Happy New Year to all my readers !
As a new year starts it is fitting that we consider prophecy, one of the most misunderstood topics in the Bible.
Today we are considering Isaiah 61: 5 – 6, “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord ; men shall call you the Ministers of our God; ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.”
This passage is a real problem for those who do not believe in a future Millennium or for those who believe that we are currently in the Millennium at this time.
The passage clearly delineates between Israel and Gentiles….. those who do not believe in a future earthly millennial reign of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem also believe that (1) the church has replaced the nation of Israel and (2) all passages that speak to future events of universal peace and knowledge of God are fulfilled in the ‘eternal state’ (these tenets are basic to the Amillennialist interpretation).
The reason why this passage is such a problem for Amillennialists is that (1) it has never been fulfilled and (2) it cannot possibly refer to the ‘eternal state’.
In the eternal state EVERYBODY is on an equal plane…. all ‘saved’.. all ‘sanctified’…. all ‘holy’….. the sinners, the heathen, the God haters have all been removed from the scene…. but this passage makes a distinction between Israel and Gentiles (or Christians and non-Christians for those who believe that Christians are ‘Israel’) so this passage CANNOT be fulfilled in the ‘eternal state’.
The only other possible options are:
(1) The passage refers to a future time on this present World (the ‘premil’ viewpoint)
(2) The passage has been abrogated and the prophecy will never be fulfilled…. it was a Jewish blessing that has been forfeited (however if you choose to take that view I will be able to bring some other scripture your way which IRREFUTABLY shows that the nation of Israel has NOT been ‘swallowed up’ by the church and in the future the nation will accept their Messiah (a time of national repentance)…. in any case the context in which the passage occurs gives NO support to the idea that this passage has been forfeited because of sin but rather supports the idea that inspite of their great sin, God has taken them back and forgiven them and healed them…. the book of Isaiah both predicts judgement on sin and comforts the contrite with promises of forgiveness, cleansing and national restoration.
(3) The prophecy has already been fulfilled (for those who take to that idea I have many other passages in the same Isaiah that show the impossibility of such a notion…. passages that have never, ever been fulfilled on this earth and cannot possibly fit with the ‘eternal state’
People need to understand that the idea of a Millennial Kingdom of Christ upon this Earth….. is NOT ‘some made up story by heretics’….. it is written there in the scripture in such plain English and in so many of the Prophets that one has to ‘make up creative stories’ to get around the reality of it.