Zionism and Postponement of the Kingdom| True or False?
Be sure to read the previous two articles Zionism and Postponement – #1 #2 in this important series. As we have seen, Dispensationalism / Zionism, claims to believe that prophecy is history written beforehand. They claim to believe that God determines what will happen, when it will happen, and how it will happen. And yet, they then turn around and tell us that Jesus came to establish the kingdom, but, Jewish unbelief prevented it from being done! They tell us that the establishment of the kingdom was conditional, requiring the acceptance by the Jews. However, if the kingdom was conditional in the days of Jesus and if it is conditional even now (as some say) then the millennial doctrine (i.e. religious Zionism) of determinism and God’s sovereignty is seriously called into question. How can it be claimed that “God determines what will happen, and brings it to pass,” or, “God controls what will happen and when it will happen” if in fact, the conditionality of the promise is dependent on man’s obedience? Let’s look at the choices here.
Unconditional then and now. If it is affirmed that God’s promise of the kingdom was an unconditional promise when made by the Old Testament prophets, and it is unconditional now as well, there is a major problem. That is, there is no need for the promise to be unconditional now, because if it was unconditional when given in the Old Testament, then it was going to be fulfilled in the first century just as the prophets foretold! And this being the case, religious Zionism is totally falsified! There would be no need for a postponement, because God’s unconditional promise would be fulfilled in spite of, and even because of, man’s rebellion. See again Psalms 2. In other words, if the Second Coming was unconditional when the Old Testament prophets predicted it, then Israel’s rejection of the kingdom could not affect God’s promise. The moment a person suggests that the Old Covenant promises of the kingdom were unconditional, that is the death knell to dispensationalism, for if an unconditional promise failed, God failed, His Son failed, and the prophets were wrong.
Zionism and the Choices Before Us
Conditional then, unconditional now. If it were to be suggested that God gave conditional Old Covenant promises of the kingdom, but since those promises were rejected, He has now made them unconditional (per LaHaye, on John 14), then this means that we should be able to find in the Old Testament prophecies a contingency clause. Where does the Old Testament ever hint that the establishment of the kingdom in the last days was conditional. Where do any of the prophets say that God would try to establish the kingdom in the days of Rome, but if that didn’t work out He would try again later? The fact is, the Old Testament prophecies said Jesus would not fail in his mission (Isaiah 42:4), God would not alter His promises (Psalms 89:34), and He would laugh at man’s efforts to defeat His kingdom purpose (Psalms 2).
If, of course, the Old Covenant prophecies were conditional, we are back to the problem of “prophecy is history written beforehand.” What kind of “history written beforehand” is conditional? If God does in fact control the world, and determines when a thing is to happen, and if His predictions of events eliminates other things from happening, then the contingency of the kingdom lies outside the parameters of that. God’s Old Testament predictions of the kingdom being established in the first century. That should have eliminated the possibility of its postponement! However, according to the millennial view of things, God allowed man to determine whether His promises would be fulfilled on time. Man eliminated the possibility of God fulfilling His Word! (There are conditional promises in scripture see Jeremiah 18. The Millennialists must demonstrate that the kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament fall into that category. In fact, the Old Testament promises of the Kingdom were not conditional.) If in fact the promise of the kingdom was a conditional promise, this means that the world was “a world of chance” and all sorts of possibilities were not eliminated.
Unconditional then, conditional now. This suggestion is entirely implausible. To suggest that the promise of the kingdom (at the parousia), was an unconditional prophecy in the Old Testament demands that those prophecies failed. In other words, Jesus came to fulfill the unconditional Old Testament predictions of the establishment of the kingdom. However, he could not fulfill those unconditional promises! Therefore, God altered the time and the nature of the promise and said He would send His Son again, at some future time, if only Israel will repent. But, if the promise was unconditional the first time (i.e. in the Old Testament), and God could not fulfill that unconditional promise, then to make the promise conditional, dependent on Israel’s faith in the future, is surely a tenuous thing. To reiterate the point just above, if religious Zionism is true in claiming that the promise of the kingdom is now a conditional promise, this means that the world is in fact, “a world of chance.” If Israel did not believe the first time, and this prevented the fulfillment of an unconditional prophecy, then most assuredly the chance exists for the kingdom to be postponed again, if Israel is not obedient this time around! If no chance exists for Israel to be disobedient and postpone the kingdom, again, then the promise is not now conditional.
Further, to affirm that the parousia is a conditional promise now, most assuredly does not eliminate the possibility of other things (i.e. Israel’s continued rebellion), from happening. If the promise is conditional, then it is conditional, and allows, not eliminates, contingencies.
The bottom line is that if the Old Testament prophecies of the kingdom and parousia were unconditional, then there is no way that the Jewish unbelief would have had any affect on God’s ability, intent, or success in establishing the kingdom. And of course, this is precisely what Psalms 2 conveys. God actually predicted that man would attempt to thwart His kingdom purpose, rejecting His Son. But God would laugh at them and enthrone His Messiah anyway! We will examine Psalms 2 in the light of Zionism in our next installment