Thursday, March 10, 2005
THE KINGDOM’S NEW CREATION
When the biblical phrase “the Kingdom of God” is used, many Christians are woefully ignorant as to its’ meaning. It is not a nebulous or ephemeral realm whose meaning is rather vague. It has a very precise meaning, and Bible students should understand it refers to the Government of God, which will be manifest in the earth in the coming dispensation. Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language, which he published in 1828, gives the following as the fourth definition of the word “Kingdom.”
4. Kingdom, “In Scripture, the government of God, or universal dominion of God”
American Dictionary of the English Language (Webster, Noah; 1828)
When the “blessed hope” becomes a reality, the world, as we know it, will be history. When we consider what the “world-to-come” will be like, it staggers the imagination. As we begin to grasp what our Lord Jesus Christ will do when He assumes sovereignty of the world and rules as a beneficent Monarch, we realize that many who pray for the Kingdom to come, if they knew all that it entailed, probably wouldn’t pray for Its’ coming.
The Kingdom of God will be a dispensation of Government—not Grace. The world will be regulated, directed, controlled, and restrained by God Himself. Divine justice will be administered throughout the universe. “Every transgression and disobedience will receive a just recompence of reward” (Heb. 2:2).
2 Timothy 4:1 tells us how the Dispensation of the Mystery ends. We’ll consider 2 Timothy 4:1, and put it in plainer words—I charge thee, Timothy, before God, yes, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is about to be judging the living and the dead at His blazing forth (epiphanea), that is to say His kingdom.
It is the blazing forth of the glory of our great God and Savior that ushers in the Kingdom of God. It is the foremost event which results in a series of dramatic and dynamic concomitant events.
Isaiah has a great deal to say about the coming Kingdom of God. His description is from both a universal perspective as well as from a Jewish perspective.
Isaiah 65:17 through Isaiah 66:24 is prophetic writing concerning the eon in which Jesus Christ governs the world from heaven which is His Throne.
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isa. 65:17).
Isaiah 66:1 identifies where Christ will be during the long duration of His world-wide Reign.
“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?”
To further verify that the context of Isaiah 65:17 to Isaiah 66:24 is Christ Rule from heaven, note;
“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain” (Isa. 66:22).
Almost everyone, when “new heavens and a new earth” are mentioned, jumps to the “knee-jerk” conclusion—that it must automatically refer to the “new heavens and earth” of 2 Peter 3:13 or Revelation 21:1. However, it does not. This is said matter-of-factly because it is a matter-of-fact.
Truth associated with Isaiah 65 and Isaiah 66 do not fit into 1000 year Reign of Christ’s Parousia on earth because, during His 1000 year reign, His Throne will be David’s in Jerusalem. Some have even suggested that it is a post-millennial age which is an absurd suggestion.
2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1 are not related to the “Day of the Lord” (i.e. the millennium): they relate to the eon of the “Day of God.”
The Companion Bible points out in its’ note on Isaiah 65:17; “new heavens and earth: i.e. is new in respect to the old. Not the ‘new’ of 2 Pet. 3:13 or Rev. 21:1.” Then, the CB contrasts Isaiah 65 with Revelation 21 by showing that Isaiah 65 refers to; “I create Jerusalem a rejoicing” (vs. 18). Its position is on a mountain [Zion] (vs. 25), and “sinners” are present (vs. 20).
Whereas, in Revelation 21, there appears “New Jerusalem” (vs. 2), and it comes down from God out of heaven (vs. 2), and it was already built by God (vs. 12-25; 22:3-5), and no sinners will be there (vs. 27).
There is clearly a distinction between the two new creations. Bullinger does not even suggest when Isaiah 65 will be fulfilled. It is assumed he did not know where to place the prophecy so he was silent on the subject of when its’ fulfillment would take place. Dr. Bullinger died before he completed his work on the Companion Bible. As it is recalled, many have said that he died after having completed the Gospel of John. An anonymous writer or writers completed the rest of the CB after his death. Many have thought that Charles Welch was the one who completed it.
The note of Revelation 21:1 ties the “new heaven and new earth” with Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; and 2 Peter 3:7, 13. This is in contradiction to Bullinger’s note of Isaiah 65:17. This indicates that whoever wrote the CB notes on Revelation was not Dr. Bullinger.
Set forth below are the sequence of the Days;
The Day of Christ—The Day of the Lord—The Day of God
(Kingdom of God)—(Parousia of Christ)—(Post millennium)
The “new heavens and earth” of Isaiah 65 and 66 refers, to “The Day of Christ.”
It is suggested that we follow the admonition in Hebrews12:1-2;
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
The new heavens and earth will be new and different from the present heavens and earth that we know. The new heavens and earth will bring forth a totally different climate, world-wide, than we have today.
The earth will be regenerated—that is, made virgin fertile—crops will not need to be fertilized. The earth, itself will yield its’ increase without any human hand being involved.
“Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us” (Ps. 67:6).
“For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things” (Zech. 8:12).
World-wide, the ground will exert energy of itself, yielding fruit on the vines and crops in the fields. The fertility of the earth’s soil will not be the result of human intervention, but it will be the result of the times of refreshing coming from the presence of the Lord. The earth will be like “new ground.”
The earth will not be rained upon. This indicates a spectacular transformation in the earth’s atmosphere. “The heavens shall give their dew,” just like before the Flood. The earth will be universally watered by dew. The climate will be as it was in Adam’s day.
“But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Gen. 2:6).
The face of the whole earth will be watered, not with rain, or sprinkler systems, but by the mist (dew) rising from the earth and falling back upon the face of the ground (Deut. 33:28). The effect will be:
“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isa. 35:1).
Isaiah 35:6 even states that in the wilderness shall waters break out, and there shall be streams in the desert. The deserts of this age will disappear and will become fruitful plains.
The scriptural evidence indicates that when the “new heavens and new earth” of Isaiah 65 and 66 takes place, there will be no end of the growing season as we know them. The growing season in the “new earth,” under the “new heavens” will be 365 days a year.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt” (Amos 9:13).
This will be a universal benefit for mankind. It will also be a special benefit for the Jews who had been exiled:
“I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:14-15) NIV.
The dew which will water the face of the earth will result in the elimination of droughts and famines which have plagued the world ever since the Flood. In the waning days of the Kingdom of God, the Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that “there shall be famines” which will signal “the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:7-8). For hundreds of years, the world will be famine-free. There will be no such thing as hunger and starvation.
The indication is that the earth’s atmosphere and climate, from pole-to-pole, will be temperate. It will be for the benefit of mankind. Imagine an environment in which there are no floods, no thunderstorms, no lightning, no mud-slides, no tornados, no hurricanes, no snow or ice storms, no hail storms, no droughts, no sweltering heat, no crop failures, no food shortages, and no barns are required..
Jesus Christ said in John 10:10; “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
This abundant life will find its fulfillment during the Kingdom of God.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
THE KINDOM’S NEW HEAVENS
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17).
The creation of the new heavens and earth of Isaiah 65 and 66 is the first action the Lord takes when His Kingdom blazes forth (2 Tim. 4:1), and He begins to determine who shall live under His Government’s Administration. There will broadly be two classes of people—those who are alive when the Kingdom comes and—those who will be raised from the dead.
Of course, not all of the living will be deemed fit to live under His benevolent Rule. Jesus Christ will judge righteously, He will not make any mistakes. We will not attempt in this study to say who all, among the living, will be admitted to live in this new creation. It will be said: that those who live, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of the great God, yes, our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13) will be in that number. They will be the ones who “love His appearing (Epiphaneia).”
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (Epiphaneia)” (2 Tim 4:8).
This company of believers will, also, be the ones who have embraced the gospel of the Glory of the blessed God.
“ … the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (1 Tim.1:11) ASV.
These will have their vile bodies changed and fashioned like the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 4:21). This will be the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head.
Then, there will be an innumerable company of people, alive at the time, who will qualify to live on the new earth under the new heavens. They will continue to live but without the benefit of a changed body. They will have “natural bodies,” but minus the principle of death working in them. The gargantuan change is that death, will no longer reign—but rather life. Those who die during the Kingdom of God will not die as a result of Adam’s sin. Their death will be a result of their own doing;
“But every one shall die for his own iniquity” (Jer. 31:30).
“… the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek, 18:4).
”… the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:20).
The three verses, above, don’t make sense unless they are placed in their proper context—the pre-millennial Kingdom of God. This is certainly not truth for today.
Christ will consider all of the dead, and those, according to the righteous Judge, who have in His estimation, exercised the faith that qualified them will be called to “come forth.”
One of the principal characteristics of the Kingdom of God is that it will be a time of resurrection. During this period, there will not be a general resurrection, but rather, Christ raises the dead in stages—“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order” (1 Cor. 15:22-23). This has no reference to the Ecclesia (i.e. Church) of the Mystery because the truth of it was still hid in God when 2 Corinthians was written. There will be a “population explosion” because of all of the dead who are raised to newness of life. However, the new earth will certainly be able to accommodate the world’s population because of it having been regenerated as a new creation.
As Isaiah 65:17 states, the former heavens and earth shall not be remembered, nor come to mind; meaning that the new will be so wonderful that no-one will even think about the old anymore.
[The following is said parenthetically: those mentioned in this study as qualifying to live during the Kingdom of God was only pointed out to show the new creation will be so magnificent and glorious that there will be no reason to think about the heavens and earth that “now are.” The Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head will play an integral part in the Government of God. The Ecclesia of the One Body will hold exalted positions in His Administration.]
“But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isa. 65:18-19).
The Jerusalem mentioned here is not the “new Jerusalem” of Revelation 21. As always, we must keep in mind that an unashamed workman must “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” The New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 was seen by John as “coming down from God out of heaven” (Rev. 21:2). Whereas, the Jerusalem of Isaiah 65 is on the LORD’s holy Mountain (Zion);
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the LORD” (Isa. 65:25).
“Zion” of the Old Testament is “Sion” of the New Testament. We are prone to associate the Jerusalem of Isaiah 65:18 with that of the “New Jerusalem” in Revelation 21:2. Then, when we read of “Jerusalem which is above” in Galatians 4:26, and “a heavenly Jerusalem” in Hebrews 12:22, the conventional Christian wisdom says; “They refer to the New Jerusalem found in Revelation 21:2.”
Consider the City of God in Hebrews 12;
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels” (Heb. 12:22).
The Jerusalem which is to be created, according to Isaiah 65, will be on Mount Sion (Zion). Zion was clearly the City of David; see 2 Samuel 5:7. During the Kingdom of God, the City of David on Zion’s mount will become the City of God.
Its’ location will be on the earth in Jerusalem. It will have a “heavenly character,” inasmuch as it will have an innumerable (myriads) company of angels; i.e. messengers of God. It is “heavenly” in its’ character since it is to be the City of the living God, and “heavenly” in its’ glory.
I have often wondered; what was the significance of “Jacob’s ladder” in Genesis 28:12? Remember, Jacob dreamed a dream in which he saw a “ladder” set in the earth and reached to heaven. In the dream, he observed angels ascending and descending upon it. Could his dream have foreshadowed the angelic activity that is to take place when the Lord establishes the City of the living God; the heavenly Jerusalem of Hebrews 12:22 (or Isaiah 65:17)? If there are dots to be connected; as yet, I haven’t done so.
Back to Hebrews 12:22; we note that there will also be in the City of God the “church (ecclesia) of the first born.”
“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:23).
The presence of myriads of angels and the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, give this Jerusalem its’ heavenly character.
This Jerusalem is not the New Jerusalem which comes down from God out of heaven.
An examination of the context of Hebrews 12 reveals God speaks from heaven.
“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (Heb. 12:25).
God speaks from heaven; therefore He will not be on earth. This fact rules out that the Kingdom of God is the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on earth.
Then, in verse 28, we notice the Jews will receive a kingdom that cannot be moved. All of this has to do with a pre-millennial Kingdom of God.
In Revelation 21:3, John said he heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” This is not Kingdom of God truth.
Furthermore, in Revelation 22:1, the Throne of God is in New Jerusalem; not in heaven. The “tree of life” shows up in verse 2; it is nowhere mentioned in Kingdom of God truth. A close and attentive reading of Revelation 21 and 22 dispels the idea of the Jerusalem of Isaiah 65 being the same as that of Revelation 21-22 and 2 Peter 3:13.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-10).
Abraham did not go searching for this city because it did not exist during his lifetime. God spoke to Abraham concerning a city which He would build, or cause to come into being as, a creative act of His. This promise to Abraham was also made to Isaac and Jacob. It was to be their ancestral home—that is, the homeland for them and their descendents.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises” (Heb.11:13). That is to say, they did not receive the things they were promised. But they saw them by faith. They had been fully persuaded about them, and embraced them, by confessing that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth. Those who said such things plainly showed that they were yet seeking a home in a better country (vs. 14).
“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16).
The foundations of the city which Abraham “looked for” was the sure foundation of Christ. “Vines Dictionary of the New Testament,” says that the Greek word for “foundation” is themelios, “as a noun, with lithos, a stone is understood, Luke 6:48-49; 14:29, Heb. 11:10.”
Jesus Christ is called “that Rock” in 1 Cor. 10:4. Peter also referred to Christ as “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” (1Pet. 2:8). The foundations of the Jerusalem which will be the result of His creation spoken of in Isaiah 65:18, will have Christ Jesus as its’ foundation.
This “better country,” which will be “heavenly” in character and the “city” that they “looked for,” will be realized in resurrection. Notice when it will become a reality;
“There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:28-29).
This will not be played out in the New Jerusalem which John saw coming down from God out of heaven.
Now, consider what Isaiah wrote;
“And it shall come to pass in the last days [refers to the Kingdom of God], that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:2-4).
Here, “the mountain of the LORD” represents the LORD’s Government whose headquarters will be in the Jerusalem of Isaiah 65:18. The word and the ways of the LORD will go out from Zion; thus, locating where this Jerusalem will be located. It will be the City of God, where the former city of David had been. The “LORD’s house” are the buildings that houses His Government. Like the House of Parliament, the House of Congress, the White House, or the Court House; the LORD’s House is a governmental term.
This drama will be fulfilled in the City of Promise which is mentioned in Isaiah 65:18; “…For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing.”
This Jerusalem was the one Paul mentioned in Galatians 4:26; “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” This city is “above;” meaning, it will have a “heavenly” character and is to be far superior “to Jerusalem which now is [i.e. during Acts], and is in bondage with her children.” This “new” Jerusalem existed in the heart and mind of Paul and like-minded believers because whatsoever God had promised; He is also able to perform.
Paul concluded his Hebrew Epistle with this admonition; “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). The one they were to seek is to be on Mount Zion; not one coming down from God out of heaven.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
A tiring, but rewarding, search of the word “Jerusalem,” in the Bible brings to bear truth that the sincere student of the Word needs to comprehend. “Jerusalem” is used 811 times in the Bible. Only thrice, does it refer to the New Jerusalem. All three times are in The Book of Revelation (3:12, 21:2, and 21:10).
The Holy City which John saw descending out of heaven from God, in Revelation 21, is not the Jerusalem of Isaiah 65:18-19 or 66:10, 13, and 20.
“But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy …” (Isa. 65:18).
This will be the City of God during the Reign of Jesus Christ. Christ Rules and Reigns over the earth from heaven.
“The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Ps. 103:19).
The meaning of “His Kingdom ruling over all,” is; His Government rules over all nations.” During the Day of Jesus Christ, He rules the world from His heavenly Throne.
When His Government is inaugurated at the blazing forth of His Kingdom (2 Tim.4:1), the wicked ruler of this present darkness will be overthrown. Satan’s activities, which permeate every facet of society, will come to an end (1 John 3:8). Satan, the Devil, will be displaced, and the Lord Jesus Christ will be the Supreme Ruler of the world. Divine Government will be established—this will truly be The Day of Jesus Christ. Most believers ignore His Day, or, try to make it something that it isn’t.
It seems that most “scholars agree” that the Day of Christ is the Day of the Lord under another name. I, for one, have always been skeptical of something that most “scholars agree” upon. A number of Plainer Words readers have said, after reading some studies of mine on the Day of Christ; “Tom, I just don’t see it.” For a long, time neither did I. That doesn’t mean that it is not truth.
Abraham, according to the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, saw His Day and was glad.
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My Day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56).
Admittedly, when one begins to see the Day of Christ, a radical re-adjustment in one’s perception of dispensational truth is required. Alas, many are comfortable where they are and what they believe to be true. On the other hand, some readers have replied positively to the concept that the Day of Christ is the pre-millennial Kingdom of God.
A recent case in point: concerning the Day of Christ, we received email from a prominent Bible teacher, who will remain unidentified, saying something to the effect—that it is funny how you can only receive knowledge when you are ready for it. When I saw it, it was easy. I just saw it; BAM! All became clear and my world view of end time events made the future so crystal clear. I still need to finish the details but I see it, Tom. I see it.
With this having been said, we’ll continue the “The Kingdom’s New Creation.” It has been pointed out that there will be a dramatic change in the earth’s climate. This indicates that the new creation restores the earth to its original order and perfect balance.
This restoration of all things (Acts 3:20) is the refreshing times which comes from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19) and restores the heavens and the earth back to their original order and perfect balance—thus, the new heavens and new earth. One of the benefits of this restitution will be that the life expectancy of natural man, born during the Day of Christ, will be greatly lengthened. Death will no longer be working in man.
It is an undeniable fact that the first mention of death in the Bible shows it to be a punishment which God decreed would fall upon Adam if he disobeyed the explicit directive to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17).
Every earnest student of the Word of God knows that the literal meaning of the passage is “dying thou shalt die” which is one of the most important statements concerning death in the Bible. This declaration tells us, emphatically that on the very day that Adam committed the forbidden act of eating from this one specific tree, the process of death would begin to operate within him and would continue to work until that moment when death would gain its victory and Adam would die even as the Word declared.
We are not informed as to how many years passed between the creation of Adam and his transgression, but every day after that, death was working in him. However, being God’s original masterpiece of creation: the most perfect human specimen that ever stood upon the earth, he was able to withstand the effects of death working in him until he reached the age of 930 years. Methuselah, who was seven generations removed from his forefather, Adam, lived thirty-nine years. But from his time forth, each generation died at an earlier age. And, had it not been for divine grace, the human race would have perished from the earth since none would have lived long enough to reproduce. But, God in grace injected Himself into the downward decline of mankind and decreed that the average life-span would be threescore and ten years.
The fact that we are dying even while we are living is a truth that many refuse to accept. Most professing Christians are willing to accept only comfortable ideas and pleasant doctrines. They are lovers of that which is pleasant more than they are lovers of God’s Truth. Yet, the facts in the case are inescapable; that is, we are dying all the time we are now living is the truth declared in God's Word. Death works in every one of us, and nothing is to be gained by denying this Biblical fact; one which is obvious to all of us. Tombstones throughout the world give silent testimony to this fact of life.
Concerning this phenomena Otis Q. Sellers wrote in one of his last studies: “The positive Biblical testimony is that ‘by one man sin entered into the world’ (Rom. 5:12). We know beyond a shadow of doubt who this man was. It was Adam, the head of the human race. And we know that it was through him, his one act of disobedience, that sin entered into the world. Therefore, we accept the fact and we face the fact that a malignant principle called ‘sin’ is in the system, the order, and the arrangement into which man is born and in which he must live.”
During the pre-millennial Reign of Christ this “death principle” is removed. Instead of death reigning—the “LIFE principle” will reign. If death occurs, it will be the consequence of man’s own sin because there will be “a sin unto death” (1 John 5:16). While we may not know what that sin will be, everyone alive at the time will know what it is to be. Because all mankind will be Divinely enlightened.
In fact, Jeremiah wrote of this when he said that there will no need to teach, “Know the LORD: for they shall know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (Jer. 31:34).
Then there is this in Isaiah 65;
“There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed” (Isa. 65:20).
It can be safely assumed that there will not be infant mortality. This will not be the result of human healthcare, but the removal of the sin-death principle. A person who attains the age of one-hundred years old will still be considered a child.
During the Day of Christ, sinners will be present upon the earth, but as long as they don’t commit the “sin unto death,” they will live because they will be assured that 1 John 1: 9 will be fully operative in that day;
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
As long as sinners “walk in the light” during the Day of Christ, the cleansing effect of the blood of Christ will be in full operation world-wide.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Believers may draw inspiration from these two verses, but they are not doctrinally in play during the Dispensation of Grace. They were, to a limited degree, during the Book of Acts, but they will be in full force, world-wide, during His Day.
When Christ Jesus Reigns, a diversity of religions will not be tolerated;
“Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10).
This will be a universal truth, and it will be vigorously enforced when the Kingdom of God becomes manifest in the earth. These truths do not harmonize if they are forced into the 1000 year Parousia of Christ on earth.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
All highways of dispensational truth looked forward to their destination—the Kingdom of God, including the Dispensation of Grace. The hope of all of God’s faithful is to be realized when God administers justice and righteousness in the world.
The Church which is His body will hold the highest offices in the Government of Jesus Christ. Someone has said that we will be the aristocracy of His royal dynasty. Personally, I don’t like the idea of being an aristocracy; whoever said that must have been an Englishman. Trying to put in words what our positions will be, as ministers in His Government, into language that we might better understand—I would say the Church which is His Body will be His inner-circle of administrators. These positions of authority will not have been earned by our earthly exploits of valor or our works of righteousness; but, rather, as a result of His being rich in mercy and saving us by grace alone, through faith, which is His gift to us. The undeserving will be at the pinnacle of authority when the Kingdom comes. What an everlasting, humbling experience this will be!
As members of His Church of the Mystery, we will be witnesses to, and participants in the restoration of the heavens and earth. We will see and be a part of a world-wide Government which will be free from corruption, injustice, oppression, exploitation, and war. His Government will be righteous. It will not tolerate evil. Toleration will not be the watch-word. Truth will reign. With that said, we will witness the world-order being restored to its pre-flood, pristine glory.
Men will live for hundreds of years. The sin and death principle will not be at work in their mortal bodies.
“And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isa. 65:21-22).
Man’s life-span under the “new heavens,” during Christ’s Day, will be much like that of the pre-flood days. From Adam to Methuselah, the Bible showed men lived 900 years. Lamech followed Methuselah, and he lived to be 777 years old. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, and he lived 350 years after the flood for a total of 950 years. After the flood, life-spans dropped off substantially. Shem lived 602 years, Arpachshad lived 438 years, Shelah lived 433 years, Eber lived 464 years, and Peleg lived 239 years. Peleg was born 1,757 years after Creation. Peleg means “division.” He was born at the time of another world-wide catastrophe—the continents divided (see; 1 Chron. 1:19).
“They shall not build [houses], and another inhabit” indicates that a father does not build his home and plant his fields so that his children can receive them as their inheritance. The fathers “shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” They will live so long that their children will have built their own and provided for themselves because they, too, will live for hundreds of years. Fathers will not have the worry of saving so they can leave something “for the kids.” They can truly enjoy the fruits of their own labor.
The NIV gives a clearer rendition of the next verse;
“They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them” (Isa. 65:23).
The children in this coming new world order will not be doomed to misfortune. This indicates children will not be born with birth defects—doomed to misfortune.
The new order of things which the will Lord impose on men will touch every aspect of life. One such facet of life which must conform to the judgments, statutes, or laws of His Government will be that of marriage. Perfect health will be the order of the Day (Ps. 67:2). Men will not be impotent nor women infertile. Consider men and women living for hundreds of years. How old will a woman be before she passes her child-bearing years? We can ask the same question about men.
While we are not told implicitly; but there is implied by internal evidence, that marriage will be by Divine arrangements during the Day of Jesus Christ. A PWO reader wrote me several years ago expressing his desire to find a proper wife who would be sympathetic to his views of Scripture. He lamented he may never find one. He said he had talked to one of his previous professors at a Bible College about his dilemma, and the professor said not to worry, the Lord has one just for you. I replied to the friend; “I wouldn’t be too sure about that, this is the wrong dispensation.”
During the Day of Christ [Kingdom of God] it is quite likely that a man and a woman will be brought into the marriage bond by the direction of the Lord Himself. What Jesus said in Mark 10:6-9 may become a reality.
“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
In some cultures, marriages were arranged by families. Kings arranged marriages with other royal families in order to consolidate empires. In Old Testament times, fathers gave their daughters in marriage. In early America, especially in New England, marriages were arranged by families in order to consolidate wealth. This was especially true in England when there were primogeniture laws. Today, one out of two marriages ends in divorce, and this includes Christians. It seems that men and women, today, are seeking mates via the internet through some kind of “love connection.” Is the reason for so many divorces, today, because men and women make bad choices? But just think; what if men and women could ask the Lord Jesus Christ, “Lord, is this the person You have for me?” And then, get a direct answer from Him—Yes or No. Of course, that’s not the way it is. However, there will come a time when …
“… thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isa. 31:20).
In plainer words, during the Day of Christ, man can ask the Lord, and receive an audible answer—Yes or No.
Not only that; but one of the glorious benefits of the Lord Jesus Christ Reigning as an absolute Monarch, during His Day will be that of INSTANT ANSWER TO PRAYER.
“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isa. 65:24).
Another aspect of the coming Day of Christ will be that the animal kingdom will be delivered from its’ wild and carnivorous nature. The first act that Adam performed was that of naming all of the animals God created. He did this before Eve was taken from his side (rib).
“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him”(Gen.2:19-20).
It is evident that Adam lived tranquilly with all of the beasts and fowls which God created. Yes, even with the dinosaurs. All creatures sustained life by eating the verdant vegetation, nuts, and seeds which were produced by creation. However, when sin entered the world scene, death rode piggy-back with sin because of one man’s disobedience. God cursed the ground and all of creation. This resulted in animals and fowls becoming flesh eaters. Consequently, Paul would say;
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:18-22).
When the manifestation of the sons of God takes place at the Day of Christ, the animal kingdom will be delivered from the bondage of corruption. The result will be;
“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD” (Isa. 65:25).
The expression, “in all My holy mountain,” is a Hebrew idiom for the holy Government of God. The Government of God is to be world-wide; therefore throughout the “new world,” the earth’s creatures will become tame. Isaiah further emphasized this in chapter 11:6-10;
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
None of this refers to the 1000 year “iron rule” of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth following His Second Advent. In fact, it will be a time when His Throne is in the heavens.
Isaiah 66:1 says; “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool …” So it will be during the Day of Christ.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor. 13:2) NIV.
This is quite a statement by Paul who had received more Divine revelations than any man who ever walked the face of the earth. In the King James, it is stated that we see as through a glass, darkly, meaning that in spite of all of his abundance of revelations not everything was neatly wrapped-up, and tied with a ribbon, and placed in the exact pigeon- hole. But, he will fully know, precisely, those things that he was inspired to write in their exact sequence, and all of their particulars in resurrection. He confessed, even though he wrote truth, he had but a poor reflection as in a mirror. Mirrors, in his day, were not what they are today. Thus, there were some parts of their reflections that were not perfect representations.
We all should make the confession that we don’t see every spiritual truth in perfect clarity. We can see broad outlines, but every detail cannot be clearly discerned. I recognize this. I accept this. I refuse to reject a broad outline painted by God’s broad brush strokes just because I can’t answer all the questions I have.
Doubters always throw out question-after-question in an attempt to cover-up God’s broad strokes. A biblical way of understanding some of the deep things of God is to reason from the “general” to the “particular.” Just because we cannot “get” all of the particulars of matter is no reason to “throw out the baby with the bath water.” This is exactly what many of our brothers have done regarding the coming Kingdom of God. They insist that Christ brings the Kingdom of God with Him at His 2nd Coming. Likewise, they teach that the things related to the Kingdom of God will be fulfilled during Christ’s 1000 year rule on earth.
A diligent search has been made, and it must be admitted that all we really know about the millennial Reign is found in Revelation 20:1-10. Period! Well, it may be asked have any of the Pharisees, or chief priests, or anyone of a high rank in Christendom believed that there will be a pre-millennial Kingdom? Sadly, it would have to be answered in the negative. However, all of the holy prophets of the Old Testament and the New Testament “kingdom waiters,” John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, the Twelve Apostles, and the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, believed God would set up His Kingdom before there would be the Great Tribulation.
The Great Tribulation will be the result of an open rebellion against the Government of God. Psalm 2 foretells the rebellion against the LORD’s Rule over the nations and how some kings and rulers conspire to over-throw the Dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision” (Psalm 2:1-4).
For this Psalm to have any intelligent meaning, it must be understood in the light of the Kingdom being a reality for a long period of time in which Christ rules the world from heaven through the Nation of Israel. To interpret Psalm 2 as taking place at the close of the Dispensation of Grace is foolhardy since, during the Grace Period, there is no Divine Rule for the nations to rebel against.
Not only that, but since the world now lives in darkness and follows the course of the world which is directed by Satan (Eph. 2:2), there cannot be an apostasy from truth. When we recognize that the entire world will be enlightened with the blazing forth of the Glory of God (Titus 2:13 & 2 Tim. 4:1), then, and only then, does 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 make any sense. Hundreds of years after the Kingdom of God is established in the earth, and all nations are forced to submit to His will in the earth, there is a Divine relaxation of restraints. This relaxation gives way to the rise of the anti-Christ. In Paul’s time, some thought the rebellion, had already begun. He corrected them in the following verses;
“not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction” (2 Thess. 2:2-3).NIV.
The Jerusalem created anew, as foretold in Isaiah 65 and 66, and located on Zion’s Hill, will truly be a shining city on a hill. It will be the City of God during His Reign from Heaven.
In the concluding verses of Isaiah 66, it is noticed;
“And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD” (Isa. 66:20)
This speaks of the re-gathering of the Jews out of all nations wherein they had been scattered. They are brought to My Holy Mountain Jerusalem, which means they are re-gathered and become the Israel of God as He rules through the nation of Israel.
“And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD” (Isa 66:21).
During this time, the Kingdom of God, the twelve Apostles will sit as Judges (Governors) over the identified twelve Tribes of Israel. David will have been raised from the dead and will be Israel’s anointed prince ruling over Israel as Christ’s vice-regent. The Temple complex will be built according to the architectural plans spelled out in Ezekiel Chapters 37 through 42. The nations (Gentiles) will give lavishly of their wealth (i.e.forces in the KJV) to help build the Temple Complex.
“Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces (i.e. wealth; see the margin) of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought” (Isa. 60:11).
The Glory of God fills the Temple on Mount Zion (Ezekiel. 43:4).
“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, ‘so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me,’ saith the LORD.” (Isa. 66:22-23).
During the Kingdom of God, when Israel is established as the most favored and most blest nation on earth, “new moons,” and “Sabbath” days will be observed. This is in stark contrast with Truth for today, inasmuch as we are instructed in Colossians 2:16-17; “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come (during the Kingdom); but the body is of Christ.”
The “all flesh” coming to Jerusalem to worship the LORD indicates that representatives from all nations will be sent to worship and acknowledge Him—not every individual on the face of the earth. All nations will be submissive to the Dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He rules the world from heaven.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
In the last chapter it was pointed out that during the Kingdom of God, representatives (or emissaries) from all nations will come to Jerusalem “from one new moon, and from one sabbath day to another” to worship the LORD (Isa. 66:23).
These representatives will be taken on a tour of Jerusalem, the City of God. Part of this tour will include viewing the carcasses of those who have transgressed against the LORD. During the Day of Christ, those Israelites who sin a sin unto death will be sentenced early every morning—with swift justice; thereby, cutting off, daily, any wicked doers. A Divine sentence of death will executed, and the wicked doers will be denied burial, and they will be dumped into the Valley of Hinnom, outside the Dung Gate.
“I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD” (Ps. 101:8).
In 1975, a hard-back-book was published simply titled Plainer Words. In it were two studies—The Visible Hell—in which a fully developed study showed in the future City of Jerusalem that there would be a place of perpetual fires burning, consuming the City’s refuse. If any of you may still have the book you, might look up these two studies. The “hell fire” of the New Testament refers to the garbage dump of the pre-millennial Jerusalem. However, in 1975, I misplaced the time of Isaiah 66:24. Then, I said it would be during the millennium—I was wrong!
“And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” (Isa. 66:24).
The correction is—during the Day of Jesus Christ, those who represent their nations will come up to Zion’s Hill and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. On the tour, they will go forth to look upon the carcasses of those who transgressed against Him. This will be a stunning reminder to the nations’ representatives that judgment begins first at the house of God.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17).
Here, Peter is warning what will be the end of those, during the Kingdom, who do not obey the Gospel of God.
“Tophet, or the valley of Hinnom, was a place where the refuse of Jerusalem was consumed by fires that burned continually. Also, it is suggested that the reader look at Appendix 68 of the Companion Bible where it is pointed out under the heading of VIII. THE DUNG GATE OF NEHEMIAH that there was a ground sewage system which flowed from the Temple area through the dung gate and discharged itself into the valley junction of Kidron and Hinnom. This sewer carried the blood of sacrificial animals, the water of the ceremonial cleansings as well as the sewage from the Levitical quarters.
The Dung Gate was the closet to the perpetual fires. It would be naturally be the gate through which the “meat wagons” would pass. That is, the wagons that went though the city collecting the dead animals: for the carcasses of the dead animals were thrown into these fires. It was here that the maggots worked on the carcasses. The coals of the fires would consume the flesh. Flesh, however, does not burn like kindling. It smolders; only the “fatty” tissue burns rapidly. The LORD said He would change the name of the valley to the VALLEY OF SLAUGHTER, for He would see to it that those of His people who sinned or transgressed would be killed by the sword, and their burial would be in this place.”
This was quoted from Plainer Words, The Visible Hell: Part I (1975).
This, admittedly, will be an abhorring to all that see it during their trip to the City of God. What a warning this will be to all who see it! The Lord Jesus issued this warning of being in danger of being “cast into hell” in Matthew 5:29-30, and in danger of “everlasting fire” and “hell fire” in Matthew 18:8-9. This “hell,” and “hell fire,” and “everlasting fire” are all references to the transgressor’s ignominious end as having been sentenced to death and denied a proper burial.
Even though an innumerable number of Jews will be called forth out of their graves to live again, only a comparative small number of them will put on immortality. In plainer words, a large number of the Jews, who are raised from the dead will live with the possibility of having to die again if they are not careful. The sin-and-death principle will not be working in their mortal bodies. The principle of life (or living) will be working. Death will occur because of one’s own transgression. This will truly be a time when men must take full responsibility for themselves. They can’t blame Adam.
Many think that because the Israelites will be resurrected and have the New Covenant written on the tables of their hearts, they are not subject to death and can do no wrong. Just because they are New Covenant Israelites does not mean they cannot grow weary in well doing. If they are not steadfast and always abounding in the work of the Lord, they may not exercise the proper citizenship and will come in danger of having to appear before the “council.”
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matt. 5:22).
Dead bodies of the transgressors will be deposited in the garbage dump outside the Dung Gate of the City of God during the Day of Christ. This is what is referenced to when we read in the New Testament that their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
What we’ve pointed out in these articles is obviously not truth related to the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:2. Neither is it truth for the millenninum. It belongs to the coming dispensation—the Kingdom of God’s dear Son—the Lord Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
These inspired words, spoken by the Apostle Peter, show clearly what the Hope of the Apostles was during the Book of Acts. It was not the 2nd Coming of Christ. It was the “restitution of all things.” Restitution is from the Greek word apokatastaseos; which means, a restoration from a state of ruin. A new creation, if you will, as we have pointed out in the seven previous studies.
In Matthew 19, Peter was very puzzled at our Lord’s words to the rich young man who had confessed to Jesus that all of the commandments He had mentioned, he had kept. Yet, when he was told to sell all he had and follow the Savior, the young man went away sorrowful; for he had many possessions. This prompted the disciple to ask; “Who then can be saved?” The Lord’s reply was; “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” This prompted Peter to say:
“… ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, at the renewal [regeneration; KJV] of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel’ ” (Matt. 19:27-28) NIV.
The Lord Jesus’ reply was clear; when He sits on His Glorious Throne in Heaven, the Twelve Apostles will sit on twelve earthly thrones as governors of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Lord’s Throne will be in heaven when the restoration of all things takes place, and the Twelve will have a prominent place in the Kingdom which is restored to Israel. All of this ties in with the following;
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth …” (Isa 65:17).
“… behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing …” (Isa 65:18).
“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me…” (Isa 66:22).
The new heavens and new earth, mentioned here, is long before the 1000 year Reign of Christ on the earth.
When the Kingdom comes, sorrow and mourning will be replaced with joy and gladness.
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa. 35:10).
“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isa. 51:3)
Here, we note that the new creation of Isaiah 65 and 66 is likened to the Garden of Eden, and joy and gladness will there be found.
“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isa. 51:11).
This will be a time when sorrow and mourning will be absent; not only from Jerusalem, but world-wide.
“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isa. 65:19).
Also, encapsulated in the Apostles’ understanding was that in this new creation [when the Kingdom appears] hunger and starvation would disappear, and the earth would yield its’ increase. Contagious diseases (pestilences) would not plague mankind. They understood that wars would cease, and there would be universal peace. They understood that the earth would be restored to its’ perfect balance as it was before the Flood, thereby earthquakes would cease.
As it was stated previously, the Apostolic expectation, was that of the Kingdom Coming, not the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know this cuts across the grain of Orthodoxies’ teaching of the so-called “end times.” I knew that when I would acknowledge this as truth, there would be a time that I would undergo an antagonizing re-appraisal of all that I had been taught by man. It was remarkable how quickly I was able to shed some of my most cherished doctrines—as dead leaves falling from a tree. The Lord is always ready to give you more to believe; if you are willing to take that first step.
With that said, let it be noted in what is referred to as Christ’s Olivet Discourse that the disciples asked the Lord Jesus; When shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy Coming (Parousia), and the consummation of the age (i.e. the coming age)? (Matt. 24:3).
The Lord’s reply was:
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end [consummation] is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:6-8).
His reply makes sense in view of the long duration of the Kingdom of God in which wars cease. But, there will come a time during the Kingdom that Divine restraints will be gradually relaxed, and the Apostles who are alive in resurrection will begin to hear of wars and rumors of wars. They will have lived almost 490 years in resurrection before the rumors begin to circulate. They were told by Christ, back on the Mount of Olives (Matt. 24) that these things must come to pass, but the consummation of the age is not yet.
Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes. None of these things will have happened during their resurrected lives. The Lord’s words will come to their minds when these things begin to take place—All these are the beginning of sorrows.
If the Day of Christ, that is, the Kingdom of God, was not in view when Christ made His Olivet Discourse, then, His answer would have been meaningless. Ever since the Flood nations and kingdoms have threatened wars and participated in wars. When was there a time when wars and hostilities were not being waged? When was there a time when there were no famines? When was there a time when there hadn’t been pestilences and plagues? When was there a time when there had not been earthquakes occurring? When was there a time in which sorrow and mourning were not part of man’s life?
The answer to all of these questions is—NEVER. There must be a time before the 2nd Coming of Christ when there will be a long absence of these things on the world scene. In order for there to be a beginning of some things, common sense dictates there had to be none of these things going on for a long period of time. Otherwise, Matthew 24:6-8 makes absolutely no sense. It is logical to conclude that the present dispensation of grace does not end, and the “beginning of sorrows” is immediately ushered in.
The Dispensation of the Mystery ends with Titus 2:13 and 2 Timothy 4:1 becoming a reality. The Kingdom of God begins, and He rules the world for hundreds of years from heaven. The wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes cease. Then by Divine design, there becomes an unraveling of the new heavens and new earth of Isaiah 65 & 66, and they, again get out of balance, and the Divine social order of the world slides into apostasy. Then, the prophecy of Matthew 24:3-31 is fulfilled as the consummation of the Kingdom age.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
The Dispensation of the Mystery will come to an end. The Apostle Paul wrote his last will and testament to his son in the faith, Timothy. In it, Paul describes to Timothy the “perilous times” that shall occur in “the last days” of this present dispensation (2 Tim. 3:1-9). Paul says that there will be men who will have a form of godliness but denying its’ power (2 Tim. 3:5). Then, he likens them to the sorcerers who confronted Moses in Exodus 7:11. They were not named in Exodus, but the Lord gave their names to Paul—Jannes and Jambres. Look closely at a most overlooked passage.
“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was” (2 Tim. 3:8-9).
In plainer words, their madness will suddenly and dramatically become obvious to all men. Just as Jannes and Jambres were stopped “dead-in-their-tracks,” so, also will these last days deceivers. What causes them to proceed no further? What exposes them? What brings their wickedness to an end?
THE BLAZING FORTH OF THE KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST ! (2 Tim.4:1).
This truth is scoffed at, ignored, glossed-over, and rejected by most who supposedly embrace 2 Timothy 2:15. Be that as it may, the Lord Jesus Christ will intervene and set the world in order. He does this by bringing justice and equity to the nations apart from Israel. He establishes His sovereignty over the world before He begins to re-gather His ancient people.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice [victory]; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope” (Isaiah 42:1-4) NIV.
This describes the Lord’s next move. The Lord Jesus quotes this prophecy in Matthew 12:18-21. You will note that this justice and victory will be accomplished without damage or devastation taking place. There is no idea here of God taking vengeance on the world. He sends no one a strong delusion that they may believe the lie and be damned. There is no shout, or voice of the archangel, no trump of God, no one being “raptured.” Justice is established in the earth before He resumes His dealing with the Jews.
Why is this prophecy ignored?
The neglect of this beautiful prophecy is probably because students and teachers of prophecy cannot find a place to fit it in their prophetic scheme of things. There is, however, one prophetic plan that it fits perfectly. The pre-Advent Kingdom of God.
Paul wrote about this, when he said:
“And again, Isaiah says, The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him” (Rom. 15:12) NIV.
The Root of Jesse, the Lord Jesus Christ, will rule over the nations before He rules over Israel. He doesn’t suddenly rule over Israel. This flies in the face of many who are steeped in the traditional “right division” mode.
The Lord Jesus Christ reigns over the nations of the earth for years while He is re-gathering and preparing the true seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the head nation of the world (Deut. 28:13).
In a Plainer Words Online study of Daniel, Chapter Two, it was pointed out what God revealed to Daniel concerning Nebuchadnezzar’s forgotten dream.
“But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter” (Dan. 2:28-29).
Notice that “the latter days” and the word, “hereafter,” are used interchangeably, and refer to the NT term—the Kingdom of God.
The dream was concerning the image-statue of a man with a head of gold. Daniel informed the King that he was that head of gold, and in the “latter days,” he would have a world-wide dominion under the God of Heaven. Nebuchadnezzar never had a universal reign in his lifetime. In order for him to do so, he will, of necessity, have to be raised from the dead to be God’s first universal monarch when the Kingdom of God comes (see Plainer Words Online studies on A Fresh Look at Daniel). Other kings will also reign under God’s authority. It is suggested that Daniel 2:30-43 be read as Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar what his dream was, and then gives the interpretation of it. Daniel’s Divine conclusion of the matter is summed up below.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Dan. 2:44-45).
Several things should be pointed out. (1) During the reign of these kings, in “the latter days,” God begins setting up a Kingdom. (2) The Kingdom that God sets up shall never be destroyed. It will be the Kingdom of Israel. (3) It shall consume the kingdoms of the previous universal monarchs. (4) It shall stand forever. (5) The stone (Israel), which will be cut out of the mountain (God’s Government), becomes a great mountain (Government), and fills “the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35). Many OT passages refer to “the mountain of God” which is an appellative for government, or God’s Government. (6) The stone (Israel) breaks in pieces, or literally brings to an end their power and authority. This should not be read in the light of the 2nd Advent of Christ which puts an end to the rebellion against the Government of God. (7) God made known to Nebuchadnezzar, through Daniel, “what shall come to pass hereafter (or in the latter days). The dream, according to Daniel, is certain, and the interpretation is sure.
A great disservice to Dispensationalists has been provided by many Bible teachers who have reinterpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by insisting that the fulfillment of most of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream has historically been fulfilled. This reinterpretation of the dream makes void Daniel’s statement; “the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof is sure.”
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
Daniel Two informs us that in the “latter days” God assumes Rulership over the earth and the nations upon it. He raises Nebuchadnezzar from the dead, and He sets him up as king who has dominion over all men; even the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven (Dan. 2:38). Nebuchadnezzar never had such power, strength, and authority in his life. He will, however, when the Kingdom comes. In those “latter days,” the most High will rule in the kingdom of men, and He will give it to whomsoever He will (Dan.4:25). Men will surely know that “the Heavens do rule” (Dan. 4:26). Yes, the most high God will rule over the kingdom of men, and He will appoint over it whosoever He wills (Dan. 5:21). The LORD has already selected the first monarch to rule when His Kingdom is established. It will be Nebuchadnezzar.
Psalm 67:4-5 points to this time, “the latter days,” when the most High God governs the nations prior to Israel’s ascendancy:
“May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. Selah. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.” NIV
Four other kings arise in the “latter days” and are world-wide monarchs. Each one, in descending order, will have less glory, strength, power, and authority as did Nebuchadnezzar. We are not told how long these monarchs will reign. It could very well approach two-hundred years. In the meantime, the Lord will be gradually placing Israel back in the Land and establishing its’ government. It starts out as a small rock, or stone, and grows so influential that the previous kings and their kingdoms will to come an end and will not even be remembered. The stone becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35).
The Lord Jesus Christ takes this truth in Daniel and made it into a parable.
“And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it” (Mark 4:30-32).
In the broader concept the Kingdom God begins with His assumption of sovereignty over all of the nations in earth. At the time, His Israel is not a nation. Even though the Israel we know today is a nation-state, it is most assuredly not “the Israel of God.” After He exercises His authority over the nations of the world, He begins doing His Kingdom work with the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel is “sown” in the Land, and it begins to grow like the grain of a mustard seed. It becomes greater than all of the world’s nations; so much so, that it fills all earth with dignity, glory, power, and authority.
In the broad aspect of the Kingdom of God it embraces, a world-view which is Gentile-ward. As time passes by, the more narrow aspect of His Kingdom begins to be centered in Israel.
How does the Kingdom of God come to Israel? The Lord Jesus, Himself, informs us how. It is not in harmony with the pre-millennialist’s view of theology. It doesn’t come suddenly, or dramatically, or with great fanfare.
“And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mark 4:26-28).
The Kingdom of God comes to Israel in stages—the blade, the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
The rise of the nation of Israel, during the Kingdom of God, is not a spectacular phenomenon. As far as the-man-on-the-street goes it will appear as the normal progression of human events. How this happens, man “knoweth not how.” But, the unseen Hand of God is working and shaping events which leads Israel to rise from “the stone” cut out of the mountain to become a Government whose influence shapes all world events (i.e. fills the whole earth). Or, said another way; it’s as if the mustard seed was sown in the ground, and over time it grows to become the greatest “herb” of the field (i.e. the greatest nation on earth).
The rise of Israel during this future time period will be gradual and continuous. So much so, that it comes into prominence without the world’s scrutiny.
“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation” (Luke 17:20).
In plainer words, when the Kingdom initially comes to Israel, it does so without any outward signs to be observed, or without any visible display. The reality of the coming of the Kingdom to Israel is a far cry from what many prominent dispensationalists teach. They insist that It comes when the Lord Jesus, Himself, descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
People will not say; “Look! Here It is!” or; “See, It is over there!” It is discerned intuitively by those who will be enlightened as to Its’ coming—it will be within them.
Again, how does the Reign of Christ come to Israel? The Parable of the leaven in Luke 13:20-21 shows what appears to be the natural progression of the growth of Israel’s influence over the nations of the world.
“And again He said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”
In this parable Israel is the “leaven,” and the “three measures of meal” is the world.
It would be like a baker when he places yeast in dough, and kneads it, and then places a towel over the mixture, and sets it on a shelf. The baker cannot observe the work (fermentation) being done in the dough, nor can he see it rise. But, he can come back to it in a few hours and it will have tripled in size. So it will be with the growth of the Lord Jesus’ Government in Israel. It will permeate the “whole” world.
This will be the time that the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Hab.2:14). Justice flows down from heaven, and righteousness like a mighty stream (Amos 5:24). There will not be found any false religions in the world—just imagine, a world with no Christian sectarianism, no Moslems, no Hindus, no Roman Catholics, no pagans, no atheists, no agnostics, no openly unbelievers.[i] It will be a time in which there is no “freedom of religion.” The whole world will have to submit to the Divinely revealed fact that Jesus Christ is LORD!
This does not mean that Satan will not be sowing “tares among the wheat.” The “tares” will live among “wheat,” but they dare not expose themselves. If they did, they would be cut-off. The darkness of their hearts will not be exposed until the time of the harvest (see the Parable of tares among the wheat: Matt. 13: 24-30). When the Restrainer withdraws His restraints on men, the tares will be free to reveal their heart’s hatred toward Christ, and His Government, and the Jews by willingly and openly rebelling against the established Divine order (see Ps. 2, and 2 Thess. 2:1-12).
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
A signal event occurs when the Kingdom of Christ becomes a reality; it being that the “prince of the power of the air” will be expelled from his dominion of the “air” and will lose his authority as the director of “the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2). The “prince” (i.e. the Devil) will be replaced by the Holy Spirit Who will exercise awesome power as He directs the “course” of the Kingdom Age.
This will result in a Divine influence over all of the affairs of men. A Divine Government will be established in which the Lord Jesus Christ governs the heavens and the earth from His Throne in Heaven. His “will” will be done in the earth. One of the offices the Holy Spirit will perform will be that of a Restrainer of evil.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7).
The Acts period believers were experiencing a foretaste of the Kingdom of God (Heb.6:5). So, what Paul wrote to those at Thessalonica was appropriate for the time.
“He who now letteth will let.” Here, we find two obscure English words; letteth and let. According to Webster’s American Dictionary, published in 1828, the word “let” means “to hinder, to impede, to interpose obstruction. 2 Thess. 2 [this sense is now obsolete, or nearly so].” This was in the year of 1828.
“Letteth, from the word let; one who retards or hinders. Letteth means the one who lets.” So, from this, we can safely say that one who lets is one who is a retarder, or a hinderer, or an obstructer—in plainer words, a restrainer.
The work of the Spirit was described as “He that letteth will let.” Dropping the “King’s English,” it can be “He who lets will let.” Anyone familiar with the game of tennis knows what a “let ball” is. That is a ball which is served by the server and clips the net. It is declared to be a “let ball.” Meaning, the tennis ball was “hindered” or “restrained” from its’ true projectory and must be served over-again.
Therefore, what the Apostle was saying was—He Who now hinders or restrains evil will do so until He steps aside.
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7) NKJV.
The Restrainer will restrain lawlessness for hundreds of years during the Rule of Jesus Christ. The seat of His Government will be in Heaven. This restraining power of the Holy Spirit will result in a time of blessing in the earth which the world has never experienced. But, towards the consummation of the Kingdom, the restraints will be gradually lifted, and there will arise, over time, a rebellion against Heaven’s Rule (Psalm 2). This will be a time of testing to determine who will remain true to the revelations of truth which had been dispensed during the “Day of Christ.” Then:
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His (parousia) coming” (2 Thess. 2:8) NKJV.
We have painted with a broad brush, showing that between the Appearing (Epiphaneia) and the 2nd Coming (Parousia), there will be hundreds of years in which the world, and especially Israel, will enjoy the abundance of life which had been the message of all of the holy prophets.
Let’s now consider the length of the pre-millennial Kingdom of God.
In our last article (Part X), we considered the Kingdom reign of Nebuchadnezzar as the “head of gold” monarch as mentioned in Daniel Chapter Two. Then, the additional reign of four, or perhaps, even five other universal monarchs. This could possibly account for two-hundred years; during which time Israel goes through the seed, blade, and full ear in the corn stages.
Added to the estimated two-hundred years is the fact that four-hundred-ninety years are “determined” upon Israel and the holy city—Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24). The holy city, Jerusalem, will be the restored holy Jerusalem─the City of God; as our previous studies have pointed out, this will be the Jerusalem mentioned in Isaiah 65:17-19. This would certainly indicate that the pre-millennial Kingdom of Christ will last close to seven-hundred years [200 + 490 = 690 years].
Most Bible students and teachers refer to these four-hundred-ninety years as the “Seventy Weeks of Daniel.”
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city” (Dan 9:24).
Four-hundred-ninety years have been decreed upon the Jewish people and the Holy City. From this, it would appear that the focus of what is to follow is centered in and around the Holy City of Jerusalem.
During this Kingdom period of time, the holy city of Jerusalem will be the earthly capitol of Israel’s Divinely directed Government. It will be the premier Capitol City of the world. Her Government will be a cause for rejoicing. Jerusalem will be beautiful beyond description. Isaiah foretells that Zion (Jerusalem) shall be comforted and will be like Eden—the Garden of God (Isa. 51:3). Joy, peace, righteousness, and justice will reign supreme because of the restraining influence the Restrainer exercises over Jerusalem, the Land, and the world.
We find in Daniel 8 that he, Daniel, had been very perplexed and upset concerning the vision he saw in Daniel 7 and 8 concerning the “ram” and “he-goat.” In fact, Daniel said that he “fainted, and was sick certain days” (Dan. 8:27) because of what he saw in the vision. It must have been a horrible, nightmarish vision. We can barely fathom the horror, the desecration, and degradation of what is to happen to his people, the Holy City, and the sanctuary as we read Gabriel’s explanation of it (Dan.9: 26-27).
While Daniel was praying to the Lord, asking for understanding, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and explained the vision. These weeks are seven years in length; hence, 70 x 7 = 490. In my eleven part studies on Daniel, it was pointed out that not one minute of these 490 years have taken place as yet. They await future fulfillment!
Gabriel told Daniel, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).
Six things are to be accomplished: (1) Put an end to the “little horn’s” rebellion, (2) Put an end to sins of the Desolator and his people, (3) Make an atonement for the iniquity (avon – perverseness, “wrung out of course,” see Appendix 44, iv of Companion Bible), (4) To bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) To seal up the vision and the prophecy, that is, to bring to an end all that was foretold in the vision, and (6) To anoint the most Holy (i.e. the Holy of Holies).
So after more than four-hundred-plus years of righteous education under the Government of Christ Jesus, the Lord tests those upon the earth, especially, Israel (Rev. 3:10). He gradually withdraws the Restrainer’s grip and allows men to walk in their own ways (2 Thess. 2:3-8). Then, when the Restrainer completely “steps aside,” those who had secretly been anti-God are made manifest.
The last of Daniel’s seventy weeks, the last seven years, “all hell begins to break loose.” The last three-and-a-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week was described by Christ as being the great tribulation.
The City of God will be over run by the hordes of the anti-Christ. This once City of light and righteousness will be transformed, by force of arms, into a city of darkness. John describes it as being “a habitation of devils, and a hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean, and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2).
The Lawless one makes a covenant with the apostate Jews in the transformed city; then, after three-and-a-half years, he causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and he shall erect “abominations” (phallus statues) all around the Temple (Dan. 9:27). He exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, and he will sit in the Temple of God declaring that he, himself, is God (2 Thess. 2:4).
Then the Lord Jesus Christ destroys him with the brightness of His Parousia , the 2nd Coming ( 2 Thess. 2:8). This will be the consummation of the Kingdom age.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
The Kingdom’s New Creation
Four-hundred-ninety years have been decreed upon the People of Israel and the Holy City of Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24). The Holy City will be on Mount Zion during the Kingdom of God (i.e. the Day of Christ).
It will be beautiful beyond description. Its’ glory will be the envy of the nations. It will be likened to the Garden of Eden. Jerusalem will be the City of God. It will be the Administrative Capitol of the world through which the Lord Jesus Christ, the only true Potentate, will Govern the world. It will be a City of Righteousness, Justice, Light, Peace, Truth, and Rejoicing.
It will be so magnificent that God will rejoice in Jerusalem, and He’ll take delight in His people (Isa. 65:19). It staggers the imagination when you consider the names of the great heroes of the faith who will populate the City and the beautiful Land. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and his parents, Joshua, Caleb, Rahab, David, and all of the unnamed OT heroes of the Faith. Each of the twelve Apostles will have a tribe to govern. The Israel of God (i.e. the Commonwealth of Israel) will also enjoy the benefits of a corrupt-free government.
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (Ps. 48:1-2).
For hundreds of years, the Restrainer prevents outbreaks of sin and evil enterprises of darkness.
But, all the while, the enemy will be sowing “tares” among the sons of the Kingdom, as well as world-wide. You could call them counterfeit believers. They submit to Divine Rule, but inwardly, they resent the way of righteousness. In their hearts, they yearn to be free to do the will of their father, the Devil. They dare not make any outward show of not conforming to Heaven’s judgments. If they made an outward display of non-conformity, they would be destroyed.
The Lord Jesus foretold that before the Tribulation period, there would come upon the Holy City and the world a time He called “the beginning of sorrows.”
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt.24:4-8).
For hundreds of years, the glory of the Kingdom of God blazes forth. It will be a time when the governments of the world are directed by God Himself. It will be a time of plenty. Man will live extended lives enabling them to enjoy the fruit of their own labor. They will have the benefit of perfect health. Everyone will know the ways of God. There will not be any natural catastrophes. Premature deaths will be unheard of. The world will be free from war, crime, injustice, hatred, starvation, disease, and other maladies. In fact, it can truly be said; “Man will live in a perfect environment—a world-wide Garden of Eden.”
The “beginning of sorrows” clearly indicates that the Restrainer begins to gradually with- draw His restraints. This takes place sometime before the “seventieth week” of Daniel commences. So, here you have a world living in a perfect environment, under a just Government, and experiencing long life, and some are still not content. Proving again; the heart of man is desperately wicked.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).
Thus, the “mystery of iniquity” is set in motion (2 Thess. 2:7). The main center of this activity will be centered in the Holy City. Many of the Kingdom’s disciples will be martyred. They will become hated by many nations, and many become offended, and will betray one another. False prophets will arise and will deceive many. Iniquity will abound (Matt. 24:9-12).
Then, the City of God will be amazingly transformed. The great City of Light becomes a city of darkness!
It’s hard to imagine that the Holy City situated on Mount Zion, that is to say, Jerusalem, will degenerate to such an extent. The City of God, the Capitol City of the world which had been filled with the Glory of God, is betrayed by the forces of darkness. The collapse of Divine Rule will be the result of the Holy Spirit (the Restrainer) relinquishing His control and guidance of “the course of” the Kingdom age. It will be by God’s design.
The Lord allows Satanic pressure to be brought to bear on His City of Light. In fact, the City will be over-run by the armies of the King of fierce countenance;
“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences (i.e a master of intrigue), shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand” (Dan. 8:23-25).
This is what is to take place in Jerusalem when the Restrainer steps aside. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples about this:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:15-16).
The focus of the consummation of the Kingdom is centered in Jerusalem. Prophecies concerning the great city, once the City of God, are about Jerusalem. Not Rome!
How deep can Jerusalem sink into the swamp of abominations? A few words can sum up the declination of the once proud City of God; “Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:3-4) NIV. The scene described here is definitely Jerusalem! Certainly not Rome.
Satan’s influence in Jerusalem will be so atrocious that when John writes Revelation, he is inspired to give the city a new name; “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5).
Babylon is designated as musterion (mystery). This, undoubtedly, indicates that the name is to be understood figuratively. Most scholars hold that Rome was the city that was meant. That interpretation goes back at least to the time of Tertullian (Adv. Marc., iii. 13). This interpretation was adopted by Jerome and Augustine and has been commonly accepted by the church. In many instances, I cannot agree with “most scholars;” no matter the antiquity of such scholarship. This is a case in point—Bablyon the Great is not a reference to the city of Rome. It refers to the once Righteous City of God, Jerusalem, which will be over-come by the spiritual forces of darkness.
Mystery Babylon is a symbolic name for Jerusalem because of the abominations that will occur there at the time. To give Jerusalem figurative names is not unusual. For instance, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 lay dead in the street of Jerusalem, and we read; “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).
“Where also our Lord was crucified” absolutely identifies that “the street of the great city,” here mentioned, refers to Jerusalem. So it is with mystery “Babylon.” The great City of God will degenerate rapidly into one that is characterized as being like Babylon of old.
Even in Isaiah’s time, Jerusalem was called a harlot city; “How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers” (Isa. 1:21).
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Rev. 14:8).
“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath” (Rev.16:19).
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2).
“Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Rev. 18:10).
“Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all” (Rev. 18:21).
Chapter 18 of Revelation is devoted exclusively to the great and mighty city of Babylon. The last verse identifies Babylon; not as that of a future Rome, but as Jerusalem.
“And in her (not Rome) was found the blood of the prophets, and the saints, and all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev. 18:24).
No Scriptural evidence has been found supporting the fact that Rome killed any of the prophets. Yes, they persecuted and killed Christians, but not in the sense of verse 24. This verse must be interpreted in the light of Matthew twenty-three.
“That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar” (Matt. 23:35).
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee” (Matt. 23:37).
Just prior to the end of the Kingdom age, the Restrainer steps aside, and Jerusalem disintegrates and becomes a city that the Word calls “Babylon, the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations.”
The time of Great Tribulation ends with the Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will govern the world from David’s Throne in Jerusalem restored to her previous glory.
From Plainer Words
The Kingdom's New Creation
Posted in: 2005
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 23, 2008 - 12:50:46 PM
Feb 23, 2008 - 12:50:46 PM
© Copyright 2009 by Plainer Words