New Testament Millennial Teaching
GEORGE H. FROMOW
In the following notes we endeavor to demonstrate that the future manifestation of the Messianic Kingdom in this present earth, is abundantly taught in the New Testament; that is that the doctrine of the Millennium is to be found therein in many passages before Revelation 20; where the length of the period is defined as 1,000 years.
It is a common, but big mistake, to suppose, as the non-millennarians do, that the first and only mention of that age in the New Testament is Revelation 20. We shall show, that other New Testament passages give clear and even more detailed characteristics of the Golden Age promised by Old Testament prophets. Moreover, New Testament Scripture is always an unfolding of the Old Testament, where the day of Jehovah and His Chosen Messiah is so lavishly ,described and is particularly associated with Israel. All New Testament Scripture has this Old Testament background in view. It may elaborate and enlarge Old Testament promises, but it cannot go back on them and does not deny or detract from them.
Many Old Testament Scriptures emphasize the temporal and material aspects of the Kingdom. but even so, the earliest promises to Abraham were promises of grace, and so in the development thereof we find abundant spiritual, blessings and promises for example, in Zephaniah 3, which, as Dr. C. Y. Biss phrased it, shows “features of spiritual blessing common to believers in every age as well as to Israel in the age to come.”
Matthew 6:10 shall take the first place. This verse farms the first petition of the “Lord’s prayer,” more correctly called the disciples’ prayer in which our Lord bade us pray “ Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done an earth, as it, is done in heaven.” He did not, in this petition, teach us to pray that His kingdom should extend, but come. Is not this a distinct reference to an “earthly” Kingdom? Where is God’s will to be done, unless in the earth, where it is not now obeyed universally?
Matthew 12:32: Here our Lord distinguishes “ this world” [Age] and “the world to come,” concerning certain sins “against the Son of Man” and “against the Holy Ghost” which cannot be forgiven, “neither in this world, [Age] neither in the world to came.” But forgiveness of sins can only be in this life and on this earth. There is no need for forgiveness for the saints in “Heaven,” in the “New Heavens and New Earth” or “Eternity;” and no scripture ever suggests forgiveness for the ungodly dead. Very well, then the only “world [Age] to come” in which there could be, or could not be, forgiveness of a particular sin, is in the millennial earth, the Age to come.
Matthew 13 outlines the seven “parables of the Kingdom.” There we have the expression “the end of the age” (not “world”) three times. We are told, in verses 39, 40, 49, what shall happen in “the harvest” at “the end of the age.” It is written that “then the angel reapers will gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity.” It does not say that the Kingdom will be, gathered out of the world, or transferred to heaven, but that all offences and lawlessness will he removed out of the Kingdom. It does not say the Kingdom will be brought to an end as far as the present earth is concerned. The sphere of the Kingdom is stated by our Lord: to be “the world.” “The field is “the world;” wherefore the Kingdom so purged will continue in “the world.” The angels will “sever the wicked, from among the just;” the assumption surely is that there is continuity in the sphere of the just from whence the wicked are severed: But the “just” of this present age will then be translated to the heavenly sphere, but other just ones will continue in this present sphere.
Matthew 19:28 reads: “Ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration [Gr. paliggenesia] when the Son of Man shall sit on the Throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” It is evident that at that time Israel in her twelve tribes will have national identity, otherwise how could the apostles “judge the twelve tribes”? That word regeneration would seem to indicate a “born again” earth; surely it is equivalent to “the times of restitution of all things spoken by all the prophets” (Acts 3:18-26). A parallel verse in Luke 18:30, speaks of that period as “the age to come.” A regenerated earth does not of necessity mean a perfected earth, but it does indicate a subdued earth.
Matthew 23:36-39 evidently teaches that there is to be a terminus to the desolations of Israel’s house, for our Lord said, “Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.’” That cry of theirs is a quotation from Israel’s Passover Psalm (118), where their cry is for “salvation,” personal and national, and for prosperity. It is a psalm that in its fullness and detail awaits its fulfillment at our Lord’s return and Israel’s restoration. If anyone doubts this, let him read David Baron on these Hallel psalms (113-118).
Luke 1:32, 33: “The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob.” It has been objected that the “throne” is not a literal seat. Truly it is not limited to a literal seat. The meaning is a sphere of authority. That sphere of authority as in this passage, is the Israel sphere, the Davidic sphere, the sphere of the people of the house of Jacob. The house of Jacob is comprised of the twelve tribes of Israel. Mark, “Jacob” is the name used here, not Israel; surely Jacob emphasizes the national character as of the nation to be governed in the earthly sphere. He is now on the “Father’s throne,” and has yet to be seen on His own throne, not permanently forsaking the former but being manifest on the latter. All this truly indicates a sphere of authority, but the place is the earth. He will exercise earthly rule in reality and equally with the heavenly.
Luke 1:70, 79: The song of Zachariah, like that of Mary, is saturated with Old Testament predictions and is prophetic in confirmation of those utterances “by the mouth of the holy prophets which have been since the world began.” Confirmation, let it be noticed, not annulment or transference, including:
(a) “Salvation from our enemies;”
(b) the performance of the mercy covenanted to Abraham and the fathers;
(c) deliverance, from enemies to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.
These points doubtless have their spiritual bearing in this age, but clearly anticipate the age to come.
Luke 22:27-29, is parallel to Matthew 19:28: “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto Me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” This passage is in harmony with Ezekiel’s reference to the Lord’s table in the millennial temple, “The table that is before the Lord.” It thus supplies additional evidence that the “throne” and the “thrones are to have a manifestation, on this earth.”
Luke 19:11-27, gives us the parable of the King going into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. “The King” is the Lord; “the Kingdom,” this world’s sovereignty, especially over Emmanuel’s Land; the “citizens are Israel; the “servants” represent Christendom. The scene is obviously connected with Daniel 7, where the Son of Man is invested with universal sovereignty, following the activities of the “little horn,” i.e. after the coming of the Man of Sin: The whole parable indicates the coming manifested reign over the earth; indeed its meaning would not be complete without such a reign: There is no need for Christ to be invested with heavenly authority, or authority in His Church. That He already holds. He was welcomed into the former at His ascension (see Psalm 24); and, in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1; and the latter be declared in Matthew 27:18. The sovereignty of the kingdoms of this earth, however, has been delegated to others (see Daniel 2, 7 and 8), but is to be resumed by Him. He has gone to heaven to “receive” it and to “return” to exercise it. The sphere of his humiliation and death is to witness His universal triumph. This parable then sets forth this retaking to Himself authority now delegated to earth’s kingdoms.
John 5:24-29, give some distinctive marks of the ages present and to come; and these from our Lord’s own lips:
(1) The present Gospel age, (v. 24): “ He that heareth My Word” is hearing the gospel unto eternal life.
(2) The first resurrection is in verse 25 where the hearing is “the voice” of the Son of God, as it was heard by Lazarus, and as it will be heard at His return, when He shall descend with “a shout.”
(3) The authority of the Son of Man for judgment, (v. 27). His Being given authority from the Father to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man, surely indicates the execution of governmental judgment over the nations and is another reference to Daniel 7, where the “Son of Man” is invested with governmental authority universally.
(4) The second resurrection (vv. 28‑29), which, according to Revelation 20, follows the 1,000 years, is seen here to be in the same order and relation. Indeed, every Scripture in which the twin resurrections are named preserves this same connection. B W. Newton’s tract on the Word of God and the Voice of the Son o f God (2d) is helpful on these verses.
Acts 1:6, 7: The disciples ask: “Wilt thou at this time restore again the. kingdom to Israel?” Mark, they had no doubt as to the facts they had rightly learned from Old Testament Scripture that the kingdom will be restored again to Israel. Had they been wrong, would He have been silent? “If it were not so I would have told you,” said He about the heavenly mansions. But far from a denial of coming restoration He confirms the matter. The only point at issue was, would it be just then? His reply was in effect, not now but in the time which the Father has set in His own authority, which it is not for you to experience until the world has been sufficiently evangelized! Had our Lord intended the denials of modern non-millennarians, surely we may, suppose He would have seized this unique opportunity to repudiate their “chiliasm”! He would have given them to understand that there would never again be another earthly kingdom for Israel! But He slid not do so.
Acts 2:30, is a further reference to Christ being raised up to sit on the throne of David, but seeing that both Jews and Gentiles had rejected Him as King, the Father has received Him saying (vv. 34, 35) in the language of Psalm 110, “Sit Thou on My right hand until I make Thine enemies thy footstool:” Psalm 110 is the most quoted in the New Testament of all Old Testament passages, and it is a Psalm of Christ’s government: Following the period to be terminated by that until: “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion, rule thou in the midst of thine enemies,” then Israel is a “free‑will offering,” then He shall “strike through kings.” To deny the setting of these psalms as to government over Israel and other nations in the earth; is to make them meaningless; and withal these psalms are spiritual!
Acts 2:16-21, confirms a similar order of events and the prediction of Joel 2, where we find the following succession of Divine dealings with Israel:
(1) Israel’s chastening;
(2) Signs in the heavenly bodies;
(3) Israel’s conversion;
(4) The full Pentecostal. outpouring, first upon Israel, and then. upon all the nations.
The first Pentecost was a sample, a foretaste of the “Feast of Tabernacles” yet to come. In order to fulfil all this there must needs be a period of government on and over the earth, otherwise no display of all this detail could be effected. The partial outpouring of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, while the Lord is on the Father’s throne, in no way lessens the hope of His full outpouring when the Lord sits upon His own throne.
Acts 3:18-26, is a further confirmation of “those things which God before slowed by all His prophets.” (This confirmation of the prophets is emphatic by six references to Old Testament prophets in the paragraph. These predictions are:
(1) “The times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;”
(2) “The times of the restitution [restoration] of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began;”
(3) “Those days foretold;”
(4) “All the kindreds of the earth blessed in and with the seed of Abraham.”
Let it be noted the heavens must receive Jesus until these things come to pass; therefore His coming again must precede these things; or in formal terms His coming must be pre-millennial. His coming ushers in the refreshing, the restitution, the restoration, the rehabilitation of the Land of Promise and all the earth.
Once again the two ages are clearly marked off. (1) The present age of visitation of the nations to out-gather, the elect; and (2) the future age, when “the residue of Men” seek the Lord, these ages being intersected by the return. “I will return.” The use of this passage, by James would seem to be in effect, this: If the Lord will so act in the age to come, it cannot be that He will disapprove, of a Gentile in-gathering, in this day of grace.
Acts 17:31, is, in full harmony: “He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world [Greek Oikoimene, the inhabited earth] in righteousness, by that man whom He hath ordained.” There is no reason to limit “judge” him to the one “day of judgment,” or to His judgment of the antichristian nations, or to the “Great White Throne.” It is quite in keeping with all other references to this subject to think of His judgment as His governance of the earth for the one thousand years. His judgments are not only penal; they vindicate His chosen, and order all beneath Him. In the final chapters of the Acts we find the Apostle Paul speaking of the “hope” six times in four passages.
For the foundation passages on which this expression “The Hope of Israel” rests, see Jeremiah 14:8; 17:13. Christ and God’s purposes in Him form the Hope of Israel to be realized at the first resurrection.
Romans 4:13: “The promise that he should be heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” What could be clearer than that all the promises concerning blessing in Christ, whether the spiritual blessings of the Covenant or concerning the land and people, nations and world, were made not under the conditional covenant of works, but under the conditional covenant of grace! Galatians 3:18, teaches the same thing: “For if the inheritance be of the law; it is no more of promise, but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”
Romans 8:18-23, speaks of the deliverance of this creation from its groans and bandage. Mark, it does not speak of the new creation which is heavenly and suited to “spiritual bodies,” but it speaks of the relief of this Adamic creation; and that is to be at the manifestation of the Sons of God. Then will this creation enter into the liberty of the glory (R.V.) of the Sons of God.
Throughout this passage creature may be rendered (as it is once) creation.
Romans 9-11: These chapters need a full exposition to bring out all that is stated or, implied as to the age to come; the age of Israel’s restoration and salvation. Firstly, that age with its Old Testament predictions of blessing for Israel is bound up with the expressions of chapter 9:4, 5, as to the adoption, glory, covenants, law, ceremonial, promises, fathers. There is in no sense a withdrawal of the predicted blessings, or transference of them to “the Church,” but a confirmation even as we shall find in chapter 15, that “Jesus Christ was a minister . . . to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” Believers of this age anticipate beforehand Israel’s blessings. It is not Israel that comes into Church blessings, but rather that we of this age enjoy in advance the spiritual blessings, which Israel will know to the full in that age.
Romans 11:11-32: “The reconciling of the world;” “life from the dead” waits upon Israel being grafted into her own, olive tree, for God is able to graft them in again; “so all Israel shall he saved,” i.e. the shared elect remnant of Israel will, be the nucleus of the redeemed nation of the millennium. This grafting in of Israel again is after “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” and when “there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer,” or as Isaiah puts it; “the Deliverer shall came to Zion;” and “shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
Romans 15:1‑13, is emphatic as to our “hope” and affirms that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God to conform the promises made unto the fathers.” There follow four quotations from Old Testament prophecy, all of which show Gentile blessings as being with Israel and following Israel’s conversion. The apostle employs these quotations as having a double fulfillment, first in this age and then in the age to come. He would seem to reason thus: if God will so bless the Gentiles in the age of fullness of blessing, it must be His will to bless them in large measure in this “day of salvation” through the preaching of the Gospel. The context of all the passages quoted shows that Gentiles are to share the, spiritual blessings when the Kingdom is manifestly restored, to Israel.
1 Corinthians 6:2, 3, asks the question: “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” and “judge angels?” and the time of so doing is set over against judging among brethren “in this life.” This surely is in full keeping with Luke 22:27-29, previously noticed.
1 Corinthians 15:23-28, gives us the order of the saints’ resurrection; “every man in his own order, [rank]:”
(1) “Christ the firstfruits,”
(2) “Afterwards [for then, next in time] they that are Christ’s at His Parousia:”
(3) Then the Kingdom, verses 24 and 25. The character of that kingdom as of one in which all things shall be subjugated is further unfolded in verses 27, 28.
(4) “Then cometh the end,” verse 24. When? The verses following supply the answer, “When He shall have. . .put down all rule and all authority and power. . .put all enemies under His feet . . . all things under His feet . . .all things subdued under Him.” This subjugation will evidently take time, a time defined in Revelation 20 as one thousand years: Our Lord must put down all His enemies before He delivers up the Kingdom to His Father at the end. This putting down can only be done on the earth, obviously!
(5) Then the end of the resurrection; as resurrection is the primary subject, of the passage, it must be the subject of the end—when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom, i.e. the second resurrection.
(6) “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (v. 26). “Death, the last enemy is not to be destroyed until the thousand yeas are finished.”—B. W. Newton.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57: Verses 51 to 54 unveil some details of the secret of the great “change” at the resurrection at the fast trump, when it is said: “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ “This last quotation is from Isaiah 25:8. Will anyone dare to suggest that although the words quoted will have a literal fulfillment, and “victory” come to the redeemed, the rest of Isaiah 25 is to be spiritualized and have no fulfillment regarding Israel and the nations “in that mountain.” “He will destroy the face of the covering cast over all peoples,” etc. (see Isa. 25:8). The statement that “then shall be brought to pass” (Isa. 25:8), fixes the time of Israel’s deliverance and prosperity, indeed the fulfillment of the whole series of chapters (Isa. 24 to27), as after the first resurrection.. William De Burgh called this series of chapters “The little apocalypse.”
2 Corinthians 3:14-18, in its reference to the “vail” of unbelief over the heart and mind of Israel, has a further distinct link with Isaiah 25 and the removal of the “vail” covering Israel and then that covering the nations: “When it [the heart of Israel] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.”
Galatians 6:27, is a quotation from Isaiah 54:1: “Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not, for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath, an husband.” The application, even the fulfillment, here is that the rejoicing is under grace and not under works, but the quotation does not empty the passage of Isaiah 54 of that content which tells of Israel’s fruitfulness in the coming age. Contrariwise, it tells of the fruitfulness of the heavenly Jerusalem as agreeing with the fruitfulness of Jerusalem on the earth.
Philippians 2:10, 11, and Colossians 1:20, anticipate the age when every knee shall have to bow to our Lord, in heaven, on the earth and under the earth, and all things in heaven and earth be reconciled to Himself.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, speaks of an aspect of the Kingdom of God in manifestation before men, devils and angels which awaits our Lord’s revelation in glory and judgment.
2 Timothy 2:12, informs us that if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him.
Ephesians 1:21, and 2:7, speak of “the age to come” and “ages to come” as distinct from this age: “The age to come” can only mean the millennial age; “ages to come” may include the eternal state; even is the “dispensation of the fullness of the times in chapter 1:10, gathers up all the ages and dispensations.”
2 Timothy 4:1: “The Lord will judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and his kingdom.” What kingdom? Evidently that aspect of the Kingdom which will be manifested at His appearing. The present spiritual manifestation of the Kingdom and its heavenly eternal fullness are neither of them dependent on His appearing and glory! Here the Kingdom is seen as ushered in by His appearing, that appearing being to Israel and the nations as well as to His Church.
Hebrews 2:5: “The world to come.” The Greek is Oikoumene and means “inhabited earth;” it is the word used of the Roman Empire, and it is that of which the, apostle writes “whereof we speak” and it is that which is not put in subjection to angels but to saints! It is of this “habitable world to come” that the apostle says: “We see not yet all things put under Him.” Thus, in agreement with 1 Corinthians 15:27, 28, the next dispensation will be one of subjugation or of putting all things under the Lord Jesus.
B. W. Newton has a very useful tract on this passage entitled The World to Come, a booklet we wish every non-millennarian would read. Dr. Oswald Allis has said: “In Hebrews we find nothing about a return to the land of Canaan. . .that no hint is given of a future restoration” (p. 101). Contrariwise, there was no need to reaffirm points established already, especially in view of this declaration concerning “the world to come;” moreover, the whole epistle is built up on Psalm 110:1: “Sit thou on My right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” The implication of this verse is that then He will reign over His footstool.
Moreover, in verses 12 and 13 there are three quotations from the Old Testament showing our Lord’s unity with His “brethren,” the “sanctified,” the “church,” the “trusting ones” and His “children”; the context. of which in the passages quoted concerns the Kingdom. Thus Psalm 22:27, 28: “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.” And in Psalm 18 the trusting one becomes “head of all the nations” (v. 43), and “subdueth the peoples” (v. 47). Then that from Isaiah 8:18; takes us back to the great prophecy of Emmanuel, and His land (Isa. 7 and 8). What further need of speaking to any Hebrew of the restoration of the land!
James 1:18, speaking of believers today, says “that we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures.” What shall the after-fruits, second-fruits or later‑fruits be? In Hebrews 12:23; we are called “the general assembly” and church: of the first-born.” Surely “first” implies a second in all these passages. We submit that these expressions dispose of a frequent objection that the Church will be complete at our Lord’s return: It is true that the Church of this age will be complete; “they that are Christ’s at His coming,” but that does not exclude “them that shall believe afterwards,” a church, an election, “fruit” in the coming age.
1 Peter 1:5, spews of “Salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Does not “the last time” refer to the last age or dispensation?
2 Peter 3:10 12, treats of the Day of the Lord “which will came as a thief in the night,” in which [i.e. in the Day of the Lord] the heavens shall pass away,” “the day, of God wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved.” That is to say, this passing away of the heavens and earth and all therein will not be at the beginning of the day of the Lord, but at the end. There is nothing here to suggest that these happenings take place at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. On the contrary, that day of l,000 years having run its course; the Lord having been “not slack concerning His promise” in the matter of the manifested kingdom; then, at the end of the Day the heavens and the earth shall pass away.”
However, even the Millennium is not the greatest end God has in view we look for “new heavens and a new earth,” the new creation wherein dwelleth righteousness.
In the book of the Revelation, the reign of the Lord and of the saints over the earth is named before chapter 20.
In Chapter 2:26, 27: “He that overcometh and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations [When, unless in a coming age of rule over the earth?] and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” Obviously, our Lord is alluding to Psalm 2 and His having the nations under His sovereignty.
In Chapter 3:12: “He that overcometh is to have written upon him the name of the New Jerusalem which cometh down out of heaven from God,” a reference to the later chapter (21), where the New Jerusalem is seen in relation to the earth below.
In Chapter 3:21, is a reference to believers sitting with Christ on His throne, even as Christ is now on the Father’s throne; a clear distinction between the Father’s and our Lord’s throne at present in heaven and the coming throne of manifested power over the nations or “the throne of His father David.”
In Chapter 5:10: “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign on the earth,” or as Dr. S. P. Tregelles renders it, “and they shall reign over the earth.”
Revelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.
The seventh trumpet is the “last trump” of 1 Corinthians 15:52, the events which follow here agree with the events which are associated with the passage there quoted from Isaiah 25:8, namely, “the kingdoms of this world” are manifestly made our Lord’s. Chapter 4 does not say the kingdoms of heaven, or of the world of eternity or of the new heavens and the new earth; but of this world. To us this is another conclusive passage.
In Chapter 14, the Lamb is seen standing on Mount Zion and the events which follow show the cleaning up of the earth preparatory for the kingdom thereon, and thus, in chapter 15, the song of victory includes the statement, “all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”
Thus, when the earth has been cleansed of the vine of the earth, of Christendom (16), and of Babylon (18), and of the Antichrist (19), it is ready to be cleansed of Satan (20), and those nations once deceived are deceived no more for the millennium.
We submit that we have demonstrated the fact of the manifested reign to come, not as reading backwards from, Revelation 20, but as reading forward from Old Testament Scriptures which abundantly speak thereof, to New Testament Scriptures which move forward with a consistent confirmation of the promises and prophecies made to the fathers, and a consistent confirmation of the same order of events in grace and judgment. All is a harmonious plan, nothing strained, forced, misapplied, spiritualized.
Revelation 20 crowns and completes our study, with its six-times named definition of the Millennium:
(1) The Devil is bound 1,000 years (v. 10);
(2) The nations are no longer deceived 1,000 years (v. 3);
(3) The saints reign with Christ this 1,000 years (verse 4);
(4) The rest of the dead live not again for 1,000 years (v. 5);
(5) The saints shall be priests and kings 1,000 years (v. 6);
(6) Satan shall be loosed at the end of a 1,000 years (v. 7).
Baptist Ministries ©