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As we have considered the wonderful reality of the kingdom of God on earth, we have seen all the stupendous things God has planned for Adam’s race and for this earth in His amazing future. Yet having studied all these things, there is one question we might ask. The glorious truth of God’s coming eons is a wonderful thing to know, but to really put it to use it must impact us and our lives in our day. We live in the dispensation of grace. How does the kingdom impact us living at this time?
As I said, I believe that the time we live in is the dispensation of the grace of God. As we discussed in “Foreshadowing the Kingdom,” the initial, blade stage of the kingdom took place in the book of Acts. That blade stage continued throughout the Acts period until it was interrupted at Acts 28:28. At that time, the kingdom work of the Acts period was brought to an end by Paul’s momentous declaration, given here in The Resultant Version. Read the rest of this entry »
The last stage of the final stages of God’s plan that the Bible reveals to us is the stage called “The New Heavens and the New Earth.” Yet in my title for this message I have put a question mark after “Final,” not because I think I know of another period after this, but only because the Bible does not tell us for certain that this is the final time. This is simply the last time we have revealed to us in the revelation we have been given. If there are further periods and advances after this, we are unaware of them. I cannot say one way or the other, of course. Ultimately, I do not think God will ever run out of plans and purposes.
The record of this period, the New Heavens and the New Earth, can be found in the next chapter of Revelation after the “Little Season” which is revealed in Revelation 20. Thus to study this period we will consider what is said about it in Revelation 21. Read the rest of this entry »
In considering the reality of the coming kingdom of God on earth, we have in previous messages examined the first stages of the kingdom of God: the Acts Period, the Premillennial Kingdom, and the Revolt Against the Kingdom. Yet three stages remain. In our last message, we considered the first of these: the Thousand Year Parousia of Jesus Christ. We considered how it differs from the premillennial kingdom that precedes it, and what marks its character. Now, we will consider what comes after the thousand years, and the brief period that follows it which bridges the gap from the Parousia to the New Heavens and the New Earth.
The Little Season
The next time period after the Parousia of Jesus Christ that we read of in Revelation is called “The Little Season.” A “season” as we would think of it is about ninety days, so we might wonder what a “little season” would be? The phrase in Greek is mikron chronon, which means literally “a little time,” so it may have nothing to do with a “season.” However, we would think that the time is shorter than a year, and perhaps even shorter than a season. Read the rest of this entry »
In considering the reality of the coming kingdom of God on earth, we have examined the first stages of the kingdom of God: the Acts Period, the Premillennial Kingdom, and the Revolt Against the Kingdom. Yet three stages remain. When it comes to these final stages, we have little information about these three in the Word of God. This is no doubt because the Bible focuses much more on those stages that are much closer to those of us reading the Bible today: the Premillennial Kingdom and the test that follows it. Yet the Bible does contain some information on these final three stages of God’s prophetic calendar as we have it set forth in His Word, and so we will see what we can find about them. Our examination will mostly be from the book of Revelation, which, after focusing on the revolt against the kingdom for most of its first nineteen chapters, then gives us a brief outline of the final stages of God’s plan at the conclusion of the book.
The Thousand-Year Parousia of Christ
The next great epoch of the kingdom of God that follows the revolt against the kingdom is the thousand-year parousia of Jesus Christ. Many call this “the millennium,” but that is man’s name for it. The Bible calls it the Parousia. The word parousia is usually translated in our Bibles as “coming.” This has led many to believe that it refers only to Christ’s coming to earth the second time, and not to the time of His presence on earth afterwards. This translation was probably first made by the early English translators because they believed the childish view of the Middle Ages that all Christ is going to do when He comes back to earth is to snatch all His people out of it and then burn up the rest at the “end of the world.” By mistranslating parousia as “coming,” they could maintain this unbiblical idea. Yet the word does not mean “coming,” and this is not at all what the Bible teaches about the return of Jesus Christ. Read the rest of this entry »
In the first three messages in this series, we were considering the future period of time that we call “the revolt against the Kingdom.” This period will be a most strange one on earth, yet it is a very critical one in God’s plans. It is set forth in many passages of Scripture. All the truth regarding Daniel’s seventieth week is related to this period. The entirety of the first nineteen chapters of Revelation is related to this time as well. Yet there are also many other passages that deal with this critical time of testing in the Kingdom.
We considered Psalm 2 and the revolt of certain of the rulers in the Kingdom. In our last message, we considered Matthew 24 and the prophecy the Lord Jesus gave His disciples of the consummation of the eon of the Kingdom of God. He gave them signs of His parousia and of the sorrows of the great testing period, but promised salvation to the one who would endure to the end of the period of the revolt
The Lord’s discourse in Matthew 24 really continues right into chapter 25. The chapter breaks in our Bibles are a man-made thing, and in this case they might confuse us. What the Lord is doing here is telling a parable to show the causes of the failure of some when the test comes. Read the rest of this entry »
In the first two messages in this series, we were considering the future period of time that we call “the revolt against the kingdom.” This period will be a most strange one on earth, yet it is a very critical one in God’s plans. It is set forth in many passages of Scripture. All the truth regarding Daniel’s seventieth week is related to this period. The entirety of the first nineteen chapters of Revelation is related to this time as well. Yet there are also many other passages that deal with this critical time of testing in the kingdom.
In our last message, we considered Psalm 2 and the revolt of certain of the rulers in the kingdom. We saw that this happens at a time of turmoil on earth, and that they think to throw off the control of God over the world. God is not worried by this revolt, but warns these rebellious rulers that He may strike them in His anger and they will be destroyed. Now, we will continue our study and look at another passage that will teach us about the revolt against the kingdom.
Another passage that reveals much truth about the time of the revolt against the kingdom is Matthew 24. The Lord spoke the truth of this passage close to the end of His ministry. He had already explained the kingdom to His disciples, including its secrets. Now, the disciples want to know about the conclusion of the kingdom. Read the rest of this entry »
We have been studying the future period of time that we call the revolt against the kingdom. This period will be a most strange one on earth, yet it is a very critical one in God’s plans. It is set forth in many passages of Scripture. All the truth regarding Daniel’s seventieth week is related to this period. The entirety of the first nineteen chapters of Revelation is related to this time as well. Yet there are also many other passages that deal with this critical time of testing in the kingdom. Let us examine some of these passages and learn what we can about the revolt against the kingdom.
The first passage we will consider that has to with the revolt against the kingdom is Psalm 2.
1. Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
Psalm 2 opens with a question. It regards the nations at the time of the revolt against the kingdom. After centuries of peace and stability, something has changed, and the nations now appear as a turbulent sea. The sea is a common figure for the nations and their peoples. Consider its use in Isaiah 57:20. Read the rest of this entry »
It is my conviction that we are currently living in the dispensation of the grace of God. In this dispensation, God works with all mankind on earth under the principles of grace, of faith, and of secrecy. If God cannot act in grace, then He does not act at all. If men will not believe by faith in God’s Word, then God will not give them anything else to believe in. And God hides all His works in secret, so that the skeptical man can deny that He is working at all.
This is what God is doing today, but it is not what He will be doing forever. God has a plan to carry out, and someday when this dispensation has run its course, He will begin a new work on earth. When that work begins, next on God’s agenda is a dispensation of God’s government upon earth. God’s government will take control of all nations on earth, and God Himself will govern them. God is not governing in this world now. Instead, He is allowing all men to walk in their own ways. Yet in spite of our advances in science and technology, this world needs God to govern it now more than ever. Read the rest of this entry »
Before we close out our study of the return of the Holy Spirit, there is one question that may need to be answered for some of my readers. I have been speaking of the return of the Holy Spirit. Yet there are others who speak of something similar, a second sending of the Holy Spirit, and yet who connect it with the charismatic revival of modern days. This idea is often called the “latter rain,” and consists of the idea that the Holy Spirit that was sent at Pentecost returned in the manifestation of the charismatic gifts that started around 1901 at the beginning of the Pentecostal movement. So we will consider this question before we close our study. How does the second coming of the Holy Spirit relate to the “latter rain” idea that many set forth, especially in the charismatic movement?
The idea that is set forth by those who claim to be a part of this “latter rain” experience is that the “former rain” was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and throughout the Acts period, while the “latter rain” is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit that is being experienced now by those in the charismatic and Pentecostal movements. They claim this idea is found in Scripture, so we will examine the evidence found there. The phrase “latter rain” occurs in eight passages in the Scriptures, so it will be a simple matter to consider them all. Read the rest of this entry »
8. You caused judgment to be heard from heaven;
The earth feared and was still,
This verse is in the past tense, yet this is an example of an important Biblical principle: that God often speaks of those things that are not as if they were, or, as the New King James puts it in Romans 4:17, “calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” This does not mean that God says untrue things, but rather that God speaks of things that do not yet exist as if they already did. He speaks of things that have not yet taken place as if they had already taken place and were in the past. That is what God is doing here. He is speaking of what is going to happen in the future as if we were already beyond it and looking back on it from the future. Read the rest of this entry »