Are we living in the Millennial Kingdom right now?
[Note: This series of questions about Jesus Christ’s coming Millennial Kingdom were sent in to Lamb & Lion Ministries and answered by Dr. David Reagan, Nathan Jones, and Tim Moore on our television program Christ in Prophecy.]
Dr. Reagan: Some churches teach that since Jesus is reigning right now from Heaven that we are already living in the Millennium Kingdom right now.
Tim Moore: I’d ask, “Since when?” In other words, when did the thousand years start, if they think we are already living in it right now? If people interpret Revelation 20 literally as Christ’s Kingdom lasting a literal thousand years, then there had to have been a beginning point and also an endpoint.
I don’t see that there is a reign of Jesus Christ being manifest on the earth right now. Is Satan bound, as Revelation teaches he will be during Christ’s Kingdom? If he is bound in the Bottomless Pit, he sure has a lot of free reign in the midst of his binding, because you can see his manifestation all around as the world descends deeper into darkness.
Nathan Jones: I love what Micah 4:1-3 says, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days…” meaning the Millennial Kingdom, “…that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on top of the mountain. It shall be exalted above the hills.” Is Jerusalem exalted today? Micah continues, “The people shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of God of Jacob.” Is the house of God up on Jerusalem today? And, then he says, “They shall walk in our paths, for out of Zion the law shall go forth.” Is the law of the world coming forth out of Jerusalem? The answer is obviously no.
Dr. Reagan: An Amillennialist would immediately claim that Micah was talking about the Church. He’s not describing some future Kingdom, they would counter, but Micah was merely prophesying about the Church.
Nathan Jones: If you interpret Scriptures spiritually, then you could make out any interpretation that you want.
Dr. Reagan: That’s true. The Church today is not reigning over all of the world.
Nathan Jones: Clearly not. That’s another viewpoint — the Post-Millennial viewpoint — which is the teaching that the Church will eventually rule over the world and then hand the keys to Kingdom to Jesus Christ upon His return.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, it is the Amillennialist who will claim Christ’s Kingdom is going on right now. I always reply to such a far-out statement with, “If Jesus is reigning over His kingdom right now then He is doing a very, very poor job of it.” Arnold Fruchtenbaum, who is a Messianic Jewish teacher, often says to the effect, “If we are in the Millennium now, then we are living in the slum portion of it.”
Nathan Jones: There is a misinterpretation as to what Christ’s Kingdom actually entails. If we go to the writings of Cotton Mather, a Puritan pastor from back in the 1700s, he taught that the Kingdom of Christ was a four-part kingdom: a spiritual kingdom, a providential kingdom, and an ecclesiastical kingdom, and one other. The ecclesiastical kingdom consists of the Church’s influence over the earth right now and the Lord who rules through it. However, there is a fourth aspect to Christ’s Kingdom that Mather pointed out, and that is the Davidic Kingdom. This aspect of the Kingdom is when Jesus will rule and reign on the seat of King David from Jerusalem. That aspect of the Kingdom has yet to be been claimed, but waits for when Jesus returns.
Tim Moore: And, when Jesus rules over the Davidic Kingdom, He will rule with a rod of iron, which means all of the evil that we see manifest around the world today will not be tolerated. So, clearly, Jesus is not reigning in that manner right now, even through the Church.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, the Bible says that during Christ’s Kingdom the earth will be flooded with righteousness as the waters cover the seas. I just don’t see that today.
Nathan Jones: Tim, you lead trips to Israel all of the time, and you travel to the Dead Sea. Are people fishing in the Dead Sea? Are the cliffs all green with vegetation? Not at all! And yet, in Ezekiel 47, the chapter prophesied that the Dead Sea during the Millennial Kingdom will be made alive again. The Dead Sea will be fruitful and fishermen will spread their nets across its waters. That is clearly not happening today.
Dr. Reagan: Amillennialists will claim that Ezekiel was just providing symbolic language for the Gospel going out all over the world. But, the problem is, when you spiritualize prophecy, then you never know when it is fulfilled. You can never know when a prophecy has actually been fulfilled.
Tim Moore: Spiritualizing allows the interpreter to become the declarer of what the Word of God means, instead of letting the Word of God speak for itself.
In the third part of our series answering questions about the Millennial Kingdom, we’ll explore if the Church alone apart from Christ will rule over the Millennial Kingdom.
This Q&A series is also available in a video album which contains two DVD discs that feature seven television programs in which David Reagan, Tim Moore, and Nathan Jones respond to questions about the Bible and Bible prophecy. These programs are great for both individual and group study and provide an excellent starting point for discussion.