How is God going to bring people to salvation during the millennium? There are no resurrections during the millennium.
[Rex Sexton] To continue from where we left off, let's turn to Psalm 61. I do want to mention that we had some requests for some sort of a handout and today we are going to be giving you a number of lists that if you tried to write them all out, you might take quite a bit of time. So, I did kind of a condensed handout of the sermon from yesterday and today and it will be posted on the Portland website. We don't have a way to post them on the website for the Bend-Redmond Feast site, but they will be posted on the portland.ucg.org. And we have our own pdxucg.org website, that also functions very well. So, appreciate Mr. Chuprinko doing that for us. If you're interested in getting these and if you miss some of the writing, some of the lists, then you'll have those.
Psalm 61 is an amazing Psalm. You'll notice it's written by David and it tells us that David knew he was going to be resurrected and then be king again of Israel at a time far in the future. Sometimes we ask ourselves, how much did the prophets know? How much did they really understand? This, I think it's just really a revealing Psalm. "Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Perhaps reflecting on the fact that his palace, his house was built on a lower level than the temple of God, which was built upon Mount Moriah.
"You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings." And then there is a pause. It's the word "Selah" can mean a musical interlude, could also mean pause and think about what has just been said. He says, "For you, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name." So, David knew it was not just the heritage of the physical descendants of Israel, but the heritage of those who would come to fear His name. "You'll prolong the king's life, his years as many generations. He shall abide before God forever."
So, King David knew that he would be the leader of a reestablished Israel and Judah that would be the leader or the example nation for all those who would someday live in the Millennium and come to learn to fear the name of God. Amazing that David knew that. What a tremendous revelation for him that God told him somehow, we don't know how, and also for us to understand that he will be king over this reestablished nation of Israel.
I want to go back to Hosea 1:10 Hosea 1:10Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there it shall be said to them, You are the sons of the living God.
American King James Version×now because Hosea begins, obviously, it's a book of a very difficult time. A time when God's people are unfaithful. It is oftentimes an equate… or an equation or similar time to the times in which we find ourselves with Ephraim and Manasseh have completely forgotten God and seemed to have gone completely to idolatry or in our time humanism. In Hosea 1:10 Hosea 1:10Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there it shall be said to them, You are the sons of the living God.
American King James Version×, God said, "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea,” first, He's warning them in the earlier part of the chapter that they would be punished. They will be taken into captivity, but then He adds at some time in the future they will, again, be as “the number of the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. It shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’”
“In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’" was Jerusalem. That's where the profit's proclaimed it. That's where according to Ezekiel 9, the Spirit of God left the temple and went out to the Mount of Olives and then ascended to heaven, never to return in that Shekinah glory form in the temple except on the heads of those men who were there on the day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. And then later when Jesus Christ returns in the Spirit of God, once again, the dwelling of God, the Shekinah glory is in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. Verse 11 says, "Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together,” so, as we mentioned yesterday the two shall be reunited “and appointed for themselves one head;” in other words, King David will be king over all of them, all 12 tribes. "And they shall come up out of the land,” out of the land they shall come up to Jerusalem “for great will be the day of Jezreel!” So, here they are called in Jerusalem the “sons of the living God.” These people that were idolaters, that were scattered over the entire earth, that were punished will be brought back and will be called the “sons of the living God.”
Now, Ezekiel continues the story. Let's go to Ezekiel 34. Ezekiel 34 and we'll look at why Ezekiel was able to give to us as God came to him. There's a question, you know, “the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel” so many times and there has been a controversy over the years as well. Does that mean it was the Word, the Logos Jesus Christ or was it an angelic being, a messenger, bringing the message, word of the Lord? And I suppose we won't know the answer to that until Christ returns. At any rate, Ezekiel gives us a number of messages from the word of the Lord or the Word of the Lord. Chapter 34 and verse 1. "The word of the Lord came to me,” and “the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel,” I believe, it's something like 38 times in this book, but you'll have to check on that to make sure I was right. I may just be off by a few.
Ezekiel 34:11 Ezekiel 34:11For thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
American King James Version×says, "For thus says the Lord God: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.’" Israel will be scattered around the world, but God will seek them and bring them back. "As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so I will seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, I will bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in the inhabited places of the country." So, God says H e will bring back those scattered tribes of Israel and then feed them in the land that they used to inhabit. Verse 14, "I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. That they shall lie down in good fold and feed them rich pasture on the mountains."
The valleys were used in Israel for farmland where the dirt had accumulated, and the hillsides were used for grassland. That's why He says the pastures are up on the mountains. Verse 15, God says, "I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” so, God is going to give them peace, make them lie down, make them have a time of peace and safety. Verse 16 says, "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong and feed them in judgment." So, He indicates here that there will be some who will not receive the blessing as much as others. They would be punished because of their own behavior.
Verse 17, "And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, and between rams and goats.’" Jesus Christ paraphrased this in Matthew 25 when He said He would bring all nations before Him and judge between the sheep and the goats. "Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture — and have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue of your feet? And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet." So, He's showing here that there would be perhaps a little bit of a challenge that not all Israelites will be excited. Not all will accept Jesus Christ as their Ruler. Perhaps not all will even want to return to the Promised Land. And so there will be some judging going on.
Verse 20, "Therefore says the Lord God to them: ‘Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and lean sheep. Because you have pushed with the side and the shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and [goats]. And I will establish one shepherd over them,’” We know who He's talking about because of this verse. This is not in question that this is the 12 tribes of Israel, “…he shall feed them — My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken it." And then He continues to talk about the covenant that He will make with them.
Let's drop down to chapter 35, just one chapter over. Let me see. Let's start in verse 1. "Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it,’" so, He's talking here about the neighbors surrounding Jerusalem and Israel when they are reestablished that the neighbors are going to be jealous. And then, of course, the neighbors are going to have, at some point, a time of conversion. A time where they will have a change of heart when they see what's going to happen. We know that because verse 13 says this, “'Thus with your mouth you have boasted against Me and multiplied your words against Me; I have heard them.’ Thus says the Lord God: ‘The whole earth will rejoice when I make you desolate. As you rejoiced because of the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; and you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir,’” so, we have the nations around there being punished and the nation's gradually learning to obey God as we oftentimes read in Zechariah 14.
Now, that's the end of number two. Now, let's look at number three, which is all the earth. We are still in the section concerning how the gospel will be brought to all the earth, beginning in Jerusalem as it was in 31 A.D., then proceeding out to the area of Judea and Samaria and finally, to all the earth. There are a number of things that are going to be a challenge. We don't have time to discuss all that false religion believes, all the atheists or the various pagan religions around the world believe, but just rest to say that they don't understand God, His plan, sin, payment for sin, penalty. Everything seems to be sort of like a bunch of scrambled spaghetti. Over to Ezekiel 44, we have the last part of Ezekiel 40-48. The final section of Ezekiel reveals the physical surrounds of Jerusalem and what God is going to have to do to get people to understand what sin is, what His laws are, what the consequences of breaking His laws are, and, of course, the need for redemption, the need for a sacrifice to pay the penalty.
So, many of the religions of the world are based on idolatry, based on these fantasy beings with all sorts of arms and legs and various crazy things, especially if you go to India or the Far East. In America, we believe it seems like in humanism in ourselves. And perhaps you remember Shirley MacLaine a number of years ago singing and dancing on stage and proclaiming to the audience, "I am god. You are god. We are all gods." And I think says a lot about what Hollywood believes and what often our children are taught, that we are all our own supreme authority. That we are whatever supplanting God of His authority. So, we have to learn. Ezekiel 40-48 reveals the restored Kingdom that they will be an established Kingdom of God here on the earth. That's number one. Number two, a rebuilt temple. And these, by the way, will be on the handout. Number three, a transformed priesthood. The priesthood had become corrupt by the time that Israel and Judah went into captivity. And part of Ezekiel 40-48 describes that line of faithful priests, Zadok in his line, and how they will be then used to reestablish a priesthood in Jerusalem.
A renewed monarchy under King David is talked about and described in these chapters of Ezekiel. Reapportion territory. That's number five. The reapportion territory describes how these number of miles and the estimates run about 75 miles square, maybe even 150 miles square depending on the size of the cubits and the understanding of some of those measurements. And then finally, we have a renewed people. Ezekiel doesn't just talk about a temple and sacrifices and priests and buildings and territory and sizes and rooms for storage, and rooms for all the other things that the angel takes Ezekiel on this tour of. It also talks about a renewed people. In chapter 44 of Ezekiel, I want at least look at a little section here. "Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary…” we are breaking into the middle of the story here. Actually, it's the middle of the tour guide. It's kind of like a Rick Steves tour guide of Europe. This is an angelic tour guide of the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and its environs in the Millennium.
“He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces towards the east, but it was shut. The Lord said to me, 'This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.'" And that's the gate that faces to the east. Today, there is a wall on this side of Jerusalem on the top of the Mount Moriah area or Mount Zion and the outer gate or the eastern gate there is all blocked up. It's a wall, probably more of a Byzantine or crusader air wall, but it is built likely on the foundations of the old Herodian wall. But that gate is blocked up and in front of that, there are thousands of graves. People buried above ground in this kind of white limestone sarcophagi.
Now, the reason for that is because the Muslims who took over that part of the world in the 800s, 900s A.D. understood about the Jewish prophecies of the Messiah returning and entering through the eastern gate. So, they quickly blocked up the eastern gate with concrete blocks and they buried people in front of the gate because in their belief system, nobody would walk on a grave and desecrate it and those two things are going to keep the Jewish Messiah from entering Jerusalem. It’s probably not one of those non-sequiturs. You know, this does not compute, all-powerful God is somehow stopped by some graves. I don't think that's going to happen. But anyway, you can see that eastern gate when you go to Jerusalem, you'll pictures of Jerusalem as viewed from the Mount of Olives and you'll see that gate that's blocked up with blocks and you'll see those graves in front of it and you'll kind of roll your eyes and you think about, you know, God says, "My ways are a little higher than your ways." Man doesn't think quite like God thinks.
But let's continue in chapter 44. "As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by the way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way." So, only the prince, I believe it’s referring to the ruling Christ is the only one that will be able to go through that eastern gate. "He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; and looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; and I fell on my face." It's a great read to go back to Ezekiel 9 and the previous chapters where, again, Ezekiel is taking a tour of the temple that existed in 586 B.C. and all of the horrible idolatrous practices that were going on. Women crying for tamas, all sorts of Egyptian gods described on the inside of the wall and is simply God simply says, "My Spirit cannot abide this evil." And so God's Spirit leaves and goes out to the Mount of Olives and ascends to heaven from the same place that Jesus Christ Himself would do about 1500 years later and will return back to that same place.
By the way, do you know where the first time the Mount of Olives is mentioned in Scripture? Sad. It's just really sad. The very first time the Mount of Olives is mentioned in the Bible, and when I first realized this, it was kind of heartbreaking, like “Really? Really? Is that true?” It says that Solomon built a temple for his wives foreign gods on the Mount of Olives on the east of Jerusalem. First time it's mentioned. I thought “Wasn’t that sad?” because it's the great focal point of Christ descending, the Spirit of God ascending and in Ezekiel 9 and then returning. Jesus Christ is going to return there. And the first time it's mentioned is Solomon should have known better, he was warned, is building a temple of idols there. So, this shows you how Satan works. Well, let's continue. Ezekiel is excited that the glory of God refills this rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. The "Lord said to me, ‘Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.’"
So, we read earlier that no one could come to Jerusalem who was unclean or was uncircumcised in heart. So, here, Ezekiel is being warned that no one can enter this house or the sanctuary unless they are qualified. "Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of your abominations. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it — My house — when you offered My food, and the fat of the blood, then broke My covenant because of your abominations. You have not kept charge of My holy things, which you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.”’" So, they will know, the physical people of Israel will know that it's going to be done right this time. Don't forget what Paul said about the covenant finding fault with them. They broke the covenant. God did not. His system works very well and His system for bringing people to Jesus Christ and the understanding of their need for salvation is flawless.
Verse 8. “'You have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.’ Thus says the Lord God: ‘No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who was among the children of Israel.'" So, to enter the sanctuary of God, you must be circumcised in heart, which means repentant, which means you tremble at the Word of God. "And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. And they shall be as ministers in the sanctuary, as gatekeepers in My house and ministers of the house; and they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them."
In other words, these are the men who didn't do their job very well. Says, “'Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,’ says the Lord God, ‘that they shall bear their iniquity. And they shall not come near Me to minister as priest, nor come near to any of My holy things,’” so, all during the Millennium when this temple is in operation, there will be an example of people who didn't do it right, who did it their own way, who sinned, and they will not be allowed to function as priests in the way that God had ordained. And so there will be examples of how not to do it and the fact they are paying the penalty for that for many years.
Verse 15. "The priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to minister to Me;” Now, this is an incredible prophecy about this family of Zadok who lived during the time of King David, who down through the years, apparently, were very, very faithful. And they did not, just like the Rechabites, they did not go back on the job God gave them to do. And they will be an example of people who obeyed God and did what was right all down through time. I'd like to meet some Zadokites. If any of you want to look at your lineage and verify you're a Zadok, please come see me. "But He says to me, ‘they shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,’ says the Lord. ‘They shall enter My sanctuary, they shall come near to Me… or to My table to minister to Me, and to keep My charge.’" So they are the example of loyalty and of doing it the way God wanted it to be done.
Now, just briefly, let's touch on why there's going to be a temple and sacrifices reestablished to decipher how long, but for a time perhaps for the entire Millennium. Let's go back to Galatians 3:17 Galatians 3:17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot cancel, that it should make the promise of none effect.
American King James Version×. Galatians 3:17 Galatians 3:17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot cancel, that it should make the promise of none effect.
American King James Version×. The purpose will be the same as the original purpose. The first time God instituted sacrifices and a Levitical system in the tabernacle and then later it was carried on into the temple, was to teach people their need for repentance, their need for forgiveness, their need for atonement. And we keep the Day of Atonement every year. And, of course, that is something that as Christians with God's Spirit and having been called by Him and brought to repentance, Romans 2:4 Romans 2:4Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
American King James Version×. It's a goodness of God that leads you to repentance. We understand that the need for atonement and forgiveness and our repentance and our continually living as a sacrifice for Jesus Christ. But the world does not understand God in those terms at all. It simply doesn't understand so much about the truth.
Oftentimes, people think the law is done away when they even understand the Bible. You go to a place like India or Pakistan or perhaps Thailand where the thousands of Buddhist gods or Hindu gods, it's just they can't just hear about Jesus Christ and become converted. They have to be led as a schoolmaster. And I think it's even true becoming more true in our land. There was a… I forget the exact details. You have to ask my wife, a little boy, about eight years old that was visiting and playing with some of the kids in the neighborhood or something. I forget the exact terms. I remember what was said and one of the kids was talking about camp, I believe it was and said, “What’d you do at camp?” He said, "We learned about God and about Jesus." And the little boy visiting said, "Well, Jesus? Who is He? Is He a superstar or a villain?" Because he'd never heard anything. Never heard anything about God or about the Kingdom of God or Jesus Christ or anything about the Bible. And so many in our land are being raised completely ignorant of God's Word, even though we call ourselves a Christian nation.
But in Galatians 3:17 Galatians 3:17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot cancel, that it should make the promise of none effect.
American King James Version×. Paul says, "This I say, that the law which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ,” the Covenant with Abraham, “that it should make the promise of no effect." And, of course, Abraham is the father of the faithful, and if we are in Jesus Christ, we are heirs of the promises made to Abraham. "For if the inheritance is of the law, is no longer a promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. What purpose then does the law serve?” He's referring to the law that was added 430 years later that will be reestablished in Jerusalem and once again carried out. "It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator." The mediator was Moses. “Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not!” Does it conflict with the promises of eternal life and inheritance that God gave to Abraham? The answer is absolutely, no.
"For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has [confirmed] all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe." People have to be convicted of sin. They have to understand the gift of eternal life. They have to understand the wages of sin is death. They have to understand they are not an immortal soul. They don't have some ethereal heaven to go to immediately when they die.
Verse 23. "But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterwards be revealed." Notice, the faith would afterwards be revealed. We understand that because it was revealed on the Day of Pentecost. It was revealed in the teachings of Jesus Christ, beginning with the Sermon on the Mount and then three years of teachings following that. But that faith will be revealed to the entire earth after Jesus Christ returns. They will have their minds open, the gentile nations, the nations all around the earth will have an example of Israel. These 12 tribes that were brought back, these rebellious tribes that had left God, forgotten God, had been rebellious, are now in a state of harmony and are now an example as to how a nation ought to function and how people ought to believe.
So, verse 24 is understandable in the context of the Millennium. "Therefore, the law was our tutor” or our schoolmaster or our teacher “to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." So, the law brought people to the need… to the understanding of the need of Jesus Christ that we might be justified not by works, not by earning it, but by faith. Now, most of us don't understand at least, the millennial generation or younger, don't understand what a schoolmaster used to be. There may be some of us who are old enough to be having been tutored by a schoolmaster. Can I see by show of hands how many know what a schoolmaster was? The headmaster of the school. Well, I had a schoolmaster for a couple of three years and that was in Savannah, Georgia when my father was flying B-47 bombers loaded with nuclear bombs heading over towards Kiev to kill a whole bunch of Mr. Kubik’s relatives.
In reality, that was probably true. But my father was a B-47 pilot. And in the years before, we had submarines. Polaris submarines were kind of deployed in the early '60s. But before that, we had one-third of our bomber force in the air headed with bombs and targets and orders to drop one-third at all times. And they flew from all over the world and they turned around within a couple miles of the Soviet Union and landed. I asked my dad one time, "Did you ever not get the order to turn around?" He said, "Yeah. A couple times, but we had other methods of trying to determine whether or not the bombs had been lost." Well, in Savannah, Georgia in the early '60s, Air Force colonels did not send their children to private school. So, they sent them all to Mrs. Hancock's Academy. So, from the time I was like five years old, I went to Mrs. Hancock's Academy for a few years.
Now, you've all seen Mrs. Hancock because she was on the Beverly Hillbillies as granny and Irene Ryan. And Mrs. Hancock walked around with her hands behind her hips with a yardstick. A yardstick is a three-foot-long piece of wood. And if we did anything wrong, that yardstick came out and whacked us across the knuckles and we had to sit straight up. We had to have our hand on our paper. We had to write just like this. Didn't have all this kind of gnarly type of holding a pen and pencil that kids do today. We had to do it exactly right. And Mrs. Hancock, when she was walking down your row, it was sheer terror. We had to make sure because the crackle on our knuckles was not pleasant. So, she was a schoolmaster and she brought us from first grade to second grade to third grade in a way that I think many of our kids today would benefit from in fact. So, the law would be like Mrs. Hancock. It would be a schoolmaster to bring people to the understanding of their sin and their need for repentance and their need for Jesus Christ to be their Savior.
Let's go to Psalm 47. Psalm 47. The world is going to have to learn that they need a supreme Creator, that there is one God, not millions of gods or that they are not God. We're going to have to learn that they are themselves, not the supreme authority, that sin is a breaking of God's law and that sin separates people from God and that sin must be paid for. Going to have to learn a lot of very basic principles and you will have a part in teaching them. Psalms 47:1 Psalms 47:1O clap your hands, all you people; shout to God with the voice of triumph.
American King James Version×says, "Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!… He is a great King over all the earth." Verse 2. "For Lord Most High is awesome. He's a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the people's under us, and the nations under our feet." So, the song really is sung by Israel or perhaps by all those who are spirit beings administering the earth. All the nations will be subdued under us, under our feet. “He will choose our inheritance for us,” so, He will choose what inheritance you might have. Five cities, 10 cities, whatever it is.
"The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. God has gone up with a shout, the Lord has with the shout of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth;” And in the Millennium, the goal will be to make sure that Jesus Christ is the King ruling over all the earth, but it will take time to bring those nations to that knowledge and individuals to the place where they are qualified for salvation. And ends in verse 8, "God reigns over the nations; He sits on His holy throne." So, the setting of Psalm 47 is very clear. It's the time that we are commemorating by keeping this Feast of Tabernacles.
Let's go now over to Psalm 98. Psalm 98. As I mentioned yesterday, the Psalms are, I believe, the greatest book of prophecy in the Bible. Certainly, they are almost all prophetic in one form or another, and if you read them with careful analysis and put them into perhaps a future timeframe, just amazing what comes off the page. Psalm 98 is about salvation. The news of salvation to all the earth. “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him victory." And we've sang that song in our hymnal since the early '70s. "The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the name of the nations."
Now, we can read over that or we can stop and think. What does it mean, God has made known His salvation to all the earth? Maybe it means He's told the whole earth now through those who are His family and His servants and His ministry, His priests. This is how you attain salvation. This is what you must do. This is God's plan for your life.
Verse 3, "He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;” notice this, “all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God." So, the message of salvation goes out to all the ends of the earth during the time of Jesus Christ's rule. But as we said at the beginning, there are no resurrections during the Millennium. None that we know of. There are deaths, there are deaths of evil people, but no resurrections. How do you reconcile that? Well, we're going to see.
Verse 5 . "Shout joyfully to the… earth… all the earth bring forth in song, rejoice, and sing… sing praises. Sing to the Lord with a harp, with a harp and the sound of psalm,” it’s a great joyful celebration because all the earth has seen the salvation of God. Let's go over to Psalm 100. Remember, there's no unclean or sinful person allowed to come to Jerusalem. So, the people mentioned here have to be forgiven. "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all ye lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing." So, here people are called to come before God's presence with singing. "Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people, the sheep of His pasture."
People are realizing that God is their Creator. That they're not the result of a bolt of lightning hitting some warm swamp 100 billion years ago. Verse 4. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,” the gates are the gates of the temple, the court, the courtyard around the temple area, the gates of that rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. "Enter into His gates and into His courts with praise." The court of Solomon, the other courtyard surrounding that rebuilt temple that is described in detail by that tour guide in Ezekiel 40-48. "Be thankful to Him, and bless His name for the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." So, these people are rejoicing about the salvation that has been taught throughout all the earth and these people are coming into the temple as the gates are open.
Now, let's go to Isaiah 25. Continue the story. Isaiah 25. This is a chapter about people rejoicing in salvation. They're rejoicing in the fact that their life is now eternal life. That they're no longer physical and subject to death. Isaiah 25:1 Isaiah 25:1O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things; your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
American King James Version×, "O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. You have made a city a ruin, a fortified city a ruin, a place of foreigners to be a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore the strong people will glorify You; the city of terrible nations will fear You. You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat."
A little bit of history being discussed here by Isaiah about a city that was oppressing Israel, but now it's going to be no more. But during that time of persecution by Babylon, God had been a strength to the needy in distress. A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat. In other words, they've been protected. Verse 5. "You'll reduce the noise of the aliens, as heat in a dry place; as heat in the shadow of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones will be diminished." Verse 6 then says, "In this mountain" referring to Mount Moriah or Mount Zion in Jerusalem, "the Lord of hosts will make for all people" not just for Israelites, not just for Judahites, "the Lord of hosts will make for all people” all the earth, “a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees." In other words, great celebration and great appreciation by those people.
"He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all the people, as the veil that is spread over the nations." And that covering obviously is sin. The covering is a sinful society, sinful government, a society we know as "The prince of the power is the air" being the owner of it. Being the one who is the author of it.
Verse 8. "He will swallow up death forever,” what does that mean? It means immortality. Remember Jesus Christ alone has immortality and He's reigning in Jerusalem. And it says, "He will swallow up death forever, the Lord God will wipe away tears from their faces; the rebuke of His people, He will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it." So, God is simply prophesying here about Christ's, the ruling Jesus Christ being in Jerusalem. Having people come to Jerusalem, having as it says here, "death swallowed up forever, wiping away all tears from all faces."
And verse 9, "It will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God;’” so, these people who are not just Israelites are in Jerusalem and they say, "Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we'll be glad and rejoice in His salvation." So, they're talking about receiving salvation. They're talking about at the temple of God, being glad waiting for Him and then finally, receiving salvation. This is not a resurrection, this is not somebody coming out of the grave. These are people who are going to Jerusalem from all nations and God is swallowing up their death forever. And God is wiping away all tears from their faces forever and they are saying, "We have waited for God; and we are rejoicing and we'll be glad in His salvation."
Let's continue in verse… I'm sorry, Isaiah 56. Isaiah 56 is pretty pointed. Isaiah 56, to summarize says, "I'm going to bring them to my holy mountain to accept them. I'm going to bring them to my holy mountain to accept them." Isaiah 56:1 Isaiah 56:1Thus said the LORD, Keep you judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
American King James Version×. "Thus says the Lord: ‘Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come… My salvation is about to come,’” the entire earlier part of the chapter has been about Gentiles, has been about nations where the chapter before that and about how God says, "Anyone who wants to come to Him in thirst, He will open the door." But let's continue in this chapter, “…My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold of it; who keeps from the defiling the Sabbath and keeps his hand from doing any evil."
So, the Sabbath is going to be kept and observed in the Millennium and God's righteousness is going to be revealed and there will be men and women who abide by that, who want to continually obey God and keep His Sabbath. "Don't let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak, saying, 'The Lord has utterly separated me from His people.'" God says, don't tell the foreigners that they're separated because they are not. They are not separated because they're different nations or different peoples or different lineages. "Don't let the eunuch say, 'I am a dry tree.' For thus says the Lord: 'To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast to My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than sons and daughters; and I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.'"
Where else does it say you receive an everlasting name? It says, "He that endures to the end…" in Revelation 2 and 3, the message is to the churches, and that's referring to a spirit life where you get the name of God on your forehead. So, He says, "These people are coming to Jerusalem, to His place between His walls." And it says, "There, they will be given an everlasting name that shall not be cut off." This isn't a resurrection. It's a transformation. This is an instantaneous change from physical life to eternal life.
Verse 6. "The sons of the foreigner who joins themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants — to everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast to My…" this is important, "everyone who keeps My Sabbath and holds fast to My covenant — even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar." Don't forget, nobody can come unless they are white… unless they are wearing white linen. Spiritually speaking. There are to be no defiled or unclean allowed. So, these people are being brought to God's holy mountain. They're going to be joyful in God's house of prayer, their offerings, and their sacrifices will be offered because they are living sacrifices. They've proven that. "For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. The Lord God said, who gathers the outcast of Israel, ‘I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.’"
So, this is a message of salvation for all the earth, not just for the people of Israel. And they're being brought to God's holy mountain so that God can there accept them. Let's go to Isaiah 60. Beginning in verse 1. Isaiah 60:1 Isaiah 60:1Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen on you.
American King James Version×, "Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, the deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you." So, God's glory is going to be seen on people. “The Gentiles shall come to your light, and the kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around and see: they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; those from Sheba they shall come; they shall bring gold and incense, they shall proclaim the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be brought to you;” and it says, "the rams of Nebaioth shall come to you;” now, this is important, "they shall ascend with acceptance to My altar,” word honor to either one, "they shall ascend with acceptance to My altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory."
Now, where in the Bible do we have people ascending with acceptance to God's altar? We have 15 chapters of it, 15. You see, in Jerusalem, going up to the temple are 15 steps. Those 15 steps are very long, about four feet deep. I've walked them. I've walked the same ones that Jesus Christ walked when He was on the earth because when Herod rebuilt the temple on the south side of the temple, below that big corner, just to the middle there, there are actually this long staircase that was rebuilt by Herod and is 15 steps high. Begins at street level goes up to the platform level of the temple. And as the priests went to the temple every morning, they would stand on the first step and they would recite Psalm 120.
And on the second step, they would recite Psalm 121. And on the third step, they would recite Psalm 122. And these are called the ascension or degree Psalms, but they are the steps of salvation. And I believe that they are the Psalms that will be sung as people go up the stairs of Jerusalem to the altar of God to receive salvation during the Millennium. Now, I want to read through these. Let's begin in Psalm 120. And I don't want you to think about people in the Millennium, necessarily. I want you to think about your own life because you went through every one of these steps as you were coming to be accepted by God, as you were presenting yourself as a living sacrifice, as you were being called and went through the steps of repentance and conviction and forgiveness. These psalms depict that process for us and for all of those in the future. And I believe these psalms really tell us the process the people will go through in the Millennium because it's the process Christians, those who want to follow God, have always gone through.
So, Psalm 120 is the realization that society we live in is falsehood lies and evil. Psalm 120, a song of ascents, so picture those lineup of priests on that bottom row of steps, street level, south side of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. "In my distress I called to the Lord,” anybody ever called to the Lord in distress? I think we could all probably raise our hands. Sometimes when we talk to campers at summer camp and they have a lot of good questions. Very, very good questions. A lot of maturity being reflected the last few years, we tell them, "Look, there will come a time in your life when you won't have an answer and there won't be an answer except to pray. There will come a situation in your life at some point when there'll be something so awful all you can do is pray. There is no other answer, and you'll simply have to wait for the salvation of God." It might be a physical problem and challenge. It might be something with your children. Those of us who have raised kids have all gone through that.
So this Psalmist comes to that point "In my distress, I called upon God, He heard me. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.” Deliver me from this society of falsehood I live in. “Who shall be given to you… or what shall be given to you, or what shall be done to you you false tongue? Sharp arrows of the warrior,” verse 5, “Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech, and dwell among the tents of Kedar!” So, he's simply saying, I live in an evil society that I need to leave, need to be put behind me. We need to repent of Satan's way of life.
Psalm 121, the second step is the understanding of where real help comes from to save a person from death. "To the hills I'll lift my eyes — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord,” the realization that man cannot save himself, that man is not the author of salvation, that man has no immortality to offer. "He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel neither will slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper;” verse 7, "The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;” very important step in the process of conversion. Learning that only God can preserve us from evil. Only through God's Spirit can we resist sin to the point of victory. Psalm 122. Understanding that the temple in Jerusalem is the source of salvation. And that becomes this person's goal. He is now on the right path. Psalms 122:1 Psalms 122:1I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
American King James Version×. "I was glad when they said ‘Let us go up to the house of the Lord.’" And I'm going to go out on a limb here. Let's say that you're ruling five cities and you've got a young man over here. Let's just say his name is Joseph. I bet, you know, an odd name, a name like say Tony Roe or something like that, or maybe Jeff Richards. And you as a spirit being had been watching him. You see his conversion level rise, you know he's dedicated and he's reached that point in his life and it doesn't matter how long he lives, he's always going to obey God.
And how many wonderful people have we buried in God's Church over the years? That they could have been like Methuselah. They could have lived 900 more years. They still wouldn't have sinned. I mean, still wouldn't have disobeyed God intentionally. I think of Gil Gunderson and just so many others I've known that their character was set in stone. They were going to obey God and that's all that mattered. And that's all that mattered in their life. They really didn't care. That was it. And they were going to work at it real hard. So, when a person has reached that point, sometimes God just lets them die as we have all witnessed. But maybe if you are a God being at that time, you'll go talk to Jesus Christ and say, "Well, I've got a person here that's ready. He's not going to follow Satan. He's not going to go back, his character is firm. So, can we bring him to Jerusalem to be turned in the spirit being?" And I think obviously the answer would be “yes.” So, that's kind of conjecture we're putting together from some of these verses. There are no other options, by the way, offered in the Bible. If there's some other options, and please tell me about it because God has not revealed it in the times I've read the Scriptures. But let's continue on here.
"I was glad when they said to us, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” “We’ve been standing close, but we want to come closer." “Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together, where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the Testimony of Israel,” the Word of God “to give thanks to the name of the Lord.” Notice, “Thrones are set there for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.” He continues more talking about the house of God and how he's going to seek God's good.
Psalm 123. Now think about how you went through this process yourself and how others, millions will go through it in future years. Psalm 123. This is called the solemn profession which God's people make of faith and hope. When you come to the point where you make a commitment, “I want to be like God. I want to leave my past.” "Unto to You I lift my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants looked to the land… or the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of a mistress, so our eyes will look unto our God, until He has mercy on us." How many of us made a commitment, at some point, that we wanted to follow God no matter what? They will come unto to that point. So, the priest, I'd go up to level five. Stair number five. Psalm 124. In this case, they are thankful that God delivered them from the tribulation, from the plagues, from all the things that have happened.
“'If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,’ let Israel now say, — ‘If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then men would have swallowed us alive,’” people can say, "God kept me alive, kept my family alive to bring me to this point." Down in verse 6. "Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;” I think we're all very thankful that God called us in this life and has called us out of this world that we don't have to fear about what the future might hold like so many do. Watching the news and seeing what's happening in our land.
Psalm 125 the sixth step, a song of ascents about faith is just talking about building faith because once we had made the commitment, understand that God has delivered us. The next few steps really are building faith and learning that when we obey God, God blesses us, not the other way around. We don't wait till God bless us and then obey, but sometimes people get that mixed up. But it's a song about building faith. "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever." So, it's a song about building faith as this five verse psalm, as the priests were to recite it on that stair. Stair number six, they understood building faith and those who have been called by God live a life of building faith. So, this never stops.
Verse 126… or chapter 126. The seventh song. The seventh step of that process of going up to the altar of Jerusalem is about understanding the reward of the future. Building faith and understanding that there are great rewards in mind and ahead for those who obey God. “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream.” When we returned to the promised land, it was surreal. This is wonderful. I can't even believe it's so wonderful. "Our mouth was filled with laughter, our tongue with singing. When they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad. O bring back our captivity, O Lord as the streams in the South. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who goes forth continually weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." So, it's a song about the reward of obeying God and the song about the rewards of sowing in joy, meaning in repentance and coming to God with a pure heart.
The eighth stair, Psalm 127 is understanding the family concept because God has a family. God is the Father of that family. Paul talked about the great family in heaven. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;” and it's one that we all ought to seriously consider about our own family and the great blessings that God gives us as family so that we can understand Him and how He operates.
Verse 3, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is their reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are children… the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." So, it's an appreciation and an understanding of the family concept that God has a family and that we are blessed to learn those lessons from that.
Psalm 128, or the 9th stair is a song about peace. Remember Jesus Christ said, "My peace, I leave with you. Peace that passes all understanding.” There's a time in the life of every Christian when we gain peace. We come to a place where the future doesn't really matter that much. Sometimes when people know they're dying, whether it is a death sentence in the sense of the doctors have told them or they just know that their time is coming close, there's a certain peace that seems to descend upon them. There are a lot of challenges with being in God's ministry. There are also some very special moments. And since we're here in Oregon, I think many of the audience might remember the five Tears sisters that lived in the Salem area came out after Mr. Armstrong, maybe Elfie Stevens and some of the others. The youngest Tear sister was Tishy Sparks. And Tishy Sparks called me one day and I was a fairly new minister in Albany. And she said, "Mr. Sexton, I needed to talk to you tomorrow at 3:00." I said, "Oh, really? Why is that?" She says, "Well, I'm going to die the next day at 3:00 and my family's coming tomorrow at 5:00 and I want to spend two hours with you first." I said, "You're going to die the day after tomorrow at 3:00? She said, "Yep."
She'd had leukemia for years and they had been plugging her into more tubes and needles and bottles than anybody I've ever seen. And she said, "The doctor said there's no more they can do. They cannot give me any more medicine, they cannot get me any more IVs." And she said, "I will die of leukemia at 3:00 day after tomorrow, but I want to talk to you first." So, I went out and spent the afternoon just her and I alone. I know that the rules are you can't visit with a woman alone. But honestly, in this case, I broke the rules and I didn't feel real guilty about it. She's laying there in bed telling me all about her life and her kids and how disappointed she was. She wished her kids would have followed God more. And she told me a lot of other very personal things, but I was amazed that the peace. Peace, she's going to die in 48 hours, but she knew she had it made. She knew she was going to be in God's Kingdom. She was a very dedicated woman of God. Had been since the 1930s.
And so she lived, Psalm 128. She came to that place of peace. And I could talk about others that we've talked with over the years. David Mills and I took care of George Hill for about three weeks when he was dying in his bed. And George was a riot and he was laying there dying of cancer and we would clean up his bed and take care of him, change his sheets and whatever. And when we would leave George would say, "Hey, wait a minute." He said, "If you need me, I'll be right here." Said that every day for about two weeks before he finally died. But he kept his sense of humor and a sense of peace because he, too, was a man of God.
So, Psalm 128. "Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. And your wife shall be like a fruitful vine the very heart of your house. And your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus the man will be blessed who fears the Lord. Bless the Lord out of Zion, that you may see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel!” It’s simply a song about God's blessing and peace and how on that 9th step they paused to rethink about that because God truly does give us a sense of peace that passes all understanding.
Psalm 129 would be the 10th stair and it typifies separation from the world and evil people being complete. This is at a point in a person's life when they really are separate from the world. They have no more interest in being like the world. It says, “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth, let Israel now say — many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; yet they haven't prevailed against me. The plowers plowed on my back; they made their furrows long. The Lord is righteous; He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked. Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back." That all those that hate Zion, hate Jesus Christ ruling on Mount Zion, there may be some doing that. There are certainly many that hate Zion today. "Let them be as the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up, with which the reaper does not fill his hand, nor bind the sheaves, in his arms."
So, he's simply saying "It's gone. You guys are no longer a part of us." "Let those who pass by them say, ‘The blessing of the Lord be upon you; we bless you in the name of the Lord!’” So, those who are following God, make a separation here from the society around them. Psalm 130, which is the 11th ascension psalm. The 11th stair on those 15 stairs. Thoughts turned to forgiveness and they are getting closer to standing before God.
Psalm 130 says, "Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Lord, if You should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” I think we all reflect on this before Passover every year. What if God kept track of our sins instead of forgiving them as far as the east is from west? "But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope." So, as they reach that 11th stair, they're getting close to the top. Man says, woman, says to herself, "I'm waiting for the Lord and in His word do I hope.” “My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning — yes, more than those who watch for the morning."
Verse 7. "O Israel, hope in the Lord; with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption." The song is about the forgiveness, the removal of sins, the abundant redemption. 131 the 12th step is about humility. Can you imagine walking up those stairs knowing that Jesus Christ is ruling in that temple and you're going to go up there, but you're still a human? Yeah. This be kind of scary, right? This is not Chuck Norris. This is not that type. Not that way at all. So, you're starting to get a little bit scared, a little bit of a humility comes over you. "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters,” like Job said, "I've said things far wonderful, more wonderful than I can comprehend, possibly." “…nor are things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother;” so, I'm still kind of like a little child now. "O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.
Psalm 132 is he's reminded of God's covenant with David in Jerusalem. So, as he’s ascending, he remembers that God keeps His covenants, that God keeps His word. "Lord, remember David and all his afflictions;” David is ruling as king over all the resurrected to all the tribes reestablished. He's part of God's spirit family forever, "how he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, or go up to the comfort of my bed, nor will I give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob." And so we talked about David's covenant.
Verse 10. "For Your servant David's sake, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed." So, he's claiming to be part of that promise, that covenant made with David. "The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: ‘I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body. If your sons will keep My covenant.’" So, he's reminded about the covenant of David.
Verse 17. "There I will make the horn of David grow;” talking about Zion because verse 13 says, "God has chosen Zion as His desired dwelling place forever." Verse 18. "His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon Himself a crown shall flourish." So, the one who was stating the Psalm apparently is claiming a crown similar to the one given to King David and reflecting on that.
Psalm 133, this is the second to the top. Almost to the top now. And is rejoicing at becoming part of the family of God. One of the many brethren that Jesus Christ is the firstborn of. We often reflect on this psalm as being about coming together for church or gathering at the Feast and it does apply in our time, but as a song of ascents going up to the very platform of the altar of God, the throne of Jesus Christ, I think it really refers more to becoming part of the spiritual family of God. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Can't be any more unity than a family of spirit beings. "It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It's like the dew of Hermon, descending upon Zion; there the Lord commanded the blessing — life forevermore."
It’s not talking about people gathering in a room, it’s talking about a place where God gives the blessing life forevermore. I hope you're understanding how this applies and how these people are going to think. Finally, the top. The final stairs. What will be on a person's mind as they are turned from physical to spirit? Thankfulness, appreciation, nothing about themselves, but simply thanking God. So, he says, "Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,” he’s in the sanctuary of God “and bless the Lord. The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!”
Yeah. It's pretty short. Three verses, but then again, I probably wouldn't have much to say other than just thankfulness and rejoicing. There's another side of this story, Isaiah 65. And this side is those who decide they're going to be sinners. They don't want God. No one's going to tell them what to do. They're going to do it my way. They're going to sing Elvis Presley's "My Way" song till very end. And even if God gives them 100 years to repent, 100 years of hearing His truth, 100 years of seeing great examples of many other people who are becoming part of God's family, their decision is no. Hard for us to understand, but there are people who will make that decision. They are known as the incorrigibly wicked.
Verse 20, "No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for a child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed." So, people who want to be sinful can live 100 years and then die and then await the third resurrection. The resurrection to punishment. That seems to be the conclusion of what this means. It does tell us about 100 years but does not tell us about that time if perhaps God allowed judgment. Now, it seems like He's allowed this 70 years, maybe 80, whatever it is to determine our character, but this is the only indication we have about that time. The time of the earth being recreated and redone, but there will be sinners who will die after 100 years and they will be accursed. Sad choice but that's what the Bible says.
Now, the final thing I think we need to think about is this. Where do we go for salvation? Jesus Christ is not in Jerusalem yet. There's no temple there. There's this dome thing that's used for all sorts of things that God would not approve of. Well, let's go to Hebrews 12. You see, only Jesus Christ has immortality. And so we don't go to a physical city or a temple to receive salvation. We go to a heavenly Jerusalem because that's where salvation is now being offered. And we do it through faith. We can't see it by the hearing of the ears or seeing of the eyes. We only see the evidence of God working in our lives and the understanding of His truth. But Hebrews 12:22 Hebrews 12:22But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
American King James Version×says, "You have come to Mount Zion" that's where we are. He says, "You come to Mount Zion" that's kind of like what everybody down through history has to do to receive salvation. "You have come… to the city of the living God." That city will someday be here on the earth.
Jerusalem chosen by God will be called the city of the living God, the city of the great King. But where is the great King now? Where is the city of the living God now? It's up in what's called the third heaven. What the Bible refers to it. But it says, "You have come to it now… the heavenly Jerusalem, surrounded by an innumerable company of angels,” so, when we come boldly, before God's throne to make our needs known we're coming to heavenly Jerusalem where Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God to an innumerable company of angels. And it says “to the general assembly and church of the firstborn” those firstfruits of God. Those who will be the ones who will bring this wonderful truth and salvation to all the earth, “who are registered in heaven,” not yet born again, yet eternal life, but yet God considers them an assembly of firstborn because their names are written in heaven.
But we're coming “to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant,” they will have to come to the mediator of the New Covenant for salvation from the beginning all the way to the end. There is no other name, no other way, no other process than coming up those steps in your mind and in your heart, perhaps someday, physically, but coming up those steps to the altar of Jesus Christ and accepting His sacrifice and saying, "I want to be Your servant forever."
We started out by talking about the good confession. The good confession simply is Jesus Christ is our Lord and our God and will rule all the earth and we want to be His servants. And so in the Millennium people will have that chance, just like you are having that chance now. And you are walking up these steps as you live each day. You're walking up the steps of that temple towards the altar because someday soon you are going to receive salvation.