THY KINGDOM CAME
By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Boise, ID. March 13, 2005)
I ) Teaching What You Are Taught
There is a natural human characteristic in any disciple that arises from being the willing student of a teacher, and that is a faithfulness to what one has learned. Paul charged Timothy, "the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." and, "Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me".
If we were the willing students of an inspired Apostle of our Lord this would not be a problem and we could, with all boldness and faithfulness, proclaim what we have heard from our teacher. But the teachers that we have had over the years are not so inspired, and even though they are good and honest men, yet still they are only men and many times were in error and simply did not understand what they were teaching us. So, there is in faithful congregations a constant warning and charge for the students to be vigilant and watch what is being taught and compare it to the scriptures; that mere men do not have the final say as to what is truth but only the scriptures must be heeded and our understanding of them passed on as sound doctrine; a "Thus saith the Lord" being the watchword.
When one fearlessly and honestly does just that, in many places he can expect not blessing and encouragement, but sadly to be run out of the congregation, "marked", and ostracized and hounded by brethren for what he has done, and his name vilified in brotherhood papers. He must expect to be labeled a heretic for having the temerity to teach what the scriptures actually say when it is different than what he has been taught. But our true judge is God.
II ) Thy Kingdom ... Came
Due to my continuing search for the truth I have to keep an open mind concerning many things. I have never claimed to have arrived at my goal for there are yet vistas waiting to be breathed in and held in awe, on which God has yet to lift the fog in my own mind to see. The only thing I can do is study his word as it is and teach what it actually says. I think that I have now a little better understanding of the events of the first century from my study.
Jesus as the Messiah to the nation of Israel was not only the harbinger of the dawn of spiritual life but also the harbinger of a coming judgement and destruction of the nation if they would not hear and believe him. John the Immerser came with a warning to the nation of Israel before Jesus came the first time.
"I indeed immerse you with water unto repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will immerse you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor, and gather his wheat into the barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Jesus brought spiritual life to the Jews and if you were not immersed with the Holy Spirit, then you would be immersed in fire. Jesus preached that the kingdom was coming soon (at hand) and that he would be coming in judgement with his kingdom against the nation of Israel.
The kingdom coming is a recurrent theme throughout the Law and the Prophets the most notable instance in my mind being Isa.2:2-4.
2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of Jehovah's house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us his ways,
And we shall walk in his paths."
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
When this kingdom was coming is important, and from Mk. 9:1, I was taught that when Jesus said that the kingdom would come in "power" that therefore, when the power came then the Kingdom came. Simple. The obvious fulfillment of this would be Acts 1:8 when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and they were endued with "power" from on high. So I was instructed that therefore the Kingdom came in "power" on the day of Pentecost AD 33, which was later revise to be AD 30.
So I taught this idea for years, having always the sense that all the scriptures didn't quite fit with this model of understanding. There were many scriptures about the end-times that were being glossed over and ignored since they did not fit this pat and simple doctrine. I believe this is using Mk.9:1 out of its context and therefore a misapplication. I have found that the coming of the kingdom was a larger event and much more profound.
The context of Mk.9:1 starts in Mk.8:34. For a fair reading we must ignore the chapter break and the implied new subject since there were none when the gospel of Mark was written or in fact when Jesus spoke. The actual subject change occurs in verse 9:2.
8:34 When he had called the people to himself, with his disciples also, he said to them, Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the son of man also will be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy angels.”
9:1 And he said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will by no means taste of death till they see the kingdom of God having come with power.”
9:2 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them.
The "power" of which Jesus here speaks is more appropriately identified with the power by which he was to come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels in judgement on the people and nation that would not submit to his rule, which is the context, and not with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Also, since this is spoken about 52 or 53 days before the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, if Jesus were referring to that day, not just "some" would not taste of death, but rather, all but one would not taste of death and would see the kingdom come, i.e. the eleven disciples less Judas, who killed himself. So there is something seriously wrong with this timeline.
Another passage that links the coming of the kingdom with Christ’s power is in Luke.
“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see the son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
Then he spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
This reference in Luke 21 to the kingdom coming is usually ignored even though it has both the "power" and the "kingdom" in the same context. But this passage, in the larger context, is one dealing with the destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Without fear then – this passage therefore, gives us a time reference for the coming of the kingdom -- after the destruction of the Temple, after the year AD 70 when the inhabitants of Jerusalem were led away captive into all nations.
We have then the conundrum of having the kingdom coming in or after the year AD 70 and yet we have people that are said to be in the kingdom before that event.
... he has delivered us from the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.
When something spiritual is seen through the eyes of the flesh it will always seem contradictory.
III ) Laying Out The Timeline
So with these two large and prominent events for time references in the first century, viz. the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in AD 30 and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, we can add all of the scriptures that have been ignored and misunderstood due to misapplication and fit them into a revised scenario for when the kingdom came and other end time events.
In Heaven: Remember Jesus, after his resurrection, appeared to his disciples for 40 days before he ascended to the Father. Upon ascending 10 days before Pentecost, AD 30, Jesus as the son of man, is glorified and receives a kingdom from the Ancient of Days.
"I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, one like the Son of man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought him near before him.
Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And his kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.
Ten days after he receives this kingdom, sitting at the right hand of God and having all authority in heaven and in earth, Jesus sends forth the Holy Spirit with a commission to give miraculous power to the Apostles who are waiting in the city of Jerusalem during the feast of Pentecost. But this was just a part of the commission which also included that all those believing and being immersed for the remission of their sins would be quickened to spiritual life and sanctified by the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
On Earth: Peter, having been immersed with the Holy Spirit, stands and explains that this sign prophesied by Joel is proof that Jesus is indeed exalted at God's right hand in glory.
Acts 2: 31-36
"Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay.
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he poured out this which you now see and hear.
“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
“The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
Till I make your enemies your footstool.”’
Those who were being saved are added to the church and translated into the kingdom. (Acts 2:47; Col.1:13).
... he has delivered us from the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.
So we could say that the kingdom was in existence in the heavens and people could be transferred into it, since it is a spiritual kingdom, but that the kingdom had not yet come in the sense of being established universally on the earth. Jesus had still not yet been revealed in his time and his kingdom (Mt. 16:27-28; 1Tim. 6:14-16) and the kingdom had not yet been taken away from the Jews and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it. (Mt. 8:11-12; Mt. 21:41-45) Jesus would reign in heaven until all enemies were put under his feet. (1Cor.15:25) This would include the disobedient Jews and the last enemy - Death.
Peter later explains that the heavens must receive him until the time of the restitution of all things.
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
For Moses truly said to the Fathers, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever he says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’”
This then is when Jesus would return in his kingdom, at the restoration. The restoration would include the end of the age when all enemies were vanquished and then all things would be made new by God.
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then he who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And he said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son.
from apo, "back, again," kathistemi, "to set in order," is used in Acts 3:21, RV, "restoration" (AV, "restitution"). See under REGENERATION, concerning Israel in its regenerated state hereafter. In the papyri it is used of a temple cell of a goddess, a "repair" of a public way, the "restoration" of estates to rightful owners, a "balancing" of accounts. Apart from papyri illustrations the word is found in an Egyptian reference to a consummating agreement of the world's cyclical periods, an idea somewhat similar to that in the Acts passage (Moulton and Milligan). [W. E. Vine]
The restoration included the repairing of everything that went wrong in the garden of Eden. The sin that started there would be vanquished, the death that started there would be conquered, and the tree of Life that was forbidden there would be freely available to everyone again. (Rev.2:7; 22:1-2)
Therefore there would be the adoption of sons having come to the age of maturity to an eternal inheritance of all things, with the corresponding freedom from the Law of Moses, being raised to a living hope of life and immortality.
In God's forbearing, he gave the Jewish nation 40 years to repent and believe the good news of the kingdom that was being preached to every nation under heaven. This was the work that his servants the Apostles and prophets were doing before Jesus’ return in his kingdom. Those who still did not want this man to rule over them were destroyed along with their city when Jesus came again in his kingdom with power and great glory. (Read the following parable in this light --Lk.19:11-28)
Jesus did not want his disciples to think that the kingdom was going to appear immediately so just before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the last time, he taught this parable to his disciples. This would have been approximately 55 days before the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
11 Now as they heard these things, he spoke another parable, because he was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God was about to appear immediately.
12 Therefore he said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, “Do business till I come.’
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us.’
15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, “Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’
17 And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’
18 And the second came, saying, “Master, your mina has earned five minas.’
19 Likewise he said to him, “You also be over five cities.’
20 “Then another came, saying, “Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. you collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’
22 And he said to him, “Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
24 “And he said to those who stood by, “Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’
25 (But they said to him, “Master, he has ten minas.’)
26 “For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.”‘
When Jesus went into a far country to receive a kingdom, he went into heaven itself and there was glorified at the right hand of God and began reigning in his kingdom. If Pentecost AD 30 is when Jesus came again in his kingdom, one must consider the time involved for Jesus to go away to receive his kingdom while his disciples labored in his business and for him to return and expect a profit, the 52 days we have from his death until the Pentecost is very little time for them to do anything. Besides the fact that they do not have the Holy Spirit nor understanding of the truth to preach salvation to anyone. What they were actually doing during this time period until Pentecost was witnessing Christ’s resurrection for 40 days and then hiding for the next 10. As far as making a profit for their master upon his return (if it is Pentecost), they have nothing to show him.
This parable spoken a few days before Jesus’ arrest is to show that the kingdom was not going to come immediately. One could argue that 52 days later is not immediately and therefore could be understood as Pentecost, except for the fact that his servants were to be working and doing his business during this time before his return which is the whole point of the parable.
However, if understood rightly, the servants of Jesus had 40+ years before Jesus came again, to persuade and convert the Jewish nation and bear much fruit and have their fruit remain, because the kingdom of God was not about to appear immediately.
So Pentecost is far too early a date for the kingdom to be coming in power. Jesus had said that "some", not "all" would see this before they tasted of death. So the corollary of "some of them" is actually this -- most of them standing there would taste of death and would not see the kingdom of God come in power.
Before the kingdom could come there must be a sealing up of prophecy, (Dan.9:24) a finishing of the mystery of God, (Rev. 10:7) a clearing of the books regarding the former age. (Rev.20:12). So before Jesus comes in judgement against his enemies in the Jewish nation and puts down all rule and all authority, he waits for everyone to hear of God's grace and repent.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.
When the last hour had come, Jesus then revealed himself as the King coming in the glory of his father on the clouds of heaven with all the holy angels with power and great glory. Those who still did not want this man to rule over them were then destroyed along with their city.
... since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power,
This understanding has wide ranging effects on the interpretation of scripture. There are problems that I see in fitting some scriptures in, but there are far more verses that I can fit into a context and understand now than before, especially the parables, and the relationship that Jesus had with Israel as the messiah.
~ Invitation ~