The Coming Prophetic Kingdom
In Defense of the Faith
Friday, January 13, 2017
Those who know me know how much I love books. When we moved into our current house there was a study with plenty of book shelf space. That space has been quickly filling up. It doesn't help attending a church which has a bookstore. Once a week I'm also drawn to our local Half Price book Shop, which has an excellent Christian section.
If books are an addiction, I'm like an addict hanging around in all the wrong places.
Our church bookstore is filled with books by the Puritans - Spurgeon, Gurnall, and the Scottish Reformers etc - and I've benefited from reading them. These saints diligently point people to Christ and the Cross. One consistent issue I encounter in reading these saints is their Covenant Theology assumptions regarding Israel and the kingdom.
I picked up a book on The Lord's Prayer which was first published in 1692. For the most part it ministered to my soul by expounding the wonder and glorious joy of heaven. We should all read more of this sort of thing.
However, the writer's long treatment of the "Thy Kingdom Come" petition left me disappointed. The sermon was uplifting and tightly pointed the reader to heaven. Sadly, it spiritualized all the other aspects of the kingdom. This was no biblical exposition of the multi-faceted nature of the Kingdom of God.
There's so much more to it than that!
The experience drove me back to Alva J. McClain's The Greatness of the Kingdom. I'm now in my second reading of it. Reading McClain amazes me how so many Bible scholars can manage to spiritualize or avoid all those verses speaking of a future millennial (and eternal) kingdom on earth. It takes a lot of effort to avoid them.
Note: Here I'd like to point out that Dr. Andy Woods has written a new book The Coming Kingdom. Also, Dr Michael Vlach (Has the Church Replaced Israel?) also has a book on the kingdom about to be released. Keep an eye out for it as well.
McClain talks about a Universal Kingdom and the Mediatorial Kingdom. The former is eternal and universal. It includes all that exists in time and space. The latter is associated with it, yet different. The former already exists - the latter is still to come. Compare Psalm 103:19 and Matt 6:10.
The Mediatorial Kingdom is the Millennial Messianic Kingdom. This is the prophetic kingdom we pray for in the Lord's Prayer. One of McClain's chapters (XV p170) is called "The Coming of the Prophetic Kingdom." It isn't possible to go into great detail here, but the Bible provides much information regarding the portents of the arrival of this kingdom.
Most importantly, some of this information may well be relevant to us now. For example, McClain notes that this kingdom will not arrive until:
...after a period of complete devastation in the land of Palestine (Isa 6:11-12; 32:13-18); until after a world-wide dispersion of the nation of Israel (Amos 9:8-10); until after a prolonged period when Israel will be "without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice" (Hos 3:4-5); until after a long succession of four world empires culminating in a world dictator whose terrible persecution will mark the end of Jewish suffering (Dan 7:17-27); and until after a resurrection of godly Israelites (Dan 12:1-3). The totality of these events, even apart from the others yet to be mentioned, cannot be equated with anything in the known history of the world. ~ page 172
The manner of the arrival of the prophetic kingdom will be tangible, sudden and catastrophic. Malachi 3:1-5 declares that the Lord of the Kingdom shall come suddenly to His temple as a purifying refiner's fire. See also Mal 4:1-3; Zeph 1:12, 18 and 1Thess 5:3.
The coming of this kingdom will be preceded by judgment on the nations:
For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of my people and my inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up my land. Joel 3:1-2 (See also Zech 12:3, 14:3-4)
Another often overlooked prerequisite is Israel's repentance. The Lord will return and inaugurate the kingdom after Israel seeks Him. Hosea 5:15 notes that the LORD will return to His place until Israel acknowledges its offenses through its affliction (See also Matt 23:37-39).
The future kingdom will be tangible and seen by all.
Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; for they shall see eye to eye when the LORD brings back Zion. Break forth into joy; sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:8-10
Yet we don't see this now. The Lord hasn't redeemed His people Israel. They haven't repented as a nation yet. The nations of this world haven't accepted Christ. We do not see the salvation of our God throughout all the ends of the earth.
Even more telling is the fragmentation of so many churches in western countries. Professing Christians are abandoning the biblical imperative and bending the knee to cultural diversity.
We are seeing a growing catastrophe in the Middle East. The nations are railing against Israel. Even Israel's so-called main ally has gone rogue and stabbed it in the back. This is something you'd normally only read about in a suspense novel.
And yet it's all true!
We need to consider all these biblical verses describing the precursors of the coming kingdom. Are we seeing events leading up to the final days of this Age?
The Lord could be on His way! That possibility excites me.
Well may we pray: Your Kingdom come!
Even so, Lord, come soon.
About Alf Cengia
Last week: Ashamed of Dispensational Bible Prophecy
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