The Messianic Kingdom

Part 2: What will the Kingdom be like?

 

By I Gordon

 

Introduction

 

We looked last time at the question - ‘How will the kingdom come?’ We saw, very briefly, that the Kingdom will come with a bang! It will come suddenly and violently. We saw through a prophetic dream in the book of Daniel that a stone cut without hands will smash all of the earthly kingdoms at one time with no trace of them left! And then that stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. To all of that all I can say is ‘bring it on.’ Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus!

 

In this study we shall look at the next question: What will the kingdom be like? Before looking at this however, let’s start with a slight detour and look at a request from a dying man which I was reading during the week. It is related to this theme of the kingdom. Well, sort of! Truth be known, I just liked it and wanted to include it. So I did. It’s one of the benefits of being the author.

 

A faith filled request... 

 

When Jesus came the first time, there were very few indeed that realised that He would have to die. Most among Israel were looking for the Messianic kingdom to come straight away and we see especially from the disciples that they didn’t understand at all when Jesus starting talking about His death. In fact, Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke Him when Jesus first spoke of His coming death! Well, Peter ended up being the one rebuked for obvious reasons! Once it became clear that Jesus was going to die on the cross however, this thought about the coming kingdom seemed dashed... for most anyway. I mean, how could the kingdom come if the king was dead? And yet there was one person that watched Jesus die but still knew that this wouldn’t stop the kingdom from coming. Do you know of whom I speak?

 

A Believing Thief

 

Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"  (40)  But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  (41)  "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."  (42)  And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"  (43)  And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

 

In Mathew’s gospel, it tells us that initially both thieves hurled abuse at Jesus. But as time went on, the conscience of the one thief was very much disturbed by all that he saw and heard. He knew that he deserved to be up there on the cross, but he saw Jesus as completely innocent and His death totally unjust. So the thief makes one request of Jesus and on the basis of this request, our thief was saved eternally. What was that request? ‘Jesus, remember me when you come in Your kingdom’. Now, as a young Christian I remember reading his request and thinking ‘Is that enough? Is that all it takes? Was that a salvation prayer? There is no confession of sins or great repentance... only ‘Jesus, remember me!’

 

Well, as I said... I was young, naive... and plain wrong. The fact is that this one request is remarkable. This thief hung alongside Jesus and saw the midday darkness, he heard the words of Jesus from the cross and at some point of the crucifixion he came to believe that Jesus was the true Messiah! And yet he could see Jesus struggling and knew that He would die. But at the same time, with the eyes of faith he looked forward knowing that death was not going to be the end in this case. Death itself would be defeated and would in no way stop Jesus coming with His kingdom. He believed that this One, who was dying in complete weakness before him, would be the One who would one day rule and reign over the entire earth! The Messianic kingdom would still come and He wanted to be a part of it. He wanted to be allowed in. ‘Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom!’ A simple request but one packed with faith given the situation of both of these men! And Jesus told this now believing thief ‘You won’t even have to wait for the day when I come in my kingdom. Today, this very day, you will be with me in paradise!’[1]

 

So one thief died in his sins and shall never be remembered and one thief believed, right at death’s door, and will never be forgotten. You can’t call him a good thief because he obviously got caught! But he became, in the last few hours of his life, a wise insightful thief, who looked forward in faith and wanted to be included in the coming Messianic kingdom on earth when Jesus returns.

 

Characteristics of the kingdom   

 

So let’s go back to our passage in Isaiah 65 about the kingdom that kicked all this off. We said that we would turn the spot light and apply the magnifying glass to this passage so I had better do as I said... for once. Before we do, can you remember what I said last time about the little girl who was asked to explain an elevator after going in it for the first time? She said “I went into this little room and the upstairs came down.” That’s the Millennium. That’s the Messianic Kingdom - The upstairs will come down! Let’s have a look...

 

Jerusalem: Goodbye reproach and rejection! Hello rejoicing and gladness!

 

Isaiah 65:18-19 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness.  (19)  "I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying. 

 

If you went to Jerusalem today these are not the conditions that you will find. What have they got?

You’ve got an Islamic mosque on the site where the Jewish temple used to be and a wailing wall. J Vernon McGee said Jerusalem will be a city of joy. It is not that today. It has a Wailing Wall and very few smiling people.” Jerusalem today is not rejoicing[2] and her people are not glad. No, Jerusalem, and the nation of Israel as an extension, is just as the prophet Zechariah foretold:

 

Zechariah 12:2-3  "Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; ... "It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”

 

Balaam once looked out upon Israel and prophesied: "As I see him from the top of the rocks, and I look at him from the hills; Behold, a people who dwells apart, And will not be reckoned among the nations. (Numbers 23:9)


Israel is not reckoned among the nations. They stand apart[3]. Today is not the day of joy and gladness for that nation.
Yet in the coming Messianic Kingdom, the Lord will make Jerusalem the very centre of the world (and for good reasons!) A city and a nation created for gladness and rejoicing.

 

Zephaniah 3:11-17 On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill.  (12)  But I will leave within you the meek and humble who trust in the name of the LORD.  (13)  The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid."  (14)  Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!  (15)  The LORD has taken away your punishment; he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.  (16)  On that day they will say to Jerusalem, "Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.  (17)  The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

 

While these passages are specifically talking about Jerusalem, and by extension, the nation of Israel, this is also true of God’s people today that suffer reproach and rejection. Over 200 million Christians face persecution today for their faith. A recent study found that 75% of all religious persecution is against Christians. But this reproach and rejection will turn to joy and gladness as well. This joy is everlasting. And it is not just that of the believers – it is a joy that we will share with God Himself for it says that He will rejoice in His people!

 

Goodbye ageing and sickness! Hello health, long life and well-being!

 

Isaiah 59:20 "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... For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people.

 

These verses tell us that there will no longer be some things in the Messianic Kingdom. There will no longer be an old age pension. There will no longer be a gold card. There will no longer be an elderly drivers’ licence test that has to be sat every year. The reason being is that there won’t be any old people! There will no longer be any senior citizen homes because there won't be any senior citizens.[4]

 

Scholars such as Arnold Fruchtenbaum point out from this verse that no one will die in the Millennium unless they are unbelievers - and they will make it to at least 100 years old. They will be given at least to that age to follow the King of kings. If they rebel, then they will die at 100 but if they don’t they will not die – they will live right through the 1000 years of the kingdom age. And it’s not only old age affected. There will be no such thing as infant mortality. No more still born babies. No more down-syndrome. No more children born into this world with abnormalities. And, absolutely, no more abortions!

 

But it doesn’t stop there. The healing that Jesus did at His first coming is but a small glimpse of what will happen at His second coming in the kingdom.

 

Isaiah 35:3-6, 10, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.”  (4)  Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, But He will save you."  (5)  Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.  (6)  Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.

Isaiah 35:10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

                         

Goodbye injustice, exploitation and calamity... Hello justice and equality!

 

Isaiah 65:21-23 "They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  (22)  "They will not build and another inhabit, they will not plant and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.  (23)  "They will not labour in vain, or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them. 

 

Unfortunately we can read these verses and just think ‘that sounds alright’ and fail to grasp that the majority on this earth don’t experience justice and fair treatment.[5] For many their children are unfortunately born ‘for calamity’.[6] Never again shall it be like this. In the days of Noah, God only let the wickedness in the hearts and imaginations of men get so far before judgement came. So it shall be again. But in the days of the King, children shall not be born into a world that corrupts or exploits for it says that they shall be blessed of the Lord and their descendants after them.

 

Goodbye to a silent God – Hello to prayers answers before they are prayed!

 

Isaiah 65:24 "It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. “

 

Often we ask the Lord for direction on some matter and don’t seem to hear anything. Sometimes it can seem in this age that He isn’t listening. It’s not true of course. But often we do have to wait longer than we would like when we are praying. Not so in the Millennium. You could be preparing what you are going to ask and pray and before the words come out, the answer is given! And it’s not just for one or two. The Bible says that

 

Jeremiah 31:34 "They will not teach again, each man his neighbour and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD.

 

Zechariah 14:8-9 And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem... And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

 

David Guzik comments on this adding: ‘The millennial reign of Jesus Christ will not only be a time of biological and social transformation. It will also be a time of profound spiritual transformation and intimacy. There will be an immediate and constant sense of the presence of God.’

 

And as Isaiah said earlier: Isa 11:9 for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

 

Isaiah 65:25 - Goodbye to violence and harm. Hello universal peace!

 

"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.

 

Today if the wolf is lying down with the lamb it’s because there’s lamb chops for lunch! But it will be no more in the coming age. There shall be harmony and peace right throughout the animal kingdom. Dogs won’t chase cats. Cats won’t chase mice. Mice won’t chase... well, whatever they chase. The peace spoken of here amongst the animal kingdom will extend far further for mankind will live in peace.[7]

 

Isaiah 25:6-9  The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine.  (7)  And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations.  (8)  He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.  (9)  And it will be said in that day, "Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."

 

Conclusion

 

How different the coming age will be![8] How amazing it will be! It is hard for us to grasp how great that day will be but the certainty of that day is complete and sure.  

 

Let me end with a quote from C.S Lewis who tried to express the glories of the life to come by contrasting the New and Old Narnia’s in his ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ series. The last book in this series is "The Last Battle". Aslan hasn’t been seen for a long time. An ape called Shift convinces a donkey called Puzzle to wear an old lion skin and say that he is Aslan. Many are deceived for they have largely forgotten what the real Aslan was like. Darkness descends upon Narnia. Eventually the real Aslan returns and judges those doing wrong. (Obviously these events are symbolic of the false Christ’s and deception that exists in the last days.) He then invites them to enter Aslans’ country – the New Narnia. Lewis writes:

 

"It is hard to explain how this sunlit land was different from the old Narnia, as it would be to tell you how the fruits of that country taste.  Perhaps you will get some idea of it, if you think like this.  You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains.  And in the wall of that room opposite to the window there may have been a looking glass.  And as you turned away from the window, you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking glass.  And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different  -- deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard, but very much want to know.  The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that.  The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more.  I can’t describe it any better than that: if you ever get there, you will know what I mean. It was the unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: "I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia so much is because it sometimes looked a little like this.”

 



[1] A couple of related quotes: J. Vernon McGee - ‘These two thieves had been arrested for the same crime, tried for the same crime, condemned for the same crime, and were dying for the same crime. What was the difference between them? There wasn't any—both were thieves. The only difference lies in the fact that one thief believed in Jesus Christ and one did not.’


D. Martyn Lloyd Jones ‘
“One thief was saved so that there would always be hope. But only one, so that there would not be presumption.”

 

[2] Dave Hunt tells us: “The United Nations was formed in 1945 in time to vote Israel back into existence after 1,800 years of destruction and dispersion. And Jerusalem has become such a burden that the UN has spent one-third of its time debating and condemning Israel, a miniscule nation that represents merely one one-thousandth of earth’s population.”

 

Despite the great achievements of the Jewish people, today they are hated and rejected as the prophets foretold. Israel lives with enemies on all sides. Yet listen to some of these statistics concerning their achievements that the Jewish race has achieved... This is from a New York Times article here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/opinion/12brooks.html?_r=0

 
“Jews are a famously accomplished group. They make up 0.2 percent of the world population, but 54 percent of the world chess champions, 27 percent of the Nobel physics laureates and 31 percent of the medicine laureates. Jews make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, but 21 percent of the Ivy League student bodies, 26 percent of the Kennedy Center honourees, 37 percent of the Academy Award-winning directors, 38 percent of those on a recent Business Week list of leading philanthropists, 51 percent of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction.”

 

[3] There are 185 nations that are members of the United Nations. 184 of them are eligible to serve on the United Nations Security Council, the key deliberative group of this world body. One is not. Guess who? Iraq is eligible. So is Iran. And so, too, are Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

The Charter of the United Nations proclaims "the equal rights...of nations large and small." But only Israel, among all the UN members, is denied that right. The reason for this is that to be eligible to serve on the UN Security Council you need to be a member of a regional group. Israel is the only nation that has not been allowed to join a regional group. The other nations won’t have them. They are a people who dwell apart, not reckoned among the nations just as Balaam prophesied.
Source: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/UN/uneligible.html

 

[4] It’s a different world today and maybe you can relate more to this story... I read about two elderly couples who were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other:
"
Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?"

"Otto, it was outstanding! They taught us all the latest memory techniques - visualization, word association - it has made a huge difference for me."

"That's great!  What was the name of that clinic?" Otto asked. But Fred just went blank.  He thought and thought but couldn't remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "Otto, what do you call that flower... that one with the long stem and thorns?" "You mean a rose?" Otto said.

"Yes! That's it!" Then turning to his wife Fred said "Rose, honey, what was the name of that clinic I went to?"

 

[5] A friend recently came back from a missionary trip to Cambodia and wrote the following to me:

“We go to RAHABS refuge sanctuary for Cambodian children trapped in trafficking. They have 250 children in morning & same or more in evening... The children are adorable! Wonderful singing, bible lessons, memory verses, games etc. But a huge % of these children are sold out on the streets at night by their families. It's heart breaking.

 

It's frightening to see ‘soooooo’ many western men here... Not good. What galled me the worst was the state of the older men openly lurking round the girls.  Some of the team got chatting to some of them - they are not one bit ashamed - Desperate – But at the same time one of the men was SO heavy with issues this was only a way of him trying to "escape" - This world is an awful place. I have never tasted such evil before. We are SO BLESSED in life - so many are in despair. I'm glad I haven't witnessed the children being taken to hotels by western men (some of the team have! ) - but working SO closely with the children at the refuge I think it will break my heart...”

 

[6] A recent ‘Light for the last days’ magazine by Tony Pearce said the following “A ‘guinea pig’ generation of children is growing up addicted to hardcore Internet pornography MP’s were recently warned. Four out of five 16-year old boys and girls regularly access porn online, while one in three ten-year olds have seen explicit material, a disturbing cross party report reveals. One appalled MP revealed that her son had told her that swapping hard core images on memory sticks between pupils at his school is ‘absolutely rife’ ”.
Now that is scary. It is a guinea pig generation addicted to easily accessible pornography and the results of this are yet to be seen.

 

 

[8] I know what you are saying... you need more scriptures. Fair enough. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost lists the following characteristics of what the thousand-year Messianic Kingdom will be like. I hope this is enough for you : )

Peace
The cessation of war through the unification of the nations under the reign of Christ, together with the resultant economic prosperity (since nations will not devote vast proportions of their expenditure on munitions) is a major theme of the prophets. National and individual peace is the fruit of the Messiah’s reign. (Isaiah 2:4, 9:4-7, 11:6-9, 32:17-18, 33:5-6, 54:13, 55:12, 60:18, 65:25, 66:12, Ezekiel 28:26, 34:25, 28, Hosea 2:18, Micah 4:2-3, Zechariah 8:18-19, 10:6-7)

Joy
The fullness of joy will be a distinctive mark of the age. (Isaiah 9:3-4, 12:3-6, 14:7-8, 25:8-9, 25:30:29, 42:1, 42:10-12, 52:9, 60:15, 61:7-10, 65:18-19, 66:10-14, Jeremiah 30:18-19, 31:13-14, Zephaniah 3:14-17, Zechariah 8:18-19, 10:6-7)

Holiness
The theocratic kingdom will be a holy kingdom, in which holiness is manifest through the King and the King’s subjects. The land will be holy, the city holy, the temple holy, and the subjects of the land holy unto the Lord. (Isaiah 1:26-27, 4:3, 29:18-23, 31:6-7, 35:8-9, 5:21, 60:21, 61:10, Jeremiah 31:23, Ezekiel 36:24-31, 37:23-24, 43:7-12, 45:1, Joel 3:21, Zephaniah 3:11-13, Zechariah 8:3, 13:1-2, 14:20-21)

Glory
The kingdom will be a glorious kingdom, in which the glory of God will find full manifestation. (Isaiah 4:2, 35:2, 40:5, 60:1-9)

Comfort
The King will personally minister to every need, so that there will be fullness of comfort in that day. (Isaiah 12:1-2, 29:22-23, 30:26, 40:1-2, 49:13, 51:3, 61:3-7, 66:13-14, Jeremiah 31:23-25, Zephaniah 3:18-20, Zechariah 9:11-12, Revelation 21:4)

Justice
There will be administration of perfect justice to every individual. (Isaiah 9:7, 11:5, 32:16, 42:1-4, 65:21-23, Jeremiah 23:5, 31:23, 31:29-30)

Full knowledge
The ministry of the King will bring the subjects of his kingdom into full knowledge. Doubtless there will be an unparalleled teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 11:1-2, 11:9, 41:19-20, 54:13, Habakkuk 2:14)

The removal of the curse
The original curse places upon creation (Genesis 3:17-19) will be removed, so that there will be abundant productivity on earth. Animal creation will be changed so as to lose its venom and ferocity. (Isaiah 11:6-9, 35:9, 65:25)

Sickness removed
The ministry of the King as a healer will be seen throughout the age, so sickness and even death, except as a penal measure in dealing with overt sin, will be removed. (Isaiah 33:24, Jeremiah 30:17, Ezekiel 34:16)

Healing of the deformed
Accompanying this ministry will be the healing of all deformity at the inception of the millennium. (Isaiah 29:17-19, 35:3-6, 61:1-2, Jeremiah 31:8, Micah 4:6- 7, Zephaniah 3:19)

Protection
There will be a supernatural work of preservation of life in the millennial age through the King. (Isaiah 41:8-14, 62:8-9, Jeremiah 32:27, 23:6, Ezekiel 34:27, Joel 3:16-17, Amos 9:15, Zechariah 8:14-15, 9:8, 14:10-11)

Freedom from oppression
for there will be no social, political, or religious oppression in that day. (Isaiah 14:3-6, 42:6-7, 49:8-9, Zechariah 9:11-12)

No immaturity:
The suggestion seems to be that there will not be the tragedies of feeble-mindedness nor of dwarfed bodies in that day (Isaiah 65:20). Longevity will be restored.

Reproduction by living people:
The living saints who go into the millennium in their natural bodies will beget children throughout the age. The earth’s population will soar. These born in the age will not be born without a sin nature, so salvation will be required. (Jeremiah 30:20, 31:29, Ezekiel 47:22, Zechariah 10:8)

Labour:
The period will not be characterized by idleness, but there will be a perfect economic system, in which the needs of men are abundantly provided for by the labour in that system, under the guidance of the King. There will be a fully developed industrialized society, providing for the needs of the King’s subjects. (Isaiah 62:8-9, 65:21-23, Jeremiah 31:5, Ezekiel 48:18-19) Agriculture as well as manufacturing will provide employment.

Economic prosperity:
The perfect labour situation will produce economic abundance, so there will be no want. (Isaiah 4:1, 35:1-2, 35:7, 30:23-25, 62:8-9, 65:21-23, Jeremiah 31:5-12, Ezekiel 34:26, 36:29-30, Joel 2:21-27, Amos 9:13-14, Micah 4:1-4, Zechariah 8:11-12, 9:16-17)
Increase of light: There will be an increase in solar and lunar light in the age. This increased light probably is a major cause in the increased productivity of the earth.(Isaiah 4:5, 30:26, 60:19-20, Zechariah 2:5)

Unified language:
The language barrios will be removed so that there can be free social interchange. (Zephaniah 3:9)

Unified worship:
All the world will unite in the worship of God and God’s Messiah. (Isaiah 45:23, 52:1, 52:7-10, 66:17-23, Zephaniah 3:9, Zechariah 2:2, Zechariah 2:10-13, Revelation 21:3)

The manifest presence of God:
God’s presence will be fully recognized and fellowship with God will be experienced to an unprecedented degree. (Ezekiel 37:27-28, Zechariah 2:2, Zechariah 2:10-13, Revelation 21:3)

The fullness of the spirit:
Divine presence and enablement will be the experience of all who are in subjection to the authority of the King. (Isaiah 32:13-15, 41:1, 44:3, 59:19, 21, 61:1, Ezekiel 11:19, 20, 36:26-27, 27, 37:14, 39:29, Joel 2:28-29)