Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kingdom Promise

In Acts 1:6, The disciples ask Jesus,
...Lord, wilt Thou it at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

In His response, Jesus tells them that it is not for them to know the times or the seasons. He does not correct their eschatological viewpoint or say that all those previous kingdom prophecies and teachings were only meant in a metaphorical and spiritual sense. So after three years of being taught by Him, they still expect an earthly kingdom, and even though He is getting ready to ascend to the Father and they are to establish the Church (and indeed, Christianity itself) and be the authorities on doctrine and practice, He does not insist that their eschatological hermenautic is too literal.

Wonder why that is? I think the reason is that, while the disciples may have been clueless about the time frame ( and indeed, we still don't know the times or seasons), they were correct in their expectation of an eventual earthly kingdom.

This was after the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and 25, so they obviously did not read into that text, as so many partial preterists and amillennialists do, the absence of an earthly kingdom. For more comments on Matthew 24, see here, here, and here.

Perhaps the disciples anticipated an earthly kingdom because of the words of Jesus to them in Matthew 19: 28:

Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

It is apparent that the disciples saw this as a literal prophecy, because in Matthew 20: 20-23 James, John and their mother have a conversation with Jesus in which she requests that the two brothers be granted the honor of being seated at the right hand and left hand of Jesus in His kingdom. Jesus does not correct their interpretation or insist that they misunderstood Him. Rather, He says the privilege they requested is "...for whom it is prepared of My Father."

So what do we make of the fact that Jesus taught about a future earthly kingdom and the disciples expected one? Looks like premillennialism to me.

1 comment:

Amy said...

When are you going to post again?