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 kingdom.
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 restored.
Peace, righteousness and joy will abound. Violence will be unheard of and injustice will be consigned to history.
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 Judea
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 Galilee...
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 come about?'
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 you.'  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 crushed."
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 world.
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 prophets?
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, prepare for.
 ↩ No more waiting 6 months and finally pulling out your garlic to find it is size of a marble. No more biting into an apple to find some little bug has bitten into it first! Well, that still might happen. But the days of the kingdom will be incredible. In the words of Gandalf in 'The return of the king' - 'Now come the days of the King - may they be blessed!' A small picture of the return of the true king! And those days will be incredibly blessed!
We may have had questions -
My sister might have been interested in his clothing: 'Is that garment really made of genuine camel hair? How does that feel? You don't find that a tad itchy? '
My mother may have been interested in his appearance: 'When did you say was the last time you had a hair cut? I think it might be time for a trim John.'
My friend Brett would have been interested in his 'organic'
approach: 'So is it possible to live on just honey and locusts? Do
you catch or breed your locusts? I've actually got a worm farm.
It's, well, it's not really for food but I guess if things get
Yes, lots of questions could have been asked. But no one had to ask him what he meant by 'the kingdom of heaven'. No... As I mentioned earlier it was the biggest prophetic theme in the Old Testament and the reality of which all the Jews waited.
 ↩ This is of course what some in the church say today. They say that God is finished with the nation of Israel and the promises that He made to them. They say that the church inherits those promises now and the kingdom is here now. To them 'Israel' is just another name for the church because we are the 'spiritual Israel'. Dear oh dear. If you can't trust God to fulfil His promises, who can you trust? God will not be thwarted. He will fulfil what He has promised to the church and He will fulfil what He has promised to the nation of Israel. Beware of the 'Kingdom now' and 'Dominion Theology' teachings that say such things (amongst others).
 ↩ There is a good reason why Jesus didn't tell them when the kingdom would come. Imagine if Jesus had answered this exactly when asked when the kingdom will be restored to Israel. 'Yes, God the Father has set a time for the kingdom to be restored to Israel. It is in 2000 years.' Their hearts would have sunk! No, the Bible never tells us when because we all need to live with the hope of His coming.
 ↩ As a little side track, last week I watched the DVD called 'Inside Job' - it is a documentary into what caused the financial crisis that began in 2008 and still continues. 'Inside Job' is an apt title. It makes you angry at the amount of greed, corruption and immorality that goes on in this world. Bankers, politicians, lawyers, financial advisors, corporate business, government departments... it doesn't matter. They are all in on it and outright greed and corruption rules. An inside job is an apt title. That is the kingdom of this world... because that is the heart of man. What are the results of such greed? I've been reading a book by Joel Rosenberg called 'Implosion'. He gives some facts from America concerning the impact of the financial crisis.
Since 2006 - 2011, 3 million American families suffered
foreclosures as houses were repossessed by the banks.
Between 2006 -2011, 7 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy.
By 2011 45.8 million American were on food stamps. 14%
Between1789-2000 (211 years), the national debt got to 3.4
trillion. When Bush left office in 2008 the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan had pushed that up by 71% to 5.8 trillion. In the first
three years of Obama's presidency, the debt had tripled to 15
trillion. In 2011 their debt went up 3 million every minute.
What is behind it all? Mans' greed for power and wealth. It will all now be swept away with the coming of the Lord.
 ↩ As a quick illustration, I read the other days of a little girl who went in an elevator for the first time and was asked about her experience. She said that 'I went into this little room and the upstairs came down!' The Messianic Kingdom will be like that. The upstairs world of Heaven will come down along with the presence of the King. How awesome will that be?