Online Bible College
Carelinks Home
FREE Literature
'The Last Days' Home
Bible Books Home
Buy this Book!
The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
email the author



Personal Relationships In The Kingdom

We have shown earlier that there will be a degree of hierarchy in the Kingdom. Yet this should not let us imagine that there will be any awkwardness of relationship between us and other saints who are 'above' us. Our Lord uttered a difficult saying in Lk.12:42: " Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household...he will make him ruler over all that he hath" . We each individually have this promise of being made ruler over all that Jesus has. The " all things" refers to the believers; a concordance study of these two words gives fair testimony to this. The ecclesia is the body of Christ, " the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph.1:22,23). Let us pause to exult in this fact; that Jesus exists for no one else except the believers. Each of us is promised by Him that He will make us ruler over " all that he hath" , i.e. all the saints. We will each rule over each other because we will each be so closely identified with the Lord Jesus; yet in another sense there will be a hierarchy of spiritual glory in the Kingdom.

We have the great comfort of knowing that we will see dead believers again in the Kingdom. But we must not think that we will meet them in exactly the same physical form as we now know each other. The aged brother whom I only knew as a wizened old man, the chronically deformed sister...if I were to meet them as they were in their prime, or without their present physical maladies, then I would probably fail to recognize them. We must be careful not to see the Kingdom in too human terms. It will not just be a continuation of the pleasant Christian life which we now experience, but with no end in sight. We will share the dynamism and un-human power of God's nature, both physical and mental. We will not have the same human relationship as we now have. For example, we will not be male or female, there will not be marriage as we now know it.

Yet there is no doubt that we will recognize our loved ones in the Kingdom, in some form. We will see Abraham in the Kingdom. Of course, we will not physically recognize him; he won't have a placard on him saying 'Abraham'. But we will know him through seeing his spiritual characteristics of faith etc. This is how a loving husband will recognize his sister-wife in the Kingdom. On account of the deep appreciation of her spirituality which he has, he will be able to know her again, and rejoice again in the joy of each others' company. The whole basis of their relationship then will be around the things of the Spirit, as it would have been in this life. It must be said that it is frighteningly easy to have a very non-spiritual relationship with our brethren and sisters, especially among the believing members of our family. The depth of our eternal togetherness is dependent upon the degree to which we now have a spiritual closeness. Our relationships in the truth must not be just 'physical', as members of the same religious body.

The relationships which we may now have to sacrifice for the sake of the Lord will blossom fully in the Kingdom. Consider how Hannah offered Samuel to God, when she would have dearly loved to keep him at home with her. She is described as lending him to the Lord. Yet she never received him back in this life; so she must do in the Kingdom. It is interesting to reflect upon the future relationship between Jesus and Mary in the Kingdom. The closeness which they sacrificed will then be revived.

We will relate to each other in terms of our spiritual characteristics. We will each have a name or character which is individual to us (Rev.2:17). We will relate to each other not by names as pieces of language, but by reason of the characteristics which they speak of. To relate to each other for ever as we do now, in human terms, would be totally unfulfilling. There is an urgent need for us to develop a spiritual aspect to our relationships now, especially between husbands and wives, parents and children.

The Millenium: How Different?

We must bear in mind that the curse will have not been fully lifted in the Millennium; the seeds of rebellion which openly manifest themselves at the end of it will always be there. There will be no compulsion on the mortals to respond to our preaching; and seeing that human nature will not have been changed one bit, it is to be expected that there will be a fair degree of rejection of our message, or failure to live up to its standards among those who do accept it.

There are ample hints that the Millennium will not be universal bliss; evidence of the curse will not be lacking. The cloud of glory over Zion will be " a tabernacle for a shadow in the day-time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and rain" (Is. 4:6). The evidently symbolic application of all this will presumably be re-inforced to the mortals by the simple practical lesson that the glory of Yahweh brings shelter from the vaguaries of the climate, which will still, by implication, not be ideal for mortals. Ez.46:4 warns that the burnt offering in the future temple must be of unblemished animals- showing that there will still be blemished animals in the Millennium. The Prince, the Lord Jesus, will physically be in the temple to offer these sacrifices every Sabbath, the record says. Whilst we will have the power to be present where we wish at a moment's notice, there is a fair degree of emphasis on the physical presence of Christ being mainly in Jerusalem. " When the Prince (Jesus, Dan.9:25 etc.) shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering...voluntarily unto the Lord" (Ez.46:12) shows that Jesus will at times voluntarily offer an offering. Even Jesus will have freewill in His choice of service to God. Even in His exalted status, Jesus will chose of His own volition to express His love of the Father in this way. And how much more for us too? Our glorifying of God will not be mandatory or automatic in any sense. " The prince shall not take of the inheritance by oppression" (Ez.46:18) is the language of Ps.72 about Jesus; " he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession" . The " sons" of Jesus are the believers, his spiritual children. This indicates that there will be a concept of property in the Millennium and the Kingdom too. We will have a largely sedentary existence, rather than constantly being on the move. This would also match the typology of our taking over the role of the priests under the Old Covenant.

Yet we are told that what He gives them will remain theirs by " inheritance" (Ez.46:16). Seeing that we will not have literal children, what can this mean? It seems that the record of the future temple is to some degree written in human terms so that it was comprehensible to those of Ezekiel's time. It would have been possible for the temple prophecies to have had a primary fulfilment at the time of the restoration; hence the use of such human language. Our possession of the land by inheritance would therefore refer to our eternally having the land. Earlier Ezekiel speaks of Gog's invasion of Israel in the latter days with many horses and spearmen clearly using the language of the day to describe modern weaponry.

" The priests shall not eat of anything that is dead of itself or torn" (Ez.44:31) indicates that the animals will die, and even fight each other (" torn" ). Yet the mind flies to Is.11:9: " They (the context includes animals) shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain" . The resolution of this lies in the recognition that the conditions of the Kingdom will be more intensely seen in the mountain of the Lord, i.e. " mount Zion which He loved" where the temple will be. Yet this mountain will spread (Dan.2:44) to fill the whole earth. This is one of many indications, to be discussed fully in a later chapter, that the curse will be especially lifted in the Jerusalem area, although those blessings will spread throughout the earth in accord with the spread of acceptance of the Gospel.

There has always been some objection to the idea of animal offerings in the Millennium. Yet in terms of responsibility to God, there is no difference between the offering of animals or vegetables. The fact that animals will die and be torn in the Millennium is not out of keeping with the fact that the curse will not have been fully lifted. There will be mortal priests, the literal sons of Zadok, who " shall not gird themselves with anything that causeth sweat" (Ez.44:18). Yet it seems that Adam before the fall did not sweat; the curse was that in the sweat of his face he would have to produce food for himself. The sons of Zadok will therefore be still under the curse. They will not be allowed to marry a divorcee (Ez.44:22); showing that the pain of broken relationships will still occur, even among the families of the mortal priests.

The land of the priests is not to be exchanged or sold (Ez.48:14); surely implying that there will be the possibility of commercial transaction in the Millennium. Unless God's ways are forced upon men, there will continue to be some degree of trading and financial currency amongst the mortals. The priests under the Law had no mandate to get involved in the control of this kind of thing, and it is doubtful if the saints will in the Millennium. Neh.9:23-25 says that Abraham's seed will possess houses full of good things, the riches of the Gentiles, as Israel did in the primary fulfilment of the Abrahamic promises. It may be that to some degree the possessions of the world will come under the control of the saints, or more likely that of natural Israel ; although it must be remembered that there will be massive physical destruction of such things in the latter day judgments.

The Kingdom prophecies imply that there will arise a specific vocabulary associated with the worship of God in the Kingdom, similar to how we speak of 'fraternals', 'memorial meetings' etc.- phrases which only make sense to believers. " They shall call thee, 'The city of the Lord', 'The Zion of the Holy One of Israel'" (Is.60:14) is an example of this; instead of saying 'We're going to Jerusalem', the mortals will speak of 'The city of the Lord'. Is.61:6 is another example: " Ye shall be named 'The priests of the Lord', men shall call you 'The ministers of our God'. This all indicates a new way of thinking and speaking among the mortals who respond to our message. This will truly be a change from the present attitude of the world towards Israel, both natural and spiritual.

" The fruitful field will be reckoned as a forest" (Is.32:15)- i.e. there will be much less emphasis on the need to produce food, so great will be the change in the fertility level of the earth. This is an aspect worth bearing in mind when considering the extent to which the Millennium will be different from our present experience. Fruitful trees will grow wild, without the need for constant tending. The release of time will therefore give the mortals the opportunity to consider God's ways. Lack of time due to the pressures of the daily round is the most common excuse given for lack of response to the Gospel.

Sin In The Millennium

" Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old" (Is.43:18)- i.e. the things of the preceding verses, which speak of Israel's sinfulness in Egypt. It seems from this that all the things related to sin will be expunged from our consciousness. Yet what we have learnt from the experience of sinful flesh will go with us for eternity. Jesus, depsite the moral splendour of Divine nature, is still able to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities as He intercedes for the forgiveness of our sins (Heb.4:15). As we counsel distressed sinners in the Millennium, we too will have the same degree of empathy with them as Jesus now has with us.

This leads to the question: " To what degree will sin be present in the Millennium?" . The devil being bound for 1000 years may well refer more to the lack of expression of sin in a political form, rather than human nature itself being somehow altered for all the mortal inhabitants, regardless of their response to the Gospel. Being aware of the judgments that came upon the earth at Christ's return, many mortals will doubtless respond to the Gospel from a motive of fear, sensing that this is what they ought to do, rather than doing so from a true love of God's righteousness. It is highly significant that in a number of the prophecies about the nations submitting to Christ's rule, a Hebrew word is used which means feigned obedience. Ps.66:3 speaks of " all ye lands" saying to God " How terrible art thou in thy works! through (on account of) the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves ('yield feigned obedience', Heb.) unto thee" . Ps.81:15; 18:44 are similar examples.

Whilst thinking of sin in the Millennium, it is worth reflecting upon the place of the rejected saints in the Millennium. Rev.14:11 speaks of the smoke of torment ascending up " for ever and ever" in the presence of the Lamb and His Holy Angels. This going on throughout the 'aion of the aions' would suggest that there will always be the reminder of the condemnation of sinners, certainly for the duration of the Millennium. How this will be achieved in practice is hard to envisage. But in some way, there will always be a reminder of the rejection and judgment of the unworthy saints of this present dispensation. This will serve as a powerful reminder to the mortals of the Millennium age; it may well be something which we use to remind them of the seriousness of sin.

2 Pet.3:7 speaks of the heavens and earth being reserved unto " the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" , and then goes straight on to point out that " one day is with the Lord as a thousand years" . Whilst the judgment seat itself may last a very short time, does this read as if the day or era of judgment will in some way be the 1,000 years of the Millennium, even though the wicked individuals themselves will probably die fairly quickly? The Millennium will be the period in which the earth will gradually be cleansed of the results of the sins of " ungodly men" .

The Rebellion

It is reasonable to assume that there will be about three generations in the Millennium. A child will die at 100 years old (Is.65:20), whereas today a child would be considered anything from five to 15 years old. If a child will then be thought of as 100 years old, then life-spans will be increased by about 10. The average life of a mortal believer would then be around 700; it is for this reason that we suggest that there will only be three generations in the Millennium. We have noted earlier that apostacy is usually evident in the third generation after a revival of the truth. It seems that this same tragic pattern will be observable in the Millennium. Ez.37:25 speaks of how Israel would dwell in the land, in the Kingdom, " they and their children, and their children's children" , under the rulership of " David their prince" ; again hinting at three generations? Compare this with " to you and you children" in Joel 2:28 (cp. Acts 2:39), possibly referring to the two generations who had the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost. That prophecy has a future fulfilment in the Kingdom- in the first two generations of natural Jewish believers having the gifts in order to support the spread of the Gospel? They will be heavily involved in preaching in the earlier stages of the Millennium.

The rebellion comes from " Gog and Magog" . The rebellion may be from the same geographical region as the Gog of Ez.38; or (more likely), the Gog/Magog invasion of the last days will be typical of the rebellion at the end of the Millennium. Their motive will be to take a great spoil, to capitalize on the weak defences of what seems to them like a paradise on earth. These same motives will be seen in the final rebellion. Notice that they come up against Jerusalem; as if the conditions and blessings of the Kingdom are particularly manifest there, as compared to the rest of the earth. This rebellion has support in " the four corners of the earth" (Rev.20:8); it will be widespread. 'Satan' does not just mean abstract diabolism; it is sin manifested in something, either an individual or an organization. It seems that such a movement, collectively embodying the diabolism of the flesh, will gain support in the Millennium. They are described as being as numerous " as the sand of the sea" - immediately shouting for comparison with the true seed of Abraham having the same description. This connection may imply that the rebels are apostates from the true seed of Abraham- they outwardly appear as the seed, yielding 'feigned obedience' to the Gospel, and then apostacizing.

The rebellion happens " when the thousand years are expired" (Rev.20:4). " The rest of the dead" did not live again " until the thousand years were finished" (Rev.20:5). This conscious connection between the 1000 years expiring and being finished may suggest that the rebellion is in some way associated with " the rest of the dead" who are resurrected and judged at the end of the 1000 years. It may be that those who are rejected at the second judgment, having the outward appearance of the seed of Abraham, will be associated with this rebellion.

Notice that it is after the end of the Millennium and the second resurrection/judgment that the " nations" are gathered to rebel. Who are these " nations" , seeing the second judgment is passed, and the Millennium has ended, by the time they are gathered? Presumably they must refer to the rejected responsible of all nations, who have been sent back to their various geographical homes to live for a while. As the rejected responsible of the first judgment may see part of the Millennium (cp. Moses seeing the land, the rejected Jews seeing Abraham enter the Kingdom, the goats seeing the sheep accepted), so those of the second judgment may exist a fraction into the glorious ages of eternity. There are many problems with interpreting these verses in Rev.20. These are just suggestions!