God is all powerful. Yet He allows Satan to carry out his deceitful and destructive activities—within certain limits—for a purpose.
At the end of the Millennial Kingdom, Satan is set free!
After 1000 years in solitary confinement the Lord will let Satan, the “snake” of Genesis 3, back in the garden (so to speak) to offer the human race independence from God in order to reveal their hearts.
We learn from the book of Job that Satan plays an important role in God’s plans for mankind. Nothing makes that clearer then the devil’s release from prison at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. The purpose of his release is to “deceive the nations” (Rev. 20:8) one final time.
We will discuss suggestions as to how he accomplishes this in our upcoming class.
During the Kingdom Age, earth is filled with righteousness and there is great prosperity. There have been several generations over the 1000 years. The curse is lifted and man’s lifespan is quite long. There is love, righteousness, joy, and peace. There are no demons harassing anybody.
There is no pornography, there is no abortion, there is no perversion. There is nothing like that in the earth. Then Satan is let back into the garden so to speak. What happens is revealing! Millions of unsaved people born during the Millennial Kingdom choose to follow Satan just like Adam and Eve followed the snake.
There are some important reasons why this happens.
One reason is Satan has not been rehabilitated. You would think after 1000 years in prison he would get humble. He is not. He is more angry than ever.
Another reason is that the demons also become more angry, not more humble. They are not rehabilitated. When given the opportunity, they attack again.
God allows this scenario to be played out to reveal the wickedness of man’s heart and to leave man without excuse (Rom. 1:20). There are people who are saying, “If I only had better circumstances, I would not have sinned like Adam did.” The Lord says, Watch this. I am going to show you. I am going to make the glorious environment of Eden across the whole earth one final time to give man a fresh opportunity.
Then I will let the snake back in the garden like I did with Adam. What happens? Multitudes will choose the snake like great-grandpa Adam did because man loves sin.
Even though Christ dwells on earth in all His millennial glory and man sees the glories of redemption, the majority of mankind, at the end of the Millennium, still choose sin instead of the Savior.
This is the final lesson God wants to leave with mankind for all eternity. Given the best opportunity and perfect environment to surrender to Jesus Christ, man chose the wages of sin.
Why is prophecy important in your life as a Christian and in the life of your church?
Bible prophecy is one of the most ignored topics in churches today! Many churches shy away from even mentioning “Bible Prophecy” often calling it “unnecessarily divisive.”
It is concerning that churches don’t take prophecy seriously. The very fact that God has revealed so many details about events to come in both testaments tells us that it is important. At the center of biblical prophecy is the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Not only should we be interested in prophetic events, we should be looking for our Savior, with whom we will spend eternity.
How did we get here? How is it that we’ve arrived in the end times, when clarity is needed the most and we find the genre of prophecy “off limits” or “too controversial” to be preached and taught in our churches?
I suspect Satan is somewhat proud of this accomplishment. At a critical time when the church is most vulnerable the study of “things to come” is nowhere to be found in the pulpits of our churches.
This shows how far away we find ourselves from the days of Jehoshaphat’s revival in 2 Chron. 20:20, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”
Why do churches neglect the serious study of Bible prophecy? It’s fair to say that one issue is complexity. There are many prophetic details in the Bible to work through and harmonize. Scholars estimate the bible contains 27% predictive prophecy. So there is hard work to do formulating a biblical understanding in this area.
That said, we are warned not to neglect prophecy for two reasons. First, prophecy acts like a light in the darkness (2 Peter 1:19) and second, since it’s part of scripture it’s profitable to study (1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 3:16). A second issue lies at the door of today’s bible colleges and seminaries who, for the most part, offer little to no theological training in the area of biblical eschatology.
Over the last 25 years, the majority of bible training institutions have opted to simply overlook the subject. What little training is offered usually focuses on explaining the different views of prophecy leaving students to make up their own minds on a complex topic they’ve never been taught!
So today’s pastors graduate absent an understanding of prophecy and avoid it like the plague. Without being grounded with a pre-millennial foundation, pastors simply don’t know what to believe and once in the ministry, it’s too late and too time consuming to figure it out. I know pastors who have never preached about bible prophecy from the pulpit because they fail to see the relevance of the book of Revelation in everyday life.
A third reason might be the knee-jerk reaction that some have to not be linked with those who have abused bible prophecy. Our generation has seen its share of false teachers making outrageous predictions.
There are those who have become obsessed with offering a date for Jesus’ return, or treating every current event as fulfillments of Bible prophecy. So some people have swung away from the abuse of prophecy to no interest at all. That’s like throwing the baby out with the bath water. None of these are good reasons to avoid the study of prophecy.
Maybe you’ve avoided the study of prophecy because it seems too difficult. God has promised spiritual blessings for studying and heeding prophecy. Here are 7 reasons why you and your church should take prophecy seriously:
1. Prophecy is a Major Part of the Christian Storyline As the single largest topic in scripture, we can safely conclude the Bible is a book of prophecy playing a major part of the Bible’s story. By “story,” I’m talking about the narrative of the Christian worldview. Since Christianity is rooted in history and real historical events, God’s story includes past, present, and future events. All should be taught.
The church should not ignore prophetic events just because they’re not popular in our culture. Future events complete the story—events such as the rapture, the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming, the Millennium, and the Eternal State play out the victorious future for all believers. To avoid discussion of prophecy is to avoid an important part of the Christian worldview.
2. Prophecy was Important to Jesus Jesus was a prophet! As such, our Lord prophesied throughout His ministry and extensively quoted Old Testament prophets in His teaching and preaching ministry. Christ’s longest sermon appears in three gospels in Mathew 24-25; Mark 13 and Luke 21 which is also His longest prophecy about the end times. Right in the middle of this prophecy, Jesus stops and says, “Behold, I have told you everything ahead of time.” Mark 13:23. That gives us pause to think.
Jesus abruptly stops to frame his lengthy prophetic message with something we often forget. Jesus was God and only God knows the future! By stopping to remind us this was prophecy, Jesus reveals how important prophecy was to his teaching ministry. Earlier in this same sermon, in the midst of delivering his prophecy about Antichrist, Jesus again paused to offer a remark. This time he offered a prayer and says, “let the reader understand” (Mt. 24:15). This one also gives us pause to think. Jesus stopped and prayed for us to understand Bible prophecy! Why would he do that? Because Jesus knows the value of prophecy and wants us to understand it.
3. We are called to teach the whole Bible There are large sections of Scripture devoted to prophecy, many of which still need to be fulfilled from our current standpoint.
For example the events of Ezekiel 36–48 still need to occur. In the New Testament passages like Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; much of Luke 21; 1 Thess. 4-5; 2 Thess. 1-2; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 6-22 describe events that still need to happen. We cannot ignore these passages. Paul says in Acts 20:27, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”
If your church does not teach what the Bible says about the future, the whole counsel of God is not being taught.
4. People are interested in the future Christians are interested in what the future holds. But if we do not teach what the bible says about prophecy, we are denying important biblical information for those who want to know what the Bible has to say about the future. As believers who understand bible prophecy, we are holding a major source of hope that the Lord wants every Christian to have.
5. Prophecy motivates believers to serve the Lord Prophecy changes our lives because what we do now impacts our future. Paul viewed everything he did in light of his standing before Jesus someday. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8 he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
6. Prophecy has a purifying effect on the life of the believer Prophecy is meant to transform our lives in the present. Why should we live sensibly, righteously and godly? Because Jesus is coming again.
1 John 3:2-3 states, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
James 5:8-9 also says, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.” The study of biblical eschatology is a motivation for godly living.
7. Prophecy gives us perspective on the troubles and trials of this age We live in a fallen and tragedy-soaked world. Evil seems to triumph. Without Jesus there is no hope but the Christian has the hope of resurrection and the restoration of all things (1 Cor. 15:20-28; Acts 3:21). Romans 8:18 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
The coming of Jesus and the restoration of all things are future realities that give Christians hope and the joyful realization that the turmoil’s and trials of this age will not last forever. Righteousness and goodness win in the end.
Christians need to hear a prophetic message of hope and encouragement from the pulpit more often!
The Purpose of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennial Kingdom
The Feast of Tabernacles is also nicknamed “Sukkah” or “God has us Covered”.
The name Feast of Tabernacles comes from the tabernacles, or temporary dwellings, that God commands His people to stay in during the fall, seven-day festival.
These temporary living quarters (“Sukkah”) reminded Israel of their exodus from Egypt and serve as a reminder of the temporary nature of life and that God was always present as He “tabernacled” through the wilderness with His people (Leviticus 23:43; 2 Peter 1:13-15).
The Centrality of Christ in Kingdom Culture and our Daily Lives
As part of the yearly festival, worshippers were to construct makeshift, 3-sided “booths” like the one above to temporarily dwell in during the week-long celebration.
These flimsy sukkahs testify that, just like in the wilderness, God has them covered and their safety comes from the Lord. Like David says in Psalm 140:7, God is the One who is our sukkah (covering) in the day of battle:
O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle.
In his end-time prophecy, Zechariah reveals that the Feast of Tabernacles will be re-instituted in the Millennial Kingdom. All nations will be required to annually gather and pay their respects to the Lord in Jerusalem as the source of all blessing.
“Then it will be that all the nations who have come against Jerusalem and survived will go up each year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14:16).
This prophecy reveals that the nations will gather to fight against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:1-14; Joel 3:1-2; Ezek. 38:4).
Following the battle, the survivors from these attacking nations will once again go up to Jerusalem—not to make war, but to worship the LORD of Hosts, demonstrating their submission to the King of kings.
All nations will have a new, millennial orientation around God’s Will and His Word to worship Him annually in Jerusalem at the Feast ofTabernacles.
In the kingdom, mankind’s schedule will be aligned with the LORD’s calendar, and their priorities will be seen in their obedience to worship Him (Zech. 14:16). The nations who survive will no longer be God’s foes but followers of the King.
In Kingdom culture, man recognizes the centrality of Jesus in God’s biblical calendar. Central to that calendar is orienting life around Christ and His authority and finding sufficiency and security in His Jerusalem-centered reign over the nations.
Is Christ the central theme of your life today? Does your calendar show that Jesus is first in your life,
“Wherever the river flows everything will live” – Ezekiel 47:9
One of the most beautiful prophecies about spiritual life is the river of living water flowing from Messiah’s temple in the Millennial Kingdom (Ez. 47:1-12).
The prophet Ezekiel sees a trickle of water flowing out from under the throne, which pictures Christ, and then it passes under the new temple alter showing that spiritual life comes through the shed blood of Jesus and the cross of Calvary.
Spiritual Healing and Life Giving Waters
The paradoxical river is a picture of the rich spiritual life flowing from Christ through His Word and the Holy Spirit.The supernatural spring does a strange thing – it grows wider and deeper in a short distance until it becomes a river that Ezekiel can’t cross. God’s word opens the riches of Christ so wide that we can’t go back.
The little stream from the temple flows out of Jerusalem toward the Dead Sea, twelve miles away. When the River pours into the Dead Sea, the sea is healed and turned into a fisherman’s paradise. God’s word is alive (Heb. 4:12) and brings life to everything it touches.
The powerful, life-giving river of fresh water also brings instant life to the region so that abundant fruit trees grow on either side of the river and produce a never-ending supply of fruit, every month! Isaiah adds that the desert blossoms like a rose (Isa. 35:1-2).
It’s beautiful to see how the Living Waters in Ezekiel 47 describes the outpouring of spiritual life available to every believer.
What a picture.
For believers, the trickle of God’s Spirit and understanding is shallow at first. Instead of running out of energy God’s Spirit gets deeper and wider as it flows from the Word into our hearts! And its ultimate destination is to sanctify the most desolate wastelands of our heart, full of the poisonous water of our carnal old nature like the Dead Sea.
This is the beautiful reality of receiving Christ and drinking the living water from His Word that so richly flows from His throne. Whatever this water touches, spiritual life springs forth making a difference for all those that come in contact with it. Praise God His living waters produce everlasting life where before there was only death. Hallelujah!
One important purpose of the Millennial Kingdom relates to a promise God made to the Church. The Lord promised that church-age believers will be given authority to rule and reign with Christ, on this earth, when He returns to set up His Kingdom.
No one spoke more about Kingdom rewards for believers than Jesus. No one warned more about missing Kingdom rewards than Jesus.
And Jesus taught that how we serve him today is a prerequisite for a greater position of service in the Kingdom.
The Lord’s promise to reward the church with worldwide dominion will be fulfilled during the Millennium. That is what Jesus was referring to in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt. 5:5).
What we do for Christ in this age has consequences in the next age. God rewards our faithfulness, even in the little things we do. Faithfulness today will be rewarded with greater responsibilities in the Millennium.
Jesus will reign as king from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Zech. 14:9). The Redeemed, in their glorified bodies, will help Him reign by serving as rulers, administrators, judges, and spiritual tutors to those who enter the kingdom in the flesh — and to their children (Dan. 7:18,27; Jer. 3:15; Lk. 19:11-17).
This promise was also made by the prophet Daniel in the following words: Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One. (Dan. 9:27).
In the New Testament, Paul made the promise in the simplest of terms: “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:12).
Lastly, Jesus affirmed the promise to the church at Thyatira: “He who overcomes… I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron…” (Rev. 2:26-27).
Are you serving the Master with your whole heart today? Time is limited and the hour is late.
Who are the first people to begin living in the Millennial Kingdom? According to Isaiah, this unique group will live long lives, marry, and have children (Isaiah 65:20-25).
Christ’s teaching on who will enter the Millennial Kingdom is summed up in Matthew 25:31-46. The passage describes the judgment of living survivors at the time of Christ’s Second Coming and tells us exactly who begins the Millennium.
Also known as the “Sheep and Goats” judgment, Christ divides all the Tribulation survivors into two groups: The sheep represent those who have been saved during the seven year Tribulation and the Goats represent unbelievers who survived the Tribulation.
The distinguishing characteristic Jesus uses to differentiate the two groups is how they treated Israel during the Tribulation. Revealing His close relationship to the chosen people, He refers to Israel as “my brethren” (vs. 40).
The Lord here, gives us insight that true believers, under the control of God’s Spirit, during the dangerous period of the Tribulation, will stand with Israel and unbelievers will not. In other words, the question asked to the Tribulation survivors will be something like, “how did you treat Israel?”
Asking people how they feel about Israel is insightful even today. How do you feel about Israel? Jesus is the “lion of the tribe of Judah.” The world will one day appreciate him as the Jewish King who rules the world in justice and righteousness while sitting on the throne of the Davidic Dynasty in Jerusalem.
In the end, Jesus thanks the believing survivors (Sheep) for their kindness and commendable treatment of Israel during the difficult Tribulation period and they are told to, “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
On the other hand, based on their mistreatment of Israel, Jesus commands the unbelievers (Goats) to, “depart from Me you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Only born-again, Tribulation survivors (Gentiles and Jews) will enter the Kingdom (Jn. 3:3). They enter the Millennium in their natural, mortal bodies and form the exclusive populace at the start of the Millennial Kingdom that live throughout the entire Millennial Age.