Kingdom come the final v.., p.3
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       Kingdom Come: The Final Victory, p.3
 

         Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye

  “It worked.”

  “I know it did. And you and Rafe were happy for a time.”

  “I was so afraid this would be awkward,” Rayford said.

  “Not at all,” Irene said. “I didn’t begrudge you a good wife and companionship. I was so thrilled that you both had come to Jesus. You’re going to find that He is all that matters now.”

  “And I,” Amanda said, “am just so happy you made it through the Tribulation, Rayford.” She turned back to Irene and took her arm. “You know, your witness and character were the reasons I came to the Lord.”

  “I knew that was your testimony,” Irene said. “But I hadn’t recalled making any impression on you.”

  “I don’t think you tried. You just did.”

  Rayford had the feeling that his family would be close, affectionate friends throughout the Millennium. He didn’t understand it all yet, in fact hardly any of it. But he had to agree with Irene: Jesus was all that mattered anymore. There would be no jealousy, envy, or sin. Their greatest joy would be in serving and worshiping their Lord, who had brought them to Himself.

  THE SEVENTY-FIVE-DAY INTERVAL

  DANIEL 12:11-12 indicates a seventy-five-day interval between the glorious appearing of Christ on earth and the start of the thousand-year kingdom: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.”

  Jesus returns at the end of the “seventieth week” (Daniel 9:24-27), which is divided into halves of 1,260 days each. A careful reading of the entire chapter of Daniel 12 tells us that Christ’s return occurs at the end of the second set of 1,260 days.

  Daniel 12:11 speaks of something accomplished at the end of 1,290 days—thirty days beyond the Glorious Appearing. As the verse deals with temple sacrifices and the “abomination of desolation,” it is safe to conclude that the first thirty-day interval relates to the temple. Ezekiel 40–48 tells us that the Lord will establish a temple during the Millennium, thus the thirty days will likely be when He accomplishes that.

  Daniel 12:12 tells of those “blessed” who reach 1,335 days, which adds another forty-five days to the interval. The “blessed” are qualified to enter the thousand-year messianic kingdom.

  From this we conclude that the seventy-five-day interval is a time of preparation of the temple and for the kingdom. Because so much of the earth will have been destroyed during the judgments of the Tribulation, and because the earth will have been leveled except for the area surrounding Jerusalem, it seems logical that the Lord would renovate His creation in preparation for the kingdom.

  THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

  WHILE MOST everything our fictional heroes experienced during the Tribulation would be different after the Glorious Appearing, a few things will remain the same. As in the days before the Rapture and the Tribulation, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. But what a sun! It will be so bright that people will have to wear sunglasses any time they are outside, twenty-four hours a day. The Scriptures foretell this in Isaiah 30:26: “Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold.” It should not be beyond speculation that these orbs will be supercharged by the Shekinah glory of Christ.

  With the moon as bright as the sun is now, people will have to get used to sleeping while it is light outside.

  And everyone will speak Hebrew fluently, even if they are unaware of knowing a word of it. In Zephaniah 3:9, the Lord said, “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”

  Hardly anything else, however, will remind anyone of the past. Those who had died and been in heaven with Jesus will recount for the others stories of the spectacular marriage of the Lamb.

  Everyone will be assigned temporary housing until Jesus reconstructs the earth. Eventually they will build their own dwellings, but first they will occupy countless structures left empty by the “goat” judgment.

  During the seventy-five-day interval that precedes the thousand-year reign of Christ, Jesus will set about

  re-creating Eden on earth. As the second person of the triune Godhead, long before Jesus first came to earth in human form, He had created the entire earth in six days, merely speaking into being everything that existed.

  Between the Tribulation and the Millennium, it appears He will be content to take His time. Jesus will have as His canvas an entire globe that has been shaken flat—except Israel. Around the world, debris from the planetary earthquake will lie hundreds, sometimes thousands, of feet deep. Rock, foliage, buildings, and water will create a residue that coats the earth, leaving everything at sea level. That means, naturally, that in some places the altitude of the sea will have increased with the leveling of mountains. In others, the sea will disappear under new landmasses.

  The only place elevated will be the Holy City itself, where the Mount of Olives will have been rent in two and Jerusalem raised hundreds of feet. How appropriate that the new, holy capital of the world should stand high above all other cities and nations, more than a thousand feet high and gleaming, pristine, and ready to be redesigned and decorated for and by the Lord Jesus Himself. Every day the landscape will change as full-grown greenery appears.

  Do you ever wonder whether this thousand years that precedes the new heaven and the new earth might be boring? Yes, Jesus will be there, He whom we all have longed to see and worship in person ever since we became believers. But with only the like-minded there—at least initially—what will everyone do? Sit around and worship?

  Perhaps. But imagine euphoria that shows no sign of abating. We’ll feel full of the glory and presence of God through Jesus. In our current lives, we are aware of our sin and lowliness. But in the presence of Jesus, the contrast between us and our Savior will be even starker.

  Perhaps Jesus will not allow us to dwell on that. Every moment should be filled with joy and wonder and worship, as Jesus continually impresses upon our hearts that He died for us, arose for us, and is preparing a place for us. The Millennium will be all about Jesus, worshiping the Lamb who was slain and now lives forevermore.

  The newly developing city of Jerusalem will see its boundaries expanded to accommodate the new temple eighteen miles north of the city, near Shiloh. It will be massive. A paved causeway will lead all the way from Jerusalem to the new temple, where the courtyard alone will be larger than the Old City had been, more than a mile square. The holy neighborhood for the priests and Levites will encompass an area forty by fifty miles, more than six times the size of greater London and ten times the circumference of the original ancient, walled city.

  The reason for this immensity is that the millennial temple will be the only temple, and the entire population of the earth will make use of it at one time or another. Daily during the seventy-five-day interval will come reports of vast creations throughout the rest of the world. Entire continents will become lush and green with rich, black soil extending down hundreds of feet to seas of pure water that spring up to irrigate the land.

  As the vast new temple grows each day in the distance, so will the pristine farmlands and orchards throughout the world.

  Jesus will be ever present, physically in the city of Jerusalem, soon occupying the temple and retaking the throne of David. The nations will have been granted to Him as an inheritance, and He is to rule the world with an iron rod. People will occupy themselves planting and harvesting and building their own homes.

  During the seventy-five-day interval between the Glorious Appearing and the actual start of the millennial kingdom, every day, everywhere we look will bear the divine handiwork of Christ. Everything will be perfect, from the plants and shrubs and trees to the grasses and fields and orchards. The earth will teem with produce and animals of all kinds.

  Strangely, all of us will lose any desi
re to eat meat. Animals will no longer be our meat. Our sustenance will come from the bounty of the trees and bushes and vines and from what we ourselves harvest from the earth. God says, “Be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.

  “They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit; they shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat. For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them” (Isaiah 65:18-24).

  As for what prayer will be like in that day, the Lord says, “Before they call I will answer; and while they are still speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:25).

  You may be a stellar student or an athlete or even a bit of a techie, but you will not have to be good with your hands. You may not be a gardener let alone a farmer, and perhaps you always pay to have carpentry, wiring, or plumbing done around the house. But in that day God will plant within you the desire—and the acumen—to do all those things yourself. On the first day of the Millennium, you will exercise new muscles, new ideas. You will plant vast acres, tend massive orchards, and build houses. All the knowledge, and the desire, will be poured into you.

  You will meet for worship and praise with friends and loved ones, joined by new acquaintances of all colors and nationalities. Some will be compelled to tend animals, and not just tame ones. You will need fear no creature anymore, as “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together” (Isaiah 11:6).

  ONE

  RAYFORD STEELE had to admit that the first time he saw a bear and then a leopard moving about in public, something niggled at him to keep his distance, to not show fear, to make no sudden movements. But when he saw the bear and the cat cooperate to climb a tree and make a meal of leaves and branches, he was emboldened to trust God for the whole promise. It wasn’t just he who had become a vegetarian. It was true of all former carnivores.

  Rayford moved quietly to the trunk of the tree and watched the animals cavort and eat. And when a branch fell, he himself tasted the leaves. He enjoyed fruit and vegetables more, but he could see what the creatures found in the plants. He trusted Christ to calm him when the great leopard leaped down and nuzzled his leg the way a house cat would, purring, then sitting to rest.

  As for the bear, it ignored him and stretched out beside the big cat. Talk about a whole new world. . . .

  __

  Rayford deduced that the sun was brighter without being hotter, because Tsion Ben-Judah taught that its light was somehow enhanced by the ever-present glory of Jesus. A simple contraption out in the open allowed Rayford to concentrate the light through a magnifier and heat vegetables he and Irene and Raymie had gathered for a special feast. Irene had made butter from milk she had collected from a cow, so when everyone had assembled, they were met with steaming piles of fresh produce, drenched in butter.

  And when they had eaten their fill, they retired outside to hear Irene’s account of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

  Like everyone else, Cameron Williams was fascinated with all that had gone on and what was yet to come. Of course, as a late martyr, he had spent very little time in heaven—just long enough to reunite with his wife, Chloe, and look forward to seeing their son back on earth at the Glorious Appearing. Now he anticipated the special dinner where his mother-in-law was to tell yet another story of Jesus.

  No one called Cameron Buck now, because, he said, “there’s nothing to buck here.” And strange about Cameron and Chloe’s relationship was that they still loved each other, but not romantically. Their entire hearts’ desires were on the person of Jesus and worshiping Him for eternity. In the Millennium, they would live and labor together with Kenny and raise him, but as there would be no marrying or giving in marriage, their relationship would be wholly platonic.

  “It’s bizarre,” Chloe told Cameron. “I still love and admire and respect you and want to be near you, but it’s as if I’ve been prescribed some medicine that has cured me of any other distracting feelings.”

  “And somehow that doesn’t insult me,” Cameron said. “Does my feeling the same offend you?”

  She shook her head. Her mind, like his, must have been on Jesus and whatever He had for them for the rest of time and eternity.

  “Do you realize, Chlo’, that we still have to raise Kenny in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and see to it that he decides for Christ?”

  Only true believers and innocents had survived the Tribulation and the sheep-and-goats judgment to make it into the kingdom. “How many children of the Tribulation must there be,” Chloe said, “who still have to choose Christ over living for themselves?”

  “Children of the Tribulation,” Cameron said. “I like that.”

  “God has been impressing on me that Kenny will be only one of many children in our charge.”

  “Me too, Chloe. I find that amazing.”

  As they talked, it became clear that the Lord had shown them both that their recompense for giving their lives and—in essence—losing their son for a time because of that would be the blessing of a hundredfold more children to love. Cameron could only imagine where these children would come from, but his old mentor Tsion Ben-Judah reminded him that “a hundredfold” in the Scriptures very likely meant many more than a hundred.

  “I cannot imagine the havoc unbelievers could wreak in this new world. I hope God grants us the strength to do with them what He wants.”

  “Oh, you know He will.”

  __

  One morning Cameron was praising Jesus with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs when he noticed Kenny was not playing alone. Half a dozen other kids—all seven or under, of course, because youngsters alive at the time of the Rapture had been taken and returned as grown-ups at the Glorious Appearing—had joined him and were getting acquainted.

  In a flash it came to Cameron to call this group COT (Children of the Tribulation), and as negative as the name sounded, it didn’t grate on him. It was merely fact. Here were representative children born after the Rapture who had survived to enter the kingdom. As the thousand years progressed, of course, kids would be born who could still be called children of the Tribulation, because someone in their ancestry had to have lived through it.

  When Cameron rushed out to greet them, it was as if they knew he was coming. They immediately quit running and jumping and playing and sat in a semicircle, looking up at him expectantly.

  They’re ready. Am I?

  “I’m Cameron,” he said.

  A boy raised his hand. “So, start telling us all about Jesus. She can tell us too.”

  Cameron glanced behind him to find Chloe, who had also apparently been drawn to the kids.

  “Lord, where do I start?” Cameron prayed silently.

  “In the beginning,” Jesus told him. “Where we always start.”

  “But surely these kids know the basics.”

  “Start at your beginning. They don’t know you. They know only that they’re to listen. And be prepared. Tomorrow there will be more.”

  Cameron sat in the grass, and two youngsters immediately climbed into his lap. Others leaned against Chloe.

  “I had heard about God and Jesus all my life,” Cameron began, and he was struck by the lack of fidgeting and distraction. These kids hung on his every word. “But I never really gave faith a serious thought until seven years ago, when I found myself on an airplane bound for England i
n the middle of the night. . . .”

  TWO

  IRENE WAS overcome with joy that her family and friends and many other loved ones and acquaintances were with her. And when she began to tell the unsearchable story of the greatest wedding ceremony in the annals of the cosmos, in the theater of her mind she was transported back to heaven and the wedding itself.

  She was able to describe the very portals of the house of God, a great, cathedral-like expanse where the redeemed of the ages were arrayed in purest white, comprising all those born again between Pentecost and the Rapture, marshaling expectantly in a staging area.

  “You’d have to have been there yourself to see the limits of this seemingly endless throng. The thrill, the anticipation, were palpable as this bride of Christ readied herself to be presented to the Bridegroom.

  “God Himself officiated the ceremony and welcomed all present to the marriage of the Lamb. As Jesus appeared, bright and shining as the sun, the Father intoned, ‘Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

  “ ‘I, the King, have arranged this marriage for My Son, in whom I am well pleased. I sent out My servants to call those who were invited to the wedding, but they were not willing to come. I sent out more servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.’ ” But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized My servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. I was furious. And I sent out My armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then I said to My servants, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.” So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. He who has ears, let him hear.’ ”

 
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