The Signs of the Times (50): Foretaste

editor - 2 June 2019

‘This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.’
Revelation 20:6

The final battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), which turned out not to be a ‘battle’ at all, has left nations existing on earth. The devil is locked up so that he can no longer deceive the nations, Revelation 20:3. Christ is not coming to an empty earth to reign, Revelation 11:15, 12:9-19, 19:6. He takes on the Kingship over all the kingdoms of this world. The last empire of Daniel is a world empire as well, an empire that encompasses the whole earth, Daniel 2:35.

Will Christ reign on earth or from heaven? Scripture is silent about this. When He has returned, will He go back to heaven after the battle of Armageddon? We don’t know. But He will rule and shepherd the nations, and we along with Him, Revelation 2:26-28, Psalm 2:6-12. Ruling with an iron sceptre is different from smashing with an iron club. Ruling is guiding and caring for. Judging also means making things right.

The earth is a mess and the nations are completely dismayed. Christ is going to make it whole again. Not only in heaven, but on earth His perfect righteousness will be as well. A just Lordship that has not yet been known or experienced. Many scriptures in the Old Testament speak about this. See Psalm 22:28-29, 46:10-11, 47:2-10, 67, 96, 98, 138, 145:13-21; Isaiah 9:4-6, 11:1-10, 29:17-24; Micah 4:1-3; Zephaniah 3:9-20; Zechariah 9:10, 14:9; Revelation 5:9-10. The book of Revelation is silent about the how and what of the Lordship of Christ on earth. The Old Testament prophets speak more about this.

Nature will best restored: the desert will become a fertile field, and the fertile field like a forest. The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, Isaiah 32:15. The land will be rid of savage beasts; the showers will be send down in season, showers of blessing so that the trees will yield their fruit and the ground its crops, Ezekiel 34:25-27. There will be peace so that they can beat the swords into ploughshares, Isaiah 2:2-4. Lifespan will increase, so that ages from before the flood can be reached, but death will still be there. ‘Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people.’ (Isaiah 65:19-25)

There will also be peace in the animal world, Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:25. The lion with the lamb, the infant will play near the cobra’s den; the cow will feed with the bear. It will be an ideal world, but not yet perfect. Sin and death will be there.

With an iron fist will be reigned and justice will be imposed. The wicked will be there, Psalm 101:8. And they need to be judged, Psalm 72. There will be conflicts between the nations – but not war – and the Lord (not the international court in The Hague or the UN in America) will be the one to bring justice, Isaiah 2:4.

The new heaven and the new earth are in the future. The nations will go through a learning process, so that they can learn how to serve the Lord perfectly, Micah 4:1-3. Israel will have a central place. The Kingdom of the Messiah is inextricably linked with His kingship over Israel, Luke 1:33.

Jerusalem will be the centre of the world. The Great Son of David will reign, Hosea 3:4-5, Ezekiel 37:15-28. Is it not a miracle that the priestly kings who take part in the government, who belong to the first resurrection, are blessed and made holy (=set apart and perfect)? Who would not want to be a part of that?

Then you know for sure that the second death will have no power over you. The first death is when your body dies on earth. The second death is being thrown into the Gehenna, the lake of fire. In history Gehenna is a small valley in Jerusalem. In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was initially the place where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire. Thereafter, it was deemed to be cursed (Jeremiah 7:30-31 and 19:2-6).

In rabbinic literature and Christian and Islamic scripture, Gehenna is a destination of the wicked. This is different from the more neutral Sheol/Hades, the abode of the dead, although the King James Version of the Bible usually translates both with the Anglo-Saxon word Hell.

Scripture speaks clearly about the wonderful future of Christ’s Lordship. There is no room to speculate. There is no room for ‘carnal’ expectations as if it were a sort of Germanic Walhalla with liquor and women. It will be good, and there will be peace. A glimpse and a foretaste of what will be absolutely perfect when the new heavens and the new earth will be there.


The Signs of the Times
Many people are afraid of the future. Will the turmoil in the world lead to World War III? Or is there still hope? What do the ancient prophecies of the Bible teach us? Are we at the beginning of the end of this world? Or are we approaching a new beginning? Could Israel be a sign of hope? In this new series Rev. Willem Glashouwer looks at 52 of the many signs of the times that are mentioned in the Bible. The English edition of ‘The Signs of the Times’ is available in our webshop. Order today!

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