The Time Frame of the Meditorial Kingdom

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Part Seven – The Time Frame of the Meditorial Kingdom

 

In our last two studies, we have shown from the Bible that the promise of the future Millennial Kingdom was unconditionally give to God’s Chosen people Israel. Because of its unconditional nature, the Kingdom’s future fulfillment is based in God’s faithfulness and sovereignty and not on Israel’s unfaithfulness. In spite of Israel’s spiritual adultery and rejection of her Messiah, Jesus, God in His faithfulness and sovereignty would soften the hard heart of Israel to the point of repentance and reconciliation. This is illustrated in Daniel’s “70 Week” prophecy, where God declared that there would be a set period of time in which the Jews would suffer under the oppressive hands of the Gentiles with the purpose of bringing Israel out of her sin and into a right relationship with her God.

Dan 9:24, “Seventy weeks (lit. 70 periods of 7) are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” (see chart on the end of this article)

Once this is accomplished then God would be able to usher in His Millennial Kingdom as He originally promised. However, though Israel is not responsible for the fulfillment of the Kingdom yet in a real sense she plays a role in the timing and the process by which this kingdom would be restored. This week we cover the matter of Israel’s role in the timing of the Kingdom. Next wee we cover the process of the restoration.

ISRAEL’S ROLE IN THE TIMING OF THE KINGDOM

Daniel had foretold that God would usher in His Kingdom on Earth within 70 periods of 7 or 490 years (Daniel 9:24). From the time of the command to restore and build Jerusalem (445 BC) until the Messiah would be cut off (Crucifixion – 32 AD) would be a total of 483 years or 69 periods of seven (Dan. 9:25-26a). At the point of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, Israel was within roughly 7 years of having their Kingdom fulfilled. All they had left to endure was the last period of seven years made up of Tribulation at the hands of Romans and the Antichrist who would rise out of Rome seeking to destroy all of Israel (Dan. 9:26b-27). It was for this reason that when Christ came the first time, God announced to Israel that the Kingdom was at hand. God did this in three ways.

1) The message of John the Baptist. God sent a forerunner whose mission was to prepare the hearts of the people to receive their Messiah. This preparation would involve the repentance of their hearts of the people, making them receptive to receive Jesus as their Savior, Messiah, and King. This forerunner’s coming was foretold by the prophets Isaiah and Malachi.

Isa 40:3-4, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord ;Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth”

Mal 3:1, “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me.”

Mal 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

The identity of this forerunner is no great mystery. He was one who came in the spirit of Elijah. His identity is confirmed by an angel, John himself, and the Lord

Luke 1:16-17, “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,'* and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Matt 3:1-3, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord ; Make His paths straight.'" (see also Mk. 1:2-8; Lk. 3:1-20)

Matt 11:7-15, “As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.' "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

2)  The message of Jesus. The focus of Jesus preaching was a call to Israel to get ready for the Kingdom of God was close at hand. The King was dwelling in their mist and He was preparing to usher in the Kingdom.

Matt 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." NKJV

Matt 4:23-24, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”

Luke 4:42-44, “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent." And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”

At this point we need to stop and take of a very important element of Jesus’ message. It should be noted that Jesus gave proof of the validity of His message and His claim to be the Messiah by doing the miracles, signs, and wonders as foretold by the OT prophets (Matt. 4:23-24). This was the purpose of the miracles and signs of Jesus. They were designed to prove that He the King was ready to usher in His Kingdom. It was for this reason that these miracles and signs were carried over for a time in the early Church. As long God offered the Kingdom to Israel, the offer would be accompanied by the miracles and signs of the Kingdom. However, as we will see, because the people of Israel refused to accept the offer, it was eventually withdrawn for a time. When the offer was with drawn so were the miracles and signs associated with the offer. It is for this reason that these miraculous gifts and signs passed from the Church before the end of the First Century and have no purpose in the ministry of the Church today.

The Kingdom preparation Jesus called for was a repentance of Israel leading to reconciliation with God. This was the pre-requisite for all Jews who desired to enter into the Kingdom because no unbelieving Israelite would be permitted to enter into the Kingdom of God. Therefore for the Kingdom to arrive, there first had to be a regenerated Israel.

Matt 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand

This was on the mind of Nicodemus when he went to Jesus at night (John 3). Nicodemus wanted to know how a person could be guaranteed entrance into the Kingdom. Jesus told Nicodemus it would take a new birth or better a spiritual rebirth. We know it today as salvation in Jesus Christ alone.

John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

3)  The message of the Disciples of Jesus. Jesus knowing His offer of the Kingdom would be rejected by the religious leaders of His day, He therefore prepared His disciples to carry forth this message several years after His ascension into heaven. In the gospels we learn that Jesus sent his disciples forth to practice carrying forth the offer of the Kingdom. Note once again that along with the offer were also the miracles to validate it.

Matt 10:5-9, “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

The disciples carried out their Lord’s commission early on in the beginning of the Church Age. Peter is found in Acts preaching the offer of the Kingdom if the people would be willing to repent of their sins.

Acts 3:14-4:1, “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. "Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

So Israel was offered the Kingdom at the time of Christ and the founding of the early Church but Israel refused to repent and accept their Messiah/Savior. By the time we get the end of the book of Acts, God is in the process of withdrawing His offer of the Kingdom from Israel. Paul, speaking to the Jewish leaders in Rome makes the following statement.

Acts 28:23-31, “So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our* fathers, saying, 'Go to this people and say: hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them."' “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!"

It had become clear that Israel was not spiritually reading to receive Jesus as their Savior and Messiah and would not be for some time. Therefore, God choose a temporary substitute for Israel to carry on His ministry in the world. That substitute is the Church and the Church will continue to fulfill the role of substitute until Israel as a people are ready to repent and receive Jesus as their Savior and their Messiah. 

It is the stubbornness of the Jewish people to repent and accept their Messiah that is the key factor in determining when the Messiah will return to set up His Kingdom. Peter laid it out very clearly in Acts 3.

Acts 3:19-21, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

For almost 2000 years Israel has stubbornly resisted God’s chastening hand as God has used Gentile persecution, genocide, and absence from their home land to soften His people’s heart. However, God in His faithfulness has never given up on Israel for He knows in His sovereignty the day will come when they will be ready to hear “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” How much longer this will take only God knows for sure. However there are some recent events that may indicate that God’s work is drawing to a close. First, Israel is once again back in the land and established as a nation as foretold would take place prior to the restoration. There has been a significant growth in Christian ministries to the Jewish people and the Jewish people have been more open to what these ministries have to say then in any previous time. The Jews have begun the process of re-establishing the temple worship which was also foretold to take place in the last 7 years of Daniel’s prophecy. 

How much more God has to do we can not be sure of. The sign that God is one again offering the Kingdom will be the rapture of the church out of the earth as its role as a temporary substitute is finally brought to an end. For those who may be reading this and are not prepared for the day of the removal of the Church, now is the time to repent of your sins and seek salvation in Jesus. As we will see in next weeks lesson, the process God uses in the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy to prepare Israel and the world for His Kingdom will not be a joyous one. In those seven years the world will endure the wrath of God on a scale greater than that poured out during the global flood. This is time period is one that you do not want to go through. You do not have too if you are trusting in Christ as your savior. The choice is yours. Putting it off to another time may be dooming oneself to endure the Tribulation which is to come