THE BIBLE STUDY
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covering the broad range of Bible knowledge
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."
~ Matthew 24:35 ~
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PART 1: INTRODUCTION
By Norman Manzon
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 Great Tribulation, and
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
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:
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.
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
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
Olam Haba, The Age to Come or The World to Come
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:
In Romans 11, Paul instructed,
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
In Romans 11, Paul instructed,
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.  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." . 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. 
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:
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:
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  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]."
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.  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.
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.  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.
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.
20:5: The rest of the dead did not come to life
until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
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:
"Events of the Future" Sequence
The Destinies of the Dead
The Great Tribulation
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
The Millennial Kingdom: Introduction
The Inhabitants of the Kingdom
The Millennium: The Two Foundational Realities
The Kingdom Environment
Israel in the Promised Land
Worship in the Kingdom
Significance of the Kingdom
The entire We
Believe statement of the Association of
Messianic Congregations may be found at
AMC Board. "Association of Messianic Congregations - What We Believe." Web. 27 Dec. 2013.
By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum*
* 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