The Coming Kingdom
1-23-Daniel 2:33-35 Lesson 59
Good to see everybody. Let’s take our Bibles tonight if we could and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 2 verses 33-35. We’re kind of, the Lord willing, going to finish up chapter 17 of the book I wrote this evening. And we’re dealing with, as you might recall, why do so many people believe that we’re currently in the kingdom? If the kingdom has been offered, rejected and postponed why are people arguing that we’re in the kingdom? We looked at a bunch of passages and tried to refute them, the use of them, from the ministry of Christ and then we moved to the passages from the Book of Acts and that’s where we find ourselves this evening.
And without a doubt the key issue from Acts, particularly Acts 2, is that people are saying that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now. So that’s really the heart and soul of kingdom now theology. And you might be wondering why we’re drilling down so hard on this concept and the reason we’re doing that is this is really the heart of the argument, right here. The key argument is Jesus is currently reigning on David’s throne. So anybody that’s teaching kingdom now theology argues that point and most people try to argue it from the Book of Acts. So in response to that, we have actually six responses, the first four we’ve gone over and we just have two more to go over tonight. Actually the first three we’ve gone over and three more to go over tonight which I think we can do them all tonight, Lord willing.
But number one, David’s throne, Old Testament and Gospels, is always presented as earthly. I’ve given you 1 Kings 2:11-12 which clearly teaches (and many other verses) that David’s throne is earthly. [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.”]
Number two, therefore to take David’s throne, which is earthly, and suddenly transport it into heaven involves doing what with the original promise? Changing it! So number two, a Davidic heavenly throne changes the original meaning. Now to some people that’s no big deal; to us though it is a big deal because if that’s true that basically makes God a liar because when He communicated the Davidic throne in Old Testament times He always portrayed it as earthly.
So number three, if the Davidic throne has been transported from earth to heaven, from Israel to the Gentile church, from a converted Israel to an unconverted Israel, as we’ve gone through these changes, that’s a radical change and so there needs to be, number three a New Testament verse telling you that change has happened. And the problem is when you go through the passages people are using to argue this point no New Testament verse communicates this at all. And I showed you some of the verses they’ve used in Acts and other places, particularly Acts 2, and none of them really teach that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne. So we spent a couple of sessions, two or three if I remember right, there on letter C.
And let me take you to a fourth point and this is why we turned to the Book of Daniel and you guys that were with us on Sunday are already experts on the Book of Daniel… right? Letter D, the Davidic throne only comes into existence AFTER the times of the Gentiles have run their course. So take a look at Daniel 2:33-35. You might remember this was Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. And remember Nebuchadnezzar saw that giant statue, and he says:  “its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.  You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them.  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
And then you get the interpretation as you drop down to verses 42-45. “As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle.  And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.  In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.  Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
So what basically is predicted is that there’s going to be this period of time called the times of the Gentiles, where the nation of Israel will be trampled down by various Gentile powers. And we are still in the times of the Gentiles; the times of the Gentiles have not run their course completely. The final form of the times of the Gentiles is going to be the empire of the antichrist which is yet future. And only after the times of the Gentiles run their course, THEN the stone cut without human hands… and by the way, what’s the stone cut without human hands? That’s God’s kingdom. Only then the stone cut without human hands will crush the antichrist’s empire which will conclude the times of the Gentiles. And then the stone cut without human hands will grow and grow and grow and grow till it fills the whole earth.
So what is Daniel saying here? He’s saying don’t expect the Davidic throne, as represented by this stone cut without human hands, and don’t expect the Davidic kingdom to materialize until the times of the Gentiles have completely elapsed. So you can’t expect the Davidic throne and you can’t expect the Davidic Kingdom to come into existence until, number one, the antichrist’s kingdom, the new world order, runs its course, the tribulation period runs its course, and only then can you expect the kingdom of God to materialize. Do you see the chronology that Daniel is giving here? So we’re still waiting for the antichrist’s empire. We’re still waiting for the tribulation period. Until we get that era of history then and only then will the times of the Gentiles have elapsed and then and only then will the kingdom of God be set up on the earth. So we’re living in a time period prior to the antichrist’s empire. We see the antichrist’s empire developing but we’re living in a time period prior to the antichrist’s empire and so we’re living out of chronological sequence for the coming of the kingdom.
The kingdom can’t come until the antichrist’s empire comes first, the times of the Gentiles are completed, then comes the kingdom of God. So until the times of the Gentiles run their course don’t expect the kingdom of God to materialize. So that’s a major problem with this idea that we’re in the Davidic kingdom now and Jesus is now reigning on David’s throne. That’s an impossibility according to Daniel’s sequence because the times of the Gentiles have not yet run their course. Does that make any sense?
Flip over, if you could, to Daniel 7 and you might recall from out study of Daniel that Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are both revealing the same period of time, the times of the Gentiles. Daniel 2 is sort of the story from the perspective of the Gentiles; Daniel 7 is sort of the story from the perspective of the Jews. That’s why the times of the Gentiles looks like a beautiful time period in Daniel 2, it’s Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he sees that beautiful statue and it looks like a very difficult time period in Daniel 7 because it’s portrayed as four disgusting beasts. So Daniel 7 is the Jewish perspective; Daniel 2 is the Gentile perspective. So Daniel 7 is going to give the exact same chronology as Daniel 2 and look over at Daniel 7 and notice if you will verses 23-27, the same chronology.
Daniel 7:23, “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.  ‘As for the ten horns,” this is speaking of the antichrist’s empire, “As for the ten horns out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.” This is talking about the antichrist’s rise to power, how he’s going to subdue three kings in the process of taking control of this ten king confederacy, seven apparently submit to his authority, three rebel and in the process the antichrist will crush down three kingdoms or three kings.
And then it starts talking about the antichrist, verse 25, “‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” This is the second half, if you will, of the tribulation period.  “‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.  ‘Then” see the order here, see the chronology, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’”
Do you see the same order here? Both Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are talking about that tail end of the times of the Gentiles, which is the antichrist’s kingdom. Only after the antichrist’s kingdom runs its course, primarily in the tribulation period, then and only then will God’s kingdom be established. I guess my point is simply this: All of these people today are saying we’re in the kingdom of God now but how could that be when the antichrist’s kingdom hasn’t even come and gone yet. So we’re living in the wrong time period, chronologically, when the kingdom of God can manifest itself.
That becomes really a major problem with kingdom now theology and Jesus reigning on David’s throne now and that’s point D, the Davidic throne can only come into existence after the times of the Gentiles have run their course. Well, that hasn’t happened yet. The new world order hasn’t come into existence, although we might be able to see signs of it being set up. The seven year tribulation period hasn’t happened; the world hasn’t even seen the antichrist show up. And only after those events run their course will the kingdom of God come.
So people that are arguing for kingdom now theology are basically ignoring the basic chronology that Daniel reveals in Daniel chapter 2 and Daniel chapter 7. And basically here’s what people are trying to do. It’s very slick the way they’re working. They’re looking at Daniel’s statue which represents the four empires during the times of the Gentiles. You have the head of gold, which represents Babylon. You have the chest and arms of silver which represents Medo-Persia. Then you have the belly and thighs of bronze which represents Greece. Then you have those two legs which represent Rome and then you have the feet mixed with iron and clay that jumps to the future and represents the antichrist’s kingdom, which we’re still waiting for. And then and only then do you have the stone cut without human hands crushing this statue which represents God’s kingdom.
Daniel 7 basically teaches the same idea through four different animals. The lion represents Babylon. The bear represents Medo-Persia. The leopard represents Greece. The terrifying and frightening beast represents Rome. The ten horns represents the antichrist’s kingdom. And then comes God’s kingdom.
So here’s what people are doing; you say Mr. Kingdom Now theologian, is the head of gold a literal empire with literal land and a literal king that reigned on the earth? And they say yes. Okay, question number two, is the chest and arms of silver a literal kingdom that ran a literal course of time on the earth with a literal king over a literal land. They say yes, of course. Well how about the belly and thighs of bronze? Was that a literal kingdom that reigned over the earth with a literal king for a literal duration of time? They say yes. How about those legs of iron, was that a literal kingdom, Rome, that reigned over a literal period of time over a literal geography on planet earth? They say yes. Okay, if all of that is true what do you do with that stone cut without human hands? Is that going to be a literal kingdom? No it’s not. Well is it going to have literal land? No it’s not.
So what they do is they take everything in that statue in its literal sense but then when it comes to the stone cut without human hands they deliteralize it and they switch their method of interpretation right in the middle of the statue to make it sound as if Jesus set up an invisible kingdom at the first coming. Do you follow what they’re doing here? And so they have to get very inconsistent with their method of interpretation. And so that’s how to recognize something that doesn’t work because they’re not interpreting the Bible consistently, because that’s the kingdom now theologians argument. Their argument is Jesus set up an invisible spiritual kingdom that’s in existence here on the earth for the last 2,000 years, not at His second coming the way we believe it will be, but at His first coming. So to do that you have to take Babylon literally, Medo-Persia literally, Greece literally, Rome literally, and then all of a sudden you get to this “stone cut without human hands” and it becomes spiritual allegorical. Do you follow that?
I mean, if every other entity in this statue involved literal real estate why wouldn’t the coming kingdom of God have the same real estate? It is going to have that exact real estate over the nation of Israel, the borders are described in Genesis 15:18-21. [On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:  the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite  and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim  and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite”]
There’s going to be an actual king reigning over it, his name is David. David is going to be resurrected and he is going to be just as literal a character as was Nebuchadnezzar or any other empire during the times of the Gentiles with Jesus reigning over the whole earth. And so if you believe that way because you’re consistently interpreting the statue it’s obvious that the kingdom that’s coming is yet future. But if you’ve already bought into an idea that says that the kingdom is something that Jesus set up at His first coming then you take everything in the statue literally except that stone cut without human hands and suddenly you begin to spiritualize it and you begin to allegorize it.
And most people, when they buy into kingdom now theology have never thought through this chronology. I mean, Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 is giving us a specific chronology which if consistently interpreted puts the kingdom in the future. But if you want to get the kingdom to be something that’s in existence now you have to inconsistently interpret the statue. You use one set of rules for every other part of the statue and a different set of rules for the stone cut without human hands. So that’s a problem, wouldn’t you say?
- Dwight Pentecost, I have the quote for you here, says: “Amillennialists” now that would be kingdom now theologians, “hold that this kingdom was established by Christ at His First Advent and that now the church is that kingdom.” I mean, this is primarily what people are trying to argue, they’re trying to argue that the church is the kingdom, Jesus set up the kingdom at His first coming. And they try to make it fit with this stone cut without human hands. “They argue that: (a) Christianity, like the growing mountain, began to grow and spread geographically and is still doing so; (b) Christ came in the days of the Roman Empire; (c) the Roman Empire fell into the hands of 10 kingdoms (10 toes);” and after all, (d) this stone cut without human hands must represent Jesus, they say, because “(d) Christ is the chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). Premillenarians,” that would be us, we believe the kingdom is not now but it only comes after the times of the Gentiles has run their course. “Premillenarians however, hold that the kingdom to be established by Christ on earth is yet future.” Now watch this very carefully, “At least six points favor that view:” which we think is the correct view.
Why don’t we believe that Jesus established the kingdom in the first century? He gives several reasons here. Number (1) The stone will become a mountain suddenly, not gradually.” That’s what Daniel depicts, when this stone cut without human hands strikes the feet of the statue that’s a sudden cataclysm. And then Dr. Pentecost says this: “Christianity did not suddenly fill “the whole earth” [Daniel 2:35] at Christ’s First Advent. I mean, you read the Book of Acts and it took decades, at least three decades for the Book of Acts to unfold and for the gospel finally to make its way to Rome. I mean, there was not worldwide conquest of the earth in the form of Christianity when Jesus came the first time.
Number 2, “Though Christ came in the days of the Roman Empire, He did not destroy it.” The stone cut without human hands is supposed to immediately demolish the Revived Roman Empire, the empire of the antichrist, the final phase of the times of the Gentiles. Did the Jews instantaneously destroy the Roman Empire when He came the first time? Of course not, the Roman Empire finally went out of existence, some say it began to really dissipate, lose its power about A.D. 476; that’s almost four to five centuries after Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended back to the right hand of the Father.
And by the way, the Roman Empire never was instantaneously overthrown. When you study Gibbon, Edward Gibbon I think it is, who wrote the book, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, he never talks about Rome suddenly cataclysmically being destroyed the way its described here. He talks about the morals of the Roman people gradually weakening and the empire kind of gradually declines, sort of like what we’re seeing in the United States today, just a gradual dissipation. So though Christ came in the days of the Roman Empire He did not destroy it.
Number 3, during Christ’s time on earth the Roman Empire did not have ten kings at once and yet that’s what Daniel 2 predicts; he predicts a stone cut without human hands, striking the two feet that have ten toes, Daniel 7 portrays those ten toes as ten horns. And you don’t have any ten king confederacy in the time of Christ. Yet Nebuchadnezzar’s statue suggests that when Christ comes to establish His kingdom ten rulers will be in existence and will be destroyed by Him. I mean, that never happened in the first century.
Number 4, though Christ is now the chief cornerstone, Ephesians 2:20, and a stone that causes unbelievers to stumble, 1 Peter 2:8, He is never portrayed as a smiting stone as He will be when He comes again. [Ephesians 2:20, “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,” 1 Peter 2:8, “and, ‘A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”]
See, Daniel 2 is predicting a smiting stone which instantaneously destroys the empire of the antichrist. That’s not how Christ was described at His first coming. He’s not a smiting stone, He is a cornerstone, Ephesians 2:20 and He is also a stone that causes unbelievers to stumble. But He is not that, at least in His first coming I’m talking about, that sudden smiting stone.
Number 5, the stone, Messiah, second coming, will crush and end all the kingdoms of the world. But the church, at the first coming of Christ, has not and even to the present day has not conquered the kingdoms of this world.
Number 6, the church is not a kingdom with a political realm but the future millennium will be. See every other body part in that statue you have to take as an actual political kingdom with a political realm over a literal plot of land. That doesn’t describe the church today at all. So number six, the church is not a kingdom with a political realm but the future millennium will be, thus Nebuchadnezzar’s dream clearly teaches premillennialism, in other words, Christ comes back first and then the kingdom starts, that Christ will return to the earth to establish His rule on the earth thereby subduing all nations. The church is simply not that kingdom.
So letter D in our order here, a major problem with kingdom now theology is the Davidic kingdom with the Davidic throne will only come into existence after the times of the Gentiles have run their course. And we’re living in a time period where the times of the Gentiles has not yet run their course and so don’t expect the kingdom of God to materialize on the earth until the antichrist comes, the seven year tribulation period unfolds, the new world order takes place, and at the conclusion of that time period then Jesus will establish His kingdom. None of those things have happened yet chronologically so don’t expect the kingdom of God to materialize until that chronology takes place. That’s a major problem when you actually look at the statue that Daniel 2 gives and the corollary over there in Daniel 7 and interpret it consistently. To me it’s almost an impossibility unless you start to be inconsistent with your method of interpretation to argue that we’re in the kingdom now.
Which takes us to Letter E, I’m glad I didn’t say number E, sometimes I’ve said that. Letter E, another reason that Jesus is not reigning on David’s throne is a present Davidic throne misunderstands the mystery nature of the church. And this kind of taps in a little bit to our study of ecclesiology. Take a look if you could at Ephesians 2:14-16, and what we need to understand is we’re living in an absolutely unique period of time where God is doing something completely new. And what is God doing?
Ephesians 2:14-16 says, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups” what groups? Jew and Gentile, believers in Christ, He made “both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,  by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
So what is the church? The church is a really unique entity that God is at work with. He’s been as work with this group for the last two thousand years; we’re all a part of it. And who does it consist of? Anybody that’s trusted in the Messiah that national Israel rejected in the first century. So anybody that has accepted that Messiah by way of faith is baptized into this one new man called the body of Christ. And it doesn’t matter what your nationality is, we are all part of this one new entity. It doesn’t matter whether we’re Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, we are all one in Christ Jesus.
And that concept there in Ephesians 2:24-26 is totally new. You can read the Old Testament until your eyeballs bleed and you’re not going to find that idea because, as I’ll show you in a moment, it’s a mystery, or something brand new. It’s hardly even hinted at, even in the ministry of Jesus; Jesus is still functioning under that prior dispensation of the Law. He makes a few hints that this new man is coming when He says, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” [Matthew 16:;18]
But other than those very big hints you don’t have much knowledge of this new man called the church in the ministry of Jesus Christ. You certainly don’t have any glimpses of it in the Old Testament. What you have is Israel as the preeminent servants of God and God is working primarily through a nation. Now in this mystery called the church age, God is not working that way. We don’t have a one nation elevated over another as happened in Old Testament times. God is at work through a group of people that have trusted in the Messiah that Israel rejected. And we are all Jew and Gentile, on equal footing spiritually speaking, in this new man called the church. That’s a mystery, it’s brand new, it’s a concept unrevealed, you don’t find it in the Old Testament and you hardly find it, other than a few big hints you hardly find it in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
And if you go over to Ephesians 3:3-6 Paul starts to give more details about this mystery. He says in the same book, “that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery,” see the word “mystery there? “… as I wrote before in brief.  By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;” well what’s the mystery?  “to be specific” and here’s the big deal here, “that the Gentiles” non-Jews who happen to be believers in Christ, “are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body,” you see that? “and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
So you have Jew and Gentile who are both believers in the Lord Jesus Christ on equal footing, joint heirs, co-heirs in this new man called the church. That is something that is completely foreign to the Old Testament. You cannot find that concept in the Old Testament and you can hardly find it even hinted at in terms of it coming in the ministry of Jesus Christ. And if you drop down to verse 9 of Ephesians 3 Paul again says, “and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery” and now he starts to give a definition to the word mystery, “which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;” so you’ll notice that this new man is called a “mystery.” What’s a mystery? Well the Bible has a specific definition of the word “mystery.” You’ll find it there defined, mystery anyway, in one of Paul’s other books, the Book of Colossians, chapter 1, verse 26, he says, “that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints.” That’s what a mystery is in the Bible, mustērion in the Greek. It’s something hidden but now brought into the open.
So what is the mystery? The mystery is the church. What is the church? It’s a new man or a new body which is not political but it’s spiritual and it consists of folks who have trusted in the Messiah that national Israel rejected; they are brought into (by the Holy Spirit) into this new man and Jews and Gentiles have equal footing in this new man called the church. That is a brand new concept, it’s a mystery, you don’t find it in the Old Testament and you hardly find it even hinted at in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Here’s a definition from a lexicon, Vine’s, defining what a mystery is biblically. ““In the New Testament, it [mystērion] denotes, not the mysterious” and this is where it gets difficult because when people see the word “mystery” they kind of throw in the English definition; when we use the word “mystery” in English we’re talking about something that has to be searched out with great diligence. If you’re watching a mystery movie you don’t know who the bad guy is till the last five minutes. If you’re reading a mystery novel you don’t know who the bad guy is till the last chapter. So when we use the word “mystery” we’re talking about something that has to be searched out with great diligence in English. But that’s not what it means in Greek. In Greek mystery, or mystērion refers to something which was hidden in the past but now is openly unveiled.
In the New Testament it [mystērion] denotes, not the mysterious (as with the Eng. word), but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by Divine revelation,” so unless God had disclosed this mystery to Paul we would know virtually nothing about it. “… and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those who are illumined by the Holy Spirit.” [W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words (Nashville: Nelson, 1996), 424.’] That’s what a mystery is, that’s what the church is.
Charles Ryrie, in this quote here, says this: “Ryrie presents a word study from both the biblical and extra-biblical material and concludes “that the mystery of the equality of Jews and Gentiles in the one body of Christ was unknown and unrevealed in the Old Testament.” [Charles Ryrie Dispensationalism, 134]
So if indeed the church is a mystery how in the world could the Davidic throne, a concept already revealed in the Old Testament, be in existence today? Do you follow the logic here? I mean, how could the church be somehow experiencing the Davidic throne today when you understand that the church is something unrevealed and the Davidic throne is something revealed. I mean, if your theology is such that you’re making the church just sort of a fulfillment of the Davidic promises and the Davidic promises, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, the Davidic Covenant and the Davidic throne is something that is clearly revealed in the Old Testament.
[2 Samuel 7:12, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,  but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.’”]
How could that concept be in existence today when Paul and many, many others tell us that the current age is something completely unknown. You’re mixing something that’s not a mystery (the Davidic throne) with the church, which is a mystery. And that really becomes another reason why Jesus could not be reigning on David’s throne right now. So Jesus is not reigning on David’s throne right now because the Davidic throne only comes into existence after the times of the Gentiles have run their course. That hasn’t happened yet. And the Davidic throne concepts arguing that we’re in the Davidic kingdom now completely misunderstand the mystery nature of the church.
And let me take you to the final reason why Jesus is not reigning on David’s throne now. Letter F, A present Davidic throne misunderstands the parenthetical nature of the church. What exactly is the church? I mean, are we some kind of fulfillment of Israel’s program? No, what the church is, is a break if you will, of God’s past work and future work with Israel. That’s the proper way to understand the nature of the church. And the term that I think is the best term used to describe this parenthetical break that we’re in now is something that Lewis Sperry Chafer called an intercalation which basically means an insertion, an abnormal insertion into God’s past work and future work with Israel.
So notice this quote here from Chafer. He says, “In fact, the new, hitherto unrevealed purpose of God in the out calling of a heavenly people from Jews and Gentiles is so divergent with respect to the divine purpose toward Israel, which purpose preceded it and will yet follow it, that the term parenthetical, commonly employed to describe the new age purpose, is inaccurate. A parenthetical portion sustains some direct and indirect relation to that which goes before or that which follows; but the present age-purpose is not thus related and therefore is more properly termed an intercalation. The appropriateness of this word will be seen in the fact that, as an interpolation is formed by inserting a word or phrase into a context, so when intercalation is formed by introducing a day or a period of time into the calendar. The present age of the church is an intercalation into the revealed calendar or program of God as that program was foreseen by the prophets of old. Such, indeed, is the precise character of the present age.” [Lewis Sperry Chafer, vol. 4, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 41.]
Now that’s a lot of verbiage but just to kind of sum it up what he’s saying is what is happening today? Well, it began happening at the Day of Pentecost and will continue to happen until the rapture. It’s so abnormal in terms of what God had revealed in the Old Testament. We wouldn’t even have much knowledge of it if it wasn’t for the writings of Paul and what Paul is describing as he’s describing the church age is so abnormal compared to what God had revealed for the past and the future for Israel. The only way you can describe it is an intercalation or an interruption or an interval or something that’s been totally abnormally inserted into the divine program.
And that’s why when you start grasping this you start understanding why your pastor took so long going through the Book of Daniel, particularly the 70 weeks prophecy, we were in that prophecy almost 70 weeks in and of itself but humor aside I think I spent about seven or eight sermons on that 70 weeks prophecy because I wanted our church to understand the nature of the church. What is that 70 weeks prophecy? Well, it reveals 69 weeks or the prior 483 years that concerns Israel. Now we know that Israel rejected the offer of the kingdom and so one week or seven years remain on that prophecy when you understand it all. So we’re living in this unique period of time between the first 69 weeks and the 70th week.
We’re living in this unique period of time in between the first 483 years of the prophecy and the final seven years of the prophecy; 483 years of the prophecy have happened but it got interrupted when Israel rejected Christ as their Messiah, leaving 7 years on the clock, yet future; that’s going to be the tribulation period itself. And what I was trying to get folks to understand is what is happening right in-between that break. We’re not completing Israel’s program, we’re not the fulfillment of Israel’s program. What we are is something that Paul describes it as wild olive branches kind of grafted in. So we are something that’s completely abnormal inserted into Israel’s program, past program and future program. And how do you describe that thing? Paul describes it as a mystery as the Holy Spirit was giving him information about it and Lewis Sperry Chafer, looking back at the things Paul said, uses the word intercalation, interpolation, interval whatever word you want to use to describe this time period.
So we in no way shape or form are Israel. In no way shape or form are we fulfilling Israel’s program. What we are is an interruption in it. We sit right in between the first fulfilled 69 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy and the final week or seven years yet future. So these are the kinds of diagrams I like to describe the church; there we are, right in the middle after the conclusion of the first 483 years but before the beginning of the final seven year period. So we are that unique break while the nation of Israel is in unbelief, having rejected their Messiah. And that unique break started as Israel rejected Christ on Palm Sunday and consequently God started something brand new called the church, on the Day of Pentecost. The age of the church will finish with the rapture. The age of the church has been going on for the last 2,000 years and one of these days the church age will be over, the church will be translated to heaven and then God, in the final seven years of human history, prior to the return of Christ, will put His hand back on the nation of Israel.
This model, intercalation model, is completely different than what you’re going to get from most churches. Most churches are going to teach replacement theology which is this idea that God is through with Israel as a nation, all of Israel’s blessings have been transferred to the church, and we’re in the kingdom now. And to get that to work you can’t interpret the Bible consistently, you have to interpret parts of it literally and parts of it allegorically. But if you’re committed to a consistent literal approach to the whole Bible from beginning to end you start to recognize very fast that God is not through with Israel, there are many, many promises He has made to Israel which have never been fulfilled and while God is at work today in the church it cannot in any way, shape or form be considered a fulfillment of the prophecies He’s given to Israel.
The church is a new man. In fact what God is doing today is so new the only word you could use to describe it is an intercalation. So there we live in that gap in between the end of the 483rd year of the 70 weeks prophecy and the beginning of the 484th year. The prophecy of Daniel and… sorry to dump all this on you, you might want to go back and review those sermons to get a handle on that prophecy, but the prophecy ran consecutively for 483 years; there’s a gap in between the end of the 483rd year but the beginning of the 484th year, between the first 69 weeks and the 70 weeks, between the first 483 years and the final 7 years and there we are in the gap. And what do you call that gap that began on the Day of Pentecost and will end with the rapture? You call it the church age, which was unknown, a mystery, and we describe that as an intercalation. Does that make any sense at all?
And what is this peculiar intercalation? It’s Ephesians 2:14-16. Jew and Gentile united together in one new man called the church, co-heirs, joint heirs, Jew and Gentile having equal status in the body of Christ.
So you see how we understand it this way, how bizarre it is to argue that today Jesus is reigning on David’s throne? The church is completely unrelated to David’s throne. Why is that? Because David’s throne is a clearly revealed Old Testament concept. How could that be fulfilled today in the church age when the church is an interruption in Israel’s program. You see that. David’s throne concerns Israel, doesn’t it? What is the church? Is the church Israel? NO, the church is an interruption of Israel’s program. So if that’s true how could Jesus be reigning on David’s throne now? It makes zero sense. So all of that to say, I spent several lessons on this, why is Jesus not reigning on David’s throne.
- David’s throne is always earthly.
- To put David’s throne into heaven now would require changing the original meaning of the promise which means God was lying to everybody He spoke to in Old Testament times.
- Or number 3, if Jesus is really reigning on David’s throne and a change in the prophecy that abrupt has happened don’t you need something in the New Testament telling you it’s happening? And we’ve gone through the evidence, there is no verse that clearly argues that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now.
- The Davidic throne comes into existence only after the times of the Gentiles have run their course. That’s the stone cut without human hands striking the antichrist’s empire. Has that happened yet? No it hasn’t, the antichrist’s empire hasn’t even come into existence yet. So how could we be in the Davidic kingdom now?
Number 4, a present Davidic throne idea misunderstands the mystery nature of the church. The church is a mystery; it’s an unrevealed commodity so therefore how can you take the Davidic throne, a revealed commodity in the Old Testament, and insert it in the present age.
And then finally, number 4, a present Davidic throne understands the parenthetical nature of the church. We’re a break in Israel’s program and if we are a break in Israel’s program how can the Davidic throne, which concerns Israel, be in existence today?
So you put these six things together and what’s my point? My point is Jesus is not now reigning on David’s throne. Well then where is Jesus? Anybody know? He’s at the right hand of the Father, not functioning as the Davidic King but as high priest after the order of Melchizedek. That’s how to understand the present session of Christ. And yet this is not what kingdom now theology is arguing today. They’re all arguing that Jesus is on David’s throne.
So I’ve given you probably more information than what you were looking for tonight so I think now would be a good place to stop. I was going to give you a few more things but I understand information overload and drinking of water out of a fire hydrant can be difficult.