1. What it will mean for our Lord Jesus Christ – the time of His Dominion
There is little doubt that the significant statement by Peter in Acts 3:19-21 has particularly to do with the earth: Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord; that He may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus, who before was preached unto you: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution (restoration) of all things, whereof God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets which have been since the world began (RV).
However, in order to understand the extent of the Millennium, we must include: Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which he purposed in himself for the administration of the fullness of the times; to head up all things in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; in Him (Eph1:9, 10). These verses inform us that God intends to make the Lord Jesus the Head and Center of a united system of heavenly and earthy glory. Everything is to be His. God has made known to us beforehand His will and pleasure, because of our links, through grace, with Him who is to inherit all.
As to the sphere of His earthly glory Psalm 8 will find its glad fulfillment, Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands, Thou hast put all things under His feet: O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth. This Psalm clearly declares Gods intention to set Him as Man over the works of His hands. The first man, Adam, failed, but the Second Man will take into His hands the reins of universal government for the blessing of all beneath His benign sway.
2. What it will mean for the Church – a Time of Administration
By amazing grace, the heavenly saints of the present age will share with Christ the administration (stewardship) of His Millennial Kingdom. Ye shall sit with Me on my Throne, even as I overcame and I am set down with My Father on His Throne (Rev 3:21). The reference to Eph1:10 is very important in this context. The expression, the times, is not so much related to a duration of time, but the characteristic circumstances of a period of time. The fullness of the times refers to a future time when all the various dispensations or seasons have been put to the test, have run their course, and been completed. This will bring us to the future administration of the coming Millennial Age. All will become subject to Him. Paul reminded the Corinthians that they would judge angels … would judge the world (1 Cor 6:1-3). Neither Christ nor the heavenly saints are seen as operating on earth, but from above. (See Ezk 44:1-3; 45:7-25 in relation to the representative prince.) Our respective places in the coming Kingdom will be allotted according to our life and service in the present age (Matt 25:21-23; 2 Tim 4:1.2; 2 Thess 1:5; 2 Pet 1:11; 1 Cor 4:8).
3. What it will mean for the Nations – A Time of Jubilation
Originally, God intended that blessing should come to the nations through the instrumentality of Israel. Disobedience and defeat shamed Israel before the nations. (See Josh 2:17-19). But in the Millennium, Israel will be the channel of testimony and blessing to the Gentile nations:
(a) Fervent Praise – Let the nations praise Thee, O God; let the peoples give thanks. (Ps 67:3, 5)
(b) Fulfilled Purpose – God shall bless us; all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. (v 7)
The Gentile kings and people of the Millennium will recognize the supremacy of the Lord Jesus and they will display the rich grace of God (Zech8:20-23; 14:16).
4. What it will mean for the Creation – A time of Liberation
Man, by his sin, has not only brought ruin upon himself but has marred his home and dragged down creation. Thorns, thistles, and groans are marks of mans sin. We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
5. What it will mean for Israel – A time of Restitution & Possession
Acts 3:19-26 shows that The Land has always held a central place in the national life of Israel. The promise of the land was a virtual obsession with the Patriarchs whose status as sojourners always presupposed an eventual land as a place where they could finally settle.
The same can be said of the exodus, and their hoped-for rest from their wanderings. In Joshua 1:13 we read, The Lord your God giveth you rest, and will give you this land. In Israelite history, the land acts as a barometer of the nations relationship with God.
Now let us observe four significant issues relating to our subject:
1. The Eternal Purpose
In Deut.32:7-9 we read, Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations; Ask your father and he will inform you, Your elders and they will tell you. When the Most High (Gods millennial title) divided to the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. These verses provide a panoramic sweep of divine purpose and providence that go back to the events of Genesis 11. In the original settlement of the great national boundary, the Most High had direct reference to the children of Israel. Palestine is the center of Gods geography and the 12 tribes of Israel are the central object of Gods history.
2. The Unconditional Promise
Gods dealings with the nation of Israel in grace are based upon the unconditional and unilateral promises and covenants He made with Abraham and David. These are not nullified by the Law or by Israels failure. His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was related to Seed and the Land. His promise to David was connected with a Kingdom and a Throne (2 Sam 7:12-17; Lk 1:32.33). When God appeared to Abraham commanding him to leave his country and kindred, He gave him a seven-fold promise.The first and last clauses are significant: I will make of thee a great nation…and, In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. This was confirmed with additional clauses about the Land being promised to him, and to his seed forever. This promise is yet to be implemented. It has never been abrogated. The Land is Israels by a deed of gift from the Most High God; the possessor of heaven and earth. This covenant was confirmed by an oath in Genesis 22:15-18. It was further confirmed to Isaac and Jacob. It is spoken of as an everlasting covenant. The Land of Canaan is to be Israels in perpetuity, an everlasting possession.
3. The Geographical Perimeters
We have already seen that the uttermost parts of the earth are included in the Territorial Compass of the Millennium, and from Ephesians 1 that heaven is also involved. However, Jerusalem will be the Metropolis of the Millennium – the City of the Great King – and the Promised Land will be the home of the nation of Israel. There will be geographical changes and the topography of the area will be different.
It appears that the contour of the Land will be changed. The Mediterranean will be connected with the Dead Sea by a waterway passing through the Mount of Olives. The earth will then yield prolifically, the desert blossoming as a rose. (See Isa 11; 66:18; Jer 16:14-16; 23:3-6; Ezek 36 & 37: Deut 32:8, 9).
The names by which Palestine is spoken of are as follows: Canaan (Lev 14:34), the Holy Land (Zech 2:12), Jehovahs land (Hos 9:3), Thy Land, O Immanuel (Isa 8:8), Land of Israel (I Sam 13:19), Land of the Hebrews (Gen 40:15), Land of Judah (Isa 26:1), Land of Promise (Heb 11:9), and the Pleasant Land (Dan 8:9).
4. The Operational Process
God will plant them in their own Land. How will God do that? Revelation 4 and 5 are introductory to Ch 6-19, where we witness the governmental operations of God, in the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials. In Ch 4 & 5, God is asserting His claims to the earth.
At this moment, God is not doing that. Why the radical change? The answer is that the Lord will come to take His heavenly people to their heavenly home. To grasp the fact that God is doing these two things alternately, and never together, removes all fear and difficulty relative to the church, the tribulation, and Israel. Finally, in ch 4, God is seen to be moving on the ground of creation, and in ch 5, on the ground of redemption. Creatorial and redemptive rights belong to the Lord Jesus Christ and He will lay claim to the possession of the earth. In ch 19 we see the Messiah-Monarch coming out of heaven, and planting His feet upon the Mount of Olives. Then the Land will be His.