Robert Jeffress - The Coming Kingdom
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Ever since the fall of man, Satan has enjoyed a measure of power and dominion over the earth, spreading evil and chaos wherever possible. But the Bible teaches that during the last days, Satan will be vanquished and Christ will return to establish his kingdom. In doing so, Jesus will fulfill over 1800 biblical prophecies about his second coming. My message today is titled "The Coming Kingdom" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
I thought today we would start off with a pop quiz, get out your pen and paper, I've got four questions for you. Multiple choice, no cheating, please, everyone with their eyes on their own paper. This is a pop quiz about Bible prophecy.
Question number one, the Kingdom of God is:
A) a spiritual kingdom.
B) a physical kingdom.
C) all of the above
D) none of the above.
Question number two: God's promise to Israel of a land that would be theirs forever was:
C) transferred, in a spiritual sense to the church.
Question number three: Satan's power over the earth was:
A) defeated at the cross.
B) defeated at the resurrection.
C) continues today.
Final question: Christians will receive their new bodies:
A) at the rapture.
B) at the second coming.
C) from their plastic surgeon.
Your answer to those questions actually reveal what you believe about the topic we're going to look at today in Revelation 20, and that is "The Coming Kingdom of God," we call the millennium. If you have your Bibles turn to Revelation 20 as we look at that coming Kingdom of God. Now, first of all, let's look, before we get into the text, at the millennium in perspective. You see on your chart there, on your outline, that famous Bible prophecy chart I've shown you before, right now, we are living in this period of time called the church age. It's the time that God has temporarily set aside his dealings with Israel and has allowed non-Jews, people like you and me, to become a part of the Kingdom of God. But that setting aside of Israel is only temporary.
You know often we chide the Jewish people, the Israelites for missing the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We say they made a mistake. Instead of looking for a ruling king, they should have looked for a suffering Savior. Instead of looking for a literal kingdom, they should have been looking for a spiritual kingdom. And yet that's not true, they were absolutely justified in believing that when Messiah came, he would come as a king and that he would establish a literal physical kingdom on the earth because there 1800 prophecies in the Old Testament that promise such a thing. The problem with the Jewish people at that time was they didn't understand there would be two comings of the Messiah. The first time he would come as that suffering Savior to be a ransom for the sins of the entire world. But the second time he comes, the next time he comes, will be when he comes as King of kings and Lord of lords and he will set up a literal kingdom on earth.
Let me just point out a few passages from the Old Testament that promise that kind of literal kingdom on earth. First of all, 2 Samuel 7:12-13, we often call these verses the Davidic covenant. God's promise to David. He says in verse 12, "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you," the Lord Jesus Christ, "Who will come forth from you and I will establish his kingdom and he will build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom," for how long? For ever. That's the promise of a coming kingdom.
Or Psalm 89:30-37. People who say, well, Israel forfeited that kingdom when they rejected Christ, look at this. If his sons, talking about David, "If his sons forsake my law and do not walk in my judgments, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with a rod and their iniquity with stripes".
You know, people who criticized those of us who believe that God's going to fulfill his promise to Israel. They say, wait a minute, Israel has rebelled against God. Are you telling me that they're not going to suffer for their disobedience to God? No, we're not saying that at all. God said to Israel, if you sin, you're going to experience the consequences of your sin. But look at verse 33. But, even in that case, "I will not break off my loving kindness from him nor deal falsely in my faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate nor will I alter the utterance of my lips. Once I have sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David". "His descendants shall endure". How long? Forever and his throne is the sun before me. It shall be established, how long? Forever, like the moon and the witness in the sky is faithful.
Listen to me, if God breaks his covenant with Israel, what's to keep him from breaking the covenant he's made with you? And with me? If God breaks his covenant with Israel, he can break his covenant with you. But thank God he doesn't do that: he keeps his word. And that's why it makes a difference to us whether or not God rejects his people. Look at Isaiah 9:6-7. "For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us and the government will rest on his shoulders and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace". "And there will be no end to his increase of his government or peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establishment and hold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore".
Or Isaiah 11:4.6 and 9, "But with righteousness, he will judge the poor and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth. And he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips and he will slay the wicked". You know, there is such an emphasis today on the desire for justice and social justice. Do you know where that comes from? It comes from the fact that we are all created in the image of God. And even after the fall, even unbelievers retain a remnant of that image of God inside of them. The reason we long for justice is because we are created by a God who is a God of justice. And we have that longing. The only problem is we can't bring that justice ourselves, we ought to strive for it, but we can't bring it ourselves, God has to bring it and he will satisfy that desire we have ultimately when Christ comes and rules in justice.
Look at verse 6, "And the wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the young goat and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together. And a little boy will lead them and they shall not hurt or destroy in my holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea". We sang that song, "The Lion And The Lamb", it comes from this passage, that is the coming Kingdom of God. Remember in Acts 1, when Jesus was getting ready to ascend into heaven after he received his resurrected body and he was standing on the Mount of Olives and he was about to depart, his disciples said, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel"? They were in fact saying, Lord, before you leave, haven't you forgotten something? Haven't you forgotten the whole reason you came was to establish your kingdom on earth? Isn't this the time to do it?
Now, if the disciples had mistakenly believed in a literal kingdom, if they were wrong, that would have been a time for Jesus to have clarified that for them. He could have says, a kingdom? Boys, you got it all wrong these last three years. I'm not here to establish a real kingdom, just a spiritual kingdom: that's all I came to do. But he didn't say that, did he? In verse 7 of Acts 1, he said it is not for you to know the time or the epochs when I shall do these things, that is given to the Father alone, he has fixed it by his own authority. In other words, he was saying, it's coming but it's coming according to God's timetable and not to yours. There is a kingdom coming and it will be the fulfillment of God's eternal promise to Israel and Israel's descendants. Now that's what the millennium is, it is God's kingdom on earth, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
Now throughout history, there has been three prevalent views about the millennium. You may have heard these terms before, let me explain them to you. The first view is the amillennial position of the kingdom, amillennial. In Greek, that word A, A, letter A, is an Alpha privative. Anytime a appears before the word it negates it, it means no. The amillennial position means no millennium. And there are many Christians who believe that, many good Christians. Many of those who subscribe to reform theology believe in amillennial position, that there is no literal kingdom of heaven on earth for a thousand years.
The second view of the millennium is what is called the postmillennial view. Post means after, when does Christ come? He comes after the millennium. This is the idea that the world is going to get better and better and better and finally it will be in such wonderful shape that Christ says I can't stay in heaven any longer, I've got to come to this perfect world that man has created and rule over man.
Now the third view is the premillennial view, that's the view I subscribed to and many of you do. Pre means before, and that is we believe that Christ must come before the millennium. Only he will be able to institute his reign here on earth. Now, with that introduction, we're ready to get into the text for the final moments we have. We're only going to look the first six verses about the beginning of the millennium, and it starts with the binding of Satan. Look at chapter 20:1, then John says, "I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And as angel laid hold of the dragon, the servant of old, who is the devil and Satan, and he bound him for a thousand years".
Remember last time in chapter 19, we saw that at the Battle of Armageddon, the antichrist and the false prophet are seized by an angel and they are cast into the lake of fire. But what about the third part of that Satanic Trinity, Satan himself? Well, he has a special destiny. That is this angel takes him and bounds him for a thousand years. In other words, to put him into this place called the abyss, the bottomless pit. Look at verse 3, "And he threw him," that is Satan, "Into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him so that he would not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were completed. And after these things, he must be released for a short time".
He is going to be bound for a thousand years so that he can do nothing on the earth for a thousand years during this millennium, the thousand year reign of Christ. And this is the predominant feature of the millennium. It is a time when Satan is bound, which makes the amillennial position so ludicrous. Satan is in no way bound right now. Look around you, look in your own world at what's happening. Satan seems to be running rampant all over the world, but his time is short. There is coming a time when he will be bound for a thousand years.
Now, how long is the millennium? Well, it's a thousand years. In fact, in the first seven verses of Revelation 20, the phrase thousand years is used six times so that nobody mentions it. This is a thousand year period of time. But here in verse 4, I want you to notice one other aspect of the millennium that God reveals to John. Look at verse 4, after Satan has been bound, look at what John says he saw: "I saw thrones and they that sat upon them and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received the mark on their forehead or on their hand, and they came to life and also reigned with Christ for a thousand years".
Who is he talking about here? He's talking about those people who were saved during the tribulation and were martyred, beheaded for their faith. He said, I saw them as well, and they came to life and reigned with Christ. And then he adds this word in verse 5: "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed". Who is that? That's the unsaved dead. Again, we'll look at that next week. They are raised for judgment, but then he says, this is the first resurrection. Everything he has just described in verse 4 and he adds this word: "Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection: over the second death has no power, but they will be priest of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years".
Here John and produces an important concept to understand the Bible. There are two resurrections. The first resurrection is the resurrection of saved people and they are raised to experience God's blessing for eternity. But the second resurrection is a resurrection of the unsaved: they are raised from the dead to experience God's torment forever and ever. And that's why John says, blessed, happy is the person who's a part of the first resurrection.
Let's in closing look at this first resurrection for just a moment. Who does it encompass and how does it work? Paul explains it in 1 Corinthians 15:20-24. He says, "But now Christ has been raised from the dead and the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive, but each in his own order".
If you are in Christ, you're going to receive a brand new body, but you have to wait your turn. There is an order to which people will receive their new bodies. But the point is, even though it happens throughout history, all of these people are still part of that group called the first resurrection. But then there is a second resurrection, verse 5 says, "The rest of the dead did not come until the thousand years were completed". These are the people who are raised for the Great White Throne judgment that we'll look at next time. They are raised not to experience God's blessing, but to experience his torment.
If there is one truth I want to leave you with that comes from this passage, it is this: when we die, we do not cease to exist. Death is not the end for anyone, Christian or non-Christian. Instead, physical death is just the doorway through which we enter into eternity, an eternity of God's blessing or an eternity of God's judgment.
C.S. Lewis said one time, our lives can be compared to a very, very long book. Our life here on earth is just the cover page, the title page. Chapter one of our story doesn't begin with our birth, it begins with our death. Let me ask you the all important question, when that trumpet sounds and God's people in this age are called to assume their place in that parade to heaven, are you going to be one of those invited to participate? Are you going to be welcomed into the presence of God for all eternity? Blessed is he who is a part of the first resurrection for over him the second death has no power.