Revelation 2020 - Lesson 20B

Chapter 20:6-8

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  • It’s time to begin our study of Christ’s Kingdom on earth, which follows 75 days after His return to the Earth

    • All preparations have been made for the Kingdom to start

      • The earth has been restored to beauty

      • The temple has been cleansed and rebuilt in a new and better way

      • The evil of the world has been set aside at least for a time

    • And the citizens of the kingdom are present and ready to receive their inheritance in that time

      • All resurrected saints from the Old Testament, Church and Tribulation are entering the Kingdom

      • As well as those believers who didn’t die in Tribulation

      • And all living unbelievers, which are only Gentiles at this point, are sent to Hades

      • So now we get to learn about the Kingdom 

    • And if we turn to the book of Revelation to study that time, we will be greatly disappointed by what we find

      • Returning to the place we left off, here’s all we find

Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
Rev. 20:7  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
  • In v.6 we learn what happens before the kingdom begins, and in v.7 we learn what happens after the kingdom ends

    • So the book of Revelation tells us nothing about what happens during the 1,000 years of the kingdom

    • The entire kingdom period takes place between vs.6-7 in the book of Revelation

    • The only thing the book of Revelation tells us about the Kingdom is the length of that time: 1,000 years

  • The reason Revelation virtually ignores the details of the Kingdom is because the rest of the Bible is literally filled with those details

    • The kingdom is described in the Torah and it’s a major theme of the OT prophets and psalms

    • Jesus offers tantalizing details in many of His parables and other teaching

    • And even the Epistle writers gives us a few details 

    • So, we must venture outside the book of Revelation for the next two weeks to examine the life and times of the Kingdom

  • Let’s begin by remembering what the term “kingdom” means in the Bible

    • Many Christians operate with a very limited and superficial understanding of their own eternal future

      • The concept of the Kingdom (or Heaven) is largely limited to Hallmark theology 

      • As a result, our understanding is largely void of substance or meaning

    • Ironically, the Bible speaks extensively about the coming kingdom using a variety of terms, and descriptions and pictures or shadows

      • In fact, the coming Kingdom is one of the most important themes of the Old Testament, second only to the Messiah 

      • We can find these references literally from Genesis to Malachi

    • And in the New Testament, discussions of the kingdom were tremendously important to Jesus’ ministry

      • There are 160 mentions of the kingdom in the NT and 125 are found in the Gospels

      • Jesus talked of entering the kingdom, living in the kingdom, ruling in the kingdom, and having an inheritance in the kingdom

      • Paul also taught that we would receive our inheritance in the kingdom when Christ returns

      • And now Revelation has told us that the Kingdom is 1,000 years long

    • If we look at the Bible’s teaching about the Kingdom across all these references, we find the concept of the Kingdom progressing

      • The Kingdom concept transitions through four stages of meaning from the Old Testament to the New Testament

      • And it’s important to recognize these transition points to arrive at a proper interpretation

    • The Kingdom theme begins in Genesis as a promise, something God would do to correct for the sin of Adam

      • That promise is clearly articulated in the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants

      • The nation of Israel would enjoy an inheritance of land, a posterity of descendants, a perfect king and unending peace

      • And many generations of believers in Israel looked forward to the future fulfillment of that promise

Heb. 11:13  All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
  • Then the time came to fulfill that promise, and the Lord came to Israel offering the Kingdom in that day

    • Jesus made Israel a proposal: accept me as your King and I will give you the promised Kingdom

      • But Israel rejected their king, as we’re studying in Matthew

      • And as a result, Jesus withdrew His proposal and the Kingdom was taken from that generation of Israel 

      • In their place, the Kingdom proposal was given to Gentiles, who became the Bride of Christ instead of Israel 

    • So the proposal of the Kingdom was temporarily withdrawn, and in its place emerged a program of recruiting Gentiles to join the Kingdom

      • This program advances the call to believe in Jesus, and as a person obeys the call, they become part of a spiritual Kingdom 

      • They become citizens of a heavenly Kingdom that is not of this world

      • And this program will continue until the Lord puts an end to it by calling His Bride to Heaven at the resurrection 

    • Then as we have studied, the Lord will return to the earth a second time, and at that point the Kingdom will appear as promised

      • At that point the Kingdom will become a literal place just as God promised to Abraham and His descendants 

      • It will exist on earth in the future, and it will also include men and women from all the nations

      • This is also a fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, when God said all nations would be blessed through him

    • So the concept of a Kingdom progresses from a promise, to a proposal, to a program and finally to a place

      • At the point we have reached in Revelation, we have seen the program come to an end at the Rapture

      • And we now see the Kingdom begin at Christ’s second coming

      • And in this time to come, all the good things the Lord has promised to His people will finally be fulfilled 

      • We wait for the Kingdom to see His promises fulfilled because those promises were always set in that time, not in this one

  • So it’s time to learn about that place, a very real world that we will inhabit for 1,000 years

    • We will enjoy that time in a home we call ours, with land and possessions that can never be taken away

      • We will be absent disease and sorrow, for there will be nothing about us or the world to disturb our peace or joy

      • We will have meaningful work that is not hard and we will have relationships and natural beauty to enjoy

      • And we will know, worship and serve the Lord in ways we can’t even imagine today

    • We can’t say exactly what the earth and seas look like after the restoration, but one thing is sure

      • The world of the Kingdom won’t be less of a place to enjoy than the world we know now

      • The beauty and suitability of the Kingdom earth won’t be less than the beauty and enjoyment in the world today

      • On the contrary, it will be far greater 

    • And while there is much we can’t know about that place, there is still much we can know

      • And our goal in this study is to learn what we can in a short time so that our understanding of that time would grow 

      • And as we come to understand more about what life in that place will be like, we can look forward to it even more

      • And as you think more about the Kingdom life, you will begin to live more for that life rather than for this life

    • And because there is a lot we could say about the Kingdom, we need to approach this section of our study in sections

      • First, we study changes in the order of Creation and in nature, including the geography, borders and government of the land

      • Secondly, we will study the people in the Kingdom and the quality of daily life in that time

      • Thirdly, we study Jesus’ place in the Kingdom including the nature of worship at the new Kingdom temple

      • Finally, we study the culminating event of the Kingdom: the war of Gog of Magog 

  • Let’s start with the way Creation changes during the Kingdom period, and that study begins with a look at the past

    • When Adam and Woman sinned, the Lord responded to their sin with a series of pronouncements 

Gen. 3:17  Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; 
Cursed is the ground because of you; 
In toil you will eat of it 
All the days of your life.
Gen. 3:18  “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; 
And you will eat the plants of the field;
Gen. 3:19  By the sweat of your face 
You will eat bread, 
Till you return to the ground, 
Because from it you were taken; 
For you are dust, 
And to dust you shall return.”
  • The Lord responded to Adam’s willful sin by cursing the ground, or the earth itself

    • God placed the earth under a curse, and a curse from God is a pronouncement of judgment resulting in destruction

    • So the earth will one day be destroyed and replaced, as we will soon see

  • In the meantime the nature of Creation also changed, starting with the need for mankind to toil to produce food from the ground

    • The Lord declares that the earth would produce thorns and thistles naturally

    • So apart from the toil of man, the earth would produce weeds and unhelpful plants

    • Only by the sweat of his brow would man be able to produce the food he required

  • Before the curse, man enjoyed life in a garden that produced all the food he required without any work at all

    • No weed came up, no unhelpful plants crowd out the good ones

    • Adam needed only to walk outside his door and he found all the food he wanted 

  • Furthermore, the days of man will be numbered, meaning life would have an end called death

    • The spirit of Adam died in the moment he ate of the fruit, and now his physical body would also die

      • Everything that came from the ground was cursed like the ground itself, which meant the physical body of man was to die

      • Likewise, the animal kingdom, which also was made from the earth, would also die

      • The Lord instituted a process of decay that results in physical bodies succumbing to disease and frailty over time 

      • Death may also come from instantaneous acts of violence, which are themselves the result of sin

    • All this was a change from the beginning, because the physical body was created to live forever 

      • Without sin, Paul explains in Romans, there would be no death, either for us or for any other creature

      • So after the fall, the order of Creation changed in fundamental ways to include difficulty working the land and the death of the body

  • Then later following the flood, the Lord made more changes to Creation, specifically to the animal Kingdom

Gen. 9:1  And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
Gen. 9:2 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.
Gen. 9:3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
  • The Lord gave mankind permission to eat animal flesh after the flood

    • Prior to that moment, human beings ate only plants as God directed in the Garden

    • Though the text doesn’t mention the animals’ diet changing, we assume that animals began to eat each other too after this time

  • This change would have been necessary at that time since in the days and weeks after the flood vegetation would have been sparse

    • So without meat to eat, animals would have starved

    • Likewise, a change in the earth’s climate following the flood made it more difficult to grow crops

  • Then to protect the animals from a quick extinction, the Lord leveled the playing field by placing the fear of man into animals

    • The animals were previously unafraid of men and of each other, but now a predator-prey relationship was established 

    • Animals were adversaries with each other and man with animals 

    • Animals might attack men and men might eat animals 

  • So the world we know where people and animals eat one another, attack one another, and ultimately die represents a change to Creation’s original intent

    • Likewise, the difficulty with which we work with nature is also a change to the original plan of God

      • These things were brought about as a result of man’s sin

      • And in the future the Lord has a plan to correct for all these consequences of Adam’s sin and He does it in stages

    • During the Kingdom He begins the correction process and He completes it in the New Heavens and Earth that follow the Kingdom 

Is. 11:6   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.
Is. 11:7  Also the cow and the bear will graze, 
Their young will lie down together, 
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
Is. 11:8  The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, 
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
Is. 11:9  They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, 
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD 
As the waters cover the sea.
  • One of the first comforting things we learn about the created order of the Kingdom is that animals exist in this time as well

    • We often get the question will my pet be in Heaven with me?

    • Well, your pet might be there, but my poodle won’t…poodles go to another place

  • Whenever we answer a question about Heaven, we always need to be specific about the place and time we mean

    • Heaven isn’t a single place or time…Heaven is where Jesus is

      • And Jesus moves around, and therefore so do we

      • Heaven for us begins in the throne room of God after death or rapture

    • That will be our home for a short time, but it’s not our permanent home, because it is not a physical place to dwell

      • We are made to live on a physical earth, and so are animals

      • But since animals don’t have a soul, they won’t be found in the temporary home we have in the Heavenly throne room 

      • But when Jesus brings us back to earth for the Kingdom, Isaiah says we will find animals on the earth during the Kingdom

    • But according to Isaiah 11, the nature of the animal kingdom is changed

      • Predators like wolves, leopards and lions will live peacefully next to prey like lambs, goats and calves

      • Even more interesting, large dangerous animals will pose no threat to people and animals will show no fear of men

      • Even a cobra poses no risk to a small child, and a young boy can command the obedience of any animal 

      • And being without reason to fear men, these animals will cease attacking men with lethal defense mechanisms

    • In short, all animals can be domesticated now, and will obey the will of man, and we will once again have dominion over the animal kingdom

      • Today, many wild animals simply can’t be domesticated because they are unpredictable and may revert to their wild instincts

      • But in this day, the Lord removes the predator-prey relationship so there will no longer be the hunted and the hunters

      • This is a direct reversal of the pronouncement God gave Noah, and it’s a step back to the nature of the world at the start

  • Next, the Lord reverses the curse of toiling to produce food in the Kingdom life

    • In speaking about what Israel will experience in the Kingdom, the Lord says life gets easy

Ezek. 34:25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.
Ezek. 34:26 “I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing.
Ezek. 34:27 “Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.
  • The Lord establishes a covenant of peace with Israel, and that covenant establishes the nation in their land once more

    • And in that place the Lord makes the hills of Israel a blessing again

    • He says they can sleep in the woods securely without fear, which is a way of indicating they have no enemies, neither man or beast

  • But then notice that the tree of the field will yield fruit and the earth will yield increase 

    • These are terms referring to the natural production of the earth without the need to farm or cultivate the land

    • This is a direct reversal of the curse on the earth that made life hard and difficult

    • Now that curse has been lifted, so that working in the field isn’t work anymore

    • This is true for both Israel and all nations on the earth

  • So when you hear that we are given an inheritance in the land and our life will be one of farming, you need to understand what that means

    • It’s not a hard life…it’s the opposite

      • Farming is a joy when the land is giving you its produce without the need to prepare the land or even sow the seed

Ezek. 36:27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Ezek. 36:28 “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.
Ezek. 36:29 “Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.
Ezek. 36:30 “I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations.
Ezek. 36:34 “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by.
Ezek. 36:35 “They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’
Ezek. 36:36 “Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it.”
  • The Lord says the land will be like Eden again and there will never again be a famine in the land 

    • The Lord will call for fruit and grain to come forth for the people

    • How hard will it be to farm a land producing food at the call of God’s voice?

    • It’s also a great picture of grace…the Lord does the work and we receive the blessing

  • How does God ensure so much success farming in a desert?

Is. 30:23 Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture.
Is. 30:24 Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.
Is. 30:25 On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.
Is. 30:26 The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.
  • After the Lord rescues Israel, He gives it the good things He promised in the Kingdom

    • Where before they suffered deprivation during the time of Tribulation, now they have all they need

    • They get rain and rich, roomy pastures for cattle with plenty of feed

  • And then we hear that the geography of Israel is very different than today

    • Streams running everywhere on tops of mountains, rain falling wherever they plant

    • Even more curious, the moon and sun see their brightness increased dramatically

  • It’s not clear whether Isaiah means this literally or whether it is simply a literary device indicating the optimistic joyful perspective of Israel 

    • That is, in this day, the sun will seem brighter, but if it is literal, it brings more questions than answers

    • How can we survive on a planet with so much light?

    • We can trust that God has a way to accommodate these changes and still produce a wonderful world

    • And I’m sure everyone has a fabulous tan

  • So the Creation in the Kingdom will be closer to the time of Eden, with animals obeying man, no predators killing one another, and the land producing easily

    • But one thing will not change though: the curse on Satan and the serpent will continue throughout the Kingdom period

      • Back in Genesis 3, the Lord also placed a curse on Satan for his part in the Fall

Gen. 3:14  The LORD God said to the serpent, 
“Because you have done this, 
Cursed are you more than all cattle, 
And more than every beast of the field; 
On your belly you will go, 
And dust you will eat 
All the days of your life;
  • The serpent was a literal snake indwelled by Satan, who took the snake as a disguise to deceive the woman

  • As a result of that moment, the Lord cursed the snake in v.14

    • The snake was made to give up its legs and crawl on the ground

    • That tells us that prior to the fall the snake stood upright or at least its belly didn’t touch the ground 

    • But from this point forward, the snake would be against the ground to remind men of their eventual destination: the earth

  • Obviously, the snake was an unwitting participant in that moment and not to be blamed for the outcome

    • So the Lord’s curse against the snake wasn’t intended as a punishment against the animal

    • Instead, it was a memorial to remind mankind of that moment and of their true adversary

  • So for as long as Satan remains and for as long as sin is still a part of life on earth, the snake would assume this form 

    • So does this curse get reversed for the Kingdom period? No

Is. 65:25 “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.
  • In the Kingdom, Isaiah says the snake continues to eat dust, which is a direct reference back to Genesis 3

    • In other words, the snake’s cursed form continues unchanged during the Kingdom

    • His form isn’t changing because the conditions that led to his new form haven’t been reversed either

    • Satan is still around, though he’s bound until the end of the Kingdom

  • Next, let’s consider other changes to the borders and geography that take place during the renewing of the heavens and earth 

    • First, Israel will exist in the Kingdom, but Israel’s borders will be different than they are today or at any time in the past

      • God establishes new borders for Israel, while eliminating the historical enemies of Israel that surrounded her

      • Today, Israel occupies a relatively small slice of land against the Mediterranean Sea

      • Lebanon is on the north, Egypt on the south and Jordan and Syria on the East

    • And this territory is only a fraction of what the nation once possessed at the height of the kingdom under Solomon

      • At that time, Israel was the dominant kingdom on earth, the superpower of its day

      • At its zenith, Israel reached well north into Syria, including all of Lebanon and the land east of the Jordan 

      • And it stretched southward into Egypt and southern Jordan

    • Israel has never since controlled so much territory

      • We might expect that God would give Israel a grant of land similar to the land they held under David and Solomon

      • But that’s not the half of it, literally

  • Let’s look back at the land God promised to Abraham and his descendants in His covenant

Gen. 15:18  On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, 
“To your descendants I have given this land, 
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
  • God gives Israel borders from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates

    • The river of Egypt is at the historic border of Israel in Egypt on the Sinai peninsula

    • And the Euphrates river is in Iraq, which is far east of any historical borders of Israel 

    • Later when Israel moved into the Promised Land under Joshua, the Lord reiterated the borders of the land He was giving to Israel

Josh. 1:2 “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.
Josh. 1:3 “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.
Josh. 1:4 “From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.
  • The Lord elaborates on His grant of land saying He gave Israel the land from the wilderness to Lebanon

    • And from the great river Euphrates to the Great Sea

    • These descriptions extend far beyond the traditional borders of Israel

    • These are the borders God has promised will be Israel in the day He fulfills His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to Israel

  • Ezekiel gives us a few more markers in Ezekiel 47:15-20, and if we plot these geographical markers, we arrive at a much different Israel

    • Israel will occupy a far larger area of land than anything seen before

    • More importantly, God’s promises for Israel to rule over their captors is fulfilled by these borders

    • Israel will consume all the nations that historically persecuted her in this region:

      • Moad, Ammon, Edom, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and others as God promised

Is. 14:1 When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
Is. 14:2 The peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive and will rule over their oppressors.
Is. 54:3  “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. 
And your descendants will possess nations 
And will resettle the desolate cities.
  • So Israel will be much larger than it ever has been and will consume its neighbors 

    • We don’t have borders given for Gentile nations, except that the Bible does note that many familiar nations will be represented

      • Time doesn’t permit me to explore this area in detail, and if you want more background, please listen to the Ezekiel study

      • But in summary, many nations will be repopulated around the earth with Gentile believers though there are a few exceptions

    • Edom will exist in the Kingdom but will remain empty as a memorial to their sin against Israel

      • It will be the location of the entry to the pit where Satan is held

      • Smoke will pour out of the pit and no human being will set foot in this land

    • Secondly, Egypt will exist but the Egyptians of the Kingdom will not be allowed to enter their land for the first 40 years of the Kingdom

      • This will be a memorial to the way Egypt stumbled Israel with idols, leading to Israel’s time of wandering in the desert

      • But eventually, Egypt will be allowed to be inhabited after the 40 years are up

  • Those are the major geographical and boundary changes of the Kingdom, but there are also natural changes to the land in the Kingdom

    • In addition to land being more fruitful and with more rivers, there will be other major geographical changes 

      • Starting with the mountain on which Jerusalem sits

Mic. 4:1  And it will come about in the last days 
That the mountain of the house of the LORD 
Will be established as the chief of the mountains. 
It will be raised above the hills, 
And the peoples will stream to it.
  • This mountain will be raised up high and will draw people toward it from around the world

    • The mountain at the center of Israel will become the tallest mountain in the world

    • On top of this mountain will sit the temple, the house of the Lord where Christ dwells

    • We’ll study more about the temple in a future lesson

  • Next, Zechariah says there will be new rivers flowing from the top of this mountain

Zech. 14:8  And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.
Zech. 14:9  And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.
Zech. 14:10  All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses.
Zech. 14:11 People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.
  • The city of Jerusalem will become the source for two rivers, one that flows East and the other West

    • The river that flows west will end up in the Mediterranean Sea while the one that flows east will end up in the Dead Sea

  • According to Ezekiel, this new river flowing east will have a dramatic impact on the Dead Sea

Ezek. 47:8 Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh.
Ezek. 47:9 “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
Ezek. 47:10 “And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many.
Ezek. 47:11 “But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt.
  • The river flowing from Mt. Zion will transform the Dead Sea into a fresh water body of water

    • Ezekiel doesn’t say if this happens miraculously (instantaneously) or naturally over time as fresh water dilutes the sea

    • With the sense of the text saying this is a miraculous change, especially considering that the lake becomes filled with every kind of fish

  • So the Dead Sea comes to life as a beautiful Millennial picture of God’s grace bringing life to the dead

    • Ezekiel adds that fishermen will fish there, from Engedi which is in the south near Masada to Eneglaim, which is unknown but probably somewhere in the north

    • They will fish according to their kinds, meaning there will be so much variety of fish that fishermen will specialize in their catch

    • And the fish will be bountiful

    • But salt marshes remain, probably as a testimony of how the Lord changed the water from salt to fresh

  • Zechariah 14 gives us a few additional interesting details about the land

    • Seasons will continue as they do today, so life will continue to have a rhythm like we know today

    • And Zechariah says the land around Jerusalem will be transformed into a large flat plain extending for miles

    • We learn more about how this plain is used in a later lesson

  • Finally, on the the top of the mountain will sit the temple and seat of government for the entire Kingdom period

Mic. 4:2  Many nations will come and say, 
“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD 
And to the house of the God of Jacob, 
That He may teach us about His ways 
And that we may walk in His paths.” 
For from Zion will go forth the law, 
Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  • The nations of the world, wherever they are settled, will make their way to Jerusalem to learn from the God of Israel 

    • And the laws of the world will come from Zion, from the word of the Lord

    • So the capital of the Earth will be Jerusalem, where the Lord dwells in ruling the nations

    • We will study more about the Lord’s dwelling place in a future lesson

  • And in v.3 Micah says the Lord renders decisions between the nations including mighty distant nations

    • To rule over people implies that they need ruling in order to do the right things

    • That’s a sign that sin is present, and therefore the world needs Christ’s perfect judgment to ensure proper behavior

    • But Christ rules with such perfection that He can control sin even on the opposite side of the earth

  • Christ exerts His perfect rule through a government that does His bidding perfectly

    • Isaiah says that His government officials will know His will instantly to do it always

Is. 65:24 “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
  • His government will ensure that no sin gets room to grow or take peace from the earth

  • In fact, Michael says that implements of war will be done away with and the art of war will be forgotten altogether 

Mic. 4:3  And He will judge between many peoples 
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. 
Then 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 train for war.
  • So while sin will exist, it will have no material impact on life since it will be under perfect rule at all times

    • The psalmist describes the Lord’s rule this way

Psa. 2:6  “But as for Me, I have installed My King 
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
Psa. 2:7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: 
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, 
Today I have begotten You.
Psa. 2:8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, 
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
Psa. 2:9  ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, 
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Psa. 2:10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; 
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Psa. 2:11  Worship the LORD with reverence 
And rejoice with trembling.
  • The Lord will break (or rule) them with a rod of iron

    • He shatters the resistance of the sinful nations like pottery

  • But also notice, there are kings and judges of the earth in that day, who Micah says should show discernment in ruling

    • So this means there is a government under Jesus, a government that rules with Jesus under His authority

    • The government carries out His orders perfectly to ensure sin is ruled perfectly

Is. 9:6  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 will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Is. 9:7  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, 
On the throne of David and over his kingdom, 
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness 
From then on and forevermore. 
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
  • The government sits on His shoulders, meaning Jesus presides over a bureaucracy 

    • The world is a big place and there will be many to rule over, so Christ enlists others in His government including us

    • And the government is divided into a Jewish government and a Gentile government

  • Israel, the nation that saw so many rule over it in the past, will now rule over the world

    • And their most famous king will return to rule over them them as their prince serving under the authority of the King, Jesus

Jer. 30:8  ‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves.
Jer. 30:9 ‘But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
Ezek. 34:23  “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.
Ezek. 34:24 “And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.
  • David is resurrected and returns to rule over the land of Israel in Christ’s government

  • He is called prince because Jesus is King

  • Under David we find the twelve tribes of Israel ruled by the apostles as Jesus promised 

Matt. 19:28 And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • The twelve apostles will rule over the tribes of Israel as Jesus promised

    • The tribes of Israel will exist in their land and have additional rulers over them

    • We can assume that these additional rulers will be other great OT saints rewarded with positions of honor for their service

  • Moving to the Gentiles, we find a little less detail, though we can learn a few things

    • First, the Gentile nations are spread around the world and will have need of government representation too

      • And you and I will fill that need: the church saints will rule them

      • We saw this already in Revelation 20, when we heard that the church saints will rule with Christ

Rev. 20:4  Then I saw thrones, and they sat on 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 and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
  • Also Jesus taught parables emphasizing He will reward those who are faithful here and now with the opportunity to be faithful with more

    • In the parable of the minas in Luke 19, Jesus rewarded spiritual maturity with opportunity to rule over cities

    • That parable pictures the way Christ will assign us roles in the Kingdom government 

  • You may say we don’t care whether you have a high position in the Kingdom government, but Jesus holds it out as a desirable reward

    • So we should aspire to please Him now and in the Kingdom as well, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5

  • Finally, we need to understand that all nations are not created equal in this age

    • Israel will be the highest nation on the earth and all other nations will serve Israel

Deut. 28:1  “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
Is. 14:1  When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
Is. 14:2 The peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive and will rule over their oppressors.
  • The Gentiles will serve Israel and the Lord will set Israel above all other nations in honor and position

    • This is a complete reversal of Israel’s historical position ever since the Lord began to discipline the nation for their sin

    • Now they receive their blessings under God’s promises

  • It’s worth a moment to remember how Israel arrived at this point of glory

    • They were created as a nation by God through Abraham, received promises

    • They entered into a national covenant to obtain God’s blessings

  • They violated the Old Covenant and so they spent many long years as a people under God’s judgment

    • They were dispersed and then suffered great losses

    • Ultimately they endured the Tribulation where God brought them to their end

  • In the end, they came to faith and received their Messiah

    • He will save them and bring them the promised blessings of the covenant and make them to obey God’s law perfectly

    • And He will make them the chief nation on the Earth

  • Now all this need for government and ruling suggests that there will be disobedience in that time

    • And disobedience implies sin, and so the questions comes how and why will sin exist in the Kingdom?

      • And we answer that question next week