-Year Reign of Christ
Would you be surprised to learn that the thousand-year reign of Christ has already begun? That it began almost two thousand years ago? The world, in general, would answer that by saying… we hadn’t noticed! And indeed they did not, but then they were never supposed to. For it was Christ Himself that told us he would come as a thief in the night, and one is not suppose to notice thieves in the night.
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. NIV
Christ is telling us to
wake up to what the word is telling us. It was also Christ who told us:
keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the
thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be
44 So you also
must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not
expect him. NIV
In fact, Peter confirmed what Christ said in verse 44 above by telling us that the world would pay no attention to what God was doing, through His only begotten son.
3 First of all, you must understand that in the last
days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
4 They will say, "Where is this `coming' he
promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the
beginning of creation."
5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's
word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. NIV
We might notice concerning verse six above that even though the world of that time was destroyed, today, we are walking on the very same earth that the world that was spoken of then existed on.
So it will also be when God brings about the new earth as He has promised. It will be the same earth that has been here since the beginning. It is the very same earth that was spoken of in the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis. Yet there are places in the Bible that speak of a new heavens and a new earth. In what way will the earth be new if it is to be the same old earth we have known all along? What will be new will be the world that exists on that earth. Under that new system, God has told us He will establish a new order of things. Nonetheless, it will be on the very same earth we walk on today; but that same earth will be new to us because God will have lifted the curse of decay. How do we know this? We know because we are told in Rev 22:3 “ No longer will there be any curse…” NIV It was this earth that we walk on today that was cursed because of Adam.
To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. NIV
So it has been since the day Adam and Eve allowed Satan to deceive them. However, all that did not thwart The Almighty in His purpose. For God did not have to alter his plan, not even one little bit, just because angels and mankind conspired to disobey him? Indeed the fact that the tree of knowledge was already in the Garden of Eden shows that it was part of the plan to begin with. That tree tested both man and angel and both failed the test.
Just the same God had already put into motion a plan for the salvation of all mankind even before man was created. In fact, the Creator did this before the universe was even begun, and it had been done just to cover this possibility of disobedience at the tree of knowledge.
2 Tim 1:8-9
8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, NIV
The plan that God had already instituted would culminate in:
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be
no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has
Notice, in speaking of this future time God tells us “The
old order of things has passed away”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am
making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these
words are trustworthy and true." NIV
Well we know that everything God says is trustworthy and true but the question arises, why a new earth? Is it not the ultimate aim of God to create a spiritual family for His Son, a spiritual family that will exist with Christ in heaven? Why would his spiritual sons need a physical earth? Let’s look at these questions to see how they coincide with what the overall word is telling us of this divine plan God had instituted.
Thessalonians 5: 21 we are told to “…Make sure of all things” so
first, let us make sure it is truly God’s purpose to create a spiritual family
for His Son?
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the
world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has
freely given us in the One he loves.
(Understand that God does
not choose one person over another when verse four above speaks of
predestination. God gave each of us
the freedom to decide if we want to serve him or not. If one does not want to be part of His family The Almighty
does not and would not force one to do so.
Nonetheless, if one does want to become part of that
family, then that family has to be there to join, it other words it has to
exist. That was the reason the
family or body of Christ was predestined and brought into existence; the meaning
behind the statement that God had predestined that this family of faithful
Christian’s would be here at this time. So
it was the overall family of Christ’s followers that was predestined, not any
of the individuals in that family.
there are those that claim that God knew all along who would be the faithful
followers of His Son- and that may be so. Just
the same, that does not mean that God forced them to follow Christ. God probably
knew beforehand what Adam and Eve would do in the Garden of Eden but that does
not mean that He forced them to do it. The choice to believe what God said, or what Satan lied about
was theirs to make. It was their
decision, and their decision brought about their future.
one decides to follow Christ and the commands he has given, then that person
begins what Paul describes as walking in the Spirit. (Galatians chapter
is described as this because that person, who has made that choice, is allowing
the word of God to lead that person’s way through his or her life.
When one does this the word of God, which the Holy Spirit had a direct
hand in bringing about, takes control of that person’s future.
This translates into…
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are
sons of God.
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we
are God's children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. NIV
By the way, as a side note here, for those who want to argue about female rights because the Bible is speaking of the rights of the son’s, take notice of:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. NIV
But, whether we are male or female one could argue that we don’t have to be in heaven to be sons of God. We can be God’s sons right here on earth just as Christ was the Son of God here on this earth. Where is the word telling us that we will be resurrected as, “Spiritual” sons of God? Paul makes that heavenly promise from God very clear in:
1 Cor 15:42-49
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;
43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a
spiritual body. If there is a
natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a
living being" the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.
47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.
48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the
earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. NIV
Notice in verse 44 we are told that “It is raised a spiritual body” This is amplified by:
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly
await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
is being eagerly awaited here is the second coming of Christ.)
21 who, by the power that enables him to bring
everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will
be like his glorious body. NIV
Now if one still has any doubt about God creating a spiritual family from those adopted from the physical earth, then look carefully at the following scriptures:
2 Cor 5:1-10
1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is
destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by
2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our
3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are
burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our
heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the
Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as
long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.
7 We live by faith, not by sight.
8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away
from the body and at home with the Lord.
9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are
at home in the body or away from it.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in
the body, whether good or bad.
Note that it is verse five that is telling us point blank “Now
it is God who has made us for this very purpose.” It is clear then that
the word truly is telling us that God is in the process of creating a spiritual
family for His only begotten Son.
Well, the next question that pops to mind, concerning this, is since God wants us as spiritual beings why create us in a physical body on a physical earth. Now even thought God is in no way obliged to explain His actions to us, yet the Creator has chosen to answer why a physical earth has also been revealed in the Bible as the source for the population of the spiritual kingdom of God, and it was through Christ that the answer was supplied. It is supplied by a simple matter of deduction.
At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be
given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. NIV
The inference here is that in the spirit realm, world, dimension, however you
wish to picture or express where spiritual beings exist; the spiritual beings
that exist there cannot reproduce other spiritual beings. This would mean that
God would constantly have to create new beings to inhabit that spiritual world.
Instead The Almighty chose to created a universe where procreation would
take care of itself and where righteousness could be learned and practiced and a
person could decide for himself whether he wanted to be part of that adopted
spiritual world. This meant that when God created a physical world in a
physical universe he also made physical beings to populate that physical world.
He had made a physical population that was constantly available as a
source to increase the population of His spiritual world or government.
A spiritual world He has created for His Son through adoption.
In fact, Isaiah tells us that the
increase in God’s government will go on forever.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on
and forever. The zeal of the LORD
Almighty will accomplish this. NIV
This all sounds sensible and reasonable enough but are we sure that a population
of spiritual brothers and sisters will, in truth, be adopted
from the earth?
17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.
18 God did
this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to
lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly
Why can we be greatly
He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through
Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- NIV
Remember He already
predestined that this spiritual family would be available from the earth.
only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan
inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our
is easy to see from the scriptures that we have looked at; that this universe
and the family of spiritual sons and daughters it produces was clearly planned
out from the very beginning. And as
we have said before, Salvation, for those on this earth was also a major part of
the plan, set in motion by God before the universe was begun.
like to pronounce that salvation is a free gift and no one has to work for this
magnificent present from God, which is correct. Just the same let us understand the relationship of work to
that gift of salvation.
is not dependent on work, or anything else for that matter.
Salvation came for all men through Christ.
Every man woman and child that ever was born or ever will be born comes
under that blanket of salvation ordained by God and brought into play by our
King and eternal High Priest Christ Jesus, almost two thousand years ago.
For as in Adam all die,
so in Christ all will be made alive.
However, now that this salvation has been bought and paid for with the blood of
the only begotten Son of God, the question posed by God for and to each of us
is…WHAT DO YOU
It is still up to you to decide whether you are to accept that free gift or not.
As was said God does not insist that you take this free gift of eternal
if you want it… then The Almighty does insist that you accept and
follow His only begotten Son. If you do follow the son then you must obey his
"If you love me, you will obey
what I command.” NIV
has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will
be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.
These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
This is what James meant when he said, “So you believe in God. That’s very nice. So do the demons!” Actually, when you think of it the demons have no trouble believing in God at all for they see Him, and they talk to Him. They have no problem in believing in God who is quite visible to them in the spiritual world of which they exist. Now these fallen angels or demons can be considered foolish for following their own evil desires whatever that may be but they are not stupid. They cannot deny what is staring them in the face. Only men do that, which is why there is a saying that men prance about were angels fear to tread. We might add to this that these actions of men do not come from wisdom. So no one received salvation because of something he or she did, or could or would do… nonetheless, work is what proves you have accepted God’s only begotten Son. It is what proves you really want that free gift of salvation.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have
faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? NIV
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead. NIV
1 Cor 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing
move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know
that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Summing up what we have learned from these scriptures is, that God was not idly doodling when he created the universe. On the contrary He had and continues to have a specific purpose in mind and that purpose was to have a place were physical men and women would perpetuate humanity, and for those in that world of men and women would be the opportunity for them to become adopted members of the spiritual family of Christ in heaven.
So much for those that say perpetual motion is impossible. Not for God Almighty it isn’t.
But why death, disease, war and all the misery that goes on in this present world? Could not God have created all this without those disastrous things that ultimately distract man from God Himself? God most certainly could have created the universe without these things and in fact… that was exactly what He did do. The Garden of Eden was not stocked with fortresses, weapons, and hospitals. These things came about because of disobedience. They came about because man did not believe his Creator when He said:
16 "... Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." KJV
Man did not listen to this warning from God because he allowed himself to be deceived by Satan? And who was Satan and how did he enter the picture. We are told in Ezekiel that Satan was a cherub angel created to watch over the Garden of Eden and be the visible representative on earth between God and man.
11 The word of the LORD came to me:
12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the
king of Tyre and say to him: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
(God uses the king of Tyre in this lament to portray
Satan because the King of Tyre was, in the beginning, a great friend of king
Solomon, and in fact the king of Tyre supplied the cedar trees for the temple.
But later he became, without provocation, and enemy of Solomon.
Satan was created as Gods representative on earth but for reasons of his
own challenged the creator, becoming an enemy of God, which is why the king of
Tyre is used to typify Satan. But
note that the king of Tyre was never in the Garden of Eden nor was that earthly
king created a cherub angel. However, Satan was; and it is about Satan that
these verses are really lamenting.)
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious
stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper,
sapphire, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared
was to be adorned in all this finery to mark him to all mankind as the direct
representative of God in the Garden.)
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I
ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery
(Guardian portrays Satan’s authority in the Garden of Eden and cherub refers to Satan’s angelic lineage. Fiery Stones symbolizes God’s wisdom, and truth. Hebrews refers to God as a consuming fire. Heb 12:29 “For our "God is a consuming fire" NIV, which means an ever burning source of truth. Ex 24:17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. NIV)
Ezekiel goes on in this lament
that portrays Satan!
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. NIV
What was this wickedness spoken of above? We find out about that from Isaiah.
12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn!
13 You said in your heart, "I will
ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit
enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred
symbolize governments and the sacred mountain symbolizes God’s government or
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
Why did Ezekiel and Isaiah portray Satan as a man in laments and parables? Why did they not speak out directly about him? Because, as Jude tells us:
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing
with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous
accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" NIV
So we find through these prophets of old that Satan who was in charge of the Garden of Eden decided to challenge God saying he would have all men worship him just as if he were the Most High. The details of why this came about in Satan’s mind is not discussed in the Bible other than to say Satan became enamored with his own good looks but that does not explain why one third of the angels in heaven followed Satan who became the prince of this world. (Rev 12:4) I suspect that the details behind this action of Satan and other angels are none of mans business and it is certainly none of mans concern for we have enough to worry about with ourselves never mind fretting over angels.
But the question comes to mind why did God allow this to begin with? Why did not God just destroy Satan and Adam and Eve and start over?
There are two
answers to that question.
1. This would have implied that there was something wrong with God’s plan to begin with, which is not true for, as has been said, the tree of knowledge of good and evil was already in the Garden which shows that it was part of the plan to begin with. When Adam and Eve stood at that tree and listened to Satan they were given a choice between two paths. One was the correct the other the wrong. They chose the wrong one but the point is both paths were already present before Satan tempted Eve.
2. Had God simply destroyed Satan, as He could have, the question or challenge, presented by this cherub angel would never have been answered. That question was whether Satan- could- have made good on his challenge had God given Satan an opportunity to do what Satan’s challenge claimed he could do. Therefore God’s wisdom gave Satan a set amount of time to attempt to deceive all men. By the way, this is not a contest. God has given Satan a specified amount of time, at the end of that time Satan, and all he has put together, will be destroyed and God will return things to what He originally intended to begin with. We know this because when Christ arrived in the Gadarenes it caused the demons possessing a man to instantly recognize Christ and begin to yell:
"What do you want with us, Son of God?" they
shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"
these demons are referring to the “Appointed Time”,
a time that they are all well aware of.
This leads to another very important question, which is…what about those that do not understand this? What about those that never heard of all this? What about those that were never informed in any way about the true God and His kingdom we are discussing here? What about those that have no real idea who or what the only begotten Son of God is? What about all those millions that have and are even now being mislead by Satan’s earthly religions? All of which leads us nicely into the very reason… for the thousand-year reign of Christ.
However, before we read of the things that this reign of Christ will do let us understand when and why it began.
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first
resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests
of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. NIV
To begin with… what is the thousand-year reign of
This period known as the thousand-year reign of Christ is a time of preparation for the permanent kingdom of God, which will exist both in heaven and on earth. This is the reason for a new heaven and a new earth. It is a time for teaching. It is a time for true understanding about our Creator. It is a time without Satan in the picture to deceive the nations.
1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. KJV
It is a time for all men to understand and decide where their heart truly lies concerning God Almighty and His Son unencumbered by confusion and lies. It is a time God’s love, justice, and mercy demands before He will feel it righteous to render judgment on the actions of all men. It is an extremely important time.
Now it has been said here that the thousand-year reign of Christ has not only begun but it is two thousand years old. Does that mean that it is already over? No not at all, but it does mean that the thousand-year reign of Christ will last for the thousand years of time according to the way God sees time, which has nothing to do with our calendar.
2 Peter 3:8-9
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. NIV
Well then how do we know that the thousand-year reign of Christ has not only begun but is already two thousand years into our time? We know that from Matthew.
When Matthew was describing the death of Jesus he included this bit of information, in the most matter of fact manner, within his blow-by-blow account of the execution of Christ.
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were
guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were
terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" NIV
Yes, we can certainly agree with this centurion. And we note that this Son of God, the firstborn of creation (Col 1:15), was three days later resurrected and placed on the right hand of his God and Father. It was at this time that Christ took over command of the heavenly kingdom of God.
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken
up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. NIV
1 Peter 3:22
Who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” NIV
was at this time his thousand-year reign began amongst His enemies.
1 Cor 15:24-25
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. NIV
Since we know the above is so… let’s take a closer look at what Matthew was saying concerning all this.
Verse 50 is clearly identifying all that is happening concerning the death of Christ.
50. And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. In other words it was the moment that His ability to live ceased, or the moment Jesus died.
51. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
Verse 51 is telling us that at the moment that the life ebbed out of Jesus the curtain surrounding the Ark of the Covenant was split in two from top to bottom. This was a very heavy curtain such as the kind one would find today on the stage of a theater. Its tearing in two symbolized the acknowledgement by God of this final offering and that no other offerings would be required or accepted. It also symbolized that the way to God was no longer curtained off, or blocked, but now wide open because of Christ.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way opened for us through the
curtain, that is, his body, NIV
Verse 51 also tells us there was an earthquake that split the very rocks in the ground. It is telling us this to show that God was preparing the way to make verse 52 a visible accomplished fact. We can note that this was also done at the tomb of Christ for angels rolled back the stone that sealed that tomb. This allowed Mary and others to enter and leave at will.
52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
Verse 52 is Matthew telling us the first
resurrection began at that time. And
notice that Matthew is telling us this in a most casual manner. He is not
dwelling on the subject in amazement for, in truth, Matthew was not at all
amazed. This is what Christ had
promised would happen and Matthew is simply telling us that is exactly what did
happen. What did these holy people or saints do after they “Where raised to
53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
This then is a recorded Biblical fact that raising holy people to life was begun at that time. It is stated that Christ appeared to over 500 people after His resurrection.
1 Cor 15:6
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. NIV
However, it was not intended that each individual appearances of these saints who had been raised to life after Christ and who appeared to people in Jerusalem should be chronicled in the Bible, only that the first resurrection had begun exactly as promised. Just the same it is note worthy that the term “Came to life” is used instead of resurrected.
Came to life is the expression used meaning acquiring the promise of God through His only begotten Son. Look carefully at the following scriptures.
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been
given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had
not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their
foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand
5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. NIV
What these three scriptures are saying is that those that came to life, meaning those that God now viewed as having everlasting, or eternal, life and we know this because it clearly says the second death has no power over them. It has no power over them because they “Came to life” This explains why it says “ The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand-year reign of Christ was over. But the rest of the dead were already resurrected so why is it saying they would not come to life until after the thousand-years was over? It is specifying this because God would not consider them alive until after they had survived the second death. God does not consider us alive until after death no longer can claim us. This is why death is the last enemy to be destroyed.
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
The lake of fire is the second death. NIV
Therefore, Matthew in telling us that these holy people came to life means that they are part of the spiritual family of God that have already gained the promise Christ was declaring to all that would follow him.
This did not surprise Matthew, nor did it surprise most of the other apostles, except for some such as Thomas, for this is what the Messiah had said would happen so they expected this first resurrection to take place just as it did. In fact, this gave rise in later times to people claiming the first resurrection was over, which is not so.
2 Tim 2:17-18
17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. NIV
1 Cor 15:13
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. NIV
Early in His ministry Christ had sent the apostles out telling them to preach that the heavenly kingdom was near.
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." NIV
It turned out that Jesus was so very right; the kingdom of heaven was very near indeed. In fact, it was as near as his death.
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today
you will be with me in paradise." NIV
Jesus told the thief next to him that today he would be in paradise with him he
was not speaking of some distant future event or time but one that would begin
three days later. By the way there
are no commas in the Greek language so the English translator put a comma after
the word truth causing the statement by Christ to appear as if he meant within
the 24 hours of that given day. However,
Christ would not have said that or implied that for he was well aware that he
would be dead for three days and Christ had to be resurrected first before
anyone else. It is proper
English to place the comma after the word truth but it would also be proper
English if the translator had put the comma after today. But even if this were
not so, concerning the comma placed in the verse by the English translator, the
use of the word today by Christ can be understood as being used in the same
manner it is used in:
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is
called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
The word “Today”
above is being used to specify a period of time that spans thousands of years.
The Greek word for today
is semeron and the Greek dictionary explains it below.
neuter (as adverb) of a presumed compound of the art. NT:3588 and NT:2250; on
the (i.e. this) day (or night current or just passed); generally, now (i.e.
at present, hitherto):
this word can also mean generally or at present or hitherto then it can be
understood that Christ is saying to this thief that he would be with Christ in
Paradise shortly, or in the very near future.
But it did not mean on that specific date. For in order for the thief to be in paradise with Christ he
had to be resurrected and that could not happen before Christ and Christ would
be in the grave for three days just as Matthew tells us in verse 53 of chapter
53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus'
resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Notice: “After Jesus' resurrection”.
But who were these that
came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection?
Matthew had just told us
they were saints and the word saint applies to those that follow Christ in truth
and actions. The New International
Versions renders that word holy people which is just as good.
The word holy means one of a kind, or distinct, which would apply to
these holy people who make up part of the body of Christ…his church.
52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. NIV
53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus'
resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. NIV
Now Matthew speaks of the saints or holy people being brought to life in verse 52 before he speaks of their coming out of their tombs in verse 53. This seems to be in keeping with however God Almighty makes use of His Power or Holy Spirit to resurrect someone. We of course have no clue as to how this is actually done. All we are sure of is that it can be done and that God has done it before. However, we can get a hint from what Christ said to Mary Magdalene when he appeared to her after he had been resurrected.
Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet
ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend
unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. ASV
We live in a universe of time
therefore time is made use of by God for the things that he does.
They may only take a split second or so but nonetheless, it is time.
Now it is also certain that Christ was not in the same body that he died
in for Mary did not recognize him. In
fact, she thought he was the gardener.
14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing
there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
16 Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic,
"Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). NIV
The body that Christ was resurrected in was not even recognized by the apostles. John 21:4-7
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but
the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered.
6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the
boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the
net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter,
"It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is
the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it
off) and jumped into the water. NIV
The point here is that the body Christ was resurrected in was not the same as the one he had died in. This is born out by the two followers Christ walked with after his resurrection for they did not recognize him either until he ate with them.
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
15 As they talked and discussed these things with each
other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
16 but they were kept from recognizing him. NIV
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread,
gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
and he disappeared from their sight. NIV
Notice, “He disappeared from their sight” this
is telling us that Christ was raised in a different body one that was a
spiritual body similar to angelic bodies when they appear before men, for
physical bodies are not able to disappear at the will of the person in it.
Nonetheless, spiritual beings can don or take on the appearance of, or
materialize as human beings.
Is all this some kind of mystery? Well, exactly how God goes about resurrecting someone or what a spiritual being must do to materialize in this universe is indeed a mystery; at least it is to me. Just the same we do not need to know the process employed to understand that resurrection can and is done by God. In short you or I do not need to understand exactly what life is or exactly how God causes it to happen, in order to live. The life force itself may be a mystery, but living a life is not. Therefore the questions, what does life mean, why am I here all have explanations under the workings of the Almighty within His word the Bible. Looking anywhere else for an explanation is superfluous at best and foolish at worst.
Since we have learned that God created this universe, and earth, to house
a self perpetuating population that God would use as a source to supply the
spiritual family, that He has been creating for His son in heaven, we can
readily see it all has meaning. We
do not need to know the reason that Satan, and angel created to represent God,
chose to rebel against the Creator. It
is enough to know that Satan caused Adam and Eve to walk the wrong road even
though this in no way excuses their part in this action.
Their going off in a direction God did not ordain was a sinful action of
disobedience and lack of faith in His word and we also know that sin causes
death. Therefore death was brought
about for all mankind because God cursed the earth. God told Adam, “Cursed
is the ground because of you.”
Just the same God cannot be thwarted in His desires because of an action
by either angel or man. God has
used this evil action by Satan, along with the foolish disobedience by man to
bring about a giant lesson for both physical and spiritual beings.
How do we know this? Because of:
19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons
of God to be revealed.
ktisis (ktis'-is); from NT:2936; original formation (properly, the act; by implication, the thing, literally or figuratively):
KJV - building, creation, creature, ordinance.
We know that when Adam and Eve stood at the tree of Knowledge of good and evil they clearly had a choice. That choice was do what God said or listen to Satan. If they listened to Satan than the road we are all familiar with had been preordained for us by the Creator. Had they chose to listen to God instead of Satan then something else was ordained to happen. The point is God did not react to something that angels along with man, created but simply allowed what ever we would choose to do to take place. Therefore it is easy to see that either road Adam and Eve would take was already in the plan of God from the beginning.
However, because man chose the wrong path creation itself was frustrated.
20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by
its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
How was creation frustrated? This came about because creation was subjected to a punishing
curse placed on the very earth that the universe was created to hold in place.
That curse came in the form of decay.
Was that curse to be permanent? The
answer to that is… no not at all! We
know this because; God has scheduled creation to be liberated from that curse of
21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. NIV
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. NIV
Now the exact date that the curse applied by Jehovah to the earth will be lifted is not known or our concern at the moment. It is enough to know that God will take care of that when the proper time comes.
Now the question comes up as to why there is this period of time the Bible calls the thousand-year reign of Christ. What will happen during that age and what purpose will it serve? It is a time of fire or more properly defined as a time of refinement. A time when this world will be burned up and destroyed. Not the earth but the world. Fire in the Bible can be used to mean total destruction such as the lake of fire. Or it can be used to offer sacrifices or to cook food or heat a home. However, fire is also an absolute necessity for refining. And refining is the main purpose of this time period. The refining of mankind into wholesome righteous people. We were told by Christ:
For every one will be salted with fire. RSV
John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. RSV
This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine
them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will
answer them; I will say, `They are my people,' and they will say, "The LORD
is our God." NIV
There is an interesting story connected to Zech 13:9. After reading this scripture a woman went to a silversmith to ask how silver was refined. As he spoke and showed her the process the silversmith never, even for a moment, took his eyes off the mixture.
“Why do you watch it so intently?” she inquired.
“Because if I don’t” he replied, “I will miss the moment it is ready.
“How do you know that moment?” she quizzed.
“Ah,” he answered, “that moment comes the instant I can see my reflection in it.”
So to Christ knows when we are ready.
It is the moment He can see his reflection in us.
The thousand-year reign of Christ is the time needed to make us reflective of our Lord.
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his
roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of
wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of
knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
(What verse four above is saying is that it is with truth that all this will come about. This is why Christ is often pictured with a double-edged sword protruding from his mouth)
5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
(And what will this paradise on earth be like at that time?)
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie
down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a
little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie
down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. NIV
Verse nine above is the key to all this. Now we know what Paul was speaking of when He said in Hebrews
11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember
their sins no more." NIV
But where is Satan while all this is going on? Satan will be doing what murderers in jail call hard time.
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having
the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. NIV
When, then, will Satan be locked up? We are not told the exact date of this but we can be sure it will be early in the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. Early that is as God sees time. Remember Christ’s reign in heaven began almost two thousand years ago but he did not take authority over the earth until the conclusion of the time of the gentiles in 1914. So too will the incarceration of Satan be. God will make use of Satan to begin His wrath against mankind in general and the thousand-year reign of Christ here on earth begins with that wrath, but we have been told that Satan will be taken out of the picture, and taken out he will be, but only when the assigned moment for that arrives.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the
kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ…” NIV
Up until then Satan had been given a free hand to do as he wished with those on earth. Therefore the thousand-year reign of Christ may have been in heaven for almost two thousand years, but down here Christ has only been exercising His authority over the entire earth since 1914. However, the time for Satan’s incarceration will come just as the time for his eviction from heaven came. His system was being used by God to begin his wrath but there is a time scheduled when that wrath will be held back and at that time Satan will be taken out of the picture. How do we know that 1914 was a date for Satan to be cast out of heaven? Because of Daniel who chronicled that date roughly 2500 years ago. What happened when the time of the gentiles was finished is related in Revelation.
7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels
fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their
place in heaven.
9 The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent
called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to
the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power and
the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down. NIV
When did that eviction of Satan, along with his demons, from heaven take place? Well it couldn’t have been when Christ was resurrected for the time of the gentiles was still in force.
1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told,
"Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers
God is not telling John to measure the physical dimensions of the temple and the altar for those measurements came from God to begin with. The Almighty is telling John to calculate how many true Christians existed. Nonetheless, John is being told not to look in the court of the gentiles for Christians would not be there.
2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it,
because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city
for 42 months. NIV
It was during these 42 months or symbolic three and half years that the two witnesses were documented by the Creator. The two witnesses who are in truth an unknown number of Christians that died for the truth of Gods word including Christ Himself as the first of those witnesses killed. It was not until the end of this time of the Gentiles that Satan was ejected from heaven. According to Daniel the time of the gentiles ended in 1914, which is the time that chapter six in Revelation tells us the other three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse began their symbolic rides. The first horseman who symbolizes Christ began his ride the moment he began his 42-month ministry here on earth as a man.
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on
him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and
to conquer. KJV
It was during this time that he conquered.
The two, 42-month periods, represent the final 7 days of the seventieth week spoken of in Daniel. Now just as the 42 months of Christ’s ministry represents Christianity during the past two thousand years, during which he continues to conquer, so to the last 42 months represents the last three and half days of the seventieth week or the dark ages of earth’s history. The point is we are not speaking of a literal three and half years in either case. Rather we are speaking of a time period for both which represents two separate ages even though they run concurrently.
Any book has a beginning, middle, and an end. Where, one can ask, does the end of any book begin? Does the end begin two thirds of the way into it, during the last three or four chapters, or perhaps the last page or maybe the last sentence? The finale of any book begins with the explanation of the end, which is why the angel told Daniel.
He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the
words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. NIV
Notice the angel is speaking of the “Time
of the end” The time of the end denotes a
period or age when the works of Satan will peter out and be brought to an end.
Oh, he will not go out quietly to be sure but it is also sure, that- out-
he most certainly will go.
1 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered. NIV
What predicated this time of distress spoken of in Dan 12? It was exactly the same events spoken of by Christ:
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. NIV
What then was the reason for all this pain and suffering to take place? It came about because the time for Satan’s eviction from heaven rang forth.
7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
9 The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent
called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to
the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the
kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our
God day and night, has been hurled down. NIV
Notice, “"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,” and take notice that the next thought concerning all this is “And the authority of his Christ.” In short the authority over the earth came into the hands of Christ the moment the time of the gentiles was concluded and Satan was cast out of heaven and thrown down to the earth. How do we know this? Because that is what we are told:
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in
them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short. NIV
And to be sure that this event, that Christ predicted, was the same as what Daniel was told, Christ tells us in the twenty- fourth chapter of Matthew:
"So when you see standing in the holy place `the
abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel-let
the reader understand- NIV
It is fairly obvious that we are to
understand that the words spoken to Daniel and the words of Christ are referring
to the same thing, namely, the beginning of the time of the end. The very words “Time of the end” sets in motion an age or
period in which every thing God has told us concerning this time period will
take place. Contrary to what people
believe it will not all happen overnight in fact, Christ portrays this period of
the time of the end by referring to them as days. Plural!
19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
20 Pray that
your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again.
22 If those
days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect
those days will be shortened. NIV
(I use to wonder at verse 19 and 20 because of the Sabbath
warning in it and could not understand the relationship to fleeing and the
Sabbath. Understanding came when I
found out that the city of Jerusalem was closed up on the Sabbath.
The gates to the city were locked and one could not get in or out.
The only way to escape the city was to climb out a window then climb down
on ropes like the spies who were sent by Moses into walled city of Jericho did.
This would be pretty difficult for pregnant women and nursing mothers to
do which now makes verse 19 very easy to understand.)
God has created us in a universe of time and time is required to do anything. It takes a finite amount of time just to blink. Just the same the kingdom of God on earth has to have a beginning and that beginning starts the finale of Satan’s system, which is what chapter 66 in Isaiah, is talking about. Now hear what God has to say about that kingdom He promises for all mankind that follow his Son.
17 "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will
create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my
people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
20 "Never again will there be in it an infant who
lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies
at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will
be considered accursed.
(This will all take place during the thousand-year reign of Christ after Satan has been taken out of the picture.)
21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in
them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of
my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.
23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to
misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their
descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still
speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. NIV
11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his
brother, saying, `Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the
least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." NIV
"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make
will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and
descendants endure. NIV
Was this something only spoken of in the Old Testament? Well, lets see!
2 Peter 3:12-13
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. NIV
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first
heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Are Peter and John here speaking of a heaven and earth somewhere else in the universe that we know nothing about? Is there another heaven somewhere with another god in it? Of course not! In fact, these questions are too foolish to even deserve an answer.
Well what about those people that become spiritual brothers of Christ, what happens to them. Nothing happens to them, they are resurrected to the spiritual realm that was promised just as was promised. This is why Paul told us:
1 Cor 15:51-52
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and
we will be changed. NIV
In fact, more spiritual brothers will be available for the spiritual family of God at that time than there are now at present. Therefore the spiritual family of God, which is the reason behind all this, will continue to grow eternally as long as the Almighty exists for we are told regarding His only begotten Sons kingdom.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end...” NIV
To be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. NIV
HAS NO END!
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