Religious Zionism and the Postponement of the Kingdom – #4
In this final installment in our examination of religious Zionism / Dispensationalism and Determinism, we will show that the idea of a postponed kingdom is false. Keep in mind that religious Zionism / Dispensationalism says that Jesus came to fulfill the Old Covenant promises of the Messianic Kingdom, but that due to Jewish unbelief God withdrew the offer, and Jesus established the church (an unforeseen, un-predicted entity) instead. However, as we suggested in our last article, the OT is full of predictions of the Jewish rejection of Jesus– thus proving that the rejection of the kingdom was not an unforeseen thing – and that in spite of that unbelief and rebellion, God would fulfill His kingdom promises! There is not a hint of a clue, or a shadow of a suggestion that the kingdom would be postponed due to Israel’s rebellion and unbelief! Take a look at just one of the many OT prophecies of the Jewish rejection of Jesus and God’s promise to fulfill the promises in spite of that unbelief.
“Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”
Note that the text specifically and emphatically foretold the rejection of Messiah by the Jews. However, there is no “Ooops!” in the text! There is no suggestion of a gap between the offer of the kingdom and the actual fulfillment of the promises. But there is something here that demands our attention. It is the word “Yet.”
Religious Zionism Versus Psalms 2
The Psalmist foretells Israel’s rebellion and rejection of Messiah. YHVH responds by saying “Yet, I have set my king on my holy hill Zion!” This means that YHVH would perform His word, keep His promise in spite of that rebellion! What wonderful assurance! What awe inspiring promise! Man’s rebellion cannot thwart God’s divine intent. As Paul said, Let God be true, and every man a liar!” (Romans 3:1-4).
Psalms 2 actually demands that the Messiah would be enthroned over the objections of his subjects – in spite of their efforts to prevent it (cf. Luke 19:11f) not at the time when the subjects were hailing him as king! This is critical, for religious Zionism / Dispensationalism insists that the Jews will turn in belief to Jesus when he descends physically and visibly. In other words, the millennial view of things demands that Israel be humble, submissive, and full of faith and acceptance for Jesus to be king. Appeal is often made to Matthew 23:39 as proof of this, but, see my article on this for a refutation of that claim. Properly understood, Matthew 23:39 is actually a prediction of when the Lord was coming in judgment of Jerusalem! This is fatal to religious Zionism!
The vision of Psalms is that Israel would be in a state of denial, rebellion, and even violence. In spite of that condition the king would be enthroned, and as Psalms 110:1f says, he would, “rule in the midst of thine enemies.” But you see, according to the Millennialists, Israel would no longer be the enemy. They are supposedly converted! This is a violation of the inspired text. Notice another important text, Luke 10:6-11:
“And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’”
There is something very powerful here, that is commonly overlooked.
Religious Zionism and Jesus’ “Nevertheless”
Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the kingdom. Notice that he told those disciples that if they were accepted in the towns they traveled to, they were to say, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” So far, so good in regards to the kingdom offer. But wait, there is more.
Notice that Jesus also said that if their message of the kingdom was rejected, they were to go into the streets of that city and proclaim “Nevertheless, know that the kingdom has come near to you.” Do you catch the power of that “Nevertheless”? Jesus was saying that Jewish faith or Jewish rebellion would not change the fact that the kingdom had drawn near!
So, what have we seen? We have seen that the paradigm of religious Zionism is full of contradictions. On the one hand, they speak of God’ sovereign control of what happens, how it happens and when it happens. They tell us that prophecy is history is written in advance. They tell us that prophecy means certain things will definitely happen while other possibilities are eliminated.
On the other hand, they tell us that God sent His Son at what was supposed to be, and was predicted to be, and was said to be, just the right time, to do what He had foretold. However, the Jews rebelled and made it “impossible” for God to fulfill the prophecies. God did not control what happened, and He did not control when it happened. The so-called pre-written “history” was falsified, and God did not bring to pass what He said He would.
To cover up this glaring contradiction, the Millennialists do a two-step and claim that Jesus did not actually come to establish the kingdom after all. He came to die, and establish the period of grace and mercy we now live in. However, this is a huge contradiction because Jesus said he came to be king and he offered to establish the kingdom. Further, Jesus came to confirm the promises made to the Old Testament fathers (Romans 15:8), and that means he came to fulfill the promises made to Israel. The problem for the Millennialists is that they claim that the Old Testament never predicted, in any way whatsoever, the establishment of the current age of grace!
So, on the one hand the Millennialists say Jesus did come to establish the kingdom, but then they claim he did not come to establish the kingdom. They say he came to die and establish the church. But, if Jesus came to die and establish the church, he did so in fulfillment of Old Testament promises to Israel. If Jesus came to establish the church in fulfillment of Old Testament promises made to Israel, one of the most critical foundations of religious Zionism / Millennialism crumbles.
To cover up that embarrassment, the Millennialists then claim that the kingdom promise was, or is, a conditional promise, therefore Jewish rejection of that promise does not impugn God’s sovereignty. However, this flies in the face of scripture testimony that God’s kingdom promise was not conditional at all. Further, to suggest that the establishment of the kingdom was or is conditional demands that the possibility exists that it can be postponed again in the future. Of course, we have shown how the Millennialists contradict each other, because in their own writings, they say that the Second Coming is both conditional and unconditional. Just exactly how the same event can be both conditional and unconditional we are never told. And of course we will not be told, because it is not possible.
The self-contradictions in religious Zionism / Millennialism are super-abundant and they are serious. The wonderful thing is that more and more Bible students are awakening to those contradictions and abandoning that doctrine. May God hasten the day that more and more will see the Truth!