Reigning with Christ II

General Characteristics and Events of the Millennium: 

After much time of great tribulation and sorrow Christ will return to earth to establish a Kingdom on earth. It is during this time that Christ will literally be present upon the earth ruling and reigning. This rule and reign is not only in the hearts of believers simultaneously (spiritual) but on the earth also (physical) and also fulfilling many Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 11:6-9; 33:24; 65:25). It does not logically follow from the premise that since some prophecies are fulfilled therefore all prophecies to Israel were fulfilled at Calvary or on the day of Pentecost. Besides being a non-sequitur it also begs the question. No Scripture seems to suggest that because some or a few prophecies about Israel have been fulfilled that all of them are.

Even biblical scholar Donald G. Bloeshe, who is critical of this view, suggests that many passages foretell of a future, in space and time, which "embodies millennial expectations":

"When we turn to the Old Testament, we find many passages that depict a future within history that embodies millennial expectations. The prophecies of the restoration of the Davidic kingdom and the return of the Jews to the holy land all have a distinctly millennial ring (cf. Is 2:1–4; 11:6–16; 49:7–26; 51:4–6; 52:10; Jer 16:16–21; 23:1–8; 32:36–44; Ezek 34:11–16; 36:24; Micah 4:1–5; 7:11–20; Joel 2:28–32; Zech 8:1–8; 14:16–21; Amos 9:14–15)."([2])

Physical Characteristics: 

As mentioned prior, the millennium involves a physical reign of Christ on the earth. During this time certain prophecies could be fulfilled. For example, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah prophecies of a removal of a curse on the earth; his prophecy also includes an elimination of sickness neither of which has occurred historically (Isaiah 11:6-9; 33:24). Nor has harmony in the animal kingdom occurred (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25).

The topography also seems to be changed in some way (Ezekiel 47:1-12, 48:8-20; Zechariah 14:4, 8, 10). Isaiah also records that “in the last days” the mountain of God’s house will be established as the highest mountain and so great that “all nations” shall flow or stream into it (Isaiah 2:2). Swords will be turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Nation does not lift up sword against another and man ceases learning war. The magnitude of these expressions should not be lost. This same hope was also revealed to the prophet Micah (Micah 4:1-3) to describe the nature of this time. In Hebrew thinking “mountain” can be symbolic for kingdom as in Daniel 2:35 where “mountain” represents the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar (See also Revelation 13:1, 17:9-11). 

The magnitudes of Isaiah’s prophecies do not stop there. During this time also the wolf will dwell with the lamb, leopard with the young goat, calf and the fattened calf with the lion and a child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6-9, 35:9; Ezekiel 34:25). Crops are abundant (Isaiah 27:6, 35:1-2, 6-7; Amos 9:13; Zechariah 14:8) and even human life appears to be increased (Isaiah 65:20-23).

Spiritual or Religious Characteristics: 

As will be discussed further below Satan is bound, sealed away and unable to deceive (Revelation 20:1-3). Nations will worship in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-2, 7:12). Knowledge of God will fill the whole earth (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34) and righteousness and justice will prevail (Isaiah 9:7, 11:4; 42:1-4; Jeremiah 23:5). 

The fact that a number of years is not mentioned in the prophetic writings is not needed because a reign will occur in which the explanation of a millennium is coherent. It is consistent from Old Testament to New Testament. While only one verse is needed to establish a truth the Scriptures are not void of other passages that seem to fit neither our present nor future eternal state (Isa. 65:20; 11:6-11; Zech 14:5-17). The people enjoying the millennium or the thousand year period will be comprised of Old Testament saints and the saved Jews and Gentiles alike. 

Israel and the Church: 

Throughout Scripture we see that the Bible distinguishes true Israel from the Church. Israelites can be saved here, and now. However, there are distinctions that must be made. Most of the Old Testament prophecies foretell of an earthly rule of righteousness and peace. This is satisfied soteriologically and universally but not all the promises and prophecies have been fulfilled.

Notice the words of 17th Century theologians John Owen and Nehemiah Cox, "The New Covenant of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant and is the clearest and final fulfillment of the historical Covenant of Grace."[3] Some would understand the Church and Israel in this way. This suggests, in some way, that the Church and Israel are not distinguishable entities but the same in their prophetic unfolding of Scripture. While there are overlaps and similarities the distinction between the church and Israel is apparent and should be acknowledged. In this discussion it is important to understand that they are not identical nor are the terms interchangeable. 1 Corinthians 10:32 reflects just such a division when it says, "Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God," (ESV). In Galatians 6:16 and 1 Corinthians 10:18 Paul contrasts believing Jews with unbelieving Jews.

This view is also referred to as Replacement theology, and/or is a component of post or a-millennial views. This view also understands the Gentile believers described as "seed of Abraham" (Galatians 3:29) to mean that they are indeed Israel. This is a non-sequitur. Paul's description of Gentile believers in Galatians 3:29 means that they participate in the spiritual blessings that come through Israel (See Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:11, 14). It does not mean they are Israel.

In the books of Acts both the Church and Israel co-exist but they are also shown as continuing to be distinct in some way. Robert L. Saucy has noted, "Both the church and Israel are therefore Abraham's seed and heirs of the promise. But this does not therefore equate the church and Israel."[4] To equate Israel with the Church hermeneutically is a failure to adequately acknowledge the ethnicity principle of Scripture.

This view seems to confuse God's promise of individual salvation with God's promises to national Israel. The Church has not replaced, is in lieu of or instead of Israel. Israel has never left the program of God. Romans chapter 11 is a very important chapter concerning Israel and there we can see that Israel, the olive tree, never ceases to be the olive tree. The sovereignty of God helps us understand this better. In fact, the Gentiles or the engrafted wild olive tree can be taken out for its arrogance if God, in His sovereignty, chooses it to be so (Romans 11:21). Paul also records that it is the Jewish root itself which is supporting the Gentile believers (Romans 11:18).

Messianic Jewish scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum has rightly noted, “Israel will indeed be saved in the same way the Church is, by grace through faith…but if the Old Testament is allowed to mean what it says, there is also much more in store for Israel.” Fruchtenbaum’s comprehensive work goes on to conclude, “the term Israel is used a total of 73 times in the New Testament... the vast majority of the times it refers to national ethnic Israel.”[5]

Political Characteristics or Events: 

The timing of this righteousness and peace comes on the heels of bloodshed and tribulation. The righteousness comes when it seems unrighteousness has had the final say. It is during this millennial reign that Christ will rule over the affairs of men, from the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32). 

During this much longed for peace those who have lived by faith, including Old Testament saints and believers who died during persecution—the redeemed—will reign with Christ. Verse four is quite clear that those who are with Christ will reign with Christ. The ability to judge is even committed to believers. This suggests that “they participated with Christ in the judicial rule of the nations during the Millennium.”[6] 

The Psalmist declared, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Psalms 108:5 ESV) The nature of this millennial reign will be one characteristic of peace and righteousness. The glory of God shall literally be “over all the earth!” This time of peace will be a demonstration of man’s failure and yet God’s ability to triumph. The Reign of Christ is and will be a political and spiritual rule. It will be “over all the earth” meaning it will be universal. It will be in authority and power. Notice the rendering by the New Living Translation here, “May your glory shine over all the earth. (Psalm 108:5 NLT)

Israel will be at peace in the land (Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Isaiah 32:18; Hosea 14:5, 7; Amos 9:15; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10, 14:11). The Abrahamic covenant land boundaries are established (Genesis 15:18:-21; Ezekiel 47:13-48:8, 23-27). While in Jerusalem Christ rules over the nations (Isaiah 11:3-5; Micah 4:2-3; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 19:15) and Israel (Isaiah 40:11; Micah 4:7, 5:2) thus fulfilling the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:11-16; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 33:17-26). 


2 Donald G. Bloesch, The Last Things: Resurrection, Judgment, Glory (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004). 89.

3 Owen, John and Coxe, Nehemiah. Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ (Palmsdale: Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2005), 181.

4 Saucy, L. Robert. The Church in God's Program. Copyright (c) 1972 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Pg. 75

5 Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. (1989) Israeology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. (846) Ariel Ministries.

6 Gregg, S. (1997). Revelation, Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Re 20:4-6). Nashville, Tenn.: T. Nelson Publishers.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Greetings my Friend, I'm Glad Im reigning with Christ. Jesus is God
Brother Paul,

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)