It would not be surprising for someone to look around at the present state of things and ask the cheery Postmillennialist, “Oh, so you think things are getting better, do you?” Many things could be said in reply. But the chief response would be, “Yes, there are giants in the land. They are very big. Too big to miss.” We are with David selecting stones by faith. We are with Esther going before the king given the bad news that Haman wants to destroy us.
You can find us alongside Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, not bowing to false gods, knowing we will soon take a fire bath; the Son of God will be with us in the flames. We are with Israel in Egypt right up against the Red Sea before it moves out of the way—”And Moses said unto the people, Fear yet not, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13). Why are we cheerful, confident, and laboring in a time like this? Well, the battle belongs to the LORD and we have seen this story before.
SUMMARY OF THE TEXT
David says that the LORD said to his Lord, “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (v. 1). Jesus cites this verse when tying the Pharisees up in knots, establishing that he is David’s Lord who will soon ascend to heaven and sit down at the right hand of the LORD. He will remain there until all of his enemies are placed beneath His feet (v. 1).
Even so, while seated there, the LORD will send the rod of his strength out of Zion. He will rule on earth from heaven (v. 2). This can be accomplished because this seated Christ will have people on earth who offer themselves freely in the day of His power (v. 3). The earthly reign of Christ through His people is not something up for grabs for the LORD has sworn that Christ is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (v. 4). Kings will be struck through by Him, kings over the whole wide earth (v. 5-6). He will not break off His pursuit of the fleeing enemy. He will drink from the brook by the way and rise up to advance His reign (v. 7).
Generally speaking, there are three views of the “thousand years” John speaks of in Revelation 20:1-6. Premillennialism teaches that Christ will return to earth and then comes an unprecedented “thousand years” of blessing for the church. Amillennialism teaches that Revelation 20 speaks to the spiritual or heavenly reign of Christ now resulting in the parallel growth of good and evil. Postmillennialism teaches that the millennium is a present reality for Christians now, as Christ reigns on earth from heaven; and Christ will return at the end of the millennium once the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.
The rule and reign of Christ announced in Psalm 110 is something we are in the midst of. Kings are falling all around us. We offer ourselves freely in the day of his power. And when the conquest of Christ has reached the ends of the earth, He will stand up from His throne, and return bodily.
HEAVEN AND EARTH
How you conceive of the interplay between heaven and earth is more important than it may first appear. Christ our Head is seated in heaven and we are his body on earth. Christ is our Great High Priest in heaven, in the true tent. And we are a kingdom of priests, as was promised in the Mosaic Covenant, who announce good news on earth saying, “Be reconciled to God.”
The Amillennialist position can be charged with leaving Christ’s reign up in heaven and neglecting the kingdom of God coming on earth. When Postmillennialism goes wrong, it could begin to neglect heaven in the attempt to see the kingdom come on earth. The goal is to live in the flesh by faith. As the old phrase puts it, we must be in the world but not of the world; we must be in the world and of the heaven. Our prayer is not, “Thy kingdom come in heaven as it is on earth.” It is, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” and that prayer is addressed to our Father in heaven.
Postmillennialism highlights the need for Christians to do Christianity and not merely think it. It has a special place for blisters and callouses. One temptation we want to avoid is living in the cloud, where all of our music, documents, and text messages are stored. As Christ approached his Calvary—Tomb—Mount of Olives Exodus, He prayed to the Father saying, “Now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee” (John 17:11). He went on, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world” (John 17:15).
As John Newton was making his way to glory he said, “I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon.” That day will come for us all. But while we remain in the land of the dying, we must die well. While in this body, we use it, spend it, lose it for Christ and His kingdom.
THE MELCHIZEDEKIAN PRIEST
The only way to spend and be spent for Christ is to come to Christ. We want to fill the earth and subdue it, pressing the crown rights of King Jesus into the four corners of the earth. And the only way to get there is to look by faith to one spot, the place where the Priest offered Himself as the sacrifice.