THE BASF - ITS IMPORTANCE AND TEACHING
“That the kingdom of God, thus constituted, will continue a thousand years, during which sin and death will continue among the earth’s subject inhabitants, though in a much milder degree than now.— Rev. 20:4-9; 11:15; Isa. 65:20; Eze. 37:22,25; 1 Cor. 15:24-28.”
As we saw in our last issue, Clause XXV considers the rewarding of men according to their deeds, and the elevation of the faithful to being immortal co-heirs and administrators over the coming kingdom with their Messiah. This next clause deals with the length of the Kingdom “thus constituted”, and the conditions under which mortals shall dwell there.
The testimony of the Apocalypse concerning the Redeemed, is that “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4). This defines the duration of the Kingdom, thus arranged with the Saints reigning as kings and priests, as being precisely one millennia. However, it must be borne in mind that the kingdom itself shall continue much longer than this, for it was promised to Mary concerning her son: “he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33). At the end of the thousand year reign of Christ and his saints, the kingdom shall not come to an end, but will change in it’s form and constitution. Paul hints at some of those changes, saying that:
“then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power … and when all things are subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
At the end of the thousand years then, the kingdom will be “delivered up” to the Father, with the Son himself becoming a subject – the end result being that “God may be all in all,” or that all of the glory of God (his attributes) shall fill all of the earth (in the glorified, immortal inhabitants thereof). Even so it is written: “all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Yahweh (Num. 14:21). The form, or constitution of the kingdom shall change – for there will be no more mortal population to be ruled over and interceded for after the Millennium – but the kingdom itself shall remain for ever. The BASF is careful in it’s wording, saying that the duration of the kingdom “thus constituted”, that is, with Christ and his brethren reigning over it shall end after one millennia—but as we have shown, the kingdom itself shall continue “without end”.
It has been truly said that the Millennial Kingdom Age is to be a transitional period between the Flesh and the Spirit. Prior to Messiah’s Return, the Flesh rules supreme in the earth. After the Millennium, the Spirit fills the entire globe. The Millennium is therefore the time in between, with the Flesh being subjugated to the Laws that Christ will institute as the basis, or Constitution of the new Age. During that time, as the BASF states, sin and death will continue, albeit to “a milder degree than now”.
There is some indication of this in the words of Isaiah, speaking of affairs in Jerusalem during Messiah’s reign:
“ … I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed …” (Isa. 65:19-21).
Whilst these words are particularly speaking of affairs in Jerusalem, being that this city will become the capital city of the world from whence shall go forth Laws, Commandments and Blessings, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the subject-nations shall also experience these things. One who dies aged an hundred will be considered as a child, indicating that longevity of life not dissimilar to the early history of mankind (as described in the book of Genesis) will become the norm. But although men and women will become subject to the laws of the kingdom, sin will still continue, even if suppressed. Psalm 72, a wonderful word-picture of that age describes how:
“He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor … he shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight …” (Psa. 72:4, 13-14).
According to this testimony therefore, there will be “poor” and “needy” who need to be delivered from oppression. And Messiah shall be their deliverer, “breaking in pieces” the oppressor, ensuring that true justice shall prevail over the earth. Again, Isaiah 11 describes how that “with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isa. 11:4). Again, we see that there will be the “poor”, and the “wicked” extant in the earth, but with the wicked being judged in righteousness. Even so, although Messiah’s Rule shall extend globally, there will be a need for the cause of the poor and the needy to be upheld, that oppression will cease, and the wicked destroyed.
In the language of the Apocalypse, the coming Reign of Messiah shall see the devil (sin incarnate) being “bound” for a thousand years (Rev. 20:2). The binding here referred to in symbol, finds it’s literal counterpart in the “bands,” or constraints of the Laws that shall go forth out of Jerusalem – enforced by Omnipotent Power (cp Psa. 2:3). Sin shall be suppressed, but will not be entirely absent in the Kingdom, as human nature remains inherently evil (Rom. 7:17). But after the thousand years, both sin and death shall be entirely removed, as all rebellion shall be destroyed by the devouring fire of Yahweh’s Glory (Rev. 20:9).