Monday, November 7, 2011

The Millennial Kingdom Continued: Who? and What?

"Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!" Isaiah 65:17-18a
In the last post, we learned why there will be a millennial kingdom. Now, we'll take a look at what it will be like. The Bible offers such a significantly VAST amount of information on this future time period that, in the interest of at least attempting to be brief, I will list some scripture references at the bottom in case you would like to do further study on your own. Here's just a little taste of what God has given us:

For starters...
Who will be there?
  • The church- We will have been with Jesus in heaven as the tribulation was happening on earth. The moment we were raptured, our bodies will have been transformed into what the Bible calls "glorified" bodies, just like that of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)! When we return with Jesus, we will be coming back with these immortal, indestructible, pain-free, nearly limitless bodies, unrestrained by the current laws of nature that have plagued us on earth. We will no longer be married or bear children. We will now have a new purpose. This includes all believers, past and present.
  • The gentiles and Jews who were saved during the tribulation and their future descendants- Those who accepted Jesus during the tribulation will be resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6), as most of them will have likely been martyred for their faith, and they will enter into the Millennium along with the church. These people will have new bodies, and they will benefit from the near perfect environment that God is creating, but they will still be mortal, as will their descendants be, as they will quickly repopulate the earth. When the Millennial Kingdom begins, everyone present will be a follower of Jesus. These people are eternally saved; they cannot lose that security and salvation. However, the generations that will follow must accept Christ at some point in their lives just as all of us have had to do. 
What will it be like?
  • Despite the fact that future generations will be required to make a heart choice to love and obey God inwardly, which sadly some will not, everyone will obey Him outwardly. Zechariah 14:16-19 tells us that there will be INSTANT judgment against disobedience. Justice will be served and evil will not be tolerated. This same passage also tells us that temple worship will be reinstated during the millennium, something we'll get into more in the next post, as we take a look at God's special plans for the nation of Israel.
  • Isaiah 65:19-25 gives us a beautiful picture of what to expect:
  • No more crying. (v.19)
  • No infant mortality. No premature death of any kind. (v.20) This verse clearly indicates that there will still be death, just not in the way that we're used to seeing it now.
  • Tremendous blessing produced by the work of our own hands. (v.21)
  • No theft and extremely long life. (v.22)
  • God will respond to the call of every person on the earth before they even finish speaking the words, perhaps before they even finish a thought. (v.24)
  • Perfect peace and perfect protection. (v.25)
  • Isaiah 29:17-21 tells us that the land will be fertile, the deaf will hear, the blind will see, there will be no more scoffers, no more arrogance, and those who plot evil will be destroyed. The innocent will no longer be falsely accused and justice will no longer be perverted. 
  • And good news for anyone who's sick of Arizona summers or Nebraska winters! The whole world will be a perfect paradise, unaffected by harsh seasons or uninhabitable terrains. Right now, only small portions of this enormous earth are truly inhabitable. In the millennium, that will no longer be a problem. (Isaiah 35:1-2,6-7)
  • What will we do? We, the church, will be ruling along side Jesus, our King (Revelation 5:10, 20:4). We will rule over the gentile world, while King David, under the rule of Christ, will govern the Hebrew people. We also learn from 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 that we will have a hand in judging the world.
As wonderful as all of this sounds, the point is not how amazing our world will be; the MOST IMPORTANT part is the fact that we will be with Jesus! We will be living in the very midst of God himself. We will be able to see him, talk to him, touch him... This is what should drive us forward. It's what should give us hope for the future, and it is what should be our joy and comfort now, in this life!

Jesus is not a means to an end. He IS the end! He IS our prize! He IS our answered prayer!

Is Jesus your "end"? Or is he just the means by which you hope to receive some other blessing, financial, relational, professional, personal? If you aren't satisfied with Jesus now, you won't be satisfied with him later. He has to be your everything!

Next time, we'll take a look at God's special plans for the nation of Israel. The Jewish people have always been and always will be his chosen people. They must accept Jesus Christ as their savior, just as the rest of the world is required to do, but God has not forgotten them, despite their rejection of him, and during the millennial kingdom, he will fulfill every last promise he has ever made to them. 

**For further study: Zechariah 14; Also, take a look at the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, and Revelation, just for starters! 

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