Articles

Articles

Postponed Prophecies

Premillennialists tell us the kingdom of Old Testament prophecy is yet future. They say Jesus came to reign as the Messiah but the Jews rejected Him. He therefore established the church as a last-minute substitute; they often call it a “parenthesis.” It will continue until Jesus comes again, at which time He will establish His kingdom. Thus, the kingdom was postponed.

The Bible teaches no such thing. In fact, this theory contradicts the Scriptures in at least four ways.

First, predictions with a time element cannot be postponed. If I predict that a certain team will win the Super Bowl, but I do not say when, then whenever they win my prediction will be fulfilled. But if I specify 2025 as the year, and my team does not win it until 2030, 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 and after. Either his prediction came to pass as stated, or he must be rejected as a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:22).

Premillennnialists sometimes try to get around this obvious point by saying Daniel was referring to a “revived” Roman Empire. Not so. The four parts of Nebuchadnezzar’s image were four successive world empires. Besides, if Daniel’s prophecy refers to a revived Roman Empire, why did Jesus try to establish the kingdom during the historic Roman Empire? Did God’s Son not understand the prophecy He was trying to fulfill?

Second, the Bible tells us that the church was part of God’s eternal plan, not an afterthought. God’s wisdom manifested in the church “was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11).

Third, God knew beforehand that His Son would be rejected. Isaiah foretold that the Christ would be “despised and rejected of men” (53:3). Earlier, the Psalmist referred to Him as “the stone which the builders rejected” (118:22). One of Peter’s points in his Pentecost sermon was that Jesus was “delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23).

Did that rejection of Jesus require God to postpone His kingdom plans? Not at all. Consider Psalm 2. In verses 1-3 the kings and nations are taking their stand against God’s anointed. (The New Testament says this refers to Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews’ opposition to Jesus [Acts 4:25-28]). How does that affect God and His plans? “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain’” (vv. 4-6). Next is the Anointed’s testimony of God’s decree: “He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” That refers to Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 13:33), fol-lowing which He ascended into heaven where He was given the nations to rule with a rod of iron (vv. 6-9; Revelation 2:26-27).

The Jews’ rejection of Jesus was not an obstacle to God’s plan, it was a key element in its success! “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him” (Acts 13:27).

Fourth, the Bible teaches that the kingdom is now in existence. “For He delivered 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). The kingdom consists of men and women everywhere who are purchased by Jesus’ blood (Revelation 5:9-10; 1:5-6; cf. Acts 20:28). Many other New Testament passages speak of Jesus sitting on God’s throne and reigning (Revelation 3:21; Acts 2:34; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Hebrews 1:8).

God’s prophetic word has come to pass. Jesus now reigns in a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36). Have you been born again, born of water and the Spirit, to become a citizen in that kingdom (John 3:3-5)?

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