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THE MILLENNIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM

PART 1: INTRODUCTION

By Norman Manzon

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: The Inhabitants of the Kingdom
Part 3: The Two Foundational Realities
Part 4: The Kingdom Environment
Part 5: Israel in the Promised Land
Part 6: Worship in the Kingdom
Part 7: Significance of the Kingdom


Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices
in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever."

~ Revelation 11:15 ~

CONTENTS

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS
I. RECAPITULATION
II. DESIGNATIONS FOR THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM
A. THE MOST COMMON NAMES
1. The Millennium or The Thousand Years

2. The Kingdom, The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ
3. The Messianic Kingdom
4. Olam Haba, The Age to Come or The World to Come
B. OTHER DESIGNATIONS
III. THE PROPHETIC PLACEMENT OF THE MILLENNIUM
A. THE COMING IN OF THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES
B. THE WEDDING FEAST
C. THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THE WHOLE WORLD
D. THE SALVATION OF ALL ISRAEL
E. THE RETURN OF THE LORD
F. THE FULFILLMENT OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES
G. THE CRUSHING OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S STATUE BY THE STONE
H. THE FEASTS OF ISRAEL
I. CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY
IV. A POLEMIC FOR LITERAL INTERPRETATION
A. THE POLEMIC
B. TWO COMMON OBJECTIONS
ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING

The Millennial or Messianic Kingdom is part of an extended series of studies in support of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. We will begin by quoting those portions of the Statement that have application to the Kingdom. Much of what is quoted has been covered already in other contexts, and those aspects of what has been quoted that deal with future things have been covered most thoroughly in our last four studies: The Destinies of the Dead, The Rapture, The Great Tribulation, and The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Much groundwork for this present study has been laid in these studies, particularly in the last two. It is therefore urged that the last two studies, especially, be studied or reviewed before proceeding.

AMC STATEMENT: KINGDOM EXCERPTS [1]


The Tri-Unity

Part 2: God the Son
We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived of the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin, Miriam (Mary). We believe in His full deity and full humanity, His sinless life, and His miracles. We believe that Messiah Yeshua arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He will come again in glory establishing His literal Millennial kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-79)

Israel

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 11:1-29)

Last Things

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. At that time He will lift the corruption which now rests upon the whole of creation, totally restore Israel to her own land, give her the realization of God's covenanted promises and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. . . . (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Titus 2:13)

In our Last Things series, we have thus far seen that every member of the body of Christ, whether living or deceased, will be lifted from the earth and given a glorified body in an event called the Rapture. At some point after the Rapture, the Lord will bring judgment upon the earth during a seven-year period called The Great Tribulation during which He will destroy every ungodly human institution, and all who will not repent will be killed. Multitudes from all over the world will repent in response to the preaching of 144,000 Israelites, and multitudes from among that multitude will be martyred. In mid-Tribulation, Antichrist will claim divinity, prohibit all Temple worship, and engage on a campaign to destroy every believer still alive, every Jew, and even the returned Lord Himself. His persecution of the Jews will continue almost until the end of the seven years by which time he will have succeeded in killing two-thirds of them. Those Jews whom the Lord will preserve alive will be those who have proven receptive to spiritual truth, and He will bring eternal salvation to them all. Upon Israel's reception of the Lord Yeshua as their Messiah, He will return to earth, destroy the army that Antichrist has gathered from around the world to destroy the Jews, crush all satanic world power and mode of operation, and slay Antichrist. These events will bring the Tribulation to a close after which a brief transitional period will follow before the commencement of the Millennium or Messianic Kingdom.

During this transitional period, three significant events will occur:
1. Antichrist will be resurrected and he and the False Prophet will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20)
2. Satan will be cast into the abyss and imprisoned there for a thousand years, until the end of the Kingdom Age. (Revelation 20:2-3)
3. Those Gentiles still alive will face the Lord's Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46). (The word ethnos in the passage, often translated nations, also has the meaning of Gentiles. That's how it should be taken here as eternal salvation or condemnation is based on the decisions of individuals, not of nations.) The "sheep" will be those who provide aid to the persecuted Jews of the Tribulation - these brothers of mine Jesus called them - and will be welcomed into the Kingdom.

Some assume that these brothers of mine are those who are already saved, but consider: During the second half of the Tribulation, Antichrist will launch a tremendous campaign to annihilate all Jews; and in the Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats passage it is obvious that these brothers of mine is a distinct group from the sheep, who are already saved. If the saved will provide aid to a group distinct from themselves, who else can these brothers of Jesus refer to but the Jews? There is no other group. Therefore, these brothers of mine must refer to the persecuted Jews.

The "goats" will be those who refuse to aid the Jews, and will be killed and cast into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

The respective salvation and condemnation of the sheep and the goats will not be on the basis of their works, but their works in regard to the persecuted Jews will evidence the state of their hearts. See James 2:17-18.

Having thus cleansed the earth of all satanic influence and human opposition, the Lord Jesus will assume His earthly throne and thus mark the beginning of His Messianic or Millennial reign.

The remainder of this study will concern itself with the Messianic Kingdom. Inasmuch as a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute an entire volume, what is herein presented must be recognized as a much abbreviated outline and summary.

II. DESIGNATIONS FOR THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM

A. THE MOST COMMON NAMES

1. The Millennium or The Thousand Years
The most popular name for the Lord's future earthly Kingdom is the Millennium, which mean a period of a thousand years. This title is derived from Revelation 19:11 - 20:15: The Lord will return and bind Satan for a thousand years (20:2), the Tribulation martyrs will reign with Christ for a thousand year (20:4), and all who have a part in the first resurrection . . . will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (20:6). The thousand years is found in the same context in 20:3, 5 and 7. Revelation 21:1 begins with the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, marking the beginning of a totally new era, emphasizing that the Kingdom will indeed be brought to a close after the thousand years. Thus, the Millennium, or thousand-year Kingdom.

2. The Kingdom, The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ
These titles are really one and the same, and are derived from such passages as Revelation 11:15: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. He will begin His absolute monarchical reign of righteousness with the Millennium, and it will continue on forever and ever into the Eternal Ages beyond the Millennium.

Though, in different places in Scripture, "the Kingdom of God" refers to different realms over which God reigns as King, one of its meanings is the future earthly Messianic Kingdom. This is seen in Luke 22:17-18: 17. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves; 18. for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes." (Also Matthew 3:2; 4:17, et al. Matthew uses kingdom of heaven where other Gospel writers use kingdom of God.)

3. The Messianic Kingdom
The title Christ is merely the Greek translation of the Hebrew Mashiach, which is transliterated into the English Messiah. Inasmuch as Revelation 11:15 refers to The kingdom. . . of [God's] Christ, we can just as readily call it The kingdom . . . of . . . Messiah or the Messianic Kingdom. Many favor this name over the Millennium inasmuch as Millennium merely denotes the period of time that the Kingdom will last whereas Messianic Kingdom declares that which characterizes the Kingdom, namely, the reign of Messiah, which is far more significant. Of course, when the time duration is the focus, Millennium is the most appropriate designation. In any case, both terms are biblical and are often used interchangeably.

4. Olam Haba, The Age to Come or The World to Come
O-lam' ha-ba' is Hebrew for The Age to Come, and is the most popular rabbinic designation for the Kingdom. Jesus used the term in Matthew 12:32: either in this age or in the age to come, and in parallel passages Mark 10:30 and Luke 18:30: and in the age to come, eternal life. It is also found in Hebrews 2:5: For He did not subject to angels the world to come, and 6:5: and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.

B. OTHER DESIGNATIONS

The Kingdom is also called by other names in Scripture: the regeneration (Matthew 19:28); the wedding feast (Matthew 25:10), the times of refreshing (Acts 3:19); the period of restoration (Acts 3:21); the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10, KJV); perhaps others.

III. THE PROPHETIC PLACEMENT OF THE MILLENNIUM

There are many passages which place the Kingdom in a particular time frame. Here are some major indicators, which the author has attempted to set in chronological order:

A. THE COMING IN OF THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES

In Romans 11, Paul instructed,

25. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

~ Romans 11:25-27 ~

This passage indicates two things that must occur before the Millennium. The first is that the fullness of the Gentiles must come in. When will this occur?

Although multitudes of Gentiles will receive salvation between the time that the church is removed from the earth at the Rapture and the Return of the Lord, the period of the calling out of the fullness of the Gentiles appears to be limited to the Church Age. Consider:

  • Although many Gentiles were saved before the Church Age, in the Acts 15 council, James declared, Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name (verse 14). The point here is twofold:
    1. This calling does not have to include Gentiles saved between the Rapture and the Return, and
    2. The taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name begins shortly after the beginning of the Church Age.

  • The Lord Himself had already called the church the ecclesia (Matthew 16:18), which means "the called out ones," which is consistent with taking out a people for His name.

  • Ephesians 1:22-23 calls the church . . . the fullness of Him who fills all in all. The fullness is limited to church saints, which must be made up of the fullness of Jewish church saints and the fullness of Gentile church saints. The fullness of the Gentiles must certainly mean all Gentiles saved between Pentecost and the Rapture.

What this means is that the Rapture must precede the Millennium.

The second thing that must occur before the Millennium is that THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM [or to or for] ZION, which will be addressed below.

B. THE WEDDING FEAST

The Parable of the Ten Virgins places the wedding feast, a metaphor for the Kingdom, at some period after the Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven, and the marriage of the church, the Bride of Christ, to Christ, in Heaven. For background, let us turn to this explanation of The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-25), which must be understood on the basis of the Jewish wedding traditions of the day, which those whom Jesus was addressing knew well:

In the Jewish wedding system, when the marriage was to be consummated, the bridegroom would go to the home of the bride to fetch her and bring her to his home. As he approached his own home, he would be met by a procession of virgins who would conduct the bride and groom for the marriage ceremony to be followed by the marriage feast. This is the background of this parable.

When the bridegroom, the Messiah, returns to earth with His Bride - the Church - for the marriage feast, the virgins will be responsible for both watching for His return, and being ready to light the lamps upon His return. The five virgins who were wise will be the ones who are believers; hence, they will be both ready and watching. They are the ones who have the oil, a common symbol of the Holy Spirit. Only the wise ones enter the marriage feast, the common symbol for the Messianic Kingdom. Because the Messiah is pictured as already with His Bride, the Church which had been raptured, these who have the oil are people who became believers during the Tribulation. They are saved and invited to the wedding feast as guests. The five foolish virgins will be the unbelievers and, therefore, will be neither ready nor watching. They do not have any oil. It should be noted that the text does not say that the foolish virgins ran out of oil, but that they have no oil with them. They never had the oil or the Holy Spirit to begin with. [2]

The garments of the church saints will be cleansed after the Rapture at the Judgment Seat of Christ where all their unrighteous deeds will be burned as "wood, hay and straw," leaving only their righteous deeds, their "gold, silver and precious stones" (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), thereby preparing the Bride for her marriage to Christ in heaven.

7. "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." 8. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

 ~ Revelation 19:7-8 ~

 At some point after the marriage of the church to Christ in heaven, Christ and His Bride will return to earth where He will set things in order for the Kingdom.

C. THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THE WHOLE WORLD

In Matthew 24:14, the Lord declared, This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The completion of worldwide evangelism during the first half of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7) will prepare the way for the end of satanic rule over the world and the commencement of the Kingdom.

D. THE SALVATION OF ALL ISRAEL

In Romans 11, Paul instructed,

25. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

 This passage indicates two things that must occur before the Millennium. The first, that the fullness of the Gentiles must come in, which was addressed above. The second is the salvation of all Israel when THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION and REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.

This second requirement seems to say that the Lord will first return to earth and then, at some point, proceed from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem to bring Israel to salvation. This calls for discussion.

  • FROM ZION or out of Zion or a similar translation appears to be the universal or near universal translation.

  • Paul was quoting Isaiah 59:20-21, which reads, A Redeemer will come to Zion . . . (NASB), and to is the almost universal translation. Keil and Delitzsch translate the Isaiah passage, And a Redeemer comes for Zion.

Out of and to are opposite directions. Why the discrepancy between the Old and New Testament translations? Well, perhaps the New Testament translators should have translated it to in conformity with the Old Testament translation.

Consider:

1. According to John Gill on Romans 11:26, "whereas, in the prophet Isaiah, he is said to 'come to', and by the apostle, 'out of Zion', this may be reconciled by observing, that the servile letter ל [in the Isaiah passage] sometimes signifies 'from', as well as 'to', when it is put in the room of מ; of which instances may be given, as Exo.16:1 compared with 2Chr.11:4."

2. According the Strong, the Greek word in question, ek, sometimes has the meaning of "for," which carries the same basic meaning as "to" as the Lord must come to Zion [Israel] in order to come for her.

The point is that the valid to or for translation allows for what has been demonstrated in previous studies, namely, that the salvation of Israel will precede the Lord's Return which, in turn, will precede the Millennium.

E. THE RETURN OF THE LORD

The salvation of all Israel will trigger the Return of the Lord. (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:37-39)

F. THE FULFILLMENT OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES

In Luke 21:24, the Lord declared, and they [the Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Israel will experience military invasion, enslavement and scattering, and Jerusalem will undergo major periods of Gentile control, until the last period of Gentile domination that the Lord has determined will be fulfilled. These times of the Gentiles began with the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., and will last until Yeshua purges Jerusalem of Gentile rule, which will occur after the His Return. After this, Israel will no longer experience Gentile persecution and scattering, but will be returned to her Land and be under the protection of the Lord in the Kingdom.

G. THE CRUSHING OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S STATUE BY THE STONE

In about 601 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had an amazing dream that was interpreted by his advisor, Daniel. The dream and its interpretation revealed the succession of the world empires that have oppressed Israel and are central to Bible and world history and prophecy: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Rome split into eastern and western divisions, and a coalition of ten kingdoms which will, in turn, be crushed by a stone, which represents Christ.

44. "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 45. "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy."

~ Daniel 2:1-45 ~

All but the ten-kingdom coalition have come and gone. Once it has arisen, the Lord will destroy it upon His Return, and thereby bring down the whole edifice of Gentile empires that have oppressed Israel; and the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.

H. THE FEASTS OF ISRAEL

In Leviticus 23, the Lord chose to highlight seven epochal events from the cross to the Kingdom in seven annual prophetic feasts that Israel was to observe under Mosaic Law, namely, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. The first four have been fulfilled respectively by the crucifixion, the sinlessness of the sacrificed Lamb of God, the Lord's resurrection, and the formation of the body of Messiah on the Day of Pentecost. Yet to be fulfilled are Trumpets by the Rapture, the Day of Atonement by the Great Tribulation, and Tabernacles by the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom. The Millennium will occur after the Great Tribulation.

In regard to the Lord's first coming, John said, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (literally, tabernacled) among us (John 1:14). During the Millennium, the Lord will again tabernacle bodily among us, thus fulfilling the Feast of Tabernacles. [3]

I. CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY

In chronological order, then, the Millennium will occur after the Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ and the marriage of the church to Christ; after the completion of world evangelism, which will take place in the first half of the Tribulation period; after the salvation of all Israel; after the Return of the Lord; after the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, when the Lord will purge Jerusalem of Gentile rule; after the Lord completely crushes and brings down the age-old edifice of Gentile rule over Israel and the world. After having accomplished these tasks, the Lord Jesus will again tabernacle among His people in the Kingdom.

This polemic is given much space in this study because of the devastation brought upon the church and the Jewish people due to the prevalence of unwarranted allegorical interpretation of much of Scripture by church theologians and other teachers. A major early church thrust of unwarranted allegorization was directed at the great multitude of passages concerning the Second Coming and the ensuing Messianic Kingdom, and this thrust was of tidal proportions leading to tidal devastations to this day. Thus the placement of this polemic here.

An allegory is an extended or continued metaphor, a story in which characters, places and events are symbolic or representative of ideas, principles or concepts. John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is a perfect and familiar example. There are multitudes today who believe that the biblical descriptions of the Second Coming and the Millennial Kingdom are not to be taken literally, but allegorically, that is, that the Lord will return to rule and reign - not literally, but in the hearts of believers. (The belief that there will be no literal Millennium is called amillennialism.)

A recent survey has revealed that one significant reason that millions have left the church in England is because the allegorization of Second Coming and Kingdom prophecies have left them with a sense of hopelessness concerning the future of the planet. [4] As concerns the Jews, allegorization is the parent of Replacement Theology, the belief that Israel has forfeited its position as God's chosen people because of her rejection of Messiah, and that God has replaced Israel with the church as the "new Israel." [5]. In turn, Replacement Theology has led to great persecutions of the Jews by the church and has, for more than seventeen hundred years, caused Jews to abhor the thought of calling Jesus their Messiah. [6]

Normal, logical thinking demands that, if a literary work states that something will take place, it is reasonable to take it literally unless there is good reason to take it symbolically or figuratively.

In regard to Scripture, Dr. David Cooper stated it this way:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise. [7]

I must add that, even when "the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise," all such figurative or symbolic phrases or passages ought not to be interpreted fancifully or whimsically, but by means of logical principles of research, with the understanding that their interpretations are grounded in unequivocal literal realities. For example, in Revelation 22:16, Jesus figuratively refers to Himself as the bright morning star. Simple logic dictates that He did not mean that He is a literal star, or the planet Venus, but that He is the bringer of divine light in a spiritually dark world. Another example is Revelation 12:1, which introduces a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: symbolic language, to be sure; but its concrete, literal meaning is discovered in Genesis 37:9-10. The woman represents the nation of Israel.

Three points to consider:

  • 2 Peter 1:20-21 affirms Dr. Cooper's assertion: 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21. for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Of the more than thirty translations that I examined, all are unanimous in declaring that all true prophecies are conveyed to the prophet by the Holy Spirit (verse 21). As concerns verse 20, two literal translations emphasize that no true prophet fabricated his prophecy, giving the verse the same basic meaning as verse 21. 20. . . no prophecy of the Writing doth come of private exposition (YLT. Similarly, LITV), which implies that the interpreter of a prophecy must seek its interpretation with godly fear, for its source is God. On the other hand, the great bulk of the translations, including various authoritative ones, place the focus of verse 20 on the interpreter: But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation (NASB. Similarly, ASV, KJV, ISV). If one takes this to be the proper translation, then it implies that Scripture is not a ouija board, and that digging out its meaning it is not akin to reading animal entrails: It is not to be interpreted in a mindless, intuitive state, but by means of sound research carried out under the illumination of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11-13).

To quote the full passage again in a translation that represents the most favored understanding of verse 20, But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21. for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (NASB).

To sum up, one must interpret prophecy with a reverence for God who authored it, and seek out the single literal meaning of it that the Spirit intended when He first delivered it. Inasmuch as no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, one must forsake human intuition, and search out its meaning through the use of logic and reason [8] under the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Another important and related principle is that we do not begin with the outcome we desire and then place, force or allegorize the Scriptures into that mold. Examples of where this principle must be held fast are: determining whether the moderate drinking of alcohol is permissible, whether women may teach in the plenary meeting of the church and, to bring the matter to our present focus, whether the Second Coming and Millennium are to be taken literally or figuratively. To do otherwise is to put the cart before the horse - and when the horse pushes, the cart rolls into a ditch dragging the horse in after it.

Unwarranted allegorical interpretation forsakes reason and feeds on wishful thinking, whimsy and bias. It invites wholesale eisegesis, the reading into a passage one's own fancies, presuppositions, biases and agendas. It can open the door to doctrines of demons, as it most certainly has (See 1 Timothy 4:1)! Literal interpretation, on the other hand, demands exegesis, the drawing out of a passage that which logic demands is already in it, and nothing else. During the time of Luther, the Protestant Church formulated this very valuable rule: "Do not carry a meaning into [the Scriptures], but draw it out of [the Scriptures]."

  • All of the prophecies concerning the Lord's First Coming were fulfilled literally. It would defy logic to believe that the prophecies of His Second Coming are to be taken symbolically; and if one believes that the Second Coming prophecies are to be taken literally, and yet believes that the Millennium is to be taken figuratively, then what is to become of the Lord after His Return? Will He evaporate into someone's allegory? There is a direct logical connection between the literality of the First Coming, Second Coming and Millennial Kingdom.

  • Various civic oaths oblige the oath taker to swear to certain things without "mental reservation." Various U.S. civic oaths contain the phrase, "I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion." [9] One meaning of mental reservation is: without disclosure of a hidden meaning in the mind of the oath taker. Now, God made some breathtaking promises to Israel that Scripture states will be fulfilled during the Lord's Kingdom reign: They will be all be gathered to live in peace within the full borders of the promised Land; they will be a nation of priests; they will be sought after by other nations; all Jews born during the Millennium will receive salvation, and more. If God knew that His Second Coming and Kingdom declarations to Israel were allegorical, and gave no hint of it to any of His prophets, then He would be guilty of mental reservation and deception on an order that the Deceiver himself could not match, for the Deceiver is finite in his understanding and power, but God is infinite in both. Let the one who would hold to allegorical interpretation note what his beliefs imply.

There are allegories in Scripture. Galatians 4:22-31 is a good example. Hagar, the bondwoman, represents bondage to the Law, and Sarah, the freewoman, represents the freedom that believers have under the New Covenant. Verse 24 plainly declares, This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants. Pharaoh's dreams of the cows and ears of grain are other allegories as are Nathan's "You are the man" story to King David, and Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the statue. However, wholesale allegorization is like the stone that brought down Nebuchadnezzar's statue; only in this case, the statue is faith in the written Word of God, and the caster of the stone is the Devil. If one can allegorize away a volume of plainly stated passages regarding the Kingdom, then what is to prevent the allegorization of the Creation and Exodus accounts? Indeed, these accounts have been allegorized. Even the virgin birth has been allegorized. [10] After gutting the Word of God of its literal meaning - after divesting the Son of God of His divinity - what solid ground is left for the seeker or believer to stand on? Unwarranted allegorization is a destroyer of the true meaning of the Word of God and is a hindrance to, and destroyer of, the faith of millions - a destroyer of the church of God.

B. TWO COMMON OBJECTIONS

The objections presented here are representative of others and are limited to the issue of the literality of the Millennium.

Objection: In Luke 17:21, Jesus said, the kingdom of God is within you (KJV) or in your midst (NASB). The Kingdom, then, is not an earthly kingdom with a physical King sitting on a physical throne.

Response: Whether Jesus meant that the Kingdom is the reign of God in the hearts of believers, or that the fullness of the Kingdom was within Him who was in the midst of His questioners, it certainly could not refer to a full-fledged earthly Kingdom. Yet, that does not preclude that there are other facets to God's Kingdom.

In 1 Samuel 8, Israel desired to replace the LORD with a human king to rule over them in an earthly, governmental sense. The people besought Samuel, 5. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations, and 7. The LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

Thus we have established that the Kingdom of God can refer to at least two realms of God's kingship: the aspect that is within you or in your midst, and the aspect of God's kingship over ancient Israel known as the Theocratic Kingdom, which began with the giving of the Law and lasted until the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. [11] Therefore, since the Kingdom of God can refer to more than one realm of God's kingship, such passages as Luke 17:21 should not be a stumbling block to believing that there could be a future, literal, earthly kingdom with Yeshua on the throne.

Objection: 2 Peter 3:8 says, one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Therefore, we cannot take the thousand-year length of the kingdom as a literal millennium.

Response: What Peter is saying is, though the Second Advent may seem a long way off to us, it is not far off in the Lord's perspective, and we need to be patient.

The thousand years used here is merely representative of a long period of time in our perspective, which does not preclude the possibility of it being used literally in Revelation 20. There is no good reason to take the thousand years in Revelation 20 as having the same representative meaning that it has in 2 Peter 3:8, or as taking it any way other than literally, for Revelation 20 is not narrated from the Lord's time perspective, but from man's.

Revelation 20:2-7:

20:2: And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. Note how the symbolic dragon and serpent are resolved into the literal devil and Satan. Why take the thousand years to be symbolic?

20:3: and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. This verse directly follows verse 2. Why take this same thousand years to be symbolic?

The thousand years in each of the following verses obviously refer to the same literal thousand years.

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

~ Revelations 20:4 ~

20:5: The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

20:6: Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

20:7: When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison.

Note the phrase the thousand years in verses 3, 5 and 7. The definite object the lends weight to the argument that the thousand years is to be taken literally.

Note how the entire passage describes a sequence of events, begging the clarity of a specific, literal time span.

Note also how the phrase is repeated six times in rapid succession. In Genesis 1:10-25, and God saw that it was good is repeated five times, and in verse 31, God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. Why does Genesis 1 state God saw that it was good six times, once for each phase of creation, and not just once for the whole process? Obviously, for emphasis. Why, in Revelation 2 and 3, does the Lord admonish seven times, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, not just once? Obviously, for emphasis. And there are other such examples. Why does the Lord repeat the phrase a (or the) thousand years six times in Revelation 20? Obviously, for emphasis; and when one seeks to emphasize something, it serves his purpose to state his case as clearly as possible - another reason to believe that the thousand years is to be taken literally.

To sum up, the points of evidence for believing that the thousand years in Revelation 20 is to be taken literally are:

  • Revelation 20 is not narrated from the Lord's time perspective, but from man's;

  • the symbolic dragon and serpent are resolved into the literal devil and Satan;

  • the definite object the in the thousand years;

  • the entire passage describes a sequence of events, thereby begging the clarity of a specific, literal time span;

  • the six-fold repetition of the thousand years for emphasis.

Part 2: The Inhabitants of the Kingdom



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Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.

ENDNOTES

1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm. AMC Board. "Association of Messianic Congregations - What We Believe." Web. 27 Dec. 2013.
2. Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio, Tex. (P.O. Box 13266: Ariel Press,1982. Print. 644-645.)
3. See author's study, "The Prophetic Feasts of Israel." Manzon, Norman A. "The Prophetic Feasts of Israel." The Bible Study Project, Web. 27 Dec.2013. http://www.biblestudyproject.org/feasts-of-israel-messianic.htm.
4. Nyberg, Bob. "A Case for Literal Interpretation." 4HimNet. Web. 27 Dec.2013. http://www.4himnet.com/bnyberg/literal_interpretation.html.
5. For a discussion of this subject, see the author's studies:
Manzon, NormanA. "Who Is Israel. Who Are the Jews?" The Bible Study Project, Web. 26Feb.2014. http://www.biblestudyproject.org/israel1-jews,hebrews,israelites-messianic.htm.
Manzon, Norman ManzonA. "Replacement Theology." The Bible Study Project, Web. 26Feb.2014. http://www.biblestudyproject.org/israel3-1-replacement-theology-messianic.htm.
6. For a historical overview of allegorical interpretation, Replacement Theology and their results, follow the "Christian Anti-Semitism" series by Daniel Gruber beginning in this Shofar at
ezine38-dg-antisemitism-messianic.htm.
7. Dr. Cooper calls this The Golden Rule of Interpretation. Cooper, Dr. David L. "Biblical Research Studies Group-The Golden Rule of Interpretation." Biblical Research Studies Group. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page47.html.
8. For the affirmation of the use of reason in spiritual discourse, see Isaiah 1:18 and 1 Peter 3:15. Also, Daniel 4:36 demonstrates that the ability to reason is part of a state of blessedness.
9. See:
The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. "The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America." U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test/naturalization-oath-allegiance-united-states-america.

Oaths of Office for Federal Officials. "Oaths of Office For Federal Officials - Congress." About.com US Politics. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://uspolitics.about.com/od/usgovernment/a/oaths_of_office_4.htm.
Oaths of Enlistment to the U.S. Military and for the Commissioning of Officers. "Oaths of Enlistment and Oaths of Office - U.S. Army Center of Military History." U.S. Army Center Of Military History. Web. 27 Dec.2013. http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html.
10. "Virgin birth of Jesus - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, Web. 28 Dec. 2013.
11. See Footsteps of the Messiah, 662-670: "The Five Facets of God's Kingdom Program." Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio, Tex. (P.O. Box 13266: Ariel Press,1982.) Print.

RECOMMENDED READING

By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum*
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic bible Study 015: The Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah
7. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
9. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
10. Messianic Bible Study 034: The Bible and Divine Revelation
11. Messianic Bible Study 038: The Sequence of Pretribulational Events
12. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
13. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
14. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
15. Messianic Bible Study 075: The Resurrection of the Messiah
16. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation
17. Messianic Bible Study 113: The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of the Messiah

* All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.

By Dr. David L. Cooper

"The Millennial Reign of Christ" section of "What We Believe." Cooper, Dr. David L. "Biblical Research Studies Group-What We Believe." Biblical Research Studies Group. Web. 27 Dec. 2013. http://biblicalresearch.info/page792.html.

By Dr. Louis Sperry Chafer
"The Kingdom in History and Prophecy."
www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=s6fW4Fyce6U%3d&tabid=292&mid=968.


The Messianic Kingdom:
Introduction
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2013.
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