THE SEVEN MILLENNIAL DAYS OF HUMAN HISTORY
The Third Millennial Day
On the third day of creation God caused the dry land, the earth, to appear. On the Third Millennial Day God promised all the land of the earth to a man named Abraham and to his descendants.
In this crucial phase of His Plan, God laid the foundation for the kingdom of God to be established upon the earth (Daniel 2:44). God caused Abraham's family to expand greatly into a mighty nation, and He brought them to the Promised Land. He revealed to them the laws by which all nations shall be governed in the World Tomorrow (Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Isaiah 2:2-4; Malachi 4:4; Hebrews 2:5). The kingdom of Israel was the prototype of the kingdom of God.
The Third Day -- Land
The Third Millennial Day is the story of Israel and the Promised Land, the initial fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham (Joshua 21:43-45; Psalm 105:6-11). The Promised Land was a land "flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8, 17):
"For the land which you go to possess . . . is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year."
At the climax of the story, God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery by parting the waters of the Red Sea and causing His people to walk through the midst of the sea on dry ground, as they started their journey to the Promised Land. Forty years later, God restrained the waters of the Jordan River to enable them to walk on dry ground again, as they entered the Promised Land. These miracles were foreshadowed by God's act of parting the waters and causing the dry land to appear on the third day of the Genesis creation. The glorious land which God brought forth on the third day, teeming with vegetation, pictured the bounteous land promised to Abraham and his descendants on the Third Millennial Day:
"Then God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear'; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
"Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth'; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day."
God Promised Abraham Land -- the Whole Earth
The first two thousand years of human history are contained in just a few opening chapters of the Bible. However, an intricate story begins in the twelfth chapter of Genesis which the Bible covers in great detail. The Third Millennial Day is part of that tremendous story. We have space for only a brief summary of the highlights here:
After the flood, the earth was divided into nations according to the three sons of Noah -- Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Genesis 10). Noah blessed the descendants of Shem and Japheth but not the descendants of Ham (Genesis 9:18-27). Ham was the father of Canaan (verses 18, 22); Canaan was cursed (verses 25-27). Ham "saw the nakedness of his father" but Shem and Japheth "did not see their father's nakedness" (verses 22-23). One third of the earth's population was placed under a curse. These things happened on the Second Millennial Day.
Curses occur when human beings yield to sin, depravity and immorality -- behavior contrary to the will of God (Genesis 19; Leviticus 18; Romans 1:24-32; 8:5-9; Galatians 5:19-23). Blessings occur when people turn away from their iniquities, seeking a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:30-32; 33:11-19; Acts 3:25-26; 26:18; Galatians 3:14, 29; Ephesians 2:1-5). In the World Tomorrow God will pour out His Spirit on all human beings -- all nations (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:16-18). That is when God's promises to Abraham will be ultimately fulfilled; when all nations shall be blessed (Genesis 12:3, see also Deuteronomy 28; 30:1-10). The Seventh Millennial Day
Meanwhile, the Canaanites were destined to become servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth, scattered throughout the earth (Genesis 9:25-27; 10:18). Under the leadership of Nimrod, Ham's descendants defied the curse placed upon them and attempted to build the city and tower of Babel, "lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4; 10:8-10). God thwarted their plans and confused the languages of all nations in order to prevent evil from spreading very rapidly throughout the earth (Genesis 11:5-9; 10:25).
God began a program which would, in time, cleanse the earth of curses and cause all nations to become blessed -- through Abraham (originally named Abram) and His descendant, Jesus Christ, the Messiah (Genesis 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Acts 3:25-26; Galatians 3:8, 14, 16).
"Now the Lord had said to Abram:
" 'Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father's house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' "
Abraham was descended from Shem (Genesis 11:10-26) and lived originally in the land allotted to Shem's descendants. But God sent him to live in the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:5, 7).
Abraham obeyed God's instructions faithfully, leaving his homeland and becoming a "stranger in a foreign land" (Hebrews 11:8-10). He trusted God implicitly to fulfill His promises (Romans 4:16-22). He died in faith, not receiving God's promises during his lifetime fully; seeing only the beginning phases of them unfold (Genesis 15:12-16; John 8:56; Hebrews 11:13). As mentioned above, all of God's promises to Abraham will be fulfilled completely in the World Tomorrow (Hebrews 2:5; 13:14; Ezekiel 47:13-14; 48:35; Micah 7:20). Abraham and his descendants will be rewarded at the second coming of Christ (Luke 13:28; 14:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; I Thessalonians 4:15-17; Acts 1:6-7; 3:21; 24:14-15; 26:6-8). Doctrine Three
Chapters twelve through twenty-five of of Genesis describe the trials and tests which Abraham faced during his lifetime, and contain many of the promises which are "an anchor of the soul" to all believers (Hebrews 2:5; 4:1-11; 6:12-19; 11:10, 16; 12:22; 13:14):
"Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are -- northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever."
"I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you." [Speaking of 1) the nations which will exist in the World Tomorrow, and 2) the resurrected saints who will assist Jesus Christ in governing those nations.] "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
"Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Abraham was promised much more than the land of Canaan. He was promised the whole world -- the entire earth. The apostle Paul stated,
"For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law," [this will be explained shortly] "but through the righteousness of faith." [Notice the expression, "heir of the world."]
The Promises Unfold
Abraham lived at the beginning of the Third Millennial Day. The first seven books of the Bible describe the unfolding of God's promises to Abraham:
The book of Genesis relates the story of Abraham and Sarah, who had a son in their old age named Isaac, through whom God's promises would be fulfilled (Romans 9:7-9). Isaac, in turn, had a son named Jacob whom God renamed Israel, meaning "man of God." This grandson of Abraham became the father of twelve sons who were progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. Of these, the promise of chief rulership was given to Judah, while the blessing of supreme national wealth was bestowed upon Joseph (Genesis 48-49; I Chronicles 5:2; 28:4-5; Hebrews 11:21).
The book of Exodus picks up the story with the birth of Moses, who was commissioned by God to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery and to the Promised Land. God revealed to Israel His foundational law, the Ten Commandments, with the statutes and judgments (Exodus 20; Malachi 4:4), bound His relationship with Israel through a marriage covenant (Exodus 24; Jeremiah 3:14; 31:32; Hosea 2:19-20) and gave Moses plans from which to build a tabernacle so God could dwell in the midst of His people (Leviticus 26:11-12). God wrote the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone with His own hand, and they were placed inside the ark of the covenant within the most holy place of the tabernacle. The Ten Commandments are the very heart of the agreement between God and His people in both the Old and New covenants (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13; Jeremiah 31:31-34).
The book of Leviticus contains many laws and rituals which were to be in effect in the Promised Land -- some of which have been discontinued while others remain today (II Corinthians 3:11; Hebrews 10:9). It is important to understand the difference. Chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the book of Hebrews explain that there were two kinds of laws given in the Old Testament: 1) those which are to be written on our hearts and in our minds today (8:10; 10:16) and 2) those which were temporary and have been changed in the New Testament (7:12; 9:10). The first kind of law defined sin; the second kind told Israel what to do after sin had been committed. Hebrews 10:26 and many other scriptures make it absolutely clear that God is against sin today, but that Jesus Christ's sacrifice and modern-day priesthood render the previous system of dealing with sin under the Old Covenant -- the animal sacrifices, temple rituals and Levitical priesthood -- obsolete (see below*). Christ Upheld the Law of God
The book of Numbers records the journey of the children of Israel to the Promised Land.
The book of Deuteronomy contains the last words of Moses, spoken on the doorstep of the Promised Land.
The book of Joshua records Israel's entry into the Promised Land, and the distribution of the land amongst the twelve tribes.
The book of Judges records the history of Israel after they entered the Promised Land, before the time of Samuel and David.
This entire story, from Abraham through the Judges period, lasted a thousand years and took place upon the Third Millennial Day. It is the story of God's promises to Abraham, which concern every nation on earth (Galatians 3:8, 29; Romans 2:9-11; Isaiah 19:24-25). It is the story of the birth of Israel, the nation which was intended to be a light to all other nations (Deuteronomy 7:6; Amos 3:1-2; Ezekiel 5:5; 36:20-23; Romans 2:24). It is the foundation of the kingdom of God which will fill the earth in the Seventh Millennial Day (Daniel 2:44).
The culture of the World Tomorrow will be based on the laws which God revealed to Israel in the time of Moses (Malachi 4:4; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:1-2; 9:4; 11:16). This will be in marked contrast to the culture which originated with the descendants of Ham, spread through all nations after Babel and has dominated ancient, medieval and modern societies through its mythology, religion, literature, architecture, legal system, astronomy, mathematics and calendar.
The descendants of Abraham are on the earth today in global proportions (Amos 9:8-9; Leviticus 26:44-45; Revelation 7). Bible prophecy concerns the twelve tribes of Israel in the last days (end of Sixth Millennial Day and beyond). It is from these descendants that God will form the leading nations of the World Tomorrow, after refining their present moral character (Isaiah 60:21-22; 65:18-19).
* A DIVINE PATTERN:
The Old Covenant was a divine pattern of the New Covenant; "the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ" (Galatians 3:24).
The book of Exodus pictures this world as the "kingdom of pharaoh," a "house of bondage" [a world held captive, ruled by Satan]. God brought Israel out of Egypt, instructing them to observe the Passover [foreshadowing Christ's sacrifice], leading them through the Red Sea [a type of baptism], teaching them to observe the Ten Commandments [to be written on the hearts and in the minds of all true Christians today], and directing them to build a tabernacle [typical of the church] (I Corinthians 3:16, 5:7, 10:1-4, Hebrews 8:7-10, Ephesians 2:19-22, II Corinthians 6:16).
The book of Leviticus pictures Christ's present-day work in helping Christians "endure to the end" (Matthew 24:13), maintaining their relationship with God after baptism and throughout their lives. The Levitical priesthood and daily offerings served Israel's needs after they had come out of Egypt.
The book of Numbers pictures Christians as being "in the wilderness" today. The world, for them, is not a "house of bondage" but a place of trial, testing and training; a pilgrimage through which they must pass before they enter the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 16; I Corinthians 10:5-13; Hebrews 3:7-4:11; James 1; I Peter 1:17; 2:11; Romans 5:1-5).
© Copyright 1974, 1993, 2013 Matthew Kalliman