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He Shall Reign Forever

By admin | January 14, 2014

Introduction

Most of us have not looked at the prophecies of the Old Testament chained together to observe the flow of God’s promises of future events. Reading a summary of them at one setting is very rewarding. Many of these topics are detailed in other places. I will try to provide linkage to the details. Now let us get started with the introduction.

As the children of Israel stood below Mount Sinai, and entered into the Mosaic covenant with God, He made one point very clear. Although He had promised the land, as an unconditional everlasting possession, their tenure within the land was conditional and based upon their obedience. If they proved to be unfaithful, He would uproot them from their land, and scatter them among the Gentile nations to receive the curses of the world. They would suffer great hardship with persecution, but He would not forget them. For their sake, He would remember the covenant that He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and He would one day return them to their land and restore their blessings (see Leviticus Chapter 26).

Approximately forty years later, on the Plains of Moab, Moses gave the same warning to the second generation. His words are recorded in the twenty eighth through the thirtieth chapters of Deuteronomy where additional details are added to the curses and eventual blessings.

During the reign of King David, God promised him a seed to reign on his throne forever. It is very clear from the Psalms that David understood God’s plan to place His own Son, the Messiah, upon the throne and let him rule over the House of Jacob forever. David, speaking in the first person, gave us many of the details of both the present age and the age to come.

After the division of the Northern and Southern kingdoms, God’s prophets began to prophesy of the coming judgment and captivity. But they also foresaw the day when the people would be gathered from Gentile nations, and be united and restored to the land under the reign of the promised Messiah. They foresaw the day when the Gentile nations would be judged, rewarded, or punished for their treatment of the Jews during their Diaspora. Some Gentile nations would enter the Messianic Kingdom as subordinates to the Jews and would share in their blessings.

The prophet Joel may have been the first of the writing prophets to speak – as early as the eighth or ninth century. He foresaw the day when God would chastise his chosen people, and pour out His spirit on all flesh, restore the nation Israel, judge the Gentile nations, and implement the promised blessings of a new kingdom.

Almost seventy five years later, just before the Assyrians took the Northern Kingdom into captivity, the prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah began to speak. Amos and Hosea were prophets to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and both prophesied that soon the people would go into captivity. Yet, they both foresaw the day when Israel would be restored to their land and to God’s fellowship. Hosea foresaw a national spiritual conversion.

Perhaps, it was the prophet Isaiah who has given us the most details of the promised Messiah and His Messianic Kingdom. Isaiah foresaw the Messiah in two different roles: one as a suffering Messiah who paid the supreme sacrifice for the sins of mankind, and the other as a king who would sit upon the throne of David, and rule the world with righteousness and justice. He also foresaw the blindness of the Jewish people that would cause them to temporarily reject their Messiah. He foresaw their eyes being opened, and Israel being saved with an everlasting salvation. Isaiah’s contemporary, Micah, foresaw their future deliverer, and ruler coming from the city of Bethlehem.

About one hundred years later, the prophets, Habakkuk and Zephaniah, added two new dimensions to the prophetic messages. Habakkuk stated that “the just shall live by faith” in the coming kingdom. Zephaniah foresaw the day when Israel would be cleansed of her sins, and returned to a pure language. God would reverse the confusion of languages that was placed upon the people at the tower of Babel.

A short time later Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians, and three of the four Major prophets began to speak. Jeremiah foresaw the coming destruction of Jerusalem, and the land becoming desolate and polluted, but he also foresaw the day when God would enter into a new covenant relationship with his chosen people. Unlike the Mosaic Covenant, the New Covenant would be unconditional, and God would write His laws upon the hearts of his chosen people.

Ezekiel was in captivity when God began to show him visions and speak through him. In a vision, God took him back to Jerusalem to see the departing Shekinah glory of God. Then, in another vision, Ezekiel foresaw the dry bones of Israel come alive, and walk again as a united nation under a new king.

However, it was to Daniel, living in captivity in Babylon, that God revealed the age called “The Times of the Gentiles”, and he was also given a timetable for the coming of the Messiah. Many of the details of the last days were not understood, and Daniel was told to close the book. During the final days of Jesus ministry, He confirmed the prophecy of Daniel and gave us more details of the “End Times”. Years later, under the direction of the risen Christ, the Apostle John began writing where Daniel left off and wrote The Revelation, the only book of prophecy in the New Testament.

After about seventy years in Babylonian captivity, a small remnant returned to Jerusalem, and rebuilt the temple and, eventually, the city walls. During that time the last three of the Old Testament prophets spoke.

Haggai foresaw a vision of a future temple that would be far more glorious than Solomon’s Temple. He also closes with a vision of the final overthrow of the Gentile world power.

Zechariah, a contemporary of Haggai, was given many of the details of the coming of the promised Messiah. Many of Zechariah’s prophecies were fulfilled with the first coming of Christ, however many remain unfulfilled. Zechariah clearly foresaw the final battle of Jerusalem when the Gentile nations would march against God’s chosen nation. He foresaw the promised Messiah defending the city, and God’s Holy Spirit being poured out on His chosen people. At that time, the chosen nation will accept their Messiah and mourn for him. Zechariah’s last vision showed the Messianic Kingdom being established on earth.

Malachi was the last prophet to speak, and he foresaw individual Jews being judged. Many hardened their hearts, and refused God’s directive will over their lives. Therefore, they will be rejected by God, and will not enter into the promised kingdom of justice and righteousness.

We find it difficult to understand the message of the prophets because of the fragmentation of Scripture. Like the pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle, the fragments seem to be unrelated and incomplete. Yet, also like the jigsaw puzzle, with a lot of patience and study, the fragments begin to form a picture. That picture, which the prophets painted, is the key to our understanding of God’s absolute sovereignty, and of His program for the ages. It is the purpose of this chapter to help us understand that picture which the Old Testament Prophets painted. The prophets’ primary message was of condemnation, judgment, chastisement, redemption, restoration, and promises.

When we have placed the pieces together, we will find that some are missing. Later, we will see many of the missing pieces when we study the New Testament. However, without the picture given to us by the Old Testament prophets, it would be impossible to put the New Testament pieces in place. It has been said, “Revelation is like a train station where all the trunk lines comes together.” All “End Times” roads of prophecy terminate in Revelation.

We must also understand that the prophets did not foresee the two advents of their Messiah; with the Church age in between — the first advent as a suffering Messiah paying the debt of sin, and the second one as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords ruling with justice and righteousness. They foresaw details of what they thought was one vision. It appeared to them the same way as multiple mountain ranges appear to us as we view them from a far distance. The great valley called the “Church Age” was a mystery, and was hidden from view in the Old Testament.

Jewish Dispersion and Persecution

From the beginning, God made it clear to the nation Israel that its continuing blessings and tenure within the Promised Land was conditional upon their faithfulness and obedience. If they obeyed God’s law they would be blessed. If they disobeyed, God would punish them at the hands of the Gentiles. On the eve before the final march across the Jordan River, Moses gave final instructions to the young nation camped on the Plains of Moab. There, he repeated God’s warning to the second generation of His chosen people. This generation was born and reared in the wilderness.

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Detail study of God’s Warnings

A Desolated Land

The children of Israel were also warned that the land would become unproductive and lie desolate. In Leviticus, we read these words of warning. ” I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land then the land shall rest and enjoy its Sabbaths” (Lev. 26:31 34).

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Detail study of a Desolate Land

A Resurrected Nation

Deuteronomy 28:48 states that God will put a yoke of iron upon the neck of the nation Israel until He has destroyed them. This was fulfilled when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Jewish people were scattered among the nations, and were without a country that they could call their own homeland. Almost all the prophets make it very clear that God would not forget His chosen people. The dead bones of Israel will be raised from the dead, and will be restored to their land and their blessings.

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Detail study of A Resurrected Nation

A New Covenant

Under the Mosaic Covenant, the Children of Israel proved that it is impossible to keep God’s law while under the control of the flesh. Their natural, depraved nature rebelled against the directive will of God, and they went the ways of the Gentiles into the kingdom of Satan. The Mosaic Covenant served as a litmus test, and completely revealed man’s true colors under sin. The Mosaic Covenant was conditional and temporary, and God knew it would be broken. Yet, He was most patient with his chosen adulteress wife (see Hosea). Although they were allowed to remain in their land for over six hundred years, the golden age of Israel lasted for less than fifty years.

Before the restored nation enters the promised Messianic kingdom, God is going to enter into a new covenant relationship with them. This new covenant, rooted in the Abrahamic covenant, will be permanent and unconditional. It will be based upon the grace of God and the completed work upon the cross.

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Detail study of The New Covenant

The Promised Messiah

Now let us focus our attention upon the promised Messiah. The concept of the coming of a Messiah, who would restore the kingdom of David, and redeem the people from the Gentile bondage developed slowly, after Israel went into captivity. Although, the prophets, including David, prophesied early, the people did not listen until they were in bondage. They never grasped the fact that the Messiah would be God’s own son, and that He would first come as a suffering Messiah and die to pay for their sins. They also did not realize that the future Messiah had been active in their lives as the “Angel of the Lord” from the very beginning of their existence.

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Detail study of The Promised Messiah

National Blindness

The Jewish people were spiritually blind to many of the details of God’s program of redemption. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament addresses this happening and Jesus testified to this fact. It was as if they had a veil over their eyes and their vision of understanding was dimmed. They could not comprehend the dual roles and the two advents of their promised Messiah. Therefore, they chose to see Him only as an everlasting reigning King setting upon the throne of David.

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Detail study of National Blindness

The Gentile Nations

Beginning with the Babylonian Captivity, the Jews have been under the yoke of the Gentile Nations. Jesus call this “The Times of the Gentiles”. Gentiles will continue to persecute the Jews until the Church is taken out and Christ returns to set up his earthly Kingdom. However, it appears that during the Kingdom Age the Gentile will serve the Jews.

We have already seen in that some of the nations will go into the kingdom with Israel. We need to review the Scripture quickly to provide continuity. We also need to remember that the Gentiles, who were prophesied to go into the Kingdom, are not members of “The Church”. Members of “The Church”, as the bride of Christ, will be on a higher plain than the Jews and the Gentile nations. The Church was never promised any land, but was promised that it would reign with Christ over His kingdom. Both the Old and New Testament tell us that there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth. If the “The Church” will be in heaven, then who will be upon the earth? However, there will be much going back and forth between them.

In the book of Isaiah we read these words: “And he shall judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isa. 2:4, NASB 1995).

The prophet, Joel, saw a vision of the last days: “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations, and bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and they have divided up My land” (Joel 3:1-2, NASB 1995).

The prophet, Isaiah, gives us even more amazing insight as he sheds light on the future roles of Israel and the Gentile nations. “Foreigners will build up your walls, and their kings will minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, and in My favor I have had compassion on you. Your gates will be open continually; they will not be closed day or night, so that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish” (Isa. 60:10-12a, NASB 1995).

“Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. But you will be called the priests of the Lord; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs” (Isa. 61:5-7, NASB 1995).

It seems that the Gentile nations will honor Israel, and perhaps serve them throughout eternity. Those who will not serve will be judged and will perish. As individual members of those nations, the people must each receive Jesus as their Savior, Lord and King.

A Jewish Time Line

One of the most important and most amazing prophesy in the entire Bible is recorded in the ninth chapter of Daniel. While in Babylon, Daniel prayed to God that he would show him what was going to happen to Israel after the captivity ended. God send the angel Gabriel to give him an answer. Some prophetic scholars consider this prophecy to one of the most important in Scripture.

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Detail study of The Time Line

The Last Days

In the Old Testament, many references are made to the “latter days” or the “last days”. Although these terms are often interchanged, they refer to different time periods. The latter days began at the feast of Pentecost when God poured out the Holy Spirit upon all believers, but since the nation Israel did not believe they were cut off, and their time of blessing was postponed. The last days begin with the last week of Daniel’s timetable when the clock begins running again for Israel’s last seven years. It overlaps with the latter days, and is technically the same time period on God’s calendar for Israel. This is the reason the ages relating to the Jews can be interchanged in prophecy.

For the conclusion of our study of the Old Testament, let us focus our attention on events that will occur during the last days. Emphasis will be upon events occurring during the last three and one half years, and will be in summary form since more details will be provided in our studies in the New Testament.

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Detail study of The Last Days

The Millennium


Much has been discussed and debated over a time period call “The thousand year reign of Christ”. Both the Old and New Testament teaches that Christ will reign during this time period. The time period is actually the time between when Jesus returns to restore the earthly kingdom, and the time when evil is completely wiped out. It continues until the bodily resurrection of the unsaved, and the judgment at the “Great White Throne”. This time period will last for a thousand years.

The Bible clearly teaches that there will be two resurrections of the body. The first resurrection will be of the saved, and may occur at different times for different groups of people (The Church, Old Testament saints, etc.). The second resurrection is for the unsaved only; they will all be resurrected at the same time.

It is important for us to be reminded that only the body with be resurrected. Jesus and the Apostle Paul made it clear that the spirit and soul do not die or sleep. They move from one state of existence to another.

It is difficult to tell when God will destroy the present earth by fire, and will then create a New Heaven and the New Earth. Will it before or after the thousand years? However, there may be some support that it will be after the thousand years when all evil is wiped out. The chronological order of The Revelation places it after the “Great White Throne” judgment.

The Bible teaches that there seems to be some rebellion during the thousand-year reign. However, judgment will be swift since the New Kingdom will be established with justice and righteousness. There will be zero tolerance from the King of Kings.

In The Revelation we read: “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev 20:7-10, NASB 1995).

This entire time period will be a period of final testing as Christ will reign with justice and righteousness and the devil will be in the bottomless pit for most of the time. No one call blame the devil until just before the thousand years ends.

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Detail study of The Millennium Kingdom

Eternity

We know that there will be a new heaven and a new earth after all evil has been removed. Although details are somewhat limited, we know that Jesus will be the King (groom), and the Church will be his bride. He will rule forever and there will be peace and goodwill to all.

Then the Son of God shall sit upon the throne of David ruling over His kingdom with righteousness and justice. To Him will be given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, where all the peoples, nations, and men of every language will serve Him. His dominion will be an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed (Dan. 7:14, paraphrased).

“In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of horses, “HOLY TO THE LORD.” And the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the bowls before the altar. Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the Lord of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts in that day” (Zech. 14:20 21, NASB 1995). At long last, God will have cleansed or purged His kingdom of all evil, and He will again dwell among His people and have fellowship with them.

The Bible tells us that the new earth will not have seas. It will be as it was in the Garden of Eden when all was perfect. There are many hymns concerning the details of heaven that we enjoy singing.

Our imagination cannot conceive what awaits us in the new heaven and the new earth. God gives us this promise which Paul quotes from Isaiah: “but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor, 2:9, NASB 1995).

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