Distinctions which make Difficulties Disappear
B. W. Newton
(The following is taken from the valuable booklet, “On the Prophecies Respecting the Jews and Jerusalem”)
I am well aware that many who have written on the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus have, by crude and mistaken statements, given ground to the attacks of their opponents. But the doctrine of the millennium, as it is taught in Scripture, is not to be rejected on account of the errors of its advocates. We cannot blot from the Scripture such words as these: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High (high places)” (Daniel 7:27); nor can we cancel the thirteenth and fourteenth verses of that chapter. And again: “they (those who will have part in the first resurrection) shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6).
It would indeed be strange if Satan were always permitted to be the “deceiver of the nations” - “the god of this world.” And if he is to be bound, and to be cast into the bottomless pit, it is impossible that preaching or any form of moral influence could accomplish such an end. The binding of Satan, and other events associated therewith, require for their accomplishment an agency different from any that God is at present pleased to employ. The day of the Lord, the day when He will come “out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” (Isaiah 26:21), will bring the world and all that is therein under the operation of a power very different from that which beareth on it now. “The LORD my God,” says the prophet Zechariah, “shall come, and all the saints with thee,” after which “the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His Name one.” See the connection of these verses in Zechariah 14.
We are not, however, to suppose that because the Lord will reign over the Land of Israel and the earth, He will cease to have His dwelling-place in heaven. Heaven will ever be His home and the home of His glorified saints. The glory of Jerusalem that is above will be as different from that of the earthly Jerusalem in the day of her forgiveness, as heaven is different from earth. The former will be the city of the glorified saints, and will be above the created heavens; the latter during the millennium will be the terrestrial city of converted Israel. The fact that Moses and Elms have visited this earth and appeared in glory by the side of their transfigured Lord has not made earth their heavenly home. Even now, holy angels visit this earth, unseen, indeed, yet exercising their ministry on behalf of those who are to inherit salvation: but angels are not thereby rendered inhabitants of earth.
In like manner, when Christ shall reign from heaven over Israel and over the earth, and when pardoned Jerusalem shall be the earthly seat and centre of His government and the place of His throne, this shall not render earthly, either Christ, or the saints, or the angels who shall act under Him, although they shall from time to time, in accomplishing the objects of their ministration, visit the earth and hold intercourse with those who dwell therein. “Heaven,” saith the Lord Jesus “is God’s throne...the earth is His footstool... Jerusalem...is the city of the Great King” (Matthew 5:34-35). And as the earth and all that pertaineth thereunto will stand in visible contrast to heaven and the heavenly city during the whole millennia! period, so likewise it equally differs from the new heavens and new earth which will be created after the millennial heavens and earth shall have ceased to be.
In the new earth there shall be nothing that bears the likeness of the first Adam. There, all will reflect the glory of the Second Man: there all the redeemed shall be finally united - alike perfect - alike conformed to the likeness of their glorified Lord. Millenarianism as taught in Scripture confounds not heaven and earth. It preserves their distinctness. It leaves intact the everlasting distinction between the flesh and the Spirit - the old and the new creation, the first Adam and the last Adam.
Some have imagined that because there is no difference between Jew and Gentile as viewed in Christ, and in their relation to heaven, therefore there can be no temporary distinction between them in the earthly dispensations of the Lord below. But are we prepared thus to interpret the verse throughout? As viewed in Christ “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free” (Colossians 3:11); for all are one in Christ Jesus: but does this imply that there are no temporary distinctions between these various classes in the earth? Does it not belong to the man to govern, and to the woman to obey? The man, if qualified by the Spirit, has a right to speak in the Church, but the woman is commanded “to keep silence.” In Christ, Philemon and Onesimus were one; but as to the arrangements of earth, Philemon was the master, and Onesimus the slave.
Christianity is not Socialism. It gives unity of blessings in the heavens, but it destroys not the distinctions which God has established in the earth. The national standing of Israel and of the gentiles in the earth is something altogether distinct from that heavenly citizenship common to all believers, whether Jew, or whether gentile. At present (this was written in the 19th century — Ed.) the Gentiles dominate over Jerusalem. Since the time of Nebuchadnezzar, because of Israel’s sin, they have been commissioned to trample Israel under foot. But soon this is to be reversed. “Unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem” (Micah 4:8). There may be a reason why gentiles who know not God should wish to hide from themselves this truth. But it should be otherwise with those who, washed from their sins in the Blood of the Lamb, are taught to look to the hour of Israel’s forgiveness as the hour at which they will themselves enter on their heavenly glory.
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