The Messianic Kingdom is part of an extended expositional series of the We Believe statement* of The Association of Messianic Congregations. Much groundwork for this present study has been laid in:
the section intro, B. THE MILLENIAL OR MESSIANIC KINGDOM - INTRODUCTION
and the four studies that follow it:
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: The Inhabitants of the Kingdom
Part 3: The Two Foundational Realities
Part 4: The Kingdom Environment.
Consider whether it might be beneficial for you to study or review them so that the present study might be more fully understood in its historical and other contexts. For an even firmer foundation, the following studies might likewise be reviewed:
The Great Tribulation and
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Much of what has been examined in these studies will be touched on here, but not treated as fully as before.
It is of utmost importance to realize that the prophesied Kingdom is a literal, earthly Kingdom in which Jesus will reign bodily as king over Israel and the world. A polemic in support of this is presented in section IV of The Messianic Kingdom - Part 1: Introduction.
Also, as previously mentioned, a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute a book. It must therefore be recognized that what is herein presented is, of necessity, a much abbreviated outline and summary.
As in previous Kingdom studies, we will begin with a restatement of those declarations in the AMC's We Believe statement that have relevance to the Kingdom.
The Tri-Unity, Part 2: God the Son
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)
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) *Full AMC Statement
In this study, we will focus on three facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom, and then conclude with the significance of their blessedness for the rest of humanity; but before we do, we will review key aspects of the Kingdom that have bearing upon Israel or that speak of Israel directly.
By the end of the Great Tribulation and the seventy-five day interval between the Tribulation and the Kingdom, the Lord will have utterly destroyed the evil world system and purged the earth of all unbelievers, including the armies of Antichrist which will seek to destroy Israel. Having done this, the Lord will renovate the Earth, making it a beautiful, edenic, safe place in which to live. However, the Kingdom will not be perfect because certain aspects of the Adamic curse will continue, most significantly, the continuation of the sin nature in those with mortal bodies, and death for many or all of them. Also, many who will be born into the Kingdom will reject the salvation and Lordship of Jesus. Further, Edom and Babylon will be cursed to become utterly desolate habitations of demons. Nevertheless, the planet as a whole will be edenic compared to the way it is today.
The Kingdom environment will be characterized by divine presence. The Lord Jesus will reign supreme over the nations from His throne in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit will fill the earth with the splendor of the Lord's glory. No false religion, philosophy or occult practice will be allowed to flourish, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).
All who enter the Kingdom, whether as "walk-ins" from the Great Tribulation (saved Israel, the sheep Gentiles of Matthew 25, Yeshua Himself, and the church which had been raptured and returned with Him), or by resurrection, or by being returned, body and soul, to earth from heaven (Enoch and Elijah), will be saved. This glorious throng will be composed of all believers since Adam.
According to Revelation 20:6, all who had been resurrected in immortal bodies will reign with Christ in some capacity for the duration of the Millennium. This group is comprised of all Old and New Testament saints, both Jewish and Gentile, the two Tribulation witnesses and all martyred Tribulation saints. Surely, Enoch and Elijah, who had never seen death but had been drawn up directly into Heaven, will reign, as well.
Jesus will reign over the entire earth in general, and will exercise special kingship over Israel with resurrected King David reigning as king over Israel under Him. Under this dual kingship, the twelve apostles will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel, and there will be judges and counselors in Israel, as well (Isaiah 1:26). Zerubbabel, post-exilic governor of Judah, will be placed in some unnamed position in Israel (Haggai 2:23). The Gentile nations of the world will be ruled by Gentile kings, but Israel will have authority over them and their nations (Isaiah 14:1-2; 60:10-61:5). The body of Christ and the Tribulation martyrs will rule over the Gentiles, as well (Revelation 20:4-6). How these different rulerships over the Gentiles will coordinate with one another remains to be seen. Civil laws will be rendered in the Kingdom (Micah 4:1-2) from Jesus on down, and there will be laws regarding worship, as well, as we shall see in our next study.
We will now address three key facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom, and follow that by addressing the significance of Israel's blessedness to the nations of the world.
Every saved Israelite since Abraham will be gathered - not just into the Kingdom - but specifically, into Israel, to dwell in their Promised Land.
11. Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second
time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12. and He will lift up a
standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The passage describes a worldwide gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth. The phrase the second time identifies this particular gathering as the second worldwide gathering. The first gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth began in the latter decades of the nineteenth century and culminated in the birth of the modern State of Israel in 1948. As was shown in previous studies, the first worldwide gathering, which is ongoing, is for the purpose of bringing judgment upon Israel in the Land during the Great Tribulation (The Great Tribulation). The second worldwide gathering will be for the purpose of blessing the nation whose surviving members will universally have welcomed Jesus as their Messiah at the end of the Tribulation.
5. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west. 6. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do not hold them back." Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth, 7. everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.
Note again, from the ends of the earth. Also, everyone who is called by My name. The Isaiah context limits this everyone group to Israelites. Every Israelite alive at that time will be called by My name as all Israelite rebels will have been killed during the Tribulation - two-thirds of the nation - and the remaining third will have received Him (Zechariah 13:8-9).
Every Israelite will dwell in their promised homeland, and every other person, at least for the most part, will dwell in their own homeland outside of Israel.
Note that the above passages speak of a regathering of Israelites from the farthest reaches of earth; but Mark 13:26-27 extends the reaches of the regathering beyond earth. Jesus declared,
26. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory. 27. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
Which Israelites will be in heaven? Every deceased and raptured (Enoch and Elijah) saved Israelite since Abraham.
To sum up, every saved Israelite since Abraham will be gathered from heaven and earth to dwell in the Land of Israel.
Whereas the above passages emphasize the regathering of Israel, Ezekiel 37:15-22 emphasizes their being united into a harmonious,
Ezekiel lived in Jerusalem in the Kingdom of Judah until he was taken captive to Babylon during the great Babylonian captivity of Judah. He was well aware that, just 135 years prior, the northern Kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by Assyria, and multitudes of Israel's inhabitants had been taken captive to the Assyrian Empire. Prior to that, Israel had been judged and split into the two kingdoms due to the idolatry of Solomon in his latter years, and now the two kingdoms themselves had been judged. In Ezekiel 37:15-22, God likens the two kingdoms to two separate sticks which, in the latter days, He will join into one stick, and they will be one in My hand (verse 19).
21. Say to them, "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will take the sons of
Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22. and I will make them one nation in the land, on
the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.'"
God spoke to Ezekiel of the uniting of the divided Kingdom, but the chapter makes it plain that He was speaking in a much broader context. He was speaking of the day when He would reunite an Israel that had been splintered and shattered into countless slivers as the wineglass under the heel of a groom at a Jewish wedding. Indeed, the shattering of the wineglass commemorates the destruction of the second Temple in 70 A.D., the central aspect of a subsequent judgment and scattering of Israel, brought upon her for rejecting her Messiah (Matthew 23-39, esp. verses 37-39).
Saved Israel will be regathered from heaven and earth after those Israelites on earth will receive their Messiah, and will then be made organically whole, unified by the Spirit of the Lord.
Among other passages speaking of the worldwide gathering of Israel into their Promised Land in the Kingdom are Isaiah 11:11-12:6; 27:12-13; 43:5-7; Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:3-4, 7-8; 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:14-18; 36:24-28; Amos 9:14-15; Zephaniah 3:18-20; Zechariah 10:8-12; Matthew 24:31. The apostles likewise believed in the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. See Acts 1:6-7.
14. "Therefore behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when it will no longer
be said, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' 15. but, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and
from all the countries where He had banished them.' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers."
Jeremiah emphasizes two things: one, that the delivery of Israel into their own Land will be of far greater magnitude than the delivery of Israel from Egypt, for God will bring up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them, and two, that He will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers - not to the ever-shrinking borders set aside for them by Britain, nor to the sliced and diced parcels allotted to them by the United Nations, nor to any of the shifting borders arrived at since then, or will be arrived at, by means of war or international pressure - but to their own land which I gave to their fathers - to the full allotment that God promised to the patriarchs.
You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers.
~ Ezekiel 36:28 ~
What Are the Full Borders?
Determining the full and exact borders of the Promised Land is a formidable task, involving the piecing together of all the descriptions deemed to be relevant in at least these passages: Genesis 13:14-17; 15:18-21; Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:1-15; Deuteronomy 1:6-8; 11:22-24; Joshua 1:1-6; 13:1-33; Isaiah 27:12; Jeremiah 16:14-15; and Ezekiel 47:13-48:29. In addition to determining which of the descriptions apply to the Promised Land in the Kingdom, it requires an intimate knowledge of ancient biblical geography, including the knowledge of the locations of obscure places, some of which we do not know today. I tried piecing it all together back in 2003, and gave up. I therefore wrote to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a former student of historical geography at The American Institute of Holy Land Studies and The Hebrew University, both in Jerusalem. Here is his reply:
"Based upon what we know about the northern border of the Promised Land, it actually begins just north of modern day Lebanon and does incorporate all of Lebanon. It goes straight over to the Euphrates. It then parallels the Euphrates only for a few miles before it turns south and comes between Damascus and the Golan Heights until it comes to the bottom part of the Sea of Galilee. Not every place that is mentioned is actually known, but based upon what is known, the border does not start north of Beirut but quite north and actually all of Lebanon ends up being part of the Promised Land."
Dr. Fruchtenbaum's email left me with some questions, which he subsequently answered. In my own words, here are
1. The border goes due east from north of Lebanon to the Euphrates.
2. Damascus will not be included in the Promised Land.
3. The border goes south from the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan River to the southern tip of the Dead Sea where it turns westward, south of Beersheba, to a point near the eastern corner of the southern coast of the Mediterranean where the Wadi El Arish, a seasonal riverbed, runs into the Mediterranean. (This means that the southernmost section of modern Israel will not be within the Promised Land borders.) The border then goes northward up the Mediterranean coast to just north of modern Lebanon, where Dr. Fruchtenbaum begins his description above.
The Wadi El Arish is referred to as the river of Egypt in Genesis 15:18, and is often mistaken for the Nile River. It is not the Nile River. What this means is that the Promised Land will not include the Sinai Peninsula. Note, as well, from Dr. Fruchtenbaum's description, that the eastern border will not extend down the length of the Euphrates River to connect with the Tigris near the Persian Gulf, but "only for a few miles." The eastern border will run down the Jordan River - not the Euphrates.
Below this paragraph are two maps of the Promised Land. The upper one shows the Promised Land's borders in dark black outline drawn by Dr. Fruchtenbaum. The lower one is a comparable map found in the Wikipedia article, Promised Land, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land.
Much has been said already on the blessedness and prominence of Israel in the Kingdom, but this study would be incomplete without addressing it, at least cursorily.
We have seen that every saved Israelite from Abraham through the Tribulation will be gathered into the full borders of the Land that God promised to the fathers. What a glorious reunion that will be!
33. "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I
will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me,
from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
This passage reminds us that, in addition to all Israelites at the end of the Tribulation period being brought to salvation, all Israelites from that time forward will be saved. There will be Israelites born in the Kingdom, and every one of them will receive the Lord - to enjoy fellowship with every saved Jew since Abraham!
28. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My
people, and I will be your God. 29. Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you. 30. I
will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations.
~ Ezekiel 36:28-30 ~
This passage likewise promises Israel's national salvation, and also promises unbroken abundant and fruitful harvests.
Isaiah 27:6: In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit. Israel will not only enjoy abundant harvests for their own enjoyment, but will fill the whole world with fruit.
Similarly, Isaiah 51:3: Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody.
And Zephaniah 2:7: And the coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah, they will pasture on it. In the houses of Ashkelon [near the Mediterranean north of what is called Gaza today] they will lie down at evening; for the LORD their God will care for them and restore their fortune.
A few more representative passages:
Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which
cannot be measured or numbered; and in the place where it is said to them, "You are not My people," it will be said to them, "You are the sons of the living God."
11. "But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days," declares the LORD of hosts. 12. "For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things."
Isaiah 10:20: Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
In our present time, Israel is continually humiliated by needing to curry the favor of powerful nations that often treat her disdainfully; but in that day it will not be so. They will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
1. For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will
not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. 2. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings
your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the LORD will designate. 3. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem
in the hand of your God. 4. It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate"; but you will be called, "My delight is in
her," and your land, "Married"; for the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. 5. for as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as
the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.
1. Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2. For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. 3. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. 5. Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you. 6. A multitude of camels will cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba will come; they will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news of the praises of the LORD. 7. All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; they will go up with acceptance on My altar, and I shall glorify My glorious house. 8. Who are these who fly like a cloud and like the doves to their lattices? 9. Surely the coastlands will wait for Me; And the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you. 10. Foreigners will build up your walls, and their kings will minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, and in My favor I have had compassion on you. 11. Your gates will be open continually; they will not be closed day or night, so that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. 12. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined. 13. The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I shall make the place of My feet glorious. 14. The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy from generation to generation. 16. You will also suck the milk of nations and suck the breast of kings; then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17. Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. And I will make peace your administrators and righteousness your overseers. 18. Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise. 19. No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. 20. Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be over. 21. Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. 22. The smallest one will become a clan, and the least one a mighty nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.
~ Isaiah 60:1-22 ~
Israel will receive honor and praise and a superabundance of material blessings and service from the nations of the earth.
Zephaniah 3:20: At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.
A detailing of the previous passages is hardly necessary. Suffice it to say that the Lord Yeshua Himself, true God and true man, radiant as the sun in His glorified body, will dwell in the midst of His people Israel, and they will have the LORD for an everlasting light. Every Israelite entering and born into the Kingdom will be saved, and they will live in unprecedented peace, abundance and honor.
Jerusalem will likewise be central in Kingdom worship, but we will address that in our next study.
12. Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? . . . . 15. For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
~ Romans 11:12, 15 (ASV) ~
1. Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. 3. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
~ Isaiah 60:1-3 ~
Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on vegetation which do not wait for man or delay for the sons of men.
~ Micah 5:7 ~
Thus says the LORD of hosts, "In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'"
~ Zechariah 8:23 ~
It is the national salvation of Israel that will prompt the return of the Lord (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39), and it is their centrality as the Lord's ministers in the Kingdom that will draw those to them for ministerial blessing who are the Lord's or who seek the Lord from among the nations .
What shall their salvation and blessedness be to the nations of the world? Life from the dead.
1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found here.
Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Christ: 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 Christ
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 017: The Messianic Kingdom
7. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
9. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
10. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
11. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation
All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.
Dr. David L. Cooper
Cooper, D.L. (1951, July). Biblical Research Society: Dr. David L. Cooper. Retrieved from http://ariel.org/dlc/dlc.htm. See What We Believe, section "The Millennial Reign of Christ."
Thomas Paul Simmons
Simmons/Providence Baptist Ministries, T.P. (2010). Chapter 42 - The Millennium. Retrieved from http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Simmons/chapter42.htm.
The Faithful Remnant of Israel.