And They Will Reign on Earth

Hi Reggie, I have been reading your post “Flesh and Blood Shall Not Inherit the Kingdom”. I have a question pertaining to the following point you made:

“This, of course, leaves the question of where will the glorified, resurrected redeemed be in relation to the saints of Israel and all that will be saved during the millennium. Will they co-habit the same space? Will mortals dwell with glorified immortals in the same physical location and discourse with one another as naturally as mortals do now? I don’t think so. That is not how the scriptures depict the millennium.”

In the context of the Abrahamic covenant, the promise of land is given to him personally and to his seed, meaning Christ as Paul stipulates in Gal 3:16. So resurrection is necessary for the fulfillment of this covenantal promise to Abraham, to his Seed, and to all who are in the seed – “And if you belong to Christ, you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:29). But does it not follow, then, that just as Abraham will physically walk in his inheritance of a land “from the great river to the Euphrates” so will we? Consonant with the literalness of this promise, the following verses suggest that Gentile believers could be physically present with the Jews in the earth at that time:

They sing a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.” (Rev 5:9, 10)

What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. (Ps. 25:13)

But the meek shall inherit the earth. (Ps. 37:11)

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever. (Ps. 37:29)

The seed also of his servants shall inherit it, and they that love his name shall dwell therein. (Ps. 69:36)

…but he that putteth his trust in me shall inherit the land, and shall possess my holy mountain. (Is. 57:13)

I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah inheritors of my mountains; my chosen (elect in KJV – in the Seed, we are part of the elect nation) shall inherit it, and my servants shall settle there. (Is 65:9)

To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant– these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer (see Is 56:3-7)

I know that I have sidestepped the issue of flesh and blood not inheriting the kingdom, but obviously, I’m coming at it from the covenantal angle. I’m looking forward to your response.

Robert

I am aware of the problem and know that many have wrestled with this question. The more intimate our knowledge of the details of how the prophets depict life in the millennium, the more difficult it seems to understand how the glorified redeemed will co-habit the same physical space with mortals, unless we are able to conceive of a more transcendent and multidimensional kind of occupation by those who will not be angels, but will certainly be “like the angels” (Mt 12:25).

Paul speaks of a perfection of knowledge that will transcend all temporal limits when he says, “but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1Cor 13:12). This is just one more thing that underscores how radically different our resurrected state will be to even the most exceptional Spirit-filled life in this present age. It’s another kind of existence. But this does not mean that ruling and reigning with Christ out of a spiritual realm over cities and nations is any less a real bodily inheritance of the earth. Nor should we suppose that because glorified saints are not immediately visible to mortals living all over the millennial earth that they are any the less kings and priests that both inherit and also reign upon the earth.

I certainly see your point about Abraham and the elect seed inheriting the earth, even more particularly the designated boundaries of the promised Land, but I also see that progressive revelation has expanded the scope of the promise to a higher spiritual plane of a city that has foundations (Heb 11:10), the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of us all (Gal 4:26). This is the city foursquare that comes down in final perfection on a new heaven and earth. With the former earth now ‘passed away’ (Rev 21:1), the New Jerusalem of the new heavens and earth is distinguished from the millennial Jerusalem, as having “no more temple”  at its center (Ezekiel chapters 40 – 48 in marked contrast w/ Rev 21:22).

The “new earth” is also distinguished as having “no more sea” (Rev 21:1). This is vivid and marked discontinuity with the present earth and designated parameters of the covenant Land. That is something beyond even a redeemed millennial Jerusalem. Yet the promise is not viewed as in the least way diminished or compromised, since those who are in Christ inherit not only a Land within circumscribed boundaries, but “all things” (Ro 8:32; 1Cor 3:21-23).

The millennium has its indispensable convenantal purpose that will not be circumvented or side stepped. It is the open and public vindication of all God has promised the Jewish people, as a distinct and visible ethnic entity, from whom the election can never depart (Ro 11:29). To this end they have been uniquely preserved and not suffered to assimilate. The millennium is a covenantal necessity essential to the name and Word of God. Because it is then that the Jews, as Jews in particular, will visibly exist for one thousand years in that particular Land as an all righteous people without instance of backsliding or defection (Isa 4:3; 54:13; 59:21; 60:21; 66:22; Jer 31:34).

This will be as a Spirit-filled nation, still in natural bodies, building houses, having children, and evangelizing the nations. Primary among many other things, the millennium is necessary to show that God is able to establish His covenant with a people who, in themselves, have proven hopelessly prone to backslide, but who now, as an entirely righteous nation, will be able to “securely” keep the Land forever without further threat of judgment and potential exile. The only way abiding security in the Land can be forever is if all of Israel has attained to a righteousness that is forever, even the “everlasting righteousness” of the “everlasting covenant” (Jer 31:34; 32:40; Dan 9:24). Only God could do this by His sovereign power, and that is precisely the point that the millennium exists to demonstrate in the sight of all nations.

The millennium is a distinct and necessary stage on the way to the final perfection, but it is not yet that perfection. It is not yet “the end” (1Cor 15:54). I do see that Abraham, as also the twelve apostles, inherit the present earth in the time that Jesus calls, “the regeneration” (Mt 19:28). They will certainly be present on the earth, even ‘bodily’, albeit not in the same kind of body (1Cor 15:40, 44, 49-50; Phil 3:21), and perhaps not visible with same kind of perception. I believe the glorified saints will be “like” the invisible rulers who presently rule the kingdoms of this world from the heavenly places.

This is not absence from the earth. We tend to think so much in terms of a spatial “above and beneath” that we neglect the mystical view that is thoroughly Hebraic, as implicit in Paul’s words when he says, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ …” (1Cor 5:4).

We may also recall how certain of the saints appeared bodily to many that were in Jerusalem after the Lord’s resurrection (Mt 27:53), or the appearance of Samuel to Saul (1Sam 28:13-19), or the transfiguration (Mk 9:4; Lk 9:31), or the unusual nature of His words to Mary (Jn 20:17-18).

An even more ready to hand example are those times when the risen Jesus would appear suddenly in a room, while showing complete knowledge of all that had been spoken days before (Mk 16:12, 14; Jn 20:25-27). Certainly His presence was there before the time of His appearances. In the same way the Spirit filled saints of the millennium will certainly be aware of the presence of the glorified redeemed, and there will doubtless be times of bodily appearances, but not to all; just as Paul alone could hear the distinct voice that those in his entourage could not hear (Acts 22:9).

I have a conception of a bodily resurrected Abraham, Job (19:25-27), Isaiah (Isa 26:19), Daniel, and all the righteous up to the point of the first resurrection (Dan 12:2, 13), not away in some detached place from the earth, but here, on the present earth, ruling over cities and nations, albeit in a greatly transformed mode of existence, and not immediately and all times visible to the inhabitants of the millennial earth. They are, however, completely visible to one another, and to the Lord, whose face is ever before them, regardless of spatial location.

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