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« on: September 02, 2009, 09:32:11 AM »

THE COMING KINGDOM OF CHRIST

by

John R. Rice, D.D., Litt. D.

Copyright @ 1945

edited for Our Final Authority by Baptist Bible Believer in the spirit of the Colportage ministry of a century ago

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE KINGDOM POSTPONED UNTIL THE KING RETURNS

AFTER THE rejection of Christ by the Jews was general and national, then Jesus taught often about the kingdom and always made clear that it was now postponed.

In introducing the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27), Luke tells us that He spake this parable to them because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. So He corrected their false impression and told them that He would be like a nobleman who should go into a far country and receive a kingdom, and then return to reign; that He would then allow faithful servants to rule with Him and would punish His enemies.

Then in the parable Jesus referred to the Jews who had rejected Him saying, "But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14).

The clear teaching of the parable is that when Jesus came the first time, He did not receive the kingdom, but will go to a far country (to Heaven with the Father) until the Father gives Him the kingdom and then will return here to reign.

Jesus gave a similar teaching in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Jesus again illustrates Himself as "a man travelling into a far country" (verse 14). After giving out talents to His servants, Jesus referred to His Second Coming like this: "After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them" (verse 19). Again to the faithful servants He said, "I will make thee ruler over many things" (verses 21, 23).

Notice the ruling takes place after the Second Coming.

In verse 27 Jesus illustrates Himself as coming into His own possessions at His Second Coming, saying, "And then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury." Then in the first verse after this parable, Jesus says in Matthew 25:31: "When the Son oŁ man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, THEN shall he sit upon the throne of his glory."

Jesus is clearly teaching that now His kingdom is postponed and that He will not reign until He comes back, like the man who is gone into a far country. But when He returns and all the holy angels with Him, "THEN shall he sit upon the throne of his glory," and His faithful servants that have done well during this church or gospel age will then be appointed by Him to rule with Him over many things.
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 09:33:44 AM »

"But Now Is My Kingdom Not From Hence"

When Jesus stood before Pilate, He gave this same teaching that His kingdom was postponed.

Pilate said to Jesus, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" and "What hast thou done?" (John 18:33, 35). The Holy Spirit tells us the clear answer of Jesus in John 18:36: "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

The word "world" used here means the present order or arrangement, the present system.

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," that is, not of the present system. And then He explained more fully "now is my kingdom not from hence."

'My kingdom, rejected by the Jews, now will not come at this time and will not be of this present world order,' said Jesus in effect. The kingdom of Christ will not come until the end of this present world order. The present "world" (the Greek word is kosmos) will end at the return of Christ when present civilization and governments will be utterly destroyed. Then Christ will have His kingdom.

At the last supper with His disciples before the crucifixion, Jesus comforted the hearts of His disciples concerning His kingdom and promised them that they should eat and drink at His table in that kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Luke 22:28-30 Jesus said:

"Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And, I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

The postponed kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, that is, not of this present order of things. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus gave a similar promise to His disciples and said they should reign with Him on twelve thrones "when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory."

John the Baptist, Jesus, and His apostles preached, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). Jews, as a nation, were addressed in these first messages, and enormous throngs representing the entire nation listened to these sermons. However, the nation did not repent and accept the King and His kingdom; so soon the character of the message was changed. Jesus and the apostles still preached the gospel, the "good news." But it was good news of salvation at hand, not any longer good news about a kingdom at hand. He called out individuals, saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). He still commanded people to repent (Luke 13:3, 5), but He did not say, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

John the Baptist, Jesus, and His apostles preached, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Peter, after the wonderful outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, again addressed the Jewish leaders and preached to representatives of the whole nation and said, "Repent ye therefore."

He did not say in that passage that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand as it had been before the Jewish leaders and people rejected Christ and refused to repent. Instead He plainly tells them that they should now repent, not expecting the IMMEDIATE setting up of the kingdom and that their national sins should be IMMEDIATELY blotted out, but the sins of Israel as a nation should be blotted out AT THE RETURN OF CHRIST!

Read Peter's exhortation and see how different it is from the early teaching of John the Baptist and Jesus, that the people should repent to obtain the kingdom which was at hand.

Acts 3:19-21 says: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."

Of course, we know that an individual's sins are blotted out when he believes in Christ (John 3:18), but the sins of Israel as a nation will not be blotted out until "the times of refreshing" when God "shall send Jesus Christ" to the earth again "whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution."

Then, in that time of refreshing and restitution of the things promised by the prophets, the throne of David will be restored, Israel will be restored and their sins as a nation will be blotted out from the sight of God, and they will be no more punished.
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 09:34:47 AM »

The Apostles Preached Repentance and the Kingdom, But Never That the Kingdom Was at Hand

After Israel rejected their King and refused to qualify nationally for the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, the command to repent was not withdrawn. Jesus commanded the apostles that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in all nations (Luke 24:47).

Paul preached that God has COMMANDED ALL MEN EVERY WHERE to repent (Acts 17:30). In II Peter 3:9 we are told that God would have ALL come to repentance. But notice this fact: NOT ONCE, AFTER THE REJECTION OF CHRIST BY THE JEWISH OFFICIALS AND THE MULTITUDES, DID ANY BIBLE PREACHER TEACH THAT "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND"!

The kingdom was no longer at hand but was postponed. The story of the kingdom was called "the gospel," that is, good news or tidings, while the kingdom was said to be at hand. Jesus preached "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matthew 4:23; 9:35) as long as the kingdom was at hand. After that He taught concerning the kingdom and preached the gospel or good news of salvation, but a postponed kingdom was not good news and that part was not called the gospel.

All of the apostles preached concerning the kingdom of God and kingdom of Heaven, but the Bible never says that any of them, after the early ministry of Christ, preached "the gospel of the kingdom."

However, the gospel of the kingdom is to be preached again during the tribulation period and just before Christ returns to set up His kingdom. In Matthew 24 Jesus was teaching His disciples and us about the things surrounding His coming and the end of the world (verse 3).

- Verse 8 in that chapter tells of "the beginning of sorrows."
- Verse 15 tells of "the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet" in Daniel 9:27, which will happen in the midst of the seven years of trouble which precede the reign of Christ on earth.

Understand; the coming of Jesus into the air to receive His saints will evidently be at the first of the seven years, before the Man of Sin is revealed (II Thessalonians 2:6, 8), but His return with His saints to reign cannot come until the close of the seven years. Then (still in Matthew 24), verse 21 plainly says that the time discussed is the Great Tribulation, and verses 29 and 30 say that IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION ALL THE TRIBES OF THE EARTH SHALL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.

So you see clearly when you read Matthew 24 carefully that the discussion is about the last days just before Christ returns visibly and bodily to the earth. Now here is an interesting fact; IN THOSE DAYS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION, THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM WILL BE PREACHED AGAIN! For in the same chapter, Matthew 24:14 tells us, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

Again the kingdom of Heaven will be "at hand," impending, drawing nigh, and it will be good news to troubled Jews and all Christians who have prayed, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

~ end of chapter 7 ~

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