHIES
E. THE ABSENCE OF IDOLATRY AND OCCULT PRACTICES
XII. KINGDOM GOVERNMENT

A. A MESSIANIC THEOCRACY
B. GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES AND POSITIONS
1. Participants in the First Resurrection: Priests of God and of Christ
2. Jesus the Messiah: King of the World
3. Jesus the Messiah: King of Israel
4. David: King of Israel
5. The Twelve Apostles: Over the Twelve Tribes of Israel
6. Princes, Judges and Counselors: In Israel

7. Zerubbabel: Like a Signet Ring
8. Israel: Over the Gentile Nations
9. The Church and the Tribulation Martyrs: Over the Gentiles
10. Kings: Over the Gentile Nations
XIII. CIVIL LAW IN THE KINGDOM
XIV. LIVING CONDITIONS IN THE KINGDOM
XV. IMPERFECTIONS IN THE KINGDOM
FOOTNOTES

RECOMMENDED READING

INTRODUCTION

The Messianic Kingdom is part of an extended series of studies in support of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. Much groundwork for this present study has been laid in the three prior studies of the series, links to which are located below the title above. It might be good for the reader to review them so that the present study might be more fully understood in its historical and other contexts. For an even firmer foundation, the following studies by the author, all on this page, might likewise be reviewed: The Destinies of the Dead, The Rapture, The Great Tribulation and The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Much of what has been examined in these studies will be touched on here, but not treated as fully as before.

It is worth stating again that it is extremely important to realize that the prophesied Kingdom is a literal, earthly Kingdom in which Jesus will reign bodily as king over Israel and the world. A polemic in support of this is presented in section IV of The Messianic Kingdom - Part 1: Introduction, above.

Also as previously mentioned, a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute a book. It must therefore be recognized that what is herein presented is, of necessity, a much abbreviated outline and summary.

Before we begin, credit must be given where credit is due. The works of a platoon of scholars have supported my research for this and other end time studies, but I must cite the works of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum in particular, especially The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Footsteps is an 800-page easy read considered by many to be the clearest and most convincing exposition of end time prophesies available. It has served as an invaluable resource in my personal studies over the years and in my composition of this and other end time studies, and I cannot close this paragraph without thanking Dr. Fruchtenbaum for the tens of thousands of hours that he has dedicated to study and production of the body of works that he has which, on a broader scope, has enabled me to get a stronger grasp of the broader body of biblical truth. Having said all of that, I hasten to add that I have not played the part of the talking parrot, but have regularly and laboriously followed the path of the "noble-minded" Bereans of Acts 17:11, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so, and have composed my studies accordingly.

As in previous Kingdom studies, we will begin with a restatement of those declarations in the AMC's We Believe statement that have relevance to the Kingdom.

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS [1]

The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)

XI. SPIRITUAL CONDITIONS

What will be the spiritual condition of our planet during the Millennium? What will be the determining factors?

A. THE PRESENCE OF JESUS AND THE SPIRIT

Above all other factors, the overall spiritual condition of the Kingdom will be determined by the bodily reign of Jesus over the world and by the superabundant presence of the Spirit. The reality of these factors was addressed in Part 3: The Two Foundational Realities, above.

B. THE CONFINEMENT OF SATAN AND HIS DEMONS

In stark contrast to the overwhelming presence and spiritual influence of the Son of God and the Spirit of God is the confinement of Satan and his demons, rendering their destructive, tormenting and deceptive influences null and void. Satan himself will be bound in the Abyss (Revelation 20:2-3), and his demons will be confined to two locations on earth, addressed below.

To sum up thus far, the powerful influence of Satan will be eliminated while the far more powerful influences of the God-Man Jesus and the Spirit will be released.

C. THE NON-DIVINE PERSONS IN THE KINGDOM

1. The Groups in General
As was shown in The Great Tribulation and The Inhabitants of the Kingdom, only the saved will enter the Kingdom. This group will include the saved of every age since Adam. Many will be in glorified, immortal, heavenly bodies, and many will be in mortal bodies.

Those in glorified bodies will be in a state of confirmed creaturely holiness: The sin nature will have been purged from their spirits, they will think only holy thoughts, perform only holy acts, and be absolutely incapable of sinning. Those in mortal bodies, though saved, will retain their sin natures, will be able to sin, and will parent mortal children who themselves will have sin natures and be able to sin (Isaiah 11:8, 65:20; Zechariah 14:17-19; Revelation 20:7-9), which explains why it will be necessary for the Lord to rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 12:5 and 19:15, based on Psalm 2:9). [2]

On the basis of such passages as 2 Peter 3:9 (The Lord is . . . not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance), and the fact that He will have applied that principle to every mortal since Adam, we can be sure that all unsaved mortals in the Kingdom will likewise be given the opportunity to either receive the Lord and be saved, or to reject Him and be eternally condemned.

2. The Jews
Without exception, every Jew born in the Kingdom will receive the Lord. This is made clear in a number of places, including this statement of the New Covenant in Jeremiah:

33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD.

~ Jeremiah 31:33-34 ~

"They will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD.

Ezekiel also declares the salvation of Israel, and adds that they will walk in holiness:

24. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

~ Ezekiel 36:24-27 ~

All Jews in the Kingdom will be saved from the least of them to the greatest of them, and every one of them will walk in holiness.

3. The Gentiles
Many Gentiles born in the Kingdom will reject the Lord (Isaiah 11:4, 65:20; Zechariah 14:19; Revelation 20:7-9), and many will receive Him. The latter truth may be seen in these passages:

And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths."

~ Isaiah 2:3 ~

Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse [Jesus], Who will stand as a signal for the peoples.

~ Isaiah 11:10 ~

24. In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25. whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance." [3]

~ Isaiah 19:24-25 ~

D. THE ABSENCE OF INSTITUTIONALIZED
FALSE RELIGIONS AND PHILOSOPHIES

Although unbelief and sin will reside in the hearts of many, no false religion or philosophy will be allowed to become institutionalized. The Lord destroyed the false church and the worship of Antichrist during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 17:16, 19:20-21), and we can be sure that He will never allow a glimmer of such to arise again, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).

E. THE ABSENCE OF IDOLATRY AND OCCULT PRACTICES

Not only will the institutionalization of false religions and philosophies be disallowed, but idolatry and occultism will be disallowed, as well.

10. "It will be in that day," declares the LORD . . . . 12. "I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you will have fortune-tellers no more. 13. I will cut off your carved images and your sacred pillars from among you, so that you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands. 14. I will root out your Asherim [4] from among you."

~ Micah 5:10-14 ~

XII: KINGDOM GOVERNMENT

A. A MESSIANIC THEOCRACY

The government in the Kingdom will not be a democracy. It will be a monarchy, and an absolute one, at that. (This says nothing about what may or may not be the ideal form of government in any of today's political entities.) The God-Man will be its Head, making it a theocracy, a government in which God is recognized as the supreme civil ruler. (God, of course, has always been absolute Ruler over everything. He had absolute authority over Israel in the days of the kings, but He was not recognized as the supreme civil ruler: the kings were.)

B. GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES AND POSITIONS

There will be a chain of governmental command over the whole earth.

1. Participants in the First Resurrection: Priests of God and of Christ

Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

~ Revelation 20:6 ~

All saints of all previous ages who had heretofore been resurrected will reign with Christ in some capacity for the duration of the Millennium. This group is comprised of all Old and New Testament saints, both Jewish and Gentile, the two Tribulation witnesses and all martyred Tribulation saints. Surely, Enoch and Elijah, who had never seen death but had been drawn up directly into Heaven, will reign, as well. Most of the following authorities, including Jesus, are part of the first resurrection group.

2. Jesus the Messiah: King of the World
Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah, Jesus Christ, will reign as King over the whole earth. Numerous passages declare this. Perhaps the most succinct are Zechariah 14:9 and Revelation 11:15.

Zechariah 14:9: And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

Revelation 11:15: The Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.

In Revelation 19:16, He is entitled King of kings, which is a Hebrew way of saying "the greatest of all kings." [5] (John, the author, was a Jew). The passage also reveals Him as King of kings in another sense, as the divine King taking dominion over all of earth's mortal kings.

Other passages are Psalm 2:6-8, 72:1-19; Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-10, 16:15; Jeremiah 33:14-17; Revelation 12:7, 19:15.

3. Jesus the Messiah: King of Israel
Not only will Jesus be King over the whole earth, He will also assume specific kingship over the nation of Israel.

31. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His Kingdom will have no end.

~ Luke 1:31-33 ~

5. "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. 6. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness.'"

~ Jeremiah 23:5-6 ~

4. David: King of Israel
In Jewish celebrations, accompanied by the joyous traditional dance, the hora, one might hear the joyous and happy round

Dahveed, melech Yisrael, chai, chai, vekayam!

which means, "David, King of Israel, lives, lives, and continues to live!"

According to Wikipedia, the song's origin is rabbinic and expresses the hope of the coming Messiah, born of David's line. [6] Nevertheless, it is true that literal David will reign over Israel along with Messiah, Son of David. Surely it will be a joyous occasion when saved Israel in the Millennium will see their resurrected King David reigning over Israel from his glorious throne. He will obviously reign as king under King Messiah.

Jeremiah 30:9: But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

23. Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.

~ Ezekiel 34:23-24 ~

If there is any doubt as to whether David may be taken as a symbol of Messiah the Son of David (Matthew 1:1, 21:9, et al), identifying the Speaker in the verse clears it up. In verses 11-22, the Speaker declares that He will search for His sheep; seek them out; care for His sheep; feed His sheep; lead them to rest; bring back the scattered; bind and strengthen the sick. In John 10:7-18, Jesus identified Himself as the good Shepherd Who lays down His life for the sheep, and the Gospels portray how He carried out all that the good shepherd was prophesied to do in Ezekiel 34. Then, in verse 24, the Speaker, Jesus, the one we have identified as King over Israel, declares that he will set a second person, My servant David, to be prince among them: Two separate people.

4. For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols. 5. Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.

~ Hosea 3:4-5 ~

Again to distinguish between the LORD their God and David their king: Two chapters later, in 5:15, Hosea identifies the LORD whom they will seek as the One who has left earth and will return: Jesus.

24. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25. They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.

~ Ezekiel 37:24-25 ~

In the passages cited, David is referred to variously as king and prince. He will be king over Israel, but in relation to Jesus, Israel's Arch-King, he will be a prince.

5. The Twelve Apostles: Over the Twelve Tribes of Israel
And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

~ Matthew 19:28 ~

28. You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29. and just as My Father has granted Me a Kingdom, I grant you 30. that you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

~ Luke 22:28-30 ~

The regeneration in the Matthew passage refers to that period during which earth will have been renewed, namely, the Millennium. Though today it is impossible to know with absolute certainty which tribe any Jew belongs to, it will be made clear in the Kingdom; and a territory will be set aside for each tribe over which one of the apostles will rule under David, king over all Israel.

Twelve apostles? Judas, the son of perdition, was never saved - so who will be the twelfth apostle: Matthias (Acts 1:26)? Paul? Someone else? We will find out for certain in the Kingdom.

6. Princes, Judges and Counselors: In Israel
Other designations of some in authority in Israel are princes (Isaiah 32:1; Ezekiel 45:8), judges and counselors (Isaiah 1:26).

The princes in Ezekiel 45:8 appear to be the twelve apostles, each of whom will rule over a tribe: My princes shall no longer oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes. As a whole, though, the three designations will likely include others, as well.

7. Zerubbabel: Like a Signet Ring
Zerubbabel, post-exilic governor of Judah, will be placed in an unnamed position of authority.

"On that day," declares the LORD of hosts, "I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant," declares the LORD, "and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you," declares the LORD of hosts.

~ Haggai 2:23 ~

A signet ring was worn by kings and others in high authority to impress their seal in wax. The Lord was pleased with Zerubbabel and promised him a position of high authority on that day, meaning, in the Kingdom. What position he will hold and over whom he will hold it is not stated.

8. Israel: Over the Gentile Nations
Israel as a nation will rule over the Gentiles. Two passages in Isaiah state this plainly:

1. When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2. The peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive and will rule over their oppressors.

~ Isaiah 14:1-2 ~

Israel will rule over her former oppressors and will also take individuals from among them as male servants and female servants . . . as an inheritance in the land of the LORD, namely, Israel.


60:10. Foreigners will build up your walls, and their kings will minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, and in My favor I have had compassion on you. 11. Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, so that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. 12. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined. 13. The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I shall make the place of My feet glorious. 14. The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy from generation to generation. 16. You will also suck the milk of nations and suck the breast of kings; Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. . . . 61:5. Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.

~ Isaiah 60:10 - 61:5 ~

In verse 11, Gentile kings will be led in procession to bring tribute to Israel. Note, in particular, verses 12 and 16: For the nation and the Kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined. . . . You will also suck the milk of nations and suck the breast of kings.

Though the following passage does not apply directly because it is contingent upon obedience to the Mosaic Law, which was rendered inoperative at the cross, [7] yet it sums up very nicely what the Lord will bring about upon Israel's future obedience to the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:17-20, 36:24-28; Zechariah 13:1; Romans 11:25-27, et al).

The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully.

~ Deuteronomy 28:13 ~

9. The Church and the Tribulation Martyrs: Over the Gentiles

4. Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

~ Revelation 20:4-6 ~

Two groups are mentioned: those to whom judgment was given and those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus. As to the identity of the first group, consider what Paul said to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3: 2. Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? . . . . 3. Do you not know that we will judge angels? Those to whom judgment was given refers to the church. As to when the church will judge angels will be taken up in a future study, but Revelation 20:6 shows that the saints will judge the world during the Millennium. This is stated again in 2 Timothy 2:12: If we endure, we will also reign with Him. As to the identity of the second group, those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus refers to the Tribulation martyrs. As concerns both groups, they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

A great many from both groups, if not all, will rule over the Gentile nations, as will be made clear immediately.

10. Kings: Over the Gentile Nations
There will be kings over the Gentile nations. Some will be saved (Isaiah 2:3; 19:24-25), some will be disobedient to the Lord's commands, some are called His enemies; and, as the Millennium draws to a close, all the rulers of the nations at that time will lead their armies in an attack on the camp of the saints and the beloved city in which the Lord will dwell. (Psalm 72:8-10; Isaiah 60:10-11, 16; Zechariah 14:17-19; Revelation 20:8).

In the context of the Millennium as a whole, a great many of these kings, if not all, will be Gentiles. We know this because there will be rebels among them, and every Jew in the Kingdom will be serving the Lord in holiness (Ezekiel 36:27). Another conclusion that can be drawn is that Israel, the church and the Tribulation saints, all being true servants of the Lord, will be placed in authority over the kings of the Gentile nations.

Thus far we have seen that Israel, the church and the Tribulation martyrs will rule over the Gentiles. How these groups will interrelate in their mutual rulership remains to be seen.

XIII. CIVIL LAW IN THE KINGDOM

There will be civil laws and judgments that must be obeyed. There will also be laws relating to Millennial Temple worship, which will likewise be taken up in a future study; but for now, we'll establish the fact that there will be civil laws.

2. Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. 3. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

~ Isaiah 22:2-3 ~

Micah 4:1-2 reads exactly the same, except where Isaiah says, For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem, Micah says, For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations.

The law that will go forth from Zion will include both Temple law and civil law. The declaration, He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations shows that many of the civil judgments rendered by Jesus will be on an international scale. All of His judgments will carry the force of law; and when necessary and called for, He will enforce them with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). He will likewise render judgments concerning the poor: But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked (Isaiah 11:4).

Inasmuch as there will be civil laws and judgments proceeding from Jesus, there must certainly be the same proceeding from David, the apostles, and those serving under them.

XIV. LIVING CONDITIONS IN THE KINGDOM

Earth's present condition bears the scars and devastations of sin on every hand: in extremes in weather, earthquakes, lava flows and tsunamis, in crop damage due to locusts and other infestations, in the injuriousness of mankind on personal and international levels, in the destruction and poisoning of the environment by careless humanity, and in the countless illnesses, diseases and injuries that afflict the human race and all living things. However, in the renewed earth under the personal stewardship of King Jesus, none of these conditions will prevail nor even be remembered: For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind (Isaiah 65:17).

The following passages are a few among the many that reveal living conditions in the Kingdom:

1. Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4. But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. 6. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. 7. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. 9. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

~ Isaiah 11:1-9 ~

1. The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus. 2. It will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. . . . 5. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 6. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. 7. And the glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water: in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. 8. A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it. 9. No lion will be there, nor will any vicious beast go up on it; these will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, 10. And the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

~ Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-10 ~

No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.

~ Isaiah 65:20 ~

"The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.

~ Isaiah 65:25 ~

2. Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. 4. Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

~ Micah 4:2-4 ~

Many Kingdom passages describing a bountiful earth and copacetic social conditions are actually specific to Israel. For example, the Arabah in Isaiah 35:1,6, often translated desert, is the name of a desert area south of the Dead Sea; Carmel and Sharon in verse 2 are places in Israel; the mountain of the house of the LORD in Isaiah 2:2 is Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, a literal mountain on which the Millennial temple will be built. However, although such blessings will exist in Israel, there are plenty of indications that similar conditions will exist throughout the earth, not counting areas of localized judgments. To begin with, the entire earth will have been renovated (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13); similarly, the blessings of peace, security and prosperity described in the Micah passage are in the context of many nations (verse 2), and the reason given in the Isaiah 11 passage for the docility of animals is in the context of the earth (verse 9).

Areas that were formerly deserts will be bountiful botanical gardens (Isaiah 35:1). Yahveh Tsid-KE-nu, Jehovah Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), will teach the nations to walk in His paths (Micah 2:2). As such, they will normally resolve their differences peacefully between themselves; but when necessary, the Lord will personally resolve their disputes. If any choose to rebel against His judgment, with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked (Isaiah 11:4) when necessary so that armed conflict will be a thing of the past.

He will likewise bring justice to the poor and afflicted. No longer will some be basking in a surfeit of luxury while others suffer in poverty and want. The Lord will see to it that each person will enjoy a comfortable, bountiful, beautiful, secure place in which to dwell: Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid (Micah 4:4). [8]

He will also heal all physical maladies: 5. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 6. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. (Isaiah 35:5-6)

Isaiah 35:5-6 is specific to Jews that will recently have been ransomed at the end of the Tribulation and be returning to Israel (verse 8), yet it is hard to imagine that such healing and health will not be the condition of all the ransomed in the Kingdom. Due to the abundance of nutritious food, a healthy environment and greatly improved human relationships, the overall health of the human race will greatly exceed what it is today as evidenced by the fact that one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed (Isaiah 65:20).

But how is it that there will be the poor and physically afflicted in the Kingdom to begin with?

Those who enter in glorified bodies will have been lifted to the pinnacle and epitome of human health and vitality and will be living on a plane far above such physical needs as food and sleep. But those who "walk into" the Kingdom from the Great Tribulation will be in their natural, mortal bodies and will have endured the great devastations of that terrible time, as well as persecutions, being either Jewish, or being Gentiles who withstood the dictates of Antichrist and offered succor to the persecuted Jews (Matthew 25:31-45). Surely, many from both groups will be in poverty and poor health when they enter, and surely, it seems, the passages of healing and prosperity will apply to them all, not just the Jews. Furthermore, they will bear descendants who will likewise be in their natural bodies; but the passages that speak of the bountifulness of the earth and of economic well being seem to declare that, as with war, hunger and want will be a thing of the past as a general rule. (There will be national and familial judgments: Droughts, plagues and fire from Heaven are mentioned [Isaiah 60:12; Zechariah 14:16-19; Revelation 20:9].)

Isaiah 65:20 tells us that there will also be death in the Kingdom, at least for unbelievers, who will die at the latest at the age of a hundred. Isaiah 11:4 also shows that there will be death by capital punishment. Isaiah 65:20 also declares that there will be no infant mortality and implies that believers will live far beyond a hundred, possibly not dying at all.

XV. IMPERFECTIONS IN THE KINGDOM

The Kingdom will be a paradise compared to our present state, but it will not be a pre-Fall edenic paradise. Certain of the aspects of the Adamic curse will be eliminated (such as the violence of animals) and others mitigated (such as the devastations of the planet's geography), but it will not be totally devoid of the curse or of judgment for sin.

  • The Adamic curse will still be upon the serpent: and dust will be the serpent's food (Isaiah 65:25b).

  • Babylon (southern Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates) and Edom (original territory: southern Jordan) will be utterly desolate for the duration of the Millennium, filled with demons and unfit for human habitation. (Babylon: Isaiah 13:19-22; Jeremiah 50:39-40; 51:41-43; Revelation 18:1-3, etc. Edom: Isaiah 34:8-15; Jeremiah 49:9-22; Ezekiel 35:10-15; Joel 3:19; Obadiah 1:5-6,10,18, etc.). As to the nature of the creatures that are said to dwell in Babylon and Edom during the Millennium, see footnote 9.

    Babylon was the birthplace of institutionalized astrology and idolatry at the Tower of Babel; the Kingdom of Babylon destroyed the Holy Temple, the house of the God of Israel; and the rebuilt city of Babylon will be Antichrist's capitol in the Great Tribulation. Pointedly, each of these epochal instances have to do with the overthrow of God and the establishment of Satan as God.

    As for Edom, at least two reasons are specified for their judgment: their everlasting enmity toward Israel, and their desire to possess the Land that Israel had lost to Assyria and Babylon in terrible, devastating judgments (Ezekiel 35:10-14). [9]

    An interesting aside here is that all demons (except those spoken of in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6) will be imprisoned in these locations and no demon will be with Satan in the Abyss. We can derive this from Isaiah 24:21-22:

    21. So it will happen in that day, that the LORD will punish the host of heaven on high, and the kings of the earth on earth. 22. They will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon, and will be confined in prison; and after many days they will be punished.

    The translations of the passage are diverse. However, the following can be gathered from common threads among the translations and from related passages:
    1. The verses prior to Isaiah 24:21-22 describe the Great Tribulation, setting the context of the passage.
    2. Satan and his demons will be wreaking havoc until the end of the Tribulation.
    3. The host of heaven refers to demons. We know this because they will be punished.
    4. They will not be gathered together . . . after many days, but will be punished after many days. First comes the gathering together, and then, after many days comes the punishment. They will be gathered together at some point after the Great Tribulation and the very beginning of the Millennium. We know that the beginning of the Millennium is the latest point at which they will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon because, as we have seen, they will be imprisoned in Babylon and Edom for the duration of the Millennium.
    5. Even if they were gathered at the very end of the Tribulation we cannot conclude that their punishment will be their imprisonment in Babylon and Edom because the seventy-five day interval between the Tribulation and the Millennium can hardly be called many days. The number of days in a thousand years can certainly be called many days!

    From these things we can conclude that the host of heaven will be gathered together like prisoners in Babylon and Edom, and then, at the end of the thousand years, be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire.

    But what about the kings of the earth on earth? Who are they? They cannot be the human kings who are killed with their armies at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 19:16-19), because the spirits of human unbelievers go to Hades upon death, not Babylon or Edom, and the Isaiah passage groups them together with the Host of heaven who will be gathered together like prisoners. They will go to Babylon and Edom right along with the host of heaven - and the inhabitants of Babylon and Edom will be demons. So who are these kings of the earth on earth? They must be those demons who have authority over nations, such as the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece in the days of Daniel (Daniel 10:20).

    To sum up, the demonic host of heaven and the demon kings of the earth on earth will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon in Babylon and Edom. They will remain there for the entire Millennium, and will then be punished by spending eternity in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41).

Please note that the following have reference only to those in their natural bodies:

  • There will be some who are poor at the beginning of the Millennium. (Micah 4:4)

  • There will be some who are physically afflicted, at least at the beginning of the Millennium. (Isaiah 35:5-6)

  • Those in their natural bodies will possess the sin nature. (Isaiah 11:8, 65:20; Zechariah 14:17-19; Revelation 20:7-9)

  • Many will reject the Lord and His salvation. (Isaiah 11:4, 65:20; Zechariah 14:19; Revelation 20:7-9)

  • The unsaved, if not others, will die of old age. (Isaiah 65:20)

  • There will be capital punishment. (Isaiah 11:4)

  • National sins will be committed, not the least of which will be the gathering of all nations at Jerusalem at the end of the Millennium in Satan's final attempt to overthrow the Lord. (Isaiah 60:12; Zechariah 14:19; Revelation 20:7-9)

  • There will be localized familial and national judgments: droughts and plagues are mentioned, as well as fire from Heaven. (Isaiah 60:12; Zechariah 14:16-19; Revelation 20:9)

Though these sin-based phenomena will be present in the Kingdom, yet, the overall level of holiness and quality of life will be breathtakingly closer to perfection than they are in our present age. Absolute perfection must await the Eternal Ages beyond the Millennium.

~

In our next Kingdom study, we will focus on Israel in the Kingdom and on Kingdom worship.

Shalom,
Norm

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

FOOTNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found near the top of page 1 of this compendium.

2. Here is an interesting contrast: Whereas Adam and Eve succumbed to sin via the Devil's temptation before they had the sin nature, those in the Kingdom in natural bodies will have the sin nature; and though the Devil and his demons will be bound and cannot tempt, they will be tempted of their own sin nature to sin, and will sin.

3. Assyria is now "primarily Iraq and parts of Syria." Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 1982. P. 498.

4. Asherim are idols of the false goddess Asherah.

5. Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Biblical Lovemaking: A Study of the Song of Solomon. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 1983. P. 1.

6. "David Melech Yisrael." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, n.d. Web. 30Nov.2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Melech_Yisrael>.

7. See The Abolition of the Law on Page 2 of this compendium.

8. The phrase under his vine and under his fig tree is not to be taken literally, though it may be the actual case for many. It is an idiom for personal prosperity. In 2 Kings 18:31, the Assyrian general Rabshakeh shouted to the people of Judah,

Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: "Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern."

~ 2 Kings 18:31 ~

9.
Edom
As to the nature of the creatures that will inhabit Edom, we'll use Isaiah 34:14 as an example. Hairy goat refers to a demon in goat form (Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 1983, 2005. P. 29.), and night monster (screech owl, KJV) refers to a female demon (Keil and Delitszch Commentary on the Old Testament).

Also, see "Esau" in The Satanic and Human Aspects of Anti-Semitism on Page 2 of this compendium.

Babylon
As to the nature of the creatures that will inhabit Babylon, we'll use Isaiah 13:19-22 as an example. The first thing to note is Revelation 19:2-3:

2. He has judged the great harlot [Babylon] who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bondservants on her. 3. And a second time they said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever."

Babylon will burn throughout the Millennium. (Forever and similar translations in Scripture often mean until the end of a person's life or until the end of an era. See different translations of 1 Samuel 1:22. Also Exodus 21:6; Psalm 89:1; Proverbs 5:19.) It will be a place where no earthly creature can exist. What, then, will be the nature of the creatures that will dwell there?

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.

~ Revelation 18:2 ~

Just as the creatures that will inhabit Edom throughout the Millennium will actually be demons in the form of earthly creatures, the same will be true of Babylon.

RECOMMENDED READING

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
5. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
6. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
7. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
8. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation
9. Messianic Bible Study 113: The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of the Messiah

Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats,
many for free listening at Ariel Ministries' Come and See.

Also, Premillennialism in the Old Testament, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum: http://www.ldolphin.org/otpremill.html (27/10/2012).

Norman Manzon
1. The Prophetic Feasts of Israel.
2. The Faithful Remnant of Israel on Page 2 of this compendium.

Cooper, Simmons, Wales
Cooper, Dr. David L. "Biblical Research Studies Group - What We Believe." Biblical Research Studies Group, http://biblicalresearch.info/page792.html. See section, "The Millennial Reign of Christ."

Simmons, Thomas P. "Chapter 42 - The Millennium." Providence Baptist Ministries. http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Simmons/chapter42.htm.

Wales, Ronald E. "The 1,000 Year Messianic Kingdom called The Millennium | Biblical Future Events." http://www.biblicalfutureevents.com/5-1000-year-messianic-kingdom-called-millennium.


The Messianic Kingdom
Part 4: The Kingdom Environment
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2014
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

E. ISRAEL IN THE PROMISED LAND

"I will restore them to their own land
which I gave to their fathers."

~ Jeremiah 16:15 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS
RECAPITULATION
XIII. EVERY SAVED ISRAELITE SINCE ABRAHAM WILL BE GATHERED TO LIVE IN ISRAEL
XIV. THE BORDERS OF THE PROMISED LAND

XV. THE BLESSEDNESS AND PROMINENCE OF ISRAEL IN THE KINGDOM
XVI. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ISRAEL'S BLESSEDNESS FOR THE REST OF HUMANITY
FOOTNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

The Messianic Kingdom is part of an extended series of studies in support of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. Much groundwork for this present study has been laid in the four prior studies of the series, links to which are located below the title above. Please consider whether it might be beneficial for you to review them so that the present study might be more fully understood in its historical and other contexts. For an even firmer foundation, the following studies by the author on this page might likewise be reviewed: The Destinies of the Dead, The Rapture, The Great Tribulation and The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Much of what has been examined in these studies will be touched on here, but not treated as fully as before.

It is of utmost importance to realize that the prophesied Kingdom is a literal, earthly Kingdom in which Jesus will reign bodily as king over Israel and the world. A polemic in support of this is presented in section IV of The Messianic Kingdom - Part 1: Introduction found on this page.

Also, as previously mentioned, a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute a book. It must therefore be recognized that what is herein presented is, of necessity, a much abbreviated outline and summary.

As in previous Kingdom studies, we will begin with a restatement of those declarations in the AMC's We Believe statement that have relevance to the Kingdom.

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS [1]

The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)


RECAPITULATION

In this study, we will focus on three facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom, and then conclude with the significance of their blessedness for the rest of humanity; but before we do, we will review key aspects of the Kingdom that have bearing upon Israel or that speak of Israel directly.

By the end of the Great Tribulation and the seventy-five day interval between the Tribulation and the Kingdom, the Lord will have utterly destroyed the evil world system and purged the earth of all unbelievers, including the armies of Antichrist which will seek to destroy Israel. Having done this, the Lord will renovate the Earth, making it a beautiful, edenic, safe place in which to live. However, the Kingdom will not be perfect because certain aspects of the Adamic curse will continue, most significantly, the continuation of the sin nature in those with mortal bodies, and death for many, and perhaps all of them. Also, many who will be born into the Kingdom will reject the salvation and Lordship of Jesus. Further, Edom and Babylon will be cursed to become utterly desolate habitations of demons. Nevertheless, the planet as a whole will be edenic compared to the way it is today.

The Kingdom environment will be characterized by divine presence. The Lord Jesus will reign supreme over the nations from His throne in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit will fill the earth with the splendor of the Lord's glory. No false religion, philosophy or occult practice will be allowed to flourish, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

All who enter the Kingdom, whether as "walk-ins" from the Great Tribulation (saved Israel, the sheep Gentiles of Matthew 25, Yeshua Himself, and the church which had been raptured and returned with Him), or by resurrection, or by being returned, body and soul, to earth from heaven (Enoch and Elijah), will be saved. This glorious throng will be composed of all believers since Adam.

According to Revelation 20:6, all who had been resurrected in immortal bodies will reign with Christ in some capacity for the duration of the Millennium. This group is comprised of all Old and New Testament saints, both Jewish and Gentile, the two Tribulation witnesses and all martyred Tribulation saints. Surely, Enoch and Elijah, who had never seen death but had been drawn up directly into Heaven, will reign, as well.

Jesus will reign over the entire earth in general, and will exercise special kingship over Israel with resurrected King David reigning as king over Israel under Him. Under this dual kingship, the twelve apostles will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel, and there will be judges and counselors in Israel, as well (Isaiah 1:26). Zerubbabel, post-exilic governor of Judah, will be placed in some unnamed position in Israel (Haggai 2:23). The Gentile nations of the world will be ruled by Gentile kings, but Israel will have authority over them and their nations (Isaiah 14:1-2; 60:10-61:5). The body of Christ and the Tribulation martyrs will rule over the Gentiles, as well (Revelation 20:4-6). How these different rulerships over the Gentiles will coordinate with one another remains to be seen. Civil laws will be rendered in the Kingdom (Micah 4:1-2) from Jesus on down, and there will be laws regarding worship, as well, as we shall see in our next study.

We will now address three key facets facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom, and follow that by addressing the significance of Israel's blessedness to the nations of the world.

XIII. EVERY SAVED ISRAELITE SINCE ABRAHAM
WILL BE GATHERED TO LIVE IN ISRAEL

Every saved Israelite since Abraham will be gathered, not just into the Kingdom, but specifically, into Israel, to dwell in their Promised Land.

11. Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12. and He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

~ Isaiah 11:11-12 ~

The passage describes a worldwide gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth. The phrase the second time identifies this particular gathering as the second worldwide gathering. The first gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth began in the latter decades of the nineteenth century and culminated in the birth of the modern State of Israel in 1948. As was shown in previous studies, the first worldwide gathering, which is ongoing, is for the purpose of bringing judgment upon Israel in the Land during the Great Tribulation (see The Great Tribulation on this page). The second worldwide gathering will be for the purpose of blessing the nation whose surviving members will universally have welcomed Jesus as their Messiah at the end of the Tribulation.

Isaiah 43:5-7:

5. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west. 6. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do not hold them back." Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth, 7. everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.

Note again, from the ends of the earth. Also note, everyone who is called by My name. The Isaiah context limits this everyone group to Israelites. Every Israelite alive at that time will be called by My name as all Israelite rebels will have been killed during the Tribulation - two-thirds of the nation - and the remaining third will receive Him (Zechariah 13:8-9).

Every Israelite will dwell in their promised homeland, and ever other person will dwell in their own homeland outside of Israel.

Note that the above passages speak of a regathering of Israelites from the farthest reaches of earth; but Mark 13:26-27 extends the reaches of the regathering beyond earth. Jesus declared,

26. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory. 27. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.

Which Israelites will be in heaven? Every deceased saved Israelite since Abraham.

To sum up, every saved Israelite since Abraham will be gathered from heaven and earth to dwell in the Land of Israel.

Whereas the above passages emphasize the regathering of Israel, Ezekiel 37:15-22 emphasizes their being united into a harmonious, organic whole.

Ezekiel lived in Jerusalem in the Kingdom of Judah until he was he was taken captive to Babylon during the great Babylonian captivity of Judah. He was well aware that just 125 years prior, the northern Kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by Assyria, and multitudes of Israel's inhabitants had been taken captive to the Assyrian Empire. Prior to that, Israel had been judged and split into the two kingdoms due to the idolatry of Solomon in his latter years, and now the two kingdoms themselves had been judged. In Ezekiel 37:15-22, God likens the two kingdoms to two separate sticks which, in the latter days, He will join into one stick, and they will be one in My hand (verse 19).

21. Say to them, "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22. and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.'"

~ Ezekiel 37:21-22 ~

God spoke to Ezekiel of the uniting of the divided Kingdom, but the chapter makes it plain that He was speaking in a much broader context. He was speaking of the day when He would reunite an Israel that had been splintered and shattered into countless slivers as the wineglass under the heel of a groom at a Jewish wedding. Indeed, the shattering of the wineglass commemorates the destruction of the second Temple in 70 A.D., the central aspect of a subsequent judgment and scattering of Israel, brought upon her for rejecting her Messiah (Matthew 23-39, esp. verses 37-39).

Saved Israel will be regathered from heaven and earth after those Israelites on earth will receive their Messiah, and will then be made organically whole, unified by the Spirit of the Lord.

Among other passages speaking of the worldwide gathering of Israel into their Promised Land in the Kingdom are Isaiah 11:11-12:6; 27:12-13; 43:5-7; Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:3-4, 7-8; 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:14-18; 36:24-28; Amos 9:14-15; Zephaniah 3:18-20; Zechariah 10:8-12; Matthew 24:31. The apostles likewise believed in the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. See Acts 1:6-7.

XIV. THE BORDERS OF THE PROMISED LAND

14. "Therefore behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when it will no longer be said, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' 15. but, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers."

~ Jeremiah 16:14-15 ~

Jeremiah emphasizes two things: one, that the delivery of Israel into their own Land will be of far greater magnitude than the delivery of Israel from Egypt, for God will bring up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them, and two, that He will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers - not to the ever-shrinking borders set aside for them by Britain, nor to the sliced and diced parcels allotted to them by the United Nations, nor to any of the shifting borders arrived at since then, or will be arrived at, by means of war or international pressure - but to their own land which I gave to their fathers - to the full allotment that God promised to the patriarchs.

You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers.

~ Ezekiel 36:28 ~

What Are the Full Borders?
Determining the full and exact borders of the Promised Land is a formidable task, involving the piecing together of all the descriptions deemed to be relevant in at least these passages: Genesis 13:14-17; 15:18-21; Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:1-15; Deuteronomy 1:6-8; 11:22-24; Joshua 1:1-6; 13:1-33; Isaiah 27:12; Jeremiah 16:14-15; and Ezekiel 47:13-48:29. In addition to determining which of the descriptions apply to the Promised Land in the Kingdom, it requires an intimate knowledge of ancient biblical geography, including the knowledge of the locations of obscure places, some of which we do not know today. I tried piecing it all together back in 2003, and gave up. I therefore wrote to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a former student of historical geography at The American Institute of Holy Land Studies and The Hebrew University, both in Jerusalem. Here is his reply:

"Based upon what we know about the northern border of the Promised Land, it actually begins just north of modern day Lebanon and does incorporate all of Lebanon. It goes straight over to the Euphrates. It then parallels the Euphrates only for a few miles before it turns south and comes between Damascus and the Golan Heights until it comes to the bottom part of the Sea of Galilee. Not every place that is mentioned is actually known, but based upon what is known, the border does not start north of Beirut but quite north and actually all of Lebanon ends up being part of the Promised Land."

Dr. Fruchtenbaum's email left me with some questions, which he subsequently answered. In my own words, here are his answers:
1. The border goes due east from north of Lebanon to the Euphrates.
2. Damascus will not be included in the Promised Land.
3. The border goes south from the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan River to the southern tip of the Dead Sea where it turns westward, south of Beersheba, to a point near the eastern corner of the southern coast of the Mediterranean where the Wadi El Arish, a seasonal riverbed, runs into the Mediterranean. The border then goes northward up the Mediterranean coast to just north of modern Lebanon where Dr. Fruchtenbaum begins his description above.

The Wadi El Arish is referred to as the river of Egypt in Genesis 15:18, and is often mistaken as the Nile River. It is not the Nile River. What this means is that the Promised Land will not include the Sinai Peninsula. Note, as well, from Dr. Fruchtenbaum's description, that the eastern border will not extend down the length of the Euphrates River to connect with the Tigris near the Persian Gulf, but "only for a few miles."

On the left is a map of the Promised Land with borders drawn by Dr. Fruchtenbaum. On the right is a comparable map found in the Wikipedia article, Promised Land, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land. An excellent study with borders that approximate the above is found at http://www.torahresourcesinternational.info/pdf/2PL.pdf.

XV. THE BLESSEDNESS AND PROMINENCE
OF ISRAEL IN THE KINGDOM

Much has been said already on the blessedness and prominence of Israel in the Kingdom, but this study would be incomplete without addressing it, at least cursorily.

We have seen that every saved Israelite from Abraham through the Tribulation will be gathered into the full borders of the Land that God promised to the fathers. What a glorious reunion that will be!

33. "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

~ Jeremiah 31:33-34 ~

This passage reminds us that, in addition to all Israelites at the end of the Tribulation period being brought to salvation, all Israelites from that time forward will be saved. There will be Israelites born in the Kingdom, and every one of them will receive the Lord - to enjoy fellowship with every saved Jew since Abraham!

28. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29. Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you. 30. I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations.

~ Ezekiel 36:28-30 ~

This passage likewise promises Israel's national salvation, and also promises unbroken abundant and fruitful harvests.

Isaiah 27:6: In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit.

Israel will not only enjoy abundant harvests for their own enjoyment, but will fill the whole world with fruit.

Similarly, Isaiah 51:3: Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

And Zephaniah 2:7: And the coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah, they will pasture on it. In the houses of Ashkelon [near the Mediterranean] they will lie down at evening; for the LORD their God will care for them and restore their fortune.

A few more representative passages:

Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and in the place where it is said to them, "You are not My people," it will be said to them, "You are the sons of the living God."

~ Hosea 1:10 ~

11. "But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days," declares the LORD of hosts. 12. "For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things."

~ Zechariah 8:11-12 ~

Isaiah 10:20: Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

In our present time, Israel is continually humiliated by needing to curry the favor of powerful nations that often treat her disdainfully; but in that day it will not be so. They will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

1. For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. 2. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the LORD will designate. 3. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4. It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate"; but you will be called, "My delight is in her," and your land, "Married"; for the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. 5. for as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.

~ Isaiah 62:1-5 ~

1. Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2. For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. 3. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. 5. Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you. 6. A multitude of camels will cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba will come; they will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news of the praises of the LORD. 7. All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; they will go up with acceptance on My altar, and I shall glorify My glorious house. 8. Who are these who fly like a cloud and like the doves to their lattices? 9. Surely the coastlands will wait for Me; And the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you. 10. Foreigners will build up your walls, and their kings will minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, and in My favor I have had compassion on you. 11. Your gates will be open continually; they will not be closed day or night, so that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. 12. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined. 13. The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I shall make the place of My feet glorious. 14. The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy from generation to generation. 16. You will also suck the milk of nations and suck the breast of kings; then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17. Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. And I will make peace your administrators and righteousness your overseers. 18. Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise. 19. No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. 20. Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be over. 21. Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. 22. The smallest one will become a clan, and the least one a mighty nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.

~ Isaiah 60:1-22 ~

Israel will receive honor and praise and a superabundance of material blessings and service from the nations of the earth.

Zephaniah 3:20: At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.

A detailing of the previous passages is hardly necessary. Suffice it to say that the Lord Yeshua Himself, true God and true man, radiant as the sun in His glorified body, will dwell in the midst of His people Israel, and they will have the LORD for an everlasting light. Every Israelite entering and born into the Kingdom will be saved, and they will live in unprecedented peace, abundance and honor.

Jerusalem will likewise be central in Kingdom worship, but we will address this in our next study.

XVI. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ISRAEL'S BLESSEDNESS
FOR THE REST OF HUMANITY

12. Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? . . . . 15. For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

~ Romans 11:12, 15 (ASV) ~

1. Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. 3. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

~ Isaiah 60:1-3 ~

Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on vegetation which do not wait for man or delay for the sons of men.

~ Micah 5:7 ~

Thus says the LORD of hosts, "In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'"

~ Zechariah 8:23 ~

It is the national salvation of Israel that will prompt the return of the Lord (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39), and it is their centrality as the Lord's ministers in the Kingdom that will draw those to them for ministerial blessing who are the Lord's or who seek the Lord from among the nations .

What shall their salvation and blessedness be to the nations of the world? Life from the dead.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.

RECOMMENDED READING

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Christ: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Christ
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
7. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
9. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
10. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
11. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation

All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.

Dr. David L. Cooper
Cooper,D.L. (1951, July). Biblical Research Society: Dr. David L. Cooper. Retrieved from http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm. See What We Believe, section "The Millennial Reign of Christ."

Thomas Paul Simmons
Simmons/Providence Baptist Ministries,T.P. (2010). Chapter 42 - The Millennium. Retrieved from http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Simmons/chapter42.htm.

Norman Manzon
Manzon, Norman A./Bible Study Project. "The Faithful Remnant of Israel." Bible Study Project. Web. 13July2015. <http://www.biblestudyproject.org/faithful-remnant-of-israel-messianic.htm>. Also on Page 2 of A Doctrinal Exegesis.

The Messianic Kingdom
Part 5: Israel in the Promised Land
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2015
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

F. WORSHIP IN THE KINGDOM

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

The Messianic Kingdom is part of an extended series of studies in support of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. Much groundwork for this present study has been laid in the five prior studies of the Kingdom series, links to which are at the top of this page. Please consider whether it might be beneficial for you to review them so that the present study may be more fully understood in its historical and other contexts. For even firmer foundation, the following studies by the author might likewise be reviewed: The Destinies of the Dead, The Rapture, The Great Tribulation and The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, links to which are also at the top of this page. Some of what has been examined in these studies will be touched on here, but not treated fully.

It is worth stating, once again, that the prophesied Kingdom is a literal, earthly Kingdom in which Jesus will reign bodily as king over Israel and the world. A polemic to this effect is presented in section IV of The Millennial or Messianic Kingdom - Part 1: Introduction.

As has been previously mentioned, a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute a book. It must therefore be recognized that what is presented herein is, of necessity, a much abbreviated outline and summary.

As in the previous Kingdom studies, we will begin with a restatement of those declarations in the AMC We Believe statement that have relevance to the Kingdom.

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS (1)

The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)

RECAPITULATION

By the end of the Great Tribulation and the seventy-five day interval between the Tribulation and the Kingdom, the Lord will have utterly destroyed the evil world system and purged the earth of all unbelievers, including the armies of Antichrist which will seek to destroy Israel. Having done this, the Lord will renovate the earth, making it a beautiful, edenic, safe place in which to live. Although not perfect because certain aspects of the Adamic curse will continue (most significantly, the presence of the sin nature in those with mortal bodies, and death for many, if not all, in mortal bodies), because many who will be born into the Kingdom will reject the salvation and Lordship of Jesus, and because Edom and Babylon will be cursed to become utterly desolate habitations of demons, yet, the planet, as a whole, will be edenic compared to the way it is today.

The Kingdom environment will be characterized by divine presence. The Lord Jesus will reign supreme over the nations from His throne in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit will fill the earth with the splendor of the Lord's glory. No false religion, philosophy or occult practice will be allowed to flourish, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

All who enter the Kingdom, whether as "walk-ins" from the Great Tribulation, or by resurrection, or by being returned, body and soul, to earth from heaven, will be saved. This glorious throng will be composed of all believers since Adam.

According to Revelation 20:6, all who had been resurrected in immortal bodies will reign with Christ in some capacity for the duration of the Millennium. This group will be comprised of all Old and New Testament saints, both Jewish and Gentile, the two Tribulation witnesses and all martyred Tribulation saints. Surely, Enoch and Elijah, who had never seen death but had been drawn up directly into Heaven, will reign, as well.

Jesus will reign over the entire earth in general, and will exercise special kingship over Israel with resurrected King David reigning as king over Israel under Him. Under this dual kingship, the twelve apostles will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel, and there will be judges and counselors in Israel, as well (Isaiah 1:26). Zerubbabel, post-exilic governor of Judah, will be placed in some unnamed position in Israel (Haggai 2:23). The Gentile nations of the world will be ruled by Gentile kings, but Israel will have authority over them and their nations (Isaiah 14:1-2; 60:10-61:5). The church saints and the Tribulation martyrs will rule over the Gentiles, as well (Revelation 20:4-6). How these different rulerships over the Gentiles will coordinate with one another remains to be seen. Civil laws will be rendered in the Kingdom (Micah 4:1-2) from Jesus on down, and there will be laws regarding worship, as well, as we see in our present study.

In Israel in the Promised Land, we addressed three key facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom and concluded with a look at the significance of Israel's Kingdom blessedness for the nations of the world. We will now follow with a look at worship in the kingdom which, incidentally, brings out another aspect of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom, namely, their service as priests and Levitical helpers in the temple. Another aspect of their blessedness in the Kingdom that has been touched on, but will be developed a bit more here, will be their primacy in broadcasting the Word of the Lord to the nations of the world, consistent with their role under Moses, in the Person of Jesus, in the Church Age, and in the Great Tribulation.

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PART 6: WORSHIP IN THE KINGDOM

We have already seen how the Lord will renovate the planet. With a specific focus on Israel, cataclysmic geographical changes will be wrought in the Land, centered in Jerusalem, which will be the world's capitol city, center of worship and dwelling place of the Lord - the city of our God. The Korahite who wrote Psalm 48 lauded the praises of the future Millennial Jerusalem even in his day:

1. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. 2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

~ Psalm 48:1-2 ~

The city of the Great King will be breathtaking in beauty in the day when Jesus takes up His royal residence there. The scope of rebuilt Mount Zion itself will be a marvel to behold. This is brought out in Isaiah 2:2-3:

2. Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. 3. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

~ Isaiah 2:2-3 ~

Today, Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City; but in the Kingdom, it will literally be raised up to be the tallest mountain in the world. The sheer mass of the mountain is brought out in Ezekiel 48:8, 20, which describes the plaza at the peak of Zion, on which the temple and its environs will stand, as an area of 50 miles X 50 miles, 2500 square miles. (2) If that's how big the plaza will be near its peak, it boggles the mind to imagine how big this world's tallest mountain will be at its base! One who has visited modern Jerusalem will readily understand that such great physical changes as are described in the Isaiah and Ezekiel passages must certainly come to pass before a mountain with such a plaza could be possible. Modern Jerusalem covers an area of only 48.3 square miles. (3) One can readily conclude that the base of this great mountain will go far beyond the boundaries of modern Jerusalem! The square mileage of Israel, including Gaza, the Golan heights, Judea and Samaria, is only 10,062 square miles. (4) Just the plaza on the mountain will cover an area 25% the area of modern Israel.

There are those who claim that mountain here is merely a symbol for a kingdom as is true in Daniel 2:35 and Revelation 17:9. However, it ought to readily be apparent that in this case it cannot be so.

We already pointed out the necessity for such a literal mountain to serve as the pedestal for the temple and its environs. If mountain is symbolic here, then what are we to do with the great number of details in the description of the temple itself, which stands on it, which we shall summarize shortly? If the mountain that the temple stands on is to be interpreted symbolically, then this highly detailed temple, its priesthood, and the detailed instructions concerning worship within it must be interpreted symbolically; and if that is the case, then what is each of the details supposed to symbolize? If we interpret this mountain, temple and detailed worship symbolically, then should we not follow suit and interpret all of the various detailed descriptions of Mosaic worship in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy symbolically, as well? Why not? The two situations are a perfect parallel. But if we interpret the details of the Mosaic tabernacle with all of its furnishings, the priesthood, the detailed sacrifices and all other elements of worship literally, as we universally do, then logical consistency demands that we should interpret the detailed descriptions of the Millennial temple and its worship requirements literally, as well. In fact, each detail presented adds more weight to a literal interpretation as biblical symbols tend to be simple, not detailed, intricate and complex!

Let's take another look at verse 3 of the Isaiah passage just presented:

And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

If mountain is symbolic of a kingdom here, then will these many peoples be saying, "Come, let us go up to the Kingdom"? Absurd! They are already in the Kingdom!

As concerns the believability of the great cataclysmic changes that are prophesied to take place in the Land, even unbelieving scientists believe that the earth has undergone even greater cataclysmic changes in the past, such as the separation of the continents from one continuous land mass and the lifting up of mountain ranges due to the convergence of the earth's tectonic plates - so why not believe that such changes may take place in the future? It would behoove the doubter to consider, once again, this admonition of Dr. David L. Cooper, called The Golden Rule of Interpretation:

"When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise." (5)

XVIII. MILLENNIAL JERUSALEM

Mount Zion will contain on its plaza not only the House of the LORD and its environs, but all of rebuilt Jerusalem. Based on descriptions in Ezekiel 47 and 48, Dr. Cooper calculates that the dimensions of rebuilt Jerusalem will be ten miles by ten miles, 100 square miles. (6) It can therefore easily be contained on Mt. Zion's plaza with 2400 square miles to spare!

Will Jerusalem actually be on the plaza at the peak of Mt. Zion?

Consider: The law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. If Jerusalem were next to Mount Zion as opposed to being at its peak, the Lord would have to commute from His home in Jerusalem to the top of the tallest mountain in the world, and then, at the end of His work day, commute back down to His home deep in the valley below. In between, He'd have to decree His law from Zion, run back down this huge mountain to declare the word of the LORD from Jerusalem, and then, perhaps, run back up again to declare more law from Zion. Of course, I'm being humorous. The God-Man in His glorified body would be able to transport Himself in an instant from place to place; but we're still left to deal with the relative sizes of Zion and Jerusalem and the positioning of the two in relation to each other.

Therefore, let's consider one more thing: The law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. The obvious tenor of the passage is that Zion and Jerusalem are at the same location. How could they be at the same location and yet be different places? Easy. The smaller is contained in the larger. It makes absolute sense, especially when one considers the fact that the lifting up of Mount Zion will surely lift up modern Jerusalem. Further, let us consider Psalm 48:2 again: Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. The passage treats mount Zion and the city of the great King as identical.

XIX. THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

It is necessary to distinguish the Millennial temple from the one that will precede it.

For quite some time in Israel, and still in process today, is the development of plans and crafted items for the construction of a third Holy Temple on the present Temple Mount. A model of the temple has been constructed, the Golden Menorah and many of the implements to be used by the Kohanim (priests) have been crafted, the Levitical and priestly garments have been designed and created, the breastplate containing the twelve precious stones and the musical instruments for the Levitical choir have been created, steps have been taken to acquire or breed a ritually pure red heifer for the purification of the altar (Numbers 19), and rehearsals for the proper carrying out of all the priestly and Levitical functions are under way, including rehearsals for the proper carrying out of sacrifices. (7) This, plus the shaping up of prophetic conditions in the world today, particularly the fact that an increasing number of nations appear to be aligning themselves against Israel (see Zechariah 14:2), it is likely that these preparations will find their fulfillment in the construction of Israel's third temple - but this will be the temple that Antichrist will protect once it's built and perhaps even pave the way for the Jews to build, and it will be the temple in which he will declare himself to be God and demand worship in. It will be the Tribulation temple, and it must certainly be distinguished from the Millennial temple as the descriptions of the two temples are vastly different. The former will certainly be destroyed, either by the Lord's judgment in the Great Tribulation or in the cataclysmic uplifting of Mount Zion, to clear the way for the latter.

The Millennial temple, which will differ from all previous temples, is detailed in Ezekiel 40:5 - 43:27 with all of its various walls, gates, courtyards, pavements, chambers, the table for preparing the sacrifices, the altar, the porch, the Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, and descriptions of the interior and exterior of the temple. Dr. Fruchtenbaum points out,

"From all these various measurements, it is evident that this particular Temple will be larger than all previous Temples, measuring about one mile square. The area of the present Temple Compound is not large enough to hold the Temple described by Ezekiel and will require some major geographical changes. That is why the new Mountain of Jehovah's House will be necessary." (8)

Both Jews and Gentiles will serve in official functions in temple worship.

The Jewish functionaries will be members of the tribe of Levi just as it was the sons of Levi who served as priests and Levitical helpers under the Law of Moses. God has promised to perform a thorough spiritual cleansing in all Israel and fill them with His Spirit (Ezekiel 36:25-29), but one tribe in particular is named:

1. "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. 2. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.

~ Malachi 3:1-3 ~

The Lord will enter His Kingdom temple after His return, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. He will work a special work of purification among them in preparation for Temple service.

God will also select priests and temple helpers from among the Gentiles:

20. "Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem," says the LORD, "just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. 21. "I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites," says the LORD. . . . 23. "And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD.

~ Isaiah 66:20-23 ~

Gentiles will assist in the return of Israelites to their Land, and God will also take some of them for priests and for Levites." Not only will Jews serve as temple priests, but Gentiles will, as well. Not only will some of the physical sons of Levi serve as Levitical helpers, but some Gentiles will likewise be taken, figuratively speaking, for Levites. (They will not, of course, be physical descendants of Levi.)

XXI. WORSHIPERS IN GENERAL

Just as temple functionaries will consist of both Jews and Gentiles, so will temple worshipers. In fact, every nation in the world will be expected to send a contingency to Jerusalem to worship during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Ezekiel 46:3 is one passage that states clearly that, besides the Jewish priests and Levites, ordinary Jewish people will worship in the temple: The people of the land shall also worship at the doorway of that gate before the LORD on the sabbaths and on the new moons.

As for Gentile worship in the temple, no passage makes it plainer than Zechariah 14:16-18:

16. Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles]. 17. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18. If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

~ Zechariah 14:16-18 ~

Let us recall it was all the nations of the world that God will have brought against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2). Therefore, a contingency from every nation among whom some will survive the Great Tribulation, namely, the sheep Gentiles, and their descendants (Matthew 25:31-40), will be required to worship the Lord in the Kingdom during the Feast of Tabernacles.

At the Jerusalem council in Acts 15,

13 James answered, saying, "Brethren, listen to me. 14. Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15. With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, 16. 'AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN, AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL RESTORE IT, 17. SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,' 18. SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO."

~ Acts 15: 13-18 ~

But why is Tabernacles specifically mentioned in the Zechariah passage? Consider: Just as at His first coming the Word became flesh, and dwelt - [literally, tabernacled] - among us (John 1:14), so in the Kingdom the Lord will again tabernacle, or pitch the physical tent of His body, among us. And John continued in verse 14, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth - and so shall we! Furthermore, the Kingdom itself is the fulfillment of the prophetic Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh and final festival in the annual cycle of the Mosaic feasts of Israel.

At first glance, it may seem that Millennial worship may be a return to the Mosaic system. In fact, a reading of Ezekiel 43:18-27 and 45:13-25 show that there will be blood sacrifices, just as under Moses. However, Kingdom worship will not be a return to the Mosaic system. There are many differences.

During Kingdom worship, from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me (Isaiah 66:23). Here are three differences already: Firstly, under Moses, the Sabbath was enjoined strictly on Israel; but in the Kingdom, it will be enjoined on all mankind. Secondly, under Moses, the Sabbath was not required to be a day of worship as in the Kingdom, but a day of rest. And thirdly, it is obvious from Isaiah 66:3 that Sabbath Kingdom worship will take place in the temple; but under Moses, no part of the Sabbath was to be spent in the tabernacle or temple, but in homes: a sabbath of complete rest . . . in all your dwellings (Leviticus 23:3). Another major difference is, in the Kingdom, the combination of annual feasts required to be observed is different. Under Moses, it was seven feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles; but in the Kingdom, it will be four: New Year's Day (the first of Nisan, the month that the biblical cycle of feasts begins), Passover, Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles. Notice, too: Under Moses, New Year's Day was not part of the cycle of feasts, but in the Kingdom, it will be. There are many other differences, as well.

Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes,

While there are many similarities with the sacrifices of the Mosaic Law, as there are between the sacrifices of Noah and Moses, the differences show they are not the same. It was these very differences that kept the rabbis from accepting Ezekiel into the Hebrew Canon for some time. These differences include the following. In the consecration of the altar (Mosaic: Ex. 29:1-37; Millennial: Eze. 43:18-27) there are the following differences: the Mosaic anointed the altar while the Ezekiel had no anointing; the Mosaic offered a bullock for a sin offering for all seven days while the Ezekiel offered a bullock on the first day only; the Mosaic offered no goat while the Ezekiel offers goats for the last six days; the Mosaic applied blood on the horns of the altar only while the Ezekiel applies blood on the horns, the corners, and upon the lower molding round about; for the burnt offering, the Mosaic offered a ram every day while the Ezekiel offers both a bullock and a ram every day; the Mosaic offered a ram for the consecration of the priesthood but Ezekiel has no ram for the consecration of the priesthood, only for the altar; the Mosaic had the Ark of the Covenant but the Millennial Temple will not have the Ark of the Covenant (Jer. 3:16); under the Mosaic Law, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies but in Eze. 44:15-16, all priests will be able to enter; the rules of marriage found in Eze. 44:22 were applicable to only the High Priest under the Mosaic Law but in Ezekiel, they will be applicable to all priests; under the Mosaic Law, the first of Nisan was not a special holy day but will be under the Ezekiel system (Eze. 45:18); the procedure described in Eze. 45:19 differs from the Mosaic in two ways: in the animal chosen, the Mosaic had a male goat while the Ezekiel has a bullock, and in the way the animal was disposed of, the Mosaic disposed of the animal outside the camp, while the Ezekiel is inside the camp; concerning the Passover (Eze. 45:21-24), in the Mosaic, the Passover was a family affair with the head of the household performing the ritual while in the Ezekiel the Prince will perform the ritual on behalf of the nation; in the Mosaic, the Passover was a one day festival while in the Ezekiel it will last for seven days; the Mosaic offered an unblemished lamb while the Ezekiel offers a bullock; there is also a difference in the number of sacrifices offered between the Mosaic (Nu. 28:16-24) and the Ezekiel; there is also a difference in the measures of the meal offering between the Mosaic and the Ezekiel; concerning the Feast of Tabernacles (Eze. 45:25) there is a difference in the quantity of the offerings (Nu. 29:12-34) and the Ezekiel does not have the added eighth day that the Mosaic had (Nu. 29:35-38); as for the Sabbath offerings (Eze. 46:4-5), the Ezekiel requires six lambs and a ram which is more than the Mosaic (Nu. 28:9) which required only two lambs and a ram and the same will be true with the meal offering; concerning the New Moon offerings (Eze. 46:6-7), the Mosaic required two bulls, one ram, and seven lambs while the Ezekiel will require one bullock, six lambs, and one ram; there is also a difference in the daily offering (Eze. 46:13-15) since the Mosaic (Ex. 29:38-42; Nu. 28:3-4) required two lambs each day both morning and evening while the Ezekiel will require one lamb each morning and none in the evening; there is also a difference in the daily meal offering (Ex. 29:40; Nu. 28:5); in the Mosaic Law, the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles was mandatory for Jews only while under Kingdom Law it will be mandatory for both Jews and Gentiles (Zec. 14:16-21); under the Law of Moses, only Jews could be priests but under Kingdom Law, Gentiles will also serve as priests (Isa. 66:18-21). All these differences show that this is not a return to the Law of Moses but it is a new system under Kingdom Law and so it does not violate what the New Testament teaches about concerning the termination of the Law with Messiah's death. (9)

Obviously, Kingdom worship will not be a return to Mosaic worship. Yet, all of that still begs the question . . .

21. Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. . . . 23. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

While the Law was still in effect, Jesus told the Samaritan woman that the day is coming when true worshipers will worship neither in the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim nor even in the authorized temple in Jerusalem, for the Father is not concerned about outward things and forms such as the place of worship and outward rituals, but in inward matters, namely, worship from the spirit, one's innermost being, and truth, quality of worship based on biblical understanding and carried out with a pure heart. The rigid, formalized, place-based worship under the Law was to give way to spirit-based worship in the Age of Grace.

During our Church Age, each believer is a temple, being indwelt by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), and the body of Christ is the believers' corporate temple, likewise indwelt by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:9,16) - but in the Kingdom, a massive physical structure will be the temple!

Why this monumental reversion in the Kingdom to a mandatory place of worship and a ritualized form of worship as in the days of Moses? To my knowledge, Scripture does not plainly say, but I think we can take some pretty good guesses:

1. Whereas the Mosaic sacrifices were types, copies and shadows of the once for all Sacrifice to come (Romans 6:10; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 8:3-6; 9:24; 10:1), Kingdom sacrifices will memorialize the once for all sacrifice that took place in the past at Calvary.

2. In this day and age when bloodshed and carnage are so common that people can easily identify with the physical abuse that the Lord endured at Calvary, in the Kingdom it will not be so.

6. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. 7. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. 9. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

~ Isaiah 11:6-9 ~


It will be a time when nations will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war (Isaiah 2:4).

One can easily imagine how hard it will be for people in such an environment to relate to the physical suffering of Christ at Calvary. It is therefore likely that the blood sacrifices of Kingdom worship will serve to sensitize the multitudes to the sufferings endured by Jesus on their behalf.

3. Mandatory worship of the Lord on His throne will solidify submissiveness to His rule, uniting the peoples of the world under His rulership. (Contrast that with the fighting for supremacy among nations and factions today!) This will be especially significant in light of the fact that there will still be unbelievers in the Kingdom, and even nations that will resent His rule. Let us recall the prophesied resistance of at least some nations to His authority brought out in Zechariah 14:16-18, quoted above.

4. Requiring the families of the earth to gather in Jerusalem for worship will reinforce in the minds of all the ascendancy that the Lord has given to His people Israel among the nations in fulfillment of His promises to them despite the age-old hostility of nations to them.

XXIV. WHAT OF OTHER FORMS OF WORSHIP
BESIDES TEMPLE WORSHIP?

A. WILL THERE BE MEETINGS COMPARABLE
TO TODAY'S CHURCH MEETINGS?

Based on the Bible's descriptions of the functions of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and the necessity for church members to exercise their spiritual gifts in corporate settings, and for the necessity of partaking of the Lord's Supper corporately, it is obvious that God expects every believer in this day and age to be a member of a local church, and for every local church to meet regularly. Corporate worship in the local church of the Church Age is vastly different from the required forms of worship under Moses. It should therefore not be surprising that worship forms in the Kingdom - even apart from temple forms, which we saw will be different - may be vastly different from the forms and functions we are familiar with in the local church today.

Will regular, local gatherings of believers be required in the Kingdom? If so, will they in any way resemble what the Lord expects of local churches today?

Scripture mandates no comparable meetings of local believers in the Kingdom. However, there are no prohibitions against such meetings, either. We must be very careful here. There are no descriptions of five-fold ministries for the Kingdom, no mention of elders and deacons, no descriptions of spiritual gifts that need to be exercised corporately, no mandates to carry out the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper or anything similar, and no prescriptions for church discipline. We do not know what the Lord may require, authorize or prohibit during such meetings, or even if He would require them, at all. However, we do know this: that the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3. Also Micah 4:2).

The words of the Lord concerning both spiritual and mundane matters will proceed from Jerusalem outward to the ends of the earth. The first wave of messengers will be Jewish (Zechariah 8:23). From there it will be Gentile to Gentile until the words of the Lord reach the ends of the earth.

Certainly there will be local civic meetings to discuss judgments of the Lord having to do with earthly matters (And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations [Micah 4:3]), and such meetings would involve both believers and unbelievers. Similarly, one would think that there would also be localized meetings of believers to discuss spiritual matters proceeding from Jerusalem. (Consider the wealth of revelation disseminated to believers after the cross. Surely we can expect an immeasurable wealth of spiritual revelation to be disseminated by the Lord after His return!) These types of meetings would, of course, be conducted by mature overseers, and would be focused on the words of messengers. Perhaps teachers and exhorters will follow up. Furthermore, I cannot see how the Lord would look askance at the lifting up of corporate praise. Even under the Law, From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised (Psalm 113:3); and surely prayer will take place at many or all of these meetings, as well, even as spontaneous prayer took place under Moses (Daniel 3:10) and is authorized and expected today (Acts 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). However, I must emphasize again: We must be careful to not paint the picture with too fine a brush, as Scripture doesn't!

B. WHAT OF INDIVIDUAL WORSHIP?

Even under the Law there was informal, spontaneous, individual worship apart from anything required at the tabernacle or temple:

16. After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, then I prayed to the LORD, saying, 17. 'Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, 18. who shows lovingkindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name; 19. great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. . . .

~ Jeremiah 32:16-22 ~


Surely, in the Kingdom, the Lord would smile upon spontaneous, informal, individual worship just as He did during the Mosaic era and as He does during our present Church Age.

Yes, there will be a reversion to Temple-based worship, but not in place of spirit and truth worship: in addition to it. We will not lose anything in the process. We will only gain. Temple-based worship in the presence of the resurrected and glorified King of Kings and Lord of Lords will be filled with a glory we can only begin imagine!



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f not IE, press Ctrl + D

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.
FOOTNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.

2. Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 1982. P. 455.

3. Passages speaking of the Millennial Mountain of the LORD, also called the Holy Oblation, are Isaiah 2:2-4; 27:13; 56:6-8; 66:20; Micah 4:1-2; Ezekiel 17:22-24; 20:40-41; Ezekiel 40:1-4; 45:1-8; 48:8-20. Those passages providing descriptions of the mountain are
Ezekiel 40:1-4; 45:1-8; 48:8-20. An exegesis of all of these passages may be found in: Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 1982. P. 443-456.

4. Information Regarding Israel's Security. "Size Comparison Map of Israel and New Jersey." IRIS: Information Regarding Israel's Security. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2015. <http://www.iris.org.il/sizemaps/new_jersey.htm>.

5. Cooper, Dr. David L. Biblical Research Society. http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page7.html.

6. Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 1982. P. 456-458.

7. According to Ezekiel 47 and 48, based on the calculations of Dr. Cooper. http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm

8. Two groups are at the heart of the movement: The Temple Institute, http://www.templemountfaithful.org/, and The Temple Mount Faithful, http://www.templemountfaithful.org/.

9. Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 1982. P. 462-464.

RECOMMENDED READING

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
7. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
9. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
10. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
11. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
12. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation

All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.

Dr. David L. Cooper
Cooper, D.L. (1951, July). Biblical Research Society: Dr. David L. Cooper. Retrieved from http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm. See What We Believe, section "The Millennial Reign of Christ."

Thomas Paul Simmons
Simmons/Providence Baptist Ministries, T.P. (2010). Chapter 42 - The Millennium. Retrieved from http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Simmons/chapter42.htm.

Norman Manzon
Manzon/The Association of Messianic Congregations, N.A. (2011, April). The Faithful Remnant of Israel.

Manzon, Norman A. "The Prophetic Feasts of Israel." http://www.biblestudyproject.org/feasts-of-israel-messianic.htm.


The Messianic Kingdom
Worship in the Kingdom
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2015.
All rights reserved.


~

THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

G. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said,
and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

~ Numbers 23:19 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS
RECAPITULATION
PART 7: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM
I. THE VINDICATION OF THE LORD
TEST 1: RESPECT FOR THE TREE IN THE GARDEN
TEST 2: FAITH IN THE SEED OF THE WOMAN
TEST 3: DISPERSAL ACROSS THE EARTH AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT OF MURDERERS
TEST 4: THE BLESSING OF ISRAEL
TEST 5: THE HEEDING OF THE PROPHET LIKE MOSES
TEST 6: BELIEF IN THE GOSPEL
SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITIES AND FAILURES
THE VINDICATION
II. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM FOR ISRAEL
III. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST
IV. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM IN REGARD TO THE CROSS
V. SUMMARY
FOOTNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING

INTRODUCTION

The Messianic Kingdom is part of an extended series of studies in support of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. Much groundwork for this present study has been laid in the six prior studies of the Kingdom series, links to which are located above. It is urged that they be reviewed so that the present study may be more fully understood in its historical and other contexts. For even firmer foundation, it is suggested that the following studies be read or reviewed, as well: The Destinies of the Dead, The Rapture, The Great Tribulation and The Second Coming of the Lord, links to which are near the top of this page. Some of what has been examined in these studies will be touched on here, but not treated fully.

It is worth stating, once again, that the prophesied Kingdom is a literal, earthly Kingdom in which Yeshua, Jesus, will reign bodily as king over Israel and the world. A polemic to this effect is presented in section IV of The Millennial or Messianic Kingdom: Introduction, the link to which is also near the top of this page.

As has been previously mentioned, a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute a book. It must therefore be recognized that what is presented herein is, of necessity, a much abbreviated outline and summary.

As in the previous Kingdom studies, we will begin with a restatement of those declarations in the AMC We Believe statement that have relevance to the Kingdom.

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS (1)

The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)

RECAPITULATION

By the end of the Great Tribulation and the seventy-five day interval between the Tribulation and the Kingdom, the Lord will have utterly destroyed the evil world system and purged the earth of all unbelievers, including the armies of Antichrist which will seek to destroy Israel. Having done this, the Lord will renovate the earth, making it a beautiful, edenic, safe place in which to live. Although not perfect because certain aspects of the Adamic curse will continue (most significantly, the presence of the sin nature in those with mortal bodies, and death for many, if not all, in mortal bodies), because many who will be born into the Kingdom will reject the salvation and Lordship of Jesus, and because Edom and Babylon will be cursed to become utterly desolate habitations of demons, yet, the planet, as a whole, will be edenic compared to the way it is today.

The Kingdom environment will be characterized by divine presence. The Lord Jesus will reign supreme over the nations from His throne in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit will fill the earth with the splendor of the Lord's glory. No false religion, philosophy or occult practice will be allowed to flourish, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

All who enter the Kingdom, whether as "walk-ins" from the Great Tribulation, or by resurrection, or by being returned, body and soul, to earth from heaven (Enoch and Elijah), will be saved. This glorious throng will be composed of all believers since Adam.

According to Revelation 20:6, all who had been resurrected in immortal bodies will reign with Christ in some capacity for the duration of the Millennium. This group will be comprised of all Old and New Testament saints, both Jewish and Gentile, the two Tribulation witnesses and all martyred Tribulation saints. Surely, Enoch and Elijah, who had never seen death but had been drawn up directly into Heaven, will reign, as well.

Jesus will reign over the entire earth in general, and will exercise special kingship over Israel with resurrected King David reigning as king over Israel under Him. Under this dual kingship, the twelve apostles will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel, and there will be judges and counselors in Israel, as well (Isaiah 1:26). Zerubbabel, post-exilic governor of Judah, will be placed in some unnamed position in Israel (Haggai 2:23). The Gentile nations of the world will be ruled by Gentile kings, but Israel will have authority over them and their nations (Isaiah 14:1-2; 60:10-61:5). The body of Christ and the Tribulation martyrs will rule over the Gentiles, as well (Revelation 20:4-6). How these different rulerships over the Gentiles will coordinate with one another remains to be seen. Civil laws will be rendered in the Kingdom (Micah 4:1-2) from Jesus on down, as well as laws regarding worship.

In our last study, we addressed three key facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom and concluded with a look at the significance of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom for the nations of the world. This now brings us to an examination of the significance of the Kingdom itself.

God does nothing haphazardly or arbitrarily. Everything He does is calculated, well-planned, and purposeful (Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Philippians 1:11, 2:11; Revelation 4:11), ultimately for His pleasure and glory (Psalm 79:9; Isaiah 40:5; Romans 9:23; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 1:12,14; Revelation 4:11.) It follows, then, that this is true of His establishment of the Kingdom and, indeed, of His establishment of every preceding age and test that He has put mankind to, and the sequence of them. These we will examine here, particularly the significance of the Lord's Kingdom in regard to the convincing of all humanity of His righteousness, in the blessing of His people Israel and the body of Christ, and in regard to the cross.

I. THE VINDICATION OF THE LORD

The Lord Jesus neither needs nor seeks vindication in His own eyes: He has no Self-doubt, and is fully Self-sufficient. However, He seeks vindication in the eyes of man that man may be fully convinced of His righteousness whether he chooses to walk in it or not (Romans 1:20,32)

God made eight covenants that affect all mankind either directly or indirectly to this day. Three He made with all mankind, and five with Israel. Some are still in force today, and some are not. Some contain a multitude of requirements or provisions, some a few. Some initiated periods of time called dispensations during which, among other provisions, God provided tests of man's or Israel's faithfulness to Him. It is the study of these tests and of man's and Israel's response to them - and an analysis of the sequence of them leading up to the Kingdom - that we are presently engaged in.

TEST 1: RESPECT FOR THE TREE IN THE GARDEN - Genesis 1:28 - 3:8

Adam and Eve were created in perfect health of body, mind and spirit, in a perfect environment, and enjoyed daily fellowship with God. To test the depth of their love for Him - not for His knowledge, but for theirs - the Lord instituted one requirement of them that would require a sacrifice of self-gratification: to refrain from eating of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the Garden (Genesis 3:3). Choosing self-gratification over submission to the One who blessed them so marvelously, our first parents broke fellowship with God and brought upon themselves the curse of expulsion from the Garden, pain, struggle and death; and this curse remains with all of us to this day.

TEST 2: FAITH IN THE SEED OF THE WOMAN - Genesis 3:9 - 8:14

Having broken down the barrier of resistance to sin and now being poisoned in spirit with the sin nature, they and their descendants were now permitted by God to attempt to live righteously according to the dictates of their own consciences to see how well they would do at it. After all, they had acted on their own in the Garden, so the Lord now gave them leave to live according to their own consciences with the memory of the consequences of their first sin as an inducement to heed the dictates of their consciences.

Having sinned and now possessing the sin nature, the human race was now in need of salvation. Therefore, the central requirement of the first post-Fall covenant that God made with mankind, the Adamic Covenant, was that they exercise faith in the Redeemer, which God promised them in Genesis 3:15. In the hearing of Adam and Eve, God said to the serpent, And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.

Throughout Scripture, genealogies of nations, families and individuals are traced through male lineage, the seed of men, but here the Lord declared to Satan, who empowered the serpent, that the Seed or Descendant of the woman shall crush his head. In both instances of its use, the word bruise would better be translated crush. Though Satan will bring slight, temporary injury to Christ, which later would be revealed as crucifixion, He who will be born of the Virgin will bring him, Satan, to utter defeat.

Well, how well did mankind do? The first significant event we read of after the Expulsion is the murder of righteous Abel by his self-willed brother, Cain, which serves as the keynote for the behavior of mankind from that point forward until the Flood before which The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).

Man had failed the test miserably, God brought on the Flood, and began the human line afresh with righteous Noah.

TEST 3: DISPERSAL ACROSS THE EARTH AND
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT OF MURDERERS

- Genesis 8:15 - 11:32

Thus far, man had proven himself disobedient in the Edenic environment and wicked in the extreme in the Dispensation of Conscience, rejecting even the thought of a Redeemer who championed righteousness; and Noah and his family were well aware of what could be expected of their descendants were they left to the dictates of their own consciences. Therefore, they could readily accept the new requirement that God would make of them and their descendants in regard to murder. In addition to the requirement to spread out and multiply across the earth, God required capital punishment of murderers: Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man (Genesis 9:6).

As to the first requirement, man built a city and a tower specifically to keep themselves from spreading out, in direct defiance of God's command to fill the earth: Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:4). This puny attempt to thwart God's will failed miserably as God got His way by causing them to scatter through the multiplication of languages.

And how has mankind done in the matter of capital punishment for murderers? It has always been carried out to some extent, but certainly not in every case! Furthermore, from the earliest annals of history, nations and armies have embraced mass murder through unjustified invasions and conquests and, in many cases, nations thus victimized have retaliated with vengeance. However, vengeful reciprocation could hardly be classified as the kind of capital punishment that God enjoined on Noah. (This is not intended as a comment on the use of military force for self-defense.)

How are we doing in the matter of Noahic capital punishment today? As of the date of this writing, November 3, 2015, 140 of the world's 196 countries, 71 per cent, have abolished the death penalty for all causes, and it appears that others will follow.

Again mankind has proven himself lawless on a world scale and in need of further "input" from the Lord.

TEST 4: THE BLESSING OF ISRAEL - Genesis 12:3

Further "input" came through the calling out of a nation to be a beacon of God's light, a carrier of His spoken and written Word, and the bringer forth of the Messiah into the world. This calling out of Israel contained requirements for both Israel and the Gentiles. The chief requirement concerning Israel will be addressed immediately below. Here we will focus on the requirement enjoined upon the Gentiles concerning Israel.

In Genesis 12:3, God told Abram, I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. The promise was not just for Abraham personally, but for all of Israel. We see that as Isaac verbalized that very promise to Jacob (Genesis 27:29). Even Balaam declared the same concerning the entire nation (Numbers 24:9).

How have the nations done in the matter of blessing and cursing Israel? Some, both ancient and modern, have blessed Israel; but the central picture is that of cursing: from Egypt, the Canaanites, Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome right on through the blood-libels, the Crusades, the Holocaust, the Arab-Muslim persecutions, the hugely disproportionate unjust and unfair condemnations of Israel by the United Nations, and the increasing alignment of the nations of the world against Israel today.

As in previous matters, the nations of the world failed in this, and further "input" from the Lord will surely be on its way!

TEST 5: THE HEEDING OF THE PROPHET LIKE MOSES

Speaking on behalf of God, Moses commanded Israel,

15. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, "Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die." 17. The LORD said to me, "They have spoken well. 18. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him."

~Deuteronomy 18:15-19 ~

That Prophet like Moses was Jesus. Did Israel listen to Him? Some did, but as a nation they did not. At the incitement of their religious leaders, they cried out, Crucify Him (Matthew 15:7-15 et al); and Israel, taking the lead of their rabbis, has, on the whole, rejected Him to this day.

The sentence of judgment has been on Israel since their national rejection of Him, and will reach a climax during the period of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), the Great Tribulation. However, as with all of the God's dealings with His people, the Tribulation will have great redemptive value for them, namely, the salvation of all Israelites remaining alive at the end of it, the salvation of every Israelite born after that (Jeremiah 31:34), and their particular blessedness and prominence in the Kingdom.

TEST 6: BELIEF IN THE GOSPEL - Acts 2:1 - Revelation 19:21

Whereas all people of all ages could receive salvation, the means of salvation was made clearer than ever before with the crucifixion of Jesus and the preaching of the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.

How has the world done in this regard? The majority of both groups have rejected Christ, and significant persecutions of believers have been exercised by both groups: unbelieving Gentiles upon both groups, and unbelieving Jews primarily upon Jewish believers.

Yet again rebellious mankind has earned for himself further "input" from the Lord.

SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITIES AND FAILURES

From the very beginning, mankind, and then mankind and Israel, has been offered progressive means for living righteously in spiritual standing and in outward action, and for the most part, both Gentiles and Jews have rejected these means, choosing rather to live unrighteously inwardly and outwardly. It would not be too much to say that, in the big picture, everyone did what was right in his own eyes, as they did in the days of the judges (Judges 17:6; 21:25).

In the matter of government, even in his state of edenic innocence man failed to obey the one command that God gave him; he then failed in the opportunity that God gave him to operate righteously according to his conscience. Having failed in that, God added another layer of government, human government, initiated by the command to execute murderers, and mankind failed in this. God added yet another layer of inducement to righteous living by raising up a nation to be a light to the other nations; and the nations of the world not only did not respect that nation, but sought, and is still seeking, to eliminate it. Nor did they or Israel respect the Savior brought forth through that nation to enable both Jews and Gentiles to live righteously; but on the whole, both Jews and Gentiles rejected and crucified Him and have done the same to His followers.

That brings us up to today, and the story is not over.

THE VINDICATION

In the progressive means by which the Lord gave opportunity to walk in righteousness, He proved to mankind two things:
1. He will not live righteously without the Lord's overwhelming and irresistible intervention, and
2. He never did, nor will he ever, have any ground for accusing the Lord when He intervenes with overwhelming and irresistible force.

And indeed, the Lord will intervene yet again with such force as He did in the days of Noah, and be totally vindicated in doing so. He will purge mankind of his wicked, ungodly governments and other institutions during the Great Tribulation, and rule the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27) in His Kingdom. Then, and only then, the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

~ Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2 ~

II. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM FOR ISRAEL

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

~ Numbers 23:19 ~

The significance of the Kingdom in regard to Israel lies in the fact that God will bring to absolute fulfillment every promise that He has made with her. He promised to save all of Israel (Jeremiah 31:34; Romans 11:26), and He will. He has made numerous promises to them concerning the borders of their Land and their security, prosperity and prominence in the Kingdom, and He will bring all to pass. Against all satanic and human opposition, God will prove Himself to be a keeper of His promises to Israel.

III. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST

The significance of the Kingdom in regard to the body of the Christ likewise lies in the fact that God will bring to fulfillment the promises that He has made with them regarding the Kingdom. (The promises that He has made with them concerning the eternal ages will be fulfilled after the Kingdom.) When the Lord returns at the end of the Tribulation, His raptured and glorified body of believers will return with Him.

14. Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15. to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

~ Jude 1:14-15 ~

They will then be priests of God and of Christ . . . for a thousand years and perhaps excluding the twelve apostles, who will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:28-30), will reign with Him over the Gentile nations (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10, Revelation 20:6).

Here again, as with Israel, God will prove Himself to be a keeper of His promises to His body.

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

~ Numbers 23:19 ~

IV. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KINGDOM IN REGARD TO THE CROSS

The Lord not only died for the salvation of sinners, but for the purchase of a cleansed earth, a Messianic Kingdom, and the fulfillment of every promise He made to Israel, His body, and every believer since Adam to whom He promised the crushing of Satan's head. In this there is tremendous significance of the Kingdom in regard to the cross. As we observe that fact implied in the following passage, let us also heed the apostle's exhortation:

5. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6. who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7. but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10. so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11. and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13. for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

~ Philippians 2:5-13 ~

Amen.

V. SUMMARY

To summarize, the significance of the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom lies in these four areas:

1. The Vindication of the Lord
The failure of man in every test that the Lord has put him to will thoroughly vindicate Him in the eyes of man for His use of overwhelming and irresistible force in the purging of the planet during the Great Tribulation and in the establishment of His Kingdom.

2. Significance of the Kingdom for Israel
The Kingdom will prove significant to Israel in that, during the Kingdom, He will thoroughly fulfill every promise that He has made to her.

3. Significance of the Kingdom for the Body of Christ
The Kingdom will prove significant to the body of Christ in that, during the Kingdom, He will thoroughly fulfill every promise that He has promised to fulfill for her in the Kingdom.

4. Significance of the Kingdom in Regard to the Cross
The Kingdom will prove significant in regard to the cross in that, at the cross, the Lord not only purchased salvation for sinners, but the purging of the planet during the Great Tribulation and the establishment of an earthly Kingdom of Righteousness for His people Israel and the body of Christ, in which they will be particularly blessed and will reign with Him, as well as for those born in the Kingdom who will believe in Him and serve Him.

~

THE MILLENNIUM-ETERNITY INTERVAL

The Millennium-Eternity Interval studies are part of a sequence of studies on end time events. With our last study, we concluded a seven part series on the Messianic Kingdom commonly known as the Millennium, that glorious period of a thousand years during which Jesus will reign bodily on a renovated earth. Neither Satan nor his demons will be permitted to roam the earth during this period. Quite to the contrary, the Spirit of God will manifest His Presence on Earth as never before except, perhaps, in Eden; and The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

If you'd like to review, the last of the Kingdom studies, The Significance of the Kingdom immediately above, begins with a recapitulation of all previous Kingdom studies and continues on to the final study. If you'd like to read all the studies in full, links to each may be found in the Table of Contents at the top of this page.

PART 1: THE FINAL REBELLION AND
THE RETURN OF THE KINGDOM

Then comes the end, when He hands over
the kingdom to the God and Father.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:24 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT: EXCERPTS
PART 1: THE FINAL REBELLION AND THE RETURN OF THE KINGDOM
I. THE PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE REBELLION
A. ANGELIC
1. Satan
2. Demons?
B. HUMAN
II. THE TARGETS OF THE REBELLION
III. THE PURPOSE OF THE REBELLION
IV. THE VANQUISHING OF THE REBELS
V. THE DISPENSING OF THE REBELS
VI. THE RETURN OF THE KINGDOM TO THE FATHER
VII. THE SUBJECTION OF THE SON TO HIS FATHER
VIII. THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL
1 Corinthians 12:6
Ephesians 1:22-23
Colossians 3:11
Summary of the Above Passages
FOOTNOTES

RECOMMENDED READING

INTRODUCTION

The two glorious periods that believers look forward to with divine hope are the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom and Eternity or the Eternal Ages. We will address the latter in due time; but there is a hiatus between the Kingdom and Eternity during which several transitional events will take place that will be characterized by divine housecleaning and the resolution of certain matters in preparation for the Eternal Ages, a hiatus which may be called The Millennium-Eternity Interval. We will begin addressing these transitional events in this study; but before we do, let us lay a foundation by reading relevant aspects of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations on which this sequence of studies is based.

AMC STATEMENT: EXCERPTS (2)

Satan and Demons

We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Adversary of God. Satan is the originator of moral evil and the god of this world. He and his agents are active in blinding mankind to spiritual truth, inciting anti-Semitism and attempting to defeat believers. Believers can and should resist him by applying Scriptural truth. (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; 10:3-5; Ephesians 2:1,2, 6:10-18; 1 Timothy 3:6; 2 Peter 2:4)

Angels

We believe a great company of angels are before the throne of God, praising, worshipping, adoring, and glorifying Him. They are sent forth to bring about God's intended plans and purposes, and to minister to all believers. (Isaiah 6:1-7; Daniel 10:10-21; Luke 15:10; Hebrews 1:13,14; Revelation 7:11-12)

Last Things

We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God. (Jeremiah 30:7 Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10)

~

PART 1: THE FINAL REBELLION AND
THE RETURN OF THE KINGDOM

As out of character with the Millennium as it surely will be, once the thousand years has ended there will be a tremendous rebellion launched against the camp of the saints and the beloved city. This rebellion and its aftermath is outlined briefly in Revelation 20:7-10:

7. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8. and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

When the thousand years are completed. The Greek word for when is hotan. In numerous places where it is used it points to the beginning of something new. For example, John 16:13: But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. Thus, when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, something new will begin: He will guide you into all the truth. Similarly, When the thousand years are completed, something new will take place: Satan will be released from his prison. This something new will be characterized by furious rebellion, totally out of character with the general tenor of the Kingdom. Because of its newness and radically different character from that of the Kingdom, it is best to think of Satan's release not so much as marking the end of the Kingdom, but as marking the beginning of a new period, perhaps best called the Millennium-Eternity Interval. Just as there will be a seventy-five day interval between the Great Tribulation and the Kingdom during which significant events take place, so there will be an interval between the Kingdom and the Eternal Ages during which significant events will take place.

I. THE PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE REBELLION

There will be angelic and human participants in the rebellion.

A. ANGELIC

1. Satan
Just prior to the Millennium, an angel of God will bind Satan in the Abyss to prevent him from deceiving the nations (or Gentiles) for the duration of the Kingdom.

1. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3. and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

~ Revelation 20:1-3 ~

The passage concludes with a most interesting declaration: after these things he must be released for a short time .

Why must he be released? The answer can be inferred from three things:
1. the reason he was bound in the first place: to restrain him from deceiving the nations during the thousand years;
2. the fact that God had permitted Satan to test people and nations since the Garden. (3)

The central tests include the testing of Adam and Eve in the Garden, the testing of humankind from the expulsion to Noah to see if they would live by the dictates of their consciences, the post-Flood test to see if mankind would disperse across the planet to populate it; the test to see whether societies would execute capital punishment upon murderers; the test to see if the Gentile nations would bless Israel and not curse her; the test placed on Israel to see if she would heed the Prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19); the test to see if Israel and the nations would believe the Gospel preached by Jesus and His apostles; and the test to see if the people of the world would heed the evangelistic preaching of believers during the Church Age and of the 144,000 Jews, two witnesses and an angel during the Great Tribulation. In all of these tests, Satan has always been present to dissuade people and nations from following the will of the Lord.

3. Revelation 20:7: Satan will be released from his prison, 8. and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth.

To be sure, throughout the Millennium those in mortal bodies will be tested, as well, to see if they would exercise faith in the Lord and submit to His will, though without the "benefit" of Satan whispering "sweet nothings" in their ears. But now, after the close of the Millennium, consistent with the Lord's testing of the nations from Adam through the Tribulation, Satan will be released from his prison, 8. and will come out to deceive the nations once again.

2. Demons?
Will Satan employ demons in his rebellion? He has certainly employed them in his deceptions from the Expulsion through the Tribulation; but will he employ them during this final rebellion?

One group of demons will certainly not accompany him: those confined in the Tartarus section of Sheol or Hades since before the Flood. They will be escorted directly from Tartarus to the Lake of Fire (Genesis 6:1-4; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). But what about all the other demons, the ones confined to Babylon and Edom for the duration of the Kingdom (Babylon: Isaiah 13:21-22; Revelation 18:2. Edom: Isaiah 34:13-15)? Though Scripture says that Satan will be released after the Millennium, it does not say that his demons will be released or that they will accompany him in his rebellion. The next place that fallen angels appear in Scripture is at the Great White Throne (1 Corinthians 6:30) subsequent to the rebellion. In light of these things, we cannot say that demons will accompany Satan in his rebellion. The Bible simply does not say one way or the other.

B. HUMAN

Revelation 20: 7. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8. and will come out to deceive the nations [or Gentiles] (4) which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war.

The phrase Gog and Magog, associated with Moscow and Tubalsk in Russia (Ezekiel 38:2), adds emphasis to the fact that Satan's forces will be gathered from the four corners of the earth. But from which of earth's people groups will these forces be drawn?

Two groups of people will be present on earth in the Kingdom: those with glorified bodies and those with mortal bodies. (5) Not a single saint with a glorified body will take part in the rebellion as all in this group, by virtue of their glorification, will have attained what theologians refer to as confirmed creaturely holiness: They will live in a perpetual state of perfect, pure and consistent holiness and be absolutely incapable of sinning in the least degree (Romans 8:29). That leaves those in their mortal bodies. This group will be comprised of Jews and Gentiles. The Jews at Kingdom's end will be the descendants of that third of Israel who received the Lord at the end of the Tribulation, and the Gentiles at Kingdom's end will be the descendants of the sheep Gentiles who displayed their saved state by offering succor to the Tribulation Jews, whom Satan, through Antichrist, tried to destroy (Matthew 25:31-40). Not a single Jew will participate in the post-millennial rebellion as every Kingdom Jew from the least of them to the greatest of them will know the Lord and live lives dedicated to Him (Isaiah 59:20-21; Jeremiah 31:34; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26; Zechariah 13:1). That leaves the Gentiles in their mortal bodies. Throughout the course of the Kingdom, some from this group will exercise faith in the Lord and become His disciples; and those saved Gentiles who are alive at the end of the Millennium will not join Satan in his rebellion. So who is left? Gentiles in their mortal bodies who are alive at the end of the Kingdom and have rejected the Lord. It will be from this group that Satan will gather his army together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.

II. THE TARGETS OF THE REBELLION

Revelation 20:9a continues, And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.

Broad plain. The favored definition of platos in Strong's, Thayer's and other Greek dictionaries, as well as translations, is, by far, "breadth." The verse should likely read, And they went up over the breadth of the earth. (6)

The beloved city is, of course, Jerusalem. The armies gathered from over the breadth of the earth and surrounded Jerusalem. The saints in the passage must refer only to Israelites, all of whom will know the Lord and will have been brought back to their Promised Land (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:24-27). It is unlikely that the saints here will include the saved Gentiles as a group as they will have their dwellings in their own nations throughout the earth (Revelation 5:9; 14:6). What we see here is another Satanic attempt to destroy the Jews; and not only the common Jewish people, but the King of the Jews, Himself, for He will be ruling and reigning from Jerusalem, the city of the Great King (Psalm 2:6; 78:68; 87:2; 48:2; Micah 4:2).

III. THE PURPOSE OF THE REBELLION

As has been shown in previous studies (7), Satan has made a career of attempting to usurp the Lord's rulership and prevent his own being cast into the Lake of Fire. This post-Millennial rebellion will constitute his final desperate attempt at victory in his age-old endeavor, the victory that has eluded him since his original rebellion against God.

IV. THE VANQUISHING OF THE REBELS

Revelation 20:9: And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

Simple and quick: fire came down from heaven and devoured them. Of course, this will be the fate of the human rebels, not of Satan, for Satan is a spirit. At the end of the Tribulation, the rebelling armies were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse (Revelation 19:21). Now, in parallel fashion, the post-Millennial rebels will be devoured by fire that came down from heaven. Just as fire came down from Heaven to devour Elijah's sacrifice in his confrontation with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:19-38), so fire will come down from Heaven and devour the rebelling armies.

God spoke the universe into existence. How simple for Him to dispose of those who oppose Him!

V. THE DISPENSING OF THE REBELS

1. The Dispensing of the Devil
Revelation 20:10: And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Antichrist and the False Prophet were cast into the Lake of Fire in their failed rebellion against the Lord at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 19:19-20). Now, in parallel fashion, Satan will be cast into the Lake after his failed post-Millennial rebellion.

2. The Dispensing of the Rebelling Armies
The deposed rebelling armies, upon whom fire came down from heaven, will stand before the Lord at the Great White Throne Judgment, the subject of our next study.

VI. THE RETURN OF THE KINGDOM TO THE FATHER

Psalm 2 makes it very clear that God gave the Kingdom to His Son.

6. But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain. 7. I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware."

In 1 Corinthians 15 we are told that after the Son will accomplish the task of putting all His enemies under His feet, He will return the Kingdom to the One who gave it to Him.

24. then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 ~

Parenthetically, an examination of the Greek, various literal translations and other highly regarded translations seems to indicate that the should not appear before God in the phrase to the God and Father. As an example, the American Standard version renders it to God, even the Father.

What, exactly, does the end refer to: when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power or when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father?

The first thing to notice is that there is an obvious sequence here. First the Lord abolishes all rule and all authority and power, and then He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father. Further, the Lord's abolition of all rule and all authority and power will be an ongoing process as is evidenced by verses 25 and 26. His reign will last a thousand years; and then finally, after He vanquishes the rebelling armies, He abolishes death by casting the author of death, Satan, into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10). Another thing to notice is the juxtaposition of when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father to the end. In consideration of these things, the end must solely refer to when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father. This is consistent with the fact that the end is sometimes translated "the consummation," which is the resolution to which things prior to it have been leading.

The declaration, He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, may easily be glossed over in one's reading, but it is emphatically worthy of meditation, arguably more so than Satan's rebellion! It will be the "consummation" of the Lord's efforts through the ages.

What a monumental event! From the moment that Satan seduced our first parents and brought the curse into their lives and upon the earth - yes, even from the prior moment when he rebelled against God in the heavenlies and set a third of the angels against God - from that moment the Lord set in motion His plan of redemption for mankind and for creation, which can be determined by Isaiah 14:15: Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. And now, finally, after the incarnation, the cross, the Great Tribulation, the binding of Satan in the Abyss, the Kingdom, the vanquishing of the post-Millennial rebelling army and the eternal imprisonment of Satan in the Lake of Fire - finally, after all this pain and chaos and rebellion, the Lord, in a supreme climax of victory that can barely be imagined by mere mortals, hands over the kingdom to the God and Father. He can now rest, and all of His people can rest from even a whisper of struggle against temptation, sin or the curse.

VII. THE SUBJECTION OF THE SON TO HIS FATHER

The 1 Corinthians 15 passage continues:

27. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

That God placed all things under Jesus' feet is seen again in Ephesians 1: 22. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23. which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. The passage will be looked at more closely a few paragraphs down.

After Paul declares, HE [THE FATHER] HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS [SON'S] FEET, he feels compelled to point out that He [The Father] is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him [Jesus]: the Father did not place Himself IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS [SON'S] FEET along with all else! (What an overthrow of divine order that would be were it possible! What a heresy could have developed were Paul not so explicit!) To clarify the matter even further, Paul declares that When all things are subjected to [Christ], then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One [the Father] who subjected all things to Him. It was the Father who was the Prime Mover in bringing all thing in subjection to Christ, and now, in turn, Christ hands over the kingdom to the God and Father while remaining in subjection to Him.

VIII. THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL

The Son became incarnate, went to the cross, rose, established the church, brought on the Great Tribulation and the demise of His enemies and the salvation of all Israel at the end of it, established His Kingdom and vanquished His foes at the end of it, and cast Satan into the Lake of Fire - for one purpose, and one purpose only: so that God may be all in all.

What does it mean that God may be all in all? Here's another phrase that may easily be glossed over. If that is the singular purpose to which Christ has been driving since Satan's original rebellion in the heavenlies, then surely it behooves us to attempt to determine its meaning.

What does all in all mean? All of what in all of what?

For starts, it's obvious that the first all refers to what God may be.

The apostle used the exact same expression in the Greek in 1 Corinthians 12:6 and Ephesians 1:23; and in Colossians 3:11 it just differs in having the Greek kai (and) thrown in. Let's see what we can derive from these passages. The expositions that I offer have been determined by the contexts of the passages.

1 Corinthians 12:6

There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

The Father utilizes all things, that is, the spiritual gifts, in all persons in the body in such a way as to determine the effects or results that the use of the gifts have in each case.

Ephesians 1:22-23

22. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23. which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

And He put all things in subjection under His feet is a quote from Psalm 8:6, which reads in full, You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.

God has exalted Jesus over everything. It is He who fills all in all. Christ fills all of creation, but Paul's focus is the body. He mentions His body, and then goes on to say that His body is the fullness. At the very least, what all in all means here is that Christ fills all of the body with all of Himself.

The first all things in verse 22 refers to all those in authority among earthly and heavenly beings, but with an emphasis on angelic beings, especially the rebellious ones. The second all things in the verse refers to the complete and absolute Headship that the Father entrusted to His Son regarding the church.

Colossians 3:11

There is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Christ's indwelling Presence in all believers in the body esteems and treats each one of them with the same love, respect and kindness, irrespective of nationality or social position. He is the sum of all goodness in all the members of the body.

The kai, and, lends clarification to the muddier expression all in all: Christ IS all, AND He is IN all.

Summary of the Above Passages

  • 1 Corinthians 12:6: The Father utilizes all things, that is, the spiritual gifts, in all persons in the body in such a way as to determine the effects or results that the use of the gifts have in each case.

  • Ephesians 1:22-23: Christ fills all of the body and all of creation with all of Himself.

  • Colossians 3:11: Christ is the sum of all goodness in all the members of the body.

Now, to consolidate the concepts: God is the filler of the body with all that He is, and the members of the body are the ones who are filled. God is also in full control of how He utilizes the aspects of His Presence in the members of the body and of their effects or results on others. Christ is the sum of all goodness in the body, and alsofills all of creation with all of Himself.

The three passages variously limit or focus themselves to the Presence and working of God in and through the members of His body, which, by definition, is limited to all believers from Pentecost to the Rapture; but what we've derived from the passages can be applied to the all in all in 1 Corinthians 15:28 where ALL THINGS includes - but is not limited to - all believers of all time, which the preceding two verses, 22 and 23, having to do with the resurrection, also refer to. After the Son hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, God will exercise the fullness of His power and blessing in and through all people who are His from the Creation to the end of the Kingdom to the fullest extent that creatures can be blessed (without becoming divine themselves)!

We'll now answer our original question very simply. What does it mean that God may be all in all in 1 Corinthians 15:28? It means that when Jesus hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, God will fill all believers - from Adam through the last person saved in the Millennium - with all of Himself - in a creation in which all angelic and human rebellion has been brought to an end.

To keep our thinking and speaking clear on the meaning of all in all, it may be helpful to emphasize the words be and all: that God may BE all IN all.

What a wonderful day that will be!

FOOTNOTES

1. Dr. Cooper calls this The Golden Rule of Interpretation. Cooper, Dr. David L. "Biblical Research Studies Group -The Golden Rule of Interpretation." Biblical Research Studies Group. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page47.html.

2. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.

3. See Part 7: The Significance of the Kingdom, above. Link in the Table of Contents at the top of this page.

4. Ethnos may be translated "nations" or "Gentiles." The latter may be the best translation here as all Israelites in the Kingdom will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD (Jeremiah 31:34. Also Isaiah 59:20-21; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26; Zechariah 13:1), and the deception will be for the purpose of destroying Israel and her Israelite Lord.

5. 1 Corinthians 15:42-54. Also Part 2: The Inhabitants of the Kingdom, above. Link in the Table of Contents at the top of this page.

6. Being nitpicky about such things can protect from error. Before I searched out the likely meaning, I wondered whether the broad plain might refer to the Valley of Jezreel in Israel, where Antichrist will have gathered his forces at the end of the Tribulation to attack Jerusalem; but that now seems unlikely.

7. See Satan and Demons: Part 2 - Satan's Attacks and the Christian's Defense on PAGE 1.

RECOMMENDED READING

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study-001 The Six Abodes of Satan
3. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
4. Messianic Bible Study 019: The Darkness of Demonism
5. Messianic Bible Study 045: After the Kingdom
6. Messianic Bible Study 058: The Offices of the Messiah
7. Messianic Bible Study 077: Satanology: The Doctrine of Satan
8. Messianic Bible Study 082: Demonology: The Doctrine of Demons
9. Messianic Bible Study 091: The Biblical View of Death
10. Messianic Bible Study 099: The Results of the Death of the Messiah
11. Messianic Bible Study 100: The Nature and Results of the Atonement
12. Messianic Bible Study 107: The Place of the Dead
13. Messianic Bible Study 156: The Fall of Satan According to Ezekiel 28:11-19

All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.

The Final Rebellion and the
Return of the Kingdom
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2016.
All rights reserved.

~

THE MILLENNIUM-ETERNITY INTERVAL

PART 2: THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT

And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life,
he was thrown into the lake of fire.

~ Revelation 20:15 ~

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT: EXCERPTS
PART 2: THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
The Central Passage
I. WHO WILL BE JUDGED?
A. UNSAVED PEOPLE
If They Are Dead How Will They Get There?

B. FALLEN ANGELS
II. WHO WILL DO THE JUDGING?
A. THE IDENTITY OF THE THRONE-SITTER
B. THE BODY OF CHRIST
III. THE BASIS OF THE JUDGMENT
1. The Basis for the Judgment of Fallen Angels
2. The Basis for the Judgment of Unsaved People
3. No Second Chance
IV. THE PENALTIES OF THE JUDGMENT
A. THE LAKE OF FIRE
1. Hell and the Lake of Fire Are Not the Same
2. Penalty: The Lake of Fire
3. The Sequence of Entry into the Lake
B. DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT
1. Introduction
2. Principles of Judgment and Degrees of Punishment
3. Foundational Principle
4. Other Principles
5. Summary
C. LIFE IN THE LAKE OF FIRE
D. WHY SUCH DRASTIC PUNISHMENT?
1. The Depth of the Fall
2. The Difference Between Heaven and the Lake of Fire
3. The Crucified Son of God
V. THE JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS OF GOD
VI. WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
FOOTNOTES

RECOMMENDED READING

INTRODUCTION

The two glorious periods that believers look forward to with divine hope are the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom and Eternity or the Eternal Ages. Thus far in our studies we've covered the Millennial Kingdom, the satanically inspired persecution of the Jews and rebellion against the Lord that followed, and the utter destruction of the rebelling forces at the hand of the Lord. We will study the eternal blissful state that all holy angels and believers of all ages will enjoy; but before we do, we must study the second and last of the two transitional events between the Millennium and the Eternal Ages. The first of the two events was covered in our last study above, The Final Rebellion and the Return of the Kingdom - come to think of it, it was actually two significant events that was covered, the first being Satan's final rebellion, and the second being the return of the Kingdom by Yeshua to His Father! - and the next and final event of this transition period, the Great White Throne Judgment, is the subject of this study.

A recapitulation of the Kingdom studies may be found in The Significance of the Kingdom also above. If you'd like to review or read all of the studies in full, links to each may be found at the top of this page.

Before we explore what Scripture has to say about the Great White Throne judgment, let us once again lay a foundation by reading relevant aspects of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations.

AMC STATEMENT: EXCERPTS (1)

Satan and Demons

We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Adversary of God. Satan is the originator of moral evil and the god of this world. He and his agents are active in blinding mankind to spiritual truth, inciting anti-Semitism and attempting to defeat believers. Believers can and should resist him by applying Scriptural truth. (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; 10:3-5; Ephesians 2:1,2, 6:10-18; 1 Timothy 3:6; 2 Peter 2:4)

Angels

We believe a great company of angels are before the throne of God, praising, worshipping, adoring, and glorifying Him. They are sent forth to bring about God's intended plans and purposes, and to minister to all believers. (Isaiah 6:1-7; Daniel 10:10-21; Luke 15:10; Hebrews 1:13,14; Revelation 7:11-12)

Last Things

We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God. (Jeremiah 30:7 Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10)


PART 2: THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT

The Central Passage
R
evelation 20:7-10 summarizes what was covered in our last study: the release of Satan from the Abyss after the Millennium, the worldwide rebellion that he stirs up against the Jews and the Lord, the destruction of the rebelling army at the hand of the Lord, and the casting of Satan into the Lake of Fire.

The next five verses, Revelation 20:11-15, opens to the awesome reality of the Great White Throne Judgment:

11. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

~ Revelation 20:11-15 ~

Immediately after Satan's not-too gentle escort into the Lake of Fire - he was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (20:10) - verse 11 opens to the spellbinding scene of the Great White Throne Judgment - and spellbinding it ought to be due to the utter finality and seriousness of what will transpire there. Its solemnity and gravity is captured in verse 11:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

I. WHO WILL BE JUDGED?

A. UNSAVED PEOPLE

According to verses 12-15, it will be the unsaved of all ages who will be judged.

To be sure, eternal condemnation will already have been rendered on unbelievers. Jesus said in John 3:18, He who believes in [the Son] is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God; but here, at the white throne, their condemnation will be declared to them openly; and just as after the Rapture each believer in the body will receive rewards according to the quality of each man's work (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), here, at the Great White Throne, degrees of punishment will be declared to the condemned, every one of them according to their deeds (Revelation 20:13).

If They Are Dead How Will They Get There?
Vast billions of impenitent sinners since creation will be dead by the time of the Judgment; but if they will be dead, how will they stand before the throne?

Daniel 12:2: Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

John 5:28-29: 28. for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29. and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Revelation 20:13: And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged.

Daniel 12:2 says that they will awake; John 5:28-29 says that there will be a resurrection of judgment;the sea and death of Revelation 20:13 refer to the bodies of the unsaved deceased, and Hades is the place where their spirits are now imprisoned. The bodies and souls of the impenitent dead will be called up by God and reunited by Him to stand alive before Him in judgment. In other words, they will get to the Throne by means of resurrection.

B. FALLEN ANGELS

Not only unsaved people will be judged, but fallen angels, also.

2 Peter 2:4: God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.

Jude 1:6: And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

The angels of these passages are those who came in human form and had relations with the daughters of men (Genesis 6:2, 4). They are now in eternal bonds under darkness, (reserved) for the judgment of the great day (2).

In 1 Corinthians 6:3, Paul said to the Corinthian saints, Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Which angels is he referring to? Scripture declares no judgment of any kind for faithful angels, but we've already seen that fallen angels will be judged; and Satan, an angel, will already have been thrown alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10) prior to the White Throne Judgment. We also know that this passage refers to eternal judgment because Paul contrasts it with the judgment of matters of this life. The passage speaks of the eternal judgment of fallen angels.

II. WHO WILL DO THE JUDGING?

A. THE IDENTITY OF THE THRONE-SITTER

Who will sit on the throne of judgment? Although He is not named, it is hardly necessary to point out that the throne-sitter will be divine: from whose presence earth and heaven fled away; and who but a member of the Godhead could qualify to pronounce eternal condemnation on an innumerable number of fallen angels and billions of people, and their degrees of punishment, with unfailing fairness and accuracy? Furthermore, the throne is described as white, a symbol of holiness throughout Scripture.

But who, among the Godhead, will He be? Though many writers speak in terms of probability, it is conclusive to me that it will be Yeshua. After His resurrection, He declared, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Though the passage is in the context of the work of the body of Messiah, He did say, All authority. Even more to the point, in John 5, He declared, 22. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son . . . . 27. and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. These are definitive statements. In the John passage, the Father is explicitly excluded as Judge, and the Son is named twice, once as having authority to execute judgment, and once as having been given all judgment. Consistent with this, it is He who will judge the members of His body after the Rapture for rewards (2 Corinthians 5:10); it is He who declared, while He yet walked the earth, that He would pronounce the eternal condemnation of the goat Gentiles when the Son of Man comes in His glory (Matthew 25:46), which will be a thousand years before the White Throne Judgment; and it is He who is presented as the Judge of the seven churches in the same Book as the passage we are reviewing (Revelation 1-3). Jesus will be the Throne-sitter.

B. THE BODY OF CHRIST

1 Corinthians 6:2-3: 2. Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? . . . . 3. Do you not know that we will judge angels?

Paul is affirming that the saints will not only judge the unbelievers, those associated with the world system, but angels also. The saints, those who comprise the body of Christ, believers from Pentecost to the Rapture, will sit in judgment along with the Lord. The judgment of fallen angels by believers will be taken up again below.

III. THE BASIS OF THE JUDGMENT (3)

1. The Basis for the Judgment of Fallen Angels
The basis for the judgment of the fallen angels will be whether or not they remained faithful to God when Satan tempted them to join him in his initial rebellion against God (Ezekiel 28:11-19; Revelation 12:3-4a). That third of the angels who chose to join Satan will be judged at the Great White Throne.

2. The Basis for the Judgment of Unsaved People
The basis for the judgment of unsaved humanity will be rejection of belief in the Messiah.

18. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

~ John 3:18-19 ~

What of those who were born prior to Jesus' advent or never heard of Him while or after He walked the earth?

In every age and in every place God did not leave Himself without witness whether in nature (Psalm 19:1; Acts 14:17; Romans 1) or by special revelation about Messiah, though it be as rudimentary as that declared in Genesis 3:15 in the hearing of Adam and Eve. Those who reject the light of the existence of God provided them in nature will surely reject the greater light of special revelation whether they are exposed to it or not, and will surely be condemned (Romans 1:18-20); and those who are exposed to the greater light of special revelation and reject it will likewise be condemned.

It will be those who rejected the light offered whose names will not be found in the Book of Life in Revelation 20:15: And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

3. No Second Chance
There will be no second chance for fallen angels or human unbelievers. Scripture gives no indication that either angels who chose to follow Satan, or Satan himself, will be given a chance to repent. Neither will unbelievers be given a chance to repent after they die.

It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

28. for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29. and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

~ John 5:28-29 ~

Those in the tombs will be resurrected and judged on the basis of what they did while alive. No second chance.

Death seals the fate of people, whether it will be Heaven and their degree of reward, or the Lake of Fire and their degree of punishment.

IV. THE PENALTIES OF THE JUDGMENT

A. THE LAKE OF FIRE

1. Hell and the Lake of Fire Are Not the Same
Though the Lake of Fire is commonly referred to as Hell, the two are not the same.

Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes,

The English word "Hell" comes from a Teutonic root which means "to hide" or "to cover." There is no special Hebrew or Greek term for the word "Hell" in Scripture. . . . The concept of Hell is included in some of the concepts of Sheol and Hades, and are totally found in the concepts of Abbadon and the pit. So while the Scriptures do not actually use a special term for "Hell," the concepts of Hell are definitely biblical. What people call "Hell" is what the Old Testament calls Abbadon or the pit, the unrighteous side of Sheol or Hades.

Based upon what has already been stated about the unrighteous side of Sheol or Hades, and what has been stated about Abbadon or the pit, this Hell contains unsaved humans only. It does not include fallen angels, because fallen angels are in two other places, the abyss or Tartarus. While Hell contains certain concepts of Sheol or Hades and totally the concepts of Abbadon and the pit, it excludes the concepts of the abyss and Tartarus, for these places are for fallen angels only. (4)

Consider the different translations of Revelation 20:14, Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire (NASB). Of the thirty-five translations I checked, eighteen render Hades as Hades (Greek), two render it as Sheol (Hebrew), and twelve render it as Hell. All the translators who used an English translation of the word - a third of them - used the word Hell; and if Hell is thrown into the Lake of Fire, they must be certainly be two different places.

In this matter we see another example of the need for precise terminology: Though the souls of unsaved deceased people are in Hell (Sheol or Hades), no fallen angel is; but all will be present in the Lake of Fire.

(Before Jesus' ascension, Sheol or Hades contained a paradisical section for the saints and a place of torment for unsaved humanity [see Luke 16:19-31]; but upon His ascension, He cleared Sheol or Hades of its saints [see Ephesians 4:8-10], leaving the souls of its unsaved residents in its place of torment, Abbadon or the pit, to be cast into the Lake on the Day of Judgment.)

2. Penalty: The Lake of Fire

13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. 15. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

~ Revelation 20:13-15 ~

The sea and death refer to the bodies of the unsaved deceased, and Hades refers to their souls. Unsaved people will be thrown body and soul into the Lake of Fire.

The Lake of Fire is also named as the final abode of fallen angels and people in Revelation 19:20, 20:10 and 21:8.

3. The Sequence of Entry into the Lake
Preliminary to stating the sequence, we must address the issue of the goat Gentiles of Matthew 25:41-46, those who will demonstrate their unsaved state by refusing to render aid to the persecuted Jews of the Tribulation.

While Jesus yet walked the earth, He declared to His disciples what He will say to the goat Gentiles upon His return (Joel 3:1): Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). I consulted many translations and looked into the Greek; and the plain meaning is that He will command them to enter the eternal fire at the time of His commandment to them. The torment section of Sheol or Hades is described as a place of flame (Luke 16:24) and will itself be cast into the Lake, yet it is only the Lake of Fire that is explicitly named as being prepared for the devil and his angels, and that is where the goat Gentiles will depart to.

This, then, will be the sequence: first, the anti-Christ, false prophet and goat Gentiles will be thrown into the Lake in the brief interval between the Tribulation and the Kingdom (Matthew 25:41-46; Revelation 19:20); then, a thousand years later, at the end of the Millennium and prior to the White Throne Judgment, Satan will be cast in (Revelation 20:10); and then, after the Judgment, all other fallen angels and unsaved people will be cast in.

B. DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT

1. Introduction
All fallen angels and impenitent people will be condemned to the Lake; however, degrees of punishment will be meted out to each condemned angel and person.

Scripture is very explicit in the fact that there are degrees of sinfulness and corresponding punishment for unsaved people, but it seems that it is not stated explicitly, only implied, concerning fallen angels.

There are principles by which God will judge degrees of punishment for unsaved humanity, and these principles can readily be applied to angels. For example, one principle is that judgment will be in proportion to intimacy with God, and Satan was more intimate with God before his fall than were the other angels (Ezekiel 28:14). Also, as has been shown, Paul told the Corinthian believers that they will judge demons. Since their condemnation to the Lake of Fire is common to all fallen angels, what Paul must be saying is that members of the body will judge the degree of punishment that individual demons will receive in the Lake.

Just as greater or lesser rewards will be bestowed upon the members of the body of Messiah at the Judgment Seat of Messiah (1 Corinthians 3:8-15), greater or lesser punishments will be meted out to fallen angels as well as unsaved humanity at the White Throne Judgment.

2. Principles of Judgment and Degrees of Punishment
This section addresses two concepts: 1. Principles of Judgment and 2. Degrees of Punishment. Because the passages shedding light on both are virtually the same, we will treat them together.

3. Foundational Principle
Proverbs 26:2: A curse without a cause does not alight.

An application of this is found in Jeremiah 30:15: Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous, I have done these things to you.

4. Other Principles
We will observe some representative passages and note the principles of judgment each reveals:

Amos 3:2: You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Judgment will be in proportion to intimacy with God.

James 3:1: Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
Judgment will be in proportion to intimacy with God and degree of responsibility.

Matthew 10:15: Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
Judgment will be in proportion to intimacy with God and revelation received.

Matthew 11: 21. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
Judgment will be in proportion to intimacy with God and revelation received.

Mark 12:38-40: 38. In His teaching He was saying: "Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39. and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 40. who devour widows' houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation
Judgment will be in proportion to intimacy with God, degree of responsibility, and the objective odiousness of the sin; in this case, hypocrisy and taking advantage of the vulnerable.

Luke 12: 47. And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, 48. but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
J
udgment will be in proportion to revelation received.

Luke 23:34: But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
A particular sin may be forgiven if the doer of the sin does not realize it is a sin - not forgiveness in the salvation sense, but in degree of punishment.

John 9:41: Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains."
Denial of spiritual blindness is a sin that will not be forgiven. (This was spoken in the salvation sense, but has application to degrees of punishment.)

John 15:22-24: 22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin . . . . 24. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.
Punishment will be in proportion to revelation received.

John 19:11: Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."
There are degrees of sin, and punishment will be in proportion to revelation received.

Romans 2:9: There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek. Punishment will be in proportion to intimacy with God and revelation received.

James 4:17: Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Punishment will be in proportion to revelation received.

2 Peter 2:4: For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment. (Also Jude 1:4. See Genesis 6:1-4) (4).
Certain sins are more odious than others, and punishment will be in proportion to the odiousness of the sin.

Revelation 20:12b: and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
There will be degrees of punishment, and they will be based on deeds done while the sinner was yet alive.

5. Summary
A curse without a cause does not alight. The principles of judgment and degrees of punishment will be based on deeds done while the sinner was alive. Degrees of punishment will be in proportion to the objective odiousness of the sin, intimacy with God, revelation received, and degree of responsibility; and a particular sin may be forgiven if the doer did not realize it was a sin, but denial of spiritual blindness to a sin when one ought to see it is a sin that will not be forgiven.

C. LIFE IN THE LAKE OF FIRE

A peculiar title, but those in the Lake will be very much alive.

Daniel 12:2:Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Matthew 25:41: Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

John 5:28:29: 28. for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29. and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Revelation 14:10-11: 10. he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11. and the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night.

Revelation 20:14: Then death [bodies] and Hades [souls] were thrown into the lake of fire.

Contrary to those who hold that the Lake of Fire is a temporary place and that those thrown into it will be instantly annihilated, these passages and others like it show that the Lake of Fire will be eternal, and that it's inhabitant will live forever in a conscious state, having no rest day and night, and experiencing disgrace, contempt, the wrath of God and torment in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus].

D. WHY SUCH DRASTIC PUNISHMENT?

Who has not shaken their heads at the severity of the eternal punishment depicted in Scripture? Who of us can bear to dwell on the thought of our unsaved loved ones in the Lake of Fire?

We who have been born with the sin nature into a sin-saturated world can hardly begin to fathom the depths of the sinfulness of sin. However, Scripture does give us some benchmarks:

1. The Depth of the Fall
The depth of the Fall is an indication of how profoundly sinful sin is.

Adam and Eve dwelt in idyllic peace and bliss in the Garden, experiencing fellowship with God unmitigated and undiluted by sin (Genesis 2:21-25). Compare that with a world of injuries, sickness, agonizing pain, death, swearing, cursing, sin on every hand and ceaseless wars - and all this by reason of but one sin in the Garden.

2. The Difference Between Heaven and the Lake of Fire
Can we even begin to grasp the vast difference between life in Heaven and life in the Lake of Fire? We can barely begin to fathom the reality of each. Yet, what we know of each from Scripture hints at the difference between a holy, joyful eternity in the presence of God and an eternity of the wrath of God in the torment of fire. This, too, is an indication of the gruesome sinfulness of sin.

3. The Crucified Son of God
And last, but not least, the crucifixion of the Holy Lamb of God, who voluntarily came from Heaven, took on a mortal body, suffered thirst, hunger and crucifixion, experienced utter separation from His Father for three hours while on the cross for the first time in eternity, and experienced the agonizing throes of death - for a death He did not deserve; but did it for us. Perhaps this is the ultimate indicator of the utter sinfulness of sin.

V. THE JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS OF GOD

Being limited in our perception of the sinfulness of sin, we must trust Him who is omniscient and all-loving.

Genesis 18:25: Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?

Deuteronomy 32:4: The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.

Job 34:12: Surely, God will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.

Isaiah 61:8: For I, the LORD, love justice.

Jeremiah 17:10: I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.

VI. WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

Perhaps you have not yet placed your trust in the Lord for salvation, and desire to be saved from the power, the destructiveness and the punishment of the sinfulness that is binding you and hanging over you. God has made a way.


Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel . . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4. and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ~

16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

~ John 3:16-17 ~

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.

~ Acts 16:31 ~

Do you believe? If so, declare it to the Lord now and thank Him for your salvation.

If you'd like to read my story, you can read it here: norm-biog-messianic.htm.

Amen.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations.

FOOTNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.

2. The best exposition of Genesis 6:1-6 that I know of appears in Dr. Fruchtenbaum's The Book of Genesis. See Recommended Reading, below.

3. The basis for the judgment of humanity, whether for eternal salvation or condemnation, is examined in detail in the following studies: Salvation Is by Faith in Yeshua, The Narrow Way and Eternal Security, all on Page 1 of this Doctrinal Exegesis.

4. Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 107: The Place of the Dead. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries,1992, 2005. p. 10. See Recommended Reading, below.

5. See The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, above.

RECOMMENDED READING

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Book of Genesis.
2. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
3. Messianic Bible Study 001: The Six Abodes of Satan
4. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
5. Messianic Bible Study 107: The Place of the Dead
6. Messianic Bible Study 019: The Darkness of Demonism
7. Messianic Bible Study 045: After the Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 077: Satanology: The Doctrine of Satan
9. Messianic Bible Study 082: Demonology: The Doctrine of Demons
10. Messianic Bible Study 091: The Biblical View of Death
11. Messianic Bible Study 107: The Place of the Dead
12. Messianic Bible Study 156: The Fall of Satan According to Ezekiel 28:11-19

All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.

Dr. David L. Cooper
Cooper, D. L. (1951, July). Biblical Research Society: Dr. David L. Cooper. Retrieved from http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm. See "The Millennial Reign of Christ" and "The Eternal Order" sections of What We Believe.

Thomas Paul Simmons
Simmons/Providence Baptist Ministries, T. P. (2010). Chapter 43, The Final State of the Righteous and the Wicked. http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Simmons/chapter43.htm.


The Great White Throne Judgment
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2016.
All rights reserved.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

~

PART 3: THE HEAVENLY AGES

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city
of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

~ Hebrews 12:22 ~
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT: EXCERPTS
I. OUR HEAVENLY HOME
A. OLD TESTAMENT REVELATION
B. NEW TESTAMENT REVELATION: A WINDOW INTO THE HEAVENLY AGES
1. THE OBLITERATION OF OUR PRESENT UNIVERSE
2. THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH
3. THE NEW JERUSALEM
a. Clearing Up Some Issues
1) Is New Jerusalem a Designation for the Church?
2) Is Mount Zion a Designation for the Church?
b. New Jerusalem's Dimensions
c. Gates and Walls to Honor Israel and the Apostles
d. God Will Be Its Temple
e. Nations and Kings Will Bring Their Glory Into It
f. A River of the Water of Life
4. THE ULTIMATE FULFILLMENT OF TABERNACLES
5. IS NEW JERUSALEM HEAVEN?
6. DOORS ON THE HINGE
II. SOME FINAL TRUTHS
FOOTNOTES

RECOMMENDED READING
 

INTRODUCTION

Dear Friends,

In 2005 we began our series of a detailed exposition of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. Little did anyone know, including me, that it would turn out to be a fairly well developed systematic theology, a topical exposition of the Scriptures presented in a logical sequence. To use formal terminology, we've covered Bibliology, the doctrine or study of the Scriptures that addresses such questions as how we know that the Bible is the written, inerrant, infallible word of God and how He composed it through human writers; Theology Proper, the study of God, which includes, but is not limited to, the study of the Trinity and God the Father; Christology, the study of the Son; Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit; Angelology, the study of angels; Satanology, the study of Satan; Demonology, the study of demons; Anthropology, the biblical study of man (not to be confused with the sociological science of anthropology); Hamartiology, the study of sin; Soteriology, the study of Salvation through the ages; Israelology, the study of Israel; Ecclesiology, the study of the Church; and finally, Eschatology, the study of future events.

Though I expect to fill in some blanks in the future, this present eschatological study will bring our sequence to a close. We have made quite a bit of headway in Eschatology, having covered what I have entitled The Destinies of the Dead; The Rapture; The Great Tribulation; The Second Coming; The Millennial or Messianic Kingdom; and The Millennium-Eternity Interval, which includes The Final Rebellion and The Return of the Kingdom (by the Lord to His Father), and The Great White Throne Judgment. We will now commence our final study, The Heavenly Ages.

It has been my great privilege and blessing to do this.


For Yeshua and you,
Nachum ben Avraham,
Norman Manzon

~

Let us once again lay a foundation by reading relevant aspects of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. For context, we'll include the entire statement on Last Things.

AMC STATEMENT: EXCERPTS (1)

Angels

We believe a great company of angels are before the throne of God, praising, worshipping, adoring, and glorifying Him. (Isaiah 6:1-7; Daniel 10:10-21; Luke 15:10; Hebrews 1:13,14; Revelation 7:11-12)

Last Things

We believe that upon physical death believers enter into the joyous presence of God, whereas non-believers enter into conscious suffering apart from God. We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers shall be resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Non-believers shall be resurrected to experience judgment and then eternal suffering/separation apart from God. (Jeremiah 30:7 Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10 )

The eternally blessed state beyond the Millennium in which all believers since Adam will reside is commonly referred to as Heaven. Will Heaven be the eternal dwelling of the righteous? What does Scripture tell us about our future eternal heavenly home?

Let us look at the Old Testament, and then the New.

I. OUR HEAVENLY HOME

A. OLD TESTAMENT REVELATION

The Tanach, or Old Testament, does not cite Heaven as the future eternal dwelling place of the redeemed.

Three places in Scripture are called Heaven. One is the atmosphere. Genesis 1:20: Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." Another is what we call outer space, which contains sun, moon, stars, interstellar dust and all else that is there. Genesis 1:14-17: Verses 14-15: Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and it was so. The third place is the Heaven where God dwells, which can be seen in Revelation 11:13 and numerous other places. In 2 Corinthians 12:2 and 4, Paul called this place Paradise and the third heaven. This is the Heaven that is our present focus.

What does the Old Testament say about Heaven?

It says that God is the Possessor of Heaven (Gen. 14:19, 22), that He dwells in Heaven (Deuteronomy 26:15; 1 Kings 8:23), that He rules earth from Heaven (2 Chronicles 36:23) and that He performs actions on earth from Heaven (Exodus 16:4, 20:22). Also, the Angel of God or the Angel of YHVH, Who is God the Son, spoke to Hagar and Abram from Heaven (Genesis 21:17, 22:11).

When the righteous died in the ages before Yeshua, they went to the Paradise section of Sheol (Genesis 37:35; Job 14:13; Psalm 16:10. Luke 23:43: And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." Although there was a compartment in Sheol reserved for the unrighteous, even the righteous spoke of themselves as going "down" to Sheol (Genesis 37:35; Job 7:9). This Paradise section of Sheol could not possibly be the same as Heaven because Heaven is constantly referred to as being "up" (Deuteronomy 30:12; 1 Samuel 5:12). Enoch was taken up (Hebrews 11:5); Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven (2 Kings 2:11); Yeshua was taken up (Acts 1:2); Paul was caught up to the third Heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2).

Enoch and Elijah were taken up to Heaven, but Scripture does not say that they were to abide there forever. In fact, it is likely that they will be brought down from Heaven to enjoy the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom along with all the other Old Testament saints (Ezekiel 36:24-28; Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 8:15-18; 24:31; Mark 13:27).

To conclude, the Old Testament nowhere states or implies that Heaven, or the Paradise section of Sheol, for that matter, will be the eternal dwelling place for the righteous. As far as Sheol is concerned, Yeshua emptied it of its saints upon His ascension, to ascend with Him to Heaven (Ephesians 4:8-10); but they will be brought down again to enjoy the Millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 36:24-28; Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 8:15-18; 24:31; Mark 13:27). The chronological reach of Old Testament revelation concerning a blessed dwelling place for the righteous is the Messianic Kingdom, which is addressed at length and in many places, and which the New Testament informs us will be terminated after a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). Plain revelation about what will follow the Kingdom was reserved for the New Testament.

B. NEW TESTAMENT REVELATION: A WINDOW INTO THE HEAVENLY AGES

Two passages provide us with a vision of our future eternal glorious abode, a vision that God has lovingly blessed us with in the midst of the storms of this life that we may fight on for His glory. As it says of Yeshua in Hebrews 12:2, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. So may it be for us as we behold the joy set before us. Let us rise above mere intellect and partake of the passages with reverence and joy!

The passages are Hebrews 12:22-24 and Revelation 21:1-22:5. The Revelation passage opens our eyes to the New Heaven, the New Earth and the New Jerusalem, providing a broader vision than the Hebrews passage does. We will therefore read the Revelation passage first.

The apostle John is being shown visions of the future by the ascended Yeshua.

The New Heaven and the New Earth
21:1
. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4. and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." 5. And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." 6. Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7. "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8. "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

The New Jerusalem
9. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11. having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. 16. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. 17. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. 18. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20. the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. 21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. 22. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26. and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27. and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

The River of Life
Rev 22:1. Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2. in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4. they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

~ Revelation 21:1 - 22:5 ~

The Hebrews passage:

22. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23. to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24. and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

~ Hebrews 12:22-24 ~

1. THE OBLITERATION OF OUR PRESENT UNIVERSE

When John saw the Lord Yeshua sitting upon His throne in preparation for the White Throne Judgment, he wrote, Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them (Revelation 20:11).

This is poetic language, but not mere poetic language; for immediately after the sentences of the Judgment are carried out, he wrote, Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away (21:1). Though expressed poetically, 20:11 describes the literal obliteration of our present created universe. That universe, so polluted by sin from the time of Adam until the end of the Millennium, upon which the Adamic curse presently resides in full force and which will retain elements of that curse even in the Kingdom, will be obliterated. As God spoke the universe into existence out of nothingness, so will He return it into nothingness that it may be replaced by a perfect, wholly intact, holy and thoroughly blessed dwelling for the saved of all ages.

This fleeing away of earth and heaven is not to be confused with what is described in 2 Peter 3:10, which is the destruction and ruination, but not obliteration, of the earth during the terrible judgments of the Great Tribulation.

2. THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea (Revelation 21:1).

With our present created heavens and earth obliterated, the White Throne Judgment terminated and the sentences of the doomed carried out, God will create a new heaven and new earth, a newly created heaven and earth which are not to be confused with those spoken of in Isaiah 66:22 and 2 Peter 3:13, which refer to the repaired heaven and earth of the Millennial Kingdom after the judgments of the Tribulation. Nor should this newly created heaven be confused with the Heaven that God dwells in, which is uncreated and has existed from eternity past. The new heaven will be a newly created heaven, just as our atmosphere and all that is in the universe were created. Also, the newly created earth will be very different from the one we know. Whereas four-fifths of our present earth is covered by ocean, in the new earth . . . there is no longer any sea. Furthermore, it will likely be many times larger than our present earth, as we shall see.

3. THE NEW JERUSALEM

No sooner are we told of the creation of a new heaven and earth than we are told of the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband (21:2).

New Jerusalem, still in Heaven, must be where Yeshua is now preparing the many mansions (KJV) or dwelling places for those who love Him: In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:2); for as it says in Hebrews 12:23 above, the saints of all of earth's ages will dwell there.

a. Clearing Up Some Issues
Before we proceed further, it would be good to clear up some issues that have arisen.

1) Is New Jerusalem a Designation for the Church?
In 21:16-17, the New Jerusalem is described as having specific dimensions and as having a wall with specific dimensions - not symbolic dimensions, but dimensions according to human measurements. What this means is that we are to understand New Jerusalem as being a literal city. Therefore, New Jerusalem cannot be another name for the church. Another reason that New Jerusalem cannot be a designation for the church is because Hebrews 12:23 includes among its residents not only the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which refers the church, a term that the New Testament limits to believers from Pentecost to the Rapture, (2) but also the spirits of the righteous made perfect, which refers to the Old Testament saints (cf. Hebrews 11:39-40).

To clarify, New Jerusalem cannot be a designation for the church because:
1. we are to understand it as being a literal city, and
2. it contain many more believers than those that constitute the church.

Having said that, we need to address 22:9-10:

22:9. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem

In and of itself, the passage appears to declare an identity between the bride, the wife of the Lamb and the holy city, Jerusalem; but is it actually doing that? After all, elsewhere in the New Testament, the church is referred to as a bride; and if the bride is called the holy city, Jerusalem here, doesn't that mean that New Jerusalem is really the church?

Revelation 21:2: And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. The verse uses bride as a simile for - not as the identity of - New Jerusalem - as a bride. If 22:9 uses the bride as a metaphor for - not as the identity of - the holy city, Jerusalem, it would be consistent with the use of a bride as a simile in 21:2, and would also fall in line with the two reasons shown above as to why New Jerusalem can't be the church. It is reasonable to say that bride in 22:7 is used as a metaphor for the city, not as the identity of it.

To clarify the distinction between a metaphor and an identity, consider Juliet's use of "a rose" as a metaphor for Romeo in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Did she mean that Romeo was a literal rose with ants crawling all over him and bees buzzing around his head? Of course, not. She used "rose" as a metaphor to convey the sweetness and beauty of her heartthrob. In the same way, the bride is used as a metaphor for the holy city, Jerusalem to convey its purity and beauty. Another thing to note is that although the bride is used elsewhere as a metaphor for the church, there is no reason that it cannot have a different meaning here. Scripture contains other metaphors that are used in more than one sense. In Psalm 66:12, water represents trouble; but in John 7:38, it represents spiritual life. In the same way, bride is used elsewhere as a metaphor for the church, but here it is used as a metaphor for the holy city, Jerusalem.

In addition to the bride being used as a metaphor for New Jerusalem, it may be used in a second sense here, as well, as metaphorical of all believers in the city, not just those in the church. An understanding of the sequence of events leading to an Israeli wedding at the time of the writing should shed light on this use of the bride, the wife of the Lamb here.

There were four stages in an Israeli wedding:
1. The marriage arrangement and paying of the bride price by the groom's father.
2. The escorting of the bride to the wedding (usually much later).
3. The wedding ceremony.
4. The wedding feast.

Scripture shows the church passing through all four stages, some of which contain more that one step. Eight steps are shown below. Scripture also shows that those believers who are not members of the church pass through most, but not all, of the eight stages.

They are:
1. The Marriage Arrangement
The pre-incarnate Son declares to His Father His willingness to be a sacrifice for sin:

6. Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. 7. Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.

~ Psalm 40:6-8 ~

Also Isaiah 42:5-7 and 49:5-6.
2. The Paying of the Bride Price by the Father of the Groom.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Luke 22:20: This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
3. The Betrothal or Engagement of the Bride to Her Groom through Faith in Messiah.
In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul, who brought the Corinthians to faith Messiah, wrote, I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
4. The Purification of the Bride.
In Ephesians 5:25-27, the saved, betrothed church is being purified by her future Husband in preparation for marriage to Him: that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.
5
. The Escorting of the Bride to the Wedding.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the betrothed bride is shown as being escorted to Heaven, her Groom's home, at the Rapture: and so we shall always be with the Lord, where the final purification of the Bride will take place (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
6. The Wedding.
In Revelation 19:6-8, the purified bride and her Groom are married in Heaven prior to the Second Coming: Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.
7. The Wedding Feast.
The wedding feast will take place on earth after the Second Coming, probably the first event of the Millennium.
Revelation 19:9: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
8. Finally, in Revelation 21:9, the purified Bride of Messiah, now the married wife of YHWH, is shown to John in her heavenly home, the New Jerusalem: "Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem. (3)

To review, the point of showing that all believers will eventually pass through this marriage sequence is that, in addition to the bride being used as a metaphor for New Jerusalem, it is also likely used as a metaphor for all believers in the city, not just for the church.

To summarize this section,
New Jerusalem cannot be a designation for the church because:
1. we are to understand it as being a literal city, and
2. it contains many more believers than just those in the church.
3. Bride is a simile for New Jerusalem in 21:2.
4. The bride, the wife of the Lamb is a metaphor for New Jerusalem in 22:9-10.
5. The bride, the wife of the Lamb is likely also a metaphor for all believers of all ages present in New Jerusalem.

A comment by Dr. J. Vernon McGee on 21:9 may nail it on the head. (Ouch!): "Although a distinction between the bride and the city needs to be maintained, it is the intent of the writer to consider them together."

2) Is Mount Zion a Designation for the Church?
The passage in question is Hebrews 12:22: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels . . . .

Mount Zion is a literal mountain or hill in Jerusalem. In the Tanach or Old Testament, which the writer of Hebrews was very familiar with (judging from the entire Book), Zion was a term, rich in meaning, that was used for all Israel (Jeremiah 31:12; Zechariah 9:13), Jerusalem itself (Isaiah 40:9), and the Temple in Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6; 48:2, 11–12; 132:13; Jeremiah 31:6). It would be consistent with that that the writer used Mount Zion in the same way in reference to the heavenly Jerusalem. Furthermore, in the passage, the city of the living God is equated with the heavenly Jerusalem, which also adds to the likelihood that Mount Zion is a third designation in the equation (the heavenly Jerusalem = the city of the living God = Mount Zion); and since New Jerusalem cannot be another name for the church, Mt. Zion, which is equated with it, cannot be a name for the church either.

This conclusion is supported by various translations.
Wuest: But you have come to Mount Sion, even to the city of the living God;
the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (LITV): But you have drawn near Mount Zion, even the city of the living God;
the Amplified Version (AMP): But rather, you have come to Mount Zion, even to the city of the living God;
and others.

Even if one may suppose that the writer is referring to a literal Mount Zion in the New Jerusalem, it cannot be a name for the church for the same reasons that New Jerusalem can't be; nor does any use of Mount Zion elsewhere in Scripture point to its use as a name for the church.

b. New Jerusalem's Dimensions

16. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. 17. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.

~ Revelation 21:16-17 ~

Fifteen hundred miles long, wide and high can describe either a perfect cube or a four-sided pyramid; but if the city were a pyramid as some speculate, surely the writer would have made it clear as that would be a most unusual shape for a city. In this regard, it is interesting to note that its closest earthly counterparts, the holy of holies in the tabernacle, and later the temple, were in the shape of a cube (Exodus 26:31-33; 1 Kings 6:20; 2 Chronicles 3:8).

The dimensions of New Jerusalem are not to be glossed over: fifteen hundred miles long, wide and high.

Fifteen hundred miles is the distance between Galveston, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian border, and between Washington DC and Denver, Colorado. At 1,500 miles squared it will cover an area of 2,250,000 square miles, three-quarters of the area of the forty-eight contiguous states of the United States, and 261 times the area of modern Israel. (4) In contrast, millennial Jerusalem will cover an area of 100 square miles. (5)

How high is 1,500 miles? For comparison's sake, according to Space Today Online, "U.S. space shuttles . . . . usually fly at altitudes around 200 miles above Earth;" (6) so New Jerusalem will be seven and a half times as high as space shuttles fly!

At a height of 1,500 miles, New Jerusalem will be six thousand times taller than the Empire State Building, which is a quarter of a mile high. If any semblance of proportion is to be presumed, New Earth may be thousands of times larger than our present earth.

The holy city is said to have walls, gates and streets.

18. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20. the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. 21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

~ Revelation 21:18-21 ~

According to 21:16, it walls will be seventy-two yards or two hundred and sixteen feet high, twenty-two storeys, which is less than one thirty-seven thousandth of the city's height. So what's the point of having walls? Not for security! 21:5 says, its gates will never be closed. In addition, the Triune God will be dwelling there as well as the entire host of holy angels, and they will be quite enough for security! Also, we, in a state of confirmed creaturely holiness, will be impervious to spiritual attack; and dwelling in immortal, invincible, glorified bodies, will be impervious to physical attack. Furthermore, nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it (21:7) because they'll be "a great gulf fixed" away in the Lake of Fire. So why the walls and gates? In addition to blessing the saints with their great beauty, they will be there to honor the twelve tribes of Israel and the apostles.

c. Gates and Walls to Honor Israel and the Apostles

12. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

~ Revelation 21:12-14 ~

The gates will honor the twelve tribes of Israel through whom God brought forth His written Word and the Messiah. They will also honor the foundational work of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, who established the church and laid down New Testament doctrine in their declarations and writings.

d. God Will Be Its Temple

22. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26. and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27. and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

~ Revelation 21:22-27 ~

The Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb, who will fill the city with the glory of their Presence, will be the city's Temple, and we will abide in Them.

e. Nations and Kings Will Bring Their Glory Into It
24. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

When considering what nations the verse might be referring to, we must not think in terms of countries. All believers will dwell in New Jerusalem. The word for nations is ethnos, better translated as "peoples." We believers, who will be gathered from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9) will be its nations or "peoples."

What kings of the earth will bring their glory into it? We, the redeemed, will be its kings. 22:5 says of us, and they will reign forever and ever.

When will we bring our glory into New Jerusalem? The moment God escorts us into it after it settles upon the New Earth.

What glory we will bring into it? Daniel 12:3 says, Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

We must also note that we, who will reign as kings, will also be the Lamb's bond-servants who will serve Him (22:3), though we are not told in what capacity we will serve Him. Perhaps our service will be in the form of continual worship of Him akin to that of the seraphim and twenty-four elders of Revelation 4:7-11. What else could it be? Perhaps that question has an answer, but we can't tell what it is now.

f. A River of the Water of Life

1. Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2. in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4. they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

~ Revelation 22:1-5 ~

That which is purely and fully life-giving will flow from the throne of God and of the Lamb, and that fruit which is purely and fully blessed for the sustenance of our eternal lives will proceed continually from the tree of life.

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Nearly every translation renders it for the healing of the nations or something similar; but how can we need healing if our spirits are already purged of the sin nature, our bodies are already glorified, and no trace of the curse or its effects will have any place there? Perhaps Wuest translates it best: And the leaves of the tree were for the health of the nations.

4. THE ULTIMATE FULFILLMENT OF TABERNACLES

The Feast of Tabernacles is the seventh and final feast of the yearly cycle of feasts prescribed by God in Leviticus 23 for the Israelites under Moses to observe. Each of the feasts has prophetic significance, and the significance of Tabernacles may be viewed as the resolution of the six feasts that preceded it. (7)

Tabernacles had its initial fulfillment in Jesus (John 1:14). It will also have a fulfillment in the Kingdom (Zechariah 14:16), and its final and ultimate fulfillment will be in the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:3: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them. . . .

The tabernacle of God is identified with a divine He. Who is He?

The word for tabernacle here is the same as that used by the same author for dwelt in John 1:14, where he wrote, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Yeshua will be dwelling or "tabernacling" among us once again in the New Jerusalem; but in light of 22:3, and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, we see that God the Father will also be tabernacling among us.

5. IS NEW JERUSALEM HEAVEN?

Many years ago, I sat under a Bible teacher as he taught a long series; and he said repeatedly, "Big doors swing on little hinges." Over the years, I've discovered that he was absolutely correct when it comes to rightly dividing (KJV) or accurately handling the word of truth. So let's work on this little hinge.

Is New Jerusalem a symbolic reference to Heaven? Some say that it is; but Revelation 21:10 speaks of the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. If it comes down out of heaven it cannot be Heaven. It must be distinct from it. Nowhere does Scripture call New Jerusalem Heaven. Hebrews 12:22 calls New Jerusalem "heavenly," but not Heaven. It carries the glory of Heaven, but is not Heaven itself.

Hebrews 12:22 tells us, But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23. to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all . . . .

From this we understand that God will dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem in a special way just as His Son dwelt on earth in a special way; and just as Yeshua never relinquished His omnipresence even while He walked here bodily, neither will any of the Triune members of the Godhead relinquish their omnipresence in New Jerusalem. God is omnipresent, and His Presence can never be restricted by the dimensions of New Jerusalem or the New Earth, but must extend outward to infinity. With this fact in mind along with the fact that New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven, we must conclude that Heaven will exist for an eternity apart from the New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is not a designation for Heaven.

6. DOORS ON THE HINGE

Scripture contains doors that swing on the hinge of New Jerusalem not being Heaven; and those doors may be hinges for even larger doors.

The doors that I have in mind are such declarations as were made by Yeshua and Peter in Matthew 5:12, 6:1, 6:20, 19:22,10:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 6:23, 12:33; 18:22; and 1 Peter 1:4.

In and of themselves, and depending upon the particular passage, they may have one of the following meanings or implications:
1. We, the members of the body of Messiah, will receive our rewards or treasures or inheritance when we get to Heaven during the seven year period after the Rapture (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
2. We will receive our rewards or treasures or inheritance when we get to Heaven after the Great White Throne Judgment, where we will dwell for eternity.
3. God, who dwells in Heaven, is keeping track of our rewards or treasures or inheritance there.
4. We will receive our rewards or treasures or inheritance in the Messianic Kingdom.

Here's the rub: Since we've seen that our eternal dwelling will not be Heaven, but New Jerusalem, we must eliminate the second possibility.

Another passage akin to the above is Philippians 3:20-21:

20. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21. who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

~ Philippians 3:20-21 ~

To say that our citizenship is in Heaven is not to say that we will dwell there forever, and we've seen that our eternal home will not be Heaven, but New Jerusalem.

In our legal standing in Messiah, whom God made to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21), God counts us as much citizens of Heaven as He does His own Son, who now dwells with Him in Heaven. Even as we dwell body and soul here on earth, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ and has raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6). Similarly, our citizenship is in heaven.

II. SOME FINAL TRUTHS

[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

~ Revelation 21:4 ~

3. and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4. they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

~ Revelation 22:3-5 ~

And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."

~ Revelation 21:5 ~

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

~ Matthew 24:35 ~

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

~ Hebrews 12:28-29 ~

Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

~ Revelation 21:6 ~
 

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations.


FOOTNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.

2. See The Universal Church at  Key Doctrinal Overview and Exegesis, Page 3.

3. For a discussion of the meaning of the bride, the wife of the Lamb in Revelation 21:10, read or listen to The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of Messiah by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum at http://ariel.org/come-and-see.htm, or read Dr. Fruchtenbaum's Messianic Bible Study 015: The Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah.

4. Today's Israel covers an area of 8,630 square miles. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/land/pages/the%20land-%20geography%20and%20climate.aspx.

5. The Millennial Jerusalem described in Ezekiel 47 and 48, will be a mere ten miles by ten miles in area. Dr. David L. Cooper, http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm.

6. Space Today, http://www.spacetoday.org/Satellites/SatBytes/SatAltitudes.html.

7. See Dr. Fruchtenbaum's Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel, or the author's The Prophetic Feasts of Israel at http://www.biblestudyproject.org/feasts-of-israel-messianic.htm.

RECOMMENDED READING

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 001: The Six Abodes of Satan
3. Messianic Bible Study 015: The Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 045: After the Kingdom
5. Messianic Bible Study 046: The Eternal Order
6. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
7. Messianic Bible Study 077: Satanology: The Doctrine of Satan
8. Messianic Bible Study 082: Demonology: The Doctrine of Demons
9. Messianic Bible Study 091: The Biblical View of Death
10. Messianic Bible Study 094: The Sermon on the Mount
11. Messianic bible Study 097: The Universal Church
12. Messianic Bible Study 107: The Place of the Dead
13. Messianic Bible Study 113: The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of the Messiah

All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.

Dr. David L. Cooper
Cooper, D.L. (1951, July). Biblical Research Society: Dr. David L. Cooper. Retrieved from http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm. See "The Millennial Reign of Christ" and "The Eternal Order" sections of What We Believe.

Norman Manzon
Manzon, N.A., (2009). Bible Study Project: Norman A. Manzon. Retrieved from http://www.biblestudyproject.org/feasts-of-israel-messianic.htm.

Thomas Paul Simmons
Simmons/Providence Baptist Ministries, T.P. (2010). Chapter 43, The Final State of the Righteous and the Wicked. http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books%20II/Simmons%20-%20A%20Systematic%20Study%20of%20Bible%20Doctrine.pdf

Tom Ross
Elementary Eschatology http://sglblibrary.homestead.com/files/ElementaryEschatology/Proph9.htm


The Heavenly Ages
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2016.
All rights reserved.
 

"The Heavenly Ages" completes the sequence of systematic studies begun with "The Scriptures" on page 1. However, more studies follow. Please continue onto  Page 5.


All Pages of A Key Doctrinal Exegesis

Major Topics in Systematic Progression

Page 1

* THE SCRIPTURES
* GOD THE TRIUNITY
* ANGELS
* SATAN AND DEMONS
* THE DOCTRINE OF MAN
*
SALVATION

Page 2

* ISRAEL
*
THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
* THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW OF MOSES

Page 3

* THE CHURCH
* THE MINISTRIES AND GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
* DIVINE HEALING: ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

Page 4

* THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY

Page 5

ADDENDUM STUDIES,
Page 1

* THE AMBASSADORIAL BAND

~

A Key Doctrinal Overview and Exegesis
~ messianic Bible studies ~
© Norman Manzon 2005 - 2017
All rights reserved.
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Norman Manzon is a Bible teacher in Hawaii and may be reached
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