Monday, March 24, 2014

Life Applications on Christ's coming millennial kingdom

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

These past several days have been devoted to taking a closer look at the events surrounding Christ's second coming and Kingdom Reign. Undoubtedly there is much more to be said about these two chapters, and certainly Revelation 20 - being that chapter 20 by itself is one of the most contested areas of Bible interpretation.  But I thought that for today's post we would consider what applications we can draw for life today before plunging any further.  Though Christ's Millennial Reign (at least in the estimation of this blogger) lies in the future, nonetheless the realities of Christ's coming kingdom do reverberate into this present age in which we live.  Four particular areas in the Bible utilize Christ's coming Kingdom to focus present day living: 
1. Prayer
2. Person of Christ

3. Promises of God
4. Perseverence

This first practical area in applying the truths of Christ's coming Kingdom is actually defined by Jesus Himself.  Notice His famous model prayer - "The Lord's Prayer", in Luke 11:1-4 "It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, ay: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread. 4 ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”  In another place in Luke, Luke 18:1-8, we see Jesus utilizing His coming Kingdom in the context of prayer.  In Luke 18:1 we read - "Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart." As Jesus then tells his parable of the widow and the unjust judge, he closes with this application in Luke 18:8 "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Truly the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ provides the horizon for our prayer life so that we pray according to God's eternal timeframe rather than the the timeframe of this life.  Furthermore in the parallel account of Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus ends the prayer there with the idea that the Kingdom that is coming is also at the same time having a present impact on believers today: "For yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever, amen." But notice the second life application of Christ's coming Kingdom....

Person of Christ
Several posts back we had compared Jesus' names, characteristics and actions in Revelation 1 and 19-20.  We won't rehearse those here, however what is remarkable is how Christ's coming Kingdom makes us a Christ-centered people.  For one thing, in the celebration of the Lord's table we are urged to focus our attention on His coming kingdom.  Take for instance 1 Corinthians 11:26 "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes." I often remind our church when we celebrate the Lord's supper that we are a people of the two comings: Christ's accomplished redemption at His first coming and what will be His accomplished return at His second coming. The coming Kingdom focuses our attention on Jesus Christ.  As Hebrews 12:2 reminds us - "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

So in thinking upon Christ's coming Millennial reign, we have noted how such a truth applies to our prayer life and focusing us more upon the Person of Jesus Christ.  But now notice a third life application....

Promises of God
God's great and precious promises in His Word are what comprise the backbone of daily Christian living. (2 Peter 1:3-4) When we consider the passages in the Bible on Christ's coming Kingdom (chief among them being Revelation 19 & 20), we note that one of the purposes for Christ's establishing His Kingdom here on this earth is to fulfill promises made to His people.  There will be undoubtedly promises fulfilled to the church and there will be promises fulfilled to Israel.  The Bible uniformly declares that God never lies and that He always keeps His promises. (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Malachi 3:6; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). 

For one thing God promised to Abraham and his descendants that they would dwell in the land of promise. (Genesis 12:1-7) Despite their failure, God's promises to Israel remain firm and He promises in scores of places to restore her so that she can finally fulfill what He had ordained for her from the beginning. (Zechariah 12-14; Romans 11:25-26) An earthly stage to Christ's Kingdom is necessary for God's promises to Israel to be completed.  Indeed if God breaks His promises to Israel, then that jeopardizes any hope we as Gentile believers may have in the here and now.

We also note that Christ's coming Kingdom means that Christ's promises to His church to rule and reign with Him will be realized.  Indeed we enjoy the positional priviledge of having spiritual positions in the heavenly realms in Christ. (Ephesians 2:6-10) The Kingdom undoubtedly right now has been inaugurated in heaven with Christ seated over His church. (compare Acts 2:34-36)  However in order for us as The Church to have the fulfillment of Christ's promises to us, we too need a Millennium wherein we can rule and reign with Jesus for 1,000 years (Revelation 1:5-7; 20:4-6); judge the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) and along with Israel to be prepared for what will be the final wedding at the end of all things following the Millennial reign of Jesus. (Revelation 21-22) .

All of the more than 8,000 promises in the Bible hang on such truths as these. The coming Kingdom of God has so much application to daily life.  May these life applications of prayer, the person of Christ and the promises of God be the areas in which we utilize the reality of coming Kingdom of Christ as revealed in Revelation 19-20 and other places. So Christ's coming millennial kingdom as bearing on our prayers, focus on the Person of Christ, understand the promises of God and fourthly....

A quick journey through the epistles of the New Testament will reveal how much the coming Millennial Kingdom is used by the Holy Spirit to encourage perseverance in the here and now.  Romans 16:20 has Paul reminding his readers of how soon they will in some way crush Satan under their feet, an event that may very well be tied to what we read in Revelation 20:1-3.  Persevering in preaching is tied to the reality of Christ's coming kingdom in 2 Timothy 4:1.  Perseverance in Godly living and practical holiness have as the basis of their motivation Christ's coming kingdom.  Other scriptures that encourage present perseverance are linked directly to the coming kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 2:12; Hebrews 12:28-29; James 5:8; Jude 24-25)


Four particular areas in the Bible utilize Christ's coming Kingdom to provide the following life applications for today: 

1. Prayer

2. Person of Christ
3. Promises of God
4. Perseverance

3. Promises of God
4. Perseverence

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