The Coming Kingdom 072Revelation 1:6 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 4, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom #72
Is Kingdom Now in Revelation 1:6
Dr. Andy Woods
Sugarland Bible Church
Let’s open our Bibles to the Book of Revelation 1:5,6.
We find ourselves in chapter 20 of my book, The Coming Kingdom. This subject has been a passion of mine for a long time so I am glad that I have the opportunity to write the book and to teach it to people. My book is not the important book, the important book is the Bible. My book is just a topical study of the Bible about the Kingdom.
We started this study in 2017. I’m hoping to finish this off this quarter so we can start a new subject in 2020. The kingdom takes us into the whole Bible. Part 1 asks, What Does the Bible Say About the Kingdom? That is the first major section of the book, and we talked about how the kingdom developed in the Old Testament and New Testament was offered to Israel on a silver platter in the first century. Israel rejected the offer of the kingdom making the kingdom in a state of postponement, not cancellation. If that model is true, why is it that so many say that we are in the kingdom now? That took us to…
Number 2 where we looked at the Main Problem with Kingdom Now Theology. They are basically changing what the Old Testament primarily reveals about the kingdom. No longer is it an earthly kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem, but a mystical spiritual reign of Jesus in the Church. There must be passages they use to support that view, and that took us to ….
Number 3. What passages to Kingdom Now theologians use to promote this idea, and I think this will takes us 2-3 weeks to finish. We are finally getting to ….
Number 4. Why does it matter? The subtitle of my book is What is the Kingdom and How is Kingdom Now Theology changing the focus of the Church? Once the Church starts to view itself as the Kingdom, and this is something that the Church has done all the way back to Augustine in the fourth century, it is a radical change as to what the purpose of the Church is. What you see today is the social justice movement wanting to bring social justice to the earth — these different evangelical churches. Basically, they are talking about progressive politics. They all today argue that they can do that because they’re bringing in the Kingdom. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Church is. If you start thinking that the Church is the Kingdom, it is a game changer in that it changes the purpose and function of the Church. Those are the topics we will get to in a couple of weeks in Question #4: Why does it matter?
But we did not quite finish up last spring, Question #3: What are the passages that people use to argue that we are in the Kingdom now? You may recall spending a lot of time on this looking at passages from Christ’s ministry, from the Book of Acts, from Paul. We finished up last time with passages from the general letters, 1 Peter which we ended with last time, and just before that we looked at the Book of Hebrews. What we will do here is to look at some passages in the Book of Revelation, which you are already experts on because you have been tracking with us on Sundays where we have been studying that book.
What are the passages that Kingdom Now theologians use from the Book of Revelation to support the idea that we are currently in the Kingdom? Rev 1:6, 9, 3:7, 5:5, 15:3.
Once we finish these, I will give you three non-biblically, non-text based, miscellaneous arguments that people use to argue that we are in the Kingdom? Chapter 21 in my book, The Coming Kingdom, if you want to read ahead, and that will go by quickly, then we will be into Part 3 where it will get really interesting because you will start learning why all this information matters.
Tonight, let’s start looking at passages from the Book of Revelation that people use to argue that we are currently in the Kingdom. Notice, if you will, Rev 1:6, “And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” People see that expression, ‘Aha, He has made us a kingdom of priests so we must be reigning in the Kingdom’ — that’s the thought process, and one of the major problems with that is that people get very impatient with the Book of Revelation. One of the things to discover about the Book of Revelation is its own interpreter. According to John Walvoord, there are 26 symbols in the Book of Revelation that are identified in the same context. The dragon, for example, would be satan per Rev 12 that calls him both the dragon and satan, so I don’t have to use my sanctified imagination to figure out who the dragon is. The Book of Revelation is its own interpreter.
I think we can do that with Rev 1:6 but don’t just build your house on that verse alone; be patient with the Book of Revelation and allow it to unfold. Then you will start to see that later in the book, it will start to interpret for us words or phrases that are used in the earlier part of the Book.
Flip over to Rev 5:10 and see if this doesn’t shed some light on the issue of the kingdom of priests. Rev 5 comes after Rev 1. Rev 5:10, “You have made them to be (here is the same vocabulary) a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign [basileuō] upon the earth [gē].” So, Rev 1:6 tells us that as the Church we are a kingdom of priests, this is our identity. You may not feel like a priest and like you are part of a Kingdom but that is the identity that God gives to you the moment you trust in Jesus as your personal Savior. Then the question is, and people say that we must be reigning now. That isn’t what the rest of the Book of Revelation says. It says, “they will reign [notice the Greek word for reign: [basileuō] upon the earth.”
So, notice that Rev 5:10 fills out the notion of a kingdom of priests and tells us when we will reign and where we will reign. When you look at the verb in the phrase, ‘they will reign,’ what tense is that verb in? Future tense, so when it says, ‘they will reign,’ it obviously means that we aren’t reigning now. It doesn’t say in Rev 1:6, ‘you are reigning.’ Nor does Rev 5:10 say it; it says, ‘you will reign.’ Notice where we will reign: up in the clouds somewhere? It says, ‘upon the earth.’
Our destiny as children of God is to rule and reign one day in the future on planet earth over this terrestrial ball that we call earth. Our destiny is to reign alongside Jesus Christ. Not because He needs our help, but He shares His delegated authority with us, and we will help Him administer and reign over the earth. So, you may be in a low-level job or in some place in life where you don’t see yourself as important or significant or that you are making a difference, but the reality is that your current position is very temporary. The day will come when you will be elevated along with Jesus Christ over the whole earth.
That is the basis of Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 6. They were fighting with each other as Christians do fight with each other. Paul’s point is ‘don’t you recognize who you are; that you are destined for authority; that you will one day judge the angels? If so, then you can surely handle these minor squabbles of this life. I like to throw in quotes of others, but before I do, when is this reign going to be established? When you go the Second Advent to the right on that chart, [see slide: Prophecy Panorama], that is, in between the Second Coming and the Great White Throne Judgment, is the Kingdom which will last for 1,000 years. That is what Rev 5:10 is speaking about. So don’t just come into the Book of Revelation and grab a phrase such as ‘we are a kingdom of priests’ and apply it any way you want; you must pay attention to how that phrase is used elsewhere in the book and to what it is alluding.
I like to include quotes of others, so you don’t think that I’m just making up doctrines. One of my mentors, Stanley Toussaint, who is now with the Lord, as a matter of fact, I dedicated this book to him because he influenced my thinking on the Kingdom more than any other human being who has ever lived. I don’t know what it is about my wife, but she has an ability to tell when someone is ready to die, possibly because of her nursing background. So, if my wife thinks you are ready to die, you may be. This has happened multiple times in our lives, where we’ve been at the Pre-Trib group, and she said, “You really need to go up to Dr. Toussaint and give him a copy of your book.” I said, “I’ll just give it to him next year.” She replied, “There may not be a next year.” Sure enough, that night on his way home, if I have that story right, he began to have heart issues and was rushed to the hospital. His health began to deteriorate and fortunately, because of my wife, he had a copy of my book and he had gone through it. Even though his health was deteriorating, he sent me an email about how much he appreciated the book and what it meant to him that I had dedicated it to him. He thought the book was very thorough in terms of its comprehensiveness; that it was very complete. Then he died. So, I don’t know — if Anne says you are ready to die, get your spiritual house in order. She has sort of a sixth sense.
Dr. Toussaint, who I hold in high esteem and quoted in the book as saying, “The explanation of this verse [Rev 1:6] is found in Rev 5:10 (NASB), which anticipates the future reign of believers with Christ.” Rev 5:10 interprets Rev 1:6 for us.
Another verse that Kingdom Now theologians use is Rev 1:9. “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom [basileia] and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” What people say here is that John was a partaker in tribulation that was happening to him on Patmos so in the same way he must have been a partaker in the Kingdom because the verse says, “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom [basileia]…” — so John is a partaker in the Kingdom, we are partakers in the Kingdom, therefore, the Kingdom is here right now. Once again, you can’t just identify kingdom by how it is used here, you must identify it by how it is used elsewhere in the Book of Revelation because this book is self-interpreting. Keep tracking the concept of the Kingdom from Rev 1:9 into Rev 5:10 where we already learned that we will be a kingdom of priests and we will reign upon the earth. The noun ‘kingdom’ is not used, but the verb is used, coming from the same root. The noun is [basileia]; the verb is [basileuō] — same root noun form; the verb form clearly puts the Kingdom in the future and on the earth.
This thought is so foregone to Protestant Christianity, I don’t know how it will ever be recovered. Your average Christian thinks that when they die, their whole existence will be celestial, in heaven. In fact, look at how we evangelize people: ‘Hey, when you die and go to heaven, why should God let you into heaven?’ We erroneously think that the whole future relates to being in heaven. That isn’t what the Bible says. It says that we will be in the Father’s House for seven years, and by the way, the Bible doesn’t say that the houses we will be in, John 14:1-3, are many mansions. That is what the KJV says, following Tyndale. Tyndale, following the Latin Vulgate created in the fourth century, because Latin has a word that sounds very similar to ‘mansions’ in English. Tyndale put into his English translation ‘mansions’; the KJV followed Tyndale, so the KJV says ‘mansions.’ Thus, it has led people to believe they will have mansions in the sky. Keith Green, the singer, had an entire song about it that went something like this, ‘But if God created the world in six days, and He has been working on my mansion for the last 2000 years, and this world is so wonderful, think how big my mansion is going to be.’
The problem is that the Greek text does not say ‘mansions.’ It says ‘mone,’ which indicates an inn or a watch house. An inn is a place where you stay temporarily, so why is it that we are brought into the Father’s house, not into mansions, but into inns, for seven years? Because our ultimate destiny is not heaven but the earth. Rev 5:10 says this. We will be ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ on this earth, and your average Protestant doesn’t really understand that; they think of mansions in the sky going to heaven. But the celestial realm is only temporary; our ultimate destiny is here on the earth.
This is what the Book of Revelation explains. That is why there is so much information in the Book of Revelation about satan, the current ruler of the earth, being evicted because while we are with the Lord in our inn or temporary dwellings for seven years, the Tribulation is happening on this earth, and satan is being evicted, and the earth is being prepared for the reign of Jesus Christ. We are coming back with Him from the Father’s house to the earth to rule and reign alongside of Him. This is what Rev 5:10 talks about.
When Rev 1:9 uses the word, ‘kingdom,’ we aren’t free to just go into that word and throw in any definition we want to; we must look at how the word is unpacked subsequently in the Book of Revelation.
Is the KJV a good version of the Bible to read? Yes, but it is wrong on certain points; this is what makes us not KJV only here; there are people out there who believe that the KJV is the inspired version of God. The KJV is very good, it is like the NASB, but it isn’t perfect either. KJV is very good, but it is merely a translation and the translators goofed up with that word, ‘mansion’ in John 14:1-3. I have to say this publicly because I have a lot of KJV only people on our YouTube channel, who want to rake me over the coals because I’m not KJV only. I am trying to explain to you why I am not KJV only; it is only an English translation. In any translation from the Greek into English will have problems. It may be right 99% of the time, but do not put the KJV translation on equal par with the Word of God. None of this was in my notes but the unction of the Spirit came over me, and I felt like I had to say that.
Then keep tracking the word, kingdom and go to Rev 11:15, which says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; …” Why does it say that? Because satan is being evicted from the premises, and God’s kingdom, which will last 1,000 years on planet earth is getting ready to touch down here. So, the 1,000-year kingdom is certainly on the horizon.
When John says in Rev 1:9 that he is a partaker of the Kingdom, he isn’t saying the Kingdom is here now, he is saying that he is a citizen or a participant in the Kingdom which is coming. You wouldn’t reach that conclusion by only studying Rev 1:6 or Rev 1:9; you must let the remainder of the Book of Revelation interpret itself because it is self-interpreting.
Here is Dr. Robert Thomas, and if you are down to your last shekel and want to buy a commentary on the Book of Revelation, the two I recommend to you are John Walvoord’s commentary which is very good, and Dr. Robert Thomas’ Commentary two-volume set on the book of Revelation. If you had both of those commentaries, you would have the best there is on this book. You have heard me disagree with some of these commentaries. They are only commentaries, and we don’t place them on the same level as divine inspiration; same truth with the KJV of the Bible.
So, Robert Thomas observes concerning Rev 1:9, “Little difference of opinion exists over the meaning of basileia [kingdom] in 1:9. It is the millennial kingdom described more fully in Rev 20.”
The great Bible study methodology coming out of this is that when you are coming to a phrase in a book, be patient and let the rest of the book unpack that phrase for you. If you do that, then you will get the right interpretation of Rev 1:6,9.
Go to Rev 3:7; a third passage from the Book of Revelation used by Kingdom Now theologians, and that verse says, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this.” Notice that Jesus is here portrayed as He speaks to the Church of Philadelphia in the Book of Revelation as holding the key of David.
One of my big disagreements with the current trajectory of Dallas Seminary is the dominant view that is taught there concerning the kingdom, called ‘already, not yet.’ We are partially in the kingdom now. Jesus is reigning from David’s throne, they will tell you, although that reign will be completed when He reigns from David’s throne one day in Jerusalem for 1,000 years. ‘Already not yet’. ‘Well, aren’t we ‘already not yet’ at Sugarland Bible Church? No, not in that sense. In fact, if we were to ever embrace that view, we would be contradicting our own doctrinal statement which, like Dallas Seminary, places the Kingdom totally in the future. See our position statements of faith to see this. In fact, before we had a youth pastor, we were sending out resumés, when I first got here, for potential candidates. One guy came down the pike and everyone liked him, and we had to put the brakes on that because he was an advocate of the ‘already not yet’ view of the Kingdom. If we had hired him, we would be communicating to everyone that we don’t care about our own doctrinal statement. So, we didn’t hire that candidate. That is the ‘already not yet’ doctrine. It is interesting that Dallas Seminary’s doctrinal statement reads just like ours does. The difference is that they are ignoring their own doctrinal statement, and we are embracing ours. Progressive dispensationalism, so called, ‘already not yet’, loves Rev 3:7 where it talks about how Jesus is holding the key of David to the church of Philadelphia. In their minds, it means that Jesus is ruling in a Davidic sense, now. We don’t believe that He is ruling in a Davidic sense now. We believe that we are the church age which is an interruption in God’s Kingdom program through Israel.
Darrell Bock, one of the progenitors of progressive dispensationalism, uses this verse to support his ‘already not yet’ view of the Kingdom. He says, “The rule is extended from the Father to the disciple through the Son, the one who in Revelation 3:7 says he has ‘the key of David.’ … Here Jesus refers to himself as ‘the one who has the key of David,’ a phrase that contains a present participle…’the one who has…’ (I agree that this is a present participle, indicating, according to Darrell Bock), …This is currently held Davidic authority. So, because He is presently holding the key of David, in the present tense, according to that participle, in the mind of Darrell Bock, that means that Jesus is now reigning over a spiritual form of the Kingdom over the church.
How would I respond to that use, or I will put it this way, an abuse of Rev 3:7. I would give three answers:
- What does ‘holding a key presently’ really mean? It grants admission to somewhere. Because I have the key to my car, I can get in and out anytime I want. But is that the same thing as saying that I am now in the car? Those are obviously two different things that Darrell Bock doesn’t distinguish in the quote above. Anyone with any common sense can admit that just because you have a key to something or some place that gives you access to it, doesn’t mean that you are currently in that place. It doesn’t mean that you are currently in your car even though you are presently holding the key. Do you follow?
So, it is rather shocking to me that these arguments take on strength in the world of scholarship, yet to me, common sense allows one to see right through that. This is most likely a reference to Isaiah 22:22 where there was a servant named Eliakim, and he was the one who had the key to Hezekiah’s treasures. The verse says, “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, When he opens no one will shut…”. That is likely what Jesus is drawing from in Rev 3:7 when He describes Himself as holding the key of David. But Eliakim holding the key is not the same thing as saying that he was actually inside the Temple treasures of Hezekiah.
Some examples where people hold keys, yet the key is not the same thing as possession of something or physical entrance into something or place. Remember what Jesus said to Peter in Matt 16:19, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven;…” Did Peter use those keys? Yes, he did. He unlocked the door to the very first Jews getting saved in the church age. Because of Peter’s evangelism, 3000 Jews were won to Christ. So, Peter took the key in Acts 2 and turned it and opened admission or access into the kingdom in Acts 2. He did the exact same thing in Acts 10 because Peter is the guy who led the first Gentile to Christ, Cornelius and his entire entourage, so when Jesus says ‘I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,’ Peter used those keys at least twice in Acts 2 and Acts 10, bringing the first Jews and Gentiles to Christ in the church age. When he won these people to Christ in Acts 2 and Acts 10, did they enter heaven at that point? No. They were still on the earth and that is why Philippians tells us that as Christians, our citizenship is in heaven, and we are eagerly awaiting that, aren’t we?
So, just because someone has used the keys and opened the pathway to heaven to the Kingdom, is not the same as being currently in the Kingdom or in heaven. Simply holding the keys does not prove anything in terms of the presence of the kingdom. It proves that the power to enter the Kingdom at some point is now yours because you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is why, to the church at Philadelphia, Jesus keeps talking about evangelistic doors. He says that He holds the key of David which opens doors in Rev 3:7. Then in Rev 3:8, he says, ‘“I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door…”’ There was a church in Los Angeles that was pastored by the late J Vernon McGee (on the radio), called the Church of the Open Door. Why was Philadelphia given an open door, or what does an open door even mean? It is an evangelistic opportunity. Jesus says, ‘I have the keys, and like Peter, I’m giving you the keys, and you’re going to be able to lead people into a relationship with Me, which gives them access to heaven one day; access to the Kingdom one day.’ He isn’t saying that you are in heaven now, nor is He saying that you are currently in the Kingdom. That is how the concept of open door is used repeatedly in the New Testament. Notice:
1 Cor 16:8-9. I’m trying to point out that the idea of keys does not mean present possession of the kingdom; it means access to the kingdom one day. Notice how Paul uses the expression, ‘open doors.’ “But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” I like the last phrase. ‘Gee whiz, I thought when God opened a door for me, I wasn’t supposed to have any problems; that I would be on Easy Street since God opened a door for me.’ I have been around ministries, where if they have the slightest setback or friction or problem, they conclude that God hasn’t opened that door. That isn’t what Paul says. He says that there is an open door for me, and satan is trying to stop me via opposition as I am going through the door. If you sense opposition in your life regarding something that God has called you to do, don’t automatically conclude that God hasn’t opened that door for you. You will notice that ‘open door’ here is referred to as an evangelistic opportunity.
1 Colossians 4:2,3—the same thing. “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned. Paul wants a door opened for evangelism.”
2 Cor 2:12. “Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord…” What had God given to the church of Philadelphia? He had given them an open door to win converts for the coming kingdom, not to establish the Kingdom of God on earth but to win the converts for the coming kingdom. I reached that conclusion by putting all of this data together.
That is why Jesus is holding the key; He is holding the key of David. Present tense participle: it doesn’t mean that the kingdom is here; it means that doors will be open for the church of Philadelphia to win converts for the coming kingdom. Consistently, that is how keys and doors are used throughout the New Testament.
By the way, what is interesting about Rev 3:8 is that He says, “I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut [notice the next phrase] because you have a little power,” … Does that make any sense? If I was God I would give the biggest door of opportunity to the people with the most power, and here, God opens the door for little Philadelphia who had the least power. Why would God give the greatest opportunity for those with the least power? Those with the least power are more likely to trust in God when they walk through the door rather than doing things their own way. You will see this repeatedly in the Bible that when God sets out to use someone, He isn’t necessarily looking for the best, smartest, most talented and gifted; He often tries to use the person who is least qualified because He knows that this person will have to depend upon Him with the opportunity that He gives.
But it is clear that when you start going through the entire paragraph that they’re winning citizens for The Coming Kingdom. In Rev 3:11, He says, “…I am coming quickly [to Philadelphia], hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”… That is talking about the Judgment Seat of Rewards which is not past, not present, but future. Therefore, He must be talking about winning people as citizens of, not a kingdom that is here now, but of the coming kingdom.
See Rev 3:12, the promises continue to Philadelphia. See the present tense of all the verbs used. “…I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God,…” Those who were won to Christ by Philadelphia, did they become a pillar in God’s Temple right then and there? No. He was obviously talking about a future reality for them one day. “…and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him [notice future tense] the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God,…” Study the New Jerusalem in the Bible and you will discover in Gal 4:26 that the New Jerusalem is in existence right now because the present tense is used to describe the New Jerusalem. Right now, up in the heavens, the New Jerusalem exists; it is just not fit to come to planet earth yet. Why not? Because this earth is corrupted by sin. Only when God destroys this earth and replaces it with a new heavens and a new earth, will Rev 21:1, the New Jerusalem, which currently exists, will finally descend to the earth. The New Jerusalem wouldn’t even be welcome today because satan is running everything. Satan must first be evicted, then we must go through the entire Millennial Kingdom, and then this world, as we know it, must be destroyed by fire. Then the New Jerusalem, that currently exists in heaven per Rev 21:1 will descend to the earth.
So, when the Bible makes statements like, ‘there will be a pillar in the Temple of My God” and talks about their participation in the new heavens and new earth, it is obviously not talking about present realities. We aren’t in the new heavens and new earth currently, nor are we a pillar in the Temple of God. So, when He is saying, ‘I’ve set before you an open door,’ He is not talking about the present manifestation of the Kingdom on earth. He is talking about winning the opportunity is given to Philadelphia through evangelism and ministry opportunities to win souls for the coming kingdom.
That is totally different than what Darrell Bock is saying. Darrell Bock is saying that because Jesus is holding the keys, present tense, we are in the Kingdom now. I’m trying to show you that this is not the best understanding of these verses.
Dr. Robert Thomas, in the very good commentary on the Book of Revelation, puts it this way concerning Rev 3:7, “As the root and offspring of David, Christ in the fullest sense controls the entrance to David’s house [the key words are italicized], which ultimately refers to the Messianic Kingdom [future, although Jesus has given us current opportunities to win souls for the coming kingdom]. …He is the genuine Messiah, and in the coming reign of glory His power to open the door to His own and close it to the self-styled ‘children of the kingdom’ is established (italics added). Dr. Thomas is basically saying that the kingdom is future.
Rev 3:7 is not at all contextually talking about a present manifestation of the Kingdom. It is talking about the ministry opportunities that God gives to Philadelphia and to us to win souls for the coming kingdom; winning a soul for the coming kingdom is not the same thing as saying that we are in the Kingdom now.
The first problem with their use of Rev 3:7 is (See Slide on Three Responses to “Kingdom Now) Theology’s use of Rev 3:7:
- A key merely grants the right of future admission rather than arguing that it is a present manifestation of the Kingdom.
- Jesus’ heavenly position (Rev 3:21) disproves a present Davidic enthronement. Where is Jesus right now? He is at the right hand of the Father. Rev 3:7 ultimately is followed by Rev 3:21. Verse 7 must be interpreted by verse 21, which describes the two thrones. Jesus says to Laodicea, “He who overcomes, I will grant [future tense of didōmi] to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down [aorist tense of kathizō] with My Father on His throne.” Notice two thrones are mentioned here. One is Christ’s throne in Jerusalem on the earth. He is not seated on that throne right now because He describes that throne with a future tense verb. So which throne is Christ now on if He is not on His throne? He is on His Father’s throne. Is He on that throne now? Yes, He is because He uses the eros tense, ‘sat down’ when He describes His present position in heaven. Once the Davidic kingdom starts, Jesus will no longer be at the Father’s right hand. He will be on His own throne over Jerusalem on planet earth.
Rev 3:7 is being interpreted to argue that the Davidic reign has started. Darrell Bock is saying that because Jesus [present tense] is ‘holding the keys,’ the Davidic reign has started. If so, then He wouldn’t be in heaven; He would be on the earth.
The Davidic reign, once it starts, will be a very real, literal Jesus’ reigning on planet earth. It will be so physical that you can probably approach Him and shake His hand, and you won’t even have to give a campaign contribution for the privilege. That is always how the Davidic reign is spoken of.
When Darrell Bock says that we are now in the Davidic reign, he is changing what this prophecy says; he is making it a heavenly reign when the Bible, from cover to cover, screams that it will be an earthly reign. See the problem? In other words, I can’t interpret Rev 3:7 as a present Davidic reign when Rev 3:21 says that Jesus is not in the right place for the present Davidic reign. Tell me if you think this is earthly. This is the first time that the Davidic promise is really given concerning a Davidic king and kingdom.
2 Sam 7:12-16, “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 son of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. [Here Saul is being contrasted with David. Was Saul a real earthly king? Yes. So, this heir coming from David’s line in what is known as the Davidic Covenant, must also be a physical earthly descendant as well with an earthly throne]… God speaking to David, Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.”
David, said to the Lord that he wanted to build him a house and the Lord responded, ‘No, you’re not going to build Me a house; I will build you a house.’ David wanted to build the Temple but God wouldn’t allow him because he had blood on his hands, so his son, Solomon, ended up being the one to build Him a house, as he was not a man of war. In fact, in the name, ‘Solomon,’ you will recognize the word, ‘Shalom,’ which means peace in Hebrew. So, the privilege to build the Temple went to Solomon. David comes to God in c. 1000 BC and informs God that he is going to build Him a house; a Temple, and God says, ‘No, your son will do that but, in the meantime, I will make you a promise of a house, not a Temple, but a dynasty. From your own lineage will come an eternal, forever throne.’ That is why in Matt 1, genealogically, Jesus is traced back to the lineage of David. Matt 1 shows that Jesus is the One who will inherit these promises. When you interpret these passages, it isn’t talking about heaven; it isn’t talking about Jesus at the right hand of the Father, it is talking about something on the earth. So, what Jesus possesses now sitting at the right hand of the Father is wonderful, but it isn’t the complete package of every time Jesus is going to get. That is why in Rev 3:21, Jesus is distinguishing His Father’s throne from His own throne. His throne is the fulfillment of 2 Sam 7:12-16 — earthly.
So, until Jesus takes His seat on that throne, you cannot say that we are in the Davidic reign, unless you want to change every time the was said back here. If you want to know what Jesus is doing now, He isn’t functioning as King, He is functioning as High Priest after the order of Melchizideck. He is doing a lot of great things for us, but ruling and reigning over planet earth, is one thing He is not doing.
John Walvoord says of 2 Sam 7:12-16, “The covenant with David is not only given twice in its major content—namely, 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17—but it is also confirmed in Psalm 89…” [‘Gee, Pastor, I’d like to go home tonight and read the major passages of the Bible that refer to the Davidic Throne and the Davidic Kingdom’. Great! Glad you are interested; those are the 3 passages above. Read those three chapters and you will understand the Davidic reign: 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17 and Psalm 89] …
“…In this and other Old Testament references there is no allusion anywhere to the idea that these promises are to be understood in a spiritualized sense as referring to the church or to a reign of God in heaven. Rather, it is linked to the earth and to the seed of Israel, and to the land…There is no indication that this kingdom extended to a spiritual entity such as the church or that the throne in view is the throne of God in heaven rather than the throne of David on earth…Such a situation does not prevail in this present age and is not related here or elsewhere to the reign of Christ from the throne of His Father in heaven.”
What Jesus has now doesn’t fit the promises so Jesus up in heaven simply holding keys is not a sufficient reason to argue that we are in the Davidic reign now. He is in the wrong place for that Davidic reign to occur.
Psalm 2:6-9 clearly puts the Davidic reign on the earth, and this is at the beginning of the reign: “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance [the nations are on the earth], And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Notice all of the references to earth, earthly regarding the Davidic reign.
Isaiah 11:4 says of the Davidic reign: “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth. And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth.”
So, is Jesus holding the keys of David in heaven? Is that describing the Davidic reign? It cannot be because Jesus is in the wrong position for the Davidic reign to occur. Instead, what those keys are talking about is granting access to people to become citizens of this coming kingdom.
We will stop with this third problem with Darrell Bock’s interpretation of Rev 3:7:
- The active presence of the church’s enemies (Rev 3:9) disproves a present Davidic enthronement. In Rev 3:7 where Jesus is holding the keys is followed by Rev 3:9. This verse describes the church at Philadelphia having very real enemies. When the Davidic reign starts, what will happen to God’s enemies? They will be made His footstool! Psalm 110:1-2,5-6 says, “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your [where is Jesus? At the right hand of the Father. Is He there forever? No, because of that word, ‘Until’]…Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” [Where Jesus is now. Until the Davidic reign starts when Jesus is no longer seated on the Father’s throne but on His own throne on the earth. When that happens]… “I will make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” [Enemies won’t be a problem once the Davidic reign starts]. “The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, [the Father saying to the Son]… “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.”
So, when the Davidic reign starts which is what Psalm 110 predicts, the enemies of Christ and of the Christian will no longer be a factor; they will be totally subdued. Question: is that what was happening presently for the church of Philadelphia? Were their enemies subdued as Jesus was holding the keys of David? Not at all. Rev 3:9 says that they were being harassed by a very real enemy, I think, unbelieving Jews, called the synagogue of satan. The church of Philadelphia could not have been experiencing the Davidic reign even though Jesus was presently holding the key of David because the church’s enemies were free and active. When the Davidic reign starts, all of the enemies of God and of the believer will be completely, totally subdued! In fact, look at Rev 3:9 in the original, there are three future tense verbs here describing the subduing of the enemies one day. “Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make [make—Greek in the future tense] come [come—in Greek is future tense] and bow down at your feet, [bow down in Greek is also future tense]…. So, because it is put in the future tense, obviously the synagogue of Satan was not subdued; they would be subdued one day, but they weren’t subdued presently, they were free and active. Therefore, Rev 3:7 in no way, shape or form could be the Davidic reign because if it was in place, the enemies of God would be subdued, and clearly this isn’t the case here in Philadelphia.
Jesus is holding these keys: Philadelphia, [present tense participle], and everyone says the Davidic reign has started. I am saying NO! Because the keys don’t mean that you are in the car; it means you have access to the car, number 1.
Number 2, if the Davidic reign had started, Jesus would not be in heaven but would be on earth. Rev 3:21 which follows Rev 3:7, describes Him in heaven.
Number 3, if the Davidic reign were in force, then the church’s enemies would be subdued. Prophecy after prophecy says that the church’s enemies were not fulfilled there in Philadelphia.
The next time we are together, we will keep marching through these passages and we will be looking at Rev 5 with a fast look at Rev 15:3.