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New Wine for the End Times
New Wine Premillennialism
It’s time to learn a couple of big words. Several times I’ve used the word eschatology. Eschatos is Greek for last. (As in, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:30, 20:16, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:30).) Thus, eschatology means the study of last things, or the study of the end times. Practically no two people who study eschatology agree on everything. The range of different opinions of interpretation, even within the same churches, is frequently vast.
With the need to speak in generalities, there are two major directions that conservative theologians have taken. One is called amillennialism, and the other is called dispensationalism. (Post-millennialism is similar to amillennialism, especially when compared to dispensationalism.) In conservative seminaries, probably the number of seminary professors in each of these two camps is somewhat evenly divided. A few take a middle ground. The middle ground is often referred to as historic premillennialism. The truth hides in the middle.
We need to take a look at these two camps because the eschatology position that we need takes a major doctrinal position from both camps. Aspects of both camps are necessary for the views of eschatology of the New Wine System to work. Aspects of both camps are necessary for showing how people can die without knowing Christ, and at the same time be saved, when faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to have eternal life. Aspects of both camps are necessary to show why salvation is a free gift, by grace and through faith. At the same time, only those who overcome sin can expect to inherit the kingdom of God. Aspects of both theological camps are necessary to resolve the conflicts between election and free will. God chooses the elect. God chooses those who will inherit His kingdom. However, everyone has the free will to have faith in God for salvation.
Christians, who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, will be saved. However, Christians are told to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Only those who seek the kingdom will inherit the kingdom. The New Wine System of premillennialism gives us an understanding of the nature of the kingdom, for both to be true.
Amillennialism or Post-Millennialism
When Christ returns, eternity in heaven begins for all who are left alive and in Christ. The world comes to an end and a new world is made.
When Christ returns, the age to come begins and Israel rules the world for an age (millennium). After that, the world ends and a new world is made.
Matthew 24:3 KVJ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?
Matthew 24:3 NKJV Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age ?"
Satan was “chained” at the cross so that he can no longer deceive the nations (as much as he did before the cross).
Satan will be chained when Christ returns so that he will no longer be able to deceive the nations.
The spiritual Kingdom of Heaven is here and now.
The literal Kingdom of Heaven is future.
Note: George E. Ladd said the spiritual Kingdom is here and now, but is to be completed literally in the future millennium.
Most of prophecy is interpreted as being already fulfilled, except for the actual return of Christ, the judgment, and the new heavens and new earth.
Prophecy that is not obviously already fulfilled is assumed to take place in the future.
Prophetic Scripture is interpreted symbolically or allegorically. The allegory is the truth, rather than the literal from which the allegory is taken.
Prophetic Scripture is interpreted as literally as is reasonable. Symbolism is used only when it’s obvious. Preferably, the earlier Scripture is used to obtain the meaning of the symbols.
The great tribulation happens throughout the age, from 70 AD until the return of Christ.
The great tribulation is 3 ½ or seven years just prior to the return of Christ.
Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are seen as two accounts of the same speech. Thus, the abomination of desolation in Matthew is equated to Jerusalem being surrounded by armies in Luke.
Matthew 24 is seen as more futurist, with the abomination of desolation happening during the great tribulation. Luke 21, with Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, happened in 70 AD.
No new temple will be built. Or if it happens, it would be an abomination against Christ.
A literal temple will be built, and the antichrist will stop the offering and set himself up in the temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Ezekiel’s temple is seen as entirely symbolic of eternity. It’s considered to be a similar vision of eternity to the also-symbolic vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22.
Ezekiel’s temple is considered literal, and will exist during the millennium. The New Jerusalem is also literal, but is not the same as Ezekiel’s temple.
Most of the events of Revelation, such as the seals, trumpets, and bowls of wrath, have already been fulfilled. Some say by 70 AD. Others by around 400 AD. Historical events have parallels to the trumpets and bowls.
The trumpets and bowls are literal and in the future. The seals can be more symbolic. Some would say the seals are symbolic of events that occur during the tribulation. I think the seals have already been happening during this baby-boom generation.
The seventy weeks of Daniel 9 were entirely fulfilled by 3 ½ years after the crucifixion. (The crucifixion was the stopping of the sacrifice and offering in the middle of the 70 th week.)
Portions of the 70 weeks are still to be fulfilled. Most futurists believe the 70th week is the great tribulation of the future. I, on the other hand, believe the seven weeks (49 years) is currently being fulfilled.
The 1290 days of Daniel 12:11 is often interpreted as being about the time of the Maccabees.
The 1290 days of Daniel 12:11 is the time after the future abomination of desolation, during the second half of the great tribulation. (Some would say it’s the entire tribulation, being only 3 ½ years long.)
Zechariah 14 (Armageddon) is interpreted as very symbolic, usually it’s considered to be symbolic of events around 70 AD.
Zechariah 14 is literal and future. It’s fulfilled just prior to the return of Christ, when he literally returns and sets his feet on the Mount of Olives.
Dispensational (Pre-Tribulation Rapture)
(*) The covenants are seen as all part of the same system. The covenants all apply to the Church. When you read the Old Testament, it applies to you as well as to them. Certain aspects of the law, such as animal sacrifice, are now obsolete.
The covenants are interpreted literally only for Israel. The New Covenant and the Abraham Covenant apply to the Church only in a spiritual way. The Covenants with Moses and David do not apply to the Church at all.
(*) The Church and Israel are the same thing.
Israel is separate from the Church. The Church is a “parenthesis” in God’s plan, between the Old Testament times and the millennium.
Most Covenantal theologians are Amillennialists. Old Testament prophecies about the Messianic Age are interpreted as being about the Church in the present age, using allegory and symbolism.
The purpose of the millennium is for Jewish Israel. The Jews will rule the world during the millennium. The Church, with spiritual bodies, will remain in heaven while the “tribulation saints,” with natural bodies, remain on earth. This separation of natural on the earth and spiritual bodies in heaven continues forever, even after the new heavens and the new earth.
The covenants are viewed as summarized into three covenants that are not explicitly in Scripture.
(*) The specific covenants given by Scripture are viewed individually.
Note: A new form of Dispensationalism, called Progressive Dispensationalism, rethinks the covenants and applies them equally to the Church. It’s almost completely covenantal. However, they would still hold that the Church is not Israel, especially in the millennium.
Absolutely everything in the Bible has been fulfilled. The New Covenant is the New Heaven and New Earth. The Resurrection is life after death in heaven.
Some portions of the New Testament are not intended for the Church. This includes Matthew 24 and the book of James. (James speaks of salvation by faith-plus-works, which is for Israel only - not for the Church, they say.)
New Wine Premillennialists (*)
The Church is a spiritual Israel
The true Church is exactly the same as the true Israel.
Certain Old Testament prophecies, such as animal sacrifice in Ezekiel’s Temple, should not be applied to the Church. Therefore, they are allegorized in a similar way as amillennialists.
Old Testaments prophecies are not allegorized. Ezekiel’s Temple and animal sacrifice is used as a teacher to the nations. Not needed by the Church, which is Israel. One-world government for the nations will be similar in nature to OT Jewish Theocracy.
What is amillennialism and what is dispensationalism? Amillennialism is based on an allegorical interpretation of Revelation 20. Literally, the word means ‘no millennium.’ To be more correct, however, the belief is that we are in the millennium now, and that the thousand-year period is an arbitrary but long period of time.
Dispensationalism literally means that time is divided into seven systems (or economies) of God judging man, during seven different ages. Everyone believes in at least two ages. Scripture speaks of the present age and the age to come. But the simple belief in seven ages, with different rules of judgment, does not make one a dispensationalist.
To be more correct, dispensationalism says that there is a church age in a “parenthesis” between the first and the second coming of Christ. Believers living in the church age, according to dispensationalists, have a different purpose in God’s plan than those living outside the church age. Those living in the church age have a heavenly purpose and will spend eternity in heaven. Those living after the rapture will have an earthly purpose and will spend eternity on this earth. Even after the thousand years, they spend eternity on the new earth. But those from before the church age will wind up spending eternity in heaven along with the church-age believers. Dispensationalism, thus, strongly distinguishes believers in the church age from believers living during the millennium.
The pre-tribulation rapture is derived from arguments of dispensationalism. This is not to be confused with simply a rapture, in which most amillennialists would believe. The question is whether the rapture occurs before the literal seven-year period as described in Daniel 9:27. Amillennialists will generally say the book of Revelation is talking about past events, or is entirely symbolic of the struggle between good and evil. Therefore, both amillennialists and dispensationalists believe that they personally will avoid going through a literal three and a half year (or seven year) period called the great tribulation.
Some of the modern-day Bible translations use the words “great distress” in these verses of Matthew 24. The KJV used the words “great tribulation.” Thus, it’s called the “great tribulation,” from Matthew 24:21. Dispensationalism and the widely held belief in the pre-tribulation rapture did not exist prior to Darby in 1830.
There are two big differences between amillennialism and dispensationalism. The first is a difference in how you choose to interpret Scripture. Do you believe prophetic Scripture is to be interpreted as literally as is reasonable, just like we interpret Scripture that’s not about the future? Or do you believe Scripture about the future is mostly allegorical and symbolic of much deeper meanings, while denying the literal? Amillennialists would say that prophetic Scripture should not be interpreted literally. On the other hand, dispensationalists would say that prophetic Scripture should be interpreted in what’s called the grammatical / historical method of interpretation. In other words, it’s interpreted as literally as is reasonable, only using symbolism where symbolism is obvious. Symbolism is used only when the literal interpretation makes no sense. In addition, it’s interpreted with close attention to the historical culture of the time.
This difference in the method of interpretation should not be confused with liberalism and conservatism. Liberals question the inerrancy of Scripture. They view Scripture as written mostly by men, with man’s lack of perfection. Therefore, liberals do not believe that Scripture can ever predict the future. The various opinions of eschatology are all within the boundaries of conservatism, with regard to our views on inerrancy. Prophecy cannot be prophecy without inerrancy.
Since dispensationalism holds to the grammatical / historical method of interpretation, Revelation 20 is interpreted exactly as it naturally reads. The millennial reign of Christ, as an earthly one-world government ruler, is interpreted literally. When Christ returns, there is the “first resurrection.” The thrones of verse 4 are about the millennial reign, along with Christ. Those who are resurrected sit upon them. They rule the world with Christ. Satan is chained for a literal thousand years so that he cannot deceive the nations.
At the end of the thousand years, Satan is released for a short while, and goes out to deceive the nations again. A vast multitude marches the breadth of the earth to march against Jerusalem. This is obviously sin. They are all killed by fire from heaven. After these sinners are killed, the final judgment occurs. The last enemy, sin and death, (1 Corinthians 15:26) is not destroyed until the final judgment.
On the other hand, amillennialists have a hard time believing that sin and death could happen after Christ returns. The thousand years is interpreted as a long period of time between the first and second coming of Christ. The first resurrection is our spiritual born-again experience. The thrones of Revelation 20:4 are about the spiritual authority of the believer. Catholics sees this as the authority of the saints in heaven and the Catholic Church on the earth. The second resurrection is the physical resurrection of our bodies when Christ returns.
Amillennialists believe that Satan was chained at the cross, reducing his ability to deceive the nations. He is released again just prior to Christ’s return. The armies that march against the city that God loves are marching against Christians all over the world. Then Christ returns and puts a stop to it. The heavens and the earth are immediately destroyed by fire. Then new heavens and a new earth are created.
Thus amillennialists see Bible prophecy as very allegorical or symbolic in nature. By this same use of allegorical and symbolic interpretation, most Old Testament prophecies are seen as prophecies of Christ’s first coming, or of the present age. Old Testament covenants and most prophecies are seen as completely fulfilled in the Church. The last enemy, sin and death, (1 Corinthians 15:26) is to be immediately destroyed when Christ returns.
The second major difference between amillennialism and dispensationalism is about the nature of Israel and the Church. Most amillennialists would hold that there is no difference between the Church and Israel. On the other hand, the core of dispensationalism is in drawing distinctions between the two.
Before Darby, in 1830, the high majority of Catholic and Protestant churches were amillennial. This goes all the way back to Augustine. Prior to Augustine, many, if not most, of the early church fathers believed in a literal thousand-year reign of Christ after he returns. So they were not amillennial. But they were not dispensational either. This is often referred to as historic premillennialism. Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Spurgeon were historic premillennialists. Their numbers, however, were few in church history after Augustine.
Amillennialism typically goes hand in hand with covenant theology. It’s a basic part of Reformation Theology. (Calvin and Luther were amillennial.) Covenant theology holds that all Christians are recipients of the Old Testament system of covenants. The new covenant is the latest of that system, and replaces the old covenant. Being part of that system, all those in Christ are Israel.
The word ‘Testament,’ as in the Old Testament and the New Testament, means covenant. Some of the early Bibles were printed as the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, instead of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The KJV Bible uses the word testament instead of covenant when referring to the new covenant. But in Greek, the word still means covenant.
Covenant theology was fundamental to the Reformation. All who are in Christ are Israel. Therefore, all who are in Christ are part of the system of covenants, including the new covenant. Therefore, all who are in Christ do not have to be in the Catholic Church. The arguments of covenant theology allowed for an independence from the Catholic Church.
Dispensationalists deny covenant theology and often use a negative term for it, calling it replacement theology. Lately, however, there has been a new movement of dispensationalism called progressive dispensationalism. It’s a movement back in the direction of covenant theology by claiming that all the covenants are fulfilled progressively; so all Christians are literally a part of the same system of covenants. With this I agree. Progressive dispensations, however, still draw distinctions between Israel and the Church. They would still hold that the purpose of the millennium is for Israel, and not for the Church.
Most modern-day seminary professors are either amillennial or dispensational. A few take the historic premillennialist position, which is attributed to the late George E. Ladd. He is well known for addressing issues about the kingdom of heaven. He argues that the Davidic covenant is partially fulfilled here and now in our hearts, but will be literally fulfilled in the millennium. Nevertheless, Ladd is rightly criticized for not addressing the nature and purpose of the millennium itself.
Dispensationalists hold that the purpose of the millennium is to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies, with the Jews being interpreted as Israel. However, if there is no distinction between the Church and Israel, and if you hold to a literal futurist millennium, then the purpose of the millennium must be for the Church.
Covenant theology holds that the Church is Israel. This is true. However, covenant theology also has problems. Instead of focusing on the covenants that are given in Scripture, covenant theologians tend to summarize what they see as the overall teaching of the covenantal system in three covenants that are not specifically defined in Scripture.
In covenant theology, the covenant of redemption is the eternal agreement within the Godhead in which the Father appointed the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to redeem the elect from the guilt and power of sin. This sounds logical, but it’s not specifically mentioned in Scripture. Also, the covenants in Scripture are always the formalization of relationships that had not previously existed. Covenants do not require specific agreements between the two parties. For example, Jonathan established a covenant with David simply because he loved him as a friend. I do not believe that the relationship between the persons of Trinity can be considered a covenant because it was never formally established. The Trinity relationship is eternal past, therefore could never have been formalized. Marriage is a covenant. But the members of the Trinity were never “married” to each other. The persons of the Trinity were never “covenanted” to each other. There cannot be a covenant of redemption.
Covenant theology also defines two other covenants that are not defined in Scripture. They are the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. The covenant of works is said to be applied to Adam. Salvation has always been by grace through faith in God (Hebrews 11). Salvation was never by works. Covenants are simply the formalized and progressive nature by which God re‑establishes His personal relationship with Man. Jonathan loved David before he formally established a covenant. Likewise, God saves all who love Him regardless of when they happen to have been born.
Under covenant theology, since the Church is Israel, Old Testament prophecies about Israel are seen as being fulfilled in the Church. This is correct. However, most covenant theologians do not believe in a literal earthly reign of Christ. Therefore, they must allegorize or spiritualize the Old Testament prophecies in order to interpret them as being already fulfilled in the Church today.
Every premillennial system tends to require three types of people. (1) The wicked are not resurrected when Christ returns. (2) The Bride attends the wedding banquet at the start of the millennium. (3) Any form of premillennialism tends to require a third group who are alive during the millennium, and yet are not a part of the Bride at the wedding banquet. Even the dispensational system has three types of people during the millennium. They have the Church, Israel during the millennium, and the wicked that are not resurrected until after the millennium.
The traditional interpretation of the New Testament, on the other hand, believes there are two types of people. There are the saved and there are the unsaved. Dispensationalism sticks with just saved and the unsaved during any given age, or dispensation. Dispensationalists believe everyone who is saved in all prior dispensations go to heaven and will never again live on the earth. This tends to remove all purposes for the millennium, and puts one on the path towards amillennialism. The only real stated purpose for the millennium, according to dispensationalists, is to fulfill Old Testament prophecy for the Jews. It’s very anticlimactic, especially in light of the fact that Jesus Christ Himself is literally ruling during the millennium.
New Wine premillennialism, on the other hand, is very climactic. The millennium is a time when people of all generations have the opportunity to be led to righteousness living under the reign of Jesus Christ Himself. With New Wine premillennialism, the Messianic reign of Christ is a time when the majority of all people from all generations have the opportunity to complete their journey of righteousness and to be reunited with the Father. It’s not just a literal fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. It gives purpose to that prophecy. It gives a glorious purpose to the Messianic Reign of Christ.
The New Wine System does not take the traditional interpretation of the New Testament. It can be easily argued that there are three types of people in New Testament Scripture. There are those who will inherit eternal life in the age to come. There are those who are wicked and will be condemned to the lake of fire. They will not be resurrected when Christ returns. And then there are those who are in the middle, for whom eternity has not yet been decided. Now, if these conditions remain through death and the resurrection, then these three types of people are also present during the millennium. This is New Wine premillennialism.
Dispensationalism uses the grammatical / historical method of interpreting Bible prophecy. This means that Bible prophecy is interpreted as literally as is reasonable given the historical culture of the authors and their audience. We must interpret Scripture in the same way ancient Jews, who wrote the Scripture, would have done at that time. The reasonably literal interpretation of Scripture indicates there is to be a Messianic reign of Christ before the heavens and the earth are destroyed. In order to allow for a literal fulfillment of these Old Testament prophecies, dispensationalists force major distinctions between the Church and Israel, saying the Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Israel, but not the Church. This has a dramatic impact on how we interpret the covenants.
Under classical and revised dispensationalism, many of the covenants must be spiritualized with regard to the Church. The covenant with Abraham is considered to be literally fulfilled in Israel, and spiritually fulfilled in the Church. The covenant with Moses is literal with regard to Israel, and does not apply to the Church. Likewise, the covenant with David is only fulfilled in the Church. And then the new covenant gets real confusing.
Many dispensationalists have had long-lasting debates about the new covenant, because it’s very difficult for them to make all the verses work. Hebrews 8:8 quotes Jeremiah 31:31. Both these verses say the new covenant is explicitly with the house of Judah and the house of Israel. There is no literal provision for Gentiles in the verse. Therefore, unless the Church is Israel, the Church does not participate in the new covenant.
Some dispensationalists say that the new covenant is literally for Israel, and does not really take place until Christ returns. But this does not fit what Hebrews says about the new covenant. It’s here today and has made the old obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). These dispensationalists say there is another new covenant for the Church. In other words, they would say the new covenant that Jesus spoke of is not the same new covenant as in Hebrews and Jeremiah. Otherwise, we should not be remembering Christ by taking the bread and the wine.
Other dispensationalists say that the new covenant, spoken of in Hebrews 8:8, is literally for Israel, but is spiritually applied to the Church. How can one verse be interpreted literally for one group of Christians, and spiritually for another group of Christians? How does this fit their basic grammatical / historical hermeneutic principle?
Let’s take a look at a few more reasons why dispensationalists must take these difficult positions with regard to the covenants. We must remember that the primary stated purpose of dispensationalism is to allow for a grammatical / historical fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messianic reign. Consider the following verse:
Galatians 3:27-29 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to promise.
What promise is Paul referring to? The promise of Abraham is God’s covenant with Abraham. It was a promise of land all around Palestine and Saudi Arabia. Yet the dispensationalist, who holds a big distinction between the Church and Israel, would have to say this promise is literally for Israel, not for the Church. Yet Paul is saying the promise is for those in Christ, and that there is neither Jew nor Greek. We are all the same in Christ.
So what must the dispensationalist do? The dispensationalists interpret the original Old Testament covenant as literally for Israel only. And the dispensationalist allows for a “spiritual” application of the covenant to the Church. In other words, the Church really does not get the land. But the Church benefits in the “spiritual” aspects of the promise.
The covenant with David said that David’s descendants will reign on David’s throne forever. The grammatical / historical (literal) fulfillment of this covenant, from a premillennialist viewpoint, must be Christ’s reign during the millennium. Paul doesn’t relate the covenant with David to the Church in the same way as he related the covenant with Abraham. Therefore, dispensationalists are free to apply this covenant to be literally fulfilled in Israel, and not at all applied to the Church.
Lately, however, there has been a new movement of dispensationalism called progressive dispensationalism. With progressive dispensationalism, all the covenants are fulfilled literally in both the Church and Israel. The difference is that the covenants are fulfilled in a progressive way. With this I agree. It’s basically a here-and-now-but-not-yet approach. As such, progressive dispensationalism draws far fewer distinctions between the Church and Israel. If the covenants do not distinguish two groups of people, then what does? When the Church becomes the same as Israel, one would no longer be a dispensationalist.
New Wine premillennialism, like dispensationalism, sees the Old Testament prophecies as being literally fulfilled in a Messianic reign of Christ before the heavens and the earth are destroyed. But if there really is a Messianic reign, and there is no difference between the Church and Israel, then what do we do with verses like these?
John 14:2-4 ESV In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (4) And you know the way to where I am going."
Philippians 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (21) who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself.
Dispensationalists simply say those caught up in the rapture will be in heaven, while those “left behind” will live on earth during the Messianic reign. Under the New Wine System, the wise, who mature in Christ to overcome sin, and walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:9), will have citizenship in heaven, and will dwell in these rooms in heaven. The foolish middle group, on the other hand, will dwell on the earth. The wise will have spiritual bodies, and will be able to come and go like the wind (John 3:8). Only the wise will be able to “enter the kingdom” in heaven.
In other words, dispensationalism distinguishes those living in heaven and those living on the earth as being the Church and Israel. On the other hand, New Wine premillennialism distinguishes those living in heaven and those living on the earth as being the wise and foolish, which is based on holiness. There is no distinction based on what time-period one happens to have lived in. There is no distinction based on whether or not one is a physical descendent of Abraham. There is no distinction of being in the Church or in Israel. The only distinction made is whether or not one has matured to overcome sin by the power of God.
Also, dispensationalism tends to keep the two groups very isolated from one another. Those in heaven stay in heaven. Those on the earth stay on the earth. But New Wine premillennialism says those who overcome sin will literally rule the nations (Rev. 2:26-27). So the wise, in heaven, will directly rule over those living on the earth. Those who rule over the earth from heaven do so because of their maturity, not because of their bloodline or the age they were born.
Not all dispensationalists have completely separated the Church and Israel. Some have had the idea that the New Jerusalem could appear over the earth during the millennium, and that the Church will be in the New Jerusalem, while Israel dwells on the earth. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his book, “Things to Come”, on page 546, writes (emphasis mine):
The conclusion to this question would be that the Old Testament held forth a national hope, which will be realized fully in the millennial age. The individual Old Testament saint’s hope of an eternal city will be realized through resurrection in the heavenly Jerusalem, where, without losing distinction or identity, Israel will join with the resurrected and translated of this church age to share in the glory of His reign forever. The nature of the millennium, as the period of the test of fallen humanity under the righteous reign of the King, precludes the participation by resurrected individuals in that testing. Thus the millennial age will be concerned only with men who have been saved but are living in their natural bodies. This heavenly city will be brought into a relation to the earth at the beginning of the millennium, and perhaps will be made visible above the earth . It is from this heavenly city that David’s greater Son exerts His Messianic rule, in which the Bride reigns, and from which the rewarded Old Testament saints exercise their authority in government.
If such an interpretation be correct, there would be a solution to the perplexing problem that arises from placing resurrected saints on the earth to mingle freely with the unresurrected during the millennium. The fulfillment of Israel’s national promises would be realized, not in resurrected individuals, but rather in natural saved Israel who are living at the second advent. The unity of God’s redemptive purposes in Christ would be preserved by bringing the first resurrection group together into one place, where the Bride will share in His reign and His servants serve Him forever (Rev. 22:3). Such a view is in harmony with the Scriptures and solves some of the problems inherent in the premillennial system.
Thus Pentecost (a very famous dispensationalist) believes that having the New Jerusalem brought into a perhaps visible relation with earth would solve some problems. This is exactly what I believe will happen. However, the dispensational side of Pentecost must look at this possibility only through the dispensational eyes of a separate and distinct Israel and the Church. Pentecost places Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church as both dwelling together in the heavenly Jerusalem, but without losing their identity as Israel or the Church. However, if we can abandon the separation between the Church and Israel, and if we can start to view the separation as between the saints (holy ones) and those who have not yet matured, then this view of the millennium starts to make lots of sense.
The wise saints of all ages will rule during the millennium. The wise saints will live in rooms prepared by Christ in the New Jerusalem. And the New Jerusalem, called the Bride, the wife of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9), will be in orbit around the earth. The wise saints will have citizenship in heaven, in orbit around the earth.
The purpose of the millennium is not simply so that God can fulfill Old Testament promises. The purpose of the millennium is so that God can complete his redemptive plan for all men of all ages. Christ died for our sins. But now we must overcome sin and walk as Jesus walked. The millennium accomplishes this purpose for all people who do not reject Christ as King.
New Wine premillennialism has another major advantage over dispensationalism. It involves the dwelling of Old Testament saints, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Will they be in heaven or on earth?
Dispensationalism distinguishes the Church from Israel. Dispensationalism considers the Church to be a “parenthesis” between Old Testament Israel and the Messianic Age Israel. Most dispensationalists believe the Church will remain in heaven, while Israel remains on the earth. Does this mean that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will live on earth during the millennium?
Matthew 8:11 tells us the Old Testament saints will be in the wedding banquet, and thus be a part of the Bride of Christ. Indeed, many dispensationalists have concluded that Old Testament saints will remain in heaven with the Bride, because they will have resurrected spiritual bodies. What does this say about the “parenthesis?” Is Abraham still a part of Israel? Why does part of Israel remain in heaven with the Bride, while another part remains on earth?
According to dispensationalists, the reason for the millennium is to literally fulfill Old Testament prophecies and covenants. This includes the literal fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham. This covenant promised all the land of Palestine, as defined by Genesis 15:18-21, to be given to Abraham’s offspring. Does this mean that Abraham himself will be in heaven, and will not be able to literally inherit his own promise?
On the other hand, New Wine premillennialism says that Abraham is indeed part of the Church. The Church is Israel. The Church inherits the land on earth, and Old Jerusalem on earth becomes the capitol of a one-world government. Abraham, with his spiritual body, will dwell in the New Jerusalem, in orbit around the earth. Jesus has prepared a room for him there. Abraham will be at the wedding banquet in the New Jerusalem along with all of his offspring, both Jews and Gentiles.
Those who have not as yet matured in Christ will dwell on the earth. The Old Jerusalem, and the entire area of Palestine promised to Abraham, will be the capitol of the world. This is necessary because people who do not as yet have spiritual bodies cannot enter into the New Jerusalem in heaven (John 3:5). But they will be able to enter into Old Jerusalem on earth. People will be able to enter the capitol city of their seat of government.
As we have seen, God’s purpose in the millennium is far more than just fulfilling promises. It’s about bringing all who will be saved into holiness through Christ’s literal reign. However, this purpose is not seen from the dispensational perspective. All distinctions between the Church and Israel must be discarded in favor of distinctions between the saints (holy ones) and those who have not yet overcome sin. To this end, the next chapter of this book will show Scriptural arguments as to why the Church is Israel.
Amillennialism vs. Premillennialism. Scriptural evidence for the purpose of Christ's Messianic reign. The millennium is the climax of God's plan for all generations. Solved by applying Old Testament Jewish eschatology to the New Testament Church.
Sections 17.4 and 17.5 (above) give arguments against dispensationalism that favor a pre-millennial appearing of the New Jerusalem. The main point that J. Dwight Pentecost made was that people with spiritual bodies would not be living with people of natural mortal bodies. People with spiritual bodies will dwell in the Father's house, where there are many rooms or dwelling places. Pentecost realized that bring the Father's house into orbit around the earth would solve this problem.
The New Jerusalem is approximately 1400 miles wide, 1400 miles long, and 1400 miles high. If it were to sit on the earth it would tower high into space, much higher than the orbit of the international space station. In my opinion, it will not sit on the earth, but will be in orbit when Christ returns.
Later, in the chapter on Ezekiel's temple, section 19.3 is titled, "The Seven Heavens." The Jews believed there are seven levels of heaven and that Paradise is in the third level. Paul spoke of visiting Paradise in the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2‑4). Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem will come "down out of heaven." But with seven levels of heaven, the New Jerusalem could simply be moved from the third heaven to the first heaven. It would then be in orbit around the earth. It does not actually need to sit on the earth.
Revelation 21:1-2 I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. (2) I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:9-10 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb's bride." (10) He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
The biggest objection to the pre-millennial appearing of the New Jerusalem is that it comes after the new heaven and new earth, with the first heaven and the first earth having passed away. But why does John report seeing the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven twice? Could it be that it happens twice?
Everything recorded from verse 21:1 through 21:8 is about the New Jerusalem coming down to the new earth, after the present heavens and earth have been destroyed. But then in verse 21:9, John is told to "Come here and I will show you..." This is very much like the "Come up here and I will show you..." back in verse 4:1.
Revelation 4:1 After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this."
Verse 21:9 should be read as if it is a new chapter in Revelation. John is being shown another major section of the vision. As we will see, starting with verse 9, there are several things stated that make more sense if it's during the millennium. So John really does see the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven twice. Verse 21:9 is about a pre-millennial appearing of the New Jerusalem.
One of the strongest arguments used by amillennialists is that the New Jerusalem is called "the wife, the Lamb's bride." But the marriage feast (wedding banquet) occurs when Christ returns, not a thousand years later. I've even heard one dispensationalist try to argue that the wedding banquet is after the thousand years so that those saved during the millennium could be included. But Revelation tells us the wedding banquet happens when Christ returns
Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and let us give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready."
The New Wine System resolves this conflict with the pre-millennial appearing of the New Jerusalem. And, the New Jerusalem also comes down out of heaven to the new earth. Notice the slight difference in the way "bride" and "wife" is applied to the two appearances of the New Jerusalem. In the pre-millennial appearing, the New Jerusalem is called "the wife, the Lamb's bride." This is where the wedding banquet occurs for Christ's Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.. In the post-millennial appearing, the New Jerusalem is said to be "like a bride."
Those who mature in Christ during the millennium will receive spiritual bodies and eternal life. So they also become "children of God." But I don't think they are considered to be the Bride of Christ. They never become Israel. We are the firstfruits of the harvest. But there probably will be a post-millennial celebration for the rest of the harvest. So they are "like a bride."
The description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation is very much like the Paradise of Eden. (Paradise means enclosed garden. It's the word that is used in the Greek Septuagint for the Garden of Eden.) In Jewish eschatology, when the Messiah comes, the gates of Paradise will be opened up. The Testament of Levi 18.10 says, "one will open the gates of Paradise." In Latin IV Eduras 8.52, God says to Ezra, "because it is for you that Paradise is opened, that the tree of life is planted." A Jew reading Revelation would not assume this waits until after the Messianic age to come. It would happen when the Messiah appears.
Let us now take a look at some of the details about the pre-millennial appearing of the New Jerusalem. These are all things spoken of after verse 21:9. From a Jewish perspective, these are all things that would only make sense if it's during the millennium.
Revelation 21:24-27 The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. (25) Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there), (26) and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter. (27) There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
The nations will walk by the light of the New Jerusalem. This means the nations will be taught righteousness by the Bride of Christ. And the Bride of Christ will be living in the New Jerusalem. The Greek word for "nations" is the same as the word for "Gentiles." The people of Israel do not refer to themselves as Gentiles. Israel is the holy nation. But a general reference to "the nations" does not include Israel. The Bride of Christ is not part of the nations.
If John is taking about a New Jerusalem that only appears after the new heavens and the new earth, then why does John make distinctions as to who can enter into the New Jerusalem? Those who are still living in sin will not be able to enter into the New Jerusalem. You must still be written in the book of life to enter. But if this is after the great white throne judgment, then everyone not written in the book of life would have already been thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 22:1-2 He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, (2) in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
This verse talks about the tree of life. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations. Again, the Greek word used here for ‘nations’ means Gentiles. Think about this from the Jewish perspective. They believed that when the Messiah comes, Eden (Paradise) will be opened, and Israel will rule the nations. Righteousness will go out to all the nations. This Jewish belief is exactly what is being described here in Revelation. Righteousness and healing goes out to all the nations as a result of the Messiah's rule. Also, think about the fact that those with spiritual bodes will not need healing. Perhaps the water of life will give us eternal life. But we will never get sick. So we will never need healing. The Gentiles on earth, however, with their natural bodes will need healing.
Revelation 22:3 There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him.
Romans 8:19-22 For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed . (20) For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope (21) that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.
The curse is removed at the start of the millennium, when the children of God are revealed. Revelation 22:3 mentions this because it's talking about a pre-millennial appearing of the New Jerusalem. We don't have to wait for the new heavens and the new earth for the curse to be removed.
Revelation 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.
When the pre-millennial appearance of the New Jerusalem occurs, we will see Christ face to face. Also, his name will be on our foreheads. This can be seen in the letters to the seven churches.
Revelation 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.
Each of the seven letters conclude with a reward that is given to those who overcome sin. Do we have to wait a thousand years after Christ returns before we can receive our rewards? We will see Christ face to face when he returns. He will write his name on our foreheads when he returns. And the New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven when Christ returns.
Revelation 22:5 There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever.
Over whom do we reign if not the nations during the millennium? The Jews believed that when the Messiah comes, Israel will reign over all the nations. This verse also connects back to one of the seven letters.
Revelation 2:26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.
All these things make better sense with a pre-millennial appearance of the New Jerusalem. But are similar things said before verse 21:9? At first glance, that would seem to be the case. But with a closer reading, the things said before verse 21:9 are only true after the millennium.
Revelation 21:4-5 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more ; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away." (5) He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." He said, "Write, for these words of God are faithful and true."
This verse (above) says he will wipe every tear from our eyes. At first, one might think this could be talking about the millennial reign. But look at the context of the next sentence in the verse. "Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning or crying." Yet there will be death during the millennium. Paul speaks of the Messianic reign in this verse below.
1 Corinthians 15:24-26 Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power. (25) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
The last enemy is death. Some people will reject Christ's reign. In so doing, they reject Christ's salvation. They will reject the healing of the nations. Those who reject Christ's rule over their lives will die the second death. They will not be resurrected. And their souls will come alive again at the end of the millennium to be thrown into the lake of fire. This is cause for tears. It's a cause for mourning and crying, especially when it will happen to someone we know. So the tears are wiped away only after the present earth is destroyed, and the new earth is created. That's why Jesus says, "Behold, I am making all things new."
The section in Revelation about the pre-millennial appearing of the New Jerusalem seems to go from verse 21:9 through 22:5. The next verse seems to have left the vision and returns to Jesus (or an angel) talking with John.
Revelation 22:6-9 He said to me, "These words are faithful and true. The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his bondservants the things which must happen soon." (7) "Behold, I come quickly . Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." (8) Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who had shown me these things. (9) He said to me, "See you don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
Here we are clearly in the context of waiting for Jesus to return. We are in the context of overcoming sin and doing the works of the Father so that we will be ready for Christ to return.
Revelation 22:12-15 "Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work. (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (14) Blessed are those who do his commandments , that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. (15) Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
When Christ returns he will bring a "reward." He say, "My reward is with me." Notice that "reward" is singular. In this context, Jesus is not talking about different rewards for different people. It's one single reward for us all. In this context, what is that reward? The reward is the New Jerusalem. It's the Paradise of Eden, opened up for us. Christ will bring this reward when he returns; not a thousand years later.
Christ said, "Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life." We don't get the tree of life a thousand years after Christ returns. We will be able to "enter in by the gates into the city," when Christ returns, as a reward for doing his commandments.
Revelation is not the only book in the Bible that talks about the New Jerusalem. Paul speaks of the Jerusalem that is above. And in Hebrews, it's called the "heavenly Jerusalem."
Galatians 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 12:22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem , and to innumerable multitudes of angels, (23) to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
This verse says those in the Bride are “enrolled in heaven.” The elect are “enrolled” to be at the wedding banquet. However, those enrolled in the “heavenly Jerusalem” are only the “firstborn,” according to this verse. If the Bride of Christ is only the “firstborn,” then many others are to follow. Therefore, many in the nations will also become righteous and inherit eternal life.
Hebrews 13:14 For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come.
The author of Hebrews speaks of the heavenly Jerusalem as a city which is to come. Hebrews was written well before Revelation. If you didn't have the book of Revelation, how would this verse in Hebrews be interpreted? How would the original Jewish readers of Hebrews have interpreted this verse? The natural interpretation is for the heavenly Jerusalem to come when Christ returns. Our hope is in Christ. And that hope would seem to include the heavenly Jerusalem.
When the present age ends and the age to come begins, the covenants between God and man progress onto the next covenant after the New Covenant. (See section 9.2 titled, "The Seven Covenants.") God's covenant with the nations during the millennium is the seventh covenant. It's called the Covenant of Peace. This does not mean the New Covenant becomes obsolete. But that covenant is only with Israel, which includes the Gentile Church. We are grafted into Israel. God's covenant with Israel is eternal. But what about the nations during the Messianic reign? The nations are not a part of Israel. So the covenants progress onto the Covenant of Peace.
At first, this may sound like dispensationalism. But it's not dispensationalism because there is no distinction between Israel and the Church. Scripture does teach about three dispensations, or ages. They are the past age, the present age, and the age to come. The past age is the Old Testament, which means the Old Covenant. The present age is the New Testament, which means the New Covenant. It's the dispensation of grace (Ephesians 3:2: KJV). The age to come is the Messianic reign of Christ. This is the dispensation this is to come (Ephesians 1:10 KJV).
The idea that the Day of the Lord begins at the start of the seven-year period is one of the few points where the New Wine System is in agreement with dispensationalism. But the argued reason for this position is very different. Dispensationalism separates Israel from the Church. Dispensationalists argue that God has two programs for two groups of people. They argue that God must shift from His program for the Church back to His program for Israel. This becomes the primary argument for a pre-tribulation rapture.
The New Wine System, on the other hand, simply argues that Christ and the New Jerusalem physically appear at the start of the seven-year period of Daniel 9:27. But only a very few will have overcome all their sinful habits and thus be ready for Christ's return. They will not be ready for the rapture. Christ must confirm a covenant with the many for one more seven so that they can also embrace Christian perfection and overcome sin. When Christ returns, the New Jerusalem will be in orbit around the earth, seen by everyone. But only the few who are ready will see Christ. They are the 144,000 firstfruits who will receive their spiritual bodies when Christ returns before the seven-year period. (See sections 24.1 through 24.3 for information about the 144,000.) They will see Christ standing on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1-5).
A detailed article on "Daniel's Seventy Weeks" can be found in my book titled “Daniel and Revelation.” But a summary of that chapter is given here to make the case that Christ returns at the start of the seven-year week of the covenant. The important point is that Christ returns with the New Jerusalem at the appointed time, when the seventy weeks are ended. But the majority of the Church is not ready for Christ to return.
How is all this derived from Daniel's seventy weeks? Daniel 9:27 has a controversial pronoun "he." "He" makes a covenant with many. "He" stops the sacrifice and offering. Is "he" the Messiah or the antichrist? Can the antichrist really make a covenant? If so, it would be the only place in Scripture where an evil person makes a covenant. Does the Messiah stop the sacrifice and offering?
Daniel 11:31 is part of fulfilled prophecy in which Antiochus IV Epiphanes stopped the sacrifice and offering in 168 BC. This event is easily understood to be a type for the second time this happens, Daniel 12:11 fulfilled in the future. So the antichrist stops the sacrifice and offering.
Preterists argue the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 was entirely fulfilled by Christ in his first coming. They attribute "he" as being Christ. Christ is said to have stopped the sacrifice and offering when he died on the cross. Dispensationalists and most pre-millennialists argue that the last week of the seventy is split out from all the others and is fulfilled in the future. They attribute "he" as being the antichrist. The antichrist makes the covenant with many for one seven.
The New Wine System, on the other hand, takes a very different approach. The first "he" is attributed to Christ and the second "he" is attributed to the antichrist. As we will see, this interpretation of Daniel 9 shows how Christ can return at the start of the millennium, but at the same time, this world system of government continues for seven more years. Thus, during this seven-year period the temple can be rebuilt and animal sacrifice can be started because Christ will have returned. In the midst of that seven-year period, the antichrist stops the sacrifice and offering and rules over all the nations for three and a half years.
The vision of Daniel 9 itself has a purpose statement. Each of the three systems of interpretation views this purpose statement quite differently.
Daniel 9:24 NIV Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression , to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy .
Israel was punished 70 years for sin. Now God is saying we have seventy weeks to stop sinning. Saying that Christ fulfilled this vision is to avoid the responsibility that we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12.) Saying that Christ fulfilled this vision is to completely ignore Daniel’s prayer of repentance for Israel, and God’s response that Israel must repent and stop sinning. This is sanctification. God does the greatest work in us (Philippians 2:13.) But it’s a task that we must undertake, with God doing the greater work.
Preterism says the seventy weeks of the vision is completely fulfilled. Therefore, the purpose of the vision must also be fulfilled. Even though the purpose statement says “your people” must do these things, preterists believe all these things were accomplished by Christ on the cross. In other words, sins were put to an end because of the cross. Transgression was finished because of the cross. It’s true that our sins paid because of the cross. But the cross did not bring about an end to transgression and sin. By saying the purpose was fulfilled at the cross, the requirement that all sin in God’s people be ended before Christ returns becomes entirely removed from what the vision says.
Dispensationalists would view “your people and your holy city” as being entirely Israel and not the Church. The time in-between the sixty-ninth week and the seventh week is considered to be a “parenthesis” between two dispensations for Israel. The Church is believed to be caught up in the rapture and in heaven before the seventh week begins. By saying the vision is for Israel, and not the Church, the requirement that all sin in God’s people must be ended before Christ returns becomes entirely removed from what the vision says.
The New Wine System views “your people and your holy city” as being Israel, which is the Church. The Old Testament purpose of Israel is to reign with the Messiah over the nations in order to bring righteousness to the world. But for this to happen, the world’s priests and kings must themselves be completely righteous. The seventy weeks is a time allotment during which Jerusalem is not trampled on by Gentiles. This is important, because after the week of the covenant, during the Messianic reign of Christ, Jerusalem will be the capitol of the world.
The New Wine System recognizes a parallelism between Christ and the antichrist. The parallelism can be best seen in this ESV translation. It's easy to assume that the prince in Daniel 9:25 is the anointed one. However, the prince in verse 26 is clearly an evil ruler. Try reading the vision with an eye for a parallelism between the "anointed one" and the "prince." In the following verses, both the "anointed one" and the "prince" are separately underlined. The "anointed one" is always first and the "prince" (or ruler) is always second. Then follow the same parallelism with the two pronouns translated "he" in verse 27.
Daniel 9:25 ESV Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. [SO] for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.
Daniel 9:26a ESV And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
Daniel 9:26b ESV Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.
Daniel 9:27 ESV And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."
According to the parallelism, the anointed one makes a covenant with many and the prince stops the sacrifice and offering. Christ returns at the appointed time after seventy weeks. But only a few are ready for Christ to return. Only a few are really willing "to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, [and] to bring in everlasting righteousness."
Only a few will have found the narrow gate when Christ appears. So Christ makes a covenant with many for one more seven. Christ appears after the 70 weeks. So this week of the covenant is an additional week after the seventy weeks have expired. This additional covenant extends the new covenant for one more week. But at the same time, the Covenant of Peace begins and the temple can be rebuilt. The prince, who is the ruler of the nations, and who is the antichrist, stops the sacrifice and offering in the midst of that week.
Go back and take a closer look at verse 25. The anointed one and the prince both come at the same time. And it's at the end of seven weeks, which is the end of the seventy weeks. The coming of Christ and the antichrist, at the same time, at the appointed time, on the Day of the Lord, can also be seen in this verse:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 ESV Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, we ask you (2) not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (3) Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.
Let's go back to Daniel 9:25. The sixty-two weeks begin with the issuing of a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. During the time that Jerusalem is rebuilt is troubled times. So the sixty-two weeks must come first, followed by the seven weeks. However, there is nothing in the vision that requires the seven weeks to immediately follow the sixty-two weeks.
The vision could have unfolded in one of two ways. The seven weeks could have immediately followed the sixty-two weeks. But as it turned out, the seven weeks was postponed until a later time. After the sixty-two weeks Christ came at his birth. If Israel had been ready, the final seven weeks could have proceeded immediately following the sixty-two weeks. But Israel was not ready for the Messiah to come. At the time of Christ's birth, Israel had some independence from Rome. Herod the Great was the last king of Israel before Rome began to post Roman governors in Israel to rule over Jerusalem.
The first dispersion of Israel was because of sin. Daniel prayed for the dispersion of Israel to come to an end. In response to this prayer, seventy weeks were decreed for Israel to stop sinning before the Messiah would come. During that time, Jerusalem would not be trampled upon. The generation in Israel which grew up at the time of Christ was tested. Because of sin, that generation did not recognize the Messiah. So after that generation, Israel went back into dispersion. The trampling of Jerusalem by the Gentiles continued until the time of the Gentiles was completed. After the Six Day War of 1967, Jerusalem was no longer trampled on by the Gentiles. So the final seven weeks has been unfolding since that time.
When the final seven weeks is over, the entire seventy weeks will be completed. At that time, both Christ and the antichrist will come. Christ will return and the New Jerusalem will appear. But the high majority of the Church will again not be ready for the Messiah to come. This time, however, a Church will be in place that at least understands the basic teachings of Christ. So Christ will be able to make a covenant for one more seven, effectively extending the new covenant, in order for the many of the Church to get ready by "finishing transgression, putting an end to sin, atoning for wickedness, and bringing in everlasting righteousness."
This week of Daniel 9:27 is the seven-year period of Christ's return. For the elect, God's grace is extended seven more years. It's also seven more years of faith because the Church will be living during a time of great tribulation for the Church. Christ will be physically present, but he will delay setting up his earthly kingdom. So for the nations, the age of grace will be over. Thus, during these seven years, the temple will be physically built and animal sacrifice will be started.
Isaiah 65:18-20 ESV But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. (19) I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. (20) No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days , or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
This is a description of life during the millennium. Notice that verse 20 speaks of infants. Children will continue to be born. Also, some of the translations speak of a sinner a hundred years old being accursed. Other translations don't speak of a sinner. I think it's possible that some people may die for various reasons and then be resurrected again. For example, what about accidental deaths? These people in the middle group would still have natural bodies, perhaps like Adam's body, that can live for hundreds of years. Adam lived 930 years.
Of course all we have on the subject would be this passage in Isaiah. Bottom line is that Isaiah 65 seems to speak of a middle-stage between the cursed-world we are in right now, and eternal life with spiritual bodies. So, for the nations, with natural bodies, I think the world will be like it was in the Garden of Eden before the fall. The curse will be removed. Those in the nations will still have natural bodies that can live a very long time.
Also, consider Revelation 20:5-6. The "first resurrection" would be the wise group - the Bride of Christ. Verse 6 associates the "first resurrection" with the priests (and kings) that will reign over the nations. I don't think this means everyone else waits until the 1000 years are over. There can be additional resurrections right after the "first resurrection." It's just that the wise group is first. The "first resurrection" does not mean that the second resurrection is at the end of the millennium. The foolish group could be raised during a series of resurrections that happen during the first couple of decades.
There could also be many other resurrections throughout the millennium as needed. It would be like the raising of Lazarus. Those types of miracles will be common in the Kingdom of Christ.
The term "second death" (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8) seems to imply a final death. But I don't think the term "second death" would apply if the death is for reasons other than the rejection of Christ. The first death is because of sin, even for the righteous. Christ's blood saves us all. The "second death" is for rejecting Christ's salvation.
Revelation 20:5 says the rest of the dead do not come to life until after the thousand years. This is taking about those who received the mark of the beast, and by extension, all those who have hardened their hearts against the voice of Christ. They "come to life" at the end of the 1000 years for judgment. But I do not consider this to be a "resurrection." A resurrection would be to get a body. To "come to life", I think, would simply be to be for the soul to be brought out of Hades, which is death. The soul would no longer be asleep.
With three types of people in the grave, all or most of the dead are asleep, awaiting the resurrection. While the dead can be awakened at times if God allows, the dead are generally at rest awaiting the resurrection. So the wicked, who are not to be resurrected, nevertheless “come to life” to be judged. When they “come to life,” they are no longer at rest. But it’s not a resurrection because they will not be given new bodies and new life after death. After the second death there is no rest (Revelation 14:11, 20:14). The wicked will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction (Matthew 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, and Jude 1:7).
Many people believe the “Day of the Lord” is a single 24-hour day. Instead, it’s the entire Messianic Age. With the Lord, a day is as a thousand years. It’s the “age to come.” To see this, look at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 ESV Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, (2) not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (3) Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.
The letter or rumor alleged that the day of the Lord had already come (verse 2). It concerned the coming of the Lord, and our being gathered unto him (verse 1). If the day of the Lord were understood by the Jews of that time as single 24-hour day, it would have come and gone long before a rumor or letter could get around. We must interpret Scripture the way ancient Jews would have understood. The day of the Lord must be the Messianic age to come.
Paul couldn’t say, “Hey look, we have not yet been caught up in the rapture!” That’s because the day of the Lord was not a 24-hour day. So, in order to dispel the rumor or letter, Paul had to give a sign that must occur before the day of the Lord. Since the “day of the Lord” is the Messianic age to come, we can use Revelation 20 to say it lasts a thousand years. The Day of Judgment is also the entire Messianic age to come.
2 Peter 3:8 But don't forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Psalms 90:4 For a thousand years in your sight are just like yesterday when it is past, like a watch in the night.
Hosea 6:1-3 "Come, and let us return to Yahweh; for he has torn us to pieces, and he will heal us; he has injured us, and he will bind up our wounds. (2) After two days he will revive us. On the third day he will raise us up, and we will live before him. (3) Let us acknowledge Yahweh. Let us press on to know Yahweh. As surely as the sun rises, Yahweh will appear. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth."
Many argue that the thousand years in the above verse is simply a long period of time, like the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). The argument is to say that God's time not like our time. But we must strive to interpret Scripture in the context of the beliefs and culture in which it was written. No doubt the cattle on a thousand hills, in that context, the number one thousand is to be taken as figurative. But in the Jewish culture, a thousand years was always interpreted literally. This is because the Jews at that time believed in a millennial week. Each day of the week was a thousand years.
The first source of Jewish ancient-text evidence for this is in the Book of Jubilees, chapter 4. Adam lived to be 930 years old. His age is being compared with a thousand years as a day. The fact that he did not live to be a thousand is given as the reason why he did not physically die on the day he ate the fruit. Genesis 2:17 states that on the day Adam would eat of it he would surely die. Most scholars today interpret this as a spiritual death. But the writer of the Book of Jubilees interpreted it as a physical death. He explains this verse by literally equating a day with a thousand years.
(Book of Jubilees, 4:29-31a) And at the close of the nineteenth jubilee, in the seventh week in the sixth year [930 A.M.] thereof, Adam died, and all his sons buried him in the land of his creation, and he was the first to be buried in the earth. And he lacked seventy years of one thousand years; for one thousand years are as one day in the testimony of the heavens and therefore was it written concerning the tree of knowledge: 'On the day that ye eat thereof ye shall die.' For this reason he did not complete the years of this day; for he died during it.
The second Jewish ancient-text evidence for this is the Talmud Sanhedrin, Folio 97a. Here we find the millennial week itself. Here we see that the days of Psalm 90:4 are being interpreted as a literal thousand years. Also the days of Hosea 6:2 are being interpreted as a literal thousand years. Bottom line is that there was a strong association at that time with God's days being a literal thousand years.
The Talmud Sanhedrin, Folio 97a
It has been taught: R. Nehorai said: in the generation when Messiah comes, young men will insult the old, and old men will stand before the young [to give them honour]; daughters will rise up against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. The people shall be dog-faced, and a son will not be abashed in his father's presence.
It has been taught, R. Nehemiah said: in the generation of Messiah's coming impudence will increase, esteem be perverted, the vine yield its fruit, yet shall wine be dear, and the Kingdom will be converted to heresy with none to rebuke them. This supports R. Isaac, who said: The son of David will not come until the whole world is converted to the belief of the heretics. Raba said: What verse [proves this]? it is all turned white: he is clean.
Our Rabbis taught: For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself of his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left: the son of David will not come until denunciators are in abundance. Another interpretation [of their power is gone]: until scholars are few. Another interpretation: until the [last] perutah has gone from the purse. Yet another interpretation: until the redemption is despaired of, for it is written, there is none shut up or left, as — were it possible [to say so] — Israel had neither Supporter nor Helper. Even as R. Zera, who, whenever he chanced upon scholars engaged thereon [I.e., in calculating the time of the Messiah's coming], would say to them: I beg of you, do not postpone it, for it has been taught: Three come unawares: Messiah, a found article and a scorpion.
R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,' and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day, meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath — and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.
The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation; two thousand years the Torah flourished; and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era.
Some will claim that I'm treating the Book of Jubilees and the Talmud Sanhedrin as Scripture. I'm not. But 2 Peter 3:8 is Scripture. We cannot put blinders on our eyes with regard to Jewish cultural background when we interpret Peter's words.
Peter was Jewish. John was Jewish. When Peter wrote that a day of the Lord is as a thousand years, he undoubtedly thought of these days as being literal thousand-year periods. If Peter's verse is interpreted literally, then we must also apply this interpretation to Revelation 20. It becomes the case of Scripture interpreting Scripture. If the thief in the night, and the destruction of the heavens and the earth in 2 Peter 3:10 covers a literal thousand years, then Revelation 20 must be interpreted literally, with the thousand years being a day of the Lord.
Many of the early church fathers also believed in a millennial week. The major difference between the Christian and the Jewish view is that in the Christians believe the seventh (Sabbath) millennium is the earthly reign of Christ. Thus, Christ is literally the "Lord of the Sabbath" millennium.
The early church fathers who wrote about the millennial week included Irenaeus (120-202), who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was the disciple of John himself. Irenaeus was a literalist. He read Revelation 20 in a literal way, and saw the thousand years as a time after the return of Christ. Today, we call this premillennialism. It's hard to believe that Irenaeus would have been mistaken about how to interpret Revelation 20 in that he was taught by Polycarp, who was taught by John. Other early church fathers who wrote about the millennial week includes Barnabas (100 AD) and Justin Martyr (110-165 AD).
In addition, Papias was a companion of Polycarp and also heard the teaching of John. We only have fragments of his writing. But we do know he also believed in the millennial week.
2 Peter 3:7-8 ESV But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (8) But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The ungodly men will be destroyed on the Day of Judgment. But with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years. So the Day of Judgment is the entire millennial reign of Christ, with the great white throne judgment at the end of it.
The ungodly men of this passage are not men who are ignorant of God. They are men who willfully reject Christ, like these who deliberately forget about the Creator. Many of their names will get blotted out of the Lamb’s book of life.
During the ministry of Jesus, well before His final entry into Jerusalem, the Pharisees tried to frighten Jesus, saying that Herod wanted to kill Him.
Luke 13:31-32 On that same day, some Pharisees came, saying to him, "Get out of here, and go away, for Herod wants to kill you." (32) He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I complete my mission.
Jesus calls Herod a fox and then tells him something he cannot possibly understand! We have a hard time understanding it today! The context of the passage is the death of Jesus, but it is said well before his death. The two days of driving out demons and healing people can and does refer to the two days Jesus was dead. His death paid the price to drive out demons and to heal people. On the third day he "reached his goal" by being raised from the dead.
But, was this really the “goal” of Jesus? The “goal” of Jesus is the redemption of His Church! Also, why did Jesus say "today and tomorrow" when he clearly was not to be crucified at that time? And did Jesus really drive out demons and perform healings while he was in the grave?
The answer is easy if the days of which Jesus speaks are the thousand year 'days' of God's plan. For two thousand-year 'days,' demons have been driven out and people have been healed in the name of Jesus. On the third 'day,' his Church is resurrected! The Age of Grace is two days, or two thousand years. After Jesus speaks about "today, tomorrow, and the third day," Christ goes on to say:
Luke 13:33-35 Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, for it can't be that a prophet perish outside of Jerusalem.' (34) "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused! (35) Behold, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord !' "
This verse is in the same context. It’s part of his response to the statement that Herod wants to kill him. Is the focus of Jesus on his own resurrection, on the third day? Or is the focus of Jesus on the resurrection of Israel? There is a very similar verse in Matthew 23:37-38. Jesus is saying that Jerusalem will not see him again until they say these words. But here it’s being addressed to the religious leaders, those who “sit on the seat of Moses” (Matthew 23:2). Matthew’s account makes it clear that the people had already said these words when Jesus rode in on a donkey (Matthew 21:9). The words are from Psalm 118:26. For the Jews to say these words about Jesus would be to say that Jesus is the Messiah.
Like Jesus, Paul also agonizes over the fact that the Jewish people, his own people, rejected Jesus as the Messiah (Romans 9-11). In Romans 11:25, Paul predicts that the Jews would come back into the vine after the full number of Gentiles had come into the vine of Christ (or the vine of true Israel). I think it’s clear from these verses that the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem (those who sit on the seat of Moses) will come back into the vine in the last days. The “goal” of Jesus is not his own resurrection. The “goal” of Jesus is the resurrection of true Israel, which is the Church, on the third day.
Consider the words of Hosea:
Hosea 6:1-3 "Come, and let us return to Yahweh; for he has torn us to pieces, and he will heal us; he has injured us, and he will bind up our wounds. (2) After two days he will revive us. On the third day he will raise us up, and we will live before him. (3) Let us acknowledge Yahweh. Let us press on to know Yahweh. As surely as the sun rises, Yahweh will appear. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth."
This verse is certainly about the crucifixion. But interpreted literally, it’s also about Israel, and not just about Christ himself. So, on the third day the Church (true Israel) is resurrected and we begin to “live in his presence.” The resurrection of Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection of true Israel (1 Corinthians 15:20). Both are on the third day. The day of the Lord is a thousand years.