The Coming Kingdom 057Acts 1:6-7 • Dr. Andy Woods • January 9, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
1-9-19 Acts 1:6-7 Lesson 57
Let’s open our Bibles if we could to the Book of Acts, chapter 1, and verses 6-7. Happy New Year to you all. You probably don’t remember but we’ve been studying the Kingdom and had a few weeks off. We’re in chapter 17 of the book I wrote on The Coming Kingdom. As we’ve tried to emphasize my book is not the important book, I just organized biblical material, the important book is God’s book, the Bible. And we’re sort of in a section where we’re dealing with why do some people believe that we are in the kingdom now? So we’ve already, in this study, traced the doctrine of the kingdom in Genesis to Revelation. I’ve sort of made the case that the kingdom, as it currently exists is not cancelled but postponed. And we explained all of that. In other words, what God is doing today through the church should not be confused with the kingdom.
You might be asking if all that is so clear why do so many people believe we’re in the kingdom now? So we’re kind of in a part of the study where I was going through some passages the people use to argue that we’re in the kingdom. We looked at a bunch of passages from the ministry of Christ and I showed you how to properly understand those in light of the future kingdom. And now we’ve moved into, probably the key battleground, which is early Acts. Almost everybody that argues that we are in the kingdom now try to build their case from early Acts and without a doubt the dominant thing that they’re saying today is that Jesus, based on Acts 2 primarily, us not simply at the Father’s right hand functioning as high priest, but He is actually reigning from David’s throne today.
And of course, this is a view we don’t hold, we believe David’s throne is future and earthly but there’s a very loud cacophony of voices today saying no, Jesus is actually reigning today from David’s throne. And if you’re dealing with someone that thinks that you’re dealing with a kingdom now theologian.
So what I was sort of doing the last time I was with you, mid December I think it was, is I was giving you six reasons why Jesus is not reigning on David’s throne now. And in part three of the book I start explaining why all this matters. So maybe I should have done part three first to take you through all these minutia exegetical arguments. But as I’ll be showing you, once someone starts believing that the church is the kingdom it’s a game changer. It changes how you present the gospel. It changes what you think the church ought to be doing. It changes the kind of sermons you hear Sunday morning.
And so all of that is coming but right now we’re looking at is Jesus really reigning from David’s throne. And here’s basically six quick responses to this. And part of these responses, as you’ll see tonight, get into Acts 2. Number one, David’s throne is always earthly, everywhere it’s described in the Bible. Here in 1 Kings 2:11-12 it says, after David left the throne, “Solomon sat on the throne of David.” [1 Kings 2:11-12, “The days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years he reigned in Hebron and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem.  And Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.”] Now where would that be? In heaven somewhere? No, it’s obviously on the earth. And when you look at all of the passages in the Old Testament related to the throne of David it’s described the same way. David’s throne is always on the earth.
So therefore, number two, to argue that David’s throne is in heaven involves changing the definition of David’s throne. It involves a change of place, from earth to heaven. It involves a change of people, from earthly Israel to the predominantly Gentile church. And it involves a change in Israel, because David’s throne, as we have studied, only comes into existence when Israel is converted. And now all of that’s changed because Israel today is unconverted. So it’s a change that’s so radical that you can no longer call it the progress of revelation.
Do you all remember what we talked about the rest of Revelation, what that is? The Old Testament starts here with some basic promises and then as you go through the Scripture the Scripture amplifies those promises but it never does what with those original promises? It never changes them. And that these folks are arguing is the New Testament completely changes the Old Testament and that’s the only way to get Jesus on David’s throne at the present time.
And then we were talking about number three, if Jesus is really reigning on David’s throne today shouldn’t there be a clear verse on it? Shouldn’t there be a New Testament verse that says thus saith the Lord, Jesus is reigning on David’s throne? The reality of the situation is you find no such verse; there is no New Testament verse that teaches it. Why? Because this is a man-made doctrine.
We went through a lot of different things related to that but we find ourselves here now in Acts 1:6-7. So let’s kind of start in early Acts and sort of look at some of the verses that people use from early Acts to argue that Jesus is currently reigning on David’s throne. These particular verses take place in between Christ’s resurrection and ascension. There’s a period there of about forty days where He’s interacting with His disciples just before He ascended. And the disciples are not thinking in terms of the church, they’re still thinking in terms of the kingdom because as devout Jews that’s what they missed. Right? So they don’t understand that the kingdom is in postponement at this point. They’re wanting it to be set up right then and there.
So they ask Jesus a question. “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to” who? “to Israel?” Now what kingdom is it talking about here? What kingdom are they referring to? Well, the kingdom is developed where? In the Old Testament. No doubt they have in their minds the Davidic Covenant, where there’s coming from David’s seed a forever throne. 2 Samuel 7:16 says a thousand years before Jesus showed up, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever, Your throne shall be established forever.” See, that’s what the disciples are thinking, when is this Davidic throne going to be set up. They haven’t grasped the idea that God is going to do something completely new called the church. In fact, this new project is something He’s been doing for the last two thousand years. It’s something that we’re part of, but it has nothing to do with the Davidic kingdom, which is not cancelled but postponed. But the disciples don’t grasp all of this yet.
So Jesus is resurrected and so they say well, let’s get on with the show here, set up Your kingdom. And they’re thinking in terms of the covenants to Israel, the overthrow of Rome, and the establishment of an earthly kingdom. And Christ’s response to this question is very interesting. [Verse 7] “He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;” now in this answer does Jesus ever deny that there will be an earthly kingdom one day? If He was going to deny that couldn’t He have said right here, sorry guys, the program is cancelled, there’s never going to be an earthly throne. He doesn’t say that! What He says is “It is not for you to know the time” of that kingdom’s establishment.
So what He is challenging here is not their belief in a future earthly kingdom. What He is challenging here is their timing in terms of when it’s going to be established. And why does He say “it’s not for you to know the times or the epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority? Because God is doing something completely different now, beginning in Acts 2, called the age of the church which has absolutely nothing to do with the Davidic kingdom. If the current age, beginning in Acts 2, had something to do with the Davidic kingdom then this statement wouldn’t make any sense, would it? “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has set by His own authority;” in other words, the kingdom is going to come one day, you’re right about that. But you’re off in terms of the timing; that timing is not yet. And God is going to do something completely new called the church, which has nothing to do with the Davidic kingdom.
So notice this quote from J. Dwight Pentecost. He says, “This passage makes it clear that while the covenanted form of the Theocracy has not been cancelled and has only been postponed, this present age is definitely not a development of the Davidic form of the kingdom.” [Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1990), 269.]
So when He says, “It’s not for you to know the times or the epochs,” what He’s saying is the whole thing is postponed; God is doing something brand new now through the church that has zero to do with the Davidic kingdom. So that’s why it’s an error to argue that we’re in the Davidic kingdom now and Jesus is currently reigning on David’s throne.
Having said all that, flip over to Acts 2 and take a look at verses 34 and 35. And without a doubt Acts 2 is the dominant passage everybody is going to today to argue that we are in the Davidic kingdom. They use Acts 2:34-35, so keep your eye on those verses. And as I’ll show you they’re using Acts 2:30. [Act 2:34-35, “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,  UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’ Acts 2:30, “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE.”] And they believe this is game set match; these passages are crystal clear that Jesus is currently reigning on David’s throne today related to Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, where three thousand people got saved.
So what does Acts 2:34-35 say. And by the way, what is Peter doing in Acts 2? He’s revealing the identity of Jesus to Jews that have been gathered on the Day of Pentecost and Peter preached a sermon to them and he’s trying to tell them that what the nation of Israel just did with Jesus is wrong. In other words, they rejected their own Messiah and Jesus is the Messiah. And Peter strings together a whole bunch of Old Testament passages to prove this point. Why is he using the Old Testament? Because he’s speaking to Hebrews on the Day of Pentecost. And he’s instead saying identify, repent in other words, change your mind, identify with the new church that’s started, not the nation of Israel. So in the process of identifying the Messiah Peter says this, Acts 2:34-35, he says “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,” now look at this next word, until,  “UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’ Now this is a citation from Psalm 110:1, that Peter uses to explain the present position of Jesus Christ now that He ascended. Where is Jesus Christ right now? He is at the right hand of the Father. He is functioning not as Davidic King but as high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
And you’ll notice that this verse in no way, shape or form teaches that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne, which is on the earth, Jesus is in heaven at the Father’s right hand. And notice that He’s not there permanently. See the word “until”? He’s there “until” something happens first. What has to happen first? “Until” God the Father makes His enemies a footstool for His feet. And that’s a description of the contents of the Book of Revelation, which we’re studying on Sunday mornings, where the Lord is going to come back and He is going to take Satan and throw him into the bottomless pit for a thousand years. And only when that process is complete is this world fit for God’s kingdom. And only at that point does His enemies become a footstool for His feet and only then and there does the Davidic kingdom get set up.
So you’ll notice that this verse here doesn’t prove at all that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne. What it says is He’s at the Father’s right hand and He is there temporarily and that’s the significance of the word “until.” And the Davidic kingdom is not going to come until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. A lot of people like to use Acts 2:34-35 as some kind of proof that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne but when you actually look at the content of the verse and the citation there from Psalm 110:1 you learn that this verse doesn’t teach at all that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne.
In fact, when you read Psalm 110 it’s not even talking about Jesus as King, it’s talking about Jesus as priest. And this is what one of my teachers, Elliot Johnson, said in an article he wrote on this subject. He says, “Peter’s use of Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:34–35” the verses we just read, “is often used to justify Christ’s present Davidic enthronement. Yet of Psalm 110, Elliott Johnson observes that the Messiah’s present position as depicted in this Psalm fails to include imagery of coronation.” So what’s coronation imagery? It’s like an inauguration day, like when the Trump administration was sworn in January of 2017 they had all the pomp and circumstance and parades and crowds; I mean, that’s what happens when a ruler takes authority. And if Jesus at the Father’s right hand right now is His Davidic enthronement then how come there’s no pomp and circumstances in Psalm 110? I mean, if you’re going to use Psalm 110 to try to say Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now, where’s all of the inauguration type ceremony? That’s Johnson’s point.
“Elliott Johnson observes that the Messiah’s present position as depicted in this Psalm fails to include imagery of coronation. Only Christ’s priestly activity is mentioned.” See, Psalm 110 doesn’t prove at all that Jesus is functioning as King right now, it proves He’s functioning as what? High priest! I mean, read the psalm yourself, it’s not that long. It’s probably one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament and what it deals with, and this is the reason Peter quotes it, it deals with Jesus functioning as priest today, and not king. And he goes on he says, “Only Christ’s priestly activity is mentioned. Such coronation imagery would certainly have been mentioned if in fact the Psalm were intended to describe Christ’s enthronement as Davidic King.” [Elliott Johnson, “Hermeneutical Principles and the Interpretation of Psalm 110,” Bibliotheca Sacra 149 (October–December 1992): 433–34]
So what have we learned so far? Acts 1:6-7 tells us that the Davidic kingdom is postponed, not to be confused with the present age. [Acts 1:6-7, “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;”]
And then also Peter’s use of Psalm 110 in Acts 2:34-35 demonstrate that Jesus is functioning as high priest today, not as Davidic King. So how much support is there for this idea that Jesus is currently reigning on David’s throne in acts 1 and Acts 2? There is no support for it, as we’ve looked at it thus far. [Acts 2:34-35, “Acts 2:34-35, “The LORD has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: ‘Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.’” For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,  UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’]
But they don’t stop there, they back up to Acts 2:30, take a look at that real quick. It says, Acts 2:30, “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne.” Now that is a quote, Acts 2:30, of Psalm 132:11. [Psalm 132:11, “The LORD has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: ‘Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.”’] And people love to use this to say look, there it is; after all, God has sworn to one of His descendants with an oath to see one of his descendants on His throne. And they kind of try to connect that with verses 34 and 35 which mentions David. And they try to make the case that from these verses Jesus is actually reigning today on David’s throne. The problem is this is describing the fact that Jesus is the heir to David’s throne. It’s not saying He’s on David’s throne right now; it’s saying He’s the heir to David’s throne.
I have this kind of long quote from E. R. Craven, who wrote a really good treatment on this futuristic kingdom and he makes some great points here related to Acts 2, the misuse of Acts 2. So if you’ll bear with me and let me read this, Craven basically makes four points and I want to kind of go over those four points with you related to Acts 2. Each major point he makes I’ve got underlined.
He says: “It is assumed by many that the exaltation of ver. 33 constitutes the session on the throne of David of verse 30. But the assumption is wholly gratuitous. Nowhere in his sermon did the apostle declare the oneness of the two events; and most certainly the exaltation there spoken of does not imply the session as already existing—it may be an exaltation begun, to culminate in a visible occupancy of the throne of David. (The visible establishment by an emperor of the seat of his government in the heart of a once revolted province, does not derogate from his dignity—does not imply an abdication of government in the rest of his empire.).”
The quote goes on, “But beyond this, not only is the assumption gratuitous; it is against probabilities that amount to certainty.” Isn’t it interesting how you get smart all of a sudden reading these old guys; all of a sudden people can write and you’ve got to think about what they’re saying. That’s why I like reading older commentaries. I’m so tired of this LOL and ROF and “like” and “thumbs up” and this really simplistic communication that we have today where we get a few characters on twitter to express their ideas. I like going back to these old guys who see the way language is supposed to work.
“The apostle, be it remembered, was arguing with Jews,” isn’t Peter speaking in front of Jews in Acts 2? “to prove that the absent Jesus was the Messiah (verse 36); he was arguing with those, one of whose most cherished beliefs it was that the Messiah should occupy a visible throne.” So, first of all, you can’t just combine verse 30 with verses 34 and 35. The second point he’s making is he’s talking to Jewish people here; he’s not talking to Americans, he’s not talking to the United States, he’s not talking to Gentiles, he’s talking to people, Hebrews, that all understood the Davidic Covenant was earthly. And so to use Peter’s sermon to Jews who understood an earthly Davidic throne, as if Peter is really saying well, all that expectation you’ve had for a thousand years, it really doesn’t mean anything, God’s changing everything now, there is no future Davidic throne, would be to require him to say something in front of a bunch of people that would have never understood Peter’s words that way.
In fact, to convince that crowd of that truth, so-called truth, would require a lot more explanation than what you’re getting in Acts 2. And Peter doesn’t give that extra explanation because he wasn’t making that point at all. He was saying the Davidic throne will be a reality one day. It’s not a reality now because Jesus is where? At the Father’s right hand.
He says, “To suppose that, under such circumstances, he should advance a doctrine at war with this belief without a word of explanation or proof, and that too in a sentence capable of an interpretation consistent therewith, is inconceivable.” I mean, there’s no way they would have understood Peter’s words the way modern theologians are arguing because you’re dealing with a Jewish audience in Acts 2. And that really is one of the key things to understand about Bible study methodology. When you’re trying to figure out what the Bible says you have to ask yourself how would the original audience, to whom the remarks were addressed, understand the words.? They would have never in a million years understood Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now because this Hebrew audience all held to a literal interpretation of David’s throne on the earth.
Craven goes on and he says, “The interpretation suggested by the writer is confirmed not only by its consistency with the previous teachings of our Lord, but by the address delivered by the Apostle Peter shortly after, Acts 3:19, 20.” His third argument is that if Peter is saying that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now then Acts 3, verses 19 and 20 make zero sense. And we’ll look at Acts 3:19:20 in just a minute. “The literal translation of the passage referred to is as follows…. “ Here’s a quote from Acts 3, verses 19-20, which we’ll look at a little bit later. “It is also confirmed by the subsequent teachings of the apostle in his epistles; comp. 1 Peter 1:4–7, 13; 2 Peter 1:11, 16;” where the inheritance of the kingdom is the revelation of Jesus Christ at His second coming. [E.R. Craven, “Excursus on the Basileia,” in Revelation of John, J. P. Lange (New York: Scribner, 1874), 97.]
And also in his other epistle, 2 Peter, where the kingdom is associated with the parousia which means coming of Jesus. And his point is simply this: if Peter is saying to this Jewish audience that Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne then what Peter wrote in his own book later about the kingdom makes no sense. What he said later in Acts 3 makes no sense. What he says later in his own epistles makes no sense. And beyond that it would require a lot more explanation to this Hebrew audience who all understood the Davidic throne literally. And beyond that you can’t jam together verse 30 with verses 34-35 because those are all teaching different concepts. Verses 34 and 35 is highlighting His high priestly ministry at the Father’s right hand. Verse 30 is highlighting the fact that even though He is functioning as high priest now He is still the heir to David’s throne, not on David’s throne but the heir to David’s throne and David’s throne is yet future.
So with those points in mind let’s sort of make a few comments, if we could, about Acts 2:30. The Bible very frequently will reveal to people’s destiny before that destiny comes to pass.. So for example, if verse 30 is talking about Jesus on David’s throne, it doesn’t have to necessarily mean that He’s on David’s throne now; it could mean that He will be on David’s throne in the future. Remember John 1:29, “The next day he” John the Baptist, “saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” Now when you read John 1:29, if I didn’t have any other Bible verses I would think that Jesus had already taken away the sin of the world when that was said. But had Jesus died on the cross yet when this statement was given? Not yet, in fact He wouldn’t die on the cross for another 20 chapters, 19 chapters, something like that, in John’s Gospel.
So John the Baptist reveals the identity of Christ and His role before He actually fulfills that role. That’s all that’s going on in verse 30. He’s the heir to David’s throne, He’s in the lineage of David, but don’t take that to mean He’s on David’s throne now.
If you really want a picture of where Jesus is now the best type that we have of it in the Scripture is the Saul/David narrative. I shared this with you before, haven’t I, the Saul/David narrative? I’’s fascinating and I think this is one of the reasons the Holy Spirit gave us this narrative because David is anointed as king in 1 Samuel 16. But when David is anointed as king in 1 Samuel 16 does He actually become king? I mean, he’s the heir to the kingdom but does he actually sit on the throne at that point? Yes or no? He did not! He is not actually inaugurated, coronated until 2 Samuel 5. So if He is anointed as king in 1 Samuel 16 but does not actually reign as king until 2 Samuel 5 then what in the world is going on in the interim. See that?
And if you understand that interim that David was in you understand the present age. And I think this is why the Holy Spirit gave us this type, with Saul and David. What was happening is there was somebody on the throne that was illegitimate. Who would that be? Saul. Now how do we know Saul was illegitimately on the throne? Because Saul was from which tribe? Benjamin. The king was supposed to come from the tribe of Judah. See, the nation of Israel should never embraced Saul as their king to begin with because he’s from the wrong tribe.
And you’ll notice that David, in 1 Samuel 24 and 1 Samuel 26, do you realize this, that David had two opportunities to kill Saul? But he did not! He said I will not touch the Lord’s anointed. He totally waited on God to vacate Saul before David actually came king. And that’s a great lesson for us, isn’t it, because we all want to promote ourselves all the time. And we have to learn to wait on the Lord to promote us at the right time. And you see that in David. You know, David could have said you know, I’ve been anointed as king, I’m going to take the throne by force. And David did not do that, he simply waited on the Lord.
And that’s where you get all David’s psalms. He’s talking about his experiences when he was waiting on the Lord. All those Psalms that we cherish, many of them were written during this time frame, this interim. And God was allowing this to happen because people were being forced to make a decision, weren’t they? You’re either going to walk with David or you’re going to walk with Saul. Now if you walked with Saul you walked by what? Sight! And that’s why in Daniel’s book there’s so much information about Saul’s good looks. Did you ever wonder why it keeps saying he’s tall and handsome. I mean, why do I need to know that? Why does it keep repeating that? Because it’s talking about why people were drawn to Saul; they weren’t drawn to Saul by faith, they were drawn to Saul because of his appearance.
And if you walked with David you had to do so totally by faith; you had to believe that God had anointed him as king and it was just a matter of time before David would be reigning over the nation but he was not yet reigning over the nation so you had to embrace David by faith. If you walked with Saul you basically said to yourself well, he’s reigning as king now, I can see it so I’ll align myself with him.
The majority of the people in that time period walked with who? With Saul, but there’s a small contingency of rebels called David’s mighty men, that walked with David. So if you can take those points you can see exactly what’s happening in the present time. Jesus is not reigning as King right now but He has been what? Anointed as King. Well, when was He anointed as King? He was anointed as King, probably I would say in His resurrection or His ascension. But that’s all Acts 2:34-35 are saying; that’s all Acts 2:30 is saying. He’s not king yet, reigning as King, He’s anointed as King.
When will Jesus actually reign as King? When His enemies are made his footstool, “sit at My right hand until I make my enemies your footstool.” [Psalm 1:10, Hebrews 1:13, Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36.] So just as David had to be patient and wait for the Lord to install him as king, Jesus is doing the same thing right now. You see that? That’s the significance of Psalm 110:1, because as long as Jesus is anointed as King but not reigning as King who is the usurper that shouldn’t be there on the throne of the earth? Who is the Saul like character that shouldn’t be there? It’s Satan. Satan is an illegitimate ruler of this world.
First of all, do we understand Satan is the ruler of this world. The Bible is very clear on that. He’s called the god of this age, the prince and power of the air, the one who roams about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, etc. etc. etc. God says to Satan in the Book of Job, where did you come from? Satan says from going back over the earth. So Satan is clearly the ruler of this world but he’s an illegitimate ruler because who did God originally want to rule this earth? Adam, but Adam, because of his sin the garden turned the keys of this world over to who? The devil! So Satan is ruling this world just like Saul was ruling the nation illegitimately.
So we have an interim time period where David has an opportunity to kill Saul but doesn’t and the same with Jesus Christ. Jesus is not exercising all the authority that He’s been given because He’s specifically told to sit at the Father’s right hand until his enemies are made his footstool. And why is God allowing this interim time period to go forward? The same reason He allowed the interim time period to go forward in the days of Saul and David, to force everyone to make a choice. That’s what humanity is being put through right now. Every human being is being forced to make a choice and your choice is you can walk by sight and follow who? Satan as the prince and power of the air. So if you’re aligning yourself with Satan you’re obviously not walking by faith at all, you’re walking by what you can see. See that?
But if you align yourself with Jesus you’re automatically walking by what? Faith, and you’re saying I know God has anointed Him as King at His resurrection and ascension and it’s just a matter of time until He leaves heaven and rules from David’s throne on the earth. And in the Saul/David story the majority followed who? Saul! The minority followed who? David! That’s exactly what’s happening today, right. That’s the whole significance of Christ’s statement. What did He say? Broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many there are that go that way. [Matthew 7:13, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”]
What’s the road leading to life? It’s narrow. So I don’t know, I find this completely fascinating that God has given the whole age that we’re in now as prefigured in the typology of Saul and David. Do you find this interesting? I mean, this kind of stuff just blows my mind and it’s one of the great proofs, I think, these kind of types, that the Bible is truly God’s Word.
So if this typology is accurate, and I think it is, obviously Jesus is not reigning as King now. He’s anointed as King, but He is not yet reigning as King and the reason God the Father has not installed Him as King is because humanity is being forced to make a choice. And that’s all that’s going on there in Acts 2.
So don’t put too much stock into the fact that verse 30 at first reading seems to look like Jesus is on David’s throne now. The tenses in the Bible are not as convincing of an argument as you might think. God, all the time, will speak things that haven’t happened yet because God is outside of time. Right? That’s what’s happening in verse 30. It’s not saying He’s on David’s throne now, it’s saying He will be on David’s throne. Well why is God so confident that He will be on David’s throne? Because God is outside of time. Right? I mean, to God tomorrow is already what? Today! See, I’ve got to wait for tomorrow to come to learn what’s going to happen tomorrow. Does God have to wait around for tomorrow to come to learn what’s going to happen tomorrow? No, because God is outside of time. To Him tomorrow is already today.
And that’s why God speaks in His Word about the enthronement of Christ in verse 30. From His vantage point it’s already happened, but not from our vantage point. God is outside of time. This is Peter’s whole point. “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.”[ 2 Peter 3:8]
By the way, that’s a quote from Psalm 90:4, which is the oldest psalm in the Psalter, written by Moses and it’s just a very simple point that God is outside of time. [Psalm 90:4, “For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night.”] And that’s the significance of John the Baptist saying, [John 1:29] “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” when in fact Jesus hadn’t died on the cross yet.
By the way, did you know you’re already glorified in God? Romans 8:29-30, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” It’s talking about the stages of our salvation. God foreknew us, predestined us, called us, justified us, all these things have already happened but wait a minute, hold the phone here. What else has He already done? He’s already glorified us. Do you feel glorified? You guys don’t look glorified [laughter] I don’t think I look glorified either. I don’t feel glorified, I feel like I’m getting tired more and more frequently. I need more and more naps and more and more sleep; I mean, I should be in my glorified body, right, because this tells me I’m already glorified.
Well, the reason that God looks at me as if I’m already glorified is He’s not bound by time, He already sees me as glorified. Joshua 6:2, this is before Joshua went to fight Jericho, remember from the Book of Joshua, and before any battle strategy was implemented, what does it say there in Joshua6:2, “The LORD said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.’” In other words, you’ve already won even though you haven’t implemented the battle strategy yet. How could God say that? Because God is outside of time and tomorrow is already today.
Have you looked at Jude 14 lately? It says, “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied,” now who is Enoch? That’s way back in Genesis, Genesis 5, in other words, Enoch way back in Genesis is making a prophecy about Jesus’s return. “ saying, ““It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord” what? “came with many thousands of His holy ones.” Well I thought the coming of Christ was future; why would the Book of Jude say He already came? Because God is outside of time. He doesn’t have to wait for tomorrow to learn what’s going to happen tomorrow. See that? And this is why the Lord is always telling us don’t worry about tomorrow. How does the saying go, “inch by inch life’s a cinch, yard by yard life’s hard. When you take tomorrow’s burdens and you put them on your shoulders you’re assuming that you’re God and you’re assuming that you can see tomorrow when you can’t. God can see it and he simply asks us to trust us in the midst of it.
So all of that to say that’s how to interpret Acts 2. Dan Wallace says, “The present tense may be used to describe a future event, though. . . . it typically adds connotations of immediacy and certainty….The present tense may describe an event that is wholly subsequent to the time of speaking, although as if it were present.” [Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 535-35.]
He calls this a futuristic present. In other words, in the Bible a present tense can describe a future reality. Why? Because it’s demonstrating that it’s so certain it’s going to happen we’ll use the present tense to describe it. 1 John 2:17, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; [but the one who does the will of God lives forever.]” “Passing away” is in the present tense there in the Greek. Well, that’s kind of odd, two thousand years have passed since John wrote that and the world hasn’t passed away. Has the world passed away? I can touch the ground, the world is still here. Well then why is John describing the passing of the world away with the present tense? Because the passing away of this world is certain, see that? It’s so certain that it can be described in the present tense.
So all of these are factors which you have to take into account when you’re looking at verse 30 there in Acts 2. It says, “And so because He was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on His throne.” And people say well there it is, the present tense, Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now. Not necessarily. What is actually happening there is the Davidic enthronement of Christ is so certain it’s being described as a present tense. But if you want to understand where Jesus is now you’ve got to look down at verses 34 and 35 which says He’s where? At the right hand of the Father. [Acts 2:34-35, ““For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,  UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’] What’s the key word? UNTIL his enemies are made a footstool, which hasn’t happened yet.
By the way, look at this, 1 Corinthians 15:44 describing the resurrection body: “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” That’s talking about our resurrection body described in the present tense even though we, as members of Christ’s church… in fact, no one in human history has ever received their resurrection body yet. Yet I know I’m going to receive my resurrection body one day because Jesus rose from the grave. And because Jesus rose from the grave it’s absolutely certain you’re going to get your resurrected body, even though you don’t have it yet.
So why is the present tense used? Not to mean that we are already in our resurrected body. I mean, if we were already in our resurrected body that would cut back on our need to do hospital visitations, right? No one would die. No one would get sick. No one would get cancer. So if I’m not in my resurrection body yet why is the present tense of the Greek word eimi, used to describe that resurrection body. Because the resurrection body that’s coming to us is a certainty. So Acts 2:30 says, “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, “ that verse is not saying Jesus is on David’s throne now. It’s saying He’s the heir to David’s throne and it’s saying His enthronement one day over the earth in Jerusalem from David’s throne will be an absolute certainty. And that’s really Craven’s first point there.
His second point is there’s no way Peter could be communicating that Jesus is on David’s throne because in Acts 2 He’s speaking to Jews. What holiday was it in Acts 2? Pentecost. We call it the day of Pentecost; it’s one of the spring feasts. You say well gosh, I’d like to read a little bit about the feasts of Israel. Well, read Leviticus 23, it gives you there at least seven feasts. And I think for three of those feasts they had to show up in Jerusalem, mandatorily. And one of those mandatory show-ups in Jerusalem is Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost. That’s why they’re all there.
Acts 2:5-13 describes where all of these Jews were living in the known world and why they came to Jerusalem on that particular day. And so on that particular day the Holy Spirit had a surprise for them. Peter the apostle was going to preach, he was going to give a tremendous sermon weaving all of these Old Testament passages together to explain to them that the man that the nation of Israel rejected had it wrong and you people need to change your minds, Peter is saying, and trust in Christ as your Savior. Go from being a Christ rejecting Jew aligning yourself with Israel to a Christ accepting Jew. That’s what Peter is doing there in Acts 2 and that’s why he tells them to “repent.”
And what does repent mean? Change your mind; go from being a Christ rejecting Jew to a Christ accepting Jew. That’s Peter’s audience and there’s no way I can tell you this flat out, he’s going to convince that crowd that Jesus is now on David’s throne, without a whole lot more explanation because they had all understood from the very beginning of Hebrew Bible that God’s promises for Israel were going to be fulfilled on the earth. If you had stood up in front of these people and told them, hey you all, just fooling Jesus is really on David’s throne in heaven now, you would have been laughed right out of the city. I mean the whole idea would have been completely ridiculous.
Now to a Gentile Christian that doesn’t know much about Hebrew Bible, they get saved out of paganism, a Gentile would fall for that, but not this crowd in Acts 2. So it’s just very odd to me that they are building this whole doctrine that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne in heaven now and they’re not even factoring in who exactly Peter is addressing. That’s Craven’s second point.
By the way, this is fascinating. Stanley Toussaint, who’s now with the Lord, makes this observation concerning Acts 2. And the reason I’m spending time in Acts 2 is because this is the main chapter that everybody is using today to argue that Jesus is on David’s throne.
Stanley Toussaint correctly says, ““T]he word Kingdom does not occur in Acts 2.” Don’t you find that a little odd? I mean, if Acts 2 is so clear that Jesus started the Davidic Kingdom why does the word “Kingdom” which is the Greek word basileia, how come it’s not even in the chapter? Do you find that a little odd?
Stanley Toussaint correctly says, ““The word Kingdom does not occur in Acts 2.” It is difficult to explain why Luke” who also wrote Acts as you know, “does not use the term if the kingdom is being inaugurated. He employs it forty-five times in the gospel” I mean, he uses it forty-five times in his prequel, called The Gospel of Luke, when he’s describing Jesus offering this kingdom to Israel but once the kingdom gets rejected by the leadership the word kingdom disappears. So if all of a sudden he’s establishing the kingdom in Acts 2 how come the word kingdom, which we are very good at using when the kingdom is near, how come the word kingdom doesn’t even show up in Acts 2.
“The word Kingdom does not occur in Aces 2. It is difficult to explain why Luke does not use the term if the kingdom is being inaugurated. He employs it forty-five times in the gospel and uses it two more times in Acts 1. . . . One would expect Luke to use the word if such a startling thing as the inauguration of the kingdom had taken place. The fact that Luke uses kingdom only eight times in Acts after such heavy usage in his gospel implies that the kingdom had not begun but was in fact,” was what? Look at that last word, “postponed.” [“Israel and the Church of a Traditional Dispensationalist,” in Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism, ed. Herbert W. Bateman (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1999), 242.] That’s the model that we’re teaching, the postponement model.
Charles Ryrie makes this point: “If Christ inaugurated His Davidic reign at His Ascension,” that’s what everybody is saying, Jesus went back to heaven, He sat on David’s throne, and He started the Davidic kingdom. Ryrie says correctly, “If Christ inaugurated His Davidic reign at His Ascension, does it not seem incongruous that His first act as reigning Davidic king was the sending of the” what? “the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33), something not included in the promises of the Davidic Covenant?” [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 169]
So his point is very simple, if Jesus is reigning as Davidic king now he didn’t fulfill anything out of 2 Samuel 7; instead what He did is He gave to the church the Holy Spirit, which was His first act, not as King but as high priest. The body of Christ, you see, there’s three thousand people that believe the message and they become the church and they receive the Holy Spirit and as they receive the Holy Spirit they receive what? The gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is necessary for this little body that’s just started, this little breakoff from Judaism, this little breakoff I should say from national Israel. They need spiritual gifts to function in their meetings. So that’s what Christ did; Christ did not start the Davidic kingdom when He ascended to heaven; He gave this little tiny group, this minority, using the Saul/David typology, David’s mighty men here, this little tiny group, He gave them the Holy Spirit and He gave them the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that they could edify one another as they met together corporately. He didn’t start the Davidic kingdom at all. If He started the Davidic kingdom He would have fulfilled what the Davidic kingdom says.
So Craven’s first point is people are misusing Acts 2:30 and verses 34 and 35. And his second point is there’s no way this audience would have bought the argument that Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne because they all expected a literal earthly throne and Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, is doing things here that have nothing to do with those Davidic promises. And I’ll give you the next two arguments Craven uses next time. And then the other point I think we’re making on David’s throne will go by a little faster. Sorry to bog down with all of this minutia but it’s sort of necessary to understand and refute the chapter that people are using to argue that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne.
So I will stop talking at this point. I appreciate you all’s patience.