A basic difference between post-Millennialism and amillennialism is that the first believes in a real Millennial age (not necessarily 1,000 years in length) with great earthly blessedness, prior to the return of Christ. They believe that Church ministry must bring this blessed period into existence gradually as an extension of the Church Age, with the nations submitting freely to the saints. Post-Millers contend that Christianity has been gaining more and more acceptance in the world with each passing century, and they fully expect the nations to be Christianized completely within time, at which point the blessed portion of the Millennium will begin, leading up to the Return at the end of the Millennium. Thus, they place the Millennium before the Return. Then, immediately after the Return, there will be a New Earth and New Heavens.
In arguing for the gradual Christianization of the nations which we are still (supposedly) undergoing, post-Millers include all forms Christianity, including the powers of the Vatican down through the centuries. The purpose here is to make a desperate idea seem more plausible, seeing that the Vatican did in fact rule the nations for some time. But this is a weak argument for the many believers who believe that the Vatican was anything but the true Church of Jesus.
Post-Millennialism took off in the revivals of the Protestant Reformation when it did appear as though a much better brand of Christianity than the Vatican might secure command of the nations, but this was to the detriment of the Reformers in that it blended world domination into their Biblical mission, making the Calvanists, Puritans and Anglicans alike as politically minded as the Vatican they wished to stamp out.
With the loss of the Vatican's hold on Europe, and the subsequent failures of the Protestants to stamp out Darwinism and the ensuing secularism, post-Millennialism was laid low. Of greatest concern to those of us who oppose the post-Mil' doctrine is the Bible's admission of a great tribulation period wherein Satan is the one gaining global control just prior to the Return.
In contrast, rather than having a Church Age evolve gradually into a blessed Millennium, amillennialists believe that the Church Age is in itself the Millennium. In other words, the thousand-year period in Revelation 20 is merely symbolic for a Church Age an unknown duration...so that they don't really have a Millennium. Amillennialists believe that Christ is now ruling the dominions of the world and that Satan is chained up and unable to deceive the nations.
While post-Millers do not believe in a coming tribulation period or the anti-Christ, amillers accept a tribulation period as a future time of Christian persecution and Satanic global control as per Revelation 20:7-10, where Gog arises after the thousand years to do battle with God's people. For this reason, amillers (wrongly) equate the Gog-prophecy of Ezekiel 38 to the Gog-prophecy of Revelation 20 (i.e. the two prophecies occur at the same time and are one and the same event). As one becomes an amillennialist by equating the Ezekiel battle with the Revelation affair, one little error is all it takes to get the wheels of false teaching turning.
It should also be said that amillennialism began to flourish with the Catholic Church after Constantine, where Roman Catholicism declared itself to be the Millennial rule of God on earth (not surprising). Pre-Millennialism, the view I uphold, was dominant prior to that Catholic declaration, all the way back to the apostles. The amill delusion in the Vatican lasted a long time; it eventually gave rise to the Reformation and, ultimately, after the brief rise and quick fall of post-Millennialism, pre-Millennialism became dominant again, as it is to this day.
All agree that the Ezekiel battle is prior to the return of Christ, so let me say, God promised the Israelites that, after Armageddon, no army would ever enter into Jerusalem again. Therefore note how, in Revelation 20, we see Gog and Magog surrounding Israel but not invading into the nation:
"Whenever the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison, and he will go forth to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth -- Gog and Magog -- to assemble them to war...and they encircled the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down out of Heaven and devoured them..." (Rev. 20:7-9).
On the other hand, God will Himself bring the Gog of Ezekiel against Israel, to punish Israel. Gog's armies (there will be several of them joined in a pact from many nations) will invade successfully and remain on Israel's mountains until Christ comes to remove him at Armageddon. However, after Israel is saved at Armageddon, the Scripture tells us that God will make a covenant of peace with Israel (e.g. Isaiah 54:10; 59:21), promising to never again allow a nation to invade her borders (see also Eze. 34:28). Thus the attack as shown above will not enter the borders of Israel, but will be swallowed up in fire beforehand.
When we read the Revelation quote above, we do not see an obstinate Israel given to the Wrath of God, as in the Ezekiel affair, but a "beloved city" i.e. filled with saints. That's a dead give-away! The two accounts cannot be the same. But the amiller will deny that the Gog of Ezekiel invades as an act of God's wrath, adding error to error continually just to protect and maintain their amill position.
Yes, wonderful, the amillennialist will place the Gog battle (i.e. both accounts) prior to Armageddon, but while ignoring and distorting the fact that Revelation 20 itself had just made it crystal clear that the thousand years occur after Jesus returns (wherefore the Gog affair in Revelation must be a thousand years after the Gog war of Ezekiel. It doesn't matter that you or I indicate this problem to an avid amiller, he/she will ignore us.
I have found that a post-Millennial view by any stripe leaves behind a host of upset Biblical texts. The way in which the damage is justified is to spiritualize away the literal interpretations, and while I recognize the abundant use of symbolism in prophecy, there is a point to which post-Millers go that significantly surpasses the limits of acceptability. In my mind, symbolic language is almost always obvious, and is deemed symbolism simply because there is no literal interpretation that maintains a sane viewpoint. Where literal interpretations are Biblically stable and endorsed in other texts, no one should veer into a symbolic view which completely does away with the literal one, for God would not be so dull as to confuse us in this way. Therefore, when texts having no need of non-literal interpretations are denied their face value, just because they happen to discredit post-Millennialism, that is one place where we can draw the line and tell them NO!
The problems with post-Millennialism are blatant where the Millennial reign of Christ is spiritualized as the present history, beginning at the violence of the Cross, continuing through all the historical conflicts and bloodletting of the subsequent centuries, into the dark ages, where Catholicism then made its most-gruesome mark, and ending with the incapacitating act of Armageddon as a result of global secularism. This is one major reason that most Christians do not support any form of post-Millennialism, for there is just no way in our minds that the Church Age will usher in a period of worldwide Godly blessing apart from Heavenly Muscle on the Day of the LORD.
It may be very tempting to hold a view which brings the New Earth immediately into our laps upon the rapture, but I am not one to believe something just because I prefer it. I have had many pre-tribbers ask me why I would prefer to go through the tribulation rather than being raptured before it comes, as if what I preferred had anything to do with the truth or with my position. Who really wants to live through a quasi-paradise for ten centuries when the Paradise is the ultimate hope? However, God has ordained the quasi-paradise for good reasons, and though they may not line up with our hopes, they do align with His good pleasure.
Post-Millennialists have no choice but to place the First Resurrection of Revelation 20:4-5 centuries before the return of Christ, because the Revelation text places that event at the start of the thousand years. Therefore, it cannot refer to the bodily resurrection of believers at Christ's return because that return represents the end of the Millennium in the eyes of Post-Millers. This simply means that the "first resurrection" must be spiritualized away as something other than what the face-value text would be suggesting. Furthermore, I do not think God would be so confusing or misleading as to call something involving saints the "first resurrection" if it were not the bodily resurrection of saints mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. Because saints are killed by "the beast" prior to that First Resurrection, the Post-Miller then add error to error by placing the Beast and False Prophet (mentioned in Revelation 19 and 20) in the first century.
Certainly, the new meaning given to "first resurrection" by post-Millers, which is the "going to be with the Lord" at the point of physical death, is never called a "resurrection" anywhere in the Bible. Yet, the problem is worse than this, because going to be the Lord at the point of death is not something which occurs before the "thousand years." When viewed as the soul going to be with the Lord at the point of death, the "first resurrection" becomes, not one event as the Revelation text would seem to indicate, but millions of events throughout the Church Age, each time a saint of God dies. The fact that all those who partake in the First Resurrection are said to rule for a thousand years would indicate hard that the First Resurrection occurs at a single point in time.
Moreover, the text surrounding the First Resurrection is very clearly speaking of the great tribulation period wherein the anti-Christ overcomes Christian saints, wherefore the Resurrection is unavoidably placed after the slaughter of saints at the hands of the anti-Christ (pre-tribbers listen up!). For this reason does the classic post-Miller (not including the amiller) place the great tribulation period in 70 AD but not at all in the future. The amiller, who doesn't shy away from a future tribulation period, must yet place the First Resurrection prior to the Millennium. Who are these
"...who did not worship the beast nor its image and who did not receive the mark on their forehead or on their hand, and they lived again and reigned with Christ a thousand years...Blessed and holy is the one having a part in the first resurrection...they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him the thousand years" (Rev.: 20:4,6).
From this quote, it is impossible to place the beginning of the thousand-year period anywhere but after the enforcement of the mark of the beast. Therefore, the post-Millennialist is also forced to spiritualize away the mark of the beast as something which transpired in the distant past, in relation to the anti-Christ of 70 AD. And there has never been a 666 etched into the hands of a generation at any time in previous history. Of course, they must also place the False Prophet in the distant past because he is responsible for the mark's enforcement. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 makes it plain that Christ will destroy the anti-Christ at his Return, wherefore to place the anti-Christ in 70 AD is ridiculous. It is fine to view the first-century Roman invasion of Jerusalem as a parallel fulfillment of the end-time tribulation period and anti-Christ, but we should not altogether deny the end-time fulfillment only to justify a post-Millennial outlook.
The question that I find very important and relative to this book concerns your endurance of the tribulation period. How will the view of placing the great tribulation (anti-Christ and all) exclusively in the first century help us to prepare to survive it as a future event? If the skincode isn't viewed as a future entity, why bother to prepare a wilderness retreat? If Christians believe the future is bright, one where the Church will convert all nations, there is no need in their minds to prepare to go through a time of tribulation. These will thus secure an evil fate for themselves more assuredly.
In support of their interpretation, post-Millers will quote scriptures like, "All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given unto me" (Matthew 28:18). By this, it is said that the thousand-year reign began with the Death and Resurrection of Christ...at the time He spoke the words above. Pre-Millers, on the other hand, view Christ's authority over the nations at this time as passive, where He yet allows His Enemy to rule the nations until the full number of the saints has come in. This is what apparently is taking place, after all, and that is what Paul verifies in 1 Corinthians 15:24:
"Then the end [comes], when He delivers the kingdom to God -- even the Father -- when He abolishes all rule and authority and power. For it is necessary for Him to reign until he places all enemies under his feet."
While Paul acknowledges the truth, that Christ rules (on the Heavenly throne) in the Church Age, he also understands that Christ has permitted others to rule the kingdoms/thrones of the earth, for He will not hand them over to the Father until the Appointed end arrives (i.e. at his Return). If he hands them to the Father in the end, then they must be in the hands of Satan now, something that post-Millers are slow/negligent to accept.
Surely, the Church has been on the defensive ever since Christ ascended into Heaven, telling not of the Church's rulership over the nations, but of subjection to them. This subjection is verified in the Biblical command to submit to the governing authorities. However, the saints truly begin to rule the earth in the Millennium, after Jesus hands the dominions of the world to the Father. If one but takes the time to read the seventh Trumpet in Revelation 11, Christ will be seen ruling the nations beginning only then. The same point is made in the book of Daniel, especially where we see the dominions of the world (i.e Globalism) given to Satan through the four beasts (chapters 2 and 7), dominions which take us right up to the end of the world, where only then, at Christ's coming, does He take the nations and reign over them. The following quote makes it very certain that the Millennium is not the Church Age:
"And he [an angel] laid hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut and sealed him over, in order that he should not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years are completed; after these things, he must be released for a short time" (Rev. 20:2-3).
How does one convincingly argue that Satan is not deceiving the nations right now as you read this? But to claim that he has not been deceiving mankind since the Death and Resurrection of Christ is sheer folly. Doesn't the New Testament say that Satan is now like a lion seeking whom he may devour? Does it not say, "Oppose the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7), suggesting that he is not tied up on a chain at this time, and especially not imprisoned in a pit with a tight-fitting lid? Did not Paul say that Satan opposed him? Can we really equate the picture of Satan in the quote above, sealed and chained in a prison, as his defeat at the Cross?
Yes, Satan was defeated at the Cross, and by that Cross Christ was given full right to rule the universe, but can we take these things to mean that Satan could no longer deceive/rule the nations when other scriptures clearly say otherwise? Is not the anti-Christ spirit which John spoke of a deceptive power on the loose? At every opportunity since the Cross, Satan has badly persecuted the Christian saints.
The Millennium is a thousand-year period literally, and not symbolic for an unknown period of time. This literal period is necessary to explain many scriptures demanding a system of life and worship intermediate between this old earth and the eternal New Earth yet to come. For one, there is the controversial but unavoidable Ezekiel Temple which is similar in minor ways to the Temple of the New Earth, but on the other hand has features that are well beyond old-earth characteristics and, therefore, belongs in a quasi-paradise.
There also exist certain Old Testament texts which reveal an earthly existence of living things with natures too profound for this side of the Return, and yet neither are they related to the New-Earth. In the quasi-paradise, people live much longer than they do now, yet they die; carnivores no longer feed on other animals; children engage wild animals, yet they are not harmed. If the New Heavens and New Earth comes to pass immediately after the return of Christ, without an intermediate period whatsoever to assimilate the extraordinary things above, where in the history of the earth do we place the fulfillments of these prophecies?
Classic Post-Millers tell us the that bulk of Old-Testament prophecies have been canceled by God altogether, especially the prophecy concerning the Ezekiel Temple, and this is how they deal with scriptures that contradict their position...just get rid of them in one swipe. I have been told by a Pot-Miller that these prophecies are "Jewish fables." Are we supposed to believe that God gave Ezekiel nine entire chapters describing in detail the dimensions and the nature of a glorious Temple that God knew He would never build? And did He also give hundreds of prophecies that He knew He would soon cancel, confusing us all the while?
THE EZEKIEL TEMPLE
Immediately after the portrayal of Gog and Magog's destruction in the Ezekiel text, there is a Temple introduced which is to be built as a central aspect of a renewed Jerusalem. Therefore, while the timing is not pointedly given, we are given some indication that its use is to be after Gog's defeat. We know that this Temple is not the Solomon Temple, nor the Herod Temple, nor has it been built to this day, nor is it the New-Earth Temple of Revelation 21 which is portrayed with some unearthly features readily distinguishing it from the Ezekiel Temple. If the Ezekiel Temple can be shown to be a post-Armageddon yet pre-New-Earth Temple, the argument can be made sharply in favor of an intermediate period existing between Armageddon and the New Earth, which the literal Millennium would fulfill.
The Temple in the New Earth is not a Temple at all in the earthly sense:
"And a temple I did not see in it [the New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple" (Rev. 21:22).
That settles it. The Ezekiel Temple is not the New-Earth Temple, for the one in Ezekiel is a stone building with measurable dimensions. You can go ahead and spiritualize those dimensions, as some actually do, so that they represent anything but the cutting and laying of stone blocks, but I must spare myself such arrogance. God is watching us, so that if we feel we have the right to argue Scripture without paying a price for teaching error, think again.
The Ezekiel Temple has some features attached that rule it out as a building or system to be used in current history. There is a river stemming from the altar which flows eastward and empties into the Dead Sea (Eze. 47). As it does so, it "heals" some of the sea's waters so that sea life can live in it (the Dead Sea is currently so salty that sea life cannot be sustained). On the banks of this holy river there will be many holy trees which grow on account of it, bearing fruit monthly, the leaves of which are also for healing.
True, in the New Jerusalem of the New Earth, there will be a river flowing from the throne of God, but it will flow down the middle of the Jerusalem streets, and it will have but two trees, each called a "tree of life." As with the Ezekiel Temple, these trees will produce fruit monthly, as well as leaves for "the healing of the nations" (22:2). The Ezekiel river, then, reflects the New Earth river, but apparently belongs to some other age because it does not possess the same characteristics exactly wherein the differences are substantial enough. Indeed, the river in the New Jerusalem does not flow into the sea because in that age there will no longer be any sea:
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea" (21:1).
It's settled, then! The Ezekiel Temple with a river running into the Dead Sea cannot exist in the New Earth, for the New Earth will have no sea. As additional proof for placing the Ezekiel Temple prior to the New Earth, we see no night, and apparently no moon nor sun, in the New Earth (Rev. 21:23-25; 22:5), while in the days of the Ezekiel Temple, there will be "evening" (46:4). Indeed, in 46:13 it says, "from dawn to dawn." And we also see that there will be feasts on the "new moons" (v 3), indicating lunar phases...i.e. the existence of a moon.
And there is other evidence given in Scripture attesting to a sun and moon still in existence after Armageddon, though having much greater glory/shine (Isaiah 30:26). Therefore, there must be a period, before the New Earth, which has the solar system that we have today -- but with cosmic bodies glorified beyond those of this present age -- which will then be eradicated when the New Earth and New Heavens are created.
Portions of Ezekiel text relating to the Temple are concerned with the allotment of the land in a restored Israel. Tribal allotments of the land took place shortly after Ezekiel's life when Israel was called out of ancient Babylon, but that restoration was not the one of the Ezekiel-Temple text, simply because the Ezekiel Temple was not built in relation to the tribal allotments of that ancient time. We must place the Ezekiel Temple in a period of yet another restoration/allotment, and while it is feasible in theory that it may come about in this present age in relation to the 1948 restoration, it is far more likely (and scriptural) that the tribulation of Israel will come first and deny the possibility...no matter how many Christians and Jews together are poised at this very moment to build it. The following quote assures that the Temple-related restoration will be associated with a post-trib' period:
"So says the Lord YHWH, 'This shall be the border by which you shall inherit the land, by the twelve tribes of Israel...And you shall inherit it, each man like his brother, because I lifted up My hand to give it to your fathers..." (Eze. 47:13-14).
This lifting of God's hand to give the Holy Land to the Israelites is a reference to His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Could the Lord, then, give this land to Israel as the fulfillment of the Promise before the tribulation period? Not only do we know from many scriptures that the Promise is a post-trib' restoration, but, if we just think about it, there is not much logic in a pre-tribulation fulfillment if the land and the people of Israel are yet destined to receive God's wrath throughout the tribulation period, where the end of the matter shall be the sweeping broom of Armageddon? Is it not clear that the giving of the land to the twelve tribes of Israel at the time implied by the text will be a permanent offering, one that is not removed in mid-stream by a sacking of Jerusalem, a trampling of the Holy Land, and the utter desolation of the world?
Indeed, the title of the city of Jerusalem which will serve as the capital city of this blessed Israeli restoration will be "YHWH IS THERE" (48:35), and this implies an ongoing and uninterrupted restoration.
Why can't we just keep the literal interpretations when they harmonize so well with other scriptures, and when there is no just cause to revamp them into non-literal ideas which, under scrutiny, stand queer beside other Biblical texts?
Nobody here is saying that the Old Covenant must return with the Ezekiel Temple. What the Millennial animal sacrifices must represent is purely celebrational and devotional, not intended for the forgiveness of sins. The atonement of Ezekiel 45:20, on the Passover Festival, is surely based in Christ and not the animal sacrifices which will merely facilitate the worship of Christ for the entire Millennium, even as the bread and wine serves for Christians today while slated to be celebrated also in the Millennium. While slain animals bring to mind the death of Christ more profoundly than the "Lord's Table" of broken bread and wine alone, they also represent an abundance of food for the feasts, for the purpose of celebration.
THE AGE OF GLADNESS AND REST
The restored Israeli nation of post-tribulation times is touched on frequently by Isaiah so that many things can be learned of this period (italics mine):
"And he [Christ] shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and he shall slay the wicked with the breath of his lips. And [then] righteousness shall be the encircler of his thighs, and faithfulness the encircler of his loins. And the wolf shall live with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed, their young shall lie together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the infant shall play on the hole of the asp; yea, the weaned child shall put his hand on the viper's den. They shall not do evil, nor destroy in all My holy mountain. For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of YHWH, as the waters cover the sea. And it shall be in that day, the root of Jesse [Christ] will stand as a banner of peoples; nations shall seek him out, and his resting place shall be glorious. And it shall be in that day, the Lord shall again set his hand, for a second time, to recover the remnant of His people that remains..." (Isaiah 11:4-11).
The first time that God recovered the remaining (surviving) people of Israel was after the Babylonian exile. This second instance above will be none other than the recovery occurring after Christ "shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth," which must be after Armageddon. You can be sure that there can be no restoration between the first and the second one, wherefore the restoration of Israel leading up to the State of Israel in 1948 was not the second one, and in fact it may not have taken place by the hand of God, for it can be shown quite dramatically that the Jewish Illuminati, under the wealthy Rothschild family, was mainly responsible for the birth and maintenance of that State of Israel, which State, in my opinion, was the attempt of the Rothschilds and Kabbalists to bring the Biblical Millennium to pass under their own timetable and ruled by their own people. That attempt is yet ongoing as I write.
The second restoration, as declared by Isaiah above, restores what the Jews lost at the tearing of the curtain (of the Temple) on the day of Christ's death, as well as what they lost in 70 AD. At the Cross, the Landlord gave them notice, and in 70 AD, the tenants of the Vineyard were thrown out from the land. The sons of the very Pharisees, who lost Israel at that time, are active today and had been active as early as two or three generations prior to 1948, to re-establish themselves in the land of Israel, thinking that God wanted them to be imminently restored as per the start of the Biblical Millennium. Modern Pharisees have not understood that Jesus permanently took their right to the land, and took from them also the Promises made to Israel, and gave everything blessed instead to Christian Jews i.e. the Christian Church, wherefore the plans of the modern Pharisees will come to less than nothing, even to a Great Tribulation and a Great Desolation of their land.
In the quote above, we see that righteousness springs up and spreads out over the earth like a blanket over the "sea," where, with the destruction of the nations, the period becomes the "resting place" of the Lord. How suitable for this to be His Rest, since it is almost surely going to be the seventh millennium since the Creation of Adam. As we can also see in the quote, this period will be marked by peaceful co-existence of the earth's animals. This would amount to a reflection of the peace between nations, I suppose, just as the brutality of animals since the Flood is a reflection of man's inhumanity to himself. Yet, though we must regard the period as something special -- made in Heaven -- there is some imperfection -- sin and mortality -- in existence, whereby I call it a quasi-Heavenly period.
Even so, what a pleasant rule it will be, over a humanity steered from greed, selfish ambition, and hatred by the uncompromising iron rod of Christ. On that day, God will rest. The Day of the LORD may begin with Armageddon, but it seems to be a term which also includes the Millennial period in its entirety, for there is justification for interpreting the "Day" as a 1,000-year term. In any case, for one thousand years, God will rest. How elaborate He is in getting this point across. When he says the animals will lie down and eat together without violence, He is ordaining a Rest. Similarly, Isaiah says each man will sit down in his own vineyard, which brings gladness into the idea of Rest. The joy of that Rest is captured nicely in 35:10:
"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and enter Zion, with singing and everlasting joy on their head, gladness and joy will reach them, and sorrow and sighing will flee."
The post-tribulation earth will be ushered in like a holiday, with feasting and singing to the Lord. However, just as the Bible points out the rebuilding of cities at that time, there will also be a need to restore the earth's vegetation after the global scalding of Armageddon:
"Fear not, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness grow green, for the tree bears its fruit, and the fig-tree and the vine give their strength. Then be glad, sons of Zion, and rejoice in YHWH your God...and the floors shall be full with grain, and the wine vats shall overflow with wine, and oil...you shall eat fully and be satisfied; and you shall praise the Name of YHWH your God...and it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:22-28).
What a celebration! Life in mortal bodies will certainly be good in that age. Yes, and I love this verse: "The mountains and the hills shall break out into song before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their palm" (Isaiah 55:12).
Sometimes in Isaiah there is no distinction made between one period and another, and we must rely on other Biblical information to identify and define their perimeters. At times, the first coming of Christ is mentioned alongside the second coming without textual notice of the two eras being treated simultaneously, as if the two appearances were one and the same event. This applies also to prophecies concerning nations, where ancient kingdoms might be treated alongside their end-time versions but where no special mention is made that there is a dividing gap between the two. It is left up to us to find the key words and elements which God places in the texts to define the appropriate perimeters.
In the cases that follow, the Millennium and the New Earth are treated alongside each other so that we might get the impression that they are one and the same period. And really, when I think about it, who are we to define them as two distinct periods? We separate them to make the sort of discussions exemplified in this chapter, but in God's eyes, the post-trib' Rest is the embryonic stage of the eternal New Earth, and, therefore, one entity with it? The transition from Millennium to New Earth is not like the current history under Satan being transformed into the Millennium under Christ, for that is more like an overhaul than a modification...like a hammer to a clay pot more than a clay pot to a potter's wheel. The transition into the New Earth will be profound in the re-Creation, yes, but it will be smooth on the moral ground because the final condition will be mirrored, and prepared, by the Millennium.
After God has stepped down on the Mount of Olives, he will invite all the nations to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16), and He takes this seriously enough to curse any nation which does not appear. However, in the New Earth, "There will no longer be any curse" (Revelation 22:3). Again, a distinction is made between a post-tribulation period of blessing and the New Earth, where the first develops man-made dents in the blessings.
Christ will rule with an iron hand to accomplish the transition:
"Behold! Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples [i.e. Armageddon]. But YHWH shall rise upon you [Israel], and His glory shall be seen on you. And [surviving] nations shall walk to your light, and [surviving] kings to the brilliance of your dawning. Lift up your eyes all around and see; they are all assembling, they are all coming to you. Your sons shall come from far away and your daughters shall be supported on the side. Then you shall fear and be bright; and your heart shall dread and swell. For the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you...the ships of Tarshish will be first to bring your sons from far away...I struck you in My wrath, but I pitied you in my favor. So your gates shall always be open; they shall not be shut day or night,...the kingdom that will not serve you will perish..." (Isaiah 60:1-12).
The timing of this period is definitely after the great-tribulation darkness and Wrath. Notice that there will be "day and night" in Jerusalem during the period of restoration, which places the period before the New Earth. Yet, only a few verses later as the subject flows on, the text describes the restoration in this way:
"The sun shall not still be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon give you light, but YHWH shall be your everlasting light" (Isaiah 60:19).
How can we reconcile this? In verse 11 we have "day and night" in Jerusalem, but in verse 19 there is neither sun nor moon upon Israel. Fortunately, the text makes mention of "seas" and "ships" in the period where "day and night" exist. It furthermore reveals the destruction of peoples that do not serve Israel at that time. Since, according to Revelation, there is no death in the New Earth, nor seas or ships, the earlier verses must depict the Millennial kingdom while the later verse (19) touches on the New Earth without indicating outright that it does so. This distinction would not be apparent apart from Revelation, which underscores the very purpose of Revelation: to reveal some important matters that the Old Testament leaves obscured.
In Isaiah 65, there is an apparent contradiction once again. First, in verse 17, it says "For, behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth..." Then, only two verses later:
...and the voice of weeping and the voice of crying shall no longer be heard in her. There shall not still be an infant who lives only days, or an old man that has not filled his days. For the youth shall die a son of a hundred years, but the son who dies at a hundred years is a sinner and he will be considered accursed...For like the days of the tree are the days of My people; and My chosen shall grow old to the work of their hands..." (Isa. 65:19-22).
What have we here? People dying in the New Heavens and the New Earth? This cannot be. Revelation tells us "God will be with them and will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will no longer be" (21:4).
Because the Isaiah quote tells us that there will not be weeping but that there will be death, the prophecy can only be rectified by the existence of a quasi-New-Earth condition prior to the New Earth. This is not my own idea so much as it is the interpretation forced upon us by Scripture, and it's no surprise that Revelation reveals such an intervening period.