The Coming Kingdom 058Acts 3:19-21 • Dr. Andy Woods • January 16, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
1-16-19 Acts 3:19-21 Lesson 58
Let’s open our Bibles if we could to 1 Peter, chapter 2 and verses 4-7. We’re continuing to deal with kingdom now theology. And without a doubt anybody that’s into kingdom now theology, probably the heart of the whole matter is the present position of Jesus. So the perspective of us at Sugar Land Bible Church is the present position of Jesus is He is at the right hand of the Father. He is functioning as high priest. The kingdom now theologians say no, no, no, no, Christ is actually reigning from heaven on David’s throne, functioning as Davidic king. So we’ve been dealing with this subject, is Jesus now reigning on David’s throne? And we’re sort of giving a six part response to that.
The first thing to understand is that all the references to David’s throne throughout the Old Testament and even into the Gospels, David’s throne is always earthly, every single reference. Therefore, number two, to all of a sudden transport David’s throne into heaven involves doing what with the original promise? Changing its meaning. You’re not just following the progress of Revelation where subsequent revelation clarifies something. You’re actually using one verse to rewrite another verse. And we went through the problems with that. It’s a complete alteration, David’s throne moves from earth to heaven, from Israel to the Gentile church, and it’s functioning not over a converted Israel but an unconverted Israel. That’s an outright change.
So if all that is true and that’s what people want to believe, and that’s what people are arguing today and you’re just going to have to take my word for it, if you’re not familiar with this discussion. This is what everybody is saying, Jesus is reigning on David’s throne. So shouldn’t there be a New Testament verse that clearly says the New Testament just changed the Old and the Old is incorrect and really what’s happening is Jesus is on David’s throne now. I mean, to my mind if you’re going to make a change of that radical proportion then you need something in the New Testament that tells you it’s happened. And the reality of the situation as we’ve studied this is there is no New Testament verse, there is no authoritative New Testament verse anybody can point to which says Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne and everything that’s revealed in the Old Testament about David’s throne was somehow changed or whatever word they want to use.
So probably the biggest support they go to is the Book of Acts. And in the Book of Acts, chapter 2, anybody remember who is preaching there? Peter, he’s preaching to Jews or Hebrews and he’s giving the sermon on the Day of Pentecost and he’s basically saying in this sermon that Israel had it wrong about Jesus, they had nationally rejected Him in the Gospels. And therefore what all of these Jews gathered in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost need to do is repent. Repent means what? Change your mind about who Jesus is, go from being a Christ rejecting Jew to a Christ accepting Jew. And it’s a wonderful sermon to study, I would encourage you to study it.
And in the process Peter is weaving together in sort of a masterpiece fashion, and it’s amazing what God did through Peter, the guy whose mouth was used as an instrument for Satan, remember? Because Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me,” what? “Satan.” And now it’s the same guy that denied Christ three times, that walked out on the water and sank, now filled with the Holy Spirit and weaving together this masterpiece of material where He’s weaving together all these Old Testament Scriptures and boldly declaring that Jesus is the Son of God. And he tells the audience to repent, change their minds, and he’s got three thousand believers there on the Day of Pentecost, it’s a miracle. That’s how the church started.
But today everybody is going to that sermons, not to present it the way I just did but to present it in terms of what this is really teaching is the kingdom has started. That’s what they’re all arguing. I had you open up to 1 Peter but over in Acts 2:30 Peter says in the sermon, “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 last time I tried to communicate that the only thing that verse means is Jesus is the Davidic heir.
And then down in verses 34-35 Peter says, now in verse 30 he’s using 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.”’] In verses 34-35 he is quoting the most frequently quoted Psalm, probably in the New Testament, if not the whole Bible. It’s Psalm 110.
[Psalm 110::1, “The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.  The LORD will extend Your mighty scepter from Zion: “Rule in the midst of your enemies.”  Your people shall be willing on Your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn, to You belongs the dew of Your youth.  The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”  The Lord is at Your right hand; He will crush kings in the day of His wrath.  He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead; He will crush the leaders far and wide.  He will drink from the brook by the road; therefore He will lift up His head.”]
And you ought to make it as part of your New Year’s resolutions to at least read Acts 2 and Psalm 110 in your devotional time because those are really critical sections of Scripture. And in Acts 2:34 Peter quotes it as follows: “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: “‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ‘SIT AT MY’ where? “RIGHT HAND, “ now that’s not David’s throne, is it? That’s God’s right hand which is where? In heaven. And how long is Jesus supposed to be at the right hand of the Father? Forever? No, what word is the giveaway, “Until.”  UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.’” Acts 2:34-35.
So Peter is explaining to them where the Holy Spirit has come from that’s given them all of these miraculous gifts, such as speaking in tongues. And you might recall that when the early church began and the Spirit was poured out and they started to speak in tongues, the unbelieving Jews said they’re just drunk, which is what the natural mind does. It takes things that God has done and tries to explain them away naturally. Oh, they’re just drunk. And Peter’s response in Acts 2 is they’re not just drunk because number one, it’s 9:00 o’clock in the morning and even an alcoholic, and we’ve all known, sadly, people in our lives that have been alcoholics, even an alcoholic generally, at least the ones I’ve known, have not started their drinking at 9:00 a.m. That’s pretty early.
So number one they’re not drunk because it’s 9:00 o’clock in the morning and number two, the person that’s actually sent the Holy Spirit causing tongues and all these other things, is Jesus that you crucified, by the way, Israel. And where is He currently? He’s at the Father’s right hand functioning as high priest. So Christ’s first order of business after His ascension when He ascended to the Father’s right hand and started his high priestly ministry, His first order of business was to give to the church (that was just starting there) the Holy Spirit.
And so Peter is weaving together all of these verses to prove this point. So he’s saying (A) Jesus is the Davidic heir, verse 30, and (B) He’s not sitting on David’s throne now but He’s at the Father’s right hand functioning as high priest and that’s where the Holy Spirit has come from.
So what people are doing today is they’re taking verse 30 and verses 34-35 and they’re trying to combine them together. I mean, after all, one verse talks about His “sitting,” verse 34 and 35, and another verse talks about Him being a descendant or an heir of David’s throne. And they’re taking the word “sit” and “throne” as a commonality in the two verses and they’re trying to weave this case together that Jesus is now seated on David’s throne. He’s not functioning as high priest, He’s functioning as Davidic king. So according to their thinking we ae in the Davidic kingdom now.
And the issue becomes are these verses actually saying that. And here’s where I quoted last time, I won’t read the whole quote to you again, but a quote from E. R. Craven back in 1874 refuting this misuse of Acts 2 to teach that Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne. And I underlined the key parts of the quote. He basically makes four points. Number one, “Nowhere in his sermon did the apostle declare the oneness of the two events;” that’s very important to understand because what people are doing is they’re taking verse 30 and verses 34-35 and trying to make it sound like it’s one thing and they’re not really respecting what Peter is doing. Peter, as the Holy Spirit is guiding him, is putting together an intricate case for the Jewish mind to understand so they could repent of what they did with Christ and understand that the current work of the Holy Spirit has come from Christ. And so every time he quotes a verse it’s a different point in his outline. I mean, if you think I’m a detailed preacher I couldn’t hold a candle to what Peter does here in Acts 2. I mean, it’s a literary masterpiece what he does.
And verse 30, his only point is Jesus is the Davidic heir, end of point. Verses 34-35, where is that Davidic heir now? He’s at the Father’s right hand. So he uses Psalm 132:11 to demonstrate point A to the Jewish mind and he uses Psalm 110 verse 1 to demonstrate point B to the Jewish mind. [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.” Psalm 110:1, “A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”] They are different parts contributing to his major idea that the Spirit that they’re experiencing now is actually a work of God and they shouldn’t attribute the whole thing to drunkenness the way they are. And they need to change their minds about who Jesus is.
So E. R. Craven says, “Nowhere in his sermon did the apostle declare the oneness of the two events;” that’s Craven’s first point. Craven’s second point, is this, the apostle, Peter that is, “be it remembered was arguing with Jews 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. All the Hebrews understood this. They understood, going all the way back to the throne of David and its revelation in the Old Testament, that the Davidic Covenant, what when David’s throne is set up one day, it’s not going to be in the stars somewhere, it’s not going to be in the clouds, it’s going to be very literal, it’s going to be on planet earth, and it’s going to be Jesus ruling the world, the Messiah ruling the world from that physical location. I mean it’s going to be so physical that in that day, when the kingdom starts you will actually be able to go up to Christ and shake His hand. And you probably won’t even have to give a campaign contribution for the privilege. That’s how literal it’s going to be.
I mean, we’re talking about face to face communication. It’s not like today where He’s an absent Messiah functioning as priest. When He’s reigning as King it’s like a one to one occurrence. And all the Hebrews, and you can’t find a shred of any data anywhere in the Old Testament that says anything otherwise; they all understood it that way. So since Peter is speaking to Jews on the Day of Pentecost, that’s why all these Jews are there from the known world, these Hebrews and they’re present because they’re told in Leviticus 23 to show up for certain feasts and one of those feasts is the Day of Pentecost. Josephus says there could have been a million people or so in Jerusalem at that time. I’m not sure… you can take that figure for what it’s worth but there’s a lot of people there and they’re supposed to be there.
And so that crowd, to tell them that oh, the whole deal has been cancelled, no physical throne of David on the earth, it’s all been transported into heaven, would have been laughed right out of the city. And if Peter was really making that point he’d have to do a lot more, as Ricky said to Lucy, “you’ve got some esplain’ to do” Peter would have to do a lot more “esplain” than what he does here if he’s going to communicate to a Jewish crowd that the Davidic throne is no longer literal and it’s somehow being fulfilled in heaven. That’s Craven’s second point. And those two I think we covered last time.
Craven’s third point is the interpretation to justify the writer is confirmed not only by its consistency with the previous teachings of our Lord, how did Jesus teach the Davidic throne? Always literal and on the earth. Remember when the mother of Zebedee’s sons, James and John, came to Christ and said can these people [can’t understand word] when You enter Your kingdom, sit on Your right and left? Remember what Jesus said? He didn’t say Oh you silly woman, don’t you understand it’s not going to be a literal David’s throne? He never said that! What He said is, in essence, the cross comes before the crown. That’s what she didn’t understand. It’s not a matter of Jesus somehow cancelling the earthly program that’s predicted.
So Craven says, “The interpretation suggested” the one I’m doing here, “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.” Now we’ll look at Acts 3:19-20 in just a minute. Act 3 follows Acts 2, right? You guys with me on that? So they’re all arguing this big change happened in Acts 2, that’s the pivotal chapter. Well if this big change happened and Jesus is reigning on a Davidic throne in heaven, not terrestrial but celestial, then the comments Peter makes in Acts 3 make zero sense. We’ll look at that in a second. That’s Craven’s third point.
By the way, did Peter write some books? I mean, he not only gave this sermon and several others but he wrote a couple of books, and those are called 1 Peter and 2 Peter. And he wrote those books, probably over three decades after he gave this sermon. So Peter, in this sermon, in Acts 2, is basically arguing that Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne from heaven and the comments he makes in his two books, 1 Peter and 2 Peter, make zero sense. See, the comments he makes in Acts 3 don’t make any sense and the comments he makes at the very end of his life don’t make any sense. And this is very important to understand because when you develop an interpretation of the Bible you want to make sure it’s in harmony with everything else you read in the Bible.
- R. Craven is saying that the interpretation that we’re giving here, of Acts 2, fits exactly with what Jesus taught about the Davidic throne. It fits exactly what Peter himself taught about the Davidic throne a chapter later and it fits exactly what Peter himself taught about the Davidic throne in his two epistles thirty years later at the end of his life.
So let’s just look at these four points, we’ve done two, let’s look at these last two points he makes. Let’s look at this bottom point. If Peter was teaching in Acts 2 that Jesus is just now reigning on David’s throne does that jive, or is that in harmony with Peter’s own words, given three decades later in his epistles? And one of the problems people have is they sit and strain on a verse so long it takes on a life of its own. Has that ever happened to you? And suddenly you’re coming up with an interpretation of it that doesn’t fit the rest of the Bible. Well, that’s sort of a clue that you’re too myopic on that one verse and you need to kind of back up and instead of looking at the veins on the leaves of the tree so intently you have to at some point back up and look at the whole forest. I mean, if I’ve got some interpretation all analogized to a tree in a forest that doesn’t fit the height or anything of the rest of the forest, chances are that tree is out of place. And my interpretation could be out of place. So whatever you’re studying and reading you’ve got to look at it in the harmony of the totality of God’s revelation.
So what does Peter say in 1 Peter 1:4-7. He talks about an attaining and an inheritance. [1 Peter 1:4-7, “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,  so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”]
Now what’s an inheritance? It’s something that’s legally yours but you have not entered into enjoying it yet. That’s basically what an inheritance is. And you’ll notice that he says this inheritance that we are going to receive is at the revelation of Jesus Christ. So right now I’m just an inheritor, I’m an owner but I’m not a possessor or an enjoyer until when? The return of Christ. That’s an inheritance. And what inheritance is He talking about? I think He’s talking about the kingdom because over in Colossians 1:12-13 Paul tells us that the kingdom, at the very end of the verse there, verse 13, is a what? An “inheritance,” verse 12. Paul says, “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” That is who we are positionally, we are inheritors of the coming kingdom, citizens of the coming kingdom, but are we in the kingdom now? That couldn’t be or else the word “inheritance” wouldn’t be used. See that?
I mean, we’ll be dealing with Colossians 1 as we continue through the course of this study. And so when Peter says our inheritance, which is the kingdom, is not going to be given to us, we’re entitled to it but we don’t receive it until the revelation of Jesus Christ. What he’s saying is the kingdom is not going to come until Jesus comes back first. Right? Now if that’s Peter’s clear point in 1 Peter chapter 1 how in the world can I come up with an interpretation that says the kingdom already started on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. I mean, those two sections of Scripture don’t fit at all, do they? So that’s sort of a clue that if you’re holding to a “kingdom now” interpretation of Acts 2 you need to rethink that because it doesn’t fit at all with what Peter’s first epistle says.
One of the things to understand about the Bible is the Bible cannot contradict itself. Why? Because the whole thing comes from the mind of God. Now we might look at it in a first glance with our little puny finite perspective, there might be contradictions but if you think they’re contradictions in God’s Word that means (A) you’re interpreting the Bible incorrectly, one verse incorrectly, or maybe you’re interpreting another verse incorrectly, or worse yet, maybe you’re interpreting both incorrectly because at the end of the day there’s not going to be any contradictions in God’s Word even though it might seem that way to us. It’s like the people that were blindfolded and they’re feeling different sides of an elephant, one person is touching the elephants trunk, and he’s grabbing it and he’s blindfolded and he’s saying it feels like a giant tube. And another person is touching the elephant’s foot, touching the elephant’s toes and he says it feels like five lumps here. And another person is touching the elephant’s side and he’s saying it seems like it’s just a giant wall. Now if you looked at each of their testimonies independently of each other they look contradictory, don’t they. I mean, how could they describe something so different when it’s the same animal? Well, when you take the blindfolds off and everybody figures out they’re touching different parts of the same animal what happens to the contradictions? They disappear.
And see, that’s what Bible study is like a lot of the time. A lot of times we’re not really seeing something correctly or seeing something clearly and we’ve just got to kind of step back and wait on God and I think eventually He starts to show us, maybe a certain interpretation of something we have is incorrect to begin with. So it’s a humility in reading the Bible. I’ve interpreted many things incorrectly in the Bible throughout the course of my Christian life and had to be set straight on it. And what kind of clued me in is there was a blatant contradiction of my interpretation with another part of the Bible.
And even though I’ve done a bunch of studying in the Bible and preaching and teaching in the Bible I still am in that position where I could get something incorrect. And I need to be in a place of humility, not acting like I know everything because I don’t, and letting the Lord gently rearrange, not His Word but my misconstruing of His Word. See, this is what’s happening with kingdom now theology. They’re holding to some view in Acts 2 that doesn’t fit at all with what Peter himself wrote in his own epistle.
And if you flip over to 2 Peter 1:11 and verse 16, this is Peter’s sequel; the prequel is 1 Peter, the sequel is 2 Peter. 1 Peter is about suffering for the cause of Christ and the hope of future glory. 2 Peter is about false teachers. 1 Peter is about pain with a purpose. 2 Peter is about poison in the pew. So he’s dealing with different subjects in 2 Peter, but he gets into the whole subject of the kingdom, verse 11. “For in the same way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be” now this is thirty years after the day of Pentecost, “will be abundantly supplied to you.” Does it sound like he believed He was in the kingdom now? No, he’s saying it will be supplied to you.
And when are we going to get the kingdom? It says there in verse 16, “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Thessalonians 3:13, “so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”]
So this is why we are, at this church, premillennial. What does that mean? Millennium means a thousand years, it’s not a word found in the Bible, it’s a Latin word, mille, meaning a thousand, anum meaning years, when you put those two words together in Latin it comes out to millennium, a thousand years, and we are pre-millennial. What does that mean? Jesus comes back first, “pre,” and then what follows, the kingdom. It’s the opposite of postmillennialism where basically what they’re saying is the kingdom comes first and Jesus comes back second or post, after the millennium.
So when you go through the Book of Revelation and when we’re doing that on Sunday morning what you’re going to see is chapter 19 comes before chapter 20; you guys agree with me on that? What’s in chapter 19? The return of Jesus. What’s in chapter 20? The thousand year reign of Christ, premillennialism. And what Peter is arguing for here, he’s not using all these words that theologians use today but it’s basically premillennial because he basically says the kingdom is future and it’s coming with the advent of Jesus Christ. It says the same thing through the use of the word “inheritance” in the first letter. So therefore Acts 2 could not be teaching kingdom now theology because Peter himself is putting the kingdom in the future.
Now Craven’s fourth point is Acts 3:19-21, remember in Acts 2 Peter has given his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, which everybody thinks means the kingdom started, and then Peter, I think it’s Peter and John isn’t it, if I remember right, they get into trouble, they heal somebody if I remember right, at least Peter does, and he has an opportunity now because they’re wondering where the source of the healing is coming from. The Sadducees were upset about this healing. Now who are the Sadducees? The Sadducees were always sad you see! Why is that? They didn’t believe in the resurrection; I’d be sad too if I didn’t believe in the resurrection because there’s no hope if you don’t believe in the resurrection. They only believed the first five books of Moses were inspired. And that’s why Jesus, and they try to trap Him and how dumb is that, trying to trap God? I think it’s in Matthew 22, and they basically ask Him a trick question. They play Stump the Professor; a lot of students are like that, let’s stump the professor. A lot of students I had in college felt that was their spiritual gift, we’re going to stump the professor.
So they come to Christ and they get into this subject about the resurrection and all these kinds of things and they say well, if a man is married to one woman and he dies and she marries someone else and the second man dies and the third man marries here and that guy dies, by that time I’d be wondering what she’s putting in the coffee in the morning. And this process goes on and on and they say ha, ha, ha, trying to make Jesus look dumb; who’s she going to be married to in the resurrection? And what you’ll notice is in the answer Jesus gives He doesn’t quote Daniel 12:2, which you are all familiar with because we studied it on Sunday mornings. Daniel 12:2 is the strongest resurrection passage you have in the whole Old Testament. [Daniel 12:2, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”] He doesn’t quote Daniel 12:2.
He quotes the Book of Exodus, early Exodus. Now why would he leave out Daniel 12:2 and instead quote Exodus? Because He’s dealing with the Sadducees and the Sadducees were always sad you see, because they didn’t believe in resurrection and they only believed in the first five books of the Bible that we call Torah. So what Jesus is doing in Matthew 22 to this trick question in front of Him is He’s beating them on their own turf. See that. I mean, if He quoted Daniel 12:2 it wouldn’t mean anything to them, they didn’t believe Daniel 12:2. And so that’s why it’s an amazing thing that goes on there, I think it’s in Matthew 22, to watch Jesus outwit these people.
And then I love the end there, I think it’s around the end, it says, “From that point on no one dared ask Him another question.” [Matthew 22:46, “No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.”] Anyway, I have no idea what that had to do with what we were talking about here.
But in Acts 3… [someone says something] Oh yes, that’s right, because He was speaking to the Sadducees here in Acts 3, because they want to know where this source of healing came from as Peter has healed somebody. I think it was the lame man there, Acts 3:10, that was made well instantaneously. [Acts 3:9, “And all the people saw him walking and praising God;  and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”] That’s a biblical healing. It’s not a gradual thing when the gift of healing is in operation it’s an instant healing.
So his legs were immediately made strong, he stood up. And then the Sadducees… and the Sadducees had authority over the temple area; the Pharisees, by contrast, had authority in the synagogues, which were dispersed throughout the Greco-Roman world. The Sadducees were basically what we would today call liberals and the Pharisees were basically what today we would call legalists. They believe in more truth than the Sadducees did but the problem is they added all these layers to it in terms of tradition, the Mishnah and all these kinds of things, the Talmud.
That’s why the early church is being persecuted, not by the Pharisees but by the Sadducees. The enemies of Christ in the Gospels are the Pharisees because Jesus is many times outside of Jerusalem, in synagogue type territory. But the enemies of the early church are the Sadducees because they had jurisdiction over the temple area. So this healing occurred and the Sadducees want to know where the source of it is and this gives Peter an opportunity to explain where that healing came from. It came from Jesus who was at the right hand of the Father. So you have another sermon here kind of condemning what first century Israel did and an opportunity for anybody listening to repent or change their mind. Go from being a Christ rejecting Jew to a Christ accepting Jew.
So in the process Peter says this, “Therefore repent” which means what? Change your mind, “and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;  and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,  whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”
Now a lot of people, particularly of what we would call the ultra-hyper dispensational persuasion, not uniquely to them but many people believe that what is happening in Acts is the kingdom is being reoffered to Israel. I, as I tried to explain in my book, and I think we covered this earlier in the course, I’m not of that persuasion because I think that what happened in Matthew 12 was final. They had committed the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit nationally because the leaders rejected Christ and His coming kingdom because they attributed His miracles to the devil. The kingdom offer is withdrawn from that point on, Matthew 12. So early Matthew it kept saying “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” you get to Matthew 12 you don’t find that language any more. You find Jesus from that point on training the remnant.
So I don’t really think there’s a reoffer of the kingdom in Acts 3. But many, many people do and they think Peter here is reoffering the kingdom to Israel. I think what Peter is doing is he’s laying down the condition that has to be met one day by Israel for the kingdom to come. I think that’s what he’s saying. It’s kind of the same kind of thing that Jesus says at the end of Matthew 23:37 when He says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!”  “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you,” he’s giving a future condition here, “For I say unto you,” who’s “you”? Israel, generic you, not just first century Israel, he’s speaking of what future Israel is supposed to do, “from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;!’” Which is a citation from Psalm 118:26, which is a Messianic Psalm. [Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.]
You’re not going to get your kingdom, Israel, because you threw Me out of this nation, but one of these days you’ll get it because you get it right which time, the first time or the second time? The second time, you’re going to get it right one of these days in the future tribulation period when you’re going to acknowledge Me as the Messiah and He lays out the condition by which they must receive Him and consequently the kingdom will come. That’s what I think is happening here in Acts 3. I don’t think it’s a reoffer, I think it’s a condition prophetically that Peter is laying out.
But you’ll notice here He talks about the times of refreshing once Israel receives Christ, and the restoration of all things. So obviously they have to meet this condition for the times of refreshing and the restoration of all things… by the way, “the times of refreshing” and “the restoration of all things” are synonyms for the kingdom; it’s just another way of saying the kingdom [Acts 3:19-21, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;  and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,  whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”]
So if they have to meet a condition of repentance before the kingdom can come, as Peter has explained in Acts 3, then do you think that the kingdom already came one chapter earlier? That makes no sense, does it? I mean, if the kingdom already came and Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now, then why does Peter hold out a future condition for the manifestation of the kingdom to the Sadducees in the very next chapter? So that would be Craven’s fourth point. If you want to buy into kingdom now theology from Acts 2 you’ve got four problems, the latter two we’ve just spoken of, one being it doesn’t fit with 1 Peter or 2 Peter, nor does it fit with what Peter says in Acts 3.
Now let me throw a little monkey wrench into this also, if I can. Here’s what’s happening today. You have people that are called progressive dispensationalist, we’ve talked about them, haven’t we, and their view of the kingdom is not the kingdom is totally here but they believe in what’s called already/not yet. So they think the kingdom is here in part but the kingdom will not be completely here until the second coming of Christ. This is the dominant perspective now at my alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary, and it’s sort of sad to watch because A, the school wasn’t founded on that, and B, it contradicts the doctrinal statement of that very school because the doctrinal statement says there are at least three dispensations, Age of Law, Age of Church or they call it grace, age of grace, age of church, and kingdom. And it says very specifically in the doctrinal statement that these three are chronological and not to be intermingled or confused.
So when someone is saying today that we’re in the kingdom now and Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now in any sense they’re violating the doctrinal statement. And the problem with violating a doctrinal statement is if you can violate it in one area what can you then do? Violate it in another area. It’s like judges interpreting our Constitution; I mean, they’ve already trashed the Constitution in one area so why not do it in another case in another area? And that’s why doctrinal statements, to my mind, are actually a big deal and need to be enforced.
In fact, when I first came to this church we were looking for a youth pastor, this was long before Gabe showed up, and we had a committee going through all of these resumes and finally the committee decided on somebody, and I discovered the persons eschatology was basically already/ not yet, he was calling himself a historic premillennialist, which is this idea that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now but the full kingdom will come later. And if you look at our doctrinal statement here at Sugar Land Bible Church it’s patterned almost word for word in certain places after the doctrinal statement of Dallas Seminary. So the committee picked this guy and everybody liked him and everybody’s heart strings were pulled and he had a nice family and then it kind of got to my desk for final approval and the mean pastor that I am… and see, nobody really understood this because I didn’t really have time to sit down with the committee and explain this whole thing to them, the guy’s eschatology goes directly against the Sugar Land Bible Church doctrinal statement. You say well, is that that big of a deal? Well, to me it’s a big deal because if you can just ignore it in one area when’s the next time you’re going to ignore it? See that?
So in this already/not yet system what the progressive dispensationalists are arguing is the times of refreshing there in verse 19, is the “already” part of the kingdom. [Acts 3:19, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;”] The “times of refreshing” are not they think. But then when you get to verse 21 and it talks about the “restoration of all things” that’s the not yet part. [Acts 3:21, “whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”] See what’s happening here? In other words, you’ve got people with a pre-existing theology already/not yet and they’re looking at the biblical text and they’re letting the text be absorbed in their pre-existing theology. And that’s not how you do theology; you don’t want to take your theology to the text, you want to derive your theology from the text. And they’re, what I would call, theologizing Acts 3:19-21 because exegetically, and don’t put your theology into place before you have your exegesis down in terms of what the passage is saying.
That passage is not saying that, what the progressive dispensationalists think. You can’t take one verse as the “already” and verse 21 as a “not yet.” That may be what your theology says but that’s not what the passage says. And if I have a theology that’s contradicting the passage, then what needs to be altered? Not the passage but my theology. And that’s why I was talking about we have to be humble as we interpret the Bible. And that’s not where people are at today—we’re going to make this fit no matter what is sort of the mindset. I mean, there’s such an arrogance and lack of disrespect for God’s Word that people all the time are coming to the Bible to make it fit their ideas, as if God really cares what our ideas are. God has disclosed Himself. My function as a believer and as a disciple is to think my thoughts after Him, not get God to fit into my little box. Do you see that?
So I just want to show you why Acts 3:19-21 is not teaching already/not yet. First of all, both clauses, the one in verse 19, “times of refreshing,” the one in verse 21, “restoration of all things,” both in Greek follow the expression “in order that.” So they both flow from “in order that.”
Furthermore, both expressions the “times of refreshing” and the “restoration of all things” are connected by the conjunction, kai, translated “and” there in verse 20. Fourthly, “may come,” verse 19, and “may send,” verse 20, are both in the subjunctive mood meaning the mood of possibility. And then fourthly both expressions are followed by plural nouns, “times” plural noun, kairos, verse 19, period, plural noun chronos. So when you factor in all of those things that I just rattled off there they both follow “in order that,” they’re both connected by kai, both clauses contain subjunctive verbs, and the nouns in both clauses are plural, you start to see very fast that “the times of refreshing” and “the restoration of all things” is talking about the same event, which would be what? The manifestation of what? The kingdom. Only if you completely ignore the grammar of the passage can you make one part of it today and another part of it future.
So this is why I’ve never had a lot of respect for progressive dispensationalism because (A) I felt it was violating the doctrinal statement of the school that everybody’s supposed to sign as a professor and (B) it bothered me that they would run roughshod over passages like this. You say well, gee, Andy, you’ve got some very harsh views on things. Well let me give you this quote from Stan Toussaint, a Greek scholar, longtime professor at Dallas Seminary, he’s with the Lord now, one of my favorites, and he makes this point about Acts 3:19-21 in response to progressive dispensationalism.
“The two clauses that follow ὅπως go together. In other words the clause ‘that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord’ must be taken with the words ‘and that He may send Jesus.’ As Haenchen” another scholar, “puts it, ‘The two promises are complementary statements about one and the same event.’ Nothing grammatically separates the promises; in fact they are joined together by the connective καὶ. The noun ἄναψύξεως, translated “refreshing,” is a New Testament hapax legomenon,” a fancy word for saying it’s used only once here in the New Testament. “It is used in Greek literature in various forms to refer to ‘cooling by blowing, refreshing, relieving, resting.’ It occurs in the Septuagint only in Exodus (Eng., 8:15; lxx, v. 11), where it refers to relief from the plague of frogs.” Schweitzer correctly observes, ‘The context makes sense only if the ‘times of refreshing’ are the definitive age of salvation. The expression is undoubtedly apocalyptic in origin. . . . The reference, then, is to the eschatological redemption which is promised to Israel if it repents.’ Furthermore the plural καιροὶ, ‘times,’ in Acts 3:19, parallels the plural noun χρονῶν, ‘seasons’ or ‘times,’ in verse 21 (which is translated ‘period’ in the NASB). The two terms refer to the same era,” see that? “and the plural forms simply emphasize duration. The context makes it clear that the synonyms refer to the future kingdom, with καιροὶ emphasizing the quality of time and χρονῶν emphasizing the duration of the time.” [Acts 3:19-21 Stanley D. Toussaint and Jay A. Quine, “No, Not Yet: The Contingency of God’s Promised Kingdom,” Bibliotheca Sacra 164 (April–June 2007): 138, 141’]
So what is Toussaint saying? You cannot grammatically separate those two clauses. But people do it and they say well, one refers to the already form of the kingdom, one refers to the not yet form of the kingdom. Here’s a quote … I think what I’m going to do is I’m going to let you read that quote on your own because there’s a couple more points I want to make before we close
[Acts 3:19-21, “Bock argues for two separate time periods for these events in support of his ‘already, not yet’ view on the Davidic kingdom. He says the ‘periods of refreshing’ refer to the present time when sins can be wiped away through repentance, and that the ‘times of restoration of all things’ refers to the millennium. ‘Among the points in support of this distinction is that in the LXX translation by Symmachus, a reference to the descent of the Spirit in Isaiah 32:15 uses the term ἀνάψυξις (refreshment), a term related to the one in Acts 3:20.’ However, the context of Isaiah 32:15 refers to millennial blessings to national Israel, a fact that supports the single-stage restoration view, not a two-phase ‘already, not yet’ restoration.
Walker suggests a two-stage restoration in Acts 3:19–21. He, like Bock, maintains that the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως (‘times of refreshing’) relates to special experiences of grace and blessing in this age, whereas the χρόνων ἀποκαταστάσεως (‘period of restoration’) in verse 21 refers to the climactic age of blessings for the nation of Israel in fulfillment of Old Testament messianic promises. . . .” “The main weakness in dividing these two events into separate time periods is that the text connects the events with a coordinating και (‘and’) in Acts 3:20. The syntactical structure coordinates the two verbs ἔλθωσιν (‘come,’ v. 19) and ἀποστείλῃ (‘send’) of the subordinate clause ὅπως ἂν in . . . verse 20 with the two main verbs μετανοήσατε (‘repent’) and ἐπιστρέψατε (‘return’) in verse 19. Repentance and turning to God result in the coming of the times of refreshing and the sending of Jesus Christ at the restoration of all things God spoke about in the prophets. The sending of Jesus Christ will provide the personal presence that will result in the times of refreshing. These results are not events separated by time. They are mutual benefits that will come when the Father sends the Son so that believers may be refreshed in His presence. Conzelmann argues that ‘the parallelism between the two halves of the verse shows that the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως, ‘times of refreshing,’ are not intervals of respite…
 in the eschatological distress, but rather the final salvation (like the χρόνοι ἀποκαταστάσεως, ‘restoration’).” “The main weakness in dividing these two events into separate time periods is that the text connects the events with a coordinating και (‘and’) in Acts 3:20. The syntactical structure coordinates the two verbs ἔλθωσιν (‘come,’ v. 19) and ἀποστείλῃ (‘send’) of the subordinate clause ὅπως ἂν in verse 20 with the two main verbs μετανοήσατε (‘repent’) and ἐπιστρέψατε (‘return’) in verse 19. Repentance and turning to God result in the coming of the times of refreshing and the sending of Jesus Christ at the restoration of all things God spoke about in the prophets. The sending of Jesus Christ will…
 … provide the personal presence that will result in the times of refreshing. These results are not events separated by time. They are mutual benefits that will come when the Father sends the Son so that believers may be refreshed in His presence. Conzelmann argues that ‘the parallelism between the two halves of the verse shows that the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως, ‘times of refreshing,’ are not intervals of respite in the eschatological distress, but rather the final salvation (like the χρόνοι ἀποκαταστάσεως, ‘restoration’).” [John A. McLean, “Did Jesus Correct the Disciples’ View of the Kingdom?,” Bibliotheca Sacra 151, no. 602 (April–June 1994): 223–25.]
This is a quote from John Mc McLean, commenting on Darrell Bock, a progressive dispensationalist, and his misuse of Acts 3:19-21 to fit his preconceived already not yet theology. In other words, McLain here, and it goes on I think four slides, makes the same point to Toussaint’s five slides, made the same point in the last citation.
Bock argues for two separate time periods for these events in support of his ‘already, not yet’ view on the Davidic kingdom. He says the ‘periods of refreshing’ refer to the present time when sins can be wiped away through repentance, and that the ‘times of restoration of all things’ refers to the millennium. ‘Among the points in support of this distinction is that in the LXX translation by Symmachus, a reference to the descent of the Spirit in Isaiah 32:15 uses the term ἀνάψυξις (refreshment), a term related to the one in Acts 3:20.’ However, the context of Isaiah 32:15 refers to millennial blessings to national Israel, a fact that supports the single-stage restoration view, not a two-phase ‘already, not yet’ restoration. Walker suggests a two-stage restoration in Acts 3:19–21. He, like Bock, maintains that the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως (‘times of refreshing’) relates to special experiences of grace and blessing in this age, whereas the χρόνων ἀποκαταστάσεως (‘period of restoration’) in verse 21 refers to the climactic age of blessings for the nation of Israel in fulfillment of Old Testament messianic promises. . . .” “The main weakness in dividing these two events into separate time periods is that the text connects the events with a coordinating και (‘and’) in Acts 3:20. The syntactical structure coordinates the two verbs ἔλθωσιν (‘come,’ v. 19) and ἀποστείλῃ (‘send’) of the subordinate clause ὅπως ἂν in verse 20 with the two main verbs μετανοήσατε (‘repent’) and ἐπιστρέψατε (‘return’) in verse 19. Repentance and turning to God result in the coming of the times of refreshing and the sending of Jesus Christ at the restoration of all things God spoke about in the prophets. The sending of Jesus Christ will provide the personal presence that will result in the times of refreshing. These results are not events separated by time. They are mutual benefits that will come when the Father sends the Son so that believers may be refreshed in His presence. Conzelmann argues that ‘the parallelism between the two halves of the verse shows that the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως, ‘times of refreshing,’ are not intervals of respite in the eschatological distress, but rather the final salvation (like the χρόνοι ἀποκαταστάσεως, ‘restoration’).” “The main weakness in dividing these two events into separate time periods is that the text connects the events with a coordinating και (‘and’) in Acts 3:20. The syntactical structure coordinates the two verbs ἔλθωσιν (‘come,’ v. 19) and ἀποστείλῃ (‘send’) of the subordinate clause ὅπως ἂν in verse 20 with the two main verbs μετανοήσατε (‘repent’) and ἐπιστρέψατε (‘return’) in verse 19. Repentance and turning to God result in the coming of the times of refreshing and the sending of Jesus Christ at the restoration of all things God spoke about in the prophets. The sending of Jesus Christ will provide the personal presence that will result in the times of refreshing. These results are not events separated by time. They are mutual benefits that will come when the Father sends the Son so that believers may be refreshed in His presence. Conzelmann argues that ‘the parallelism between the two halves of the verse shows that the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως, ‘times of refreshing,’ are not intervals of respite in the eschatological distress, but rather the final salvation (like the χρόνοι ἀποκαταστάσεως, ‘restoration’).” [John A. McLean, “Did Jesus Correct the Disciples’ View of the Kingdom?,” Bibliotheca Sacra 151, no. 602 (April–June 1994): 223–25.]
So if all of this is true what then do we refer to the present position of Christ? We should never refer to the present position of Christ as Davidic king or the Davidic reign and if I should drop dead of a heart attack and you start looking for a new pastor… I’m not planning on it it’s just a hypothetical, then one of the questions you ought to ask him (and I hope it’s a “him” by the way) should relate to the present position of Christ. Where do you believe Jesus is right now? And if you get a bunch of answers about already not yet, David’s throne, anything other than Jesus is high priest at the right hand of the Father, which is the correct answer, and you get a bunch of drivel about all this other stuff you know that you’re dealing with someone that’s not on the same theological footing that this church is founded on, and currently teaches, and is reflected in our doctrinal statement and founding documents.
And there are some prayer requests given earlier about the missions committee looking at missionaries, what do they believe, because you know these missionaries can shift their views when they get out on the field. They’re away from the local church, they’re in sometimes a completely pagan culture, do you think their theology is going to stay exactly the same? And here we are at Sugar Land Bible Church raising money to support missionaries telling the Christian public that the people that we are funding on the mission field, and we give a lot of money to missions at this church, 20%, right, of the budget and we’re telling the Christian public that the money we raise at this church for missions, the missionaries all believe what we believe here at this church. Well how do you know that unless you give them an exam, because their theology may have shifted.
So in determining if their theology has shifted we have questions in our questionnaire, about forty-three questions, related to, you heard it in the prayer requests earlier, David’s throne and the kingdom. And sometimes the missionary comes back and gives completely the wrong answer and then we ask well, are you open to change. Can you read this book? And the missions committee gives them my book. And some have taken the book and thrown it as far across the room as they could, didn’t want anything to do with it, and we say to them you don’t fit our doctrinal stand here. God’s blessing on you but you’re not a good fit with us. Other people have read the book and said you know what, I’ve changed my position. And we say we appreciate your teaching ability, we appreciate your humility, here’s a person we can work with so we continue to fund them, just so you understand the process that goes on here. And I wish every church in America did this.
You know, when Satan fell he fell probably three places. The first place he fell was into the ministerial association. The second place he fell was into the missions committee of the church. And the third place he fell was into women’s Bible studies. And you say how could you say something like that! Check it out, when areas of false do come into a church those are always the three places. Now obviously not putting anybody in those ministries under any cloud of suspicion. I’m just saying those are three areas that elders have to watch because I’ve watched church after church after church get polluted with false doctrine, coming from not necessarily the pulpit but from the pastor going off to some kind of ministerial association conference and coming back with all these grand designs for his church that he never talked about when he was candidating by the way.
Number two, all this stuff that comes into evangelicalism through so-called women’s Bible studies and women’s curricula, I mean, look through it yourself, you’ll see all kinds of absolutely crazy things. And in the third place it comes into the church through missionaries and the mission movement because they go out on the field and suddenly their theology changes and they want to come back and change the church to be where they are. So I love women’s Bible studies and support them; I love missions and support that, to some extent I love ministerial associations but you have to be very careful of all three of those things. And I’m not just saying this out of theory, this is practice. If you do the study yourself and watch you’ll see this over and over again.
So when talking to a perspective missionary, pastor, ask them about their view on where is Jesus now and they should say “he’s functioning as high priest in His present session at the Father’s right hand.” Look at Hebrews 10, verses 12 and 13 very quickly by way of closing. This is where Jesus is now. “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,  waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.” What is Jesus doing right now? He’s at the right hand of the Father and He’s looking two directions, He’s looking to the past, the crucifixion and He’s looking to the future, His Davidic reign. And He’s in between the two functioning as high priest.
William Newell says, ““Our Lord is not now on His own throne,” amen, “the throne of David. He is at the Father’s right hand, on the Father’s throne, and is now the Great High Priest, leading the worship of His saints; and also our Advocate against the enemy. But He is there in an expectant attitude.” [William Newell, The Book of the Revelation (Chicago: Moody, 1935), 82.]
Sit at My right hand until, He’s waiting for His Davidic reign. So He is functioning as priest, Hebrews 7:3, after the order or Melchizedek. [Hebrews 7:3, “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.”]
John Walvoord says this: “The New Testament has fifty-nine references to David. It also has many references to the present session of Christ. A search of the New Testament reveals that there is not one reference connecting the present session of Christ with the Davidic throne. While this argument is, of course, not conclusive, it is almost incredible that in so many references to David and in so frequent reference to the present session of Christ on the Father’s throne there should be not one reference connecting the two in any authoritative way. The New Testament is totally lacking in positive teaching that the throne of the Father in heaven is to be identified with the Davidic throne. The inference is plain that Christ is seated on the Father’s throne, but that this is not at all the same as being seated on the throne of David which is yet future.” [John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Findlay, OH: Dunham, 1959), 203]
Thus you can find in any reference related to the present session of Christ as He is described in Davidic language because He’s what? He’s not on the throne but He’s a heir. Peter, in Acts 2 uses Psalm 132:11 to give Davidic imagery to Jesus but his point is not He’s on the throne now; his point is He’s the heir to the throne.
So why do we reject that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne? A. David’s throne is earthly. B. The Davidic throne concept changes the original meaning of the promise. And C, no two New Testament verse currently places Jesus on David’s throne. Now letters D.E. and F are going to go by lickety split. You say I don’t believe you. You’ll see in the book, I just have a brief paragraph for each one so we’re going to finish this list rapidly.
Tape ends abruptly.