Connect Group Study Week 5

NOTE:  This study will involve more reading with most of the discussion questions on Day 4 & 5.

Day 1  The new Sherriff rides into town. 😊 Literally!

Have you ever wondered why people are so passionate about politics?  Why do politics have such an emotional effect on us?  It’s probably because we were created to rule; [1] think about it… your dog could care less who the mayor is!  But the real conflict enters because the fallen angel Lucifer declared that he would be like the Most High God![2]  The heart of the spiritual war from the Garden of Eden has always been, who will man submit himself to?  Or, more specifically, would man rule on earth in subjection to God or independently of and in rebellion to God?  The spiritual war has been raging since the fall of Lucifer in eternity past and human history is the collateral damage—but make no mistake about it, the primary issue is man’s allegiance.[3] 

The earth and the generations of man were bequeathed with the blessing of reigning with God from the very beginning.  But because of the fall of Adam, man has been under the dominion of the evil one ever since.  For six thousand years the world has been under Satan’s toxic influence.[4]  The book of Revelation culminates in all the nations, under the influence of the antichrist and making war against Israel in the battle of Armageddon.  But praise God, the devil’s power comes to a screeching halt at Jesus’ second coming. 

When Jesus comes, He ends the battle of Armageddon and those fighting against Him are slaughtered[5]. The Second Coming of Christ is a military victory, a bloodbath of Justice.  The people dying at His coming are military personnel commanders and soldiers etc.[6]  This massacre is the beginning of the end of all things evil on planet earth; Satan, along with his fallen angelic emissaries are promptly incarcerated in the abyss for the next one thousand years no longer to deceive the nations.[7]  But the people in power—the political powers will also be removed; and a new administration will be established.  If you will, the “swamp” will still need to be drained. 

The prophet Zechariah[8] summarizes what happens from the battle of Armageddon to the enthronement of Jesus in Jerusalem as the King of the world.

Zechariah 14:1-9

1Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
2For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished.  Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.[9]

3Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.
4And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.  And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.

5Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.  Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.  Thus, the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.

6It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish.
7It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord—Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light.[10]

8And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur.
9And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.  In that day it shall be—
“The Lord is one,” And His name one.[11]

  • The primary concept of salvation here in the second coming of Christ is physical and temporal. 
  • If you view the skyline of present-day Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives just east of the old city, the Kidron valley that runs north and south between the Mt. of Olives and the temple mount will be split in two creating a new valley running east and west whereby the “remnant” of the city (v.2b) would escape from the city of Jerusalem through the Mt. of Olives.[12] 
  • Jerusalem will become the epicenter of the spiritual battle for dominion of all ages.  The Day of the Lord has begun.    
  • According to Revelation 19:7-9 you’ll ride in with Jesus on your white horse too 😊. 

Day 2   What happens when the dust settles?

After[13] Jesus ends the battle of Armageddon there is the great gathering of the separation of the sheep and the goats[14].  One could probably picture a type of United Nations summit whereby all major governing rulers left on the earth are gathered before the King of kings. The world rulers who were antagonists to the plan and purposes of God (primarily related to Israel) are stripped of their authority and consigned to eternal judgment. These sovereigns are replaced by Jesus’ servant-kings. They are replaced by the humblest and the most Christ-like. 

The New administration is taking power. The new administration is developing influence over the Nations.  The work of physical and temporal restoration (geopolitical redemption) of the nations is now just beginning.  We’ll summarize and paraphrase Psalms 146 and 149.   

Psalm 146       …Do not trust in mortal man in whom there is no salvation. Trust in the Lord who will reign forever and to all generations. He made heaven and earth; you can trust Him…

He keeps truth forever. He executes Justice for the oppressed.  He gives food to the hungry. He sets the prisoners free. He opens the eyes of the blind. He raises up those who are bowed down the Lord loves the righteous. He protects the strangers. He supports the fatherless and the widow. He thwarts the way of the wicked. This is the God Who you should trust. This is the One who will reign forever, from Zion to all generations.

  • Write down specific things that the Lord will do—things that are in His heart when He reigns forever from Zion (v.10).  ______________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Psalm 149       Hallelujah! …Israel will be glad in his Maker; the sons of Zion will rejoice in their King.  The King [Jesus] will beautify the afflicted with salvation.  Let all the saints glorify God. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance on the Nations and punishment on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them the judgment written, this is the honor of all His godly ones. Hallelujah![15]  

  • Note carefully what Psalm 149 says is the “honor of all His godly ones.” Read the passage and write down some things that are going to be done by the “godly ones” in the Kingdom age.  _________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Day 3   The tables have turned.

The Prophet Zechariah[16] also describes some of the effects of the Kingdom reign of Christ on the nations.

Zechariah 8:1-8, 12-13, 22-23

Vv. 1-8

1Again the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, 2“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal;
With great fervor I am zealous for her.’

3“Thus says the Lord:

‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the Lord of hosts,
The Holy Mountain.’

4“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Old men and old women shall again sit
In the streets of Jerusalem,
Each one with his staff in his hand
Because of great age.
5The streets of the city
Shall be full of boys and girls
Playing in its streets.’

6“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days,
Will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’
Says the Lord of hosts.

7“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Behold, I will save[17] My people from the land of the east
And from the land of the west;

8 I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
They shall be My people And I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.’

Vv. 12-13

12‘For the seed shall be prosperous, The vine shall give its fruit, The ground shall give her increase, And the heavens shall give their dew—I will cause the remnant of this people
To possess all these.
13And it shall come to pass That just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, Let your hands be strong.’

  • As we will see in other passages there is great agricultural prosperity as the curse on the earth is lifted (at least here in the promised land). 

Vv. 22-23

22Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem,
And to pray before the Lord.’

23“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”

  • Why do you think the Jew, and Israel as a nation, is in such an exalted position among the nations (Gentiles)? _____________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Days 4 and 5   Some developing conditions on earth after Jesus takes His throne.

What we see in this prophecy is an international empire ruled as a theocracy by the God/Man Jesus Christ—the King of the world.  Only Jesus’ loving, wise and righteous rule will bring peace and prosperity on earth. 

 Isaiah 2:1-4 says,

1The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain[18] of the house of the LORD

Will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.

3And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; So that He may teach us about His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.”  For the law will go out from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

4And He will judge between the nations, and will mediate for many peoples; And they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning knives.  Nation will not lift up a sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.

  • Who’s the “He” in verse three? ______________________________
  • Imagine being able to go to Jerusalem and sitting at the feet of Jesus in His glorified state[19] and you in your glorified body[20] learning from Him face to face?! 
  • Who’s the “He” in verse four? ____________________________
  • What “Law” do you think is going forth from Zion in verse three? __________________
  • Could it be that Jesus is ruling the nations by the same rule of law through which God ruled Israel as a kingdom of priests?[21]  _________________________________________
  • Who is the supreme judge?  __________________________
  • Do all issues come to the King of kings or just some of them?  Why? ________________ ________________________________________________________________________
  • If leaders of the nations, are coming to Jerusalem to settle matters, does that mean they couldn’t work out their differences between on another? _________________________
  • If there is judgment needed between the nations does that presuppose there will still be some type of conflict between national entities? ____
  • Where does that conflict come from?  Why? ___________________________________
  • Often times we read a few verses and we gloss the time element.  For example, …  Adam named the animals in Genesis 2:19-20.  It takes about five seconds to read the passage, but how long do you think it took Adam before he finished naming the animals? 
    • Isaiah 2:1-4 are just a few verses, but if you think for a bit… do you believe all these things happen instantaneously—immediately after Jesus’ coming? ______   
    • Can you see how the sense of the passage would be a progressive and growing peace that envelops the nations? ______
    • Isn’t this what every good heart longs for?
  • Can you give a personal testimony to the healing power of His word in your life in a specific area?  ____________________________________________________________
  • You can probably recount many times where God through His word and His Spirit connected with your spirit and your circumstances in a way that brought restoration and blessing where there was nothing but a hopeless miry pit!
  • Imagine how the sovereign, righteous and just, yet loving, wise and gracious rule of Jesus will be.  Imagine the amazing influence He will have on the nations and the healing power of His Word in that day. 
  • Now imagine you being used personally by Him as a vessel of the most tangible and substantive redemption ever to converge with mankind in all of history! 
  • Imagine God using you in some undertaking on earth that [even now] has always captivated your interest… but you may have never had the time, resources, opportunity, or circumstances conducive to making a difference?  Oh, how the Lord would delight in placing you in the most satisfying and redeeming situation in the Day of the Lord.
  • Let God’s word paint a backdrop for your dreams, your prayers, your ambitions.
  • Let His Word become a vision-maker for your life.  It doesn’t all end in this life.  This is only the opening scene of a wonderfully scripted and epic plan from your Father.      

Next week we will look at more conditions of the Messianic Kingdom.

[1] Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 8:4-6; 115:16

[2] In Isaiah 14:13-14 Satan puts forth his arrogant aspiration to gain complete dominion over all God’s creative order—even God Himself! 

[3] Cf. Job 1-2; Luke 4:5-7; Revelation 11:15; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

[4] Ibid.

[5] Zechariah 12:2-3; Revelation 19:17-21

[6] Ibid.

[7] Revelation 20:1-3

[8] Zechariah 14:1-9 summarizes the events of Revelation 16:12-20:4. 

[9] Vv. 1-3 occur during the tribulation period and the first part of the battle of Armageddon this is the last ½ of the seven-year tribulation. 

[10] Vv. 4-7 occur during the second coming of Christ.  This is the literal, tangible coming of Jesus to the earth from heaven with His saints (Revelation 19:11-19). 

[11] Vv. 8-9 occur after Jesus has taken sovereignty over the nations as the King of kings (Revelation 20:1-6). 

[12] This is why the angels that appeared to the apostles in Acts 1:11 told them “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” The apostles were to take that literally, that Jesus will return in the same way and exactly to the same spot He left from. 

[13] It’s often difficult to distinguish between the slaughter at the end of Armageddon and the gathering of the sheep and the goats; but we can probably know for certain the military victory precedes the judgment of the nations. 

[14] Matthew 25:32; Joel 3:2

[15] Cf. Revelation 2:26 to 27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Daniel 7:27

[16] It’s important to note in many of these prophecies there are two fulfillments: a near historical fulfillment (in this case, Israel’s return from exile in Babylon) and a far fulfillment of Israel being regathered to the land for the Day of the Lord. 

[17] Note the concept of salvation in verse seven is more temporal than ethereal/eternal.  Note also, the emphasis of the Jewish people being returned to Israel once and for all.  This restoration and regathering is deemed salvation in a very tangible and physical sense and normally associated in passages speaking of the Day of the Lord. 

[18] Mountains commonly in the Old Testament represent governing powers or national entities.

[19] Cf. Revelation 1:13-15.  This is a description of Jesus’ glorified state. 

[20] Philippians 3:21 says our bodies will be like His… we will look at this later, but our new bodies will not have a sinful nature 😊 nor will they be subject to the atomic structure of this world—yet very real physical bodies. 

[21] Cf. Exodus 19:5-6; Zechariah 14:16ff.  Keep in mind the Mosaic Law was never given to impart eternal life.  The Mosaic law was the civil, ceremonial, and moral rule of law for the chosen people of God designed for a theocratic administration. In the Messianic Kingdom do you believe there would be one rule of law or many?  Why?