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Course: A Guide to Christian Theology
This is the 37th lecture in the online series of lectures on a Guide to Christian Theology by Dr Breshears. Recommended Reading includes: Biblical References from the Course and Study Guides 1 – 39.
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(Please Note that this lecture is almost a repeat of Lecture 36)
I. The Setting Up of Israel
We just finished discussing God’s Kingdom and the Millennium but now I want to discuss the Millennium and out relationship as God’s people to it. So we have the return of Christ which is going to happen and so what about the Millennium? How do we understand this? In the Old Testament in Ezekiel 36:24 again, God is going to take his people out of the nations and put them back in their land. God will cleanse them and put his Spirit in them. As mentioned before this is a time of universal peace and righteousness. So this Millennium is related to a time where Israel is gathered together in their land and it is also in a context of spiritual renewal. It will also be the exclusive worship of Yahweh. This is covered in the Book of Revelation 20 where it mentions a thousand years. Also millennium means one thousand from Latin which is from Revelation and most people see this as a symbolic number in regards to a period of time rather than a literal thousand years. The key is not the thousand years but instead being universal peace and righteousness where God will be worshipped exclusively.
II. One Thousand Years
There is the idea of Jesus coming back before the millennium but there is also an idea that the millennium will happen because of the Gospel will be preached everywhere and then Jesus will come back afterwards. This is Post Millennium. Again the A-millennialists say that there is no earthly righteousness and peace as such. This will be accomplished spiritually and not physically. The historical pre-millennium says that there will be a millennium under Christ’s reign but no regathering of Israel, no special place for them and this would be under what is called progressive dispensationists. Some people think that biblical law should be set to help prepare us for the coming of Christ. Antony Hu Kuma argued that these Old Testament promises are typological, not a millennium as such but it is speaking of the New Earth. We saw in Ezekiel 36 the regathering of Israel and a time of spiritual restoration all mixed together. . In Acts 1 Jesus is preaching the Kingdom of God for forty days and while staying with them he tells them not to depart Jerusalem but wait to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So in verse 6, they asked will you restore the kingdom to Israel but Jesus said only God knows this but now you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. So the restoration will come later as indicated by Jesus in his answer to the disciples. So I think Jesus is saying by this that there will be a restoration of the Kingdom of Israel will happen later but spiritual renewal will happen now.
III. The Tribulation
And of course as discussed, there is a picture in 2nd Thessalonians 2 and Jeremiah 31 and other passages saying that a time of great tribulation is going to happen and an extreme tribulation at the end of the age. But there has been tribulation for Christians since the time of Jesus. As mentioned there are three major views of tribulation: Pre, Mid and Post Tribulation with some thinking in terms of pan-tribulation where everything will work out. Within the pre-tribulation and mid-tribulation, the second coming is in two part, first the collection of the church and then the final judgement whereas in post tribulation there will be Jesus meeting up with the Christians and coming to earth for the final judgement.