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Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Parousia And The Millennium


The Parousia and The Millennium – Which comes First?

This is the Part 3 of my response to the video below entitiled:
When it comes to the Millennium there are basically two views.  Either the Millennium comes BEFORE the Parousia or the Millennium comes AFTER the Millennium.  Those who contend for a post-Parousia millennial reign of Christ (Premillennialists) assert that Jesus is not ruling and reigning here on earth and, therefore, has yet to fulfill His promise to do so. 

There are many forms of Premillennialism.  This will take another post to cover.  For now, let us just say that they differ primarily in how they view the timing of the rapture, or “the catching up”, in comparison to the final second coming of Christ.  Dispensationalists believe in a pre-tribulation rapture.  They do not believe the church will be here during this 7-year period of tribulatiion, which they refer to as “Daniel’s 70th week”.  Other premillennialists believe the rapture occurs in the middle of the tribulation (mid-trib), sometime after the middle (pre-wrath), or at the end of the tribulation (post-trib).

Many people get confused at this point with all the “pre-s and post-s.”  It all depneds on whether you are speaking about “the rapture” or “the second coming.”  If you are concerned with the timing of the rapture, you are most likely dealing with a premillennialist.  If you are dealing with the timing of the second coming you are concerned with the millennium, the time when Christ reigns over the earth.  In this post we will be addressing the millennium in relation to the Parousia (the second coming).

The Scriptures refer to the second coming as the Parousia.  As we said before, Premillennialists believe that Christ will come BEFORE the millennium.  Post-millennialists and Amillennialists, on the other hand, beleive the Parouisa happens AFTER the millennium.

Postmillennialists say that the church on earth is growing in influence and through the spread of the gospel will one day gain control over a majority of each of the worlds centers of influence (i.e. government, media, arts and entertainment, business, education, family, and religion).  This is known as “dominionism” and one version of this is referred to as the 7 Mountain Mandate, a theory devised by Loren Cunningham (of YWAM) and the late Bill Bright (Campus Crusade).  Today this view is most often found among independent Pentecostal churches.  These churches have combined this 7 Mountain Mandate with a “Manifest sons of God” theolgoy that teaches that God is raising up an army that manifest the overwhelming power of God throughout the earth through revivals and “manifestations of the Spirit,” thus bringing the kingdom to earth.  This is known as “The New Apostolic Reformation” and is closely aligned with the “Word of Faith” Movement.  Leading proponents of this view are the late C. Peter Wagner, Mike Bickle (IHOP), Bob Jones (an influential “prophet” among many of these churches), Paul Cain (a close associate of William Branham in the 1950s), Bill Johnson (Bethel in Redding, CA), Todd Bentley (Lakeland Revival), Che Ahn, Rick Joyner (Morningstar Ministries), John Kilpatrick and Rodney Howard Brown (Brownsville Revival), John and Carol Arnott (Toronto Revival), Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Heidi Baker, Patricia King, Todd White, and many others. Most of these individuals are associated with one or more schools of “supernatural ministry” that promote the use of charismatic gifts to further revival.

There is another version of postmillennialist dominionism that is growing within the Reformed churches.  This form is known as known as Theonomy or Reconstructionism.  This version of postmillennialism has nothing to do with the charismatic movement.  It is strictly an outworking of a belief that the church should exercise its God-given dominion though the use of civil law (as given to Moses) throughout all nations of the earth.  Leading proponents of this version of postmillennialism are Rousas John Rushdoony, Gary North, Gary DeMar, the late David Chilton, Kenneth Gentry, Larry Pratt, and the late Greg Bahnsen.

Amillennialism is the view of those who believe that Christ is reigning from heaven over “all the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5).  Christ is working in and through His church as it grows and fills the earth.   Amillennialists are almost always accused of not believing in the millennium.  This is a result of the term “amillennialism itself, which means “no millennium.”  The term that most accurately describes what this view teaches is “realized millennialism” - a belief that we are living right now in the millennium and will continue to do so until the Parousia of Christ.
Whenever you are speaking about the millennium, what you are really saying is, “When will the kingdom come?  When will it be established in the earth?  For many, that has not happened yet.  But for others, this kingdom, although not fully realized yet, exists here and now.  It all depends on how you define “the kingdom of God.”  Some christians look around them and see that the world is full of evil people doing evil things.  They say, “Surely this is not the kingdom!”  Others say, “This is not the kingdom yet, but one day when the church will exercise its dominion over the world.   Both of these first two views – premillennialists and postmillennialists – see the kingdom as something that is physically present – something that can be touched and observed.  The third view – realized millennialism – teaches that the kingdom is spiritual, meaning it is not to be physically observed.  Jesus was once asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come.  He repiled, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 20:21-22). 

Daniel 2:44 says, “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up  kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.”  Futurists (premillennialists) must interpret this to mean a kingdom in the future AFTER the Parousia, while Preterists and Historicists (postmillennialists and amillennialists) see this as occuring during the present age.  Full preterists, on the other hand, believe that the millennial kingdom lasted apporaximately 40 years from A.D. 33 to 70 A.D.  

What is really important though is to determine the nature of the kingdom.  Daniel says this about the kingdom: “a rock was cut out, but not by human hands…” (Daniel 2:34).  What does this mean?  The phrase "not by human hands" is a Jewish idiom. Paul uses it several time to refer to "something that only God can do" (Colossians 2:11), as opposed to what man does (Ephesians 2:11). It can also mean a "heavenly (spiritual) place" (Hebrews 9:11, 24). Paul says, we have "an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1). Paul told the Athenians that God does not live in temples built by human hands (Acts 17:24-25). See Acts 7:48 where Stephen says the same thing.  2 Corinthians 6:16 says, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 

  “I will live with them 
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”

This is a quote from Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 32:37-41, and Ezekiel 37:27.  By the way, this promise to Israel was conditional upon their obedience (Jeremiah 7:23; 11:4; 17:24-27).  The promise in Jeremiah is to restore Israel to the land.  This same promise in Ezekiel is about the physical restoration of Israel and the spiritual restoration of the remnant.  Finally, the promise to Ezekiel goes even further and speaks of to their prince forever, as “My Servant David” who will shepherd His people (Ezekiel 37:23-24).  Jesus fulfilled this promise during His ministry when He said, “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:14-16).  The Greek word “poimano” which is often translated “rule” can also be translated as “shepherd.”  Jesus is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).  He is also “the ruler of all the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5).

All this is to show that the kingdom of Christ is a spiritual kingdom.  As we saw in Daniel, it is a rock (Jesus Christ) that is cut out of a mountain, but without human hands, and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:35).  But before it can “become a mountain and fill the earth,” it must first do something else.  What is that?  It must first strike the image (or statue) on its feet of iron and clay and smash them.  And remember, it says all this happens “in the time of those kings,” so it had to strike the image during the time of the Roman Empire.

Futurist attempt to get around this by dividing between the legs and the feet, but Daniel says, “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold,
all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found” (Daniel 2:35).  This means the rock strikes the image during the time of the Roman Empire and the pieces are carried away at the same time.  Also, we know the church is filling the world now.
How can you have a revived Roman empire after the church fills the world?  The rock first strikes the image destroying it, then it becomes a mountain (a kingdom).

The apostle Paul knew about the church filling the earth.  In Ephesians, he tells us, “He (God) put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22).  God is filling the earth, by filling us.  When we are filled to overflowing, we become “rivers of living water” to those around us (John 7:38).  God grace is overflowing to “the many” (Romans 5:15; Daniel 9:27).  As we are “filled with all joy and peace,” we overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)  As this grace is reaches more and more people, it causes thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15).  In this way, the glory of God fills the earth (Habakuk 2:14).  Isaiah 11:9 says, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”  This is what it means when it says, “He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill all things” (Ephesians 4:10).  Paul says this about the kingdom: “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace” (Colossians 1:6).  Today there is no trace of the man-made kingdoms of Daniel’s vision,  Yes, there are others, but the kingdom of Christ is growing like a great tree in which all the birds of the air can find rest in its branches (Matthew 13:32).

Daniel 7 shows us that the kingdom was “established” during the time of the Roman Empire.  Daniel has a vision where he sees the four winds of heaven churning up the sea.  Then four beast arise that have authority of the earth.  The fourth beast is Rome, which rules over the earth and “the little horn” is a king who speaks blasphemies against the Lord.  Then in Daniel’s vision, he see a “son of man” approaching the Ancient of Days in heaven and being led into His presence.  There can be no doubt as to what we are seeing here.  It is the none other than the ascension and exaltation of Christ to sit on the throne of David as God had promised (Luke 1:32).  At this time, all things were placed “under His feet”: “And He put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 2:22-23).

Paul tells the Corinthians: “For He “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.  When did this happen?  At the resurrection and the ascension.  Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 makes this very clear:

David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.   But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.  Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.  Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Did you catch that?  David was speaking about the resurrection of Christ in Psalm 16.  He was not speaking about his own resurrection, because David’s body was in still in the grave.  He was speaking prophetically.  David was saying that Christ’s body did not see decay before He was raised from the dead.  Not only that, but Christ was also “exalted to the right hand of God” (Acts 2:33).  David foresaw that God would place one of his descendants on his throne as promised (Acts 2:30).  Whose throne?  David’s throne.  But was David’s throne really David’s throne?  No.  It was God’s throne and was given to David to rule over the kingdom and people of Israel.  Later David’s tent (kingdom) was enlarged to include the Gentiles (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:13-18).  This shows the kingdom existed at least from the time of Pentecost, but in reality it has always existed because
God’s elect have always existed, even from the foundation of the earth.  So what changed at Pentecost?  Pentecost was the establishment of the New Covenant people of God (Joel 2:28-29; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:24-28; 39:29; Isaiah 44:3; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:15, 12:24).

But is this enough?  How can we really know that Jesus has been reigning on David’s throne from the time of His resurrection, ascension and exaltation?  The author of Hebrews makes it very clear: “when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool” (Hebrews 10:13).  Since that time?  Yes, from the time he sat down at the right hand of God, He waits.  He waits for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet.  And when will that be?  When will Jesus’ enemies finally be made a footstool for His feet?  When the last enemy is destroyed.  And the last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26).

But how do we know David’s throne was God’s throne?  1 Chronicles 29:23 says, “So Solomon sat on
the throne of the LORD as king in place of his father David. He prospered and all Israel obeyed him.” (see: 1 Chronicles 28:5).  God had promised David:
When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever.  I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you,  but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’ (1 Chronicles 7:11-14).

Notice that we are not speaking about David’s house or David’s kingdom, this is the Lord God speaking through Nathan and it is the Lord’s house and kingdom which the Lord Jesus Christ is building.  In 1 Chronicles 28:5 the throne is referred to as “
the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.”  Therefore, David’s throne was God’s throne over God’s kingdom over Israel.

When was this kingdom “established”?  Peter quotes Psalm 110 as proof of Christ’s ascension and exaltation:

       
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies 
a footstool for your feet.”’  (Psalm 110:1)

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

Jesus was already the Lord and Messiah (which means “The Anointed One”) but God declard Him to be so at His exaltation.  He announced this decree over Him:

“You are my son, Today I have become your Father” 

                                  (Hebrews 1:5, 5:5; Psalm 2:7).

The Father wanted there to be no doubt that He had installed His Anointed as King on David’s throne.  This is why Peter says, “He received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33).  The giving of The Holy Spirit is the sign of the New Covenant.  The Lord God also testifies to this:

        “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.” (Psalm 2:6)

The three-fold office of Christ is prophet, priest and king.  Some people say Christ fulfilled his role as prophet during His earthly ministry.  He is now fulfilling His office as priest, and one day He will fulfill His office as King.  But this misses the point of the prophesies and their fulfillment.  Just as Solomon was a type of Christ, so also the high priest Joshua (Hebrew: Yeshua) is also a type of Christ.  In Zechariah 6:13 we read:

Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua (Yeshua) son of Jozadak (The Lord our Righteousness).  Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’ 
                                                        (Zechariah 6:11-13)

Joshua means, “The Lord saves.”  Jozadak means “The Lord our Righteousness.”  This is a beautiful type of Christ because Jesus is “The Branch” who is building the temple of the Lord.  He is clothed with majesty and sits and rules on His throne.  Jeremiah also wrote:

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

The author of Hebrews was thinking of this passage when he wrote:

After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:3).  Then, in chapter 8 the writer says: The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.  (Hebrews 8:1).  Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God and is clothed in Majesty.  Peter, James and John saw this majesty.  Peter said, “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). 
Zechariah also says, “He is a priest on His throne” (Zechariah 6;13).  The Psalmist says, “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4)  This decree was pronounced over Christ at His ascension (Psalm 2:6).  But Christ Jesus was not only decreed to be a priest, but also a king (Psalm 2:7).  Hebrews 7 explains that Melchizedek means “king of righteousness.”  Melchizedek was the king of Salem, which means “peace.”  Therefore, Jesus is not only our High Priest; He is our King of righteousness and peace.  This what Zechariah meant when he said, “there will be harmony between the two.”

So now that we know that Jesus is a priestly king on His throne and sitting on the throne of David, how do we know He is ruling now?  Well, Revelation 1:5 says, “He rules over all the kings of the earth.”  Isaiah 45:6-7 says:

        Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions 
by anointing you with the oil of joy.

Hebrews states this “scepter of justice” was given to Jesus Christ at His ascension when He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). It was then that Jesus was exalted above His companions (the angels) and anointed as Lord and King.  Acts 5:31 says, “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.”  He inherited a name that is far superior to that of the angels (Hebrews 1:4).  God raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:21-22).

From the beginning we were told that the scepter would come to Him to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations would be His (Genesis 49:10).  This is exaltly what we are told happened when Jesus ascended into heaven,“Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:8).  This is why “the kings of the earth are told to “Kiss the Son…lest He be angry for His wrath can flare up in a moment” (Psalm 2:12).  So, now that the scepter has come to Him to whom it belongs, His kingdom is established.  This is the kingdom that was established when He was “snatched up to God and to His throne”.  We are told He will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (Revelation 12:5).  This may seem like a future statment, but when we examine Psalm 110, we realize that the scepter that was given to Christ at His ascension is now being extended from Zion, “The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,“Rule in the midst of your enemies!” (Psalm 110:2). 

Christ is reigning right now in the midst of His enemies, and He will continue to reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25).  One day He will, indeed, excercise His power to “bring everything under His control” (Philippians 3:21), but it won’t be the millennial rule that most people think of.  Instead, He will “break them to pieces like pottery” (Psalm 2:9; Revelaion 2:27).  This is similar to Psalm 110 which says, “Your troops will be willing on your day of battle.  Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb…he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.  He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth” (Psalm 110:2, 5-6).  And we should not forget to cite Revelation 19:14-15: “And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Is there any other way to show that Christ’s kingdom has now been “established”?  Yes, there is.  Isaiah tells us, “In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it—one from the house of David—one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness” (Isaiah 16:5).  As we have seen, this throne was established when Jesus ascended into heaven and sat down on David’s throne (Acts 2:30).  God has declared Him to be both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:33) - He is both Prince and Savior (Acts 5:31).

There are many people who object to this.  They say, “No, Israel did not accept Jesus as their King; therefore, He had to postpone His kingdom until later.  Instead of restoring the kingdom to Israel, God has set up His church, which is a totally different dispensation.  Only later, when the church is raptured will God once again work with Israel.  Then, at His second coming He will set up His kingdom.  They will say Jewish people thwarted his plan, therefore, He had to have a backup plan (the church).
This is the dispensational view and it is very, very wrong. Why? Because it implies that God failed to accomplish His purpose.
 
But did God fail to accomplish His plan to “establish” His kingdom?  Not at all.  Isaiah 42 says:

  Behold My Servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.  (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Notice, Isaiah says, “he will not grow faint or be discourage until he has established justice in the earth” (verse 4).  He will “faithfully bring forth justice” to the nations.  But when was this accomplished?  The answer may surprise you.  It was during Jesus’ earthly ministry. 

The Pharisees were conspiring against him because He was healing people on the Sabaath and claiming to be Lord of the Sabaath. He continued to healed all who followed him, but because of His growing notoriety, He had to tell people not to make Him known:

Matthew 12:18-21 says:

  “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Notice, He intentionally avoids drawing attention to Himself so that He might teach the people.  Yes, the miracles confirmed His authority, but it was not the miracles on which He wanted the people to focus, it was His teaching on justice and the righteousness of God.  Do a search of your Bible on the word “justice” and you will be amazed at how important justice and mercy are to God.  This is the primary responsibility of kings and judges – to administer justice (Proverbs 29:14)  That is why David was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).  He “shepherded Israel with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Psalm 78:72).  In fact, all the other kings of Israel and Judah were compared to David (1 Kings 11:4).  This is what the men of faith were known for (Hebrews 11:32-34).  This is what the Pharisees neglected to carry out (Matthew 23:23). This is what Israel was judged for not doing (Ezekiel 22:29; Micah 3:8-11; Zechariah 7:8-14).  The Apostle Paul tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14).  What does the law say? “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” (Leviticus 19:15; Proverbs 31:9).  So important is this teaching that you might even begin to think that we are saved by our obedience, but this would be wrong.  Paul explains, “Faith expresses itself in love” (Galatians 5:6).  We are not saved by our obedience, but our obedience comes from God’s love in our heart and is the outward flow of faith.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  But what does this mean?  Ezekiel reveals that the Lord was angry with Israel’s shepherds because were not administering justice according to the Law the He gave them:

Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I MYSELF will search for my sheep and will seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I MYSELF will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.  (Ezekiel 34:10-16)

What did Jesus say?  “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).  The lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24).  In John’s gospel we read, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

All of this is a fulfillment of Ezekiel 34 and 36.  The Lord spoke through Isaiah: “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations.  My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm (Isaiah 51:4-5).   The same theme of the arm of the Lord” working justice is found in Isaiah 59.  The first half of this chapter is all about Israel’s sin and trangression of God’s law.  Isaiah describes this lack of justice as a deep darkness: “We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes” (Isaiah 59:9-10).  Then, later in the chapter (as he did in chapter 51), Isaiah states that he will work justice through His own arm:
The LORD looked and was displeased 
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him. 
He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head….

(Isaiah 59:15-17)

How will this happen?
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, 
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD. 

(Isaiah 59:20)

We can see the same theme of darkness and light in Isaiah 60.  The darkness is the lack of justice, the light of justice is the salvation that the arm of the Lord works on behalf of His people.

           Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 
See, darkness covers the earth 
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you 
and his glory appears over you. 
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 
Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come.  (Isaiah 60:1-5)

The light of Israel is Jesus. This passage talks about the restoration of God's people to the land after their exile to Babylon and the coming of their Messiah after that.  Artexerxes decreed that all the riches of his land would be available to rebuild the temple and verses 6 through 10 speak of these riches. Foreigners would help them build their walls by providing the cedars of Lebanon and other material (verse 11).

Finally, this prophesy, like most, transitions into the new heaven and earth and eternity in verses 19-22, which sounds quite similar to the end of Revelation:

The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your everlasting light, 
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end. 
Then all your people will be righteous
and they will possess the land forever. 

(Isaiah 60:19-21; cf. Revelation 21:22-27; 22:2-5).

As I said before, the light of Israel in Isaiah 60 is Jesus.   In fact, John the Baptist's father (the priest Zechariah) prophesies in Luke:

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us 
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies 
and from the hand of all who hate us— 
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness 
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

(Luke 1:68-79)

Luke records that the "the rising sun" would come from heaven and shine on those living in this spiritual darkness. This is a fulfillment of prophecy and the sign that the Abrahamic covenant and the Davidic covenant were fulfilled in Jesus' first advent.  He had raised up a horn of salvation in the house of His servant David.

Simeon also prays:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

(Luke 2:29-32)

Simeon saw the baby Jesus as the coming of that salvation that Isaiah prophecied about. Notice this salvation is done “in the sight of all nations” - not just for Israel.

Isaiah 49 says:

It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob 
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

We see this same thing in Isaiah 9:

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— 

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you 
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice 
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle 
and every garment rolled in blood 
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
(Isaiah 9:1-5)

Verses 6-7 talk about the birth of Christ and His ascension when He began His reign on David's throne.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

(Isaiah 9:6-7)

Notice, He will “establishes” His kingdom and upholds it with justice and righteousness.  That is what Jesus Christ is doing now.  And He will do this from this time (at the ascension) and foreever more.  So, even after, He hands the kingdom over to the Father (at the Parousia), He will reign along side of the Father. 
See: Isaiah 42:6-7 - "a light to the Gentiles” - “a great light” (Isaiah 9:2).

This light continued to spread after Jesus' ascension and Pentecost to the Gentiles: 

Indeed, God commissioned Paul for this very reason:

“ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

(Acts 13:47)

Paul’s defence before King Aggripa was this:

I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

(Acts 26:23)

So, you see, the light of Israel is Jesus. But Jesus is also a light to the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

My favorite passage is from Isaiah is from chapter 11:

        
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of lJesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.  (Isaiah 11:1-4)

People think that this is referring to the post-parousia millennium, but it is actually referring to Jesus’ earthly ministry and His current rule.  How do I know?  Because at the beginning of His ministry Jesus said:

           “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me 
to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners 
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19)


 This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 61.  What does it mean to “judge the poor” or “to decide with equity for the meek of the earth” (Isaiah 11:4)?  It means to judge impartially and with righteousness.  This is what we read about in Isaiah 16.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is “the one from the house of David” who “in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness” (Isaiah 16:5).  He is the Good Shepherd who shepherds His sheep “with justice” (Ezekiel 34:16).

The prophet Jeremiah reveals the heart of God: “Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).




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