Was The Kingdom of God Postponed Because Most Jews Rejected His Son?
Our good brother Jim Gunter has written an article addressing the modern view of the postponement of the kingdom of God. This is a very important study and we invite you to examine it closely.
The question posed in the above title is one to which some disciples would answer, ”Yes!” These disciples consider a postponed “Kingdom of Christ” to be the very hope of Israel, which in their view is yet to come. As for this concept of our Lord’s kingdom, they would probably declare it to be somewhat on this fashion:
“A future time when Yahweh restores national, fleshly Israel to its former place of grandeur and preeminence over all the nations of the earth; that it will be a day when Jesus comes back to earth, physically, at which time He will take his place upon David’s literal throne as King in the earthly city of Jerusalem, where He will reign for a thousand years. Moreover, they contend that “all” the Jews at that time will, collectively, turn to Jesus and accept Him as their King and Messiah.”
I think we would all agree that if the above is truly the teaching of our Father’s word, then we should all believe it and also be teaching it, should we not? But is it?
First, it should be noted that the kingdom of God was first promised as far back as when the Lord made the promise to King David as recorded in 2 Sam. 7:12-13. Here, the Lord said to David: “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
Even though David’s son, Solomon was his immediate successor, it’s quite clear that the prophecy would have its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, the prophetic Son of David. The angel, Gabriel declared to Mary, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most high, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” (Lk. 1:32-33).
Even though these certain disciples acknowledge this truth of God’s promise through the prophet Nathan and the angel Gabriel, they have perceived and incorporated a delay or postponement of Yahweh’s initial plans here as to the point in time He would set up that anticipated kingdom of God.
Good folks, I would like to first say that I am thoroughly convinced that the kingdom of Israel’s Messiah is here and has been for 2,000 years now. And if you will permit me, I would now like to explain just how I arrived at this conclusion.
OT Promises of the Kingdom of God
In Daniel, chapter 2, as the prophet interprets the dream of king Nebuchadnezzar regarding the great image he saw; an image which depicted four world kingdoms and a great stone that crushed and put an end to all these kingdoms. This great stone, of course depicted the glorious Kingdom of God. We see, in verse 28, the first sign as to when this would take place. Please note that Daniel says this was to take place “in the latter days”; obviously, the latter days of the Old Covenant age, the age in which Daniel and the king were presently living.
It is the general consensus among Bible scholars of great respectability, that the four kingdoms depicted in the great image in the king’s dream are these and in the following order, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar: (1) Babylonian, (2) Medo-Persian, (3) Macedonian or Grecian, and (4) The Roman Empire (verses 38-43). These kingdoms are further identified in Dan. 8:20-21.
In the Daniel 2 passage, it is further declared in verse 44 that during the days of the kings of the fourth world kingdom, “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”
Good folks, this is that same kingdom of God which Daniel declares in Dan. 7:13-14, was given to the Son of God upon His ascension into heaven. Here Daniel says: “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”
The Kingdom of God to Be Established In the Last Days
In Isa. 2:2-3, the prophet Isaiah, just as Daniel did, prophesied the point in time when the Kingdom of Messiah would come, namely, during the “last days” of the old covenant age:
“Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the god of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths. For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (See also Micah 4:1).
Moreover, in Acts 2:17, the apostle Peter, on the day of Pentecost, quotes the prophet Joel, from Joel 2:28f implying that they were presently in “the last days.” He then proceeded to let the great throng of Jews know that what they were then witnessing was evidence that Jesus, who was raised from the dead, was presently seated at the right hand of the Father; and that God had made Him both Lord and Christ (anointed) (verses 25-36).
I must say, with all the evidence we have already presented, it seems quite clear that the Kingdom of God did indeed come during the days of the fourth world kingdom (Roman Empire), which, of course, was also during the latter days of Israel’s Old Covenant age. However, in spite of this, there are some disciples who would say this: that Jesus did in fact come for the purpose of setting up His kingdom but, because of the rejection of Him by the great majority of the Jews, His Father put the kingdom on hold and established “the church” instead thereof. As I understand this teaching, it is often referred to as “replacement theology.” In other words, God replaced the plan of establishing the kingdom of God with the establishment of the church!
I don’t believe there would be any disagreement with the fact that the majority of Jews did in fact refuse to accept Him as their Messiah. For example, the apostle John said this about Jesus: “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him: But as many (of the Jews-jg) as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…”
Good folks, obviously, I have no idea what your position might be on this notion that the Kingdom of God was postponed. It could be that you are in total agreement with it. And if it is, then I would expect that you arrived at that understanding as a result of one of three things: (1) Your own personal study of the scriptures. (2) It is a part of the belief system of the church with which you are affiliated, or (3) it may be for the same reason I once believed a number of the things in my younger days i.e., because it was how your godly parents understood them, and their parents before them, and so on.
But regardless of the reason, I believe you would agree that it never hurts for us to investigate any teaching, whether it’s something we already believe, or even something contrary to what we already believe, no matter what the subject may be. As for myself, I pray that our Father will give me the grace, wisdom, and humility of mind, to always be open to the possibility that I could be mistaken about things which I believe at any point in my life. There was a time in my spiritual journey when I would have thought to be such minded, was to be wishy-washy, indecisive, or weak in the faith. Some would even say “double minded.”
But good folks, today, as I reflect on those earlier days, I understand the willingness to change one’s thinking is actually a positive, for I now see that it was spiritual growth. Just try to imagine, if you will, what our present spiritual condition would be, if over the course of our lifetime, we never altered our thinking each time we learned that we were mistaken about something in matters of faith! I ask you, could a person such as that have realized any spiritual growth? Why, of course not! We all need to realize that we stand constantly in need of spiritual growth. Not even one of us began our spiritual journey fully grown! Not even one of us has arrived at all the truth! Yes, friends, even though I hate to admit it, we are all ignorant—but simply about different things. That’s not meant as a put-down but just a simple fact of the human condition. We all suffer from it.
In the next installment of Jim’s fine article, he will share with us how the view of a postponed kingdom gained in popularity. It is an interesting and important study, so stay tuned! In t5he meantime, be sure to get a copy of Don K. Preston’s Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory, for a great study of the nature of the kingdom of God.