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THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, December 14, 2008
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).


For nearly two thousand years Christians have prayed “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” We pray “The Lord’s Prayer” at the end of family devotions at our house every night. Some may say that it is only a ritual, but to me personally it is a real prayer and I mean every word of it. My old grandmother, my mother’s mother, prayed “the Lord’s Prayer” with me every night when I was a little boy, and I have continued to do so all of my life, every night before I go to bed. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

“Thy kingdom come” is the kingdom about which Matthew has been speaking, the kingdom which Christ will establish on this earth. This is a worthy petition for all of us to pray (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983 edition, volume IV, p. 37; note on Matthew 6:10).

When I pray that prayer, I am praying for the Millennial Kingdom to come in all its fullness when Christ returns. The word “millennium” means one thousand. The Greek word “chilia” (one thousand) is used six times in Revelation 20:2-7. The Christians of the first and second centuries believed in the literal 1,000-year reign of Christ on this earth. They were premillennialists. That means the early Christians all expected Christ to return to the earth to establish the Kingdom. The “pre” in “premillennialism” means that Christ will come back before the millennium to set up His Kingdom for a thousand years. Papias (died A.D. 165) said, “There will be a millennium after the resurrection of the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth.” Polycarp (A.D. 70-156) spoke of [Christians] reigning with Christ and of the fact that the saints will judge the world (see Henry C. Thiessen, Ph.D., Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949 edition, p. 470).

But over time some leading Christians began to teach that the Kingdom was allegorical rather than literal. They began to teach amillennialism, beginning with Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-220) and especially Origen of Alexandria (A.D. 185-254). Their teaching, which allegorized and spiritualized the 1,000-year Kingdom prevailed, and the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus formally denounced the premillennial view, which they called “Chiliasm,” in A.D. 373. Thus, the Catholic Church became amillennial, that is, they taught that there would be no return of Christ to set up His earthly Kingdom, and that the Roman Catholic Church itself would gradually convert the world, and the promises of the Kingdom would be fulfilled by the triumph of Catholicism. This view is known as “amillennialism.” The “a” in front of “millennium” means that there is no coming earthly Kingdom. “Amillennialism” means “no millennial” Kingdom.

Daniel Whitby (A.D. 1638-1726) was a Unitarian who denied the divinity of Christ. Whitby restored the allegorical method of Origen, but called it a “new hypothesis.” Daniel Whitby, the Unitarian heretic, “taught that all the promises of the Kingdom should be taken in a spiritual and allegorical sense…He is often called the father of modern post-millennialism” (Thiessen, p. 471). Postmillennialism teaches that Christ will come after the millennium – after the church has converted the majority of the world. Postmillennialism is, in reality, only a modern form of amillennialism. Like amillennialism, it holds that there will be no restoration of Israel, that the “church” replaces Israel, that Christ will not return visibly to this earth to set up His Kingdom, and that the “church” will convert the world, bringing in a golden age. Mal Couch said,

World War I, and finally World War II, virtually ended the hopes of the postmillennialists. Mankind’s cruelty was made evident and things were not getting better, as [they] taught (Mal Couch, Ph.D., Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, AMG Publishers, 2000, p. 1398).

Strangely, this allegorical, spiritualizing view seems to be returning, with “replacement theology” [the “church” replacing Israel in God’s plan] claiming that the “church” can “conquer society and restore righteousness” and set up the Kingdom (Couch, ibid.). This is actually a return to the Roman Catholic view of Christian “triumphalism” and “replacement” of the Jews by the “church” in the plan of God. This is not what the Bible teaches.

I attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (Southern Baptist) when it was far more liberal than it is today. I remember one professor who taught amillennialism and postmillennialism as though they were the truth. Then he belittled and scoffed at premillennialism, calling it “chiliasm,” and a heresy, and mocked it as a false doctrine taught in the Scofield Study Bible, but not believed by “scholars.” He attacked the Scofield Study Bible on this subject so often, that I went out and bought one for the first time – and have used it ever since! I am preaching from a Scofield Bible this very evening, as I do every Sunday, because I believe in the premillennial return of Christ as it is taught in the Scofield Study Bible. I am convinced that the Bible does not teach amillennialism or postmillennialism.

Last Sunday night we saw three great truths in Zechariah 14:4-5, 9. First, Christ will come back suddenly to the Mount of Olives,

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…” (Zechariah 14:4).

Christ will come back from Heaven, coming down on the same Mount of Olives where He ascended. The angels said,

“Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey”
      (Acts 1:11-12).

“His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4). The same feet that were pierced with nails on the Cross will come down on the same mountain where Christ ascended back to Heaven (Acts 1:9-12). Second, Christ will come back with all His saints.

“And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:5).

This means that all the previously raptured Christians will pour down from the sky, following Christ. This event was first prophesied by Enoch before the Flood.

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude 14).

And the Apostle John spoke of this in Revelation 19:14, “And the armies which were in heaven followed him,” as He comes down from Heaven to destroy the armies of the Antichrist and set up His thousand-year earthly Kingdom. Thirdly, Zechariah 14:9 says that Christ will then set up His Kingdom on earth,

“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

At last the prayer that has been prayed for two thousand years will be answered,

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Lastly, we looked at Revelation 20, and I want us to turn there again tonight. Please turn to Revelation 20, beginning with verse one. Here we learn two important truths about the coming Kingdom.

I. First, Satan will be bound for 1,000 years.

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1-3).

You will notice that the “thousand years” are mentioned two times in verses one to three. The “thousand years” are mentioned a total of six times in the twentieth chapter of Revelation. Dr. McGee said,

It is true that the Millennium is mentioned only in one chapter, but God mentions it six times [in that chapter]. How many times does He have to say a thing before it becomes true? He mentions some other things that people emphasize and think are important just because they occur once or twice in Scripture. Six times the thousand years are mentioned, and here it is in relationship to Satan (McGee, ibid., volume 5, p. 1055; note on Revelation 20:1-3).

The absence of Satan from the earth during the Millennial Kingdom will change conditions from darkness to light. As long as Satan is operating in this world there cannot be a perfect Kingdom. God’s will cannot be done “in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) as long as Satan is loose in this world.

An angel will come down with a great chain and bind Satan for the entire period of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1-3).

Satan will be cast “into the bottomless pit, and shut…up” (Revelation 20:3) during Christ’s thousand-year Kingdom. Satan will be imprisoned in “the bottomless pit,” literally “the abyss.” This is not the Lake of Fire. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire after the Kingdom comes to a close, at the end of the thousand years. What a wonderful world it will be when Christ sets up His Kingdom on earth. Satan will no longer be here to tempt and torment us any more in the Kingdom of our God and His Christ! As an old song puts it,

Satan’s dominion will soon be o’er,
   Oh, that it were today!
Sorrow and sighing shall be no more,
   Oh, that it were today!...
Glory, glory! Joy to my heart ’twill bring.
   Glory, glory! When [God] shall crown Him King.
Glory, glory! Haste to prepare the way;
   Glory, glory! Jesus will come some day.
(“What If It Were Today?” by Lelia N. Morris, 1862-1929;
    altered by the Pastor).

Satan will be bound up in the bottomless pit for the entire Kingdom-age! What a wonderful promise!

II. Second, the Kingdom of Christ will then be set up on earth
for one thousand years.

Please follow me in your Bible as I read Revelation 20:4-6.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).

The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible says that verses four and five speak of those who will be executed by the Antichrist during the Tribulation for refusing to take his mark in their hand or forehead. They will be resurrected bodily so they can reign with Christ during His one-thousand-year Kingdom on earth (see Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, AMG Publishers, 2000 edition, p. 1399; note on Revelation 20:4-5). Verse six says,

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible says of this verse,

The “first resurrection” is for believers and takes place in three installments: (1) Christ as the firstfruits (I Cor. 15:20); (2) the rapture…(I Cor. 15:23; I Thess. 4:13-18); (3) Tribulation saints are raised before the Kingdom along with the Old Testament saints (Psalm 50:1-6). This resurrection includes all [the converted] dead up to the time of Christ’s return (ibid., p. 1400; note on Revelation 20:6).

Verse six shows that those who are raised in the “first resurrection,”

“Shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

What a wonderful thing it will be to co-reign with Christ in His Kingdom! But we must be overcomers to do so. We read in Revelation 3:21,

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21).

To be qualified to reign with Christ in His earthly Kingdom, you must be an overcomer. But to become an overcomer, you must first be converted. Jesus made it very clear that the first step to entering and reigning in the Kingdom is real conversion. Jesus said,

“Except ye be converted…ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

You must experience a real conversion or you will not enter the "kingdom of heaven," and if you don't enter the "kingdom of heaven" you will certainly not enter Christ’s one-thousand-year Kingdom on earth! Therefore, you should seek real conversion in Christ above all else in life!

Real conversion usually involves being convicted of sin first, then struggling to free yourself from sin until you realize that you cannot do that. Finally, conversion comes when you give up on yourself, realizing that you are totally depraved, and then come to Christ to be cleansed from your sin by His Blood. When you come to Christ your sins are atoned for by His death on the Cross. When you come to the resurrected Christ up in Heaven, and rest in Him by faith in Him alone, you will experience true conversion and begin to become an overcomer, who is qualified to reign with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom on earth. But the first step is to seek real conversion in Christ Jesus. May God soon give you a conversion experience in Jesus Christ. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Revelation 20:1-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“What If It Were Today?” (by Lelia N. Morris, 1862-1929).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).

(Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:11-12; Zechariah 14:5; Jude 14;
Revelation 19:14; Zechariah 14:9)

I.   First, Satan will be bound for 1,000 years, Revelation 20:1-3.

II.  Second, the Kingdom of Christ will then be set up on earth for
one thousand years, Revelation 20:4-6; 3:21; Matthew 18:3.