The Coming Kingdom 082

The Coming Kingdom 082
Isaiah 35:5-6 • Dr. Andy Woods • November 20, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom


The Coming Kingdom 082

Isaiah 35:5-6

November 20, 2019

Dr. Andrew Woods

Good evening, everybody. Let’s see. Just to make sure our schedules are correct, we’re not meeting next week, right? Okay. So if you come next week and the room’s empty, you’ll think you missed the rapture. So you don’t want to drop into unnecessary fear that you missed the rapture. And then we’re going to pick it up the following Wednesday, right? Very good.

[00:00:53] Well, let’s take our Bibles tonight, if we could, and open them to the book of Isaiah 35:5-6. As you know, we’re coming towards the end, believe it or not, of this book that I wrote, The Coming Kingdom.  And as I like to say, my book is not the important book. The important book is the Bible. My book is just sort of a topical organization of what the Scripture teaches on the subject of the kingdom.

[00:01:38] So we’ve looked at number one, what does the Bible say about the kingdom? And there we learned it was postponed.

[00:01:45] Number two, why do some believe we’re in the kingdom now? And we looked at all of the passages that kingdom now theologians use.

[00:01:56] And then number three, who cares? Why does it matter? You know, why do we drag ourselves through all of this material? Well, the third question may be the most important question, because the point we’ve tried to make is that if the church is the kingdom, and we’re in the kingdom now, it furnishes the right climate, if you will, the right soil for several false teachings to arise. So a lot of times, as Christians, we’re upset at the false teaching, and we don’t understand the soil from which it arises.  So we shoot at the symptoms of the problem rather than the root of the problem when the root of the problem is kingdom now theology. And I think this is one of the reasons why Satan has been trying to convince the church, really going back to Augustine in the 4th century, that the church is somehow the Kingdom of God on the earth.

[00:03:04] So there are nine false teachings that happen in the church, six of which we’ve covered. Can you believe that?  That just leaves three.  Two of which, if we’re fortunate, we can cover tonight.

[00:03:19] But the church, number one, loses its pilgrim status.

[00:03:25] Number two, the church starts to experiment with what is called the social gospel.

[00:03:31] Number three, the church moves into ecumenical and interfaith alliances.

[00:03:37] Number four, the church, rather than looking for the return of Christ, sees itself as home in the world, so it starts to marginalize Bible prophecy.

[00:03:50] Number five, I tried to show you last time that the church actually gets involved in building the wrong kingdom because the next kingdom on the horizon from our vantage point is whose kingdom? Antichrist’s kingdom. So if we’re building the kingdom, we’re not building God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom comes after Antichrist’s kingdom, which God alone, brings.

[00:04:14] And number six, what happens is that the door is open to charismatic theology. Covered that briefly last time, you’ll recall. But I like to use this quote from John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement. And in his book, Power Evangelism, which is the idea that unless the church is doing signs and wonders alongside preaching the gospel, it’s not really preaching the gospel.  And most people can kind of sense that that is off. But what most people don’t see is how that belief system is rooted in kingdom now theology.  And we shouldn’t be surprised because John Wimber, in his own book, Power Evangelism, comes out and connects the two.  He links power evangelism with his belief that we are currently in the kingdom.

[00:05:14] So sometimes you could be arguing with a charismatic, someone who believes that all of the spiritual gifts are in operation today. And rather than get into a long debate with them about that, you can actually disagree with them on a more fundamental level.  And you could simply assert that we’re not in the kingdom now because most of them, not all, but most of them, believe that we are in the kingdom. And if we are in the kingdom, we should see the signs and wonders of the kingdom. That’s what John Wimber says here in Power Evangelism.  He says, “I was already acquainted with George Eldon Ladd’s writings.  He was a Fuller Theological Seminary professor, but it was not until I read his book, Jesus and the Kingdom, that I realized how his work on the kingdom formed a theological basis for power evangelism.  As I read Dr. Ladd’s works, and then read afresh the gospel accounts, I became convinced that power evangelism was for today.”

[00:06:26] So why did John Wimber move in this direction?  Well, he sat under George Ladd at Fuller Seminary.  George Ladd taught the already-not-yet form of the kingdom, which, absent a few cosmetic changes, is virtually the same thing that Darrell Bock teaches at Dallas Seminary today. We’re in the kingdom in an already sense, and long before Bock and Blazing came along and introduced that at Dallas Seminary, George Eldon Ladd was teaching that at Fuller Seminary.

[00:07:08] Fuller Seminary, you might know, is a school that’s just gone totally liberal.  I mean, they don’t even make any bones about it.  In fact, you know, I was living in the southern California area, and I was looking for a seminary, and I almost went to Fuller Seminary because it was local, and I wouldn’t have to move—until I figured out that you could be a Professor there, and you can believe that the Bible is spiritually true, but that it can have mistakes in it related to history, archeology, geology, geography, etc.

[00:07:52] So they did not embrace full inerrancy of the Bible.  And I didn’t really see a sense in going to a seminary like that for the simple reason that if the Bible has mistakes in it on the things you can see like science and geology, geography, archeology, history, then how in the world are you supposed to trust it on the things you can’t see?  Salvation, heaven, hell, angels, demons, etc..

[00:08:23] But long before Darrell Bock Came along, John Wimber was one of the students of George Eldon Ladd at Fuller Seminary, and George Eldon Ladd exposed Wimber to this already-not-yet form of the kingdom.  So the thinking is, ‘well, if we’re in the kingdom now, in some sense, then there’s got to be miracles.’  And so Wimber, the leader of the Vineyard movement, took that and began to introduce power evangelism.  So I showed you this vision statement from the Vineyard, which is sort of the Christian sect, if you will, that John Wimber started.  And it’s interesting to me that when you read through their vision statement how they keep mentioning the kingdom over and over again.  The kingdom, they say, is our most “fundamental core value.”  The kingdom is ”breaking into the present.”  There’s an “already” form of the kingdom, now, that’s all George Eldon Ladd.  George Eldon Ladd teaches all of that in the book that’s quoted here, Jesus and the Kingdom, and it’s what Ladd taught at Fuller Seminary. The overarching theme, integrated theme of the Bible is the kingdom, etc., etc., etc..  So I find this very interesting that when you move into kingdom now theology, what happens is the door gets opened to the charismatic movement.

[00:09:51] Does this ring a bell at all?  I tried to develop that a little bit last time. So let me take you to a seventh area, and it’s highly related, and we’re basically in Chapter 24 of my book tonight. And if we have time to get into number 8, we will be into Chapter 25.

[00:10:10] But a highly related concept to charismatic theology is what is called the prosperity gospel.  Has anybody heard of the prosperity gospel?  Okay, you guys are probably familiar with this.  All you have to do is click on so-called Christian television.  And I would say 75% to 80% of the people that you see on so-called Christian television, not that there aren’t good people on Christian television:  Charles Stanley, I like David Jeremiah, the late Adrienne Rogers, D James Kennedy, I always appreciated.  So I’m not just saying all Christian television is evil.  What I’m saying is [that] it’s predominantly dominated by what’s called prosperity gospel.

[00:11:09] So prosperity gospel is the idea that you as a Christian, are the kid of a king, which is true in a sense, right?  But what they mean by that is because you are the kid of a king, you are entitled to a life of health and wealth.  And if you’re not experiencing a life of health and wealth, then you don’t have enough faith, or you haven’t accessed the laws of acquiring health and wealth.  And they like to use the verse,  ‘There’s life and death in the power of the tongue.’ And what they mean is you have to speak those things into existence, into your life by faith.  So if you’re not experiencing health and wealth, and you’re a Christian, then you’re living beneath your privileges according to the prosperity gospel.  And what you need to do, is by faith, access these verbal laws where you can command health and wealth to come into existence.

[00:12:19] My first sort of exposure to the prosperity gospel was from a very good book that was written in the late 80’s, early 90’s by Michael Horton. I think it was the first full book critique that came out against the prosperity gospel, and you can still find the book on Amazon.  It’s called Agony of Deceit, which I’ll recommend to you in terms of if you don’t have any familiarity with the health and wealth gospel, that book explains it.

[00:12:53] To my mind, the health and wealth movement is one of the most damaging heresies that’s out there for the simple reason that if someone has experienced an economic downturn outside of their control, or if someone is experiencing some sort of sickness or disease in their body, or you take somebody like Joni Eareckson Tada, who had an injury as a teenager, and now she’s paralyzed, incarcerated, essentially in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down—yet because of that injury, as you know her story, God is using her all over the world.  But you have a lot of people that are in those sorts of predicaments.  You know, even in our own flock, we’ve had some deaths recently and people with cancer and things like that.

[00:13:49] The health and wealth movement—what it does is it puts someone what I like to call into double jeopardy.  In other words, Joni Eareckson Tada has enough problems being in a wheelchair. Right?  That’s a problem, A.  But now she’s got some well-intentioned Christians coming up to her; well- intentioned but misguided Christians telling her that she’s in that wheelchair, and it’s her own fault she’s in the wheelchair because she doesn’t have enough faith, or they say there must be some kind of unconfessed sin in her life that put her in the wheelchair.  When the fact of the matter is, I can show you many examples in the Bible. Paul, for example, I’ll show you the passage a little bit later, Gal 4:13-14, suffered from frequent illnesses, and yet, to my knowledge, there is no lack of faith in Paul’s life.  There’s no unconfessed sin in Paul’s life, but the health-and-wealth movement will go up to people that are having economic problems or health problems, and they’ll automatically assume that it’s their own lack of faith as to why they’re having these problems.  And they haven’t learned to access, by faith, these verbal laws.

[00:15:05] So I remember Frederick Price.  I don’t know how much he’s on the air anymore.  I think his son took over for a little while, and then his son had some kind of moral problem or something.  It’s hard for me to keep up with all these people. But I remember Frederick Price, well-known television pastor. I remember him saying, ‘God doesn’t want to live in a broken down house.  So because our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t want to live in a house with broken windows and cancer and broken bones.’

[00:15:41] Well, what do you do with Joni Eareckson Tada, or what do you do with Paul, the Apostle himself, who had frequent illnesses?  So that essentially is what the health-and-wealth movement is.  And most people know enough about the Bible to understand that that’s wrong.  What they don’t do, though, and what I want to do here is, they don’t connect the dots to kingdom now theology.  Health and wealth gospel is directly connected to kingdom now theology. Why is that?  That’s why I had you open up to Isaiah 35:5-6, which is a passage about the kingdom.  It says that when the kingdom comes, “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer.” [That would be Joni Eareckson Tada getting out of that wheelchair], …“the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.  For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.”

[00:17:00] So obviously, when the kingdom comes, you’re not going to have sickness or disease because the prophecies are very clear that the eyes of the blind will be open, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the lame will leap like a deer.  So that’s why Jesus said, ‘Pray thy kingdom come.  Pray for this time in history to come where the basic ailments of the body will disappear.‘ And if you think about this for a minute, if we are in the kingdom now, then these things should be happening—when?  Now.  So then, how do you explain a Christian that’s suffering physically?  Well, according to the prosperity gospel, they’re suffering physically because they’re living beneath their privileges.  They should be healthy.  We’re in the kingdom now.  The Bible says there’s going to be healing in the kingdom, so they must be in the predicament that they’re in because of unconfessed sin, or lack of faith, or an unfamiliarity with the verbal laws whereby you can command money into your bank account, or command your body to be well.  And that’s what’s called the “Name-it-and-claim-it” movement.  Have you heard of that?  I like to call it the “Blab-it-and-grab-it” movement.

[00:18:24] That type of teaching flourishes in an environment where people think we’re in the kingdom because if we’re in the kingdom, there should be healing.  The Bible says so.  And so this is a false teaching that has arisen out of kingdom now theology.

[00:18:40] Now, it is interesting that this idea of prosperity and all of these things, has a tendency to not work so well outside the borders of the United States.  Have you noticed that?  It flourishes in a country where there’s an economy like we have and are blessed with, to sustain prosperity for a lot of people.  But you get into the third world, and all of a sudden, the principles don’t seem to work so well anymore as people are living in very impoverished circumstances and very, very below what we would consider to be the poverty level.  And I mention that because if you’re going to say a theology is true, it can’t just work in one country.  It has to work everywhere.

[00:19:24] So all of this is attributable to kingdom now theology. You should have health, Isaiah 35:5-6, and you should have wealth, also.  And the reason you should have wealth is because when the kingdom comes, not only is there going to be health, Isaiah 35:5-6, but there’s going to be wealth for everybody.

[00:19:48] Follow me over, if you could, to Amos 9:13. “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,…” [This is the millennial kingdom] “…When the plowman will overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine And all the hills will be dissolved.”

[00:20:12] It’s a wonderful millennial passage about there’s coming a time in history where there won’t be poverty, there won’t be unemployment.  There won’t be under-employment. There won’t be malnutrition.  And those things are yet future.  But the kingdom now group says they’re happening today.  So if they’re happening today, then we should all be rich, right?

[00:20:38] Follow me over to Isaiah 65:21-22, more economic prosperity in the kingdom.  It says, “They will build houses and inhabit them. They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build And another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.“ I say, ‘Lord, bring it on:  prosperity in the kingdom.’

[00:21:13] One more verse, Zechariah 8:12, of the kingdom says, “For there will be peace for the seed:  the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all of these things.”

[00:21:38] So all of these passages, whether it’s Amos 9:13, Isaiah 65:21-22, or Zechariah 8:12-–talk about prosperity in the kingdom in the millennium.

[00:21:54] So people that think we’re in the kingdom now, it’s a fertile climate or soil or environment for believing this idea that you should never get sick and you should never be poor. And if you’re experiencing those things, then it’s your fault, because you don’t have enough faith.  So not only does a person have to go through life with those difficulties, but now they’ve got a theology dumped on their shoulders telling them that if they’re sick, in a wheelchair, or poor, they’re there because it’s their own fault, and they lack faith, or they must have some kind of unconfessed sin in their lives.

[00:22:36] So Joni Eareckson Tada, when you listen to her testimony, you know, she talks about how countless people, throughout her life, have told her that, you know, ‘God is going to heal you, and let’s lay hands on you and cast out whatever’s inside of you.’ And countless people have done that for her.  And there she is, still in the wheelchair.  The fact of the matter is, I would be so bold as to say this: ‘God has allowed her to be in that wheelchair.’ Because if she wasn’t in that wheelchair, she wouldn’t have the worldwide ministry that she has.  And because she’s in the wheelchair, she’s not outside the will of God. You see that?  But she’s directly in the will of God.

[00:23:20] So this is a theology of suffering that the prosperity, health and wealth movement will not acknowledge.  And all of this is directly linked to kingdom now theology.  Probably the only author I’ve come across that connects the dots between this movement and kingdom now theology is a book by D.R. McConnell.  It also is an analysis of the health and wealth movement, and the title of his book is called A Different Gospel. And notice what he says here, “The Faith teachers deny that the kingdom of God is in the process of realization, claiming that it is present in the earth to the point that believers can be delivered from all sin, sickness, and poverty of the devil.  They…claim the believer has absolute authority to conquer and eradicate these forces of evil completely from his life.  The only process of realization is in the faith of the believer, not in the presence of God’s kingdom.  In the jargon of biblical theology, the Faith interpretation of the kingdom of God could be labeled as a ‘hyper-realized’ eschatology.” [That’s another way of saying kingdom now theology]. “The Faith eschatology is ‘hyper-realized’ because of its extreme promises to the believer of a life which is absolutely invulnerable to any kind of evil.  It claims ‘that the powers of the age to come’ have completely come in this life and that these powers can be used at will by the believer with enough faith and knowledge of how to operate them.”

[00:25:14] So I will just interject something.  ‘You just have to know how to operate these laws by faith.  And that’s what will deliver you from poverty and any form of sickness.’

[00:25:26] He goes on and says, “There is no process of realization of God’s kingdom and Faith eschatology.  The kingdom can be completely realized in the lives of those who exercise Faith principles.  We see this hyper-realized eschatology in the Faith doctrines of healing, authority, prosperity, identification and deification.  The over-realized nature of Faith eschatology emphasizes the ‘Now‘ of the Kingdom of God… The… ‘Not yet’ mystery of the kingdom and its power is distorted by the hyper-realized eschatology of the Faith movement.” Now, he says things a little differently than I would say them.  I might clean up his language a little bit at certain points, but his main point is very, very critical.  It’s very, very important.  It’s very, very valid.  His point is:  if indeed this is the kingdom, then there must be unlimited wealth and unlimited prosperity amongst God’s people, because that’s what’s promised in the Kingdom Age, and therefore it’s just a matter of claiming it by way of faith or by accessing it through verbal laws.

[00:26:47] Sadly, one of the biggest faith teachers in the world, and I was saddened to see this since I voted for Trump as the President, is an individual named Paula White.  Paula White is now, based on what I read, Trump’s key spiritual adviser.  I mean, Paula White is filled with this type of thinking —  prosperity movement.  If you listen to Paula White any length of time, this is what she talks about.  And I always think, well, maybe the President could have gotten maybe somewhat a little bit better as a spiritual adviser, but for some reason or another, he’s elevated this woman, Paula White, who’s basically a health and wealth prosperity gospel advocate.

[00:27:36] So D.R. McConnell says it’s directly related to the kingdom now theology.  And that’s why I like this quote, because McConnell is [among] the few that connect the dots.  So what is the biblical reality of the situation?  I mean, we’re not in the kingdom now.  What does that mean?  It means that sometimes in the life of the Christian, even if they didn’t bring it upon themselves through sin, Christians still get sick. Amen?  A Christian can get a broken bone.  We just prayed for Nathan today.  A Christian can get cancer. Why is that?  Because we’re living in a fallen world.  And sometimes things can go wrong with your body that are not your own fault or your own lack of faith.  You know, we pray for people to get well all the time in this church.  And sometimes God does heal people.  But other times he doesn’t because it might be a Joni Eareckson Tada-type of situation where God actually wants to accomplish something through a believer’s broken body that He couldn’t accomplish another way.

[00:28:50] Now, Paul the apostle, I don’t think Paul had any lack of faith.  I don’t think he had any  unconfessed sin in his life.  Paul the Apostle is very clear about his struggle with bodily illnesses.  He mentions it in the very first book that he wrote—the book of Galatians, he says, “…but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time.“ [In other words, ‘because of the illness, I became your preacher’]. In [Galatians 4] verse 14, he says, “and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.”

[00:29:36] So there’s Paul himself.  No unconfessed sin that I know of in his life.  No lack of faith, suffering from bodily illnesses.  And this prosperity movement will not even acknowledge a passage like this.

[00:29:51] What does Paul say to young Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23, who was having problems with his stomach and frequent ailments?  Does he chastise Timothy for a lack of faith?  Does he chastise Timothy for not accessing the verbal laws which guarantee his healing?  No.  He just says this at the very end of his ministry, “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for your stomach and your frequent ailments.”  Did Timothy lack faith?  Did Timothy have unconfessed sin in his life?  That is never given as an option. Paul made Timothy the pastor of the most influential church, perhaps in the whole first century Greco-Roman world, the church at Ephesus.  And yet the man occupied that position, suffering from problems with his stomach, and not just ailments, but frequent ailments.

[00:30:49] The very last book that Paul wrote was 2 Timothy.  And here’s what he says, Paul, in

2 Timothy 4:20, “Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.” Paul doesn’t kick poor Trophimus in the backside and say, ‘What’s the matter with you?  Don’t you know we’re in the kingdom?  And don’t you have any faith?’  No.  To do that to poor Trophimus would be to put him into double jeopardy. Right?  Paul simply says, ‘I left him sick there‘ because it’s a reality that sometimes God allows Christians to get sick.

[00:31:39] And not only that, there are times in a Christian’s life where they actually may not necessarily have the nicest looking bank account numbers or portfolio.  Paul the Apostle talks about times in his life where he prospered, and at other times in his life where he was in in deprivation, in need.  Again, he had no unconfessed sin in his life, no lack of faith.  But what does he do here?  In Philippians 4:12, he describes his life in Christ.  He says, “I know how to get along with humble means, and also, I know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret…“ [now, that’s interesting, if it’s a secret, it’s not common to experience this; it’s something that comes only from God].  “I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both having abundance and suffering need.“ So, you notice that as Paul walked out his Christian life, there were times of prosperity in his life; there were times of abundance, or other times of humility, hunger and need.  So, yes, Christians do have economic problems and can have economic problems.

[00:33:05] You take the circumstance with Job.  Job had a lot of problems physically and economically, and they had nothing to do with his own choices. You know, sometimes we can put ourselves into poverty and bad health through bad choices.  I acknowledge that.  But there are other times that come upon the Christian that are outside of their control, where their body is suffering, or financially they’re suffering.  And they’re not outside of the will of God at all when those things happen.  They’re directly in the will of God as was the Apostle Paul.

[00:33:44] Paul, in 2 Corinthians 8:2-3, extols the Macedonians because of their Christ-likeness and their generosity, in spite of the fact that they were very, very poor. Paul says, “…that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty…” [notice these folks that he’s extolling—they didn’t just have poverty, they had deep poverty there in Macedonia]… “overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.  For I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord.”  In other words, Paul says, ‘these were the most generous people I have ever run into.  I mean, these people were givers, and yet they really had nothing to give.  You know, they gave to the point beyond in which they were able.’  And so, Paul, sort of, when he’s raising money there for the suffering saints in Jerusalem, and he’s trying to get the offering project started up again, he points to the Macedonians and their spirituality, and he says ‘they were folks that were in deep poverty.‘

[00:35:12] So it’s interesting that the most spiritual people Paul can point to in 2 Corinthians 8:9, are the poorest.  And so this also demonstrates that you can be very spiritual and not have anything as far as the world’s goods are concerned.

[00:35:30] Then later in the book of Revelation 2:9, what did Jesus say to the struggling church in Smyrna?  He said, in Revelation 2:9, “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich),…” So he says to Smyrna, ‘You’re spiritually rich, but you’re physically poor.’  Now, what does he say to Laodice at the end of the book?  Not at the end of the book but in the seventh letter that Jesus wrote or dictated.  He says the exact opposite, doesn’t He?  He says ‘you’re rich financially. But spiritually speaking, you’re very, very poor.‘

[00:36:26] So who would you rather be?  Would you rather be Laodicea or Smyrna?  Would you rather be very, very wealthy, financially and very, very poor, spiritually?  Or, would you rather be the opposite? And so that’s why Smyrna here is held up as an example.  Smyrna was very, very poor, yet at the same time they were very spiritually rich.  So notice that like the Macedonians that we saw a second ago, those in Smyrna, those with the greatest financial problems were among the most spiritual.

[00:37:01] And all of these verses that I’m sharing with you go directly against the prosperity gospel. These verses are ignored by the prosperity movement.  And to me, it’s very interesting that everybody who promotes the prosperity movement always ends up dying, if you notice that.  So, if these people can live forever—what was it, Kenneth Hagan—was that his name?  I think he’s passed away.  He was one of the progenitors of this prosperity movement.  Well, why did he die?  I mean, if you can name it and claim it, blab it and grab it, and confess diseases out of your body, then these people should never die.  And yet they all end up dying.

[00:37:47] Why do people die?  Because we’re living in a cursed world.  Paul says in Romans 8:19-22, ”For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the Sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation...” [now, that would include your body this morning]…”groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Anybody wake up this morning groaning and suffering?  I’ve got to find some coffee to kind of energize myself, to get through the day kind-of-thing.  Well, why is that happening?  Because we’re living in a cursed world.  So the reality of the situation, as long as we’re living in the cursed world, all of us are going to die.  The mortality rate is still 100%, which means that there must be some kind of disease or something in your future—call it old age, whatever you want to call it, that you’re not going to be able to confess out of your body.  And that’s going to be the state of things until Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom.

Now, there is coming a time in history, per Revelation 21:4, where sickness and suffering will be a thing of the past.  And this is what McConnell is talking about in the quote I gave earlier, “hyper-realized eschatology.” They’re taking Revelation 21:4, which concerns the kingdom and the eternal state, and they’re dragging it into the present.  And they’re not paying attention to exhortations given by the Apostle Paul concerning the fact that we’re living in a cursed world until Jesus returns.  That’s what McConnell means by hyper-realized eschatology—dragging the future into the present.  And that, in essence, is what kingdom now theology is.  So if the church moves in the direction of hyper-realized eschatology, then what automatically will grow up in that soil is the prosperity movement or the health and wealth movement.

[00:40:14] So you can see how practical this study on the kingdom is.  It opens the door to a parade of horribles, not the least of which is the prosperity gospel.  Now, if that weren’t bad enough, let me take you to one more here.  Number 8, it leads the church in the direction not only of charismatic theology, prosperity gospel, but it also leads directly in the direction of anti-Israelism.  Another way of saying anti-Israelism is Christian Palestinianism, where the church sees itself as the kingdom and the new Israel.  All of Israel’s promises become ours through a spiritualized method of interpretation.  So if the church starts to believe that, then it starts to look with disdain on the true Jews, the true physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, particularly in the Middle East.  Why should I care about those people over there?  Because after all, we’re the main act, and we’re the new Israel, and we’ve replaced Israel.  So kingdom now theology leads directly in the direction of having an anti-Israel mentality.

[00:41:43] Now I hope you understand, and no doubt you do by this point in our study, that God has a future for the nation of Israel.  Amen? (See slide on Abrahamic Covenant).  We know that because of the Abrahamic Covenant where He has made certain unconditional, unilateral commitments to the nation of Israel.

[00:42:03] Thomas Ice writes, “Every  Old Testament prophet...“ [and I like that word, ‘Every’]… “Every Old Testament prophet, except Jonah, speaks of a permanent return to the Land of Israel by the Jews.“  So if you read the prophets, it doesn’t matter what prophet you’re in other than Jonah, every single one of them, at some point, is going to talk about a millennial future nationally for the nation of Israel.  And God, in the Bible, is pretty good at bringing back the Jews to their own land.  You ask, ‘Why do you say that?‘  Because He’s done it twice already. (See slide on Reliability of the “Divine Regathering” Predictions) And He’s in the process right now of doing it a third time.

[00:42:54] First, God said to Abraham, ’You’re going to be in Egypt for 400 years, but I’ll bring you out of Egypt, [the nation of Israel], and will bring you back into your own land.’ He said that in Genesis 15:13-14. And guess what?  God made good on His promise.  That’s what the book of Joshua is about, right?

[00:43:15] Then the nation of Israel went into Babylonian captivity, and God through the prophet Jeremiah, said, ‘You’re going to be in Babylonian captivity for 70 years.  And at the end of 70 years, I’ll bring you back out of Babylonian captivity,’… [which was in Iraq, 350 miles to the east].  ‘I’ll bring you out again and back into your own land.‘ And guess what?  That happened.  That’s what the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are about.

[00:43:47] And then God says, a third time, ‘You’re going to go into worldwide dispersion, you Jews. And according to Ezekiel 36:24-28, I’m going to bring you out of worldwide dispersion.’  They went into worldwide dispersion following the events of AD 70, the Roman invasion of Israel in AD 70.  They went into a worldwide dispersion.  Then God says, ‘I’m going to bring you back out of worldwide dispersion, back into your own land.’  Now, here’s a question I have for everybody.  If God already did this once in the book of Joshua in fulfillment of the promises He made to Abraham; if God did it a second time through the prophet Jeremiah in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, in fulfillment of what God said to the prophet Jeremiah, what do you think?  Do you think God can do that a third time?  I mean, if promise 1 and promise 2 have been fulfilled, why wouldn’t promise 3 be fulfilled?  And in fact, I would contend that promise 3 is being fulfilled right now, as we speak.

[00:44:58] It’s not the end product, but clearly what’s been happening since the beginning of the Zionist movement, beginning at the end of the 1800s, right up to Israel’s war of independence in 1948, right up to Israel getting back Judea and Samaria and the city of Jerusalem in 1967.  Right down to the present administration where our President moved our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  He recognized the Golan Heights, which is a very important buffer zone between Syria and Israel up north as belonging to Israel.  And right down to this week, Monday, I think it was, I think it was Pompeo that announced that Judea and Samaria are now under the sovereign control of the nation of Israel.

[00:46:08] So what I’m saying is this promise that God has made of a return from worldwide re-gathering, it’s happening right now in our lifetimes. It’s happening right now in the present administration, and there are things related to it that even happened this week.  Isn’t that amazing?

[00:46:31] So if God can keep the [promise of the] first return, and He can keep the promise of the second return, then I don’t think it’s too hard to believe he can do the third return.  So that’s why we, at Sugar Land Bible Church, believe very strongly in a future for the nation of Israel.

[00:46:47] But you see, if you’re in a church that says ‘We’re the new Israel, and we are currently the kingdom, then God has cut off the real Israel.  And so all of these things that are happening today concerning the nation of Israel being regathered to her own land, those don’t mean anything theologically.  Those are just a fluke.’  One of the questions I was asked a little earlier, I guess John Piper is coming to to town, and I was asked, what do I think about John Piper by someone? And my response was, ‘Well, I don’t think very much of John Piper.’ One of the reasons is [because] he’s a believer in this kingdom now theology. And he’s written an article about it, and it was published around 2000 in US News and World Report.  And in that article, he says there is absolutely no theological significance whatsoever to the rebirth of the Jewish nation.  It means absolutely nothing to him.  And part of the reason he thinks that is he thinks we are the new Israel. Israel’s promises have been spiritually transferred to us.  And so who cares about all this stuff in the Middle East? Who cares about what the Trump administration is doing?  It has no theological meaning whatsoever, and this is what kingdom now theology does.  It moves you in an anti-Israel direction.  This is what Alva J. McClain correctly said back in 1959.  McClain, in his book, The Greatness of the Kingdom, says “The confusion of our… Lord’s Rule…” [kingdom now theology, in other words],… “leads to serious consequences… [I]t makes the present age the period of the Mediatorial Kingdom…” [Now watch this]…[I]t dissolves the divinely covenanted purpose in the nation of Israel.“

[00:49:06] So you can go to a lot of churches in the United States, you can go to a lot of churches in the Houston area even, and they will not say a single word about the nation of Israel from their pulpit. Everything happening in the Middle East, even though to my mind, it’s miraculous what’s happening; I call the nation of Israel the Miracle on the Mediterranean for the simple reason that when a people group, when they are dispersed from their homeland for a few generations, they assimilate into the host culture. And yet the nation of Israel has been outside of their land in worldwide dispersion for 2000 years.  And they go right back into the same land that they were evicted from in AD 70 with the same religion, the same culture, and now the Hebrew language itself, the exact same language of Old Testament times, revived.  Now, if you don’t think that’s a miracle, I don’t know what a miracle looks like. Everybody today wants God to do miracles.  Well, when you look over in the Middle East, and you see a thriving and functioning nation of Israel growing economically to the point where all of these technological gizmos that we have somehow seem to come from that part of the world, seem to come from them, you’re seeing a modern-day miracle of God.

[00:50:42] For example, you go into the Bible, and you read about the Canaanites, the Jebusites, the Girgashites, the Amalekites, the termites, the out of sights, the electric lights, the mosquito bites, the flashlights, all those groups, the ‘ites.’  Where did they all go?  Have you asked yourself that?  I mean, Israel is right there with them. And yet, all those groups are gone.  And 2000 years later, Israel still remains because all of those groups assimilated into their host cultures, see that?   Israel never did.  Well, why didn’t Israel assimilate like all of the other ‘ites‘ did?   I mean, we don’t say, ‘You know, so-and-so and so-and-so moved in down the street. They’re a very nice Jebusite couple’ because we don’t have Jebusites anymore because of the cultural reality that if you’re out of your land for a few generations, you assimilate, you lose your cultural distinctiveness.  And yet, here’s Israel outside of its land for 2000 years, and they never lost their cultural distinctiveness.  To me, that’s a miracle.  Can I get an amen on that? Now, if you believe we’re the new Israel, and we’re in the kingdom now, then you don’t really care about that.  It has no significance whatsoever.

[00:52:10] So the more the church flirts with kingdom now theology, the more it starts to move in a decidedly anti-Israel direction.  Churches either become apathetic towards the Jews in the Middle East, or they even become belligerent—belligerent in the sense that the church joins the BDS movement, which stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.  Sanctions against who?  Sanctions against Israel.  Why? Because they think Israel is an apartheid state; that’s why they’re boycotting and divesting.  They want to make it look as if Israel is just as bad as South Africa.  So South Africa was  basically an apartheid state. So in the 1980s, we did boycott, divestment and sanctions against South Africa because of apartheid.  And so people think, ‘Well, Israel is doing the exact same thing.‘  Even though in the Knesset, are non-Israelis; even though on the Supreme Court are non-Israelis in Israel; even though the non-Hebrew population in Israel has not shrunk, which would happen if Israel was an apartheid state, and was racially persecuting people, that population has actually grown.  You see that?

So if the church believes it’s the kingdom, it jumps on board with the world related to this BDS movement—boycott, divestment and sanctions.  That’s why when you go to Israel, the leadership in Israel recognize who their friends are.  They’re very welcoming to evangelical Christians.  Why is that?  Because they recognize that we are one of the last voices left in the United States that will vote for Israel. We’ll vote for politicians that support Israel.  And we’ll speak up on behalf of Israel.

[00:54:20] All of that disappears when the church sees itself as the new Israel. You’re following me?  So that’s what Alva J. McClain’s point is.  So the more the church thinks it’s the kingdom, the more it will become either apathetic or, in the case of joining the BDS movement, it will become belligerent towards the state of Israel.

[00:54:45] So here is Gary DeMar, a preterist and kingdom now theologian.  He says, “God has not called us to forsake the earth, but to impress heaven’s pattern on earth.”  He similarly notes, “Christians must be obedient to the mandate God has given to extend His…” [what’s the next word?] …kingdom to every sphere of life, to every corner of the globe. (Gen 1:26-28; Matt 28:18-20).”  This guy is about as kingdom now as you could get.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s similarly very apathetic about Israel.  Elsewhere, he writes, “Where is this ‘super sign’ found in the Bible? Not in the New Testament. There is not a single verse in the entire New Testament that says anything about Israel becoming a nation again.” [Now, we refuted this quote, haven’t we, so we don’t need to do that tonight]… “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?”  So you’ll notice here, he is apathetic about the modern state of Israel, and earlier he was promoting the idea of kingdom now theology.

[00:56:00] That’s my point.  If you move in the direction of kingdom now theology, you don’t care about the modern state of Israel.  In some cases, you become belligerent towards the modern state of Israel.

[00:56:11] Here is a statement by Gary North, again, a kingdom now theologian. He says, “The goal of establishing Christ’s international kingdom can be presented to citizens of any nation.”… “Christians are required to become active in the building God’s visible kingdom.” …If the Christian Church fails to build the visible kingdom by means of biblical law and the power of the gospel, despite the resurrection of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, then what kind of religion are we preaching?” …“The parable (Matt 13:24-30,36-43) refers to the building of the kingdom of God, not simply to the institutional church.“ So he’s basically what’s called a reconstructionist—where he believes he is setting up the kingdom of God on the earth, and he wants to legislate the law of Moses over the United States of America, and ultimately, the world. You can’t get more kingdom now than Gary North.  So consequently, Gary North doesn’t care one whit about the Jews in the Middle East.

Thomas ICE reports, “Gary North has boasted that he has a book already in his computer for when ‘Israel gets pushed into the sea or converted to Christ.”  In other words, Israel is going to get converted through this kingdom now project that he’s bringing to the earth, or she’s going to get pushed into the sea.  And I’ve got a book in my computer to say, ‘I told you so‘ when that happens.  So what’s his point?  The modern state of Israel has zero prophetic significance at all.  In fact, we had an issue in a Dallas church [that] Anne I were in when I was going through seminary.  They brought into their pulpit a missionary speaker who got up in front of everybody and basically said, ‘the modern state of Israel is Ishmael.  It’s not Isaac, but it’s Ishmael.‘  Now, you remember Isaac from the book of Genesis, the miracle child that was the product of faith and waiting on God?  That was Isaac.  Who was Ishmael—the child brought into existence through human works and manipulation and scheming.  So what he was basically saying is the modern state of Israel has nothing to do with the promises of God.  It’s a Zionist plot or a Zionist conspiracy.

[00:59:02] Now, my wife and I, believe it or not, can put up with a lot of different things in a church.  But that was a bridge too far. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And so consequently, we decided to leave that church, and look for something else.  I’m not going to attach my weekly giving; I’m not going to attach my presence or service to a church that’s cursing the modern state of Israel for the simple reason that God Himself promises to bless those who bless Israel.

[00:59:41] And conversely, what does he say?  ‘Those who curse Israel, I will curse.’ And yet, so many Christians are sitting in churches not understanding this issue that are involved in cursing the nation of Israel. And my point is, you move in the direction of apathy towards Israel or belligerence towards Israel when you move into kingdom now theology,

[01:00:10] It’s 8:00, and I did not get quite as far as I wanted.  But let me just leave you with this quote here from Martin Luther.  And I’ll pick it up here next week.

[01:00:27] Just to demonstrate that the church has the ability to become anti-Israel, it’s in our history, none other than one of our heroes of the faith, Martin Luther, who did many good things, wrote a book towards the end of his life called On the Jews and Their Lies.  You’re no doubt familiar with this book where he says this, “First, their synagogues should be set on fire… Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed… Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer books and Talmud….Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach anymore….Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews…Sixthly, they ought to be stopped from usury (charging interest on loans)”…Seventhly, let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the ax, the hoe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle, and let the[m] earn their bread by the sweat of their noses…We ought to drive the rascally lazybones out of our system…” “Therefore away with them…. To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable, devilish burden—the Jews.“

[01:01:51] Luther was in Germany when he said these things.  And many historians have said what Luther did is he put into the ground the blueprint for the Holocaust of Adolf Hitler, which would come on the scene a little bit later much later in history.  So the Holocaust could not have happened without the right theological climate.  You see that?

[01:02:16] John Calvin was a little bit more smooth in his oratory, but the deep-seated animosity towards the Jews is in the writings of John Calvin.  What did Luther and Calvin have in common?  Both of them brought from Roman Catholicism into the Protestant movement, which they started: kingdom now theology. So if the church adopts kingdom now theology, it can become anti-Israel. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that because it’s in our history; the church has done this before.

[01:02:55] And so we’ll stop there. But what does kingdom now theology open the door to? The charismatic movement, the prosperity gospel, and then it moves into Christian Palestinianism or anti-Israelism.

[01:03:10] All right.  I’m finished talking.  Folks need to…