The Coming Kingdom 006

Dr. Andy Woods | Feb 8, 2017 | Isaiah 2:1-4 | The Coming Kingdom

Andy Woods

The Coming Kingdom

2-8-17     Isaiah 2:1-4        Lesson 6

Good evening everybody.  Let’s open our Bibles to the book of Isaiah, chapter 2 and verse 1.  If you’ve been tracking with us or maybe this is your first time here we have been tracing the whole subject of the kingdom through the Bible, which involves several stops on the bus.  And we’ve gone through five stops already.  Our first stop was the Garden of Eden, where we learned that the kingdom that God established was lost to the earth at that time.  God the Father wanted to rule through the first Adam who would rule creation for God and that kingdom disappeared when our forbearers listened to the animals, one animal in particular, a talking snake, and rebelled against God.   So the kingdom disappears from the earth at that point.

So sort of the goal of history is how that structure is going to be brought back to the earth.  And of course one of these days in the millennial kingdom which we’ll be studying tonight, God the Father is going to rule over the last Adam who’s going to govern creation for God.  So your whole kingdom program starts right there in Eden.  And once the kingdom is lost we start to see promises developing in what’s called the Abrahamic Covenant, where God is forming a special nation, the nation of Israel, and it’s through that nation that we learn He’s going to bring His kingdom program to the earth and it starts getting developed in the form of promises where God granted to the nation of Israel three blessings, land, seed and blessing.  And they, at that time, were given ownership of those blessings.

The third stop on the bus is the Mosaic Covenant which takes us to the time of Moses where God now spells out a condition in the Mosaic Covenant through which Israel, if she meets the condition doesn’t become the owner but becomes the possessor.  And that Mosaic Covenant ultimately points towards Christ.  So until the nation of Israel enthrones the king of God’s choosing, which would be Christ, the kingdom will be in a state, not of cancelation but a state of postponement.

And the fourth stop on the bus is the divided kingdom where we learned that because of the sin of Solomon, his polygamy and other things that he was doing God brought discipline and divided the nation of Israel into two parts, the ten northern tribes and the two southern tribes.  Now of those two groups which is the more significant as far as the kingdom is concerned?  The southern tribes because Judah is in the south and Genesis 49:10 tells us that the Messiah is going to come from the tribe of Judah.  [Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”]  And we know from the covenant that God made with David that the Davidic kings reigned in the south, and so the north is dispersed by the Assyrians about 722 B.C. and God says keep your eye on the on the south.  So the south wasn’t dispersed, they were taken into deportation.

And once the south was taken into deportation, that was our fifth stop on the bus, which began a period of time called the times of the Gentiles, which is a period of time when there is no king reigning on David’s throne and Israel is going to be trampled down by various Gentile powers.  And we noted the first Gentile power was Babylon, the last Gentile power will be Revived Rome under who? The antichrist.  And only after that kingdom of the antichrist runs its course which is yet future from our point of view, from our time period, then the kingdom will come.

So the times of the Gentiles concept, and we saw it developed in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 reveals when the kingdom is going to come; after the final phase of Gentile dominion under the antichrist is deposed of by Jesus Christ at the Second Advent.  So you put these concepts together and what you learn is that a kingdom is coming but it’s in a state of postponement.  Are you guys with me so far.

Now this takes us to our sixth stop on the bus which is the Old Testament prophets.  And we’ll be focusing on the Old Testament prophets probably tonight and I think there’s so much here it’ll probably carry over into next week.  And this is where the Old Testament prophets start to give a sketch, a portrait if you will, of what the coming kingdom will be like.  The kingdom is in a state of postponement, not cancellation and so if we didn’t have a portrait of what it would be like when the kingdom finally arrives we would lose hope.  So that’s why the book of 2 Peter, chapter 1 and verse 19, of the prophets, says this: “So we have the prophetic word made more sure” now in context “made more sure” than what?  If you back up in the chapter you’ll see that it’s talking about Peter’s eyewitness testimony to the Mount of Transfiguration when Christ appeared in His glorified state.

Now what is the most powerful form of evidence you can introduce in a court of Law?  Eyewitnesses.  And what Peter says here is the words of the prophets are even more powerful than eyewitnesses.  That’s how sure Peter is about these prophets and prophecies.  So he says, “So we have the prophetic word “made more sure”  to which you do well to pay attention” to because of the certainty of the prophets Peter says you would do very well to pay attention to what they say because they function as “a lamp shining in a dark place….”  Now why is this world a “dark place”?  It’s a dark place because the kingdom is not here right now.  So the prophets function as a light “shining in a dark place” because they start to paint a picture of what life will be like once the kingdom comes.  “… until the day dawns and the morning star” now the morning star, according to Revelation 22 is Jesus, “until the morning star arises in your hearts.”

So until the morning star and the return of Christ the world is in a dark place, the kingdom is not here, Satan is the god of this age but we don’t’ lose hope because the prophets are like “a lamp shining in a dark place,” that we would do well to pay attention to.  So if you don’t become a student of what the prophets reveal about the kingdom the only thing you’re stuck with is the course of this present world, and isn’t that kind of a depressing subject?  And that’s why everybody is all concerned about world events and I am too to a certain extent, but the fact of the matter is whoever gets elected and the next election cycle, you know, we can be hopeful about things or depressed about things I guess a little, but the fact of the matter is it doesn’t alter your hope at all because your hope ultimately doesn’t come from the course of this present world; it comes from the picture that the Old Testament prophets present of the coming kingdom.

So every world view out there has an eschatology, a study of the end, and as Christians we have one too and we have a very clear picture from God of His plan for this world, which gives us hope in a hopeless age, but you really don’t have hope until you become a student of these prophets who are functioning like a light “shining in a dark place.”  So Peter says we would do well to pay attention to these prophets.

So what I have is a list of fourteen characteristics of the kingdom, from the prophets, and before I even give you that list of fourteen I want to take you to three sections of Scripture, all in Isaiah, and if you were just to become a student of these three passages you would have a pretty good glimpse of what the kingdom is like and will be like.  The first is Isaiah 2:1-4, which I had you turn to, four verses, it says:

“The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  [2] Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills;” so one of the characteristics of the coming kingdom is the nation of Israel is going to be in a place of prominence over the rest of the world.  Israel and Jerusalem is not just one of many nations but she’s actually prominent in that time.  And it goes on and it says, “and all the nations will stream to it.  [3] And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;  that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’  For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the” word of the LORD will go forth from Washington D.C…. oh, I’m sorry, it doesn’t say that, “the word of LORD from Jerusalem.”  So it’s picturing Jerusalem as the nerve center of the millennial kingdom.  [4] “And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples;” so what’s happening in this future time period is completely righteous judgment, so there’s no mistakes, there’s no miscarriages of justice like we see today, “and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.”

So it’s talking about a period of time of world peace where nations spending… think of how much of our budget here in the United States is spent just on military, a military in this time won’t even be needed because there won’t be any wars during this time.  So that’s a tremendous picture, isn’t it?

Take a look a couple of chapters to the right, look at Isaiah 11:6-9, it says, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,” so that’s talking about peace in the animal kingdom.  Have you been to the zoo lately?  You’ll notice that wolf and lamb are in different cages, but not so in the millennium or the kingdom.  It says, “And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.  [7] Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.”  So notice that it’s a time period where animals aren’t even carnivorous any more, they’re herbivorous.     [8] “The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand” into the cobra’s nest.  Think about how startled  you would be if your young child put their hand into the cobra’s nest, but in this coming kingdom that won’t even be an issue because the conflict between animals and mankind is called off.  And it says, [9] “They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,” so notice it’s a time of holiness, you have the righteous rule of Jesus present.  And then it says, “For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”

So think of a world where Christians aren’t persecuted, you know a lot of our brothers and sisters in Christ are meeting under the cloak of darkness and secrecy for fear of government persecution.  Even here in the United States look at how the Bible has been pushed out of the schools and public life.  A judge in Alabama wants to post the Ten Commandments on his wall in the courthouse and all of a sudden that becomes a lawsuit, and all of these things where the Word of God is pushed out of everything.  But in the kingdom the earth will be the opposite; the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.  So that’s quite a picture, isn’t it, of the kingdom?

And then go to the very end, second to last chapter of Isaiah and notice Isaiah 65:17-25, Isaiah continues to give us great depictions of the coming kingdom.  He says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;” now I’ll show you a little bit later that that’s not a brand new earth, that’s what we would call a renovated earth and I’ll try to prove that a little bit later.  “And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.  [18]  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing” so Jerusalem today, the way the prophet Zechariah describes it it’s like a burdensome stone that causes the nations to reel.  Even recently in Paris the gang of seventy two met to further divide the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.  But not so in the kingdom, Jerusalem will not be a target any longer; Jerusalem will be a place of rejoicing.

“…And her people for gladness.  [19] I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; and there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying.  [20] “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.”  You knowledge sometimes somebody dies at a very young age, a child, a teenager, something tragic happens and we say wow, isn’t it tragic such a young life was snuffed out.  And in the kingdom if someone dies when they reach a hundred everybody is going to be shocked, how sad that is that such a young man died at such a young age, at the age of one hundred.

And it goes on and it says, [21] “They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  [22] They will not build and another inhabit,” so today you put in a lot of sweat to start a business or something and the government comes and assuming you even make a profit the government comes in with state, local and national taxes and all of a sudden 60% of everything you earn and all the effort you’ve spent, suddenly that money is gone.  And where does it go?  It goes to somebody else that didn’t earn it.  So in the kingdom you’re going to be able to reap the benefits of your own labor, whatever you produce is yours.  And it says, “they will not plant and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree,” now think of a tree, how a tree survives multiple human generations, “as the lifetime of a tree so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.  [23] They will not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, and their descendants with them.

[24] It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer;” see, a lot of times we struggle with God because we pray and we don’t see immediate answers to our prayers but not so in the kingdom.  You pray for something and immediately it materializes because of the righteous rule of Jesus is present and we’re aligned with His righteousness.  “… and while they are still speaking, I will hear. [25] ‘The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,’ says the LORD.”

So what do you think?  Are you looking forward to this time period?  Here’s just the things I wrote down only from those three sections of Scripture in Isaiah.  I call these kingdom conditions.  Jerusalem is the center of the earth.  It’s a time of perfect justice, worldwide peace, peace in the animal kingdom, the universal knowledge of the Lord, the earth is renovated, there is a curtailment of the curse because the curse did bring death, and the average lifespan today is what?   70 years, 80 years, 90 if you’re lucky.  Well here obviously people are living a lot longer than that.  There’s going to be what I would call authentic… you  know, people throw this word “social justice” around today but in the kingdom there’s authentic social justice because whatever you labor for you end up keeping.  It’s a time of tremendous prosperity on the earth and it’s a time when our prayers are immediately answered.  That’s the light shining in a dark place that the prophets are holding out for us.

So notice Romans 11:12, notice what Paul says concerning the restoration of Israel.  He says, “Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles,” now let me pause there for a second, we know the story from the Gospels that Jesus showed up and the nation of Israel rejected Him.  And as the nation of Israel rejected Christ the kingdom did not come in the first century; the kingdom is now in a state of postponement, not cancellation.  And we look at that and we say what a tragedy, but you all know that God can take lemons and turn them into what?  Lemonade; that’s God’s specialty.

So He took the Jewish rejection of their own Messiah, where the Jews had all the evidence that could be mustered by God Himself that Jesus is their Messiah, He is the King of God’s choosing, and they rushed Him through their judicial system, which was a mockery of justice, they broke every law they had in the Old Testament and in extra biblical… the Mishnah and those kinds of documents, they rushed Jesus through the court system to get Him dead.  They turned Him over to the Romans and we look at that and we say what a tragic thing that was but God took lemons and turned them into lemonade because through that transaction what did God accomplish?  The sin debt of the world was paid for.  So God took a tragic thing and actually used it to pay the sin debt of the world.

And so Paul says if the Jewish rejection brought riches to the Gentiles… see, we’re spiritually rich now, because of the death of Christ.  If there wouldn’t have been a death of Christ, had the nation of Israel not rejected Jesus, right?  So if that failure resulted in riches to the Gentiles look at what he says, “how much more will their fulfillment be!”  If God took their rejection of the Messiah and turned it into a triumph think of the greater triumph that’s on the horizon once the nation of Israel complies with the condition and honors the King of God’s choosing.  And I think what Paul is referencing here is the coming kingdom.

And he goes in verse 15 and he says, For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”  And all the way through Romans 11 he’s talking about the future of  the nation of Israel; he’s just making a very simple point that the Jewish rejection of Christ was tragic but God brought something good out of it.  And if God can bring something good out of a tragedy think what greater thing is coming once the nation of Israel is in the faith because that will result in the manifestation of the kingdom of God on the earth and the ultimate dethronement and deposing of Satan.  And you don’t have this understanding unless you pay attention to what the prophets have said, which functions as a light shining in a dark place.   [2 Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”]

So that’s the introduction… you can see why this is probably going to lead into next week.  But what I have here, I just want to give you fourteen conditions of what the kingdom is going to be like.  We’ve already read several of them in those three sections of Isaiah that we read just a moment ago but here I’m kind of delineating things a little further and trying to give us a picture of the coming kingdom which is so well developed by these prophets and God specifically raised up these prophets for many reasons.  One of their primary reasons was to give us a picture of the coming kingdom.  So here we go; fourteen conditions.  I’ve taken all of these from the prophets and one of the tragedies of putting this study together is all the stuff I had to leave out so I can just give you a Readers Digest version because if you really want to get into what the prophets say about the kingdom that’s an expansive, massive, massive study.  So here’s at least the Readers Digest version so you can get the flavor of it.

The first of the four conditions is that the coming kingdom is going to be established by God.  Daniel 2:44 says, “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.”  So this kingdom that’s coming is not the work of man, it’s not the work of some kind of political strategy; it’s something that God physically sets up on planet earth.

The second characteristic of the coming kingdom from the prophets is that it’s going to be eternal; it’s going to last forever in other words.  Daniel 7:27 says, “His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.”   [Daniel 7:27, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”]  Now you say well how can it be eternal when John tells us it will last a thousand years in Revelation   20.  What you have to understand is the millennial kingdom is going to be followed by the eternal state, so the millennial kingdom is sort of like the front porch to a house; it does last a thousand years but once you pass it you move into the eternal state, the eternal state is called the “eternal state” because it lasts forever.  So Revelation 20 is sort of the front door or the porch and Revelation 21 and 22 is the house that follows.  So this kingdom will be eternal and this kingdom will last forever.

Number three, this kingdom will be exhibited by Christ’s direct rule.  Jesus Himself is going to be orchestrating the kingdom.  Zechariah 9:9-10 says, “…Behold, your king is coming to you… mounted on a donkey,” that was the first advent which the Jews rejected, but then Zechariah 9:10 goes into Christ’s second advent and it says, “His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

[Zechariah 9:9-10, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  [10] I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off.  And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”]

So what it’s revealing is the worldwide rule of Jesus Christ.  Christ’s direct rule over the earth.  And what God is bringing back into existence is the structure that existed over the human race prior to the fall of man.  God’s original plan was to directly rule Adam and he was to govern creation on God’s behalf.  And we studied that, did we not, in Genesis 1:26-28 where Adam was given authority over the animal kingdom.  He said subdue, rule and those kinds of things.

[Genesis 1:26-28, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ [27] God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [28] God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”’]

And that was lost in Eden and God is bringing this back in the thousand year reign of Christ where God is going to rule over not the first Adam but the last Adam, He’s going to govern creation for God.  That’s the plan of human history.  And God, in Genesis 1, “said to them,” plural, Genesis 1:26, subdue, rule, in other words it was Adam and Eve together.  So when Jesus is governing this earth for God the Father He’s going to be with His Eve ruling and reigning and who do you think that Eve is?  The church, which is the bride of Christ, then it will be the wife of Christ.  See that?  So the millennial kingdom is the direct rule of Jesus Christ over the earth.

A fourth characteristic of the coming kingdom is it’s going to be earthly.  A lot of people will take these promises and say well, that’s just talking about Jesus and heaven and our enjoyment with Jesus in heaven and things like that.  But that’s not what the prophets say.  It describes it as earthly in nature, just like Eden was earthly in nature.  Zechariah 14:9 says, “And the LORD will be” what?  “will be king over all the earth; [in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.”]  So it’s very clear that we’re dealing here with what we would call an earthly kingdom.  The earthly kingdom which will follow the earthly return of Jesus Christ to this planet starts getting described as early as the book of Job.  What’s the oldest book of the Bible?  The book of Job, and in Job 19:25 it says this: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the” what? “on the earth.”

The problem with Christendom, Christianity is we fell under the spell of Augustine, but he in the fourth century took all these promises and said you know, these are really heavenly in nature.   He was someone that was influenced by gnostic thought.  Gnostics basically believe that the spiritual world was good and the physical world was bad.  And that seeped into Christianity and that started to mess up a lot of doctrines; one of the doctrines that got messed up was the incarnation of Christ, that Jesus came in an actual body, and that’s why you see statements in     1 John about who is the antichrist but the one who denies that Jesus has come in the what? in the flesh.   [1 John 4:2-3] “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; [3] and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”

And another doctrine this Gnostic thought destroyed seeping into Christianity as the doctrine of the earthly kingdom, so I’ll be showing you in this series that the church, for 200 years, believed exactly the way I’m talking, in an earthly kingdom.  In fact, they made it a test of orthodoxy, if you didn’t believe this you weren’t even considered an orthodox Christian in the church for the first two centuries.  And then Augustine came along, influenced by Gnosticism and he began to say things like all of this physical stuff is really carnal, and so they took all of these promises that God has given specifically to planet earth and they began to kind of celestialize them and make it sound like they were heavenly and they basically began to rewrite these prophecies.

Even today many people have very limited knowledge of the church within Christendom about the coming earthly reign of Christ and they really don’t understand that they are going to be ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ on the planet earth.  Revelation 5, I was trying not to quote the book of Revelation because I wanted you to see that this earthly kingdom idea really starts in the Old Testament, but Revelation 5:10 says, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign” where? “upon the earth.”  It doesn’t say anything about us being clouds, strumming harps, wearing white sheets or whatever, halos over our heads.

There is an earthly heavenly program, we’re with Him for seven years in the Father’s house, we’ll try to explain that later in the series, but that’s just limited; we’re coming right back to the earth to rule and reign with Jesus Christ on planet earth.  And very few Christians understand this and even in our songs what do we talk about all the time?  Heaven.  And the way we evangelize, do  you want to die and go to heaven?  We talk about heaven all the time.  But the reality of the situation is the Scripture is placing a lot more emphasis on the earth and we’ve lost sight of our earthly future, and so we learn here, with characteristic number 4 that according to Zechariah 14:9, “And the LORD will be king over all the earth; [in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.”]  This is a terrestrial earthly kingdom.

Now one of the things people like to do with these promises… you see how I’ve got the tribulation period, the Second Coming, the thousand year kingdom, and the eternal state?  One of the things people like to do is they like to take all of these earthly promises and transport them to the far right of the chart.  And they like to say well, this is not talking about some kind of thousand year reign of Christ which precedes the eternal state, this is talking about the new heavens and the new earth.  The fact of the matter is, and I’ll be showing you this over and over again through this chart here as we progress, these prophecies are not talking about the eternal state.  One of the reasons they could not be talking about the eternal state is because Zechariah 14:16-18 talks about people not wanting to go to Jerusalem to worship Christ.

And what you have to understand is that the kingdom is repopulated by believing survivors of the great tribulation period.  And the earth, after the great tribulation period will be quickly repopulated and what is  passed down through the bloodline?  The sin nature.  And so the kingdom is a very interesting time, you can have the resurrected Jesus ruling and reigning with His church, us in resurrected bodies ruling and reigning but you’ve got a group of people on the earth that need to be ruled over with a rod of iron because they will still possess a sin nature.

That’s why Jesus has to rule with a rod of iron during this time period and that’s why you get little hints of grumblings in people, they’re not going to want to go to Jerusalem to worship but they don’t dare express themselves, they don’t destroy campuses and things like people do today when they have these tantrums.  And so they just bottle up their resentment against Christ and you’ll see that very clearly in Zechariah 14:16-18, it says, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went up against Jerusalem will go up from  year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  [17] And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.”  Rain is r-a-i-n, not r-e-i-g-n.  But God immediately judges any rebellion, they don’t get moisture for their crops, and this is a manifestation of Jesus ruling and reigning, along with His church, with the rod of iron. It says, [18] “If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths”

Now let me ask you a question; can that be describing the eternal state?  It can’t be describing the eternal state because there isn’t any sin in the eternal state.  Revelation 21:4 makes that very clear and a number of other passages.  [Revelation 21:4, “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”]

So a prophecy like that can only fit this unique time before the eternal state begins when you have two classes of people living on the earth, the resurrected Christ along with the resurrected church and I’ll throw into the mix Old Testament resurrected saints and resurrected tribulation martyrs.   Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:4-5, many passages describe it.  [Daniel 12:2, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”  Revelation 20:4-5, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  [5] The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.”]

But you have people who survive the tribulation period, who pastor the sheep and goat judgment.  You’ll find a description of this in Matthew 25:31-46.  They are called sheep and they enter the kingdom, not in resurrected bodies but in mortal bodies and the kingdom starts with all believers.  They have children, their children have children, their children have children and the sin nature just gets passed right on down through the genetics.

So the kingdom is this unique period of time where you’ve got resurrected and un-resurrected people living together on the earth.  And you say this sounds like a science fiction movie, this is really weird.  But think about this for a minute; we have a precedent for this in Scripture.  There is a forty day period in between Christ’s resurrection and ascension, that’s described in the book of Acts, and that period goes about forty days and he’s instructing his disciples and do they not have a meal together during that time?  And they’re interacting, He’s asking them questions, they’re asking Him questions and there’s dialogue going back and forth and they’re even touching Christ.  Remember Thomas touched Christ.  So what I’m saying is there is a precedent in Scripture for resurrected and non-resurrected people to be dwelling together and that’s basically what the kingdom age is.  And that’s the only way to make sense of a passage like Zechariah 14 which talks about a rebellion that’s smoldering in the hearts of people but it isn’t expressed because of Jesus ruling with a rod of iron.  Zechariah 14:16-18 doesn’t fit the far right of the screen, the last two chapters of the Bible. It only fits the immediate one thousand year time period.  So what is the coming kingdom going to be like?  It’s going to be earthly.

The fifth condition that the prophets describe is the kingdom is the time period when the land promises are going to be realized.  Remember the plot of real estate that God promised to Abram, all the way back in Genesis 15, remember we studied that and the Abrahamic Covenant, a plot of real estate that goes from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates.   It’s basically modern day Egypt to modern day Iraq.  And remember Abraham, who was then named Abram, walked around the land, and we studied that, that he would possess, so it’s got to be talking about soil on this planet.  And when is this going to happen?  It’s going to be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom.  So everything that God has promised in the covenants to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is going to be fulfilled at this time.

Now when you study Ezekiel 47:13-23 what you discover is very specific information is given concerning how that land is going to be divided amongst the twelve tribes.   So there’s sort of a pictorial representation of what Ezekiel 47:13-23 is talking about. People say well, let’s just make that the eternal state.  It doesn’t fit the eternal state!  Why?  Because Ezekiel talks about tribal land; the eternal state is talking about tribal city gates.  It talks in the eternal state about the New Jerusalem but it never says (to my knowledge) that the land is divided.

What it says in Revelation 21:12 concerning the New Jerusalem, the eternal city, it says: “It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”  So in the eternal state each gate of the city is named after a tribe.  That’s not the way the millennium is described where they’re actually given a specific plot of real estate.   So once again a prophecy like this does not fit the eternal state.  The only place it logically fits is the thousand year kingdom that lead up to the eternal state.

And continuing on here with our list, once these land promises are realized what is promised is that the land of Israel will never be divided again.  No division of the land!  Remember when the land of Israel was divided, after Solomon’s reign; the ten northern tribes called Israel were divided from the two southern tribes that were then given the name Judah.  And you read passages like Joel 3:2 and that’s where you discover that the nations of the earth prior to the return of Christ are going to be obsessed with dividing the land of Israel.  And this is exactly what we see today, isn’t it?

What are these international groups always saying?  Israel has to give up more territory to guarantee peace, so they’re always talking about dividing the city of Jerusalem, giving up the West Bank.  They gave up the Gaza Strip back in 2005 and how well has that worked for them?  They elected in Gaza Hamas, a terrorist organization, which uses that strip to build tunnels so they can go into the land of Israel and kidnap people.  I was actually in Israel, my wife and I, when those youths were kidnapped coming home from school, those Jewish youths, and they used that area, and on this map it’s called Philistia, what’s called the Gaza Strip today, they use it to launch rockets into the land of Israel.  And  you see how well this two-state solution works.  Now the world community says let’s just try it on a bigger scale.

So you’re not going to just give up Gaza, you’re going to give up what they call the West Bank, which is really Judea and Samaria.  So there’s a perpetual desire to divide the land of Israel and Joel 3:2 indicates that that’s what’s going to bring God’s wrath to the world in the tribulation period.  He says they divided My land.  [Joel 3:2, “I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land.”]  So this is an obsession of the nations and it’s a division that actually started after the time of Solomon as the land was divided between the northern and the southern kingdoms.

But guess what?  In the millennial kingdom no more division of the land.  Ezekiel 37:21-22 says, “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; [22] and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.”

The book of Jeremiah, chapter 30 and verse 3 predicts the exact same thing in the millennial kingdom.  It says, “‘For behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ Thus says the LORD says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’”  He says I’m going to restore the fortunes of Israel and Judah.  That’s the north and the south coming back together and living in harmony.  And never again will the nations of the earth divide this land.

So the kingdom is the time period when all these land promises, expressed in the Abrahamic Covenant and also expressed through the prophets, indicating the land will never be divided again, it’s the time when all of these land promises are going to be realized.

A sixth condition of the millennial kingdom is a time period when Israel is preeminent. Israel, in the millennial kingdom, is not some side show off in the corner, but she is the preeminent nation.  That’s what the prophets predict.  Isaiah 49:23 says, “They,” that’s the Gentiles, “will bow down to you with their faces to the earth and lick the dust of your feet;” that’s pretty powerful, isn’t it.

Zechariah 8:23 says, “…’In those days ten men from all the nations” Gentiles, “will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you for we have heard that God is with you.’”  So there’s a recognition once again that Israel has a very special role that she’s playing in that time period and people are attracted to God and they know that Israel is God’s special nation.  So the nations of the earth, ten Gentiles are grabbing the garment of one Jew.

We’ve already read Isaiah 2:3, “…For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from” where?  “Jerusalem.”  Not Brussels, not Washington D.C., not San Francisco, not any famous Gentile city but the nation of Israel is the nerve center of the millennial kingdom.   And this is why in the book of Revelation, when Satan is released from the abyss, John talks about it in Revelation 20:7-9 and he’s given one last chance to wage war against God, and he summons the nations who had been living in perfection for a thousand years, and that sin nature has been kind of boiling but hasn’t been allowed to express itself.  Satan is released and people have one last shot to rebel against God and it says in Revelation 20:7-9 those involved in the rebellion are as “the sand of the seashore.”  [Revelation 20:7-9, “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, [8] and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. [9] And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”]

So we’re not talking about a minor rebellion here.  And what do they surround?  They surround which city?  It says it very clearly, “the beloved city.”   Now do a study of the beloved city in the Old Testament and what you’ll discover is the beloved city is always a reference to which city?  The city of Jerusalem.  Now why are these rebels and Satan attacking the city?  Because that’s the headquarters.  To take over you have to attack the headquarters; it’s the nerve center, if you will.

Isaiah 49:22-23 talks about this, Zechariah 8:23 talks about it, Isaiah 2:2-3 talks about it.   A passage I read earlier, Zechariah 14:16-18 talks about this, because they won’t want to go worship Jesus on the Feast of Booths.  And where is Jesus located at that time?  The city of Jerusalem.  That’s why there’s this smoldering rebellion in the hearts of people against the city of Jerusalem.

[Isaiah 49:22-23, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples; and they will bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.’  [23] ‘Kings will be your guardians, and their princesses your nurses.   They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth and lick the dust of your feet; and you will know that I am the LORD; those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.”   Zechariah 8:23, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”  Zechariah 14:16-18, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  [17] And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. [18] If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths”]

Isaiah 14:2 talks about the preeminence of Jerusalem and the Jewish people during this time.  It says, “The peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive and will rule over their oppressors.”   So all of these nations that have subjugated and bullied Israel, all of these centuries and millennia, in the millennial kingdom find themselves actually being ruled over by Israel, the very nation that they subjugated.  And that’s what these prophets seem to be predicting.

And you have to watch theologians very carefully on this issue because what they’ll play is this little game where they’ll say well, I believe in a future for Israel, and people say okay, they believe in a future commitment to Israel and God’s future plan and program being fulfilled through Israel so they’re okay as a theologian.  When people say I believe in “a future for Israel” they are grossly. grossly, understating what the prophets predict.  The prophets do not predict “a” future for Israel, they predict Israel is “the” future.  Do you see the difference there?  Israel is not just one of many nations in the millennial kingdom, that’s what a lot of people are trying to pass off today but that’s not what the prophets predict at all. It predicts that Israel is the head and not the tail; it predicts the preeminence and the prominence of Israel.  Jesus is ruling and reigning over this earth from the city of Jerusalem.

And let me see if I can squeeze in one more here, a seventh characteristic of the millennial or coming kingdom as revealed in the prophets is the millennial temple.  There is a millennial temple described in Ezekiel 40-46, and it’s described in such detail that it’s impossible to say well that’s just an allegory.  It’s described with more detail than Noah’s ark itself.  It’s described with more detail than the temple Solomon built in history.  So if you’re going to play this game of well, it’s not literal, then you have to de-literalize Noah’s ark, you have to de-literalize the Solomonic temple.  The level of detail in Ezekiel’s prophecy of the coming temple is mindboggling; in fact, it’s so mindboggling it becomes impossible to spiritualize it away or allegorize it away.

Here’s some pictures of the temple, its comparison to Herod’s temple size wise.  Look at how big this millennial temple will be in comparison to Herod’s temple which you remember from John 2, where they said it took forty years to build this temple.  [John 2:20, “The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”’]   So it was a very attractive temple by the time of Christ, that was rebuilt by the exiles that came back from Babylon.  This would be temple two because the first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, just prior to the deportation.

So the exiles come back, they rebuild the temple, Herod comes along later in biblical history and beautifies it, and this was the temple that the disciples were so impressed with.  They were pointing out to Christ on the Mount of Olives, look at the beauty of the temple.  And this was where Jesus in Matthew 24 says, I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another.  [Matthew 24:1, “And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”’]  This temple is going to be torn down, which it was by the Romans in A.D. 70.

But that picture there is the size of Herod’s temple and look how big Ezekiel’s temple is, there on the left, by way of comparison.  Look how big Ezekiel’s temple is compared to the tabernacle that Moses constructed.  Look at how big Ezekiel’s temple is compared to the majesty of Solomon’s temple, that the Shekinah glory of God entered.  And look at how big Ezekiel’s temple is relative to a football field.  We all watched the Super Bowl, think what that giant football field that we were all watching, look at how big Ezekiel’s temple is by way of comparison.  And this is the temple that the Shekinah glory of God returns to.  Remember, the first temple built by Solomon that the Shekinah glory of God entered left just prior to the deportation.  And last week I tried to make the case that that’s when the theocratic kingdom left the earth.  Do you recall that?  And what Ezekiel predicts is there’s coming a glorious millennial temple that the same Shekinah glory of God left from in the days of Nebuchadnezzar is actually going to return to, and that’s the return of God’s theocratic reign over the earth and that’s a millennial passage.

Now again, people play this little game well, let’s just put Ezekiel’s temple into the last two chapters of the Bible?  Does it fit there?  It doesn’t fit there because Ezekiel 45:22 says this: “On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering.”  So there is something, it’s described in Hebrews 9:13, of ceremonial cleansing that the priests are going to have to go through to take care of their duties in this millennial temple because the Shekinah glory of God will be present. [Hebrews 9:13, “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,”]

Now let me ask you a question.  Can Ezekiel 45;22 fit the eternal state?  It doesn’t fit there at all, does it, because in the eternal state there’s no sin.  If that weren’t enough, according to Revelation 21:22 of the eternal state, John says, “I saw no” what? “temple in it, [for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.]”

So number 1, there’s no sin in the eternal state, Revelation 21:4 says He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will no longer be any death, there will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain, for the first order of things have passed away.  That’s number 1.  Number 2, there can’t even be a temple in the eternal state because Revelation 21:22 says “I saw no temple in it.”  So the only logical… unless you just want to wildly pretend that this prophecy isn’t saying what it’s saying, in which case you have to dismiss all of the in depth graphic depiction of that temple.   Unless you just want to allegorize it away the only place it logically fits is not in the eternal state… by the way, is this temple in existence today?  There is no temple in Israel today.  So if it’s not being fulfilled today and it’s not going to be fulfilled in the eternal state where are you going to put it?  If you care about details you’ve got to put it somewhere, right?  The only logical place it fits is in that thousand year kingdom, that unique period of time where you have resurrected and non-resurrected people dwelling together.

So I hope you’re sort of getting a picture of what this coming kingdom is like: established by God, eternal, Christ’s direct rule, earthly, the land promises are realized at this time, Israel is going to be preeminent over the nations of the earth at this time and it will be a time period with a functioning millennial temple.  And guess what?  I only made it halfway through our list so we will look at the remaining seven descriptors of the coming kingdom from the prophets next week.