THE PROMISE KEEPING GOD – #2
One of the most popular doctrines of our day is called Dispensationalism. Fundamental to this doctrine is the idea that Jesus came to establish the kingdom of Israel. However, “because that nation refused Him, it became impossible to establish the kingdom” (Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy, 2003, 85). God supposedly withdrew the kingdom offer from Israel and established the church in its place. He then stopped the prophetic countdown of Daniel’s 70 Weeks. In the (supposedly near) future, God will remove the church, restore Israel, and then, in the millennium, establish the kingdom. Does the Bible teach that God failed to keep His promises on time, or that He postponed the kingdom? In this short series on The Promise Keeping God, I am shring the wonderful news that God has not failed!
In Psalms 2:1f God predicted the rejection of Jesus by the people. Think about that! If God in the Psalms, almost a millennium before Christ came, predicted the rejection of His Son, how can it be argued that the rejection of Jesus’ caught God so off guard that He had to go to “Plan B” and withdraw the kingdom offer?
What would be God’s response to that rejection? Would He withdraw His promises, or postpone fulfillment? Read: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh, He will hold them in derision. Yet, I have set my king on my holy hill Zion.” The rejection of Christ was foreknown, and predestinated by Jehovah. How could it therefore have caused Him to postpone His plans? If He planned the crucifixion – as He clearly did – the crucifixion was a part of the kingdom plan! (See Luke 24:26).
In Isaiah 42:5f, Jehovah foretold the coming of His Son to establish the kingdom. Would the suffering of His Servant prevent the fulfillment of the mission? Listen: “He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, until he has established justice and judgment in the earth.” God said His Son would not fail!” Yet, Dispensationalism says Jesus did fail! The irony is deepened when we realize that the NT writers tell us that God sent Christ, “at just the right time” (in the fulness of time, Romans 5:6f; Galatians 4:4). Well, if God – in His Omniscience – thought it was “just the right time” then if in fact it was NOT the right time, God Himself was wrong!
God promised David that one of his descendants would sit on David’s throne and rule over the kingdom forever. That kingdom was to be established, according to Daniel 9, at the end of the 70 Week countdown. Would the Jewish rebellion postpone that prophetic countdown and prevent the fulfillment of God’s promises to David? Would the Lord of heaven change His kingdom plans to the church plan, and the time from the first century, to at least two millennia later? Read: “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness, I will not lie to David.” (Psalms 89:34f) God said He would not alter His promises! No matter how you look at it a 2000 year postponement is an alteration! But the God of heaven said He would not alter His promise, and part of that promise was when the kingdom would be established.
What kind of a doctrine is built on the failure of God to keep His promises? What assurance can anyone have that God would be able to do the second time what He could not do the first? It will not do for the Dispensationalists to argue that: “Well, the next time will be the right time,” because the Bible teaches that the first time WAS the right time!
If Jewish rebellion prevented the establishment of the kingdom the first time, can it not prevent it the second time? God knew full well that Israel would reject His son when He sent him, and said that their rebellion would not prevent or alter His purposes!
The God of the Bible is a God who keeps His promises in spite of anything man can do. He is The Promise Keeping God! As Paul contemplated Israel’s rejection of the Kingdom, it made Him reflect on what that meant. Did it mean that God’s plan was thwarted? Did it mean God had failed? Does man’s unbelief change God’s unconditional promises? Read what he had to say on this: “What if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God of no effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true and everyman a liar!” (Romans 3:3).
Man’s rebellion does not postpone or prevent God’s purposes! We have a God who keeps His Promises– every one of them! More to come on this marvelous reality.