Pastors Report - 11 Sep 2020
The Millennial Way

The Millennial Way ...

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight ... " (Isaiah 42:16)

Judah First:

It seems almost certain – from what God inspired Zechariah to prophesy – that the conversion of the world during the Millennium, will be undertaken in a series of preordained stages, starting initially with the tribe of Judah:

  • The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him ...
  • The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah ...
  • And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zechariah 12:1,7,10)

When God does something, it's for a reason ... so why Judah first?

When we look at the world today – and specifically at the "christian" religions of this world – we see a myriad of humanly-devised, satanically-inspired ideas that are so often far removed from the Word of God. They seem to go out of their way to denigrate God's Law and promote the idea that Christ came to destroy the Law and all that went before Him. But this is far, far from the truth. The exception to this – though just as confused with spiritual blindness – is the religion that is found within Judaism today. The apostle Paul sums up the basic problem with Judaism in Romans chapter 10, when he says:

  • Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
  • For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
  • For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:1-3)

So by working with Judah first, God is showing the world that although His law is vital, mere human standards of righteousness won't "cut it". There is much, much more that is needed to bring Utopia to this war-torn earth.

Son of a Pharisee:

This basic problem within the Jewish religion was something that Paul himself had to recognise at the point of his own conversion. When he was brought before the Council in Jerusalem, he declared "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee." (Acts 23:6) But he was no run-of-the-mill Pharisee. As a student of Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel (Acts 22:3) he studied under the one individual who is probably regarded as the greatest teacher of The Law in all the annals of Judaism. Concerning him the Mishnah says: “When Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, the glory of the Law ceased and purity and abstinence died." (Sotah 9:15) . Paul was therefore able to say of himself with complete honesty:

  • If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
  • Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
  • Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3:4-6)

But once converted his entire view changed. This is why he goes on to declare ...

  • But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
  • Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
  • And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:7-9)
God's Righteousness:

The standard of righteousness God requires is not mere human list-ticking goodness, but the kind of righteousness required by an embryonic God Being! And this is the standard that will be taught to the whole of humanity throughout the Millennium, in order to bring about Utopia.

To develop the quality and degree of character to properly match the "glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3: 21) takes a lifetime. It's what God – the Master Potter – is creating in us now and plans to create in humanity as a whole, eventually. As we were told time and time again by Mr. Armstrong "Brethren, you are not getting it!", and what we weren't getting is the DEGREE OF CHANGE. Nothing we can do physically – on our own – will ever be good enough. This is why Paul says, "Not as though I ... were already perfect: but I follow after" (Philippians 3:12) Christ Himself says: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) And He says this in the context of emphasising the gulf between mere human, Pharisaic goodness and the divine character God must build within each of His Sons:

  • Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to [fill to the brim]
  • For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be [completed].
  • Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
  • For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)
Law Is Spiritual:

The apostle Paul — as a Pharisee — was utterly meticulous in his commandment keeping. This is why he was able to say, "touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Philippians 3:6) . But a major problem was that he'd failed to grasp the profound, all-embracing spiritual meaning found in commandment number 10, "thou shalt not covet", and so ended up keeping little more than a conglomeration of meaningless humanly devised do's and don'ts (Matthew 15:9). It was only when his eyes were eventually opened — after being physically blind for 3 days — that he saw the insanity of it all, and how worthless it really was. And the moment his mind was given that spiritual sight, he began to see for the first time the profound nature of the Law of God and commandment number 10 in particular:

  • What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
  • But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
  • Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. (Romans 7:7-9 NIV)

This is because God's Law is spiritual (verse 14) and the carnal mind is presently unable to get to grips with this foundational fact. (I Corinthians 2:11-14) And this key aspect is something that will be fully appreciated within the Millennium. No amount of banning C02 emissions and single-use plastic will solve the world's climate and pollution problems. Neither will banning demonstrations, or changing gun laws bring peace and safety to the earth. It is ONLY the conversion of the human heart – through the very spirit of God that will change this world, blinded as it now is.

  • The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
  • Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
  • We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. (Isaiah 59:8-10)
Written in the Heart:

The law will indeed go forth from Zion (Isaiah 2:1-3) to form the foundation of the new society in the coming Millennium. But it won't be a "tick box" approach to the Ten Commandments. As Mr. Armstrong put it:

... He [Christ] was born to be a king – in a government! And a government is ruled by a law – by a basic constitution. And that law in the government of God, in the kingdom of God is the way, the spiritual way, of give. And that is God’s law. And that’s what the first Adam rejected – was that government of God – which is that way of life, which is give. You can call it the Ten Commandments if you want to; you can call it the one word, love; you can call it the two great commandments: you shall love the Lord thy God and thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 22:36-39). It’s the same law; it’s the way of out flowing love, not incoming lust, not incoming covetousness! And not toward other people a matter of jealousy, not a matter of envy, not a matter of trying to compete with others and take away from others and to get from others. That is the way the world has been living. ( The Two Ways part 1)

The principle that Paul discovered within the tenth commandment does not end there by any means. It merely forms the springboard to correctly view all of the other nine! The instruction against covetousness is something unique within the ten phrases of Exodus 20 as it is something that takes place exclusively within the heart and mind. But the same is spiritually valid for every one of the other commands, as in reality that is where each one begins to be broken. So the only rational and effective way of keeping God's spiritual Law, is to first convert (change) the heart — to one continually led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14) — something only God can do, and even then, only with our full cooperation. This has to happen with us now, and this will be true of all who become converted within the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ.

As teachers of "the Millennial Way", we'll no doubt personally experience the prophecy of Isaiah: "If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: This is the way; walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21 CEB). In the past some may have understood this particular verse to mean they can have a dictatorial, heavy-handed, 'no nonsense tolerated' approach to those we will be teaching. But this doesn't fit in with the previous verses:

  • Nonetheless, the LORD is waiting to be merciful to you, and will rise up to show you compassion. The LORD is a God of justice; happy are all who wait for him.
  • People in Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. God will certainly be merciful to you. Hearing the sound of your outcry, God will answer you.
  • Though the Lord gives you the bread of distress and the water of oppression, your teacher will no longer hide, but you will see your teacher. (Isaiah 30:18-20 CEB)

'This is the way, walk in it' – the Millennial Way – is God's way of life. The teaching according to the new covenant. It will be guidance, more than jumping on someone as soon as they are one step out of line. Not a spying or sneaking up on people, just waiting for them to put a foot wrong, but rather illuminating as to the breadth of applying God's spiritual law ... the way of Give.

This much bigger picture is the spiritual intent of God's Law that the prophecy: "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts" is talking about. This is the new covenant – the spiritual agreement – that will at last be open to Israel and all mankind at the return of Jesus Christ

  • But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  • And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Murder:

If there is one subject that is never far from our daily newsfeeds it's war, revolutions, violent demonstrations, and often just casual, unprovoked murder, racial or otherwise. These are the end results of a mindset, and one that Christ deals with in great detail in the Beatitudes. Here in Matthew 5 He is illustrating the difference between a carnal and a spiritual approach to God's Law. He is teaching that the only way to truly keep the entire spiritual law — the law of love, codified in the Ten Commandments and further expanded throughout the Torah — is to administer them not merely according to their letter but according to the spirit — or principal, or obvious intent, of the law (II Corinthians 3:6), which is love towards both God and fellow man (Matthew 22:36-40).

For example: right after pointing out: "That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (verse 20) He deals with how to correctly and wisely apply the commandment: "Thou shalt not kill"

  • Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
  • But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21-22)

Understand that this passage is not condemning someone merely for using the word "fool" or Christ Himself is guilty! (Matthew 23:17). What is being dealt with is the same kind of spiritual grievous bodily harm that leads to murder (verse 21). It is dealing with a mental approach that attempts to destroy the person with hatred. It is not merely pointing out that someone is acting like a fool — but cursing them as a fool; attempting to drag them down and even eliminate them in the process. This would also cover the desire to ruin someone's reputation through slander. It is coveting to murder in some shape or form, which is an irrational position when we stop and consider that the final destination God desires for ALL mankind is an eternity of loving fellowship together in the Kingdom of God.

Adultery:

What an incredible difference there would be – and will be – in the lives of millions of children, if they were brought up in a loving, stable home! But in today's amoral society, adultery as a sin is dismissed as an archaic idea that is totally unworkable. But the law against covetousness ['to desire wrongfully, inordinately or without due regard for the rights of others'] specifically deals with the fact that: " thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife" — but why? What are we doing when we allow our minds to dwell in a wrong way on another person's spouse? Christ deals with the problem head on:

  • Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
  • But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

The reality is that adultery does not begin with the act, it begins in the heart and mind — and it is there that the battle is to be waged and won if we are ever to be successful in keeping God's Law perfectly (II Corinthians 10:5). Jesus then goes on to graphically illustrate that sometimes drastic mental — and physical — action is needed in this area! Joseph would not allow himself to even be around Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39:10) and Paul commands we "flee fornication" (I Corinthians 6:18)

  • And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
  • And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)

But the key point we'll be teaching is that it's a spiritual problem and the place to avoid adultery/fornication is in the mind and heart. Any other approach is insanity. It is deluding ourselves, it is playing with fire, it doesn't work and leads to divorce, murder, abortions and misery for all concerned.

Lying:

Can you imagine a world where people deal with one another in a completely honest and above-board manner? Whether it's in politics, or buying a used car or just in our personal relationships. That clearly would be a true Utopia. The ninth commandment tells us "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (Exodus 20:16) When we lie, we do so with our words — a physical act. But the source is anything but physical, "for of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34). When we lie, or merely "shade the truth", it's coming from a get attitude inside of us ... whether it's to get votes, get power, get money, prestige or admiration ... or get out of trouble.

The people we'll initially be dealing with will have spent their entire lives in a world that has been blasted with Satan's deceitful broadcast – the father of lies! No Utopia can possibly exist unless the heart of man has changed and lying becomes abhorrent. It won't be enough to teach our villagers or townsfolk just to keep their mouths shut if tempted to lie or shade the truth – we need to help them change from the inside out. As Paul brings out in Ephesians you have to turn around and go in the opposite direction, the way of give – coming from the converted heart:

Verse 25 is the key – understanding we are members of the one body and should be watching out for one another, rather than taking the advantage.

Being Content:

When most of us who are in the church think of the Millennium we do so in the context of scriptures such as the ploughman overtaking the reaper (Amos 9:13) and the physical opulence there will be for all mankind. For this, the time of Solomon is often pointed to as a precedent – a time when the entire world will be at peace and productive effort will produce unmatched plenty for all. But will such a world automatically produce happiness? Not necessarily! At the end of his life – and looking back on the sheer bounty and richness of his reign – Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, and seven times he declared bitterly that it was nothing more than "vanity and vexation of spirit". Obviously such a negative reaction cannot produce a truly Utopian world, the kind of world that the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ is destined to become. Mere abundance is not sufficient. What is needed is true contentment.

In today's grasping dog-eat-dog society mankind is anything but content – regardless of how wealthy he or she happens to be. What we are looking at is the attitude behind theft and once again Paul, in Ephesians 4, gives the solution to it. It's very much a change of heart that is required, from one that is focused purely on getting wealth for the self, to productive work in order to give:

  • Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 4:28)

The insatiability and covetousness with which we are all plagued can only be addressed by allowing the Creating God to convert us throughout our lives ... to change us, step by step, from our current frail human clay into His greatest creation of all time — a Spirit Born Son in His Family and Kingdom for all eternity. It is through this process, and only through this process, that we will be truly content with what we have, and more importantly, with what we are destined to become. That is the Millennial Way ... the Mind of God working in and through humanity, and as Mr. Armstrong brings out:

"But in the last days [and we’re right in those last days now, in the last days] it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains [that is the nation of God will be established over all of the nations because it’ll rule over all nations] and it shall be exalted above the hills; and many nations will flow unto it. Many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the [nation, it is, or] mountain of the [Eternal], and to the house of the God of Jacob; and HE WILL TEACH US HIS WAYS! [It’s a matter of a way of life. And He will teach us that way of life – the way of give.] And we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion [that’s the law – it is a spiritual law – the way of outflowing love, go forth of Zion,] and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge amongst many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off [a world-ruling government] and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:1-3) ( The Two Ways Part 1)