The Coming Kingdom
4-19-17 Revelation 3:21 Lesson 15
Let’s open our Bibles to the Book of Revelation, chapter 3, verse 21. As you are turning there just a quick reminder. As I indicated on Sunday I’m not going to be here for a couple of weeks. But next Wednesday night the same Bat time, same Bat station…did you guys ever watch Batman? Okay, good, you guys are spiritual then. Dr. J. B. Hixson is going to be here. We have a flyer on the name tag table and he’s going to be talking about ten unmistakable signs we may be in the last days. This is a really polished presentation that he does. And then that following Sunday, which is not this Sunday but this will be the 30th he’s going to be speaking in my Sunday School class on is grace worth fighting for, defending grace graciously. And then in the main service April 30th he’s going to be talking about one minute after the rapture. These are really good presentations, I’ve heard him do it on Steeling the Mind.
Then Jim is going to speak here in this session, May 3, and Jim is also going to be speaking in the service this Sunday, April 23 in the Sunday School class on beholding the Lord through His Word, part 1. And then he’s doing a sermon on law and grace, part 3. Gosh, all these parts, it’s like a mini soap opera trying to figure out what part we’re in. Anyway, all that to say you guys will be in good hands and I appreciate your prayers as we travel on this cruise that we’re doing. It’s basically a Viking river cruise covering the main… I’m supposed to be co-leading it so you can pray for me, covering the main sites, some of the key sites of the Protestant Reformation, which happened exactly 500 years ago. Did you know that? So this October 31st it’ll be 500 years when Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Cathedral Door in Wittenberg, Germany, which touched off what we now know as the Protestant Reformation.
No I’ll probably, I don’t know, when I get back I’ll probably, at least in the Sunday School class, after we finish Soteriology I might do some teaching on the Reformation. The church world was completely different, as you probably know, prior to the Reformation. There was only one church, the Catholic Church; the Bibles were chained to the pulpits, the masses were told they couldn’t understand the Bible except if the priest interpreted it for them and the priest interpreted it allegorically. The mass was in Latin and most of the people in Europe didn’t speak Latin, and the people were ripe for manipulation because they didn’t have a Bible. So they were taught the doctrine of purgatory, which is this idea that your loved ones are in this temporary holding place called purgatory and to get them out of purgatory you had to pay the right fee… to who? The church! So Tetzel, I should go off on all this we might not talk about what we’re supposed to talk about tonight, but Tetzel, a Dominican friar at the time of Martin Luther came up with a statement: “When the coin in the coffer rings the soul from purgatory springs.” So pay the right fee and we’ll get your relatives out of purgatory.
Now think about this. How could you validate whether that was true or not if you were ignorant of the Scripture? And the Scripture wasn’t even available to you? See the vulnerability people were in? And this is why God raised up men like Martin Luther and others, to get back to the authority of the Scripture, to emphasize literacy, because your average person really couldn’t read. So the Reformers came along and they taught the priesthood of all believers, and talk about the desire to raise literacy rates, we wouldn’t have the education raising literacy rates had it not been for the Protestant Reformers and their agenda was to get the Bible in the hands of the people so they could understand it so they wouldn’t be manipulated by these priests. See that.
And so we have what we have today because of these men that God raised up. Some of them died in the cause, pre-Reformation guys like John Huss were burned to death for doing this. William Tyndale was, I think he was burned to death if I remember right. What was his crime? He was translating the Bible into the vernacular of the common man. And Luther of course did that as well in Germany, he didn’t suffer a martyr’s death but… I mean, this was just huge what happened 500 years ago and we’re living in the wake of all of that. And we kind of take it all for granted but the history on this is really, really interesting. Anyway, I’ll probably deal with some of this stuff in my Sunday School class when I get back. Is that okay with everybody.
All right. In the meantime let’s go to the book of Revelation, chapter 3, verse 21, continuing tonight to cover the doctrine of the kingdom, looking at what does the Bible say about the kingdom. And I just used my introduction time so I’m not going to give you my usual intro tonight which you guys all know well by now anyway, right? I mean, essentially the way the covenants are set up and the promises are set up is through the nation of Israel is going to come a King and that King would be who? Jesus! And for the nation to experience the kingdom they have to enthrone the king. So all of that is developed very clearly as you move through the pages of the Old Testament God is laying this truth our precept by precept. And Jesus shows up and offers Himself as the King of the nation, which gave the nation an opportunity to enthrone the King and receive the kingdom and the tragedy in the Gospels is that the nation of Israel rejected the offer.
So at that point the kingdom is not cancelled but it is postponed. So the promise of God related to the kingdom are waiting a future generation of Israel to enthrone the King. So that means that we’re in an age of time now called the interim age, which is not the kingdom but it’s not an age of time where God is doing nothing. There is an interim program that’s taking place and it’s expressed through the Matthew 13 parables and also something called the church age. And those two concepts basically run concurrently or simultaneously and if you understand those two areas of the Bible you’ll understand what God is doing today. As the nation of Israel is in unbelief the offer of the kingdom is off the table and the kingdom is in a state of postponement.
So to help us kind of get a handle on this interim age I tried to, last time, make five preliminary observations and we only made three of the five. The first preliminary observation is this interim age is a real period of time and Jesus started to develop it in the parable of the minas where He said He was going away for a long age and He’s entrusting people with His possessions, to manage on His behalf while He is gone. And He taught them this parable because they still thought the kingdom was going to appear immediately and He basically says no, the kingdom is not going to appear immediately. It’s going to come one day but there’s this long age of time before it materializes.
The end of the interim age will be the return of Christ and the manifestation of the kingdom. So we start to see hints in the latter teachings of Jesus about this long interim period of time. We never heard anything about this in the Old Testament. As the kingdom was being offered to Israel there was no hint of this teaching but now that Israel has rejected the offer of the kingdom it’s very apparent there’s going to be this interim age.
And number two, this is an age that has been brought about by Israel’s unbelief. God knew what would happen, He knew that the nation would reject the King and that Israel would not receive the kingdom. That’s what it means in Daniel 9:26 when it says the Messiah will be cut off and inherit nothing; “inherit nothing” means he won’t inherit the kingdom. [Daniel 9:26, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”]
And Lewis Sperry Chafer said God not only knows beforehand the choice that His creatures will make but is Himself able to work in them both to will and to do His own good pleasure. So God knew exactly what would happen related to Israel’s rejection of their King and He always knew, although it hadn’t been disclosed, this interim time that would come into His program. And we’re living in that interim age today in the year 2017.
The third point is that this is what’s called a mystery age. The term that’s used to describe this age in Matthew 13:11 and Ephesians 3:9 is the word “mystery.” [ Matthew 13:11, “Jesus answered them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.”’ Ephesians 3:9, “and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;”]
Does anybody remember what the word “mystery” means? It’s something unknown and hidden but now disclosed. So this mystery age you’re not going to find in the Old Testament and it is barely even hinted at in the Gospels because it’s a new disclosure of God. It’s not a new idea of God’s, He always knew this age would come but He had never disclosed it. And He’s disclosing it at a particular time in history because of Israel’s unbelief.
Now the fourth point and I don’t think we got to cover this last time, is this is what called a priestly age. There are three offices of Christ: Christ is prophet, priest and king. Prophet was His function at His first coming and this is what prophets do, they call the nation of Israel to repentance. And that’s what Jesus did when He was offering them the kingdom; He was functioning as prophet. He will reign as King in His second advent and He will reign as King at that time, after the tribulation period is over when he is seated on David’s throne and the times of the Gentiles will have formally ended. And there’s a reference to that in Matthew 25:31. [Matthew 25:31, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”]
So first coming He’s the prophet; second coming He’s the king, but what is He today? He’s not functioning as king, He is functioning as priest. Hebrews 4:15 basically says that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but He’s one who has been tested in every yet way yet without sin.” So currently Jesus is not on David’s throne contrary to what Reformed theology wants to convince you of. He is actually at the Father’s right hand functioning, not as King (which He will at His second coming) not as prophet (which He did at His first coming) but as priest. And as priest, just because he’s not functioning yet as King, He couldn’t be functioning as King because who’s ruling the world? Satan.
Just because He’s not functioning as King right now… see when he rules as King Satan is dethroned, he’ll be put in the abyss for a thousand years. Just because he’s not functioning as King presently doesn’t mean He’s not doing anything. There are many, many things that He’s doing: He’s gifting the church, He’s building His church, He’s making intercession for us, He’s restoring broken fellowship between us and the Father when we sin and there’s a whole list of things that He’s doing. And what He is doing now the theologians call the present session of Christ. That’s what we’re in right now. We’re in what is called the present session of Christ; we are NOT in the Davidic Kingdom.
And most Christians have an awareness of what Christ did at His first coming; they have an awareness of what He will do at His second coming. But for whatever reason, and Lewis Sperry Chafer brings this out in his systematic theology, most Christians have absolutely no idea what Jesus is doing now. There is a total lack… and I’m not sure why this is so but there is a total lack of teaching within the evangelical church about the present session of Christ. And yet this is the part of Christ’s ministry that we probably should become the most aware of because it’s the one that He’s doing now that directly affects us. And people confuse the present session of Christ in Reformed theology with the Davidic Kingdom and those are two completely separate ideas.
So the Book of Hebrews is very clear that Jesus Christ is functioning as High priest, not after the order of Aaron… now who was Aaron? Aaron was a priest in the lineage of Israel, a Levite. Jesus is not functioning as a Levitical priest but the book of Hebrews makes the point that He is functioning as priest after the order of Melchizedek. So Melchizedek is this very obscure figure that shows up in Genesis and the author of Hebrews, whoever the author was, uses him as a type to explain that the priesthood that Jesus is now issuing is higher than Aaron’s priesthood. And that’s really the whole point of the book of Hebrews, to get that across. And this is a big deal because a lot of people today will go to a priest to confess their sins, to communicate to God, they feel like they have to talk to someone with a robe on or whatever. And the reason they think that is they don’t understand that they have a priest already in Jesus Christ, who is without sin, unlike a human priest.
So this whole idea of having a priest, talking to a priest, communicating to a priest so I can get to God, people wouldn’t have that ambition or that need if they understood the privileges that they now have in Jesus Christ, who currently at the Father’s right hand is functioning as high priest after the order of Melchizedek. So the whole book of Hebrews is trying to get across that point.
So the age of time that we’re in, this mystery age or this interim age is not a prophetic age, it’s not a kingdom age but it’s what I would call a priestly age as Christ is fulfilling office number 2 at the Father’s right hand. We know that this is not the kingdom age because Daniel 9:26 says the Messiah will be cut off and inherit nothing. [Daniel 9:26, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”] He won’t inherit His kingdom but that doesn’t mean Jesus is doing nothing today. He’s at the Father’s right hand functioning as high priest and the whole book of Hebrews is devoted to communicating this point.
So take a look at Revelation 3:21, where exactly did Jesus go when He ascended? It says this in Revelation 3:21, this would be about 60 years or so after His ascension, which is described in Acts 1; He makes this statement to the church, I think this is the church at Laodicea, and Jesus says, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Now look at this verse very carefully. How many thrones do you see there? Be brave, give me a number. There’s two thrones, there’s not one, there’s two. He says, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with me on My throne,” now when He says “I will grant” what’s the tense of that verb? Future, “My throne” Jesus says is future. Now what throne is He talking about? He’s talking about His office as King, number 3 there, when He will actually sit on David’s throne.
By the way, David’s throne is on the earth, did you know that. It’s in the literal city of Jerusalem. So when Jesus, in Revelation 3:21 makes reference to His throne, yet future, He is talking about the future Davidic throne. [Revelation 3:21, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”] He’s not on David’s throne yet which is on the earth. He will sit on that throne and reign over the whole world in the millennial kingdom. “He who overcomes I will grant him to sit down with me on My throne, as I also overcame” now what’s the tense of that verb? It’s past, “as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
So when you look at this verse very carefully you’ll see, number 1, there’s two thrones, one future, one now. One is on the earth, one is in heaven; the future one is Jesus’ Davidic throne which He’s not on now; if He was on it now the times of the Gentiles would be over. Right? And we’d be in the millennial kingdom. But the throne that He is seated on now is not His throne, it’s His Father’s throne in heaven. Do you see that? And it’s very important to understand the details of this to get in your mind exactly what Jesus is doing presently in the mystery age.
Now I’ve made reference, I think last time we were together, to progressive dispensationalism. Progressive dispensationalism is the new trend amongst the younger scholars at Dallas Seminary and other places and what they’re trying to argue is this: Jesus is on David’s throne now, reigning as King. Reformed theology says this is as much of the Davidic Covenant as we’re ever going to get, right now. Isn’t that kind of a depressing subject? Progressive dispensationalism, which wants to build a bridge to the Reformed community, which is ecumenical and to build a bridge to the Reformed community you have to give up certain points. And one of the points that they’re all giving up in spades is this idea that Jesus is not functioning as King, He’s functioning as priest. He’s not on David’s throne, He’s on the Father’s throne.
So what progressive dispensationalist are trying to argue in addition to, as we saw last week, that the church is in the Old Testament, which I tried to show you last week that the church is not in the Old Testament, they’re also trying to argue that Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne in an already form of the Davidic Covenant. So when you get around these guys they use this expression all the time, already—not yet and they’re applying that to the Davidic Covenant and basically what they’re saying is we are already in the Davidic Covenant in spiritual form but don’t worry, we still believe in a future Davidic reign of Christ. So they’re sort of in between a guy like me, a traditional dispensationalist and a Reformed theologian who believes we’re totally in the Davidic Covenant right now.
And one of the most troubling parts of their doctrine, from my vantage point, it goes directly against Dallas Seminary’s doctrinal statement incidentally, is they believe that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now and we are in an already form of the kingdom. So the Davidic Covenant is started but it’s going to come in full later. So it is a mediating position between traditional dispensationalism and Reformed theology.
And the post-moderns love this because post-moderns believe that nobody has the truth, which is a truth claim in and of itself, isn’t it. So they always believe that truth lies between competing opposites; you go into the middle somewhere, I call this middle ground mania, and that’s where the truth resides. So progressive dispensationalism has positioned itself directly in between traditional dispensationalism and Reformed theology. And they are giving ground to the Reformed movement by saying look, we acknowledge that Jesus is reigning as Davidic King presently but unlike you we also believe that there will be a full Davidic Covenant from David’s literal throne later.
My viewpoint is they’re wrong on this; we are not in the Davidic Covenant now in any sense; He is functioning, not as King but as what? High priest. We’re not in the third office yet, we’re in His second office.
So one of the things progressive dispensationalists argue when you point out the two thrones here in Revelation 3:21 is they argue that look, in the eternal state the two thrones will merge. So Revelation 22:1 says, “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” see what’s happened there in the eternal state? When all is said and done the two thrones are going to merge; they will be one and the same. And so what they argue is well, they’re merged in the eternal state, so therefor they must be merged when? Now. See what they’re doing? They’re going all the way to the end of the Bible developing a method of interpretation concerning these two thrones as one and reading it back into the present.
And Darrell Bock, a well-known progressive dispensationalist, writes this: “One may object that the throne at the right hand of God is not the Davidic throne which is earthly.” That’s what I argue. “This objection may be raised by appealing to a text like Revelation 3:21” which is what we just did, “where Jesus distinguishes between My throne, in which the overcomer will sit, and the Father’s throne on which Jesus currently sits. The argument is made that the throne on which Jesus sits in Acts is the Father’s throne, not David’s throne,” see, these guys are all about putting Jesus on David’s throne now, “This throne of the Lamb set next to the Father is alluded to again in Revelation 22:1,” so what Darrell Bock is saying is don’t pay attention to Revelation 3:21, which governs our age, there’s nothing behind that curtain, move right along and watch my gimmickry go over to Revelation 22 where the thrones merge. That’s what’s normative. He says, “This is the same throne that Jesus occupies in the consummation! He exercises Davidic rule even as He will exercise it then.” So don’t pay attention to Revelation 3:21, reinterpret Revelation 3:21 by an eternal state passage.
This is not even hermeneutics that these guys are doing. You don’t analyze concepts by what some other passage says in a totally different dispensation, do you? You try to figure out what the text says without dragging a bunch of stuff to the text. And these guys do this all the time. I showed you last time what they’re doing with “mystery” in Romans 16. They’re trying to define “mystery” in Romans 16, because you might recall their understanding of mystery is something revealed but unrealized. Our definition of mystery is it’s something completely unrevealed. They’re trying to define mystery not based on how Romans 16 reads but how what reads? How Romans 1 reads.
And you might remember the discussion last week, I tried to show you that the Scripture here in Romans 16 are the Old Testament Scriptures or the New Testament Scriptures? The New Testament Scriptures, which as you follow the discussion last week destroys their view of mystery and they say well don’t pay attention to Scripture in Romans 16; connect Romans 16 with Romans 1. So all of the time and it was very troubling to me to watch all of these millennials and twenty-somethings that I was in seminary with just get picked off by these arguments because to me they are not arguments at all. These guys are not doing biblical exegesis; they’re trying to interpret parts of the Bible by what some other part of the Bible says so don’t understand Romans 16 based on Romans 16, understand Romans 16 based on Romans 1 and that’s why I went to a lot of labor last week to show you that Romans 1 and Romans 16 are two different animals.
And they’re trying to do the exact same thing with these two thrones. As you point out the two thrones they say don’t pay attention to that passage, pay attention to Revelation 22:1. The reality of the situation is the eternal state is a totally different world entirely. Did you know that in the eternal state there won’t be Satan, there won’t be death. I was visiting with Jim Hertzog the other day, my wife and I were, the man is getting ready to die, fortunately he’s a believer. There’s people in this church that are suffering and getting ready to die. It’s obvious that we are not in the eternal security. Amen. So how can you take an eternal state passage about a merger of two thrones and read it back into the present age as Jesus is speaking to the church in our age, the church at Laodicea.
So in the eternal state there’s no Satan, there won’t even be an ocean if you take that literally. I was teaching this in California and there was a surfer guy in the class and he was really… he was really disappointed about that and I didn’t have an answer for him other than you won’t be disappointed when you get there; whatever enjoyment you get from the ocean and surfing will be replaced, believe me! There won’t be any death or crying or pain; there won’t even be a sun or a moon or an night because the Lord will illuminate everything. You won’t have any luminaries any more. There won’t be evil, there won’t even be a curse.
So I just am very much against defining Revelation 3:21, [“He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”] erasing the distinction the two thrones which Jesus clearly talks about by creating some lens from a totally remote part of the Bible that doesn’t have anything to do with our present age. Just like I’m very much against using Romans 1 to redefine Romans 16. But you see, if you’re young and somebody is standing up in front of you with a PhD from Europe and you’re coming out of a church that really doesn’t teach you much, these guys sound very glib, they sound very articulate, and they pick off person after person after person after person. And this is the kind of bad teaching that’s coming into our Bible churches and one of the reasons I want to tell you guys about it is because I want you to be in a position to educate your children and your grandchildren about these things because this is what they’re being taught at many of our mainline seminaries.
So where is Jesus now? Take a look at Revelation 12:5, “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child” that’s Jesus “was caught up” that’s His ascension, where was He caught up to, “to God and to” what? “His throne.” It doesn’t say He was caught up to David’s throne. First of all, if He was on David’s throne He wouldn’t have been caught up, right? Because David’s throne is on the earth. It’s very clear here that Jesus is not on David’s throne exercising his authority as king; He’s on the Father’s throne functioning as what? High priest, after the order of who? Melchizedek.
And it’s not a low-grade position, let me tell you. It’s a position of glory. This is Christ’s final… you know, we talk about the Lord’s prayer, you try to find it in Matthew 6; Matthew 6 is really not the Lord’s prayer because He says things like “forgive us our trespasses,” I don’t think Jesus had any sins, right, so it’s not a prayer that Jesus prayed in Matthew 6, it’s more of a model prayer for the who? The disciples. Matthew 6 is the disciples prayer. If you want to see the Lord’s prayer, what He prayed, you read John 17. So just prior to His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension He says, “Now Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” [John 17:5] So where is Jesus? It’s not a low level position at all, even though He’s not yet on David’s throne reigning over the earth; it’s a very high position. It’s a position of glory; it’s a position of glory that He experienced with the Father for all eternity. It’s true that it’s not yet the Davidic Kingdom and not yet David’s throne but you shouldn’t undervalue what Jesus is doing now. We anticipate the Davidic Kingdom but He is in a position of glory functioning as high priest which is what we call the present what? The present session of Christ, and area of theology that most average Christians know very little about.
Now in this position of glory at the Father’s right hand He is still the Davidic heir. He is still the heir to David’s promises and David’s throne. But just because you’re an heir to the throne doesn’t mean you’re on the throne yet; are you with me on that. For example, you can be an heir to an estate, that’s your legal position but things have to happen, there has to be a death and other things for you to actually enter into that inheritance. So just because you’re an heir doesn’t mean you’re experiencing the inheritance yet. So Jesus very clearly is an heir to David’s throne; He is still called a Davidite, a Davidic descendant, there’s no question about that. But that’s not the same thing as saying he’s on David’s throne. He won’t be on David’s throne until He’s on this earth from Jerusalem reigning over the Millennial kingdom and that won’t happen until the tribulation period is over following Israel’s conversion.
So Revelation 3:7 says, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of” what? “David,” that would be Jesus, “who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens,” so He has the keys to the Davidic Covenant but that doesn’t mean He’s actually in the Davidic Covenant. Are you with me on that? Because what Darrell Bock and his group do is they find every reference like this which is describing Christ’s present session, connected with David and they’re trying to get people to believe that Jesus is actually on David’s throne now in heaven. And that is NOT what these passages are talking about. All of these passages are not talking about Jesus on David’s throne, reigning over the Davidic Kingdom; they’re talking about Jesus as the heir to David’s throne. Are you with me?
They do the same thing in Revelation 5:5, which says, “and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of” who? “David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” So there again is Jesus getting ready to open the seals, and He’s called “the root of David,” that doesn’t mean He’s in heaven reigning on David’s throne but He is the heir to David’s throne.
Revelation 22:16 says, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of” who? “David, the bright morning star.” Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne right now. It doesn’t mean we’re in the Davidic Kingdom now. How do I know that? Because to argue that this is the Davidic Kingdom is to rewrite all of the passages that we have gone through in the Old Testament telling you what the Davidic Kingdom is going to be like one day. So you have to pit the New Testament against the Old and say that the ne changes the Old and that’s not what we believe. We believe that the Davidic Kingdom is going to manifest itself exactly like it’s described in heaven and what is happening now is not the Davidic Kingdom; there’s not world peace and other things but it’s Jesus functioning as high priest at the Father’s right hand, not on David’s throne but the Father’s throne, although He is the heir of David’s throne and He will be on it one day.
If you want to know exactly what’s happening today one of the best pieces of typology that we have in the Old Testament is King David. In 1 Samuel 16 David was anointed as king. Did you all know that? He was anointed as king in 1 Samuel 16 and yet he did not take his seat on the throne over the kingdom until 2 Samuel 2 and then 2 Samuel 5 is when he got Jerusalem back. So David is anointed as King in 1 Samuel 16 but he does not reign as King until 2 Samuel 2-5, beginning his Davidic reign. So there was a time period where David, it was very clear, was the anointed king but he was not functioning as king because who was running the country? A guy named Saul, and everybody during that time period was having to choose—are you with Saul or are you with David?
If you’re with David you have to walk by what? Faith because David was not yet on the throne. If you’re with Saul you walked by what? Sight, because Saul was on the throne. And that’s why there’s so much information in the Samuel books about Saul’s good looks; it talks about him being tall and handsome and you read all this stuff and it’s like why do they keep describing his looks? Because people followed Saul if they walked by sight; if you were with David, which was a minority group called David’s men you had to walk by faith. And that circumstance didn’t change until Saul was deposed. David had two opportunities to kill Saul, 1 Samuel 24 I believe it is and 1 Samuel 26 and both times he said no; he waited on the Lord to depose Saul. As you know, Saul ultimately committed suicide and then and only then was David elevated.
So from 1 Samuel 16 to 2 Samuel 2-5 there’s an interim time period where David is anointed as King but not yet reigning as king. That interim time period is exactly what’s happening right now. Jesus has been anointed as King at His resurrection and ascension, Psalm 2, but is He reigning as King today? What do you think? Is Jesus reigning as King today? He’s anointed as King but is He reigning as King? He’s not reigning as King because who’s on the throne? A Saul-like character called Satan. So what is happening right now? Do you see what God is doing? He’s forcing the whole human race to decide, who are you with? Are you with Christ? If you’re with Christ you’ve got to walk by faith because Christ is not yet in His kingdom. If you’re with Satan you’re walking by sight because you’re following what you can see.
So if you can wrap your mind around the interim time period between 1 Samuel 16 when David was anointed and that interim time period ending with David actually reigning as King where humanity, people were being forced to make a choice. That’s exactly what’s happening right now. Jesus will reign on David’s throne one day; He has been anointed to do that but He’s not yet there. So therefore if you’re with Jesus you’re walking by faith; if you’re with the devil you’re walking by what? Sight. And just as Saul was deposed and replaced by David one of these days Satan, who’s running this world system, is going to be deposed and replaced by Jesus Christ. So that becomes tremendous typology that the Holy Spirit has given us to understand this interim time period that we’re in now when Jesus is functioning as high priest, not as Davidic King. And don’t let this Davidic language confuse you. What it is communicating is Jesus is the heir to David’s throne, not that He’s now on David’s throne.
So currently Hebrews 7:3 says this of Jesus. “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.” The audience in the book of Hebrews is thinking about leaving Christianity and going back to their Jewish roots. You know, people today talk about Jewish roots movements; this was Jewish roots movement in the sense that they were thinking about dumping Christianity entirely and they were becoming weakened because of the trials that they were under; they were being persecuted to come back to their Hebrew roots and the author of Hebrews says don’t lapse backward, even though you’re under pressure to do so, get strength from your high priest who lives to make intercession for you, who’s very active currently, not in His Davidic reign but in His present what? Present session.
And so the author goes into all this detail, not describing the Davidic reign of Christ. Why would he have to do that, we already have that described in the Old Testament. He goes into tremendous detail in Hebrews to discuss the pre current priesthood of Christ, Christ at the Father’s right hand on the Father’s throne is available to strengthen us as we’re living in the devil’s world. And that is sort of the point that the author of Hebrews is getting at.
So the point I really want to get across to everybody is this. The current age of time that we’re in is not a fulfillment of the Davidic Kingdom. It’s something different. Reformed theology will try to tell you that the current age is a total and complete fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. I’m saying no, the current age of time is an age where God is at work, no doubt, but it is not to be confused with the Davidic Kingdom. Progressive dispensationalists come along and say well, the present age is a partial fulfillment of the Davidic Kingdom because they believe in the already and the not yet. And to that assertion I’m saying no, the present age is not either a complete fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, contrary to Reformed theology, nor is it even a partial fulfillment of the Davidic Kingdom contra progressive dispensationalism.
This is a completely unique age, never been disclosed before that has zero to do with the Davidic Kingdom. Christ today is not functioning as King, He’s functioning as what? High priest, nothing to do with the Davidic Kingdom, although He’s the Davidic heir. So Lewis Sperry Chafer, who founded Dallas Theological, if you put your ear to the ground and listen carefully you can hear him rolling over in his grave right now because he would be stunned at what these guys are doing with the school that he started, in this area. Listen to this quote from his systematic theology. He says, “Similarly the earthly kingdom that according to the Scriptures had its origin in the covenant made to David, which is mundane and literal in its original form and equally as mundane and literal in uncounted references to it in all subsequent Scriptures which trace it on to its consummation,” see, he’s talking about the Davidic reign of Christ which will be earthly. He says, this “is by theological legerdemain,” that’s why I like reading these old guys, the use these vocabulary words that no one uses any more, does anybody know what legerdemain is? There you go, trickery, deceit, scheming, manipulation is by theological legerdemain metamorphosed” I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing that right, “legerdemain metamorphosed” which means changed “into a spiritual monstrosity” that’s pretty strong language, isn’t it. “…in which an absent King seated on His Father’s throne in heaven is accepted in lieu” or in replacement “of the theocratic monarch of David’s line seated on David’s throne in Jerusalem.”
And what he is saying there is you cannot confuse the present age with the Davidic Kingdom. Those are two completely different things. He says to convert this age into the Davidic Kingdom is to result to trickery and to metamorphosize something into a spiritual monstrosity. And he was very clear in his writings that the present age is not the Davidic Kingdom, it’s a mystery age; the Davidic Kingdom will come one day to the earth but this age is not to be confused with it. And you see, this is why there’s such a deprecation in the minds of these younger scholars against Lewis Sperry Chafer. I endured so many putdowns and criticisms of Chafer, oh, he didn’t know Greek (which he did by the way), oh, he was not a trained theologian, he never went to Europe to study, well praise God for that, that’s why the man was thinking correctly, he wasn’t listening to European scholars, he was reading his Bible. See that?
And there’s no way he would ever have gone along with this idea that’s being foisted on people that the present age is some kind of complete fulfillment of the Davidic Kingdom or even a partial fulfillment of the Davidic Kingdom. And so that’s why the name of the game is to trash Chafer. In fact, during my time there I didn’t have a single professor that ever assigned Chafer for me to read. The one exception was Robert Lightner, an older man, theologian, but other than his class I would have had no exposure to Chafer because Lewis Sperry Chafer is saying the opposite of where these guys want to go with their present form of the Davidic Kingdom.
So what am I trying to get at? The present age is a priestly age. Are you with me on that? And one more point and with this we’ll close. I was going to try to get into the Matthew 13 parables tonight but obviously I’m not going to be able to do that. The present age, watch this very carefully, although not the Davidic age, is an important age. Here’s the game that’s played; they say if you believe that the present age is a parenthesis, it’s what Chafer called an intercalation which means an interval, there’s an interval that has never been expressed by God, God always knew it would come but it would interrupt the coming of the Davidic Kingdom and during this parenthesis or what Chafer called an intercalation God is clearly at work although it’s not the Davidic Kingdom.
What they say is if you believe that then you believe that the present age is unimportant and they would malign the position over and over again by saying you believe in plan B theology. Plan B theology is, in their minds, saying poor God didn’t know what to when the nation of Israel rejected His Son and He got really sweaty palms and got nervous and at the last minute He says I know, as an afterthought, I’ll create the church. So this is how they misrepresent our view. They misrepresent our view by contending that we believe in plan B theology and if you get on the internet and you start doing research on dispensationalists you’ll see all of these vitriolic attacks against dispensationalists. And at some point someone is going to bring up plan B theology.
Let me tell you something about the present age; it is NOT plan B. How do I know that? Because Ephesians 3:11 describes it as part of the eternal purpose of God. Do you see that. Ephesians 3:11 says, “This was in accordance,” this being the church, “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,” the present age is the outworking of the eternal purposes of God. God knew what would happen with Israel and He had already planned the present age in eternity past. It’s not an accident, it’s not a footnote, it’s not God’s saying oh no, what am I going to do, let’s throw the church age at people. It is the outworking of the eternal purpose of God. The difference is it just hadn’t been revealed yet.
See, Israel’s plan throughout the pages of the Old Testament has been revealed. The church’s plan hasn’t been revealed but just because it hasn’t been revealed to man does not mean that it had never been planned by God. So never let anybody tell you that the present age is an accident of plan B. Ephesians 3:11 contradicts that because it’s part of “the eternal purpose of God.” It just hadn’t been revealed yet.
So that white area is our view of the current church age; it’s called an intercalation which means a pause in God’s kingdom program. Now if you’re going to be with us on Sunday mornings eventually we’re going to get to the seventy weeks prophecy; it’s the unknown age of time currently transpiring between Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 9:27, between the first sixty-nine weeks of the prophecy and the 70th week of the prophecy yet to come there is a period of time there called an interval of parenthesis and an intercalation, not to be confused with the Davidic kingdom, an age of time that God always purposed that He would bring forth, it just hadn’t been revealed yet.
[Daniel 9:26-27, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.  And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]
And that white area represents the time period that we are currently in. Now they took Charles Ryrie to task over this idea of a parenthesis; they said if you believe that we’re in a parenthesis between God’s past program and future program with the nation of Israel then you believe that the present age is unimportant because after all, when you’re writing a paper the stuff you put in the parenthesis isn’t important, right. That’s the logic that they used. The problem is when you look up the word parenthesis in a dictionary it doesn’t mean unimportant at all. I’m writing a paper right now, the stuff I’m putting in parenthesis is not unimportant, it just represents an interval or an interruption in thought. The things in the parenthesis represent an interruption of thought but parenthesis in and of itself doesn’t mean the information in the parenthesis is unimportant.
So when Ryrie talked about a parenthesis and Chafer talked about an intercalation all they were trying to describe from a human point of view is an interval or an interruption. They never had in their minds this idea of unimportance. But you see, that’s the criticism that’s leveled against Ryrie and Chafer when they use parenthesis language, they say well, you believe the present age is unimportant. It can’t be unimportant because it’s the eternal purpose of God. Are you with me on this?
I like this quote from Thomas Ice, related to Plan B theology. He says, “In almost 35 years since I have become a dispensationalist,” now this was back in 2003 so we could add another 15 years or whatever to that time period, “In almost 35 years since I have never heard nor read of a dispensationalist teaching a plan B scenario.” And I started thinking about this too, I’ve never heard anybody tell me that the church’s plan B that’s a dispensationalist. “ Yet opponents often present this straw man in their statement” let’s pause right there, what is a “straw man”? A straw man argument is a logical fallacy. A straw man argument is a misrepresentation of your opponents position. Then once the misrepresentation is communicated you tear down, not what your opponent really believes but your creation of what you want your opponent to believe. Are you with me on this?
Now those of you who that follow politics see this going on all the time, right? If you vote for my opponent he is going to take away your social security check, and isn’t social security important, and think about all the poverty that would happen with the elderly and the aged and the infirmed if social security disappeared. And everybody gets all riled up when the reality the guy he’s pointing to has no ambition at all to take away social security. What has happened is a misrepresentation has been created which takes hold of people and once it takes hold of people then you tear down not what the person really says or believes, you tear down this misrepresentation that you’ve created. And it’s a logical fallacy because you’re not attacking what the person actually believes, you’re attacking a creation of what the person believes. See that. And it’s called a straw man because a man of straw does what? Topples over easily.
So Thomas Ice says, “In almost 35 years since I’ve been a dispensationalist I have never heard nor read of a dispensationalist teaching a plan B scenario. Yet opponents often present this straw man in their statement of what we supposedly believe. We believe that God’s single plan has always included the Church, but He did not reveal the church age of that plan in the Old Testament. . . . Paul states specifically that the church age ‘was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord’ Ephesians 3:11)” a verse that we alluded to a little earlier. “This” meaning Ephesians 3:11 and the eternal purpose of God, “This is why dispensationalists have never” NEVER “taught the so-called plan A and plan B theory that critics suppose we hold. Dispensationalists have always taught that there is a single plan carried out in” different what? “stages.” But just because you’re in one stage or the other doesn’t mean that stage is less important than the final stage. So it’s a strong man argumentation.
So in conclusion what do we learn about this mystery age? Number 1, it’s an authentic age, it’s a real period of time. Number 2, it’s an age of time caused by Israel’s unbelief. Number 3, it’s a mystery age, it’s never been disclosed before. Number 4, it’s a priestly age, Jesus is not functioning as King but He’s functioning as what? High Priest after the order of who? Melchizedek. And which throne is He on? The Father’s throne in heaven, not His future throne on the earth. And then finally, number 5, the age of time that we’re in is just as important as any other age. It’s not somehow less significant just because we’re arguing that we’re in the kingdom.
So next week, actually I won’t be here for two weeks but when I get back together with you on the 7th is it, no, the 10th, try to read chapter 11 in the book which deals with the first part of this interim age that we’re in; the first major description of it is in the Matthew 13 parables. Jesus laid out very carefully the course of the present age in eight parables and if you can take those eight parables and put them together you’ll see the mind of God concerning what He is and what He is not doing today. He’s doing a lot of great things but it has nothing to do with the one day manifestation of the Davidic kingdom. So that’s the direction we’re going in when I am with you all together on the 10th. Okay, I’m going to stop talking at this point, not too bad, 8:03, you guys should consider yourself lucky that I take numbers literally as a dispensationalist; I interpret 8 as not 8:45. Anyway, I know I threw a lot of stuff at you but I just… you might be looking at this and saying why does all this matter, I’m trying to get you to see some of the current academic attacks that are going on in our way of understanding the Bible.
So we’ll let people go that need to get out of here to pick up their kids and anybody that would like to engage in a little bit of Q and A we can do that.