The Coming Kingdom 074

The Coming Kingdom 074
Luke 21:24 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 18, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom


The Coming Kingdom #74

Dr Andy Woods

Answering An Argument from Silence


Open to the Gospel of Luke 21:24. We find ourselves in Chapter 21 of my book, The Coming Kingdom, and as you know, we have been teaching a model of the Kingdom where it is in a state of postponement.  We have gone through every passage I know of, primarily in the New Testament, that others use to argue that we are currently in the Kingdom.  We have examined each of them and have found that they don’t teach what ‘kingdom now’ says, and to round off that part of the study, I felt it was incumbent upon me to review three other miscellaneous arguments that don’t come from specific Bible passages; they’re more generic ideas that some use to argue that we are in the Kingdom.


The first one that I introduced in our last class was the Alleged New Testament silence on a future Kingdom.  One of the more frequent arguments through different writers is that they don’t argue from a specific passage that says that we are in the Kingdom, or that God has cancelled His program with Israel, and because they don’t have a specific passage, they try to claim that the New Testament doesn’t emphasize Israel and a future Kingdom.  In their way of thinking, since the New Testament places less of an emphasis on a future Kingdom than does the Old Testament, they basically pursue New Testament priority.  What they mean by that is that the New Testament either cancels the Old Testament or that it changes the Old Testament.


Some of the quotes that I provided in the last class, and one of them is Bruce Waltke, “Not one clear New Testament passage mentions the restoration of Israel as a political nation or predicts an earthly reign of Christ before His final appearing…” The New Testament, he says, does not emphasize this, therefore, it is not a true doctrine to believe in.


I give you this quote from Gary DeMar, a ‘Kingdom Now’ theologian saying basically the same thing: “…There is not a single verse in the entire New Testament that says anything about Israel becoming a nation again.  Nothing prophetic in the New Testament depends on Israel becoming a nation again.  If Israel becoming a nation again is such ‘a significant sign,’ then why doesn’t the New Testament specifically mention it?”


Colin Chapman also says the same thing, that “When the New Testament writers like John had seen the significance of the land and the nation in the context of the Kingdom of God which had come into being in Jesus of Nazareth, they ceased to look forward to a literal fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of a return to the land and a restoration of a Jewish state…”


D James Kennedy of Knox Seminary put out a position paper called, ‘An Open Letter to Evangelicals,’ which says the same thing:  that “…No New Testament writer foresees a regathering of ethnic Israel in the land, as did the prophets of the Old Testament after the destruction of the first temple in 586 BC.” 


It is as though they’re acknowledging the Old Testament does mention this doctrine but because the New Testament doesn’t mention it or lay stress on it, they believe that it has been cancelled.


One thing I brought up last time is that this is what is called an argument from silence; a logical fallacy where it is incorrectly assumed that silence on something is the equivalent as a cancellation.  For example, if I never mention that we will have church this coming Sunday morning, and I don’t mention it at all during our Bible study tonight, and if I don’t say, ‘See you next Sunday,’ then you would assume that church has been cancelled.  You are assuming that silence about something is a negation, and you can’t really make that assumption unless someone says that there is no church this Sunday.  This is the type of argument that ‘Kingdom Now’ theologians rely upon, and they do so because they don’t have a text or passage that says to forget about the future kingdom.


Arnold Fruchtenbaum says, “Furthermore, the New Testament does to have to mention something specific from the Old Testament to maintain that the Old Testament promise is ongoing.  What the author needs is a clear statement that says all the Land Promises have been fulfilled in at least a spiritual way, but this does not exist in the New Testament.”   So, they rely upon alleged silence because there is no ‘overt cancellation.’   What they’re essentially doing is coming up with a rule that says that God must mention something twice in both the Old Testament and New Testament, for it to be valid.  If God mentions it only in the Old Testament, then that isn’t adequate.  I don’t know where they come up with these rules.  To me, they’re arbitrary and man-made.  I follow the maxim that if God said it, and I believe it that settles it.  Better said, if God said it whether or not I choose to believe it, that settles it.  It is akin to Adam and Eve complaining about the fall and the consequences that were ushered in and then telling God, ‘Gee, You only mentioned once that we aren’t supposed to eat from the tree of knowledge; if You had mentioned it twice, we would have taken You seriously.’  That is the mindset that some are in today with this ‘Kingdom Now’ theology.


With that logical fallacy being exposed, let me offer a couple of words on why we don’t really expect the New Testament to repeat everything in the Old Testament.   The Kingdom program, it is true, is predominantly built on the Old Testament, but you don’t have to see that repeated in the New Testament to believe that the coming Kingdom is a reality.  First, if the only thing that the New Testament did is to repeat everything in the Old Testament, then we wouldn’t need an Old Testament, nor would we even need a New Testament.  It is silly to say that for everything in the Old Testament to be valid, it must be repeated in the New Testament.  If that was true, then I wouldn’t need a New Testament or an Old Testament.  Furthermore, when getting into the New Testament, we shouldn’t expect for the whole Kingdom program via Israel to be redeveloped because what is now the center of salvation history in the New Testament?   It is the Church.  The Church, per Eph 3:3-6 is a mystery per Paul in this passage.  The mystery, to be specific, Eph 3:6. “…that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakes of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”  Thus, the mystery is that we now live in an age where God is taking Jew and Gentile and putting them together in one new man, called the Church.  You can read your Old Testament and never find that concept mentioned; it is something unique to the New Testament age beginning in Acts 2.  That is what a mystery is in Greek as we’ve discussed.  A “mystery” or mystērion is something which has never been revealed but is now disclosed.  See slide on ‘Mystery” Defined where the dictionary defines a mystery.  In the book of Colossians 1:26 [NASB], Paul defines a mystery, “…that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, …”  That is really what the Church is; something that has no prior revelation.  Since in the New Testament, the Church is the centerpiece of God’s workings, and the nation of Israel has been temporarily put on the shelf having rejected their own King.  The Church is not revealed in the Old Testament, so it stands to reason that most of the information in the New Testament would not concern Israel but the Church.  So, it is unrealistic to demand that the New Testament repeat everything in the Old Testament for what is stated in the Old Testament to be a binding reality.


This is the doctrine that ‘Kingdom Now’ theologians are following today; they call it New Testament priority.  In other words, the New Testament, because of either its silence or because of its lack of emphasis on something is somehow changing the Old Testament.  As Bible readers at Sugarland Bible Church, we don’t believe that.  We believe that if the New Testament is going to alter the promises to Israel in the Old Testament, then that makes God a liar, something that He cannot do.  Basically, if the New Testament changes the Old Testament, it is akin to God telling everyone in the Old Testament to whom He made specific promises, ‘I’m just fooling, I really didn’t mean it.’  You know that you are in a ‘Kingdom Now,’ Reformed Theology and Replacement Theology type of church when you hear this kind of language about how the New Testament changes the Old Testament, or how the Old Testament must be interpreted through the grid of the New Testament.  We don’t believe that; we believe that you interpret the New Testament according to what God has already revealed in the Old Testament because God cannot lie.  Obviously, when you follow our approach as opposed to theirs, you will come up with different conclusions.


There was someone on some YouTube interview wanting to debate me on the Kingdom, and he made the statement that the New Testament changes the Old Testament at which point, I thought to myself, ‘What’s the point of debating, what is there to debate because that is what you believe:  that the New Testament changes the Old Testament.  I don’t believe that; I believe that you understand the New Testament in light of what God has already disclosed in the Old Testament.  So, we can debate indefinitely, but we don’t even agree on the basic method of interpretation.  So, we can examine various passages and argue back and forth and debate, but there will never be any reconciliation because when we each look at this issue, we each have our own respective set of glasses on.’  Thus, different methods and assumptions will lead to different conclusions.  I don’t think that the New Testament needs to repeat everything in the Old Testament for the Old Testament to be valid because the New Testament has a completely different emphasis that has never been disclosed before:  God’s program via the Church.


Dr. Randall Price, who we have had as a guest speaker, articulates this well, see slides on Randall PriceHe says, “However, there are good reasons why the promise of Israel’s national restoration, so often stated in the Old Testament, would not be repeated in the New Testament.  First, the Old Testament, as the Bible of the early church, already contained sufficient instruction on the subject, and New Testament authors would have assumed this doctrine and expected their audiences to understand it form the Old Testament text.  The frequent citations and allusions to the Old Testament by New Testament authors demonstrate that the Old Testament had priority as the first authoritative revelation of God containing everything necessary to understand and the divine program, which had its fulfillment in Christ.  The New Testament was not written to replace the Old Testament, but to add new revelation that attended to the coming Messiah and the formation of the church.  Therefore, the New testament does not need to repeat Old Testament revelation concerning national Israel but builds upon it by explaining the relationship between Israel and the church…While the New Testament does not change the original intent of its authors, who wrote about Israel’s future restoration in the land, neither does it feel compelled to repeat what was already taught and understood in Scripture.  Second, the New Testament does not put Israel in a central position, as does the Old Testament because the church has become the central position in salvation history.   The New Testament epistles are written for the instruction of the church, and therefore should not be expected to include discussions about Israel’s restoration.”    


I would ask any spiritual leader if or when you are looking for another church to determine their views or if I should pass away, and there are candidates for pastor here, is what they believe the relationship is between the two testaments.  Do they believe that New Testament changes the Old Testament?   Or that the New Testament needs to be interpreted in light of data already revealed in the Old Testament?   How they answer that question will tell you a lot about where they are coming from.  Something to understand is that the whole early church, at the beginning of Christianity in Acts 2-13, was predominantly Jewish.  There isn’t even one convert of Gentile ethnicity into Christianity until Acts 10 and Acts 11 — Cornelius.  Prior to Cornelius, there are no Gentile converts into the church.  Things change, once Paul, beginning in Acts 13, leaves the borders of Israel and goes off on his first missionary journey into southern Galatia.  That is when the composition of the church largely changed.  But if you had stood up in from of that Jewish church when it first started and told them that the New Testament just changed everything they had been looking forward to in the Old Testament, you would have been laughed out of the building.  In fact, in Paul’s ministry when going into the synagogue, is to explain that Jesus is consistent with what was predicted in the Old Testament.   That is what Paul is doing in Acts 17:2,3; in the synagogue where Thessalonica (if I remember correctly) explaining to them that Jesus had to die and rise from the dead.  He was explaining it to them from the Scriptures—the only ones he had at that point were the Old Testament, because Paul’s letters were just getting written.


Once the church becomes Gentile, then the church loses its footing in the Old Testament because there are a lot of people coming into the church who were Gentiles, and they don’t have the same training in Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament that the Jews had, so now the church is open to this idea that the New Testament changes the Old Testament.   Augustine in the fourth century beginning to argue this which is where amillennialism originates, but the idea would never have gotten off the ground at the beginning of Christianity when the church was comprised completely of Jewish people.  That is a very important lesson to learn regarding how to handle the New Testament in light of the Old Testament.


Having said all that, these ‘Kingdom Now’ theologians are arguing that the New Testament does not mention a future kingdom through Israel on the earth; therefore, it is cancelled.  I will agree with them up to this point that the New Testament does not emphasize that doctrine the way the Old Testament does for reasons I have already explained; however, it is a wrong premise to assume that the New Testament never mentions a kingdom through Israel.   The New Testament doesn’t emphasize it to the same degree as the Old Testament does, but it certainly refers to it in several places.


Here are some New Testament passages that mention a future Kingdom on earth through Israel.


Luke 21:24 — Luke is in the New Testament.  Jesus speaking says, “…and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem [the Jews] will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until (archi) [the word ‘until’ introduces a condition that demonstrates that Israel being trampled by Gentile powers won’t go on forever] …until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Thus, the time is coming where the Gentiles won’t have the upper hand over Israel anymore.   Does this passage lay out the entire doctrine of the Kingdom like many want it to do, but it does seem to indicate that the Gentile dominance over the Jews won’t last indefinitely and that there is coming a time in history where things will be reversed?  The nation of Israel will be the head and not the tail, contrary to current status.


Matthew 19:28. Matthew is in the New Testament.  The argument that is being made by ‘Kingdom Now’ theologians is that the New Testament never mentions this future kingdom.  In fact, when I first came to Houston, Bruce Munsterman asked me to come onto KHCB to fill in for someone.  They had a call-in show, and a caller said, ‘I don’t know why you are always talking about a future kingdom; Jesus never mentioned a future kingdom.’  I tried to correct the record by sharing with him this passage of Scripture.    The verse says, ‘And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, [David’s throne; the Davidic covenant in the Millennial Kingdom, and then He says to His disciples] … you shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel…’” The twelve tribes of Israel had their land on earth.  That is how all the Jews understood that going back to the days of Joshua, so this is clearly a New Testament passage reaffirming an earthly kingdom.  He is essentially saying that the disciples are going to sit in judgment on this earth as Jesus is ruling the world from Jerusalem over the various tribes.  The tribal divisions of the land are recorded in Ezekiel 47.  Thus, Matthew 19:28 doesn’t spell out the entire doctrine of the Kingdom because that isn’t the New Testament’s point, but it does reaffirm it.   Thus, the New Testament is not totally silent on a doctrine of a future earthly Kingdom.


Matthew 23:38-39.  Again, Matthew 23 is in the New Testament. The beginning of these verses is verse 37 which is where I should start the quote.  Jesus is speaking here to the nation of Israel as he says in verse 37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! … [In other words, the nation of Israel doesn’t have a great track record in obedience…  How often… [this is beautiful language] … I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.   [The word ‘gather’ is episunagó, and we get the Jewish word, synagogue from sunago.  Synagogue is a Jewish gathering, so the Lord is saying, ‘I came to Israel in My first coming, and I wanted to have ‘synagogue’ with you, but the problem wasn’t with Me, the problem was with you because you wouldn’t receive me on my terms.’  38 Behold, your house [their Temple] is being left to you desolate! [In other words, they kicked Jesus out of their Temple, so now it is their Temple.  If the verse stopped there, I would have thought that God was finished with the nation of Israel.  If not for Matthew 23:39, I would think that God is through with the Jews, that there is no future for the nation of Israel, the Kingdom promises and the Lord reigning on the earth one day from Jerusalem have been cancelled].  But verse 39 says, “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until (heos)… [in other words, their blindness and their state of being absent from their relationship with the Lord is not a permanent state]… you say, [the nation of Israel; this is a generic ‘you,’ and here He is referring to future Israel because the Jews that He was speaking to there at the beginning of the verse had disfellowshipped themselves from Him].  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’”  Ron Smith, who comes to this church, can rattle this verse off in Hebrew, and I’m always impressed.  This is a citation from Psalm 118:26 which is a Messianic

Psalm.  In fact, that Psalm was being cited by some Jews going back to around Matthew 21:8 during Palm Sunday.  The nation, as a whole, did not recognize Him as their Messiah, but there were a few who did, and they were citing this Psalm.  What He is saying here is that He is not coming back for this nation until they acknowledge Him as the Messiah.  This was through the citation of that Psalm.  Looking at this verse, it is very clear that God still has a future for Israel; their condition of hardness spiritually before God is not permanent and Matthew 23 is followed by Matthew 24.  In Matthew 24, a description of the Tribulation period, note the circumstances through which Israel will be restored.


Matthew 24:31, “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET [don’t think rapture here; this is God’s dealing with Israel after the rapture has already occurred seven years or more earlier.  If you want to know where that trumpet is described in the Old Testament, it is in Isaiah 27:13 concerning Israel]… and THEY WILL GATHER… [the word there for gather is episunago, the exact same word used before in Matthew 23:37.  In other words, ‘What I wanted to do with Israel the first time but you wouldn’t let Me, I will be able to do the second time, after the ordeal of the Tribulation period, and is converted through it’] …His elect [God’s choice nation, Israel.  Factor in Isaiah 11:11 because it talks about how He will gather them from worldwide dispersion a second time, and this is in view in Matthew 24:31] …from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”  Coupling this verse with the end of Matthew 23, it is very clear that we are in the New Testament, that the Lord is dealing with a future for Israel whereby Israel will one day be regathered and restored unto the Lord.   Is the doctrine of the future kingdom developed like everyone wants it to be?  No, because that’s not the emphasis of the New Testament, but it is still there.


Romans 11:25-27, Paul writes, 25“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—[a mystery is a new truth]…, “so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a [permanent hardening has happened to Israel—woops, just deliberately misquoted the Bible there]…partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;…” [it says a partial hardening.  In other words, the blindness that they’re now under is not permanent] …” that a partial hardening has happened to Israel” … {here is the condition—notice this word keeps showing up in the past as we have looked at] until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;” …[what is the fullness of the Gentiles?  It is the last Gentile who is predestined to be reached with the Gospel in the church age.  Apparently, God has a specific number in mind, and once that number is met, the body or the bride of Christ will be made full.  I would assume that the rapture of the Church would occur around that period of time once that full number comes in, and with the church exiting stage left, now Israel moves back into the center of God’s program, entering stage right, and He puts his hand back on Israel at this time, and the hardening that they are currently under disappears.  That is why it is called a partial hardening, and the spiritual hardening lasts until a certain number within the Church, the last Gentile, comes in.   2

6 “…so all Israel will be saved; [Wow!  That looks like a salvation for national Israel, doesn’t it?] … “just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, He WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”  27 THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”  Now, what some will say is, ‘Well, this isn’t really talking about Israel reigning over the earth from Jerusalem one day; it isn’t talking about Israel being head of the nations again one day; it is just talking about a bunch of Jews getting saved at the end of the church age.’  No, I don’t think so, because remember the covenants; the foundation for believing the way we do about a future kingdom is rooted in the covenants.  Remember the Abrahamic Covenant promises land, seed, and blessing, and we carefully traced that?  But when you look carefully at Romans 11:25-27, it is referring to the covenants.  Abrahamic Covenant unconditional promises to and through Israel of land, seed, and blessing; land developed in the land covenant; seed developed in the Davidic covenant, and blessing developed in what is called the New Covenant.  Notice in Romans 11:25-27, Paul is quoting verses from the Old Testament.  If you examine the second part of Romans 11:26, “… ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion…”  that is reference to Isaiah 59:20, looking back to the Davidic covenant.  Then looking at the beginning of Romans 11:27, “… ‘This is My covenant with them, …’ that is a citation from Isaiah 59:21 that looks back to the Abrahamic Covenant.  Then looking at the end of Romans 11:27, where it says, “… When I take away their sins.’”  That is a reference to Jeremiah 31:31 that looks back to the New Covenant.  What Paul is doing is re-emphasizing the covenantal structure that we studied in the very beginning, I think, Lesson 2 or 3, showing that the covenantal structure furnishes the basis for a future Kingdom.


So, what Paul is not saying is, ‘Hey, a bunch of Jews are going to get saved at the end of the church age.’  He isn’t saying this at all.  By quoting the different aspects of the covenantal structure, he is reaffirming that God is going to do exactly what He promised to do in the Abrahamic Covenant and related sub-covenants.  Once again, this is a New Testament passage that reveals what we have been teaching concerning the future Kingdom.


Remember the 144,000 Jewish evangelists—12,000 coming from each tribe, and you will see the tribes mentioned in Revelation 7:4-8 (see slide on Distinctions Between 144,000 & Multitude), these are the ones who will essentially blanket the world with the Gospel in the Tribulation period, resulting in innumerable conversions.  It is interesting that in Revelation 14:4, these 144,000 Jews coming from the twelve tribes are called the first fruits.  Do you know much about Israeli agrarian farming practice?  They have three crops:  first fruits, the initial crop comes in, which guarantees the general harvest because if the first fruits come in, then the general harvest will probably show up, too.  This is always a happy time because when a farmer places his seed into the ground, there is no guarantee of a harvest, but if the first fruits come in, therefore the rest of the harvest is coming.  So, there is first fruits.  The second crop is the general harvest.  The third crop is called the gleanings (see previous slide); and Leviticus 19:9,10 where God always looked out for the poor by giving them dignity in the sense that He didn’t give them a handout but allowed them to come and to harvest the part of the crop that was left deliberately unharvested for their provision.  In fact, in the story of Ruth and Boaz (where Ruth met Boaz at the gleanings); the whole story of Ruth revolves around the gleanings.


Thus, the fact that these 144,000 Jews in Revelation 14:4 are called the first fruits, indicates that there will be not only the first fruits but a general harvest as well.  The general harvest is the conversion of the bulk of the nation in the events surrounding the Tribulation period.  Here we are in the New Testament where the Book of Revelation is.  We are seeing hints, and while it is not as well developed as the Old Testament, but there are certainly references to a coming Kingdom that will be anchored primarily by the nation of Israel; thus, this idea that the New Testament is somehow silent and therefore, this silence is a form of cancellation… I would say that the New Testament does not emphasize it as much as the Old Testament does for reasons previously explained, but the New Testament, to my mind is not silent. There are various hints in it; that God will keep every single promise He has ever made to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


Revelation 20:9, in the New Testament, in fact, we are approaching the end of the end of the New Testament, is when satan is released out of his abyss after the 1,000-year (Millennial Kingdom) has run its course.  When satan, who has been in solitary confinement for 1,000 years is released from his abyss, he stimulates a rebellion amongst the mortals on the earth at that time.  Who are those mortals?  They are the descendants of those who survived the Great Tribulation period and repopulated the earth.  Satan is let loose to conjure up, if you will, one more rebellion.  What and who does satan immediately attack?  Revelation 20:9, “And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, [the city is Jerusalem most likely because both Psalms 78 and 87 describe Jerusalem or Zion, which is the synonym for the beloved city.  There is no doubt as to what this beloved city is.  When satan is let loose from his abyss, the first city that he attacks at the end of the 1,000-year Kingdom is the city of Jerusalem.  Why does he attack Jerusalem?  Because it is the city of Jerusalem that has been reigning over the earth for 1,000 years.  Jerusalem is the headquarters or the nerve center of the Millennial Kingdom.  That is why satan attacks it; he doesn’t waste his time on some powerless city; he goes after the capital.  Isaiah 2:2,3 says of the Millennial Kingdom, “…For the law will go forth from Zion  And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”


Zechariah 14:16-18 talks about people who won’t want to go to Jerusalem to worship the King, so they will receive no rain for their crops; this is why the beloved city is prominent at the end of the 1,000 years which is why satan attacks it.


Robert Thomas says, “At the end of the Millennium that city will be Satan’s prime objective with his rebel army, because Israel will be a leader among the nations.”

Notice that all these ideas of Jerusalem being elevated again over the nations of the earth in every single Scripture we have examined, except for a few supporting ones, come from the New Testament.  The New Testament, therefore, is not silent on this doctrine of the Kingdom.  It doesn’t emphasize it as much as the Old Testament does for previously explained reasons, but it doesn’t contradict it, and it certainly reiterates it, so once you understand that you can understand that this argument that the New Testament is silent is an argument that doesn’t hold up.


Revelation 21:12, which is in the New Testament refers to the eternal state, the eternal city.

I have been reading some of the writings of John Piper, and he presents the eternal state as one great big blender where we are all going to be Jew and Gentile crammed together again, and the distinctions between the Church and Israel will be forever lost, and that is his view of the eternal state.  The problem is that every time you walk in and out of the eternal city, you will look at the gates which will be named after the twelve tribes.  Then you will see the foundations of the city; each gate has a foundation, which are all named after the apostles.  Revelation 21:12 says, “It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”  Notice that the gates are named after the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.  Then in 21:14, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”  Who did God build His program upon concerning Israel?  The twelve tribes.  Then when the church came into existence in Acts 2, it was built on Christ, the Cornerstone, but according to Ephesians 2:20, it was built upon the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  So, what is happening here is that every time you will walk in and out of the gate in this eternal city in which according to the Book of Revelation, the gates are always open and there is no night there. It isn’t like where after man’s fall in Eden, humanity couldn’t get back into Eden lest they eat from the tree of life and live forever since God stationed cherubim at the entrance (Genesis 3:24) so that they couldn’t get back into Eden.  The eternal state will be entirely different; the gates will always be open; we will be free to come and go as we please; and there will be twelve gates.  As I understand it, it is set up like a cube with three gates on each side of the cube and as we walk in and out, we will see the foundations and be reminded of the Church and when we see the gates, we will be reminded of the nation of Israel.  We will always be reminded of God’s two great programs.


Once again, this is in the New Testament and it re-emphasizes that Israel, like the Church, has and will always have a distinctive and special role throughout all of eternity, in the mind of God.


The first argument of a miscellaneous nature that the Kingdom theologians use is to bank on alleged New Testament silence on a future kingdom.  As I’ve tried to demonstrate, the New Testament is not silent; it does not emphasize the future kingdom through Israel as much because it is the church, the mystery is being explained, and Israel’s program is already being explained.  Why would God have to repeat Himself?  You can begin to see through some of these arguments of a ‘Kingdom Now’ variety.


A second argument and that is probably as far as I get this evening is that the ‘Kingdom Now’ theologians focus on the Eternal State.  I was under a pastor in the Dallas area who was very much ‘Kingdom Now’ and Replacement Theology oriented.  Why was I under that particular pastor?  We had to join a church, and didn’t know any better, so we joined this church not knowing what we were getting into; however, the Lord used this experience to teach me about these things.  He would say things like, ‘When you get into the New Testament, it doesn’t mention a Millennial Kingdom much at all; it focuses on the Eternal State.  Our focus is not on a coming kingdom after Christ returns but before the eternal state on earth, but on Revelation 21-22.’  He was using this argument to dismiss the 1,000-year kingdom.


Here are some verses that he would cite:


Gal 4:26, “But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.”  He would say that this Eternal State is our focus; don’t worry about an earthly kingdom.


Hebrews 11:10,16 “…for he [Abraham] was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God…” 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them…”


Hebrews 12:22, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels.”


He would say that the entire focus is the Eternal State, not some kingdom that would precede the Eternal State.


2 Peter 3:13 says basically the same thing, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”


He would say, ‘Aha, we are to be looking for a new heavens and new earth, not some earthly kingdom that precedes the new heavens and new earth.’


I have already mentioned the Knox Seminary Open Letter to Evangelicals of the late D James Kennedy’s school, who put out a statement with that title challenging everyone on evangelicalism future kingdom future Israel perspective.  They basically make the same argument, “Instructively, this same Simon Peter [the same Peter of 2 Peter 3:13], the Apostle to the circumcision, says nothing about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel in the land of Palestine.  Instead, as his readers contemplate the promise of Jesus’ Second Coming, he fixes their hope upon the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”


The response would be that this is an argument from silence.  Yes, all the above passages do focus on the Eternal State, but not one of them said that the 1,000-year kingdom is cancelled.  Beyond that, as I have tried to explain, the New Testament is going to focus on things that are not found in the Old Testament such as the Church.  According to Arnold Fruchtenbaum, and I am of his thinking on this, the Eternal State is not found in the Old Testament.  He says, “The majority of the things found in the first twenty chapters of Book of Revelation are found elsewhere in the Old Testament.  Only the last two chapters deal with things totally new…The value of the Book of Revelation is not that it provides a lot of new information, but rather it takes the scattered Old Testament prophecies and puts them in a chronological order so that the sequence of events may be determined.  However, the material found in the last two chapters [of Revelation   21-22, the Eternal State] is totally new material which describes the Eternal Order.  The Old Testament prophets never foresaw anything beyond the Messianic kingdom.  Indeed the kingdom was the high point of Old Testament prophecy and no prophet ever saw anything beyond that.  But the Eternal Order [i.e., the Eternal State] is the high point of New Testament prophecy, and Revelation 21 and 22 provide new information, as they describe the Eternal Order.”


His point, of course, is that you would get more teaching in the New Testament about the Eternal State than you would about the Millennial Kingdom because the New Testament is focusing on things that aren’t found in the Old Testament.  Why would the New Testament repeat everything in the Old Testament about the Kingdom?  It seems to me that it would have more treatment of the Eternal State since, if Arnold Fruchtenbaum is right on this as I believe him to be, is not even found in the Old Testament.  That is why the New Testament places such an emphasis on the Eternal State and the Church.  In so doing, it is not cancelling what God originally said; it emphasizes things that haven’t been emphasized elsewhere in God’s recorded word of Revelation.


Beyond that, by the time you get to the New Testament, it is rather clear, and this is the value of the Book of Revelation, that Revelation 20 comes before chapters 21 and 22.  Revelation 20 is there, now what is chapter 20 doing there?  It isn’t repeating the whole doctrine of the Millennial Kingdom as found in the Old Testament.  It is adding one detail that isn’t found elsewhere:  its length — 1,000 years.  It says a thousand years six times.  Why does John, in the Apocalypse, tell me six times that the Millennial Kingdom is one thousand years?  He does so because nowhere in the Old Testament, which already developed the doctrine of the earthly kingdom, provides the duration of the Millennial Kingdom.  Notice what the New Testament does is to emphasize things that aren’t found in the Old Testament.


After the 1,000-year kingdom comes the eternal state.  The fact that the New Testament emphasizes the eternal state presupposes an earthly kingdom which must come before it.  Both the book of Hebrews and Peter say, ‘Eternal State, Eternal State, Eternal State, Eternal State.’  They are assuming that we understand what John is speaking of in the Book of Revelation — that before the Eternal State comes this 1,000-year Kingdom; the two go together, like a horse and carriage do.  The emphasis on the Eternal State already presupposes that the reader understands that the 1,000-year Kingdom will come before the Eternal State.


My last slide on Mark Hitchcock from one of his very good books (101 Answers to the Most Asked Questions About the End Times) says, “Christ will rule over His Kingdom on this present earth for one thousand years, and He will reign forever.  The future kingdom of God has two parts or phases.  Phase one is the millennial reign of Christ on this earth (Rev 20:1-6), and phase two is the eternal state (Rev 22:5).  As I once heard it described, the Millennium is the front porch of eternity.”  So, the Millennium is like getting to the front porch and once you get to the door of the house and move into the house itself, you are into the Eternal State.  It is assumed that the two go together because both are revelations from God.  The emphasis on the Eternal State all the time presupposes that there is that intermediate time period already developed in the Old Testament that comes first.


These are miscellaneous argument that some use to dismiss a future earthly kingdom; they camp on:

  1. Alleged New Testament silence, and on what they think is the …
  2. New Testament’s focus on the Eternal State


I tried this evening to dispel those two arguments.  Next week, I think, will be very helpful even if you haven’t completely followed along with this study because the third argument used is that if you are unwilling to say that today is the Kingdom, then you don’t believe that Jesus is doing anything.  What they don’t understand is that Christ has three offices:  prophet, priest, and king.  Prophet with His First Coming; King with His Second Coming, and what some say today is that if you don’t acknowledge that He is King today then you don’t believe that He is doing anything.  That is nonsense because there has always been in the doctrine of Christology (see Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology) information about what Christ is doing presently.  It isn’t the Davidic reign; it is His present session.  Therefore, just because we aren’t in the Kingdom now, don’t assume that He isn’t doing anything; He is very active in His present session, not functioning as Davidic King but as High Priest after the order of Melchizidek.  I will show you all the passages indicating what Christ is doing now.


Most Christians have heard sermons on what Jesus did in His First Coming. Everyone knows about His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.  Most Christians have heard sermons about what He will do at His Second Coming; most Christians have an idea of His physical return and the Kingdom that He will one day set up.  However, most Christians know almost nothing, if you were to quiz them about what He is doing now at the right hand of the Father.  In fact, you will be shocked at all the things He is presently doing.  But it is not to be confused with the Davidic reign.


This is the problem with Kingdom Now Theology, with Progressive Dispensationalism at Dallas Seminary because they are taking the present session of Christ and confusing it with the Davidic reign of Christ and giving it a totally different label:  the already form of the kingdom under the idea that if you don’t do that, then you don’t believe that Jesus is presently doing anything.


I will try to explain that it isn’t true; there is an area of Christology that deals with that:  the present session of Christ, not to be confused with what He did at His First Coming nor what He will do at His Second Coming.


None depicts the consummate glory of Christ as an earthly king ruling over the restored nation of Israel.  The silence is deafening.