The King on the Cross is the Key to the Kingdom.

There are people who question why Jesus had to die?  Could God who is Almighty not just forgive everybody’s sins, set up His perfect eternal Kingdom and get finished with it?  Well, God illustrates throughout the Word that the Cross is the Key to the Kingdom.  Revelation 20 shows the last part of God’s brilliance in the Millennium.  It  is much more important than it seems.

Why is it necessary for Christ to reign a thousand years?  

  • By that time many of us will be in heaven with father Abraham and will look forward to the second resurrection and the new heavens and earth.  So why do we have to wait another thousand years for God’s eternal reign of peace, happiness, safety and prosperity?
  • It is God’s way to illustrate that a perfect environment and even a perfect Ruler will not guarantee a perfect society.  You also need citizens with one special characteristic – loyalty.  
  • So let’s take a bird’s eye view of three of the stages of God’s plan: 

1.  A perfect environment in the Garden of Eden – failed.

  • Genesis 2 is a picture of a perfect environment with full provision for Adam and Eve with a daily visit from God.   
  • Yet the minute the serpent arrived on the scene, they defected from God and chose to follow and obey Satan.  So the devil became the ruler of the world. 1

2.  A perfect set of instructions for the Israelites – failed.

  • God called Abram, and promised him a country and descendants.  They became the nation of Israel with extensive laws to show them how to live to please God.  
  • In spite of all God’s instructions, they defected from Him and served the gods of the people left in Canaan.  
  • Even circumcision of the body was not sufficient to help them remain loyal to God. 

3.  A perfect Ruler in Christ’s thousand year reign – failed. 

  • Who could be a better ruler than Jesus Himself who is sinless?  Would His subjects remain loyal if they could see His face?  Revelation 20:1-6 explains Christ’s thousand year reign.  
  • It will happen after the approximate 4,000 years of the Old Testament time and the approximate 2,000 years of the New Testament time (6,000 years of world history recorded in the Bible).  Then there is that seventh period of a thousand years.  
  • When it begins an angel binds the devil with a big chain and locks him in the Abyss for the full thousand years. 2     
  • Isaiah 11:6 tells us what it will be like: ‘The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat….’ 
  • After the thousand years Satan will be released and immediately he, ‘…will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth.’ 3  
  • Will the people stay loyal to their perfect King, Jesus? No! Revelation 20:8 reveals the magnitude of discontent with Jesus.  Those who join the devil: ‘In number they are like the sand on the seashore.’ 
  • What happened to those who did not like Jesus’ rulership? ‘…fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur.’ 4   

Conclusion 

  • The Millennium proves that the Cross of Jesus is the necessary ‘ingredient’ for the eternal Kingdom of God.  The only way that people will be able to remain loyal to God eternally is if their hearts are changed.
  • On the Cross Jesus died for our sins and so cut away our old sinful nature (He circumcised our hearts).  The King on the Cross regenerated the hearts of those who embrace Him, to remain loyal to God.  
  • The Cross is the Key to the Kingdom.  

References

  1. Revelation 9:12  
  2. Revelation 20:1-2  
  3. Revelation 20:7  
  4. Revelation 20:9b-10

Did God promise Himself into a corner?

God called Abram and told him to settle in the land of Canaan.  God gave Abram specific promises: 

  • He will become a great nation.1
  • All peoples on earth will be blessed through him (that referred to the Messiah).2
  • The land Canaan (Israel) would be the property of his descendants. 3

#  God is very specific about who He is.  

He is not just any deity.  God’s promises are closely tied to who He is.  He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob (the Jewish people who now live in Israel). 4  This specific God made the specific three above promises to the three descendants in that family.  

#  Did they receive it?  

No!  Hebrews 11:13 is clear, ‘All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.’ 

#  Does that verse mean that God failed?  

  • No.  It means that their faith was a ‘guarantee’ of things to come ( things that we can also hope in).  When the apostle Paul defended himself before king Agrippa, he said, ‘…it is because of my hope in what God promised our fathers that I am on trial today.’ 5
  • Paul understood that there will be a resurrection and that some of God’s promises will only be fulfilled then.  He said, ‘Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?’ 6

#  God did not promise Himself into a corner.

  • God could make those promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because His whole plan was worked out before He began to create this present universe.  His magnificent goal and project is a New, Eternal Kingdom.  
  • As the all-powerful God He had the resurrection of Jesus in view from the beginning.  It would lead to the resurrection of all people.    
  • Through the resurrection, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will live in God’s new country and they will see their offspring through the Messiah – all the people who were saved and prepared for eternal life.

Conclusion

We can have full confidence that what God promised will happen.  ‘God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind.  Does He speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfil? 7  O course not.  If it is in the Bible it will happen.   We can trust God and His promise of the future Kingdom and all its blessings

References

  1. Genesis 12:2; 22:15-18  
  2. Galatians 3:16  
  3. Exodus 3:15  
  4. Genesis 15:18
  5. Acts 26:6  
  6. Acts 26:8  
  7. Numbers 23:19

The remarkable relevance of the Tower of Babel

The book of Genesis reveals an interesting chapter in the history of man.  After the flood, the descendants of Noah had one language.  When they had increased greatly they wanted to stay together.  Long forgotten was God’s command to Adam to ‘… fill the earth….’ 1  With one language, they wanted a city where they could settle.  They moved eastward and settled in the plain of Shinar (Babylonia). 

#  Why did they move east?  

In Scripture, ‘east’ signifies separation from God: 

  • ‘Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden…’ 2  God knew in advance that Adam and Eve would opt to follow the serpent’s advice and not obey Him.
  • ‘After He [God] drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim….’ 3
  • ‘So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.’ 4 
  • The people who moved east to Shinar, wanted to live separated from God. 

#  They built a city.

  • They said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’ 5
  • The city had to have one defining characteristic: No instructions from God allowed. 

#  God knows man’s plans.

  • God was well aware of their plans to build a ‘secular’ society.  They were probably gifted people, accomplished in various trades and skills.  They wanted to be independent, not fettered by God’s plans for them. 
  • The words, ‘a tower that reaches unto heaven,’ might refer to astrology, the worship of the sun, stars, et cetera.  The occult always fascinated people, especially since those ‘gods’ do not require a righteous life.  Idolatry and immorality often go together. 

# What did God do? 

God put an end to their grand plan when He confused their common language.  They started to speak different languages, so they no longer understood each other.  The result?  They scattered all over the world and filled the earth according to God’s original plan.  The word ‘Babel’ means ‘confused’.   

#  The Tower of Babel and the present.  

  • The devil’s wish to build cities without the influence of God never stopped.  Today we see how he inspires people all over, especially, the Western world.  Many atheistic, secular organisations aim to ‘build’ Godless societies.  They do their best to lock God out of schools, businesses, entertainment, et cetera. 
  • The result?  As in Babel, confusion follows and abounds – for example, the  gender issue, marriage, the truth of Scripture, the deity of Jesus and many other subjects.  There is a proliferation of the occult and other strange ideas, like someone who marries self or even a robot. 

Conclusion

If an incident in ancient Bible history is true today, how much more is God’s promise that a new ‘nation’ will one day live on a new heaven and earth?  We can trust Scripture. 

References

  1. Genesis 1:28  
  2. Genesis 2:8  
  3. Genesis 3:23  
  4. Genesis 4:16   
  5. Genesis 11:4