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September 2, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Greg Stiekes continues a doctrinal series entitled, “Return of the King” and the scripture is Revelation 20.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University travel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled return of the King which is a study of the second coming of Christ. Dr. Greg Stites of the Bob Jones University seminary will bring today's message to you. President Steve Pettit will introduce him as we sang our last him, entitled Christ's return as it brought me back to a conference that I went to about 37 years ago I was a 26-year-old youth pastor living in Michigan and I went to pastor's conference and there were about 6000 in attendance, an old gentleman got up to saying he was in his early 80s.
His name was Howard Jule Howard Jule had sung as a young man in his 20s in the Billy Sunday crusades of the early 1900s.
So here I am at his age when he was singing and now here he is in his 80s. Any saying the song Christ's return. If hallelujah, that most of the preachers in the room are Baptist preachers and Baptist preachers have a tendency to get excited and by the time he had finished singing that song every preacher in that room that had a handkerchief in his pocket, which was most of them had the hanky out and they were waving it look like it was snowing in the building and it was the most electrifying atmosphere I've ever been in my life when they were considering the return of Christ. Now this series return of the King has a no teaching aspect and component to it. But if nobody ever shouts somehow something's not right because folks Jesus is coming back again. A man and he's going to take us home to be with him forever. He is returning so Dr. Greg Stites, and lift us up to that glorious return of the King, thank you so much Dr. Pettit.
It's always a privilege to participate in the series in a mass you open your Bibles this morning to Revelation chapter 20 where we will read the premier New Testament passage that talks about the millennial kingdom which is our subject this morning. The millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ. That is the literal political thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on this earth that we are inhabiting right now if you look at your Bibles there in Revelation chapter 20. John describes the scene this way, he says, and I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which of the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and shut him up and set a seal upon him now to press pause here for just a few minutes we can get our bearings.
What we just read happens at the climax of a great battle that is described for us in chapter 19 in chapter 19 the Lord Jesus the Messiah returns to earth as King. As Dr. Pettit would just talking about gloriously and triumphantly, and he and his army. If you look at chapter 19 are riding horses and their wearing garments of pure white which is the color of victory and Jesus is coming to rule it says there with a rod of iron, and on his robes and thigh is the name King of Kings and Lord of lords and in conquering fury. He tramples those who hate and oppose him like he is pulverizing grapes in a wine press, emperors and kings and mighty men in host of his enemies gathered together to conquer him and he wipes them out. It reminds me just a little bit of that seen in Peter Jackson's Lord of the rings movies when Gandalf in the row. Kareem arrived at the Battle of Helms deep. Have you seen this in the nick of time.
There up on a high hill over looking the men who are fighting for their lives against the tri-and Aragorn and sealed and are teaming up with their making their last stand prepared to die, but as the desperate soldiers look up down the hill, rushes the battle ready row. Kareem led by Gandalf the white and the overwhelm and crash the gear I try and vanquish them all. But you know all of the geniuses of the film industry combines with their amazing cinematography in mind blowing CGI and lighting and sound effects cannot even come close to representing the magnitude and and sheer power of this terrifying scene in revelation the Lord it says in chapter 19 captures the nightmarish beast and the false prophet. These instruments of Satan who been saving the world, and the tribulation. And it says they are thrown alive into the lake of fire and the rest of the Lord's enemies are slain by his sword, so numerous, are there carcasses that the scavenger birds literally gorge themselves on their flesh. This is the Lord's second coming.
And when he comes he comes to rule as King over the earth.
Now if you're looking for a full description of the kingdom of the Lord will establish you're not actually gonna find it here in this premier passage in Revelation 20. But there are several significant features that offer us a general view of Jesus 1000 year reign here is the first one we find that Satan's influence is thwarted, the mighty angel in verse one we read about has the key of the bottomless pits or the abyss in the Greek language. If this chasm of immeasurable depth that exists in the spirit unseen world for evil creatures such as angels are bound and released to God's discretion and this angel grabs hold of the dragon was identified as Satan. And he finds him and cast him into the abyss for a thousand years, which is good to be absolutely humiliating for Satan and a reminder that his days are numbered and that he is still under the control of Almighty God and the angel locks the door and sets a seal upon it, which is the seal of authority.
Nobody has the authority open that door, except for the one who has that seal. In other words, he's not getting outs for 1000 years now. Why is Satan imprisoned in the abyss for those 1000 years. Verse three tells us.
If you look it says that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled.
In other words, the work that Satan is doing right now is going to stop right now. He blinds the minds of the unbelieving second Corinthians 4 for right now. His spirit is at work in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians chapter 2 verse one, but Satan also has a hand we see in the word of God in influencing leaders and governments to work in justice in the world and to oppress those who bear the image of God.
I wondered as I was preparing the sermon how different the world would be if Satan had already been bound for the past 1000 years, unable to deceive the nations through his messengers who build unjust and sometimes murderous governments.
If Satan had been bound during the 13th century with the world have known the likes of Genghis Khan, the Mongolian warlord who ruled one of the largest empires in human history but also killed 40 million people. Historians estimate that he'd diminish the world population but only 11%. Or how about Ivan the Terrible who unified Russia instituted a reign of terror. Would Chamberlain have a rise in the 14th century who conquered Asia and the Middle East by massacring thousands of people wherever he went he would build towers with their skulls or what about at all of Hitler. Perhaps the most notorious of evil leaders in world history, who led the Holocaust and was responsible for the deaths of 11 million people as he tried to build his third Reich or Paul Potts, the leader of Cambodian who in the 1970s, rounded up to million of the more educated and the religious leaders and put them in concentration cans were they were executed and more recently Saddam Hussein who slaughtered close to 200 Shiite civilians and murdered thousands of others, even members of his own family and had his opponents families and their children tortured and raped in his vision to build a unified Arab empire. Now we could go on and on. No government including the US is innocent from corruption and human atrocity at some point in their history. But these are a few of many examples of extreme violence, and lack of compassion and disdain for humanity by levered leaders who are able to deceive whole nations and there is something diabolical something devilish, something satanic at its core, but when Satan is imprisoned in the abyss.
His influence will be gone from the world and another influence will arise in its place for the King is coming to reign in Revelation 20 verse four John says I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given to them and I saw the souls of men that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, in the tribulation. Neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or their in their hands and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Now, here are two more significant features that define this era of human history. Jesus the Messiah rains for a thousand years and that's really all it says about Jesus reign in this particular text, but to the thousand years back in chapter 19 verse 15 John also said that he will rule with a rod of iron. The rod was the rep and of a shepherd was like a long 4 foot wooden club but Jesus wields a rod of iron. He will rule with absolute authority, strictly enforcing obedience aptly putting down any insurrection and this will strike fear in the hearts of those who do not want his righteous rule, but it will bring great comfort to those of us who love the Lord and love righteousness and want to see it flourish, but here in Revelation 20.
The text only gives us the eggs that the duration of Jesus reign.
It's the millennium effect. That's what Millenia means, of course, a thousand year meal.
A thousand, and Andrew's year and six times in this passage, it states that the rain will be 1000 years and that is the only place in the Bible we find out that it's 1000 years. Most of the description of time. His focus on those who will reign with the Messiah who will represent him in his governments, and so we see that there are believers who will reign with Jesus the Messiah. John says they have thrones, seeds of authority throughout the earth, and judgment is given to them. They will have the authority to establish justice and banish injustice in the earth, and they will be local governments throughout the earth operating underneath Jesus the King. Who are these believers who will live in rain for a thousand years. These are believers who have died in a been resurrected and given new bodies as the New Testament talks about some of them. Verse four tells us died as martyrs during the tribulation. He just noticed that they were beheaded. They refused to go along with the ungodly social order and they had paid for it with their lives can now they are raining with Jesus is like what Paul writes to Timothy that those who suffer for the sake of Christ will one day reign with Christ, if you look at verse six, you will see that they are called priests and kings of God and of Christ because they will reign with him for the thousand years priests are those who represent the Lord on the earth, and kings are those who reign with Jesus Christ.
Now this one final feature that we notice in this millennial reign of Jesus as the Messiah. I want to point this out to you.
Unbelievers also inhabit this kingdom. And we know this, among other reasons, because after the thousand years have ended. Satan is going to be set loose for a little time and we see the starting in verse seven when the thousand years are expired, Satan will be loosed out of his prison. Now, as he learned his lesson. Is he willing to submit to the King watch what he does. He goes out in verse a and he does leaves the nation.
These back at it again right away. The nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog. The names of Israel's oppressors to gather them together to battle the number of whom is as the sand of the sea and they went up on the breath of the earth encompass the camp of the saints about and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
And the devil that deceived them was cast in the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever receipt there. Obviously, those who survived the tribulation and who are living on the earth during the millennial reign of Christ at the prosperous time and many children are born with fallen human nature's just like you and I have and the evidence of their depravity is the fact that after living however many centuries under the righteous rule of Christ. They are still going to be deceived by Satan and they will hate the Lord and desire to overthrow him and they will gather themselves against him in one final effort sadly deceived into thinking they can actually win and again the king will conquer them all and end the insurrection of Satan for all eternity. By casting him into the lake of fire.
These are the significant features of the millennial kingdom as are described here in Revelation chapter 21 of the Bible have anything else to say about the millennial kingdom. Some of you may have the impression that the kingdom which Christ rules is just a random thing that's going to happen before the Culmination of human history right before God creates a new heaven and new earth.
As if the millennial kingdom is merely tacked onto God's divine timeline as we see in the Bible but it may surprise you to know that if you want to start studying the idea of a kingdom where Jesus rules on the earth. You have to journey back to the very beginning of creation. And so for our remaining minutes. I want to demonstrate to you the centrality of the millennial kingdom in the word of God. Do you realize that most of the Old Testament is really about the kingdom.
Genesis 126 through 28 is where God creates man and women and and he gives them his image and his likeness and he says let them have dominion, that means they can rule God created humanity to reign as kings and priests governing the world in righteousness representing God in the world as image bearers and if Adam and Eve on ever their descendents had not sinned, the garden would have continued to grow in the glory and the knowledge of the Lord would've spread through the whole earth. But Adam and Eve did fall and fallen humanity corrupts rulers and breeds corrupts rule corrupt rulers. After Cain murdered his brother. He was banished from the Lord. Further east from Eden and what did he do to build a city he started a kingdom. It was a corrupt kingdom. Genesis 4 tells us, marked by violent people and Cain's prosperity begins to corrupt the earth. And when God had to destroy the earth with a flood saving Noah and his family.
People were free again to build the kingdom. What kind of kingdom that they build they built babble, babble wasn't corrupt because everybody was in one place. Babble was corrupt because they were worshiping false deities and exalting themselves against God, so God in judgment destroyed their kingdom and scattered their people throughout the whole earth until that day when he could gather them together again under a righteous king in a holy kingdom so immediately after this is important immediately after the kingdom of Babel we see God's response to all corrupt kingdoms.
God calls Abraham and promises to build a kingdom from him and his descendents. God tells Abraham I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great and you will be a blessing and it's going to be through you.
Abraham that I will bring humanity back into fellowship with God, so God grew the nation of Israel to be that kingdom and just as God had created Adam and then placed him in the garden so God created Israel brought them to Mount Sinai established a covenant with them, and then led them to the land where he was going to build this kingdom.
And God raised up not only a king for this nation but he promised his own King David of throne. David told God and, second, or I should say, God told Dave in second single chapter 7. I am going to establish your throne.
David said, Lord, I want to build you a house. God said David, that's great, but you can't.
You got blood on your hands, your man-of-war. I need a man of peace to build my house, but I'll take what I meant to do. David diamond build you a house I'm to establish your throne and your house and your kingdom will be established forever before you and your throne will be established forever. Now the hands of peace did indeed build the house of the Lord, the temple, David's son Solomon shalom on peace built the temple and God blessed Solomon's rule in the kingdom expanded in the wisdom and riches of God's King Solomon became known read the story and in first Kings you see the kings of the earth traveling from all over wanting to see the greatness of Solomon's kingdom, and the glory of the Lord and the knowledge of the Lord because the spread throughout the whole earth. Finally, this is God's plan for his kingdom taking route and growing and flourishing. But the issue we call the sin nature was alive and well in Solomon's heart in first Kings 11 I think is one of the saddest chapters in all, the word of God because it says that Solomon loved many foreign women, to the extent that his love for them dwarfed his love for God and I will always take us down the wrong path whenever we exalt something else over God and our love for him in our lives, and Solomon began to love and worship their idols and the glorious kingdom came crashing down. The kingdom was split into the northern tribes never had a righteous king after that, the southern tribe of Judah, which became the kingdom of Judah had good kings and bad kings but no king was able to rule the kingdom in righteousness and people struggled back and forth with idolatry. And finally, God sent a foreign nation to destroy his kingdom in judgment and carry the people away, but in the midst of this, judgments God extended hope to them because surrounding the judgment. God sent them profits to give them good news.
The good news was I am going to give you a better king, and he is going to give you a righteous kingdom and I will be your God and you will be my people. I pointed out the fact that Revelation 20 leaves us with a lot of questions about the kingdom.
If you want to read widely on the subject.
Read the Old Testament prophets they talk at length about this future day of judgment and blessing when God will give to Israel, its king and its kingdom.
For example, in Isaiah's prophecy we meet this king. Isaiah 9 says there will be no more gloom for the war-ravaged nation of Israel. Why, because unto her child is born under her son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders coming to the king and his name shall be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of peace.
These are the throne names the ascension names of the great coming King's counsel be supernatural.
He will be the algebra for the mighty warrior. He will govern with the father's tender care and he will bring absolute peace to the earth of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order and establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth ever from from henceforth even for ever.
Are you ever an aggrieved by the injustices of human governments.
Are you troubled by what we see happening in our own governments that we do not all the time. See righteous Miss flourishing in the earth will bear in mind a king is coming and he is going to set all wrongs to write and if you yearn for justice. You will be satisfied in the frustrating unfairness and injustice that that makes us angry sometimes will be vanquished. You want social justice.
This king will know how to bring it about. Righteously, not with any anger or bitterness or misguided seal. The Bible says with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. That is great news for us who yearn for justice for the poor and the oppressed, even as though the lady sang a little while ago and there will be a whole new spirits pervading the earth. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall dial to lie down with the kid and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together and a little child shall lead them.
There will be peace that extends even to the animal kingdom during the reign of Jesus Christ on this earth that we are inhabiting right now and this is why when Jesus appears to redeem us from sin in the Gospels. He preaches a gospel of the kingdom, and his message is repentance for the kingdom is at hand. The king is here and the disciples were pumped about this. They started vying for perdition, a position trying to get in good with Jesus of the good have positions of authority with Jesus and his government. But what they did not know was that Jesus had to first prepare citizens for this kingdom by rescuing them from sin and Jesus made it possible for us to live with him someday in his kingdom by dying for our sins and rising again to conquer death and the sin that condemns us. So after his resurrection, his disciples wanted to know Lord, you can restore the kingdom of Israel.
Now in Jesus answers them. It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the father has put in his own power is like were not were not enough to tell you about that right now Jesus cures.
I want you to do. You be my witnesses.
When the Holy Spirit comes upon you. Take the message of the king to the people in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
You know I'm always excited about the fact that when we I look at a crowd like this in North America like we are gathered here this morning and the vast majority of us, I imagine are genuinely saved by faith in the king, it's evidence of the impact of Jesus plan.
God is still calling out a people for his name and he is going to gather us before he creates the new heavens and a new earth into one kingdom to bring to pass everything he has promised, and we will finally see what this very earth that we inhabit. Looks like the perfect governance of that king and it will be glorious.
Are you a child of that kingdom will you reign with Jesus Christ. Do you anticipate this wonderful time when all of the Lord's promises to Israel will finally be fulfilled in the world will know the blessing of Abraham through the son of God, Jesus Christ, you know, the Lord taught his disciples to pray a certain prayer is really a model prayer and I think it's appropriate for us to pray it today after honoring the name of God in this prayer you see the first item on the agenda is to urge God to bring in his kingdom to finish his timetable and let peace reign on the earth and pray that God's will be done on the earth on this globe that we inhabit the soil of Greenville South Carolina where we live and move today, just as God's will is done in heaven and we pray this prayer we are committing for our part, by the grace of God to live and speak and make choices a day in a way that God's will is indeed advancing in the world through us as we yield to his will to the Holy Spirit within us.
After all, this is my father's world all let me never forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong.
God is the ruler yet in the last item in this prayer is an affirmation that God is the King and he reigns over all in power and glory forever. It anticipates that magnificent glorious rule of Christ, that we yearn for. I'm in invite you to stand with me and I'd like us to pray this prayer as were dismissed and commit ourselves and be thankful for Christ's glorious kingdom. If you need to look at the words that's fine.
Let's pray the Lord's prayer our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy thy kingdom, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our lead is temptation, but deliver us from evil or design kingdom and the power and the glory been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Greg Stites, which is part of the study series about the second coming of Christ. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the series here on The Daily Platform