• “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1:28 | Photo credit: Creative Commons CCO

The Book of Revelation – Beatitude Number Five

Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer - 30 October 2019

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

The final battle (which turned out to be not a ‘battle’ at all) of Armageddon has left nations behind, still in existence on planet earth. The devil has been locked up so that he can no longer deceive the nations.  Christ does not come to rule over a planet that has been emptied. He accepts the Kingship over the ‘kingdoms of this world’.  Daniel’s last and final kingdom is also a worldly kingdom, a realm encompassing the earth. Daniel 2:35 “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”

Will Christ reign on earth or from Heaven? Scripture is silent on this matter. Does He go back to Heaven after the Battle of Armageddon? Will He regularly cross over from the Heavenly Jerusalem to the earthly Jerusalem? We do not know. Will we do the same? We do not know. He will rule over the nations and guard them as a Good Shepherd (Psalm 23; John 10) and we shall do so together with Him.

Ruling with an iron scepter is different to bludgeoning with an iron club. In Paradise God gave the dominion over Creation to man. God said in Genesis 1:28 NLT “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” In ESV translation: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Having ‘dominion’, ‘govern’, ‘subdue’, ‘reign over’ or ‘guarding’ means: culture. The Latin translation of the word culture is derived from: ‘colĕre’. “Colĕre’ means: to till, farm, cultivate; worship.  ‘Guarding’ means governing and providing, taking good care of. Even in the sense of ‘worship’ – meaning full of respect for the Creator. ‘Reigning’, ‘having dominion over’ is not only judging, deciding what is ‘right or wrong’ but also putting things right. The earth is in ruins and the nations are totally at their wits’ ends. Christ is going to put everything right. He will do what Adam after the Fall did not do. What mankind since then did not do. Perfect justice will not only apply in Heaven, but also on earth; societies, nations which have never seen or felt righteousness will enjoy it now. Many texts in the Old Testament speak about this.

The Book of Revelation provides no further details about Christ’s rule on earth. The Old Testament prophets do, however. Nature will be restored; the desert will then become a garden and the garden like a forest; justice will dwell in the desert, Isaiah 32:16. Wild animals will be removed from the land, the rains will come on time; rains bring blessing so that the orchards and the land will bring forth their fruits, Ezekiel 34:25-27. There will be peace, so that the swords can and will be beaten into ploughshares, Isaiah 2:2-4. Life expectancies will rise, so that people will be as old as they were before the Flood, but there will still be death. There will no longer be any infants who only live a few days (i.e. no infant mortality), and every greybeard will live to a ripe old age. If people die when they are a hundred years old, they will be called ‘young’ people; even sinners will only be struck with a curse when they are aged a century. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of My people.  There will be peace in the animal kingdom as well.

Isaiah 65:19-25 “I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in My people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of My people; My chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.”

“The Messiah’s Kingship is inseparably linked to His Kingship of Israel.”

It will be an ideal world, although not yet perfect. There will be sin and death. Government will be heavy-handed and justice enforced. There will be un-believers.  Justice will be rendered on behalf of the afflicted.  There will still be conflicts between nations, but no war and the Lord – not the International Court at The Hague or the UN in America – will pronounce justice.  The New Heavens and the New Earth are still in the future. The nations will undergo a learning process, so that they will learn how to serve the Lord perfectly. Israel will play a central role. The Messiah’s Kingship is inseparably linked to His Kingship of Israel. Jerusalem will be the center of the world. David’s great Son reigns.

“Would anyone not want to be part of this?”

Is it any wonder that the ‘priestly kings’ who take part in the government, who share in the ‘first resurrection’, are pronounced ‘redeemed and holy’ (set apart and perfected)? Would anyone not want to be part of this? You know then for sure that the ‘second death’ will have no effect on you. The ‘first death’ is when your body dies on earth. The ‘second death’ is being cast into Gehenna, the ‘lake of fire’. Scripture speaks scantily of the impressive, awesome and beautiful future in human society under Christ. There is no room for speculation. Nor are there any ‘carnal’ expectations, as if it were to be a kind of Germanic Valhalla with carousing and women, or as in Islam a paradise with 70 virgins. It will be good and there will be peace and righteousness—a foretaste of what will be perfected when the New Heavens and the New Earth will ultimately have come.

The ‘end of the old world’ is not by the third World War, not by nuclear bombs or any other of the (A)tomic, (B)acteriological or (C)hemical weapons. Not total destruction by direct hits of asteroids. Not extinction, not total pollution, not Babylon and the realm of the anti-Christ. Those are only painful ‘birth pangs/pains’, which will bring forth the new world: the Kingdom of the Lord and His Anointed One. Then the sufferings of the ‘birth pangs’ will soon be forgotten!

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