The Coming Kingdom 034

Dr. Andy Woods | Feb 7, 2018 | Matthew 25:31 | The Coming Kingdom

Andy Woods

The Coming Kingdom

2-7-18          Matthew 25:31           Lesson 34

Let’s open up to Matthew chapter 25 and verse 31.  If anybody needs a handout just put your hand up.  I hope you guys are surviving all this global warming.  As you know we are continuing to march through our study on the kingdom so we have been trying to look at what does the Bible say about the kingdom?  It’s a big subject, isn’t it?  We’ve traced what the Old Testament reveals about the kingdom, how the kingdom was offered to Israel and rejected by first century Israel, and not cancelled but postponed.  And we’ve talked about what God is doing today; He doesn’t leave the earth without a witness of Himself so He’s clearly at work even though the kingdom is not here, primarily to the church.  And we talked about how the earthly mission of the church will end; the church will be translated in an event called the what?  Anybody remember?  The rapture, and then God will go right back to His program with Israel and fulfill His purposes through them

So we’ve talked about Israel’s discipline and restoration, how the restoration of Israel was necessary for God to bring His kingdom to the earth because to Israel is going to be reoffered the kingdom.  Israel in the future will accept that offer, as we’ve talked about.  So basically we’re in that part of the study where we’re talking about how and under what conditions God brings this kingdom to the earth.

Now once this kingdom comes to the earth what exactly is it going to look like?  So to sort of help us with that we have four parts here.  Number one, the reoffer of the kingdom, we’ve talked about that already.  The offer that was extended to first century Israel by John the Baptist, Jesus and various apostles, couched in the phrase “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”   That offer, which was rejected in Matthew 12, as we’ve talked about, will be re-extended to Israel in the tribulation period.  And the nation of Israel gets things right which time,  usually?  The second time.  They’ll receive it this time, yet future.

And as that offer is received what basically the Book of Revelation is describing is the transfer of authority. So this world is, in the Book of Revelation, the authority over it, it being transferred from Satan’s domain back to God’s domain.  And I think the key phrase in the Book of Revelation is chapter 11, verse 15, which says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;” and that’s really the process that the Book of Revelation is describing as the offer of the kingdom is being received by the Jews.  So the whole Book of Revelation and really all of human history is moving to that part of the screen there, if you can see that, it says Kingdom, Revelation 20.  So in order for that to happen God has to depose the devil who’s been running this world since Genesis 3.  We talked about that transfer of authority last time and as the authority of this earth is being transferred what’s happening is God’s kingdom is finally being established upon the earth.

That takes us to number three here, the establishment of the kingdom.  So what is the world going to really look like when Jesus establishes His kingdom?  In essence the original purpose that God had for the world in Genesis 1, which was lost in Genesis 3, is restored.  So what was God’s original purpose for man and woman?  It’s right there in Genesis 1:26-28, where God said to our forbearers, before sin entered the picture,  “‘…and let them” now “them” is Adam and Eve, “let them rule” see the kingdom language there, “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.’”  And then in verse 28 look at the kingdom language, God said “subdue it,” see the authority, “rule over” it, “rule over the fish,” rule over “the sea, rule over the birds, rule over the sky, rule over every living thing.”

So, as we’ve talked about God’s original purpose for humanity was to govern our forbearers, Adam and Eve, and their assignment was to govern creation for God. And as we’ve talked about from the very beginning this was the structure that was lost in Genesis 3.  This is why Satan entered the picture as a talking serpent.  He’s trying to get Adam and Eve to not rule over the animals but to listen to them and then rebel against God in the process.  So the moment that happened in Genesis 3 this structure, which is sometimes called the office of theocratic administrator, a theocratic administrator is someone who governs for God, that structure is lost.  And who becomes the ruler of this world?  The devil does.

So the goal of history is really how this structure is restored and it’s not restored prophetically until Revelation 20:1-10, the thousand year kingdom.  [Revelation 20:1-10, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; [3] and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. [4] Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. [5] The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.  [7] When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, [8] and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. [9] And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. [10] And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”]

This identical structure that God set up comes back.  So God is, in the millennium, the thousand year reign of Christ, is not ruling over the first Adam but He’s ruling over who?  The last Adam, Jesus Christ.  This is why God had to become a man to restore what the first Adam lost. See that?  So the incarnation is really intricately linked to this whole kingdom program.  So God the Father is going to rule over God the Son, the last Adam.  That last Adam is going to govern creation for God.  So what was lost in Eden gets restored in Revelation 20.  So your whole understanding of the coming kingdom really starts right there in Genesis chapter 1.

So God is going to bring back everything full circle. And remember what I said a little earlier, “God said to them” that would be Adam and his wife, rule and subdue, so if this structure comes back who then is the wife of the last Adam, Jesus Christ?  The church.  We’re now His bride but when all of this is said and done we’ll be His wife.  So that is why we, as God’s people, are destined for what?  Authority!  See that?  So what was lost gets restored.   Adam and Eve governing creation for God, that was lost so what’s restored is the last Adam and His bride, now His wife, the church, is governing creation for God.  See how everything is symmetrical.

And I like what Charles Ryrie says, I’ve used this quote several times so I apologize if this is redundant but Charles Ryrie asks: “Why is an earthly kingdom necessary?”  Because there’s an awful lot of people out there that will tell you that we don’t need a thousand year reign of Christ.

Charles Ryrie asks, “Why is an earthly kingdom necessary? Did He not receive His inheritance when He was raised and exalted in heaven? Is not His present rule His inheritance?” Now if you were in a church that’s what we would call amillennial, postmillennial, or is into replacement theology, they would basically tell you that don’t worry about this future kingdom, we’re in the kingdom now.  So Jesus’s position at the right hand of the Father is enough.  And so Ryrie is asking isn’t that enough.  He asks, “Why does there need to be an earthly kingdom?”  Here’s the answer. “Because He must be triumphant in the same arena where He was seemingly defeated.”  See that?  “His rejection by the rulers of this world was on this earth” Adam and Eve, right?  “His exaltation must also be” where?  “on this earth. And so it shall be when He comes again to rule this world in righteousness. He has waited long for His inheritance; soon He shall receive it.” [Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, Page 511]

There has to be an earthly kingdom because God has to restore what was lost.  That’s why this earth can’t go out of existence until the thousand year kingdom runs its course.  If this earth goes out of existence before the thousand year kingdom runs its course then you don’t have a time in history where God restores what was lost.  See that?  He was seemingly defeated on this planet in Genesis 3 so God has to win.  Amen!  So therefore He must, at some point in human history, reassert His authority over, not some other world but this world where His authority was challenged.  So that’s why there has to be a thousand year kingdom.

I was listening to one guy this week on a video clip somebody sent me and he was going on and on about how there’s not going to be a thousand year kingdom and don’t these people that believe in a thousand year kingdom understand that when Jesus comes back this world is going to be burned up and destroyed and replaced by a new world.  And I’m sitting there screaming at the TV screen or whatever I was watching, computer screen, I was basically saying that cannot be and the reason that cannot be is God has to reassert His authority over the earth that was lost.  That’s why He’s got to reassert His authority over this earth.  And it’s not until the end of the thousand  year kingdom, after that authority is restored, then He is free to destroy it by fire and replace it with a new heavens and new earth.  2 Peter 3:10, the destruction of this earth by fire, can’t  occur until after the authority of God over this earth is reasserted  or else you don’t have the symmetry that I’m trying to describe here.  [2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”]

That’s why in Revelation 20:1-10 it describes this one thousand year kingdom, once that is complete then this earth is destroyed and replaced by a new one.   Revelation 21:1… doesn’t Revelation 21 follow Revelation 20?  Amen!  So Revelation 20 is the thousand year kingdom.  We’ll read those verses a little bit later tonight if time permits, but only after that thousand year kingdom runs its course, then do you have Revelation 21:1 where John says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”  And he goes on from there and starts describing the conditions of a completely new world.

And  notice the order here, that completely new world cannot come into existence until Revelation 20:1-10, the thousand year kingdom, is reasserted.   Why is that?  Because God has to reassert His authority over this planet that we’re on now, because that’s where He was challenged and that’s where He was seemingly defeated in Genesis 3, and if you don’t have that in your theology you don’t have any real satisfying capstone to human history.  See that?

When I was at Dallas Seminary they would, to get your PhD there they used to give you a week of written exams and then after your written exam, after this goes on for a week, then they read your exams and they call you in for your oral exam which was more intimidating because you’re in this room for two hours with four professors and they can ask you whatever they want to ask you.  And so I tried to keep my ear to the ground to hear what the rumors were, to figure out what professor asked which questions.  Each professor gets about half an hour with you and then they leave the room and you’re wondering did I pass or fail; then they talk amongst themselves and they come back in and then they say you either passed or you failed.  So I was happier to get out of there than I was to get into the school.

But anyway…. Harold Hoehner, who is now with the Lord, he had two doctorates, one from Dallas Seminary, one from Europe.  The rumor mill was he would ask students to defend their view of a thousand year kingdom.  And so your typical student would start with Revelation 20:1-10 and he would say this on the exam: Well can you go earlier in the Bible.  And the student would get kind of nervous you know, and say well, okay, I think Paul talked about a kingdom.  And Harold Hoehner would say well can you go earlier in the Bible.  The student would get nervous and say well, I think Jesus talked about the kingdom, “Thy kingdom come.”  And Hoehner would say can you go earlier in the Bible.  And the student would get nervous and sweat it out a little bit and, oh, the prophets talked about a kingdom.  Hoehner would say can you go earlier in the Bible?  Well, my gosh, let’s go back to the Davidic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, and Hoehner would say can you go earlier in the Bible.  And really what he was driving the students back towards was Genesis 1 because your kingdom idea is necessitated with what happens in Genesis 1.

So the whole program of a coming kingdom, yeah, it’s in all those things, the prophets, the Abrahamic Covenant, teachings of Paul, teachings of Christ, teachings of the Book of Revelation, but really the reason human history is driving towards this kingdom that’s coming is it’s an idea that starts in Genesis 1.  There has to be a time in history where God reasserts His authority over the earth that was lost in Genesis 3.  See that?  That’s why God made all those promises to Noah after the flood, in the Noahic Covenant.  He said, remember Genesis 8 around verses 20-22, He said as long as there’s seed time and harvest the earth will remain.

[Genesis 8:20-22, “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. [21]The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.  [22] “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”]

I mean, why did God in the Noahic Covenant, to Noah, say the earth has to remain?  The answer is very simple, God can’t allow this earth to go out of existence until His authority over it is reasserted.   I know that ruins a lot of movies because you go to these movies and people from outer space are destroying the earth and in Star Wars worlds are blowing up and all this stuff.  But theologically this earth can’t go out of existence until God reasserts His authority over it.  And that’s why Revelation 21 follows Revelation 20.  See that?  It’s only after the authority is restored, now God is free to melt the whole thing down, which He will do by fire, 2 Peter 3:10 and replace it with what?  A new heavens and new earth.  [2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”]  You’re not going to have your new heavens and new earth until you have the earthly kingdom of a thousand years over this world.

So that biblically is where history is headed.  That’s why the kingdom is not that important to your average Christian, they hardly think about it.  But it’s really a big deal to God.  If God doesn’t have His authority reasserted over planet earth then He’s a perpetual loser.  See that?  And God can’t allow that to happen.

So during the kingdom not only is the office of theocratic administrator restored, but Israel, the instrument that He’s going to use to bring the kingdom to the earth, is not just the owner of her covenants but the what?  The possessor.  Remember we talked about the relationship between the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant; that’s why we went into all that detail.  Israel currently is the owner of these covenants but not yet the enjoyer or the possessor of them because she’s never complied with the Mosaic Covenant.  But when the nation of Israel is in faith she will not just be the owner but the possessor, she will be in compliance with the Mosaic Covenant and the Abrahamic Covenant and all its promises will come to the earth.

God promised the nation of Israel three things: land, seed and blessing.  So those three things will be a total reality; everything that God said He would do for Israel on this earth will be a complete and total reality once the kingdom comes.  That’s why I had you open up to Matthew 25:31. Part of this structure, “land, seed and blessing” is a Davidic king from David’s line who will rule from where?  David’s throne, located where?  In Jerusalem.  And when Jesus finally comes back at the end of the tribulation period that’s exactly what’s portrayed.  That’s why Matthew 25:31 says, “But when” not if but “when the Son of Man comes in His glory,” now this is not the rapture, the rapture is the coming only for the church before the tribulation period, this is His physical, visible manifestation to the whole world, when He returns at the end of the seven year tribulation period.

“But when the Son of Man come in His glory and all the angels with Him, then He will sit” where? “on His glorious throne.”  Now what throne do you think that would be?  David’s throne!  You say well why doesn’t it say David’s throne here?  Well, because Matthew is the most Jewish gospel that we have.  He’s writing to a Hebrew Christian audience and to a Jewish person with a Jewish mind who understands the Old Testament you don’t have to spell out the obvious.  You don’t have to tell them this is the Davidic Covenant, they all understand that.  They all know that.  Now to a Gentile audience He might have to give greater clarification because we’re not as clear on the Old Testament as an Old Testament Jew is.  But to the crowd that Matthew is addressing he doesn’t have to say oh, by the way, this is the Davidic Covenant.  They all understand that.

And they also understood that once Jesus sits on the Davidic Covenant the kingdom begins.  And that’s why when you drop down to verse 34 it says, “the King” see he’s functioning as King now, when this occurs, right now He’s not functioning as King; He’s functioning as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  But see, this is a different role, once He comes and asserts His authority over the earth and His kingdom starts.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” is now in full effect.  [Matthew 25:34]  So you’ve got the covenants in existence, fully realized; everything that God said Israel would possesses from the Nile all the way to the Euphrates… that’s a pretty big chunk of territory, isn’t it?  Israel today possesses a sliver of that and she’s going to possess all the territory from modern day Egypt to modern day Iraq.

And did you notice that when God made these promises to Abraham He talked about rivers that are on this earth?  He talked about from the Nile, He doesn’t use the word “Nile” but He say “the great river of Egypt,” most people believe is the Nile, and then He says it’s going to go all the way to the Euphrates, that’s a real river, right, on this earth.  We can go to the River Euphrates today if we wanted to.  So you see how all these are earthly promises involving this earth and if this earth goes out of existence before those promises come into existence then God is a perpetual liar.  See that?

And a lot of people say well, let’s make these promises fulfilled in the new heaven and the new earth.  Well, you have a problem with that because what does John say in Revelation 21:1, I saw no sea.  [Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”]   The Euphrates River and the Tigris River flow out of the Persian Gulf area, so there has to be a sea for those rivers to exist.

And by the way, Abraham was told to walk around (Genesis 13:17) the land that he and his descendants would possess.  [Genesis 13:17, “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.”]  See how all of these are promises involving this earth?  So this earth has to continue until these promises are realized or else God is a what?  It would make God a liar.  That’s why the earthly kingdom is such a big deal.  God’s very character is at stake in the things that He has promised is at stake.

So Israel will be in her full covenants, including the Davidic Covenant, with Jesus ruling and reigning on David’s throne from Jerusalem, because the nation of Israel will be in compliance with the Mosaic Covenant they will not just be the owner but the possessor of her blessings.

And something else to understand about this coming kingdom is the times of the Gentiles will be over.  You might take a look just for a minute at Luke 21:24. Now we know what the times of the Gentiles are, right?  It’s a time period when the nation is being trampled down by various Gentile powers, during a time period when the nation has no king reigning on David’s throne.  The times of the Gentiles began with the deposing of Zedekiah in 586 B.C. and ever since that period of time Israel has had no king reigning on David’s throne.  Even right now, today they have no king reigning on David’s throne.  And that time period will continue right to the end of the tribulation period when Jesus finally, at the conclusion of the tribulation period, will finally, as I mentioned in Matthew 25, sit on David’s throne.

So until that happens the times of the Gentiles continue and Israel will be bullied by various Gentile powers.  And even today the nation of Israel is bullied by the United Nations.  Every time the United Nations gets together it’s almost like every time they meet they always rule against Israel somehow.  Why is that?  Because the times of the Gentiles are continuing.

We’ve studied the Book of Daniel on Sunday mornings so you know about the times of the Gentiles, how they continued on through Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, they are continuing on today; they’ll continue on through the empire of the antichrist.  BUT, having said that, notice what Jesus says in Luke 21:24.  This is very important.  He says, “and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles” what’s the next word, “until” see the word “until” is a big deal because it tells you that the times of the Gentiles won’t last forever.  “…until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

So you’ll notice that Jesus says the current manifestation of the times of the Gentiles is a temporary reality.  What is happening now is the Gentiles are on top and Israel is on the bottom; it is indeed a reality, it’s been a reality since 586 B.C.  But Jesus is very clear here that it is a temporary reality.  One of these days the times of the Gentiles, once the Kingdom comes, will be over and the exact opposite will be the case.  In this earthly kingdom Israel will be on top and the Gentiles will be what?  Under Israel’s authority!

You say well, does the Bible teach that?  My goodness, it teaches it many, many places.  A few places: Deuteronomy 28:13 talks about a time when Israel will be the head and not the what?  The tail.  [Deuteronomy 28:13, “The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully.”]  Right now she’s the tail and not the head because we’re in the times of the Gentiles.  But once the times of the Gentiles are over the opposite is happening; she’s the head and not the tail.

Notice Isaiah 14:1-2, it’s a prophecy about the end of the times of the Gentiles.  It says, “For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob,” who’s Jacob? Israel, “and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own” what? “land, then strangers will be joined with them and they will cling to the house of Jacob.”  Look at that.  [2] “Then peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them” who’s the “them”?  The Gentiles, “will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD and they will take them captive whose captives they were,” look at this,  “and will rule over their oppressors.”  It’s the reversal of what’s happening now.  The times of the Gentiles, once the kingdom starts will be over.  And see, this is why Satan when he’s released from the abyss at the end of the thousand years, what’s the city he attacks?  “The beloved city,” a reference to Jerusalem. Why is he attacking Jerusalem?  Because she’s the headquarters of the whole millennial kingdom.  She’s the nerve center of it.

Notice Isaiah 60:10, I’m going through these verses slowly because these are verses hardly anybody talks about.  What people say today is oh, I know, Israel has a future… NO, Israel doesn’t have a future, Israel is THE future.  She’s not going to be some little country off in the side somewhere in the millenium, she’s the head of the millennial kingdom.

This is why it’s very difficult to be an anti-Semite and to believe the system of theology that we teach here.  If I were anti-Semitic I would want nothing to do with this church; I would find a church that writes off Israel or marginalizes Israel.  But the more literally you take this you learn that Israel is going to be “the cat’s meow” in the millennial kingdom.

Notice Isaiah 60:10, “The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls and the kings shall minister to you,” the “kings” being Gentile kings.

Notice, if you will, same chapter, verse 12, “For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations” that’s the Gentiles, “will be utterly ruined.”  So if you don’t give Israel her proper due in the millennial kingdom God brings immediate justice.  Notice verse 14, “The sons of those who afflicted you” look at this, “shall come bowing down to you,” wow!  “And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”  Look at verse 16, “You shall drink dry the milk of the Gentiles, and shall milk the breasts of kings, then you shall know that I am the Lord, I am your Savior and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”  See how all these verses are talking about not just Israel having a place in the kingdom; she’s preeminent over all the nations of the kingdom, because the times of the Gentiles are over.

The Book of Zechariah, notice that for just a moment.  Zechariah 8:23, it says this: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from every language of  the nations” that would be Gentiles, “shall grasp the garment of a Jewish man,” so ten Gentiles are grabbing the sleeve of a Jewish man and “saying” what, “‘saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” So the Gentiles, once the kingdom starts and the times of the Gentiles are over are clutching the Jews, understanding that they’re wanting to be in the place of a spiritual preeminence.  See that?

And let me tell you, this kind of theology, which is coming right out of the Bible, is not very popular because this mindset in the church is that Israel, they’re the Christ-killers.  They rejected Christ; we Gentiles, we’re the ones that accepted Christ. So therefore Israel should be permanently written off or permanently marginalized.  And what we discover is you can’t write Israel off because God has given Israel an eternal covenant.  So at some point they have to come back into the fold; the times of the Gentiles has to end and she’s going to be elevated, not to a place of equality but to a place of preeminence in the millennial kingdom.

Now as a member of Christ’s church someway somehow you are also ruling and reigning alongside Jesus Christ.  So I don’t mean to make it sound like we are not destined for authority either.  But somehow this kingdom is coming together in such a way so that the church is ruling and reigning alongside Jesus Christ and yet all of these promises that God has made specifically to the Hebrew people are realized as well.  I think they’re primarily ruling over those Gentiles that survive the great tribulation and they pass through the sheep and goat judgment, Matthew 24:31-46, and they begin to repopulate the earth in their mortal bodies, and the earth is repopulated.  I think Israel in that time period is ruling over those Gentiles and the descendants of those who survive the tribulation period and enter the millennial kingdom as believers.

So to understand the kingdom you have to understand: number 1, the office of theocratic administrator is brought back.  Number 2, Israel’s covenants are being fulfilled.  Number 3, Israel is not just the owner but also the possessor or enjoyer of her blessings.  And number 4, the times of the Gentiles are over; that’s why Israel is elevated again to a place of preeminence.  Number 5, all the Old Testament prophecies are being fulfilled at this time.  Remember what Peter said about the prophets, he called their prophecies, their prophetic word, made more sure as a lamp 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.”]

While the kingdom is not here and the world is under Satan’s grasp and domain the prophets, and we just read a lot of them, didn’t we?  Zechariah, Isaiah, they function as a light “shining in a dark place,” telling us that one day things will be different, once the kingdom comes.  And in prior sessions we’ve looked in depth at what these prophets teach about the kingdom.  So I won’t rehash all of that, but just by way of summary, Jerusalem will be the center of world and spiritual and political authority.  There’ll be perfect justice on the earth.  There’s going to be world peace.  They’re going to beat their swords into plow-shares, there’s even going to be peace in the animal kingdom.  What does it say, the lion will eat straw like the ox.  [Isaiah 65:25, “‘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 the animals are going to go back to being herbivorous; when God created the world originally the animals were not carnivorous, they were herbivorous.  Why is that?  Because God created a world without death in it so how can there be a world without death in it with the animals devouring each other?  See that?  That’s why when you go back to early Genesis and you look at chapter 1, verses 29-30, it says, “And God said, ‘I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth and every tree who’s fruit yields seed, to you it shall be food.  [30] and to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the earth in which there is life, I have given you every green herb for food,” see how herbivorous everything is.

The carnivorous tendencies in the animal kingdom didn’t start, really, I don’t think until Genesis 9, after the fall and after the flood, because it’s not until Genesis 9:3 that God says, “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you….   So now there’s a change as the animals go from herbivorous to carnivorous.  But once the kingdom comes the lion eats straw the ox, I think that’s in Isaiah 65, I’ve got it there on the screen, I should just go there and read it rather than mangling it every time I try to quote it.  But you get the idea.  Right?  [Isaiah 65:25, “‘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.”]

The animals will go back to being herbivorous and there’s going to be universal spiritual know­ledge; the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters covers the sea.  [Habakkuk 2:14, “‘For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.”]  So you’re going to have universal access to the Bible and spiritual knowledge.  You’re not going to have this situation where a school teacher in a public classroom mentions the Ten Commandments and they lose their job and they get sued and all this stuff.  You’re not going to have that in the kingdom; there’s going to be universal… you’re not going to have countries where you have the 1040 window where the missionaries haven’t penetrated certain cultures; you don’t have that in the kingdom.  There’s universal knowledge of the Lord.

You might remember this chart we worked through when we were talking about this.  The Old Testament prophets speak very aggressively about the kingdom, it’s going to be established by God,  [Daniel 2:44];it’s going to be eternal, [Daniel  7:27], Christ  will be directly ruling, [Zechariah 9:9-10],  it’ll be earthly, [Zechariah 14:9] Israel’s land promises will be realized [Genesis 15:18-21], Israel will be preeminent again, [Isaiah 49:22-23], why is that?  Because what will be over?  The times of the Gentiles will be over. In fact, there’s a passage in Isaiah that I didn’t read, so I don’t want to leave that one out, Isaiah 49:22-23, speaking of Israel’s preeminence after the times of the Gentiles end.

Isaiah 49, notice verses 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 foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers.” Look at this, this is Gentiles, the kings, “They shall bow down before you with their faces to the earth;” and oh my goodness, let’s look at this, “and they will lick the dust at your feet.  Then you will know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed for those who wait on Me.”   Wait on Me to do what?  End the times of the Gentiles; this is Israel’s hope.  The times of the Gentiles are over, Israel is preeminent, the Gentiles are subservient to Israel whereas today, going all the way back to 586 B.C. the opposite has been true.

And in the kingdom you’re going to pray and before  you get the words out of your moth God is going to answer.  So it’s not going to be a situation like you have in the Book of James where we ask for things amiss and God doesn’t answer because we ask for things based on our own lusts.  In the kingdom the will of God is going to be so clear that before you even speak the words the prayer request is answered.  There’s going to be a millennial temple, I’ll show you that, I won’t show you the temple but I’ll show you a picture of what we think it will be like in just a second.

Do you know David is going to be resurrected and is going to be ruling in a co-regency form of government over the whole earth.  Jesus over the earth, David governing the land of Israel.  I have all the verses there, you can look up those on your own and many of these we’ve already talked about when we were developing the concept of the kingdom in the Old Testament.  There’s going to be perfect righteousness, the curse will be dramatically rolled back.

There’s going to be worldwide peace, and it’s very sad today that that verse, “they’ll beat their swords into plowshares” the United Nations put that on their property.  In other words, they think they’re the ones that are going to bring in this peace, the United Nations in New  York City.  The reality of the situation is there have been more wars following the found­ation of the United Nations than before.  And it shows you the mindset of people that believe in world government; they think they can do what only God can do.  So when they put…, and you can Google it, just type in The United Nations, Isaiah, beat their swords into plowshares and it’ll show you exactly where that is on the United Nations property.  By claiming that verse for themselves they’re assuming a Messianic role and this is the mindset of one-worlders and globalists, they basically think they can do something only Jesus can do.  And in the process they are claiming a Messianic role!

There’s going to be complete and total agricultural prosperity over the whole world.  We were praying today about people getting laid off and other people getting  jobs and making ends meet financially.  You’re not going to have to deal with that issue in the kingdom; there’s not going to be any such thing as the Dow dropping as it did recently, or layoffs, or unemployment.  And there’s going to be profound  and I mean profound changes in the topography of this earth.   One of the things that’s going to happen, let me fast forward here for just a moment, is there’s going to be a river that’s going to come out of the temple in Jerusalem and it’s going to flow into the Dead Sea and the Dead Sea is going to biologically team with life.  You say well, is that in the Bible?  It’s in Ezekiel 47:1-12.  You can read about it for yourself.

[Ezekiel 47:1, “Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. [2] He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side. [3] When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. [4] Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. [5] Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.  [6] He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me back to the bank of the river. [7] Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other. [8] Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. [9] “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. [10] “And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many. [11]“But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. [12]“By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”]

Why do we call the Dead Sea the Dead Sea?  Because everything in the sea is what?  Dead, because of its high salt content.  That’s why when you travel to Israel today you can float in the Dead Sea, and there’s myself and my wife floating in the Dead Sea.  I was convinced that the Dead Sea would buoy her up, no problem, I thought I would sink thought, but sure enough there it is holding me up.  And why does it do that?  Because of the high salt content that’s killed everything.

Now isn’t it interesting that Ezekiel says that when the kingdom comes the topography of this earth is going to be so radically changed that even the sea life and the biology and all the animals and the fish will team with life in the Dead Sea.  You read a passage like this and you have to say to yourself we’re not in the kingdom now, because if we were in the kingdom now I wouldn’t be floating in the Dead Sea; I might be fishing but I wouldn’t be floating.  And this is why people who believe we’re in the kingdom, you see the problem they have?  They’ve got to rewrite these passages so they come up with these explanations like well brother, you’re taking it too literally, when it talks about the Dead Sea coming to life it’s just talking about regeneration of the soul.  They give this real spiritual thing, sermon, and the reality is the Bible doesn’t say that.  If you take it for what it says the Dead Sea will physically, not spiritually, physically come back to life.  So that’s what I mean by topographical changes.

And by the way, Israel’s tribes, they’re going to get all their land portions.  It’s something right out of the second part of Joshua.  The first part of the Book of Joshua the nation of Israel goes into the land; the second part of the Book of Joshua the land is divided up.  And when you study Ezekiel 47 you’re given the specific details about which tribe is going to get which land.  I mean, it’s very, VERY detailed.   And this is the kind of thing Jesus was talking about because I’ve got a lot of people today telling me Jesus didn’t talk about an earthly kingdom.  And I always say yes He did talk about an earthly kingdom and it’s in Matthew 19:28, “Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, in the regeneration when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory,” we read about that throne earlier didn’t we, “you who have followed Me will sit on twelve thrones, judging the” what? “twelve tribes of Israel.”  It’s a reference to Ezekiel 47 and the tribal allotments that are going to be given to each of the twelve tribes.  So when people say Jesus didn’t mention an earthly kingdom of course He did, He mentioned it right there in Matthew 19:28.

The temple is going to be rebuilt.  The Shekinah glory of God that left the Solomonic temple before its destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, that identical Shekinah glory of God is going to go right back into Israel’s temple.  And the Shekinah glory of God, there are four temples total, on the left temple one, but Ezekiel 40-48 predicts that the Shekinah glory of God is going to go back into temple four, Israel’s millennial temple.  So a literal brick and mortar temple with literal animal sacrifices, oh my goodness, with the literal Shekinah glory of God in that temple.

And you wouldn’t believe what people do who don’t believe in a literal kingdom, how they rewrite this.  They do everything they can to make it sound like well, this is really just the temple that was rebuilt by the returnees from the exile.  Well, there’s a lot of problems with that.  First of all the dimensions are totally different.  Secondly I don’t ever recall the Shekinah glory of God entering the temple that the exiles, returnees from the exile rebuilt.  In fact, my Bible says that temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

This is not talking about a temple two, or a temple three, the temple that the antichrist will desecrate; this is temple four, this is the millennial temple.  Look, you can tell I’m in a lot of twitter wars with people, I’m getting myself worked up.  I have people, I mean, big names in Christianity on my twitter feed telling me all the time that I’m crazy for taking the temple literally.  Well, let me ask you a question?  Do you think the Book of Ezekiel is symmetrically structured.  The problem is twitter only gives you like 170 characters, I can’t explain all this in a few characters.  But Ezekiel is symmetrically structured; in the first part of the book his mouth is closed; in the last part of the book his mouth is opened.  The first part of the book he preaches judgment; last part of the book he preaches restoration.  The first part of the book the glory of God departs from the temple.  The last part of the book the glory of God returns to the temple.  The first part of the book has a temple in it; do you take that literally?  Everybody says yes.  Then they turn right around and take the temple at the end of the book allegorically.  That is just an inconsistent approach to the Bible.

So there has to be a literal millennial temple; it’s much bigger, as you can see from this map, than Herod’s temple, the Solomonic temple, even the tabernacle.  It’s much bigger than a football field as you can see.  And what else is going to go on during this millennial kingdom?   The earth is going to be released from the bondage that it is in.  Did you all know that this world is in a state of bondage?  It’s groaning.  You recall that passage from Romans 8 that the earth is personified as groaning, eagerly awaiting its liberation when the kingdom is established.  [Romans 8:19, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.”]

So once the kingdom comes that bondage will be taken out of the earth; Satan will no longer be ruling the earth but Satan will be where?  He’ll be under the thumb of God, he’ll be in a place called the abyss, which is like prison, for a thousand years.  So what does Paul say, “we wrestle not against” what? “flesh and blood.”  [Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”]

In the kingdom we’re not going to be wrestling against flesh and blood because Satan will be done away with and he’s not released until God allows it.  So in the kingdom God’s promises are being fulfilled.  This is why Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” do you see why we’re supposed to pray this?  I mean, are you looking forward to this time in history as it’s been described?  I sure am, I can’t wait.  So we’re to pray for its arrival.  See that?

And I’m going to close with this verse here in Acts 1:6-8, this was in between Christ’s resurrection and ascension.  He was with the disciples for forty days, remember that, Acts 1 talks about it.  And this is what it says.  It says, “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”’ See, they didn’t understand this church age real well that was coming, the day of Pentecost where the church started hadn’t happened yet, they’re not thinking, although He’s been trying to explain this to them, this interim age, they’re still thinking in Kingdom terms.  So they want to know, Lord, are you going to restore… you know, let’s get the program on, let’s restore Israel and start the kingdom.   [7] And “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; [8] but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses” where? “both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

So He’s directing their attention away from the kingdom, which is what they expected to materialize, and onto the work of the church.  Do you see that?

But I want you to, even though this is a transitionary time period where the kingdom is going to be postponed what I want you to see is that Jesus never says you guys have it wrong about the kingdom.  He doesn’t say things like have I been with you so long and you still don’t understand that there’s not going to be a kingdom ever?  He never rebukes them on their belief that there would be a kingdom.  What He corrects them on is their understanding of the timing of the kingdom.  See that?  Jesus never denied the reality of a future kingdom through Israel, He never cancelled that.  What He said was now is not the time for that; we’re moving into the age of the church instead so don’t be kingdom focused, be mission focused.  But in the process of the rebuke He never corrects them for thinking that there would be a future kingdom.  He never denies it.

And it’s interesting to me that the disciples, after all of this time with Christ still believe there was a kingdom coming, which means to me that all the way through Christ’s ministry He never cut the cord on the kingdom.  He never cancelled the fact that it was going to come one day.  The only thing He’s correcting here is its timing.

So what is the kingdom?  Theological administrators reasserted on the earth, covenants are fulfilled, Israel is the possessor and the owner, the times of the Gentiles are over, Old Testament prophecies are being fulfilled, creation is liberated, Satan is bound and every minute promise that God has ever made is going to happen.

Now I know the burning question you’re asking—how long is the kingdom going to last?  And if I get into that it might take me longer to answer that that tonight than the actual duration of the kingdom itself.  So we’ll talk about the thousand year… there’s the answer, the thousand  year kingdom that’s coming and why we know it’s a thousand years.  So we’ll get into that next time.

So, it’s 8:01 and I’m going to stop talking, I appreciate you all’s patience and we can open it, and if people need to go and pick up their kids or just leave in general you’re free to do that.