In our quick, overview look at God's Plan for the Ages, we are looking at the four major prophesied triumphal events on the horizon that we as born again children of God can look forward to. In our last segment we addressed the Rapture. We will now address the Second Coming and the Millennium.
The Second Coming
This brings us to the second great prophetic event of triumph that we can look forward to — the Second Coming.
The Bible says Jesus will return to this earth at the end of the seven years of the Great Tribulation. He will return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem from which He ascended into Heaven (Zechariah 14:1-9).
This will occur when the Jewish people have come to the end of themselves through the persecution of the Antichrist, motivating them to turn their hearts to God (Zechariah 12:10).
When Jesus comes, they will look upon Him whom they have pierced, they will recognize Him as their Messiah, they will repent of their rejection of Him, and they will cry out, "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matthew 23:39).
At that point Jesus will speak a supernatural word and the Antichrist and his forces will be instantly annihilated in the Valley of Armageddon (Zechariah 14:12 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8). Jesus will then resurrect the Old Testament Saints (Daniel 12:1-2) and the Tribulation Martyrs (Revelation 20:4), giving them their glorified bodies.
He will proceed to judge all those still living, both Gentiles and Jews (Matthew 25:31-46 and Ezekiel 20:33-38). The Saved will be allowed to enter the Millennium in the flesh. The Unsaved will be consigned to death and Hades.
This brings us to the third great triumphal event Christians should be looking forward to — the Lord's Millennial reign.
The Bible says that those of us in glorified bodies will reign with Jesus over those in the flesh for a thousand years, during which time the earth will be flooded with peace, righteousness, and justice.
During those thousand years, God is going to fulfill four promises He has made, as outlined below.
1) To Jesus — God has promised that the day will come when Jesus will receive honor, glory, and power.
Jesus was humiliated the first time He came. He was rejected by His own people. He was mocked, scourged, and murdered.
During the Millennium He will receive the honor He is due, and He will be glorified in history.
Isaiah describes it this way (Isaiah 24:23):
Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders.
Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 1:10, makes the same point:
[Jesus is returning] to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed...
2) To the Creation — Restoration to its original perfection.
Repeatedly in the Hebrew Scriptures, the promise is made that God will one day redeem His creation. Isaiah 11 says the wolf will dwell with the lamb and the lion will eat straw with the ox (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Peter affirmed this promise in his sermon to the Sanhedrin Council when he declared (Acts 3:19-21):
19) Repent... in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
20) and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,
21) whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
God is going to redeem all of His creation, returning it to the original perfection that existed when He created it.
3) To the Nations — Peace, Righteousness and Justice.
Again, the Hebrew Scriptures speak of this promise many times. One example can be found in Micah 4:3 where the prophet emphasizes that the Messiah will bring peace:
He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.
The prophet Isaiah emphasizes the righteousness and justice that the Messiah will bring to the world (Isaiah 11:4-5):
4) But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth...
5) Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.
4) To the Jews — Primacy among the nations.
God will regather all the believing Jews in the world who are left alive at the end of the Tribulation, and they will be established as the prime nation of the world (Deuteronomy 30:1-9). He will then fulfill all the promises He has ever made to them.
Consider, for example, the incredible promises of Isaiah 60 which God made to the Jewish people — promises that have never yet been fulfilled:
2) The glory of the Lord will appear upon you [Israel].
3) And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
5) The wealth of nations will come to you... And the sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet.
15) Whereas you have been forsaken and hated... I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy from generation to generation.
20)... the days of your mourning will be finished.
21) Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever.
The prophet Zechariah describes the Millennial glory of Israel with some remarkable imagery (Zechariah 8:22-23):
22) Many peoples and many nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord.
23) Thus says the Lord of hosts, "In those days, ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'"
What a statement that is! It means the centuries of persecution of the Jews will finally come to an end. No longer will they be the butt of jokes or the target of harassment or the victims of murder.
5) To the Church Age Saints (you and me) — Ruling power over the nations.
This is a promise made many times in the Scriptures, both in the Old Testament and the New.
Here is one example from Daniel 7:27 in the Old Testament:
Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.
And here is confirmation in the New Testament (Revelation 2:26-27):
26) He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;
27) and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as I also have received authority from My Father...
In the last installment of "The Promise of Victory," we'll look at the promise of Heaven and how we can apply these great coming victories to our lives today.