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Biblical Pre-Millennialism

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Biblical Pre-Millennialism

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Biblical Pre-Millennialism

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 In this message, we are going to take a brief overview look at some millennial teachings and consider and explore more completely what the United Church of God teaches about them and why from scripture.

Transcript

Biblical Pre-Millennialism

Dan Dowd - October 19, 2010 Bible Study
Wisconsin Dells Feast of Tabernacles

I thought tonight I would simply keep the fare a little lighter. I know that it's been a long week, everybody's tired, I know I am, mixed feelings about going home, but it's been a really good week. But I also thought that I would bring a topic that I don't know that I've ever heard completely at a Bible study during the Feast and that is on millennial teachings. There are a lot of different teachings out there. Sometimes we can forget what is taught by other organizations, other denominations. But the teaching in the United Church of God is what we rehearsed this past week – that is that we look forward to a millennial rule of Christ on earth and we can forget how unique that understanding is. 

There are many different viewpoints, as I mentioned. There are many that even say that the millennial message that we present is not correct according to scripture. We are going to look at some of that tonight. And while we can talk a lot about that, the millennium, especially during this time of year we don't often consider, as I mentioned, these different viewpoints. So we are going to do that tonight. We are going to take a brief overview look at some of these millennial teachings and then consider and explore more completely what the United Church of God teaches and why it does from scripture. So I have some slides. I hope that's not going to cause too many to crane their necks, but what we are going to look at are these four different teachings. 

First is Historic Pre-Millennialism, as it's called. I'll explain these terms as we begin to get into them. The next one is what is called Dispensational Pre-Millennialism. These are theological terms. I don't expect you to necessarily remember them. Post-Millennialism and then what's called Amillennialism. Lastly we'll look at one I've coined a phrase, what I call Biblical Pre-Millennialism. And we'll explain some of those items. 

So let's look first at Historic Pre-Millennialism. 

This term comes from the viewpoint, being the basic historical viewpoint rather, of what many consider the timeline in terms of the millennium. This is called Historic Pre-Millennialism because as theologians look back in church history, this is the viewpoint of what they considered the early church fathers. More directly what you and I would look at as those successors to the early apostles in the 1st and 2nd century. This view teaches that the second coming of Christ follows the tribulation period. As you look at the arrow there, on the left hand side it says The Church Age and then in parentheses it says society increasingly evil. That time period is undetermined, that is not exactly defined in scripture, and that at some point there is a tribulation period. At the end of that tribulation period is the second coming of Christ – if you can't read that, right above the green bar it says the Millennium, 2nd Coming of Christ and then after that, Eternity. This is Historic Pre-Millennialism that we are talking about. So this teaching states that Christ comes prior to the thousand year reign of the saints, the millennium, but subsequent to the tribulation. This viewpoint sees the tribulation as a real, literal, future event. There are some other defining points of this teaching, one of them is that Israel in scripture has been replaced by the Church, promises of land and blessings to Abraham and his offspring, they see as conditional based on obedience. So Israel's persist disobedience negates God's covenant with them and so then it's opened up to the world. They also see in this teaching that God has maintained a covenant of grace throughout the Old and the New Testament with those believers now being the true Israel. They also look at most references in Revelation to Israel as symbolic references to the church. 

I'm going to list a couple of scriptures, we're not going to turn to all of these. We'll come back to some at the end, but if you want to write some of these down, some of the primary scriptures they use are:

ñ 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 [3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
American King James Version×
. This is a section of scripture where it talks about the man of sin. Some label this the anti-Christ, but that that individual proceeds Christ's return. 

ñ They also see the tribulation separating true Christians from those who are not and they use Revelation 2:22-23 Revelation 2:22-23 [22] Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. [23] And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give to every one of you according to your works.
American King James Version×

ñ They believe the saints rule on earth – Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×
. Many of us are familiar with that and also Revelation 13:7 Revelation 13:7And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
American King James Version×
.

ñ They see God's promises to Abraham and Israel were conditional upon obedience, as I mentioned, and they cite a number of references: Genesis 22:18 Genesis 22:18And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.
American King James Version×
, 2 Chronicles 33:8 2 Chronicles 33:8Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
American King James Version×
, Isaiah 1:19-20 Isaiah 1:19-20 [19] If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: [20] But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.
American King James Version×
and many others. 

ñ In scripture they see uses of Israel and the twelve tribes referring to Christians and they use scriptures such as Romans 9:6-8 Romans 9:6-8 [6] Not as though the word of God has taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: [7] Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall your seed be called. [8] That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
American King James Version×
to support this. 

Now, before we progress any further, this viewpoint, this Historic Pre-Millennialism is the closest to what United teaches. But it doesn't quite go far enough. We'll see this as we progress here, but I want to just state that up front. 

The next viewpoint is what's called Dispensational Pre-Millennialism.  

Dispensational Pre-Millennialism. This is also known by some as Midtribulationists. Again, these are theological terms but if you talk to people in these circles, these are the terms they use. This is how they define their positions, their beliefs.   Dispensational Pre-Millennialism is considered by many to be a variation of Historic Pre-Millennialism, what we just looked at, but with some major differences. The major difference is the belief in the Rapture. If you look at that bar, you'll see again on the left hand side the Church Age (society increasingly evil); The Tribulation period; a Millennial period and then Eternity but with some different definitions along the way. Prior to the Great Tribulation, they believe that there will be a rapture of the saints, those true believers. They will be removed from the world scene. After the tribulation period, then the 2nd coming of Christ and then after the millennial period, a final judgment. Now, to define a term, Dispensational refers to the view that God works with mankind through a series of dispensations or periods in history as He relates to mankind in different ways. I'm not a big fan of this position – this dispensational position. God certainly does work with mankind differently down through time, but the message is always the same. This view emerged primarily in the 1800's and some of the famous proponents of this view, you'll recognize some of these names: 

ñ John Darby is one. If any of you read the Darby Commentary this is the individual that wrote those

ñ C.I. Scofield – the Scofield Bible version. This is who that is

ñ Gleason Archer – he was a theologian, a writer

ñ Hal Lindsey – more modern contest, you might recognize that name

ñ Charles Stanley (preacher)

ñ and Tim LaHaye - he wrote the Left Behind series

ñ More recently, Harold Camping. Anybody know who Harold Camping is? Yeah, he's back in the news because on Friday- Friday he's convinced this is when the Rapture is actually going to take place. May 21st didn't work. That was supposed to be the first group. October 21st was supposed to be the second and now he's convinced it's everybody on October 21st that's a true believer. 

So those are some of the more famous, if you will, adherents to this position. As I mentioned, the Rapture occurs in the beginning of or shortly after the start of the tribulation. God's promises to Abraham and Israel were unconditional, therefore they believe the Jews will be completely restored as promised in Genesis 15. During the tribulation, though, they also believe that many Jews will obey and become Christians, that is they will convert and that all references to Israel in the book of Revelation literally refer to the nation of Israel. .

ñ Some of the scriptures they use I mentioned Genesis 15:7-21 Genesis 15:7-21 [7] And he said to him, I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it. [8] And he said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? [9] And he said to him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. [10] And he took to him all these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. [11] And when the fowls came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. [12] And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and, see, an horror of great darkness fell on him. [13] And he said to Abram, Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not their's, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; [14] And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. [15] And you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. [16] But in the fourth generation they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. [17] And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. [18] In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: [19] The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, [20] And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, [21] And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
American King James Version×
. That's the section where God begins His covenant with Abraham and some of the promises that He states.

ñ But more directly, 1 Thes. 5 and Revelation 3:10 Revelation 3:10Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.
American King James Version×
.

Let's just read Revelation 3:10 Revelation 3:10Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.
American King James Version×
because I want you to have in your mind some of these different viewpoints as we get to later on what we teach from scripture and why. The context is the letters to the churches, chapters 2 and 3. And here in this section of chapter 3 is the letter to the church, Philadelphia. So Revelation 3:10 Revelation 3:10Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.
American King James Version×
it says,

Revelation 3:10 Revelation 3:10Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.
American King James Version×
- Because you have kept My command to persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.   So, again, this is just one verse, but this is one of the verses that they look to. 

ñ Another justification, if you will, that they use for this position is that the church is not specifically mentioned or referred to between Revelation chapter 4 and chapter 19. 

Alright, the next position is what is called Post-Millennialism. 

Post-Millennialism is a view that teaches that the second coming of Christ will occur after the millennium – hence post – after the millennium. If you look at the bar there, it says this is a different viewpoint from the previous because in the church age they see society improving slightly. This viewpoint became popular in the 19th century because of the advances that mankind was making in technology and sciences, in understanding the natural world around us. They saw things as getting better. Some of the more famous adherents to this position are:

ñ Jonathan Edwards, the famous theologian at the beginning of this nation's history

ñ Charles Spurgeon 

ñ R.C. Sproul –

You might recognize some of those names in a modern context. But they see the millennium as a time period during which most of the world will submit to Christ's rule, His teaching, His authority and they don't see the millennial period as a literal thousand years. During this time period, they say Satan has no power and that evil regimes will eventually and progressively collapse and end. During the millennium, they say Christ will rule the earth through His Spirit, not necessarily physically present on earth. At the end of the millennium they also teach that Christ will defeat Satan and end evil and the physical resurrection of all people will take place, the final judgment occurring at that time.

So, again, if you look at the bar, one of the most noticeable differences is that they show the second coming of Christ and the final judgment at the end of the millennial period.

Some of the scriptures that they use: 

ñ Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×
. Let's just turn there. There is a common element why I personally reject these teachings, why we reject them as a church, we'll come back to some of that. But, again, I want you to have some of these scriptures in mind as we read them and hopefully you'll see the flaws as well. Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×
. This is the section where Christ records for the disciples because they asked the question, “What will be the things to come, what are the signs of the end of the age?” 

Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×
- And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

This is the primary view of most denominations out there and why they have such a mission, if you will, to try to reach as many people as possible. They see that as being literally necessary before Christ can return. 

ñ To continue on, they also see the first resurrection is the spiritual regeneration of those who believe in Christ. The notion of born again - this was very popular back in the late '70's and early '80's in the evangelical world

ñ They also see Satan's influence ending and the resurrection of all peoples – saved and unsaved. Daniel 12:2-3 Daniel 12:2-3 [2] And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. [3] And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
is a section they turn to

ñ John 5:28-29 John 5:28-29 [28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, [29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.
American King James Version×

ñ Revelation 20:7 Revelation 20:7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
American King James Version×
– let's turn there. It's interesting to read that in connection to what they teach.

Revelation 20:7 Revelation 20:7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
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- Now when the thousand years have expired... you see, they see this as all taking place at the end of the millennium ...Satan will be released from his prison

Verse 8 - and will go out to deceive the nations... see, everything had gotten progressively better, Satan's rule had been broken, if you will, during the thousand years and then, of course,   ...the nations gather for battle

Verse 9 - They went up on the breadth of the earth... But in verse 10 Satan is cast into the lake of fire. 

So those are some of the primary verses used there. 

The next theological position concerning the millennium is what is called Amillennialism and this one is different yet. 

You will notice that it's not one continuum. There are actually three different bars there.  

ñ The top bar says Tribulation. 

ñ The middle bar says The Church Age and, again, society gradually improving. 

ñ And then below that, The Millennium. 

In other words, all three of those things parallel each other down through time. 

ñ At the conclusion of the time period of the age, if you will, then you will see above that the notation 'the 2nd Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment'. Both take place at the same time in their view and then Eternity. 

So this view teaches that there is no literal thousand year period, that it is truly symbolic, that Christ already reigns in the lives of His people – that is that He is already ruling from heaven – and from the beginning of His church until His second coming. This view became popular during the 5th century, this is for the most part the view of the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church. Martin Luther and John Calvin were major proponents of this position and in this, then, the first resurrection symbolizes eternal life experienced by persons who die in Christ or the spiritual resurrection experienced by persons when they become Christians. At Christ's 2nd coming He will defeat the powers of Satan, resurrect the saved and unsaved, judge them to deliver the to their eternal destinies. The tribulation period, then, represents calamities and persecutions on God's people down through time collectively. Most references they see of Israel in Revelation are symbolic of the people of God on earth and they look to a lot of symbology rather in numbers concerning prophecy and they consider these things to be concepts, not literal amounts of time or groups. For instance, the number, one-thousand, they say is used a number of times in scripture figuratively - 

ñ Psalms 50:10 Psalms 50:10For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
American King James Version×
, 90:4 and other places. 

Also, then, they say the 1st resurrection refers to those now in Christ or those who will accept Christ and, again, they use a verse – I think we are still here in Revelation 20, verse 4. It says,

Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×
- And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them.

So they see this as being representative – those already in Christ. In other words, the kingdom of God has already begun. We touched on this I think at least once if not twice during the Feast. Luke 17:21 Luke 17:21Neither shall they say, See here! or, see there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
American King James Version×
where Christ said

Lk. 17:21 - ...the kingdom is among you - or within you - depending on your translation. 

And so then the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the saints occur at the same time. 

ñ They use Daniel 12:2-3 Daniel 12:2-3 [2] And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. [3] And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
as justification of that position and that the saints are on the earth during the tribulation. 

ñ Revelation 13:7 Revelation 13:7And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
American King James Version×
is what they use there. 

Let's move on to one that I coined, what I call Biblical Pre-Millennialism. 

I call this Biblical Pre-Millennialism because it's slightly different than the one we started with - Biblical Pre-Millennialism - and we'll explain that as we go along here. 

The bar is the same as the first one. On the left, the Church Age and society increasingly evil and then at some period the tribulation begins. If you can't read the notes above it, what it says is that part of the church is in the place of safety, part goes through the tribulation. After the end of the tribulation and the 2nd coming of Christ, the saints reign, Israel is restored – which is the beginning of the millennial period. And at the end of that time period, final judgment and then the New Heaven and the New Earth and then Eternity after that. 

I set this one aside slightly from the first one that we touched on because those that teach Historic Pre-Millennialism do not oftentimes talk about how what you and I represent in this day – the Last Great Day – how that fits into everything. They don't understand that. They also don't understand that some of the church will go through a literal tribulation period and how that plays out in prophecy. All of the previous viewpoints of the millennium that we covered are flawed because they each fail to take into account what the entire Bible – and that's the key - the entire Bible says on the topic. If you go back through some of those verses that I referenced earlier, you'll notice that they are sort of cherry picking. In theological terms, it's called proof texting. They have a position, they look for a verse to back that up as opposed to looking at what the whole of scripture has to say and placing that in context. As well, by not understanding the purpose of God's Holy Days and how they help explain the plan of God, the time and the events sequence of the millennium then becomes confusing. They misconstrue many of the events. And that's why I said at the beginning of my introduction what we see in scripture is virtually unique in the Christian community, that is, unique because of the Holy Days that we keep. We understand the plan of salvation that God is working out for all of mankind. The interesting thing is that you and I also probably know individuals that used to be among us that believed this, that understood it and when you stop observing these things, how quickly that knowledge fades. 

Let me just read to you from our Fundamental Beliefs booklet concerning Christ's return and this is a quote from that booklet. “We believe in the personal, visible, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule the nations on earth as King of kings and to continue His priestly office as Lord of lords. At that time, He will sit upon the throne of David. During His one-thousand-year reign upon the earth, He will restore all things and establish the Kingdom of God forever.” We'll turn to some of the verses that they reference there and if you want to go back and read a section of scripture to help flush this out tonight, because I know I'm really hitting some of the high points fairly quickly here, I would encourage you to do that. The Fundamental Beliefs booklet will then point you toward other resources as well. 

When we talk to someone about the millennium we must define our terms. Those that are in the areas that I pastor, I'm a huge proponent of defining what we are saying. We must define our terms.  So when you and I say 'millennium', that can mean a whole range of things to other Christians and, most likely, it's not going to mean the same thing. 

So, let's look at some of these other references then. I'm going to put a slide up here that shows all of these – and I know it's not extremely readable, but just so that you can sort of see them all together there and compare them. Let's look, then, at some of these other viewpoints to see where we differ and why. 

The United Church of God, as I mentioned, would most likely fit into the viewpoint of Historic Pre-Millennialism. If you were to define to someone why we were here this week, what we were rehearsing, what we see in scripture and why this is important, they would say – if they understood the terms – they would say well, you're a Historic Pre-Millennialialist. But that's not a complete view because as I mentioned, we don't teach Historic Pre-Millennialism as it is commonly explained because it fails to account for the final judgment after the millennium. What do you do with all those people that never were called in this lifetime? What do you do with all of those people who lived prior to Christ's physical existence? What do you do with all those people who even lived after Christ came, but never understood the message he brought – people in China, the people in India and so forth? That's a huge problem for the Christian community because they have no place to fit that. They want God to be fair, but they can't just insert them. They have to know, so they jump through all sorts of hoops to make that happen. That viewpoint, that Historic Pre-Millennialist viewpoint also does not account for that not in every case in scripture Israel is replaced by the church. They either have to say it literally is Israel or it's the church. Almost none of them say, well it's a mixture of both because then that becomes problematic. How do you define which is which and if God's going to restore them physically, but we're all spirit, how do you do that? It becomes very problematic. We understand that though, don't we? You see, that's the beauty of the Holy Days. God's not working with everyone now. But He has not condemned everyone now, either. That's an extremely fair God in my estimation. He's allowed some to go their way to learn some hard lessons, but their salvation has not yet been determined. 

Now, as an aside, in the Christian community that's called second-chance salvation. So if you hear someone use that term, that's what they are talking about. They'll usually use that to deride or to refute what someone like us would teach. They say, “Well, you teach second-chance salvation.” No. We don't. They have not had their chance yet. And again that's the beauty of the Last Great Day, isn't it? All those that have ever lived and died, never understood God's message or had opportunity to even hear it, will be raised and taught and then they will have to decide. God will say, “Which are you going to choose?” 

We also reject Dispensational Pre-Millennialism, the second one we talked about, because we reject the teaching of a rapture. There is no such teaching in scripture. You have to force scriptures to say something other than what they do to teach that viewpoint. And it is also not just the Jews of Israel that will be restored. We didn't touch on some of these verses week, but in, I think it's Zachariah, it talks about Assyria and Egypt and Israel working together – it might be Isaiah, I'm confusing them in my mind. Those are literal nations during that time period. They're mortal enemies right now and at some point God is going to work with them, change their heart and perhaps even force them in some situations, to set those differences aside. So, if it's just Israel that is restored, what do we do with those other nations? It becomes very biased, doesn't it? It's also not just the Jews that will become Christians in the tribulation. Revelation talks about a great multitude. Now, again, God would be very selective, wouldn't He? He would be a respecter of persons, if you will, if He only chose to work with one group. 
Also, not all references in Revelation to Israel are referring to the physical nation of Israel. 

We also reject Post-Millennialism, the third one that we briefly covered, because Christ will not return at the end of the millennium and Satan's reign will end abruptly with the return of Christ. We picture that. We see that in the Day of Atonement. He is literally removed - not gradually, but suddenly. 

The first resurrection also is not a spiritual regeneration. We rehearse that in the Feast of Trumpets. 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4. It is a literal resurrection. It talks about a change from mortal to immortal. How do you spiritualize that? Christ, Himself, said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom and no matter to what degree we have God's Holy Spirit, we're still flesh and blood, aren't we? So that problematic.

The next one we looked at then was Amillennialism, the fourth one, and we reject that viewpoint because scripture says there will be a thousand year rule of Christ. If this is His reign, if this time in mankind's history, if that's been happening since His first coming, where is the peace, the harmony, the lack of war – all the things that He talked about that would be hallmarks of His reign? It's not a very peaceful world out there, is it? It's been talked about the economies of the world, they're teetering on edge. Wars are flaring up all over the place and I think the next war – this is my personal opinion – will be driven by economics and resources. But that's not there yet, is it? It's a very chaotic world out there. The Tribulation, also, is not just a calamity on God's people down through time. If you go back and read some references in Ezekiel and other places, it talks about major portions of the world's population dying so that by the time Christ does return, more than 2/3 of the world's population will have died. That's an astounding number. One of the things highlighted in the news this week is that shortly within the next week or so they expect the world population to reach the seven-billion mark. So figure those numbers up. 2.3 whatever roughly billion people would be a third, so almost five-billion people dying before Christ's return. We've not seen that sort of death and destruction yet. 

Matthew 24 also talks about – we'll go back to that in a moment – a time like no other. But many will point to that, will say, well we've had famines, we've had pestilence, we've had wars, we've had disease, we've had those things that Christ talked about and, indeed, we have. But it's never been to the point of erasing life off this planet. Also, Israel never represented all people on earth in scripture – not physically. And so Amillennialism is problematic as well. 

So why do we teach what I call Biblical Pre-Millennialism? In all the other teachings concerning the millennium, the aspect of the resurrection is not a primary point. What you and I understand from scripture regarding the three resurrections not only explains what God is doing, it not only explains His plan of salvation, but it also explains the timing of His plan, how He is working that out. Most of the teachings that we've talked about only see one resurrection. I mentioned earlier that they see what we teach as second-chance salvation and, again, that's not the case because God is fair and He will give all of those who have ever lived and died without knowing Him and His plan of salvation the information to be able to choose. Moses told that to the children of Israel, didn't he? God told him, “Tell then this. I set before you this day...” Do you remember the choices? Life and death. Good and evil. But that's the same choice down through time. Everybody has to come to the point we are either going to accept Satan and his philosophy or we are going to believe God and follow His ways. 

The first resurrection is for the saints. That's at the beginning of the millennium. Those that have died and are in the grave or those that are alive at His return – we see that in scripture. 

The second resurrection is for those who, as I mentioned earlier, lived and died in a lifetime without understanding God's plan of salvation. 

The third resurrection – we haven't much talked about that in our history, but it's an interesting one to consider as well. Why would God raise individuals only to put them to death again? It's an interesting thought. It's an interesting question. The third resurrection is to let all know that God is a God of His word. There was a thing on the History Channel the other night, I was flipping through the channels – I tend to decompress by just kind of channel surfing before I retire for the night – and they were talking about one of the Nazi hierarchy and I want to say it was Himmler, but I'm sure if that's the right individual. But many of these individuals were not caught or prosecuted for some of the atrocities during WWII. And so you have some whose relatives died at the hands of such an individual and they say that's not fair., he never received justice. But, you know, there are going to be those raised in the second resurrection that still, in spite of knowing, will choose to reject God's way of life. God is very clear in scripture, isn't He? He says that you will inherit eternal life if you – we rehearsed that today – if you keep my commandments, if you love one another as I have. God is looking for character that reflects His character. And those that choose not to reflect His character, He is going to put to death. And so ultimately everyone will see God is true to His word. 

So let's look at some of these verses that I talked about. Let's go to Isaiah chapter 2. Isaiah had a great deal to talk about. In theological terms theologians will say the Messianic Strain that is he had a great deal to say about the coming Messiah and so, consequently, along with that, he had a great deal to say about the millennium that would come with Christ. 

Isaiah 2:2 Isaiah 2:2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
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- Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of mountains...   This is where we need to put scripture in context, that we need to read everything.   In symbolic language in scripture, mountains can represent governments. And so if the mountain of God – if the government of God then needs to exist, it is going to be established above all other governments.   That's not happened in history, has it?   ...It shall be exalted above the hills... even the lesser governments   ...all nations shall flow to it.

If we want to look at the amillennialist view, is that happening now? The opposite is happening rather. We see people moving away from Christianity in the world. 

Verse 3 - Many people will come and say, "Come, and let us go to the mountain of the LORD... let's go to where God is ...To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we will walk in His paths."

Now an interesting thing, when you read from an individual such as Richard Dawkins and some of these other atheists, almost militant, they say the source of the world's problems is Christianity – well, in a broader context, religion, but they focus on Christianity primarily. But, you know, it's an interesting study if you have not done it. Go look at the consistency of laws between nations that reflect the Ten Commandments. Most of them are represented. And you look at the good that has come from them following God's instruction down through time. You know, the Black Plague happened to a large degree in the Middle Ages because they failed to follow God's hygiene laws. Something as simple as taking care of their waste and isolating those with diseases – quarantine. Once they figured that out, the problem went away. In fact, that's why they thought the Jews brought it on because the Jews were already following God's instruction. 

In the latter days  ...here in this section as well, the beginning part of verse 2 - Now it shall come to pass in the latter days... that is, again, a prophetic reference, it's prophetic language for the end of the age and virtually all the prophets used that same term, if you will. In the latter days or in the day of the Lord – it's talking about the end of mankind's rule under Satan. 

Ezekiel 36 – let's turn there next. Ezekiel wrote about many of these things as well. 

Ezekiel 36:26 Ezekiel 36:26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
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- I will give you a new heart and new spirit within you... That's not happened. For God's people, the process has begun, but even we do not have a completely new heart. Otherwise, we would not continue to sin, face the struggles of our character weaknesses and such that we deal with, that we would hurt one another and whatever it is that we do under the influence of our human nature. That new heart, though, is coming. He says,   ...I will give you a new heart and a new spirit; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Verse 27 - I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Again, do we see this reflected in the world around us? Even in the Christian community? You know, unfortunately someone like Richard Dawkins has a point because if you look at the Christian community, they are in many ways worse at following in their own instructions than most atheists are.   The divorce rate among Christians is higher than the norm. Incidences of abortion and dealing with substance abuses and such, it's a sad reality. So again to the point though, look at any one of these positions, these teachings, do we see these things being fulfilled now? All of this requires a change. That heart of stone is not going to change on its own. If we could change it on our own, why would we need God? It requires a change from our carnal nature to having God's mind in us.  

You want to write down Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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. Paul says we have to take on the mind of Christ. We have to change how we think. And for those of us that went through the process of baptism, that reflects that old man dying.

Let's turn next to Isaiah chapter 11. I should have asked you to keep a marker back there in Isaiah. I apologize, but let's go to Isa. 11. This is perhaps one of the more famous of the millennial references. I believe we read that this week – Mr. Shaw, if I'm not mistaken. 

Isaiah 11:7 Isaiah 11:7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
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- The cow and the bear shall graze together... that's not a good combination right now. It doesn't end well, at least for one of them.   ...The young ones shall lie down together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox.    He mentioned that even their digestive nature will be changed. 

Verse 8 - nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den.    We can't do any of this now. There are some that work with these dangerous animals, but they have to be very careful and when they forget that they truly are wild animals, it can cost them. 

Verse 9 - They shall not hurt nor destroy in all of My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Eternal As the waters cover the sea.

Again, you and I rehearsed this past week when this will be a reality, when the whole world will understand. And initially it will be those that live into that millennial period, but we will be preparing for the time at the end of that when the rest of mankind will be raised. And it truly will be full of God's knowledge because that's how everything will proceed once Christ returns. This has not happened yet, though, has it? 

Isaiah 35:6 Isaiah 35:6Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
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we will begin. Then the lame shall leap like a deer... we still have people in wheelchairs here, don't we? We still see that in the world – people with various disabilities – hearing loss or eyesight that has been taken away in one form or another. God here paints a picture of a time, it says, when   ...the lame will leap like a deer. The tongue of the dumb will sing. For waters shall burst forth from the wilderness, And streams in the desert.

Verse 7 - The parched ground will become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.   ...in other words, the desolate areas of the world. You know, it's really interesting to consider how much of the land is not only habitable, but how much of it can sustain life. You know, we live in desert areas, but you cut water off, you can't live there. This has not changed either, has it? We're stretching many of those resources very thin. But God promises a time when this – and this is a very physical environment – this is not spiritualized away. He promises a time when He will restore the earth and it will be abundant.

Let's go back to the first part of Isaiah, chapter 2 and in verse 4. 

Isaiah 2:4 Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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– He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares   ...you know, half of our Federal budget is spent on military items between equipment and personnel. Half! And in many nations that's even higher. Think of something as simple as that when we no longer have tax money, if you will, when we are no longer taxed to support something like that. What are we going to do with that money? Can you imagine what can be accomplished on a physical level? But think about what happens as well when God removes the conflict between these nations. You know, peace in a modern context increasingly is simply the absence of war. It doesn't change the heart. It doesn't change the mindset of these conflicts and most of these nations don't even know why they hate each other. But ...beating swords into plowshares... you know, there's an interesting reference, it talks about taking seven years to remove all of the military equipment once the millennium begins. That's just astounding to think of. That's one of the things that you and I will be assisting with. There are areas of the world that still are littered with mines and people still die or are maimed as they walk through these areas because it's long forgotten where these mines are buried. 

Continuing in verse 4 - And their spears into pruning hooks; And nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.

Wars have not ceased. It doesn't show any sign of letting up and instead mankind creates more and more destructive and massive ways to kill each other. 

As a reference, Matthew 24 told us that in that tribulation period, as it leads up to that time period, that we will not only hear of wars, but we will hear rumors of wars. It's just going to be replete out there.

Isaiah 61:1 Isaiah 61:1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
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- The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted...  Any of you recognize this reference? Christ read this when He was in the synagogue.  Do you remember that story? He went into the synagogue as a visitor, they invited Him to read, He opened the scroll – this is the section He read.    ...He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Verse 2 - To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all those who mourn,

Verse 3 - To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Eternal, that He may be glorified."    

To heal the brokenhearted, Luke, chapter 4 if you want that reference in the New Testament. 

Has the world been healed from the consequences of following Satan's sinful ways? We know from Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:2Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
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that he is called the god of this age. That's not known in the world. I know of virtually no church in mainline Christianity that teaches that, but it explains so much. The philosophical confusion over why is there evil in the world, why does God allow suffering? We have a booklet on that. They blame God, but they are blaming the wrong god. 

If you want to write down Matthew 19:26-29 Matthew 19:26-29 [26] But Jesus beheld them, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. [27] Then answered Peter and said to him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed you; what shall we have therefore? [28] And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred times, and shall inherit everlasting life.
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, it talks about all of Israel being restored. Now when I mention some of these millennial teachings, when they say 'Israel', they think the Jews. But God talks about all tribes – in fact, you remember what it was He promised the apostles? They said, What will we have? He gave them rulership over all twelve tribes – each of them to rule one. 

Let's leave Isaiah here and let's go to 2 Corinthians 5. We read as Paul expresses it here, something interesting that we need to consider as well. He says:

2 Corinthians 5:1 2 Corinthians 5:1For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
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- For we know that if our earthly house, this tent... this body, he says, we know that this body can be destroyed, but yet ...we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Now, some of those millennial teachings point to a verse such as this and say, see, we're already God's spiritually begotten. But notice verse 2:

Verse 2 - For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,   they don't even read the next verse! It's not here yet. 

You know, I was assisting someone today and I happened to sort of kneel down on my haunches, I wasn't on my knees, I just sort of squatted down, my right knee has been killing me all afternoon. We ache as we grow older, we lose eyesight, hearing, our joints hurt, whatever it is – we're not there yet, are we? I wish that we were, but we're not. We groan to be clothed with our house from heaven. This, again, is part of what we represent in the Holy Days. We yearn for those days, don't we? Every year we are one-year closer, but it's not here yet. 

I mentioned 1 Cor. 15 – the change from mortal to immortal. Go back and read that chapter again, not just at Trumpets, please, because it's great insight, it explains what God is doing and part of the hope that we have. But that doesn't happen until Christ's return. Remember, it says with that trump when Christ returns, at that trump that change will happen. It also tells us that that will not be hidden, it will be like lightening. It's not a rapture. It's not something hidden for us to afterwards say, what just happened? There's going to be no doubt as the world witnesses this. They may not understand, but they will know it's taking place. 

Let's go to Revelation then. Many of these teachings reference various things in the book of Revelation. Let's go to Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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and read the reference I made earlier. Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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says:

Revelation 10:5 Revelation 10:5And the angel which I saw stand on the sea and on the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
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- And He has made us kings and priests... now an interesting thought there, we tend to segregate those, but the Greek can give the indication that those are not separate positions. A kingly priest it could be written. He has made to be a kingly priest to our God – the latter part, though, is what we are focusing on for the study tonight.   ...And we shall reign on the earth - rulership.

Fast forward to the end of the book, chapter 20 and verse 6.

Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
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- Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection... Now it just seems to be a simple point that if you have the first of something, there is usually more to follow otherwise why say 'the first'? God here indicates something yet.    ...Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power... Wait a minute. Where does that factor in?
Most of those teachings once Christ returns that's it. It's done for everybody – good or bad. Where does this second death come in? It's the teaching of the third resurrection again. See, all of this becomes a package and the interesting thing that I've always appreciated, even from being a young boy in God's church, it's not that hard to understand when you just read scripture for what it is. Now, certainly, it takes God's Holy Spirit, we know that. But you know what, I don't have to be a theologian if I have God's Spirit to figure this out. All I have to do is read His word.    ...Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Now if that's going to be spiritualized away, then God has to explain that and in no other place in scripture that I am familiar with does He do that. We have too many other references to this millennial rule for it to simply be an analogy. Why is God doing all of this? Hopefully in these last few weeks with all the Holy Days we've gone through, this has been touched on - Hebrews 2. God has a purpose for all of this. He is not simply trying to make up for Satan botching the whole thing in the Garden. 'Everything was going good until Satan showed up and now suddenly God's playing catch up.' That's not the case. God had a plan from the beginning and Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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tells us:

Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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- For it was fitting for Him... that is Jesus Christ ...it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things... and, again, most Christians don't even understand that point – that Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament. He was the One that fashioned the earth in Genesis 1 and 2, restored its face and placed mankind in the garden.   ...by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory... this is why God did all of this. This is not an empty exercise or a plaything that He put in motion. He did this because He wants us to be in His family and that's heresy in most denominations – that we will be Gods. Now, to put it in context, you and I will never be the Father and we will never be the Son, but we will be sons and daughters just like in my family, I will never be my father. That's just too weird to begin with. And most of you know that. You know, if they say, Mr. Dowd, at times I still look for my dad. You know, we don't think of ourselves in that term. Why is it so odd to think that God wants a family?   ...in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

We talked about that a lot this week, didn't we? The reason for what God has us go through in this life that it's not just the problems of life, He uses that to perfect us as it says here in Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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in bringing us to His glory. That's the point of all of this. It's not to just get saved, that's going to be fabulous in its own right, but He wants us to be there for the rest of mankind as well. We're going to be working. When we are changed at that moment, the twinkling of the eye when Christ returns, we're going to hit the ground running. I'm convinced of that because there's a lot to do before the fulfillment of this day that we're now in – the Last Great Day.   We've got to have places for these people to sleep, clothes to wear, food for them to have, we've got to have infrastructure in place whether it's water or highways or however God's going to do that. He's not just going to snap His fingers and make it happen because there are still lessons to learn in that, aren't there. God is all about serving and there are going to be a lot of people to serve in that second resurrection. 

Let's look at Zechariah 14 as well. I don't think we covered that yet this Feast, but it's worth reminding ourselves of as well because many want to do away with the Old Testament. They want to spiritualize it, or unfortunately they even want to just dismiss it. There was a fellow in our local area in Milwaukee who gave a sermonette shortly before the Feast – he was having a conversation with a friend – not a coworker, but another individual he knew in business – she was talking about her faith. Somehow it came up. She's a born-again Christian. He asked her about the Old Testament because she made a comment about it, asked her if she had ever read it. Now she claimed to have been a Christian for I forget how long it was, twenty years? Something like that. She had never read the Old Testament. It's all done away with. Why read it? But you and I should understand and appreciate what she's losing in that. Zechariah 14:16 Zechariah 14:16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
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is just one of those glimpses. Notice, it says:

Zechariah 14:16 Zechariah 14:16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
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- It shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem... when does this happen? This happens shortly before Christ's return. Some call it the battle of Armageddon. The will ...go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts...   and to just have a good time. That's not what it says, is it? ...to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Now if this is all done away with, why is God repeating this at a time period when He is going to put Christ on earth? There are still lessons to learn. There are still people to teach. All nations are going to keep these days. By way of reference, go look at the end of Isaiah 66 as well. We are also going to be keeping the Sabbath day. Those things are still in motion because they have meaning. They reflect God's character and our rehearsing those things are not just empty traditions. They are part of the powerful explanation of what God is doing. 

Let's begin to wrap this up then. Let's turn to Revelation 20. Revelation 20:7 Revelation 20:7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
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. This trips many up when it comes to the millennium because they don't understand why Satan would be released. If he's removed at the beginning of the millennium, why allow him to come back? My explanation is that God is fair. Think of those that will be born in the millennium. They will have never lived in this world under Satan's rule. Think of those who come up that have never understood God's plan of salvation, they'll have to choose. Everybody has to choose. They have to stand and make a choice: I will accept God and follow His way or I am going to reject that and buy into Satan's philosophy. Everybody has to make that choice at some point. 

Revelation 20:7 Revelation 20:7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
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- Now when the thousand years have expired... at the end of the millennium God allows Satan to come back. This is one of my personal interpretations here, so take it for what's it's worth. Matthew talks about time being shortened. Right? Unless those days were shortened. What if God gave Satan a set amount of time – let's just say six thousand years for discussion – but at 5,999 He cut it short. If he made an agreement with Satan, can you imagine what Satan is saying? “You're not fair.” And God gives him his year, if you will, at the end to make sure that those who lived in the millennium have to understand what they're choosing. He's going to   ...be released from his prison

Verse 8 - and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth... the uttermost reaches ...Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
 
This is at the end of the millennium. They are going to have prospered under God's rulership – under Christ's rulership - and they will still be adamant that they don't want this. That's always been just an astounding thing for me to consider. But again, there will be those that choose that. 

Verse 9 - They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

Verse 10 - The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet... should be 'were'   ...And they will be tormented day and night.

And then verse 11 moves into the Great White Throne Judgment. You see, the understanding that God has given us in scripture – what we rehearse in the Holy Days – lays out a very clear plan of what God is doing – a very fair plan of what God is doing. Everyone will choose. Everyone will have to decide if they are going to follow this way of life or what Satan has promoted for the last six thousand or so years of mankind's history. Everyone will have to experience the same pulls, the same wrong desires to choose – but they will also have the same influence to choose good. Isaiah 30 talks about us being teachers saying, 'No, don't do that. Go this way.' 

If you haven't done so recently, or even before this Feast of Tabernacles, I would encourage you to go back and reread our booklet 'God's Holy Day Plan' because, again, no one else teaches this in the Christian community. 

So today if you want to put that slide back up, Mr. Morrison, today we've taken a look at some of the common viewpoints on the millennial teachings. 

ñ Historic Pre-Millennialism
ñ Dispensational Pre-Millennialism
ñ Post-Millennialism
ñ Amillennialism
ñ (and what I call) Biblical Pre-Millennialism

I hope you have enjoyed reviewing these teachings. I hope it gives you a clearer understanding of what we teach and why we teach what we do concerning God's coming kingdom, the soon coming millennial rule of Jesus Christ.