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The Millennium PDF Print E-mail
Written by W.R. Daniels, Jr.   

The word "Millennium" means a thousand years. It is a compound of two Latin words, "Mille," which means a thousand, and "Annum," which means a year.  In the twentieth chapter of Revelation the term "Thousand years" occurs six times. It is from this chapter that the doctrine of "The Thousand Year or Millennial Reign" is found. (Rev. 20:2-7).

VARIOUS MILLENNIAL POSITIONS

There are three main positions concerning the thousand years reign referred to in Revelation  20:2-7.  These positions are:  Postmillennium, Premillennium, and Amillennium (Non Millennium).

1. "Postmillennialists" believe: that the second coming of Christ will be after the thousand year reign. They further believe that the world will get better as time goes on. They believe that the nations of the world will be persuaded  to cease from war through the preaching of the gospel and other influences for good, and that there will then be a literal thousand years of peace and righteousness.  They believe that after this thousand years of peace and righteousness Jesus Christ will return and a general resurrection then a general judgment will take place.

2. "Premillennialists" believe: that conditions will grow worse and worse in the world, and that violence will fill the earth until the end. They believe that Christ will come to earth to reign a literal thousand years. They believe that Antichrist will be in power when Jesus comes back to reign. They believe that when Jesus comes to reign Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire, and the Devil will be bound a thousand years. They believe that after the Devil is bound the earth will have a literal one thousand year  reign of Christ and his saints. They believe that Christ will  sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, and reign from that throne. They believe in two bodily resurrections, one for the saints, and one for the wicked. They believe that these resurrections are one thousand years apart. In other words, they believe that when Christ comes and begins to reign the first resurrection will take place wherein the saints will be raised, and at the end of the thousand year reign the wicked will be raised.

3. "Amillennialists or Nonmillennialists" do not believe in a literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth.  It is said that, "In the days following the apostolic times the Nonmillennialists rejected the Book of Revelation and spoke of it as a book of fables."  There are many that do not believe in a literal thousand year reign, that is, an utopian era, as do the post-mill, and pre-mill advocates. They do believe in a thousand year reign, but they believe it is a spiritual reign,  that it  began with the first coming of Christ and will continue until his second coming. However, since these do not believe as the post, or pre-mill advocates  they are classed as a-mill. This is unfortunate because "amillennium" means no millennium . What then would be the  proper term to use? How about "Millennialist."

MILLENNIALISTS

Although the "Millennialist Position" is relatively unheard of, it is a valid position, and should  stand with the other positions in consideration.  The ultimate test for any position of thought is: "will it stand under the close scrutiny of scripture?"  While each of the three main positions have their good points, they also have points that cannot be validated by scripture.  In my view the "Millennialist Position" is the only position that holds true to the general teaching of the word of God.  "Millennialists" believe in a thousand year reign of Christ and his saints. However, they do not believe that thousand year reign is a "literal" reign of a one thousand years. They believe that the term "a thousand years" is figurative or symbolic, and speaks of  the spiritual reign of Christ and his saints during the span of the gospel age.  Since they do not believe in a "literal" thousand year reign, they are classed as a-mill or non -mill by those who hold to the pre-mill and post-mill positions.  I  hold the "Millennialist" position myself, and will now  show from the twentieth chapter of the book of Revelation why I hold this position.

THE BOOK OF REVELATION

Before studying the twentieth chapter of Revelation,  we need to look at the structure of the book itself.  This will help us in our understanding of the twentieth chapter.  The book is in three parts.  Part 1 is included in chapters 1:9 through 3:22.  Part 2 is included in chapters 4:1 through 11:18. Part 3 is included in chapters 11:19 through 22:5. The events foretold in the different parts are parallel to each other.  They begin at the same time and end at the same time. They are three witnesses testifying from three view -points as to the course of events from the first coming to the second coming of Christ.  This is the entire span of the gospel age. Part 1 is introduced by a vision of seven golden candlesticks, and  records the moral and spiritual changes to occur in the visible church till the second coming of Christ. Part 2 is introduced by a vision of the door opened in heaven, and records the struggles between earthly governments or kingdoms and the Divine, until "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev. 11:15).  Part 3 is introduced by a vision of the temple opened in heaven, and records the struggles to occur between the church and Satan, till the church is delivered into heaven, and Satan is cast into the lake of fire. This prophetic history is divided into seven  periods, marked in part 1 by seven churches, and in part 2 by seven seals. In part 2 the period  under the seventh seal is divided into smaller divisions marked by seven trumpets. Part 3 is marked by seven vials which are parallel to the seven trumpets in part 2.Now we need to look at the order of the things written about in the book.  In  chapter one, verse 19, we have the order given.  Please note that the order is threefold. The number "three" signifies Divine completion. Each of the three parts  of the book  of Revelation follow this order,  as well as some of the chapters in the book of which the twentieth chapter is one. Look now at the order.  (1) "Write the things which thou hast seen"; this speaks of the first coming of Christ in his public ministry, his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. The apostle John, the writer of the book of Revelation was an eye witness to this period of the gospel age under consideration,  (1Jo. 1:1).  (2) "and the things which are now;" this speaks of the period from the ascension to the time of the writing of the book in about 96 A.D. (3) "and the things which shall be hereafter;" this speaks of the period from 96 A.D. to the close of the church or gospel age, the great white throne judgment, and the end of time.

REVELATION 20:1-3

It must be remembered as we study the twentieth chapter of Revelation that the messages given were signified (sign-i-fied), Revelation 1:1. The word signified means: "to make known by signs or symbols." The key then to understanding Revelation, is to understand the sign or symbol by which the message is given.  With this in mind, we will  begin our study of the twentieth chapter where the doctrine of the "thousand year reign" is found.

"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years, should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." (Rev. 20:1-3).   The angel in the text is Jesus Christ.  In Isaiah 63:9 he is said to be the angel of  God's presence (face). This does not mean that Jesus is a created angel, for he is the eternal Son of God.  He is an angel in that he is "the messenger (angel) of the covenant," (Malachi 3:1).  Jesus came down from heaven (Jo. 6:38, Jo 17:1-8), having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. This means that Jesus came with authority and power over the Devil.  The purpose of Jesus coming into the world was that he might destroy the Devil and his works, (Heb. 2:14, 1Jo. 3:8).  We are told that the angel (Jesus) laid hold on the Devil, bound him, and cast him into the bottomless pit  (prison v 7), for a thousand years. The binding of Satan is in allusion to a prisoner bound by a chain to the wall or the floor. The mobility and power of Satan is to the extent of the length of the chain, or the restraint of Christ.  The authority and power of Jesus over Satan is shown in Matthew 12:22-29, and Luke 11:14-22.  Luke 11:21-22 says, "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils." Matthew 12:28 reads, "Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house."  Jesus, the stronger, bound Satan the strong man, and spoiled his house, as evidenced by the fact that he cast out devils.  We are told that Satan was to be loosed from the bottomless pit when the thousand years (the gospel age) are fulfilled. I believe that we are in the end of the gospel age now, and that Satan has been loosed. I will deal with this thought latter in our study.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

One of the flaws in the pre-mill and post-mill positions is that the literal thousand year reign will usher in the kingdom of God, or that this is the time when the kingdom of God will be set up. The truth is that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, and was already present. In essence, we have the kingdom of God versus the kingdoms of the world. Each of these kingdoms is ruled by a "strong man."  This fact is brought out in the two references mentioned above. In Matthew 12:22, and Luke 11:14 we are told that Jesus cast a devil out of a man, thereby spoiling Satan's house. The Pharisees, however, accused Jesus of doing this by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. To this Jesus answered, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how shall then his kingdom stand? (Mat. 12:25-26, Lu. 11:17-18).  Then Jesus said, "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you." (Mat. 12:28.  "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." (Lu. 11:20).  It is clear from Mat. 12:28 and Lu. 11:20 that the kingdom was present when Jesus was on earth doing what he came to do.  Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached repentance because the kingdom of God was at hand.  The term "at hand" means "it is here". For proof of this scriptural interpretation I will quote Mark 14:42-43.  Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and had taken with him James, Peter, and John.  While Jesus was in prayer these three apostles fell asleep. This happened three times. After the third time Jesus said unto them. "Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders."  Here, Jesus used the term "at hand," and Mark said that  Judas came "immediately, while he was speaking".  Yes, the kingdom of God was and is at hand, it is here. Jesus said to the disciples in Luke 22:29-30, "And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." The kingdom that Jesus appointed to the disciples was the kingdom that God had appointed to him.  Again, Christ's kingdom which is the kingdom of God given to him, is a spiritual kingdom. It is "the kingdom of heaven."   Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." (Jo. 18:36).   

Both the pre-mill and post-mill place the kingdom of God at some future time, and fix it as a literal kingdom on earth, an utopian era with Christ and the saints bodily reigning over the nations of the world.  However, as  already pointed out, the Bible clearly teaches that the kingdom of God is a present reality.  The kingdom of God was a present reality in Old Testament times as well.  God  set up his kingdom  counter to the kingdoms of this world.  The prophet Daniel had this to say about the kingdom of God, when he spoke concerning the "days" of the four world kingdoms:  "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."  (Dan. 2:44). You will note that Daniel said "in the days of these kings," not after the days of these kings.  The kingdom of God was a present reality during the days of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian kingdoms, and was and is a present reality during the days of the Roman kingdom. There will be no more world kingdoms after the Roman kingdom. When it shall be brought to an end then will the prophecy  of Rev. 11:15 come to pass. ". . .The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."  This speaks of the last, or triumphant phase of the kingdom of God. The three phases of the kingdom is pointed out in Mark 4:26-29. Here it is seen  first as a blade (1st phase O.T. times, 1st heaven), then the ear (2nd phase, N. T. times, 2nd heaven), then the full corn in the ear (3rd phase, heaven, 3rd heaven).  Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had this to say about the present reality of the kingdom of God. "How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation." (Dan. 4:3).  "And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation." (Dan. 4:34).  It is interesting to note the interchanging of the words "dominion" and "generation" in these two quotes.  It was by no means a slip. This nails it down! God's kingdom is a present reality in every aion (age), in the history of this world, and in the world to come.

BINDING OF SATAN

The binding of Satan not only embraced the fact that Jesus cast out devils, but it held in check his influence over the nations (Gentiles) to hold them in paganism and idolatry.  This opened the way for the gospel to be preached in all nations beginning at Jerusalem, (Mat. 28:18, Mr. 16:15-18, Lu. 24:46-49, Acts 1:8).  At the beginning of the gospel age, the gospel was preached only to the Jews.  The Gentile nations were in darkness under the deception of Satan. It pleased God to deliver the gospel first to the nation of the Jews, and he did this through the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles.  Satan as a strong man, had all other nations in his control in paganism and idolatry, but when the time came that the gospel was to be preached in all the world, Jesus, the stronger, bound him and spoiled his house, (Acts 19:19-20, Rev. 12:7-12). In this we can see what Jesus meant when he said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. The church moved out in its conquest and the word of God grew mightily and prevailed. The gates of hell were knocked down and idol temples became places wherein God Almighty was worshipped.

The binding of Satan does not mean that he has no power or working room at all. As stated before, this binding is in allusion to a prisoner chained to the wall of a dungeon, his mobility is to the extent of the length of the chain. I realize that there is paganism and idolatry in the world today, but it is not to the extent  that is was.  However, paganism and idolatry are on the rise again because Satan has been loosed from his prison and is gathering his Gog and Magog army in a futile attempt to destroy spiritual Israel before the second coming of Christ.  Satan was to be bound for a thousand years, and when the thousand years have expired he is to be loosed. If the thousand years is the entire span of the gospel age, does this mean that at the very end of the gospel age Satan will be loosed? How do we reconcile the end of the gospel age and the end of time? Let me answer by giving a biblical precedent for the interpretation.  In Daniel chapter nine we have a prophecy of the coming of Christ (his public ministry), his death, and the end of the sacrifice and the oblation, that is, the end of the ceremonial law.   In Matthew chapter twenty three Jesus said to the Jews, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate." Then in chapter twenty four He prophesied of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.  When Jesus walked out of the temple, then spoke of its demise along with the city of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish economy or law age was eminent.  Hebrews chapter nine tells us that Christ appeared once in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  That world was the Jewish law age. When Christ sacrificed himself he brought to an end the sacrifice and the oblation, and yet the temple and the city of Jerusalem were not brought to an end until forty years later in AD 70.   So, according to God's time the end of the world for the Jews came forty years before the actual literal end.  So it is that Satan is loosed in the end of the gospel  age (God's time), for "a little season," then the actual literal end of the world will come.

A THOUSAND YEARS

Let us consider the term "a thousand years," for a moment.  The number thousand in Revelation chapter twenty, as in other scriptures, is symbolic of an indefinite number, or a long period of time, and in the text under consideration  it has reference to the gospel age, as I have stated before. We all have heard this at one time or another. "If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times!" Or "I have told you a thousand times!"  Now we know the person saying this did not literally say it a thousand times, but that he had said it a number of times. We have no difficulty understanding this, neither should we have difficulty with the term "thousand years" in the Bible because this is exactly the way it is used.      

We may find the scriptural usage of the term "thousand years" in the Old Testament. In Romans 15:4 Paul had this to say about the scriptures of the Old Testament. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."  Deuteronomy 1:11 says, "The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand time so many more as ye are, and bless you as he hath promised you."

There were between two and three million Jews at the time this was spoken.  For the sake of easy math,  I will use the figure three million for our study.  If we multiply this by a thousand, we come up with three billion, and there  has never been three billion Jews on earth from Christ's time until now.  Psalms 50:10 says, "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."  We know that there are more than a thousand hills in the world, and that all cattle belong unto the Lord just as every beast of the forest does.  Psalms  105:8 reads, "He hath remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations."  Notice if you will, the words "forever" and "thousand generations."  If the thousand generations is used in a literal sense,  and using 30 years as a generation, then by multiplying 30 times a 1000 we would have 30,000 years,  and "forever" would be only for a period of 30,000 years.  Furthermore if we read Deuteronomy 7:9 we will find this. "Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. " Again, if we take a generation to be 30 years we come up with 30,000 years, and the earth has only been in existence not quite 6000 years. We learn from these scriptures that the word "thousand" is used to  signify an "indefinite  number or a long period of time."  The apostle John, the writer of the book of Revelation shows us that the thousand years is the period of the gospel age, the period between our Lord's first and second coming.

VERSE 4

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

First we see that John saw thrones and those that sat upon them. What thrones are these, and who was it that sat upon them?  Remember we are dealing with the gospel age, so the thrones and those that sat upon them must be during this time. The thrones are not literal ones, but spiritual ones, signifying seats of authority and judgment.  This authority and judgment was given to the apostles. The word "key" in the New Testament signifies authority and "throne" signifies the place or seat of  authority.  In Matthew 16:19 Jesus said this to the apostles.  "And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shalt be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." When did Jesus give the keys to the apostles? The answer is found in Matthew 19:28.  "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Also read Luke 22:28-30.  We can certainly see from these scriptures that when Jesus ascended, and sat in the throne of his glory, he gave the apostles the authority to sit on thrones and to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, this is what John saw.

Let us study Matthew 19:28 at this time. The word "regeneration" in the text is not the grace of regeneration in the new birth of a person, but the new state of things, the spiritual renovation, the reformation of the church.  This began upon the sealing up of the law and the prophets, and the ministry of John the Baptist and of Christ, who, when they began to preach declared, that  the kingdom of heaven, was at hand.  The church was in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), and the services were not so much of a spiritual nature, but was more ritualistic, and was of the letter, and had a worldly sanctuary and carnal ordinances, (Heb. 9:1,10).

The Lord made a change in the order of things in the church. This change is called "the regeneration."  This new order of things, this new dispensation, more manifestly took place after the Lord's resurrection and ascension, and the pouring down of the Holy Spirit.  Notice the statement the apostle Paul makes under the new state of things in the church.  "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament: not of the letter, but of the spirit, for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." (2Co. 3:6)  

The apostles were to sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel during this time of "the regeneration." This they did doctrinally and practically, by charging them with the sin of crucifying the Lord, condemning them for their unbelief and rejection of him, announcing the wrath of God and the judgments that should fall upon them as a nation for their sin, and by turning from them to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46).  Even today the church, as spiritual Israel, is under the judgment of the apostles, for we are under their teachings.

 Next, John saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their heads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Again we see the term  "a thousand years" is used in this verse.  Notice if you will that the term is used in reference to the reign of Christ, and those that reigned with him.  As you may recall I stated before that the word "thousand" in Revelation chapter 20 signifies a long period of time, or an indefinite number.  My authority for this interpretation is seen not only in the scriptures I quoted, but the word itself proves this to be correct.  In all six times that the word is used in Revelation chapter 20, it is in the plural form, and should be understood as "thousands of years. (Vine's Expository Dictionary,  Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible,  Thayer's Greek English Lexicon). Christ is reigning  RIGHT NOW, he is not waiting to reign, he is ENTHRONED NOW. (Acts 2:31-36, 1Co. 15:22-28, Eph 1:20, Col 1:15-20, 1Pe. 3:22).

John saw the souls, not the bodies of those that were beheaded, therefore what he saw in this vision must be this side of the resurrection of the body. When Jesus spoke of the resurrection of the body, he spoke of it as  occurring "at the last day." Four times in the sixth chapter of John he tells us this, (John 6:39,40,44,54).  Also in John 11:24 we read, "Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." If the resurrection of the body is at the last day, can there be another day after the last?  NO! the scriptures teach that the last day is when Jesus comes again, and that it is the day of the resurrection of the dead, and the day of judgment.  This proves that the  pre-mill position of two bodly resurrections a thousnad years apart is unscriptural.

John said that these he saw, "lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."  When did they begin to reign with Christ? Long before they were beheaded, while they were yet on earth as we read in Revelation 5:9-10.  "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on earth."  Having  reigned with Christ while they lived on earth, they live and reign with him after death; for as the apostle Paul tell us, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2Co. 5:8, Phil. 1:23)

One may ask, how does the believer reign with Christ? They reign with him positionally, by sitting together with  him in heavenly places. (Eph. 2:6)  They reign over, and have victory over the world by faith. (1Jo. 5:4)  They reign because sin has no more dominion over them. (Ro. 6:2,14)  They reign because grace reigns in them through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Ro. 5:21, 1Jo. 4:4)

John said concerning those that reigned with Christ, that they had not worshipped the beast, nor his image, nor had they received his mark in their foreheads or in their hands.  I will not expound upon the beast at this time, other than to say that it is a Roman beast.  I will say this, the Children of God do not worship the beast, his image, nor do they receive his mark. It is the unbeliever, the wicked, who do this, for in Revelation 13:8 we read  that those whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb worship the beast.  In  the chapter under study, those in verses 12-15  whose names are not in the book of life are said to be the dead. That is, they are dead in sin.

VERSES 5 & 6

The key lesson of verses 5 and 6  is  the first resurrection.  In verse 4 we learned that saints reign with Christ a thousand years, which is the gospel age. In verse 5, we learn that the first resurrection is during or while the thousand year period exists. Verse 6 tells us that those that have a part in the first resurrection are blessed because the second death has no power over them. Let us now look at verses 5 and 6.  "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."

The expression "rest of the dead" has reference to those that are not saved, those that have not been born again.  When Adam transgressed the law in the garden of Eden, the penalty of sin and death passed to all of his posterity. Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Yes all of mankind died in Adam and was in the grave of sin, separated from God. Now, if any of mankind  are to have fellowship with God, and ever be blessed to live with him in heaven, he would first have to be raised from the grave of sin, hence, the first resurrection. You see, the first resurrection is a spiritual resurrection not a physical one.  Jesus taught us about this resurrection when he taught about the new birth in John 3:3-8 and John 5:25.  The new birth is a spiritual birth, it is to be raised from the grave of sin never to die again. Jesus said, "Marvel not that  I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (Jo. 3:7).  To be born again is to live again, (Jo. 5:25).  All that are not born again, live not again, therefore, they are still dead in the grave of sin.  John speaks of these in verse 12 when he speaks of the "dead" that stand before God in judgment.  John said that they (the dead) lived not again UNTIL the thousand years were finished.  The word until is from the Greek word "hehoce" which means, of continuance, even, how long, while.  So we see that while the thousand years are being fulfilled or finished, those that are not born again live not again.

Notice if you will the expressions, "first resurrection" and "second death" in verse six.  If there is a first resurrection it seems logical that there must be a second resurrection, and if there is a second death there must be a first death.  The order of these deaths and resurrections are: first death, first resurrection, second resurrection, second death.  The first death is that which passed upon all men through the transgression of the law by Adam in the garden of Eden, (Gen. 2:17, Ro. 5:12).  The first resurrection is the resurrection of the saints from the grave of sin and death, (Jo. 5:25, Eph. 2:1).  The second resurrection is the bodily resurrection at the last day, (1Co. 15:21-26, 55, 1Th. 4:13-18, Jo. 11:24, Jo 5:28, Acts 24:15).  The second death is the eternal separation from God in the lake of fire where Satan, his angels, the beast, the false prophet, and all whose names are not written in the book of  life will be cast, (Jude 6, Rev. 19:20, Rev. 20:10,14,15; Mat. 25:41).

John also tells us in verse six that those who have a part in the "first resurrection" are blessed because the  "second death" has no power over them. This means that the lake of fire has no delegated influence, authority, jurisdiction, or right over them to claim them in any way. When Jesus comes again he will change their bodies and fashion them like unto his own glorious body, and take them home to heaven, (Phil. 3:21, 1Co. 15:51-57, 1Th. 4:13-18).   

VERSES 7-10

 "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."  

Satan was bound by the Lord when he came in his personal ministry so that he should not deceive the nations as he had done in Old Testament times, and so that the gospel could go out to the nations of the earth.  Satan remains bound in his prison for an indefinite period of time, symbolized as a thousand years, which is the gospel age.  At the closing of the gospel age, or the fulfilling of the thousand years, Satan must be loosed for a little season (v 3). Satan will then be allowed to deceive the nations again as he did before. The nations shall then receive a strong delusion that they should believe a lie and be damned.  The loosing of Satan to deceive the nations will be a universal deception. He will gather the nations symbolized as Gog and Magog to battle the saints, the church of God, pictured here as  "The Beloved City."    

Now, I want to particularly notice two expressions, one found in verse 8, and another in verse 9.  The first expression is "Gog and Magog."  Why did the apostle John use this expression?  In the book of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 we read of these people. They were heathen nations that fought very intense battles against the nation of Israel.  The Gog and Magog of Revelation 20 however, is not to be confused with that of Ezekiel.  John used Gog and Magog  as typifying the nations (people) that Satan deceives, the nations of ungodly, unbelieving people who will be led in a battle of great intensity against the saints, the beloved city.  The battles of Gog and Magog spoken of in Ezekiel was the last attempt to destroy literal Israel before the first coming of Christ. The battle of the Gog and Magog of Revelation 20 is the last attempt to destroy spiritual Israel before the second coming of Christ.   As the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel was unsuccessful in their conquest, so shall the Gog and Magog of Revelation 20 will be unsuccessful in theirs.

The second expression is, "the beloved city." The literal city of Jerusalem was known as the beloved city, however,  "the beloved city" of Revelation is not to be confused with the literal city. John used this term to describe "the holy city, new Jerusalem" (Rev. 21:2), on earth. The apostle Paul says this about it in Hebrews chapter 12, "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. . ."  Please note that Paul said "ye are come" showing that this is not a future literal city, but a present spiritual one.

In the last part of verse 9, we see the judgment of God as it comes upon Satan and his Gog and Magog army. Just as it seems that Satan and his army are about to destroy the church, fire comes down from heaven and devours them.  I believe that Satan has been loosed and is gathering his forces together for his last attempt to destroy the church.  Yes, the church will suffer persecution as we can see from  verses 7-9, but the good news is that Satan will fail in his attempt to destroy the church.  When Jesus comes in his second coming, he will bring to a close this world's history, he will come in victory, he will come to forever destroy the enemy, he will come in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he will come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (2Th. 1:7-11).

VERSES 11-15

Verses 11 through 15 have to do with the day of judgment, and the end of the world.  John says in verse 11, "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." He that sat on the throne of course is God.  The earth and heaven that fled away is not to be understood as that which  will be burned up (2Pe. 3:1-12),  but the new heaven and earth, that is, the gospel age, the New Testament or New Covenant age, the kingdom of heaven (2nd phase),  yea, the thousand year reign.  This will fly away  because it relates to time, and time will have come to an end.  We will then enter into the eternal. For the believer, there will be eternal life in ultimate joy with God. For the unbeliever there will be eternal death or separation  from God in torment.

In verse 12 we are told that the dead (those who have not been born again) stood before God, and the books were opened, which I believe is the Bible, the word or law of God, the Old and New Testaments. Another book was opened which is the book of life. This book contains the names of all of God's children.  We are told, that "the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."  Jesus said,  "And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receive not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:47-48)  Also see John 3:17-18; John 8:21-24; 43-47; 2Thessalonians 1:7-10. You will note that John only mentions the "dead" were judged. Nothing is said about the "living," that is, the saved, the born again child of God being judged. The reason for this is that their names are in the book of life, and all whose names are written are covered by the blood of Jesus. Jesus died for them, he paid their sin debt in full, they are justified by his blood and therefore are just. The fact that the book of life is opened indicates that the judgment concerning them is simply, "come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

The scriptures teach us that there will be some alive when Jesus comes again. I believe this is what is meant by the expression, "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it" in verse 13. The word sea or waters in scripture often means; multitudes, nations, peoples, and tongues. See Rev. 17:15. So here, the lost  out of the multitudes, nations, peoples, and tongues that are living when the judgment comes will stand before the throne to be judged. In the next statement we see the resurrection of the lost that have physically died. "And death (the dead body) and hell (the place or state of departed souls) delivered up the dead which were in them..." The soul and the body  of the lost,  will reunite and they will be judged out of the books along with the lost that are alive at the judgment.  

Verse 14 tells that "death and hell" were cast into the lake of fire which is the second death. The resurrected lost being judged out of the books will be cast into the lake of fire to suffer eternal torment. Verse 15 tells us that "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Again, these are the lost, the dead, and their names are not in the book of life. Only those that are living  have their names in the book, hence, the book of life.  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.  To those whose names are not in the book of life, the judgment will be, "depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels."

ISAIAH'S PROPHESIES

 It is clear from our study of the twentieth chapter of Revelation that nothing is said about the literal city of Jerusalem, the temple, of Jesus sitting upon a literal throne, or anything like that which is promoted by the post-mill and pre-mill advocates who use this chapter as one of their proofs concerning a literal thousand year reign. The chapter does teach a thousand year reign, but as I have proved from the chapter itself, the thousand year reign is not a literal, but a spiritual reign.

In taking the Millennialist view as I do, the chapter comes alive with the truth about the gospel age.  Each verse harmonizes with the general tenor of the teachings of Christ and his apostles. They teach the gospel story of Christ, the strong man, who came to  defeat, and did defeat Satan. They teach of the authority given to the apostles in binding and loosing. They teach about those who are born again, and those who are not born again. They teach us who it is that reigns with Christ, and when and where they reign. They teach what the apostles taught about Satan deceiving the nations. Also they teach about the judgment of those who do not belong to God, and their eternal separation from him in the lake of fire.

Those who take the post-mill or pre-mill positions take other scriptures such as Isaiah chapters 11 and 65 and force them  into their theory of a literal thousand year reign. I will now address these chapters  and show  that they do not teach a literal fulfillment, but a spiritual one. I will also show how that these chapters tie to, and harmonize with the Millennialist position.

The post-mill and pre-mill positions remind me of someone trying to put a puzzle together and trying to force pieces together that do not fit together.  I had an Uncle that did this very thing. When he could not find a matching piece he would take his knife and cut one to try to make it fit. Now, you talk about a weird looking puzzle!  Well, this is what the post-mill and pre-mill positions look like to me.  I can truly see a beautiful picture of  the gospel age  in the  Millennialist position, where all of the pieces fit together in one harmonious gospel truth.

In considering Isaiah chapters 11 and 65, it is important that the "time context" be taken into account. That part of these chapters that are used and banged together with Revelation 20, is that which deals with the wild animals lying down and feeding with the domestic or tame ones.  The time prophesied of, when these events would happen is the "time of the Messiah." In other words, it is the gospel age, the new covenant age, the new heaven and earth age.  The same "time context" as that of Revelation chapter 20.   

We must understand that in dealing with prophesy, whether in the Old or New Testament, much of the language is figurative or symbolic.  I will look briefly at the first four verses of Isaiah eleven for the "time context".  Verse 1 tells us that a rod would come forth from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch would grow out of  his roots.  Verse 10 speaks of  this root of Jesse as being an ensign (a token, a standard), and to it the Gentiles would seek. This speaks of the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the gospel age.   ".... I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:" (Acts 13:22-23)  "And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust." (Romans 15:12). Verse 2 says that the spirit of the LORD would rest upon him. In Isaiah 61:1, a prophesy concerning Christ, we read; "THE Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; ..." In Luke 4:16-21 we read of Jesus going to Nazareth and entering into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was given the book of Esaias, or Isaiah. He found the place where it is written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,..." and after reading he said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." John the Baptist had this to say about Jesus: "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (Jo. 3:34)  Verse 3 says "he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears." In  the gospel of John we learn this very thing about Jesus. He said to the Jews, who judged according to what they saw and heard (as men usually do),  "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." And, "Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. " When Jesus said that he judged no man, he meant that he judged no man after the flesh as did the Jews. (Jo. 6:24, 7:15) Verse 4 goes on to say that Jesus would judge in righteousness, and that "he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." This speaks of  the gospel or his words.  In John 12:48 we read: "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." In Revelation 20:12 we find that "the books were opened," and the "dead" (wicked) were judged out of the books which is the Bible, the word of God. There can be no doubt that Isaiah 11 is speaking of the gospel age and not some utopian period of a literal thousand years.        

Now, let us look at the "time context" of Isaiah chapter 65. The chapter begins thus: "I AM sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;" (Isa. 65:1-2) This is a prophecy of Jesus being sought and found by the Gentiles and rejected by the Jews.   The apostle Paul has given us the meaning of this prophecy as he deals with this subject in Romans chapters 9, 10, and 11.  In Romans 10: 20-21 he says: "But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."

Like Isaiah 11,  we can see that the time spoken of in Isaiah 65 is the "time of the Messiah." The last two chapters in Isaiah (65 and 66) are the conclusion of Isaiah's evangelical prophecy and point forward to the new heavens and the new earth, the new world that the gospel age would bring in.  In verse 9 we read about a remnant of the Jews called "a seed" that God would preserve and bring to the gospel truth. Verse 9 is a repeat of  Isaiah 1:9 which reads, "Except the Lord of host had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." The apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 1:9 this way; "And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha."  (Ro. 9:29)  Paul spoke of this "remnant" in Romans chapter 11. In Isaiah 65:10 we read, "And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me." This is a prophecy of New Testament times when the gospel, the word of the Lord would multiply and many people would be converted and turn to the Lord, and Sharon would be a place where there would be flocks  (Sheep of God)  feeding  on the gospel of God. Sharon was a plain that laid between Joppa and Caesarea in Samaria.  Acts 9:35 is a confirmation of  Isaiah 65:10 concerning Sharon. "And all that dwelt in Lydda and Sarron saw him, and turned to the Lord."  The valley of Achor was between Jericho and Ai. This was where Israel stoned Achan and all of his because he had transgressed  God's covenant in stealing a Babylonish garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold.  The word Achor signifies "trouble". Achan had brought trouble to Israel, so Israel brought Achan and all of his to the valley of Achor (trouble) and stoned them there. (Joshua 7:25-26)  In Hosea  2:15 we have a prophecy concerning Israel, "And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the day when she come up out of the land of Egypt." In New Testament times  the valley of Achor was no longer a place of trouble, but a place of hope, where herds of God's people would rest in the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah 65:11-16 is a prophecy concerning Israel's rejection of Christ and his judgment upon them, and his blessing upon his servants, the remnant, the seed, during the New Testament, New Heaven and New Earth, New Covenant, Thousand Year Reign, Gospel age.  In verse 15 the Lord said that he would call his servants by another name. What is this name? I believe it is "friends."  For proof of this look in the New Testament at John 15:15: "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." And Luke 12:4, "And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do."  Abraham, an Old Testament character, was call the "Friend of God" (2Ch 20:7; Ja 2:23).  There can be no doubt that Abraham was a servant of God, but he was more than a servant, he was the Friend of God.  Those servants to whom the things of God are given are known by him as "Friends." When God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah he did not hide it from Abraham, but made it known unto him. "And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;"  When the disciples of the Lord ask him why he spoke to the multitudes in parables, he answered, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." Then in Luke 12:4 we learn that he called the disciples "friends."

Verses 17 through 25 speak of the Thousand Years Reign under the title of "new heaven and new earth." Revelation chapter 21 speaks of the same thing, and in verse 5 we read, "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me ,Write: for these words are true and faithful." Again, we must remember that the reign of Christ under consideration is a "spiritual reign" not a literal one, and much of the language used is symbolic and is to be understood to teach a spiritual reality.  Therefore we must look at the lesson as seen from God's perspective and not man's. For example, look for a moment at the expression, "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, . . . for the child shall die an hundred years old." (Isa 65:20)  This means that although a child may die an infant we are to reckon it not as an infant, but we are to reckon it to die in the fulfillment of a full age, for he shall rise again at a full age, and enter into eternal life. This is the way God sees it, and this is the way the servants of God see it in this "NEW' order of things.  God is Al'pha and O'me-ga, the beginning and the end. He has declared the end from the beginning. He looks at the finished, the complete, the perfect work, and when the servants of God  see this and live in the reality of it, they are literally living in a new heaven and a new earth. They are rejoicing in the kingdom of heaven, they are reigning with Christ, the former things are not remembered or come into mind, and tears are wiped from their eyes, for they see things in a new light.  The tears shed by God's servants in the kingdom are not tears of uncertainty and fear, but tears of joy and peace in knowing  "that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." (1Jo. 5:20)

The Jerusalem spoken of in Isaiah 65:18-19 is the "holy city, new Jerusalem" (Rev. 21:2), the "city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22). It is a spiritual city, it is where the true  worshippers worship the Father in  spirit and in truth.  This is that which Isaiah spoke of when he said, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted  above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:2)  You will notice that Isaiah said that the MOUNTAIN (singular) of the Lord's house, would be established in the top of the MOUNTAINS (plural).  The mountains are the churches of God in their respective localities. They are called the "Lord's house." The mountain that is in the top of the mountains is that place to which the saints, the true worshippers, the Bride, ascend in the spirit where they enjoy that most sacred, intimate relationship with Christ.  That place is called the "holy city, new Jerusalem" in Revelation 21:2, and that "great city, the holy Jerusalem" in verse 10, and again in Hebrews 12:22 it is called the "city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem."

Some apply Revelation chapters 21 and 22 to the eternal city in heaven, but this can not be because John  said the city came down from heaven. Others apply these chapters to the pre-mill, or post-mill  doctrines of a literal new heaven and new earth when in fact, the city is a present  "spiritual reality," in the "spiritual" new heaven and new earth, kingdom of heaven, new covenant, new testament, gospel age.  The thrust of the message is the true worship of God. The true worship of God is in spirit and in truth. All other worship is in vain for it is false worship.  Who are the true worshippers of God? For the answer we will look to Isaiah, Paul, and  James.  As we have noticed before, the prophet Isaiah said; "And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there." (Isa. 65:9)  The seed that God said he would bring forth out of Jacob are those whom are called a "remnant" in Isaiah 1:9. "Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." Notice what Paul said as he spoke of this remnant. "Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as Esaias, said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth, had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrah." (Ro. 9:27-29)  You will note that Isaiah used the word remnant in Isaiah 1:9, and Paul used the word seed when he quoted Isaiah. So the seed and the remnant are one and the same.  The inheritor of God's mountains which he brought  out of Judah is Christ. Notice the mountains are plural like those of Isaiah 2:2. I believe that these mountains refer to the local churches where Christ  is the head, and the shepherd that leads the flock. The elect in verse 9 are the seed, the remnant, which also inherit the mountains, and they are referred to as servants which dwell there. Notice what Paul had to say about this remnant in the gospel day, for this is the time that Isaiah was speaking of. ". . . Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine alters; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of  grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." (Ro. 11:2-7)  Once again we see that the "election" and the "remnant" are one and the same. These are those that inherit the mountains (Lord's house),  and  spiritually ascend into the mountain of the house  where they worship and praise the Lord. The apostle James said this in regard to the Gentiles who were brought into the mountains of God when he spoke about Peter's experience. "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things." (Acts 15:14-17) There can be no doubt that the prophesy of Isaiah deals with the present time beginning with the first coming of Christ and ending with his second coming.  We call this time, the "gospel age." Let me say here that there will be no other age after this one. When this age comes to an end, it will be the end of the world, and the kingdom will be delivered up to God, even the Father (1Co. 15:24).

Before leaving the thought about the mountain of the Lord's house being in the top of the mountains, I would like to look  at Revelation 21:9-10, and some other scriptures in relation to them. Rev. 21:9 & 10, "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked  with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." The rest of the chapter describes the city that was shown to John, the writer  of Revelation.  This city is said to be "the bride, the Lamb's wife."  This pictures the relationship of the worshippers to the  Lord Jesus Christ as a bride and her husband.   Remember, John was told that he would be shown the bride.  Now back up to Hebrews 12:22-23  and read this; "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Able." Do you see it? Do you see the city? Back up again, this time to Isaiah 33:20-21. "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quite habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby." Beautiful place is it not? No warfare there. Do you see it? Now, back up once more to Psalms 48:12-14. "Walk about Zion, and go around about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."  We, like John when lifted in the spirit to the mountain of the Lord's house are shown the holy city, the bride, which in reality is us as we are in this state of intimacy in worship and praise to our Beloved, and learning more about him and his ways.  So what we have here is the city of God pictured as a bride. We are told, I will show her to you, here is what you have come to,  look upon her, now walk about her, tell the towers, mark the bulwarks, and consider the palaces, that is, see, hear, study, learn, observe, that the doctrines of grace are in place, the bulwarks of SALVATION  (Isa. 26:1) are in place, the palaces of love and peace, strength and safety (verse 3),  are in place, all  are in place and remain strong.  What is the purpose of doing this? "That ye may tell it to the generations following."     

Isaiah 65 closes with the thought that the wolf, the lion, and the serpent would not hurt nor destroy in God's holy mountain. The reason that they do not destroy or hurt is because they do not ascend to the mountain. The only way to ascend to the mountain is in and by the Spirit, and these do not have the Spirit.    One may ask, What about Isaiah 11:6-9 where it speaks of the wild animals dwelling, lying down,  feeding together, and a young child leading them?  Again, we must look at the "time context," and the symbolism for the  interpretation.   As I have  pointed out before, the "time context" is set in verses 1-5 , and is the "time of the Messiah."  The  animals mentioned are not literal ones. They are symbols of people and their actions. The wild animals are symbols of people and their hostility toward the Lord's servants before the Lord brings on a change in their life. The change is indicated by the fact that they dwell, lie down, and feed with the tame animals (servants of God) in the kingdom of God.  For an example, I call your attention to Genesis 49:27. Here Jacob says of  his youngest son, "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil."  Benjamin is a type of  many of the servants of the Lord before and after a change in their life.  We can see this fulfilled in the life of the apostle Paul. In Romans 11:1 Paul says, "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." Paul was not only a  natural offspring of  Benjamin, but a spiritual one as well, as we can see from the testimony of his life. In the morning of his life he devoured the prey as Saul of Tarsus, and in the evening he divided the spoil as Paul the apostle of the Lord. As a wolf he persecuted the Lord by  persecuting (devouring) the church of God and wasting it, (Galatians 1:13).  In the evening he divided the spoil (Jesus) by preaching him whom he had once persecuted, (Galatians 1:23). Paul is an example of others who come to believe in the Lord, and to serve him in the kingdom of God.  See 1 Timothy 1:12-16. 

What about the expression, "and a little child shall lead them." The answer is really quite simple.  Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted; and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." According to the words of Jesus, only children enter the kingdom of heaven, not wolves, lions, bears, and such. There must be a change, There must be conversion.  Paul was converted and became a child, and led  many to the Lord  and  His  kingdom.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is made up of children, Mat. 19:14.  Paul  had this to say in 1 Corinthians 14:20, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men."  A person who lives in malice or has malice in his or her heart does not enter the kingdom.  "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD." (Isa. 65:25, 11:9). 

CONCLUSION

May God bless us that we indeed be not children in understanding. To the lovers of God and truth may I say, search the scriptures. Let them be your guide and standard to understanding. Judge  what others say by the scriptures. Paul said, "I speak  as to wise men; judge ye what I say." (1Co. 10:15).  In writing this article I have used only the word of God. I have used scripture to interpret scripture.  I have compared spiritual things with spiritual, that is, I have compared spiritual things in the Old Testament to spiritual things in the New Testament. What I have found is one glorious chain of truth which glorifies God, and edifies the saints.  In comparing spiritual things with spiritual things, I have found that God  has taught  that  His kingdom is a spiritual one, and that the many symbolic titles such as; "new heaven and new earth, last days, thousand year reign, New Jerusalem, city of the living God, Holy city, Mt. Zion, heavenly Jerusalem, new covenant, and new testament all relate to this spiritual kingdom.

I close with this quote from the Lord Jesus Christ found in John 4:24. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

May God bless you.

W. R. Daniels, Jr.


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Purpose

The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.