When Peace Fills the Earth
A look at the future New Covenant Kingdom, when God fulfills all the promises He made to Israel
People often ask, “Will there ever be peace on Earth?” Yes, there will be when Jesus the Messiah returns and establishes a social and political order of worldwide peace. His reign will be a time of prosperity and plenty, known in Scripture as the Millennial Kingdom.
The word millennial denotes a period of 1,000 years and refers to Jesus’ Messianic rule from King David’s throne in Jerusalem over the entire world (Lk. 1:31–33). His reign will begin at the Kingdom’s inception and continue throughout eternity, merging into God’s eternal Kingdom (Dan. 7:13–14; Rev. 11:15).
During Jesus’ Messianic reign, God will fulfill all the unconditional promises He made to Israel in the Abrahamic, Davidic, Land, and New Covenants. He also will fulfill other promises pertaining to Jesus and all nations worldwide. Earth’s curse will be removed, and creation itself will be delivered from its bondage to corruption and pain and be restored to its original state of peace and splendor (Rom. 8:20–22).
It may surprise some to learn God did not make the New Covenant with the church. He made it “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Heb. 8:8) and declared it “an everlasting covenant” (Jer. 32:40) that will never be abrogated, abolished, or annulled.
When Jesus returns to Earth, Israel will be redeemed, reunited into one nation, and regathered into its Promised Land—never to be uprooted again. The New Covenant promises will be fulfilled at the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom on Earth.
God told Israel, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live” (Ezek. 37:14). This event will take place at Jesus’ Second Coming, when He pours out His Spirit of grace and supplication on Israel.
For centuries, a veil of unbelief has hindered Jewish people from understanding the truth about Jesus (2 Cor. 3:14–15). But when Jesus returns, the veil will be lifted from their hearts. As the prophet Zechariah wrote, “Then they will look on Me [Jesus] whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10).
The apostle Paul explained, “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant [New Covenant] with them, when I take away their sins’” (Rom. 11:26–27).
God will cleanse Israel’s redeemed remnant, give them a new heart, and put a new spirit within them; and all will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He also will put His Law in their minds and write it on their hearts, forgiving their sin and remembering it no more (Jer. 31:33–34). At that time, Israel will observe all God’s statutes.
Today Jewish people are scattered around the world. But when the Messiah returns, they will be reunited and restored to the land God promised them as an everlasting possession through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 15:18; 17:7, 13, 19; 35:12; 48:3–4).
To illustrate this reunion visually, God commanded Ezekiel to take two sticks—one named Judah, representing the southern tribes of Israel, and one named Ephraim, representing the 10 northern tribes—and join them together. It has been 3,000 years since Israel has been one kingdom in the land. This reunification will take place at the Second Coming, and Israel will never be divided again (Ezek. 37:15–22, 25). Jerusalem will become the world’s capital, where Messiah will reign and rule forever (Jer. 3:17).
Israel will possess all the land promised to Jacob (Gen. 28:12–16) in the Abrahamic Covenant: “Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever” (Ezek. 37:25).
God even set the boundaries of the Promised Land in Genesis 15:18–21. The southern border is the “river of Egypt [Wadi el-Arish]”; the northern boundary is the Euphrates River; the western boundary is the Mediterranean Sea; and to the east, the areas of Moab and Edom. There also is a sacred district allocated to the priests, Levites, and prince. (See Ezekiel 48.)
The Millennial city is Jerusalem, which lies south of the sacred district. Although similarities exist between this city and the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21, they are entirely different cities with no connection. The Millennial city is prepared only for the Millennium, whereas the New Jerusalem is an eternal city prepared for the eternal state in the new heavens and earth (vv. 1–2).
Though the Millennial city is Jerusalem (cf. Zech. 14:17), its name will be changed to “THE LORD IS THERE” (Hebrew, Jehovah Shammah; Ezek. 48:35). The city also will be called “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer. 33:16). Thus, the city’s complete name will reflect the character of the Millennium. It will be a place where peace reigns, God dwells and rules, and God’s righteousness prevails and flows to all nations throughout the world (Isa. 66:12).
When the Messiah rules, the legal system will be different from the Mosaic Law and radically different from today’s system (Ezek. 40—46).
First, Ezekiel makes it clear a resurrected King David will play the major role of king, shepherd, and prince appointed by God over Israel; he will serve under the Messiah (Isa. 55:3–4; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23–24; 37:24–25).
Second, an appointed prince (Ezek. 44:3) will oversee worship and services in the Temple. His identity today is unknown. He is not Jesus Christ, as some might believe, because he must sacrifice a sin offering for himself (45:22).
Many scholars speculate that David is the prince because he is so designated in other Millennial Kingdom passages. However, this seems unlikely because the prince appears to be a human being; David will be a sinless, resurrected believer in that day. The prince’s duties are spelled out in Ezekiel 45:9—46:18.
Third, only Levites from among the sons of Zadok will be priests because they alone obeyed the Lord when other priests and the children of Israel went astray (44:15).
Israel’s Rebuilt Temple
The Temple Ezekiel refers to appears to be a Temple that will be built in the Millennial Kingdom. Such a Temple is consistent with Ezekiel’s earlier prophecy that God will place His sanctuary and Tabernacle in Israel’s midst (37:26).
The Temple will be built in Jerusalem after God consummates His New Covenant (based on Christ’s completed work on the cross) with Israel (Jer. 31:31–34; Mt. 26:28).
The Temple’s purpose will be to (1) exhibit God’s holiness (Zech. 14:20); (2) manifest God’s glory (Ezek. 43:1–5; 44:4); (3) be the Messiah’s dwelling place (43:7); (4) be the location from which the Messiah will govern Earth from David’s throne (Lk. 1:32–33); (5) provide a place where people will offer blood sacrifices to God in worship (Ezek. 45:15–25); and (6) house a river flowing from under the threshold of God’s throne into the Dead Sea, providing life-giving water to the Negev (47:1–12).
Israel’s Religious Celebration
Redeemed Gentiles will make annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to pray and worship the King, the Lord of hosts (Zech. 14:9, 16). He will be loved and adored as the one and only true God.
Gentile believers will go up to Jerusalem to pray and seek the Lord. Upon arriving, they will grasp the corner of a Jewish man’s garment, wanting him to teach them God’s Word (8:22–23) because the Jews will be God’s ministers (Isa. 61:6).
Holiness will characterize every aspect of the Kingdom, both secular and sacred. The phrase HOLINESS TO THE LORD will be engraved or stamped on the most mundane objects, such as the bells on horses and the Temple’s pots and bowls (Zech. 14:20). Everything in the Kingdom administration will be considered holy to the Lord.
Ezekiel’s prophecy began with God announcing He had not forgotten His New Covenant promises to Israel—promises of redemption, reunification, and restoration in a Kingdom ruled in righteousness by Jesus the Messiah.
The prophet Isaiah beautifully phrased God’s everlasting love and commitment to His ancient people when he wrote, “See, I have inscribed you [Israel] on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me” (Isa. 49:16). May we never forget Israel either! And we all can be assured God will fulfill His New Covenant promises to everyone whose faith is anchored in Jesus the Messiah.