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The Return of the King
7 October 2013
Forty days after the resurrection of Yeshua (Isa, Jesus), He was with his eleven apostles on the Mount of Olives when ...
... He was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see Him. As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why are you standing here staring into heaven? Yeshua has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!" (Acts 1:9-11)For 2,000 years, followers of Yeshua have been eagerly awaiting this promised return. In the book of Revelation, chapter 19, near the very end of the Bible, this blessed second-coming of Messiah is described:
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on His head were many crowns. A name was written on Him that no one understood except Himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and His title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed Him on white horses. From His mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On His robe at His thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (Revelation 19:11-16)In the next chapter, Revelation 20, it talks about a one-thousand-year period of human existence on this earth during which Satan will be locked away, and the followers of Yeshua will reign with Him and rule the world. The religious term for this thousand-year period is the Latin word millennium — which means, amazingly enough, "a thousand years." Because the period I am referring to in this article is not just some arbitrary period of a thousand years, but the specific one thousand years when Yeshua the Messiah will be ruling this present world from His throne in Jerusalem, I shall spell it with an initial capital: Millennium.
The very day Yeshua was resurrected, He encountered two followers walking along the road from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, about seven miles away. Yeshua started talking with them, but they did not recognize Him. "Then Yeshua took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24:27)
Although there is not one specific place in the Old Testament where you can find all the details of Yeshua's first coming 2,000 years ago, the entire Old Testament is full of hints and clues, as Yeshua demonstrated to the two travelers on the road. The same is true for Yeshua's approaching second coming. In fact, one of the reasons why the Jewish leaders didn't recognize Yeshua as the promised Messiah was because they were more focused on the Scriptures which give details of His second coming, and they mistakenly thought that those details would be fulfilled when Yeshua came the first time.
Not only is the Old Testament full of hints and clues about Yeshua's second coming and subsequent Millennial Kingdom, but the New Testament sheds quite a bit more light on the subject. Taken together, we should be able to get a fairly good idea of the major points, although a lot of the specific details will continue to remain a mystery until that awesome Day arrives.
As mentioned in the passage from Revelation 19 quoted above, Yeshua will rule the nations with an iron rod — this is a reference to the Messianic Psalm 2. Furthermore, Yeshua Himself said,
"To the one who is victorious and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations — that one 'will rule them with an iron rod and will dash them to pieces like pottery' — just as I have received authority from My Father." (Revelation 2:26-27)So not only will Yeshua rule the nations with an iron rod, but He plans to share that authority with His followers, who will also rule the nations with an iron rod and dash them to pieces! But just who and what are these nations to be thus ruled? Before we can answer that question, we need to look at a couple of other details first. The Apostle Paul wrote:
So, when Yeshua returns, He will bring all of the Redeemed with Him, and all of His followers who are still alive at that time will meet them in the air as they return (the Rapture). All of Yeshua's followers will have their new immortal spiritual bodies, as Paul taught:
Since we believe that Yeshua died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Yeshua returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Master: We who are still living when the Master returns will not meet Him ahead of those who have died. For the Master himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Master in the air. Then we will be with the Master forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)
Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.... Let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:42b-44,51-53)Well, that accounts for all of the Redeemed, both living and dead at the time of Yeshua's return. But what about the unredeemed dead, those who had chosen not to follow Yeshua? According to Revelation 20, they don't come back to life until the conclusion of the Millennium, at which time they will be judged before God's throne.
During the three and a half years immediately preceding Yeshua's return, the world will be under the dominion of the Satanically-controlled Antichrist. Known as the Great Tribulation, Yeshua described it as a period of "greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again." (Matthew 24:21)
I don't want to take the time and space here to go into all the details of the Rapture, the Great Tribulation and the Antichrist, so I will direct you to other articles I have written which cover these important topics:
If you read through Revelation and note the many times it talks about people being killed during the Tribulation — from plagues, disease, natural disasters, spirit beings and the Antichrist, not to mention when Yeshua returns — it's easy to get the idea that the vast majority of humans on the planet will be dead by the end of it. Yeshua Himself said, "In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God's chosen ones." (Matthew 24:22)
One of the staggering and sobering truths explained in Revelation is that ALL people who receive "the mark of the Beast" will spend eternity in Hell:
But apparently, there will be those who survive all of the calamities of the Tribulation, and who somehow manage to avoid receiving the mark of the Beast, even though they are not followers of Yeshua. They will still be alive on the earth when Yeshua arrives on the clouds with all of His followers, both those who had already died, as well as those who were still alive at His coming. Then Yeshua's Millennial reign will begin, from His throne in Jerusalem!
"If anyone worships the Beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the Beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name." (Revelation 14:9b-11)
Imagine! Muslims, Nazis and others who believe that the Jews have a secret agenda to take over the world are, in the end, absolutely correct! For Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, WILL take over the world — and it won't be a democracy! As I quoted from Revelation and Psalm 2 above, Yeshua and His followers will rule the nations with a rod of iron.
There are numerous glimpses in the Old Testament of this Millennial period, which we will look at in more detail in a future article. One prophet wrote:
Apparently, the conditions on the earth and the aging process of the humans still left will be radically altered. Life spans will be greatly increased, perhaps similar to the long lives of those who lived before the Flood — see Genesis 5.
No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! (Isaiah 65:20)
Obviously it's not the followers of Yeshua who are described in these ways. As we have seen, when He returns, all of His followers, both dead and living, will receive their new, glorified, spiritual bodies. These bodies will never age, never die, and never reproduce. As Yeshua taught:
"Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection." (Luke 20:34-36)For the sake of our discussion, I am calling these resurrected believers in their new spiritual bodies the "Redeemed." So, during the Millennium, there will be the regular humans who survived the Tribulation, who will live long lives, get married, and have children. They will be ruled over by the Redeemed, as the New Testament states in a number of places.
Of course, at the beginning of the Millennium there won't be a huge number of regular humans to rule over, because the vast majority will have died. But there will be a lot of work to be done in restoring the harm mankind has inflicted upon the earth, as well as repairing all of the devastation which occurs during the Tribulation.
But as the long-lived regular humans begin to have children — in the absence of war, famine, disease, natural disasters, and all of the other killers of mankind — the number of people will greatly increase. Over the one thousand years of the Millennium, the world population of regular humans could easily surpass the earth's pre-Tribulation population.
Although humans will be living in the best earthly conditions since mankind was banished from the Garden of Eden, and even though they will be ruled by God Himself in the form of the man Yeshua — amazingly, not everyone will submit their hearts and lives to Him. As the human population increases, once again evil will increase in the world as well. The Redeemed will have to give more and more of their attention to ruling, and as evil increases, it's very likely they will have to rule with a rod of iron.
Unfortunately, in order to accomplish the full purpose of God, the Millennial reign of Yeshua will end on a sour note:
Then the final judgment will come. All who do evil or cause evil or are evil will be banished to Hell for eternity:
When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle — a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God's people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. Then the Devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the Beast and the False Prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)
And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne.... And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.... And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11a,12,13b-15)After Yeshua has reigned with the Redeemed for a thousand years in this current world, God will create "a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth [will] disappear." (Revelation 21:1) But that's a whole nother story....
This article is 3rd a series of articles on this Web site related to Exploring New Testament Realities which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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