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THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND JUDGMENT
Separating Fact from Fiction
Victor M. Eskew
A. The word “kingdom” is used 158 times in 150 verses in the New Testament.
B. The first time it is used is in Matthew 3:1-2. John the Baptist made an astounding and welcomed announcement to the Jews.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
1. Definition of “at hand”
a. Strong (1448): to make near, that is, (reflexively) approach
b. Thayer: to bring near, to draw near or come near to, to approach.
2. Jesus echoed John’s message when He began His ministry (Matt. 4:7).
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
C. Theee are differing views about this kingdom.
1. Some individuals say that the kingdom came. They believe that the kingdom is among us right now.
2. Others say the kingdom did not come. They believe that it will come when Jesus returns at the Second Coming.
a. This is the premillennial view.
b. It is this view that causes us to discuss the kingdom in connection with our study of the Second Coming of Christ.
I. THE PREMILLENNIAL VIEW OF THE KINGDOM
1. “The amil believes that the Kingdom that was promised in Daniel 2:44 was established by Christ at His first coming. The premil believes this promised Kingdom was postponed when the Jews rejected Christ as king; he believes that the Church Age must run its course, and that the promised Kingdom will be set up at the Second Coming of Christ” (The Millennial Reign of Christ, Homer Duncan, 45-46).
2. “We have said earlier that one of the distinctive doctrines of Dispensationalism as contrasted with Historic Premillennialism is that it holds that Christ at His first advent intended to establish as earthly Kingdom with Himself as King and with the Jews in favored positions, but that after He had preached “the gospel of the Kingdom” during most of His public ministry the Jews rejected the Kingdom as He had offered it to them and so made necessary its postponement until His Second Coming, and that in the meantime and as an interlude between the two phases of the Kingdom He established the Church. We also pointed out that according to this theory the Church was not foreseen nor predicted by the Old Testament prophets and that it was first revealed to the Apostle Paul” (The Millennium, Loraine Boettner, 219).
3. “He (Jesus) would have set up the kingdom but they rejected and crucified him” (Jesus Is Coming, p. 87 as quoted by Boettner, 220).
B. The beliefs of the premillennialist:
1. All of the OT prophecies about the kingdom were going to be fulfilled when Jesus came the first time. (NOTE: None of the OT prophecies have anything to do with the church or the church age).
2. The Jews rejected Jesus as their king. Therefore, the kingdom was postponed.
3. All of the prophecies about the kingdom immediately came to a standstill.
4. The church was instituted by God to serve as a temporary plan, a stopgap measure, until Jesus comes the second time.
5. All of the kingdom prophecies will be fulfilled when Jesus comes the second time.
6. Jesus will establish a literal, physical kingdom in the city of Jerusalem and will reign upon the throne of David for a literal thousand years.
C. Some extraordinary beliefs:
1. The Jews, ordinary men, thwarted the plan of God.
2. Jesus, the Son of God, could not overcome the wicked plans of the Jews when they rejected Him as their King.
3. Nothing, not one word, in the OT concerns the church. The church would not have happened had the Jews accepted Christ as their king.
4. When Jesus comes again, the same Jewish people who rejected Jesus the first time will then accept Him and make Him their king.
5. The most important point: Had the Jews accepted Jesus as their king the first time, Jesus’ death on Calvary, the shedding of His blood, and man’s redemption through Jesus would not have taken place.
a. Allis: “We have seen that the most serious objection to the claim of the Dispensationalists, that the declaration that ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ meant that it could be set up ‘at any moment,’ was the fact that this involved the ignoring of the definitive teaching of Jesus that ‘Christ must suffer and enter into his glory.’ It made the Cross unnecessary by implying that the glorious kingdom of Messiah could be set up immediately. It left no room for the Cross since Messiah’s kingdom was to be without end. It led to the conclusion that had Israel accepted Jesus as Messiah, the Old Testament ritual sacrifice would have sufficed for sin…” (Lectures on the Second Advent, p. 113, as quoted by Boettner, 306).
b. “But suppose that Christ did come to establish an earthly Kingdom as Premillennialists say. And suppose that the Jews had accepted Him as King. He then would have been reigning in Jerusalem in power and glory. How then could He possibly have been crucified? And what then becomes of the doctrine of the atonement?” (“The Fatal Error in Premillennialism, Loraine Boettner).
II. ONE VERSE REFUTES PREMILLENNIALISM
A. John 18:36
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
B. The kingdom that Jesus came to establish “is not of this world.”
1. It is not a physical, earthly kingdom like the kingdom of men.
2. Jesus’ kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.
a. It does not exist in one single, physical location on earth. Instead, it resides in the hearts of men and women all over the world (Luke 17:20-21).
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
b. The kingdom does not have a king on earth who sits upon a literal throne ruling in some city in the world (See Jer. 22:28-30).
c. There are no literal armies and fighting forces within the Lord’s kingdom.
III. THE KINGDOM HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED
A. Mark 9:1
And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
1. Jesus said that some living in His day would not die until they saw the kingdom come.
a. Either the kingdom is here and those living in Jesus’ day saw it come into existence,
b. Or, the kingdom did not come and those individuals are still living.
2. Jesus said the kingdom would come with power.
B. Acts 1:6
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
1. We know from this verse that the kingdom was not yet come.
2. NOTE: The apostles had the same view of the kingdom that the premils have. They thought the kingdom would be an earthly kingdom.
C. Acts 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
1. Remember, when the power comes, the kingdom was to come.
2. The power would come when the Holy Spirit came.
D. Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
1. The Holy Spirit came.
2. The power came when the Holy Spirit came.
3. Jesus promised that when the power came, the kingdom would come.
E. Colossians 1:13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
1. The Colossians had been translated “into” the kingdom of Christ.
2. A person cannot be put into something that is not in existence.
3. See Revelation 1:9
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
IV. OTHER PASSAGES THAT PROVE THE KINGDOM IS IN EXISTENCE
A. Matthew 26:29
But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
1. The early church partook of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
2. Question: Was Jesus partaking with them in that communion?
3. Some might say: “No.” They might argue that Jesus will not partake until He establishes His earthly kingdom.
4. Not so! The Lord’s Supper will come to a close when Jesus comes again (I Cor. 11:26).
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
a. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial feast for Jesus.
b. When the Lord returns, there will be no reason to remember Him.
B. Matthew 21:31
…Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publican and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
1. Did the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom?
2. Did Jesus lie? Was He mistaken? Did He not know that He would be rejected and the kingdom would not be established?
C. Luke 7:28
For I say unto you, Among those born of women there is not greater than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
1. This verse reveals that John is not part of the kingdom of god.
2. If the kingdom is future as the premils say, John will be in it. According to the premils, all Jews, this would include John, will be in the kingdom. Question: How will he that is least in the kingdom be greater than John?
D. I Corinthians 15:22-24
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are his at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and authority and power.
1. When Jesus comes again, the end will come.
2. He will give the kingdom back to the Father. He will not establish a kingdom.
3. Jesus is reigning right now and will continue to do so until death is destroyed at the resurrection (I Cor. 15:25-26).
V. THE KINGDOM PARABLES PROVE THE KINGDOM EXISTS
A. The kingdom parables begin with the words: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto…”
B. Sample kingdom parables are found in Matthew 13.
1. The Parable of the Sower
2. The Parable of the Wheat and Tares
3. The Parable of the Mustard Seed
4. The Parable of the Leaven
5. The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
6. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
7. The Parable of the Dragnet
C. If the kingdom is a physical kingdom that is to come in the future, these parables do not make any sense.
D. Premils try to distinguish between “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven.
1. “Premils believe that there is a distinction to be made between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God” (Duncan, 48).
2. No distinction like this is found in the New Testament. Compare the following.
Matt. 4:17 Mark 1:5
Matt. 5:3 Luke 6:20
Matt. 8:11 Luke 13:28
Matt. 13:11 Mark 4:11
Matt. 13:31 Luke 13:19
Matt. 13:33 Luke 13:20-21
Matt. 9:14 Mark 10:14
VI. A FUTURE KINGDOM DOESN’T HARMONIZE WITH OT PROPHECIES
A. Isaiah 2:2-3 – How will the law of Christ procede from Jerusalem when Judaism is the religion that is established again?
B. Daniel 2:44 – In order for the kingdom to come, there must be Romans kings ruling.
C. Daniel 7:13-14 – Jesus is prophesied to receive a kingdom when He goes to the Ancient of Days, not when He leaves the Ancient of Days.
VII. THE CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM
A. Jesus spoke of the church and the kingdom as one (Matt. 16:18).
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
B. When the power came on Pentecost, the kingdom came. We learn that those first converts were added to the church (Acts 2:47).
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
C. The concept of the church as the kingdom is just another divine perspective of the church.
1. The church is a body.
2. The church is a temple.
3. The church is the household or family of God.
4. The church is the vineyard of the Lord.
5. The church is the Lord’s army.
6. The church is the bride of Christ.
7. The church is the kingdom of Christ.
A. Premils say that the Jews rejected Jesus and the kingdom was not established because of this.
B. Jesus rejected the Jews when they desired to make Him a king.
1. John 6:15
When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
2. At His triumphal entry, He could have easily become their king, but He did not (Luke 19:29-38, esp. v. 38).
Saying, Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
C. Jesus is a king at this present time.
1. He sits on the throne of David (Luke 1:32; Acts 2:30)
2. He will reign till death is destroyed at the resurrection of the dead.
3. When He comes, He will deliver the kingdom back to the Father.
D. We all need to become citizens of that kingdom at this present time (Col. 1:13).