dispensationalism

Hello,

I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!

I want to pick up this time where we left off in our last post. We are currently looking at a study in Dispensations, or Dispensationalism. This again is the study of how God has managed the affairs of His “household”, and how man has been responsible to God through the various ages of time. We have already looked at six of these Dispensations, and are on the seventh, the Dispensation of Divine Government, or as it is probably more commonly known; the Millennium.

The Millennium is a time yet future. It is a literal period of one thousand years. It will be a time when God Himself will move His headquarters from Heaven to Earth, with the Lord Jesus Christ ruling and reigning from David’s throne in Jerusalem. The Bible says more about this time than many believers realize. As I said last time, when I first began to study the prophetic Word years ago I was very surprised at just how much material is contained in the scriptures concerning this this one-thousand year period of time. The reason many Christians are not very familiar with the Kingdom Age, is because the majority of Christians are quite unfamiliar with what we commonly refer to, the Old Testament. The Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible, the Tanach, has a great deal to say about this time. In fact, there is so much material on the Millennium, it comes as no great surprise that the Jews during Jesus’ earthly ministry totally missed the fact that while the Hebrew Prophets definitely prophesied the Kingdom Age, when the Kingdom would be reestablished for Israel; they also presented the “suffering Messiah”, coming to redeem His people from their sins before He returned to rule and reign.

One of the things the Old Testament reveals is that there will continue to be nations on the earth during the Millennium. I didn’t know that when I first began to study this, but it is true. It is very possible that many of the Gentile nations will continue to live where they presently are. The only exception to this would be those lands promised to Israel. This will include all of the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the west to the Euphrates River on the east, taking in all of the Arabian Peninsula and the wilderness countries, south and east of Israel (Gen. 15:14 – 18; 17:6 – 19; Ezek. 47:13 – 23). There will be divisions in the Promised Land, running in wide strips east and west, with each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel receiving a possession (Ezek. 48:1 – 35).

There will also be a Millennial Temple for the Jews. This Temple, with its enclosure called “the sanctuary”, will measure one mile square (Ezek. 45:1 – 4). This will not be the Temple built in the days before the Second Coming of Christ, which at the time of this writing has not been built as yet, still the plans certainly are drawn for it, and all of the preparations have been made right down to Temple furniture, priestly garments, Temple musical instruments, etc. There is also a school in Jerusalem presently operating to train the priesthood to minister in the rebuilt Temple. This Temple, which we could refer to as the, “Tribulation Temple”, will be where the Antichrist will rule for the last half of the Great Tribulation period (Matt. 24:15 – 22; 2 Thess. 2:4). That Temple will be destroyed when Christ returns.

This Millennial Temple will be built by the Messiah Jesus Himself when He comes back to earth to set up His earthly kingdom. It will be Messiah’s throne forever (Ezek. 43:7). The Prophet Zechariah also spoke of this:

Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” ‘ Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the LORD for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.” [Zech. 6:12 – 14]

There will be priests in this Temple as there were in the first Temple. Descendants of Levi will be involved in service, and the sons of Zadok who have been true to the house of David will do some of the most holy work (2 Sam. 8:17; 15:24; 20:25; 1 Kings 1:39; Ezek. 43:19 – 27; 44:9 – 31). Scripture indicates that the priesthood of Moses and of his law is an eternal one (Ex. 29:9; 40:15; Num. 25:11 – 13; 1 Chron. 23:13):

It shall be a holy section of the land, belonging to the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who come near to minister to the LORD; it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary.” [Ezek. 45:4 emphasis added]

So it is true that there will be a Temple, the priesthood, and certain sacrifices offered during the Millennium. This fact however, is not in conflict with Hebrews 7:11 – 28, because there will be a change in the approach to salvation and mediation with God, although the basic requirements will exist. Christ is our Passover, sacrificed once and forever, as contrasted to the regular offerings and sacrifices. The offerings of the Priesthood in the time of the Millennial Reign will not be about atonement, but for a memorial and object lesson, if you will, to show the people what already has been accomplished through Christ. These offerings will be as Communion is today: a memorial regarding what Jesus did in His redemptive work at Calvary.

In Ezekiel chapters 43 – 46 nearly all of the Feasts of the Lord are mentioned as being celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom. These offerings and feasts, new moons and Sabbaths, and various ordinances and activities will be observed during the Millennium and in the New Earth forever (Isa. 66:22 – 24; Ezek. 44:5; 45:17; 46:1 – 3).

Flowing out from the Millennial Temple will be a literal river. It will flow eastward and from the south side of the Altar, and then will turn to go southward through Jerusalem, dividing the city, with half of the river flowing westward into the Mediterranean Sea and the other half flowing into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea will then be healed, so that once again life will exist in it, with multitudes of fish and sea life (Ezek. 47:1 – 12; Zech. 14:8):

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side. And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.” [Ezek. 47:1 – 5].

A great earthquake will take place at the Second Coming when Christ sets His foot on the Mount of Olives, causing a significant change for the whole country (Zech. 14:4, 5). The Dead Sea will be provided an outlet to purify its stagnant waters, having been raised so that it can give life and sustenance:

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You.” [Zech. 14:4, 5]

What a remarkable, glorious time this will be! Marvelous spiritual conditions will exist in the Kingdom Age. We will take a look at this, and more next time.

Until next time,

Pastor Kevin E. Johnson

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