|THE MILLENNIUM DETAILS|
We were informed of a transitional world era
that is to come between the end of the Age of Wrath, the current planetary
age, and the beginning of the blessed ages of Light and Life. This special
world period is a millennial era, covering approximately one thousand revolutions
of the planet around the sun.
Earth periods are related to universe time,
and cycles of destiny, as they are measured from Paradise.
You have unwittingly read the truth when your eyes rested on the statement "A day is as a thousand years with God, as but a watch in the night," (Psalm 90:4). One Paradise-Havona day is just seven minutes, three and one-eighth seconds less than one thousand years of the present Urantia leap-year calendar. The Urantia Papers, Page 53.
The current system of planetary schedules follows
the Paradise-Havona day. Approximately two thousand years elapsed between
the appearance of Melchizedek, at the time of Abraham, and the birth of
Jesus -- two Paradise days. Another two thousand years have elapsed between
the birth of Jesus, and the imminent termination of the present planetary
age. Still another thousand years (one Paradise day) will elapse between
the end of this age and the end of the Millennium.
Considerable details of this coming era were
given, to help God's people hold fast until the time of release from the
final troubles and woes, and the inauguration of the first stage of Light
and Life. Contrary to fond Christian hopes the Millennium will not be a
settled period, nor will it be a time of truth and righteousness. It will
be a transitional era, a time to adjust and harmonize manifold aspects
of planetary conditions.
This new and oncoming social order will not settle down complacently for a millennium. The human race must become reconciled to a procession of changes, adjustments, and readjustments. Mankind is on the march toward a new and unrevealed planetary destiny. The Urantia Papers, Page 1086.
This planet is about to see a new social order.
The present order will be destroyed. Factories, Schools, Universities,
Churches, Houses, governments, religions, economics, philosophies, theologies,
and science are all about to disappear to make way for the new order. Great
changes now come to the world.
I shall briefly outline this era, showing the
A period of approximately forty years during which the planet settles down from the cataclysms of the nuclear holocaust and the great geological transitions.
A period of approximately five hundred years during which civilized social structures are rebuilt.
The return of the genetic remnants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to the geologically reformed land of Israel.
The human birth of the Messiah about midway through the era.
A steady increase in the length of human life, as biological systems readjust to the new planetary conditions.
The human birth of the fallen Prince toward the end of this era, and his rise to power as a political figure.
The marshaling of a huge military force by the fallen Prince to destroy the genetic remnants of Israel, and that holy land.
Final battles in the holy land, with the destruction of that huge military force, the final death of the Prince, his "fall as any man," and the victory of the Messiah.
Another geological upheaval as the planet is prepared for entry into the new era of Light and Life.
I shall not proceed in chronological order.
Comprehension of the millennium is easier if I consider major prophecy
components, to build the logic of that era.
Revelation on this era was scattered in our
traditional text, and also in The Urantia Papers. I shall interweave
the pieces to show how they cast light on one another.
As part of this presentation it is necessary to briefly touch on the delusions which beset understanding of this period. Because of the severe limitations placed on the minds of the generations, and the spirit of deep sleep in which God kept us, proper view of this period has not been possible. Most of those who believe in a millennial period view it mythically, as though it is the culmination of human history. They lump all prophecies of future world eras into one grand and final drama. Many of those individuals believe Jesus will return for the Millennium to assume rulership. This is based on the statement in Matt 19:28.
Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
This is from the RSV. "In the new world" is
understood universally to mean literally, the new earth, the renovated
planet. Taking this view, Jesus will return to this world. KJV puts it
And Jesus said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
The Greek word for "regeneration" is paliggenesia.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon offers the following remarks:
a) The word is often used to denote the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation, as a renewal or restoration of life after death.
b) The renovation of the earth after the deluge.
c) The renewal of the world to take place after its destruction by fire.
d) The signal and glorious change of all things
(in heaven and earth) for the better, that restoration of the primal and
perfect condition of things which existed before the fall of our first
which the Jews looked for in connection with the advent of the Messiah,
and which Christians expected in connection with the visible return of
Jesus from heaven.
The regeneration holds for the entire universe,
not merely this planet.
Eph 1:9-10 -- For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Rev 4:4 -- Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns.
4. THE FOUR AND TWENTY COUNSELORS: At the center of the seven angelic residential circles on Jerusem is located the headquarters of the Urantia advisory council, the four and twenty counselors. John the Revelator called them the four and twenty elders: "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment." The throne in the center of this group is the judgment seat of the presiding archangel, the throne of the resurrection roll call of mercy and justice for all Satania. This judgment seat has always been on Jerusem, but the twenty-four surrounding seats were placed in position no more than nineteen hundred years ago, soon after Christ Michael was elevated to the full sovereignty of Nebadon. These four and twenty counselors are his personal agents on Jerusem, and they have authority to represent the Master Son in all matters concerning the roll calls of Satania and in many other phases of the scheme of mortal ascension on the isolated worlds of the system. They are the designated agents for executing the special requests of Gabriel and the unusual mandates of Michael. The Urantia Papers, Page 513.
Divine rulership would not be established until
the end of the Millennium, when all things become united in heaven and
on earth. The unsettledness of the Millennium prevents unification.
Still another element supported a view of the earthly presence of Jesus. It was based on the notion that Jesus was the Messiah figure forecast in Old Testament prophecy. Since he did not fulfill those future forecasts when he lived here as a man he surely must return to do so. This false requirement was then set in the Millennium.
GOG AND MAGOG
(Click on the Titles below to find text)
And when the thousand years are ended Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:7-10.
I shall begin my study on the Millennium with
this fascinating remark in the Book of Revelation. This passage
contains important elements for our understanding. It helps to set a timetable.
Who are Gog and Magog?
According to the biblical story Noah had three
sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. They were the fathers of the nations. The
lists of their sons show "each with his own language, by their families,
in their nations." Japheth had seven sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan,
Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. See Gen 10 and I Chron 1:5. From these families
the coastland peoples spread.
Four of the seven names can be identified historically.
The Gomerites were scattered in the lands of Asia Minor, around the shores
of the Black Sea, and into the regions of the Sea of Azov in southern Russia.
They were known to the Assyrians as the Gimirrai and to the Greeks as the
Kimmerious (Cimmerians). Their name remains to this day in the Crimea (with
a metathesis of the syllables). Tubal and Meshech appear in Assyrian cuneiform
tablets as Tabal and Mushku on either side of the Taurus mountains in south
Turkey. Later they were called Tibarenoi and Moschoi by Herodotus, the
Greek historian. He placed them in the mountains southeast of the Black
Sea near Lake Van and the famous Mt Ararat. Magog was identified by the
Jewish historian Josephus with the Scythians who inhabited southern Russia
between the Black and Caspian seas. Some traditions place the Scythians
as far east as the Russian province of Kazakh. Herodotus described their
location as Rumania and Ukraine. All traditions agree that they lived in
regions which are now part of southern Russia.
From these identifications Gog and Magog are
widely interpreted to mean modern Russia. This contemporary identification
is derived out of the on-again off-again political ambitions of Russia,
Communist antagonism to all religious people, and the phrases "the camp
of the saints" and "the beloved city," understood as modern Israel and
Jerusalem. Because of the strong similarities to current world conditions
there is a tendency to believe that Russia will attack Israel. However,
dramatic shifts in world affairs have made such interpretation suspect.
Furthermore, the Revelation passage presents a devastating difficulty.
For decades many persons drew out parallels
with Ezekiel 38 and 39 to show the strength of their belief. Then
suddenly they became aware that the passage in Revelation referred
to the end of the thousand years, to the end of the Millennium. It could
not refer to current events. As a consequence those biblical interpreters
pushed aside and ignored the Revelation prophecy; they continued
to base their thinking entirely on the prophecy in Ezekiel.
The belief in the Ezekiel passage as
a description of modern events is so widespread and so deeply entrenched
within Christian fundamentalist religious circles, when reminded that the
Gog and Magog passages in Ezekiel and Revelation are parallel,
one-for-one, almost all of those foolish interpreters reject the thought
that the Ezekiel passage might not apply to our day. They cling
to their notions of current events; they insist that the Gog and Magog
of Ezekiel does refer to our day, although they must admit that
the Gog and Magog of Revelation does not. They are forced to invent
two Gog and Magog events, one now at the end of this age, and another at
the end of the thousand years.
Could God have arranged events to create such
confusion? Does he repeat history? Does the description in Revelation
mean there will be two judgment events, one before the Millennium and one
after? Indeed, there will be two judgment events, one now, at the end of
this age, and another at the end of the Millennium. Because of our state
of blindness we could not distinguish between them. Therefore, I shall
detail the Gog and Magog passages to show that both refer to the end of
the thousand years. There will be two judgment events but the prophecies
on Gog and Magog do not belong to our day.
To draw out the full import of the passages
I shall list the items from Revelation and show how they are duplicated
in Ezekiel in every detail. Secondly, I shall show why the descriptions
from Ezekiel do not satisfy current conditions but fit well at the
end of the Millennium.
In Revelation they are the nations at
"the four corners of the earth," that is, Gog and Magog.
The list of nations in Ezekiel also
shows the four corners of the earth. Magog is from the uttermost parts
of the north, 38:15, 39:2. Persia (38:5) in the sixth century BC was ruled
by Cyrus the Great. His empire extended from India westward to the Mediterranean
Sea including Armenia, Turkey, and Media (modern Iran). These lands are
north and east of the Holy Land. Cush (38:5) is identified as Ethiopia
and is so translated by KJV. It is those lands which today make up the
Sudan and modern Ethiopia. They are to the south of the Holy Land. Put
(38:5) is identified as Libya; it was translated as Libya by the Septuagint
and KJV. It is to the west of the Holy Land.
Thus we see that the peoples listed in Ezekiel
are from the north, east, south and west, the four corners of the earth,
and show a strong parallel with Revelation.
In Revelation "their number is like
the sand of the sea."
In Ezek 38:4 they are described as an army,
a great company. In 38:9 they are a cloud covering the land, hordes, and
many peoples. In 38:15 they are many peoples, a great host, a mighty army.
In 38:22 they are hordes, and many people.
These phrases show the huge army that will
march up against the people of Israel; they display strong parallel with
on the size of the force.
In Revelation they are gathered for
In Ezek 38:7 the hosts are assembled. In 38:8
they are mustered. In 38:11 they go up against the land of unwalled villages.
They fall upon the quiet people. In 38:12 their purpose is to seize spoil
and carry off plunder. They want to assail the waste places which are now
inhabited. These were the places wasted by nuclear destruction and the
great planetary transition.
The passages in Ezekiel on the purpose
of Gog and Magog show strong parallel to the purpose given in Revelation.
In Revelation they marched up over the
broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.
In 38:18 Gog goes up against the land of Israel.
In 39:11 Gog and his multitude are buried in Israel.
From tradition everyone recognizes the camp
of the saints as Israel living in the land of promise, and the beloved
city as Jerusalem. No one questions such identification from the Revelation
passage. In Ezekiel the land of Israel and Jerusalem are clearly
identified. Ezekiel parallels Revelation on the location
of the events.
In Revelation fire comes down from heaven
to consume them.
In Ezek 38:22 Gog and his hordes are destroyed
by torrential rains, hailstones, fire and brimstone. In 39:6 Magog and
the people of the coastlands fall by fire.
The means of destruction is the same in both
and Ezekiel. The events would fit within the judgment by fire for
our own day. This is another reason the Revelation passage was thought
by some interpreters to refer to modern events.
In Revelation Satan comes out to deceive
In Ezek 38:10 thoughts come into the mind of
Gog and he devises an evil scheme. In Revelation Gog and Magog are
used as one phrase, in an identical sense. But in Ezekiel Gog is
identified as a personality. In Ezek 38:2-3 he is called the Chief Prince
of Meshech and Tubal, from the land of Magog. In Hebrew the words for Chief
Prince are nasi rosh. The word nasi means prince. The word
is used many places in the Old Testament for captain, chief, ruler, and
so on. Some translations show the phrase as "Prince of Rosh." Less informed
interpreters then take Rosh to mean Russia; for them Gog is the Prince
of Russia. To be consistent the son of Benjamin in Gen 46:21 should be
Russia; I Chron 5:7 would have the Russians, Jeiel and Zechariah, and so
on. Such ridiculous translation is unjustified in the original Hebrew.
Those interpreters will also claim, without any historical or factual support,
that Meshech (Herodotus' Moschoi) means Moscow and that Tubal means Siberian
Tobolsh. Such claims are unwarranted and unnecessary because of the historical
identifications of Gomer and Magog with the lands of Russia. Those commentators
do a disservice to God's people by such unprofessional and random matching
of sounds and names across languages.
This information shows the parallel between
and Revelation on the deceiving personality. Gog is the devil and
Satan of Revelation. In Ezekiel he is described as a leader
of human hordes and therefore appears in human form.
In other letters and papers I discuss the several Old Testament passages which state that divine beings will live as men, in mortal form. This is part of a mercy extension to those created divine Sons of God who rebelled. They will be given one final opportunity to prove their true hearts, under the same terms and conditions as the human mortals they betrayed.
Ps 82:6-7 -- I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince."
Isa 14:12-20 -- How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?' All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb; but you are cast out, away from your sepulchre, like a loathed untimely birth, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the Pit, like a dead body trodden under foot. You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, you have slain your people. "May the descendants of evildoers nevermore be named!
Ezek 28:17-19 -- Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought forth fire from the midst of you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more for ever.
We see that the passage from Revelation
is an excellent outline of the events described in Ezekiel. There
are two major differences; the deceiver is identified as Satan in Revelation;
in Ezekiel he is identified as a human personality named Gog. Importantly,
is explicit that the events will be at the end of the thousand years.
If we consider the thesis that Rev 20 and Ezek
38 and 39 represent two different events we must ask how they could have
such identical parallels. Would God provide deeper mystery for us? Would
these two unique prophecies be descriptive of two totally different times?
It hardly seems possible. If accepted as descriptive of the same event
they provide unique insight into the millennial period. They also inform
us of the destiny of the former Prince of this world. But only if we can
overcome the barriers that our blindness placed upon the interpretation
of biblical prophecy.
I shall now draw out the reasons why the Ezekiel
passage does not satisfy current events but can be understood under millennial
In Ezek 38:8 and 38:16 the phrases "latter
years" and "latter days" are given. All students naturally assume these
phrases mean the latter years and the latter days of our own age. They
could just as well refer to latter years of the Millennium, the latter
days of the thousand years, or even as a designation for the Millennium.
References to Israel are many and immediately
lead students of the prophecy to assume it means modern Israel. In 38:8,
39:4 and 39:17 are the mountains of Israel. In 38:14 and 39:7 are the people
of Israel. In 39:9 are the cities; in 39:7 is the Holy One of Israel. In
39:12 and 39:22 is the house of Israel, understood to mean the people as
a nation. However the mention of the "whole house" of Israel in 39:25 creates
a problem. In 37:11 the two kingdoms of Israel, Judah and Joseph (Ephraim),
recognized as the whole house of Israel, are clearly united as one. Historically
they became divided after the death of Solomon and, in spite of efforts
to reunite, remained divided until the northern kingdom of Ephraim was
destroyed by the Assyrians. The northern tribes were carried off and became
lost on the pages of history. Therefore the phrase "whole house" must refer
to a future period when the two peoples will again become one. Although
some interpreters feel the "whole house" refers to all the Jews the passage
shows that the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and the northern "lost" ten
tribes of Ephraim will miraculously reunite. The dry bones will be gathered
together and the breath of life will come into them, Chapters 34 through
The people of Israel will be gathered 38:8,
brought out from the nations, 38:8 and 39:27, and gathered from the nations,
38:12 and 39:28. Again it is natural for students of the prophecy to assume
this means the miracle of modern Israel with the Jews collected from the
nations of the world. After all, this is a most amazing event. How could
such a great phenomenon not be portrayed in prophecy? How could it be an
accidental episode? Do world political events of today not revolve around
that phenomenon? Or is God using modern Israel as the instrument for his
Great Judgment? The further remark in 39:28 that none will remain among
the nations is assumed to mean the completion of the return of the Jews
after the final events at the end of this age. Again this return could
just as well refer to events during the Millennium. Then the remark that
none shall remain among the nations means that all the people of Israel,
both Jew and non-Jew, will be brought back. Their children are the survivors
of the judgment events of today, those who obeyed the call of Yahweh and
sought shelter in the wilderness and on the mountains.
The land is restored from war, which had been
a continual waste, 38:8. The waste places are now inhabited, 38:12. Interpreters
believe the waste places are the desert lands which are slowly being reclaimed
by the Jews. They cite cultivation by irrigation with many exports of fruits
and vegetables, establishment of many settlements, and so on. Some cite
the phrase "the desert shall blossom like the rose" from Isa 35:1. The
phrase in 38:8 about a continual waste is understood to mean the desert
wastelands from antiquity. But the waste places can be understood differently.
The continual waste described by Ezekiel
refers to the results of the great devastation that will now shortly take
place in our day. If Jerusalem and Judea will be destroyed by nuclear bombs
the land will become an utter desolation, a hissing as described in Jeremiah
18:13-17, 25:9, 18, 29:15-19 and Micah 6. The restoration from war will
be the rebuilding of the land that was utterly laid waste in the nuclear
devastation, and in the great planetary transition. The people of Israel,
both Jew and non-Jew, will return and will renew the land.
Ezek 38:11 and 38:12 describe a quiet people
with many possessions. This is contrary to present conditions. The people
of modern Israel are not quiet. They are aggressive in defense of their
concepts of the promised return. They do not believe that destruction will
come upon them; after all, they are God's chosen people. Although they
have many possessions so also will the people who return during the Millennium,
in bounty beyond the imagination of people living today.
We should consider that the modern Jews, in
their violent self-defense, are not a camp of the saints. They built military
forces, vigorously pursuing defense of their nationalistic heritage, with
retaliatory strikes and invasions against their neighbors. They have interpreted
prophecy for their material aggrandizement and political position. They
are not dedicated to God; they are dedicated to the image of their unique
position in world history. They are not devoted to salvaging the world;
they are devoted to salvaging themselves. They do not have a vision of
a world of righteousness; they have a vision of nationalistic pride. Their
policies are filled with violence. They are far from being a peaceful or
Ezek 38:8, 11, 14 and 39:26 say the people
dwell securely. They were brought out from the nations and now dwell securely,
all of them. These verses are a major support for those who believe the
passage refers to current events.
The remarks could not be farther from present
conditions. Although modern Jews were definitely brought out from the nations,
they are just as definitely not dwelling securely. For the fifty years
of their existence as a political state they have had to fight continually
to survive and have been in constant jeopardy. They are not a secure people,
in spite of wishful thinking by Christian and Jew to the contrary.
In Daniel 11:13-14 is a statement of events
which will take place when the abomination of desolation is set up. KJV
and RSV both translate "after certain years" or "after some years" but
both give a footnote that show it is "at the end-of-time years." At that
time "the men of violence among your own people shall lift themselves
up to fulfill the vision; but they shall fail," or "the robbers
of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they
shall fall." This is an exact prophecy of the state of modern Israel
and shows that it was not neglected in God's word to us. It is important
information to all who are sincere in pursuit of truth.
The policies of modern Israel are violent;
those people have lifted themselves up to fulfill the vision, but they
shall fail. The people who live on the mountains of Israel during the Millennium
will truly dwell securely.
In Ezek 38:11 we are told that the people live
in unwalled villages, without walls, and having no bars or gates.
The people of modern Israel may live in villages but many more live in large cities. Many villages are walled to protect them from terrorist attack. The land is strung with barbed wire and other fortifications to help in defense. Many bars and gates are used to control the movement of people.
The Ezekiel descriptions are in vivid
contrast to the actual conditions of the land today. No fortifications,
walls, or defenses will be needed during the Millennium. From the details
we can recognize that the prophecies of Ezekiel could not refer
to the modern state of Israel. The Jews who now live there are not a quiet
people; they are armed to the teeth, they are violent in the pursuit of
their national heritage, and they are far from righteous.
Other evidence shows why these two chapters of Ezekiel do not refer to modern events.
THE EZEKIEL CHRONOLOGY
(Click on the items below to find text)
A difficult aspect of prophecy was the scattering
of pieces of information through a prophet, and from one prophet to another.
There was no constant theme or chronology that we could follow along a
single thread. From the Psalms and Isaiah to Revelation
pieces were intermixed. It was God's purpose to keep us in a spirit of
deep sleep; one method was to confuse the prophetical pronouncements to
prevent our clear perception. However, a series of chapters in Ezekiel
is strikingly different. Chapters 38 and 39 fall in the middle of a sequence
dealing with the Millennium. This sequence begins in Chapter 33 and goes
through to the end in Chapter 48.
Chapter 33 opens with a charge to the watchmen
Ezek 33:3-7 -- ". . . if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people; then if any one who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. . . . if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes, and takes any one of them; that man is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand. So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me."
Did Jews really believe the land belonged to
Ezek 33:23-28 -- The word of Yahweh came to me: "Son of man, the inhabitants of these waste places in the land of Israel keep saying, 'Abraham was only one man, yet he got possession of the land; but we are many; the land is surely given us to possess.' Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: You eat flesh with the blood, and lift up your eyes to your idols, and shed blood; shall you then possess the land? You resort to the sword, you commit abominations, and each of you defiles his neighbor's wife, shall you then possess the land? Say this to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword; and him that is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured; and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence. And I will make the land a desolation and a waste; and her proud might shall come to an end; and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that none will pass through."
And so the destructions come. The Jews will
be scattered. But not for long.
Ezek 34:11-16 -- For thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on fat pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice."
Indeed, it was a day of clouds and thick darkness
when God scattered his people. Now, after all the woes of the earth, God
will bring them back. Now, in the renovation of the earth he will return
them to the mountains of Israel, the new reformed Israel.
Ezek 34:22-31 -- "I will save my flock. They shall no longer be a prey. I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, Yahweh, will be their God, and my servant David shall be Prince among them. I, Yahweh, have spoken. I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am Yahweh, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them; they shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will provide for them prosperous plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. And they shall know that I, Yahweh their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says Yahweh GOD. And you are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, says Yahweh GOD."
God himself will seek out those who fled to
the wilderness and to the mountains on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
When he brings them back he will feed them on the mountains of Israel,
by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country, with
good pasture, and in good grazing land. He will set over them David their
king. He will send down showers of blessing. They shall no longer be a
prey to the nations.
Chapter 35 is an extraneous insertion into
the sequence telling of the restoration of Israel. Mount Seir is properly
the mountain range south of the Dead Sea, but in the Bible it also denotes
Edom. Many students believe this prophecy was misplaced from another location.
This section continues into 36:7.
Ezek 36:8-15 -- "But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they will soon come home. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply men upon you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt; and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. Yea, I will let men walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children. Thus says Yahweh GOD: Because men say to you, 'You devour men, and you bereave your nation of children,' therefore you shall no longer devour men and no longer bereave your nation of children, says Yahweh GOD; and I will not let you hear any more the reproach of the nations, and you shall no longer bear the disgrace of the peoples and no longer cause your nation to stumble, says Yahweh GOD.
As our God said to us:
Ezek 36:18-36 -- "So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood which they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries; in accordance with their conduct and their deeds I judged them.
. . . Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says Yahweh GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations will know that I am Yahweh, says Yahweh GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.
. . . I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations.
. . . Thus says Yahweh GOD: On the day that
I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited,
and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall
be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of
all who passed by. And they will say, 'This land that was desolate has
become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities
are now inhabited and fortified.' Then the nations that are left round
about you shall know that I, Yahweh, have rebuilt the ruined places, and
replanted that which was desolate; I, Yahweh, have spoken, and I will do
The people of Israel will soon come home. The
whole house will return; the cities will be inhabited and the waste places
rebuilt. God will cause the land to be inhabited as in former times. Then
he will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them. He will
take out their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. He will put
his spirit within them. They shall be his people and he shall be their
God. The land that was desolate will become like the garden of Eden. The
"former times" are those days when the earth was bountiful, in that Eden
of long ago.
A most famous of biblical passages is the vision
of Ezekiel in 37:1-10. He saw a great valley, full of dry bones. He was
asked if those bones could live. He replied, "Lord, you know." Then, as
he looked, he saw a great rattling of the bones. Sinews, and flesh, and
skin covered them. The breath of life came into them. They lived, and stood
upon their feet, and became an exceedingly great host. They were the lost
house of Israel, the whole house of Israel, resurrected, returned, and
Ezek 37:11-14 -- Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says Yahweh GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am Yahweh, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; then you shall know that I, Yahweh, have spoken, and I have done it, says Yahweh."
Ezek 37:15-28 -- The word of Yahweh came to me: "Son of man, take a stick and write on it, 'For Judah, and the children of Israel associated with him'; then take another stick and write upon it, 'For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with him'; and join them together into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. And when your people say to you, 'Will you not show us what you mean by these?' say to them, Thus says Yahweh GOD: Behold, I am about to take the stick of Joseph (which is in the hand of Ephraim) and the tribes of Israel associated with him; and I will join with it the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, that they may be one in my hand. When the sticks on which you write are in your hand before their eyes, then say to them, Thus says Yahweh GOD: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all sides, and bring them to their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. They shall not defile themselves any more with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes. They shall dwell in the land where your fathers dwelt that I gave to my servant Jacob; they and their children and their children's children shall dwell there forever; and David my servant shall be their Prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I Yahweh sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of them for evermore."
These are the promises. Now man will know the
of the prophecies. Now they will recognize themselves as the true children
Chapters 38 and 39 then go on to describe the
events that will take place at the end of the Millennium, and the battles
when the fallen Prince of this world reaches his final end.
Chapters 40 to 48 offer exceptional insights
into the coming Millennium, yet they also present extreme difficulties.
The passages provide explicit details of the New Temple, the duties of
the priests, and the plan for division of the lands among the twelve tribes,
as well as description of the reformed geology. On the other hand many
details carry over from Jewish religious practices in the centuries prior
to the birth of Jesus, with animal sacrifices and burnt offerings, and
therefore, do not belong to the Millennium. Some students have proposed
that a later editor reworked Ezekiel's material to make it palatable to
Jewish minds of those days. This may well be. However, it makes exposition
complex and difficult.
I shall consider only two topics.
In 47:1-6 Ezekiel describes a very wide river.
According to the description this river would be more than two miles wide.
Apparently it will issue forth from beneath the temple structure.
The creation of this great river is the result
of the geological changes which will take place at the twisting of the
Zech 14:4-11 -- On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward.
This is an amazing geological description for
Zechariah's day, with precise terms for the movement of sections of the
earth's crust, called tectonic plates. Other great changes will take place
in the earth's surface.
And the valley of my mountains shall be stopped up, for the valley of the mountains shall touch the side of it; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then Yahweh your God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter.
The whole land shall be turned into a plain
from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft
upon its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate,
to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses.
Here we see an example of the difficulty with
the prophetical texts as they have come down to us. While the whole land
may be turned into a plain the present city of Jerusalem will not remain;
it will be blasted from the face of the earth in the nuclear destructions.
Again, it is probable that some ancient editor interposed his ideas.
Other parallels are found between Zechariah
Special areas were specified for --
In our attempts to understand the physical,
social and spiritual environment of the Millennium we must come to grips
with the nature of that period. Although the planet has gone into a new
rotational mode, weather systems have settled down into a bountiful climate,
and the fallen Prince is no longer present as a spiritual influence, still
the era is unsettled.
Contrast the good and evil that exist on the
planet at the end of that era. Devout people, (the camp of the saints),
and those who can be misled by Satan when he is "loosed for a little while,"
are both still present in the human population. Some are righteous; others
follow deceptive philosophies. This mixture of good and evil is contrary
to current popular views about the thousand years.
Another difficulty is that war comes at the
end of the Millennium. Much current thought conceives the Millennium as
a time of peace and a time of God's rule. Hardly anyone recognizes that
the Millennium will be so unsettled. Everyone assumes that the thousand
years will be a time of bliss with God's saints reigning with him.
As stated in Isa 2:4: "And he shall judge
among the nations, and shall rebuke many people. They shall beat their
swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall
not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."
If war comes at the end of the thousand years this prophecy cannot be fulfilled
until after the Millennium. Our planet will not end with the Millennium;
it has a long future before it. Again, the prophecies are counter to current
From these factors we can infer that God is
not personally present as a world ruler during the Millennium. Neither
in the Revelation passage nor in Ezekiel is there indication
of personal divine rulership. Would any person be deceived if God were
Furthermore, now that the advent of the Messiah is clearly defined, we know that rulership is from a divine being living in mortal form. A great planetary drama unfolds when David, the Prince, and Gog, the Deceiver, are both present in human form, of incarnation equality. The final contest is on terms that can be seen and recognized by ordinary human mortals.
However, God maintains a hand in the events. He administers justice and brings a final end to that fallen celestial personality. Ezek 38:14-23 tells us that God's wrath will be roused and there will be a great shaking in the land of Israel. Every living creature will quake at his presence, the mountains shall be thrown down, the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. God shall perform his great act to fell Gog and Magog upon the hills of Israel. But Judea is not destroyed; those who dwell in the cities of Israel go forth to clean the countryside, burning the weapons for seven years. They take the bodies of the vast horde of Gog and Magog and bury them in the Valley of Hamongog for seven months, 39:1-16. Therefore, this destruction event is different from that which devastates modern Jerusalem and Judea. There is no indictment here against that holy city.
The passages of Revelation and Ezekiel
on Gog and Magog and the unfolding of the Millennium are highly instructive--if
our hearts and minds are open to God's greater truth. They provide us with
deep insight into his plans, and help build a context in which to place
our personal commitment to his will. Without such understanding, without
better knowledge, and without improved wisdom, we cannot dedicate our energies
to his program nor do we know what decisions to make in line with his will.
In our present blindness we cannot relate the events of today to the events
of the Millennium. We cannot fit our decisions with his work. We cannot
properly direct our lives. Only through better understanding can our personal
decisions coincide with God's will, in commitment of heart, and in dedication
of life. It is crucially important for us to become educated in reality,
and not in blindness. It is time to cast aside the speculations of a blind
Christianity. It is time to stop wandering, lost in a world of sin and
confusion. It is time to become more mature members of his flock. We cannot
grow if we persist in darkness and ignorance. We must open our hearts and
our minds to his greater truth, and for his greater glory. Grave decisions
await us. Will we become part of his chosen people? Or will we go to destruction
with the godless people of this world?
The Great Deceiver will come twice. He will come today as a spirit personality, wrecking his havoc across the world through the minds of those human mortals who have given themselves to him. And he will appear at the end of the Millennium in one final mercy gift from his Creator, as a man of the realm. But he will die like any man, as any Prince would fall, and he will burn to ashes in the sight of all those human mortals who live at that time.