I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
Since it has been awhile since our last post, I want to remind you that we are currently in a series on Dispensations. Dispensations, or Dispensationalism, is the study of how God has dealt with and related to man through the various ages of time, and more importantly how man has been responsible to God.
We have looked at six of the seven dispensations already. We are on the seventh Dispensation presently, that which we have referred to as the Dispensation of Divine Government, also known as the Millennium.
The Dispensation of Divine Government will be 1,000 years in length. For the record, I do believe that this will be a literal 1,000 year time period.
This time I want to begin by discussing the two resurrections presented in the Bible. Every person who has ever lived and have died will take part in one of these resurrections. The Bible speaks first of the, “First Resurrection” (Rev. 20:5). This will be the resurrection of the just or the righteous. It will take place before the start of the Dispensation of Divine Government. All of the different companies of the redeemed will take part in this resurrection. It takes in everything from the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Himself, all the way to the group commonly referred to as, “Tribulation Saints.” All of these will have a part in the First Resurrection, and will reign with Christ during the thousand years. Revelation 20:4 – 6 gives us some insight into these two resurrections,
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” [Rev. 20:4 – 6]
The unsaved dead won’t have any part in the First Resurrection, and they will not be raised until after the Millennium (Rev. 20:5). This is the Second Resurrection, which will include all of the wicked dead from each of the Dispensations, including the Millennium. Their souls will remain in Hell until the end of the Millennium, when they will be resurrected to stand before the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11 – 15).
“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.” [Rev. 20:13]
Those who have a part in the First Resurrection will be pronounced, “Blessed and Holy”, but those who have a part in the Second Resurrection will have their part in the “Lake of Fire” [Rev. 20:15; 21:8].
What about the government of the Millennial Kingdom? The government of the Kingdom Age will be just as literal as any other previous earthly kingdom has been. God will set up a theocratic government ruling and reigning through Christ (Rev. 11:15; 20:1 – 10), through David the King of Israel (Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:24; 37:24 – 28; Hosea 3:4, 5), and through the Apostles and all the saints from each Dispensation (Ps. 149:5 – 9; Dan. 7:18 – 27; Matt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 4:8; 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 1:6; 2:26, 27; 5:9, 10; 20:4 – 6). The saints are going to be given responsibility and rewards in ruler-ship according to their spiritual commitment and stewardship during their natural lifetime. We will be judged according to the deeds done in the body (1 Cor. 3:13 – 15; 2 Cor. 5:10).
The city of Jerusalem will be the center of government for the Kingdom, and the city will be rebuilt and restored to a greater glory than ever before. Jerusalem, as the world capital, will be the center of political, economic, and spiritual activity forever (1 Chron. 23:25; 2 Chron. 33:4 – 7; Isa. 2:2 – 4; Jer. 17:25; Joel 3:20; Zech. 8:3 – 23; 14:1 – 21).
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” [Isa. 2:2, 3]
Speaking of, “the Law” going forth out of Zion, what will be the laws of the Kingdom? The Millennial Kingdom will have various laws and regulations as in each of the preceding Dispensations. There will be laws, and the purpose of them will be to serve as guidelines for all of humanity, and all people will be expected to keep them throughout eternity, as well as during the Millennium. The Kingdom will be an earthly one with earthly subjects, and some (as hard as it may be to believe), will rebel against the rule of Christ. These will be natural people who have survived the Great Tribulation and who belong to the sheep nations; these will be allowed to enter the Millennium (See Matt. 25:31 – 34).
Perhaps you never thought about sinners and unbelievers being present in the Kingdom Age, but the Bible makes it clear they will be. This is clear from such passages as: 1 Corinthians 15:24 – 28; Isaiah 11:3 – 5; 65:20; Revelation 20:7 – 10; et al: The Prophet Isaiah declared,
“But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” [Isaiah 11:4 Emphasis added]
The above reference, and in fact the entire eleventh chapter of Isaiah, is prophecy regarding the future Kingdom Age or Millennium. Isaiah also said concerning the Kingdom,
“No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.” [Isa. 65:20 Emphasis added]
These people for the most part will give mental assent, and pay lip-service to the Laws of the Kingdom and the outward laws of Divine Government, but their hearts will not be transformed. Under the Kingdom Laws, if a person commits any sin worthy of death, they will be executed (See Isa. 11:3 – 5; 65:20).
There will be laws to govern and to keep order, and there will be swift action taken for refusal to follow the rules and Law of God. It is a bit hard for those of us in the Western world to understand a place and a time like this. In our enlightened, and technologically advanced 21st Century, we live in a time of increasing lawlessness. This is of course another, “Sign of the Times.” Or I suppose one could say we live in the, “Time of the Signs.”
In that day however, there will be no more lengthy, drawn out trials and court proceedings with trial lawyers growing their bank accounts. No more judges who can be bought and sold, and no more injustice. For God Himself, you see, will be the one and only final judge. Those who have been born-again and fully committed to the Lord, and who have fellowship with God during the thousand years, certainly will not rebel against the Lord.
The laws of the Millennial Kingdom will include those originally given to Israel as an eternal standard of holiness (See Isa. 2:2 – 4; Micah 4:1, 2; Ezekiel 40:1 through 48:35), and the laws of the New Covenant as given by Christ. The terms of the Gospel will apply to every person, while some of the laws will only apply to Israel in her land. Certain of the Feasts of the Lord will be required for all nations to observe; and the penalty for disobedience will be that their lands will not receive rain (Zech. 14:16 – 21). We can be sure that God clearly will make known all of the laws that He will enforce during this time.
The Bible says a great deal more about this Dispensation than you may have realized. I know as I started studying this years ago I was surprised at just how much scripture sets forth this time and what it will be like. There is much more to look at, and we will pick that up in our next post.
Until next time,
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson