In the model prayer that the Lord taught His disciples—commonly called “the Lord’s Prayer”—one of the key petitions is “Thy Kingdom come.” Most Christians today, however, have no real idea what this means. Yet there are more promises and prophecies about this “kingdom” than any other period in the entire Bible!

The lack of any realistic perspective on the kingdom may be the root source of the widespread apostasy that characterizes our contemporary churches today.

Leonard Ravenhill, the famous minister and preacher from England, said:

Is there then a forgotten truth from the holy and imperishable Word of the living God that could shake this Laodicean Church from its creeping paralysis? I believe there is. If there is no word from the Lord in this hour, there certainly is no word for the Church from anyone else. One day I grasped two handfuls of books of sermons and found that not one of them had a message on the [Millennial Kingdom] or the Judgment Seat of Christ. This, I am persuaded after much thought, is the most neglected part of eschatology. Sermons there are and books without number on the Second Coming of Christ, but books dealing as a sole subject [of the Millennial Kingdom] and the Judgment Seat of Christ can be counted on one hand. Why is this? Does meditation on such a penetrating truth terrify the minister? Well it might.

—Leonard Ravenhill

It is tragic that most of the major denominations—Roman Catholic and Protestant—embrace an eschatology (“study of last things”) that is amillennial: a view that does not envision a literal rule of Christ on the Throne of David on Planet Earth.

While there are many different, yet defendable, views regarding many aspects of end-time prophecies, this basic divergence—denying a literal Millennium—is particularly hazardous since it would appear to be an attack on the very character of God! It does violence to His numerous and explicit promises and commitments that pervade both the Old and New Testaments.

The Old Testament is replete with commitments for a literal Messiah ultimately ruling the world through Israel from His throne in Jerusalem. There are at least 1,845 references in the Old Testament and 17 books that give prominence to the event. The ancient rabbinical aspirations were dominated by it. In fact, this obsession obscured Israel’s recognizing the Messiah when He made His initial appearance.

There are at least 318 references in 216 chapters of the New Testament and 23 of its 27 books give prominence to the event. The early church looked longingly for His promised return as their “Blessed Hope” to rid a desperate world of its evil rulers.

The Davidic Covenant

One of the hazards of the amillennial view is the failure to take the covenants of God seriously. There are a number of major covenants—commitments—of God throughout the Old Testament. Four of them are unconditional (that is, unilateral commitments on God’s part):

1. The Abrahamic Covenant
2. The Land Covenant
3. The Davidic Covenant
4. The Everlasting Covenant

Throughout the world today anti-Semitism continually challenges the Abrahamic Covenant. Most New Testament Christians have an inadequate understanding of the Old Testament roots of our faith and the ultimate destiny of Israel in God’s program for mankind.

The Land Covenant, and Israel’s right to the land, is the primary challenge of the militant agenda of Islam today.

The post-modern church, in its Replacement Theology that ignores the passages outlining the ultimate destiny of Israel, dismisses the Davidic Covenant. Paul’s definitive statement of Christian theology we call the book of Romans hammers away in three chapters—9, 10, and 11—that God is not finished with Israel and emphasizes its future restoration. The fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant—and its implications for Christians in our day—is the subject of this article.

The Throne of David is central to many of the Messianic prophecies; i.e., Isaiah 9:6-7 and Luke 1:31-33.

The Throne of David, however, did not exist during the Messiah’s earthly ministry. So the Thorn-crowned One has yet to assume that very Throne and to fulfill this destiny; i.e., Acts 15:13-18 and Amos 9:11!

Revelation 20 details the fulfillment of these kingdom commitments in which a specific period of one thousand years is designated and thus yields the common label, the “Millennium.” (Although most of what we know about this period accrues from other related passages.) The Millennial Kingdom is a one-thousand-year literal and visible reign of Christ upon the earth during which Satan is bound, Israel as a people is re-stored, and the Jewish Temple rebuilt. Jesus will be the King of kings ruling over a literal kingdom, in the literal land of Israel, located in the literal city of Jerusalem.

The Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew used a specific phrase, “the Kingdom of Heaven” in his Gospel. He was the only one to use this phrase. Mark, Luke, and John, in similar passages always used the phrase “the Kingdom of God.” Many assume that these are simply synonyms. Careful exegetical study suggests that they are not precisely equivalent:

The Kingdom of God is all-inclusive; it’s a spiritual kingdom that focuses on our relationship with the King who rules over our hearts (Luke 17:20-21). This kingdom is universal, unlimited in scope, eternal in its duration and the subject of New Testament revelation.

It is promised to those who believe in Jesus Christ and to those who accept Him as their personal savior. Thus, the only door into this kingdom is Jesus Christ and it can be entered only by regeneration.

Matthew’s use of Kingdom of Heaven is more specific and a denotative subset within the all-inclusive term. This kingdom is the literal, earthly sphere of the universal Kingdom of God. It’s a physical kingdom and one that can be seen, so it is limited in scope. It’s called the Kingdom of Heaven because of its rule over the earth. It will be centered in Jerusalem. It’s also a political kingdom and will contain some unbelievers, i.e., some “tares.” It’s the Messianic Kingdom on earth and thus, it’s emphasis is Jewish. The people that will be in this kingdom are: resurrected Old Testament Saints (Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 8:11); resurrected Tribulation saints (Revelation 20:4); resurrected church age saints (1 Corinthians 6:2); and survivors of the Tribulation.

The object of the Kingdom of Heaven seems to be the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. In other words, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven will merge, fulfilling God’s plan to come down and dwell among us.

The illuminating discovery is that the Millennium is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. It is also important to realize that it is a physical kingdom on the Planet Earth.

See Chart 12: Defining the Kingdom
Chart 12

The Purpose of All History

Jesus summarized the purpose, tragedy, and triumph of all history:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wing. (Matthew 23:37)

The Tragedy of All History

But ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (Matthew 23:38)

When Jesus came, they rejected Him, attributed His miracles to Satan, and began plotting His death. From that day on, He preached publicly only in parables. His explanations were reserved in private sessions with His disciples. It will require the Great Tribulation to ultimately drive them to repentance:

I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their of-fence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me earnestly. (Hosea 5:15)

The Triumph of All History

For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:39)

Because of their rejection, national blindness was decreed upon Israel as Jesus rode that donkey into Jerusalem, presenting Himself as the Messiah on the very day that Gabriel had established with Daniel. But that blindness would not last forever

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:25)

Upon His return in power, the Messiah will establish His Kingdom, and build the Temple, fulfilling the Davidic Covenant.

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the Temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his Throne; and he shall be a priest upon his Throne. (Zechariah 6:12–13)

This is the Kingdom predicted throughout the Psalms and the Prophets, in which the Messiah will rule the earth “with a rod of iron” and before whom “every knee will bow.”

The determination of our individual roles and responsibilities in this Kingdom will be determined by our faithfulness and commitment in this life that we are now living.

by Nancy Missler
from The Kingdom, Power & Glory: The Overcomer’s Handbook
©2011 The King’s High Way Ministries, all rights reserved


2 Responses

  1. Muzi says:

    What is your understanding of what actually happens when Christ returns on the last day? Just about every work I have read on 2 Thes 1:6-10 attributes this passage to post-resurrection events.

    It is very common to assign all of 2 Thes 1:6-10, together with Matt 24:37-44 and Luk 17:26-35, to the post-resurrection and post-judgment condemnation of the non-elect into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15; Matt 25:41-46). This seems to be driven by “punishment of eternal destruction” in v9. While vv9-10 does seem to refer to the post-resurrection second death, there is a problem with lumping in vv6-8. If Christ is throwing people into the lake of fire as he appears from heaven that would mean resurrection and judgment would have taken place before his arrival. In this case it is difficult to explain how the judged are found personally accounting before Christ’s seat (2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10). Secondly, the ungodly are found going about their normal business of the day, unaware of their coming destruction (Matt 24:37-44; Luk 17:26-35; 1 Thes 5:1-4); they are working in the field, grinding at the mill and sleeping in bed. If this is post-resurrection/post-judgment, how are the already condemned resurrected people subsequently found conducting normal life and totally unaware of their sentence following judgment on that very same day? It is not possible.

    Prior to resurrection and judgment all the living ungodly are physically killed by the arriving Christ (Rev 20:9 (19:17-21)); none of the ungodly goes to judgment alive. After Christ fierily kills all the ungodly (Rev 20:7-9) then comes resurrection, judgment and condemnation (Rev 20:12-15). Therefore there are two fiery events on the last day: Christ’s fiery execution of the living ungodly and the post-resurrection/post-judgment lake of fire. Several other passages refer to the pre-resurrection fiery execution of the ungodly: Mal 4:1-5; Zeph 1:14-18, 3:8; Ez 38:21-23; Jud 7, 14-16; Rev 14:9-11; etc. It is this pre-resurrection fiery execution that 2 Thes 1:6-8 and 2 Peter 3:10-13, together with Matt 24:37-44 and Luk 17:26-35, refer to. The passage is taken directly from Isa 66:15-16 (66:24). Christ finds them living their normal life and unaware of what is about to befall them. Thus it comes as a “thief” to them.

    Consider Jesus’ warning in Matt 11:20-24: on judgment day the impenitent Capernaum citizens are condemned to Hades, not into the lake of fire. Hades is a place of the dead (pre-resurrection); Hades itself will be subsequently thrown into the lake of fire post-resurrection (Rev 20:14). It is therefore clear that Jesus is warning that Capernaum citizens will be executed by Christ’s fiery arrival (2 Thes 1:6-8). Even currently the impenitent face physical death just like the sinful Galileans and the eighteen (Luk 13:1-5; Rom 1:32). The same happened to the impenitent/apostate Jews in the OT (Dan 9:11-14; Deut 28:22; Ezek 18:20-24; Isa 1:18-20; 3:25; Jer 12:12; etc). In fact Paul’s warning against impenitence (Acts 13:40-41) is drawn from the same OT impending judgment on Israel through Babylon (Hab 1; Jer 4:5-18; Isa 5; Jer 1:13-16; 2:13-19; Joel 2:1-11). The same fate had befallen the northern kingdom through Assyria (Isa 8/10).

    In the process the living godly are delivered/rescued/saved from persecution by the ungodly (2 Thes 1:7a; Rev 20:9). They are saved from being harmed or killed; there are some godly people who are martyred. Matt 24:13 (10:22-23) also refers to the same rescue/deliverance from persecution of those who persevere in godliness. Of the persevering saints Luk 21:19 specifically says, “By your endurance you will gain your lives”. Thus salvation in Matt 24:13 (10:22-23) refers physical rescue/deliverance, not salvation from eternal or second death or lake of fire. Matt 24:9, with other parallel passages (Luk 21:12, 16-18; Mark 13:9-13a; Matt 10:17-23), indicates that the risk facing the godly is the intensifying persecution at the end of the age. Christ and the apostles warned their audiences about the end/return as though they would still be alive when it comes (Matt 24:42-51; Luk 12:35-48; 1 Thes 5:1-11; Rom 13:11-13; 2 Pet 3:10-11). Hence the promise of salvation/deliverance from persecution at the end of time for those who persevere in godliness. Since no one knows the return day (Matt 24:36; 25:13) we similarly must be ready/awake/watchful today. Needless to repeat those who are rescued and those who are executed are those who will be alive at the return as this is pre-resurrection.

    This is also typified by the escape/deliverance of believers from the invading Roman army in A.D 70 (Luk 21:21; Matt 24:16, 22) while the impenitent/ungodly are killed by the Romans (Luk 19:41-43; 21:20-24; Matt 24:19-21). The type/fulfilment scenario is mostly notable in the seamless transition of the narrative from the A.D 70 invasion (Matt 24:15-22) to Christ’s fiery vengeful return (23/24-31).

    The elect who persevere in godliness are also saved/delivered/rescued from God’s wrath (Christ’s fiery arrival) (Rom 5:9; I Thes 5:9). “The one who conquers… I will never blot his name out of the book of life.” (Rev 3:5). Being blotted out of the book of life here must refer to being physically killed (removed from the living) as in Ps 69:28. This book of life is different from the one written before the foundation of world where names cannot blotted out as election is unconditional (Rom 9:11). It seems that the elect do get removed from the living as a discipline (1 Cor 11:27-32; Rev 3:19; Rom 8:13; Acts 5:1-10). In the OT outpourings of God’s wrath, those who persevered in godliness were spared/rescued (Isa 3:9-11; 33:10-16; Hab 2:2-5; Jer 39:15-18, Ez 14:12-20; Dan 3:8-30; 6:21-24).

    Scholarly work has not paid enough attention to this particular event (2 Thes 1:6-8). It may be significant because many eschatological warnings (Matt 10:22; 24:13; Jud 14-15; Mal 4:1-2; Zeph 1:14-18; 3:8; etc) have erroneously been assigned to the lake of fire when in reality they more fit Christ’s fiery arrival. Christ’s fiery arrival also has implications for rebellious believers (elect) (Rev 2:15-16, 22-23; 3:2-3; 2 Thes 1:8b; 1 Cor 3:16-17; from 1 Cor 9:24 to 10:12; 2 Pet 3:9, 11-12; Matt 24:37-51; 25:1-30; Luk 9:23-26; Matt 16:24-27; Luk 13:22-30; Heb 10:26-31; Jas 2:8-17; Rev 14:9-12; etc). We can indeed rest assured that the elect are never ever in danger of the second death as their names are in the book of life (Rev 20:15). Their names were written in the book before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8, 17:8; Php 4:3) which is an allusion to unconditional election (Rom 9:11; 2 Tim 2:13).


    James 2 and Justification (“Back To Faith” – Dr. Fred Lybrand)

    The Use of “monon” [only/alone]

    The use of monon is another interpretive concern in James. The use of the word monon in James 2:24 is strategic to interpreting the meaning of this passage. The issue is simply whether monon is acting in an adverbial or adjectival way. If monon is functioning as an adverb, then it modifies dikaioutai. If it is functioning as an adjective, then it is modifying pisteew~. Niemelä explains the problem with the adjectival use,

    The adjectival use expresses the view that justification does not occur by faith alone. Rather, it is by faith and works. This clashes with Paul’s doctrine of eternal justification. Advocates of this view must finesse the difficulty by saying that James knew that justification is by faith alone, but that the kind of faith that justifies is never alone. Faith alone is the basis for the person receiving eternal justification, but advocates of the view would deny that any workless person ever receives eternal justification. Another way of saying it is that both faith and works must be present at eternal justification, but God only takes faith into account at that moment.

    The essence of this question gets to the point of whether James is saying, “Do you see a man is justified by works, and not [justified] only by faith?” (adverbial), or whether James is meaning it as an adjective (“justified by faith alone,” i.e. by faith by itself). The word “alone” in English is ambiguous and can be used either way. Declination of the Greek allows us to tell if monon is functioning as an adjective by simply looking for a substantive within the sentence that agrees. Niemelä correctly concludes the issue concerning James 2:24,

    Despite a separation of negatives and monon, the verse contains no word that can agree with monon in case-gender-number. It is adverbial…Thus, the following translation is untenable:

    A man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

    Rather, the word only is adverbial.

    A man is justified by works, and not only [justified] by faith.

    This in turn is more easily understood as: A man is not only justified by faith, but also by works.

    Based on this analysis Chay offers the following conclusion,

    What Niemelä’s analysis shows is that James has a concept of two justifications, one which is before God on the basis of faith (which his quotation of Genesis 15:6 in verse 23 makes clear), and another that is on the basis of works and is before men (as his argument in verses 22, 23, and 25 make clear). Even Compton, who clearly sees James from the Reformed perspective, identifies monon in this verse as an adverb, and acknowledges thatmonon acting adjectivally would be a rare and little seen use.

    Seen in this manner, then, James’ message becomes very clear: faith with no accompanying works has no value for the experiential living of the Christian life.

    In Christ,


    • Tim says:

      You’re digging deeply, Muzi. Perhaps others will have some thoughts to share on this. You might also post on the Koinonia House Facebook page where the focus on eschatology is more common. The King’s High Way has a more experiential emphasis. Your comments on James appear sound. Thanks for sharing.

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