"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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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The MILLENNIUM: REIGN of the MESSIAH - Part One: Beginning the New Testament Examination.

~ by James Fire

We have traversed the length of the Old Testament in a thorough, yet hardly exhaustive treatment in examining what the Word of GOD has to say about the Millennial Reign of Christ. With the enormous weight of evidence (if one reads with a straight forward method of a plain, literal interpretation) of the Scriptures pointing to a time immediately following Christ’s arrival on planet Earth – after executing judgment upon the anti-Christ, the false prophet, the Beast’s various leaders, as well as the judgment of nations determined on how they treated the LORD’s brethren (the Jewish nation) during “the time of Jacob’s Trouble” and the banishment of Satan in the bottomless pit, of a thousand year reign – such evidence is extremely hard to ignore by the honest Bible student.

There are those however (and these with increasing numbers) who disparage a literal reign of Christ, come in His glorified flesh, to rule in Israel as her Messiah King, claiming that the LORD is already reigning on Earth in a spiritual sense, through His church.
Among these, there are those who deny that Israel has any further pertinence in the plan of GOD, having forfeited the promises that the LORD made to them when they rejected Jesus as their Messiah and had Him crucified.

They then conclude that any and all Old Testament prophecies predicting Israel’s future glory under the benevolence and sovereignty of the Messiah-King Y’shua are null and void (and even worse, try to apply those covenant promises to the church – a heresy known as Replacement Theology). It behooves us then to examine the New Testament Scriptures, especially those post-resurrection (after the rejection, crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ) and see if any such promises are still valid where Israel is concerned and the promised Kingdom of Israel that is associated with both the Abrahamic covenant as well as the Davidic covenant.

Such New Testament verses that verify the promises of the Old Testament are strewn throughout the Old Testament TTUF study which you can read here (all twelve parts). 

For the convenience of our readers, we will revisit the New Testament Scriptures in summary fashion so that they may determine (not just on the basis of this study, but upon their own personal study to either confirm or deny the findings of this author) if the Millennial Reign of Christ is (1) still the destiny of the Messiah as the up and coming Holy Ruler on planet Earth in a physical, actual ruling over the nations from the nation of Israel and (2) If Israel is in fact likewise destined to receive such blessings as a result of her coming Messiah-King.

So, let us begin this most exciting and fascinating study! I don’t mind telling you that as I pore over such Scriptures, it sets my heart racing with thrilling hope and intense longing to see such things transpire in our near future!
From the very start of the first Gospel account of Matthew, we read a genealogy of Jesus Christ – (Cristos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Meschiach – or Messiah, that is in itself a title of the anointed King of Israel that will reign forever and ever, from the throne of His father, David; LUKE 1:31-33). This genealogy confirms that Jesus is the son of David (the LORD is mentioned as “the son of David” by the testimony of Matthew’s gospel, the gospel of the Messiah-King, 10 times; thus He is heir to the throne of Israel (seeing that He is of the tribe of Judah) and the son of Abraham, thus a legitimate Hebrew and recipient of the promises GOD made to the father of the Jewish nation.

Everyone eligible to the throne of David had to prove their legitimacy by their genealogy, thus the documentation found here in MATTHEW 1 proves Jesus’ royal line as He is from the tribe of Judah. There is also the genealogy according to the Gospel of LUKE 3

Only there, His genealogy goes even further back, all the way to Adam. This demonstrates the humanity of Jesus Christ, being a son of Adam, that is, of the human race, through His mother, Mary (and not through Joseph, because His Father is GOD, not Joseph).
Being therefore a relative of the human face as well as the Jewish nation, He is qualified as the kinsman goel, the redeemer who is the only one that can bring redemption according to the Old Testament Law – a kinsman is the only one qualified to redeem someone in debt that is themselves a family member, not a neighbor or a friend. He is able then to redeem both Jew and Gentile, all who will receive Him by faith (ACTS 10:34-47).

There is another ‘genealogy’ of sorts found in the opening verses of the Gospel of JOHN: here He is seen as the WORD of GOD “Who [perpetually] was GOD” along with the Father; so here in JOHN 1:3,14, we have His divine genealogy whereas in LUKE we have His human genealogy (and in MATTHEW, His Jewish). Some have noted that the Gospel of MARK contains no genealogy, and this is correct, simply because in MARK’s Gospel Jesus is portrayed as the Servant of YHWH and servants (or slaves) never carry a genealogy.

Some have wondered about the divergence of the two genealogies of MATTHEW and LUKE – where the branch that splits these two is between Solomon (In MATT 1:7) and Nathan (in LUKE 3:31). Why is this? We don’t have time to cover this here as we already have much to look into, but if you’re interested, you can check this question out (and some other intriguing issues) here and also here

For our purposes, it suffices us to say that legally speaking, if Jesus were to assume a Messianic role, He could legitimately do so on the basis of MATTHEW 1. So let’s start in the Gospel of Matthew, work our way through the other Gospel accounts and proceed into the New Testament Scriptures!
The LORD Jesus Christ is indeed the son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (vs. 2); upon these men GOD pronounced promises and covenants, which are ultimately fulfilled in Y’shua the JEW of Jews!

From Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, the royal line was established (vs. 3; GEN 49:10).
Boaz and Ruth (vs. 5) getting together and settling down in Bethlehem established the nativity of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed (vs. 5,6). As stated previously, it was with David that the Davidic Covenant was established and the promise that he will never lack for a descendant to sit on his throne, and explicitly one particular Son of David (Jesus) who will reign from that throne forever!

Then in vs. 16, Joseph, the legal father (step-father we would call him) of Jesus is mentioned; both he and Mary were descendants of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David.
In MATTHEW 2, we find the Magi of the Parthian Empire (they were known as King-makers, as in their domain, their kings were elected by this powerful, wealthy and august body of men, well versed in the sciences and wisdom of their day) recognized Jesus as “the King of the Jews” (MATT 2:2) and associated this new-born King with the star** that they had witnessed and the prophecy that foretold it (NUM 24:17), no doubt under the tutelage of Daniel the prophet who was highly esteemed among the Persians and subsequently the Parthians.

**See the trailer for The STAR of BETHLEHEM here. Or while it’s still available, you can watch it free on Youtube! Follow this link

In MATTHEW 2:3 it states that Herod “was troubled and all Jerusalem with him” because he recognized that this legitimate claim to the throne of David would spell trouble for him; he wasn’t even a Jew but an Idumean (an Edomite!) and only given his position of power by the Roman government that was despised by the people of Israel!

In MATTHEW 3, we witness the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (His cousin by the way) and at this event, we have the testimony of GOD the Father, declaring Jesus as His “beloved Son in whom [He] is well pleased” (MATT 3:17).
Peter rightly perceives the identity of Jesus, declaring Him as both Messiah and “the Son of the living GOD” (MATT 16:16) and in JOHN’s Gospel Jesus readily admits that He Himself is the Messiah of Israel (JOHN 4:25-26).

Incidentally, the late pastor Chuck Smith and Dr. Mark Eastman produced a wonderful book entitled The Search for Messiah in which they prove from Old Testament Scripture, going back to the original Hebrew, that the Messiah Himself would be GOD incarnate! For a summary of this book, check out the TTUF series, JESUS is GOD (Part 1 of 5). Find the entire series here.

In MATTHEW 5 we read of the well beloved and cherished Sermon on the Mount and in vs. 18 the LORD had this to say,

MATTHEW 5:17-18
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled

Everything entailed in the Law would also include all the promised covenants to Abraham, to David, the Land Covenant and the others as well; which means that the Messiah’s role to play in the future would not be broken either. One can perceive that everything the LORD laid out in the Sermon on the Mount will be ‘the law of the land’ once the Messiah establishes His reign, which puts a new light on vs. 19:

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Note that it says that the Law (including the Covenant promises) will continue until the passing away of heaven and earth; if we consider that the Millennial Reign lasts for the thousand years, then at the end of this age, “the earth and heaven [flee] away”, the Great White Throne Judgment commences and then the new era of the eternal kingdom begins!

Many object to a literal kingdom reign on Earth for the very reason that the LORD Jesus Himself stated, 

LUKE 17:20-21
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you

Certainly, the Kingdom of GOD is a spiritual one that we must be born into by the Spirit (JOHN 3:3-5) and the Word (1 PET 1:23); and so we carry such a kingdom within our hearts, but this must be distinguished from the kingdom of heaven (or literally, “the kingdom from heaven”). Another objection that people raise is that the LORD Jesus before Pilate denied that His kingdom was of this world:

JOHN 18:36
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence

But notice what the LORD said at the end of this verse: “My kingdom is not from here (that is, from this world”. Yet this doesn’t mean that His visible, literal kingdom won’t arrive in this world! Consider the LORD’s high priestly prayer in the previous chapter:

JOHN 17:14-16
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world

Jesus and His disciples certainly were in this world – of that there is no doubt whatsoever; but according to the LORD here, they are not “of this world” any more than He is – or His kingdom! But just because His kingdom is not of this world, this doesn’t negate the fact that it will be in this world, just as the LORD Himself was in this world, and His disciples!
In MATTHEW 6, the LORD Jesus provides for us a model prayer – you could say a template that should guide how we offer up our prayers to GOD:

MATTHEW 6:9-13
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Notice what we are to pray concerning vs. 10: “Thy kingdom come”. Since the kingdom of GOD is already here (in our hearts), what would be the need to pray for its coming? 

This would be part of this prayerful template for the church throughout the ages; had the LORD known that His kingdom (from heaven) would be established during this time before His return (as a result of the spiritual kingdom of GOD and our spiritual rebirth that would allow us entrance into such), we wouldn’t need to petition for that which was already established.
Yet this kingdom is to be prayed for by the church, seeking its arrival in all of its “power and glory, forever. Amen.” That which is in heaven, will come down to this world just as Daniel foresaw in DAN 2:35,44-45.

The promises of GOD made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob centered around the land that has been granted to them (GEN 15:18), which encompasses all territories east of the river Nile and west of the Euphrates river; a territory far greater than any previously known in Israel, including the days of David and Solomon. So, we know that this must be yet future, and this is alluded to by the LORD Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, when the Roman Centurion asked that He might heal his servant, and when the Centurion made such a bold declaration of faith that it caused even our LORD to marvel, He said the following: 

MATTHEW 8:10-11
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven

If in fact the LORD Jesus Christ will preside over the nation of Israel as her Messiah, in what He refers to here as “the kingdom of heaven” that includes the patriarchs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (obviously along with all other Jews of believing faith), but also with Gentiles such as this Roman, then will all be blessed by the reign of the Messiah on Earth, governing all the world from the territory so designated in GENESIS 15, for the nation of Israel.

ISAIAH 35 is a Messianic prophecy that speaks of the miraculous feats He will accomplish, among them, the opening of the eyes of the blind, and causing the lame would walk, the deaf to hear. These things the Messiah did while on the earth (MATT 11:4-6; 15:29-31); Isaiah adds to this list “the dumb shall sing” (vs. 6). The LORD reminded John the Baptist that He accomplished these things in answer to the Baptist’s question, “Are you the one (Messiah) that should come, or do we look for another?”. 

The fact that the LORD was able to cast out demons that rendered their victims mute, so that they could then “sing” is part of the Messianic sign of Who Jesus is, and yet the Pharisees disparaged these signs, claiming Jesus did them by the power of “the prince of devils” (MATT 9:34). They were not only denying the ministry of the Messiah, but that of the Holy Spirit Who anointed Jesus, granting the Spirit “without measure” (JOHN 3:34) – thus the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (MATT 12:31-32).

So, when the LORD Jesus declared, “…Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (MATT 3:2; 10:7), what He was saying is that the kingdom is at hand because the King is here! Yet because the Messiah King was rejected, the kingdom of heaven, aka the kingdom of Israel would be postponed until the Messiah returned to Israel (after the time of Jacob’s Trouble is completed (JER 30:7); the timing of this kingdom, this Millennial Reign of Christ, according to the LORD is in the Father’s keeping (ACTS 1:6-7).

Addressing what’s known as “the Kingdom Parables” in MATTHEW 13, these are stories that the LORD employed to describe the coming Kingdom, and what would transpire within this domain. It would certainly begin during the time of the King’s arrival (2000 years ago) and continue onward until His return, and then during His physical reign on the Earth.

A comprehensive study has been done in The Rapture Forums, by Jack Kelley in his three part series which you can read here: Part OnePart Two, and Part Three.

In MATTHEW 16 we read about the first reference to “the church” – after all the times that the kingdom is addressed in regard to the nation of Israel, only then to read of the religious leader’s wholesale rejection, to say nothing of their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, there is a change of program.
After delivering the kingdom parables (so that the blind would not see, thus in a very real sense preserving them from even more severe judgment for rejecting their Messiah; MATT 13:15-17), the LORD now talks about the church (MATT 16:18) – another entity entirely separate and distinct from the nation of Israel.

The foundation of the church would be the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ Himself, as well as the truth Peter declared: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (MATT 16:16). The church would proclaim Jesus as Messiah as well as the Son of the Living GOD and become the temple of the Holy Spirit and its members “living stones” (1 PET 2:3-10).

The concept of the church as the bride of Christ (EPH 5:23; 2 COR 11:2; REV 21:9), and the LORD Jesus Christ Himself being the Bridegroom is something entirely appropriate to the Millennial Reign, for the church as the bride of Christ shall rule and reign alongside her LORD at the arrival of His kingdom (REV 2:26-27; 3:20-21; 19:15). During this same timeframe we will also see the twelve apostles, on twelve thrones of their own, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (See MATT 19:28) I can only see this happen during the Millennial Reign).

A kingdom principle is expressed in MATTHEW 20, namely, “the last shall be first” (vs. 16) and then elaborated – in a negative sense – by the sons of Zebedee, James and John whose mother prompted the LORD to allow her sons to sit on His right and left hand in His (the Messiah’s; vs. 20-23) Kingdom. Self-promotion in the kingdom of heaven will never happen; only through humility, humbleness, a heart for service out of a love for the LORD and His people will allow any of us one of those ‘higher seats’ in the kingdom (vs. 25-28). Essentially, “no cross, no crown”.

In MATTHEW 21 the Messiah King, “the Son of David” enters into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and her colt; a typical entrance of any monarch who comes in peace (rather than a horse with the intent of war). This was prophesied to occur (ZECH 9:9) but on a day appointed; there were times when Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was something He avoided (JOHN 7:6,8 for example). Yet on this occasion of MATTHEW 21, He intentionally arranges it; what was so special about that particular day?

Another fulfillment of prophecy!

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times

The prophet Daniel, who lived 500 years before Jesus (Yeshua) wrote that from the day of the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls, until the coming Messiah would be 173,880 days! And so it was, to the day. That was why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that specific day! All the while the Jewish people cried out, “Hosanna (‘save now’) to the Son of David” with palm branches, and coats strewn in the way, making a path for the Messiah to ride over with a spirit of celebration and joy (no doubt at the prospects that their Messiah would rid Israel of the oppressive Roman rule), the LORD Himself looking over the city . . . “wept” (LUKE 19:41).

LUKE 19:38-44
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation

The arrival of the Messiah should have been the pinnacle of peace and prosperity for Israel, but instead, the nation rejected Him; because their priority was the overthrow of Rome, and His priority was the overthrow of sin that was a far harsher slave master than Rome could ever try to be!

Instead, she fell to utter desolation in 70 AD when the city was leveled to the ground, one million Jews were exterminated, and the Temple was razed. And the Messiah in fulfillment of ISAIAH 53 at The ALTAR of the ALMIGHTY, completed His mission as the sacrifice for His people, and brought redemption; and there is coming a day when Israel’s eyes will be opened, and all the nation of those of faith in their Messiah will be saved:

ROMANS 11:25-27
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins

“The fulness of the Gentiles” speaks of the completion of the bride of Christ when the last Gentile will come to salvation, and that is when the LORD will take out this people called by His Name (see it in context in this chapter: ACTS 15). After this, the LORD will turn and rebuild “the tabernacle of David” (speaking of the nation of Israel), but there is the chastening of His people that precedes this (DAN 9:2).

We will finish off the Gospel of Matthew in the next article and compare notes with the other gospel accounts; then proceed to the book of ACTS and the epistles and learn what they can tell us about this Millennial Reign of Christ!

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