Revelation Lesson 56 - The Golden Age

Revelation Lesson 56 - The Golden Age

Series: Revelation
Ref: Revelation 20:4–6

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but even it has failed to usher in a Golden Age for mankind. Plato's Republic couldn't revolutionize the Ancient world, and Thomas Moore's Utopia couldn't revolutionize his Medieval world. Words on a page can't produce Eden

Transcript

The Golden Age

Revelation 20:4-6

There are three words that come out of Greek mythology to express a time of perfect peace, harmony, prosperity and equality.

It’s the phrase, “The Golden Age”. 

Frankly, it has been the pursuit of mankind from the days of Adam’s fall and exile from the Garden of Eden.  It was Nimrod’s grand design in the building of Babylon.  It will be the Antichrist’s agenda as he attempts to rule the planet and usher in a one world government and a one world religion.

There is something in the heart of mankind that longs for a utopia where peace and justice reigns supreme.  I believe it is nothing less than the tracing of divine truth, written on their heart.

God also built into the heart of man a sense of coming judgment and a belief that is nearly universal in some sort of coming world disaster.  Recent events in Haiti only heighten the sense of our world crumbling into some future series of disasters.

Just one more movie was released to seize the attention of our culture and it is simply named, “2012” and the caption underneath the movie title is the phrase, “You were warned.”  Would anybody stand in line to watch a movie of planet earth’s upheaval through devastating cataclysmic events?  Its opening weekend raked in a whopping 200 million dollars worldwide. 

I haven’t seen it . . . I’ll wait til Walmart sells it for 5 bucks.

But isn’t it interesting that tens of thousands of people all over the world wanted to watch something that fed their already-brimming anxiety with one more description of a coming cataclysmic upheaval of planet earth.

These two incompatible notions are stamped on every human heart; the contrasting beliefs in some kind of world-wide disaster and at the same time a desire and hope in a coming season of global unity and worldwide peace and prosperity.

For the believer, these two ideas are not impossible notions.  Only the Bible provides the information and details and both are going to take place on planet earth.

The Tribulation, as we’ve seen in Revelation chapters 6-19, is a series of cataclysmic events after another brought about by the wrath of God as He judges humanity and all the nations of the world and at the same time prepares a redeemed people and a redeemed nation of Israel for her returning Messiah. 

When the Tribulation is over, the majority of people on the planet are dead and most of the planet is devastated.

The Bible records the last of the Tribulation events as the majority of the remaining nations and their remaining armies coalesce into one massive army to battle the Lord as He descends to Jerusalem and stands on the Mount of Olives.

This global army is defeated in the Battle of Armageddon by Christ’s own word and Jesus Christ establishes his rule on planet earth.

And that ushers in a season of global unity, peace and prosperity.

The golden age really does come true! 

Listen, the idea of a golden age is stamped into the heart of every human being.  And it’s nothing more than the faint etching of God’s truth written into the mind of mankind.

I googled the words, the golden age, and ended up watching one particular guru styled teacher talking about the coming age being the age of the crown – he said, “we’re approaching the golden age of the crown.

He doesn’t know how right he is.

But of course, mention to him that the crown belongs to Christ and that’s the end of the discussion, right?

Isn’t it tragically ironic that while our current United Nations – now representing more than 190 nations – they reject the truth of Christ and His coming reign – they despise the concept of a Creator God who came to earth as God the Son and Who died on the cross to pay the just penalty for the sins of the world and all who place their faith in that suffering Messiah will one day reign with Him when He returns as King of Kings and Lord and Lords – they reject all of that, but they long for united, peaceful global community and – but isn’t it ironic that the Unite Nations longs for that moment in biblical terms.

Directly across the street from the United Nations building downtown New York, on First Avenue, is a plaza where for the past 60 years, peace protests and political rallies for world unity and peace have taken place.

There on that plaza is this wall – this monument. 

And engraved into the monument are the words of Isaiah the prophet, speaking of the Millennial Kingdom – when Christ rules on earth.

The text reads, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares – or plows and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war any more.”  Isaiah

So although mankind doesn’t want any part of surrender to Jesus the Ruler they cannot resist the Biblical promise of a coming age where war will be a forgotten memory and global unity will actually bring about an amazing time of peace and prosperity.

There is another view of the monument I found online with people getting their picture in front of it.  It shows a better perspective of just how magnificent this monument is. 

You can see the verse engraved into the wall and at the end of the quote is the prophet’s name – Isaiah.  This monument is nicknamed, the Isaiah Wall.

By the way, the specific reference in Isaiah has been left off – all you have is the name Isaiah – there’s no chapter and verse – perhaps they’re afraid somebody might look it up – because if you do, you will discover that the verse on this monument is conveniently cut in half.

The portion they engraved into the wall says nothing about Jesus Christ.

Again, on the wall it says, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war any more.”

That’s a wonderful promise isn’t it?

It happens to be from Isaiah chapter 2, verse 4, and the preceding text goes like this: For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations and will render decisions for many peoples, and they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more.

In other words, this prophecy of global peace is directly tied to the literal reign of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem where he will be the ruler of the nations.

You can’t have the last part of the verse without the first part of the verse.

You can’t have the golden age of the crown until Jesus Christ returns and reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).

Our world wants a peaceful setting without a personal Savior.

One Christian artist painted a picture of Jesus Christ being excluded by the nations of our world as they in their futility attempt to bring about world peace.

Perhaps you’ve seen it.  If you haven’t I brought it along today –Jesus is pictured standing next to United Nations building, there on 1st Avenue, knocking on the side of the building, as if to say, “Would you like to include Me in your plans and hopes for world peace?”

Our world longs for peace – they just don’t want the Prince of Peace.

And the world really doesn’t want to hear any talk of Jesus Christ returning as sovereign ruler.  And because of their unbelief, they and all others who refuse the claims of Jesus Christ will one day be excluded from the coming golden age.

They will not only miss heaven, they will miss this glorious prelude to heaven – the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth for a thousand years.

What will it be like?

One author wrote, “Imagine a world described by the prophets throughout the Old Testament – a world dominated by righteousness and goodness, a world where there is no injustice, where no court ever renders an unjust verdict and where everyone is treated fairly.  Imagine a world where what is true, right, and noble marks every aspect of life, including interpersonal relations, commerce, education and government.  Imagine a world where there is complete, total, and permanent peace, where joy abounds and good health prevails, so much so that the world’s growing population lives for hundreds of years.  Imagine a world where the curse is removed, where the environment is restored to the pristine purity of the Garden of Eden, where peace reigns even in the animal kingdom, so that the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion . . . together; and a little boy will lead them.” / John MacArthur, Revelation: Volume 2 (Moody Press, 2000), p. 228

  • Listen there are around 330 prophecies in the Old Testament of Christ’s first coming – and they were all fulfilled literally.
  • 109 of them were fulfilled in His first coming, leaving around 220 yet to be fulfilled in His second coming.
  • Of the 46 Old Testament prophets, less than 10 of them spoke of Christ’s first coming – His birth, death and resurrection; but 36 of them speak of events connected to His second coming. 
  • There are some 1,500 Old Testament passages dealing with the second coming of the Messiah; and what about the New Testament? 
  • One out of every 25 verses in the New Testament refer directly to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
  • There are nearly 2,000 references to the second coming of the coming King.

Well how do we know that the coming King –the ruling Messiah is Jesus?

Many Jewish scholars believe there must be two Messiah’s  - one who would suffer and one who would reign.  And if all you had was the Old Testament you might be led to that conclusion since the prophets didn’t make a clear distinction at times between the first coming of Christ and His second coming. / Got Questions Ministries/GotQuestions.org/second-coming

By comparing the two testaments you have a clear picture that it wasn’t two men, but one man, the God-man, Jesus Christ. 

All the way back in Genesis, the Bible records that the ruling scepter, the Kings staff, so to speak, will be in the hand of a descendant of Judah (Genesis 49:9-10).   Luke carefully traces Christ’s genealogy back through and to the tribe of Judah (Luke 3)

The prophet Micah revealed the birth place of the Messiah as Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  Luke 2:4-7 revealed that Christ was indeed born in Bethlehem.

Isaiah prophesied, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and call Him Immanuel – that is, God with us.”  (Isaiah 7:13-14)

The angel Gabriel came to a virgin named Mary and said, “Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son - He will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:27-35)

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would exalt every valley and make every mountain  low and the crooked path will be made straight and the rough places plain (Isaiah 40:3-4)  John the Baptizer appears as a forerunner of Jesus and announces that Jesus will make every crooked path straight and the rough ways shall be made smooth. (Luke 3:2-5)

David prophesied that the Messiah would be hated without a cause (Psalm 35:19) and John’s gospel records Jesus saying, They hate me and they hated my Father also . . . but this has come to pass so that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law – they hated me without a cause. (John 15:23-25)

Is the Old Testament Messiah the same person as Jesus Christ? 

The prophet Zechariah said that the King of Israel would come into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and he prophesied that the people would rejoice at their salvation (Zechariah 9:9).  Jesus Christ rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, according to Mark’s gospel and the people shouted Hosanna to the Son of David. (Mark 11:7-11)

Even more specifically, David foretold of the Messiah’s close friend with whom He ate bread lifting up his heel against him in Psalm 41:9.  In Matthew’s gospel, Judas Iscariot receives bread from Jesus hand and then slips out of the room to plan his betrayal (Matthew 13:26)

Zachariah even prophesied that the price of betrayal would be 30 pieces of silver in chapter 11:13Matthew 27:3 records that tragic event where Judas goes to the chief priests and elders, following the arrest of Jesus and he confesses to them that he has betrayed innocent blood and he throws down the money they had given him – it was 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 27:3)

David prophesied of the crucifixion as he wrote with divinely ordained foresight of the Messiah’s crucifixion in Psalm 22:16, “A band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet . . .

John 20:25 records that the resurrected Christ showed to Thomas the nail scars in His hands.  He humbled Himself unto death, Paul wrote in Philippians 2:8, even death on a cross.

David also wrote in Psalm 22, They divided my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots.

Matthews Gospel records, “And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots.”  (Matthew 27:35)

Listen, how specific can you get?

Is the crucified Messiah the Savior who died for the sins of mankind?

Isaiah 53 records, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well begin fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has cause the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone might dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:6-9)

David also wrote of the Lord’s resurrection and leading captivity captive.  (Psalm 68:18) and Paul writes that when Christ ascended up on high, he led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8-10)

Is the Lord of the Old Testament – the suffering Messiah of the Old Testament the same person as the resurrected Jesus Christ of the New Testament?

The prophets of the Old Testament and the Apostles of the New Testament agree in unison and without any contradiction.  He is one and the same!

But let me ask another question.  If the Messiah of the Old Testament is the same Person as the Messiah of the New Testament, how do we know that this same Messiah will one day come back to literally rule the world?

Isn’t it enough that He died for us and we can by faith have our sins forgiven and go to live with Him in heaven?

How do we know He’s going to come back and rule on planet earth?

Listen, we know that He’s coming back a second time for the same reasons we know He came the first time.

The scriptures and, in fact, the record of history as a witness, testify to the coming of Christ the first time, as well as His death and resurrection.

This same inspired Book tells us He’s coming back again and one day all of history will culminate in the appearing of Jesus Christ and His redeemed with Him.

And it won’t be to knock on the side of the United Nations building and politely ask to be included in their plans.  “Would you be so kind as to let Me in?”  No, these days of invitation will be over.

Christ will come to judge the nations and set up his undisputed, uncontested, unchallenged, invincible throne.

Psalm chapter 2 reveals that the rule of Christ will be universal and absolute.  Just turn there . . . I’m not going to finish my introduction today anyway, so turn there.

Just listen to David as He writes of God the Father and God the Son.  Verse 1.  Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?  David, what is the futility that people are devising?  2. The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us.”  In other words, we’re not gonna be accountable to God (the triune God – or here, God the Father) and we’re not going to be constricted or restricted by His anointed – same word you can translate Messiah.   Now watch verse 4.  He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them, then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, my Holy mountain – that’s Jerusalem.  I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord; He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  Ask of Me, and I will surely give you the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 

In other words, the King is coming!

How do you respond to that?  Here’s how – look at verse 10.  Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth.  2.  Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.  Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way.  For His wrath may soon be kindled.  How blessed are all who take refuge in Him.

Is that a picture of Revelation 6-19 and chapter 20 or what?

The wrath of God is revealed against the nations of the world in the tribulation and following Christ’s return the Son of God will be installed as the King, ruling in Jerusalem.

And thus begins the Golden Age.

Jeremiah 30 prophesied that Israel would be converted and the land of Abraham restored to her land; Paul did the same in Romans 11.

The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Zephaniah and more refer to this global kingdom with Jerusalem as the capitol city of the King.

Isaiah 9:1-7 records that the millennial kingdom will be a time of unprecedented peace, world harmony and justice. / Sam Smith, What the Bible Says about the Future, p. 48 (unpublished notes)

Micah repeats the prophecy of Isaiah and says that in the kingdom of our Lord, the nations will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. (Micah 4:3)

The golden age will literally come to pass.

The United Nations of our world want the right thing – they’re just looking in the wrong direction.

And the religious liberals aren’t helping either – they are blind guides leading the blind.  They would say that Jesus isn’t really coming back literally and physically – He just comes into your life.  That’s what’s known as spiritualizing the second coming.  And that’s what a lot of people do. Which is utterly ridiculous.  The reason it’s ridiculous is because every one of the prophecies relating to the first coming of Jesus Christ weren’t spiritual.  They were literal. / John MacArthur, sermon manuscript, “Why Jesus Must Return to Earth, Part One (gty.resources)

Listen, if the prophecies in the Old Testament related to Christ’s first coming actually happened literally, why would the prophecies about His second coming be taken spiritually or allegorically or mystically not be literal?

If one prophecy says Jesus will be born in Bethlehem – and we take that literally – why would we take the prophecies that Jesus will reign in Jerusalem with His redeemed spiritually?

You can’t create a dual hermeneutic – a dual interpretation to prophecy.  This one’s literal, that one’s spiritual; this one’s literal, that one’s spiritual . . . this one will happen, that one won’t.

No interpreter of prophecy has the authority or discernible right to take Bethlehem literally and Jerusalem spiritually.

We have every reason to believe that planet earth, during the Millennial kingdom will physically experience the conditions of the Garden of Eden – food will be plentiful; the animal kingdom tamed so that the nursing child can play with the cobra – that redefines a baby’s rattle doesn’t it?  Isaiah writes the cow and the bear will graze together, the wolf will dwell with the lamb (Isaiah 11).  Isaiah 65 says that life-spans for the believers entering the kingdom having survived the Tribulation, they and their children will experience the life-spans of Adam and the early fathers.  Isaiah writes that a 100 year old will be considered a young person.

Won’t that be great?

At 100 years we need all our parts replaced?  Not in the kingdom – a person will just be getting started.

Someone says, “C’mon, how can that be?  That can’t be literal!”

What’s harder to believe – people having bodies capable of living for hundreds of years in the Millennial Kingdom or you and me being given bodies capable of living forever?

Can you figure out forever?

Is Christ really, physically returning?

Jesus Christ knew there would be questions in the future about the literal nature of His return and so He made sure the angels announced His second coming just as they announced His first coming.

Turn to Acts chapter 1, the Lord is about to ascend and he’s surrounded by His disciples . . . He provides for them their final challenge and promise in verse 8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. Now watch what happens next – v. 9.  And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing (angels) stood beside them.  11.  They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?  This Jesus – this same Jesus – who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.

Did Jesus just ascend spiritually?  Were the disciples having some sort of mystical experience that they saw with eyes of faith?

No – they watched Jesus go up and lost sight of Him in the clouds.  And the angels said, “He’s coming back the same way.”  Not mystically; not spiritually; not merely observed through eyes of faith – but the literal, physical descent of a literal Savior.

The golden age will one day come and the Prince of Peace will physically come back to earth to reign and that Prince of Peace will be none other than Jesus Christ, the Lord.

Alright, now turn to Revelation 20.

Just for a second – well, don’t interpret that literally. 

How long will the reign of Christ from Jerusalem last?  Let’s at least answer that question.

Notice verse 4.  Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast (the antichrist) or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  5. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed (I’ll explain who they are in our next session).  This is the first resurrection.  6.  Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection (that’s us, by the way); over these the second death has no power (that’s hell fire forever), but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

Now, how long will the kingdom reign of Christ be?  Aw, we’re really not told specifically are we?  We’ll just take that spiritually and not literally.

Six times in seven verses, we’re told 1,000 years.  And there is no unbiased reason why anyone would say God is just throwing out a figure of speech.  Nothing in the text indicates that.

God doesn’t repeat Himself because He can’t think of what to say next.

Just underline this specific timeframe as they appear:

  • in verse 2, the latter part -  they bound him for a thousand years. 
  • in verse 3 the middle part, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed.
  • again at the end of verse 4 – reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
  • in verse 5.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed;
  • in verse 6 the very last phrase, will reign with Him for a thousand years;
  • finally, for the sixth time in verse 7.  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released.

For someone to say, “I don’t think God means a thousand years” he has absolutely no justification for that apart from his own bias.

God couldn’t be clearer.

Listen, if you told your child,

  1. Go get in the car because I’m taking you to McDonalds for an hour.  It’s been 2 days since we’ve been there and I just can’t stand being away that long; it’s so peaceful there.
  2. Listen, go get in the car, I’m taking you to McDonalds for one hour.
  3. Go get in the car, I’m taking you to McDonalds for one hour
  4. Listen, I want to take you to McDonalds for one hour. 
  5. Hey, let’s go; I’m taking you to McDonalds for one hour. 
  6. C’mon, get in the car; I’m gonna take you to McDonalds for one hour. 

What if your kid didn’t move and then said, “I didn’t think you were serious.”

You’d strangle him.  You’d go get a happy meal all by yourself.

How many times does God have to tell us here and through the prophets and apostles and our own Lord’s words and from the lips of angels that there is a coming, returning, physical presence and reign of Christ on earth and it will include us by His side for one thousand years.

The golden age is coming because the Son of God is coming back. 

The golden age is for real . . . and you know what?  It is also written on the hearts of men and women as an intuitive truth and a dying wish.  “Surely this world must be able to get along . . . surely it could one day be unified.  Surely there will be peace on earth some day.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be!  Unprecedented prosperity and peace and unity and joy on earth; but only after the Prince of Peace comes and we His redeemed with Him.

We’ll talk in detail in our next session about the Kingdom – climate, topography, geography, the animal kingdom, life span, a new temple, the city of Jerusalem . . . the kingdom will be incredibly magnificent. 

But here at the outset, I wanted to talk about the King.

He is the one Moses and the prophets spoke of; He is the Son of God – born of a virgin, sacrificed for sin on the cross, resurrected, ascended, and soon coming King.

We begin with Him, because:

  • there can be no peace without this Prince; 
  • there can be no return to the Garden of Eden’s conditions without this Creator;
  • there can be no kingdom without a King. 

He who went up . . . is coming back down again.

I love the words to that gospel song, “I didn’t see Jesus when He went up, but I’ll see Him when He comes down.”

But it’s even more than that.  I wasn’t with Him when He went up, but I’ll be with Him when He comes down!

I wasn’t with Him when He went away, but I’ll be with Him when He comes back.  I will – and you with me who acknowledge that He is Messiah, God with us, the Savior who went up and is coming back down as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

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