Chapter 23

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A Literal Millennium? (Part II)

 

 What is the meaning of Old Testament prophecies that seem to depict a literal millennium?

 

Isaiah 65:25 states, “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock.” This and other Old Testament prophecies are often quoted as teaching a literal millennium of peace when really they are speaking symbolically of the new heaven and the new earth. In this case, the context clearly says, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (65:17).

Another verse commonly quoted to prove a thousand year reign on earth is in the same passage of Scripture: “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed” (65:20). This metaphor is also in the context of the “new heavens and a new earth” (65:17) and teaches that there will be neither death nor sinners there. In fact, verse fifteen shows that the sinner will be accursed and slain prior to the “new heavens and a new earth.” “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name.” It may seem odd to some that “the sinner” is mentioned in the context of heaven. But Revelation 21:8 also mentions the wicked in the context of the new heaven and earth, and shows that they are damned.

That the above verses (Isaiah 65:25,20) concern the “new heavens and a new earth” and not a thousand year reign on this earth can also be seen by understanding the similarities between Isaiah 65:17,19 and Revelation 21:1–4:

Isaiah 65:17,19—“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. . . . And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.”

Revelation 21:1,2,4—“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . . . the holy city, new Jerusalem. . . . And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more . . . sorrow, nor crying.”

Isaiah 11:6 also speaks symbolically of heaven but is said to prove a literal millennium: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb . . . and a little child shall lead them.” The context, however, shows all the wicked being slain with none left to enter a supposed peaceful millennium: “And he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isa. 11:4).

Old Testament prophecies (such as portions of Isaiah chapters 2, 11, 35, 65) used to teach a literal millennium really describe the new heaven and the new earth as revealed in the following chart.

 

 

The New Heaven and the New Earth
as Described in the Old Testament

The New Heaven and the New Earth
as Described in Revelation

 

 

Mount Zion, Jerusalem—Isa. 24:23; 35:10; 65:17,18,25; Joel 3:17; Micah 4:7.

Mount Zion, the new, holy, or heavenly Jerusalem—Rev. 3:12; 14:1; 21:2,10, 23; 22:14,19. See also Heb. 12:22,28.

 

 

A tabernacle—Isa. 33:20.

The tabernacle of God—Rev. 21:3.

 

 

The substance of the nations— Micah 4:13.

Bring the glory and honour of the nations into it—Rev. 21:24–26.

 

 

All flesh worship before me— Isa. 66:22,23.

All nations come and worship— Rev. 15:4; 7:9–11.

 

 

Neither shall they learn war any more—Isa. 2:4; Micah 4:3.

Neither shall there be any more pain— Rev. 21:4.

 

 

The unclean shall not pass over it— Isa. 35:8; 52:1; Joel 3:17.

There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth—Rev.21:7,8, 27; 22:14,15.

 

 

Sorrow and sighing shall flee away— Isa. 35:10; 51:11; 65:18,19.

No more sorrow, nor crying; only joy and gladness—Rev. 7:17; 19:7; 21:4.

 

 

The eyes of the blind shall be opened—Isa. 35:5–7.

Healing of the nations—Rev. 22:2.

 

 

The redeemed shall walk there— Isa. 35:9.

Redeemed us to God by thy blood— Rev. 5:9; 14:3,4.

 

 

The Lord, an everlasting light— Isa. 60:20.

The glory of the God is the light of it— Rev. 21:23,25.

 

 

The Lord shall reign over them . . . for ever—Isa. 24:23; Micah 4:7.

He shall reign for ever and ever— Rev. 11:15.

 

 

 

What difficult questions arise when one tries to prove a literal millennium?

 

When Jesus comes to gather His saints on the Day of the Lord, at least thirteen events will occur simultaneously. Since Scripture affirms that they will happen before a supposed millennium, some perplexing questions arise if one tries to prove a literal thousand years after these events occur. Consider these thirteen events:

1. At the last trump, the saints will receive new and glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:51,52). Since “this mortal must put on immortality” and “death is swallowed up in victory,” they must of necessity enter heaven where there is “no more death” (1 Cor. 15:54: Rev. 21:4). Jesus said the children of the resurrection “neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:35,36). See also 2 Cor. 5:1–4. Therefore, two questions arise: How and why will immortals, with glorified bodies as the angels, mingle with mortals for a thousand years on earth before entering heaven? and How does a supposed thousand years on earth fit between the destruction of death and the saints going to heaven?

2. The door of salvation will be closed forever (Matt. 7:22,23; 25:10–13). Surely, the Lord would not have delayed His coming for the sake of the unsaved if they had an additional thousand years in which to repent (2 Pet. 3:9; James 5:7). So this raises another question: Since there is no further opportunity for the unconverted to repent after the Second Coming, what will be the purpose of a literal millennium?

3. The wicked will be destroyed. With a rod of iron Christ will smite the nations and “all men, both free and bond, both small and great” will be slain, not even a remnant will be spared (Rev. 19:18–21). This raises several questions:

• Who will be left of the ungodly for the righteous to reign over for a thousand years?

• Who will be left for Satan to deceive no more? (Rev. 20:3).

• Who will be left to rebel and to go to war after a supposed thousand years? (Rev. 20:8,9).

4. When Jesus comes, the man of sin and the kingdoms of this world will be destroyed. During the final battle, the man of sin will be slain (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19,20). As a result, the saints will take away his dominion “to consume and to destroy it” and be given “an everlasting kingdom” (Dan. 7:26,27). See also Dan. 7:18; Rev. 11:15. This raises another question: How can a temporal thousand year reign occur between the destruction of the man of sin and the saints’ possessing an everlasting kingdom?

5. Christ will come on His throne of glory, not to usher in a thousand years of peace and prosperity, but to reward the righteous with an eternal inheritance and the wicked with everlasting fire (Matt. 25:31–46; Rev. 6:16,17; 20:11–15; 21:7,8).

Two more questions arise: Since the final judgment had already taken place, what would be the purpose of a millennium? and Since all will enter their eternal destinies when Jesus comes to gather His Church and to judge the world, who will be left to enter an earthly kingdom?

6. Heaven and earth will pass away on the Day of the Lord (Matt. 24:29,35; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 6:12–14; 16:18–20). How can there be a literal millennium on earth if it has been dissolved?

7. All will be fulfilled when Jesus comes (Luke 21:32). See also Rev. 10:7; 16:17, 21:6. What purpose would an additional thousand years serve?

8. At the resurrection, “this world” will end and “that world” will begin (Luke 20:34,35). What world will be between “this world” and “that world” for a thousand years?

9. At the appearing of Jesus, the saints will receive their reward (2 Tim. 4:8). Jesus said to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, “great is your reward in heaven” (Matt. 5:12; Luke 6:23). Will the saints have to wait another thousand years after the coming of Jesus to enter into their reward?

10. When Christ shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory [heaven] (Col. 3:4). The Bible teaches that our Father is in heaven (Matt. 6:9); our Savior is in heaven (Eph. 1:20); our guardian angels are in heaven (Matt. 22:30); our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20); our reward is in heaven (Matt. 5:12); our treasures are in heaven (Matt. 19:21); our names are recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20); our hope is in heaven (Col. 1:5); our inheritance is in heaven (1 Pet. 1:4); and that when Jesus comes, we will enter heaven (Matt. 25:34,46; John 14:1–3).

 

Moreover, in light of the Second Coming and heaven, believers are admonished, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above. . . . Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1–3); “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26). See also Phil. 3:19–21.

Since the Bible clearly teaches that the hope of believers is not to gain the world, but to gain heaven, why would God promise a future thousand year reign in this world? In addition, believers are seen in heaven after the resurrection. How can they be on earth for a thousand years before entering heaven?

11. On the Day of the Lord, Jesus will come with all His holy, mighty angels (Matt. 25:31; 2 Thess. 1:7). They shall come with “a great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31); they shall ascend and descend upon the Lord Jesus (John 1:51); they shall reap the harvest (Matt. 13:39); they shall gather together Christ’s elect to the kingdom of the Father (Matt. 24:31; 13:30,43); they shall gather the tares and cast them into a furnace of fire (Matt. 13:38–42); and they shall spend eternity with the “great multitude” worshiping God in heaven (Rev. 7:9–11).

How does a literal millennium fit between the angels coming with Christ and worshiping God in heaven? Where will the angels be during a supposed literal millennium?

12. Time will be no more at the sounding of the seventh and last trump. (Compare Rev. 10:6,7 with 11:15–19.) That day will be the last day, not a thousand years before the last day; the end of the world, not a thousand years before the end of the world (John 6:39; Matt. 24:29–31). Therefore, since Christ is coming on the last day, at the end of the world when time is no more, how can a thousand years be added?

13. Also, at the sounding of the seventh and last trump, “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Is there a single scripture to suggest that Jesus’ eternal reign “for ever and ever” is a divided reign for a thousand years here on earth and for the rest of eternity in heaven? No, there is not.

In summary, after the events of the Day of the Lord, a literal millennium will be impossible because there will be no more people to reign over; no more battles to be fought; no more earth left to inhabit; no more time—only eternity.

 

Do you believe that we are in the millennium now?

 

It depends what you mean by “millennium.” If you mean a millennium with literal wolves and lambs feeding together; with literal lions eating straw like bullocks; with a literal throne of David; with a restored Temple; with restored Jewish sacrifices and all Jews converted; and with Christ reigning with a literal rod of iron—our answer is no! Jesus Himself said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

On the other hand, if by the term “millennium” you mean that Christ has already defeated Satan, that all who hear and obey the gospel are born into the kingdom of God, and that they are spiritual priests who are reigning with Christ in a spiritual kingdom until He returns—our answer is yes!

When Jesus “was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20,21). In other words, Jesus taught that His kingdom is spiritual and that it is already come.

The New Testament says, the kingdom of God is come (Matt. 12:28; 3:2; 4:17; 10:7); that the kingdom of David is come (Mark 11:10); that the Father has “translated us unto the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13); that we should seek “first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33); that believers have the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:19; 18:18); that “the kingdom of God is . . . righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17); and that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).

The New Testament also reveals the growth of God’s kingdom on earth: “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matt. 13:31,32).

 

What are the dangers of misunderstanding Revelation 20 and the thousand years?

 

1. To misunderstand this vital chapter is to misunderstand the following doctrines and how they relate to believers and unbelievers now and in the future: the binding and loosing of Satan (20:1–3,7–10); the first resurrection (20:4–6); the priesthood of believers (20:4,6); the Second Coming (20:11); the resurrection of the dead (20:12); the final battle (20:8,9); the judgment (20:11–15); the destruction of the world (20:11); heaven (20:9); and the lake of fire (20:15).

2. As previously cited, to believe that Revelation 20:1–10 teaches a literal millennium raises many unanswerable questions and contradicts the rest of the Bible. It even contradicts verses 11 through to 21:8, which describes the events of the Second Coming with no mention of a thousand year interval—Jesus coming on a throne, heaven and earth passing away, the general resurrection of all the dead, the throne judgment when Christ will “judge “every man according to his works,” and all men entering their eternal destinies. (Compare with 6:12–17 and Matt. 24:29–31,35; 25:31–46; 16:27.)

3. To teach a literal millennium gives the unconverted a sense of peace when actually “sudden destruction” is coming (1 Thess. 5:3).

4. To believe in a literal millennium hinders believers from preaching the same gospel that the prophets and the apostles preached—that sinners should repent and prepare for the coming judgment (Zeph. 2:2,3; Matt. 3:7; Acts 17:30,31).

5. To teach a literal millennium is to teach lies almost too numerous to mention and to align believers with many false religious groups.

6. To support the teaching of a literal millennium, one has to distort many precious passages of Scripture. For example, the metaphor of “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together” is often used to teach a literal millennium when actually, according to the context, it is describing peace in the “new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:25,17).

7. To teach a literal millennium is to add to the Word of God. Jesus and the apostles taught about the signs of the Second Coming and of the end of the world with no mention of a glorious thousand year reign (Matt. 24 and 25; 2 Thess. 1:7–10; 2:1–8; 2 Pet. 3:10–14).

 

Objections Answered

 

Didn’t Paul speak of attaining to the “first resurrection”?

 

No, he did not. The term, “first resurrection,” which is a spiritual resurrection, is found only Revelation 20:5,6. Paul, however, did speak of attaining to the bodily “resurrection of the dead” in Philippians 3:11. He referred to the spiritual resurrection in Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:1–6; Colossians 2:12,13; 3:1.

Won’t survivors of the Day of the Lord go into a literal millennium—those men whom God makes “more precious than fine gold” (Isa. 13:12)?

 

Isaiah 13:12 says, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”

Certain Bible teachers say that some ungodly men, those whom God makes “more precious than fine gold,” will survive the Day of the Lord and enter a literal millennium. The following reasons illustrate that Isaiah 13 does not teach any such thing:

1. Isaiah 13 doesn’t say anything about a thousand years of peace, but that the Day of the Lord “shall come as destruction from the Almighty” and as “cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate” (13:6,9).

2. Isaiah 13 teaches that there will be no survivors on the Day of the Lord.

• “All hands [shall] be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt” (13:7).

• “They shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: . . . their faces shall be as flames” (13:8). (Compare with 1 Thess. 5:3; 2 Thess. 1:7,8.)

• “He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it [the earth]” (13:9).

• “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity” ( 13:11). The following passages of Scripture affirm that all sinners, including the remnant, will be destroyed on the Day of the Lord: Zeph.1:18; Mal. 4:1; Luke 17:26–30; 2 Pet. 3:10–12; Rev. 19:11–21.

3. Isaiah 13 shows that the earth itself will be destroyed.

“They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. . . . For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger” (Isa. 13:5,10,13). Isaiah further prophesied that the earth “shall fall, and not rise again” (Isa. 24:20). See also Matt. 24:29–31,35; 2 Pet. 3:10–12; Rev. 6:12–17; 16:18–21.

4. Isaiah 13:12 doesn’t say anything about “men” but “a man.” “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” This verse implies that not even fine gold and the golden wedge of Ophir will help in the Day of the Lord. This is in accordance with the truth that “riches profit not in the day of wrath” (Pro. 11:4). See also Isa. 2:20;

13:17 ; Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:18. Therefore, a man who can help will be more precious than fine gold, and that man is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah prophesied about the uselessness of gold and silver in that day, and the preciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ as a hiding place. “For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold. . . . Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land” (Isa. 31:7; 32:1,2). For further illustrations of Jesus as our hiding place during the destruction of the Day of the Lord, refer to these passages: Psa. 2:8–12; 145:20; Isa. 26:20,21; Nahum 1:5–7; Zeph. 2:3; Mal. 4:1,2; Luke 17:26–30.

In summary, Isaiah 13 does not teach a peaceful millennium, but the Day of the Lord when all sinners and the earth itself will be destroyed. In that fearful day, silver and gold will not help anyone. Our only hope is in knowing the man Christ Jesus—He is our hiding place.

 

 

Doesn’t the Bible teach that sinners will enter God’s millennial kingdom of peace before being turned into hell?

 

If the wicked would “not have this man [Jesus] to reign over” them when He was on earth—why would they do so in a literal millennium? (Luke 19:14). Furthermore, God’s Word does not promise a future millennial kingdom of peace on earth to anyone, let alone to unrepentant sinners. The Bible says, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked” (Isa. 48:22); “The wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it” (Pro. 2:22). They shall be destroyed (Psa. 145:20) and “turned into hell” (Psa. 9:17).

Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” and “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:3,36).

Moreover, Paul declared: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9,10). Those who promise a future millennium of peace on earth, which God has never promised, deceive the ungodly.

God also warns, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:9,10). Even if there were a literal millennial kingdom of God on earth, God has not promised unbelievers entrance into it.

 

Doesn’t the “third day,” as recorded in Hosea 6:2 and Luke 13:32, signify that a literal millennium will begin the year 2,000 A. D.?

 

No, it does not. In fact, neither of these verses says anything about the Second Coming or a millennium. Backslidden Israel is promised spiritual revival and rain if she will return to the Lord. “Come, and let us return unto the Lord. . . . After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. . . . And he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hosea 6:1–3). Referring to His death, Jesus said, “Go ye, and tell that fox [Herod], Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:32).

Moreover, Jesus taught that He will come on the “last day,” at “the end of the world” (John 6:39, Matt. 13:30,39). The “end” clearly implies that there can be no literal millennium after the end. Jesus also warned against setting dates (Matt. 24:36).

 

God rested on the seventh day; therefore, won’t a literal millennium of rest begin in the year 2,000 A. D. since that completes six thousand years since creation?

 

This is mere speculation and a teaching of the Mormon Church. Besides, the seventh millennium as a Sabbath has little significance for New Testament believers. They do not observe the seventh day, but the first day of the week:

• Our Lord rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9).

• He first met with His disciples on the first day of the week (John 20:19).

• Jesus again met with His disciples and Thomas on the first day of the week (John 20:26).

• The Holy Spirit was poured out on the first day of the week (Acts 2:1). The day of Pentecost was fifty days after the feast of the Passover, specifically, the day after the seventh Sabbath (Lev. 23:15,16).

• “The disciples came together to break bread [and] Paul preached unto them” on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

• Believers gathered the collection for the saints on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2).

Further, the Bible does not teach a sabbatical or a literal millennium and, as already stated, Jesus warned against setting dates (Matt. 24:36).

 

Isn’t a literal millennium the last dispensation of time?

 

Jesus and the apostles called this present age—not a coming thousand years after this age—the last time. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18). See also Acts 2:16,17; 1 Cor. 10:11; Eph. 1:10; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:1,2; 9:26; James 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:20; Jude 1:18.

 

Doesn’t the Bible teach that during a literal millennium there will be a restored temple in Jerusalem with all nations bringing offerings to the Lord?

 

Some Christians hold a future literal interpretation to Isaiah 66:20. They use this passage to support the idea that at the Second Coming, Christ will set up His earthly kingdom and rule with His saints from a throne in Jerusalem. They believe that nations will come up to Jerusalem to keep feast days, new moons, and Sabbaths. Reinstituting temple worship with a Levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices, however, is not in accordance with God’s Word for the following seven reasons:

1. Old Testament prophecies of bringing an offering to the Lord, such as Isaiah 66:20, are fulfilled by believers now. We can see this truth by comparing the following two verses:

“And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord” (Isa. 66:20).

Paul wrote, “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 15:16).

Notice that the Old Testament prophecy, which illustrates bringing converts from all nations as an acceptable offering to God, is fulfilled when believers minister the gospel and win souls for the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. God does not dwell in temples made with hands, but in the hearts of His people (Acts 7:48; 17:24; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). Believers are the temple of the Lord and priests of God offering up spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5). From His throne in heaven, Jesus, our High Priest, is building His temple in the hearts of His people. “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” (Zech. 6:12,13). See also Matt. 16:18 ; Eph. 2:17–22; Heb. 3:1,3; 8:2.

3. The New Testament does not associate believers with the Old Jerusalem, which is in bondage, but with the New Jerusalem, which is free. “For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to [is in the same rank with] Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:25,26). “For ye are not

come unto the mount that might be touched [ Mount Sinai]. . . . But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:18,22).

4. Jesus pronounced judgment on the temple in Jerusalem and did not later revoke these words or prophesy a restored temple (Matt. 24:1,2; Luke 19:43,44).

5. Jerusalem is not the center of true worship. Jesus said, “The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. . . . But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:21,23).

6. Jesus Christ is the true temple (John 1:14; 2:19; Heb. 8:2; 9:11), our high priest (Heb. 3:1), and the Lamb of God—our Passover who was sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7). Thus, He fulfilled the Old Covenant with its temple, priesthood and animal sacrifices. The Bible, therefore, refers to the Old Covenant as that which is abolished (2 Cor. 3:13), done away (2 Cor. 3:7), cast out (Gal. 4:30), taken away (Heb. 10:9), and blotted out (Col. 2:14–17). Therefore, to go back to the old Mosaic temple is to resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:46–51) and to go in reverse:

• From the New Testament, back to the Old Testament (Heb. 9:15).

• From grace which came by Christ, back to the law which came by Moses (John 1:17).

• From Christ’s own blood, back to the blood of animals (Heb. 9:12).

• From an eternal priest (Heb. 7:17), back to temporary priests (Heb. 7:23).

• From an eternal atonement (Heb. 10:14), back to yearly atonements (Heb. 10:3).

• From a heavenly tabernacle (Heb. 9:11), back to an earthly tabernacle (Heb. 9:2,24).

• From that which makes perfect (Heb. 10:14), back to that which makes nothing perfect (Heb. 7:19).

• From serving the living God, back to serving dead works (Heb. 9:13,14).

• From Mount Zion (Heb. 12:22–24), back to Mount Sinai (Gal. 4:24; Heb. 12:18–21).

• From the liberty of Christ, back to the yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1).

• From the new and living way (Heb. 10:16–20), back to the old way (Heb. 8:13).

• From that which is everlasting (Heb. 13:20), back to that which is abolished (2 Co. 3:11,13).

• From that which ministers life (2 Cor. 3:6,8), back to that which ministers death (2 Cor. 3:7).

• From living by faith (Gal. 3:11), back to living by the works of the law (Gal. 3:10).

• From that which is perfect (James 1:25), back to that which is faulty (Heb. 8:7).

• From worshiping God in the Spirit (John 3:23,24), back to worshiping God in the flesh (John 4:21,22; Gal. 3:3).

7. The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns, all nations will be judged (Matt. 25:31–33).

The righteous will inherit the everlasting kingdom (Matt. 25:34). The apostle John wrote that “the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it [the New Jerusalem, heaven]: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth” (Rev. 21:24–27).

On the other hand, the wicked will be cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41,46). They will be cast “into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42).

In summary, the Bible teaches neither a literal millennium nor restored temple worship with all nations making pilgrimages to a temple in Old Jerusalem and bringing offerings to the Lord. But that when Jesus returns, the nations who are saved will “serve him [Jesus] day and night in his temple” in the New Jerusalem, which is heaven (Rev. 7:15; 21:22–27) and “all the nations that forget God” will be “turned into hell” (Psa. 9:17). See Chapter Twenty–one.
 
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