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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Looking Past the Millennium

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer”, prayed by millions over centuries, includes the request that “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

That line is taken as mere aspiration by many and blithely ignored by many more. Lately it doesn’t get recited much in public at all. But the kingdom is coming, and it’s coming here. One wonders exactly how that will go over.

The millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ is a “must”, as G.B. Fyfe puts it.

Three Reasons It’s Coming

Fyfe gives three logical and scriptural reasons for this:
  1. Having crowned the ascended Christ with glory and honour in heaven, God will also glorify Him on the earth, the scene of His humiliation and rejection. The matter cannot rest where it does at present.
  2. God must demonstrate that He has a Man competent to rule the world in righteousness, and to maintain peace throughout His realm for a period of one thousand years, a state of affairs never achieved throughout human history.
  3. There are certain unconditional promises that God has given His earthly people Israel, and which are still outstanding. All those will be fully implemented during the closing period of mankind’s history, the millennium. (Genesis 12:3; 13:15, 15:18)
Bring on the Nanny State?

If I may make one further observation, it seems to me that there is a significant segment of the population in recent generations that blames all human ills on the failures of government rather than the failures of the governed. Men and women are fine the way they are, we are told; the real problem is we haven’t yet figured out how to structure society so as to maximize the good latent within us. What is the solution to racism, war, pollution, an ailing economy, defects in the educational system, unemployment, differences in the distribution of goods and services, sexual harassment, disenfranchisement and a host of other problems? The Left tells us repeatedly that the answer is some new social arrangement inevitably involving even bigger government; the nanniest of Nanny States. The Right, while sneaking a look over its shoulder to ensure its constituents are not paying too much attention, quietly agrees.

Well, they’re both going to get something along those lines — albeit, I’m confident, without the usual petulance and hectoring — and they will not like it one little bit.

It took 1,400 years from Sinai to the cross of Christ for God to demonstrate that even God-given law cannot perfect a human society run by fallen individuals. It has taken a further 2,000 to demonstrate conclusively that even God personally indwelling a certain subset of human beings within society cannot entirely reform our culture so long as Satan rules and the consequences of the Fall are still in play. Thus, the coming 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ seems likely to show us that even perfect government enforced justly and consistently will not solve the internal problems of unregenerate man.

See, the millennium is not God’s final answer. It ends in rebellion.

Let the Nations Be Glad

But while it may not be God’s final answer for society, the millennial reign of Christ is distinctly and repeatedly prophesied in the word of God. Thus, when I come to passages like Psalm 67, I cannot take them as mere platitudes to be mouthed piously by the saints of our present era in near-total ignorance of their intended meaning and the unique era to which they point:
“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.”
That’s never happened yet. Let’s not pretend it has, and let’s not imagine that even millions of mission-minded truly faithful saints could ever produce it during the Age of Grace. But it will happen one day, and that day may be sooner than we think.

Devout Jews look to the millennium — and rightly so — for the fulfillment of all God’s national promises to them in their Messiah. They look for a kingdom, for a King, for grace and for national vindication. They look for their enemies to fear and the way of God to be known on earth. And that will be great. The Psalms are full of that stuff.

And Christians look past it. Or at least we should.

All in All

What is needed is that God be “all in all”. The last enemy, death, must be defeated. “He (Christ) must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” Only then will mankind know true peace.

That’s a bit of a downer for the utopians among us, a group in which I include post-millennialists, but there it is: the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ is a “must” because even perfect governance and perfect justice will never satisfy fallen, rebellious hearts. The idea of universal peace, prosperity and justice must remain a pipedream so long as “I will” remains the secret longing of even the smallest sliver of humanity. Until the very last rebel heart has either been rooted out of the world, or else has willingly and voluntarily surrendered to the will of God’s Messiah, we’re just not going to get there.

We can’t do it ourselves. We never could.

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