Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition on Christ's future kingdom.
[Message] In fact, it was minus eleven about 5:30 and the wind was gusting up to forty-three miles an hour, and I can imagine that since my hands. [Laughter] So, let’s open with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee and praise Thee for the privilege of the study of Thy word, and again we ask that Thou would give us guidance and direction as we think of some of the great events of the future that are parts of the plan of the ages. We rejoice to think of the day when the Lord Jesus Christ shall be manifested as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and when men, all over the face of this earth, shall recognize him for who he is, and shall know what he has done.
We pray that Thou will give us understanding and direction as we think about the great subject of the kingdom of God. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] In our last study, I made a few references to the calendar of future events, and commented upon the fact that after the rapture of the church, if that is the next event, there shall be a rise of ten kinds who shall have universal dominion over the earth, and then of the beasts or the antichrists. He shall make a covenant with the Jews at the beginning of Israel’s seventieth week. And the domination of politics by Babylonian religion, I did not mention last time, but nevertheless shall be characteristic of that period of time known as Israel’s seventieth week. The beast, after a supernatural experience, we read of the in Revelation chapter 13, which is a counterfeit of the experience of Jesus Christ, shall break the covenant as the ten kings overthrow Babylonian religion in the middle of the seventieth week. There will be the establishment of universal government. Am I speaking differently or is this speaking differently? [Laughter] And international economy and ecumenical religion. The Great Tribulation, that period of time generally believed by Bible scholars to be the first three and a half years of that seventieth week shall begin at the breaking of that covenant, and shall conclude with the defeat of the beast, the destruction of his capital city in Babylon, and the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Man’s city and man’s kingdom is destroyed by God and the Lamb.
That brings us tonight to t he subject of the “Kingdom of God upon the Earth,” And I’d like to begin by reading four verses from two chapters of the Book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel chapter 34, verse 23 and verse 24 and then Ezekiel chapter 27 verse 24 and verse 25. Ezekiel chapter 34, verse 23 and verse 24 reads, “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.” In chapter 37, the chapter best known as the chapter of the vision of the valley of the dry bones, contains a similar statement or two, in verse 23 of that chapter we read of the new covenant, and then in verse 24 we read of the Davidic covenant, and in verse 25, of the Abrahamic Covenant.
And here, the whole covenantal program seems to be gathered together in a climatic reference to the kingdom of God upon the earth. Let me read verse 23 also, “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, in which your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.”
The dreams of utopia are common to man, extending over history from Plato’s Republic, before the time of Jesus Christ, to Augustine’s City of God on through, Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia, on to the satiric Brave New World of Aldous Huxley. There is, according to Scripture, an Atlantis and El Dorado, there are Isles of the Blessed, in a word, there is a golden age and in a golden place. It is found only in the coming millennial kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. It seems to me that these anticipations on the part of mankind over a lengthy period of time are simply the reflections of the true hope that is set forth in the word of God. There are, however, among the passages of Scripture that detail the kingdom of God upon the earth many delights, many wonderful aspirations, many expressions of hope, and many beautiful descriptions of what shall take place. But there are also some dilemmas for Bible students. And what we want to do tonight, in the time that we have, is to look at both of these things, some of the delights of the kingdom of God upon the earth, but also some of the dilemmas. That is, the things about the kingdom of God upon the earth that, so far as I can tell, Bible students do feel at one mind over.
The ruler over the kingdom is the first topic that we want to discuss. Scripture demands a Davidic sovereign. That’s true from the passage that I have read in Ezekiel 34 and then the passage in Ezekiel 37. In Psalm 89 verse 4 through verse 37, the psalmist there expresses there that David and the Davidic covenant is to have a future, and therefore we should expect a Davidic sovereign. He is to be a sovereign. He will be a divine human man. Now, Isaiah chapter 11 expresses that, and I think that I would like for you to turn there. Isaiah chapter 11, verse 1, and then Isaiah 11 verse 10, because Isaiah tells us about this king who is about to rule and reign. First of all, he says in verse 1 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”
Now, notice the description that is given there, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” And then in the 10th verse we read, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the nations seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” What is so interesting about these two verses when you put them on by the side of the other is in the first verse the king, who is to rule over this millennial earth, is described as a rod our of the stem of Jesse and a branch that grows out of Jesse’s roots.
Now Jesse, of course, is David’s line, and one gathers from this that this individual is to come from the line of David. But he’s described as a branch out of David’s roots, and he’s described as a rod out of the stem of Jesse. He’s described as a descendant of David, and the impression that you get is that he isn’t a human being. But in verse 10 we read “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse.” In verse 10, he’s described as the one whom Jesse comes, and so the implication of verse 10 is that he is more than a human being. And of course, the combination of the two suggests that in verse 1 of chapter 11 we have reference to the human character of the Messiah, but in verse 10 we have reference to the divine character of the Messiah. He is a divine human individual.
Now, reading the description of the kingdom that is given in Isaiah 11, one notices that it is to be a kingdom in which there is an autocratic ruler. Notice the further description in verse 2,
“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked one.”
So, we have here a description of an autocratic sovereign. The kingdom of God is not going to be a democracy. History has indicated to us that democracy is not the best form of government. Winston Churchill made those famous words that “Democracy is the worst form of human government that we have ever seen, except for all of those other forms of human government.” Now, the kind of government that the kingdom sets forth is an autocratic sovereign rule. And this is not only less costly, but it is far more efficient.
Now, the Lord Jesus is going to be a benevolent ruler, but he is going to be a ruler who rules in righteousness, and he will judge with equity for the meek of the earth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Perhaps the “wicked one” there is a reference to the beast or the anti-Christ. Notice the 5th verse, “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his waist.” So, he is going to judge in righteousness. This world has never seen a truly righteous ruler. We have had some good rulers, and some who have reminded you, perhaps, of the benevolent righteous ruler that we shall have in the millennial age. But never has there been one such as our Lord Jesus Christ who shall faithfully rule in righteousness.
Now, the material side of this kingdom is described in the words that follow. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Dr. Charles Feinberg used to say that “The calf and young lion shall lie down together, but the calf will be lying down inside the lion generally.” [Laughter] Woody Allen said that “The lion and the lamb will lie down together, but the lamb won’t get much sleep.” [Laughter] Well, in the kingdom the lion and the lamb, and the wolf and the kid shall all lie down together, and both shall get good sleep because the Lord Jesus is there.
Well, here then we have a picture of the sovereign character of this ruler over the kingdom. There is, however, a problem with this particular idea of the Lord Jesus as the Davidic ruler, because some of those passages, particularly the ones that we just read, seem to suggest that the term David might be the name of the individual. And so as a result of this there has been considerable debate over these passages that speak of David as ruling in that particular kingdom.
Now, let’s take a look at them again. In the Ezekiel passage, for example, in chapter 34, notice exactly what is said there. Ezekiel chapter 34, verse 23 and 24, “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.” That has raised the interesting eschatological question, what is meant by David here? Is it possible these texts of Scripture are designed to indicate that David, as a resurrected king, is to be the ruler in the millennial age? Is that the point of the passages? Some Bible students have sought to argue this. Some here into his city have argues that what we have here is a reference to David, and it is to be taken literally, and we may therefore expect David, as a resurrected individual, to rule and reign in the kingdom of God upon the earth. Others, also in this city, have taken a different interpretation, and have rather thought of this as used metaphorically of Christ, because after all he is the Son of David. And David is a term that really means something like “the beloved one,” and that this term is used in that sense of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because all of the other passages of Scripture seem to suggest that he is the one who is ongoing to rule and reign in the kingdom.
So therefore, we are to think of this as a reference to our Lord Jesus Christ as the ruler in a metaphorical way. Just as John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah, and could be called Elijah in that sense, so the Lord Jesus Christ shall come as David as a sovereign ruler, and he shall rule and reign. That is a problem that is difficult for us to be sure about. Personally, if I just had a speculative guess to make, I would say that in the light of the fact that most of the passages of the Old Testament suggest that our Lord is the ruler of the millennial earth, and also in the New Testament the same thing seems to be taught, that we rather are to think of him as the ruler, being called David because of his connection with David.
The sphere of the kingdom is another thing that we want to just say a few words about. The sphere, according to the teaching of the word of God includes not only the natural world, he’ll not only rule over the natural world, but also Israel and the Gentiles. There are passages that speak of him as the king over Israel, such as Jeremiah chapter 23 verses 5 and 6. Let’s turn to that passage. I won’t have you turn to all of these passages, and you’ll just have to take my word for some of the things that we’ll be talking about. But we will turn to a few of them at least. And Jeremiah chapter 23, verse 5 and 6 are very famous Messianic prophecy. Jeremiah writes, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Notice here first of all the two fold character of the Messiah. He’s described in verse 5 as a righteous branch unto David. So, his descendency is from David the man. But at the same time, he’s called Jehovah our righteousness, so again we have this combination of the divine human natures in the one person who is to rule as king. And he will over a united Judah and a united Israel.
He will also be admired of the Gentiles. Isaiah chapter 60, verse 14 and 15 states that, and also states in Isaiah chapter 60, the prophet states that he will rule in Jerusalem. The Bible also says, however, that he will not only be a king over Israel, but he will also be a king over the Gentiles. Even though they are subservient, it would seem, to Israel in the kingdom age, they joy in their residency in the kingdom, and the relationship to Israel and also to the Lord Jesus Christ. So, he will be king over the gentiles who will be a true people of God.
Now also, we read from other passages of Scripture that the Lord Jesus will not only rule, but he will rule with glorified saints. That would seem to be the suggestion of those New Testament passages that say that we shall rule and reign with him. Let’s turn to one of them, 2 Timothy chapter 2, in verse 12, 2 Timothy chapter 2, in verse 12. The Apostle Paul writes and says this, and while you’re finding it I’ll just read verse 11, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.” And now, chapter 2, verse 12 of 2 Timothy, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” Matthew chapter 19, verse 28 suggests that glorified saints shall also rule with him in his kingdom. If a sinless king is required to establish Utopian conditions, it is reasonable that he should have sinless subordinates; otherwise there would be failure to carry out his orders. And so what we are to think about in the millennial age, it would seem, is our Lord Jesus ruling as the glorified king, but associating with him others, the saints, who also have experienced the resurrection and therefore possess resurrected bodies.
That raises some interesting questions, and we’ll talk about that right here next when we talk about the subjects of the kingdom. Now, we can look at the subjects in the kingdom in two ways. We can look at them as being Jewish and Gentile, but we can also look at them in their character as individuals with reference to the resurrection. And so, these subjects, the Bible says, will be both living and glorified saints. Now, I assume, since those who enter the millennial state are believers, and since at that particular time, at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus, there is a resurrection of all of the Old Testament saints, and all of those who have been saved through the tribulation period, that there is going to be a vast number of glorified saints who enter the kingdom. In fact, many feel in the light of the teaching of the Bible that the glorified individuals in the kingdom, at the beginning of that kingdom, will be much larger in number than the unglorified saints who enter the kingdom as believers, but nevertheless have not experienced the resurrection. But soon that imbalance would be corrected. The birthrate will be high. The death rate will low in the kingdom of God upon the earth, and consequently the subjects of the kingdom will be both glorified individuals and unglorified individuals.
Now, that raises a question, can resurrected saints and living saints relate to one another? Some critics of premillennialism have raised this as an objection to premillennialism. How is it possible to think of individuals who pass through the tribulation as believers and into the kingdom because they are believers, but yet they have not experienced the resurrection? How is it possible for them to relate to glorified individuals? Can you think of glorified individuals having fellowship with unglorified individuals? George Murray, who was a Christian professor at Gordon College and Seminary, thought that this was an incredible thing, and that was one of the major reasons why he was not a premillennialist. He could not conceive of a kingdom of God in which there would be resurrected saints living in resurrected saints living in close relationship with those that were unresurrected.
But now, what does the Bible, does the Bible give us any hint of this? Of course, we are dealing in the area of speculation, naturally. But the Bible does give us some help. Take the Lord Jesus Christ; he was glorified at the resurrection. He came back. He walked by the side of the disciples on the Emmaus Road, and they had some relationship with him. True, their eyes were holden, and consequently they did not, probably, fully understand all of what it meant for him to be glorified. Maybe he was not revealed to them in the fullest sense. But then, the Lord Jesus for forty days taught the disciples after his resurrection. And in addition to that, the incident in John chapter 21, when he appeared as Peter and others went fishing, would seem to indicate that is it is certainly possible for a glorified individual to have a relationship with unglorified individuals. And so, other Bible students have thought that this is not an insurmountable objection to the premillennial kingdom of God upon the earth.
Another question that has been raised is, is the New Jerusalem hovering over the earth throughout the millennial age? Or is the New Jerusalem really in heaven, and the saints, while they minister here on the earth, they really live in heaven in the New Jerusalem, which is their city. Personally, I think that’s true. I don’t imagine that they will have to book passage on Braniff, they might never get there. For every night they have to go buy a ticket back to the New Jerusalem after working here during the day under the king, it would seem to be that conditions will such that they may be at one moment in the new heavens in the New Jerusalem, and at the same time participate with our Lord, ruling and reigning with him in the millennial kingdom here upon the earth. You can see that there are many things about the kingdom of God upon the earth that we do not know for certainty.
The spiritual life of the kingdom, with Christ ruling in person, no doubt, worship is greater in degree and genuineness than ever before. And the Bible does give us some hint of the life of the millennial kingdom. The leader is our Lord Jesus Christ, and he is both the civil and the religious head in the kingdom. Let’s turn back to Zachariah chapter 6, verse 12 through verse 15 for a passage that has to do with the relationship of our Lord to the worship of the millennial age. Zachariah chapter 6, verse 12 through verse 15, remember David, in Psalm 110 speaking of the Messiah said, “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” So, he is a priest after the order of Melchizedek during the millennial age.
Now, we read in verse 12 of Zachariah chapter 6, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” That last statement, “the counsel of peace shall be between them both” is probably a reference to the fact that there will be a union of the office of king and the office of priest during the millennial age. Up until this time, the office of priest is separate from the office of king, but then the Messiah, the man whose name is the Branch, shall be both king and priest. In other words, he will not only rule over the millennial age, but he will also be the one through whom worship is brought to the Lord God. So, he is the leader of the millennial kingdom.
The spirituality of the millennial age is set forth in many places in the word of God. Passages like Joel chapter 2, verse 28 and 29 speak of the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that takes place at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. And all of those who enter into the millennial kingdom will be individuals who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them, and their worship shall be in spirit and in truth. Frequently, critics of a millennial kingdom upon the earth have centered their criticism upon the claim that the kingdom is going to be a carnal kind of kingdom. You’ll remember that Augustine, who was perhaps the greatest of the minds of the first thousand years of the Christian error, at least. John Gerstner told me in Chicago this fall, that in his mind Augustine was the greatest thinker in the Christian church outside of the apostles themselves.
Well, he was a great thinker, and he was a premillennialism, because the early church was largely premillennial. Papius, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, probably Barnabas, although that is the author of the book we know as Barnabas, and Augustine says, “I was a premillennialist, but I changed my view, because of the gormandizing of the premillennialists. That is, he was given descriptions of the kingdom in such a carnal way, describing the things that they would be eating and the joys that they would be having, that evidently it was a kind of Mohammedan paradise that some were describing to him. He changed his mind about the millennial kingdom. Well, since that time there’s been a great deal of criticism of the millennial kingdom based upon that very idea; that the idea of a kingdom of God upon the earth is a carnal hope. The Jews, it is said, had that hope. But Christians don’t have that kind of hope, because we believe that a kingdom ought to be spiritual. In fact, occasionally in the criticism some will say, citing Paul’s word in Romans chapter 14, that the kingdom of God is in joy and in the Holy Spirit. Well, they fail to realize that a person may spiritually live on the earth without necessarily being unspiritual because he is concerned with material things. I think the classic answer to this question is the one that Alva McClain gave in a sermon or a lecture that I heard him deliver on the spirituality of the millennial kingdom. I know you’ve heard me give it before, but I’m giving it for those who are going to be listening to these basic Bible doctrines, too.
Dr. McClain, who is now with the Lord, is trying to illustrate the fact that it’s possible to be spiritual, and yet be engaged in material activities at the same time. The fact that the kingdom is an earthily kingdom doesn’t mean it’s not spiritual. He said; let me illustrate this with a parable. During a church banquet, a group of preachers were discussing the nature of the kingdom of God. One expressed his adherence to the premillennial view of a literal kingdom established on earth among men. To this a rather belligerent two hundred pound preacher snorted, “Ridiculous, such an idea is nothing but materialism.” When asked to state his own view he said, “The kingdom of God is a spiritual matter. The kingdom of God has already been established and is within you. Don’t you know the kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost?” And then this preacher, Dr. McClain said, hungrily reached across the table and speared another enormous piece of fried chicken. [Laughter] Nobody tried to answer him. As a matter of fact, no answer was necessary. He had answered his own argument. As the French would say, “He was hoist with his own petard.” If the kingdom of can exist now on earth in a two hundred pound preacher full of fried chicken, without any reprehensible materialistic connotations, perhaps it could also exist in eating and drinking under more perfect conditions in a future millennial kingdom. “Personally,” Dr. McClain said, he was a little man with a wonderful sense of humor. He said, “Personally, I’ve always had a very high opinion of the value of fried chicken. But this was the first time I had ever seen its apologetical value as an argument against the inconsistencies of that view of the kingdom, based on a platonic notion of spirituality.” [Laughter] Dr. Criswell says that you can always tell, incidentally, whether a man is called to the ministry. All you have to do is ask him, “Do you like fried chicken?” If he says he doesn’t like fried chicken, he’s not called to the ministry. [Laughter] There’s never been any man ever called to the ministry who did not like fried chicken. Well, the kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, and the fact that it is an earthly kingdom, and the fact that they’re engaged in earthly activities, does not mean that they cannot be done in a spiritual way. That is true spirituality. Spirituality may exist in material and physical things, just as much as it may exist in immaterial things. So, the kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.
One other question, or another question, that frequently arises is, what about the temple and the sacrifices? Is there going to be a temple during the millennial age, and will there be sacrifices that are made in the temple? And usually, the debate concerning this will ultimately revolve around Ezekiel chapter 40 through about 46 to 48. Because there Ezekiel the prophet seems to refer to the future and there sets forth a temple, a rebuilt temple, and also refers to sacrifices that are to be made. How are these things to be interpreted? Bible students, again, differ over this. It is possible to think of that temple as an ideal temple, which they should have built after the captivity. And then there are some who think of the temple as a symbol of the church. Usually objection to the idea of a restored temple during the millennial age, with sacrifices offered, is grounded in the fact that in the New Testament we are told that the one sacrifice that takes away sin has already been offered.
For example, let’s just turn to a couple of those passages in Hebrews chapter 7, for the first one, verse 27. And notice what the writer of this epistle says concerning the sacrifices, Hebrews chapter 7 and verse 27 reads, “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” In other words, the once for all sacrifice which removes sins has already been offered. What would be the point in having a temple and sacrifices during the millennial age? And then in chapter 9, in verse 12 we read, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” So the Lord Jesus, again, is said here to have obtained an eternal redemption by having entered once into the holy place. And finally in verse 26 of chapter 9 of Hebrews, “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the ages hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” So, what would be the point of having a restore kingdom and the offering of sacrifices, if the Lord Jesus has already offered the one sacrifice by which all sin is taken away? And on the basis of this, many have argued against, again, a millennial kingdom upon the earth.
It is possible, however, to interpret those sacrifices there as retrospective and commemorative sacrifices; not prospective and efficacious sacrifices. That is, not sacrifices which really take away sin, but sacrifices which are commemorative and which retrospectively look back to what the Messiah did. Now, for example every Sunday night here in Believer’s Chapel, we observe the Lord’s Supper. We have the bread, we have the wine. They are symbols of a completed sacrifice. They are symbols of a work that has been done. We don’t think of that as a sacrifice by which our sins are taken away.
Now, we know that there is a large religious organization that refers to something very similar to that as the means by which sins are removed. We don’t take it that way. We take the Lord’s Supper as a memorial. It has commemorative sense with reference to that which the Lord Jesus did a long time ago. It is very precious to us, because our Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in observance of the last Passover. Well, would it not be, this is a rhetorical question, would it not be very proper for Israel, which throughout its great history was under the Levitical system, the law of Moses and brought those sacrifices every day, morning and night, and then the special sacrifices when the Messiah finally comes and establishes his kingdom, and the remnant turns to the Lord, and ultimately the nation as a whole. Would it not be very significant and meaningful for them to carry out memorial sacrifices in the millennial age to remind them of all that they themselves were the objects of in the past? A good case, I think, can be made for that.
There are some problems, but frequently I ask some of my friends who like to object and say, “Well, that doesn’t satisfy all the problems.” I always like to say, “Well, what is your interpretation of Ezekiel 40 through 48?” And now always, usually, the argument stops there, because they usually don’t have any interpretation that is very satisfactory at all, and while mine may not solve all of the problems, it comes closer than anything they have suggested. One of those men, a very fine Christian man, but nevertheless an amillennialist said, “Why the idea of the blood and filth of those sacrifices would just be so overwhelming that you couldn’t possibly do anything like that.” Forgetting that for hundreds of years Israel, under the will of God, brought those sacrifices. No, Mr. Hamilton that’s not a good objection to that particular interpretation.
The physical aspects of the kingdom are described in numerous passages of the Bible. I think it was Mr. Scofield who said when the prophets of the Old Testament, through the Spirit, described the glories of the kingdom in its material and physical aspects, they wrote with pens dipped in a rainbow to describe the beauties and the glories of the kingdom of God upon the earth. There are physical blessings upon the land. There are physical blessings upon the people. There are even physical blessings, as we have read, upon the animals during the millennial kingdom.
The economic aspects of the kingdom are also set forth rather fully in the Old Testament. There is general prosperity. There is no need for a president to speak and tell us about the fact that we must face the truth that the economic situation is facing catastrophe, because there is going to be general prosperity. Congress will no longer be in session, hallelujah. [Laughter] And there shall be abundance, and even the Russians will have grain during the millennial kingdom, as far the Scriptures are concerned. Amos describes it in such a way that those who are reaping shall actually overrun those who are sowing. Things will be so marvelous economically, and things shall be in such abundance inflation will no longer trouble us.
And finally the social aspects of the kingdom, all of the things that men talk so much about today about social justice, shall prevail during the kingdom of God. You would think that a beautiful picture such as is presented in the word of God in which the poor will not be exploited, the week shall have justice rendered to them. There will be no racism. And all of the other kinds of things that people love to talk about today. You would think that all who have views like that would hold the Bible up as the thing that would bring them the greatest of comforts. But no, surprisingly, they are, it seems, the ones who are often the least affected by the picture that the holy Scriptures give us. It reminds me of the time when someone made that suggestion to an individual who thought that social justice was the thing that we should be most concerned about.
My friend asked the individual, “Why then don’t you respond to what we have in the Bible? Because in the Bible we have all these things set forth as realized by the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would seem if these are the things that you are really concerned about, you would want to become a follower of him, and look forward to the hope that we have. Well, the individual said that “No, that would not be right, because we would not be doing it ourselves.” [Laughter] And the friend said, “Wouldn’t it be all right to have just a little divine help in bringing those things to pass?” Well, the Bible tells us we do have divine help. The Lord Jesus Christ is the benevolent ruler who shall come, he shall rule and reign over this earth. And we look forward to that day when he shall be manifested for what he is, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He shall be glorified in his saints. He should be admired by all the men of the earth.
Then the things that are hidden shall be manifest, and at the same time also, the enemies of our Lord and his truth shall be removed to await the judgment of the great white throne. Let’s close in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these wonderful pictures that are given us in the Bible. We know that there are many things that we have not yet understood properly. But we thank Thee for the abundant revelation concerning the kingdom of God upon the earth. We look forward to it, Lord. If there should be someone in this audience tonight who does not have this hope by virtue of the fact that they have never come to Jesus Christ as the one has offered the sacrifice for our sins once and for all, we do pray, Lord, that they may turn to him to receive the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]