The Coming Kingdom
10-24-18 2 Samuel 12-16 Lesson 54
Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to 2 Samuel chapter 7, verses 12-16. And we are chapter 17 of the book that I wrote on the kingdom. As you know, the first part of this series was what does the Bible say about the kingdom, Genesis to Revelation? And we saw that the kingdom is very well developed, offered to Israel, rejected by Israel and consequently in a state, not of cancellation but postponement. And from there we started looking at what are the problems with kingdom now theology? A lot of people out there today and really throughout church history are arguing that we’re in the kingdom now. And the basic problem with that is you have to change the Old Testament definition of kingdom, as we’ve talked about.
And from there we moved into part three which are the passages people use to say we are currently in the kingdom. And we have completed (believe it or not) passages from Christ’s ministry. So that’s a lot of passages we looked at. This slide and this slide, when you actually spend time and study those passages in depth you see that none of them teach the present manifestation of the kingdom. So we’re now moving away from passages in Christ’s ministry to what I think is the real battleground today related to kingdom now theology, passage from the Book of Acts, particularly Acts 2. Acts 2 is the main passage people go to now to argue that Jesus is on David’s throne and reigning from that position as king over the church.
So before we look at Acts 2 in depth what I would like to do, and I have a whole chapter on this, chapter 17 deals with this issue; chapter 18 deals with the Acts 2 issue, but kind of as a precursor even before getting to Acts 2 we want to ask ourselves, is Jesus now reigning from David’s throne? And I was sort of happy that the Lord had us in Revelation 3:21 last Sunday because that message and then what we’re doing here Wednesday night go together well, very well together.
So is Jesus reigning on David’s throne? And I have basically six responses; we’ll only get through (if we’re fortunate) two of the six tonight but number 1, David’s throne is earthly. Number 2, a Davidic heavenly throne changes the original promise grossly. Number 3, no New Testament passage places Jesus on David’s throne today. Number 4, the Davidic throne is only going to come into existence after the times of the Gentiles are over. Number 5, the present Davidic throne misunderstands the mystery nature of the church. And number 6, the present Davidic throne misunderstands the parenthetical nature of the church. I know that’s a lot and I just kind of went through those just to show you where we’re headed. We’ll be explaining each one as we go.
But starting off with the first one, the first thing we need to understand about David’s throne is that every time the Old Testament and the New Testament mentions David’s throne it’s always what we would call a literal, earthly throne. In other words, it’s never heavenly, it’s always earthly! Another way of saying it is it’s never celestial, (because that’s what people are saying, Jesus is reigning on this celestial throne), it’s always terrestrial. Terrestrial means earthly; celestial means heavenly.
So let’s look at some verses that show you the way David’s throne is always portrayed, and it’s sort of necessary to understand these verses in order to grasp how people are radically perverting the idea of David’s throne and making it heavenly.
So what does the Bible actually say about David’s throne? David’s throne is mentioned many times in the Bible. For example, I had you open up to 2 Samuel 7 but here’s 2 Samuel 3:10, this is one of the first references to David’s throne in the whole Bible. This deals with the eclipse of Saul’s reign. Remember Saul was the first king of Israel over the United Kingdom, he reigned for forty years. He was replaced by David, David was replaced by Solomon. So as the kingdom is being transferred from Saul to David you find this verse relative to David’s throne.
2 Samuel 3:10, it says, “to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.” Now when you look at a map of the nation of Israel you’re going to see that Dan and Beersheba are literal places, they represent the outer edges of Israel. So from Dan to Beersheba is kind of a euphemism or a cultural sort of idiom for saying the totality of Israel in that day.
So Dan and Beersheba were actually literal geographic places. So was Judah, the tribe of Judah, so was the tribe of Dan, So was the United Kingdom of Israel. And right in that context you see there, I don’t have it underlined but you see the expression, “the throne of David.” So the biblical understanding of “the throne of David” it’s just as literal as Israel, Judah, Dan, Beersheba. It’s a terrestrial earthly throne.
And then notice 1 Kings 2:11-12, it says, ““The days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years he reigned in Hebron and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem.” Now David is replaced by Solomon. “And Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.” So after David left David’s throne Solomon (his successor) sat on that throne. So once again you see David’s throne is just as terrestrial as the expression Israel, Hebron, Jerusalem, David himself, and Solomon that followed. So there’s very little doubt and ambiguity that when you start talking about David’s throne it’s always on the earth.
Notice Jeremiah 13:13, it says, “then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land—the kings” plural because David was followed by multiple kings, you have Saul forty years, David forty years, Solomon forty years and after Solomon left the throne the kingdom is divided into the northern and southern kingdoms and you have a whole bunch of kings occupying David’s throne. And in fact, we have a whole book in the Bible in it called 1 and 2 Kings. Why is it called that? Because there’s an awful lot of kings after David left, particularly in the north and the south. David’s throne would still be in the south in Jerusalem. And then the prophet Jeremiah comes along and predicts that that southern kingdom is going to go into captivity and he explains why. He says, , “then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land—the kings that sit for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness!’” In other words, judgment is coming.
So again you see the expression “the kings,” all literal kings, they’re sitting on David’s throne so David’s throne is just as literal as the kings that the Book of Kings talks about and there’s a lot of them, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Uzziah, you can go on and on describing them. And then you have priests mentioned there, prophets, and Jerusalem. Well, are priests literal? Yes. Are prophets literal? Yes, we’ve got one of the writing to us right here—Jeremiah. Is Jerusalem a literal city? Yes. Is “this land” literal? Yes. Well then David’s throne, mentioned right in the midst there, has to be just as literal and terrestrial as everything else.
Now you might be listening to this saying this is obvious but you have to understand this background to see the perversion of what is happening today in theological circles as people are suddenly transporting David’s throne into the heavens. That’s why I’m laying down this foundation. Unless you see this foundation you won’t understand the perversion that’s going on with kingdom now theology because one of the tenants of kingdom now theology is Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne from heaven.
And then we have Jeremiah 22 verse 2 and verse 4, and Jeremiah continues and it says this: “and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, who sits on David’s throne, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates.  “For if you men will indeed perform this thing, then kings will enter the gates of this house, sitting in David’s place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people.”
So there again you see the expression “David’s throne” right in the midst of king, Judah, servants, people, gates. You know, the Bible says Yahweh loves the gates of Zion. [Psalm 87:2, “The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.”] Those were always understood as literal gates. Men, kings, house, David, chariots, horses, servants, people, were all those things normal literal things? Of course they were. So why would David’s throne be any different, because David’s throne is mentioned right there in the mix with everything else.
And then we come to the verse I had you open up to and this is what is called the Davidic Covenant. This is a covenant that God made with David and his household. In fact, it was David that wanted to build a house for the Lord and God did not allow him to do that because David was a man of war so the privilege of building the house would go to Solomon. Doesn’t the word Solomon sound a little bit like Shalom, which in Hebrew means peace. So the privilege of building the temple went to Solomon who was not a man of war.
But in this chapter David says to God I want to build You a house. And God says no, you can’t build Me a house because you’re a man of war, not a man of peace; I’m going to build you a house. Wouldn’t that be something? God, I want to build you a house and God says no David, I’m going to build you a house. And He gives to David what is called the Davidic Covenant which is basically a covenant that there’s coming from David’s lineage an eternal dynasty including an eternal throne.
And notice what this passage says, [2 Samuel 7:12-13] “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers I will raise up your descendants after you who will come forth from you, I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,  but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house” and here’s the key line, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” [17 In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan” Nathan is the prophet that God is using to deliver this message to David, “so Nathan spoke to David.”
Now as you go through this there’s not the foggiest hint that it’s speaking of heaven. Everybody interprets this as earthly. One of “your descendants” that would be a biological descendant of David, of course we know the one who will fulfill this is who? Jesus, and that’s why Matthew’s genealogy links Jesus back to David to show that Jesus is the rightful heir to this throne. But you’ll see the word “descendants,” you see the words “throne of His kingdom,” in other words, just as David’s throne was literal the throne that the Messiah will sit on will be terrestrial, earthly and literal as well.  “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” And so God spoke these things to David.
Now John Walvoord, one of the great defenders of the view that we promote at this church, dispensationalism, says this of the Davidic Covenant, which we just read. He says: “The covenant with David is not only given twice in its major content— namely, II Samuel 7 and” then you’ll find a parallel passage in “I Chronicles 17—but it is also confirmed in Psalm 89. In this and other Old Testament references there is no allusion anywhere to the idea that these promises are to be understood in a spiritualized sense as referring to the church or to a reign of God in heaven. “ See the kingdom now theologians say it’s happening now over the church from heaven. But you see, to get that you have to rewrite what it originally says. That’s Walvoord’s point. “Rather, it is linked to the earth and to the seed of Israel, and to the land….” That would be the land of Israel. “There is no indication that this kingdom extended to a spiritual entity such as the church nor that the throne in view is the throne of God in heaven rather than the throne of David on earth… Such a situation does not prevail in this present age and is not related here or elsewhere to the reign of Christ from the throne of His Father in heaven.” [John Walvoord, “Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962), 84-85, 87.]
You see, and this is why we are teaching postponement theology; we believe that this has been postponed because the literal sense of this passage is not being fulfilled today. You can look at Jerusalem and you can see there is no reign of David there, there is no Jesus there. And the throne of David, even if it existed it is unoccupied. Israel is an unbelieving nation. So to make this happening today over the church you have to rewrite this.
And those are your choices, you can either believe kingdom now theology, which rewrites these passages, or you can say ‘you know, God means what He says and says what He means, and didn’t say something, 2 Samuel 7, to deceive the original audience who all interpret it as a literal throne on the earth, and say well, therefore it isn’t happening today like that it must be in a state of abeyance or postponement.
So the Davidic Covenant, and this is a review from lessons we’ve done earlier, is actually an outworking of the Abrahamic Covenant, where God promised to Abraham’s descendants in Genesis 15 three things: land, seed and blessing. Those are your three basic promises that God gave to Israel. The land is amplified in the land covenant Deuteronomy 29 and 30. The blessing is amplified in the New Covenant, Jeremiah 31:31-34, and the seed, innumerable descendants, is amplified in the Davidic Covenant because there we learn that it’s through the seed of David that this eternal dynasty is going to be ushered in.
So some people sort of look at the Davidic Covenant separate from everything else. I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it; I think I would see the Davidic Covenant as the sub covenant of the whole package God gave to Abraham in what is called the Abrahamic Covenant. Now the Abrahamic Covenant was pretty literal, wasn’t it? I mean, he was promised a tract of real estate from Egypt to Iraq and the land dimensions are pretty well articulated in Genesis 15:18-21.
And in fact, Abraham was called to receive this land from the Ur of the Chaldeans, he was called to walk by faith and separate from the idolaters of his day and receive these promises. And there’s the trajectory most believe Abraham made, God said to Abraham I’m taking you to a land you’ve never seen before and he was specifically called out of Ur of the Chaldeans which would be modern day Iraq, between the Euphrates and the Tigris. And is Ur of the Chaldeans a literal place that Abraham was called out of? Of course it was. So why would we think the land that he was going to enter into would be un-literal; that wouldn’t make any sense, would it?
The land that he was going to enter into is very literal, Genesis 15:18-21. “On that day the LORD made a covenant” which covenant? The Abrahamic Covenant, “with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land,” now is he talking about heaven there? No, it’s this earth because it gives the dimensions, “from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:” those are literal geographic places. And then he begins to mention the occupiers of that land that are going to be vomited out (if you will) in the Book of Joshua, under his conquest.
It mentions the people groups that are going to be vomited out of the land under Joshua. So  “the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite  and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim  and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite” the electric light, the out of site, the termite, the mosquito bite, etc.
So were all those literal groups? Yes they were. So why would the land not be literal; that doesn’t make any sense. My point is the Davidic Covenant, which is a part of the Abrahamic package is just as literal as the Abrahamic Covenant itself. That’s my point. I mean, there is no way you could be an honest reader of the Bible, if you were stranded on a desert island and you had no theologian to swim to shore to confuse you, and you were just reading the Bible on your own you would interpret all of these promises as earthly and literal, wouldn’t you? There wouldn’t be any doubt in your mind.
So when Jesus shows up we have this prophecy and you see the Davidic throne, which we’re focusing on here, is literal in the Old Testament and it’s literal in the New Testament. Jesus shows up and Gabriel says, I think it is to Mary, (if I’m not mistaken) “He,” that’s Jesus, “will be great, and He will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him” what? “the throne of His father David;  and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Now would you say that this promise carries the same literal understanding of everything we read in the Old Testament? I mean, Gabriel never changes the meaning of the prophecy, does he? He never says oh, by the way, all that literal earthly stuff that’s been cancelled, it’s actually going to be in heaven. So this is when the kingdom was being offered to Israel and this is what Israel could have had had they enthroned their King.
Alva J. McClain of Luke 1:32-33 says, ““The ‘throne of David’ here is not God’s throne in heaven, nor is the ‘house of Jacob’ a reference to the Christian church.” In Luke 1 there is no Christian church. The church, you don’t even have a hint of a church until after midway through Matthew. There’s no church, I mean, you start talking about a church and no one would even know what you’re talking about, it’s all Israel, Israel, Israel, Israel.
“The ‘throne of David’ here is not God’s throne in heaven, nor is the ‘house of Jacob’ a reference to the Christian church.” As Godet” a French interpreter, “rightly observed: ‘These expressions in the mouth of the angel keep their natural and literal sense. It is, indeed, the theocratic royalty and the Israelite people, neither more nor less, that are in question here; Mary” by the way, what nationality was Mary? Was she an American? She was about as Jewish as they come, right. Mary, as a Jew, as a Hebrew, as a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the only thing she knew was Hebrew Bible and she the only thing she would have understood is a literal Davidic throne. If you told her well, it’s really through the church in heaven that would have been a foreign concept to her. Mary could have understood these expressions from Gabriel in Luke 1:32-33 in no other way.” [Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God as Set Forth in the Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 282.]
And as you know of go through the mystery of Christ you start to see references that Jesus makes periodically to the Davidic throne, and you’ll notice that Jesus Himself always keeps references to the Davidic throne in their literal sense. Notice Matthew 19:28, ““And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne,” now what throne would that be? David’s throne that he’s the heir to genealogically. Right? “…when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious thrones” speaking to twelve apostles who were twelve Jews, “you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”
Now where do you think their minds went when He made that statement? They didn’t go into the New Testament, there is no New Testament. I think their minds went right back to Ezekiel 47 which describes the apportionments and tribal allotment of land in the millennial kingdom. That’s a picture from Thomas Ice’s prophecy chart book. I personally like Gabriel Morris’ picture better, no offence to Thomas Ice. But I like Gabe’s picture better, he drew out basically the same thing. It’s right out of Ezekiel 47, it’s explaining the different parts of the land that each of the twelve tribes will inherit. So I think when Jesus says you who have followed Me at the regeneration of all things, i.e. the mil, are going to sit on twelve thrones governing the twelve tribes of Israel. And they understood Jesus is on a literal throne of David and they would each be given governing authority over each of the twelve tribes. It’s all very literal.
Jesus, in Matthew 20:21 deals with the mother of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, who wanted her two boys to get ahead in life. Kind of sounds like a good Jewish mother, right, wants her boys to grow up and be lawyers and doctors and work on Wall Street and all that kind of stuff. So she comes to Jesus and it says this: “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?” Now this is no small wish, “She said to Him, ‘Command that in Your kingdom” what kingdom? He didn’t say to her well stop right there, we’re in the kingdom now. It’s the kingdom that, these are all Hebrews, it’s the kingdom that they all read about and anticipated was coming, and in fact thought was going to be set up right then and there as it was being offered to Israel. “‘Command that in Your kingdom that these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.’” Wow, that’s a pretty bold request.
And then Jesus goes on and He says… it’s interesting, He never corrects her about the throne, the kingdom and its earthly sense, He just corrects her on how the cross comes before the throne. But my point is Jesus is taking the Davidic throne and always keeping it in its Old Testament meaning. He never changes it. That’s what I’m getting at here.
So when is that Davidic throne going to be occupied? It will not be occupied until Matthew 25:31 which is at the beginning of the millennial kingdom, or towards the inauguration of the millennial kingdom. It says, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory,” now is that the rapture? That’s not the rapture, this is the second advent of Jesus at the end of the seven year tribulation period. “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on” what? “His glorious throne.” In other words, it’s not until this event that you’re going to see the Davidic throne in Jerusalem occupied over a believing Israel.
So until this event happens Jesus is not on David’s throne. Which throne is He on? The Father’s throne in heaven. So Jesus keeps the Davidic throne in its same terrestrial meaning and that leads to the inauguration of the kingdom, which you can’t have until you have the King sitting on David’s throne.
So what am I trying to get at with this subject of David’s throne? I’m just trying to make a simple point that David’s throne is earthly, Old Testament and New Testament it is earthly! And you have to get that foundation to appreciate the next point that I’m going to make. And to understand the perversion that’s being forced into the Bible through kingdom now theology.
So this takes us to point number two, arguing that David’s throne is now celestial, not terrestrial, celestial or heavenly, not earthly, not over Israel but over the church does what to the original promise? It changes its original meaning. And the name or the word change is extremely important. And the reason it’s extremely important is because of a proper understanding of progressive revelation.
Now don’t go to sleep on me here, this is the whole deal that I’m getting at. Progressive revelation, progress of revelation, what in the world does that mean? What it means is this: as the Bible develops concepts from Genesis to Revelation it never takes an existing concept and changes it… EVER! The only thing it will do is it will take an existing concept and clarify it, maybe specific something or amplify something, but it never changes it because what the Bible does at the very beginning is it starts off very generically and it says, for example, that there’s going to be a Messiah, who’s going to come forth from the seed of the woman, who is going to crush the serpent’s head.
Now as you travel through the Bible what you get is more information on who this coming one is. You will learn he’s going to come from the tribe of Judah. First of all He’s going to be Hebrew, then He’s going to come from the tribe of Judah and then He’s going to come from the city of Bethlehem, and then He’s going to be born of a virgin, and then He’s going to be pierced and then He’s going to rise from the dead, all Old Testament, Psalm 16.
[Psalm 16, “Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.  I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.”  As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.  The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.  The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.  The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.  I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.  I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.  For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.  You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”]
And you’ll notice that all this information that keeps coming, did it ever change the original promise in Genesis 3:15? [Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”] It never did. It simply clarified or specified or amplified. If the Bible all of a sudden came along and said well guess what, the Messiah is not going to come from the seed of the woman, He’s going to be dropped out of the sky with no connection to the human race at all. That would be a change in the original promise which would defy the doctrine of progressive revelation.
And this is what makes your Bible very different than the Qur’an, because the Muslims will say there are certain prophecies of peace and then there are certain prophecies of war and it really depends on whether they get the upper hand in a culture, because they go from House of Peace (I think that’s what it’s called, I may have the vocabulary a little wrong, but House of Peace to House of War really fast. And they stop quoting all the peaceful verses in the Qur’an and all of a sudden they start quoting all the warlike verses because Mohammed had different strategies, depending on whether he was in Mecca or Medina, because in one of those areas he didn’t have the upper hand so he wanted to cooperate with the existing population. But once he got the upper hand he suddenly went warlike.
And you say well what happened to all the prophecies and promises of peace, and the Muslims have a term for it and Shahram Hadian when he was here told us about it; the term is “they have been abrogated.” So all of a sudden the war prophecies have cancelled the peace prophecies, just like that! How convenient is that! The Bible does not work that way. The Bible does not abrogate prophecies and promises. It never comes along and says yeah, all that Old Testament stuff about an earthly throne on David’s throne in Jerusalem, all cancelled. That would be an abrogation.
That concept is akin to Islam, it has nothing to do with God’s Word. God’s Word functions according to progressive revelation, meaning later revelation can explain former revelation but it can never alter it. And the reason it can never alter it is what would it do to God’s character who made the original promise? It would make God a liar! That means everything He spoke originally was a lie. Now that may be fine in Islam but it doesn’t work in biblical Christianity where God is bound to operate by certain moral laws that govern Himself just like He wants to govern us.
In progressive revelation, and this is very important to understand, the New Testament is never going to cancel, it’s never going to change, it’s never going to alter an existing Old Testament idea. You take the Abrahamic Covenant that we just talked about, the promises of land, seed and blessing, (in fact I had a chart a little earlier on that) what is happening in the Bible is subsequent covenants are not altering those original promises given to Abraham but they’re amplifying, clarifying, explaining, adding specificity but never changing. See that?
So if somebody comes along and says the Davidic throne is no longer on the earth but it’s in heaven what have they just done to the original promise? They’re changed it. And that, in and of itself should send up your antenna, discernment awareness antenna that something is not right, because God’s Word doesn’t work that way and we have a concept to explain this called progressive revelation.
So Robert Lightner who was one of my many mentors and he was one of the best, he’s with the Lord now, said this conceding people who put David’s throne in heaven currently. He says, ““So, they have not only changed the people to include the Church,” the original promise never covered the church, “but they have also changed the place where the covenant is to be fulfilled. Now it’s not only on earth, but it’s also in heaven. . . . The people have changed and the place has changed.”
An abrupt change like that is not progressive revelation. It contradicts progressive revelation because the change is too radical. And if I can be so bold he mentions two things that get changed in kingdom now theology, people and place. Let me be so bold as to add a third, the regenerated status of Israel changes because when you study Matthew 23-25 what you’re going to see when you look at those chapters chronologically is the Davidic throne cannot… CANNOT come into existence until Israel is in faith.
That’s why we don’t have the Davidic throne today on the earth or anywhere. Jesus was very clear on this, He said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling!” [Matthew 23:37-38]
And then He says you’re not going to see me again until you say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” [For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” [Matthew 23:39] You’re not going to see me again until you’re converted.
That’s at the end of Matthew 23. Matthew 23 is followed by Matthew 24, and Matthew 24 is followed by Matthew 25. Now what do you think Matthew 24 and 25 are talking about? The conversion of Israel whereby He’s going to make good on His promise at the end of Matthew 23. See the chronology here. So what happens in Matthew 24. This is not church age truth at all, the church isn’t even on the earth when these things happen. You have the seventieth week of Daniel, the desecration of the temple by the antichrist, verse 15 which is going to wake Israel up. You have the flight of Israel into the wilderness, Matthew 24:20, [Matthew 24:20, “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.”] You have a time of great distress, unparalleled from the beginning of the world until now, verses 21-22. [Matthew 24:21-22, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.  Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
You have the second advent, not the rapture, the second advent to rescue Israel, verses 29-30. [Matthew 24:30-31, “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.”]
And then you have the gathering of Israel from the ends of the earth, verse 31 of Matthew 24. [“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
And only after that whole sequence runs its course then you have the Davidic throne. The promise is made in chapter 23. The means by which Israel is restored is given in Matthew 24 and then you have the Davidic throne coming to the earth once Israel is in faith. There will not be a Davidic throne in existence anywhere until Israel is in faith. That’s what the Bible teaches, and then the kingdom of God on this earth will start.
So the whole thing rides on Israel, doesn’t it? Whether we’re going to have a Davidic throne or not. Is Israel in faith today? Well, there’s a few Jews that have accept Christ periodically, I spoke to one on the phone today, but they’re not the majority; the majority of the nation is in unbelief. Paul, doesn’t he say in Romans 10:21 all day long I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. [But as for Israel He says, ‘All day long I have stretched forth my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.’”]
Doesn’t Paul say, Romans 11:25 “a partial hardening” that’s interesting, the hardening’s not total but it’s partial, “has happened to Israel.” [Romans 11:25, For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery– so that you will not be wise in your own estimation– that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;”] So it’s partial but it’s still in place, right? Doesn’t Paul, in Romans 11 say that “the natural branches,” who would those be, Israel, have been because of their unbelief removed from the tree….temporarily. [Romans 11:21, “for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.”]
And who’s brought in? I mean those weird strange looking branches that really don’t belong in an olive tree, and who would that be? That would be you and that would be me. And then Paul asks this question, if God can do the agricultural miracle and bring in the wild branches into a tree how hard do you think it’s going to be for God to reach out and put the natural branches back into their own tree. [Romans 11:24, “For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?”]
And he’s describing here through this analogy the conversion of Israel and then you’re going to get the Davidic throne but until that point in time Israel is in unbelief, you’re not going to have the Davidic throne.
So I put this little chart together and I just added to Lightner’s list of how kingdom now theology is changing the Davidic throne concept. They’re changing it first of all in the area of place. The place of the Davidic throne is on the earth; they’re saying no, it’s happening now in heaven. That’s a change; that’s not progressive revelation. Number two, they’re changing the people, the Davidic throne exists through Israel and the kingdom now folks are saying no, it’s happening in the Gentile church. Number three, they’re changing the requirement of Israel’s conversion; the Old Testament, New Testament says you can’t have the throne until Israel is converted. And they’re saying no, the Davidic throne exists now which means they’re saying God changed His mind about whether Israel is converted or not. And they try to sell you this as progressive revelation. That is not the progress of rev, that is an alteration in what God originally said. And that’s the problem with Kingdom now theology.
So let me introduce you to some people who do this kind of thing and I want you to notice how suspicious their vocabulary is. One of the big guys that’s been doing this for years, I think he’s dead now, (so now he knows better, right) George Eldon Ladd, of Fuller Seminary, who taught the doctrine of already/not yet. There is an already form of the kingdom with Jesus reigning on David’s throne now is what he’s saying. So watch how tricky these guys are. It’s like you shake a guy’s hand and then you finish shaking his hand and you realize two of your fingers are missing. I mean, “slippery when wet” are these guys. Now watch this:
“The new redemptive events” and they’ve got to give you the German word to show how smart they are, “in the course of Heilsgeschichte have compelled Peter” now Peter is preaching in Acts 2, Act is the battleground. That fancy German word means salvation history. “The new redemptive events in the course of salvation history have comjpelled Peter to” what’s the next word, “reinterpret the Old Testament.” Not explain the Old Testament, not clarify the Old Testament, but downright change it like abrogation. “Because of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Peter” look at this, “transfers the messianic Davidic throne from Jerusalem to God’s right hand in heaven.” Notice the word “transfers,” this is how they interpret Acts 2. “Jesus has now been enthroned as the Davidic Messiah on the throne of David, and is awaiting the final consummation of his messianic reign. . . . This involves” watch this, “a rather radical reinterpretation of Old Testament prophecies,” I agree, it’s very radical, “but no more so than the entire reinterpretation of God’s redemptive plan by the early church.”
In other words, it’s no big deal, all the apostles did this, they all showed up, cancelled the Old Testament and gave you a New Testament meaning of a heavenly kingdom of Jesus reigning on David’s throne now and therefore everything that God said to Israel is a big fat what? Lie! That’s what he means by “radical reinterpretation of Old Testament prophecies.” I guess people say why would you write a 400 page book about this, because it’s got to bother me a little bit to devote that much energy to something. And I guess what really gets under my skin about all of this stuff at the end of the day is the assault this wages on God’s character. That’s what bothers me about it.
“In fact, it is an essential part of this reinterpretation” notice how he keeps using this word, “demanded by the events of redemptive history…. Jesus is enthroned as the Messiah….He must reign until all his enemies are made a stool for his feet.” [George Eldon Ladd A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 336–37.]
So He’s still leaving room for a future kingdom but he gets the whole thing, not from the Old Testament, he gets it from Romans 11. And he doesn’t even have Israel as the center of his kingdom. So he gets to call himself a premillennialist but because of his already/not yet view he’s changing what the promises said. He’s building his doctrine of kingdom from the completely wrong place of the Bible.
The only thing Paul is doing in Romans 11 is he is summarizing everything that’s already given in the Old Testament. I was listening to an amillennialist on the… I shouldn’t do this, on the internet not too long ago and the guy was going on and on about how everybody gets their view of the kingdom from Revelation 20. And I’m screaming at the computer, I don’t get my view of the kingdom from Revelation 20. Revelation 20 just is a summation of everything that’s in the Old Testament. Everything in Revelation 20 is already revealed in the Old Testament. The only thing Revelation 20 really tells you that the Old Testament doesn’t tell you is it’s going to last a thousand years. Other than that the whole package is laid out through the covenants.
I am not a reader of the Bible that believes the New Testament changes the Old Testament because I’m a believer in the progress of revelation which says subsequent revelation will amplify, clarify, give details but never alter. The Davidic throne in heaven, I’m sorry, is an alteration and an abrogation of what God originally said.
George Murray, amillennialist, says, “The Davidic Covenant, of which much has been said, was to the effect that his seed would sit upon his throne and had its natural fulfillment in the reign of King Solomon. Its eternal aspects include the Lord Jesus Christ of the seed of David; and in the book of Acts, Peter insists that Christ’s resurrection and ascension fulfilled God’s promise to David that his seed would sit upon his throne (Acts 2:30). Why insist, then, on a literal fulfillment of a promise which the Scriptures certify to have had a spiritual fulfillment?” [George Murray, Millennial Studies (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1948), 44.]
See how he’s going to Peter in Acts 2 again, just like George Ladd did? And that’s why we’re going to be looking at Acts 2 in detail, not tonight but down the road. So they’re so confident that Peter has showed up…. By the way, was Peter a Jew? Yes. Who was he talking to in Acts 2? Jews. What do you think they would have thought if Peter had said all the promises are cancelled, let me give you the new package? They would have thought he was crazy.
So they’re so confident that Peter has changed or abrogated the prophecies and promises of the Davidic Covenant that it’s foolish to insist that they are ever going to be fulfilled in their literal sense. That’s what George Murray is saying, even more radical than what, or very similar to what George Ladd, formerly of Fuller Seminary, is saying.
And this actually led to a feud between John Walvoord, then at Dallas Seminary, and George Ladd, they went back and forth for I think the decade of the late 60’s early 70’s on this. And here’s the tragic thing about it, is in Walvoord’s own school today Ladd’s sentiment is the reigning sentiment, maybe not as radical as Ladd but the already/not yet view of the kingdom that Ladd taught is the reigning sentiment. Now there are some exceptions there, God always has a remnant. But his sentiment is the reigning sentiment and it’s very sad to me to watch Walvoord go out and defend this idea of a literal kingdom against Ladd, only to have the next generation come along and virtually adopt 75% if not more of what Ladd said.
Dwight Pentecost, one of the good guys, responds to Murray and he says this? “The amillennialist is bound to argue for a conditional covenant” they either argue that it’s conditional and cancelled and it’s not conditional because the covenants are unconditional, we’ve gone through all that, so they either argue it’s conditional and when that argument doesn’t work they say it was fulfilled already in the days of Joshua or Solomon. And if that argument doesn’t work they say well it’s just fulfilled now in a spiritual sense. So if argument one doesn’t work I’ll use argument two. If argument two doesn’t work I’ll use argument three.
So Dwight Pentecost says, “The amillennialist is bound to argue for a conditional covenant and a spiritualized fulfillment, so that the throne on which Christ is now seated at the right hand of the father becomes the ‘throne’ of the covenant, the household of faith becomes the ‘house’ of the covenant, and the church becomes the ‘kingdom’ of the covenant…. This makes the church the ‘seed’ and the ‘kingdom’ promised in the covenant.” What Pentecost is saying here is they just changed the whole language of the Davidic Covenant. And look at this last sentence, “The kingdom becomes heavenly, not earthly….” Then he says this, “Only by extensive allegorization can such a view be held. [J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, Page 103]
What he’s getting at is these folks are not following the doctrine of progressive revelation; that’s what he’s saying. They’re not following the doctrine that the New Testament clarifies but never changes. These are abrupt outright changes very similar to the doctrine of abrogation that you find in pagan religions like Islam.
And you might recall this quote that I used on Sunday from Lewis Sperry Chafer, who 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,” now we looked at those Scriptures today, didn’t we? I kept saying here’s a reference to the Davidic Covenant, notice it’s literal, we went through a plethora or Old Testament Scriptures, a plethora of New Testament Scriptures. And Chafer is criticizing those who are making it sound as if it’s being fulfilled today and he says this: “Only by theological legerdemain,” I didn’t even know what that word meant, you know, these guys that wrote in 1947 used like real vocabulary words that we don’t use today because we’re so busy with social media saying LOL and ROF and all these little things we don’t even know how to spell any more.
All this technology, I think, has made us very stupid, to be honest with you. We don’t know how to speak, we don’t know how to write, we don’t know how to spell. In fact, I said to my daughter, she needed to look something up, I said well go look that up in the dictionary and she was looking at me like I was from outer space. [Laughter] Dictionary, what is that, because she’s used to getting on Google and just putting in a word that she doesn’t know and you get Wikipedia and all this other stuff. I mean, the whole concept of looking up things in a dictionary is a lost concept today. We were in the airport, Bush airport and we were getting ready, I think in August, to fly back home and there’s a pay phone there, did you know that, it’s off to the side and no one really uses it and I’m looking for my 12 year old and all of a sudden I saw her next to this pay phone staring at it, [laughter] and she did not know what the heck that thing was because we’re used to pulling out our little [can’t understand word] and there we go. So technology has really changed. And I was trying to explain to her that well, there was once a time when you had to put in a dime to make a call to someone and she says to me, well why did you do that? [Laughter]
Anyway, I had to look up legerdemain and it means trickery or deception. And then he goes on and he says, “ (trickery, deception) metamorphosed into a spiritual monstrosity in which an absent King seated on His Father’s throne in heaven is accepted in lieu of the theocratic monarch of David’s line seated on David’s throne in Jerusalem.” [vol. 5, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 315]
In other words, if you make the Davidic throne, which is earthly, something that’s happening now, in the words of Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Seminary, that is trickery and a spiritual monstrosity because you’re changing what it originally says. And just when I get ready to speak about Darrell Bock we’re flat out of time. So we’ll talk about him and his progressive dispensationalism the next time I’m with you, because he’s trying to argue the same thing; he’s trying to say the Davidic throne and the heavenly throne of Jesus at the right hand of the Father are one and the same. He’s doing the same thing that Ladd did but he has a slightly different technique that he uses called complimentary hermeneutics which I’ll expose you to the next time I’m with you.