Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the millennial kingdom. In the Old Testament there are many verses concerning the millennial kingdom (Psa. 2:6, 8-9; Isa. 2:2-5; 11:1-10; 65:20-25; 30:26; Zech. 8:20-23; Psa. 72:1-17; Isa. 4:2-6; 9:7; 12:1-5; 16:5; 32:1-2; 40:9-11; 61:4-9; Zech. 14:16-21). The kingdom was the good news proclaimed to mankind through the prophets in the Old Testament.
Between the rapture of the overcomers and the beginning of the millennial kingdom, many things will take place. Immediately after the rapture of the man-child, a loud voice in heaven says, “Now is come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ” (12:10). Actually, however, the kingdom will not come at that time, for the three and a half years of the great tribulation are yet to come. Nevertheless, in the eyes of those who have been raptured to the heavens, the kingdom has already come. During the last three and a half years of this age, the following things will take place: the rapture of the majority of the saints; the destruction of religious Babylon, that is, the annihilation of Catholicism; the destruction of Judaism; and the fall of material Babylon. Following all this, there will be the war at Armageddon. The whole earth must be cleared up as a preparation for God’s kingdom to come. At the time of chapter twenty, nearly everything has been cleared up. Only one thing remains, and that is Satan, the source of all the problems. Therefore, the first item mentioned in chapter twenty, a chapter concerning the millennium, is the binding of Satan.
In 20:1-3 we see the imprisonment of Satan. Following the defeat of Antichrist is the binding and imprisonment of Satan to clear up the rebellious earth that the kingdom of Christ may come (vv. 4-6). Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss, which is in the heart of the earth. Satan will be imprisoned there for a thousand years. After that, “he must be loosed for a little time” (v. 3). The Lord Jesus will cast Antichrist and the false prophet directly into the lake of fire because He has no further use for them. However, even after the war at Armageddon, Satan will still be somewhat useful to the Lord.
After the war at Armageddon, the Lord will establish His throne of glory in Jerusalem and gather before Him all the nations still on earth. He will then execute His judgment upon them. As we have pointed out, this will be Christ’s judgment of the living carried out according to the eternal gospel preached by an angel in mid-heaven (14:6). The “goats” will go to the fire prepared for the Devil and his angels, and the “sheep” will enter into the millennial kingdom as citizens (Matt. 25:34). Although these “sheep” will be restored, they will not be regenerated. They will still have a rebellious nature within them, and thus they will need a further test a thousand years later. Because the Lord will use Satan to test them, He will not cast Satan into the lake of fire at the beginning of the millennium. Rather, Satan will be kept in the abyss for a thousand years. When the thousand years are over, the Lord will release Satan from the abyss and use him to test the citizens who have been on earth during the millennium. In the next message we shall see that Gog and Magog, the Russians, will not pass the test. Under Satan’s instigation, they will once more rebel against God. In this we can see that Satan is still useful in God’s hands to purge mankind.
Acts 3:21 refers to “the times of restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Gk.). This restoration will affect not only man, but also the whole creation—the heavens, the earth, the animals, and even the trees. Everything that was cursed through the fall of man will be restored. Isaiah 30:26 says, “Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days.” Today the sun and the moon are not normal because they have been cursed through the rebellion of Satan and the fall of man. As Genesis 3:17 and 18 indicate, the earth has been cursed because of man’s fall. Thus, the earth today is not normal.
When the children of Israel were about to enter into the good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, Moses sent twelve spies to search out the land (Num. 13:1-2). These spies brought back a cluster of grapes so large that it took two men to carry it (Num. 13:23). In 1958 I visited that region and I purposely tried to learn what kind of grapes those were. The guide brought me a cluster of tiny grapes. When I asked why they were so small, I was told that there was no fertile soil and very little rain. Throughout the centuries, the wind has blown away all the topsoil. For this reason, hardly anything can grow there. According to the prophecies in Deuteronomy, this land has been cursed because of the sinfulness of the children of Israel. Therefore, the land has become abnormal. Likewise, the entire universe is abnormal. However, when the millennium comes, everything will be restored.
There are many prophecies in Isaiah, in Zechariah, and in the Psalms regarding the millennium. At the time of restoration, not only mankind but also all of creation will be restored to its original condition. The beasts and the cattle will be restored to such an extent that the “wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid” (Isa. 11:6). This will not be miraculous; rather, it will be normal and common. Isaiah 11:8 says, “And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the viper’s den” (Heb.). Even the troublesome mosquitoes will be included in the restoration. When a mosquito bites me, I am reminded that the mosquitoes need restoration. After they have been restored, they will make musical sounds, but they will not bite. Do not hate creatures such as mosquitoes, flies, and gophers. Instead, you must blame Adam, for his fall brought about the curse on the creation. But when Christ comes again, everything will be restored. The trees will flourish, and the flowers will blossom abundantly. Isaiah 35:1 and 2 say, “The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing.” Furthermore, “in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water” (Isa. 35:6-7). Also, “a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The Way of Holiness” (Isa. 35:8). The book of Isaiah is a full description of the millennium.
According to the prophecies of the Bible, the millennial kingdom is in two sections: the upper, heavenly, section and the lower, earthly, section. The upper section of the millennium is called the kingdom of the Father (Matt. 13:43), and the lower section is called the kingdom of the Son of Man (Matt. 13:41). The kingdom of the Messiah, or the Messianic kingdom, is another name for the lower section of the millennium.
In the millennial kingdom there will be three peoples. The first are the overcoming saints, including the overcoming saints of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. These overcoming saints will be co-kings of Christ. Christ is the highest King, and we shall be His sub-kings. Therefore, the upper section is the royal portion of the millennium.
The second group, found in the lower section, is the preserved and proper Jews, who will be saved at the time of the Lord’s coming back. According to Zechariah 12:10-14, these Jews will look on Him whom they have pierced, and then they will repent. These are the Jews who will be the third part who will pass through fire and be refined (Zech. 13:9). These saved Jews will enter into the millennium as priests and will teach the nations to seek God and to know Him. Isaiah 2:2-3 will be fulfilled at that time. Verse 3 says, “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The nations will learn of God through the instruction of the Jews, who will be priests. Isaiah 61:6 clearly says, “But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God.” This word will also be fulfilled during the millennium, when the nations will recognize the Jews as God’s priests.
Zechariah 8:23 says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” This verse indicates that every Jew will be precious. At that time the number of the saved Jews will be so small that ten people out of one nation will take hold of a Jew and say, “Help us to know God. We want to be taught by you because we have heard that God has blessed you. We want to share your blessing. Tell us about God and teach us how to worship Him.” In those days the Jews will be warmly welcomed.
The third group of people in the millennial kingdom will be the “sheep” of Matthew 25. We have seen that these “sheep” will be transferred into the millennial kingdom to become the citizens there.
In the lower section of the millennium, called the kingdom of the Son of Man, Jesus as the seed of David will be King over the Jews and, through the Jews, over all the nations. He will be on the throne of David to be the King over all nations through the Jews. This is the kingdom of the Son of Man and the kingdom of the Messiah; it is also the tabernacle of David spoken of in Acts 15:16. The tabernacle of David has fallen. But when the millennium comes, Christ will again erect the tabernacle of David. The tabernacle of David is the kingdom of David. In 2 Samuel 7 God promised to establish David’s kingdom forever (v. 16). This everlasting kingdom will be the lower part of the millennium, the kingdom of the Son of Man and of the Messiah. The kingly overcomers will be in the upper part of the millennium, and the priestly Jews and the citizens will be in the lower part.
It is a great help to be clear about these matters. If you understand them, then as you read the Bible, you will know which verses refer to the upper part and which verses to the lower part. You will know which verses refer to the kings, which to the priests, and which to the nations.
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