PRI Articles

Guest Article: Did God Postpone the Kingdom?

We are glad to offer another fine article by our friend Jim Gunter, for your consideration.

 

Did God Postpone The Kingdom Because Most Jews Rejected His Son?

By Jim Gunter

The question posed in the above title is one to which some disciples would answer,  ”Yes!”  These disciples consider a postponed “Kingdom of Christ” to be the very hope of Israel, which in their view is yet to come. As for this concept of our Lord’s kingdom, they would probably declare it to be somewhat on this fashion:

“A future time when Yahweh restores national, fleshly Israel to its former place of grandeur and pre-eminence over all the nations of the earth; that it will be a day when Jesus comes back to earth, physically, at which time He will take his place upon David’s literal throne as King in the earthly city of Jerusalem, where He will reign for a thousand years. Moreover, they contend that “all” the Jews at that time will, collectively, turn to Jesus and accept Him as their King and Messiah.”

I think we would all agree that if the above is truly the teaching of our Father’s word, then we should all believe it and also be teaching it, should we not? But is it?

First, it should be noted that the kingdom of the Messiah was first promised as far back as when the Lord made the promise to King David as recorded in 2 Sam. 7:12-13. Here, the Lord said to David:

“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Even though David’s son, Solomon was his immediate successor, it’s quite clear that the prophecy would have its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, the prophetic Son of David. The angel, Gabriel declared to Mary,

“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most high, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” [Lk. 1:32-33].

Even though these certain disciples acknowledge this truth of God’s promise through the prophet Nathan and the angel Gabriel, they have perceived and incorporated a delay or postponement of Yahweh’s initial plans here as to the point in time He would set up that kingdom.

Good folks, I would like to first say that I am thoroughly convinced that the kingdom of Israel’s Messiah is here and has been for 2,000 years now. And if you will permit me, I would now like to explain just how I arrived at this conclusion. In Daniel, chapter 2, as the prophet interprets the dream of king Nebuchadnezzar regarding the great image he saw; an image which depicted four world kingdoms and a great stone that crushed and put an end to all these kingdoms. This great stone, of course depicted the glorious Kingdom of God. We see, in verse 28, the first sign as to when this would take place. Please note that Daniel says this was to take place in the latter days”; obviously, the latter days of the old covenant age, the age in which Daniel and the king were presently living.

It is the general consensus among bible scholars of great respectability, that the four kingdoms depicted in the great image in the king’s dream are these and in the following order, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar: [1] Babylonian, [2] Medo-Persian, (3) Macedonian or Grecian, and (4) The Roman Empire [verses 38-43]. These kingdoms are further identified in Dan. 8:20-21.

In the Daniel 2 passage, it is further declared in verse 44 that during the days of the kings of the fourth world kingdom,

the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

Good folks, this is that same kingdom which Daniel declares in Dan. 7:13-14, was given to the Son of God upon His ascension into heaven. Here Daniel says:

I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”

In Isa. 2:2-3, the prophet Isaiah, just as Daniel did, prophesied the point in time when the Kingdom of Messiah would come, namely, during the “last days” of the old covenant age:

“Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the god of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths. For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” [See also Micah 4:1].

Moreover, in Acts 2:17, the apostle Peter, on the day of Pentecost, quotes the prophet Joel, from Joel 2:28f implying that they were presently in “the last days.” He then proceeded to let the great throng of Jews know that what they were then witnessing was  evidence that Jesus, who was raised from the dead, was presently seated at the right hand of the Father; and that God had made Him both Lord and Christ (anointed) [verses 25-36].

I must say, with all the evidence we have already presented, it seems quite clear that the Kingdom of the Messiah did indeed come during the days of the fourth world kingdom [Roman Empire], which, of course, was also during the latter days of Israel’s old covenant age. However, in spite of this, there are some disciples who would say  this: that Jesus did in fact come for the purpose of setting up His kingdom but, because of the rejection of Him by the great majority of the Jews, His Father put the kingdom on hold and established “the church” instead thereof. As I understand this teaching, it is often referred to as “replacement theology.” In other words, God replaced the plan of establishing the kingdom with the establishment of the church!

I don’t believe there would be any disagreement with the fact that the majority of Jews did in fact refuse to accept Him as their Messiah. For example, the apostle John said this about Jesus:

“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him: But as many (of the Jews-jg) as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…”

Good folks, obviously, I have no idea what your position might be on this notion that God postponed the Kingdom. It could be that you are in total agreement with it.  And if it is, then I would expect you arrived at that understanding as a result of one of three things: [1] Your own personal study of the scriptures. [2] It is a part of the belief system of the church with which you are affiliated, or [3] it may be for the same reason I once believed a number of the things in my younger days i.e., because it was how your godly parents understood them, and their parents before them, and so on.

But regardless of the reason, I believe you would agree that it never hurts for us to investigate any teaching, whether it’s something we already believe, or even something contrary to what we already believe, no matter what the subject may be. As for myself, I pray that our Father will give me the grace, wisdom, and humility of mind, to always be open to the possibility that I could be mistaken about things which I believe at any point in my life. There was a time in my spiritual journey when I would have thought to be such minded, was to be wishy-washy, indecisive, or weak in the faith. Some would even say “double minded.”

But good folks, today, as I reflect on those earlier days, I understand the willingness to change one’s thinking is actually a positive, for I now see that it was spiritual growth. Just try to imagine, if you will, what our present spiritual condition would be, if over the course of our lifetime, we never altered our thinking each time we learned that we were mistaken about something in matters of faith! I ask you, could a person such as that have realized any spiritual growth? Why, of course not! We all need to realize that we stand constantly in need of spiritual growth. Not even one of us began our spiritual journey fully grown! Not even one of us has arrived at all the truth! Yes, friends, even though I hate to admit it, we are all ignorant---but simply about different things. That’s not meant as a put-down but just a simple fact of the human condition. We all suffer from it.

I find it remarkable how the understanding of the kingdom described above has flourished over the past hundred and fifty years or so, and especially in the past hundred years! It seems that it got its greatest boost from the advent of the Scofield Bible by Mr. Cyrus Ingersoll Scofield in 1908, an avid Zionist, and a zealous promoter of the dispensational, pre-millennial view. Quite effective in this endeavor were his copious pre-millennial, dispensational notes and commentary right along with, and in many cases, even inserted into the text of the King James Bible. Strangely enough, it seems that many disciples accepted his notes and commentary almost to as great a degree as they did the inspired text. Because of this factor, this teaching spread rapidly among disciples of the 20th century. An enormous number of these Bibles have been sold over the years, evidenced by the fact that it is now in its 7th or 8th edition. Incorporated into this dispensational, pre-millennial view was Mr. Scofield’s belief of a future “rapture” of the saints; a teaching of recent origin based on John N. Darby’s interpretation of 1 Thes. 4:13-18, back around the year 1830. Consequently, this view of a future “rapture,” being now a part of Mr. Scofield’s bible, has garnered the support of many in Christendom, where such had not been the case before.

At this point, because this is such an important subject, coupled with the fact that it is also the understanding of so many disciples, I believe it to be well worth our time and effort to examine it and see if it enjoys the support of our Father’s word we will examine it enough so as to reach a fair and informed conclusion as to its validity! From the outset, I want to say that I believe the Scriptures do serve as their own best commentary as well as their own best interpreter. I think you will agree with me, that it really doesn’t matter what I may think about any particular bible matter, because if it doesn’t measure up to the standard---our Father’s Word---then it counts for nothing.  As Paul said in Rom. 3:4, “…let God be found true, though every man be found a liar…” In other words, if I say one thing about some matter, but our Father’s Word says something different; well, let’s just say it‘s “strike three“ for me, O. K?

One new testament passage that is often offered in support of the idea that God delayed the establishment of Christ’s kingdom is Rom. 11:25-26. Here, Paul said:

“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uniformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. and thus all Israel will be saved: just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Many who support the “replacement theology” concept look at this passage and conclude that every descendant of Jacob will “all” one day, repent, accept Jesus as their Messiah and be saved. They tend to believe this concept to such a degree that they even refrain from putting forth any effort to evangelize the Jews! They seem to reason that since they (the Jews) are all going to be saved anyway, then there is simply  no need to try and convert them to the Messiah.

But let me say this; whatever Paul meant by the phrase, "...and thus all Israel will be saved," he directly ties that statement to the coming in of what he calls, "the fullness of the gentiles." I don’t know what you might think about this matter, but personally, I have come to understand Paul's use of "gentiles" in this context, to be speaking in particular of the remnant from the descendants of the house of Israel (ten northern tribes)  who became gentiles after the Assyrian captivity and Diaspora of 721 B. C.  And if you would bear with me I would like to explain how I came to that conclusion.

Please notice in that same verse [Romans 11:25], that Paul spoke of a ”mystery,” which he now reveals to the disciples at Rome.  A mystery, as it is used here, simply means something which before had been hidden. Paul explains this great mystery. He says the mystery was that "a partial hardening (hardening in part--KJV) has happened to Israel (the twelve tribes-jg), until the fullness of the gentiles has come in."

I now call your attention to the expression, "in part/partial" in verse 25. Folks, I believe it is imperative that we have a correct understanding of exactly to whom it is that Paul has reference in his use of the term, “partial” as it relates to this mystery hardening that had happened.  First, his use of "Israel" in this context, is used in the broader sense (as I have indicated in bold print in parenthesis) speaks of the twelve tribes. However, within that larger context is the matter of the partial hardening” of which Paul speaks. Here,  he is speaking of a “section or part” of the twelve tribes. Regarding this term “partial,” notice what James Strong says. Under his # 3313, he says that the Greek word for "part" here is “miros” (pronounced "meros"). He says that it comes from a primary word “meiromai,” which means: "a section; a division or share; a piece." I believe this somewhat simplifies Paul's meaning of the term "in part," as it pertains to Israel here. Therefore, in this context, Paul is saying that a "section, division, piece, or part" of the twelve tribes, had been hardened, "until the fullness of the gentiles has come in." In order to remain true to the context, I understand this piece or part of Israel that had been hardened, to be none other than the unbelieving Jews of the house of Judah. This also comports with Paul's olive tree analogy of verses 16-24. We'll have more to say on that a little bit later. And so this was what Paul describes as a mystery. For it had been prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 6:10 where God, speaking of Judah, said:

"Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."

Yes, this is the mystery, of which Paul speaks. In the days of Isaiah, this plan of God was hidden from the understanding of those who heard it. In fact, it remained hidden until Paul's day. And now the time had come for it to be revealed and fulfilled. Hear his words in Acts 28:25-28 to a group of unbelieving Jews to whom he spoke upon his arrival at Rome, where he quotes Isaiah's prophecy:

"...The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers; 'Go to this people and say, You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them. Let it be known to you (unbelieving Jews -jg) therefore, that this salvation of God has been sent to the gentiles; they will also listen."

I will not go into great detail here regarding this particular point, but if you are interested in looking further into it, then please read my essay titled “The House of Israel; the Ten Lost Tribes?” Just let me know and I would be happy to send it to you.

However, for those who believe that “all” Jews will one day repent and accept Jesus as their Messiah, I just wonder if they have ever considered what Paul says to these same Roman disciples just 11 verses earlier in Romans 11:13-14? In showing genuine concern for his fellow Jews, Paul says:

"But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles, inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen (Jews-jg), and save some of them."

Folks, I believe Paul's language here makes it very clear that he considered all of his fellow Jews who had not come to Christ, as lost.” His preaching of the gospel to the nations (gentiles) was, in large part, to provoke his fellow Jews to jealousy, in hopes of steering them to Christ, so as to save some of them. It surely doesn't sound to me as though Paul had any thoughts whatsoever of all the Jews being saved someday, neither in his future, nor any time in our future! No, he specifically says it was his hope that he could save “someof them. And just two chapters earlier, in Romans 9:1-4, he made this most remarkable statement:

"I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ, for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh (Jews-jg), who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises..."

Good folks, I don't believe Paul could have said anything else that would have expressed his love for his fellow Jews more than these words! For him to even be willing to wish himself accursed and separated from Christ forever, if it would mean their salvation, certainly in my estimation, is the ultimate demonstration of his love for them! I believe this begs the question: In light of this great love Paul had for them, if the Jews were all going to, collectively, be saved one day anyway, then why would he make such a statement, and why would he be so grieved in his heart over their condition? If they're all going to be saved one day anyway, why wouldn't he exhibit the same attitude as many of today's teachers and preachers i.e., just not even waste his time evangelizing them?

And therefore, dear ones, because of such passages as these, I am fully persuaded that Paul's statement, "And thus all Israel will be saved," does not at all mean what many have perceived it to mean.

I am made to wonder if perhaps one reason for some thinking the Kingdom has not yet come could be due to a mistake we have all made at one time or another. The mistake I’m speaking of is the same mistake the 1st century Jews made; they were looking for a “physical” kingdom with great fanfare, pomp, and circumstance! But it should be noted that this is not the kind of Kingdom over which our Master came to reign. You see, they were so consumed with the thought of a physical king who would overthrow the Roman yoke, they completely missed the spiritual realities that our Father had in store for His people.

Just listen to what our Master said to them (1st century Jews) in Jn. 18:36 as to the “nature” of His Kingdom. He said:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews, but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Folks, do you see what I’m getting at here? Just like these Jews of old, so are many disciples even today; they are still waiting for Jesus to come back to earth and set up His kingdom in Jerusalem as though He is interested in an earthly, physical kingdom. However, do you see that such an idea flies right into the face of our Father’s Word?  O dear Lord, please help us to see your great and marvelous “spiritual” lessons in the words of your dear Son! Good folks if our Master clearly declared that His kingdom was not of this realm (physical or natural realm), wouldn’t that of necessity mean, that it is of the spiritual realm?”

Please let us consider Nicodemus for a moment; a man who was a Pharisee and a teacher of the people. Let us not forget that he was already a citizen of the earthly, fleshly kingdom of Judah. But didn’t Jesus let him know, unequivocally, that his physical or fleshly pedigree was not sufficient for him and his fellow Jews to gain entrance into The Kingdom of God? Did He not tell him plainly that he had to be “born again?” And didn’t Jesus make it clear that it was not his “flesh” that had to be born again, but rather his “spirit?” You may recall that Jesus told him: “…that which is born of the flesh is flesh; but that which is born of The Spirit (Holy Spirit-jg) is spirit.” Yes, Jesus says he had to be born of water and The Spirit.” Please read Jn. 3:3-6. Now, if Nicodemus stood in need of a “spiritual” re-birth, i.e., a re-birth by the Holy Spirit and not a “fleshly” re-birth,   in order for him to enter the Kingdom of God, wouldn’t we be compelled to reason that The Kingdom of God would have to be a spiritual kingdom? Good folks, this is why I am fully persuaded that God’s Kingdom was not to be “physical” but rather “spiritual.” Does that make sense? Please notice what Paul told the saints in the province of Galatia:

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by The Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh[Gal.3:3].

To the disciples at Colossae, Paul described the process of entrance into Christ’s kingdom as a translation. He also uses a past tense verb indicating that these disciples had already undergone that translation because these words of Paul were written after the inauguration of Christ’s kingdom which took place at Pentecost.  He said In Col. 1:13:

“Who has delivered (past tense) us from the power of darkness, and has translated (past tense) us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

Before the coming of the Kingdom, Jesus dealt harshly with the unbelieving Jews even though they were of “His own,” and even referring to them as sons of the kingdom.” In Mat. 8:11-12 He declared:

“And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Notice now how He also blistered the chief priests and elders of the Jews in Mat. 21:43, with regard to this matter of a fleshly, national kingdom vs. The Kingdom of Heaven. He said:

“Therefore, I say to you (1st century fleshly, national Israel), the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation producing the fruit of it.”

Did you catch that, folks? Jesus is so very clear here in speaking to those 1st century Jews. Now listen to what He told His little band of Jewish disciples (the righteous remnant who believed in Him) in Lk. 12:32:

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”

O what a beautiful promise to these godly 1st century Jews! Do you see the connection between these two passages? In the Mat. 21:43 passage Jesus said that His Father was going to take the Kingdom from the unbelieving, or apostate Jews (those who rejected Christ esp. their religious leaders), and then turn right around and give it to “the little flock“ (those Jews who did accept Christ i.e., the remnant). However, as we can see, there is not one single word in these passages about postponing the kingdom, but just the opposite. It was to be stripped away from the apostate unbelieving Jews and gladly given over to the believers!  And this would all culminate in the new “spiritual Israel,” when Jesus would establish a new covenant for this coming Kingdom, bringing together the remnants from both the house of Judah and the house of Israel, along with the gentiles [See Ezek. 37:16-25; Hos. 1:9-11; Heb. 8:10-13; Rom. 2:27-28; 9:6-8; 11:25-28].

At this point, I believe is the time for a final, yet most urgent message concerning the notion that God gave in to the unbelieving Jews and put off the establishment of the Kingdom of his Son. So, if you would be so kind, I would like for you to examine with me, very closely, a parable that speaks to both, Christ receiving His Kingdom, and His second-coming, as King, in His Kingdom. And good folks, as we look at this parable, please pay very close attention to how The Master really handled this matter of those Jews who rejected Him. And see if you think He capitulated and withdrew, and allowed them to have their way!

In Lk. 19:11-27, Jesus responds to the idea some of the 1st century Jews had that the kingdom of God was going to immediately appear. As He was wont to do, our Master  responded to them by way of a parable. The parable was of Him, as the “noblemanwho went into a far country to receive His Kingdom, and to then return, which, of course, was the fulfillment of Dan. 7:13-14, where Jesus is pictured coming with the clouds, before the Ancient of Days, to receive His Kingdom.

In this parable, when the nobleman (Jesus) departed, he called his slaves (His servants) to Him, and gave to them the responsibilities of doing His business until He returned. However, we find that those servants whom He left to do His business, were anything but well-received or respected by the citizenry (the unbelieving Jews). These wicked citizens (1st century unbelieving Jews-jg), according to vs. 14, literally hated the nobleman (Jesus), sending a delegation saying, We do not want this man to reign over us.

Friends, I don’t believe that there is any serious student of the Word, who would disagree with the things that we have established in this parable up to this point. I say that because I believe the facts simply speak for themselves. The parable is self-explanatory. But, what I would stress that we need to clearly understand here, is the fact that nowhere in this parable, does it ever say, imply, or even give the slightest hint to, the notion that the Kingdom was put on hold because of these unbelieving Jews’ rejection of The Christ as King. O no! Please notice here that even though the unbelieving Jews did literally hate our Lord, rejected Him, and clearly declared that they did not want Him to reign over them [vs.14], it still did not, in any way whatsoever, deter or thwart God’s plans regarding the coming of The Kingdom of His Son! These are not just words of speculation. And, I don’t want you to just simply take my word for this, but I would implore you to read this account again for yourselves. And as you read the rest of this parable, you will notice that in the very next verse [vs.15] Jesus states that the nobleman (Jesus), in fact did receive the Kingdomand returned.” Do you see that? Good folks, this is very important! And, notice that upon His return, there was the Judgment of these wicked citizens—not a capitulation to them! Now if you will, please look at vs. 27. Now read it and just see if you get any sense whatsoever that God put the Kingdom on hold because of the rejection of His Son by these unbelieving Jews.  It’s unmistakably clear that there is none, but to the contrary, Jesus said, “But of these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” Yes, it just seems so clear to me from vss. 14 and 27, that Yahweh in fact carried out His promise regarding His Son’s Kingdom, and He destroyed those whose desire it was to preclude it from coming to fruition!  And beloved, I sincerely believe that it did come to a condition of full perfection and maturity in 70 A.D. when the wicked unbelieving Jews, their city, and their nation were destroyed.

Those mentioned as the “little flock,” to whom that Kingdom was given, would be those of whom Paul speaks in Rom. 2:28-29; 9:6-8 as “true Jews” and “true Israelites,” not those who were simply the “fleshly descendants” of Jacob or Abraham, but rather those Israelites who were of “the faith” of Abraham; those who sought salvation by grace through faith as opposed to works of law. Folks, doesn’t this, again, evidence the fact that God’s coming Kingdom was going to be “spiritual” in nature and not “physical?“ And isn’t it also a beautiful thing how that God saw fit in His “mystery,” that you and I, as Gentiles, would also be grafted into the same good olive tree, and made to be fellow-heirs and fellow-citizens of that same Kingdom, and made to share in their (Israel’s) promises  [Eph. 3:3-6]?

I would like to end this little essay with a response of Jesus to the Pharisees who asked Him just when the Kingdom was coming. Jesus’ response was very simple. He said in Lk. 17:20-21:

“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, Look, here it is! or There it is!  For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.

Dear ones, I ask you again, could language be any more transparent? And wouldn’t you agree with me that such language demands that the Kingdom of our Lord is
spiritual” in nature, and not “physical?”

Before closing this little essay, I would like to take just a moment and make a simple plea to any disciple who subscribes to this concept of “replacement theology.” Because they are folks we love, I would just like to offer a thought or two for their consideration and then let them judge for themselves if that view is consistent with our Father’s word.

Please let us just suppose for the moment that this concept is true. Can you just imagine the magnitude of the devastation this does to the omnipotence and integrity of our Heavenly Father? Why, this would mean that the unbelieving 1st century Jews were more powerful than our God is! It would also mean that our Father cannot really be depended upon to bring to pass what He has promised, would it not? For example, if it were true that because of the unbelief on the part of most of the 1st century Jews, our Father “failed” to keep His promise to establish the Kingdom at that time, how can we possibly have any confidence that He would not fail a second attempt at some later point in time? Good folks, personally, I just cannot bring myself to believe that there is anything He has promised that He is unable to bring to pass!

I would simply like to say that I am completely confident that our Father indeed did establish His Kingdom, and did so in the 1st century, in spite of the rejection of His Son on the part of the majority of the Jews of that day. For example, listen to these words of Jesus and you will see that He promises that He would come in His kingdom during the lifetime of some of those He addressed. He said in Mat. 16:27-28:

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

And finally, would you also please read Col. 1:13; Heb. 12:18-28; Mk. 8:38-9-1; Rev. 1:9, and just see if you don’t also conclude that The Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is here, presently, and that every person of any nation on earth who is a Christian, is in covenant relationship with God through His Son, and is in that Kingdom!  May the Lord richly bless you with His grace, and give you all kinds of peace in your believing!

Yours in Him,

Jim Gunter

Note from Don K: See my book Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, for another in-depth analysis of the "Gap Theory" of dispensationalism.

USA Today: What if THe End Isn't Near? A Great Opportunity!

This is a great opportunity! (our friend Stephen Temple called my attention to the USA Today paper and the article)
The USA Today Paper of 8-23- carried an article in the forum about two men with differing views of "the end." One predicts the imminent end, the other not so much. Here is a great opportunity to let them know about Covenant Eschatololgy!
Here is what I sent them:  (Here is their email for posts: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
<<My name is Don K. Preston, president of Preterist Research Institute (www.eschatololgy.org). I represent a rapidly growing segment of the Christian community. We do not believe that the Bible predicted the end of the time-space continuum. Rather, the language of "de-creation" (the destruction of heaven and earth) is to be understood metaphorically, and applied to the Old Covenant World of Israel that occurred in AD 70, and the destruction of Jerusalem.
This view of the end times is known as preterism, (past fulfillment) or Covenant Eschatology, since it posits eschatology as dealing with the end of Covenant world, not the end of history.
This view of eschatology is the only view of the end times that can answer the skeptical charges that Jesus and the apostles made false predictions of the end.
Our view of "eschatology" is optimistic for the future, and believes in responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources, since we believe that we are going to be around for a good while!
I have authored 19 books on the subject, and debated some of the leading evangelicals, including Thomas Ice, C. Marvin Pate, David Englesma, and the late Harold Hoehner.
I would be more than happy to share this view with you for an article.
Don K. Preston
President Preterist Research Institute
Answering Christianity's Greatest Challenge
Dialogue When Possible
Debate When Necessary
At All Times Charity
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Don K

God Laughs-- A Postponed Kingdom and Parousia?

GOD LAUGHED!

Don K. Preston

In one of the most intriguing prophetic texts of the Old Testament, the Psalmist said, "Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces, and cast away their cords from us.’" (Psalms 2:1-3). This passage speaks of man’s attempt to thwart God’s intent to establishment of the kingdom.

In Acts 4:25f, Peter quoted this passage to speak of the crucifixion of Jesus. The thing is, though, that Peter and the church did not think the crucifixion had accomplished what the rebellious leaders had hoped! The church saw the crucifixion, and of course the resurrection, of Jesus as victory, not defeat! Why? Because that is what the prophet had taught.

Back in Psalms 2, the writer recorded Jehovah’s response to man’s attempt to thwart His purpose, "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then shall He speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure. Yet have I set my King on My Holy hill of Zion." (Psalms 2:4-5) God laughed when man attempted to defeat Him!

Yet, many people believe that man did defeat, or at least postponed God’s purposes and that the Cross is proof positive that Satan won, and not God! John Darby said that many people supposed that the Cross signaled the victory of God. However, he said, "It was exactly the contrary. The cross was one grand demonstration...that Satan is prince and god of this world."(J. N. Darby, Lectures on the Second Coming, 1868). Well, if the Cross is the victory of Satan, why did David say that God would laugh when man rejected His Son?

In a similar vein, in a book written to refute Covenant Eschatology (true preterism), one of the authors actually argued that God does not have to fulfill His promises at the time or in the manner predicted by the prophets! (Richard Pratt in When Shall These Things Be? Edited by Keith Mathison, Philippsburg, NJ, P and R Publishing, 2004)121-154. See my response to much of this material in my Seventy Weeks Are Determined...For the Resurrection, available from this website). It is simply stunning that anyone claiming to believe in the inspiration of scripture would affirm such a thing?

You see, the Bible says that God gave His promise to set His Son on the throne and He said He would not alter His word. He was not going to be defeated nor postpone His purpose. Not only that, the prophetic scriptures said of Jesus’ mission to establish the kingdom: "He shall not fail" (Isaiah 42:6f). Well, if Jesus came to establish the kingdom, but could not do it because of the Cross, then he failed and God altered His promises!

But you see, the Bible says God would laugh at man’s rebellious acts. He would laugh at the futile conniving of those who imagined "a vain thing," in thinking they could prevent God’s purposes. God keeps His word and He keeps His word on time! This means that when Jesus and his disciples said that he was coming in judgment his kingdom in the first century, that he did not fail (Matthew 16:27-28; 25:31f).

What a comfort to know that God cannot be thwarted by man’s rebellious efforts! What a comfort to know that Satan is not in control, that God actually used man’s rebellion to accomplish His purpose! Instead of the Cross being "a grand demonstration" that Satan is the prince of this world, the Bible says that it was in the Cross that Jesus triumphed (Colossians 2:15f)! The Cross was God’s plan all the time! It was His means of establishing His kingdom, not the cause for postponing the kingdom!

What a great God is He! He turns man’s rebellion to His purposes! He laughs at man’s efforts to foil Him. Don’t you want to serve a God that cannot and will not be defeated?


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