My talk today has absolutely nothing to do with Mother’s Day, but I figured it only appropriate to show a Mother’s Day video – and I thought it was funny. I tried to pick one that wouldn’t make the mom’s cry but gave a good message to all of us men to call your mom today! I would tell you ladies too, but I know you call your mom probably every week!
Anyway, on this lovely day devoted to Mothers, I will be continuing with part 2 of The Kingdom to Come, which will be all about what life will be like during the thousand years we get to reign with Christ at the end of this world as we know it.
A place where all you moms will finally get the rest you deserve!
So, let’s pray and get into it.
Last week I talked about the 75 day interval between the end of the tribulation and the official beginning of the thousand year millennial kingdom. A lot of changes needed to be made to the earth itself to set it up, such as bringing it back to a condition probably similar to the very beginning.
Last week I focussed on the human resources department and shared with you the different groups of people that will populate this kingdom.
They include and ARE limited to…
- Those with resurrected/glorified bodies.
- The raptured church.
- The OT Saints
- The Tribulation Saints
- Those who still have natural bodies.
- Believing Jews and Gentiles
No nonbelievers will be allowed to enter the Kingdom.
Some other details about the population that are important to know…
Those with resurrected/glorified bodies will not be getting married and having children. They (we) will be the rulers along with Christ in this Kingdom over the natural body people. We will live the entire thousand years and, among other things, be incapable of sin. I’ll talk more about that shortly.
Those who enter in their natural bodies WILL be able to marry and have children, and many children will they have. But, unlike those with glorified bodies, these natural bodies are still prone to sin. And the children of these initial believers will not necessarily be believers themselves – just like now. Which is the reason for some of the things we will see about this Kingdom.
So, in summary – there are two main groups of people in this kingdom. All the resurrected and glorified body people, and all the natural human body people. The glorified people will be ruling and reigning in Christ’s government. The natural people will be having lots and lots of babies.
Now that that’s covered, let’s talk about a few of the things we know from Scripture about what life will be like in this Kingdom to Come.
There is actually a ton of Biblical Prophecy about this future Kingdom – far more than I could cover in a single talk (and still keep my job) – so I’m mainly going to hit the highlights today.
As I pointed out last week, Revelation actually says nothing about this future Kingdom except that it will last 1,000 years and that Satan and his demons won’t be around to bother us. All the other details are found in the Old Testament prophets.
This future kingdom will be very different from our modern world in many ways, but there will be some similarities.
Similarities include the fact that it is still this earth, still circling our sun and being circled by our moon. Grass will still be green, and the sky will still be blue. We will still be human beings, and animals will be animals. We will still speak to communicate, though it’s likely there will only be one world language. We will still eat food, even in our glorified bodies. We know that because Jesus ate food after his resurrection. There will still be gravity, and weather seasons, and most of the other things we take for granted being human on this earth.
All of that is nice to know, but the interesting stuff is in the differences.
One major difference from now will be the interactions within the animal kingdom and between animals and humans.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
What this likely means is also that we will all be vegetarians like humanity was before the flood. It wasn’t until after the flood of Noah that God gave man permission to eat animals. It was then that animals became predator and prey and also became afraid of humans. All of that will be changed in the new Kingdom. We will be at peace with the animals – and with each other.
But don’t worry all you meat eaters (myself included) I’m sure God is going to make the veggies actually taste good! We won’t miss the meat. In fact, we won’t even remember eating meat!
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
A couple of interesting things from this passage to note. One, we apparently won’t remember this life. For some that sounds sad. For others, that’s a relief. Whatever you may think, it will be good because our God is good.
It also speaks of long lifespans. We know that the glorified bodies of those resurrected will live eternally, but apparently even the natural body people won’t die before 100. No more infant deaths, and certainly no more pre-infant murder like we do today. If you die at 100 you will be considered cursed. Some commentators believe this statement actually means that if you are not a Christ Follower in this Kingdom by the time you turn 100, you will just die.
It also talks of how you will build houses and live in them, and plant vineyards and eat their fruit. In other words, you won’t have to worry about what you leave to others. If you are in good standing with the Lord, you get to live the whole time and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Sounds nice!
23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.
That mention of the “day of great slaughter” is referring to the day Jesus makes landfall and ends the War of Armageddon, ushering in His Kingdom, where He says that they will get plenty of rain and the soil will be rich for growing crops. We’ll be using animals like days of old to till the soil. I would argue that all of our technological advances will be gone, and we’ll be back to the basics. We might even be forced to talk to each other in order to communicate.
Then it says something rather interesting about the moon and sun shining much brighter than now. That sounds dangerous to us, but I’m sure it will be totally awesome, because again – God is Good.
Here’s another description from the prophet Ezekiel, who had many visions about this time. Here he is having a vision about a river flowing out of Jerusalem into the Dead Sea.
8 He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
Talk about a fisherman’s heaven! I guess we’ll at least eat fish. And then there are these trees that have fruit all the time, and it doesn’t go bad. And the leaves provide healing. I guess if you get a cut or something, one of these leaves will heal it.
So, it’s going to be a wonderful place. A lot of the miseries of our present world will be gone. We will be back to the way God intended – living off the land. No more processed food that makes us fat and gives us cancer. No more need of hospitals. No more rich and poor.
It will be a veritable utopia…. almost.
As I mentioned already, the natural body people will still be prone to sin. Even though Satan will not be around to tempt people anymore, just our human flesh tempts us enough. Which is why there will be a government and a religious system in this place – all centered around Christ on his throne in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem itself will become the highest city in the world.
9 The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
In other words, the whole world will be a flat plain with Jerusalem being on an elevated plateau/mountain. And everyone will be required to make an annual visit.
1 In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and peoples will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the Lord Almighty has spoken.
The raised Jerusalem will have a brand new Temple in it where Jesus will sit on his throne and rule the nations – just as God the Father promised so long ago. Because he judges the nations, there is no war. It is a one-world government and He is king.
This was prophesied multiple places, including the famous passage that Handel based his Messiah on.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Now that the Kingdom is established, the government literally rests on his shoulders and he sits on David’s throne – the throne of Israel, which has now become the chief nation of the world.
And there Jesus sits and judges justly.
3 He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
There will be no due process.
No hearings or trials.
No jury of your piers.
No corrupt judicial system.
Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Word of God, can see into your heart, and all he actually has to do is speak truth and the wicked perish from his breath. That kind of swift justice will certainly be a deterrent to any would-be rebellion.
But, surprisingly, even though the glorified Jesus Christ will be physically present on the earth – not everyone will believe in him. Yes, everyone will believe he exists, but that’s not what the Bible means when it says to believe in him. To believe in Jesus is to yield to him as your King and Lord, to put your faith in his righteousness and sacrifice on your behalf. So, just like today, many will know he exists, but reject his rule and salvation.
For the nations that refuse to make the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem, there are consequences.
16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain.
No rain equals no food in a world without food factories. I wonder if any will actually refuse. I’m guessing so. Maybe those of us who do nothing with the life God gave us in His service will have to be the governors of nations like these.
That’s mostly what our job will be in this Kingdom – at least the Gentiles among us. Jerusalem and Israel will be for the Jews as their promised inheritance from the time of Abraham. And King David himself will be their prince under Christ.
23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.
Another promise kept.
And under David will be the twelve disciples as judges.
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
So, in Israel, Jesus will be king in the Temple, David will be his prince – running the day to day I guess – and the 12 disciples will be the rulers of the 12 different tribes. I’m guessing Judas is not one of them. His spot is probably filled by the guy they chose to replace him in Acts 1, or maybe Paul.
The Gentiles in the Kingdom will live in the other nations and the Gentile-glorious-body people will be the rulers of those nations, subject to King Jesus in Jerusalem.
Ok, so far I’ve explained
- who will populate this Kingdom.
- What the geography and daily living will be like.
- The difference between Israel and the rest of the world.
- And the way the government will be set up.
There is one more aspect about this Kingdom that we learn about in Scripture that is something that on first hearing may sound rather strange.
I already told you about how the nations have to make annual trips to Jerusalem to worship King Jesus on his throne in the Temple. But what you might not have guessed is that worship will include the reinstitution of animal sacrifices similar to what the Jews of the Old Covenant had to do.
We learn of this in multiple places, but none more specific than the last twelve chapters of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was shown the temple of the Millennium Kingdom and wrote a detailed description of it’s architecture AND of the new LAW that would govern this time period, complete with priests and sacrifices. Some may think it is just a repeat of the law of Moses, but a careful study reveals that it is not. Far too many differences. I’m not going to go into all that detail today, but I encourage you to read it on your own. Ezekiel 37 – 48.
So, obviously, for us New Covenant Christians, this begs the question as to why would there be sacrifices again after Jesus did away with them when He died on the cross?
The reason is not spelled out in Scripture, so all we can do is speculate. And many commentators have.
One thing we do know is that it is not for the forgiveness of sins. A fact that the author of Hebrews, in making the case for the finality of Christ’s sacrifice, explains
3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Read that whole chapter – or even that whole book sometime to get a fuller explanation. But it is clear in Hebrews and in the writings of Paul that sacrificing animals was never about forgiveness of sins – but more about making the people aware of the severity of their sins and pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ that DID take away sins.
So, some suggest that the sacrifices in the Millennium point back to Christ’s sacrifice for a people that would otherwise not know about it.
But, I think this next passage offers a better reason.
3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy.
Just like in the days of Moses, and the early days of Solomon’s Temple – the Glory of God will hover over and dwell in a specific place. And just like in those times, God’s glory was not something to be taken lightly.
It’s not that God is mean. It’s that He is so Holy – so Other – and so Anti-SIN – that any hint of sin that enters His presence is immediately destroyed without exception.
It’s like when God was with Moses on Mount Sinai and said that anyone or thing that touched the mountain would die.
It’s like when Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant the wrong way he was struck dead.
It’s not God being mean – it’s God being God and us being filthy.
Imagine if you were made of fire. Anyone who touched you would get burned. It wouldn’t matter their intentions or how much you loved them. Everything that touched you would be burned because you are made of fire!
It’s similar with God. In fact, in Scripture God actually is described, among other things, as a “consuming fire.”
Such as in…
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
God is not literally a fire, but in his holiness – in relation to all things in the universe including you and me – he might as well be, because that is the effect he has on the things of this world that are all tainted with sin.
Anything that is sinful that enters his holy and incorruptible presence is simply destroyed like an explosive chemical reaction.
And so, in order to actually interact with sinful humanity up close and personal, something had to be done
So, God instituted a system by which sinful humanity could receive TEMPORARY holiness in order to be able to enter His presence. And even that was reserved for the high priest once per year, and it required an extensive procedure of becoming “ceremonially clean” through the substitutionary killing of an animal who had not sinned in place of the people who had. It never forgave their sins, but only covered over them briefly so the priest could talk with God without exploding.
For us, Jesus was that once and for all sacrifice. His sacrifice was enough to make us clean and forgiven and able to have the Holy Spirit live inside of us without exploding or needing any other sacrifices.
In the Millennium, the glory of God will again be in His temple, such that the natural-body sinners of that Kingdom must procure the same kind of temporary cleanness in order to safely enter His presence. Those of us who are raptured and have glorified bodies will be sinless and able to be in His presence anytime we want.
Not until sin is completely eradicated will God and Man be able to truly live together with no boundaries – which is exactly what is going to happen at the very, very end – which I will be covering the next two weeks.
But before we go today, I’d like to address the bigger question of – Why?
Why do this thousand year kingdom? Why not just skip to the end?
The answer is the Covenants.
The promises of God.
You see, God always keeps his promises because God cannot lie. And throughout the history of humanity, God has made certain promises or covenants with man. Some of them are conditional and some of them are unconditional. And it is these covenants that explain the ending of the story that we see.
I talked about this some during the Revelation series, but let’s bring it up again so you can see just how Awesome our God is.
This is a graphic I made to show the impressive symmetry of God’s plan.
This triangle represents all of history from creation (on the left) until the new earth at the end of the book (on the right). The central point is when Jesus, the Lamb, takes the title deed to the earth from God the Father in the great throne room scene of Revelation 4 & 5. The title deed is the scroll with seven seals that result in all the various judgments of the tribulation. I just went through all of that before Easter if you want to watch or listen on our website or podcast.
On the left side of the triangle I will list the various covenants God made with man, and on the right will be their fulfillment in these end times.
The first covenant God made with Man was after the fall in the Garden of Eden. As part of the curse on the Serpent, who was Satan, God promises his ultimate defeat.
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
That heel bit is referring to the cross where Satan will hurt Jesus, but ultimately Jesus – an offspring of the woman – will crush his head.
The next covenant/promise God made was with Noah when he promised never to destroy the earth with a flood again. Implied in that promise was that the destruction would come another way, and we learn later in 1 Peter that it will be by fire.
After Noah, God made a promise to Abraham. He promised him several things, like numerous descendants, that the world would be blessed through one of them (Jesus), and God promised Abraham the land of what would later become Israel. God made the same promise to Abraham’s son Isaac, and his son Jacob, who later had his name changed to Israel. He and his twelve sons were the beginning of the people of Israel that most of the Bible is about.
If you read Genesis, you will find the story of one of Israel’s sons – Joseph and how he ended up in charge of Egypt during the great famine that led to Israel and his whole family moving to Egypt.
400 years later they are quite numerous and now under slavery in Egypt, so God raised up Moses to deliver them.
After the miraculous deliverance, God gave Moses the Law, which included the promise made to Abraham and several additional promises that were conditionally based on their obedience to the Law. They were promised great blessings for obedience and great curses for disobedience. Unfortunately for them, they started disobeying immediately and thus we see the continuous trouble that Israel has been in ever since.
After Moses came King David who God unconditionally promised would always have a descendant on the throne of Israel, that his kingdom would be established forever.
And finally came the New Covenant established by Jesus himself. The New Covenant that offered a way of salvation and reconciliation with God through the sacrifice of Jesus himself on the cross. His resurrection sealed the deal, so that all who believe that he rose from the dead and confess him as lord will be saved. Saved from the trouble ahead and the eternal torment of exile from the Kingdom of God.
In history, the New Covenant ushered in the church age – which we are currently in. The rest of this graphic is in our future.
First comes the rapture of the church, which will happen at a time when we do not expect, so we should always be ready. (The age of the Gentiles is a talk for another time, but a necessary part of this overall graphic.)
The rapture is not the beginning of the tribulation, but it gets the ball rolling. At some point after the rapture, Jesus takes the scroll from the Father and starts opening the seals, ushering in the seven year tribulation, during which many will be saved and ultimately what is left of Israel will finally fulfill the Mosaic covenant by obeying God and recognizing Jesus as their Messiah.
At that, Jesus comes back and begins the Millennial Kingdom, which fulfills the promises made to David, Moses, and Abraham.
Next week we will talk about the remaining promises to be fulfilled at the end of the Millennium, and one more that may blow your mind if you haven’t seen this before.
But before we leave today I want to talk a little bit more about the New Covenant that Jesus established that you and I are under at our present time in history which is the only means by which we can be a part of this future kingdom…
You may know it as the New Testament. Which we modern church people mistakenly think is referring to the books of the bible starting with Matthew through Revelation. And the Old Testament is all the others from Genesis to some prophet’s name.
And in common vernacular, it’s ok to speak that way, but in the sense of what those terms and headings actually mean and were originally intended to communicate, it has nothing to do with books of the Bible, but with the promises of God.
The Old Testament – or Old Covenant is specifically referring to the Mosaic Covenant – the Law – which includes the ten commandments, and a whole score of other laws that cover a wide array of life. It also includes the ceremonial priestly and sacrificial system by which the people could atone for their sins and remain ceremonially clean. Attached to that covenant were promises of blessings for obedience and promises of curses for disobedience. And this was the way God interacted with Man for thousands of years before Jesus came on the scene. Obedience to the Law was the way one could be right with God. And in the time of Jesus, the religious leaders of the day actually added hundreds of extra laws to the already rigorous law such that basically it was impossible to keep up. Which is why the sacrifices were necessary.
I don’t have time to give you the full theological dissertation on this concept today, but the simple answer as to why animals needed to be killed in order to temporarily atone for the sins of the people – sin being a failure to obey the Law – was because sin is ultimately treason against the King of the Universe and treason requires death.
That’s because at the root of all of our sins – all of the individual acts of wrongdoing – is THE SIN of thinking we get to call the shots. Thinking that we get to define what is good enough and live by our own code.
Which would be fine if I actually was King, actually was the Ruler of my domain. But I’m not. God is. So, just like when Eve decided the fruit from the banned tree was good – in direct contradiction to what God had already defined, even before eating it, she had committed treason in her heart by sitting on the throne and declaring the law for herself.
And every human being is guilty of the same thing. No matter how “good” you have been in your life, if your definition of “good” is not exactly the same as God’s definition of “good” then you are actually calling “good” what He calls “evil” – redefining the world as you see fit and thus guilty of treason against the One True King.
And thus you are condemned to die, as all traitors are and should be. Under the Old Covenant, rather than killing a person the moment they commit the treason, God instituted a system of substitutionary atonement – or letting something else die instead of you. In that case, it was animals of specific kinds. And so, if you were a Jew in those days, you would have to offer regular sacrifices to pay for your various treasonous acts. And that’s the way it was for a long, long time.
Then Jesus showed up and changed everything. Jesus, as John the Baptist called him, was the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” – Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth to be the once and for all sacrifice for our treason.
Jesus, lived a perfect life of obedience to the Father, then he allowed us humans to kill him, shedding his blood – which in God’s eyes was enough to pay for the treason of anyone who would accept that truth and swear allegiance to the one who gained it for us.
The New Covenant in the blood of Jesus did away with the temporary atonement that animal sacrifices procured and gave us the opportunity to have our treason wiped away once and for all. And the promise to those who would embrace that truth and swear allegiance to the King is that we get to be citizens of his kingdom in the here and now and rulers with Him when His Kingdom takes over the earth in the future.
In that future kingdom we will get new bodies and live forever.
In the here and now, we get the Holy Spirit living in us – producing in us what we cannot produce ourselves. When you have Jesus as your king, you are no longer a slave to the sin inside of you or the enemy that seeks to destroy you.
You now have power like never before to actually live the way God intended for you to live.
You now have purpose and meaning.
And you become part of a great family that is defined by how we love each other.
In other words, we don’t have to wait for the Millennial Kingdom to experience the blessings of being in the invisible kingdom here and now.
I encourage you to consider these words and make the choice to live for Jesus.