He used the phrase “already and not yet” in A Theology of the New Testament to describe his position on the Kingdom of God and then immediately explains his words: “The early church found itself living in a tension between realization and expectation—between “already” and “not yet.” The age of fulfillment has come; the day of consummation stands yet in the future.”. The promise goes far beyond Solomon, however, in that the kingdom, throne, and David’s house itself were established forever. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. The Kingdom was never meant to imply the mere rule over Israel. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. Bible Verses about the Kingdom - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of… But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and… The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:… And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that… Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory… Therefore fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith Jehovah; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, and none shall make him afraid.” As in other passages, the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant is linked with the return of Israel to the land following their time of Jacob’s trouble, as indicated in the preceding context. And to be “in Christ” requires repentance and faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. In this sense, too, the Kingdom of God has come and is at work in a vision of Paradise Regained. (10) Literal fulfillment is necessary to preserve the Divine unity of purpose” (cf., Millennial Kingdom, by the writer, p. 199). Luke 11:20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. The Kingdom of God is now moving through the lives of God’s people, one by one, and building an unstoppable roadway to a new, future, Kingdom that will express the fullness of the teaching of Jesus. 4:4-7), 3. First, the unusual phrase, 'throne of the kingdom', indicating that the term 'throne' is a fixed symbol of a kingdom, and secondly, that God's kingdom is 'over Israel'. The matter of literal fulfillment of the promises is confirmed also by the fact that certain portions of it have been literally fulfilled. Any ruler in this world is subject to the unrivaled King. All rights reserved. Mary certainly would not understand by the phrase “the house of Jacob” a reference to saints in general regardless of racial background. 23 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. The Kingdom of God is not an actual location. This point of view is quite unacceptable to the amillenarian and therefore for them some interpretation of the Davidic covenant must be found other than that of a literal fulfillment. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” (Psalm 2:1-3). This, of course, does not mean that Christians have no influence in the world, but that our faith is measured by our relationship with Jesus, not by the standards of the world. Here it is stated that they will serve Jehovah and David their king. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' A period of great trouble which Jeremiah refers to as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” will follow. Christianity.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2020, Christianity.com. . During the first half of this seven years Israel will enjoy prosperity. Any study of the Kingdom of God without considering what the implications of the Kingdom for one’s own soul and destiny has missed the core teaching of Jesus. There is no good reason for not taking this exactly as it is written, namely, that David will be raised from the dead and will with Christ reign over the people of Israel in the millennium. (3) Both David and Solomon apparently understood it to be literal (II Samuel 7:18-29; II Chronicles 6:14-16). It’s easy to think of the Kingdom of God as a physical … One of the problems which is often raised concerning the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant is the fact that for many years the throne was unoccupied. He understood the promise meant that his house would continue forever. Four areas will be considered: first, the covenant with David; second, Old Testament confirmation; third, New Testament confirmation; fourth, prophetic fulfillment. Such loving condescension by the Lord to use us in His Kingdom work is not only humbling but magnifies the glory of God. Though invisible, as it is worked through into all of the dough, the bread dough is changed. After three and one-half years of the covenant have run their course, it will be abruptly broken, in keeping with the predictions of both the Old and New Testaments and especially the words of Christ in Matthew 24:15-22. The subject of the kingdom as it relates to Israel is so large that it will be possible to survey only some of its principal characteristics. Thus, His Kingdom, necessarily, cannot be bound by this world, though it is a Kingdom of love that is annexing all fallen things into the glorious redeemed life of Jesus. The prophet Zechariah noted that Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives, a mountain ridge adjacent to and east of Jerusalem’s Old City. The consummating Scripture of course in the New Testament which puts the capstone on all these indications is found in Revelation 20 where it is stated plainly that Christ will rule for 1000 years. The provisions of the covenant of David therefore form a broad platform for the eschatology of Israel embodied in the Davidic kingdom. 56, 57, has given a forceful summary of this point. With the Scripture testimony before us, it is now possible for us to consider some of the problems which exist in this interpretation. This, however, is taken into full consideration in the Word of God. Immediately before His statement that the kingdom of God suffers violence, Jesus honors John as the greatest prophet (Matthew 11:11). Gone is the frosty winter, replaced by a world of cities of spring, where spring lasts all year. This is the meaning of the promise that David’s house would continue forever. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby she shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness. His Kingdom would extend to the ends of the earth. Here it is recorded that the disciples came to Christ and asked the question according to Acts 1:6: “Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” From the question itself it becomes apparent that the disciples were still anticipating an earthly kingdom and hoped for its immediate realization. Intertestamental. These can be summarized under ten arguments for literal interpretation: “(1) The solemn character of the covenant which was confirmed by an oath. The question of literal interpretation therefore cannot be brushed aside a priori as if the literal interpretation of prophecy is impossible. The new heaven and the new earth will be created. The destiny of the kingdom of God administered through Old Testament covenants reached its climax through the work of Christ in establishing the new covenant. The context of Jesus’ statement is a question put to Him by His Pharisee detractors who had asked when the kingdom of God would come (verse 20). It would seem hardly necessary to cite all the additional passages that might be available, but, inasmuch as this subject has been controverted, the mass of Old Testament prophecies that deal with the subject certainly give added stature to the literal interpretation of the Davidic covenant. “He says: ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’” (Isaiah 49:6). In this and other Old Testament references there is no allusion anywhere to the idea that these promises are to be understood in a spiritualized sense as referring to the church or to a reign of God in heaven. In this fine point is an illustration not only of the literalness of the prophecy, but of God’s intention to cut off Solomon’s line at the time of the captivity of Judah embodied in the declarations in Jeremiah 22:20 and 36:30. For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (NKJV). One of these is in the birth of Christ Himself who literally fulfilled many promises pertaining to David’s seed. 28:5). Jeremiah writes: “Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will perform that good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and concerning the house of Judah. Most of these references occur in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Premillenarians do not find the amillennial charge—that the premillennial position is untenable, self-contradictory, and hopelessly confused—is sustained. The massive arguments for literal interpretation of these promises were presented as a proper basis for the fulfillment of this covenant in the future. He said in effect that before the kingdom could come there had to be a fulfillment of God’s purpose in the church. (1) Paul uses the phrase “this present evil age” to describe the kingdom of this world. It should better be referred to as the Hebrew Scriptures, because there is more than the old covenant (i.e. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but my lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993), 118. Scholars have not agreed on the precise interpretation of this passage and amillenarians in particular have labored to make this a contradiction of the premillennial point of view. Further light will be cast upon this passage in the study of the New Testament confirmation. In any case, Christ did not tell her that her request was out of bounds because there was to be no earthly rule. For thus saith Jehovah: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” The context concerns itself with Israel’s restoration and specifically speaks of the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Prayer is the currency of the Kingdom. God installs and removes kings (Dan. David himself had built permanent houses for his family, and he felt it was unfitting for the worship of God to center in such a temporary structure. Jacob in his prophetic summary of the future of Israel prophesied concerning Judah: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.” Though the full significance of this passage has been debated by some scholars, it can hardly be disputed that it limits the throne to Judah and his descendants. In this connection she is told that Christ will reign on the throne of His father David over the house of Jacob. It would seem that this covenant assured to David that his political rule as well as his physical posterity would continue forever even though it might be interrupted, just as the possession of the land was temporarily interrupted. Such an idea of course is not contained in the Davidic covenant as it is recorded in II Samuel 7, but it is asserted that later Scriptures give this interpretation. As far as the Old Testament narrative is concerned, the prophets are clear in these multiplied passages that God anticipated a literal fulfillment of His promise to David. These are brought back to their ancient land and possess the area from the River of Egypt to the river Euphrates. This tension was addressed decisively by Jesus on the cross, Jesus arisen from the grave, and Jesus ascended into heaven. In the covenant David is assured that his seed will reign forever, while Solomon is only promised that his throne will continue forever. The difficulties in interpretation come in examining the exact meaning of the term house as it pertains to David’s posterity and the words throne and kingdom. The Kingdom of God is universal, taking in as subjects every creature and thing in the universe. The heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, will descend and rest upon the new earth. It was difficult for the Jews to understand that for the time being the Gentiles should have a place of equality with Israel, in view of the many prophecies in the Old Testament which anticipated Israel’s pre-eminence and glory. Israel will be persecuted, and their only hope will be to escape their enemies by hiding. This anticipates that the regathering of Israel, begun in the twentieth century, will be continued. This is not only the order of the Old Testament, but it is the order of this portion in Acts and is further confirmed by the order indicated in Romans chapter 11 where Israel is to be grafted back into the place of blessing which Gentiles now enjoy. .” is that part of the Lord’s Prayer that catapults the realm of Jesus into the hearts of people all over the world. M. R. Malcolm, Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul’s Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Jesus’ answer was that the kingdom of God was not … Mention again is made that righteousness and justice will exist in the land and that Judah will be in the land and Jerusalem will be in safety. Part of these promises were fulfilled in Solomon in that Solomon was later born and ultimately built the temple. Two features are immediately noteworthy. A major world war brings the period to a close. Here in the council in Jerusalem the question had been raised concerning the status of the Gentiles in the present age. “Even so. Rather, there are sound and good arguments to the contrary. When Our Savior taught that the Kingdom of God was like leaven that leavens the whole lump of dough, He used a daily experience of every person listening to demonstrate an incomparable dynamic. or, lo there! There is no indication that this kingdom extended to a spiritual entity such as the church nor that the throne in view is the throne of God in heaven rather than the throne of David on earth. In reply to them, Christ did not say that their hope was vain, that there was not going to be a literal fulfillment. God delegates authority to world rulers. Once have I sworn by my holiness: I will not lie unto David: his seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. According to Luke 1:30-33 the angel said: “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. So his master gave an order. This is not a contradiction, but simply the nature of the kingdom. On the basis of prophecy which has already been fulfilled and prophecies which can be expected to be fulfilled in the future, a broad future program for Israel can be established in the Bible. The principal difficulty, however, seems to be that the connotation of the Davidic covenant supports the premillennial interpretation of the Bible involving a future reign of Christ on earth as David’s greater Son. The covenant with David is not only given twice in its major content— namely, II Samuel 7 and I Chronicles 17—but it is also confirmed in Psalm 89. In this covenant the promise of a king and a kingdom is narrowed to David’s seed. For this reason the implications of the provisions of the Davidic covenant can be determined only after ascertaining the interpretation placed upon this covenant by other Old Testament Scriptures. And the King, our Lord Jesus, will not be denied the crown rights of the Son of God nor the ultimate gathering in of His subjects, His children, His family. The Definition of the word Kingdom of God. (8) A symbolical interpretation of the covenant leaves its interpretation to man. It is a fact that God has declared that Israel is not to cease from being a nation before Him for ever. Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. Only those who pass the searching judgment of Christ are allowed to enter into the millennial period. (5) The Jews plainly expected a literal fulfillment. George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, ed. This is the eternal vision of Genesis 3:15, the “first Gospel: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”. Zechariah, the Kingdom of God in _____ Kingdom Writings Index (PDF) Kingdom Writings Index (Word) Kingdom Studies Digest; New Testament. The claim of the amillenarian that Revelation 20 is the only passage in the Bible which teaches an eschatology for Israel is certainly not sustained by the abundant evidence which has been cited from both the Old and New Testaments. It would seem that the promises are simple and direct that David’s posterity should continue forever and that his political kingdom would not end. The Kingdom of God, therefore, will be a safe haven, a home for those who surrender to the rule of God in their own lives. Photo Credit: Thinkstock/SuzanaMarinkovic. There seems to be little disposition to question that Solomon is the son mentioned in the covenant and that he built a literal temple as a house for the Lord. Ladd also said the Kingdom is now moving through the lives of God’s people, one by one, and building an unstoppable roadway to a new, future, Kingdom that will express the fullness of the teaching of Jesus. Charles H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom (Glasgow: Collins, 1978). Amillenarians, generally speaking, tend to spiritualize promises which would teach a future millennium, though they interpret literally prophecies which do not interfere with their system. Before turning, therefore, to some of the theological arguments in support of an eschatology for Israel, some of the New Testament evidence should be examined. A concluding word is found in Zechariah 14 where it is predicted that after the second coming of Christ when His feet will touch the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4), and “Jehovah shall be king over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9). While the exact term is not found in the Old Testament, the existence of God’s Kingdom is expressed similarly in the Old Testament. That the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David is the restoration of the kingdom to Israel and not the construction of the church in the present age is borne out by the prophecies that are related to it in Amos, which have already been noted in a previous discussion. This tension was addressed decisively by Jesus on the cross, Jesus arisen from the grave, and Jesus ascended into heaven. The kingdom has come in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. The earliest example of the title king being used of God is in the 8th century B.C., for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. In the verses which follow He directs their attention to the task that was immediately before them, and to the power of the Spirit which would aid them in the world-wide proclamation of the gospel. From the time of the Babylonian captivity on there was no literal earthly kingdom. When the Lord Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God being compared to a mustard seed that is the smallest of seeds that grows to a comparatively giant size, His listeners would have understood the folksy simile. While obviously the premillennial system of interpretation has much more detail than the amillennial denial, and even though there are countless minor problems, the major elements of the premillennial system have seemed quite cogent to thousands of careful Bible students and scholars. It is a fact that the posterity of Abraham has never yet fully possessed and enjoyed the whole of the land so granted and that no son of David occupies David’s throne…The O. T. promises are all as certain of fulfillment in their O. T. sense and meaning and purpose to Israel, as are the N. T. promises certain of fulfillment to the Church.” A study of the Old and New Testament therefore seems to confirm a genuine eschatology for Israel involving their continuity as a nation, their regathering and restoration to their ancient land, and their enjoyment of a kingdom in which Christ will reign over them. To confess Jesus as the resurrected and reigning Lord of all is a sign of the Holy Spirit working God’s will within you. The phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ (also ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ or ‘Kingdom of Light’) appears more than 80 times in the New Testament. This is another strong confirmation that the literal interpretation of the Davidic covenant was intended. Rather He replied: “It is not for you to know the times or seasons, which the Father hath set within his own authority.” By so much, He was affirming that the kingdom would be fulfilled, but that the time was not for them to know. The Kingdom is here. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in mine ordinances; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Probably the leading question in the entire argument is whether a literal fulfillment of these promises is to be expected. His self-identity as God incarnate was never in doubt. The term kingdom is probably the most difficult term to define, but it would seem quite clear to David that God was referring to his own rule over Israel in a political sense. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. The victory of Jesus Christ has set the Church and the cosmos on an undeniable trajectory in which earthly kingdoms, powers, dominions, and opposition forces will also be enfolded, willingly or unwillingly, into the rule of the Lord. Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. The assertion of amillenarians that the Davidic throne is simply a reference to God’s throne in heaven is not supported by either the Old or the New Testament prophecies relating to the future of Israel. These arguments, usually ignored by amillenarians, have great weight and seem to provide a reasonable approach to the Davidic covenant and the promise of the kingdom. The future of Israel is the fulfillment of a divine purpose sovereignly conceived in which the children of Israel constitute one of the major vehicles of divine revelation. Orthodox Jews will apparently revive their ancient sacrifices and a temple will be provided. Nathan was instructed to deliver a message to David, the substance of which was that God would build a house to David in the sense of a posterity and that his son, yet to be born, would build a temple for the Lord. (2) The temple which David desired to build would be constructed by this son. According to Jeremiah 30:9, 10 it is predicted that Israel will be free from Gentile oppression and will serve the Lord and David their king. In this aspect of prophecy converge the other principal elements of Israel’s predicted future. Even if David is understood to refer to Christ as David’s greater Son, it is still a clear reference to a future millennium rather than to a situation that exists today. The Presence of the Future: The Eschatology of Biblical Realism, Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul’s Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. In verses 24 and 25 Ezekiel writes: “And my servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in mine ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them. The Kingdom of God is a “leavening agent,” a “yeast,” a fermenting power that changes something for the better; and causes it to grow. The Kingdom of God as Yeast. It is certainly extreme spiritualization to take the regathering of Israel as an equivalent of the outcalling of the church and the execution of “justice and righteousness in the land” as being a reference to the rule of Christ in heaven, as amillenarians would need to interpret the passage. Quite often the attempt is made to deny that anything in the Old Testament construes a premillennial eschatology and statements are made such as that of Louis Berkhof: “The only Scriptural basis for this theory [i.e., premillennialism] is Revelation 20:1-6, after an Old Testament content has been poured into it” (Systematic Theology, p. 715). (4) The language used, which is also used by the prophets, denotes a literal throne and kingdom. The kingdom of God is both now and not yet. It may be concluded therefore that early in Israel’s history the concept of a future kingdom constituted the matrix for Israel’s eschatology. Over this land Christ will rule as He rules over the entire world. David resurrected from the dead will share this position of authority as a prince under Christ. The sign of entrance into the Kingdom, baptism, and the sign of spiritual nourishment in the Kingdom, the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, signify not only God in you, but Christ in the world. In a real sense, each time we pray, we are hastening the coming of the Lord. In understanding the promises of a future kingdom given to Israel, one of the major Scriptures is that containing the Davidic covenant recorded in II Samuel 7 and I Chronicles 17. The Old Testament contains no references to the kingdom of God. According to Ezekiel 20:34-38, regathered Israel will be judged and rebels or unbelievers will be purged out. He is considered perhaps the world's foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy.John is perhaps best known for his bestselling work on Bible prophecy, Armageddon... More, 4. We are entering into Kingdom business. The reference to the tent of David, of course, does not concern itself with any building as such but rather with the political power and sway which David enjoyed. Such an inference could be established only by spiritualizing many prophecies both in the Old and New Testaments. Just like Adam’s dominion over the world, God’s promise that Israel would be a blessing to the nations (Gen 12:1-3) does not materialize in the Old Testament either. Immediately following His statement (verses 13–14), Jesus signifies that John was the capstone of the Old Testament revelation and the one who fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4:5. For the mustard plant was a great, tree-like biosphere in their gardens, making a home for birds and other creatures. See Galatians 1:4. In John 18:36, Jesus tells Pilate that His Kingdom is not of this world and that, if His Kingdom were of this world, His followers would be using worldly methods (“my servants would have been fighting”) to defend it. What is the Omnipotence of God? In short, we cannot separate Kingdom from Christ. Further, it is declared that Mary’s Son would reign over the house of Jacob forever. The Kingdom has come. It was assured that a future king over Israel would come from David’s line. Dr. George Eldon Ladd of Fuller Theological Seminary wrote convincingly about the two natures of the Kingdom of God: its presence and its future state. Inasmuch as Israel has not only a prominent place in the plan of God for the past, but also in the future, a proper understanding of the eschatology of Israel does much to open up a proper understanding of God’s purpose as a whole and is seemingly indispensable to any detailed exegesis of the eschatology unfolded in the Old and New Testaments. It seems quite clear that the disciples anticipated much the same kind of a literal fulfillment. 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