"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Monday, February 27, 2017

The MILLENNIUM: REIGN of the MESSIAH - Part Eight

By James Fire

We began this series with Part One on March 23, 2015. There has been seven parts to this article and now we are presenting an eighth . . . and we still haven’t exhausted all the Scripture from the Old Testament; and have barely addressed verses from the New Testament (but we most certainly will, LORD willing!). Here are volumes of material showing that Israel as a nation still has a future, a yet unfulfilled future as a kingdom reborn, with her coming King Who will reign from Jerusalem, over all the world.

As I wrote this article, there were 70 nations gathered together to discuss and decide what to do with the State of Israel and the Palestinian people; they took it upon themselves to arbitrate borders of two nations, where God has declared only the one, according to the borders He established, with Himself as the Ruler over the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Fortunately, their agenda was a bust!



Here are the makings of anti-God, anti-biblical ramifications that are as much in rebellion to the will of God as those who deny Israel’s prophetic destiny, who try to replace Israel with the church, and who promote the idea that this nation should be eradicated from off this Earth because of ‘Zionism and its occult roots’ – however, as I have stated before, there are many brands of Zionism: only one of them is biblical, and that can be found in such passages as 2 SAMUEL 7 and PSALM 2:6-12 and PSALM 89.

Personally, I am both astounded and baffled at the lack of literary knowledge of God’s prophecies among Christians, regarding His nation. Go to virtually every single Old Testament prophetical writing, read the last chapters and for all of God’s pronouncements of judgment upon His people, He leaves them with the hope of His coming kingdom, under the Davidic covenant, with the blessing of the land He prescribed under the Abrahamic covenant.

Let us then finish looking at JEREMIAH before we proceed to EZEKIEL, DANIEL and then the minor prophets, and then we shall turn to the NEW TESTAMENT and see what it says in regards to the Millennial Reign of Christ.

JEREMIAH 33:14-16
14 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.

The Branch of Righteousness is of course a title of the LORD Jesus Christ, Who is Himself a descendant, according to the flesh, of David, the son of Jesse, of the House of Judah (ISAIAH 11:1-5). The LORD Jesus grew up before people and was strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and grace (LUKE 2:39-41), but He did not at that time “execute judgment and righteousness in the land”. He demonstrated righteousness before the people, proving Himself to be the spotless Lamb of God (JOHN 1:29; 1 PETER 1:19), and He did judge individuals (MATT 23; JOHN 7:24; 12:31), and the nation in respect of their rejection of His claim of being the Messiah (MATT 21:43), but He won’t officiate as Judge and reign in righteousness as the King until He returns to this world to rule over all nations (DANIEL 2:44; REV 12:5; 19:15). At that time, He “will perform that good thing which [He] has promised unto the house of Israel [and] Judah.” He is indeed the LORD our Righteousness!

1 COR 1:30
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption
:


The LORD made a promise to David, and if one reads the references in 2 SAMUEL 7 and PSALM 89, this is an UNCONDITIONAL promise to David; there are no demands made upon David, no pre-conditions expected from him. This is a unilateral promise from the LORD granted by grace to His servant David. In this next passage the LORD elaborates:

JEREMIAH 33:17-18
17 For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

The LORD here stipulates that “. . . at that time . . .” (JER 33:15) He will have faithful servants in positions of political as well as religious leadership who will be faithful in their ministry before Him. Israel, since the days of Ahaz (the last king of Israel) and Zedekiah (the last king of Judah) has never had another king. Modern Israel is a socialist democracy, with Prime Ministers and Presidents.
Because of the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., there has been no officiating of Levitical sacrifices made at the altar of the LORD. Yet these verses stipulate both will be present on the Earth.

JEREMIAH 33:19-22
19 And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying,
20 Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

Once again, we witness strong language at the mouth of the LORD regarding His covenant with Israel His people. Just as faithfully as day follows day and night follows night, likewise the covenant with Israel will be faithfully fulfilled – in His provision of both king and priests.

There are biblical scholars that believe Jesus will in all actuality be more of an emperor – which is in a very real sense, a king of kings (REV 19:16), and that the resurrected David, son of Jesse will be established to reign in Israel during the Millennium, with the LORD Jesus Himself, reigning over all. Likewise, the priesthood of Levi will no doubt preside in the Millennial Temple (and we will examine the Millennial Temple in detail when we get to the book of EZEKIEL).

God’s people will flourish and prosper to such a degree, that their numbers will be comparable to “the hosts of heaven” – a number that far exceeds the mere population of approximately 16 million as of the year 2015 

JEREMIAH 33:23-26
23 Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying,
24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
25 Thus saith the Lord; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

When God makes a declaration, we can be sure He means what He says, as He is a God of truth. Yet when He bears witness to Himself by repeating His declaration, this is something that may be considered rock solid and immutable (ISAIAH 45:23). In the passage above, God reiterates what He said just prior, about His covenant with the day and night and His integrity in fulfilling His Word regarding Jacob and David.

While God’s judgment against Israel had been severe, and brought about their captivity in Assyria, Babylon and later, their subjugation during the Roman Empire, continuing onward into modern times, with Spain, England and Islamic oppression, He has plainly stated that He will not cast away the seed of Jacob and David, that He will establish rulers from the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To deny this is simply to deny Scripture.
Today it seems, more than ever, with the powerful force that is Islam, backed by a sympathetic United Nations, much of the world is intent on the objective “that they should be no more a nation before them”. Again, the Bible is explicit about God’s will, in opposition to the will of this world and of Satan, in destroying Israel:

ZECH 12:3
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it
.

The word “cut” refers to the idea of being lacerated, something gashed, and in context of this passage, happens as a result of attempting to move that “burdensome stone” that is Israel; in essence, injuring themselves by hernia in straining to remove Israel from being a people of God! No matter who denies Israel’s right to exist in this world, whether it is a united Islamic world opposing the Jews, or the EU or UN – even America, or the Roman Catholic Church, the nation will remain and persist until the return of the LORD and His established kingdom on this Earth!

We now leave the book of JEREMIAH and turn to the next prophet, EZEKIEL and see what he says about the Millennial Reign of the Messiah. It’s interesting to me that both of these prophets prophesied during the Babylonian captivity, when Israel was being judged by the LORD for their disobedience; all the while they were judged for 70 years, the LORD reminded His people of the promises He made, and inspired His prophets to elaborate on the coming Kingdom.

I had previously shared these videos in another article of this series, and it was such a marvelous work, I wanted to share it here as well (and no doubt share them again when we get to EZEKIEL, Chapters 40-43!).

So we shall now turn to the book of EZEKIEL and learn what the LORD revealed to this prophet regarding the Millennial Reign of the Messiah. Before we do that however, two things:

First, consider that the prophet Ezekiel, like Jeremiah and Daniel were Exilic prophets – that is, they were prophets who were carried away from Israel and lived in servitude in Babylon. The entire nation was being judged by God in this captivity that, according to Jeremiah, would last 70 years (JER 25:9-12). Yet the LORD assured these prophets that their captivity would end, that they would return to Israel and He further promised that they would experience the glory of the kingdom under the reign of the Messiah. We must remember that even in judgment, God is merciful and faithful to fulfill His promises.

Secondly, in addressing the issue of Amillennialism (which denies that there will ever be a Millennium) we have a splendid article by Dr. David Reagan of LAMB and LION ministries entitled The Millennium in the Old Testament – Can It Be Found There? 

“Ezekiel confirms that the Jewish people will enter into a new covenant with God that will be written on their hearts (EZEK 11:19-20 and EZEK 16:60-62).”

So then let us turn to the book of EZEKIEL 20:37-44

Preceding this section of the chapter, we read the tragic and terrible rejection of Israel of the LORD God, their Maker, their Father, their Redeemer and Deliverer – Who time and time again beckoned them to hearken to His voice and repent of their idolatries but they refused (see in verse 7-8, 13, 16, 21, 24, 27-32); time and time again, the longsuffering of the LORD was evident during these sad times, and He implored them to walk in His ways (see in verse 9, 11-12, 14, 17-20, 22) and because of their persistent rebellion, God’s wrath and judgment came upon them (see in verse 13 (the latter half), verse 21 (the latter half) – 23, 25-26, 30-37).

Yet even so, the LORD graciously provides a promise of purging the people; “pass[ing] under the rod” as it states, and draw them into “the bond of the covenant” – He will purge the rebels from among the people – which I believe will be accomplished predominantly during the time of Jacob’s Trouble (the great tribulation period) and while this will be the most terrible time in all history, eventually God’s righteous remnant (ROM 9:27) will inherit the land, promised by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His grace will be amply demonstrated “for His name’s sake” (vs. 44) and not because of Israel’s “corrupt doings”.

Israel is a picture for all humanity – there are none faithful (PSALM 12:1), there are none that do good (ROM 3:12). And while Israel’s lack of faithfulness to the LORD was abundantly evident (with small spurts of repentance and obedience shown during the reigns of Jehoshaphat, Josiah and Hezekiah and a few others), yet the LORD’s faithfulness according to His promises is resolute.
And just as the LORD is faithful to all the promises that He made to Israel, He is likewise faithful to the saints of the church, being careful to observe the New Covenant and the grace in eternal salvation to every born again believer. This truth is the basis of a previous TTUF article and teaching entitled Why Israel Matters To The Biblical Christian (Part 1 of 2).

The LORD likewise promised that Israel will know the glorious reign of the Messiah, in the land, reigning upon the throne of His father, David (LUKE 1:32). Modern day Israel is a socialist democracy, the population has a significant drug abuse problem, they are promoters of homosexual celebrations; they are agnostics, atheists, humanists, new age spiritualists and Buddhists, with a small percentage (but growing) of orthodox Jewry and an even smaller percentage of ‘Messianic Jews’ aka born again Christians (but growing even more rapidly than Orthodox Jews).

In general, regardless of their ‘worthiness’ of the LORD – are any of us worthy of Him aside from the grace He has granted through the LORD Jesus Christ? – the LORD’s promises will be fulfilled, just as He proclaimed!

Let us examine EZEKIEL 34 now . . .

The first half of this chapter is a prophecy against the shepherds of Israel – those who are ordained of God to care for His people, and who have not only failed to provide for them, but have actually taken from them! The very ones God entrusted to feed His flock were fleecing His flock!
In reading this passage, I can see the modern day televangelists and Word-Faith/Prosperity preachers who adorn themselves in $4,000 suits, and flashy diamond rings, fleets of luxury cars and even planes (one such, so-called televangelist has an entire fleet of planes situated on his own private airport!), mansions and bulging bank accounts – whose wealth they attribute to their own faith as victorious sons of God – or even claims to godhood itself (believe it or not) – but in all actually is delivered to them by hard-working people’s paychecks, and the estates of dying widows, who in their gullibility and lack of proper biblical teaching (whether by their own fault or not), have believed the lies of the false doctrine of ‘seed-faith offerings’.
I fear that God’s judgment on these modern day false shepherds will be even more severe than on those we are reading about here in EZEKIEL – for to these modern day counter-parts is given the full revelation of Jesus Christ as found in the Holy Scriptures!

Then we come to vs. 11 – 16:

EZEKIEL 34:11-16
11 For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.
16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

One could easily spiritualize the above passage and say that God is leading the nation to the place where He provides for them in their own nation, the people having been restored to the land in 1948.
Until we come to vs. 23:

EZEKIEL 34:23-27
23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
24 And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.
25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.

Obviously King David’s sepulcher was long known centuries before Ezekiel wrote these words. This must be David, the son of Jesse in his resurrected state – an event yet future – but with the LORD making with them a covenant of peace.
A covenant wherein there will no more be abundant dangers which Israel now faces with wars, terrorist strikes, UN resolutions and struggles in the midst of the 800 million Muslim world as the only free democracy in the region, but rather the reverse: they shall “dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods . . . they shall be safe in their land.” The LORD will deliver them from those who oppress Israel and take from her the resources inherent in the land; He will deliver “them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.” The evidence of fruitfulness in the land is apparent to anyone who has ever visited Israel (I have, twice!), but this will be nothing compared to the incredible fruitfulness that the land the Jews will enjoy when once they are under the rule of the Messiah – not even when Israel first came into Canaan land and witnessed grape vines, lush with grapes, the size of tree trunks! See also EZEK 34:28-31.

One more chapter before we close this article, and before we examine this, just a re-emphasis on what we have observed based on what’s been read so far (and will see in future articles):

Anyone who denies Israel’s coming future may well be ‘New Testament – Only readers’. I’ve known quite a few in my day. Their thinking is “Why bother with the Old Testament? Sure, it’s a good history and all, but we are not under the Law any more, but the NEW COVENANT! So, they ignore 3/5ths of the Holy Writ and focus solely from MATTHEW to REVELATION. And while one can amply demonstrate Israel’s future kingdom from the New Testament, such passages lose clarity and context with the entire canon of Scripture, and such a focus tends towards ‘spiritualizing’ passages that are meant for Israel and attribute them to the church.
And this doesn’t even address the fact that the foundational basis of all biblical doctrine is found within the chapters of GENESISand the Old Testament is no longer relevant?? Take the foundation away from any building and watch what happens to that structure!

Let me say again, what I said at the beginning of this article:

Go to virtually every single Old Testament prophetical writing, read the last chapters and for all of God’s pronouncements of judgment upon His people, He leaves them with the hope of His coming kingdom, under the Davidic covenant, with the blessing of the land He prescribed under the Abrahamic covenant.

EZEKIEL 36 from the first verse up to and including verse twenty-one talks about God’s pronouncement upon the heathen that have oppressed Israel, and how He will judge those nations while at the same time, make the land and His people prosperous beyond any precedent – just as it is written in vs. 11: “and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”

Then in verse 21-22 the LORD restates what He had said before: “But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.”

The Name of the LORD is to be glorified – magnifying His faithfulness, His Almighty power, His stalwart proclamation of truth, towards a people such as Israel, who for all their unfaithfulness and infidelity, still retains God’s grace and promises: THAT is glory to the LORD and to His Name ALONE!

And this is where it gets REALLY interesting! Let’s examine the remaining sections of this chapter:

EZEKIEL 36:23-24
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

The people of Israel were brought back into their own land after the Babylonian captivity was over with (which happened about a century after the days of Ezekiel) and there they remained until approximately forty years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ during the era of the Roman Empire, where they were once again dispersed until they were gathered again “the second time” (ISAIAH 11:11) in 1948.
Yet neither during the first regathering or the second were the people sanctified in the eyes of the Gentile nations – we know that this must be yet future, and I believe this will occur when the Messiah returns and establishes His reign in the restored Kingdom of Israel.
The LORD is even today drawing Jewish people into the land of Israel, most recently from France and it was during the mid-90’s that nearly a million Jews left the USSR.

Yet the time in which Israel will be sanctified in the eyes of the Gentiles is still to happen . . .

EZEKIEL 36:25-27
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

The sprinkling of water upon the people is the rite of purification (NUMBERS 8:7) whereupon God here elaborates that He will also deliver them from their idols and grant to them a new heart and a new spirit; taking from them their hearts of stone (lifeless) and granting them hearts of flesh (living). Here the LORD specifies the indwelling Spirit upon all of Israel which will profess faith in the returning Messiah (ZECH 12:10; 13:1-2, 6, 8-9).
There was never a time in all of Israel’s history where they were able to keep the Law, walking in His statutes and obeying with any sort of consistency – however, once they are indwelt by the Spirit, they will remain faithfully obedient to the Law of the LORD (“cause you to walk in My statutes”) as prescribed in the kingdom of heaven parables we read about in the Gospel of Matthew, which will be the law of the land during the Kingdom age of Israel’s restored Monarchy under Theocratic rule.

EZEKIEL 36:28-31
28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.

Again, and again the LORD mentions the land that He gave to their fathers. He is the One that gave them this land, and He it is Who declares that He Himself will be their God. To think of any other epoch of time, during Israel’s history, it would seem strange that He should have to say this; yet today, as has been mentioned before, Israel’s population consists largely of agnostics, atheists and humanists. Today’s generation in Israel is being told, that the LORD God (YHWH) will be their God!

EZEKIEL 36:32-35
32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
33 Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.
34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.

Today Israel sells produce to Europe, flowers to Holland, technology to Japan (that is, until interested parties decided to boycott Jewish products out of support for the Palestinian cause) – what was a desert, barren and lifeless only two generations ago – is now flourishing. However, is the land like the garden of Eden? Parts of it, perhaps, but certainly not all. This would indicate that these prophecies are speaking of a time yet future.

EZEKIEL 36:36-38
36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.
37 Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.
38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the Lord.

The Gentile nations have no such conviction by and large that the God of the Bible has done this work of “build[ing] the ruined places” of Israel – but such a day is coming. On that day we will rejoice for the LORD will be in the midst of His people, and He shall reign (as Handel was oft declaring “forever and ever! Hallelujah! Forever!”).


There are three more chapters to review before we conclude the book of Ezekiel, and one of the primary passages to be examined will deal in detail the Millennial Temple! Next time, on The TRUTH Under Fire!

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