The Glorious Appearing
and Millennial Reign
By Sydney W White
(This message was given at a S.G.A.T. Conference on March 17th 1930.)
History has revealed the absolute inefficiency and insufficiency of human rule. Popes and priests, princes and politicians each have illustrated this fact. Are we not seeing on every hand that neither dictators nor democracies have the ability to rule aright? They have the power, but when power is placed within their hands they become drunken with it and only disaster follows. They pay lip service to universal peace, yet continue to forge their weapons of war.*
[* Events happening throughout the world today (2017), are a case in point.]
We were very much interested in reading, some little while ago (now over 60 [147 to date] years ago - Ed.), words that were uttered by the late French President, in which he stated that he had lived to see the desire of his life, he had lived to see that which he had preached, brought to fruition. He had lived to see the democracy in the saddle. Yet he said! I am a disappointed man. Why? Because he could see that democracy does not know how to rule. But blessed be God, we know
There is One Coming Whose Right it is to Reign
He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (see Philippians 2: 10-11). We bless God for the truth contained in the hymn* we often sing and yet do not realise the true inwardness of the writers words - Jesus shall reign whereer the sun doth his successive journeys run.
The failure of man to rule is evident, and is preparing the way for the coming of the King, preceded as that will be, by the reign of Antichrist, the Devils king, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2: 9).
The coming of the Lord will be before the millennium. Read again those words contained in Revelation 20: 1-6, And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Take this in connection with 1 Corinthians 15: 22-28, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christs at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under Hid feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
This read in connection with Acts 3: 19-21 gives us to see very clearly that the coming of our Lord is prior to the Millennium. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
The great purpose of God in the dispensation of the fullness of times is that He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him and the restitution of all things. The words of Peter just quoted direct us to the consideration of the Old Testament Scriptures, because he tells us that the times of restitution of all things God hath spoken about by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began.
Now in searching these prophecies two things have astonished us - (1) the multitude of references to the blessings in store for this sin-stricken earth, and (2) the loose way in which many preachers handle these prophecies: appropriating all the blessings to the Church and relegating all the curses to Israel, overlooking the fact that primarily and prophetically, they belong to Gods ancient people. We readily admit that there is a spiritual application, but as preachers, we should be very careful to first point out the primary and prophetical meaning.
Look at Psalm 46 - often called Luthers Psalm because it was a means of great comfort and blessing to the great reformer. And it has been to myriads of Gods tried children. But we feel as we read the Psalm in the light of other prophecies that here is presented to us a wonderful picture of the times of restitution. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations He hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire.
His coming is with Power and Great Glory
His first advent was in shame, suffering and humility. His second advent will be sudden, startling, signalled, seen! He shall come and be invested with power. Psalm 2 speaks to us very clearly of this glorious event. Why do the heathen rage, and the peoples imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree; the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.
We find that the Apostle Paul describes the coming of Christ as of the coming of a great and mighty potentate - Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6: 15).
He Shall Reign in Person
There are may who assert to the doctrine of the second advent, but who dissent when it is asserted that He is to reign on the earth. They in effect say, Will God in very deed reign on the earth? Do you remember the question that Pilate put to our blessed Lord at His trial? - Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth (John 18: 37).
We believe that in the new creation [That is, in a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21: 1)]. He reigns and dwells among men; we know that in the days of His flesh He moved among men; then why not during the period of the millennium? We know that He reigns now as Prophet, Priest, and King over His Church and people. We know that all power is given unto Him in heaven and on earth. He rules despite the awful powers of darkness that are abroad. Unseen, silent, He rules and over-rules in the affairs of men, but the day is drawing near when He is to reign on the earth.
Does not the prayer of the dying thief have some reference to that time? Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom (Luke 23: 42). In all probability he had heard the Lord Jesus Christ preach about that time when He should come to reign. We feel that the Lord gave him more than he prayed for. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with Me in paradise* (Luke 23: 43).
[* To be with Christ Jesus in that Paradise amongst the souls of the righteous dead, is probably better that to be amongst those who will be the subjects under His millennial rule!]
Yes, He will reign in person! Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establishment it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9: 7). This wrote Isaiah, the evangelical prophet, concerning the first and second advents.
It will be a Reign of Peace
We cannot but rejoice in the desire that is manifest among the nations of men for international peace, but we feel that that great object is not going to be accomplished by Leagues of Nations, Peace Pacts, nor by Naval Conferences. What is gained by scrapping obsolete war weapons, when the most terrible arms of defence and offence are left untouched? Peace will not be procured or perpetuated by compacts or contracts entered into by statesmen, for, after all, when testing time comes, when the passions of men are stirred, or the lust for power predominates, they prove to be but scraps of paper. Indeed, we sometimes think that those very things just lull men into a false sense of security; a resting in a false peace.
The peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will bring when He comes will be a lasting peace, He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people and 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 any more (Isaiah 2: 4). The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11: 6). The millennial reign will be a reign of universal peace.
It will be a Reign of Prosperity
nations of men today are face to face with great financial problems. Economically, not only
Behold, I create
may be said, That refers only to
It will be a Reign of Power
One writer has very beautifully said God in the purposes of His love and grace, with steady steps has been marching through the ages, working His counsel, doing His will, which shall be brought to a glorious fruition in the restitution of all things. The sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow [see (1 Peter 1: 11)] both have their scene upon the [restored] earth. He was despised and rejected of men but He comes back with power. That power is manifest now in the regeneration of the soul; then in the regeneration of the body by resurrection, and the regeneration of the earth by regenesis. These three - the regeneration of the soul, the regeneration of the body, and the regenesis of the earth - cover the whole purpose of God in grace, government and glory.
In the reign of Christ upon earth that power will be abundantly manifest. Satan will be bound. There will be a universal outpouring of the [Holy] Spirit. There will be a great Hallelujah Chorus responding from pole to pole. Alleluiah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth (Revelation 19: 6).
It will be a Reign of Partnership
What will be the place and position of the Church during the millennium? She will not be excluded from sharing the blessings thereof. Neither will they be hers exclusively, as some have thought. Let us rejoice in the fact that we [If. accounted worthy (see Luke 30: 35. cf. 2 Tim. 2: 12, A.V.)] shall live and reign with Him. Just as the angels have been ministering spirits to those who shall the heirs to [that future] salvation* and have come to and fro doing His will, so we can conceive that the Church will have her part - the glorified saints [from under the altar (Rev. 9: 9-11)] will travel to and fro upon the Kings business. What wonderful things will fill the souls of the martyrs of Jesus as they re-visit the place of their martyrdoms.
Jesus comes, He shall walk in the streets of
* * *
But rewards they most assuredly are, says Dr. Zane C. Hodges, as are all of the risen Saviours promises to overcomers. And thus there is a sense in which the final book of the biblical canon, through these challenging calls of victory, effectively punctuates the teaching of the entire New Testament on the subject of scriptural conflict and the entire New Testament on the subject of spiritual conflict and eternal rewards. The figure who emerges from these portraits is a conqueror, just as Jesus was Conqueror. The rewarded one is a victor worthy of co-heirship with the greatest Victor in human history.
And this is precisely the principle which is emphasized in the seventh and final promise to the overcomers:
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev. 3: 21-22).
Such then is the call to joint-heirship. Such is the challenge of New Testament living. Its essence is superbly captured by a great hymn of the faith which needs to be sung in our day with increased appreciation:
Am I a soldier of the crose,
A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own his cause,
Or blush to speak his name?
Must I be carried to the skies
On a flowery beds of ease?
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Since I must fight if I would Reign,
Increase my courage, Lord!
Ill bear the cross, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
In the name of Christ the king,
Who has purchased life for me,
Thro grace Ill win the promised crown,
Whateer my cross may be.
- A Soldier of the Cross, by Isaac Watts.
The message in these words is biblical to the core. Accordingly, it simply remains that he who has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches!
Robert Govett wrote the following:-
Let us watch through the hours of darkness,
Let us wait for the breaking of the Day.
Let us strive for the crowns of the
And the glory that fades not away.
On 2 Timothy 2: 11-13, G. H. Lang wrote:
If with Christ you would reign,
You must suffer His pain;
And follow Him bearing His cross
You must share in His shame;
Bear His stigma and blame,
And count the world nothing but loss.
If the Lord you deny,
And His sufferings defy;
You will fail in obtaining the Prize.
Out of the camp you must go,
Bear His burden and woe
If you seek your reward in the skies.