Q. In your feature article entitled A Tale Of Two Brides you say, “Both Israel and the Church will have amazing, not-to-be-believed relationships with the Lord in the age to come. They will be of a different nature and in a different location, at least for the first 1000 years, but neither group will envy the other.” What do you mean by that?
I thought we would all be together, the saints who are raptured and return with Christ, the martyred saints from the tribulation period, the 144,000 sealed Jews, and those who are still alive on earth but have accepted Christ during the tribulation (Jews and Gentiles). I thought Christ would be ruling all of us from Jerusalem in peace until Satan is set free one last time.
A. In the Millennium, Israel will be located on Earth in its historic lands. It will be a theocracy, very similar in nature to Israel in the Old Testament, with a Temple, Holy Days, daily sacrifices for sin, a priesthood, and such. A descendant of King David who Ezekiel calls “the Prince” will have day to day authority under the leadership of the Lord. We know he’s not Jesus because he has sons and has to offer sacrifices for his own sins. All this is documented in detail in Ezekiel 40-48.
The Church, on the other hand, will live in the New Jerusalem. This is not just a city as we think of one, but an entity about 1/6th the size of planet Earth which makes it a little smaller than the Moon. As such it will be far too big to be located on Earth but instead will be in close proximity to it, like a satellite planet. There will be no Temple there nor will any Holy Days be observed. The church will live there as a co-regent with Jesus.
Due to what I believe is an error in interpretation, scholars in the past have assumed that the description of the New Jerusalem in Rev. 21 referred to Eternity but a careful reading shows that Rev. 20:7-15 is a parenthetical passage that jumps to the end of the Millennium in order to explain the final states of Satan and all unbelievers. Then in Rev. 21:1 John went back to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the home of the Church. We know this because the first verse is a direct quote from Isaiah 65:17 which begins a description of Israel in the millennium, and in Rev. 21:9 one of the seven angels involved in the bowl judgments takes John to see the New Jerusalem. Describing the angel this way would not have been relevant if 1000 years had passed since the Great Tribulation.
This error caused scholars to include the Church in Old Testament passages clearly meant for Israel and assume we would all share the same destiny. This is a view that can’t be supported from a literal interpretation of Scripture. God’s promise to Israel is that He would return to Earth to dwell with them here (Ezekiel 43:7). His promise to the Church is that He would come to take us to Heaven and we would dwell with Him there (John 14:2-3). Both these promises come true in the Millennium.