How “Near” is the Day of the Lord?

32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away (Matthew 24.32-35).

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near (Revelation 1.1-3).

Introduction

MARTIN_John_Great_Day_of_His_Wrath

The Day of the Lord by John Martin

The Day of the Lord is that period of time that encompasses God’s wrath upon the earth, the return of Christ, the millennial kingdom, and the creation of the new heavens and the new earth. Most of the times it is mentioned, it referred to the period of God’s wrath, the seven years Jesus called the Tribulation.

God has revealed what He will do, but when He will do it is shrouded in secrecy. When is the most closely guarded aspect of God’s prophetic plan. The prophetic record of the Old Testament seemed to indicate God’s wrath, His advent, and the establishment up of His kingdom on earth would occur in close proximity to one another.

John the Baptist began his ministry declaring the kingdom of God was “near” (Matthew 3.2). Shortly afterwards, the Lord proclaimed the same message (Matthew 4.17, 10.7). The Scriptures indicate the Twelve, as well as Paul, thought the Lord would return in their lifetime. Some maintain these prophetic events have occurred.1 They base their case on several passages represented by the two above, e.g., “this generation will not pass away” and “things which must soon take place”. Have these events truly taken place? If not, why not?

Context

The Day of the Lord and the establishment of God’s kingdom on the earth are the two great themes of Jewish theology. The Messiah was revealed to have a direct involvement in bringing both to fulfillment. John the Baptist and Jesus preached the kingdom of God was “at hand” (Matthew 3.2, 4.17, 10.7; Mark 1.15). Peter, on the day of Pentecost, expected the Lord’s wrath to fall soon upon the earth (Acts 2.14-21). He expected the Lord to return and establish the long-awaited kingdom upon the earth (Acts 3.17-21; cf. Matthew 6.10). Was Peter wrong to think this? The answer from the prophetic program was “no.” But there was a catch.

The Vocabulary of Nearness: Witness of the Old Testament

PassageCitationDate (B.C.)
Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.
Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near,
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
Joel 1.15, 2.1, 3.149th c.
Wail, for the day of the LORD is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.Isaiah 13.68th c.
Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests.
Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly.
Zephaniah 1.7, 147th c.
For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, A time of doom for the nations.Ezekiel 30.36th c.
For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.Obadiah 1.156th c.

Each of the above Scriptures describe the Day of the Lord as “near.” The Hebrew word used is קָרוֹב. It means that which is near in place or time. Zephaniah wrote it was not only near but coming “very quickly” (וּמַהֵר מְאֹד).  This prophecy was repeated throughout the 9th-6th centuries. The obvious question is, “If Joel wrote the Day of the Lord was near in the 9th century B.C., what did that mean?” The prophets continued to proclaim the Day of the Lord was near but it had not taken place by the time of Jesus. Over 800 years elapsed from Joel until John the Baptist. How did the Jews understand this prophecy and how are we to understand its meaning? For more clues, let us examine “nearness” in the New Testament.

The Vocabulary of Nearness: Witness of the New Testament

PassageCitation
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.Matthew 3.2
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.Matthew 4.7
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’Matthew 10.7
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”Mark 1.15
and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’Luke 10.9
Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.Luke 10.11
While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.Luke 19.11
“So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.Luke 21.31

The words used in the above passages for “near” or “at hand” are ἐγγίζω (verb) or ἐγγύς (adverb). It means to draw or come near in time or place. The straightforward meaning of these passages is that the long-anticipated kingdom of God was at hand. Why? The King was present in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was ready to establish His kingdom for Israel.

ProphecyFulfillment
Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom (Matthew 16.28).Matthew 17.1-9
And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mark 9.1).Mark 9.2-8
But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God (Luke 9.27).Luke 9.28-26

The above passages indicated some of the Twelve would be alive and witness the Lord’s return and establishment of His kingdom. The challenge of these passages is to understand when the prophecy was or will be fulfilled. While our investigation is incomplete, even a novice Bible student can recognize the Tribulation has not occurred, the Lord has not returned, and the kingdom of God has not been established. Why? Jesus indicated when He returns almost the entire human race will have been destroyed (Matthew 24.22). Furthermore, lions are not eating straw, lambs are not relaxing with wolves, universal peace does not exist, and the Lord is not ruling the world from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2.2-4, 11.1-9; Zechariah 14.8-11). These are the things that describe the world of Christ’s return. How then, do we explain the Lord’s words in these passages?

In each Gospel, an account of Jesus’ Transfiguration follows immediately after these passages. In the Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John witnessed the Lord’s glory. When He returns, He will not be garbed in humiliation. He will come with might and in glory. To see the King glorified was to see the kingdom. Peter, James, and John witnessed His glory as a “preview” event of His return. Thus, the prophecy was fulfilled with the Transfiguration, but it could have been fulfilled much more extensively.

“This Generation”

PassageCitation
34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.Matthew 23.34-36
32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.Matthew 24.32-34
28 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.29 Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.Mark 13.28-30
29 Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.Luke 21.29-32

In each of the above passages Jesus stated “this generation” would not end until the Day of the Lord occurred and the Lord returned. What did Jesus mean by “this generation?” The word “generation” is γενεά. It means a race of people, people living during a particular time, an age. In this case, the most straightforward meaning is of people living at particular time. The next question becomes, what does “this” mean? Did Jesus mean the Jews of His day or something else? Before addressing this question, let us examine some more passages.

Other Passages

Mark 14.61-2 reads:

61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Did Jesus mean the high priest would live to see His coming? It appeared so. But further analysis reveals His answer was cryptic. John wrote everyone (alive or dead) will see Him:

Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen (Revelation 1.7).

“Nearness” in Revelation

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place (τάχος); and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,Revelation 1.1
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near (ἐγγύς).Revelation 1.3
Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.Revelation 2.25
I am coming quickly (ταχύ); hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.Revelation 3.11
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place (τάχος). “And behold, I am coming quickly (ταχύ). Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”Revelation 22.6-7
And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near (ἐγγύς).Revelation 22.10
“Behold, I am coming quickly (ταχύ), and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.Revelation 22.12
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly (ταχύ).” Amen.Come, Lord Jesus.Revelation 22.20

Each of the Revelation passages indicated Jesus would return soon. He warned the Thyatira and Philadelphia assemblies to hold fast until He came. In Revelation 1.1, 6, τάχος is used and in Revelation 3.11, 22.7, 12, 20, ταχύ is found. Both come from ταχύς, one being used as a noun and the other as an adverb. Both words convey the sense of quickness, speed, and without delay. Has Jesus returned as some teach or is there a better Scriptural interpretation of these passages?

The Wonderful World of Maybe

As noted above, God has cloaked the timing of His strategic plans in great secrecy. Jesus said about His coming:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matthew 24.36).

The other thing Jesus stated about His return was that it depended upon Israel’s repentance. He said:

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! (Matthew 23.37-39)

This statement complemented John the Baptist’s words, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3.2) as well as Jesus’ own statement (Matthew 4.7). From Matthew 23.37-39 we learn that His return and the establishment of the kingdom was contingent upon Israel’s repentance. He would not, indeed, could not, return apart from Israel’s repentance.

Peter understood this. In his message to the Jews following Jesus’ resurrection, he declared on the day of Pentecost:

32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, 35 until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself”  (Acts 2.36-38).

Thus, Peter declared the Lord will remain seated at His Father’s right hand until Israel repents.3 When they do, He will arise, destroy His enemies, establish His kingdom (Psalm 68.1; Isaiah 42.13).

Peter reaffirmed this message in his second sermon concerning the healing of the lame man at the Temple:

11 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14 But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. 16 And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. 17 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3.11-21).

The “times of refreshing” and the “period of restoration” were expressions that described God’s kingdom on earth (Matthew 6.10). Peter stated explicitly that Jesus would return if the nation repented.

Peter expected the Day of the Lord to follow soon after the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Because of this, he quoted Joel 2.28-32 in its entirety:

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. 19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. 20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. 21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Acts 2.14-21).

Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled partially. God gave His Holy Spirit accompanied by prophecy, visions, and dreams. These manifestations were indicators of kingdom life. But signs in the heavens and earth of blood, fire, vapor, smoke–the sun being darkened and the moon looking like blood–did not occur (cf. Matthew 24.29-31).

Understanding the Kingdom Offer

Israel is the center of gravity of prophecy. The focus of God’s great promise of the Day of the Lord–His wrath, His return, and His rule–was Israel. When God called Abraham and established His covenant with him (Genesis 12.1-3) He initiated a new order. In this new order, He would no longer reveal Himself to all mankind but would reveal Himself through a special people, His covenant people, the Jews. All divine blessings would be channeled and mediated through them. God’s blessing to Israel depended upon their obedience to God which culminated in their acceptance of the Messiah. The kingdom, their object of longing, depended upon their acceptance of Him. His acceptance required the nation’s repentance–the message John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and the Eleven proclaimed. The prophecies proclaimed by Israel’s prophets and elucidated by the Lord in His Olivet discourse on end-times required national repentance.

Had the nation repented, “this generation” would have been the Jews of Jesus’ day. They could have fulfilled the prophecy. Since they refused, “this generation” refers to a future generation who will repent. If the nation had repented, Jesus’ words, “some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” would have meant the Jews of His day would have witnessed His actual return, not just the preview Peter, James, and John witnessed in the Transfiguration. The same may be said of the high priest whom Jesus addressed at His trial. Had the nation repented he could have lived to witness the return of Christ in glory. The kingdom of God was indeed near: the King was present. The offer of the kingdom was genuine.

Peter recognized the Jews had committed a horrible crime in initiating the murder of their Messiah. But He had risen from the dead! Hope for the nation remained and because of this, he admonished them to repent. If they had responded, the Lord would have returned and established His kingdom. Israel’s kingdom hopes could have been realized.

What Did “Nearness” Mean For Israel’s Prophets?

What are we to make of the Old Testament prophets who declared the Day of the Lord was “near” as noted in the chart above? The only reasonable answer is to interpret the language in terms of God’s perspective. Time is a strange property. God is eternal. But eternality does not mean a long-time. It is an absence of time: timelessness. Time does not exist in eternity. It has no meaning. We cannot comprehend this for we are physical creatures bound by the laws of a physical universe. Physicists tell us time is a property of matter. Our world consists of length, height, width, and time. God is beyond such limits for He is Spirit. When God involves Himself in the realm of the physical world, He can experience it differently than we. The Psalmist recorded a prayer of Moses: “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90.4). Echoing the Psalmist, Peter wrote, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3.8). Therefore, 2,800 years ago, when Joel first proclaimed the day of the Lord was near, it was less than three days ago for God. That is near if you have a God watch.

“What If” and the Church

The reader may wonder what would have happened had Israel repented. Such a question opens the door to the hypothetical and speculative. If they had repented would Jesus have gone to the cross? The answer is yes. That was foreordained (Genesis 3.15; Isaiah 53.1-12; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4). He had to die for mankind’s sins. He had to rise from the dead (Psalem 16.10). Psalm 2.1-3 prophesied:

1 “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!”

The prophecy stated Jew and Gentile would work in concert against the Messiah. But the prophecy provided no details regarding the role of each. Since the Jews refused to repent, they took the leading role in killing the Messiah. They took Him to Pilate and demanded he execute Him. Thus, they bear the primary responsibility. But had the Jews repented, the Romans would have taken the lead. Jesus would have been seen as a threat to Rome’s imperial power and would have been crucified. 

What if the Jews had repented after Jesus’ resurrection as Peter hoped? Had this occurred, the Tribulation (all of Joel’s prophecy) would have taken place. One of the Julio-Claudian caesars (probably Nero) would have become the Antichrist and the Lord would have returned to set up His kingdom. It could have happened but the Lord knew it wouldn’t due to His foreknowledge. Nevertheless, the offer of the kingdom was genuine.

Perhaps the reader may wonder where the Church, the body of Christ, is in all this? The Church, the body of Christ, is never mentioned in the Old Testament. It was not part of God’s prophetic program. As far as Jewish theology was concerned, the Church did not exist. We also find no mention of the Church in the Gospels. Peter only knew about God’s prophetic plan for Israel. He knew nothing of the Church. He addressed only Jews in Acts. Would the Church have come into being if Israel had repented?

According to God’s prophetic plan ALL Gentile blessing had to come through Israel and their Messiah. God initiated this plan in His call of Abraham (Genesis 12.1-3). The fulfillment of God’s prophetic plan anticipated Jewish success–Jewish acceptance of their Messiah since God had revealed no provision to bless Gentiles apart from Israel. But God, in His grace and mercy, chose not to initiate the Tribulation, even in the face of continued Jewish rejection. Instead, He delayed it, saved Saul of Tarsus, and created the Church, the body of Christ. God delayed His judgment, the Day of the Lord, and initiated a new program through which He could bless Gentiles–in spite of Jewish rejection of the Messiah.

Some may argue this means the Church was an “afterthought” of God. Such thinking reveals a lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty. God knows all but gives man the freedom to choose. God knew Israel would reject Him but gave the nation a choice. But He knew what choice they would make. He also knew He would save Paul to become the apostle of the Gentiles and that He would reveal a new program–the Church, the body of Christ–through this apostle. This plan may be compared to God’s choice of Abraham to create the Jewish people and His choosing Moses to give them the Law. God’s creation of the Jewish people and later giving them the Law was no “afterthought” but all part of His amazing plan.

Conclusion

The genius and goodness of God is that He is sovereign, knowing the end from the beginning, but gives man the freedom to choose. He gave national Israel the freedom to accept or reject Him. He gives each of us that freedom. His work on the cross solved the problem of sin and death. He removed the barrier. The only thing between man and God is Christ’s work. The only thing between death and eternal life is the person of Christ. We can have life and a relationship with God by believing Christ died for us and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). This is grace. In light of this, Paul exclaimed:

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the LORD, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 11.33-36).

1 Those who make these claims are known as Preterists and their theology Preterism. The name comes from the Latin praeter denoting what is “past” or “beyond.” Adherents of Preterism claim all or a majority of Bible prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70.
2 See the author’s study, Theology of the Old Testament.
3 The Lord will vacate His seat at the Father’s right hand for a split second to receive His Church, the body of Christ, to Himself, at the Rapture. At that point, God’s prophetic plan, which is centered upon Israel but has been on hold can resume.

©2015 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.


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58 Responses to How “Near” is the Day of the Lord?

  1. Paul Miller says:

    Thanks for the new article,Don!

  2. Elaine says:

    Hi Don,
    Can’t wait to read this new article! I’ve read all your articles over and over and can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve benefited from them and been blessed by them.
    Thank you so much for all your hard work and research and for giving your time so generously and patiently in answering people’s questions also.
    Elaine

  3. becky says:

    So Don, is there no hint as to the Day of the Lord? Does the absolute moral decay in these “last days” play into “signs” of His coming?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Becky,
      Jesus said that the days prior to His coming will be like the days of Noah (Genesis 6). We are rapidly approaching a similar environment. See my article, When Will the Lord Return for more on this.

      • becky says:

        Thanks so much. Of course! I used to look at those passages of the days of Noah in the gospels as timing of the pretrib rapture. Then with my new understanding of dispensations, I realized that these passages were about the time of tribulation and His second coming. With your answer, it just hit me that although these passages were not specifically about the rapture, because it was not yet revealed, these do indeed give us a hint of the timing of the rapture because it is pretrib. Basically, I just made a connection, haha! Wow, this is awesome…….

  4. Marg says:

    I also thank you, Don, for all your work, which is so educational and beneficial! In March 2015, I ‘stumbled’ onto your website while searching for a certain answer. On the 9th of March, I read ten of your articles throughout the day. My amazement turned to joy; my heart got happier and lighter with each of them. “Born-and-raised” as I was in the church, in your articles I immediately recognized truths I’d not comprehended but always desired. My burdens of tradition and misapplication fell away. What freedom! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Don, for turning on the light. Since March, I’ve read and reread all your articles. At first, I didn’t want to read your reader’s responses. I didn’t want to be distracted, I thought, and I didn’t like the argumentative ‘attitude’ that some had. Ha, ha! :) Then I realized that I needed to read on, because your answers clarified my understanding. I also found a ‘rightly-dividing’ church in my area, and am regularly attending there.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Marg,
      Thank you. It is for those such as yourself that I write–those who wish to be free from the yoke of traditon and religion to understand the Scriptures, truly live the Christian life, and enjoy the inexhaustible grace of God (Galatians 5.1).

  5. b wellskopf says:

    Hi Don,
    I first of all want to say how much I appreciate all the work you are doing to spread the gospel and help people better understand Scripture.
    I too believe that everyone will eventually see Jesus in His glory and will bow down and confess that He is Lord, but in the context of the “Parable of the Fig Tree” and elsewhere I believe that an untranslatable (in Latin or English) particle “an” contained in this statement explains what Jesus truly meant. I am not a Greek scholar, in fact I’ve never taken Greek, but here is what I found from a lexicon at biblehub.com
    an: usually untranslatable, but generally denoting supposition, wish, possibility or uncertainty
    Original Word: ἄν
    Part of Speech: Particle, Disjunctive Particle
    Transliteration: an
    Phonetic Spelling: (an)
    Short Definition: an untranslatable word that makes a statement contingent
    Definition: an untranslatable word (under the circumstances, in that case, anyhow), the general effect of which is to make a statement contingent, which would otherwise be definite: it is thus regularly used with the subjunctive mood.
    I believe this little word “an” makes the fulfillment to the generation at that time conditional upon the repentance of the nation of Israel. I believe Jesus was saying the same thing in regards to John the Baptist when He said: “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” Mt 11:14. That gigantic “IF” also shows more of this conditional nature of the promise to “this generation”. Obviously we know the nation of Israel rejected her King and “this generation” did pass away, not the race granted but the nation who was supposed to be God’s conduit for blessing the world. Thanks be to God that He now offers salvation by His grace apart from Israel as revealed to and through Paul! (Rom 9- 11)
    It seems like you are saying the same thing in the section “Understanding the Kingdom Offer” but then your explanation of “nearness” right after that strained my common sense. I know that “God’s watch” is different and “a day is like a thousand years” to the Lord, but Jesus was talking to everyday humans. With almost 2000 years and still no Kingdom, I’m wondering if the “conditional” nature of Jesus’ statement is the correct explanation for “nearness” that in hindsight isn’t near at all. If I’m wrong I’ll bow my common sense to how “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways”.
    What do you think brother?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      b wellskopf,
      Thank you. The offer of the kingdom was conditional upon Israel’s repentance. The generation that endures the Tribulation (that will be “this generation” of Matthew 24) will repent and the Lord will return. His return remains conditional to Jewish repentance (Matthew 23.37). One has to account for the words of the prophets and their use of “near.” Joel said in the 9th century B.C. that the Day of the Lord was near. We have to have a reasonable explanation for what that meant. In terms of man’s accounting of time 800+ years had passed by the time Jesus arrived. That’s not near. But in terms of God’s clock, it was. It still is, 2,000 years later.

  6. amigodana says:

    You forgot to talk about how God defines a day!!!

    2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    (Psalms 90:4) “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

    I will choose Gods interpretations over yours.

    Psalms 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

  7. Don,
    Thank you for putting it all together.
    The questions I had about what would happen to the Lord if Israel repented etc., were nicely included in this one, concise, well researched article.
    I appreciate how you see God interacting with humanity via programs – beginning with Adam, then Noah, then Abraham, etc. Do you have an article that refers to God’s programs throughout history?
    With appreciation,
    John

  8. RonG says:

    G’Day Don,
    Another truely enlightening article. Thank you.
    I have a question inrespect to the fulfilment of prophecy in this age of grace.
    Is there any part of the prophecy program given by God to Israel being fulfilled throughout this period of grace or the Church age we are currently in?
    Many who adhere to the mid-acts dispensational position state that absolutely no prophecy is or will be fulfilled in this current “mystery” period or age or administration.
    The first thing that comes to my mind is that if we accept that the age of grace and the Church, the Body of Christ was born with Paul’s salvation and subsequent revelation given to him by the Glorified Jesus from heaven, surely the distruction of the Temple in 70 AD was prophecy being fulfilled in the age of grace.

    “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.””
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    What about Israel’s reforming as a Nation, the rise of Russia, Iran, Turkey and so on?

    What are your thoughts on this?
    Grace and Peace
    RonG

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      RonG,
      Thank you. One can argue that 70 A.D. marked the end of the prophetic program, the time in which Israel is judicially set aside, and I think that’s what mid-Acts folks would say. It was the final judgment on the nation. During this period both programs operated although in terms of the gospel, the gospel of the kingdom ended at the Council of Jerusalem. What we’re seeing now is the stage preparation for the advent of the Beast and the final seven years. It may be too strong to say no prophecy is being fulfilled but certainly the age of grace is not governed by prophecy. The only prophetic event related to the Church is the Rapture.

  9. As a theologian, I am very concerned about a number of blatantly false statements on this article, with the most stupendously false ones being in two back to back sentences. You say:
    We also find no mention of the Church in the Gospels. Peter only knew about God’s prophetic plan for Israel. He knew nothing of the Church and addressed only Jews in Acts.

    Firstly, the actual word church appears in Matthews gospel a number of times in chapters 16 and 18, and in the first instance it was actually addressed to Peter by name (16.18 – And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.). Thus this one single verse destroys both your statement that the church doesn’t appear in the gospels, and also that Peter knew nothing of the church. He absolutely did, because Jesus himself had told him about it and told him that either he, or his faith statement would be the foundation of the church!
    Furthermore, there a number of parables that explicitly link the rejection of the kingdom by Israel with the kingdom being given to ‘others’ who will be worthy of it, meaning the church.

    Secondly, it is a complete falsehood to say that Peter only addressed Jews in Acts (and untrue to imply or say, as you do elsewhere, that Peter only got any notion about Gentiles being saved from Paul). The order of events is clear – Peter himself was the first apostle to go to a Gentile, in Acts 10. Up until that point, Paul, although converted, is only recorded as having been preaching to the Jews (Acts 9). Other Christians also started to preach the gospel to the Gentiles away from the land of Israel (Acts 11) – the text is not clear whether this was before or after Peter’s encounter with a Gentile, it only says it was people after they had been scattered at the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7, but it seems to mean it was sometime afterwards, because as soon as they heard about it, the Jerusalem church (with Peter and or James at the head) sent Barnabas to investigate, and as soon as he saw the good work he went to go and get Paul (Acts 11).

    Jesus specifically appointed Peter and / or his faith statement to be the foundation of the church, so how can anyone who claims to be a bible teacher claim that ‘Peter’ knew nothing of the church, even many years after he was the founding member and leader of the church that Jesus instituted in the gospels?

    What is more, when we look at the account of Acts 15, we find that Paul and Barnabas told what God had done through their ministry to the Gentiles, but made no theological advocacy. The theological advocacy for Gentiles being included in the already existing church as Gentiles was done BEFORE they gave their testimony by Peter, the apostle to the Jews who allegedly, according to you, only addressed Jews – yet his theological advocacy for Gentiles was based directly on his experience in preaching to Gentiles himself. Then after Paul had spoken of his experiences only, further theological advocacy came from James, Jesus’ half brother and by now the leader of the Jerusalem church, and what is more, he justified it by citing an Old Testament prophecy concerning Gentiles and applied it to the church, despite your claims that the Old Testament never teaches anything about the church. Clearly, these Jewish Christians saw things very differently indeed to you, and it is their deliberations and decisions which are recorded for us as nothing less than Holy Scripture.

    On a side note, there is also Paul’s account of Peter’s behaviour in Galatians 2. If, like I do, you believe this was written shortly before the council in Acts 15, then this also indicates that Peter was having fellowship with Gentiles BEFORE the Acts 15 council.

    In short, the very foundational premises of your argument are flat out contradictory to the clear testimony of Scripture, even on very basic factual grounds, and you need to seriously, soberly and completely re-examine your position sir, because you are leading people astray into false teaching.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Nathaniel,
      Many claim to be theologians but do not know the Scriptures. On your points: 1) The word ἐκκλησία simply means a group of people. Context determines its specific meaning. For example, see Acts 19.32. Only Paul taught the Church, the body of Christ. See my article, The Church (the Body of Christ), “others worthy” refers to a future generation of Jews who will accept Christ (Romans 11.26). Jesus and the Twelve had no ministry to Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-6). 2) Peter addressed no Gentiles at Pentecost or following. In fact, he addressed no Gentiles (with the exception of Cornelius in Acts 10, after Paul was saved, according to Acts 11.19). Galatians was written after Acts 15. Paul’s controversy with Peter occurred after the Council. That’s what made it so tragic and why Paul crushed him. See my articles, Paul: Chief of Sinners?, Why Paul?, The Christian Myth, etc. You believe a myth along with the vast majority in Christendom. Myths occurs from lack of reading and study. Read you Bible and you will find the things I write are Scriptural.

  10. Bruce Peters says:

    I have never seen so much begging of the question in my life. The kingdom of Jesus Christ is not an earthly kingdom in earthly Jerusalem, where Jesus sits on David’s golden throne. Jesus and John the Baptist both said the kingdom was “at hand” just as Jesus came on the scene and began His ministry. What Jesus said, He meant and He did not change it – nor did any man change it. When Jesus died, rose and then ascended, His kingdom came. The disciples had a hard time understanding this at first as well, and for some reason many people still don’t want to face the facts.

    Jesus DIED on the cross, to usher in His kingdom. He came to DIE. He did not come to sit on a throne with a golden scepter. He did exactly what He came to do, it was 100% fulfilled. He now REIGNS at the highest place in the universe, over all things in heaven and in earth (Eph 1:20-22) BECAUSE of His death (Matt 28:18, Phil 2:8-9).

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Bruce,
      The Lord instructed His disciples to pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on EARTH as it is in heaven.” The Jews had no idea of dying and going to heaven. Not a single Scripture supports such an idea. Their hope lay in an earthly kingdom in which Israel would be supreme among the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 28.1, 13) with the Messiah sitting on the throne of David. David’s throne is in Jerusalem. Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of His Father’s throne (Psalm 110.1) and will remain so until He returns to EARTH. At that time He will sit upon His own throne, the throne of David, and reign over Israel and the world (Zechariah 14.8-9; Psalm 132.11-12; Isaiah 9.7; Jeremiah 23.5-6). The OT prophecies will be fulfilled. The idea of dying and going to heaven and a heavenly destiny and kingdom was unknown until Paul. It is a Pauline doctrine for the Church, not for Israel. What you have written reveals you do not understand the purpose of Christ’s earthly coming or ministry (Romans 15.8). Yes, He came to die for our sins. But for Israel, He came to fulfill the covenant promises which revolved around the earthly kingdom. That’s Jewish theology. That’s the entire Old Testament! Why did it not come? It did not come because Israel refused to repent. When they do, and they will, He will return and set it up (Matthew 23.37-39).

      • Bruce says:

        I didn’t say anything about dying and going to heaven, so I don’t see how that’s relevant here.

        //Their hope lay in an earthly kingdom in which Israel would be supreme among the nations of the earth//

        Well, Jesus proved that their hope was misguided.

        //Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of His Father’s throne (Psalm 110.1) and will remain so until He returns to EARTH.//

        Don’t you DARE insinuate that where Jesus sits now is a lower place than the highest glory. Don’t you EVEN GO THERE. Jesus is seated at the highest position in the universe, according to Phil 2:9. And the reason He sits there? Because “he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Dispies think Jesus’ death was kind of important for an entity called the church, but it wasn’t really all THAT important. After all, “Israel” is going to be saved a different way.

        //At that time He will sit upon His own throne,//

        He sits on His own throne now. Again, you are on dangerous ground claiming that somehow Jesus (WHO IS GOD BY THE WAY) sits in a lesser spot than He will someday. What about Ephesians 1:21: “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion”. ALL means ALL.

        You also greatly err by teaching that Jesus can only reign over the earth if He sits on an earthly throne. Jesus is bound by where He sits????? what?????? So when Jesus comes down here and sits, in your fantasy semi-golden age of 1000 years, will He cease to be King of heaven, since He isn’t sitting up there anymore?

        You are grossly wrong.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Bruce,
          Apparently, you did not look at any of the Scriptures I provided. They are against your view. Like so many, tradition is dearer to you than the Scriptures. Psalm 110.1 states Christ is seated at the right hand of His Father’s throne, not on His own throne. He will remain there until His enemies become His footstool. Do you think Christ rules the earth now? Do you understand Matthew 6.10? Christ’s kingdom will be an earthly, political kingdom (Zechariah 14.9). Christ has conquered sin and death but He is not recognized by all creation as Lord. Philippians 2.9 will take place but it hasn’t yet. If you think it has, read today’s newspaper.

          • Bruce Peters says:

            I read all of the scriptures as I have dozens and hundreds of times before. Please dispense with the condescending tone, ok? I realize you feel defensive but I am not a child.

            Yes Christ rules the earth now, don’t you believe that? It says in Philippians 2:9 that God HAS highly exalted Him. Not WILL exalt Him. In Matthew 28 Jesus says that all power was given unto Him. Eph 1:20-21 states that God raised Jesus from the dead and set Him “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come”. It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

            I couldn’t care less what the newspaper says. The entire world could refuse to bow to Jesus as King and that doesn’t change a thing. You might as well claim that God has never had control of this world, because sin has been around since Adam. Are you sure you want to ignore these plain scriptures based on what you SEE?

            Jesus is king now and putting down all of His enemies, the last enemy being death. Don’t forget, sir, that you were once an enemy of Jesus Christ. Your sins you commit right now are against Him. Is God working in your life right now? Is Jesus reigning in your life all the time?

            You are the first person I have run into that doesn’t believe Jesus is King of kings, yet claims to be a Bible believer.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Bruce,
              I wish you well but the Scriptures do not support the idea Christ is running the governments of the world today. The god of this world (Satan) is running the governments of the world (Luke 4.5-6; 2 Corinthians 4.4; Romans 16.20; 1 Thessalonians 2.18) and will continue to do so until the Lord returns (Revelation 19). The Scriptures you cited are prophetic futures. They are realities as far as God is concerned but have not yet occurred in human history. My intent is not to be condescending. Do you believe Christ will reign on the earth? That is the test of being a Bible-believer. Your statement I do not believe Jesus is King of kings is untrue. It is sad you resort to falsity to demean me. It also shows you have not read my articles.

              • Bruce Peters says:

                Don, I am sorry I am not trying to speak falsely. You are confusing me. Either Jesus is the King right now, and God is in control, or He is not. This has been true since the Garden of Eden. God does not force people to bow down. Was God in control during Noah’s day? Of course, yet the world was filled with wickedness and violence.

                “The Scriptures you cited are prophetic futures.” How can you say that when the language is not prophetic? God raised Jesus from the dead and set Him at the highest place in the heavenlies. If you say that is yet future, then you deny that Jesus reigns over all kings today. Yet you tell me you do believe He is King. I don’t see how you can believe it, but not believe it. I do not wish to offend you. Please explain how that can be. And explain why Jesus has to physically be sitting on earth to reign over it. If Jesus is bound by where He sits, then if He sits here He won’t be king of heaven, by your logic.

                Again I want to stress that you seem to be applying your own common sense of what the reign of Jesus should look like, to whether He is reigning. Is that really reading the Bible and just believing it? I don’t think so. You tell me that Jesus isn’t physically sitting on a throne in Jerusalem so therefore He isn’t in charge of the governments. Yet Satan isn’t sitting on any throne either. Exactly why does Satan get to rule without a physical throne, but Jesus doesn’t?

                Yes, I do believe in a day that Jesus will physically be with us, reigning just as He does now, after He resurrects the dead and casts death and hell into the lake of fire. But that will last forever, not just 1000 years, and there will be NO death, NO sin.

                “The god of this world (Satan) is running the governments of the world”

                Only those that men have allowed him to run. And it isn’t that Satan is god of the planet earth. The word there is “age”. Surprised you don’t know that since you claim to read the Greek.

                Satan is not the god of this planet as if Jesus has turned over control to him. Rather, people can choose to make Satan their god. People can make gods all day long, that doesn’t mean they actually ARE gods. The Bible also says that people make their appetites their god (Phl 3:19). Do you see the point?

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                Bruce,
                The argument here is not about God being sovereign. Of course He is. He controls everything. The argument here is whether Jesus is ruling and reigning over the earth. The rule of Christ on earth is not about my common sense. It is about what the Scriptures reveal. The Scriptures explicitly describe His reign. Read Isaiah 2.1-4; 11.1-9; Zechariah 8.1-8; 14.8-11. Dozens more could be provided. The Messianic kingdom will last 1,000 years. This is what the Bible states (Revelation 20). It is the prelude to eternity, new heavens and new earth. But during those 1,000 years, God will fulfill all the OT promises and covenants to Israel. Do you really believe men are smarter than Satan? The Scriptures state he deceives men. Men serve Satan but they are not aware they are doing so. He is the god of this world (KJV). I know κόσμος and αἰών. But Matthew 4.8 reads κόσμος–world. You appear ridiculous when you write such things. These kinds of things are displeasing to the Lord.

  11. Dawn Sobczak says:

    Don,
    How are we to pray as the body of Christ? Does God intervene directly in our lives anymore? (I know he can do anything as God.) Can we pray for a good job? Or a healing, or for a sign from Him? Can we “hear” the Holy Spirit communicate with us about things He knows concern us?
    What does 8:28 really mean?
    28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
    One would think I should know this stuff, but I need clarification. I get confused by other grace preachers I listen to.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Dawn,
      Paul instructed us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17; 1 Timothy 2.8). We should pray about everything. Romans 8.28 means God has our best interests at heart. All things are not good but they ultimately work to that end as we are being conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8.29).

    • Becky says:

      Hi Dawn, when i get confused by teachers, I just put it on the back burner. In other words, move on to something else. The other thing you can do is take your question and address it to the Lord as a prayer. Then forget about it, knowing He will not forget to answer you.

      Many years ago, I had come to a point where i was confused by teachers, to the point i was in tears. I still remember where i was standing (in my kitchen) when i came to that point, how i was feeling. I said, Lord, there are so many teachers, who claim that what they are teaching is right, who can i trust? I heard so plain and clear, “Paul.” I even turned around because the voice was so clear. At that time, I had never heard a thing about grace teachers or those who followed Paul. I had been studying on my own for a couple years. From that day forward, I jumped right into Paul’s writings and never regretted it once. I knew the Holy Spirit had spoken to me. I didn’t try to dissect Paul’s writings from the Gospels or from the OT. I just had this hunger to study Paul. In fact, I had just started looking at a Torah keeper’s forum right about the same time. The Lord is awesome and so is His timing. I attended that forum for about eight months or so. I would search to see what Paul had to say about EVERYTHING that was said. In the end, it turned out that many of these people either despised Paul or did not regard him as an apostle. The attacks would be so ferocious, but through the struggle I stuck with Paul. That “crash course” grounded me, settled me.

      Pray about everything, be careful (anxious, take thought) for NOTHING, and that is something taught by Jesus, Paul, and Peter. We are to cast all our care on Him, and there are no rules for that:)

  12. Becky says:

    Thanks Don,

    I enjoyed that article very much . . . can’t wait to read the next one.

    Many Blessings.

  13. Pete says:

    //The argument here is whether Jesus is ruling and reigning over the earth. The rule of Christ on earth is not about my common sense. It is about what the Scriptures reveal. //

    OK but the scriptures explicitly say He is reigning now. How can you say this verse doesn’t include all kingdoms of the earth?

    Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
    Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

    What does Ephesians 1 mean then, if it doesn’t mean Jesus is reigning over earth and heaven right now?

    (p.s. I realized I have a pseudonym of mine in this thread. I am not trying to trick the system. I changed this name to my other name and email. I guess I originally posted under the other name.)

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Pete,
      How do you understand Zechariah 14.9; Jeremiah 23.5-6?

      • Pete says:

        I will answer as best I can, Ron, but you need to be fair. Why don’t you answer my questions?

        First of all, the New Testament shines the light on the Old. So something in the Old Testament, I believe, is revealed in its true meaning in the New. Zech 14:9 says “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” I believe “that day” was the first time Jesus came. He stood on the Mt of Olives (vs. 4). He fought the enemies of Israel – the real enemies…their sin and the devil.

        See, Israel was all about men fighting battles and making war, and winning land. Remember they wanted king Saul? God has always been about more than that. God promised Abraham the kosmos, through Jesus. Not just a strip of land by the Mediterranean. Through Jesus we ALL are blessed beyond measure. The death of Jesus at His FIRST coming was the greatest blessing and work anyone could ever do for Israel or for the world.

        In my opinion, modern dispenationalism reduces the value of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. It was THE finished work of Jesus for ALL…Israel first, then the Gentiles.

        Jesus IS the king over all the earth, today. Ephesians, Philippians, Matthew all say so. Galatians tells how the promises to Abraham are all fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jeremiah was fulfilled in Christ also. “I will raise up for David a righteous Branch (Jesus) And He will reign as king and act wisely
        And do justice and righteousness in the land.” God has never forced people to bow to Him, but any Jew (and Gentile) who bows the knee can participate in these promises.

        Someday Jesus will complete His acts of overcoming all enemies, the last of which is death. You and I agree that the entire plan is not complete. Only differences are, you think the plan has 2 different parts to it for 2 different groups of people. I don’t. And you think the plan has to take place all at once, in one second. I don’t. I think Daniel 2 shows that the plan will unfold over time.

        Now…please explain why Philippians and Ephesians (and Matthew 28) all explicitly state that Jesus is king over ALL things in heaven AND in earth. And how you reconcile that with thinking this is yet future.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Pete,
          This is double-talk, theological mishmash, exegetical gibberish. The kingdom has come but not really. The kingdom has come, Jesus is reigning, but not on earth as God promised. Your define Jesus’ kingship as His standing on the Mt. of Olives. Do you really think this? Can anyone really think this? Such a statement is an insult to anyone who believes the Bible. Paul wrote Abraham was heir of the world in the sense of salvation–he was the example of faith (Romans 4.13). But God promised Abraham a land with specific borders. This is repeated many times. You dismiss these promises. Your theology demands that I rip from the Bible everything from the Bible concerning Israel: Genesis 12 through Acts 8, Peter, James, Jude, John’s epistles, the book of Revelation and Hebrews. When Paul wrote about Jesus reigning (Jesus is never called King of the Church, by the way) he meant He reigns as a conqueror of sin and death. God has put all things under His feet. But that is not to say He reigns on the earth. Your theology denies all the OT promises and covenants God the Father gave to Christ regarding His rule over Israel. Your theology says “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is hogwash. Your theology takes the OT promises and says, “Well, God really didn’t mean that.” “God did not mean wolves and lambs are really going to lie down together.” “No, that’s not literal, you can’t really believe Jesus is actually going to reign on earth!” Here’s a newsflash: Christ will reign on earth. He will reign from Jerusalem as King of the Jews and as King of kings. He will fulfill all God’s promises to Israel. When He does, the earth will not experience war. Peace will exist in the animal kingdom. The earth restored to Edenic splendor. We do not see these things because the Lord Jesus Christ is NOT reigning on the earth. How you come to the conclusion dispensationalism reduces the value of Christ’ death, resurrection, and ascension is beyond me. I’ve read many dispensationalists and only found exaltation of Christ’s work and resurrection. Let’s have no more theological pick-pocketing. Your theology is heresy. It is blasphemy. Repent and get right with the Lord, Pete.

          • Pete says:

            Don, sorry for calling you Ron, my mistake…

            //Your define Jesus’ kingship as His standing on the Mt. of Olives. Do you really think this? //

            No. I never said that, I only said that His standing on the Mt of Olives in Zechariah 14 was fulfilled when He….stood on the Mt of Olives. The mountain splitting is symbolic, but I guess you have an aversion to Biblical symbolism.

            I would be careful about tossing around words like “heresy” and “blasphemy”.

            //The kingdom has come but not really. //

            You are the one saying that. I’m not saying that. I say the kingdom has come 100%. Jesus and John both said the kingdom was “at hand” in Matthew and other places. It came, just like Jesus said, and He reigns in heaven from His heavenly throne, because of His death (Phil 2). That is David’s throne per Peter in Acts 2:34-36.

            //We do not see these things because the Lord Jesus Christ is NOT reigning on the earth. //

            There’s no Bible verse that says this anywhere, you are drawing that conclusion yourself. True, we don’t see those things yet, but the Bible clearly says Jesus reigns from heaven UNTIL all enemies are put down. Again, another question you refuse to answer: Why does Jesus have to physically be on the planet to reign over it? And, if He comes and reigns here, does that mean He is no longer reigning over heaven since He isn’t there?

            You change plain words like “near” to make them fit your doctrine. Anyone with an open heart and mind should be carefully examining WHY this is done by dispensationalists.

            One more time…please explain why Philippians and Ephesians (and Matthew 28) all explicitly state that Jesus is king over ALL things in heaven AND in earth. And how you reconcile that with thinking this is yet future.

            //I’ve read many dispensationalists and only found exaltation of Christ’s work and resurrection. //

            I agree, I attend a dispie church still. This is true except when it relates to eschatology and Israel. You guys think it’s glorious to be sure, but only one of God’s plans and temporary. I say it was THE plan, the only plan, the only way.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Pete,
              I won’t argue with you. You are a Calvinist and amillenialist. Calvinism and amillennialism is heresy. It is blasphemous because it maintains God does not keep His promises. It is false theology–as false as selling indulgences or praying people out of purgatory. The angel told Mary that God would give Christ the throne of David (Luke 1.32). David’s throne was on earth. The Lord Jesus Christ has not occupied the throne of David and will not until He returns. Amillennialists deny this. Their denial makes God out to be a liar. This is blasphemy. You might want to read my article, Hermeneutics. It reveals the error of Calvinists and amillennialists. The greatest weakness of Calvinism, however, is it denies the sovereignty of God. For Calvinists, man’s will is greater than God’s. They deny Romans 11.29. Calvinists and amillennialists deny all the OT covenants and promises made to Israel. They deny Deuteronomy 28.1, 13. They deny God will give national Israel land from the Mediterranean to the the Euphrates. This is heresy. God is sovereign. He will bring His program for Israel to completion just as He will complete His Church. The theology you have stated is Calvinism and amillennialism. It denies the word of God. I have no ill will to you. I said what I said to you not out of spite but because I wish the best for you. But the system you are following is evil. The men who teach these things are either wholly ignorant of the Scriptures and God’s sovereignity or God’s enemies. Again I say, repent. Believe the word of God.

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                Pete,
                The system is evil because is denies the word of God. It denies God’s sovereignty. It says God has not and will not keep promises He sovereignly made. Calvinists/Amillenialists deny Genesis 15.18. They deny ALL prophetic promises God made to Israel. That is evil.

              • Becky says:

                Hi Pete,

                Don’t mean to intrude but . . .

                You wrote that the //…The mountain splitting is symbolic, …//
                If the mountain is Jerusalem (the spoil) based on Zec 14:1, the ‘mountain splitting’ may be symbolic. Now the question is, when did that occur? 70 AD? Were all nations at that battle mentioned in Zec 14:2? When did the LORD go forth and fight those nations? Is Zec 14:4 past or a future event? Was the prophesy fulfilled the day Jesu stood on the mount of olives; “Zec 14:8 ¶ And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. :9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”? Is this a past or future event?

                Also, you wrote //…I say the kingdom has come 100%…//
                That his “kingdom has come” isn’t clear from the following passage . . .: 1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

                . . . although, it clearly indicates that “he must reign, . . .” so, I guess one can argue that he is reigning.

                Acts indicates that he is in a ‘standing’ position. Shouldn’t he be ‘seated’ in order to use the ‘footstool’? Does ‘standing’ vs. ‘seated’ signify anything? To ‘reign’ shouldn’t the ruler be seen as “seated” on the throne (figuratively speaking)? I don’t know, just throwing it out there.

                “Standing” passage: Act 7:56) And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Clearly he’s in heaven but why is he ‘standing’? Perhaps this is why . . . //…We do not see these things … // yet . . . because ‘all’ had not yet been subdued? Just asking.

                “Seated” passage: Heb 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

                In this passage however, a ‘high priest’ is “seated” . . . A ‘high priest’ is a mediator between God and man; is he a ruling/reigning king at this phase of God’s plan? Or is he what it says, a high priest. (I’m thinking King Melchizedek so Jesus must be a reigning king – right?) To avoid frustrating these passages one must remember that there is chronological order of things; how events must unfold; what has to happen first, etc., as well as realizing we don’t know God’s appointed time (unless it’s past of course)?

                Then there’s Heb 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; :13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. Here we see ‘this man’ who has ‘sat’ down . . ., yet is in expectation of his footstool (paraphrased). Is ‘this man’ is a reigning king? If so, why “wait”…? Perhaps he’s waiting on God’s timing? Why not plainly say he’s King, even if he is waiting for his footstool? You get my point? God’s timing is everything. No matter what we think – ultimately – God is right and we are wrong.

                You also wrote //…Why does Jesus have to physically be on the planet to reign over it?//
                Whether from heaven or from earth, it only says, “… his must reign.” Perhaps the following passages cause confusion?: Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. . . Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

                From this passage, it’s clear that someone will ‘reign on the earth,’ but from where Jesus will be co-reigning (during the 1K reign), it’s not clear to me from this translation. Perhaps a cross referenced passage or a closer study of the Greek manuscript would shed some light?

                You also wrote // …words like “near” …//
                When Jesus was here, he was “near” as was his “kingdom” but after he left this earth, one could claim that he/it was no longer “near”. Perhaps “near” correlates only to those who recognize him as the messiah? Just asking.

                You wrote, //“One more time…please explain why Philippians and Ephesians (and Matthew 28) all explicitly state that Jesus is king over ALL things in heaven AND in earth.//

                OT passages indicate that ‘the Kings are over ALL Israel.’ Israel does not recognize Jesus as the prophesied anointed messiah – their KING. This doesn’t negate who He is (or the fact that he is king), but in relation to the Nation of Israel and keeping aligned with God’s plan, (we know why) Jesus was rejected as King.

                You also wrote, //And how you reconcile that with thinking this is yet future.”//

                Except for possibly Zec 4:9, in the KJV, I was unable to find any passages in Philippians, Ephesians or Matthew which explicitly state that Jesus is King over all “things.” Certain passages indicate God gave him all things such as power and knowledge, and that he is “able” to subdue all things unto himself, etc., so perhaps it’s about perspective or spatial order? Afterall, doesn’t scripture teach us in Rev 4:8 . . . Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.? As I understand it, there is order in God’s plan; past, present and future; therefore, for me it’s safe to conclude that there are events that have not yet transpired; positions are pending, battles need to be fought, etc., as not all things happen simultaneously. Consequently, certain events are (or must be) relegated to the (our) future?

                You wrote, //I agree, I attend a dispie church still. This is true except when it relates to eschatology and Israel. You guys think it’s glorious to be sure, but only one of God’s plans and temporary. I say it was THE plan, the only plan, the only way.//

                I can’t speak to the ‘dispie’ doctrine taught at your church but all one needs to do is look to God’s word. From eternity past, God has only ever had one Plan and that is to eliminate (rectify the mess caused by) his adversary. Of course, the intricacies involved in that work are astronomical, yet Our Holy Father laid it out in scripture; each phase unfolding at various appointed times. Perhaps this is probably why some think there is more than one plan? The exaltation of Christ’s work and resurrection are central (or at the HEART of) God’s plan so I don’t know why a dispensationalist would ever dismiss it.

                As far as end times, the bible says only God knows, we can only speculate or piece together theories based on what He has revealed to us. As for Israel, currently, all Jews/Israel (if any) are not attending Sunday services nor have all abandoned the Torah . . . this alone tells me the nation of Israel has yet to accept Jesus as their Lord, let alone their King. However, again, this does not negate the fact that he is their King as stated over the cross. As to when the administration will be inaugurated is in God’s hands.

                Sorry for adding my two cents – I hope any of it makes sense. I know how frustrating it is to find answers to difficult questions. I’m not learned enough to find them myself and mainstream clergy seldom have substantial, consistent answers. It’s a pity.

                Blessing and may the Holy Spirit help you find the answers you seek.

              • bmariez says:

                Hi Becky, there are a couple of your statements i would like to respond to. You state, “When Jesus was here, he was “near” as was his “kingdom” but after he left this earth, one could claim that he/it was no longer “near”. Perhaps “near” correlates only to those who recognize him as the messiah? Just asking.”
                In Matt 28:20, Jesus told His disciples, I am with you alway….. We must not forget about His Holy Spirit. There is also the word of faith in Romans 10:8.
                You state, “Except for possibly Zec 4:9, in the KJV, I was unable to find any passages in Philippians, Ephesians or Matthew which explicitly state that Jesus is King over all “things.”
                Paul writes in I Tim 1:17 Now unto the King eternal….immortal…invisible. And in 1Ti 6:15-16 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
                Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
                These verses spoken by Paul himself “specifically” refer to Jesus as an “invisible” King and a Lord. I guess the question really is, King and Lord over what/whom? Hope this helps

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                bmariez,
                Jesus, in His earthly ministry, presented himself as King of the Jews. The message to Israel was to repent for the kingdom was near. Jesus instructed his apostles to pray that the earthly kingdom of God come upon the earth (Matthew 6.10). Paul wrote that Jesus came to fulfill the promises to the fathers (Romans 15.8), the establishment of the earthly kingdom. For Paul, for Christians, the kingdom of God is heavenly and the realm of the overall rule of God. Christians do not look for an earthly kingdom as we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3.20). But the OT promises will be fulfilled and the earthly kingdom established (Zechariah 14.9).

  14. Jack S. says:

    Pete,

    We are all praying that you will open your eyes and choose scripture over denomination and tradition. You may be saved, but you are practicing a false doctrine.

    Please read articles on this website with an open mind and an open heart. You have to admit, you might be wrong with your Calvinist teachings; let the Holy Spirit guide you to the Truth.

    In Love…..Jack S.

    • Pete says:

      Jack S, interesting…what makes you say that I am choosing denomination and tradition over scripture? All I have said is that “near” means near. I have said that Peter proclaimed “this is that which was spoken by Joel” and that’s exactly what it meant.

      Are you REALLY praying for me Jack S? Or just trying to be kind? Or condescending? I of course value prayers, but I don’t think people should pray that others agree with them.

      I don’t even know what Calvinism is. I know a little, and what I know I 100% disagree with. What is Calvinist about what I posted?

      • Jafo says:

        Near means near! Really? When an comet misses earth by 250,000 miles it’s called a near miss. When when a car misses a person by mere inches it’s called a near miss. If near means near how can inches and miles both be defined as near? Certainly it’s the context which is used to determine what near means. It’s the same for these verses. It’s the context. The Kingdom was ‘near’ because Jesus was on earth and it could have happened. Thus it was contextually very near. But it didn’t happen. Thus, the context of ‘near’ changes to what ‘near’ means in the context of Gods plan

  15. Becky says:

    Peter did mean what he said, but What did Joel say?

    Joel 2:28 ¶And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (“afterward” – after what? I think it’s the crucifixion but it’s not clear from the passage.) Joel 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (“in those days” – what days? We may conclude it was during the time of Jesus, specifically, Pentecost base on Peter, but it’s not clear from the passage.) Joel 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. (‘shew wonders’ – when did this happen and what form did it take? If symbolic, what does it symbolize?) Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (‘darkness/blood’ – did this happen before or after Jesus stood on the mount of olives? Per Joel, it should have happened before – right? If symbolic, what does it symbolize or what form did it take? Is there anything in the historical or sacred writings the records it as the ‘terrible day of the LORD’? Is this symbolic and if so, what does it symbolize? What form did it take?) Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (‘whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD’ – does this mean ‘ALL’ or only those who call on the LORD? The most difficult one to reconcile is ‘mount Zion’ – the Temple Mount. The passage clearly says, “in mount Zion and in Jerusalem” so one may conclude that it’s on earth (right?) but isn’t entry currently prohibited to all non-Muslims? How then will Israel be delivered, since they don’t believe in Jesus, and their Holy, Sacred Temple isn’t accessible? Do we ascribe this passage as symbolism as well? If so, what does it symbolize? How would you reconcile this passage?

    The only way I would be able to explain what Peter quoted would be to conclude that the prophecy from Joel was only partially fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. If everything that was prophesied can be reconciled or confirmed as having been fulfilled where is the event recorded? Can the fulfillment of the prophecy be found in the bible? Pete – do you know when all Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled? I’d like to know the answer myself.

    Blessings

    • bmariez says:

      Hi Becky, Not sure if you noticed, but Peter did not quote the last half of Joel 2:32. The same thing Jesus did in Luke 4:18,19. Peter said, “This is that” regarding Joel’s prophecy, Jesus said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

      • doctrine doctrine says:

        bmariez,
        Is your position that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon every human being and that the sun became dark and the moon looked like blood? It that what you think “this is that” means?

        • bmariez says:

          Don, What about this verse? Luk 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Did all flesh see the salvation of God?

          • doctrine doctrine says:

            Bmariez,
            Not yet. The tense of the verb is future.

            • becky says:

              Don, why was it quoted?

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                bmariez,
                It was quoted because the Jews’ hope lay in the coming of their earthly kingdom. Read the previous verses. They are quotes from Isaiah 40. Salvation for Israel was the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the earthly kingdom. Read Luke 1 and 2. The statements of Zachariah, Mary, Simeon, Anna reveal the Jews’ hope and their concept of salvation. When Jesus arrived the kingdom of God was “near.” They thought it was about to be established. And it would have been had Israel repented.

  16. Pete says:

    Becky, these are all excellent questions and points. I will get back to you on them. I have replied in other threads to you but someone deleted the replies. The one thing I will say here that might help…is that I personally (along with many others) try to avoid changing plain ordinary text in order to accommodate my biased understanding of difficult text.

    Case in point: “wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke”. Hard to understand. And we weren’t present when this happened. And it’s ancient Jewish text. We are 21st century Western influenced people reading from the King James. And we did not have the years of Hebrew education Peter and the other Jews had. That makes it tough for us to reconcile.

    But Peter said “this is that”. And then he proceeded to quote that portion in Joel. So we should just assume that PETER knew what he was talking about. Just because we don’t get it doesn’t give us the right to make the assumption that it did not happen.

    We should accept the simple plain text “this is that” and perhaps go and spend some serious time learning what the tough language means. Don’t just create entire new doctrines out of it.

    More later (assuming this doesn’t get deleted).

  17. Bobbi says:

    It would be good to see an article on interpretation, hermeneutics.
    This allegorical approach is dangerous. Why do you make an allegory out of something that can be understood literally? I realize that some things are hard to imagine, like Jesus reigning on earth on the throne of David but even as far back as 2Samuel 7:1-16 it is prophesied to be forever.
    I grew up in this allegory business and it is a robber and a thief. This is a sad thing. The Bible is inspired, 2Peter 1:21, so if ever at all possible to take a passage literally thus I will. Even as wondrous as some passages are they are possible. We just need to believe God.
    “Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
    I pray that all who have been blinded by allegories and such be freed to see the light. In Jesus name, Amen.

  18. joe says:

    I’ve read some of the writings by some of those who believe all the prophecies concerning the end have already happened. Here’s a couple:

    1. coming in the clouds…..the dust clouds from the Roman wheels as they approach Jerusalem in the late 60’s a.d.

    2. Everyone will see: The Roman army was made up of people from all over the world.

  19. joe says:

    Doctrine, since I’m here.

    There’s something in the bible about Jubilees. After 49 years the next year is a time where all debts are cleared up and settled and it all begins again until the next Jubilee. There is also the teaching of the Kinsman Redeemer….think the book or Ruth. Question: Is it possible that Revelation 5 occurs on the final Jubilee and the scroll that no one could open is the property deed of the earth and the only one who can perform the acts of the Kinsman Redeemer is Christ. 1. He’s related. 2. He is willing and 3. He has the ability. …..also, is it possible that on an upcoming Jubilee (Fall of the year) the Lord will undertake the functions of a Kinsman Redeemer by taking the earth back?

    I understand that 1917 was a Jubilee….Was that the year of the Balfore Declaration?
    In 1967 Israel recaptured part of Jerusalem
    You know where this is going.

    Any thoughts?

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