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The Coming Earthly Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, Part 3

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
July 4, 2022 4:00 am

The Coming Earthly Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, Part 3

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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But we will be priests of God and of Christ and we'll reign with Him for a thousand years. What does a priest do?

A priest brings people to whom? To God. That will be our worldwide function. We'll be bringing people to God, bringing people to the Lord, bringing people to the knowledge of Christ, ushering them into His glorious presence, bringing them to the truth. That will be our function. We will be ruling as well. We will reign with Him for a thousand years. Thanks for joining us here on Grace to You with John MacArthur. Currently, John is looking at the glorious return of Christ in a series called When Jesus Comes. But before we get to that, John, today is a major holiday in the United States.

It's Independence Day, which is typically a day to relax a bit and enjoy time with the family and maybe watch some fireworks. It's also natural for our thoughts to turn to government and our leaders. And with that in mind, let me ask you this. Do the responsibilities that Christians have to our government differ depending on the system of authority that we live under or the character of the people who are in leadership? What does the Bible say about that? The Bible says nothing about the character of the people in leadership except render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and you couldn't have a more pagan reprobate than Caesar. So in fact, Jesus said, render to Caesar what are Caesar's and render to God the things that are God's.

So there was no moral evaluation of Caesar. In fact, he was put on the same line with God in the sense of authority. So we are told by the Apostle Peter to do the same thing, to submit to the authorities and to honor the king and those who are in power over us. So it also doesn't define the system, whether it's a democracy or whether it's a monarchy or whether it's an oligarchy or whatever it is, a republic or a dictatorship or communism. We aren't told that we have to basically submit to certain forms of government but not other forms of government. It is not the character or the nature of the government which determines our submission. What determines our submission is what that asks us to do. And there are times when we cannot obey the government.

So let's just take the exceptions. If they ask us to sin, secondly, if they ask us to refrain from doing what God commanded us to do. Or thirdly, if they attempt to take control over the life of the church and the kingdom and they invade the jurisdiction of Christ, the head of the church.

And of course, we fought that in the COVID years at Grace Community Church, and the Lord was kind to us. So no, we don't have the option of not obeying a government because it's socialist, communist dictatorship or democracy. And even when you have immoral leaders, which is most always the case, right?

Most always the case. We aren't given by virtue of their lack of morality freedom to be non-submissive. Again, it's what they ask us to do when it invades whatever their morality is, whatever their form is, when it invades the realm of the kingdom under Christ. That which belongs to Christ, yeah. That belongs to Christ.

They've overstepped their bounds. Yeah, thank you, John. That is a helpful application of God's word about government wherever listeners are hearing us today. And so, friend, stay here as John MacArthur looks at the amazing future that awaits all Christians when Jesus comes.

That's the title of his series, and it continues right now. Just imagine a world where righteousness and goodness dominate, a world where there's absolutely no injustice, a world where everybody is treated fairly, a world where no court ever renders an unjust or undeserved verdict. Imagine a world where everything is true and right and everything is noble, every area of life and society and commerce and education and everything else is under complete control and directed toward what is right. Imagine a world where there's total and lasting and enforced peace, where joy abounds, where health is widespread, where people live for hundreds of years, a world where there are lions and lambs lying down together and children can play in snake pits, where bears and cows walk together led by a child.

Imagine a world where food is profuse and well-being is common to everyone. Imagine a world ruled by one perfect person, one world ruler, and where under that world ruler only glorified, perfected people are the agents who carry out His will and His purpose so that perfection reigns from the top right on through the whole system. Imagine a world where sin is dealt with instantly and firmly. Well, if you can imagine that kind of world, you're headed toward understanding the character of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the kingdom to come on a restored and radically reconstructed earth.

It is coming because He is coming. And the chapter before us presents the general character of that glorious paradise regained. Until Revelation 20, everything has been pre-millennial, pre-kingdom. Now we have a vision of the kingdom. There to any Bible student has been a significant preview of this kingdom, even though everything up to here has been pre-millennial. We've gotten a glimpse of this kingdom, and that glimpse came in the incarnation of God in the form of Jesus Christ and in His life and ministry on the earth.

We saw glimpses of the kingdom. For example, we saw Jesus cast out demons. We saw Him heal, bring well-being to people. We saw Him performing miracles. We saw prophecy and revelation take place.

We saw the overruling of normal natural law. We saw the demonstration of the Spirit's power bringing salvation. And we saw Christ ruling in the domain of His spiritual influence over the souls of those who placed their trust in Him.

And all of those were foretastes of kingdom glory. Even on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God came, Peter says, This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel. And the prophecy in Joel 2 was a prophecy of the kingdom, and Peter was saying, This is a foretaste. This is a preview. But here it is in its fullness and in its reality.

It's only a general framework. I mean, you can't cover all the character of the kingdom in just these ten verses. So what you're looking at here is really the general framework, sort of the skeleton outline on which you can hang a lot of other passages, many of them from the Old Testament, as we'll see in a few moments. But as the structure of the kingdom unfolds, remember that in chapter 19 is the return of Jesus Christ. He comes back. He comes back to the great battle of Armageddon, which He engages in. At last, a very brief time, He destroys all the ungodly remaining on the world, as the end of chapter 19 tells us. And then in chapter 20, He sets up His kingdom. And the first thing we saw in the setup of the kingdom is the removal of Satan, the removal of Satan, verse 1. I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him so that he should not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were completed.

After these things, he must be released for a short time. One of the first things that we are to learn about the kingdom, of course, is that Satan is not going to be around. The one who is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of this age, will not be the ruler of that age. He will not be the prince of that age. He will not be the dominating force.

He will not run the world system. Jesus Christ will and Satan will be incarcerated, confined in the abyss and held there by unbreakable chains. He will be there until he is released for a little time and then cast into the hell that is the final hell, as noted in verse 10.

So Satan is removed. That gives us a very, very great insight into the character of the kingdom. Those who would tell us we are now in the kingdom, which is the amillennialists' view and also the view of many postmillennialists, that is to say amillennialists say there's no kingdom other than this church age now, a spiritual kingdom. Postmillennialists say Christ comes at the end of the kingdom so we might be in it or it might be yet to come.

They have a problem. How can you say this is the kingdom when, in fact, Satan is not bound? He goes about, Peter reminds us, as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, that's Peter in chapter 5 verse 8. In 2 Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 11, it says that Satan can take advantage of us and we're not ignorant of his schemes. So we have a scheming, roaring lion moving around devouring everyone he can. He is involved in our world.

He is not bound and that characteristic belongs to the future, not the present. That's one reason why we don't believe the kingdom is here. So the first thing we have then is the removal of Satan and we've gone into that. The second thing that I noted for you in our previous study is the reign of the saints. Look at verse 4. This is another characteristic of the millennial kingdom, the thousand-year kingdom.

Not only will Satan be bound and consequently the world will be run by Jesus Christ Himself who imparts that rule through His glorified saints from the Old Testament, the time of the Tribulation, and the New Testament as well. But we see here in verses 4 through 6 the reign of the saints. And I saw thrones, they sat upon them and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the 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 this mark upon their forehead and upon their hand and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. In that verse you have Old Testament saints, you have those who lived during the time and ministry of Christ, you have the New Testament saints, the Tribulation saints, all of them coming together. The rest of the dead didn't come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. So you have all of the godly resurrected before the thousand years, as we noted, and you have the ungodly resurrected after the thousand years is over. The first resurrection involves only the godly. So he says in verse 6, blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection.

Over these, the second death, that's eternal death, has no power. They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Daniel chapter 7 tells us the Old Testament saints will reign. Matthew chapter 19 verses 28 and 29 says the apostles and those who followed Christ in His life will reign. First Corinthians 6, 2 and 3 says New Testament saints will reign. And here in the book of Revelation we are told right there in verse 4 that Tribulation saints will reign as well. So all the saints of all those periods will come in glorified form into the kingdom to reign with Christ.

That's the character of the kingdom. As far as the reign of the saints is concerned, a reminder that Philippians chapter 3 and verse 21, we're still reviewing, says that we will be transformed into conformity with the body of His glory. So when we come into that kingdom, we will have our glorified form. New Testament believers are raptured and transformed at the rapture.

Old Testament believers and Tribulation believers are transformed at the end of the time of the Tribulation and the resurrection Daniel talks about in chapter 12 and verse 2. So we all come in that new glorified form into the kingdom. And so you have Christ in His resurrection glory ruling, and then you have all the saints of all the ages in their resurrection glory as His co-rulers, as it were, those under Him carrying out His rule. And it says in verse 4 they're going to reign with Christ. They're going to sit on thrones, the verse begins.

I saw thrones. At the end of the verse, they reigned with Christ a thousand years. Again at the end of verse 6, they'll reign with Christ a thousand years. It's going to be on earth, the very place Satan ruled and from which he was expelled.

And what's it going to be like? Well, we talked about something of the physical character of the earth at that time. I took you through a little bit of a perhaps scientific scenario of what the restored earth is going to be like.

I don't want to talk about the physical earth. Let me talk about the character of the rule of Christ and His saints for a moment. It's going to be a universal rule. That is, the Lord Jesus Christ through His saints is going to rule the whole world. It's going to be totally ruled by Christ.

It's comprehensive. Psalm 2 tells us, I have installed my King upon Zion, my holy mountain. Ask of me, I'll give thee the nations as thine inheritance and the very ends of the earth as thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt shatter them like earthenware. In other words, it's a comprehensive global rule by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Nobody is going to be outside that rule. He will rule everywhere on this globe. In fact, it says in Daniel 2 35 that when Christ comes into this world, He is the stone that strikes the statue that represents all the kingdoms of men, and that stone becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth. Again in the seventh chapter of Daniel, you see the comprehensive or universal character of His rule, and to Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away. His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. It is comprehensive.

It is indestructible. In fact, even in the New Testament, we get some insight into that. I think it's the 19th chapter of Luke. There are a couple of verses of interest there. Verse 17, well done good of you have been faithful over a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.

And then to the next He said, you two have been faithful, you may be over five cities. And there's a little insight into the comprehensive rule that Christ has over the world and how He dispenses it to those who are faithful. He gives one ten cities to rule over and one five cities to rule over, depending on their faithfulness. It is universal rule and it is mediated through the saints. It is also absolute rule. That is to say there is quick judgment on those who oppose it.

It is absolute. It is a rule with a rod of iron as it's said in Psalm 2. Psalm 72 verse 9 adds, let the nomads of the desert bow before Him and His enemies lick the dust. Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents.

The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. Let all kings bow down before Him. All nations serve Him.

And it's kind of like an or else threat. It is also going to be a righteous rule. It is going to be benevolent.

It is going to be right, fair, just. It says in Isaiah 11, 3, and He will delight in the fear of the Lord and He will not judge by what His eyes see nor make a decision by what His ears hear, but with righteousness He will judge. In other words, He is going to judge rightly, not because of what He hears from somebody, not because of what He thinks He sees or what someone reported has been seen, but He will judge righteously because He knows everything. He will decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, the breath of His lips.

He'll slay the wicked. Righteousness will be the belt about His loins and faithfulness the belt about His waist. And so you have the political or the social rule of Christ, universal, comprehensive, absolute, righteous, just, fair rule.

But He will rule not only politically and socially, He will rule spiritually. That is to say, when the kingdom begins, the only people in the kingdom are going to be converted people. Jews and Gentiles who survived the time of the Great Tribulation are the subjects of the King.

In fact, as we read in the Scripture about the character of the kingdom, here are the things that we read about. Israel, first of all, will be converted and restored to the land, and that's in a lot of places. Jeremiah 30...Jeremiah 23.5, she will have the land that was promised to Abraham in Genesis 13 and Genesis 15. According to Jeremiah 30, Jerusalem will be rebuilt. According to Ezekiel 40 to 48, a temple will be rebuilt on the proper site and memorials will be held there to remember God's marvelous redemptive work. And the prophet Micah in chapter 4 and verse 2 says this, Many nations will come and say, Come up and let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways, that we may walk in His paths. For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples, render decisions for mighty distant nations, hammer their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. Each of them will sit under His vine, under His fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. Though all the people walk each in the name of His God, as for us we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever. In that day, says the Lord, I'll assemble the lame and gather the outcast, and so forth.

There's a spiritual movement. Not only are all of those coming in believers, but they'll have children, and of those that are born, many will come to faith in Christ. Many will be led to the knowledge of Christ. In fact, there will be ten Gentiles, says the prophet, hanging on the garment of the Jew, asking to please be taken to see the Messiah. Israel will be blessed. The land of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, will come back to its glorious prominence and the time of God's promise to them will be fulfilled. It will come about Zechariah 14, 16 says that any who are left of all the nations that went up against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. Instant judgment on people who don't worship.

Now that will do two things. Now that will be a very good motivation for them to go and worship, and the ones who don't will become more and more agitated and irritated and hostile. And that's important too because they're ready for war at the end of the thousand years, those rejectors. Isaiah 61, Isaiah 62 also talk about the blessing that's going to come to Israel. So there's a special time for Israel and a special time of salvation for the nations as well.

Beyond that there are some other spiritual characteristics I won't go into in detail, just to mention them. The presence of Christ will be there. That's very clear according to Psalm 2, Psalm 72, and the book of Revelation. The presence of truth will be there, Isaiah 11, 9. Righteousness will flourish, again Psalm 72. Peace will reign, Isaiah 2, 4, Isaiah 32, 17. Joy will abound, Isaiah 12 and Isaiah 61.

The Holy Spirit will release immense power, Joel chapter 2, verses 28 and 29. So spiritual life is going to be glorious during that time. People are going to come and worship the Messiah, and those that are born are going to come to faith in Him, and the rebels are going to feel the heat of His judgment immediately. Obviously they aren't slain immediately. Some will be, but not all. There'll be enough left to gather a rebellious force at the end. Now looking at the kingdom then politically and spiritually, we can see how the Lord Jesus dominates it.

What about physically? What kind of life is going to be going on? First of all, the curse will be lifted. Isaiah chapter 11, verses 7 to 9, chapter 30, verses 23 and 24, then again in chapter 35, it talks about how the curse will be lifted and it'll be eaten all over again in some measure. Joel 2, 21 to 27 says there'll be plenty of food for everyone.

Isaiah 29, 18, 33, 24, 35, Isaiah 65, all of that section of Isaiah talks about health and healing. So it's going to be a remarkable, remarkable time, every way you look at it. And the saints, that's all of us, are going to reign there. It is for that that we long and wait and hope for. This world is a beautiful place.

This world is a wonderful place even though it's cursed and even though it's so troubled. Imagine what it'll be like when the curse is taken away, the topography is altered and righteousness and peace rule everything. Imagine what it'll be like when we come back and the Lord Jesus mediates His rule over this world through us.

Tremendous anticipation. A little note in verse 5, the unsaved sinners aren't included in the kingdom. The rest of the dead don't come to life until the thousand years are completed. The rest of the dead don't come back until the thousand years are over and they come back, according to verse 11, for the great white throne judgment. They will be raised, even the ungodly, even the unsaved, through all the ages will be raised.

They will have resurrection bodies, bodies suited to suffer forever in hell. This first resurrection then is the resurrection of the just, the resurrection of the godly. This is the resurrection that those who believe participate in whether they are Old Testament saints, New Testament saints, or tribulation saints.

We are all in the first resurrection. It starts with the resurrection of Christ and then comes to the resurrection of the church, then the resurrection of the Old Testament saints and the tribulation saints, but it's all the first resurrection. It is called in Luke 14, 14, the resurrection of the righteous, the resurrection of the righteous, and it has several parts, but it's all the resurrection of the righteous.

In Luke chapter 20, verse 34, the sons of this age, Mary and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither Mary nor are given in marriage, for neither can they die anymore, for they are like angels and like the sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. It is a resurrection that's going to put us into a different form where there's no marriage anymore. It is what Jesus called in John 5, 29, the resurrection unto life. All of it is the same resurrection. Wherever the righteous are involved, it is the same resurrection. Acts 24, 15 talks about it.

Hebrews 11, 35, I would just remind you, there's a verse there that's kind of definitive. It says, women received back their dead by resurrection and others were tortured, not accepting their release in order that they might obtain, here's the key word, a better resurrection. It is the resurrection of the just.

It is a better resurrection. All the righteous, all who have died through all of redemptive history will be resurrected and brought into the millennial kingdom. We will all be transformed and we'll have a body like unto His body, a body of glory. We will be transformed and changed and made like Jesus Christ. This is that of which Peter said when he says we are begotten unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away is this to which we look. And so it says in verse 6, blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection.

We are blessed and we are the holy. And the second death has no power over us. What is the second death? It's the death described down in verse 14.

This is the second death, the lake of fire. It's eternal hell. But we will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. What does a priest do?

A priest brings people to whom? To God. That'll be our worldwide function. We'll be bringing people to God, bringing people to the Lord, bringing people to the knowledge of Christ, ushering them into His glorious presence, bringing them to the truth.

That'll be our function. We will be ruling as well. We will reign with Him for a thousand years. We will be bringing people to the knowledge of Christ, bringing people to salvation. At the same time, we will be ruling and reigning and executing the King's wishes. We will be combination priests and kings, rulers and priests.

It's a tremendous thing. When your body dies, your spirit goes immediately to be with the Lord. Your body stays in the grave until the resurrection.

Just like Jesus said to the grieving sisters in John 11, 23, your brother shall rise again. And three times in John chapter 6, Jesus said, I'll raise him up on the last day. Philippians 3, 11 says, the out resurrection from among the dead. So a literal, physical, bodily resurrection into a new eternal form like a seed that goes into the ground and dies.

And out of that dying seed yields life. We will escape the second death, hell, the lake of fire, eternal death. And we will enter into the kingdom and after the kingdom is over, we will live forever in eternal glory. It's a tremendous thing to realize what is in store for us. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. I trust you were encouraged by John's message today.

This is part of his series called When Jesus Comes. And friend, if you get some free time today, we would love to hear from you. Your letters help us gauge the effectiveness of the messages that we air.

And they encourage John and the whole staff as we strive to connect people across the globe with biblical truth. And so if you're able, please jot us a note and send it our way. You can email us at letters at GTY.org. Once more, that's letters at GTY.org. Or if you prefer regular mail, you can write to us at Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. Also, be sure to visit our website often.

It's GTY.org. And there you can listen to John's verse-by-verse teaching as it fits your schedule. You'll find 3,500 sermons available for free download. And you can search those sermons by topic or specific Bible verse or a book of the Bible. And if you're not sure where to start, take a listen to what we call Grace Stream. That's a stream of sermons always on, giving you John's teaching on every verse in the New Testament in sequential order, and we reset it about every two months.

It's ideal to leave that running while you're at home and maybe even on the job. It's a way to fill the white spaces of your day with biblical truth. So go to our website today, GTY.org. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, inviting you to join us tomorrow when John will show you from Scripture the amazing events that will occur at the culmination of Christ's millennial reign. Don't miss the next half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 01:11:57 / 2023-03-28 01:23:07 / 11

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