Sixth Sermon of There's A Great Day Coming Series
From the Book of Joel

"Millennium Blessings"
by Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
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Preached Wednesday Night 2/27/2008

Sermon Six: There's A Great Day Coming
"Millennium Blessings"

Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament. Joel's prophecy appears second in the canon's order of the twelve minor prophets.

It has been observed, that while the prophecy of Hosea reveals the heart of God, The prophecy of Joel reveals the hand of God. The course of history is determined by the hand of God, and is being directed to a culminating event known as "the day of the Lord." Joel warns the nation Israel of this coming great and dreaded day. Joel uses the phrase "the day of the Lord," to refer both to events in his own day, to events in the future, and a culminating event that will determine their eternity!

The prophecy of Joel tells us that God's hand is still upon the Jewish people, the nation Israel, and the eternal city of Jerusalem. God is not through with Israel! In these last days, we would do good to keep our eyes focused on the Middle East, and especially upon Israel!

In Joel 2:28-32, we were taken by the prophet Joel to the end of the Great Tribulation, when those Jews who survived the wrath of God, will witness the second coming of Jesus to the earth. Recognizing Jesus as their Messiah, they will repent and receive Him into their hearts. Israel shall be saved! What a moment!

In Joel 3:1-8, we saw the future judgment of nations, (a time after the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, and before the Millennium,) when the Gentile nations of the world will be separated according to their treatment of the Jews. This is not the setting of war, but post war as it will occur in the valley of Jehosophat, the place where the nations had preciously gathered to come against Jerusalem and King Jesus.

In Joel 3:9-17, we are given a glimpse of the future battle of Armageddon. After King Jesus touches down on the Mount of Olives just outside of Jerusalem, He will engage the kings and nations of the earth who have come up against Jerusalem. Jesus will roar as a lion out of Judah and utterly destroy the Gentile nations by the sword of His mouth! The blood of their armies and mighty men, will drench the soil of the valley of Jehosophat.

Sermon Six: Millennium Blessings

Text: Joel 3:18-21.

Introduction: In our text passage, we will see that the battle of Armageddon and the judgment of the nations, will yield peaceful fruit.

These few verses speak of what is known as the Millennium. The word "millennium" comes from the Latin mille annum, meaning a thousand years. After the great battle of Armageddon, the Millennium will take shape as Satan and his horde are bound for a thousand years. With Satan out of the way, Jesus will establish His Kingdom upon the earth and reign from Jerusalem. Notice Revelation 20:1-4. "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 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. 4 And I saw thrones, and they 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." This passage teaches clearly that a millennium of peace is yet to come upon the earth.

This is not a comprehensive message about the Millennial Kingdom, but simply viewing a portion of it through the eyes of the prophet Joel. In these four verses, we are made to see five millennial blessings, specifically as they pertain to Israel.

Five Millennial Blessings

Millennial Blessing One: The full possession of the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. Verse 18a reads, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters." Joel begins with a reference to the land occupied by Israel. In our lifetime, we have witnessed the miracle of Israel being gathered from the ends of the earth, and returned to what is a small fragment of land along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. God gave the land of Canaan to Israel, as an everlasting possession in the Abrahamic Covenant. Genesis 12:1 says, "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee." Later in Genesis 17:8, the Lord told Abraham, "And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." The word "possession" implies occupation. In Genesis 15:18, we are given the dimensions of the land God has given Israel. It reads, "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." What would this look like today? (Projector note: Could you find a map of this? If not, its alright. Thanks!) It would amount to all of the land modern Israel currently possesses, plus all of the land of the Palestinians (the West Bank and Gaza), plus some of Egypt and Syria, plus all of Jordan, plus some of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Clearly, Israel does not occupy all this territory...yet! Today, Israel is begrudged for occupying just a fragment of the land promised them by God!

During the Millennium, Israel will own and occupy it all, everything God has promised them! What is even greater, is that there will be no one to protest, since those nations who have denied Israel their land, will have been judged by God! Jesus, as the Messiah, will divide the land among the children of Israel, with a thirty-four square mile section in the middle for the priests and Temple.

Millennial Blessing Two: A productive land and prosperous economy. Verse 18. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim." It is amazing what Israel has done to develop the precious little land in their possession. They have taken a dry, barren desert stretch of land, and transformed it into a productive garden. During the Millennium, the whole region, all the land, will be productive. Joel prophesies that the land shall flow with new wine and milk, which pictures tremendous fruit and productivity. The mountains and the hills were the least productive lands in Israel. Waters shall flow into the most dry and arid part of the land. The Valley of Shittim, on the border between Moab and Israel beyond Jordan, known for it's dryness, will become a well watered plain.

During the Millennium, the earth will produce abundantly, which will result in a prosperity that will reach down to the individual private citizen. Ezekiel 36:30 says, "And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen." Amos 9:13-15 reads, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God." Micah 4:4 says, "But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it."

Millennial Blessing Three: The restoration of the Temple, and it's worship in Jerusalem. Verse 18b. "...and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim." The phrase "house of the Lord," speaks of the Temple, which is the house of worship for the Jewish people.

The first Temple was built by David's son, King Solomon. Because of idolatry, it was destroyed by the Chaldeans. The second Temple was built by Zerubbabel after the Jewish people returned form Babylonian captivity. Later Herod made major renovations and improvements to that Temple. This is the Temple in which Jesus ministered. It was destroyed in 70 AD by Titus and the Roman army. For two millennia, there has been no Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews instead have attended synagogue services to pray, read the Scriptures, and perform various ceremonies. However, deep in their hearts, there is a longing for the Messianic age, and another Temple to be built in Jerusalem.

The Scripture teaches that there will be two more Temples in Jerusalem. The first is implied for the Tribulation Period, as in the midst of the week, the "Prince" or anti-Christ will commit an abomination that makes it desolate. The second is described in detail by Ezekiel the prophet. In Eezekiel 36 and 37, it speaks of the day when the Lord will bring His people back into the land of Promise. He assures them that they will turn to Him and that He will put His Spirit in them as a people and nation. Then in Ezekiel 37:26-28 it says, "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." Ezekiel devotes one-sixth of his writing to a description of a Millennial Temple, the details of worship procedures; the operation of the priest; so that when it is erected, it can function. At the beginning of Christ's reign upon the earth, the Millennial Temple described in Ezekiel 40-42, will be built. This Temple will be built in Jerusalem somewhere near the site of the previous Temples. However, it will be much larger than any of its predecessors!

Jerusalem is the only city of antiquity that wasn't built near a great river. During the Millennium, Jerusalem will have a river that flows from the Temple. Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes waters flowing from under the threshold of the Temple. This fountain of water will become a life giving river. Verse 9 reads, "And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh." Zechariah 14:8 says, "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be." Revelation 22:1 says, "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."

Sabbath worship and animal sacrifices will be reestablished, centered in the Temple. A sacrificial system will be re-instituted, somewhat similar to that of the Old Testament, but with some changes. The sacrifices will be commemorative and retrospective. They will point to the efficacy of the completed and all-sufficient work of Christ's death at Calvary.

People from all nations will be expected to make a yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, and keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Notice Zecharaih 14:16-18. "And 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.17 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.18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles."

During the Millennium, Jews will be called "the ministers of our God," and will function as spiritual leaders under the Lord's direction. Isaiah 61:6 reads, "But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves." Their ministry will be to proclaim the Messiah's glory among the nations. In that day, ten men out of every nation will grab hold of a Jew desiring to be taught the truth of the Lord. Notice Zechariah 8:22-23. "Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you."

Millennial Blessing Four: Peace on earth! Rest from their enemies. Verse 19 reads, "Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land." Proverbs 11:21 reads, "Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered." Utopian dreamers have always preached that if we can just eliminate poverty, peace will naturally follow. Actually, they've got it backwards. Prosperity is the natural result of peace, not the other way around. This is why Jesus is called the "Prince of Peace," not the "Prince of Prosperity."

Egypt and Edom are singled out as representative of Israel's enemies. By judging the nations, the Lord will cleanse the world of those godless, violent people and nations that threaten the peace of Israel. This will bring in a reign of peace! Isaiah 2:4 reads, "And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Millennial Blessing Five: The righteous rule and reign of Messiah. Verse 20-21. "But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. 21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion." Jerusalem is the eternal city. God does not dwell in Jerusalem today, but there is a time coming when the Lord shall dwell there. Jesus Christ Himself will be there. Psalms 2:6 reads, "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." Zechariah 8:3 says, "Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain." Jesus shall rule and reign from Jerusalem.

The Messiah's rule shall be eternal. American Presidents are elected to four-year terms. If they are effective and popular, they might get to serve a second term, a total of eight years. The term of office for kings and dictators varies. They rule for as long as they're able to hold onto power. There shall be no end to His kingdom. His throne in Jerusalem will be established forever!

The Messiah's rule shall be universal. Psalm 2:8 tells us that the Father will give His Son, King Jesus, the heathen nations for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. Psalms 102:15 says, "So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory."

The Messiah's rule shall be with power and authority. Jesus will rule over the nations with a "rod of iron." Revelation 19:15a says, "And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron."

The Messiah's rule shall be with truth and righteousness.

Isaiah 11:4-5 says, "But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins."

When asked by His disciples for signs indicating the last days, the times proceeding His second coming, Jesus responded in Matthew 24:4, "Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." The word "Christ" is the Greek equilivent of Messiah, meaning the anointed one. Beware of a coming false Christ, a political world leader, who has all the answers. The word COMING, can serve as an acrostic, giving us six other signs to look for.

C stands for cold and calloused condition of the Lord's people and churches.
O stands for one world government.
M stands for modernization, the advancement of technology.
I stands for the nation Israel.
N stands for national decay and degeneracy.
G stands for global distress.

Are you ready?

What about someone you know, who is not?

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