Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Millennium in the Old Testament: Messianic Prophecies

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

There are over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament that pertain to the First Coming of the Messiah, but many of these are repetitious. Those that are separate and distinct total 109. There are many more than this that relate to the Second Coming and the Lord's Millennial Reign.

All the First Coming prophecies were literally fulfilled, and there is no reason to assume that the fulfillment of the Second Coming prophecies will be any different. We need, therefore, to take the Old Testament seriously, and we need to study what it has to say prophetically about the end times.


The Second Coming

The Bible teaches that Jesus will establish His personal reign over all the earth at the time of His Second Coming, and the Old Testament contains many prophecies about that event. As we have already seen, Zechariah 14 says the Lord will return to the Mount of Olives from which He ascended into Heaven. In Isaiah's account of the same event, he refers to the Lord returning to Mount Zion, which is an alternative name for Jerusalem: "So will the Lord of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill. Like flying birds, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and rescue it; He will pass over and rescue it" (Isaiah 31:4b-5).

Both Isaiah and Jeremiah portray the Lord returning in wrath. Jeremiah says He will "roar" from the heavens (Jeremiah 25:30-31). Isaiah says He will be "filled with indignation" and His tongue will be like "a consuming fire" (Isaiah 30:27-28). Zephaniah says the day of His return will be one of "trouble and distress" and "destruction and desolation" (Zephaniah 1:14-18).


The Millennial Reign

Once the Messiah has poured out the wrath of God on the enemies of God, He will establish His reign over the earth, and He will begin to manifest His glory:

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 (Isaiah 24:23).

All the various aspects about the Lord's millennial reign are spelled out in detail in the book of Isaiah. The book of Revelation is about the Tribulation. It is the book of Isaiah that reveals the details of the Millennium.

Political Characteristics — The reign will be world-wide (Isaiah 2:2 and 9:6-7). It will be peaceful in nature (Isaiah 2:4), and the world will be blessed with righteousness (Isaiah 11:4-5) and justice (Isaiah 42:3-4).

The Lord's throne will be established in Jerusalem, for He will occupy the throne of David (Isaiah 2:3). His government will be a theocratic one in which He will serve as king, legislator and judge (Isaiah 33:17-22). The Redeemed will reign with the Lord as princes (Isaiah 32:1). And because the Lord will be reigning from Jerusalem, the nation of Israel will be the prime nation in the world (Isaiah 2:2-3, 49:22-23, and 60:1-62:7).

Spiritual Characteristics — Isaiah spends a great amount of time outlining the spiritual blessings of the Millennium, the greatest of which is the fact that the glory and holiness of the Lord will be manifested (Isaiah 40:3-5, 52:13-15, 61:3 and 66: 18). Holiness will abound (Isaiah 4:2-4) and an attitude of joy and praise will prevail:

And the ransomed of the Lord will return, and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10).

A rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem will serve as the worship center of the world (Isaiah 2:2-3, 56:6-8, and 60:7b,13). Incredibly, the Shekinah glory of God will hover over the city of Jerusalem like a canopy (Isaiah 4:5). And "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).

The Redemption of Nature — One aspect of the Millennium that is heavily emphasized by the Hebrew prophets is the redemption of nature. The land of Israel will no longer be a place of desolation (Isaiah 62:3-5). Instead, "the fruit of the earth" will be the pride of Israel (Isaiah 4:2). "Waters will break forth in the wilderness," and the deserts will become pools of water (Isaiah 35:6b-7).

In addition to agricultural abundance, the animal kingdom will be restored to its original perfection. Poisonous animals will cease to be poisonous, and meat-eating animals will become herbivorous. All members of the animal kingdom will live together in perfect peace with each other and with Mankind (Isaiah 11:6-9 and 65:25).


Millennial Peace

The Quality of Life — In a thrilling passage in Isaiah 65, the prophet reveals that lifespans for those in the flesh will be greatly expanded to "the lifetime of a tree" (Isaiah 65:22). Accordingly, anyone who dies at the age of 100 will be considered a youth (Isaiah 65:20).

Every person will have his own home and vineyard. There will be no homeless or hungry people (Isaiah 65:21-22). All labor will be redeemed (Isaiah 65:23) in the sense that it will be productive, and it will not be confiscated by others.

Disease will be curtailed (Isaiah 33:24) and persons born with physical handicaps will be healed:

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout with joy (Isaiah 35:5-6).


Isaiah's Climax

Isaiah was given so many glorious visions and words of knowledge concerning the majestic reign of the Lord that he was almost bursting with anticipation by the time he got to the end of his book. This prompted him to suddenly cry out:

Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains [kingdoms] would quake at Your presence — as fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil — to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! (Isaiah 64:1-2).

Now, keep in mind that I have only shared with you a few passages from the book of Isaiah. There are many other passages regarding the Millennium that are scattered throughout the Old Testament.


In the next part of this series on the Millennium in the Old Testament, we'll look at prophecies from the major prophets concerning the Millennium.

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