The Millennial Age and its Covenant

IN THE Heavenly Father’s foreknowledge, both the Jewish Age and its arrangement, the Law Covenant, and the Gospel Age and its covenant, the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant, did a great preparatory work for the Millennial Age, to be structured under the New Covenant.

The ultimate objective of God’s dealings with men and the New Covenant arrangement that will accomplish God’s purpose of restoring mankind back to perfection, is first stated in the wonderful promise God gave to Abraham. We read in Genesis 22:17,18, “In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

In this text we see God promised that Abraham would have a seed, and his seed would bless all the nations of the earth. The Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:16 states that Abraham’s seed is Christ. The Greek word translated Christ is christos which means ‘anointed’. He then continues in verses twenty-seven to twenty-nine to tell us, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ [or have been anointed by the Holy Spirit] have put on Christ. … And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Therefore, the seed of blessing promised to Abraham is Christ and his church. The work of the Gospel age has been to develop this seed that will be used during the Millennial Age to bless all the nations of the earth.

The Jewish Age also played an important role in developing the complete instrument the Lord will use in bringing his blessings to the world. In a prophecy concerning the beginning of the operation of the New Covenant, the prophet states, “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment and her converts with righteousness.” (Isa. 1:26,27) God has provided that these Ancient Worthies who have already been tried and tested and found worthy of everlasting life, shall, throughout the Millennial Age, serve as the intermediaries between the spiritual kingdom, the Christ, and their subjects, mankind.—Ps. 45:16; Heb. 11:39,40

The Law Covenant also provided a nation of people who, because of the peculiar experiences the Lord permitted them to have, will be especially suited to accept the new government and its laws and be the nucleus or starting point for the kingdom. The kingdom arrangement, although not exactly what they have been looking for, will, nevertheless, be recognized as the fulfillment of wonderful promises stated to them down through the Jewish Age.—Jer. 31:31-34; Acts 3:21

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians, chapter four, verses twenty-one to thirty-one, reveals by divine revelation the outworking of God’s plan through two very important covenants—the Law Covenant, pictured by Hagar, and the grace feature of the Abrahamic Covenant, pictured by Sarah. His purpose was to demonstrate to the Jews what the Old Testament itself taught by means of an allegory—that they (the Jews) were no longer under the Law Covenant but, as the result of a change in dispensations, they were then given the opportunity to come under the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant. (vss. 21,30,31) Because this was the specific problem at hand, we believe the apostle did not want to confuse the matter by considering another of Abraham’s wives who was also a part of the entire allegorical picture, but was not relevant to the time with which he was dealing.

We read in Genesis 24:64-67 that when Abraham’s servant accompanied Rebekah into Isaac’s presence, Isaac “brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (vs. 67) Sarah’s tent, we believe, represented the conditions and privileges of that phase of the Abrahamic Covenant which we refer to as the Sarah feature. This came to an end at Sarah’s death. Nevertheless, the outworking of that covenant, represented in the union of Isaac and Rebekah (Christ and his church), is accomplished under that arrangement. This would seem to picture the end of the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant and the end of the work of the Gospel Age.—Isa. 54:2

In the very next chapter (Gen. 25:1-6), we are told that Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. In carrying forward the principle expounded by Paul under divine inspiration that Abraham’s wives pictured covenants, it is only reasonable to conclude that Keturah represented the New Covenant even though she was not mentioned in Galatians 4:21-31. The text continues, stating that she bare Abraham six children. It does not seem very likely that she had the children after the death of Sarah, because of the circumstances of Abraham’s age, feebleness, etc., at the time of the birth of Isaac. Even at that age, forty years before the marriage of Isaac, the birth of his son, we are told, was a miracle. The Apostle Paul in Romans 4:19 stated that “being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” The birth of Isaac was made possible by the overruling providence of God. For Abraham to have subsequent children naturally, would seem to negate the miraculous birth of Isaac.

The answer to this difficulty, we believe, is found in I Chronicles 1:32,33, where Keturah is listed as Abraham’s concubine, seemingly contemporary with Hagar and Sarah. The Hebrew word for concubine is pilgesh which has the meaning of ‘secondary wife’. In some instances, a concubine was spoken of as a wife. The text also names the sons of Keturah and we find that they are the same as enumerated in Genesis 25:2. The account in Genesis 25:6 emphasizes the difference between Isaac, who was the miracle seed of promise, and the sons of Hagar and Keturah, who, we believe, were the concubines mentioned in this text. The account reads, But the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts and sent them away from Isaac his son.” Why then was it necessary that Abraham take Keturah as a wife? We believe that it was necessary to give her the status of a wife in order that she might fulfill her part in the allegorical picture of Abraham’s wives representing covenants.

The children of the concubines totaled seven—Ishmael plus the six children of Keturah. In the allegory, this symbol of completeness could represent all the families of the earth who will receive blessings here on the earth under the New Covenant. Isaac, of course, was set apart from the other sons because he represents the spiritual seed (Christ and his church) who received all Abraham had and was to be the means of fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant.—Gen. 25:5; Gal. 3:16

This promise of a New Covenant was recorded by the Prophet Jeremiah and quoted by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews the eighth chapter. He introduces the quotation with the thought that Christ will be the Mediator of this New Covenant which is a better covenant established upon better promises, and that the Christ will be a better Mediator. He states it is self-evident the new arrangement is superior because, had the first been faultless, then no place should have been sought for the second. But, “finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”—Heb. 8:8-12

The New Covenant will differ from the Law Covenant in many ways, but the principal difference will be that the New Covenant is designed to train and educate, and uplift fallen and sinful mankind back to a state of perfection, and in this sense it is a better covenant established upon better promises. This is to be accomplished by the instruments developed during prior ages—the church and the Ancient Worthies. The new arrangement also calls for the binding of Satan so that he will be restrained from deceiving the nations and the people. (Rev. 20:1,2) This is in contrast with the Law Covenant which required perfect obedience to God’s perfect laws, and since man himself was imperfect and subject to Satan’s influence, it was impossible for him to be obedient to the terms of the Law Covenant.

The prophet describes obedience to the New Covenant as a process of development: “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” Since Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, it has been Satan’s laws and influence that have been impressed upon the minds and hearts of the people. The Scriptures suggest that when a man goes into the grave he goes down with the mind he developed during his lifetime and, likewise, he will be resurrected with the same mind. (Eccles. 11:3) The thought is that when he comes out of the grave he will have the same propensities for sin and error that he had when he went into the grave. The work of the kingdom will be to erase these undesirable tendencies from his consciousness and to write God’s laws in his mind and heart.—I Cor. 15:37,38

The writing of these laws in the hearts and minds of the people implies a process, and this work will be accomplished under the supervision of the Mediator with the help and active participation of the Ancient Worthies who will be the visible agents of the kingdom here on earth. One of the wonderful prophecies that gives us an idea of the tone of the kingdom is in Isaiah 11:2-9: And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his reins. … They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

The writing of God’s laws in the hearts of the people will be greatly aided by the fact that he has promised to pour out his Spirit, first upon the house of Israel, and eventually upon all flesh. The Spirit of the Lord, when given to individuals in the past, has resulted in a measure of enlightenment. We think of Bezaleel, who was commissioned by God to build the Tabernacle. (Exod. 31:1-5) His mind was enlightened “with wisdom and in understanding,” and he was given the ability to perform God’s purpose. When God’s Spirit is poured out upon the nation of Israel, their blindness will be removed and they will discern what God’s purposes are, and as a result the great majority of the people will be willing, yea, anxious, to conform to his laws and purposes. One of the beautiful prophecies concerning this is found in Ezekiel 36:25-36, from which we quote in part: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.”

Another beautiful prophecy concerning the operation of God’s Holy Spirit in the kingdom is found in Joel 2:28-32. The Apostle Peter, with miraculous enlightenment, quoted this text in his sermon on the day of Pentecost and indicated that God’s promise to pour out his Spirit upon all flesh was having the beginning of its fulfillment at that time. The thought is that the Holy Spirit was having its wonderful effect upon the apostles, and that it would continue to operate as an enlightening influence on the footstep followers of Jesus down through the Gospel Age. But when the work of the Gospel Age is finished, the effect of his Spirit will be enjoyed by all people to their benefit when it is fulfilled, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.”—Acts 2:17

The kingdom will be a theocratic government and its laws will be the laws of God. One of the prophecies quoted previously, states that the people will have a complete knowledge of those laws, and that judgments relative to obedience to those laws will not be based entirely on outward appearances but will be also of the heart. In the second psalm, the prophet states that the Mediator will rule with a rod of iron, meaning that the nations will be ruled by force, if necessary. This will continue until righteous order is established by a general submission to the laws and power of the kingdom. The text states that He shall rule the nations “with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers.” (Rev. 2:27) This smiting and breaking properly belongs to the final time of the Day of Jehovah, but the power and rod will still remain during the Millennial Age. Their use to break and destroy, however, will probably not be necessary, as all open opposition will finally be overthrown in the great climactic time of trouble. (Rev. 19:12-21) It will take the entire Millennial Age to lay justice to the line and righteousness to the plummet in all the little and great affairs of each individual of the human race. All humanity will thus be taught of God by the Mediator, Christ and his church, and their visible representatives, the Ancient Worthies, through education and experiences.

The Apostle Peter, in summarizing the work of the kingdom, quotes from a prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:19: “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22,23) The Scriptures also tell us that those who do hear that prophet (the Christ) shall be granted everlasting life. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming … when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25) To hear in order that they may live means that they must understand and be obedient to what they have heard.—Rev. 22:17

The Bible tells us that the nation of Israel was prepared to be used in a special way and will have a prominent place at the beginning of the kingdom. One of the beautiful prophecies concerning the role of the nation of Israel is found in Zechariah 8:11-15: “Now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the Lord of hosts. For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel, so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing; fear not, but let your hands be strong. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord of hosts, and I repented not, again I have thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not.” The thought of the prophecy is that Israel will be a showcase nation, that the blessings will come first to her, and because of her prosperity in material things and in favor with the Lord the other nations of the earth will say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”—Mic. 4:2

This was not exactly the role the nation of Israel thought they would have in the kingdom. From the prophecies, they had come to the conclusion that Messiah would be a strong leader and he would deliver them from their oppressors and would establish a world government, with them at the center of authority, and that gradually all the nations of the earth would be drawn into this government, by force, if necessary. They overlooked such prophecies that told of Messiah as being meek and humble, and that it would be first necessary for him to suffer and die and then come into his glory. (Isa. 53) Because of this background they were not able to accept Jesus, and, therefore, as a nation they lost the opportunity of making up the complete number of the church which is to be associated with Jesus in the kingdom work. (Matt. 23:37-39) As indicated in the prophecy in Daniel 9:25-27, God purposed that this favor to them be extended for three-and-one-half years after the death of Jesus; but when this prophetic time had expired, the Lord turned to the Gentiles to complete the number of the church.—Acts 13:43-48; Acts 10:19-48; 15:14

Israel as a nation lost the opportunity extended to them to be associated with Jesus. But a few individual Jews of the nation did accept Jesus as the Messiah and embraced the terms of the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant and were brought into the new arrangement. These will be a part of the Christ as the Mediator in the kingdom, but the balance of the nation will come back in the resurrection to enjoy the fruits of the kingdom. The Apostle Paul elaborates on this status of the Jews in Romans 11:25-36, stating that “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” The apostle here is saying that for the remainder of the Gospel Age, the Jews, as a nation, would be blinded as to their privilege under the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant, and that during this time the opportunity would be open to the Gentiles to make up the full number of the church.

Then the apostle continues by stating that when the church is complete, the Heavenly Father will again turn his attention to the Jewish nation. (vs. 26) “And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” The deliverer is the completed Christ (Christ and his church), and they that are delivered during the kingdom will learn righteousness. “For this is my covenant unto them [the New Covenant], when I shall take away their sins.” (vs. 27) In the subsequent verses of this text the apostle explains that because of the Jews’ unbelief, the Gentiles had this opportunity, and because they were to be part of the Christ they would have the privilege of showing mercy, and blessing the Israelites in the kingdom.

In the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:31-34, the prophet states that because the nation was disobedient under the first covenant, he (God) “regarded them not.” That is, he cast them off; and the Jews were to remain in this cast-off position until the work of the Gospel Age (or the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant) was completed. Then he stated, “after those days” he would put his laws into their minds and write them in their hearts through the operation of the New Covenant. The Apostle Paul in Hebrews 10:12-17 confirms this time feature with reference to the establishment of the New Covenant, saying: “But this man [Jesus], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting [waiting] till his enemies be made his footstool [until this present evil order which is controlled by Satan is destroyed]. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified [the church will have been tried and tested and perfected during this period of waiting]. Whereof the Holy Spirit also is a witness to us; for after that, he hath said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days [the days of the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant, or the Gospel Age], saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” This promise applies not only to Israel, but to all the families of the earth.

Thus shall God’s kingdom come, and his will shall be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Christ and his church shall reign until every vestige of sin and evidence of Adamic transgression is erased from the minds and the hearts of the people. The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:24-28 states, “He must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is [Adamic] death [as represented in the imperfect minds that all of resurrected mankind will have at the beginning of the kingdom]. Then cometh the end [of his reign; it having accomplished its objective] when he [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he [Christ] shall have put down all [opposing] rule and all authority and power; … when all things shall be subdued unto him [the Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [the Father] that put all things under him [Christ, for the thousand years], that God may be all in all.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |