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THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS
CANNOT BE OBLITERATED
BUT WILL COVER THE EARTH
TILL THAT IS REMOVED, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS RULES FOREVER
THE MILLENIUM AND SURROUNDING EVENTS
WHAT IS THE MILLENIUM ?
What is the millenium ? It is a period, figuratively or otherwise, of one thousand years which is post-Armageddon, pre-earth-demise, where the testimony of truth is unhindered by Satan, political power or ruffians, so that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. It is expressly set down that sinners will still exist in it (for the sinner will yet die accursed, even if at 100 years of age as in Isaiah 65:20, and a century in age will not be at all abnormal). Moreover early loss of life in infancy will be no more. In other words, still a mixed society, it will yet have the curse alleviated, blessing magnified, the knowledge of God extensive, manifest, unrepressed, government by the Messiah, Jesus Christ, in power to rebuke and annul the whole dynamic of the devil, imprisoned during this period of the vindicated glory of God on this every earth where Christ was killed.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MILLENIUM ?
Those who 'judge', the knowledgeable and the 'wise', the political, social, educational, military philosophers will be in the abeyance they have always deserved, and wisdom will be observed together with power of rule to such an extent that eruption of evil will be as toadstools before the whirl-wind, a thing of immediate ruin. The devil being in abeyance, will not be able to deceive the nations any more. Fancy ever having been so foolish as to kill millions for the sake of gaining some illusory glory, by non-existent means, as if some race or idea or eminence or specialty in some people were a ground for gain at the expense of others; or equally, as if an unholy indolence constituted grounds for sustenance in the earth!
Righteousness and truth, instead of being distant ideals, desirable oddities, embracible entities, will be potent and apparent in all things (Isaiah 11, 65, Psalm 2, 110, 96:13, 98:9,Matthew 19:28, Revelation 5:8-9, 20:1-5, Habakkuk 2:14, Micah 7:15-20, Daniel 2:35-45, Psalm 72, 67:7, Isaiah 24:21ff., Zephaniah 3:11-20, Haggai 2:6-7, Zechariah 14:5, Malachi 4:1-3, Micah 5, Joel 3:12ff., Ezekiel 37:24ff., Jeremiah 3:1-7, Isaiah 49:22ff.). The Lord is indeed "coming to judge the earth" (Psalm 96:13), and "He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth."
Vain is the belief that this is a variant of His coming NOT to judge the world but that it might be saved. That is the exact contradictory. ONCE He came NOT to judge but to save the world, a thing most grotesquely marred by the misunderstanding of Calvin*1, who in other ways was so sound, and THEN He is coming precisely IN ORDER TO JUDGE THE WORLD, a thing sadly lacking in the lore of the amillenalist*2.
WHEN He comes to judge the world the whole force of Satan and of evil is in abeyance, not a vacuum, but in vacuity of power (Revelation 19:19-20:6). WHEN they shall not hurt or destroy on all His holy mountain (Isaiah 11), and "the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den", the REASON is that the "earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea." It is apparent therefore that there is an amelioration of an extradordinary kind of the curse, and that in the rule of the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:3-5), the King Jesus Christ will rule, reigning and prospering and He will "execute judgment and righteousness in the earth," having power to quell (Psalm 2).
NOW no more is it a matter of presenting the Gospel of grace to an unyielding world, but governing in terms of that very Gospel, not so that the unbeliever is forced, any more then than now, for this is principle of God as previously shown*3, but so that its power, beauty, grace, efficacy is seen not only in the heart of the individual but in the nature of the rule, of the realm which is as stated, the earth itself. It is not heaven. It is not hell. It is not weak; it is glorious and gracious, just and efficacious, and it involves the redeeming of the needy (Psalm 72:14) "from oppression and violence." SUCH will be the rule of the seed of David, the only begotten Son of God.
It is not as now, where the needy are oppressed with violence, where even on His holy hill, there is effrontery to the faith, contempt for the Gospel, misalliance with evil, where the poor are slaughtered and the power and specious subtleties of Satan deceive not only the nations but many in the visible Church, who become worse engines of evil than the merely secular, as some find, in the very precincts of the faith.
If words mean anything, ALL that this earth has in negative power and rule and evil and iniquity and inequity and violence, and hideousness, and calumniation and slander and slaughter and empty roars and wilful ways, where fools rule over the wise and the beauty of holiness is far the greater part as if forgotten, is as it now is, and it will increase as in Matthew 24:11ff., II Peter 2:1ff., II Timothy 4:3-4, 3:13). Thus "evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived," till as in Isaiah 24 and 59, this world reels in irrational rebellion, tawdry follies and spiritual sleep, like a driver awaiting death as he snoozes at the wheel, doing 100 kph. ALL that is the contrary in glory and majesty and equity and righteousness and PUTTING right will on the other hand, in the most total of contrasts be PRECISELY what, with power and prosperity, Christ will induce and produce.
It will NOT however include the forced conversions of militant Islam*3A, or the strange vapidity of naturalistic religions and their ilk*3B; but it WILL EXHIBIT to all what is the beauty of holiness, unmolested by irrelevant power seeking to secure the earth and its satisfactions at any cost, or ANY eruption, like acne on an otherwise beautiful face, of militant power to despoil, or militant tongues to induce mischief and folly, slandering the saints and caricaturing truth for the unwary who are lost.
THIS IS THE MILLENIUM. Since Revelation is a book using many figurative devices expressly, such as the 3 and one half years, 1260 days and 42 months*4 and many other expressions of comparison and likeness, it is not possible to assess the actual, chronological length of this period, except in this, to say that it will be quite long enough to fulfil all the characteristics and features described in the many biblical passages which describe it in such manifest contrariety to the present course of this jeering, sneering, impotently self-glorifying world.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF REVELATION 20: 4
CONCERNING THE MILLENIUM ?
In Revelation 20 we learn that, as the Berkeley translation so well translates it, there are many who will rule with Christ in this period. Thus:
"I also saw thrones that were occupied by such as received power to pass sentence.
I also saw the souls of those who had been slain for their testimony to Jesus and for God's message; also the souls of those who had not worshipped either the beast or its statue,
nor had received the mark on the forehead and on the hand.
"They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
The American Revised version also does this translation well and accurately, substantially as above.
Worship is a spiritual thing, and while it may indeed (as in the case where the friends of Daniel wisely REFUSED to bow to the imperial statue of political power, the King rushing into religious self-adornment) be shown in a practical manner or test, this is not its only resource. Worship to be personal must be in the heart, and it is there that idols likewise may be set (as shown in Ezekiel 14:6-7. The Greek clearly states that those slain for the testimony of Jesus the Christ, and also those who had not worshipped the beast or received its mark, would be there. It is no select minority, no prelude, no overture to the real opera. This is an embracive reference to those who loved the appearing of the Lord, and so acted. Theirs is this rule. While the mark of the beast is a term found in Revelation 13, it has had various preludes and exhibits before this objective exemplar, and this provides no reason for making of this group some kind of elite, as will be considered further later.
But as to this rule by those so resisting the mark of the beast, what is its character ? and for this, we ask, what is the form of those who so rule ?*4A It is expressly stated in Revelation 20:4 that it is the "SOULS" of those who had so been faithful who so rule with Christ upon the earth, a fact, this last, not to be forgotten in view of Revelation 5, as above. It is not said to be their SPIRITS, nor is it statedly their bodies.
As Poole points out, it would be difficult to see those given their rest in resurrection, now labouring on the earth; yet it must be added that it would be easier to discern if those doing so were clad with impervious bodies, even resurrected ones. Nor is it their ''spirits'' which appear, in some rarefied sense. One remembers here very much to the point, the appearance of Moses and Elijah with Christ at His epochal transfiguration (noted in Luke 9:30ff.). This did not seem very much to disturb their rest. Moreover, it was not in some angelic and universalised or distant style, that they appeared, but in eminently recognisable form, presumably from the nature of their discourse and its force, as also through the interpretive power of the Holy Spirit. These could well have been in a repose of spirit which yet yielded a sense, not then of 'rule', but of participation in embracive perspective. Were it 'rule', the resurrection state would seem more readily comprehensible, adequate and indeed, as will be seen, suitable for the biblically defined terms for these times and deeds.
It would seem possible, then, for Revelation 20:6, that the reference therefore is to just such accompaniment of His majesty, in just such rest, just such assurance and co-operative joy, as shown in Luke 9, except for this, that now, it is not a Christ about to die who is the centre and cornerstone, but one who was dead and is alive forevermore, now not about to become a sacrifice as a substitute for the guilt implicit in sin, but as a Saviour who is Lord indeed. Yet with this, it seems embodiment would be yet more harmonious with rule, and the cessation of their works. This then is part of the second of the two phases which Christ identified as seen in Luke 24, the time of His present sufferings and that of His coming glory. Here is a prelude to His glory, in the millenium.
This would give full import to the notable use of 'souls' with respect to them, and then those slain and not worshipping the beast would be conceived in an expansive rather than a restrictive. That is, then they would not only be those from that most intensive regime of horror of Revelation 13 and 17, the satanic power dealt with and deleted by the breath of God, and imprisoned, but from all ages. It would include and immediately focus those reaped by evil, but now how different the vision. Those select in all ages, who had not yielded, who had kept to the faith in the Lord, not bowed, or if bowing, who had repented, these would all be there, the latest consignment in vivid contrast to the judged world. Theirs would be in the midst of the now ruling Messiah, a spirit of rest and repose of mind mingled with a participation in the works of majesty. It might be like athletes at a presentation ceremony, except that there would be no glory for them, but as part of the body of the Lord, their placement amid the dealings of deity, wiling observers, alert with joy as fulfilment on earth at last has come.
This by no means collides with the picture provided in the words of Revelation 20:12 and 15, since then there is still meaning to the fact that BOTH the book of life and the books of works were opened, so that those NOT FOUND in the Book of Life were condemned. If then Revelation 20:4 is the general resurrection of the just, that is in this case, the justified, then what garnerings FROM and through the millenium, could be those found in the Book of Life. After all, they are ALL foreknown, and these could have come then.
This, to say no more, is quite suggestive that during the millenium there were many who were saved, which would have even this part of the extensive, expansive, cost-disregarding love of God as in John 3, an afterglow, or being born out of due time, a mopping up, a final calling.
This in turn permits that the first resurrection has not only the features of Elijah and Moses, that is, one of commission of those at rest in Christ, but the gear for rule with Him. It is not as if to go to their daily labour at the office, as it were, but to participate, like the 12 apostles on 12 thrones of Matthew 19:28. In Matthew, this occurs at a time called "in the regeneration", which assuredly is eminently linked to resurrection, that entire novelty in which all things being made new, where there is a glorious restoration of all that had been hidden, or subjected, now resplendent in a transcendent liberty and fulfilment.
It is best in principle to keep it simple, in the sense that inventive inserts are not engaged in without a strict and stringent ground; for these things are too important for there to be even an incidental and unintended intrusion of mere human thought. If so, then the first resurrection is resurrection indeed, the 'souls' reference is to emphasise that their beings are not some abstracted and less than personal or detached entities, but entirely aware and responsive to the situation, concerned with what was and what is to be.
The saints under the altar as in Revelation 6, had been very much 'soulful', and such and could serve as a type for those found in this situation of Revelation 20:6, now garnered, fresh from the marriage of the Lamb as in Revelation 19:8, and covered with immortality as in I Corinthians 15.
Further in this connection: Is it however not a vast step to use the term 'resurrection', not only when the next member of the group is that to which Paul in I Corinthians 15, with no slightest suggestion of diversification, makes clear is final, at least for the saints, but when those who deemed the resurrection to be 'past already' were guilty of a vast error, when on earth! (II Timothy 2:17-18). It might even have the appearance of playing with fire; whereas on the other hand, considering 'resurrection', especially 'the first resurrection' is moving into a terminological field that needs and suffers no ambiguity.
Admittedly it is entirely possible that the term could be mutated in this way, for those who have ears, so that those who were most active in the recent extremes in this world would continue on the Elijah-Moses type of format, without bodily resurrection, participants and witnesses of the transformation, where suffering yielded to sovereignty, and abasement to the realms of realisation, in a transformed world. Yet even at this, it would be most difficult to see how this could occur when way back to the days of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, there were those of a commonality with these in the intensity of their sufferings in the last days. Even in those ancient times, there was often a grossness of their persecutors, an inhuman glee, a diabolical fervour, a persistence that makes the brutes seem happy by comparison. Here also there was no reduction in the absolute character of their confrontation as Christians, with the powers of misrule and intimidation. It is this, perhaps most of all, which militates against the concept of anything partial, that is without universal coverage of type, in 'the first resurrection.'
In that case, this is indeed the resurrection of the just, and their ruling with the Lamb for what has been noted as an indeterminate because demonstrably symbolic period, becomes a rest in realisation IN this world before there is a removal OF this world, itself so long in the tooth in history. In this millenial splendour, that world is now so yielded and shielded, sovereignly embraced and pacified that what MIGHT have been, had sin not come, the fall never occurred, is seen and savoured in its majesty and wonder. After all, it has been a magnificent thing, the creation, and the marring of it and the persecutions resultant from the work of the devil and of human sin combined, once removed, reveal a wonder indeed, fit for the redeemed in the state of glory, to behold and wonder at, with worship of the Lamb. It is then He who has brought them out of the fire and into this aspect of the regeneration of all things (Matthew 19:28), before its finale in a NEW heaven and a new earth, as in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1.
If this be so, that is, that the first resurrection, and blessed He says, are those found in it: if this indeed refers to the basic meaning of the term, and is not an extension which leaving out the body, in the context of succeeding the days of trial, then nothing moves against this. It would indeed be something not apparently metaphorical by any normal index of due scope and intimation, and thus in no danger of confusion: it would mean THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST, quite simply and securely, without anything exotic or scrambled, inscrutable or scrambled, and since the word of God is not twisted, this seems most eminently the desirable interpretation in its own terms (Proverbs 8:8).
Thus, if this be so, it must be emphasised that the use of the term 'souls' is not the same as 'without bodies'. It merely allowing for this as one possibility: indeed that term in Greek could mean as in English, simply 'people', a meaning Thayer in his New Testament Greek dictionary notes; and the reference would indicate at least two things. Firstly, it would signify that their personalities were actual, not remote, removed and fundamentally distrained from realisation. Hence, these being now in their spiritually mature status, there would be a bringing in more of a sense of participation in the vindication of the victory of the Lamb, and exposure in their very presence, of the blatancy of the ruin which sin imposed and the devil sought to hide in his hideous escapades of seduction. Secondly, it would show that their labour, but not their witness, was finished.
As to the question whether, in this millenium, some of those who had been convinced of the wonder of the Saviour's rule, and learned to lean upon Him in trust, would be converted, or whether this was simply a demonstration-millenium, it is impossible thoroughly to determine this, though in favour of the positive possibility is this: that this would then come as part of the total impact of every conceivable way to show and expose the multiple mercies of divine foreknowledge in which as in Matthew 23:37, God yearns and moves to the uttermost to gain some. That in turn is reflected in spirit in the parable at Matthew 22:9ff..
What then ? It is this. Just as the HOW OFTEN would Christ have gathered them as a hen her chicks, signifies the unbending resolve of love to seek in every way, so this would expose that same principle further. It would be so even in a purged and prepared site, amidst His more manifest majesty. It is however not necessary to resolve such a question, since the word of God does not state it, nor with any utterly certain notation, indicate the answer. Indeed, whether some of those who were left on this earth at the millenium, those not slain with bodies to be eaten by the flocks of birds, or buried, had not meaningfully heard the Gospel before His coming, having been , hidden in totalitarian enclaves, ignorance or suppression, is not known. It is entirely possible, and at present might seem highly probable. In that case, now heard at last what had been kept from them, distorted, squashed, squeezed, lied about, would come in its pristine glory.
Whether such a situation would have been passed before He came, we do not know. It is sound to note, however, the simple possibility. Further, the very acme of suppression and lies for which these last days, in the Biblical depiction, are notorious increases sharply the probability that this might be so. Miasmic mysteries are so instilled that it is a miracle indeed that any escape (as in Hebrews 6:19), and if God in His divine love extends the sitting to this extent, that is in His power.
What then ? IN that case, those who had mirrored such a situation, as in John 15:22ff., where guilt beyond redemption was not yet accredited (or discredited!), would be examples. If HE had not COME and SPOKEN and DONE, what He had, then said He, they would not have sin (in the context of ultimate destiny and nature). The principle undoubtedly applies, and that most stringently: it is an offshoot of love, and the very epitome of grace.
Thus any who had not seen and heard what the Messiah did and said, are in possible prospect of conversion, even in the millenium. It is bridesmaids who KNEW and even had lamps, who were without excuse, in the parable. If love never fails, then those who love will not fail to seek others to secure their salvation and to deliver them from the deceits, violence to truth and eminent dangers which impend constantly, knowing that whatever way it comes, the sooner the better, and the sooner these are made sure, like mainsails in an approaching wind for those in the doldrums, the better.
This question of the possible conversion of some during the millenium, then, is left an open and unanswered possibility. The rejection of the Gospel remains fatal, and the light that has come to the world remains judge of those who prefer darkness; moreover, in His divine foreknowledge, God is limited to no one type of test of these things: but as He is light, so it may well be that He would prefer to test to the uttermost right up to the onset of judgment, following the millenium, as in Revelation 20:11ff.. Love is like that: it never gives up, shows itself where least expected, is inventive, does not rest in mere forms, but insists on giving to the uttermost.
ALL are open to receive what they have done in the body, as in II Corinthians 5:10, and the Gospel short-circuits the endorsement of the resultant judgment, so that despite this POTENTIAL CONDEMNATION, due to all, for the redeemed it is diverted to Christ, whether here or there, in this or that situation, or that, till it comes and is done! This aspect of the matter, therefore, has no decisive bearing on the issue.
What is left ? The millenium is a positive demonstration of glory not to be concealed or congealed, conquered or suppressed, and the most obvious sense would be that this would be for ALL the saints, for ALL time, since the mystery Babylon was something stretching way back, and in itself, is something signifying the rampant works of the devil, susceptible to typing.
Thus the threefold reference to the abundance of His saints to be found in His coming, as in I Thessalonians 3:13, Jude 13-14 and Zechariah 14:5 would be given an application. Even in Jude, where instead of 'all' it merely states that it is a matter of ten thousands of His saints who come to this earth with the Lord, so far from there being any sense of a part only, there is a sense of utter contrast in kinds, and of judgment itself impending: it is executed
"on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them
of all their ungodly deeds
which they have committed in an ungodly way,
and of all the harsh things
which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him," (bold added).
This fourfold reference to the UNGODLY, found in Jude, in the end of the world overthrow and judicial impact on ALL a further fourfold reference), has just the same sense of finality and completeness for the category of the saints and their testimonial presence, as the reference to "all" the saints in the other two cases, of Zechariah and I Thessalonians 3. Indeed, the use of 'all' in Jude is so extremely intensive, both from the nature of his judicial sounding language and of the repetition both of ungodly and of 'all', that it forms an intensification and not a mitigation of the conclusion. ALL are involved. The Lord comes with ALL His saints.
As then the hinges of the door turn to admit to heaven ALL the saints, as in I Thessalonians 4, the dead in Christ arising first, from a very active and at that time, yet unjudged earth, so His coming with all the saints as in I Thessalonians 3, is not to be considered merely partial. This matter is in the end, conspicuous in clarity; as as so often, it merely needed necessary consideration, meditation and comparison with other scriptures.
Just as Zechariah 14 shows Him coming with ALL His saints, when He returns very definitely to earth with them, so Revelation 19 has that very bride, that prepared body of believers in the Lamb as Saviour and Lord, first dressed at the 'wedding', and then seen in that very dress coming with Him, in order to judge.
This ? it is PRIOR to the millenium. Further, this very door of entry is matched with the spectacle of this very interim, when the Lord comes with all His saints, being matched with that which incorporates the saints universally from all time, the dead in Christ, arising first. They do not go to heaven without arising, and it is from there that they come; and those depicted as so going, they are all!
Just as it follows this reference of the marriage of the Lamb, in Revelation 19:8 and their issuance with Him, who were there, so it precedes the millenium.
All these things, in sum, move one to the sense of universalisation, not of some separation of powers of an extraordinary and seemingly strangely specialist character: that is, as if just some who were in the last throes of devilish horror in the world, and these only, were to be included in the review, on earth, in the millenium.
Indeed, as Christ's body is one, so one would expect it to be one, which comes with Him, and not a part; just as the marriage of the Lamb, for that matter, would be of those who constituted the body as in Romans 11, the entirety of the arboreal assemblage, to use the figure of that passage, and so to include the entire scope of Jew and Gentile believers, especially that major contingent noted in Romans 11:25.
It should be noted here also that the reference in Romans 11 to the restoration of Israel, or enough of it to characterise it, in terms of 'life from the dead', does not actually USE the term 'resurrection', let alone in a categorical arena of judgment and termination and exposure at last of the full divine majesty. It provides no justification whatever for the metaphorical, let alone in such a decisive, terminal situation as this, as real as the cross, as the bodily resurrection of Christ, which Paul in I Corinthians 15, declares to be the first-fruits, in its enormous and sustained parallel of His resurrection and our own, in the terminal setting.
This grand ruling era, then, as shown in Revelation 20:6, is nothing exotic and alone in the word of God, some strange spiritual format, an oddity preceding the general resurrection of I Corinthians 15. The body of Christ is not so separated after its vast unification of Romans 11:30ff., on which Paul dwells with such a finality of consummation. Those who are Christ's, are inseparable, coming with Him in a tour of triumph, through an arch, not of architecture, as in Paris, but of personal power and glory on the part of Christ, which enshrouds His saints, very much after the style of Isaiah 60. The head has been executed once, and so separated from His body: no more!
What then of their 'ruling' with Him ? There is no question of it being a restless labour of blood, sweat and tears, but perhaps a presence in power and wisdom, to see this glory, attest this wonder, participate in joy in this exhibition of what the earth had so devilishly lacked for so long with such horror and abandon, with its mission of dis-praise and diversion! Then there is no problem about the case of being resurrected and yet unformatted; for now rather is the case that of those who once saw such things as they would not, and now see the very opposite. They see it in the beauties of holiness, in the dress of the wedding, clad in the temple eternal in the heavens, of which Paul spoke in II Corinthians. Quite simply, they are resurrected, and over them the second death therefore has no power!
ALL have suffered persecution, and who can say what pangs under Romanist or Roman persecutions of the past, or even distant past, would fail to qualify! It would seem decisively invidious for such an elevation of the merely recent, without their counterparts as shown at length in Hebrews 11, alike possessed of saving faith amid vast sufferings and inexorable testimony to truth, even that of the Lord, even in obedience, even to the death.
It is, then, termed "the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:6), with all the simplicity of the early sun. There is no other. We do not need to consider whether it be Venus in disguise. The sun of righteousness indeed it is,w ho has risen with healing in His wings, and restoration, so that the epoch of the 12 thrones of the apostles on earth, is INDEED in the era of "the regeneration" as after all, Christ DECLARED it to be. It is not in pre-regeneration of all things times.
Thus, this presence well deserves the use of so culminating a term as 'resurrection' in an arena so consummative. It is beneficial, blessed, a matter of coherence of those, ultimately tested, who have stood, and having stood, continued to stand, now at rest with relish. It means that the resurrection as in I Thessalonians 4 being total of the saints, is a simple prelude to their investiture in the final resolution on earth, before the residual resurrection. In that case, the reference to those who had not been found in the Book of Life would be a notation to strengthen the sense of hopelessness when the end came, but it might well refer to the point that SOME might have been won to the Lord during that millenium.
The Lord is now vindicated in His claims, the cloud of false witnesses, in fact very earthy, many in the visible church being demons, mixing like weeds with the wheat, though many should have been cleared out by labour against the weed-type: this is now a thing of the past. What IS His body is now seen to be acting as one, sustained in glory, free now of test and evil, while the now imprisoned prince of lies, given his outage, cannot meddle, frustrated, immolated, just as he saw to it that many would be imprisoned in the day of his malign power and imprint. Now are the realities seen in all their basic simplicity and wonder, and seen so by all concerned, for the Lord is no respecter of persons.
The earth will expose her dead (Isaiah 26:19), and not merely some of them, in this glorious regeneration. The follies and the evils, these lie distraught, while the beauties of justice, equity, mercy, kindness and care rule in their delightsome dynamic as in Psalm 72, Isaiah 11. Now, rule they do in their majesty: for now NOTHING can be covered up, NOTHING can be distorted. WHATEVER is in need of address will be founded in truth and exhibited in justice (as in Psalm 72 emphasis).
Hence it seems best to consider the first resurrection as CORRELATIVE to the residual one, that which precedes eternal judgment. The grain is FIRST then brought as in Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4, to the Lord, to meet Him undeniably separately, and after congregation in heaven, the metaphor now turning to that of bride, again selective as was the wheat from the chaff, and it is only then, when the due action has been taken, including Christ's COMING with ALL the saints and then ruling with them, that the chaff has its final judgment to be such, as in a farm where the chief thing is to garner the harvest, and the clean-up can come later.
It is a stress on context to make one term in a series, be of a wholly diverse character to the second member of that series, here implied. There is a place for metaphor, for metathesis, for figure, and it is well to use these devices, and so to enter into the spirit of a discourse where as often, it is as plain as the nose on the face what is what. However, when the TOPIC is end and resurrection and judgment, and a SERIES of resurrections is in view, using the same concept, it is exceedingly hard to see how with clear words (as in Proverbs 8:8), metaphor and matrix are in turn, in view.
Hence it appears that just as in Revelation 19:8ff., it is the saints of God who have come en bloc to the marriage of the Lamb, and who in their distinctive and salvation-signifying dress then accompany Him as He comes to smash the evil and accomplish the good in government on this earth, saints resurrected as in Revelation 11, those in heaven following the prelude as bridesmaids on earth (Matthew 25), so here, we see them as HAVING COME. This is what they do next, after the so strongly proclaimed COMING WITH HIM. After all, if they come with Him, so might they well be with Him, with the journey already accomplished! I Thessalonians 3:13 likewise refers to this coming, as of course does Jude 14-15. Revelation 20:3 simply fills in how long.
Blending rest with association with His majesty grace and pastoral kindness (as in Psalm 72), their presence is NOT statedly in body, so that it is not necessary to conclude such a thing. Why then is the term 'souls' used ? It would seem therefore not to indicate a work-place recourse, as if you turn up for labour, but a presence to exhibit His glory and surround His meekness in majesty with the recipients of His spiritual gift, so that with applause and delight, they might attest or witness the restoration and the registration of good on this earth. In this, however, for the reasons above given, it is deemed for so long a period, and as part of a determinate sequence of events, and coherence of thought, to be in resurrection format, as befits the notation.
To be clear, there would be much to remove in such a setting, the meaning of 'resurrection' from its sense of site of finale, but there is no exclusion in the use of the term 'soul' in Revelation 20:4, nor indeed would it even be strange for such a term, at the extreme, to mean persons.
There is not even a need for this however, in view of the points above concerning other reasons for the use of this term 'souls'; and this leaves us with what appears a directive resultant to take 'resurrection' with the implicit series notation implied with 'first' to mean precisely what this as a term for the time of ultimates and restoration, to mean what is in the eye and mind of all the saints, as the time of exultant victory and triumph for the Lamb in His so vast enterprise, who here comes with a majesty and power ultimate and manifest, in the very heart of the 'restoration of all things'. Thus as in Isaiah 11 and Psalm 72, Micah 4, this time is utterly regenerative and of the very ilk of the terminal.
While then, it is not necessary to adjudicate in this matter, even if it were not 'resurrection' in what appears a most clear indication of this element of restoration for a restored earth, yet the saints will participate in His rule, that of Him who earned the place in meekness, where majesty abides, and whose eternal deity is no more divested of its apparent wonder and grandeur. Just as this is not merely meretricious or factitious, but grand in the sense of the ultimate aristocracy, one not grabbed or given for singularity of someone or other, but natural and eternal for Him, and is now vindicated after a tour of service of a character physically grotesque, and on the part of His betrayers (cf. Psalm 69, 109), spiritually hideous, the very acme of laying down one's life for one's friends, so it appears clear is the resurrection, the first resurrection, that of the body, precisely as in I Corinthians 15, as in II Corinthians 5:1ff., of the body eternal in the heavens as Paul proclaims there, and not some fastidiously figurative indication.
In this, then, is taken as the force of the passage, though it has been difficult, for after all, WHEN He comes for His saints as in Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4, there is no question of their not being resurrected in full and defined array, as in Isaiah 26:19, those in the dust now brought back to life, where mortality puts on immortality, where Christ is the first-fruits, so that there is no innovative doctrine here to be imported, yes, and no additive to be brought in, when after all, the entire sequence is given over and over again, without any doubt whatsoever.
But what of this, that it is His friends who now share, Himself resurrected just as He is, in the glory of His rule on this earth, before this vast and imperially made globe, one yet so smitten, is with finality dismissed!
And who ARE HIS friends ? YOU are His friends, He indicates, if you do whatsoever He commands you. That includes repentance when you slip into some sin, for there is no man who does not sin, though the redeemed are NOT under its sovereignty, whether or not they, like David, slip here or there in grievous fall; and those who think otherwise, the apostle John is used to remind us in I John 1, merely deceive themselves.
There is this glorious harmony of purpose and fulfilment: on earth, we find Christ IN US as in Colossians 1:27, when He calls His people, His elect, it is Christ FOR US, to gather us one and all who are His from all time past; and when He comes with all His saints, it is Christ WITH US, ruler with those who are His friends, vindicated now with those whom He has vindicated vicariously, His own people, the people of His flock, resurrected to be like Him, as He is, realising in Him now that propinquity which was spiritual, in ways most manifest, in things regenerative, before the gates being closed, the books are opened. How great to realise that concerning those who have so been with Him in the millenium, in that most blessed first resurrection, there is a code and not a mere codicil: on them the second death has no power (Revelation 20:6). Their works are indeed finished and this participation in His glory has no sense that is destructive of rest, being a very quintessence of it, before all is finally despatched.
WHY IS THERE A MILLENIUM ?
With Him who comes to rule the nations, however, divesting the devil in that time of his proverbial deceptive power over the forces of their arms and the misconceptions of their heads, there is no deception. What a glorious congregation to witness and attest does He have, as history is finally wound up in a grace and glory, with meekness and equity, with marked concern with those not well placed and accessibility to prayer of the most manifest character, so that the last word is not of evil marring all as it seeks always to do, but of its utter, sustained vanquishment. On the other hand, it is not allowed to SEEM good either, for not all hearts by any means are willing to surrender even in this glorious epoch; for as Isaiah 26:10 declares it,
"Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness. In the land of uprightness, he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord."
Accordingly, at the end of this period of peace, like someone who has dieted but now wallows once more in fat, there is an uprising. Perhaps meekness with majesty is not according to lust enough for the errant heart! Satan is released (showing us once more that his power is never autonomous, but limited as expressly seen in the case of Job - and this is a vast encouragement to the saints) to perform his last division, and in that, there is some value, for it attests the REALITY of the diversity of heart and mind and spirit among men. It does this EVEN when there is abundance and peace and equity, showing finally and once for all that it is NOT, emphatically not the circumstances which are the cause of evil, but rather evil which is a contributory cause of the circumstances. For this reason, some fall when the test is minor, and some stand when it is colossal.
Enticing, this evil spirit seeks, unrepentant in the near approach to eternity itself, to arouse a rebellion and being crushed, goes off to his place. Soon we see in Revelation 20, that this has nothing to do any more with this earth, for there is NO MORE PLACE found for the heavens and the earth on which man has been placed. They are dispersed, and as II Peter 3 shows, this with great heat and power, for after all, vast was the energy in matter, merely to name one component.
A new heavens and a new earth now appear, and what a glory, if this one is without the curse, and without even those still being tested, and the artist is once more the Lord Himself, so that no more is their a commitment to vanity in the earth, the creation suffering, groaning with the curse. The curse now has already ONCE been borne for ALL who are in this new dominion, and there is no more of it at all. Suffering and tears are things of the past (Revelation 21:4). It is not a simple blessedness, as of those who having always had all, are merely indulged; but all have been tested, and all principles in liberty have had their time and been shown fraudulent, but those of the Lord.
Eternity follows a prolonged laboratory session on this earth, in which the Lord has shown His love and patience and forbearance and grace and desire (as in II Peter 3:9, I Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19ff., John 3:15ff.), and those who are His have received it freely, as in His own knowledge, who works all things after the counsel of His own will, is notably the case.
Glory then be to the Lord of glory who having come to purchase His own, with absolute and utter sincerity offering to all, now with His purchase continues in that eternal blessedness which is always His, having in love gained many more to share it with Him, whose it is.
What a possession is this, the glory of God covering the earth as the waters cover the sea, yes the KNOWLEDGE of that glory so covering it, and His mercy and grace, as that of a Shepherd with His sheep, having a scope and a style so majestic, so effectual, so peaceable after so much war, with such grace! Moreover, this is merely a prelude of vindication of the Lord, attestation, confirmation, exhibition of the realities of life so many have beclouded and ignored. AFTER this is far more and far better still, with the devil no longer in mere abeyance, as he will be for the millenium, but displaced for ever; and the Lord in His eternal fatherhood, Christ in His brotherhood, the Lamb in His glory, is as the very temple (Revelation 21:22).
WHAT RELATIONSHIP DOES ISRAEL HAVE
TO THIS WORLDWIDE MILLENIUM ?
First let us consider what Israel is, before the God who called it into being. The fact that He is the God who made heaven and earth MEANS that what He says, goes. He is not dilatory: time in our form requiring patience, is an invention of His from eternity, which imposes no limits. What then has He said ?
Israel was called through Abraham for a twofold mission - to provide a human base for a divine blessing to all men, and to be the select occupant of part of the earth as a great nation (Genesis 12).
It wa in fact (Genesis 17:7-8) a covenant made with Abraham, the first of the Jewish Hebrews, that he should be the father of many nations, there being an unqualified covenant.
This included a specific domain, "all the land of Canaan" (Genesis 17:8). Indeed, in Genesis 15, we see God making a solemn covenant, as sure as life, in which there was to be a 400 year sojourn in another land, following which there would be Canaan; for at that time, it was, despite intense wickedness, not yet ready for the divine judgment which the nation (to be called 'Israel' later) which was coming to it. God is not peremptory or ill-tempered, and when a thing takes time, and He desires it to be left to that time, left it is. What God foreknew, this He did, since as truth's very essence and source, His thoughts do not wobble, wander or grow old.
The dimensions of the given land were spelled out in Genesis 15:18-21. It was extensive. While breach of covenant, if painful and chronic, could lead to loss and even exile, yet within its steadfast provisions, there was no movement at all.
In Isaiah 41:23, the specific feature to show forth the praise of God is noted, so that what came ot be called Israel, Prince of God, through Jacob (Genesis 32:22ff.), had as a duty a series of features and foci noted in Deuteronomy specifically. These related to its privilege of being so near to God, more than any nation (5:26ff.), having been granted this place of messenger, example and centre for broadcast of the testimony of God to a world that had only just escaped from the flood (Genesis 6), because of inveterate wickedness from youth up, which has such similarly to our present position, where it is even mistaught as if it NEEDED further spoilage! and where immorality becomes immune, and those who object can be prosecuted, as may those who preach critically, using the Bible as text and basis for things positive and negative, though peaceably and carefully.
Despite triumphant periods of success, starting with the divinely bred exodus from slavery in Egypt (as in Exodus), and a miraculously aided taking of Canaan through Joshua, there was an inherent slackness which over hundreds of years, as shown in Kings and Chronicles, brought derangement of their mission and of their status, though long did it persist through various disciplines, and in various mercies of sovereign grace: that is, the grace God shows because He IS gracious. That is His name and nature, and in this there is nurture (cf. Isaiah 63:11-13, Psalm 107.
For a time the kingdom grew in greatness because in mercy, truth and obedience, the power of God found and applied through covenantal faith, and in David's day, it grew exceedingly powerful, sometimes, as in the case of the defeat and killing of boastful anti-God giant Goliath, through valour and faith, at others, through military empowerment. In the earlier part of son Solomon's reign, this power multiplied, as did riches, but towards the end, his greatness became a fertile field for spiritual seduction, and the seeds of ruin were sown multiply.
At length, Israel proved such a repressive (Amos 6:11ff., Zephaniah 3:2-7) and irreligiously religious nation, with lips near to God while the heart was far (despite many grand characters to the contrary), that it became a case more of meretricious failure than meritorious testimony, so that God spiritually excluded them as a people AS SUCH who would be a blessing. Yet He kept His word.
The way in which He did this, was to fulfil the promise of Genesis 3:15, where it was promised that one down the line of the descendants of Eve, would be enabled to crush the sinfulness to which Satan had successfully drawn the first, created pair, while suffering in the process (crush the head of the evil one, while bruising His heel*5). You see the careful exclusion of the nation and inclusion of ONE to come THROUGH it, in many places, as we shall attest, but the exclusion of Israel in this spiritual aspect as the show-case is seen in Isaiah 30:8-11, where it is noted that this is a rebellious, a designation not lifted "for ever and ever." They even wanted, we there find, seers who would not see, and prophets to "prophesy deceits", telling them "speak to us smooth things," and to get lost, ceasing their constraining messages. In fact, they were wanting their prophets so to act that the way of the Holy One would be forgotten.
In short, they were just like so many political machines and national machinations found in the world today: from a falling Europe (that even the pope in his mighty imposture*6 finds in need of missioning), a fallen Russia, an horrific China dedicated to a permanent death of deity, while many of its people are crushed in ways that would doubtless have been instructive to ancient Israel at its worst*7, whole people following false religions*8. This being obviously intolerable for a covenant people, (just as, after much divine patience, it will be likewise, for those bound in what Isaiah calls 'the everlasting covenant' from the first, applicable to the whole world as implied in the universality of the use of the term in Isaiah 24:5): apt results at length supervene.
In accord with this, in Isaiah 65:13-15, 62:1-3, we see that God will call His people by a 'new name', while Israel would leave its name "as a curse to My chosen," who would be given 'another name' (63:15).
The Messiah, however, from the seed of Abraham and David at the flesh level, would replace Israel the nation in purity, counsel, might and in fact, in sacrificial service, to atone for sin, both as priest extraordinary and as victim for sin, as which He would be the Saviour by whom the blessing at the universal level as one of the promises to Abraham affirmed, would come to all people (Isaiah 41:27-42:7, 51:18-53:12). Not only was He, as there shown, to be a substitute for Israel, "an Israel in whom I will be glorified" (Isaiah 49:3), unlike the fallen nation, which as in Isaiah 41 and 51 is declared to have none to offer to perform the necessary function, none at all worthy. No, there is more. He was also to be the saviour as a substitutionary sin-offering for ALL who came to Him, thus not only overcoming Israel's failure, but the sin-failure of all; for by no means was Israel a monopolist on sin! Yet for any in or out of Israel, there was one rule: to BELIEVE in Him and to receive Him as this sacrifice sent for sin, just as animal sacrifices had to be received by faith, as depicting the ground of sin's cover.
Thus the Messiah, from the seed of David as to the flesh (II Samuel 7), unlike the rest of Israel both COULD and WOULD replace on the one hand, and fulfil on the other, the sacrificial service to atone for sin, both as priest extraordinary and victim from heaven's richness, provided in love, which animal sacrifices had symbolically portrayed. When it comes to sin, symbolism, though instructive, is insufficient. Christ and He alone, the Messiah, however IS adequate. God is adequate for God (Micah 5:1-3), and His sending from His eternal place as the Word of God (Isaiah 48:16) was with unending goodwill and love from Him who sent Him, and this became the measure of His love for mankind (cf. John 3:15ff., Romans 5:1-12).
Thus though the very name of Israel, the nation, was left as a curse to God's chosen (Isaiah 65:15), yet it was One from Israel, God as man, who would actually become accursed, for those who would believe in Him, with heart and soul (Deuteronomy 6:5, as from Christ, Matthew 22:37), the enduring criterion. To be sure, one might ask the Lord to 'help my unbelief', but such a request would be granted, as it appeared to be from the heart. Faith may be small, but if it IS faith, it has the necessary contact and communion as a result, which from what is small as a mustard seed, can move mountains as Christ specifically stated.
Double-mindedness, on the other hand, is a virus against faith, and a quittance from it (James 1:8). Such, says James, is "unstable in all his ways." You don't have to win a prize for your faith; but faith is what it needs to be. Deuteronomy 29:19ff. shows such a double-mindedness. As to such, "the Lord would not spare him."
As to believing, then, we see the impact and result of this in Isaiah 53:10, 32:17ff., 54, 51:11, 27:5, 32:16ff..
Thus he nation of Israel would, after qualifying for exile as in Leviticus 26, be enabled gratuitously by the mercy of God, to return to their land (Ezekiel 36-39), and to their crucified and resurrected King, the Messiah (Psalm 22, 16 with Isaiah 49-55, 60-61), being thereby given free access to eternal life with everlasting jouy upon their heads, as many as believed in Him (Hosea 5:15ff., 13:14), when the time came.
It is then, as Zechariah 12-13:1 shows, this lapse and fall of the nation, by the Gospel, free to all, Jew or Gentile, and in particular application to Israel by a massive spiritually directed repentance for their national crime against the Christ. They would, in due course when the Lord Himself should come, in the very centre of His divine action (cf. Zechariah 14:5), and those who believed, empowered in the rule of Christ in direct company (Micah 4, 7, Isaiah 11).
So often we hear of this 'remnant' and Isaiah tells us of their coming back a "second time" (11:11), following His discovery as the place of glorious rest (11:10), even by the Gentiles. Indeed the apostle Paul speaks in a figure as if he were encouraging Israel to envy of the Gentiles, if by any means they might take up their spiritual abode in that same Jesus Christ, whom the latter had found with such unbounded delectation (Romans 11:13-14).
Indeed, they of Israel with those others, all of one 'new name', would at Christ's return - those who believed in Him following the evangelising impact of the Holy Spirit as noted in Zechariah 12-13, would be resurrected as embraced in coveragte by His dead body, now like an adopted body, a container unit for all who come to Him, as in Romans 12, and Ephesians 2 and 4. This is seen in Isaiah 26:19, the more obviously when words not actually in the text are NOT added!
Hence just as the promised Abrahamic "blessing" was to apply to all nations, so does this same salvation of this same Messiah (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Jeremiah 16:19ff.). Like the flood, His coverage is universal, but this is not to drown to death, but to cover for life; and those drawn in, as before, are those to be saved.
But what of Jerusalem ? It would resume as their national capital (Zechariah 12:6 is almost droll in its intensive emphasis that it is a place and not a dream of some kind! just as was Christ, as seen in Luke 21:24 where they are securely placed back in their city, though for a second time, and a long one, they were to, and did lose it!). This it would do as the Gentile period, one specifically noted by Christ, is fulfilled. In this, as in Romans 11, Gentiles are replacing Israel (the nation - not all, for the apostles were Jews!), as bearing the spiritual mission in heart as distinct from form, with a new special people, those who are Christ's, "a royal priesthood" (I Peter 2:9), neither exclusive of Jewish persons nor conditioned especially by them.
It is of course true that many were the great deeds wrought through Israel as Paul insists in Romans 9:1ff., but alas, this did not atone for their lapse concerning the Lord Himself: for only in return in repentance, for them as for any other sinful being or entity, is their hope; and with faith, is there assurance of eternal life in the very heartland of the Lord, which is heaven itself. Here then all have become one (Galatians 3:23ff., Romans 11), a thing of magnificent counsel from the Lord, as Paul asseverates.
Now for the millenium (Isaiah 11, Psalm 72 etc.), the Lord Himself, the Messiah is King, and Jerusalem where He died to be the Saviour and rose to be Lord (cf. Romans 14:9), both of the dead and of the living, is (as one would expect), the capital, the site for Christ, a culminating conclusion to its office as at the beginning, as the centre for the development of God's dealing for Israel (cf. SMR p. 823). There is only one God, only one salvation, only one Jesus the Messiah, only one history, only one divine governance of it, only one site where the Saviour was Himself the sacrificial lamb, was resurrected and one centre where His rule flames across the world (Micah 4, Isaiah 2).
It is not ultimately a political matter, but intimately a divine one: the death of Christ, the power of God to deliver any and all in resurrection, the confirmation of all that He did, and the exhibition in Messianic power as in Isaiah 11, of who He in fact is, now that judgment, instead of being excluded, becomes the very issue!
Thus Jerusalem will be, at that time, neither an international secular capital, though the UN of 1947 shows how much the unbeliever would love such a diminution of its significance, part in fact of its desire to diminish God to the size of man and his own counsels. Indeed, this is one of the chief reasons why there is such a furore about Jerusalem, which is aggravated by the desire that a false prophet, Muhammad, whose people are famous for centuries as purveying their religion by force, and making at best, second class citizens of those who are UNDER their rule and in SUBMISSION to their religious supremacy, such as they, like so many other regimes, even the Roman Catholic*9, have desired. It is not, however, by forceful submission but by a gentler mission that man is to be won, from his wandering and woes, to the God of creation and redemption, without whose mercy in sacrifice, man would have no hope ever to attain by goodness to the glorious purity of God, or to live in peace, with Him for ever.
There are indeed many others who would like to seize and make a subsidiary of Jerusalem, who disdain the spiritual desires stated from the Lord in the Bible. To none of these will it be granted, though some will peep into it in hope. It is not even going to be a spiritual site to glorify Israel, though it will glorify its Messiah, whom it was careful, as a nation, to dismiss so summarily. It is, after all, He of whom the prophets of Israel spoke, those called by God, whom the temple symbolised, who became the ultimate victim and victor, carrying on His shoulders the whole array of those saved, who will there rule, as over all the earth. There WILL be a consummation of the call to Abraham, fulfilled both in Christ and in Israel's return as the vision becomes history (cf. It Bubbles ...Ch. 10).
No, neither an international centre nor a mere capital for Israel will it be; but Israel for all that, remains the site for His rule, and the Book given to it, with the New Testament, remains the guide and guarantor of all these things; and this land so given to Israel, is not removable from them, though the glory of being an exhibit for spiritual purposes, alas, has been removed. It is now Christ and He alone on whom the glory centres; and its effulgence will flow all over the earth. Nothing but Christ will be honoured as Saviour, none but God Himself, who sent Him from His eternal lodging as His Word, will be exalted (cf. Isaiah 2) in that day; and in His rule, all things will be set sovereignly in place, precisely as He has ordained, ordered and declared. Israel has done much (Romans 9), and has lost much (Romans 10); and the land was the least of it, just as it is returned to them simply because this is what God had said from the first, unequivocally, finally, determinatively, unconditionally. As Christ's glory covers the earth in the millenium, the fact that it was by divine APPOINTMENT will not be lost, since He who spoke, it is He who is the King!
Alas, Israel the nation, religiously, is astray to this day, though assuredly no worse than the declining Gentiles, whom even the pople would like to evangelise anew, even in Europe! (The Australian, Jun 30, 2010). If idolatry*10 in such a centre is grieved, then what of the Lord! If pollution can complain, what does purity itself do, in the heart of God!
Nevertheless, in fulfilment of divine unconditional promise, Israel would be- as in simple fact, it has been - restored to its divinely given land (Ezekiel 36-39), for the rule of Christ when they repent as foretold, but not for any merit of their own (Ezekiel 36:22). The same baptism would be theirs as for any Gentile who comes to that same Messiah (Ezekiel 36:25ff.), in the manner shown (cf. News 51). It is moreover the same covenant (Jeremiah 31:31ff., Isaiah 42:6), the new one; for in fact Christ IS that covenant (Isaiah 421:6ff.), and His blessing is to all nations. This removes neither history nor prophecy; but it fulfils both, as He has proclaimed it, and those who can glory, these have only one place to do it: in the LORD, and in His Christ (cf. Revelation 11:15).
IN the millenium, as a centre from the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, Israel will again be a special site, a place for the nation, but this as a specific in the presence for all, of the Lord God; and it is sustained in this restoration with no glory but that of Christ. That glory, however, will be surpassing (Isaiah 60-61), just as it has been within the hearts of His people in the Gentile era, the Church Age; and it will then be as open as now it is hidden from the deadened eye, and excluded from the sleeping heart. Then the very earth will be full, witnessing the glory of God in ways that even sleep can no more ignore, with power which even the travesties of the devil, cannot touch, with an openness of glorious manifestation, like the sun shining in its strength, following the tempests and the trials of pilgrimage. .
AN ARRAY OF REFERENCES
DEALING WITH VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THIS THEME
It may prove helpful to have assembled in one place a number of earlier presentations in the field of what is to come at the terminus of history, and a selection is presented below for this purpose.
Regal Rays of Revelation Ch. 8; Repent or Perish Ch. 6, pp. 128ff.,
Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 10 (this may almost duplicate another, check)
Little Things Ch. 1
Galloping Events Ch. 8 esp. *2 also *1
News 124 (overview of relevant -isms) = news 124
Little Things 9, 10 (Here in Little 10, it is the prelude to the millenium that is in view, but in that Israel's reconstitution is contrary to amellenial norms, and in that this multiplicity within unity is to be fulfilled in Israel's coming back to a large extent spiritually, SO the consummation with the Lord ruling there, cannot be disjoined without mere rupture of such texts as Micah 4-7.)
Outrageous Outages ... and the Courage of Christ Ch. 11 (preliminary) Here note that JUST AS Israel itself is to be reconstituted and turned into a spiritual body as part of the Church, so the millenium, no more evaporative than Israel, will exhibit the victory of Christ in a sequence not rough-hewn from the imagination of God, but precisely propositionalised by the Maker of jots and tittles, into existence. Again, it is not to be a reversion to what is obsolete, but a conversion to a world in which the glory of the Lord covers, even in the knowledge of it, the earth as the waters the sea.
SMR Appendix A, pp. 502ff., 750Bff., 727ff., 732Bff.,
The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, p. 20ff.; including *3 with
Light of Dawn Ch. 6 (at Problems of Changing),
Biblical Blessings Ch. 3, 45ff.,
A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 18 touchdown
The Wit and the Wisdom of God Ch. 2).
The Impregnable Tower Ch. 8
The Biblical Workman, Appendix on Faith, pp. 165-172
The Biblical Workman Ch. 1 , esp. Excursion
at End-note 3
Joy Comes in the Morning Ch. 7
The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 5
The Holocaust of Morals and the Coming of Christ the King Ch. 4
Christ Jesus, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 1, *4
TMR Ch. 4
Man in Retrospect, in Prospect and in Bold Relief Ch. 7
Re Calvin's lapse, and the necessity to be both clear and biblical on the topic of the extent of the disposing love of God. His love is as Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33, John 3 and the whole fabric of divine dealings shows it to be, broader than the heavens, unmanipulable, allied to truth and righteousness, without flaw, fault or defect, for as I John 4 states, God is love, and nothing in its ultimate and pure domain finds other than criterion in Him.
Predestination and Freewill Part 2 ,
To Know God ... Ch. 1, *2,
Repent or Perish Ch. 1, *1 ,
The Biblical Workman Ch. 8, esp. pp. 124ff.,
Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy Ch. 9,
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 1,
Aspects of the Glory of the God of All Grace Ch. 6;
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 3
(and regeneration, the love of God, Calvinism, Wesley
and the nether options, with special attention to John 3),
with Great Execrations ... Greater Grace Chs. 7, and 9, and
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4;
Celestial Harmony for the Terrestial Host Ch. 2 (and Calvin's word on Romans!),
Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 9;
Three Anzas, One Answer Ch. 6;
Christ's Ineffable Peace ... Ch. 2
(extensive, covers decretum horribile);
Christ Ineffable ... I EPILOGUE*
Light of Dawn Ch. 1,
Trust God, Mate! Forget about 'Fate'... Ch. 6,
Serenity, Not Serendipity ... Chs. 5, 14
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 2 ,
The Face of God ... Ch. 9 End-note 1,
Marvels of Predestination ... Ch. 6, Supplement 2,
Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah Chs. 8, 9;
Glory, Vainglory and Goodness Ch. 7.
*2 See Index under amillenialism.
Force. See Chs.
3 and 2 above. See also SMR pp.
50ff., 65ff.. See also SMR
See Divine Agenda Ch. 6, More Marvels ... Ch. 4 and indexes.
The use of three and one half times, 42 months and 1260 days in the book of Revelation relates to Daniel 9, and this is treated in some detail as to its meaning and application in SMR pp. 886ff., with 959ff.. From the latter a short excerpt is here given, but it is necessary to understand the teaching overall to appreciate fully the portent. It is as follows.
EXTENSION 7: Daniel's Last Seven
The Messianic Week And The Day Of Salvation
In declaring Himself, concerning the advent of His Son, the Messiah, God performed a tour de force in predicting the death date. Tracing after that event, the flow and events, He withholds the time of His return, rupturing the realisation of the end, until He please. Purely as an exercise in thoroughness, we may ask: What is to happen to the other half, the second half of the 70th. week, the Messianic week, as we have named it ?
Acts 1 shows Jesus Christ, point blank refusing to announce the time when His kingdom will resume: as if saying, Well, Daniel is fulfilled in My being set at nought; and that will take us indeed to the brink of the final consummation, in one sense; but in another, there is much still to be done, on the basis of what is now accomplished; and it is not expedient for you to know the times the Father has set in His hand (Acts 1:7). There is work to be done and the power with which to do it is to come: it is that to which you are referred; and that power will enable Christians to witness effectively of Me, throughout the whole world (Acts 1:8). It is the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. II Corinthians 3:17-18, Luke 24:46-49).
Equally explicit are the reasons why the time is not being told: such are found in Matthew 24:14,42-51. We are to watch like servants not knowing when the master will come and inspect. It is good that we so act, alert, and that those who do not, are revealed. Hypocrisy is not helped by lacking the date of this return; and holiness is not troubled by its absence. That is the key. Moreover God has worked in Himself the means of everlasting righteousness for sinners (Daniel 9:24-26), and defers judgment for the world till ALL peoples have heard (Matthew 24:14, II Peter 3:18-19).
Revelation 11 shows the subjugation of the temple to Gentile domination for what is 42 months, or 1260 days, that is, the half seven; the one which remained, still to be fulfilled, after Jesus Christ was set at nought. The Church is of course to be a witness during this entire time of Gentile dominion over Jerusalem, symbolised as two witnesses (Revelation 11:1-3), this being the needed number by the law (Deuteronomy 17:6). Like Elijah (James 5), the church of God has indeed power to call down fire, holy fire, and often indeed it has burned and that fiercely: in testimony and truth, in rebuttal and reponse, in the power and name of the Lord.
Even the specific time of the man of sin himself is set at the same 42 months (Revelation 13:5, Daniel 7:8,24-25), evidently a symbolic because undecipherable number, one as it were molested as Christ was, and marred more than the form of man; so that it is hidden. In the highly symbolic book of Revelation (of course it is often literal too), there seems a positive play on this number, for times large and small. It is possible of course that a literal 42 months will mark the outstanding actions of the man of sin, while the same figure is used to cover the time of the Gentiles, which, as they come to Christ, are hidden. However in view of the diverse uses made of this figure, it appears a code term deliberately emasculated of its specific time element, in terms of the penalty of forfeiture for the Jewish people, to whom the prophecy was made, and who despatched with wicked hands, the Messiah who came precisely in His time.
It is as if to say: Very well, He indeed came on time and in the fulness of predicted time, but you, having crucified Him, forfeit participation further in intelligence of Him, until you repent.
The Messianic week, the seventieth, therefore, will be arithmetically simple till the murder of Jesus Christ occurs; after that, it will be symbolically hidden, the very time frame which pointed to the end, becoming a code for what is hidden till in God's providence the people are restored and renewed.
We do not have to guess in this matter: Jesus Christ expressly stated - with just that harmony and resonance with the written word of God which is so characteristic, and so verificatory of His place as the living word of God - that there would be a certain delay. It had reason; and it had an end. His return cannot be until the time of the Gentiles is over, a time which is the prelude to the return of heart of so many Jews (Romans 11:25-27), and which does not come until Jerusalem is out of the hands of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24-27).
The return of Jesus Christ is, in that very chapter of Luke, subsequent to this release of Jerusalem, which of course happened progressively from 1948 to 1967 culminating in the 1980 decree of its being the eternal capital of Israel. This sign of the near approach is all we can say; except this, that Christ will not be seen by the Jews until they at last say, "blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Luke 13:35). The city has to be restored to the Jews, and now is so; and they must return, and they, in enormous numbers, have done so.
As exegeted earlier, the Jew and Gentile contingents of Christ's body are not indicated as separately coming to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb: the marriage is neither bigamous nor sequential in bits, and the unwise virgins, not ready in time for His coming, do not enter at all (Matthew 25:11-12). On this basis, then, the end of the seventieth week will not be before that blessed event of Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:25 ff.. That of course could come at any time, suddenly. That having been said, we learn from this merely what happens first, and not at all when He will come, when the seventieth week can be considered fulfilled. These are way signs, X-marks on the map, but even they are not its terminus, refreshingly confirmatory though they undoubtedly are (II Peter 1:19, Luke 21:28).
The return and the last seven therefore are not given to us to depict in any fixed number; and even the use in Revelation and Daniel of the 42 months for the antichrist's rule is subject to this caveat. Ways to know are expressly forbidden, with propriety on the one hand, and purpose on the other.
It might be urged, that from the man of sin, the 42 months will simply transpire with the abomination of desolation events (Matthew 24:15-27), following the Jews' conversion in such numbers as Paul and Zechariah predict. On the tread of this figure in the culmination of his blasphemy, comes Christ. Against any such assurance on the exact duration of this climacteric period, however, is the multiple usage of this number, following the crucifixion in the book of Revelation (cf. Daniel). There is no warrant for the view that this hiding of number having occurred, Christ as it were in the wings until 'called' to come on stage again for the Jews, His time being designated with this number as we have seen, and the man of sin being given it also, for his code... that it suddenly becomes literal again. The sequence proceeds, but its form is arrested, possessed in the sovereign discretion of God whose Son was both sent and slaughtered, and whose coming intervention in judgment is - while well attested by events - no gift to 'enemy intelligence'. God's hand is not forced.
There is ground for its symbolic setting: Christ is removed, His work in the Jews in terms of salvation (one speaks nationally) ceased; now with His Father (Acts 3:19-21), hidden from the Jews (nationally), He will have His Messianic 'seven' administered as may seem best (Acts 1:7). These weeks (literally sevens) will have their scope and scale sovereignly seized and adjusted, following the crucifixion of the Saviour after 69 sevens. Hidden, the timing of His coming will judiciously be veiled from our eyes. The intensity of the final time (Mark 13:20) however, as well as analogy with the earlier period of Daniel 8, together with the setting of Daniel 7:25, potently suggests a short-term 'man of sin' (II Thessalonians 2:3-8).
The slaughter of the Son of God is thus the sign, signal, ground for the breach of normal sequence, vindicating the foresight in the selection of the term 'seven'. As with the Saviour, so with the procedural element of the salvation; as with the King, so with the procedural element of the kingdom: for the Jews, to whom these prophecies were addressed, having refused to listen, will be denied a hearing; having dispensed with the King of the sequence, will be denied the knowledge of its expiry. They will, for this, await the divine pleasure. The Lord, as we take it, for the reasons given, awaits their repentance. Certainly He knows when that will be; certainly it is as His initiative that it will eventually come; but equally sure, it will come in the way and on the day which relates effectively to the fact that God made man in His image, and does no violence to his will.
It is not that the 'clock stops ticking', for this last half-seven; but that the King who is Lord of the Sabbath, is also Lord of continuity; and has elected to institute a device of discontinuity through arrest of simple sequence, as did the Jews for Him on earth, both biologically and chronologically! A major portion of that 'device' is disbelief by the Jews. This time does count, but it is counted differently, as shown by the multiple arithmetic symbolism of the book of Revelation with Daniel, that has been noted. Meanwhile, it is a case of "Awake Him not until He pleases," as the Song of Solomon puts it. As He so pointedly told them, when lamenting over the foretold destruction of Jerusalem:
See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I tell you,
you will not see Me until the time comes when you say,
'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.' (Matthew 23:38-39.)
The seven will be in units as long as He pleases, but signified more observably by the events which mark its progress: like the hands of a huge clock, the clock of Christ, who handles the machinery of history, as the word of His Father, creating the consequences of time, and living as the centrepiece of salvation (cf. II Peter 3:8-9).
See SMR Chs. 3, 10, with RELIGION, RELIGIOSITY AND REALITY IN CHRIST.
If then some wish to make it not really a resurrection, but have this term to be used figuratively, as in the reference to Israel, in Romans 11, whose restoration to the Lord is likened to "life from the dead" without any 'like', this would be seen simply as extending a usage from what is similar in a little, to what categorically is the identical; but this it is not. It is then a matter of using a further and unsubstantiated figure in an admittedly figurative exposition, that of a tree, in a case of summary judgment and finality.
Some seem further to think that perhaps this is merely a part of the church, those still living as representative of it, which is in view, as if they could represent the team, and their experience as one body could be susceptible to transfer in some sense, to all. Yet bodies so divided under one Head become rather strangely extensible in such a case, and the very obvious emphasis in the body references, to Christ and His body, on integrity and unity would be foiled, rather than ignored, in such a case.
Indeed, that would be a difficult proposition indeed. How would those who are expressly said to be slain in one of the two major categories of those concerned (Revelation 20:4), be not slain, but without resurrection, living, operative and effectual ? Literally the term here is 'axed' often rendered beheaded, but it is not in the Greek, the specific term for that, for there is another term available, mentioning the 'head' in its format. The term actually used in 20:4 is one mentioning an axe, which might indeed come to much the same thing, but might not: as in English, you could be axed without the literal use of an axe - hence the Berkeley translation 'slain'. However it certainly refers to slaughter, physically. That category is in the Greek included, as is the other, 'and those who had' not worshipped the beast, separately. The extension comes in that manner.
The matter is pursued beyond these bounds in the text.
The reference in Genesis 3:15, the so-called protevangelium, signifies someone to come, who will be beyond the fallen powers of man, in his misalignment and entanglement in dynamics of horror, projected from the devil, and yet wrought and sent in the form of a man, who will in this format, be vulnerable enough to be able to suffer, truly man, of the seed of woman, and yet ultimately unsubduable, so that it is only His heel that is bruised as He stamps on this serpent, on the power of Satan. Thus though he is to suffer as man, he is to have power beyond that of man, systematically overlord even of the devil, and in overcoming that creature, smiting its very head, He will for all that, merely bruise His heel. In other words, the victory, though costly, will be summary and complete. The labour, though real and arresting, is not such as to leave the issue in any doubt. In this way is the advent of the power of God over the power to resist Him, shown through the work of a coming being, dressed in the robes of man, yes more than that, actually coming AS A MAN, one later to be called the Messiah.
For this 'evangelising' see * 10 below. For his imposture, presumably unconscious, but actual, see for background:
SMR pp. 911ff., and more extensively, pp. 1032-1088H.
Foul as were some of Israel's kings, like Ahaz and Manasseh, yet the blatancy, scope and ferocious disdain for any sort of humaneness which some now practice in tribal, religious or totalitarian horror, leaves it all but impossible to surpass them. As the Gentile era ends - that is, the time of specific Israeli absence from the sharing of the counsels of God, as a NATION, the long haul of departing expressly from Christ, the Lord (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8), as outlined in Romans 11, a time coming to a full end with its large-scale spiritual awakening now near, since the end of the Age itself is near, so its own utter corruption reeks skywards, to the heavens.
The Gentiles have certainly not lost any competition to see who can over the long term, be most odious towards the Lord.
See Errors and Sects, with News 121, 122, for example.
See SMR pp. 911ff., 946ff., with Ancient Words and Modern Events Ch. 14.
See SMR pp. 1088Bff..