Saturday, June 18, 2011

"The" millennium reigned with Christ, not on earth.

There seems to be quite a lot of confusion and misunderstanding with regard to God's eternal kingdom. As long as man thinks only in physical terms he cannot grasp the nature of the eternal kingdom, and therefore will draw many wrong conclusions regarding the fulfillment of the prophecies regarding that kingdom.

The Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah because they were looking for a physical, political king that would again set up a physical kingdom like their former days and throw off the Roman yoke. They thought that the Messiah would be a military leader. Jews hated the rule of the Roman government. This is the reason why the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. (Luke 17:20) They did not like his answer.

This vain belief is why the Jews rejected Christ, for they were looking for an earthly king to rule over an earthly kingdom. Jesus had to be very careful at this time. When many people saw this miracle, they wanted to make Jesus the king in Jerusalem. (John 6:4-15) They thought He could perform a miracle and force the Roman government to leave Jerusalem. The crowd wanted to take him by force and make him king. Therefore, when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. Vs 15

They only wanted an earthly kingdom, so they crucified Him, the Son of God. It was difficult for people in the time of Christ to understand the *prophets’ words about the *Messiah.

Such products of Jewish imagination have passed over into Christianity. One of these misunderstand is based on Revelation 20:4 the "Millennial Reign" of Christ with the saints. There is a doctrine that the "Millennial Reign" of Christ will be upon “the earth with the living saints.” But lets look at the verse. Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw (the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus), and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and (they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years).

Revelation 20:4 is the only place in the entire Bible that mentions a thousand year reign of Christ. "If one examines the texts carefully, in Revelation 20:4 it becomes rather obvious that John is NOT talking about the earthly reign but is describing a scene in heaven. The martyrs are in heaven here and in every other place in Revelation (cf. 6:9-10).

It also should become rather obvious in this verse the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus are the ones who lived (spiritually) and reigned with Christ a thousand years. "The thousand year reign, was only for those that died (were beheaded) and reign with Christ for a thousand years.

The fact that the souls are beheaded is indicative of Roman execution and that these martyrs did not die under the Jewish persecution in Palestine that arose over Stephen. Jewish execution was typically by stoning. (Acts 7:59) In other words, they are martyrs under Nero that have been gathered into rest in paradise to await the general resurrection. Like the souls under the altar in Revelation. 6:9-11, they have paid the ultimate price for their testimony and won the martyrs’ crown. The martyrs reign because they have been faithful unto death.

When large numbers are used in scripture (i.e. thousand, etc.) they are always used figuratively. John borrows a lot of his figurative language from the Old Testament. David used this type of figurative language when he said. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills Psalms 50:10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. Does anyone suppose God only owns the cattle on a 1000 hills and not hill 1001? He owns the cattle on three thousand hills. He owns the cattle on all the hills. The Lord owns them all. There is no statement that the Lord owns ONLY the cattle on a thousand hills. The phrase "A THOUSAND" is not the # 1,000......... It comes from the Greek word "Chilioi" which is a plural of uncertain affinity. It means completion, totality, completeness, and is not meant to be taken literally.

Another good example is found in Deuteronomy 7:9 "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Does anyone suppose God only keeps his covenant and mercy for a thousand generations and when the thousand generations it is over He stops? There is no statement that the Lord will not keep covenant and mercy AFTER the thousand generations.

So there is no evidence in Revelation 20:4 that there will be a reign of Christ is with living saints upon the earth. There is no mention by John in Revelation 20:4 that the thousand year reign of Christ is on the earth. There is no mention of the saints that were NOT beheaded are reigning with Christ. The martyrs that had been faithful unto death are reigning with Christ in heaven, not for one thousand literal years but for all eternity.

Probably one of the reasons there are such differing ideas regarding the kingdom and the time of its establishment is a failure to think Spiritually. In 1 Corinthians 2:13-14, Paul said, These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. The things of God are spiritually discerned.

Jesus told Pilate in John 18:36-37, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." Pilate asked, "Art thou a king then?" Jesus replied, "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness of the truth." It is quite obvious that Jesus was indicating that his kingdom was spiritual and not physical.

In Luke 17:20-21, when asked when the kingdom would come, Jesus replied that, "the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:50 that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

With a proper concept of the nature of the kingdom, the time is not nearly so complicated and difficult. All the objections to accepting the very clear time statements are made on the basis of certain happenings which have not physically happened. There were some physical things that were predicted to happen, which did happen, but if one views everything in a physical manner, then he will wind up in the same dilemma as Nicodemus

Notice Hebrews 12:18-23. The writer compares the coming to (spiritual Mt. Zion) to (literal Mt. Sinai), 18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 For they could not endure what was commanded: "And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow." 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling. 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.

Notice the writer says (But YOU HAVE COME) to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels. During the first century this was an all ready, but not yet because the Old Covenant was growing old and ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. However, after the Old Covenant was done away with, that mountain is a PRESENT REALITY.

If one really believes God, that we too are gathered at that mountain, he can be assured that Christ came in his eternal kingdom. There are many things to be accepted by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. It is also impossible to please God without that faith. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Now look at the time statements. In Daniel 2:44, Daniel said, "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom..." As he interprets Neuchadnezzar's dream, he says that Nebuchadnezzar was the first of four kingdoms. It was in the days of the kings of the fourth kingdom that the eternal kingdom, which would take in all other kingdoms, was to be set up. Most agree that this was in the days of the Roman empire.

Now notice what Isaiah wrote. "It shall come to pass in the last days, 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." (Isaiah 2:2). What last days? In verse 1 he said it was the word that Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

If we truly believe the words of Jesus that his kingdom comes with out observation Luke 17:20-21 and is not of this world (John 18:36-37).