The Reign of Christ (cont)
The Worship of His Person
(i) By Angels (Heb 1.6)
"And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him". "Again" could be better rendered "a second time", making clear that this reference is to the second coming to earth.
(ii) By Jews
The Millennial Temple (Zech 6.12-13; Ezek 40-43; Hag 2.9). A literal, rebuilt temple, some ten times larger than St Pauls Cathedral, is pledged in these verses. The detail given is such that "spiritualising" these passages is an affront to their Author. The temple structure is mainly wood and stone, for nothing will be permitted to detract from the glory of the personal presence of Christ when He comes to His temple. His glory is paramount.
The Zadokite Priesthood (Ezek 43.19; 44.15). No high priest is mentioned because the Great High Priest Himself is present. Gods original intention that Israel should be a kingdom of priests was thwarted by their sin. God chose the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron to provide priests. Nadab and Abihu came under Gods judgment leaving only Eleazar to continue the line. However, things were derailed again when Eli became high priest through Ithamar. God then covenanted with Phinehas (Num 25.13). David allowed both lines to continue in his day contrary to the divine mind as also happened in the days of our Lord with Annas and Caiaphas. Both Abiathar and Zadok served simultaneously until Solomon "retired" Abiathar. This left Zadok to function exclusively. Ezekiel makes it plain that the Zadokite priesthood will operate during the Millennium. Isaiah 61.6, however, implies a national priesthood which would fulfil Gods original purpose for Israel!
The Levitical Offerings (Ezek 43.18-27; 44.29-30; 45.17). All the offerings as recorded in Leviticus will be offered in the Millennium but the quantities of the sacrifices sometimes vary.
The Feasts of Jehovah (Ezek 45.21,25; Zech 14.16-19). Passover and Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths will both be celebrated, but no mention is made of Firstfruits, Pentecost, Atonement or Trumpets. Other "missing" items are, the Ark of the Covenant, the Lampstand, the Table of Showbread and the Veil between the Holy and Most Holy Places.
Could it be that:
No "Firstfruits" is celebrated as the risen Christ is physically present.
No "Pentecost" is celebrated as the Spirit has been poured out upon all flesh.
No "Trumpets" is celebrated as Israel had been restored to the land.
No "Day of Atonement" is observed as Israel has how been subject to the fountain open for sin and uncleanness.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a feast of rejoicing and finds its fulfilment in millennial joy. The eighth day may well signify the day of God - eternity!
How do we explain the keeping of Passover and Unleavened Bread? Unleavened Bread signifies the need for holiness in a believers life and this will be expected during the Millennium as much as in other dispensations. The basis of holiness of life is the application of the death of Christ in a believers experience.
The Davidic Prince (Ezek 46.2; Hos 3.5). This personage is human, has a family and an inheritance. He alone, apart from Messiah may access the temple via the east gate. He receives sacrifices and offers a sin-offering for himself. In the absence of a high priest, the prince has close ties with the temple. He also appears to act as vice-regent for Messiah Himself. There is nothing to suggest that Christ will be on earth every moment of the Millennium. On occasions, He may well be physically absent when needed in other parts of His realm. At such times the prince would deputise as vice-regent. Who is this prince? There can be no doubt as to his Davidic links. Is he David himself resurrected? Whatever conclusion is reached it does not alter the fact of the princes worship in the Millennium.
(iii) By Gentiles
Gentiles will willingly assist in the building of the millennial temple. They will also engage in worship. "All flesh (shall) come to worship before me, saith the Lord" (Is 66.23). "Everyone that is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts" (Zech 14.16; read also Zech 8.22-23). "From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles" (Mal 1.11). Just as all the males of Israel went up to celebrate the feasts of Jehovah three times per annum, so Gentiles will go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Any who fail to observe this festival will be punished, e.g. Egypt has its rains withheld with subsequent plagues - so prophesies Zechariah (14.16-19).
The Regeneration of Israel
Re-birth/salvation (Rom 11.26; Ezek 36.25-31; Zech 8.13)
Paul records, "And so all Israel shall be saved". Ezekiel quotes the very language of God: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean". John probably had this passage in mind when he wrote, "born of water and of the Spirit" (Jn 3.5). The entrance into the kingdom by the process of new birth refers to the kingdom on earth. All who hope to see and enter the earthly kingdom must of necessity be born again. Every subject of the coming millennial kingdom will be a born again believer. The whole population of earth at the commencement of Christs reign will be saved.
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness" (Zech 13.1). "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb 8.10,12).
Regeneration/Spirit of God (Joel 2.28-32; Zech 12.10; Ezek 36.27)
Joel speaks of a day when the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. Zechariah makes reference to the same event but in relation to the house of David. Ezekiel emphasises the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will be active throughout the Millennium in both the regeneration and sanctification of both Israeli and Gentile believers.
Relationship/The Spouse (Hos 1.10; 2.19-20,23; Is 54.5; 62.4-5)
Israel, the wife of Jehovah, is set aside because of her fornication. This is depicted by Hosea. Yet, Israel will be restored and the relationship between God and Israel will be re-established. Psalm 45.9-11 illustrates this as we see first the King and then the Queen introduced clothed in gold of Ophir at the Kings right hand. The Song of Solomon paints a similar picture of bride and groom united together; Israel and Jehovah.
Renewal/Sanctification (Obad v.17; Zech 14.20,21; Zeph 3.13)
The theocracy will be marked by holiness. It will be manifest through its Sovereign and its subjects. We read of a holy land, a holy city, a holy mountain and a holy temple, and also the way of holiness, leading to the throne of His holiness. Even the common things of life will be consecrated to the service of the Lord. "Every pot shall be holiness unto the Lord", and the horses bridles will bear the inscription, "HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD".
Rapidity/Speed of the Conversion (Is 66.7-9)
"Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once?". How rapidly God will turn things round! In one day God destroys Babylon, and in one day He will turn around the fortunes of the nation of Israel!
Predictions and promises regarding the land of Israel have been made from earliest times. Deuteronomy 32.8-9 tells how God set the boundaries of the nations according to the territory he had marked out for the children of Israel, though they did not exist at that time! "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen 15.18). It was under Solomon that the borders of the nation were extended to their greatest limit. But the promise to Abraham still awaits fulfilment in the golden age to come.
The Gentile nations will call Israel "blessed". The land of Israel is Gods portion and He will delight in the land. It will be called, Beulah married - and be a land flowing with milk and honey. Israel confesses, "He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah" (Ps 47.4).
To be continued.