PD In Depth
Kingdom Hope in the OT
Kingdom Hope in Psalms
Kingdom Hope in Gospels
Kingdom Hope in Parables
The Abrahamic Covenant
Heaven Destiny Origin
The Mystery Revealed
Paul & the Mystery
Church in the OT - I
Church in the OT - II
Church in the OT - III
Kingdom Hope in Hebrews
Daniel's 70 Weeks
Jesus & David's Throne
Intro: Couch vs. Warner
I. Opening - Warner
I. Rebuttal - Couch
I. Response - Warner
I. Closing - Couch
II. Opening - Couch
II. Rebuttal - Warner
II. Response - Couch
II. Closing - Warner
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Doctrinal Studies > Progressive Dispensationalism
in the Gospels
Copyright © Tim Warner
The Kingdom in the
The New Testament opens
with the following statement. "The
book of the generations of Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham, the son of
David." (Matt. 1:1). This statement is meant to show that Jesus
was the fulfillment of two distinct covenants. The title, "Son of
Abraham" refers to the covenant God made with Abraham, that through one
of His seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. This promise
deals with the salvation of both Jew and Gentile, as fully explained by
Paul in Galatians 3. The title, "Son of David," however, refers to the
covenant God made with David, that one of his descendants would sit
upon the Throne of David and rule the nation of Israel forever. Luke,
in his narrative of Christ's nativity, records Gabriel's message to
Mary as follows:
The child Jesus was destined to rule over Israel, and His Kingdom will last forever. Gabriel was alluding to Isaiah's prophecy of the "Christ," the Anointed One.
We stated in the first
article that the term "Throne of David" was exclusively a referrence to
the political kingship of the nation of Israel. The kings of Israel
from the seed of David all possessed "the Throne of David," (cf. 2 Sam.
3:10, 1 Kings 2:12,24,45, Jer. 17:25, Jer. 22:2,4,30, Jer. 29:16, Jer.
36:30). Therefore, Isaiah's prophecy that the child would sit upon the "Throne of his father David,"
is a promise of a political King for the
nation of Israel. That Gabriel cited this passage, and applied to the
child in Mary's womb, proves that Jesus' destiny was to be the King of
In both of these prophecies, the birth of Christ was announced by proclaiming His coming Kingdom. The angelic choir's announcement to the shepherds, "Peace on earth," also referred to this Kingdom, (Luke 2:14). The wise men came looking for "He that is born King of the Jews" (Matt. 2:2). In fact, Herod's massacre of the infants was an attempt to stop the fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom. Even John the Baptist's father prophesied of this hope.
The reference to the
Abrahamic Covenant, and Israel's living at peace, is an obvious
reference to the Kingdom promises in the Old Testament.
It is very important to
keep in mind that the title, "the Anointed" (the Messiah - Hebrew,
& the Christ - Greek) refers to the Kingship of the nation of
Israel, stemming from the practice of pouring oil on the head of the
King of Israel as a sign that he is God's chosen. The promised seed of
David, who would sit upon David's Throne and rule the nation of Israel
forever, became known as the expected "Messiah" (Hebrew), "Messias"
(Aramaic), or "Christ" (Greek). The expectation of the Jewish people
can be clearly seen in the following passage: "One of the two who heard John speak, and
followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own
brother Simon, and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which is
translated, the Christ)." (John 1:40-41).
Even the Samaritan woman at the well was awaiting the coming of this
promised King of the seed of David. "The
woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming' (who is called
Christ). 'When He comes, He will tell us all things.' Jesus said to
her, 'I who speak to you am He'." (John 4:25-26). Whenever you see the word
"Christ" in the New Testament, the meaning is always the Anointed King
of Israel promised to David. Peter explains it best in his Pentecost
sermon. "'Men and brethren, let me
speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and
buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a
prophet, and knowing that God had
sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to
the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne'."
(Acts 2:29-30). If we keep in mind that whenever we see Jesus called
"Christ" in the New Testament, it refers to His role as Israel's
promised King, we will get the proper sense of the text, and realize
just how prevalent Jesus' Kingship of Israel really is in Scripture.
Destiny of the Redeemed According to Jesus
Jesus placed the "everlasting life" in His coming Kingdom. The reward for the followers of Christ will be the Kingdom of God, not heaven. While speaking to the scribes and Pharisees who rejected Him, Jesus said:
The "children of the Kingdom" were the Jews, to whom the covenants belonged. Jesus told the unbelieving Jews that they will end up in outer darkness and Gentiles will inherit the Kingdom prepared for the Jews. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the patriarchs of the Jewish people. Yet, Gentiles will inherit their eternal reward. Notice the connection between the reward expected by the Jews and the promised reward of the Gentile believers. It is one and the same, the Kingdom of God on earth.
A word of explanation is required here because many assume that Matthew's use of the term "Kingdom of heaven" means the Kingdom is in heaven. The true meaning is that the Kingdom is FROM heaven. This phrase is used only by Matthew and is interchangeable with the phrase "Kingdom of God" used in the other Gospels and throughout the New Testament. This is easily demonstrated by comparing the parallel passages in the synoptic Gospels. In each case where Matthew recorded Jesus saying "Kingdom of heaven," the parallel passages in Mark and Luke recorded "Kingdom of God." From this we may conclude the phrases are interchangeable. Those who have developed doctrinal positions based on distinguishing these phrases are mistaken.
When Jesus spoke of the
Kingdom of God, He had in view the same Kingdom that was promised in
the Old Testament, the Kingdom the Jews eagerly awaited. In fact both
phrases (Kingdom of Heaven & Kingdom of God) are abbreviated from
Daniel's primary "Kingdom" prophecy. "And in the days of these
kings shall the
God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and
the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in
pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Dan.
2:44 KJV). The full title is "The Kingdom of the God
"Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of heaven" were apparently shortened
titles. But there is no question the Gospel writers used them
interchangeably. We may conclude then, that in no way did Jesus mean to
indicate that "heaven" was the location of His coming Kingdom, or that
He would rule from heaven in some mystical way.
Jesus even taught this Kingdom, anticipated by the Jews from the Old Testament Scriptures, would also be the reward and destiny of the Gentiles who would be saved through the ministry of the Apostles. Speaking to the Jews who did not believe, Jesus said the following:
Notice the contrast to the Kingdom of God is hell. The Jews who rejected Christ will end up in hell while the Gentiles and Jews who accept Him will inherit the Kingdom of God promised to Israel in the Old Testament. Notice also our inheritance will be shared with the saints of the Old Testament. What inheritance was promised to the saints in the Old Testament? It was certainly not heaven! It was a land inheritance within the context of a restored creation. Jesus made no distinction in final destiny between the saints of the Old Testament and those of the New. When Jesus spoke of those from the east, west, north and south he included the whole world. Jesus was including us in the promise of inheritance in His Kingdom. The Kingdom, which Daniel wrote was "under the whole heaven," is to be the destiny, inheritance, and reward of Christians. The teaching of Jesus Christ, about His Kingdom being the destiny of the righteous, was not new. He simply reaffirmed the Old Testament teaching for His disciples.
Many of the Jews of Jesus' day made the same mistake that many Jews make today. Based on the fact that the Messiah would be Jewish, He would rule from Jerusalem, and the prophets of Israel predicted His Kingdom, they assumed that being "Jewish" was all that was required to enter that Kingdom. The Kingdom had lost its significance as the reward of the righteous, as Psalm thirty-seven and Daniel seven so clearly state. It had become only the hope of a political revolution to many Jews.
Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who was well acquainted with the Kingdom hope, that an inheritance in Messiah's Kingdom was not automatic just because someone is Jewish. Nor could it be attained by the good works practiced by the Pharisees.
Nicodemus came to Jesus because of Jesus' claim of being the Messiah. Jesus did not tell him his concept of the Kingdom was all wrong, but how he could enter that Kingdom he so eagerly desired. Being "born again" is the only requirement. The Jews of His day who were not "born again" would not see the Kingdom of God because they would not be resurrected in the resurrection of the just.
Taught There Would be Two Comings
The religious leaders were not the only ones of this opinion. The disciples and others believed this also. We find Jesus spending much time explaining that it was not yet time to set up His Kingdom.
Jesus had quite a crowd following Him as He walked from Jericho to Jerusalem. Many of them believed Jesus was the promised Christ. They apparently thought when they reached Jerusalem Jesus would establish His Kingdom. Jesus tried to correct this error in the following parable.
12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Jesus was showing them He must first go away before the Kingdom of God would come.
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Here, Jesus instructed His followers to serve the Lord with the expectancy of His return.
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
These were the Jews who at the crucifixion said, "away with this man .... crucify him".
15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Jesus will judge His followers when He returns at His Kingdom. Now let's see what the rewards are.
16 Then came the first,
saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
Since the rest of this parable appears meant to be taken quite literally, these rewards should also be taken literally. And why not? The crowns, mentioned in the Epistles, are for rulers in the Kingdom.
Jews Will be Excluded from Christ's Kingdom
As believing Gentiles, we will inherit the Kingdom of God. The Jews who rejected Jesus will be weeping and wailing when they find a great gulf fixed between them, their father Abraham, and their Christ.
The self-righteous priests, scribes, and Pharisees were quite confident that they would have the highest positions in the coming Kingdom of Christ. In Jesus' parable of the husbandman who lent out his vineyard, Jesus angered them with the idea that this Kingdom would be torn from them and given to someone else.
The Jewish leaders were the husbandmen who wanted to seize the inheritance. Jesus made it clear that they were being disinherited by God and replaced by more faithful husbandmen. Those faithful husbandmen were Jesus' disciples.
Jesus did not mean the Kingdom would be given to another nation besides Israel. He meant it would be given to a pure Israel, an Israel with the unbelievers removed. It would be given to a pure remnant of Israel with circumcised hearts. Notice what Jesus told the disciples.
The disciples, as Jews, replaced the priests, scribes and Pharisees, receiving the positions in the Kingdom that should have gone to them. Jesus made this clear to the disciples in the upper room.
The disciples, as the new leaders of a purified Israel, without the unbelieving element, received the New Covenant and the most honorable places in the coming Kingdom of Christ, ruling beside Him from His Temple. The idea that God's programs for the "Church" and "Israel" are entirely separate, is not biblical. Christianity is the fulfillment of true biblical Judaism. The Church's firm foundation is Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah. The Apostles of the Church are Jewish, and received the Jewish New Covenant as their charter. Because the New Covenant was later broadened, and allowed Gentile inclusion into the Jewish Church, we now have the right to reign with the Jewish Messiah from His Jewish Temple, with the Jewish Apostles. "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd" (John 10:16 KJV).
Jesus stated plainly for
His disciples that the Kingdom inheritance attached to the Gospel
message is the same Kingdom proclaimed from the beginning of the world.
shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34 KJV).
In this article, we have
seen a unity between the Old Testament and the teaching of Christ
regarding the Kingdom of God. Jesus' teaching assumes a literal reading
of the Old Testament prophecies of the Kingdom. Jesus never spoke of
heaven as the destiny of any redeemed people. In the next article we
will examine the Kingdom parables of Jesus.