The Messianic Kingdom
Part 1: How will the Millennial Kingdom come?
by I Gordon
In this study we are going to look at a theme and time that has more
prophetic scriptures devoted to it than any other in the Old Testament. So
what is the biggest prophetic theme, in terms of verses given to it, in the
Old Testament? Well, it would be a good question if I hadn't already stated
the topic in the title of this study! There are a lot of verses concerned
with Jesus' first coming but not as many as this theme. There are a lot of
verses concerning 'the tribulation' but not as many as this theme. There
are a lot of verses concerning the second coming of Jesus... but not as
many as this theme. The theme of course, is the Messianic Kingdom (also
known as the Millennium). It is earth's 'Golden age'.
When you climb a mountain, the higher you go up the better the view. From
the summit, the view seems to stretch forever. For the Hebrew prophets, the
view from the summit allowed their prophetic revelation to stretch forth
right through to what is still the future. And what did they see? They saw
the coming Messianic Kingdom on earth... Earth's golden age. They saw no
further than that. That was the height of their revelation. They saw a day
when the wrongs of the fall of man would be put right. A day when the true
King would at last reign on the planet He created; and when creation itself
would be freed into its own glorious freedom.
This study will be the first of four messages concerning this kingdom.
We'll start in Isaiah 65 before turning our attention to a quick overview
from the New Testament.
A general description of the coming kingdom
Let's start with one of the many passages in Isaiah concerning this coming
Isaiah 65:17-25 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the
former things will not be remembered or come to mind.' (18) "But be glad
and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for
rejoicing and her people for gladness. (19) "I will also rejoice in
Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in
her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying. (20) "No longer will
there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does
not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And
the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.
(21) "They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant
vineyards and eat their fruit. (22) "They will not build and another
inhabit, 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 long enjoy
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. (24) "It will also come to pass that
before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will
hear. (25) "The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will
eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no
evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.
Here is a famous Old Testament passage concerning the Messianic Kingdom and
it shows some radical changes will take place in the conditions on this wee
planet. Now I should say right away that when I'm talking about the
Messianic Kingdom, as seen here, I'm talking about a physical visible
kingdom on earth where the king, the Lord Jesus, rules and reigns from
Jerusalem and the peace and knowledge of God will be fully evident
throughout the entire earth. Now we can see just from a quick overview of
this passage, and similar passages, that basically everything is affected.
Mankind is affected
- how they work, how they live, how they age - people will not be looking
in the mirror at the new lines around their eyes. Well, not until the 6 or
7 hundreds anyway!
Sickness is eliminated
- the perfect conditions for life, as seen in the Garden of Eden, will be
Peace, righteousness and joy
will abound. Violence will be unheard of and injustice will be consigned to
A curse-free existence
- The earth and what it produces will be radically changed, no longer
subject to the curse. We live today under the curse where, as the saying
goes, '1 year of seeding means 7 years of weeding!' But it will not be so
in the coming age
. Scripture tell us that the animal kingdom will also be radically affected
for they will no longer harm nor destroy in all the earth.
This is the kingdom age. Now we'll come back and put the spotlight and
magnifying glass on this passage in the next message, but before then we
need to do some homework... some background work if you like. We need to
eat our greens before getting desert! So let's look at three simple
scriptures in the New Testament concerning this kingdom.
The Kingdom of Heaven is near
Mat 3:1, In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of
Mat 3:2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Mat 4:12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to
Mat 4:17, from that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom
of heaven is near."
Both John the Baptist and Jesus started their public ministry announcing
the same message: 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Now, when
people went out to see John the Baptist, especially for the first time,
they may have had a few questions.
But here is a question that no one asked - 'What is the kingdom?' There was
no one listening saying 'Oh, the kingdom is near. Wow! The kingdom of
heaven is near. But there's Um, one question... what's the kingdom?' No...
No one asked that question because no one had to. They knew what the coming
kingdom was. They knew the promise of the Old Testament prophets. They
awaited and longed for the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom. Let's
step forward and see this hope expressed.
The desire of the kingdom expressed
Mar 11:9-10 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!
" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Blessed is the coming
kingdom of our father David! "Hosanna in the highest!"
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He fulfilled Zechariah's prophecy that said '
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See,
your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and
riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' (Zec (9:9)
Now, note what the people said on that day as they saw Jesus riding on the
donkey - 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord' (an
acknowledgement of Jesus as the Messiah) and also ' Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David.' That
is sad... it shows what they hoped for and what they expected. 'The kingdom
is coming! The one we have waited for since our youth! The one Israel has
waited hundreds of years for! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father
David!' Of course, in a great turnaround explained only by the mysteriously
fickle nature of the unregenerate human heart, within four short days these
same people would be calling to free Barabbas and crucify Jesus. Who would
have thought, having been on the side of the road as the crowds called out
their praises, that within four days this same Jesus would be rejected by
the people and killed. And who would have thought that some of the same
ones here praising his name would be the ones saying 'let his blood be upon
us and our children'. It just shows you though that when it comes to the
fulfilment of prophecy, things can turn 180 degrees and move very quickly!
They hoped for the Messianic kingdom, with the Messiah ruling from
Jerusalem, deliverance from their enemies, and peace amongst the nations.
But it wouldn't come as they hoped for they were soon to reject their
Messiah. Not yet.
The burning question then is... When? When would the kingdom come?
Act 1:4-8 on one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this
command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised,
which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a
few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they met
together, they asked him,
"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He
said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father
has set by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will
be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends
of the earth."
Following His resurrection, Jesus spoke to them for 40 days about the
kingdom of God. He also spoke to them about a time soon coming when they
would be baptised with the Holy Spirit. Now there are lots of questions
that the disciples could have asked. Especially concerning this gift of the
Holy Spirit they were to receive. But there is only one recorded question
in scripture. It is what still burned in their hearts... something they
didn't understand. 'When does the kingdom get restored to Israel?' 'When
does the Messianic Kingdom that all the prophets spoke about for Israel
Note well Jesus' answer. He doesn't say 'you guys have got it all wrong.
You are way off track! That's gone. Israel rejected me so I have withdrawn
the promise of the kingdom. The kingdom is now a spiritual kingdom within
No, Jesus didn't say that. He said that God the Father had set a time for
the kingdom to come and to be restored to Israel but the time for that was
not for His disciples to know. Their initial priority and focus should be
on a different coming - the coming baptism in the Holy Spirit and the power
they would receive to be Jesus' witnesses throughout the whole earth.
Now, it isn't for us to know the exact time when the kingdom will come
either. But it is for us to know that it is coming, to think about what
those days will be like and to experience the hope that that thought
brings. Which brings us to...?
Question number 1... How will the Messianic kingdom come?
The answer of course is 'with a bang!' It will come with a bang. It will
come suddenly and I should say, violently. Let's look at a great dream in
the book of Daniel that speaks of how the Messianic Kingdom comes.
Daniel 2:31-35 "You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single
great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendour,
was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. (32) "The
head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of
silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, (33) its legs of iron, its feet
partly of iron and partly of clay. (34) "You continued looking until a
stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of
iron and clay and crushed them. (35) "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze,
the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like
chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so
that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue
became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel 2:44-45 "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a
kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left
for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but
it will itself endure forever. (45) "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was
cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the
bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to
the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its
interpretation is trustworthy."
This prophetic dream doesn't give us a picture of Christianity slowly
becoming greater, slowly influencing society and man's kingdom's slowly
decreasing. No... It shows God smashing all earthly kingdoms in one event and
at one time. He will destroy them to such an extent that they will be swept
away without a trace! And a whole new order will be set up that is
established over the entire earth... The kingdom of God! And note that it is
a stone that smashes the other kingdoms. A rock or stone not cut out by
human hands. This is the Lord Jesus. Look at the following scripture where
Jesus addresses this very point:
Matthew 21:42-44 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the
Scriptures, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes' ? (43)
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from
you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (44) He who falls
on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be
The two comings of Jesus are given in this passage. Jesus spoke first of a
stone that is on the ground. It is a stone that causes many to trip up and
fall. This is the 'stone of stumbling' that Isaiah spoke about. Those that
trip up on this stone will be broken to pieces. This stone on the ground
speaks of Jesus' first coming and He is still a stone that causes many
people to trip up on. But note also that Jesus said in this passage that
the stone will also come from above and fall on others and 'he on whom it
falls will be crushed.' This is the second coming. This is what Daniel saw
and spoke about. When He comes again, He will descend in judgment, crushing
His enemies and earthly kingdoms like dust. Now, verses such as these make
you thankful to be on the right side do they not? And if you are not sure
whether you truly know the Lord they make you want to make sure do they
not? But also remember this:
Romans 9:33 "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and
a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never
be put to shame."
So Daniel tells us that when this rock comes it shall strike the statue -
it shall strike all of man's earthly kingdoms and totally annihilate them.
And it shall strike in the days of 10 kings (or kingdoms). It says that
these kingdoms '
became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept
them away without leaving a trace.'
The United Nations, the European Parliament, the military might of the
United States or Russia or the communist regime of China... the power of
Islam, the banking elite, the Mafia, the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the
Asian triads or the Aryan Brotherhood... It doesn't matter what earthly
power it is...Poof! None shall stand before the King of kings. Like chaff
on a threshing floor that is simply blown and gone with the wind, it will
all be crushed leaving no trace. God doesn't do things in halves. When it
time for the spring cleaning of this earth, everything is biffed out. Why?
Because there can be only one king. Yes, the heavenly wind and heavenly
broom shall sweep this all away. And when you get a glimpse of the
corruption and immorality on this earth you understand why it all does have
to be wiped away!
So the question is 'if all of man's so called kingdoms are to be destroyed,
what becomes of man himself? At the time of the coming of the Rock - the
Lord Jesus, what then happens to people in these nations?' Good question!
Let's take a look at that.
Shall man survive the Lord's coming?
Matthew 25:31-34 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels
with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. (32) All the nations
will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from
another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (33) He will put
the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (34) Then the King will
say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take
your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the
This judgement, the judgement of the sheep and the goats, is not to be
confused with the judgement seat of Christ that Paul talks about nor the
great white throne of judgement that John speaks of in Revelation.
Christians will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to have their
life and works judged for the basis of rewards. The great white throne in
Revelation is a judgement of all the unbelievers throughout the ages for
the purpose of their eternal sentencing. This sheep and the goats judgement
is a separation of the nations that remain when the Lord returns to earth
to setup His kingdom. He judges them for the purpose of who can and cannot
enter into the Messianic Kingdom that is about to be inaugurated. Now this
passage gives us a few things to note in regards to the kingdom that we are
talking about -
1. The Messianic Kingdom comes when the Son of Man, the King, returns and
comes in His glory. As mentioned in an earlier footnote, some in the church
believe in 'kingdom now' but you can't have the kingdom without the king!
2. For the 'sheep', the kingdom is their inheritance. It
is the gift of God, even for Gentiles. It is the restoration of all that
Adam and Eve lost at the fall and even more so.
3. The kingdom was prepared for them since the creation of the world. This is how it was meant
to be from the beginning. The conditions of this kingdom were prepared or
set in place right from creation itself. A verse that I have mentioned a
couple of times (because I like it!) is Matt 19:28 where Jesus said that
when the Son of Man comes to sit on His glorious throne (His return to
earth at the second coming - the same time as indicated by this passage
about the sheep and the goats)... there will be the renewal of ALL things.
Or the regeneration of ALL things. The Greek for 'regeneration' being 'palin-genesia' - 'Genesis once more'.
Next time we'll look more into the second question (you can't rush these
things!) and put the spotlight on the characteristics of the kingdom.
When I started reading some of these scriptures, especially the ones we'll
get into next time concerning the characteristics of the kingdom, I had to
ask myself why God made this the most abundant prophetic theme of the Old
Testament? Why spell it all out with so many details through so many
The conclusion I came to is that mankind needs hope. We've always needed
hope. God's people need to know that a better day is coming. Life can be
difficult. I read the other day a quote from Charles Spurgeon that said:
'The Old Covenant was a covenant of prosperity; the New Covenant is a
Covenant of Adversity whereby we are weaned from the present world and
made fit for the world to come.'
That is true. Life can be difficult here, especially for the Christian, as
it is not their true home. We are being made fit for the world to come. But
praise the Lord that He has a wonderful plan for this planet that will not
be thwarted or annulled. His kingdom will come and that is a day we should
all long for and, as we shall see in the third study in this series,