DISCRIMINATION:

Discrimination is itself the neutral act of perceiving differences. A music aficionado, for example, who recognizes the influence of Chopin in the études of Debussy may be said to have a “discriminating ear”; that is, the music lover is a person of refined perception. In most contexts, however, discrimination is a negative term referring to the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people, and this is the sense we will assign the word in this article. Discrimination can be based on disabilities, race, ethnicity, intelligence, or any number of factors that make human beings different.

Discrimination is not the same as discernment. Discernment is proper discrimination based on truth and fact. For example, discernment may not choose to hire someone because he showed up fifteen minutes late for an interview reeking of alcohol. Discernment rightly assesses that person as an unsuitable candidate for a responsible job. Discrimination, on the other hand, may choose to not hire someone simply because he is of a different race or did not wear expensive clothing to the interview. Discrimination wrongly judges a person based only on external factors or personal preference.

One of the first problems that arose in the early church was due to discrimination: “But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food” (Acts 6:1, NLT). The Jerusalem church was multi-ethnic, and some racial prejudice crept into their practices and caused trouble. This squabble pulled the apostles away from teaching and preaching, so the church elected the first deacons to deal with the problem and make sure no one was being discriminated against (Acts 6:2–3).

Discrimination was also a problem for the first Jewish believers in Jesus. Because God’s Messiah had come through the line of David and to the Jews first (Romans 1:16), they assumed He was their Messiah only. Disagreement arose then as Gentiles were added to the church. Some Jewish leaders wanted to know how “Jewish” the Gentile believers must become (Acts 14:2715:5). Many Jews could not believe that mere faith in their Messiah was enough to justify Gentiles as it had them. Surely the Gentiles should have to do something “Jewish,” such as observe the Sabbath or be circumcised, to be saved (see Acts 15:1 and Galatians 5:1–12). This clash of cultures, with its theological implications, necessitated the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:2–35). The modern church often wrestles with similar problems. Christians can discriminate against certain people groups or lifestyles, unsure if the same faith that saved us is enough to save “those people,” too (Ephesians 2:8–9).

No human being is fully free of prejudice or discrimination. It’s part of our selfish nature to prefer those of our own kind, whatever that represents to us. Races tend to congregate in their own neighborhoods and churches, preferring their way of doing things to that of other races or nationalities. Preferences are fine as long as they don’t turn into legalistic discrimination against believers who differ on non-essential aspects of faith. Without realizing it, we can all be guilty of discrimination. Legalists discriminate against those they judge as rebels, while rebels discriminate against traditionalists. The goal should be to disagree without discriminating.

We can overcome our tendency toward discrimination by modeling Jesus’ attitude of humble service (Matthew 20:28). He washed the feet of Judas, knowing that Judas was traitor (John 13:27). He ministered in Gentile regions and in Samaria (Mark 7:2431John 4:4). Rather than incite discrimination between “us and them,” Jesus’ coming to earth broke down the barriers that separated people: “He himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). We can practice the instruction of Philippians 2:3, which says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

God has made all who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior one. Jews and Greeks, rich and poor, every nation, and every ethnicity—Jesus has formed His church from all groups (Galatians 3:28Revelation 5:9). There should be no discrimination within the Body of Christ because there is no discrimination with God (Acts 10:34).

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHY IS GOD GOING TO RELEASE SATAN AFTER THE 1000 YEARS?

Revelation 20:7-10, “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

As we read these verses, we wonder, “Why will God release Satan at the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ?” First, we must admit that there are some biblical questions which we cannot answer this side of glory because God has chosen to reserve some mysteries to Himself (Deuteronomy 29:29, Romans 11:33-36). Yet, as believers, even if we cannot always understand something about God’s Word, His will, or His ways, we can be sure that He remains ever faithful, true, and trustworthy, and in light of that our job remains to obey what we do understand as quickly, fully, and well as we are able. Even if we might not be able to answer why God releases Satan, we can suggest some possible reasons and motivations, based on an understanding of the entirety of the Word of God.

At the beginning of the Millennium, only believers will be alive (Revelation 19:17-21), some who live through the Tribulation Period, and some who come back with the Lord at His second coming. It will be a time of peace unparalleled in history (Isaiah 2:4; Joel 3:10; Micah 4:3). Jesus will be ruling on the throne of David, imposing a benevolent theocracy on all of His creation. Jesus will ensure that everyone has every need fulfilled, while not tolerating the sin so prevalent in today’s society (Psalm 2:7-12; Revelation 2:26-29; 12:5; 19:11-16). We can only imagine such a time of “heaven on earth.”

The believers who live through the Tribulation will be mortal. They will live and repopulate the earth during the Millennial Kingdom. Without the devastation of sin taking its toll, we can imagine the population increase during the Millennium will be enormous, almost incomprehensible. All those who are born during the Millennium will enjoy the benefits and blessings of Christ’s reign on the earth, but they will still be born with a sin nature, and they will still have to freely repent and believe the Gospel, personally choosing Christ as Savior and Lord.

Yet, at the end of the Millennial Reign, Satan is loosed and is able to deceive a vast multitude to follow him in one final rebellion against the Lord of glory and His saints! It seems that the further humanity gets from the end of the Tribulation and the start of the Millennium, the more they will “take for granted” how good they have it, and some may even harbor doubts about the goodness of God. Even though the number who rebel with Satan are said to be “as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7), they may still be a minority compared to the number who do not rebel. It will still be a large number of souls who join Satan. Undoubtedly, one of the primary reasons God gives us this picture of what will happen in time is to demonstrate the deep-seated sin nature inherent in all of humanity (Jeremiah 17:9).

Additionally, God is trying to tell us something about His nature as displayed during the Millennium. His grace and goodness will be on display continually. But at the end of the 1,000 years, He will have zero tolerance for rebellion. When it happens, He will show no mercy and offer no “second chances.” At that time He will be quick to judge, and the final rebellion of Satan and sinful man will be over in a flash of fire. After this, the final judgment of the dead takes place (the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:11-15). Eternity can thus begin with every aspect of sin gone for all time.

Finally, God is trying to reinforce some very important lessons concerning Satan himself, especially for believers. First, that he has been and always will be the enemy of humanity. As God has fixed His love on us, Satan has for us a special hatred. Ever since Satan’s fall (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28), he has been the adversary of believers, and he is aptly described as the ultimate deceiver of mankind (John 8:44; 1 John 2:22). All he can give or promise man is death and destruction (John 10:10a). Satan is also shown here to be a truly defeated foe, and his ultimate doom is certain, along with the doom of all who follow him. God is trying to remind us that Satan is a created being who is powerless before Him (2 Corinthians 12:7). All this should encourage believers today to take God at His Word concerning our position in Christ with respect to the devil (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1-7; James 4:6-8; 1 John 2:15-29; 1 John 4:1-3), especially as we remember this grand truth: “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHO WILL OCCUPY THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM?

There will be two distinct groups occupying the Earth during the millennial kingdom—those with glorified bodies, and those with earthly bodies who lived through the tribulation and on into the millennial kingdom. Those with glorified bodies consist of the Church, receiving glorified bodies at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 51-53), and those who are resurrected after Christ returns to Earth (Revelation 20:4-6). Those who have earthly bodies can be subdivided into two groups: believing Gentiles and believing Jews (Israel).

In Revelation 19:11-16, we find the return of Jesus Christ to Earth, known as His second coming. The rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53) is an appearing of Christ in the air, not His second coming. I mention this to make a distinction between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. There is no mention in Revelation 19-20 of any kind of rapture event. The implication is that saints who are on Earth when Christ returns will remain on Earth to enter the millennial kingdom in their natural bodies. If the rapture or any kind of event where a living believer receives a glorified body were included in the second coming of Christ to Earth, one would expect to find reference to such a major event in Revelation 19. But no such reference is to be found. The only event that results in believers receiving glorified bodies is found in Revelation 20:4-6 where those who became believers during the Tribulation and were killed because of their faith are resurrected. It is also believed that at this same time Old Testament saints will be resurrected, also receiving glorified bodies (see Daniel 12:2).

Matthew 25:31-46 is another passage that should be considered. This passage is commonly called the separation or judgment of the sheep and the goats. The sheep and goats refer to righteous and unrighteous Gentiles. Christ will judge the unrighteous Gentiles (goats), and they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). Therefore, no unbelieving Gentile will survive to live on into the millennial kingdom. The righteous Gentiles, or sheep, will live on into the millennial kingdom. They will give birth to children and will populate the Earth. However, these are not the only ones who will be producing children during the millennial kingdom.

The impression is given that when Christ returns, all Israel will trust in Him (Zechariah 12:10). They, too, will not receive glorified bodies (as did those who were raptured prior to the tribulation and those resurrected afterward). They also will produce children during the millennial kingdom.

So, believing Gentiles, Israel, and resurrected/raptured believers (all of whom have glorified bodies) will occupy the Earth. It should be noted, however, that believers with glorified bodies will not be reproducing. There is no marriage after this life (Matthew 22:30).

Children born during the millennial kingdom will have the responsibility of faith in Christ as all people of past ages have (faith in Christ since His coming; faith in God before—Genesis 15:2-6; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 3:20). Unfortunately, not all of the children that are born during the millennial kingdom will come to faith in Christ. Those that do not will be led away by Satan into rebellion against God at the end of the millennial kingdom when Satan is let loose for a short time (Revelation 20:7-10).

For a further look at this subject (who will live into the millennial kingdom), look also at the following passages: Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 14:8-21; Ezekiel 34:17-24; Daniel 7:13-14; Micah 4:1-5.

Prophet Nathan Emol

PURPOSE OF 1000 YEARS REIGN OF CHRIST:

The Millennium (also known as the Millennial Kingdom) is the 1,000-year reign of Jesus after the Tribulation and before all the people of the world are sent to either heaven or hell. Jesus will reign as king over Israel as well as all the nations of the world (Isaiah 2:4; 42:1). The world will live in peace (Isaiah 11:6–9; 32:18), Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:1–3), and, at the beginning, everyone will worship God (Isaiah 2:2–3). The purpose of the 1,000-year reign is to fulfill promises God made to the world that cannot be fulfilled while Satan is free and humans have political authority. Some of these promises, called covenants, were given specifically to Israel. Others were given to Jesus, the nations of the world, and creation. All of these will be fulfilled during Jesus’ 1,000-year reign.

The Palestinian Covenant, also called the Land Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10)
God has already fulfilled the personal aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant; Abraham did go to the Promised Land, he did have many descendants, and he is the forefather of many nations. Several hundred years after Abraham, Joshua led the Israelites to claim ownership of the Promised Land. But Israel has never possessed the specific boundaries that God promised in Genesis 15:18–20 and Numbers 34:1-12. Not even Solomon ruled over this particular area (1 Kings 4:21–24). Although he did reign from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates, he did not hold the area from Mount Hor to Hazarenan (Numbers 34:7–9)—into present-day Lebanon and Syria. In addition, the covenant God made with Abraham was that he and his descendants would have the land forever (Genesis 13:15; 17:8; Ezekiel 16:60). The current Israeli state may be a step in this direction, but they still do not possess the boundaries God laid out.

The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7)
God’s covenant with David was that his line would never die out and that David’s heir would sit on the throne of Israel forever (2 Samuel 7:16). Biblical scholars agree that Jesus is the fulfillment of this covenant—one of the reasons His genealogy is given for both His adoptive father (Matthew 1:1–17) and His mother (Luke 3:23–38). The Jews understood this when they laid down palm branches and their cloaks as Jesus rode into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1–17). They expected Him to be a military/political leader that would liberate them from the Romans and make Israel a great nation again. But they didn’t understand the nature of Jesus’ work at the time was for the New Covenant, not the Davidic Covenant. The 1,000-year reign will be the beginning of Jesus’ reign over Israel and the earth (Revelation 20:4, 6).

The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
The work of the New Covenant—Jesus’ death and resurrection to reconcile hearts to God—has been accomplished. But we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment. Jeremiah 31:33 says, “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Ezekiel 36:28 gives more specifics: “You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Isaiah 59:20–21 explains that this covenant is possible because of the Redeemer, and the reconciliation He provides will last forever. This covenant does not mean that every Jew will be saved. But it does mean that Israel as a nation will worship their Messiah. The Old Testament prophets who spoke of this covenant, including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel, all wrote that it will be fulfilled in the future. From their time on, Israel has yet to be an independent nation that worshiped its Messiah (Romans 9—11). They will be in the 1,000-year reign of Christ.

Other Promises
Those are the covenants God made with Israel that are to be fulfilled in Jesus’ 1,000-year reign, but the Bible lists other promises that will be fulfilled, too. God promised Jesus He will make His enemies a footstool, and that Jesus’ followers will worship Him freely (Psalm 100). God promised the nations of the world that they would live in peace with Jesus as their ruler (Daniel 7:11–14). And He promised creation that the curse would be lifted (Romans 8:18–23), animals and the earth would be restored to peace and prosperity (Isaiah 11:6–9; 32:13–15), and people would be freed from disease (Ezekiel 34:16). These, too, will be fulfilled during the 1,000-year reign.

The main purpose of Jesus’ 1,000-year reign is to fulfill the prophecies given to Israel and the promises made to Jesus, the nations, and the whole earth. God’s covenants were voluntary and one-sided. He promised He would bless Israel and restore the world in specific ways, and He will.

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHEN IS RAPTURE GOING TO OCCUR IN RELATION TO TRIBULATION?

The timing of the rapture in relation to the tribulation is one of the most controversial issues in the church today. The three primary views are pre-tribulational (the rapture occurs before the tribulation), mid-tribulational (the rapture occurs at or near the mid-point of the tribulation), and post-tribulational (the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation). A fourth view, commonly known as pre-wrath, is a slight modification of the mid-tribulational position.

First, it is important to recognize the purpose of the tribulation. According to Daniel 9:27, there is a seventieth “seven” (seven years) that is still yet to come. Daniel’s entire prophecy of the seventy sevens (Daniel 9:20-27) is speaking of the nation of Israel. It is a time period in which God focuses His attention especially on Israel. The seventieth seven, the tribulation, must also be a time when God deals specifically with Israel. While this does not necessarily indicate that the church could not also be present, it does bring into question why the church would need to be on the earth during that time.

The primary Scripture passage on the rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. It states that all living believers, along with all believers who have died, will meet the Lord Jesus in the air and will be with Him forever. The rapture is God’s removing of His people from the earth. A few verses later, in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The book of Revelation, which deals primarily with the time period of the tribulation, is a prophetic message of how God will pour out His wrath upon the earth during the tribulation. It seems inconsistent for God to promise believers that they will not suffer wrath and then leave them on the earth to suffer through the wrath of the tribulation. The fact that God promises to deliver Christians from wrath shortly after promising to remove His people from the earth seems to link those two events together.

Another crucial passage on the timing of the rapture is Revelation 3:10, in which Christ promises to deliver believers from the “hour of trial” that is going to come upon the earth. This could mean two things. Either Christ will protect believers in the midst of the trials, or He will deliver believers out of the trials. Both are valid meanings of the Greek word translated “from.” However, it is important to recognize what believers are promised to be kept from. It is not just the trial, but the “hour” of trial. Christ is promising to keep believers from the very time period that contains the trials, namely the tribulation. The purpose of the tribulation, the purpose of the rapture, the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 5:9, and the interpretation of Revelation 3:10 all give clear support to the pre-tribulational position. If the Bible is interpreted literally and consistently, the pre-tribulational position is the most biblically-based interpretation.

Prophet Nathan Emol