Was the Kingdom Postponed?
Premillennialists tell us the kingdom of Old Testament prophecy is yet future. They say Jesus came to reign as the Messiah, but He was rejected. He therefore established the church as a last-minute substitute (they call it a “parenthesis”), to continue until He comes again and sets up His kingdom. The kingdom was thus postponed.
The Bible teaches no such thing. In fact, this theory contradicts the Scriptures in at least four ways.
1. Predictions with a time element cannot be postponed. If I predict that a certain team will win the World Series, but I do not say when, then whenever they win, my prediction will be fulfilled. But if I specify 2020 as the year, and they do not win until 2025, I cannot say my prediction was “postponed.” I must admit that it was false. So it is with Bible prophecy. When Daniel put a time element on the establishment of God’s kingdom—in the days of the Roman kings (Daniel 2:44)—that eliminated every other time, before or after. Either Daniel’s prophecy came to pass or he must be rejected altogether as a false prophet (see Deuteronomy 18:22).
2. The Scriptures tell us the church was part of God’s eternal plan, not an afterthought. Paul was given grace to preach the gospel “in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:8-11).
3. God knew beforehand that Jesus would be rejected. Isaiah foretold His death in clear terms, noting that “He was despised and rejected of men” (53:3). The Psalmist referred to Him as “the stone which the builders rejected” (118:22).
Did that rejection require God to postpone His plans? Not at all! Consider Psalm 2. It opens with nations and kings taking their stand against God’s anointed (Acts 4:25-28 says this refers to Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews crucifying Christ). How does that affect God? “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.” Then He spoke: “But as for Me, I have installed my King upon Zion, My holy mountain” (vv. 4-6). The Psalm goes on to describe God’s Son being given the nations and ruling them with a rod of iron.
4. The Scriptures affirm that the kingdom is now in existence. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). “I, John, your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus . . .” (Revelation 1:9). John had earlier observed that Christ has made us to be a kingdom (v. 6). Other passages speak of Jesus sitting on God’s throne and reigning (Revelation 3:21; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26).
God’s word came to pass. Jesus now reigns in a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36). Are you a citizen in that kingdom?