THE BIBLE STUDY
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 ~
|HOME PAGE||SITE MAP||SEARCH THE SITE|
to a friend
PART 3: THE TWO FOUNDATIONAL REALITIES
By Norman Manzon
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 Messianic Kingdom - Part 1: Introduction and Part 2: The Inhabitants of the Kingdom. In addition to presenting recapitulations of future events that will take place prior to the Kingdom, they also address key aspects of the Kingdom that are foundational to the material presented here. It is therefore urged that they be reviewed so that the present study may be understood in the contexts addressed. For even greater detail concerning pre-Kingdom events, it is suggested that the following studies be read or reviewed: The Destinies of the Dead, The Rapture, The Great Tribulation and The Second Coming of the Lord.
It must be reiterated that the prophesied Kingdom is a literal, earthly Kingdom in which Yeshua will reign bodily as king over Israel and the world. An extended polemic to this effect is presented in section IV of The Messianic Kingdom - Part 1: Introduction.
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.
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.
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.
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."  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:
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
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
From the Great Tribulation to the Kingdom
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The King Will Sit on His Throne
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: 
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).
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.
"Events of the Future" Sequence
The Destinies of the Dead
The Great Tribulation
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
The Millennial Kingdom: Introduction
The Inhabitants of the Kingdom
The Millennium: The Two Foundational Realities
The Kingdom Environment
Israel in the Promised Land
Worship in the Kingdom
Significance of the Kingdom
1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.
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
emptiness in Isaiah 34:11. For a complete discussion, see Dr.
Fruchtenbaum's Messianic Bible Study 186: The Seven Days of Creation, listed
By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.