Long ago, in Old Testament times, people attempted to commune with God in various ways, even by offering up animal sacrifices. That system proved to be quite insufficient. For it never did take away sins (Heb. 10:4). Though it was insufficient, it did, however, and it does now, speak of Christ.
The tabernacle. Every detail of the tabernacle, with all its parts and in all the furniture, reminds us of who He is and what He did for us. It also speaks to us of His living temple, the church—the habitation of God.
The tabernacle shows to us, as it did to them, a “new and living way” by which to commune with God. It is the way of the living Christ, “which He consecrated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb. 10:20).
Furthermore, the tabernacle gives us a pattern (as a map) of how we…
In Matthew 7:1-5, our Lord has been preaching on judgment. He tells us not to judge others; and whenever we try to correct another we must first look at and purify ourselves, then we can see clearly to help them.
In the sixth verse, most bibles put this verse in a special paragraph on its own. But D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggests that that is not right, that it should connect to the previous five verses, that it is the final statement on judgment. Indeed, I agree. It tells the spiritual Christian how he must judge another—with “a spirit of discrimination.” So, Jesus says in verse six…
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
What is meant here? First of all, pearls are the Christian message. And the dogs and the swine are all that is unholy and unclean, or all those who are unworthy to hear the Christian message. And we know that all of us have sinned, but in this context, Jesus was referring to those sinners who reject the gospel and the truth of God and those who hate Him and even snarl at the message of His truth.
So, Jesus is telling us that we ought not to just spread His word of truth to everyone, but only to those who are worthy of it—or who are seeking it. This may come as a surprise to some people. Some may say that since God loves all people, all should hear the gospel. But the end of verse six gives an explanation of why not. Jesus says that some who hear the gospel will “trample them [our words] under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” In short, they reject the truth and even do damage to it and to you.
If you need an example of this, we can look at Jesus teaching. First, we can compare how He answered Pilate with Herod, in Luke 23:3 and 9. With Pilate, in verse three, Jesus answered him; but with Herod, in verse nine, he answered him nothing. Why? Because Jesus judged Pilate to be a genuine seeker of truth, but He knew that Herod cared nothing for the truth. He knew it by his attitude. And there are other examples. Many times Jesus would not speak to the Pharisees, or at least answer their questions. He instead would go and minister to the Gentiles and to the sinners, as also Paul did.
In all our evangelism efforts and when we seek to teach the truth to people, we should always learn who we are talking to, to see if they are worthy of hear us. Here are three sets of instructions that may be helpful to you in your speaking to others.
Learn to know what to give each person in each particular situation.
Learn to know the way to present the truth to each person. Learn to assess people.
Learn which aspect of truth is appropriate in each particular case.
Also, know that our presentation to unbelievers must be different than to believers. An unbeliever only needs one thing, the doctrine of justification by faith. They need only to know of their sinful life and their need of salvation. Any other bit of truth will have no meaning to them; or we should say that they will take it wrong because of their unregenerated state.
To believers, some have a need for basic truth only—the milk of the word; others should be fed more solid food—the meat of the word.
This is our thirteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will focus on how Jesus responded to the Pharisees when they tried to trap Him.
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Both the Pharisees and the Herodians (mainly Sadducees) wanted to trap Jesus in His words as to paying taxes. If he said no to their question of paying taxes, the Herodians would charge Him with treason against Rome. And if He said yes, the Pharisees would accuse Him of disloyalty to the Jewish nation. His answer amazed them both. He said to pay the tax to Caesar because it was his anyway (according to the stamp on the coin), but all the things that are God’s should go to God, which would include the hearts and souls of people. Caesar cannot touch people’s souls. They have the mark of His image on them.
No one can touch a person’s soul. All are created in His image and belong to Him. We all have His mark on us and so all should give themselves to Him.
There seems to be two sides to Critical Race Theory. In one respect CRT is merely a broad study of race and racism. It is a changing package of ideas. It is a bunch of so-called race scholars trying to make sense out of our country as it is—a racist country; they are trying to understand how we got where we are. But another side of CRT is more dominant. These race scholars I think have a strategy: to infiltrate society and our schools with their ideas. But I’m not sure what their ultimate goal is. They may say it is to make society better; but at what cost? I fear it is at the cost of Socialism and even Communism.
In my reading on this topic I ran across this interesting article that was very revealing to me: A Lesson on Critical Race Theory. Here are a few quotes from the article on what CRT is.
A practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society.
It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.
CRT recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others.
CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past. Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation.
CRT is an acknowledgement that racismis a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions.
CRT recognizes that racism is codified in law, embedded in structures, and woven into public policy.
CRT can be an approach used to theorize, examine, and challenge the ways which race and racism implicitly and explicitly impact social structures, practices, and discourses. (I used bold for emphasis)
CRT is an academic movement of civil-rights scholars and activists in the United States who seek to critically examine the law as it intersects with issues of race and to challenge mainstream liberal approaches to racial justice.
It is rooted in the desire to understand how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America.
Critics often call the theory Marxist.
In plain terms, critical race theory holds that racism is part of a broader pattern in America: It is woven into laws, and it shows up in who gets a job interview, the sort of home loans people are offered, how they are treated by police, and other facets of daily life large and small.
I don’t have too much to says other than what I have already said. Overall, I would definitely say that CRT is a Marxist theory and a movement, and we should try to stop it. Some like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing just that and I applaud him. He said, “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.” Missouri, Idaho, and Tennessee have introduced bills aimed at barring CRT in the classroom. Good move! Also, former President Trump has tried to stop it. We need him back.
So many things, movements are leaning toward Marxism these days. BLM, for instance, is closely tied to CRT. They are on the front lines of it. But you need to know that Satan is the one behind it all.
The Real Answer to Racism
Let me say, in conclusion, that if you really want to combat racism in this country and in the world, you don’t need a CRT. You need to read and study the bible for the answers. If you choose to do that you will find that the bible says nothing about the different races or about different skin colors. Evidently, God cares nothing about skin color. But He does care that people learn to get along with each other and to love each other. I found two words in the bible that will address racism: favoritism and partiality (or in the KJV it is “respect of persons”). Hence, we are not to show favoritism to people. We are to love and respect all people. Here are two verses to look at.
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Now let me say as a final conclusion that, according to the bible, the key to not being racist is not to somehow change your behavior, because we can’t do it on our own. We need a heart change—a new heart. And Jesus can do that for us. If we give our lives to Him, He will give you a new heart, and all things will be made new. 2 Corinthians says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” That means that all racist tendencies will be gone! He will give you a new desire to love all people—whatever color.
In this seventh chapter of Matthew, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about judging others—or criticizing and condemning others.
“Do not judge lest you be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Just previously (in chapter 6) Jesus spoke on worry. Now He turns to judging others. This is an interesting transition—from worry to judging others. But I think this is what we tend to do in our sins. At first, we think inwardly at all we have to do and worry about it; then we will turn our sins and frustrations outward toward others. Thus, when we get tired of looking inwardly at ourselves, we try to console ourselves and make ourselves look and feel better by condemning others. How sad.
But Jesus sets us straight as to what is going on. First of all, He tells us that whenever we point the finger at others, the same judgment will be pointed back at us—by others, and also, more importantly, by God.
His judgment will come to Christians in three ways:
1. There will be a final and eternal judgment to determine if you are really a true believer or not. If your name is found in the book of life then you are saved from eternal hell; if not, then you are not really a Christian at all and you will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).
2.There is a judgment for disobedience and sin. Scripture tells us that some are judged with sickness and even death; and in some cases, God will deliver them to Satan to let him carry out His will (1 Cor. 5:5).
3. When He comes to take believers to heaven there will be a judgment of rewards, whereour works will be manifest (1 Cor. 3). And this judgment is so important because it will affect us for eternity.
So, we should be careful about judging others, because God will certainly judge us. And that judgment will be just. And interestingly, it will be measured to us by the same standard we use on others (v. 2).
Romans 2:1 says, “In whatever you judge another you condemn yourselves; for you who judge practice the same things.” Isn’t that interesting. Paul is saying that whatever we are guilty of, we tend to condemn others of.
James 3:1 says, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. Here, similarly, God judges us with the same judgment we set for others.
Looking at verses 3 and 4 of Matthew 7, we see that we, in many cases, should not be judging others at all because we are incapable of doing it. We can’t do it because we are not right in ourselves. If we were really concerned about righteousness in others, we would deal with that same sin in ourselves.
What Is True Judgment?
Yes, there is a true or correct judgment. What does it look like?
1. In true judgment there is no prejudice or personal element. It is an objective judgment based on principles of truth, not on personalities.
2.In true or correct judgment the one who judges will first judge himself. A great singer oractor is always more critical of himself than others. A good judge sets the correct standard for others. In fact, one who is good at his game, say a Mikael Jordan, does not need to say anything to others. His good game will say more than any words will ever say. But if he does give his team mates any words of correction, believe me, they will listen!
3. True judgment cares about the righteousness of God, in others and in the one judging.The true judge has already dealt with sin in himself and sees clearly to help another.
The Yellow Salsify or Yellow Goatsbeard may be considered a weed much like the dandelion.
I have been waking up early these days, because of the early light and also because of the heat. This morning I decided, before church, to go for a walk to beat the heat of the day. To my surprise I saw so many of my favorite flower—the Yellow Goatsbeard. They were all over the place—dozens of them. But I didn’t bring my camera. Rats! (the above is an earlier picture)
Here you see just the large pod of the Goatsbeard. It is in the middle of the day so the flowerhas closed up.
After church, though it was hot, I decided to go back to where I had walked earlier to get a few pictures of the Yellow Goatsbeard. But they were gone! I saw some of their pods closed-up, but no flowers. Suddenly, it dawned on me; these particular flowers open in the early morning and then shut when the morning is over—I suppose to escape the bright sun or the heat.
I think we miss so much when we fail to get up in the morning with the sun. We not only miss the blooming of special flowers; we miss the voice of the Lord. Isaiah 50:4b says,
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
The words of this entire passage (vs 4-11) are Jesus’ words to His Father (and also words to us, to show us His obedient relationship with His Father). He wants us to have that same kind of relationship with Him and with the Father; and He wants us to get up in the morning and listen to Him as a disciple.
I think the fact that I was able to see the Yellow Goatsbeard when I went out at 6:30, and not see any of them later, tells me that God has special delights for us in the morning when we make a sacrifice for Him.
I recently had a discussion with a young fellow about this subject, and he seemed surprised that I held this view—of a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. I think his church holds the amillennial view. I didn’t have anything well-thought-out to tell him, so this is why I decided to do some work on it. I first got out my hermeneutics text book, which was written by my college professor, Dr. Edwin Hartill. He wrote a chapter entitled The Numerical Principle, which was very helpful as to the meaning of certain numbers. From there I developed a 5-point outline and conclusion, which you will see here in this blog post. I also want to apologize ahead of time for the length of this blog. But I know that if you are at all interested in this subject, it will be valuable to you.
I. Three Most Popular Views of the Millennial Reign of Christ
There are three basic views of the biblical Millennium, which will spell out for us how and why people believe in either a literal view or a non-literal view.
The Postmillennial view. They believe that the millennium, as referred to in Revelation, is symbolic of a golden age of righteousness and spiritual prosperity. They say that it will be ushered in by the spread of the gospel during this present church age and be brought to its completion when Christ returns. Any biblical references to Christ’s reign on earth they say are descriptive of His spiritual reign in the hearts of believers.
It is unclear in this view as to whether they believe that Christ will come and reign on earth or not.
The Amillennial view. In this view 1000 years is merely symbolic of a long period of time. Old Testament prophecies of a millennium are viewed as being fulfilled now spiritually in the church (either on earth or in heaven), or as references to the eternal state.
The Premillennial view. This is my view. We believe in a literal thousand years in which Jesus Christ will some day in the future reign physically on the earth in fulfillment of many biblical prophecies.
First, the Postmillennial view makes no sense at all. I don’t see a “golden age of righteousness” before Christ comes—unless they are saying that this golden age of righteousness is only in the hearts of Christians.
The Amillennial view I think is more popular these days, mainly because they are more vague about what it is and what will happen. They are vague as to its length and they are vague as to whether it is a reference to the earth, or heaven, or the eternal state. But in both views the time of 1000 years is not literal and Christ is not physically present. This to me presents a problem.
The Premillennial view is the only view that makes sense and is true to the text.
II. A Look at How a Thousand Years is Viewed in Scripture
This was quite a task to see how the word “thousand” was used in Scripture. I was very careful to be thorough and complete. I found 272 references, and came up with five different ways the term was used. Here is my accounting of all the references.
A. An Exact and Literal Amount
Gen 20:16-17: A thousand pieces of silver
Nu 31:4: A thousand men from each tribe were sent in to battle. This number was mentioned four times in the preceding verses.
Nu. 35:5: The pastureland of the Levites measured 3,000 feet on each side; north, south, east, west.
In Ezekiel 47:3-5, a man made four different measurements, a thousand cubits each time. Though this was a vision, there is no reason to suggest that the measurements were not literal.
Rev. 20:2: Satan bound for a thousand years.
Rev. 20:3-7: a thousand years; the thousand years.
B. An Estimate in Thousands
Ex 12:37: about 600, 000 men
Nu. 11:21: 600, 000 men on foot
Josh 3:4: they were to keep a distance of about a thousand yards from the ark.
I Samuel 25:2: A man had 1,000 goats and 3,000 sheep.
Fifteen references in 1 Kings on things for Solomons Kingdom: 1,000 burnt offerings, 4,000 horse stalls, 12,000 horses, He spoke 3,000 proverbs, gave to Hiram 20,000 cors of wheat and 20,000 baths of olive oil, he employed 30,000 laborers, 7,000 carriers, 8, 000 stone cutters, etc.
From 1 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles of many things given and taken in battle.
From 1 and 2 Chronicles many things for the work and building of the temple.
The number of Job’s sheep, camels and donkeys.
Dan. 5:1: A banquet for a thousand.
Jonah 4:11: Nineveh had 120,000 people.
Matt. 14:21: 5,000 men were fed
Matt 15:38: 4,000 men were fed
Mk. 5:13: about 2,000 pigs droned in the sea
Mk 8:9: Mark said about 4,000 were present.
Lk 9:14: Lk said about 5000 were present, also in Jn 6:10.
Lk 16:7: In a story a man owed another a thousand bushels of wheat.
Acts 2:41: about 3000 were added to the church.
Acts 4:4: the number grew to about 5000.
Acts 19:19: the value of the evil scrolls came to 50,000 drachmas (days wages)
Rom. 11:4: 7,000 who have not bowed to baal.
1 Cor 10:8: twenty-three thousand died in one day by God’s judgement.
Rev. 11:13: seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake.
C. An Estimate in Thousands of Men Armed for Battle or of those Killed in Battle
In the book of Joshua there were five references
In the book of Judges there were thirty references.
In the book of 1 Samuel there were sixteen references.
In the book of 2 Samuel there were seventeen references.
In the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were about twenty-five references.
In Isaiah 37:36, The angel of the Lord went out and put to death 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp.
Luke 14:31: a story of ten thousand against twenty thousand.
D. A Very Large Number; Thousands and Thousands; or an infinite amount.
Ex 20:6: How many God shows kindness to.
Deut. 1:11: May God increase their numbers a thousand times.
Deut. 5:10: God will show love to a thousand generations.
Psalm 50:10: God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
Daniel 7:10: A vision of heavenly things.
Matt. 18:24: A man owed ten thousand talents of money (an infinite amount)
1 Cor. 4:15: Ten thousand tutors in Christ; the NASV says countless tutors in Christ.
Rev. 5:11: Thousands upon thousands of angels.
E. An Exaggeration in Thousands; a comparison to make a point; poetic language
Lev 26:8: A hundred will chase 10, 000
Josh 23:10: one routs a thousand.
In 2 Samuel 18:12: a bride is mentioned of a thousand shekels.
Psalm 84:10: Better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere.
Psalm 90:4; 2 Pt 3:8: How God measures time.
Psalm 91:7: Thousand are killed all around me while I am safe.
Ecc. 6:6: If a man lives for a thousand years twice over…
Ecc. 7:28: Finding one upright man among a thousand.
Four references pertaining to love in Song of Solomon.
Five references in Isaiah having to do with
1 Cor 14:19: I would rather speak five words with my mind than 10,000 words in a tongue.
Obviously, there are different ways the term is used: literally, as a near estimate, and symbolically as a long period of time. We are now most concerned with those references that appear to be literal. Most are not exact or literal; nevertheless, a few are, and so, if that is the case, there is no reason to believe that the references in Revelation referring to the millennium cannot also be literal.
III. How “thousand” Is Used in Revelation 20 Compared to Other References
A. We will look first at the Revelation 20 references. Here are a few reasons to conclude that “a thousand” or “the thousand” is a literal number.
In verses 2 and 3: Satan is bound for “a thousand” years, and then he is released when “the thousand” years are completed. A prison sentence is always exact. You don’t sentence someone for “about a thousand” years.
The term “completed” (in 20:3) suggests a definite amount of time. If the time was symbolic or not accurate as to its length, how would the jailer know how long to hold the incarcerated one?
In verse 4, “a thousand years” seems to be a definite amount of time that “they” reigned with Christ.
Verse 5. Here the definite article “the” is added, and it is the time of completion. Hence the definite article makes the thousand more likely to be exact and literal. Also, the word “completed,” as in verse 3, also adds exactness.
verse 6. They will reign with Christ for a thousand years. Here it just doesn’t make sense to suggest reigning with Christ for “about a thousand years,” or reigning with Christ for a long time.
Verse 7. Here again is “the thousand years are completed.” It sounds very exact and definite.
B. A look at a few references from my B list where thousand is not an exact number
Joshua 3:4. The priests were to keep a distance of “about” 2,000 cubits from the ark of the covenant. Here, I think this distance was important, but God knew that they were not able to keep an exact distance, so He said “about” 2000 cubits. But the 1000-year reign of Christ is definite. This length of time has a meaning—as we will see.
Mark 5:13. About 2,000 pigs drowned in the sea. Here again, it is not important to know the exact number.
Acts 2:41. About 3,000 were added to the church. Again, the exact number is not that important.
Luke 9:14. About 5000 were fed.
Here, in all of these cases the word “about” is used. But in the Revelation 20 passage “about” is not used, suggesting to us that there is a difference.
C. In both the D list and the E list where thousand is symbolic for a large number
Here it makes sense that the thousand number is meant as a very large number, an infinite amount, or an exaggeration. The numbers are meant to show God’s power and greatness in a poetic style; therefore, in these examples the symbolic meaning of God’s greatness and power is clear. But, as we will see, the exactness and literalness of the thousand-year reign of Christ also has meaning.
IV. The Hermeneutical Meaning of Numbers and of a Thousand
I think it is quite obvious that certain numbers in Scripture have meaning. Here are four examples:
The number three. Three seems to be the number of union, approval, completeness and perfection. It is the number of the trinity—three persons in one God, and three members of divine perfection. The resurrection of our Lord on the third day speaks of divine power. The offices of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King show His perfections. Last, I will mention the three-fold testing of man and of Christ: lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Here we see the completeness of sin in man and also the completeness of testing if Christ, which He overcame.
The number six. This number is the number of man and the state of his incompleteness. Man was created on the sixth day, and six was the number of days man was to labor on the earth. God brought judgment upon the earth for sin when Noah was 600 years old. The wicked man Goliath was six cubits tall and he had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. A man called the “man of sin” who is yet to come, will be given a mark of 666.
The number seven. I am sure you have seen this number in the bible, especially in Revelation. It is the number of divine fulness, perfection and completeness. It is very interesting to note this number in the human body, which is God’s masterpiece of creation. The human body is composed of seven tissues. There are seven parts to the body: four limbs, head, neck, and trunk. There are seven holes in the head; and there are many other sevens we could mention about the body. Last, we will look at the book of Revelation, which completes the Scripture. In Revelation there are seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven personages, seven bowls, seven dooms, and seven new things.
The number ten. Ten is the number of perfection and completeness. It is the number of sufficiency according to God’s purpose and human responsibility. In the ten commandments we see the completeness of God’s demands, and man’s responsibility toward God. In the ten plagues upon Egypt, we see the completeness of man’s rebellion and the completeness of God’s judgement on man. In the tabernacle the holy of holies was measured as 10 cubits in length and breadth and height, signifying God’s perfect holiness.
As pertaining to the future millennial kingdom, since one thousand can be divided into tens,10x10x10, it has the meaning of ten, or the perfect order which will some day be upon the earth.
V. How the Millennium Will Be a Time of Perfection and Completeness
The millennial kingdom will demonstrate to all that it is indeed a period of time of perfection and completeness—a time of perfect order which God will set up and display upon the earth. Except for sin still in the world (which will be dealt with) we will see the earth restored to the way it was in the beginning before sin entered. Here are five points or purposes for the millennium that will demonstrate a time of perfect order.
The earth will be restored to its original greatness and goodness. Everything on the earth will be “very good” and man will be blessed.
There will be a perfect government—ruled by Christ and His followers.
It will be a time when the covenants with Israel are fulfilled.
It will be a time when Christ’s character will be displayed.
It will be a time when God in Christ will demonstrate His sovereignty and holiness and will bring a just judgment to Satan and his followers.
The premillennial view with a belief in a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ makes the most sense out of all the views.
As I have examined how one thousand is used in Scripture, it is easy to see how in each case it is meant. In most cases it is not meant as an exact number, but as an estimate number, a number to mean an infinite amount, or a number meant as an exaggeration or a comparison. Nevertheless, there are some thousands that are meant as an exact and literal number, which I have pointed out.
Last, I want to suggest strongly that since the millennium will be a time when God will set up and establish His kingdom on earth, which will be a perfect and complete kingdom, why would He not design its length of time a designation of perfection and completeness. It would make no sense to designate its length as an indeterminant number of years (e. g. A long time) or as a number that had no meaning of perfection or completeness (e. g. say 2,645 years). I would think that, since His kingdom was so important—as it is—He would assign a significant and meaningful number of years to it—which He has! And we can see in Scripture how God has assigned meaningful numbers to many things that designate their meaning and importance. So why would He not do the same for such an important thing as His establishment of the kingdom of God on earth? It will be a literal 1000-year kingdom.
When our Lord says, “judge not,” in Matthew 7:1, He is using the term only in its negative sense—as the Pharisees judged. Certainly, we are to have discerning judgment, as to who is a false prophet and who is a true one, and to judge doctrine. And the state has judges and magistrates that are appointed by God to judge. And the church also is to judge its people in certain matters of discipline.
The kind of judgement our Lord is speaking of when He says “judge not” is a condemning judgement—a judgment we see in the Pharisees. This negative, condemning judgment can be seen in six ways.
It has an evil spirit attached to it. I would say that, for this reason, it is of the devil and it works to destroy us.
It condemns and despises others for no good reason. We have seen this toward the Samaritans, and also toward the Jews. Certainly, we see it toward Jesus and toward Christians. Recently we see it from some toward Donald Trump; and we also see it toward entire races of people—toward blacks and toward whites.
It has a spirit of self-righteousness and supremacy. This spirit of judgment is based on the lie that one person or persons is better or more righteous than another. It is what condemned an entire race of people (the Jews) to extermination.
It hopes for the worst in others. Hence, we see its evil, diabolical nature; a nature that is the opposite of love.
It focuses on personalities instead of principles. In correct judgment we always judge according to biblical principles, but in wrong judgment it is always according to something we just don’t like about a person—according to our personal preferences.
It is expressing an opinion about someone without gathering knowledge of all the facts. It is a snap judgment. It is a first impression that is often wrong.
Source: Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
If there ever was a bible verse that is being ignored it is this one: “Therefore, Comfort One Another With These Words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
And for some reason I have been putting the blame mostly on pastors, because in their preaching they don’t very often preach to comfort their people with the news that Jesus is coming soon, and that the dead, as well as the living, will be translated and taken up to heaven to be with Him.
But Paul, in this verse, is not speaking to pastors; he said, “comfort one another with these words.” Hence, every Christian has the command to comfort others.
And how are we to comfort out fellow believer? Are we to put our arm around them and tell them that all will be well, that things aren’t as terrible as they seem?
The way we are commanded to comfort them is “with these words.”
Though Paul gives them ample instructions in chapter 4, and in earlier chapters, I believe he is referring to verse 13-17, because the Thessalonians were so concerned about those believers who had died; for he says, “Lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”
And the words that Paul wants us to comfort others with is the entire teaching here on the Rapture of the church, which is found in verses 13 through 17. Yes, if our brethren are to be comforted, they must hear the entire teaching. We are not just to say the words, Jesus is coming soon! We should tell them all of it. I think people are tired of short clichés. That mean very little to them. They want the whole story. They want to know in detail what is going to happen. So here it is as Paul teaches it.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Here is the teaching in my words:
1. We are not to be ignorant concerning those who have died. For just as Jesus died and rose again, all our Christian friends who have died will also rise and be with Him.
2. Very soon He will come to us from heaven. And the angels will declare His coming with a shout and with a trumpet sound.
3. And the dead will be the first to be resurrected and taken up to Him.
4. Then those who are alive will rise up next; and they will meet the resurrected dead in the sky.
5. And all believers, the resurrected dead and the living, will be with the Lord in the air.
6. And from that time on, we will always be with the Lord.
This is the teaching that God wants us to bring to our fellow Christians—in case they are ignorant or confused about such things. This is the teaching that Paul says will give them comfort. And perhaps it would be better to read the verses or quote them from memory, so that they will not miss anything; for every word of Scripture is so powerful. As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “The word of God is living and powerful, and shaper than any two-edged sword…”
I wonder how many of us need to be comforted by “these words.” All of us!
And I wonder how many of us need to say “these word” to others so as to comfort them. All of us!
Yes, we really need to be comforters. We really need to bring “these words” to others—words of hope and encouragement. I challenge you as I challenge myself to do it!