How Does the Millennial Kingdom Affect Your View of the Entire Bible?
Eric Newton: I want to welcome you to this video. I’m here with Greg Stiekes, BJU Seminary professor, and we’re gonna talk a little bit about the kingdom. Greg, we often talk about the return of Jesus Christ, and we think of that as being the last chapter in the book. But you’ve been talking about how the kingdom is important to the entire storyline of Scripture. Can you kind of unfold that for us?
Greg Stiekes: Yeah, we often think about the Millennial Kingdom as something that has sort of gotten out of the way before the new heaven and the new earth is created. We look at the model of Scripture as Creation, Fall, Redemption, and New Creation. Why do we have this kingdom–this Millennial Kingdom–right here toward the end before God makes the whole world new again anyway? And I think the answer that question really takes us all the way back to Genesis chapter 1. God creates man and woman in his image to rule over the earth, and Adam has an actual priestly function and a kingly function in Genesis 1 and 2 and even a prophetic function if you think about the fact that he may have told Eve the command of God that he gave them in 2:17 before she was created. But he is supposed to rule over the garden and keep the garden and tend it. And, of course, when he falls into sin and Eve falls with him, humanity’s ability to rule rightly over the earth is corrupt. So when he has a son named Cain and Cain kills his brother Abel, Cain is banished from the presence of the Lord. But what does he do? He goes-Genesis 4:17 tells us-and builds a city. Well, that city becomes this kingdom, and we see the character of the people in that Kingdom if we keep reading through the rest of Genesis chapter 4. Cain’s posterity spreads over the earth, and the earth becomes more wicked and more wicked. And God finally destroys him with the flood, saving Noah and his family.
As soon as everything is set-the worlds new again, Noah and his wife begin to have children, and their children have children-what happens? Another Kingdom comes about. What’s this kingdom? This kingdom was Babel. Babel is not a corrupt government, I think, because they’re all in one place. Sometimes we get that impression. I think that Babel is a corrupt government because they’re obviously worshiping false deities. And so this government-this Kingdom-is not what God designed. So what he does is he scatters them until the day when he can actually bring them back and unite them under a righteous king-under a righteous rule.
Really the rest of the Bible and so much of the Old Testament is taken up with this idea of God bringing about a kingdom with the righteous ruler. So what happens right after Genesis chapter 11? Genesis chapter 12. God calls Abram and says I want to make of you a great nation, and it’s through Abram that the story progresses all the way to the greatest son of Abraham, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. So without that chapter in the Bible of the actual millennial reign, there’s promise after promise after promise in the Old Testament that is just set aside and never fulfilled if we don’t have this Millennial Kingdom that we read about in Revelation chapter 20. Really the whole Bible can be looked at as getting toward this kingdom and showing that after all a righteous ruler will rule on this earth and bring in the righteousness that God’s people could have never brought in because of their sin.
Newton: That’s really helpful, I think, hermeneutically, to interpret Scripture by looking ahead to that Kingdom, as well as devotionally-our King is coming back, and we can thrill in that.
Stiekes: Yeah, that’s another whole point about it when we look at the injustice in the earth right now. We can be critical of our own government; it doesn’t matter who is going to get into office. We are fallen human beings, and we’re gonna make corrupt decisions. I look at the abortion debate that’s really taken off right now and some of the terrible things I’m hearing about that, and you look around the world and see government’s that are oppressive. Really, God’s answer is that his people need to pray for God to bring the King, and we’re yearning for that day and praying for that day when God will come and reign in righteousness. So, we’re going to see evidence in the world that we are fallen people, and the best we can do is pray for Christ to come, to live as righteously as we can, and to want righteousness to flourish in the world now.
Newton: Well, thanks again. That was really helpful and we appreciate your pointing us to Jesus the king. We’re so thankful that you joined us today.