The Millennial Kingdom as a Testimony to the Depravity of Man The Master of the World
“Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all” (I Chron. 29:10-12).
In these days of Arminianism and Pelagianism verses like these have been ignored. The pulpits of our land preach a defeated that God’s true sons and daughters genuinely believe is a glad and glorious fact. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him,” is another truth from God’s Word. The other side of that statement is that with faith it is possible to please God! That ought to set all sorts of joyful thoughts soaring through the minds of believers. To be able to please the God of all grace who loved us thoroughly depraved sinners: is this idea of pleasing God not the heart’s desire of all God’s saints? Faith is that sustaining connection which, along with repentance, God has “granted” to those whom He saved. In the days “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
I am going to take the title of my sermon from the eleventh verse. In that verse, Paul tells Titus that the “grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Most folks look at this verse and contend that “salvation” hath appeared to all Much has been written about the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. By Millennial we mean a period of one thousand years. Those of the A-Millennial camp say that we are in the Millennium now. While I do believe Jesus Christ has a spiritual kingdom now, it is hard for me to read Scripture and not come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ will reign visibly on the earth for one thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6).
In the whole scheme of things this makes perfect sense to me.
Every Past Age
In every age since the fall of man it has been evident that man is utterly sinful. As Isaiah tells us, “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores” (Isa. 1:5-6). In the Antediluvian age men became so wicked that God destroyed the whole earth with a flood except Noah and his family. And yet after such a great judgment men were soon worshiping idols and every false god under the sun. We see God later confounding the languages of wicked men, and so evidently nothing has changed with man since before the great flood. A worldwide flood has not changed the heart of fallen man one bit.
Later we see that God calls Abraham and from him sprung a great nation. When that nation was in bondage in Egypt God called Moses to lead “his people” out. The Lord worked great miracles at the hand of Moses in their sight. He gave them His holy law and met with them in the wilderness. They beheld the pillar of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. He met with Israel above the mercy seat in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and He supplied all their needs and yet for all of that they murmured.
Thus the Lord declares, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Num. 14:27). Messiah’s First Advent So it came to pass when their Messiah came on the scene that the majority of the people of Israel rejected Him in the face of the mighty works that he performed. They declared, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” And thus Jesus declared to them and their city, “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:43-44). Thus we see that a whole economy of law could not save. So Paul rightly tells us “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3).
The Gospel Age or New Testament Times
Now we enter what is commonly called the Gospel age. I would point out that in every age since the fall of man, salvation has only been by grace. There is nothing short of regeneration by the Holy Spirit that can cure the fallen and depraved nature of man. This fact will be declared in the end. Paul tells us that even we who are saved, “were dead in trespasses and sins” and that God had quickened us to life together with Christ. (See Ephesians 2:15). Religious men have all but denied the total depravity of man. Evidently they do not take Paul at his word when he says that lost men are dead spiritually and that those who are in the flesh “cannot please God.” Death is total and the word “cannot” confirms total inability. Men seem to think that there is some spark of spiritual life already in them that will enable them to come to God of their own will, yet Paul declared that “there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). In our day men are religious but without God. Paul spoke of men in the last days before the coming of Jesus Christ as “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” and “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” With all the religious people in the world you would think that our society would be a holy and righteous society, but instead it loves pleasure more than God and only has a form of godliness. It sees no need for the power of God in the regeneration of sinners who are dead in their sins. “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8)? We see this age ending with the world accepting the “man of sin,” the very “son of perdition” as he is called in the Scriptures. Paul tells us that because men “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” that God would “send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:10-12). So we see that man will never be able to set up a just kingdom on this earth that is governed in righteousness. Only the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes again has the power and righteousness to do such a thing.
The Golden Age or Millennial Kingdom
Now we come to a time yet future. A time when the Lord Jesus Christ will be present on the earth and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords. A time which is referred to as the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ; the reason being is because it will last one thousand years. It will begin after the destruction of the antichrist and the false prophet and after Messiah defeats the nations that come against Israel in the latter days. It will be preceded by a day in which the Lord will “make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people” but “all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” He goes on to say that “it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Read Zechariah chapter 12 for more detail).
What will be the nature of this future kingdom we might ask? It will be one of peace and justice. Concerning Jesus Christ, Isaiah tells us that “the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” It will be a time in which Jesus Christ will sit on His throne in Jerusalem and will rule the entire world in righteousness. The nature of this government will not be a democracy but a theocracy. A. W. Pink says, “Many have been the experiments of politicians and reformers for the establishing of a government that should be equitable, stable, and pure; but all have been in vain. Ever since the flood, four thousand five hundred years ago, God has allowed man every opportunity to develop his schemes, but ancient and modern, Oriental and Occidental, monarchies and republics, all have served only to demonstrate that man is a colossal failure. The record of human government is tyranny and oppression, greed and discontentment, war and bloodshed. How all this serves to show the crying need for One who has all power and yet all compassion, One who is God and yet Man. Under the rule of Christ shall be solved every problem of capital and labor, wealth and poverty, war and peace.” [End Quote from The Golden Age].
During the time of this kingdom men will live long lives for Isaiah tells us that “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.” If a person were to die at an age of one hundred he would be considered yet a child. The animal kingdom will also be at peace for we are told that “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” (Isa. 11:6). Isaiah goes on to say in chapter 65 that “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” Now that we have looked briefly at the nature and government of this kingdom, what about the occupants of it? Are they all saints in glorified bodies? The answer is a definite no. There will be sinners in this kingdom and sinners who are not saved nor ever will be saved. How can I make such a statement? Because the Bible is very clear on this matter. But please hear me. This does not mean that Christ fails in any way. The Christ of the Bible is no failure and has never failed. The fact that there are sinners during the Millennial reign of Christ is proven from the fact that Jesus rules the earth with a “rod of iron.” If everyone is in love with God, in love with holiness, and in love with righteousness, then there is no need to rule with a rod of iron as we are told by the Bible. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15). This will be a time of law as Isaiah tells us “for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” That sinners will be rebuked during this time is clear from Micah who says, “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the LAW shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall JUDGE among many people, and REBUKE strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Micah 4:2-3) (Emp. LL). Glorified saints in the eternal kingdom, which will follow the millennial kingdom, do not need to be governed with a “rod of iron” and there will be no need to “rebuke” them for they will all be without sin like unto their Savior. Paul tells us that “the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners” (I Tim. 1:9). A. W. Pink says concerning this time that “unregenerate human nature will remain unchanged. Sin will still be present, though much of its outward manifestation will be restrained. Discontent and wickedness will not be eradicated from the hearts of men, but will be kept beneath the surface by means of the ‘rod of iron.’ Multitudes will yield to Christ nothing but a ‘feigned obedience’ (Psa. 18:44, margin). This ‘feigned obedience’ will be the product of power, not of grace; it will be the fruit of fear, not of love.” [End Quote from The Golden Age].
Men, especially the godless liberals, have said that men sin because of the environment and social conditions they live under. The latest nonsense out of Washington is that Muslims are committing Jihad because they need jobs. I admit that men in poor neighborhoods steal more perhaps but this is still sin in the heart of man. Rich men steal as well. Well educated men do the same. During the Millennium Kingdom, God, in the person of Jesus Christ, will rule as King over the entire earth. This will be the first truly righteous King that has visibly ruled. There will be peace on earth for one thousand years. Men will beat their swords into plowshares. Even the animal kingdom will be at peace. But, why do men beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks? Is it because they are born again? Is it because they love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul and mind and their neighbor as their ownself? No, not at all. It is because the King of kings is ruling. Oh, sin will be greatly reduced perhaps because Satan is bound these one thousand years as Revelation chapter 20 verse 2 tells us, but the heart of man remains unchanged apart from regeneration.
The End of the Millennial Kingdom
But what happens when the thousand years has ended? Has the only truly utopia since the fall changed man? Has anything short of regeneration by the Holy Spirit changed man? Can anything short of the New Birth fix man? No, a thousand times no. Man is under the curse of sin. And although the curse will be greatly removed from the earth during the Millennial reign, yet man, though his depravity will be kept in check, is still dead in his sins. Dead is dead, and without spiritual life being given even seeing the King of kings will not bring life. Without the quickening of the Holy Spirit men remain lost and dead in sin.
The Proof of an Unregenerate Heart
After the thousand years has expired we are told in Revelation 20:7 that “Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.” And what do men do? Do they reject Satan and follow Jesus Christ? Or do they rebel? And if they rebel how many take part in this rebellion? A few or many? Is it one nation or many? Is the rebellion from one location or is it global in nature? The answer is almost beyond comprehension when we understand the righteousness and just rule that has gone forth from Jerusalem. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them” (Rev. 20:7-9). You will see the term “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” used in Scripture to mean a number so great that it cannot be numbered. This great multitude of the future “went up on the breath of the earth” which suggests a number so great that it covered a wide extent of the earth according to the lexicon. And this great number will come from every corner of the earth.
What a testimony this is to the depravity of man and the necessity of the new birth. Brother Leon King says, “Even with the Lord present as visible king on the earth, men must be subdued with a rod of iron.” Quoting A. W. Pink again he said, “Thus will be fully and finally “demonstrated” the incurable evil of the human heart. Even a thousand years of millennial blessedness, with Satan away from the earth, will not effect any change in man. Let Satan be loosed and allowed to go forth once more and deceive the nations, and it shall be seen that the carnal mind is still at enmity against God, and prefers a murderer to the Lord Jesus. Nothing avails short of a new creation. Miracles, a beneficent environment, temporal blessings - nothing without, can alter fallen and depraved human nature.” [End Quote from The Golden Age].
“Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).