July 1, 1986 Issue
by Bennie T. Cryer
In this article I continue with thoughts about the Kingship and Kingdom of Christ. In the first article I dealt with the opening statement God made to Christ and proved that God gave Jesus the Kingdom, Jesus delivered it to his disciples and they received it. It increased by converts being translated into it. Col 1:13. This increase began when Peter used the keys to the Kingdom on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Future kingdom advocates think it folly to even consider the kingdom being in existence now. They may believe Jesus is king but he has not been crowned One reason for this reaction is. They believe when the kingdom is established and Christ is king, he will be the Prince of Peace in the sense that there will be no wars or crimes or evil or any such thing. It will last for 1000 years and, not only will men live in peace with each other but even the wolf and the Iamb will enjoy this peace. One future kingdom advocate said, "Look at the world of perplexity and confusion, and tell me that he is ruling over the nations with a rod of iron in this hour! He absolutely is not, and he will not until he returns in the clouds of glory as the King of Kings and The Lord of Lords. He is not king and will not be until he comes again"
The Psalmist immediately brings any thoughts like this to an end so far as the truth of the kingdom is concerned. He recorded two statements about this that I wish to deal with in this study: 1. "Until I make thine enemies thy footstool." 2. "Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." A study of these two statements will reveal that future kingdom advocates have the wrong location for the peace prophesied in The Old Testament and, in addition, they have it in the wrong place so far as time is concerned.
THE COVENANT OF PEACE
When God put enmity between Satan and the woman's seed in Gen 3:15 the old serpent began to rear its ugly head in various ways. First, it came in the heart of Cain toward his brother Abel and he killed him. In Gen. 14 a small scale war was fought that involved God's people against their enemies. This war's commander-in-chief was Abraham. Later, God selected certain descendants of Abraham to be a nation. Again this enmity reared its head as the Gentile nations, one after another, sought to destroy the people of God in this new nation. Many battles were fought in the struggle. These different nations that fought against Israel were symbolized by God in prophecy as ferocious animals: lions, bears, leopards, rams, fowls, and even non-descript beast. Some of these warring nations emerged victorious over Israel and carried her into captivity or ruled over her in other ways. These defeats occurred because of her sins against God and the land.
Every once in a while Israel, under varied circumstances in relationship with her enemies, would have a prophet arise and speak of a time, a nation or a kingdom in which there would be peace with these Gentile nations. Some of these prophecies are: Isa 2:1-4 written about 760 B.C. The companion of the Isaiah prophecy is found in Micah 4:1-5 written about 50 years later. Isaiah, along about the same time Micah wrote his prophecy, wrote Isa 11:1-10 about the wolf dwelling with the Iamb, etc. which is certainly a kingdom prophecy. In Ezek 34:20-31, which was written about 587 B C or some 125 to 175 years after Isaiah prophesied, the evil beasts were to "cease out of the land" and God would judge "between cattle and cattle." Now, that did not mean He was going to come to the Kern County Fair and judge "between the fat cattle and the lean cattle." Future kingdom advocates need to let the vessel that was like "a great sheet knit at the four corners --- where in were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth and wild thing, and fowls of the air." (Acts 10:11-12) come into their minds. All of these animals were used by God to symbolize the Gentile people to Peter. He saw the sheet full of animals three times and perceived that "in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." 10:35. He did not understand that all kinds of animals would live together in one sheet. He saw the spiritual meaning. He immediately opened the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles by preaching a gospel sermon to them. They obeyed the gospel and were added to the church and became one with their Jewish counterpart. All of this is pictured in Ephesians 2:11-18 where the enmity between Jews and Gentiles was slain and they lived in "one body" which was the church in peace and harmony. This peaceful unity was pictured by the prophets under the figures of the implements of war being turned into implements of peace (Isaiah and Micah) or according to Isaiah and Ezekiel the ferocious animals (the Gentiles) would not hurt nor harm the domestic animals (Israel or God's people) because they would be dwelling together in God's Holy Mountain which is the kingdom or church. Judging "between cattle and cattle" in Ezekiel is the same thing as "judging among the nations" in Isaiah. "All nations shall flow into it" and "to it shall the Gentiles seek" (Isa 11:10) is the same thing as Ephesians 2:17-19. Many parallels exist in these passages and prove that these prophets had in mind, not a future kingdom from us today, (Though it was future to them in The Old Testament) but simply the great truth and mystery (still to some today) how God's people from all nations would be one in the church which is also the kingdom of God. Eph 3:3-6. Thus you have the covenant of peace prophesied in Ezekial 34:25. Those outside the church are the enemies today.
JESUS MUST RULE WHILE HE HAS ENEMIES
1 Corinthians 15:24-28 is an application of this truth of the prophecies in Psalms 110 that states Jesus was to rule in the midst of his enemies. If Jesus has enemies now, it is proof that he is reigning. If there ever comes a time when Jesus has no enemy then he will not be reigning for he will then have delivered the kingdom back to his Father. You cannot have universal peace and Jesus reigning at the same time. Death is the last enemy that will be destroyed. As long as people die or are in their graves Jesus will be reigning in his kingdom. When the graves deliver the last ones then the reign will come to an end.
It is therefore plain that God knew what he was talking about when he had the Psalmist write the prophecy that indicates Jesus would be king, reigning and exercising his "rod of iron" over nations in setting them up or bringing them down and in the midst of all of this there would be a kingdom of peace which is the church in which people of all nations could live together in harmony.
Other OPA Article Links:
Psalm 110, Part 1
Bennie T. Cryer 1986 OPA Main Page Home