1 Corinthians 13
9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!
12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
The Apostle Paul was the first to admit that he did not know everything concerning the last days. I must echo that sentiment and attest to the fact that God has not made the future completely clear to us at this point in time. We catch dimly lit glimpses of things to come, we hear prophecies and gain revelation but as of now we still see an imperfect picture as though we are looking through a haze. Yet, the glimpses we catch are amazing and wonderful sights which give us a framework for the days ahead. For example:
· We know Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for us in heaven.
· We know Jesus is coming in the clouds to receive us unto Himself, we don’t know when …
· We know the Church is both the Body and the Bride of Christ and that there will one day be a wedding in heaven to which all saints will be invited.
· We know there will be a tribulation period and a great tribulation period on the earth.
· We know Jesus will return to earth with His armies to defeat the antichrist but we don’t know how we will fight or what weapons we will use.
· We know Jesus will rule and reign on the earth for a thousand years.
· We know satan will be released after the millennial reign of Christ and will deceive the nations but we don’t understand how anyone on earth could be deceived at that point.
· We know God is going to completely destroy the earth and reestablish a new heaven and a new earth but we don’t fully know what we will be doing or how we will be living thereafter.
Suffice it to say we know a whole lot but understand very little. However, what we do understand is powerful. Let’s take another cloudy look into the dimly lit future and describe the images which are reasonably visible from the many descriptions of both the Old and New Testament writers concerning this 1000 year period called the Millennial Reign of Christ.
We may note that one concern of the Jews in accepting Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah is that there were taught to expect a Reigning Savior who, when He came, would deliver and forever protect Israel from her enemies and rule the nations from His throne in Jerusalem with a rod of iron.
This conflicted with the persecution, death and seemingly defeat of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The picture of Jesus on the cross is not the picture of a ruling and reigning King of the Jews. However, the prophets clearly established that Messiah should first suffer and pay for the sins, sicknesses and pains of the world and then return as a ruling King. This prophetic picture of the ruling Messiah is a picture of Jesus during His Millennial Reign.
The last time Jesus entered Jerusalem He was meek and mild, riding on the colt of a donkey, humble and without defense. The next time He enters that city He will be riding on a great white horse leading His armies of angels and saints and He will conquer all who oppose Him.
At the last trumpet the dead in Christ shall rise, (not all the dead but those who are in Christ), and the saints who are alive on earth will be instantaneously changed to be incorruptible. Then there will be some space of time whether 7 years, (to accommodate for the Pre-tribulation rapture theory) or 3 ½ years, (corresponding to the Mid-tribulation rapture theory), or even just a few seconds, (accounting for the Post-tribulation theory), a certain space of time will pass.
The reason we know this is because both groups, the dead in Christ and we which are alive and remain, will be caught up into the air to meet the Lord. After some period, if even milliseconds, Christ will then return with those saints and His holy angels to earth, set His feet down on the Mt of Olives, gather the nations and wage war against the antichrist and utterly defeat him.
The devil and his angels will be bound for a thousand years.
At that time Jesus will not return to sit on the heavenly throne with His Father God but will rather go up to Jerusalem and will sit upon the Throne of David on Mount Zion. Some believe this will be the time when Jesus will separate His sheep from the goats before the throne of His glory as recorded in Matthew 25. Others see this as a fulfillment of the prophecies in Psalms 2, Isaiah 2 and Micah 4.
However it happens, Jesus will sit on His throne in Jerusalem atop Mount Zion and from there He will rule the nations for a thousand years.
Prayerfully and studiously peering through the sometimes dimly lit clouds of prophecies, I can see a city set on a hill where Jesus is King. It is Mount Zion lifted up above the nations so that the Word and the Law are going forth from there throughout the whole world, carried by the waters which flow from beneath the throne of Christ. There are other thrones whereon sit the 12 Apostles of the Lamb and many saints who sit to judge the 12 Tribes of Israel and those who live on the earth.
Matthew 19:28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
I can see a “regeneration”, (Greek word paringhenesia), New Genesis, a New Birth, a New Beginning, a Beginning Again = “Genesis Again” for the saints of God in this Holy City where Jesus lives as the Tree of Life with the New Creation Saints, His Bride in that city. Outside are those who have survived the tribulation without accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
Life will be hard and harsh outside the city and the will of God. People will continue to have opportunity to submit themselves to God and worship His Christ who is King but many will refuse to obey the Lord.
16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.
There will be a great bubble of holiness and blessing over Judah and Jerusalem and all who worship the King will be welcomed to dwell there. Let’s read about this time from the Book of Revelation: (This will take place immediately after the Tribulation)
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand.
2 He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years.
3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.
4 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.)
6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.
7 When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison.
8 He will go out to deceive the nations …
1. Although we do not know everything, we understand some things, and those things are powerful and precious.
2. God has commanded His blessings on those who read and hear the prophecies of this book.
3. Satan will be defeated at the end of the Great Tribulation and will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit.
4. Jesus will set up His Kingdom on the earth and will reign from Jerusalem for 1000 years.
5. During this time all who have accepted Jesus as Messiah will rule and reign as kings and priests on the earth with Christ for 1000 years.
6. Then Satan will be released for a short season and he will deceive the nations once again and gather them to battle against King Jesus.
7. God will finally put an end to all rebellion and destroy the earth with a fervent heat … then will come the Great White Throne Judgment.