From  the  book  by  Ron Rhodes

Continued  from  previous  post

Israel Is Restored and Possesses the Land

Jeremiah 31:31-34, a pivotal prophecy dealing with the new covenant, promises the regeneration of Israel.

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord . But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord : I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

This covenant promises the necessary internal power for  the Jews (NO!  MORE  THAN  JEWS  -  ALL  TRIBES  OF  ISRAEL,  THE  "JEWS"  ARE  ONLY  THREE  TRIBES -  Keith Hunt) to obey Gods commands—something the Mosaic covenant of the law could never accomplish. This covenant promises a complete national regeneration of Israel, and every Jew in the millennial kingdom will personally know the Lord (see Isaiah 29:22-24; 30:18-22; 44:1-5; 45:17; Jeremiah 24:7; 50:19-20; Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:25-27; Hosea 1:10-2:1; 14:4-8; Joel 2:28-32; Micah 7:8-20; Zephaniah 3:9-13; Romans 11:25-27).


Israel will not only experience regeneration in fulfillment of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) but also be regathered. The land covenant recorded in Deuteronomy 29—30 is eternal and unconditional. God promised that even though Israel would be dispersed all over the world, He would gather them and restore them to the land (see Isaiah 43:5-7; Jeremiah 16:14-18). This will take place in Christ's millennial kingdom.

This is highly significant from a prophetic standpoint.


 God long ago made specific land promises to Abraham.

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from theWadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites" (Genesis 15:18-21 NIV).

God passed these land promises down to Isaac and his descendants.

Stay in this land for awhile, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed (Genesis 26:3-4 NIV).

God also reiterated the land promises to Jacob and his descendants.

I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring (Genesis 28:13-14 NIV).

The Bible later affirmed that God's covenant promises would be fulfilled through this distinct family line.

He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit" (Psalm 105:8-11 NIV).

It is clear, then, that after God gathers the Jews (ALL  ISRAEL  TRIBES  -  Keith Hunt)  from around the world, they will finally and completely come into full possession of the land that God promised them. The fulfillment comes thousands of years after the promise was initially made, but God is utterly faithful. Israel will be in full possession of the land just as God said they would be. This will happen at the beginning of Christ's millennial kingdom.


A Millennial Temple Is Built

In Ezekiel 40-48, a millennial temple is built (see Isaiah 2:3; 60:13; Joel 3:18) and millennial animal sacrifices are instituted (see Isaiah 56:7; 60:7; Jeremiah 33:17-18; Zechariah 14:19-21). Scholars have debated the question about whether these prophecies should be taken literally
or in some figurative sense. 

Some interpret the chapters symbolically, suggesting that the temple is somehow representative of the church. The problem is, those who see it as representative of the church do not agree among themselves what the symbol is supposed to say about the church. Because the text reads quite literally, providing precise dimensions, specifications, and instructions (just as specific as those for the tabernacle and the temple of Solomon), it seems obvious to the unbiased interpreter that the passage is intended to be taken literally—that is, there will in fact be a millennial temple and millennial animal sacrifices. 


Further, in view of the fact that Ezekiel was told, "Declare all that you see to the house of Israel? (Ezekiel 40:4), it seems impossible to conclude that this is supposed to symbolize the future church.

The millennial temple will be the final temple for Israel. The dimensions provided for this temple make it significantly larger than the three other temples built in Israels history (Solomons temple, the postexilic temple, and the tribulation temple).



This large temple will apparently represent God's presence among His people during the millennium (see Ezekiel 37:26-27). The restoration of Israel as a nation will appear to include a restoration of God's presence (and glory) visibly reentering the temple and being with His people. This temple will be a worship center of Jesus Christ during the entire millennium. It will be built at the beginning of the messianic kingdom (Ezekiel 37:26-28) by Christ (Zechariah 6:12-13), redeemed Jews (Ezekiel 43:10-11), (ISRAELITES not  just  Jews  -  Keith Hunt) and representatives from the Gentile nations (Haggai 2:7; Zechariah 6:15).

Ezekiel 37:26-28 describes this temple as God's dwelling place among the people:

I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.

Even redeemed Gentiles will be included in worship in this millennial temple (see Isaiah 60:6; Zephaniah 3:10; Zechariah 2:11). The worship of Jesus Christ in the future temple is a key aspect of divine revelation on this subject (see Jeremiah 33:15-22; Zechariah 14:16-21).

Why Sacrifices?

Why will sacrifices be offered in this temple? Christ's once-for-all sacrifice has taken away sin and has caused the Mosaic law of sacrifices to be abolished (see Hebrews 7—10). Why, then, is the sacrificial system predicted here? John E Walvoord summarizes the question this way:

The question is naturally raised why the sacrifices would be observed in the millennium if the sacrifice of Christ once for all fulfilled the typical expectation of the Old Testament sacrificial system. While other objections are also made of a lesser character, it is obvious that this constitutes the major obstacle, not only to accepting the sacrificial system but the possibility of the future temple in the millennium as well.2

In answering this issue, we begin with the observation that Israel and the church are not only distinct today (1 Corinthians 10:32; Romans 9-11) but will also be distinct in the millennial kingdom. We might surmise, then, that temple activities in the millennium relate primarily to Israel (though redeemed Gentiles can also participate) and not to the church (see Isaiah 60—61).

(YES,  I  WILL  AGREE  -  Keith Hunt)

This being the case, some Bible expositors have surmised that the millennial sacrifices will be a kind of Jewish memorial of the awful price Christ—-the Lamb of God, who now lives in their midst—-had to pay for the salvation of these believing but not yet glorified Jews. (They are yet in their mortal bodies, having entered into the millennial kingdom following the tribulation, which they survived.) (REMEMBER  ISRAELITES  not  just  "Jews"  -  Keith Hunt). The temple system will thus allegedly function much like the Lords Supper does today, as a memorial ritual (1 Corinthians 11:25-26; see also Isaiah 56:7; 66:20-23; Jeremiah 33:17-18; Ezekiel 43:18-27; 45:13-46:24; Malachi 3:3-4).

According to this view the sacrifices offered during the earthly reign of Christ will be visible reminders of His work on the cross. Thus, these sacrifices will not have any efficacy except to memorialize Christ's death. The primary support for this argument is the parallel of the Lord's Supper. It is argued that just as the communion table looks back on the Cross without besmirching its glory, so millennial sacrifices will do the same.3


The problem with this viewpoint is that Ezekiel says the sacrifices are "to make atonement" (Ezekiel 45:15,17,20). The "memorial" viewpoint seems to fall short of explaining these sacrifices.


The solution may be that the purpose of the sacrifices in the millennial temple is to remove ceremonial uncleanness and prevent defilement from polluting the purity of the temple environment. According to this view, such will be necessary because Yahweh will again be dwelling on the earth in the midst of sinful (and therefore unclean) mortal people. (Remember, these people survive the tribulation period and enter the millennial kingdom in their mortal bodies. They retain their sin natures even though they are redeemed by Christ as believers.) The sacrifices will thus remove any ceremonial uncleanness in the temple.


Because of God's promise to dwell on earth during the millennium (as stated in the New Covenant), it is necessary that He protect His presence through sacrifice....It should further be added that this sacrificial system will be a temporary one in that the millennium (with its partial population of unglorified humanity) will last only one thousand years. During the eternal state all inhabitants of the New Jerusalem will be glorified and will therefore not be a source of contagious impurities to defile the holiness ofYahweh.4


Seen in this light, the sacrifices are not a return to the Mosaic law. The law has forever been done away with through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:14-15; 7:1-6; 1 Corinthians 9:20-21; 2 Corinthians 3:7-11; Galatians 4:1-7; 5:18; Hebrews 8:13; 10:1-14). The sacrifices relate only to removing ritual impurities in the temple as long as fallen but redeemed human beings remain on earth.


Christ Reigns from the Davidic Throne

God promised David that one of his descendants would rule forever on his throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13; 22:51). Like the land promise to Abraham and his descendants, this is an unconditional covenant. It did not depend on David in any way for its fulfillment. David realized this when he received the promise from God, and he responded with humility and a recognition of God's sovereignty over human affairs.

The three keywords of the covenant are kingdom, house, and throne. Such words point to the political future of Israel. The word translated house here refers to a royal dynasty.

This covenant finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who was born from the line of David (Matthew 1:1). In the millennial kingdom, He will rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem (Micah 4:1-5; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Zechariah 14). This reign of Christ during the millennial kingdom will extend beyond the Jews to include the Gentile nations as well. 


Multiple prophecies in Scripture point to Christ's reign during the millennial kingdom:

• "May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!" (Psalm 72:8).

• "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this" (Isaiah 9:6-7).

•"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14).

•"He shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zechariah 9:10; see also Revelation 20:4).

Note also that when the angel Gabriel appeared to the young virgin Mary to inform her that the Messiah was to be born through her womb, he spoke to her in Davidic terms.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:30-33).

The three key words used by the angel to describe the future rule of Jesus Christ were throne, house, and kingdom—-the same words God used when he promised David that one from his line would rule forever (2 Samuel 7:16).

Gabriels words must have immediately brought these Old Testament promises to mind for Mary, a devout young Jew. Indeed, Gabriels words constituted a clear announcement that Mary's Son would come into this world to fulfill the promise given to David that one of his sons would sit on his throne and rule over his kingdom.

Now that the millennial kingdom is instituted following the second coming of Jesus the Messiah, these long-anticipated prophetic promises are fulfilled: Christ reigns from the throne of David.

(YES  AMEN  AND  I  SAY  AGAIN  AMEN  -  Keith Hunt

Resurrected Saints Reign with Christ

Scripture promises that Christ will gloriously reign from the Davidic throne. But Scripture also promises that the saints will reign with Christ. In 2 Timothy 2:12, for example, the apostle Paul instructs, "If we endure, we will also reign with him." Those who endure through trials will one day rule with Christ in His future kingdom.

This provides an interesting parallel between Jesus Christ and Christians. Christ Himself endured and will one day reign (1 Corinthians 15:25). In the same way—though obviously to a much lesser degree, and under the lordship of Christ-—-believers must endure and will one day reign with Him (Revelation 3:21).

The idea of reigning with Christ is compatible with what we learn elsewhere in the book of Revelation. For example, Revelation 5:10 reveals that believers have been made "a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Revelation 20:6 makes a similar affirmation: "Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years."

Even beyond the millennial kingdom and into the eternal state, this privilege of reigning with Christ continues. "Night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22:5). What an awesome privilege and blessing!

(AMEM  AGAIN  AND  AMEN  -  Keith Hunt)

In what capacity will believers reign? Peoples rank or office, as it were, will apparently be commensurate with their commitment and faithfulness during their earthly lives. How wonderful it would be to hear these words from Christ: ""Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much" (Matthew 25:21).


Christ Brings Physical Blessings

Scripture reveals that those who enter into Christ's millennial kingdom will enjoy some unique physical blessings. These six are representative sampling.

1. People will live in a blessed and enhanced environment.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God (Isaiah 35:1-2).

2. Rain and food will be plentiful.

And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that dayyour livestock will graze in large pastures, and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork (Isaiah 30:23-24).

3. Animals will live in harmony with each other and with humans.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a litde child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox (Isaiah 11:6-7).


AMEN,  SO  INDEED  IT  SHALL  BE  -  Keith Hunt

To  be  continued