There are two kinds of people known as church fathers, and their literature is called the patristic literature. They are pre-Nicean; that is, before the Council of Nicea, and pre-Constantine. The pre-Nicean ones were closer to the Apostles. Their writings were much more biblical and much more in tune with what the early church actually believed. One thing known for certain is that all the pre-Nicean fathers believed there had to be a literal millennial reign of Jesus on earth for a thousand years. The idea of Post-Millennialism was invented by Augustine (354 – 430) and those influenced by him. But every pre-Nicean writer said that the Apostles taught and believed that there had to be a literal Millennium to fulfill Revelation 20…
The Kingdom-Now people are into Replacement Theology, thinking they are the new Israel and they will set up the new Kingdom for Jesus to take over when He returns. They are generally Post-Millennial; they think that the Millennium has come and passed and Jesus is already reigning, Satan being already bound. Well, if Satan is bound, who is doing his work?! It can be shown from pre-Nicean writings that it was widely taught and believed in the early church that the apostles believed there had to be a millennial reign of Christ on earth. From a Jewish perspective, if there will be no Millennium, Jesus was not the Messiah. In order to be the Messiah, He had to fulfill all the Messianic prophecies, both those relating to the son of Joseph, a Suffering Servant in Isaiah, and especially those relating to the son of David. But in fact Jesus did not fulfill all the Messianic prophecies. In His first coming He fulfilled only the son of Joseph prophecies; the Suffering Servant prophecies. When He returns He will fulfill the son of David prophecies as a great King. That is why from a Jewish perspective there has to be a Millennium when the Davidic Messiah reigns on earth for Jesus to have been the Messiah. He will rule with justice and with an iron scepter. – Jacob Prasch, The Dilemma of Laodicea
History is interesting to me… When I know history, it helps me to understand what is happening now… It’s kind of heavy stuff, but yet it gives context… And there’s something secure about that… Because without context, it’s like shooting in the dark to find truth… We are very fortunate for all the historical scholarship and archeological discoveries that we have at our fingertips—if we would only put them to use…
Today, I’m continuing with the Kings of Judah and Israel…
In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, became king. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his father David had done (II Kings 16:1-2 NASB).
Ahaz was one of the worst of all the kings of Judah. He re-established Baal worship in Judah, and he even made his sons to pass through the fire, according to all the abominations of the heathen. His full name, as it appears in the Assyrian state records, was Jehoahaz, which means “the possession of Jehovah,” but the Spirit of God strikes the Jehovah-syllable out of his name, and calls him “Ahaz,” which means simply “possession.” His life was led, influenced, and possessed by anyone or anything except Jehovah God.
But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before the sons of Israel. 4 He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree (II Kings 16:3-4 NASB).
The pagan idol “Moloch,” was the god of fire. A fire would be built in its bulbous belly, until its outstretched arms became red-hot. Little children, as sacrifices to these demonic images, would be tied to its outstretched arms, and burned alive, while black-robed priest beat drums.
Then Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to wage war; and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6 At that time Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath for Aram, and cleared the Judeans out of Elath entirely; and the Arameans came to Elath and have lived there to this day (II Kings 16:5-6 NASB).
Ahaz was lifted up in pride because of his successful defense against the kings of Syria and Israel; however, his victory had nothing to do with his ability or righteousness, but, instead, was because of the promise that the LORD had made to the house of David. Jehovah God keeps His Promises.
So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son; come up and deliver me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me.” 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and sent a present to the king of Assyria. 9 So the king of Assyria listened to him; and the king of Assyria went up against Damascus and captured it, and carried the people of it away into exile to Kir, and put Rezin to death (II Kings 16:7-9 NASB).
Though the Prophet Isaiah, the LORD earnestly counseled him not to invite the king of Assyria to help him against the confederate kings of Israel and Damascus; however, he followed his own counsel with temporary success, but with the ultimate result of ruin.
Now King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw the altar which was at Damascus; and King Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the pattern of the altar and its model, according to all its workmanship. 11 So Urijah the priest built an altar; according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, thus Urijah the priest made it, before the coming of King Ahaz from Damascus (II Kings 16:10-11 NASB).
Ahaz was not satisfied with the great Altar which sat in front of the Temple in Jerusalem, and which had been designed by the LORD—a Type of the Cross of Calvary. He desired a pagan altar, and the priesthood of Judah helped him carry out this evil design.
When the king came from Damascus, the king saw the altar; then the king approached the altar and went up to it, 13 and burned his burnt offering and his meal offering, and poured his drink offering and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. 14 The bronze altar, which was before the Lord, he brought from the front of the house, from between his altar and the house of the Lord, and he put it on the north side of his altar (II Kings 16:12-14 NASB).
Having no confidence in the Altar designed by the LORD, which typified the Cross, he would build his own altar, which was more to his liking. The Cross of Christ it an offense to many. So, the True Altar went unused, while the pagan altar multiplied.
Then King Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, “Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening meal offering and the king’s burnt offering and his meal offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their meal offering and their drink offerings; and sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice. But the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.” 16 So Urijah the priest did according to all that King Ahaz commanded (II Kings 16:15-16 NASB).
Jehovah God would never accept an offering from a pagan altar.
Then King Ahaz cut off the borders of the stands, and removed the laver from them; he also took down the sea from the bronze oxen which were under it and put it on a pavement of stone. 18 The covered way for the sabbath which they had built in the house, and the outer entry of the king, he removed from the house of the Lord because of the king of Assyria. 19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20 So Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and his son Hezekiah reigned in his place (II Kings 16:17-20 NASB).
The “laver” is a Type of the Word of God. Ahaz was saying that he had no more confidence in the Word of God. And when he died, he was buried in Jerusalem, but not into the sepulchers of the kings. Luke Uzziah, he was not thought worthy of burial in the royal catacomb (II Chron 28:27).
Outside of a recognition of Jehovah God’s Covenantal fidelity, this yet another bleak historical record of a wicked king…
For I have said, Mercy shall be built up forever; Your Faithfulness shall You establish in the very heavens. I have made a Covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant. Your seed will I establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations (Psalm 89:2-4 KJV).