Blessedness in the Millennium.*
James Stephens, M.A.
[* Mr Stephens, was for 46 years pastor at Highgate
Road Chapel, North London. This tract was
published in the October/December, 1996 issue of Watching and Waiting.
The message was given by Mr. Stephens at an S. G. A. T. Conference on 25th
there may be a measure of blessedness in all nations during the millennial age,
there will be a special and distinctive blessedness in the nation of Israel.
†There will be in all nations the
blessedness that will result from this - that Satan, who meanwhile, with
marvellous effectiveness, deceiveth the nations, shall be bound and shut up in
the abyss during the thousand years; that under the direct reign of Christ
peace on earth shall be established and maintained; that wickedness will be
summarily dealt with, and the righteous be upheld and made to flourish; that
all political and social hindrances to the proclamation and to the prevailing
of the Word of the Truth of the Gospel will be taken out of the way; and that
the Holy Spirit of God will be present in extraordinary fullness of energy in
all the earth.
earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God, the knowledge of
the excellencies of Him Who is over all blessed for
ever, and Who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. †Israel will participate in this
blessedness, and at the same time, will have a blessedness peculiarly its own.
The Lord's Peculiar Treasure
the nation of Israel it will continue to be said during the whole of the
thousand years, "The LORD hath chosen thee to be a
peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth"
(Deuteronomy 14: 2). The purpose which the
Lord expressed in the day when He avouched Israel to be His peculiar people,
will come to complete and abiding fulfilment, "The
LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised
thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high
above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour;
and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the
LORD thy God" (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).
†Israel will be not only the Lord's
peculiar people, but His "peculiar treasure"
(Psalm 135: 4).
relationship between the Lord and His nation will be according to His Word,
"I will betroth thee unto Me
for ever" (Hosea 2: 19). †Israel will thus be held in
distinguishing favour. †It is true that
it will be in millennial days, even as it is now, that individuals of all
nations who, through faith in Jesus, shall be brought under the cover and value
of His finished work, and into experience of new life will be collectively
"a peculiar people," or otherwise, a
people for God's own possession; but it does not appear that any one nation
besides Israel, will as a nation be the Lord's peculiar people. †It may well be that the great majority of the
individuals of every other nation will have saving faith in Christ, while that
will be, universally, outward acknowledgement of the true God; but it is not
possible to say that any one nation will be, in its entirety, as the nation of
Israel will be in its entirety, a people "holy
unto the LORD."
read of some members of other nations who will yield feigned obedience; and at
the close of the millennium, when Satan is temporarily loosed, there will be
nations deceived by him as will Israel
in no wise be. †It is written, "All Israel shall be saved," that is, the entire
nation, as it will be in the opening days of the millennium, will be converted
and forgiven and made regenerate; and it would appear that this astounding work
of grace will keep repeating itself in the case of each succeeding generation. †Israel, in its successive
generations, will continue to be the Lord's peculiar treasure in which His
delight will be; and will be His betrothed. †"I will give them
one heart and one way, that they may fear Me for ever,
for the good of them, and of their children after them" (Jeremiah 32: 39). †"In the LORD
shall all the seed of Israel
be justified, and shall glory" (Isaiah
45: 25). †"Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit
the land for ever, the branch of My planting,
the work of My hands, that I may be glorified" (Isaiah 60: 21).
Practical Righteousness will Characterise
will thus come to pass that practical righteousness, practical holiness, will
characterise the entire national life of Israel. †No other nation will be in its entirety so
characterised. †The keeping of the
commandments of God will be the constant concern of the whole nation. †In all their governmental procedure, in all
their civic and social arrangements, there will be an application of the
principles of God - intelligent, unhesitating, whole-hearted.
day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE
LORD ... yea, every pot in Jerusalem shall be holiness unto the LORD
of Hosts" (Zechariah 14: 20-21).
is not, of course, that the nation will walk sinlessly
and be without the need, all the time, of the cleansing Blood; but it is that
it will be, distinctly and manifestly, a God-fearing nation, and that as
compared with other nations it will be pre-eminently so. To Israel will
pertain this distinctive blessedness.
Unparalleled Prosperity Theirs
will make manifest the blessedness that will be the portion of Israel
through their being His peculiar people, by bestowing on them, in a
distinguishing way, temporal and material prosperity. †While yet, in the far past, Israel was in Egypt, they were, we read, "fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed
exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them." This marked
them as it did not mark the Egyptians, and was theirs as a distinctive favour
from God. †And, similarly, it will happen
throughout the millennium, above and beyond (one would gather) what will happen
to any other nation.
will keep on fulfilling His words: "I will
multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it"
(Ezekiel 36: 10). "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with
fruit" (Isaiah 27: 6). †"Yet the number
of the children of Israel
shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered"
(Hosea 1: 10). †The LAND
of Israel also shall
be made a specially delightsome land. †"The LORD
shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her
waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD"
(Isaiah 51: 3). †There shall be, and continue to be,
outstanding national prosperity and glory for Israel, God's holy nation, far
exceeding the prosperity and glory under Solomon's reign.
The Lord's Presence
will own Israel as His Own peculiar people by giving them to have throughout
the millennium, in Jerusalem their capital, a supernatural manifestation indicative or expressive of His Own
presence in their midst. †"The LORD will create upon every dwelling place (over
the whole habitation) of Mount
Zion, and upon (over)
her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the
shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon (over) all the glory shall be a
defence (spread a canopy). †And there
shall be a tabernacle (pavilion) for a
shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a (place of) refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain"
(Isaiah 4: 5-6).
will be similar to what it was with Israel in the wilderness, on the coming out
of Egypt: "The LORD went before them by day
in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire,
to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the
cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night" (Exodus 13: 21-22). †In this it will be manifest to the world that
"the LORD hath chosen Zion, He hath desired it for His
habitation;" and that He hath said of it, "This is My rest for ever; here will I
dwell; for I have desired it" (Psalm
132: 13-14). God's dwelling in Zion will constitute for Israel distinctive blessedness.
doubt, it will be in millennial days as it is in the present time, wherever,
among all nations, believers will be gathered together in the Name of Christ He
will be present in their midst - present spiritually. †Saints will then, as now, be "builded together for an habitation
of God by the Spirit." †But
it will not be true of any nation as nation that God is among them in
continuous manifest supernatural working. †The Lord Jesus Christ will not personally
manifest Himself in the capital city of any nation as He will in the capital of
- at least from time to time.
Jerusalem, the Centre of Teaching
consequence of this distinguishing favour to Jerusalem,
distinctive blessedness of various kinds will be the portion of the nation of Israel.
peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob, for He will teach us of His ways, and we will
walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the
LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2: 3).
†This will take place while yet "the Scripture of Truth" as we have it will abound
in every land.
not this mean that in Jerusalem, as in a Seat of Heavenly learning, there will
be opening up of the spiritual import of Levitical
law such as at present obtains but little among Gentile teachers; there will be
an unfolding and explaining of the ways of God, especially as these ways have
been, and will be expressed in His manifold and wonderful dealings with Israel;
there will be taught in great wisdom the application of the laws and principles
of God to actual, practical life in the multitudinous phases. If it should be
so, or if anything like this should be the case, then to Israel will pertain the blessedness
of being made a blessing to other peoples. †The God Who said to Abraham, "I will bless thee," and added,
"I will make thee a blessing,"*
is the God of Israel, Whom we expect to show the like distinguishing favour to
His nation in the millennium.
[* This prophesy awaits its literal fulfilment, after the time
of Abrahamís Resurrection and his bodily presence upon this earth
at that time.]
that day it will be said, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD
is risen upon thee; and nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the
brightness of thy rising" (Isaiah 60: 1,
3). †Kings and nations shall
appreciate and seek the light that will be shining in Zion. †And
thus to Israel
will belong the special happiness of being a benefit and a blessing to other
nations, above what any other nation is to its fellow-nations.
Christ Will be King
When Christ comes again it will be found to be, as God has predictively
said: "I have set My King upon My holy hill of
Zion" (Psalm 16). †Christ will be King of Israel, sitting on
the throne of His father David. †But
"the Lord," the King of Israel, "shall be King over all the earth" (Zechariah 14:9). †The centre and seat of government for Israel will be
the centre and seat of government for the whole earth.
will mean distinguishing honour for Israel
above all nations, and honour that will have in it a distinctive blessedness
LORD of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion,
and in Jerusalem,
and before His ancients gloriously" (Isaiah
24: 23). †From thence, "He
shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many peoples"
(Isaiah 2: 4). †From thence, "He
shall speak peace unto the nations" (Zechariah 9: 10).
Christ will be present bodily,
according as "His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives,"
it is not to be understood that He will be present bodily all the time, or be
bodily occupying a dwelling-house in Jerusalem.
†The saints who shall have been raised at
His coming, and who shall be ever with the Lord, shall be with Him in the new
Jerusalem, the heavenly city, let down from God out of heaven, not onto the
earth, but unto a certain proximity to it, and so as to be just over the
earthly Jerusalem. †Between the heavenly Jerusalem and the earthly Jerusalem, there shall be for Christ and
His risen saints very close and intimate connection,
and there shall be on their part much coming and going.*
[* Hence the fulfilment and reality of Jacobís dream
at Bethel: "I will give you ... the land on which you are lying ... All peoples ON EARTH will be blessed through
YOU ... I [the Lord] will bring you BACK TO THIS LAND ..." (Gen. 28: 13-15).]
this way - [after the "first resurrection",
when "blessed and holy" believers (Rev. 20: 6) will be "like
the angels" (Luke 20: 36)- Ed.]
it will be possible for the risen saints of the heavenly city to reign with
Christ over [and upon - Ed.] the earth: at the same time it will remain that
the earthly centre and seat of Christ's government over the earth will be
Jerusalem, the capital of the nation of Israel. There will be blessedness for Israel in
Christ's manifesting Himself in the glory of supreme governing power and
authority in their midst.
Jerusalem, the Centre of Worship
Jerusalem, in the midst of Israel, shall be throughout the
millennium, a place and centre of worship above any city or place in the whole
world. There will be there, as nowhere else, worship after the order appointed
in the days of Moses.
are told in Ezekiel (chapters 40-44) that there shall be a restored temple, and
restored sacrifices and a restored priesthood of the sons of Levi. As to the
restoration of the sacrifices, it will at once occur to the mind that this
seems to be in conflict with the great statement concerning Christ's sacrifice
- "By one offering He hath perfected for ever them
that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10: 14).
The apparent contrariety may disappear if we consider the future sacrifices,
not as formerly, typically anticipative of the one great Sacrifice, but
retrospectively, commemorative. Whatever sacrificing God will have maintained
in Jerusalem in the future, this will remain as a sure fact, that Christ, at
His first coming, appeared "to put away sin by the
sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26).
the same time, this future sacrificing may, by way of memorial, vividly and
impressively set forth the One Sacrifice so that IT will be remembered
with fuller apprehension of its value and ever-renewed adoring gratitude. †Allowing for the restoration of sacrifices,
the restoration of the priesthood presents no difficulty; for this is in line
with what is said in 1 Chronicles 23:13,
that "Aaron was separated, he and his sons for
ever," that is, as long as the nation as a nation should last. †The temple also, when it is restored, will be
a house of prayer for all nations.
great feasts of Israel will
also again have place and be kept in Jerusalem;
and they shall not be kept by Israel
only, but other nations shall be Israel's fellow-worshippers and
fellow-celebrants. †"It shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the
nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to
worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of
tabernacles. †And it shall be, that whoso
will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the
King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain" (Zechariah 14:16-17). †When "the
mountain of the LORD's house shall be
established in the top of the mountains," "all nations shall flow unto it." †Nations shall flow, it may be in this sense - that great companies of every nation shall go up with gladness,
or it might be, in this sense also, that nations will eagerly present
themselves in Jerusalem
in the person of officially-appointed responsible representatives.
do not forget how, when the woman of Samaria said to Jesus, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain (Gerizim); and ye say that in
Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship," Jesus answered
her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye
shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father ... the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to
worship Him" (John 4: 20-24).
Lord's words affirmed that all places, as well as Jerusalem, would be places of acceptable
worship if only the worship were worship according to God's mind. †This will, of course, hold good during the
millennium. †At the same time, there will
be superadded the call and the privilege for all nations to enter into
association with the privileged Israel,
in that city which the Lord shall account His earthly rest and dwelling-place,
and where His visible glory shall be
shining forth for the thousand years.
The Plenitude of the Holy Spirit
a place of joyful worship that city of holiness and truth shall be in those
days to come. †Besides the visible glory,
there will be there in continuous plenitude of effusion the Holy Spirit in His
mighty grace. †With one accord, all the
lands shall "make a joyful noise unto the LORD,"
shall "serve the LORD with gladness"
and "come before His presence with singing,"
shall "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and
into His courts with praise" (Psalm
shall boast in God, and the nations shall join in this with Israel. †There will be a very exultation of worship,
and at the same time worship that will be worship in spirit and in truth. †To Israel will be
given the distinctive blessedness of having this in the midst.
cannot tell how much it will mean for Israel to be, all through the
millennium, God's own peculiar treasure. †As a bridegroom rejoiceth over a bride, so the Lord will rejoice over the
nation. †Notwithstanding the excellency of distinguishing favour shown to Israel, and
pre-eminence in experience of blessing, the nation will find the other nations
- not moved with envy or jealousy (with some exception at the beginning and end
of the millennium), but on the contrary, rejoicing in their joy. †Israel
will be such a blessing to other nations, or the blessing of the nations will
be so bound up with Israel's
blessing, that they will take pleasure in God's great goodness to His peculiar
is evident that there will also be this most wonderful happening,
will not be lifted up in pride or arrogance or national glorying because of all
their marvellous prosperity and distinction. †There will be accorded to them this very great
grace to keep saying, "God hath not dealt with us
after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities: for as the heaven
is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him."
†If they glory, their glorying will be
all in the Lord.
God makes of Israel
His peculiar treasure, He will exhibit before the eyes of the nations THE
EXCELLENCY OF GRACE. What nation has sinned as Israel has? †What nation has provoked and dishonoured God
as this one? †What nation has been
obstinate, rebellious and apostatising as this one? †Has any nation sunk deeper in guilt? †When it is Israel that receives pardon of God
it will be said, "Who is a pardoning God like unto
Thee, that pardoneth
iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the
remnant of His heritage?" †And
when God enters on taking continuous delight in Israel, will it not be as when He
made of Saul the persecutor and blasphemer a saint and an apostle in whom the
Lord glorified Himself. †Could grace
Divine Grace, Faithfulness and Wisdom
God makes of Israel
His peculiar treasure He will exhibit before the eyes of all the PERFECTION
OF FAITHFULNESS. †For in proceeding thus He will act in
fulfilment of a covenant made thousands of years previously. †No lapse of time shall have made Him forgetful
of that covenant, no ingratitude or wickedness on the apart of Israel shall have
made Him alter or modify His purpose. †"Hath He said and
shall He not do it."
when God makes of Israel
His peculiar treasure it will be as if WISDOM IN ITS SUPREME WONDERFULNESS
had come into evidence. †"Now, if the fall of them (Israel) be
the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them be the riches of the
Gentiles; how much more their fullness?" †"Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge
of God! †How unsearchable are His judgments and His
ways past finding out!"