The Dispensation Of The Kingdom
Dr. Joe Temple

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Revelation, chapter 19, the paragraph which begins with verse 11:

Revelation 19:

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 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: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Revelation 20:

1 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.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

We'll stop our reading there, emphasizing the phraseology of the paragraph in terms of years. A thousand years, several times repeated in the paragraph, is the key to our present discussion. We will discuss the seventh and last dispensation, which is known as the Dispensation of the Thousand Years or the Dispensation of the Millennium, which is a Latin word meaning “a thousand years.” It is also known as the Dispensation of the Kingdom, because this dispensation is that period of time designated in God's program when the Lord Jesus Christ will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He isn't now, but He will be then.

We will use the six words in the discussion of this dispensation which we have used in the discussion of the others. Those words are: “circumstances,” “characters,” “covenant,” “course,” “climax,” and “compassion.”

Circumstances Of The Dispensation

What are the circumstances under which the Dispensation of the Kingdom will begin? The Dispensation of the Kingdom will begin with the Lord Jesus Christ returning to this earth. Yes, He's coming back, and He's coming back to this earth. He's coming back to this earth for the expressed purpose of staying here for one thousand years. Tell me why that should seem such an impossibility to men when they know that He came and stayed thirty-three years? He chose to stay that long the first time. If He chooses to stay one thousand years when He comes back the second time, why should it be so hard for people to accept?

The Dispensation of the Kingdom begins with the Lord Jesus Christ here on this earth. It begins with the Antichrist in Hell. It begins with the False Prophet in Hell. It begins with the Devil bound and cast into the bottomless pit where he remains until the end of this thousand year period.

What are your three greatest enemies? The Scriptures say they are the world, the flesh, and the Devil. During this period of time, two of your greatest enemies will be taken care of. The Devil is going to be bound. He will be cast into the bottomless pit. The world is going to be taken care of, because the curse is going to be lifted off the earth. You and I have never lived in an earth that has not been cursed. You and I have never lived in an earth that is not groaning under the curse that was placed upon it when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. But when this dispensation begins, the curse is going to be lifted.

Curse Lifted From Animals

There are many passages of Scripture at which we might look that describe how the curse will be lifted, but I'm going to suggest that we look at Isaiah, chapter 11. Keep in mind that this is one of many that we could consider. I emphasize that because people who object to the dispensational interpretation of the Scriptures say that we hang everything we believe on one or two verses in chapter 19 of the book of Revelation. That isn't so. It shows abject ignorance of the Scriptures to make a statement like that. Chapter 11 of the book of Isaiah describes beautifully how the curse will be lifted. Notice verse 6:

Isaiah 11:

6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:…

These verses of Scripture describe how the curse related to the animal kingdom will be lifted. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden they didn't need to worry about wild animals. They did worry after they were expelled. After the Flood, the ferociousness of wild animals was increased, but during the Dispensation of the Kingdom, God will lift the curse, and we read in verse 6, “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.”

As we've pointed out to you before, in this age the only time a leopard will lie down with the kid is when the kid is inside of the leopard. But during the Millennium, they will lie down side by side.

I'm always tempted when I come to the phrase, “a little child shall lead them,” to make my little speech about the misinterpretation of the Scriptures. But I'll forego it, for you've heard it before. This only means that a little child will be able to lead wild animals about. That's what it means, nothing more.

You will notice in verse 8 the phrase, “a nursing child.” That phrase means a child of three years of age, because they nursed their babies longer than women of today do. A nursing child shall play on the hole of the asp, and he won't be afraid that the asp will bite him and kill him. And the weaned child shall put his hand in the cockatrice's den, and nothing will happen. The curse will be lifted. This is the curse lifted in relation to the animal kingdom.

Full Knowledge

Notice, please, verse 9:

Isaiah 11:

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Not only will the curse be lifted in relation to the earth, but the curse will be lifted in relation to the eyes of men, so that the righteousness of the Lord will be as full in this age as the waters are full in the sea.

Curse Lifted From Vegetation

Turn to Isaiah, chapter 35, and see that God will lift the curse, not only in relation to the animal kingdom, but He will lift the curse as well in relation to the earth, the vegetable kingdom, if you please. Notice verse 1:

Isaiah 35:

1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: …

We are told in the remaining portion of the chapter how God will prosper everything so that man will have all that he can possibly need, all that he will ever hope to need. Something will have to be done about the Great Society between now and then, because every man will have a clear title, without any danger of having to relinquish, to his own fig tree and his own piece of land. That's what God has promised during the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth. The circumstances in which this dispensation is carried out are circumstances of perfection.

The Davidic Covenant

Turn with me, please, to II Samuel and notice the covenant with which this dispensation operates. Remember, each one of the dispensations at which we have looked has been based upon a covenant. A covenant represents an agreement between God and man, sometimes conditional, sometimes unconditional. Without reviewing the other covenants, let me say to you that the covenant upon which this dispensation is based is referred to as the Davidic Covenant, because it was an agreement that God made with David concerning David and David's descendants. Notice in verse 8 of II Samuel, chapter 7, these words:

II Samuel 7:

8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,

That's the first provision of the Davidic Covenant. “I'm going to appoint a place, David, where your descendants will be safe, and they will not be afflicted by wickedness any more.” Notice verse 11:

II Samuel 7:

11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom [that is a reference to Solomon].
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever [that is another reference to Solomon].
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee [another reference to Solomon].

Christ To Sit On David's Throne

In verse 16 we have the Spirit of God leaping down over the corridors of time beyond our own day, and God says:

II Samuel 7:

16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

David's throne still exists. And God says that someday, someone will come and sit on David's throne and rule and reign in righteousness for one thousand years. Who is that individual who will sit on David's throne? Who is the individual whom the Scriptures refer to as David's greater son? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ. “Oh,” someone may say, “if the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning already, why do you say He is coming to reign?” He isn't reigning today. Anyone who says He is reigning today is either ignorant of Scriptures or is rationalizing what the Scriptures very plainly teach.

Turn with me, please, to Psalm 110. God is speaking to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. David writes:

Psalm 110:

1 The Lord said unto my Lord…

Notice the difference in the spelling of the words. The word with every letter capitalized is a term that in more instances applies to God the Father. The other word “Lord,” with just the first letter capitalized, is the word that in most instances applies to the Lord Jesus Christ. So we could say that God said to His Son:

Psalm 110:

1 … Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Jesus Christ is sharing God's throne today. He is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, and He will sit there until the period of time of which we have been speaking becomes a reality. If you will look at verse 1, you will see that God the Father did not intend that the Lord Jesus Christ would sit at His right hand forever. He will sit there only until such a time as God has made the enemies of the Savior His footstool. How is He going to do that? Look at verse 2:

Psalm 110:

2 The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.

What is the territory of the enemies of the Savior? Not by the farthest stretch of your imagination could you say that it is Heaven. That was His home. He didn't say that He would rule in His home place. He is going to rule in the land of His enemies. Where is the land of His enemies? Right here on this earth.

To Reign From Mt. Zion

Turn with me, please, to Psalm 2, for further emphasis that the Lord Jesus Christ is not yet reigning. Oh of course, He may be reigning in your heart. He is in mine, but He is not reigning upon the earth. In Psalm 2, the question is asked at the beginning:

Psalm 2:

1 Why do the heathen [nations] rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord [God], and against his anointed [Son] , saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

From the time that the Lord Jesus Christ went back to Heaven, kings of the earth, governments of the world, have been trying to do away with the restraint of the influence of righteousness. It looks as if in some instances they may be succeeding. But they won't. For we read in verses 4 and 5 of Psalm 2 that God laughs at all of their efforts. He mocks them because He has made up His mind what is going to happen. In verse 6, He says, “In spite of all your efforts, I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” The holy hill of Zion is Mount Zion in Jerusalem, and you can't make anything else out of it unless you want to rationalize it out of existence. God goes on to say that His Son will rule and reign in that place. In verse 12, He gives a good bit of advice:

Psalm 2:

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.

Jesus Christ is coming to reign on the basis of the promise that God made to David, the Davidic Covenant.

Characters Of The Dispensation

Who are the characters in this dispensation? We pointed out to you that in the various dispensations certain characters could be designated by name, and in other instances it would be groups of people. We have already noticed that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to play the leading role in the Dispensation of the Kingdom, but there will be others who will be involved in it. The nation of Israel and the twelve Apostles will play very vital parts in this dispensation upon the earth.

Turn with me, please, to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 19. The Disciples are now with the Lord, but they are coming back to the earth when He returns. They are part of that army that we read about in Revelation, chapter 19, who are clothed in fine linen white and clean. There was an instance described here in Matthew, chapter 19, which gives rise to the grounds for our discussion. Notice, please, verse 27:

Matthew 19:

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him [Jesus], Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me,…

You should pause and recognize that He's going to make a definite statement:

Matthew 19:

28 … ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

“You've followed Me in this life in the regeneration.” That's another word for Millennium or the Reign of Righteousness. “You twelve are going to sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The word “judging” does not mean “sentencing because of crimes committed.” It means “ruling.” “You are going to have charge of the twelve tribes of Israel.” There is no question that the twelve tribes of Israel will be represented in the Millennium, and they will be led by the twelve Apostles.

Righteous Nations

Who are the other characters in this dispensation? The righteous nations of the earth who will enter into the millennial reign of Christ as the result of the judgment of the nations, described in Matthew, chapter 25. The nations will continue living on this earth in human body with human inclinations, with human desires, and with human activity. But the Church, who is the other character that we should consider, will be reigning with Christ over all of this vast group of people who have come from all the nations of the world. These are the characters.

Course Of The Dispensation

What about the course of this dispensation? What course does it follow? It lasts a thousand years, and it follows the same pattern of all the other dispensations. It's a down-hill course. It begins in perfection, but it goes down-hill continuously. There is one difference, and that is the feeling of rebellion against the revealed will of God can't burst out, because God rules with a rod of iron.

Turn, please, to Isaiah, chapter 9, and notice a passage of Scripture which many folk are willing to accept at Christmas time but are not willing to accept if we talk about the Millennium. It's all the same passage. The prophet says:

Isaiah 9:

6 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, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I don't know of anyone who believes that this passage doesn't refer to the Lord Jesus Christ. That's a reference to His First Coming. Now look at verse 7:

Isaiah 9:

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,…

He will rule and reign over the whole world. From where? At the right hand of the throne of God in Heaven? No. Not according to this verse:

Isaiah 9:

7 … upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

David's throne would have to be in Heaven if Jesus were reigning now. I do not know of one passage of Scripture that even faintly intimates that David's throne was moved to Heaven. It's still on the earth, unoccupied right now, but the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to rule on David's throne. And notice that He will rule with judgment; He will rule with justice; He will rule with a rod of iron.

Life During The Millennium

If you will turn to Isaiah, chapter 65, verse 20, you will notice that any act of rebellion will immediately be put down with complete annihilation. Men can say, in the Age of Grace, anything about God they want to say. They can blaspheme Him; they can laugh at Him. They can shake their fists in His face, and nothing happens to them, apparently. But no one will even think of rebellion during the millennial reign of Christ without annihilation. Notice verse 20:

Isaiah 65:

20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: ….

That's idiomatic language which simply means that the span of life upon the earth during the Millennium will be like it was before the Flood. Men will live a long, long, time. They will live their lives out if they are obedient to God. Continuing in verse 20:

Isaiah 65:

20 … for the child shall die an hundred years old; but [and this is what I want you to notice] the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

The thought of the verse is that men who have not yielded their hearts to the King of Kings will be annihilated, because no rebellion of any description will be tolerated. This is the kind of circumstances in which the Millennium will be carried on, a course of down-hill rebellion against God which will not be tolerated in the open because God rules with a rod of iron.

Look, please, at Isaiah, chapter 66, verse 22:

Isaiah 66:

22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain [the name of Israel].
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

You can come to church in this Age of Grace or stay at home. Suit yourself, unless you are children and you have parents who think you ought to be at church. No one will do anything about it. But during the millennial reign of Christ, you will go to church or God will deal with you. That's what this passage of Scripture says. It is a reign of righteousness and a rod of iron.

Climax Of The Dispensation

In this dispensation, and in every other, the will of man asserts itself against the will of God. The culmination of this spirit of rebellion is seen in the passage which we read earlier in the message, Revelation, chapter 20, verses 7-10:

Glance again at how this rebellious heart of man breaks out into the open at the first chance it gets. We read in chapter 20 that Satan is bound and he is cast into the bottomless pit and he is kept there for one thousand years. Look at verse 7:

Revelation 20:

7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

When the Devil is loosed, why doesn't God keep him tied up? Why let him loose? To prove to man that, even though he will live a thousand years in a perfect environment, the first chance he gets, he will run after the Devil if his heart has not been changed. The Devil will be loosed for a little season. He will travel all around the earth, and everyone who has not yielded to the Lord will join his army. They will go down to the city of Jerusalem where Jesus Christ will be sitting upon David's throne, and they will usurp authority and break off the bands. God will demolish them, and the dispensation will end, just like all the others, in failure.

What is the climax of this dispensation? Every dispensation has ended in judgment, and this dispensation is no exception. You'll find the judgment described in the last paragraph of Revelation, chapter 20. It is known as the Great White Throne Judgment, for this dispensation ends with all the dead, small and great, standing before God and final disposition is made of men who have not yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Will you notice what I said? “Who have not yielded.” Do not confuse this passage of Scripture with Matthew, chapter 25, and wonder if you are going to be a goat or a sheep by the time you reach this day. That will all be settled. These are folk whose destiny has already been determined. The sentence is only pronounced.

Compassion Of God

One last word, the word “compassion.” We have said to you that in the midst of judgment God always remembers mercy. He does here. What is His act of compassion at the end of the millennial reign of Christ? Look at chapter 21, verse 1, of Revelation:

Revelation 21:

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea [on this new earth].

This is God's compassion, the chance to start all over again. Oh, what a mess man made out of the earth after God had restored order. Man lived on an earth that was perfect until sin came.

You would think that the sensible thing to do would be to let the whole thing go. It ended in failure. But God said, “No, it didn't end in failure. We're going to start now. Man has learned his lesson. He has learned that he can't live without God. He has learned that there is no way in the world to live in his own strength.”

Conclusion

Beloved, if you learn to divide the Scriptures according to these dispensations, you will be rightly dividing the Word of God. If you don't learn to do it, there will be nothing but confusion awaiting your interpretation of the Word of God.


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