“The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow…” (Isaiah 65:25).
Hold that thought … we’ll get back to it.
Meanwhile, it’s that time of the year. So shout it out: Happy New Year!
Cherishing and celebrating the Savior’s (Christmas) birthday or not, one week later many of us look forward to a new year. Whether a person’s year begins on January 1st (for most of the world), or the 1st day of Tishrei (Jewish calendar), there’s something about a new year that seems to renew or continue our hope for a meaningful life, and rekindle aspirations for a finer world with some measure of peace. People still make resolutions (some seriously) to be a better person to themselves and others.
Longing for better days ahead is enhanced in multiples of ten, then hundreds, and even thousands. A new decade for years that end in zero—with the average life expectancy in most nations of the world allowing many to see eight, nine, or even ten decades in their lifetime. Some actually experience the beginning of a new century, or have lived for a century or more. However, the human race has undergone only a few transitions from one millennium to another. Including our generation! We have witnessed the first number of the calendar switch from 1 to 2!
Epochs (millennia) of time don’t necessarily take place precisely on the Gregorian calendar year ending with three zeros. Nonetheless, the pivotal milestones of God’s interaction with man—as recorded in the Bible and documented by secular history—in accomplishing his plans for the human race are pretty close to those millennial markers.
For example: God chose Abraham as the progenitor of the Jewish race—through whom the Child of Promise would come to save both Jew and Gentile—around 2,000 B.C., the third millennium. From the tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David, Messiah would descend; David ruled as Israel’s greatest king from 1010 to 970 B.C. … onset of the fourth millennium.
Two thousand years ago marked the fifth millennium of recorded human history, when the miraculous birth of Jesus changed time itself. The number five in Scripture represents God’s grace. And that’s exactly what happened: the advent of the New Covenant of Grace foretold by Jeremiah (Chapter 31). God’s grace through the gift of his Son Messiah Jesus, who died to forgive sin and pardon the penalty of our sins—eternal separation from God. And God only requires one thing of us: to believe and receive the substitutionary death of His Son as the Gospel truth.
Very close to a thousand years after King David, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11) was born in Bethlehem. Just a few years and months before the world-changing birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, many Jews brimmed with enthusiasm for Messiah’s arrival. That same Messianic fervor—for believers the Second Coming; for non-Messianic Jews, Messiah’s first arrival—has exploded all over the world once again.
(See Eye of Prophecy articles, Great Expectations for Messiah and Amazing Anticipation for Messiah. Posted 8-8-15 & 8-29-15. Also refer to, The World Wants a Messiah … But It Needs (The) Messiah, posted 1-28-17).
Beginning with the estimated time when God created Adam and Eve (using the Roman, then Gregorian calendar), we became part of the 7th millennium in the year 2,000. Seven, the Divine Number found throughout Scripture constitutes the conclusiveness, completeness, and providential sovereignty of God’s interaction with his creation. Beginning with the Lord setting aside the 7th day as a day of rest, remembrance, and recognition of our awesome God and his majestic creation.
The year 2,000 was also the beginning of the third millennium (A.D.). Which is a meaningful milestone correlation to the fact that Messiah Jesus arose from the grave on the third day.
The Apostle Peter reminded us:
I’m convinced that this one-day-to-a-thousand years model is not only a symbolic comparison, but also a literal time-measurement of and connection to the third-day resurrection of Messiah and his soon glorious return (in this 3rd Millennium A.D, also the 7th Millennium overall).
The second Millennium (marked by the year 1000) and sixth overall, was a continuation of the Age of Grace. Six represents the number of man. In the same passage we just looked at, Peter provides the reason why the Lord might (in the 1st century) have delayed his return—explained by the one day/thousand-year paradigm.
“The Lord isn’t really slow about his promise (to return to the earth), as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (II Peter 3:9, parenthesis mine).
But now the time has come. We are almost eighteen years into the Third Millennium A.D. End-time prophecy is being fulfilled or is unfolding in the 20th & 21st centuries in unparalleled fashion since the first century. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up … Redemption Is Near, Part I & II. Posted 7-11 & 7-18-15, for twelve Biblical prophetic signs occurring in the last 100 years).
Imminent Arrival of the (Lord’s) New World Order
This new world order (not the kind that man-made conspiracies are made of) begins with the Rapture of believers; followed by the greatest time of death and destruction the world will ever experience, culminating with the triumphant return of Christ at the end of this disastrous seven years. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, published 6-6-15).
Whatever time of year that Messiah returns to earth, the following year will bring a whole new meaning to Happy New Year.
There will be the need for only one all-encompassing resolution, which is expressed in many ways throughout Scripture. And that will be to acknowledge the Lord when he says: “For my people will serve the Lord their God and their king descended from David—the king I will raise up for them” (Jeremiah 30:9).
Although that passage is directed to Israel regarding her last day’s restoration, it will also extend to the whole world, because salvation comes through the Jewish Messiah (Jesus) to the Jew first, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).
“Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:12).
No matter what year it takes place—2018, 2019, 2020, or soon thereafter—it will be the beginning of the glorious one-thousand year reign of Messiah Jesus on earth. He will usher in a remarkable era of righteousness and justice. Whenever it begins, the 1000-year reign of Christ will finally be: Peace on earth, good will toward men.
“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). See Revelation 20:11-15 for God’s Great White Throne Judgment and the second death.
Blessed, because Messiah Jesus will graciously and generously share his inheritance with believers, including the awesome privilege of reigning with him. Holy, because those who are given the incomparable benefit (through faith in Christ) to be children of God (John 1:12) will be separated just for that purpose—empowered to represent and serve our Lord all over the earth. The “first resurrection” takes place at the Rapture, and then continues with the resurrection of Tribulation Saints, many (probably most) of whom will be murdered by the Antichrist during the Tribulation. (Refer to: The Magnificent Millennial Reign of Believers with Messiah. Posted 7-15-17).
Christ, himself, will establish the Kingdom of God on earth and he will settle international quarrels, the kind that make a cold war hot. All wars will cease, even the cold ones. And the weapons of war will be no more.
(Jesus First Had to Reconcile Man to God)
“The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise!” (Micah 4:3-4).
Concerning Israel: “…Then I, the Lord, will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever. As for you, Jerusalem, the citadel (capital) of God’s people, your royal might and power (as seen in the glory years of King David and Solomon … only better) will come back to you again. The kingship will be restored to my precious Jerusalem” (Micah 4:7-8, parenthesis mine).
Nothing like what Jesus will do when he returns has ever occurred in the long, painful, and all too often evil expression of the human heart throughout mankind’s sordid history. Man’s attempt to govern without acknowledging that, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12) has resulted in unimaginable misery, destruction, and death of hundreds of millions of people (by the end of the Tribulation it will be in the billions) at the hands of other human beings.
Think about it for a moment; pick a time, any time, in history. In anyone’s lifetime (using 70 years as the most common measurement of a generation) when was there peace everywhere on earth? Or even in their sphere of the world? Perhaps once or twice; even then, all too fleeting.
But one day (soon), Jesus will return to make all things right. And, oh, how different and right they will be!
Not only will the phenomenal 1,000-year government of Messiah Jesus (until the very end when God will release Satan from his imprisonment in the Abyss to lead one last rebellion … quickly crushed by God—Revelation 20) eliminate all aggression on earth, the hostility of nature itself will be a thing of the past. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and famine will be few and far between, if at all. In fact, Zechariah both states and implies that the Lord will use nature only to discipline (no rain) those nations who refuse to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Shelters and worship the King (Zechariah 14:16-19).
It’s true: Messiah Jesus will “rule with an iron rod” (Revelation 19:15). No more or less (but with perfection) than any benevolent king would do to preserve the peace in his kingdom. But Messiah’s peace will blanket the earth during the Millennium! “His government and its peace will never end.” (Isaiah 9:7a).
Continuing with that verse, Jesus will also: “…rule with fairness and justice…” (Isaiah 9:7b).
Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God, posted 1-17-15. (In italics):
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God; for example, comparing it to a mustard seed … the smallest of seeds that when planted grows into an enormous tree. Which is exactly what has happened to the body of Christ; an exponential growth down through the ages, to now consist of believers from virtually every nation and language on earth. It is the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of those who have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ. Next, will come the final physical Kingdom of God on this earth; at which time all people, all governments, all nations will be brought under the authority of God’s magnificent Son. He will rule the nations with firmness, but fairness.
Isn’t that what most people want? They want: law, order, equality, safety, peace. And they want someone who has the kind of authority to realize those dreams, but also someone who is kind and considerate with that authority. One who truly cares about people and what’s best for them; who can rule and judge with impartiality and kindness. A truly wise and benevolent King whose attributes perfectly reflect who and what he is: Love, Truth, Justice, Mercy.
Speaking to believers, the Apostle Paul discloses this powerful promise about our amazing inheritance in the Kingdom of God on earth, but also the radical reversal of the curse on nature … a direct result of our original parent’s rebellion against God.
“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us” (Romans 8:16-23, italics for emphasis).
(Scene in Movie, Ben Hur. Charlton Heston–Playing Judah Ben Hur to the Left; Jack Hawkins–Playing Roman Naval Commander Quintis Arrius in Center. Arrius Adopted Judah Ben-Hur. Romans knew full well (as did Christians at the time) That Adoption Bestowed All the Rights of Inheritance)
Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part II (10-3-15). Beginning with Paul’s message to believers who were questioning a physical resurrection from the dead, even though that’s exactly what Christ accomplished.
“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory … They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies” (I Corinthians 15:42-44).
…So, Paul is saying that it’s silly to think that there is no resurrection. Didn’t Christ, himself, rise from the dead? Or, once past that point of doubt, to think that we would be raised with the same earthly body in which we were born. As a result of sin, it was all too clear that our bodies grow old, deteriorate and eventually die. And why on earth would God raise us in spirit form only; when in fact he originally created us with a spirit and body to live forever… Furthermore, this everlasting life will be lived in and with a superbly superior body … a spiritual body!
Then in the final Things to Ponder portion of that article:
By and large, Scripture doesn’t elaborate on the new glorified spiritual bodies that believers in Christ will possess when the dead in Christ are raised from the dead and those alive will also be transformed and immediately follow them. Suffice to say, our spiritual bodies will far exceed anything we could imagine. Neither, however, does the Bible leave us clueless.
There is a general overview and reliable supposition that we can make about our glorified bodies: They will be multi-dimensional. How many more dimensions than we currently have is unknown for now.
But here are a few of the distinguishing characteristics:
Physical Barriers Are No Problem
We’ve already touched on this earlier in the article … Luke Chapter 24. That account is also recorded in John’s Gospel. Even after they had been told that the Lord had arisen, his disciples were still in hiding from the Jewish leaders—meeting behind closed and locked doors.
“…Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side…” (John 20:19-20). Jesus didn’t knock or break down the door. He was just there! Picture entering the famous Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico without going through or down the entrance shaft.
Time and Space Are No Barriers
Remember Jesus walking with the two men on the road to Emmaus, after his resurrection. He verbally took them through all the prophetic Scriptures that spoke of him as the Messiah, then agreed to go to their home to eat dinner with them. Jesus, “…took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them … And at that moment he disappeared!” (Luke 24:30-31).
One minute he was there and the next second he was gone! Gone, as in abruptly vanishing. How long it took him to get to his next destination is not known. But a spiritual educated guess tells us it was fast, very fast. Perhaps we will be able to travel at the speed of sound, or light, or even thought.
Eating, Drinking (Presumably Sleeping) Will Still Be Possible, but Optional
Notice in the account we just looked at with the two followers of Jesus that Jesus chose not to eat. He blessed the bread, gave it to the two men, and disappeared. The very evident implication in this scene is that the seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus followed by the time spent at the house preparing dinner and whatever else occurred would have taken several hours. The men were hungry and so could have been the Lord. But he chose not to eat most likely because he didn’t need to.
On the other hand, he ate with his disciples in the account later in Luke Chapter 24. Our spiritual bodies will be such that eating, drinking, and probably sleeping will be optional. With exception that we will periodically partake of the water of life and tree of life in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22). Thus, we will have the pleasure of eating … who doesn’t want or like to eat! On the other hand, there are times when we just don’t want to take the trouble to eat. We will eat when we want to; won’t eat when we don’t want to!
Gravity Does Not Affect the Spiritual Body
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider (Jesus) was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses” (Revelation 19:11, 14).
During the final epic battle of Armageddon, believers will follow our Lord directly from heaven; with the obvious conclusion that it will be from the sky above to the earth below, all the while riding white horses. Included in all the glorious features our spiritual bodies will possess, gravity will have no power over us. Suspended animation? Any time or place we choose.
Flying fast or flying slow. Look out earth, away we go!
Back to this week’s article.
The scourge that has affected nature for thousands of years will be over; even the behavior of animals will change drastically for the better.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
I recall quoting this famous line from the Wizard of Oz once before. Why or in which article I have no clue, but it must have been for a (good) reason! It certainly fits today’s theme. Though lions and other predators prefer natural game, they have from time to time attacked people. With the advent of the gun, these and other menacing animals are not as much of a threat as they were centuries ago, especially in Biblical times. Yet even in today’s high tech arsenal of weapons, people can still find themselves, in the blink of a tiger’s eye, on the food chain.
Despite what man has done to man especially during the 18th, 19th, 20th, & 21st centuries (think the Napoleonic Wars, two World Wars including genocides, terrorism, and all of the other “lesser wars”), at least we’ve improved our disposition towards animals—a partly serious and partly cynical observation. We’ve placed some animals under protection, such as the buffalo, hump-back whale, and sea-lion; thereby, alleviating their endangered species predicament. Through excellent conservation efforts (for example, bringing wolves back to Yellowstone National Park) we’ve better balanced the (unnatural) increase in the elk population.
(American Buffalo Herd–technically Bison as opposed to the African Water Buffalo. There was truly a “slaughter” of bison in the “Wild West” reducing their numbers from the millions to about 1,000 in 1890. Today, their population is estimated to be nearly 1/2 million).
One day soon, the King of kings and Prince of Peace will return to enact his own conservation program, one that will protect and preserve human life from ruthless predators—tyrants, terrorists, corrupt leaders, and everyday murderers. And also protection from wild animals.
When Adam named all the animals, it’s apparent that none of them were “wild” to the extent of being afraid of or threatening to people. This continued to Noah’s time, as the animals were not food for each other during the twelve and a half months that Noah, his family, and the animals were on the ark. However, it’s evident that the judgment of the Great Flood changed much of the earth’s topography, and also the dynamics of the animal kingdom. That is a reliable conclusion because of what God told Noah after the flood.
“I have given them (fish and animals) to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat meat that still has the lifeblood in it. … If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die … For God made human beings in his own image … Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth” (Genesis 9:3-7, parenthesis mine).
When the curse is cancelled at the glorious Second Coming of Christ, even the animals will undergo an extreme makeover. The full nature and extent of these internal (temperament) and external (perhaps fewer or no fangs in predators) changes remain to be seen. The Lord’s magnificent plan of redemption is not only for people who place their personal trust in the Redeemer, but also for the entire earth and all living things. Everything will come full circle back to the beginning … even better!
Scripture only tells us about some of these remarkable transformations. Some of this restoration will take place during the Millennium; some not until after the 1,000-year epoch, which is the beginning of what many Bible scholars simply call “Eternity.” Such as:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people… God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever’” (Revelation 21:1-4).
The rest is left to our imagination; but even that is inadequate to fully comprehend it all.
This applies to the wonderful benefits of salvation during our journey on this earth, but also to the millennium following the Great Tribulation.
Concerning the renovation of the animal kingdom, listen to this incredible prophecy from Isaiah:
“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow (which is the way it was in the beginning). The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm … for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord” (Isaiah 11:6-9, parenthesis mine).
Have you watched the National Geographic or Smithsonian Channels or the series called, Planet Earth, or other documentaries on wildlife? Have you seen the marvels of nature, but also the grisly sights of fierce animals seizing and killing their prey? Some of us realize that this is the way of things and has been for a long time. Others recoil in horror, wondering why it must be this way … what or who could possibly eliminate the existence of food chains.
No matter your disposition or your viewpoint, we all could respond to Isaiah’s astounding prophecy with something like, “Wow! How is that possible?”
In that same passage (and others) we’re told who can and will make such a thing happen.
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord… He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together…” (Isaiah 11:1-6).
Because of Jesus’s triumphant victory over sin and death—fully accomplished when he arose from the dead—he has power and authority to do such things. In this life, in the Millennium, and throughout eternity: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church (born again believers) and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
As God the Son, that power was also his before the world began.
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and the authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:15-17).
Yes, even the animals will once again (innately) obey their creator.
Think about the possibilities.
A young boy will ask, “Dad, can I play with the tigers today?”
“Sure son, and be sure to give them some fresh hay when you’re done playing.”
A young girl will say, “Mom, I’m going to explore the cave where the snakes live.”
“Okay, honey, but be careful.”
“Mom, come on, you know what the Lord has done,” the little girl playfully chides.
“Of course,” Mom remembers as her eyes light up. “Have fun, and put them back where you find them!”
(Go Hippo Hopping During the Millennium, Or Just Slide Onto a Hippo’s Back and Enjoy the Ride!)
I’ll be amazed but not surprised (there’s a difference), if my white horse (Revelation 19:14) speaks to me and says, “Just hold on, I’ll do the rest.”
Things to Ponder
Personally, I have planted my life and placed my eternal destiny in the promises of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so wonderfully and powerfully proclaimed in Scripture. Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. Why wouldn’t or shouldn’t the remaining prophecies come to pass?
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son” (Romans 5:8-10).
That Jesus arose from the dead is a historical fact. He was seen by hundreds of people after his death and burial. But there’s even greater evidence than eyewitness accounts.
“Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (I John 5:9-12).
Is Messiah Jesus your personal Savior? Is it really worth an eternity separated from God by disregarding or denying that Jesus is who he said he is, or that there’s another way to God and heaven? Do you believe Messiah’s exclusive claim that inclusively says to all who believe in him:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Said the Apostle Peter to his people, but also to the entire world:
“…Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved’” (Acts 4:8-12).
Do you believe that? Do you want to be in heaven and watch the Lord do what he said will be done: “And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5)
If you do—while you and I and other believers are waiting eagerly for Jesus to inaugurate his Millennium—then have a Happy New Year! For those who don’t believe in Jesus as the Messiah, Son of God, I pray that they will find new life and joy in Him this coming year.
Said the Gentile jailor to Paul and Barnabas, “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…’” (Acts 16:30-31).