The Coming Kingdom 037Revelation 21-22 • Dr. Andy Woods • March 7, 2018 • The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
3-7-18 Revelation 21-22 Lesson 37
Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 21 and I want to thank Jim for filling last week at Wednesday night Bible study. I hope you all enjoyed him. I was able to catch a little bit of it from my hotel room in the northwest, where it was snowing, in Idaho. So that was a treat for me anyway. I don’t think it was a treat for the Idaho people but they’re used to it. I was at the Steeling the Mind Conference and that went real well so I appreciate everybody’s prayers on that. I made my way back Monday and my luggage made its way back Tuesday so one of those deals again. But praise the Lord, everybody, me and the luggage made it back in one piece. Actually not really, I had two suitcases so three pieces, we made it back in three pieces, myself and the two suitcases.
As you know, as Earl was mentioning in the prayer time Shahram is going to be here this Sunday; he’s going to be speaking in our sanctuary adult Sunday School class and he’s also going to be giving our message from the pulpit. And he was actually at this conference that I was at and he’s ready to come and ready to go. He’s only about 5’6”, he’s about the size of my wife, he comes up to about here. But don’t let his short stature confuse you, this guy’s like a stick of dynamite if you’ve never heard him speak before. He has an ability to explain Islam without the politically correct filter like nobody I’ve ever heard; as a former Muslim he can do it accurately also. So he’s going to be dealing with Islam from a theological level and a biblical level and a prophetic level, a constitutional level. He actually ran for Governor of Washington State a few years back so this guy is really an “energizer bunny” for Jesus, I guess I could put it that way. And he’s going to bring a powerful message; you’re going to hear things from you’ve never heard from anybody in any pulpit or any news program ever, I can guarantee it.
And since I’m now the President of Chafer Seminary I was able to use my influence, what little I have over there, to get them to invite him as a speaker for the Chafer Conference, which is going to run Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at West Houston Bible Church and he’s going to be the keynote speaker for that as well. So all of that will be livestreamed. If you want to go to the conference it’s free, just sign up ahead of time at Dean Bible Ministries.org. It’s about twenty minutes from here. And meals are provided and it’s just a great thing that they do over there, we do over there. So there’s going to be live streaming, the archaizing, all that stuff. Other topics will be dealt with as well; I think I’m dealing with 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the apostasía, which I actually think is the rapture. It’s a minority view so I’m going to get a chance to talk about that Wednesday morning, if I remember right. I think we have a schedule out there of all that stuff so if you’re interested please take advantage of that.
And don’t be confused, we’re still going to have Wednesday night Bible study once it’s all said and done. So I’ll be here for that. So it’s going to be a full week, full schedule and I trust the Holy Spirit is going to be in the midst of all of it. We’ve been praying that the Lord would use these sessions to awaken the church and our nation really, to the growing threat of Islam. Muslims are not the problem; the problem is Islam, the doctrine of Islam, the ideology and theology of Islam. Islam, as you might know, is more about politics than it is about theology. A small percentage of Islam deals with theology; most of it deals with worldwide submission under Sharia Law and so Shahram is going to be explaining all that to us like very few people can. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this, my personal view is that Shahram is the very best on this subject. So anyway, that’s enough of an infomercial. Anything I’m forgetting? I think we covered it all, didn’t we.
Let’s open up our Bibles to the Book of Revelation, chapter 21 and we are continuing to talk about the doctrine of the kingdom and we’ll be continuing this next week, next Wednesday evening as well. If you never got a copy of my book that we’re using feel free to talk to me afterwards, we’ll get you a free copy. And actually my book is not the important book, God’s book is the most important Book, but my book just sort of topically organizes what the Bible teaches about the kingdom. So I like to say our primary source we’re using in this class is the Bible and my book is sort of a supplemental resource.
We’ve been talking about what does the Bible say about the kingdom and we’ve covered a lot of ground. And we got all the way to the thousand year kingdom where Satan is finally evicted and God’s thousand year kingdom is established. And then did your know your Bible doesn’t end there? There’s a section in your Bible some people call after the thousand years. So what happens after the thousand years? That’s a section, Revelation 21 and 22, called the eternal state and that’s where we are because the kingdom program continues right on through eternity. And your Bible has a lot to say about it.
Here’s our traditional Bible prophecy chart, if you just go to the far right you’ll see the eternal state, the last stop on a long bus ride. So here is how we are attacking, or trying to explain the doctrine of the eternal state. Number 1, we saw, and we started talking about this the last week I was here, which was not last week but the prior week, that the eternal state can only come into existence after the office of Theocratic Administrator has been restored to planet earth. That restoration happens in the thousand year kingdom. And now that God has won that battle He is free to dissolve this earth and start over again with a new heavens and a new earth.
And also the last time I was with you I tried to make the point, and there’s a lot of dispute on this, there’s a lot of good people that would disagree with me on this, big names like maybe you’ve heard the name David Jeremiah, Randy Alcorn, a number of pretty prominent people out there are arguing that the eternal state is really not a new creation but just a renovation. And the last time we were together I tried to explain that I don’t think that is right; I think the renovation is the thousand year kingdom but the eternal state, which follows the thousand year kingdom, is an ex nihilo new creation; ex nihilo means something out of nothing. And I think we walked through about five reasons why I think that’s true.
So we come now to number 3 if our 5 part list as we’re trying to unpack the eternal state. Number 3, one of the things that escapes people, for whatever reason, is the eternal state is very literal. I mean, it’s a literal place; it’s just as literal as Houston or Sugarland or Boston, Massachusetts, or whatever city you want to talk about. It’s a real place on a real planet and a real city.
And a lot of us have been influenced by Augustinian theology. Augustine was the first guy to really come up with (in church history) a formal treatment on amillennialism, which took all of these earthly promises about the thousand year kingdom and following, and he started to sort of symbolize them, allegorize them. And a lot of Christians today, even in the 21st century in which we live, are still influenced, whether they realize it or not, with Augustinian theology. So to them heaven or the afterlife is just kind of this nebulous idea; it’s not really concrete in their minds. They think it’s sort of like a state of mind or some people think of it as we’re going to be sitting on clouds strumming harps, wearing white sheets and having halos over our heads, and we’re going to be sort of bored because how many times can you sing the Hallelujah Chorus? You can’t sing that too much without getting bored. So a lot of people look at the afterlife that way.
And we think that because we’re under the spell of Augustine still. But the authority in our minds should not be Augustine or amillennialism; it should be the Word of God. And when you look at the Word of God very carefully what you discover is that terms are used to describe the eternal state that you would not take any other way other than literal in any other part of the Bible.
This chart just kind of shows you where those terms are but in verse 2 of chapter 21 you’ll see the word city. That’s the Greek word polis, where we get the word metropolis, the “polis” on the end is the Greek word for city and if you interpreted that word anywhere else in the Bible you would think it was literal. Jerusalem is another literal term that’s always literal everywhere else. Verse 18, you’ll see the words gold, jasper, glass wall. Verse 16 of chapter 21 you’ll see the word square and miles. Verse 12 of chapter 21 you’ll see the word high. Verse 17 of chapter 21, depending on what Bible translation you’re using, you’ll a numerical measurement of about seventy-two yards. Verse 12 of chapter 21 you’ll see the word gates. Chapter 21:21 you’ll see the word pearls. And verse 12, tribes. Verse 14 of chapter 21, foundation, apostles. Chapter 21 verse 21 you’ll see the word street. Chapter 22 verse 1, river. Chapter 22 verse 2, tree of life. And that should remind us of what? The Garden of Eden. I mean, do you believe there was a literal tree of knowledge and tree of life in Eden. I do. So why would I interpret “tree of life” differently in the last two chapters of the Bible? In chapter 22 verse 2 you’ll see the word “fruit,” “month,” “nations,” “leaves.”
[Revelation 21:2, And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:12, “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.’ Revelation 21:18, “The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” Revelation 21:16, “The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal..” Revelation 21:12, “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.’ Revelation 21:17, “And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.” Revelation 21:21, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. Revelation 21:14, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Revelation 21:21, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. Revelation 22:1, “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:2, “in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.]
So what is being described here for us in the Bible is an actual world, an actual planet, a new planet and new world but it’s still a literal world nonetheless. And the new heavens and new earth that this world be in will be a literal place. And the city that will descend from heaven to the this world will be an actual literal city.
And you know the Gnostics came along very early on in church history and they said the spiritual world is good, the physical world is bad. And that’s called Gnostic dualism. And if you believe that it starts to wreak havoc on all kinds of doctrines. The doctrine of the incarnation starts to get damaged, that God became man because the Gnostics would say well if the physical world is bad Jesus didn’t come in a body. One school of thought called the Docetists said it just seemed like He had a body. Docetism coming from the Greek word dokeō, it seems like. And another group says well, you know, Jesus had a body but He really wasn’t God, He really wasn’t the Christ, the spirit of Christ descended upon Him temporarily at His baptism (they say) and left Him just prior to His crucifixion.
And why do people say things like that? It’s the outworking of this belief that the material world is bad. And amillennialism, the idea that there’s not going to be a future earthly kingdom, came from Alexandria, Egypt, as we’ve talked about in other studies that I’ve gone here. And Alexandria, Egypt was a hotbed for Gnostic thought. So if you believe that the physical world is bad in and of itself, I mean we all understand that it’s under a curse, but the physical world in and of itself by itself is not bad. If you believe it’s bad then all kinds of doctrines get damaged, like the incarnation of Christ, and amillennialism starts to dominate. And a lot of us are still kind of caught in a Gnostic way of thinking because of the influence of Gnosticism and we think if it’s physical it’s bad.
But you remember what God did in the six days of creation? He created the heavens and the earth which would include what? Food, sunlight, it would include touch, it would include sexuality, procreation, because God in Genesis 1 tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. [Genesis 1:28, “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.’”] So you have sex, you have the begetting of children, and all of these things are described in Genesis 1. And does anybody remember what Genesis 1:31 says, after God did all this in six days of creation? He said… He doesn’t even say it’s good, He says it’s “very good.” [Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”]
So there’s nothing wrong with the physical world. The physical world in and of itself is not bad. Now the physical world was put under a curse because of what man did in Genesis 3 but just because it’s physical doesn’t make it evil. Do you see that? I mean, my body is under a curse because it’s aging and dying but that doesn’t mean my physical body is somehow bad or evil. Do you follow that? So the body is like an automobile, you can use it to give someone a ride to church or you can use it to deliver groceries to someone that can’t get out of their house, or you can use it to run someone down in a crosswalk. See that? But the car in and of itself isn’t bad; it’s how it’s used. Follow that?
So James 3 talks about the tongue and our use of the tongue and a lot of people think well, the tongue is evil. No, that’s not the biblical position; the tongue can be used for evil, James 3 talks about that, but the tongue can also be a tremendous blessing. The tongue that’s used for sarcasm and to tear down can also be used for edification and that’s why the Book of Proverbs says within the tongue there is life and death. [Proverbs 18:21, “within the tongue there is life and death.”] I mean, the tongue is not the problem, the tongue is am I going to use it based on the dictates of my old nature or based on the dictates of my new nature as a Christian?
So the physical world, you know you shouldn’t develop a view that somehow the physical world is bad. And I think a lot of people resist this type of teaching, the literal nature of the eternal state because in their mind somehow they’re thinking that this physical world is bad. It’s not bad, it’s a beautiful thing that God created and once the curse is completely pulled out of it, which is what the new heavens and new earth will be like, it’ll be just a glorious physical existence that we will experience through all eternity.
So we’ve talked about number 1, when the eternal state comes into existence, after the restoration of the office of theocratic administrator. We’ve learned, number 2, that this eternal state is a new creation entirely, not just a renovation of this earth. And then number 3, we’ve learned that the eternal state is very literal in nature.
And let me take you to a fourth thing and this has to do with the continuation of the throne of David. Some way, somehow, God has to allow the throne of David to continue on into eternity. You might remember I gave you this quote from Lewis Sperry Chafer the last time I was with you. And I had it as a quote and here it’s maybe a little bit easier to follow because it’s in numerical form. But he gives seven things that are going to transition, seven things that happen as we transition from the thousand year kingdom to the eternal state.
And those are, by way of review number 1, the release of Satan from the abyss at the end of the thousand year kingdom. Number 2, The revolt on earth which he will lead with his armies. Number 3, the passing away of the old heavens and old earth, and you can just keep in mind 2 Peter 3:10 which is the description of the destruction of this world by fire. [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.”] Then according to Chafer’s chronology you’ll have The Great White Throne judgment, that’s the final judgment for the unbelievers, which is a terrible judgment. I personally hope we’re not there to watch that because as unbelievers are found guilty as their name is not in the Book of Life, in other words they’ve never trusted in Christ, they are transported… first of all they’re resurrected and then they’re transported from Hades, where their souls currently are, into the Lake of Fire in a resurrected body. And you can read all about that in Revelation 20:11-15.
[Revelation 20:11, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”]
Then there will be… now we’ll go into this probably not tonight but next week, the descent of the bridal city of God out of heaven. And then Chafer says, number 7, there’s going to be a surrender of the mediatorial aspect of Christ’s reign and adjustment to the eternal state immediately following. And here I’m focused on number 7, the surrender of the mediatorial aspect of Christ’s reign and adjustment to the Eternal State immediately following. Remember that during the thousand years Christ is reigning from David’s throne. And some way, somehow that throne is adjusted and it will continue on into the eternal state.
So just a quick review on David’s throne. When we started this class I tried to communicate that the doctrine of the kingdom starts very early on in the Bible. One of the places it begins is in the Abrahamic Covenant, the covenant that God made to the descendants of Abraham who became the Jewish people. That’s where God, in Genesis 15, promised to Abram and his descendants three things: land, seed and blessing. The seed is amplified in what’s called the Davidic Covenant, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, about a thousand years or so after God made this promise in covenantal form to Abraham.
[2 Samuel 7:12-16, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,  but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’]
God made the Jewish people another promise that through David’s lineage is going to come an eternal dynasty and a forever throne. And in 2 Samuel 7:16 it’s very clear that David’s throne is going to last forever. 2 Samuel 7:16 says, “Your house” God speaking to David, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” So Jesus is on this throne ruling and reigning the world with a rod of iron in righteousness for a thousand years from Jerusalem and a lot of people look at the throne of David as being fulfilled completely during that thousand year time period. The problem is the promise is that the throne would continue on, not just for a thousand years, which is a long time anyway, but would continue on forever.
And I wish we had time to look at all of these verses but we don’t. But when you study all these verses that I have on the screen what you’re going to see is the promise of God that the throne of David will continue forever. [Psalms 89: 89:3–4, 34–37; 45:6; 72:5, 17; Isaiah 9:6–7; Jeremiah 33:14–17, 20–21; Ezekiel 37:24–28; Daniel 2:44; 7:13–14; Luke 1:30–33; 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 11:15.]
So it’s alluded to in the Psalms, Psalm 89, Psalm 45, Psalm 72, you’ll find it in the Christmas passage about a forever throne, “unto us a child is born,” Isaiah 9:6-7, it’s all over Jeremiah 33, Ezekiel 37, Daniel 2, Daniel 7, 1 Timothy chapter 1, Revelation 11:15. You’ll find it in early Luke. This is what was offered to the Jewish people on a silver platter, in early Luke a kingdom and a dynasty which would last forever and sadly, as we have studied, the Jewish people turned that down. But that promise one day will be restored to them, as we have studied.
But over in Luke 1:3-32 it says, “The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;” and He will reign over the house of Jacob for a thousand years. It doesn’t say that does it? What does the text say, “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will” what? survive until He’s voted out of office? NO, “His kingdom will have no end.”
Now all of these passages that I’m alluding to it talks about this forever throne. So somehow there’s got to be an adjustment of that throne into the eternal state where the reign of Christ can continue. Revelation 11:15, which I think if probably the theme of the whole Book of Revelation, it says, “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign” for how long, not just forever, but “forever and ever.” That’s the Greek word aionios, which means forever, twice! So if I’m understanding this correctly the Davidic Covenant can never go out of existence.
Right now what’s happening, there’s two thrones. Revelation 3:21 says, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” See what Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, way back in the first century? He says if you overcome, now the overcomer is a believer, you’ll just have to take my word for that, if you don’t want to take my word for that jot down 1 John 5:4-5 and you’ll see that an overcomer is defined as a believer. [1 John 5:4-5, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”]
But he says to the believer, “I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne.” Now what’s the verb tense there, “I will grant to him’” future. In other words, the Davidic throne wasn’t in existence when Jesus said that. The Davidic throne with Jesus reigning on it over the earth isn’t in existence now. You go to Jerusalem today and the throne is unoccupied. In fact you go over there and look, I don’t even know where the throne is quite frankly, but one of these days there’s going to be a throne, Jesus is going to sit on it, and He’s going to rule the whole world with it for a thousand years and we’re going to be right there with Him ruling and reigning. And He clearly puts that into the future tense and He says this WILL happen!
But then look at the rest of the verse, “as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” That’s a totally different throne; the first throne is future and it’s on this earth. The second throne is something that’s happening right now in heaven and it’s Jesus on His Father’s throne, because the verb tense changes. He says, “I will grant Him the right to sit down on My throne” that’s future, that’s the throne in Jerusalem which hasn’t materialized yet, just “as I also overcame. [Revelation 3:21, “’He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”]
See how the verb just changed there? If I remember right I think that’s, some of you Greek scholars can correct me on this, I think that’s eros, it’s indicating something that’s past and happening now. “I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. So currently what is happening is we’ve got two thrones, one in heaven, the Father’s throne that Jesus is on, another one yet future on the earth in Jerusalem that hasn’t come into existence yet in terms of the [can’t understand word] of authority. See that? And you have to watch theologians very carefully today because people are merging those two thrones and making it look like we’re in the kingdom now and Jesus, after all, is reigning on David’s throne. Jesus is NOT reigning on David’s throne right now; He’s on the Father’s throne, not even functioning as King but as high priest after the order of Melchizedek, engaged in His present session. He’s doing things like building the church, giving the church spiritual gifts, interceding for us, there’s a lot of things He’s doing yet those things are not to be confused with the future Davidic throne for the thousand year millennial kingdom where He will rule this world with a rod of righteousness.
As you look at this world does it really look like Jesus is ruling with a rod of righteousness right now? I mean, look at this terrorism and shootings and all the mayhem in our world, it’s obvious we’re not in the Davidic Kingdom. I mean, if this is the Davidic Kingdom I’m really sad I even signed up for this deal to begin with. I’m looking forward to a righteous reign on this earth, which is not happening now; He’s on His Father’s throne in heaven. So you see the distinction between the Father’s throne and the Son’s throne? Those are two different things.
BUT, look at Revelation 22:3, once the thousand years are over and we pass into the eternal state what does it say here, very interesting, “There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it….” Two thrones in Revelation 3:21, in the current age of the church, Jesus there speaking to the church at Laodicea, but what just happened in the final chapter of the Bible. What happened to those two thrones? They just merged together. Do you see that? And they’re no longer distinct. They’re now called the throne of God AND of the Lamb. And it’s just a matter of comparing Revelation 3:21 with two thrones and two different verb tenses. So what is happening in the eternal state where you have one throne? So some way, somehow, the two thrones merge together and as that merger takes place God’s kingdom program continues to extend on into the eternal state.
So you’ve got a merger of the Father’s throne with the Son’s throne. See, the millennial kingdom is the Son’s kingdom; the eternal state is the Father’s kingdom. But some way somehow those two thrones merge together and as that merger is complete the authority of the Son, Jesus Christ, along with the authority of God the Father, continue on and on and on and on and on throughout eternity. And I think that’s probably the best way I know of to understand all of these verses that I alluded to earlier that the throne of David will last forever. It will last forever, it’s just adjusted into the eternal state as it merges with the Father’s throne. As it merges with the Father’s throne it continues on in different form. See that? And so that’s sort of how I understand the eternal nature of these promises concerning David’s throne.
Now I just want to quote a few people because a lot of you think I just get up here and make stuff up. And that’s all right, if I was sitting where you’re sitting I would probably think that too. But I quote people, not to elevate their words over the Bible; I quote them to show you that my interpretation is very consistent with what very fine theologians have taught in the past. So, as you know, one of my theological heroes is Lewis Sperry Chafer and this is what he says concerning this adjustment of the Davidic throne into the eternal state.
He says the delivery to God of a now unmarked kingdom does not imply the release of authority on the part of the Son. It’s not like okay Jesus, You had Your thousand years now get off the throne. I mean, that’s not what’s happening at all. The distinction to be noted lies between the presentation to the Father of a restored authority and the supposed abrogation of a throne on the part of the Son. The latter” that’s the abrogation of authority by the Son allegedly in the eternal state. “The latter is neither required in the text nor even intimated. The picture presented in Revelation 22:3” that’s the verse we were just looking at, “The picture presented in Revelation 22:3 is of the New Jerusalem in the eternal state, and it is declared that ‘the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it.’” [Lewis Sperry Chafer, vol. 5, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 360, 373-74.] So what he’s saying is the authority of the Son continues, it’s just in a different form as those two thrones are merged in the eternal state. So Jesus is continuing to reign forever, it’s just in a different form.
Alva J. McLain, in his book, The Greatness of the Kingdom, says this: “As we passed from chapter 20” Revelation “ into chapter 21 of the Apocalypse, therefore, we stand at the junction point between two worlds and between two kingdoms. It is the end of the “first” or “natural” order of things, and the beginning of the final order of things. Here also the mediatorial kingdom of our Lord ends, not by abolition, but by its mergence into the Universal Kingdom of God. Thus, it is perpetuated forever, no longer as a separate entity, but in indissoluble union with the original Kingdom of God from which it sprang.” [Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God as Set Forth in the Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 513.]
McLain continues, and he says, “What will happen is succinctly described in St. Paul’s classic passage on the subject: ‘Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. . . . And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” He just quoted a bunch of material there from 1 Corinthians 15. [1 Corinthians 15:24, 28] McLain says, This does not mean the end of our Lord’s regal activity, but rather that from here onward in the unity of the Godhead He reigns with the Father as eternal Son. There are no longer two thrones, one His Messianic Throne and the other the Father’s Throne, as our Lord indicated in Revelation 3:21. In the final Kingdom there is but one throne, and it is ‘the throne of God and of the Lamb.’” [Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God as Set Forth in the Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 513.]
Michael J. Vlach, a younger scholar, he’s basically my age group, I have a high opinion of his material on eschatology, and he writes this: “The Father commissions Jesus to conquer and restore this fallen world on His behalf, and when Jesus accomplishes this task He then will subject Himself to the Father. Jesus’ mission is accomplished and the Father is pleased with His reign. Every square inch of this universe has been restored. At this point the reign of Jesus is followed by the universal reign of God the Father. This does not mean that Jesus ceases to reign. Revelation 11:15 says Jesus ‘will reign forever and ever.’…Messiah’s kingdom is then blended into the Father’s universal kingdom. Jesus’ prayer, ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10) is fully accomplished. Jesus’ kingdom does not end like earthly kingdoms do by defeat, but by fulfillment.” [Michael J. Vlach, Premillennialism: Why There Must Be a Future Earthly Kingdom of Jesus (Los Angeles, CA: Theological Studies, 2015), 101–2.]
So all of these guys and myself are all basically saying the same thing; in the thousand years you’ve got the Son’s kingdom on earth as Jesus reigns on David’s throne. As that time period ends there’s an adjustment made as the reign of Christ continues but it continues on a merged throne in the Father’s kingdom with God the Son and God the Father on that same throne reigning over the world forever and ever. So there’s a slight adjustment but the Davidic throne in just a different form continues on and on and on and on.
So what have we seen here? We’ve seen the eternal state only comes into existence after the Son’s kingdom is established. We’ve seen that the eternal state is not a renovation but a new creation entirely. We’ve seen that the eternal state is very literal in nature. And we’ve also seen, number 4, that God has orchestrated the eternal state in such a way that the Davidic throne continues, just in a different form, and that is going to fulfill all of the prophecies about the Davidic throne that lasts forever.
So this takes us to number five and this one is somewhat lengthy, we won’t get to all of this tonight. But we want to talk about the description of the eternal state. When we talk about the eternal state what exactly are we talking about? We need a description of it. And I’ve got several things to communicate here. As I mentioned I won’t get through all of this tonight, I’m going to talk another ten minutes or so and try to cover some of this ground.
One of the things to understand about the eternal state is it’s very different than the millennial kingdom. The millennial kingdom is going to be great but the eternal state is even better. And a lot of people, and I’m not sure why they’re doing this, they merge the eternal state and the thousand year kingdom in their minds and they don’t really see the distinctions that the Bible communicates. The millennium, which is a thousand year kingdom, is described in Revelation 20. The eternal state is described in Revelation 21 and 22. Now in the millennium sin is restrained. Jesus is ruling on David’s throne restraining evil. In the eternal state there’s not going to be any sin left to restrain. See that? In the millennium the curse is held back, but in the eternal state the curse is removed completely. In the millennial kingdom you still have people that will die; now don’t worry about it, you won’t die because you’ll be in a resurrected body at the point of the rapture ruling and reigning with Christ. BUT there are going to be people that get saved after the church is gone through the rapture. Right! And some, most of them are going to be martyred, some are going to make it to the end of the seven year tribulation period and are going to pass through what’s called the sheep and goat judgment. And you can read about that in Matthew 25:31-46.
They’re going to pass through that sheep and goat judgment in their mortal bodies and they’re going to repopulate the earth. Their descendants have the potential of dying. That’s why Isaiah 65, around verse 20 says that if a man during that time period dies at 100 everybody is going to say wow, what a young person to die at such a young age. [Isaiah 65:20, “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.”]
So you have death to some extent in the millennial kingdom but you don’t have death at all in the eternal state; it’s gone! In the millennial kingdom, for reasons I just tried to articulate you’ve got mortals and resurrected people living together. Who are the resurrected people? That would be us in our resurrected bodies, ruling and reigning alongside Christ under His delegated authority. And that’s why the choices we’re making now as Christians has a bearing on the degrees of authority that we’re going to wield in this coming thousand year kingdom.
But we’re reigning over people who are survivors of the great tribulation period who entered the kingdom as believers in mortal bodies. So in the millennial kingdom you’ve got resurrected and non-resurrected people interacting with each other. And you say this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard, how could that be? Think about this: in Acts 1 there’s a forty day period in between Christ’s resurrection and ascension. Remember that in Acts 1. [Acts 1:3, “To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”]
He’s in a resurrected body and He’s hanging out with His disciples. In fact, Thomas is actually touching His physical body. Do you recall that? [John 20:27, “To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”] He’s teaching them about the kingdom, Acts 1:3 says, they’re asking Him questions, He’s giving them answers, they even have a meal together. So there you have a precedent and this continues until He ascends. So this continues for forty days. So you have a biblical precedent of mortals and resurrected people, in this case Jesus, interacting. And you have that kind of thing going on for a thousand years in the millennial kingdom. But that’s not going to go on at all in the eternal state. In the eternal state you’re only going to have resurrected people.
In the millennial kingdom you still have to evangelize people because the descendants of those who were believers, who survived the tribulation period and repopulated the earth, the kingdom begins with only mortal believers but what about their kids? I mean, they’re going to have to be evangelized, right. What about their grandkids? They’re going to have to be evangelized. And eventually there’s going to arise a whole generation of unbelievers, at the end, that are going to rebel against Christ because Satan is released from his abyss to exploit.
So destinies are to some extent are undecided, not your destiny, you’re in a resurrected body, your destiny is secure and sealed. I’m talking about descendants of tribulation survivors. That’s what I’m talking about; they have to be evangelized. But in the eternal state guess what? Everybody’s destiny is sealed. There’s no such thing as evangelism any more. See, there are certain things that you can do right now that you’ll never be able to do in the eternal state. One of those things is evangelism; evangelism is a privilege you have right now that you’re not going to have forever.
Something else you’re able to do right now is you’re able to tell your sin nature no under the resources of the Holy Spirit and the new nature that God gives us. Every time you tell your sin nature no and you live according to the desires of the new nature you’re exercising a privilege that will not be yours forever because in the eternal state there is not a sin nature to say no to. See that?
The millennial kingdom is a renovation, as I’ve tried to explain. The eternal state is an ex nihilo, something out of nothing, new creation. That’s why the millennium is temporary, it only lasts a thousand years. The eternal state is eternal; the millennium is just transitional. It’s transitioning humanity from the events of the tribulation period to the eternal state. There’s a thousand year bridge there. The eternal state is not transitional at all, it’s a permanent fixture.
So the best way I would describe it is the millennial kingdom is the front porch of the house that the front porch allows us to enter into is the eternal state. A porch is just transitional but the house is forever. The millennial kingdom is transitional but the house, which in this analogy is represented by the eternal state, lasts forever.
Here’s another chart that shows you the difference between the eternal state and the millennial kingdom. The millennial kingdom is timed, a thousand years and it’s over. The eternal state, there is no time duration on it, it just continues on and on and on and on and on, throughout the eons of time.
In the millennial kingdom there will be luminaries, like what? Like sun, moon and stars will be in the sky. In fact, there’s a prophecy in Isaiah 30:26 about how the sun, not the s-o-n son, the s-u-n sun is going to be seven times brighter than what it is right now. [Isaiah 30:26, “The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.”] But in the eternal state there’s not even going to be a sun, s-u-n, nor is there going to be a moon, nor are there going to be any stars. Why not? Because Jesus Christ’s very presence illuminates the whole thing.
In the millennium there’s going to be a temple and I got a bunch of people mad at me on You Tube because I said this so I might as well get them mad again, so here we go: In the millennial kingdom there’s going to be a temple with animal sacrifices. And the question I always get is well, why does there have to be animal sacrifices? And I have an answered any of these questions because I don’t want to answer angrily so I let my wife do it. [Laughter] But I was answering this is what I would say: why do I have to defend why there’s going to be animal sacrifices in the millennium. Why is the burden of proof on me to defend that? The Bible says it’s in there. Isn’t that enough?
Now I’ve got some reasons, some auxiliary reasons why I think there’s animal sacrifices. One of the reasons is because death will be almost a thing of the past in the millennium. People, when they die at a hundred will be thought young, and if you’re living in that environment it’s easy to lose sight of what? The death of Jesus, isn’t it. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Jesus died and paid a penalty for our sins to get us into the millennial kingdom. So the perpetual animal sacrifices are memorial in nature, they give us a reminder of death to look backward at what Jesus has done. See that? Because in that new environment it’s easy to lose sight of death and if you lose sight of death you lose sight of what Jesus did for us.
So I can give all of these secondary, philosophical, auxiliary type reasons as to why there’s animal sacrifices in the millennial kingdom but suppose I couldn’t come up with one explanation. Would it matter? I mean God says they’re going to be there, isn’t that enough? And the spirit of the question that people write in and ask, they put some kind of burden on me to give an explanation of what the Bible says I think is somewhat…let me tame my tongue here, I think it’s somewhat presumptive of people, I think it’s somewhat arrogant. That kind of question is like saying in Eden there’s a tree of knowledge and a tree of life. Now you tell me why those two trees are there? Well, why do I have to tell you why those two trees are there? The Bible says they’re there, isn’t that enough. I didn’t know we had some kind of magical power to wave a wand and make something disappear in the Bible just because I don’t really understand why it’s there. Folks, there are tons of things in the Bible that I don’t understand but I accept them as true because they’re revealed. And beyond that it’s not the things in the Bible that I don’t understand that bother me, it’s the things I do understand in the Bible that bother me, thankfully. Okay, off the soap box on that.
So in the millennial kingdom there is a temple with millennial sacrifices. Now in the eternal state there is no temple; the temple is gone because who’s the temple? Jesus Christ. In the millennium, as I tried to explain, there will be death to a limited degree. Not so in the eternal state; death is gone. In the millennium there’s satanic activity. Satan is incarcerated, he’s put in solitary confinement for a thousand years and all these people that think you can kind of lock people up and they’re going to get changed in prison…I don’t think they do get changed unless they receive Christ as Savior. I don’t think education changes people either because guess what happens when you educate a blue collar thief… he become a white collar thief.
So all this idea that we’re going to lock people up and we’re going to let them out and they’re going to come out changed, I mean, unless they receive the gospel they don’t come out changed at all; they just go back to the murder and things that they were doing before they got locked up. And that’s what happens to Satan, he’s locked up for a thousand years. That’s a long time. And then a thousand years later he is released—has he been rehabilitated at all? NO, he goes right back to deception, what he’s always done and by this time there’s a generation of unbelievers on the earth and Satan stirs them up even though they’ve been living in a perfect environment for a thousand years.
See, we think that if we gave everybody a good education, everybody a good job, everybody a lifetime economic security, if we met every single need that evil would disappear and the millennial kingdom disproves that. Satan is just as rotten at the end of it as he was at the beginning of it and the people living on the earth who have rejected Christ are just as rotten as they’ve always been. And the Lord allows Satan to come out of the abyss to prove this point once and for all. See, history is pedagogical, meaning what? History teaches lessons.
What is the point that God is making here? He’s showing us that our problem as human beings is not our environment. Our problem is what? Our nature. That’s what has to be changed. You can fix someone’s environment perfectly and all you’re doing is slapping a coat of wet paint or fresh paint on a problem. It never deals with the root of the problem which is the sin nature. And that’s why Christianity is not about social justice, at least not now at this time in history, it’s about internal transformation. See that? And that’s the whole point of Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus, John 3, when He says “you must be born again.” [John 3:7, “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”]
I mean, the greatest need I have is not more money, not longer life expectancy, not health care, or all of these external things, it’s an internal change. And so to prove this point once and for all God allows wicked humanity to live in a perfect environment for a thousand years just to show them they’re just as rotten at the end as they were at the beginning because their problem is their heart. But as Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful and wicked,” and that’s why Jesus comes back He doesn’t abolish Satan immediately. What you have to understand is the Lord keeps Satan around for His own purposes, the Lord’s purposes.
And God has one more purpose for Satan; He doesn’t put him into the Lake of Fire where He threw the beast and the false prophet, He throws him into the abyss, a different location, because He’s got one more purpose for him, to come out of the abyss, out of the thousand years to stir up a rebellion to pedagogically, because history is pedagogical, teach humanity for one last time your problem is not your environment, your problem is your nature, you need to be internally transformed. And only after that lessons runs its course then does the Lord take Satan and finally throw him into the lake of fire. And we glorify God throughout the ages for this because God is so powerful He’s even using His own nemesis or his enemy for his own purposes.
So you shouldn’t get this idea that Satan is just running amuck and doing whatever he wants. Not at all. God has Satan on a very close leash and his very existence is allowed by God because He’s actually using his rebellion for His own purposes, God’s own purposes. And who could do that but God! And this contributes to His glory because what is the purpose of history. To glorify who? To glorify God. History is doxological; the point of history is glorification of God. This is proving all of that. See that? This is proving that man does evil, not because of his external problems but because of his internal nature. And this is the problem with churches that stand up and preach social justice every week. We’ve got to get cancer cured, we’ve got to fix global warming, we’ve got to fix the hole in the ozone layer. We’ve got to cure poverty. We’ve got to cure world hunger. There are churches like that, that’s all they talk about, social justices, social justice issues. We’ve got to get rid of the gaps between the rich and the poor.
And what your Bible is saying is the poor you will have with you always. [Matthew 26:11, “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.”] What people need is they need their internal changed through the gospel. And Satan is allowed to exist under God’s providence for one last rebellion to prove this point because history is pedagogical. Are you following with me on this?
So in the millennium there is satanic activity; but in the eternal state no more satanic activity. In the millennium there will be rebellion, there is one giant rebellion at the end, those involved in the rebellion are as the sand of the seashore. And you should jot down Zechariah 14:16-18 because that prophecy gives you a window into the smoldering hatred that human beings have against Jesus Christ in the millennial kingdom because even though He’s given them perfect conditions a lot of them just aren’t want to go to Jerusalem to worship. [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.  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.  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.”]
And so Jesus deals directly with a rod of iron and punishes them with no moisture for their crops. But the anger towards Christ, even though He’s given them a perfect environment is still smoldering. And it reaches its apex at the end of the millennium when Satan is released from the abyss. But in the eternal state, guess what? No more rebellion at all. So when we describe the eternal state the first thing we have to think about is how different the millennial kingdom is than the eternal state. I need to stop talking or I’m going to start preaching here; so we’ll stop at this point.