The Coming Kingdom 075Revelation 3:21 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 25, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom
Open your Bibles to the book of Colossians 1:16-17. We are in Chapter 21 of my book, The Coming Kingdom. Believe it or not, this study is moving, and Chapter 21 is the end of a long section in the book where people are using either verses or philosophical arguments against the notion that the Kingdom is in a state of postponement currently. Christendom, by and large, believes in ‘kingdom now’ theology, so they have a lot of passages that they use. We are now at the end of that long section dealing with all the arguments that ‘kingdom now’ theologians to argue against the model that we have tried to advocate: the Kingdom is postponed.
Part I of the book: The Kingdom is in postponement — Genesis to Revelation study
Part II of the book: Which passages or arguments do people use to counter the postponement model?
Lord willing, we will finish Part II tonight and start Part III next week — all things being equal which is ‘Why Does It Matter; Who Cares?’ Chapter 21 in the book is about answering three, not necessarily text-based arguments, but rather miscellaneous arguments that some use to say that we must be in the Kingdom now. In the last couple of sessions, we answered arguments from the argument from silence, and I want to deal with this last one now. What some say here on number 3 [Jesus’ alleged present inactivity] is that if you don’t believe that we are currently in the Kingdom, then you must also believe that Jesus is doing nothing presently (see Slide on Three Miscellaneous Arguments Advanced by “Kingdom Now Theology).
What we have taught is that following Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, returned to the right hand of the Father where He is now seated, not on His throne, but on the Father’s throne. We are trying to argue that this present position of Christ is not His regal position, but His position as high priest. To be sure, the current position that Jesus holds is a position of glory and honor; one that He held before the foundations of the earth prior to the virgin birth or virgin conception. At the very end of His life in John 17:5, He prayed for that position of glory to be restored, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” That prayer was answered at the Ascension. Jesus is now in an honorable position in glory at the right hand of the Father.
There is a reference to His Ascension in Rev 12:5, “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”
Notice that He is on the Father’s throne at the present time; He has been there for 2,000 years. Recall Rev 3:21, “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.” That statement was made by Christ about 60 years following the Ascension. In His Ascension, Jesus clearly delineated between two thrones. There is the future throne that He will one day occupy on planet Earth, the Kingdom. Then there is His present position where He is not on His throne but on His Father’s throne. He makes us a promise that if we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will also reign with Him one day [future tense] on His throne. There is a terrestrial throne and a celestial throne, an earthly throne and a heavenly throne. We believe that Jesus is currently on a heavenly throne, not even on His own throne, but His Father’s throne. Until He returns to planet Earth to take His seat on His own throne in Jerusalem on the Earth, the Kingdom has not yet started.
The Kingdom could not have started because in the 70 weeks prophecy written six centuries in advance before Jesus showed up, it revealed what would happen to the Messiah in Daniel 9:26, “So, you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince…[notice here He is called the Prince and not the King because His Kingship, His regal authority revolves the response of Israel to their King. It is a prediction here that Israel would reject Jesus in His First Coming, so that is why Daniel refers to Him as the Prince who shall come] … Dan 9:26, “…the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing…” If that is what actually happened, it is hard to argue, ‘Oh, just fooling, He ascended back to the right hand of the Father, and He got His Kingdom anyway.’ The prophecy is very clear that He would be cut off and have nothing, therefore, what Jesus presently has is a ministry at the Father’s right hand which is not to be confused with the Kingdom. That is the view that I have been teaching.
What some say is that if you believe that as I have tried to articulate it, then you believe that Jesus currently isn’t doing anything. Here is a citation from Dallas Seminary PhD, Dave Anderson from his doctoral dissertation. I agree with many things he says, he is a free grace guy; he has a school similar to Chafer Seminary that is called the Grace School of Theology. I think he is actually here in the Houston area, but he wrote his dissertation, The King-Priest of Psalm 110 in Hebrews. One of his points is that as He is at the right hand of the Father, Jesus is not just functioning as priest, but also as King. He said something very interesting at the beginning of his dissertation on page 2 and at the very end of the dissertation on page 296, and they only let you have a dissertation of 300 pages. I know this because that was the requirement placed upon me, so on page 296, so there it is on page 296 which is at the very end. He says something to both open and close the dissertation, and I bring this up not to pick on Dave Anderson but to demonstrate the mentality that exists among those who believe that Jesus is currently reigning in a kingdom. Anderson says, “But clearly Jesus did not set up a natural theocratic kingdom with Himself as the King ruling from Jerusalem on earth before His resurrection. So, what happened to the kingdom He promised? It was postponed, many New Testament interpreters suggest [like me, for example, that is the whole view I’ve been trying to teach in this class] …But if the premillennial view just espoused is true, that leaves the question concerning the present ministry of Christ. What is He doing right now?”
His point is that if you acquiesce to the idea that the present age is not the Kingdom, then you are also acquiescing to the idea that Jesus is somehow in heaven stationary, not doing anything. The mindset is that you have to agree that He is ruling and reigning as King from heaven. If you don’t believe that, then you must also believe that He isn’t doing anything right now.
At the end of his dissertation, he says, “But classical or revised dispensationalists … [similar to the view taught in this class and what is taught here at Sugarland Bible Church and what is reflected in our doctrinal statement] …should also recognize the already eschatology of Hebrews. [Dave Anderson is one of these already not yet guys, and I believe that he wrote this dissertation under Darrel Bock, who is the progenitor at Dallas Seminary of this new already not yet view] … Anderson goes on to say, “Christ is not passive on the throne.” [So, what he is saying here is that if you don’t believe that He is reigning as King over an invisible Davidic kingdom, then you believe that He is passive]. … “He is reigning. He has subjects. And because He is the forerunner, there are many present blessings which belong to the eschatological age which can be enjoyed now because the Davidic Covenant with some of its blessings has been inaugurated.”
So, if Jesus is not reigning as Davidic king as a partial fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, then you obviously believe in a theology where Jesus’ activity on the earth doesn’t exist. Look at all the blessings we have in the Church. The building, the Holy Spirit, etc, and he is saying that these are all the products of Jesus in His Davidic reign now. If you don’t believe that He is in His Davidic reign now, then you believe in a Jesus that is stationary in heaven who doesn’t do anything. The point I want to make tonight is what he has done here is what we would call a straw man logical fallacy. A straw man argument, and you can watch politicians who do it to each other all the time, is where you misrepresent someone’s beliefs and then tear down not what your opponent really says or believes but your misrepresentation or mischaracterization of what they allegedly believe. It is called a straw man fallacy because a man of straw is just that; a representation of something that isn’t accurate; something you created. Just as a man of straw falls down easily, it is easy to knock down straw men when your opponent is not given the opportunity to present what they are actually saying. You are acting not on what they said but on what you have misrepresented them to say.
He is saying that we are either in the Davidic Kingdom now, or Jesus isn’t doing anything. I want to show you tonight that this is false; this is never what our camp has taught. Jesus has three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. Prophet primary at His first coming; King primarily at His Second Coming, but He is also occupying a very viable ministry presently, not to be confused with the Davidic reign. This is called the high priestly ministry of Christ and when going back into the writings of Lewis Sperry Chafer and others of whom I will show you some quotes, there is a category called ‘the present session of Christ.’ Jesus, today, is not functioning as prophet or King, but He is functioning as High Priest in His present session, and He is doing a ton of stuff. In fact, there are so many things that Jesus is doing, I was running out of room on my slide as I was trying to make a list of all the things He is currently doing that should not be confused with the Davidic reign. When the Davidic reign starts, it will be His direct authority over the earth; satan will be banished. He will rule the world with a rod of righteousness; we are not yet in that phase of His program. A lot of people say that if you don’t believe that we are in some sense in that phase now, then you believe that Jesus isn’t doing anything.
Stephen Waterhouse, in his book, Not by Bread Alone, Amarillo Bible Church. If you don’t have a copy of that book, see me, and I will get one for you. It is a wonderfully done book on Systematic Theology. He correctly says, “The Bible teaches that Christ is now at the right hand of God in glory (Acts 7:56; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1; 12:2). [One of the verses that he could have added was John 17:5, the one I showed earlier]. Then Waterhouse correctly says concerning the present session and present priestly position of Christ] … “He is not in the least inactive.” This is the opposite of what Dave Anderson says. If this isn’t the Davidic reign, then Jesus is inactive and that is not what the Bible teaches as I will show you. It isn’t what our camp teaches, and if people criticize us on those grounds, they really aren’t criticizing what we say, but they’re criticizing a straw man or a mischaracterization or a misrepresentation.
This quote from Lewis Sperry Chafer that he wrote in 1947, and even in his day, he was complaining about the fact that all the way back then, as he was looking through different systematic theologies, ministries, sermons, and teachings of the local church, that almost nothing was being said about the present session of Christ. We could make that same complaint today. Why is it that the present session of Christ in His high priestly role is so little understood by the Christian public?
This is what he said in 1947, “The present ministry of Christ in heaven, known as His [present] session, is far-reaching both in consequence and import. [In fact, to you personally right now in the 21st century, of all the ministries of Christ that directly relate to your life, the present session of Christ in terms of daily life is probably the most important ministry that Christ is currently pursuing at the right hand of the Father]. … “It [the present session], too, has not been treated even with a passing consideration by Covenant theologians, doubtless due to their inability—because of being confronted with their one covenant theory—to introduce features and ministries which indicate a new divine purpose in the Church and by so much tend to disrupt the unity of a supposed immutable purpose and covenant of God’s. [In other words, he is saying that people come to the Bible with a grid that they’re trying to force the Bible into; they’re trying to argue that we are in the Kingdom now. If you do that, then you miss out on what the Bible is actually teaching concerning what Christ is doing now, not to be confused with the Kingdom but relates to Christ’s present session]. … “Since, as will be seen, certain vital ministries of Christ in heaven provide completely for the believer’s security, the present session of Christ has been eschewed by Arminians [those who believe that you can lose your salvation] in a manner equally unpardonable…This neglect accounts very well for the emphasis of their pulpit ministrations. [In other words, Arminians, who believe you can lose your salvation, aren’t going to talk about the present session of Christ either because it is the present session of Christ that keeps us secure in Christ. If you don’t believe that we are secure in Christ, then you’ll tend to downplay Christ’s present session]. … “The Christian public, because deprived of the knowledge of Christ’s present ministry, are unaware of its vast realities, though they are able from childhood itself to relate the mere historical facts and activities of Christ during His three and one-half years of service on earth. [In other words, he is saying, and it was true in 1947 and it is true today, is that if you were to ask the typical Christian about Jesus, they could tell you all kinds of things about His earthly life, about His death, resurrection, about what city He was born into, His parents, brothers, miracles, and if you would press them, they could probably tell you some of what He will one day do in the future on the earth. But if you asked your average Christian what Jesus is doing right now, there appears to be a gap in the understanding, and the average Christian knows almost nothing about what He is doing right now in His present session. This is sad because that is the part of His ministry that relates directly to our lives in a most impactful way].
“…That Christ is doing anything now is not recognized by Christians generally and for this part-truth kind of preaching is wholly responsible. [In other words, the systematic theologies don’t emphasize this; the pulpits don’t emphasize it largely because the systematic theologies are written by ‘kingdom now’ theologians or Arminians, he is saying, and basically, the institutions that train the preachers come into the pulpits and don’t mention this part of Christ’s ministry because they have never been taught it] … “It yet remains true, whether neglected by one or the other kind of theologian, that Christ is now engaged in ministry which determines the service and destiny of all those who have put their trust in Him.”
So, in 1947, there was a gap of knowledge of the present session of Christ, and I would argue that this gap of knowledge is happening today, and much of it falls at the feet of ‘kingdom now’ theologians, Arminians and others who de-emphasize that part of Christ’s ministry.
If you ever find yourself looking for a new church and want to determine where they are coming from, a good question to ask the leadership is what they teach about the present session of Christ. Probably nine times out of ten you will get a blank stare. This is a massive area of neglect, and this is how to look at a systematic theology to tell if it is dispensational or not: does it give any place at all to the present session of Christ, or does it just cram everything together into a one-kingdom now idea?
With that in mind, what I did to rebut this mentality, is to put together a list of eleven things that Jesus is clearly doing right now (see slide on Christ’s High Priestly Activities in His Present Session) at the Father’s right hand in His present session that relate directly to our lives. Although these things are not to be confused with the Davidic reign.
What is Jesus doing now?
- He sustains creation per Col 1:16-17, which says, “For by Him, all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” He is the One who is keeping the atoms, molecules, respiratory system in my body properly functioning so I don’t drop dead. He is the One who is keeping the planets rotating on their right axis so they don’t collide with each other. So, clearly, Jesus is doing something at the Father’s right hand — He is sustaining creation.
- He is also exercising His function of headship over the Church per Eph 1:22-23. That isn’t the Kingdom. If that was the Kingdom, He would be headship over the entire world. He isn’t the head over the entire world right now, but He is head over this rebel army who He is creating called the Church, which is living in opposition to satan’s world, that is us. Jesus is the head over that institution. Notice that the Church of Jesus Christ doesn’t belong to a pastor nor to a board, but to Jesus Christ. The function of leadership is to submit to the headship of Christ over His church.
- He is functioning as groom over the Church per Eph 5:22-33. We are a woman spoken for, destined to be married. He is the Groom; we are the bride, and He has that role over the Church.
- He is building, not His Kingdom on planet Earth. He is building His rebel army or His church. When He was on the Earth in Matt 16:18, He indicated that this time would come. He said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build [future tense of the verb oikodomeō—He wasn’t building it when He made this statement, but He would start to build it following His Ascension] … “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades WILL NOT overpower it.” So, He isn’t reigning over the world; He is building a spiritual organism or spiritual man called the Church in the devil’s world. You can clearly see that building project taking place in the book of Acts which does not talk about the slaughter of the Roman Empire which will happen when the Kingdom starts. It talks about a group that is gradually being developed as you move through the book of Acts.
- Acts’ Purpose: “To present Theophilus [a Gentile believer when you study Luke 1:3,4] … with an orderly account of the birth and growth of the church so as to affirm him in what he has believed.” Theophilus was a Gentile believer, and this is the prologue of Luke, the prequel to the book of Acts in Luke 1:3,4. Like many believers, he is having doubts as to whether he is part of the plan of God. The book of Acts, a historical masterpiece, chronicles how God started this building project called the Church in Jerusalem in Acts 2 and has gradually built the Church over three decades all the way to Rome where many believe Theophilus was. So, Theophilus, you aren’t in the Kingdom, but you are part of this building project called the Church. Thus, Luke is a record of the birth and growth of the Church. Luke develops this by examining three things:
- Numerical growth
- Geographical growth from Jerusalem all the way to Rome
- Ethnic growth starting off as an offshoot of Judaism eventually becoming an institution that would include all nations.
That is what the Book of Acts is about so everything in this book can be fit into the
three categories of growth above: numerical, geographical, or ethnic growth.
Luke records the numerical growth of the Church by giving progress reports.
See slide on Progress Reports in Acts. There are some progress reports that are clear; others may be a little less clear, but it is obvious when moving through the book of Acts, that the numerical growth of the Church is a central point in Luke’s argument to Theophilus. Let’s look at:
- Acts 2:47, “…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” It is a progress report.
- Acts 6:7, another progress report, “The Word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem [who is adding those numbers? Jesus said, “I will build My Church.” So, this is something He is clearly doing at the right hand of the Father, which is not to be confused with the Davidic Kingdom], …
- Acts 9:31, “So, the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.” A progress report.
- Acts 12:24, Jesus is fulfilling His promise that He made to Peter in Matt 16:18, “But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.”
- Acts 16:5, “So, the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.”
- Acts 19:20, “So, the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.”
- Acts 28:30-31, where people were coming to Paul while he was under house arrest in Rome. “And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness unhindered.”
All of this is tracking what Jesus is doing at the right hand of the Father, which He is obviously doing. So, we don’t believe he is currently in the Kingdom, but we clearly believe He is at work. There at the bottom, I have some progress reports that may be a little less clear, but they give numbers. Obviously, Jesus is doing something at the right hand of the Father. We don’t believe that we are currently in the Kingdom, but we clearly believe that He is at work. I have some progress reports that may be a little less clear, but they give numbers.
How did this church start? Look at:
- Acts 1:15, “At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), So, there are about 120 before the Spirit falls…
- Acts 2:41, went from 120 to 3,000 souls were saved on the day of Pentecost. Talk about church growth! From 120 to 3,000 people.
- Acts 4:4, from 3,000 to 5,000 souls and the number continued.
- Acts 5:14, “And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, …”
- Acts 5:42, we see the same thing in this verse.
- Acts 8:25, So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.” That isn’t merely numerical growth but also ethnic growth. Ethnic barriers are being traversed by the Church.
- Acts 8:40, “But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities…”
- Acts 11:21, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.”
- Acts 13:49, “And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.”
- Acts 17:6, When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also.” So, the church turned the world upside down in the first century.
- Acts 15:14, James, the Lord’s brother at the Jerusalem Council, “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.” That is what God is doing today and what He has been doing for the last 2,000 years.
Obviously, Jesus and God are at work making good on His promise to build the Church at the Father’s right hand, although we are not currently in the Kingdom. So, it clearly refutes the idea that if you don’t believe that we are in the Kingdom now, then you think that Jesus is doing nothing. Nonsense! Jesus is building His church. He isn’t doing it from David’s throne but from the Father’s right hand.
What else is Jesus doing? According to Eph 4:7-12, He is giving spiritual gifts to the church. That passage indicates that following His ascension, Jesus began to give spiritual gifts to the Church. On the authority of God’s Word, every believer has at least one spiritual gift because it says in Eph 4:7 and 1 Cor 12:7, concerning the use of our gifts, “each of you.” So, God equips us to serve Him in different ways depending on our gifting, and we wouldn’t have spiritual gifts if Jesus was not active in His present session at the Father’s right hand.
Jesus is also functioning today as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek; that is the way to understand the present session of Christ; not as Part A of the Kingdom, the way that Dave Anderson is understanding it, but as the present session of Christ where He is functioning as High Priest. That is what the entire book of Hebrews is about; it demonstrates that Jesus, in His current priesthood, has a priesthood higher than Aaron; therefore, it is silly for these Jewish Christians to reject the full supremacy of Christ and drift back into Judaism which they were very tempted to do to avoid persecution from unbelieving Jews, especially prior to AD 70 with the Temple still functioning. The entire book of Hebrews is an exhortation not to do that based on an understanding that Jesus has a superior position to Aaron, not as King currently, but as priest. He says here, “He remains a priest perpetually.” Aaron’s priests, the Aaronic priests all died and had to be replaced. Not so Jesus in His present priesthood; He does not die, and He remains a priest presently. It is very clear here in Hebrews 6:20, “… where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Melchizedek is used as a historical figure and is used strategically in the book of Hebrews to communicate that the priesthood of Christ is higher than the priesthood of Aaron. Jesus could not have been an Aaronic priest because He was born in the wrong tribe. All of the priests in Aaron’s system had to come from the tribe of Levi. Jesus came from the tribe of Judah. Jesus broke the mold! Jesus has a priesthood much greater than Aaron’s priesthood, and in the 21st century, we are recipients of that priesthood. There are all kinds of thing Jesus is doing to and through and in you, not as Davidic king but in His function as High Priest. This, of course, refutes the idea that we have to go to a human priest to contact God or to get my sins forgiven, or to get cleansed. Why would you ever want to go through a human priest when there is the Highest Priest, functioning not after the order of Aaron but after the order of Melchizedek whom you can access at any moment. No appointment is needed; that is why Hebrews 4:15, ‘Let us go boldly in the throne room of God that we may receive grace [not grace to get saved but for daily life] and help in time of need.’
If you are in need, just access your Priest; this is something that Jesus is currently doing at the Father’s right hand and that has nothing to do with the Davidic reign. It is all in an area of Christology, the doctrine of Christ, called the present session of Christ. That was what Chafer complained about — being lost in his day and this is what is being lost in our day: this understanding as you can see from the writings of people— even those at Dallas Seminary don’t understand it anymore.
What else is Jesus doing today? He is keeping the saints. Chafer says that this is why the Arminians, those who believe think you can lose your salvation, don’t talk about the present session of Christ because it is what keeps me in the hand of Jesus. Didn’t Jesus make a promise in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish [ou mē; aiōnia—in the Greek ‘never perish’ is a translation from two negatives. In Greek, when there are two negatives together, it is like having 50 exclamation points after something! It is the strongest negation you can possibly have, and if that wasn’t enough, and I don’t know why the English translators didn’t pick up on this, but it has two negations and then aiōnia, which means ‘forever.’ You are in His hand and absolutely nothing can take you out of His hand [50 exclamation points] forever! That is what that is saying. “… and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
I think it would be enough if we were in the Son’s hand given what that says in the Greek language, but we aren’t only in the Son’s hand, we are in the Father’s hand in what is called the double grip of grace. What presently is keeping you in the Son’s hand? The present session of Christ currently doing that.
1 Peter 1:5 says, “…who are protected by the power of God…” Who is protecting, keeping us in His hand and in His Father’s hand — the function of Jesus Christ in His priesthood after the order of Melchizedek.
By the way, we like it when people pray for us. Jesus is also praying for us.
Romans 8:34 says, “Who is he who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God [present session—what is He doing for us in His present session?] who also intercedes for us.”
The book of Hebrews more than any other book of the Bible documents the present session of Christ, and it says the same thing in Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Some people says that they live for the weekend; do you eat to live or live to eat? When you say that you live for something, you are saying that is the most important part of your life. Here, in His present session, Jesus lives to make intercession for you and me!
In His present session at the Father’s right hand, Christ is an advocate for the Saints. 1 John 2:1 says, “We have an advocate.” That is legal language. The verse reads, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father… [who is our advocate? Johnny Cochran]? No, Jesus Christ the righteous; …” [Talk about a good defense attorney]!
Hebrews 9:24 says, “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; …” Why in the world would I need an advocate? Who is the prosecuting attorney? Satan. Just read Job 1:9-10; 2:4-5 where satan brings a false accusation against Job’s character. Satan said, ‘if you take away some of his creature comforts and damage his health, and he will curse you to your face, God.’ That is the nature of satan.
Zechariah 3:1, satan appeared to accuse the high priest, Joshua.
Luke 22:31 Jesus said of satan to Peter, “Simon, Simon, satan has requested permission to sift you as wheat.”
Revelation 12:10 regarding how frequently does satan accuse the brethren — “day and night.”
With that kind of prosecuting attorney, aren’t you glad you have an advocate? Everyone needs an advocate in the legal system, on the job, someone who will stand up for you, and that is essentially what Jesus is doing now at the right hand of the Father in His present session — not to be confused with the Davidic reign.
What else is Jesus doing? He is restoring broken fellowship. Does anyone here sin as a Christian? Of course, as Christians, we sin. It isn’t good, but we very easily go back to our sin nature. So, when you sin, did you lose your salvation? No, because you are in the double grip of grace. Your salvation is a done deal. What did happen is that fellowship between you and God is injured. When I offend my wife, not if but when, we are still married. If we are still legally married, our position didn’t change on a legal basis. What was injured was my moment-by-moment intimacy and enjoyment of her on a moment-by-moment basis. That is what was injured.
That is what sin does in the life of a Christian. Sin does not take away your salvation; it damages the intimacy that you could be having with God which will continue until that unconfessed sin is dealt with. There is a ministry that Jesus does in His present session to restore broken fellowship; that is where 1 John 1:9 comes in. It says, in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That isn’t the gospel to the unsaved. I know that because the next chapter — 1 John 2:1, you have verses 9 and 10, then in the same context as “My little children.” So, what happens is the child of God can go back to the sin nature and sin, but what happened is not that you lost your salvation, but intimacy was damaged. Consequently, what must be done to get the fellowship restored is confession of your sin(s) to Christ. Now ‘confess’ here is the Greek word, ‘Homo’ which means same, ‘homologeo,’ ‘logeo’ means ‘to speak;’ ‘homologeo’ means basically to agree with God that your sin is wrong. If you do that, you don’t get saved again, but fellowship between you and God is restored just as it is when you offend your spouse. When you have apologized for what you have done, fellowship is restored. You were just as married before you offended your spouse as you were after. So, apology doesn’t get you more married; it restores enjoyment in the relationship. So, 1 John 1:9 is something that Jesus is currently doing at the Father’s right hand that is vital to the Christian’s life.
Lewis Sperry Chaffer puts it this way: “The effect of the Christian’s sin upon himself is that he loses his fellowship with God, his joy, his peace, and his power [not salvation]. On the other hand, these experiences [fellowship, joy, peace, and power] are restored in infinite grace on the sole ground that he confesses [homologeo—agrees with God concerning his sin; then fellowship is restored] his sin (1 John 1:9).”
That is something Jesus is doing currently in His present session in His role as Melchizedekian priest. Don’t you think that relates directly to your life? It relates to mine. How could I even live the Christian life without understanding what He is doing in His present session?
He also disciplines His children. Amen?
Hebrews 12:5-13, “Whom the Lord loves He chastens.” His chastening is a sign of His ownership over us.
What a list that is! Would you agree with the quote I gave earlier that, ‘We don’t believe that we are in the Kingdom now, so we must believe that Jesus is doing nothing.’ Obviously, that is a fundamental and total misunderstanding of the vital role of Jesus now in His present session. In fact, my list is so long that I had to add this one at the last minute.
- John 14:1-4, regarding what else He is doing at the Father’s right hand. He is preparing a place for you. He says, “…I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself…” So, before He comes and receives us to Himself via the rapture, what is He doing right now? He is currently preparing a place for us. If He has been working on that place for 2,000 years, it might be even nicer than our sanctuary.
The above are all things He is doing, not as Davidic King, but at the Father’s right hand. The mistake people are making is trying to confuse this session with some kind of spiritual form of the Kingdom.
Charles Ryrie said, “If Christ inaugurated His Davidic reign at His Ascension [we don’t believe that He inaugurated His Davidic reign at His Ascension; that is what progressive dispensationalists teach; what ‘kingdom now’ theologians teaching and apparently what David Anderson is teaching]. If Christ inaugurated His Davidic Reign at His Ascension, does it not seem incongruous that His first act as reigning Davidic king was the sending of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:33, something not even included in the promises of the Davidic Covenant. If this is the Davidic reign, why is it that the first thing He did have nothing to do with the Davidic Covenant, the sending of the Holy Spirit? Remember what He said to the disciples in the upper room, that ‘it is to your advantage that I go away?’ They’re panicked that He is leaving. ‘It is to your advantage that I go away because when I go, He will come and He will be in you, the Paraclete and with you forever!’ That isn’t the Davidic kingdom and not what is promised in the Davidic kingdom.
Lewis Sperry Chafer says, “Over and above all the stupendous present ministry of the resurrected, exalted Savior already noted is the attitude which He is said to maintain toward the day when, coming back to the earth, He will defeat all enemies and take the throne to reign. Important, indeed, is the revelation which discloses the fact that Christ is now in the attitude of expectation toward the oncoming day when, returning on the clouds of heaven, He will vanquish every foe…Hebrews 10:13 records His expectation, which reads: ‘From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool…As High Priest over the true tabernacle on high, the Lord Jesus Christ has entered into heaven itself there to minister as priest in behalf of those who are His own in the world (Hebrew 8:1-2)… The fact that He sat down on His Father’s throne and not on His own throne reveals the truth, so constantly and consistently taught in the Scriptures, that He did not set up a kingdom on the earth at His first advent into the world, but that He is now ‘expecting’ until the time when His kingdom shall come in the earth and the divine will shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven. ‘The kingdoms of this world’ are yet to become ‘the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever’ (Rev 11:15), Father and He will give Him the nations for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession (Psalm 2:8). However, Scripture clearly indicates too that He is not now establishing that kingdom rule in the earth (Matt 25:31-46), but that rather He is calling out from both the Jews and Gentiles a heavenly people who are related to Him as His Body and Bride. After the present purpose is accomplished, He will return and ‘build again the tabernacle of David, which is falling down’ (Acts 15:13-18). Though He is a King-Priest according to the Melchizedek type (Hebrews 5:10; 7:1-3), He is now serving as Priest and not as King.”
In other words, the Kingdom is going to come; all of the prophecies about the Kingdom will be fulfilled one day, and at the right hand of the Father, Jesus is looking, and Chafer gave the references in Hebrews. He is looking back to the Cross; He is looking forward to His future Kingdom, but He is in a position now where He is ministering as High Priest doing all the things we have talked about tonight, and probably more after the order of Melchizedek. What Chafer is doing there is keeping the three offices of Christ distinct. That is not what is happening now in this ‘kingdom now’ conversation.
Last quote, “Similarly, the earthly kingdom that according to the Scriptures had its origin in the covenant made to David, which is mundane and literal in its original form and equally as mundane and literal in uncounted references to it in all subsequent Scriptures which trace it on to its consummation [1947 language], is by theological legerdemain [have you recently used legerdemain in your Twitter conversations? I had to look it up, so I put the meaning in parentheses] (trickery, deception) metamorphosed into a spiritual monstrosity [strong language] in which an absent King seated on His Father’s throne in heaven is accepted in lieu of the theocratic monarch of David’s line seated on David’s throne in Jerusalem.” He is saying that if you confuse the present session of Christ with the Davidic reign of Christ, then you are responsible for creating a spiritual monstrosity. You are also responsible for theological deception because how could it be the Kingdom of Christ today when the King isn’t even present? They will say that you don’t think that Jesus is doing anything. But He is doing a lot of stuff, but as High Priest in His present session at the right hand of the Father, not to be confused with the Davidic regal authority of Christ. When you merge the two together and don’t pay attention to the three offices of Christ, and you merge offices two and three, and all the ‘kingdom now’ theologians do this, Chafer’s view is that you have just metamorphosed something into a spiritual monstrosity. You are mixing two things that don’t go together.
So, that ends the section on the arguments of ‘kingdom now’ theologians dealing with this argument of alleged present inactivity. Next week we start the final part of this study, and I think this will go by a lot faster — Who Cares? Why Does It Matter, and I will try to make the point that theology is like dominoes in a row. If you knock over one, the rest will fall. I will try to demonstrate that virtually every false doctrine today in the Church, and I have nine doctrines listed, is traceable to the idea of people saying that we are currently in the Kingdom. See what they are doing is shooting at the guy on the wall, trying to knock down a theological false doctrine when they should be shooting at the foundation of the building because the foundation is the idea that we are in the Kingdom. From that wrongheaded belief comes these nine false doctrines. I will show you how all of these doctrines that everyone is upset about today are attributable to ‘kingdom now’ theology. ‘kingdom now’ theology is, in other words, the root of all of these.