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Lowell Brueckner

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The Millennium


We will not be writing the whole portion of Scripture in the article, so you will have to have your Bible open and follow along, as I attempt an expository lesson. Here, very near the beginning of his book, Isaiah refers to the Millennium. There will be more references to follow.

3. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 2

Knowing that there have been, and still are, wonderful Christians, who do not believe in a literal millennium, I hold the conviction that every true Christian should believe in the literal thousand-year reign of Christ, along with His saints, on the earth. Historically, there are many, who did not and I can understand their conclusions, due to the fact that in their day signs did not exist, such as those we are seeing today. Jonathan Edwards, in writing to other Christian leaders in the 18th Century, stated that it would be impossible to ascertain prophetical accuracy until the church drew near to the time of Christ’s second return. He was echoing Daniel’s frustration at the end of his book: “I heard but could not understand; so I said, ‘My lord, what will be the final end of these events?’ He said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time’” (Dn.12:8,9). Even the tremendous intellect of Edwards couldn´t grasp them.

However, a great and clear sign appeared around the turn of the 20th Century that had men, such as J. C. Ryle and C. H. Spurgeon, talking about the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. This chapter, 2500 years old, and many other Old Testament prophecies spoke of the literal return of the Jews to their promised land and their sovereign self-government. This is to happen in preparation to the literal reign of Christ from Jerusalem. “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land” (Ez.37:21,22). This mass movement was underway as the 20th Century began and on May 14, 1948, Israel became a sovereign nation! On that day, the displacement theory (the assumption that the Church had replaced Israel) should have been thrown out the window, along with all the theories that the fulfillment of such prophecies was spiritual, not literal.     

It frightens me to hear the vague and ethereal eschatology of the amillennialist and post-millennialist over the clear and precise prophecy of Revelation 20, as well as the passage that lies before us in Isaiah 2, among many others. If they had been so loose and liberal with the prophecies of the first coming of Christ and the doctrines of salvation, creation, the trinity and the resurrection, we would have to declare them heretics. How could we then trust the biblical revelation of a literal heaven? The cultists have not done much worse with their peculiar doctrines. However, these good men tell us that we are now living in the millennium. I can’t think of a more discouraging or ridiculous point of view. If this is the millennium, and the devil is now bound in the abyss, shut and sealed, then how can it be that “evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Ti.3:13)?

The joy of awaiting the millennium

I feel sorry for those who deny the literal millennium. They have distanced themselves from a great joy that the Bible has provided for them. We used to sing the happy song in the church of my youth:
“Oh our Lord is coming back to earth again,
Yes, our Lord is coming back to earth again,
Satan will be bound a thousand years, we’ll have no tempter then,
After Jesus shall come back to earth again.”

Since Adam, the world has reeled drunkenly for thousands of years under the rulership of man. Did God make a mistake in creating something which has produced chaos, almost since its beginning? Oh no! Under the last Adam, the Son of God, the God/Man, the world will know peace, righteousness and joy. We will witness the wisdom of God on this planet for a thousand years, through which He proclaims to men and angels, “Creation was not a mistake. Now you are seeing My perfect purposes, which are never frustrated; the things which I had in mind from the very beginning. Through the restoration of all things, I have brought all creation to perfection. This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased!” His purposes will never suffer defeat or a setback; through all time, He has been marching forward to arrive at this end.

Isaiah´s first reference to the Millennium

Already in chapter two, Isaiah sees by vision a restored Israel and a world population that is hungry to learn from the mouth of Israel’s Messiah (v.1). He takes the earnest reader to the end times to Mount Zion, the small hill on which the city of David was built, exalted over Mt. Everest, Mt. McKinley and all the mighty heights throughout the world (v.2). It is God’s way, is it not, to take the lowly and insignificant and crown it with glory and honor? It becomes the greatest attraction on this planet.

On every continent from east to west, from north to south, the chief subject of conversation will be Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where Christ has come to His house and set up His throne. They happily call to one another, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord… that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths…” (v.3). Catch the joy and the wonder, my friend, of a world hungry and thirsting for righteousness, of the sovereign Christ, taking His rightful, sovereign place on this earth! He judges in perfect righteousness; war comes to an end. The chaos of man’s reign is over (v.4). The house of Jacob surrounds that throne, all Israel is saved and walks in the light of the Lord (v.5).

The second coming of Christ is the hope and future of Israel and the nations. The first coming required spiritual eyes to see the glory of Jesus of Nazareth, the legal son of Nazareth’s carpenter. He has returned in majesty and power for all to see. Well may the remnant in Judah in Isaiah’s time look ahead and the Church today recite in desperate prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt.6:10). Earlier on the prophetic clock, the prayers of all the saints (in Rev.8:3-5) have been offered with incense upon heaven’s altar and the prayers went up before God. They will be fully answered, when Christ sits upon the throne.

Glory to God by the debasement of men

Israel’s history has been dark, because of worldly, demonic influence, which caused the abandonment of God, from the times of the Caesars to the time of Hitler, (v.6). They have borrowed godlessness from the east, from the Philistines and from foreigners because of their lust for gold and silver. They have served Mammon, the god of this present world and the root of all evil, and Mammon has rewarded them with the idols of earthly treasures (v.7), horses and chariots. They worship the abilities, talents and craftiness of natural man and have abandoned the omnipotent God (v.8). Therefore, God has righteously abandoned them.

His forgiveness has been withheld and small and great have fallen under the curse. In their history they hid themselves in God; now they are hiding from Him “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” (He.10:31) warns the writer of Hebrews in the New Testament. Above all sins, God hates the pride and arrogance of men and by abasing and humbling him, He alone is exalted (v.9-11). Isaiah looks ahead to salvation’s provision, achieved alone through His own work on the cross. Therefore sinners are humbled to deep and thorough repentance and salvation is offered by unmerited grace alone, “so that no one may boast” (Eph.2:9).  

The Terror of the Lord

Look now at the symbols of the high and lofty, the same ones which are presented by the prophet Zechariah, under the same anointed inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, because the glorious trees have been destroyed; wail, O oaks of Bashan” (Zech.11:2). None can be left standing, if God is to receive the glory due to His name (v.12). He hates pride, because “no flesh may glory in His presence” (1 Co.1:29). Pride robs Him of His rightful glory. You may stand in His presence with your arms upraised, but you will never truly bring glory to God until you humble yourself under His mighty hand.

The cedars of Lebanon, the oaks of Bashan, the lofty mountains and the hills that are lifted up represent the natural arrogance in the heart of fallen man (v.13-14). The high tower, the fortified wall, the ships of Tarshish, the beautiful craft, all represent the proud works of men (15-17). Therefore salvation cannot be by works. Repetition, the oath of God, that confirms the word that needs no confirmation, brings two immutable things into play, by which it is impossible that God should lie (v.17 with 11).

Idolatry means all the imaginations of men’s thoughts, whether they remain in his mind or are carried out by his works. Therefore Christians are exhorted by the Apostle Paul about “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” (2 Co.10:5). These crumble and are ground to powder before the “splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble” (v.18-21).

Who among God’s people today know “the terror of the Lord”? (another repetition: v.19,21). The terror of the Lord is simply a stronger expression for the fear of the Lord. Recently I heard a friend speak on the fear of the Lord and I wrote to him that the proper reaction to his message should have been widespread panic. He preached also about the people, to whom he was speaking, having much more fear of men than fear of God.

I don’t think that many took his message to heart. They are so idolatrous, so deceived by the authority of men over their lives. They are given over to seeking “glory (or honor) from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God” (Jn.5:44). Jesus asks them, “How can you believe?” How can they say that they have true faith and confidence only in God, when they are so devoted to men?  Perhaps the only remedy is for Christians to “go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs… when He rises to make the earth tremble” (v.19,21). Try as we may, it seems that, like the prophet, our words fail to penetrate to the heart and conscience, when we preach, “Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed?” (v.22). 


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