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The Prophetic Context of the Millennium — Part II: The Second Coming of Christ

Article contributed by www.walvoord.com

The most important aspect of the prophetic context of the millennium is the personal return of Jesus Christ to the earth. The tribulation which precedes it is a dramatic preparation for that coming and is climaxed by the glorious appearance of the Lord in the heavens accompanied by the saints and the holy angels. Though the second coming may not be as important to the total program of God as the first coming, it certainly is without precedent in manifestation of the glory and power of the Triune God. It constitutes the most tremendous intervention of divine power in the entire course of human history.

On every hand one discovers that the Scripture dealing with the second coming is the key to the prophetic future. The important place given the premillennial second coming of Christ in Scripture justifies using the term premillennial to describe the whole system of Biblical interpretation which is involved. Just as Scripture concerning the rapture of the church is climactic and determinative in truth revealed about the church, so the second coming is determinative in tracing the future course of Gentiles and Israel in the world, the resurrection of the righteous, and the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the kingdom of God on earth. King of glory. Psalm 50 speaks of God shining forth from Zion: “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined forth” (v. 2 ), and declares, “Our God cometh, and doth not keep silence” (v. 3 ). Psalm 72 is an unusually complete picture of the millennial reign of Christ. In this psalm it is stated: “He will come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth” (v. 6 ). The psalm as a whole pictures the peace and righteousness and universal rule of the King of whom it is predicted: “Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him” (v. 11 ).

Psalm 96 exhorts the whole world to praise and worship Jehovah: “For he cometh to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth” (v. 13 ). Psalm 110 contrasts the present position of the King at “my right hand” (v. 1 ) with His rule “in the midst of thine enemies” (v. 2 ). His judgment upon the wicked in the future kingdom described in the words “in the day of thy power” (v. 3 ) is given in verses 5-7 . Taken as a whole, these representative psalms give another complete picture of the coming of the King of kings to reign over and subdue a wicked earth.

The Major and Minor Prophets abound in references to the King and His millennial reign. Isaiah 9:6-7 declares majestically of Christ: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.” In this and similar passages the second coming is implied in what the Son of God accomplishes upon the earth. A full picture of the millennial reign following the second advent is given in Isaiah 11:1—12:6 . Christ is described as coming from Edom to judge the wicked in the day of vengeance (Isa 63:1-6). As the prophet contemplates the wickedness of his day, he cries out: “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might quake at thy presence” (Isa 64:1). This great book closes with two chapters devoted largely to the time of millennial blessings (65—66 ).

The second coming itself is in view in Daniel 7:13-14, where Daniel records a prophetic vision: “I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” This same event was predicted early in Daniel 2:44: “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

The Prophet Zechariah spoke of the second coming and the presence of Jehovah in the millennial earth: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto thee” (Zech 2:10-11). According to Zechariah 14:3-11, the coming of the King shall be timed to put down the wicked just as they are conquering Jerusalem: “Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the mount of Olives shall be cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (vv. 3-4 ). The coming of the Lord, according to this Old Testament prophecy, shall be a specific event, a return to the very place from which our Lord ascended, and it shall be marked by the dividing asunder of the Mount of Olives.

Dallas, Texas

(Series to be continued in the July-September Number, 1957)


This article was taken from the Theological Journal Library CD and posted with permission of Galaxie Software.