Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The Kingdom Offer?

Classic dispensationalism teaches that Christ made an offer to the Jews to initiate his earthly kingdom, but the offer was rejected. As a consequence the New Testament church was formed and the kingdom postponed. The snooze button has been pressed on the prophetic clock. When it goes off again, the church will be raptured.

Here are some quotes from noted dispensationalists (as reported by Mathison):
Setting up Messiah’s kingdom, though first faithfully offered to Israel, was deferred and now awaits the return of the Messiah for its realization.—Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 5:347.

It was in his offer to Israel as their king that He was rejected—John F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ our Lord, 282.

Throughout His earthly Jesus' Davidic kingship was proffered to Israel (Matt 2.2, 27:11, John 12:13), but He was rejected... the Messianic, Davidic kingdom was (from a human viewpoint) postponed.—Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 259.

By stone or by storm, Satan carried on his relentless warfare in order to prevent Christ from coming to His appointed throne in the kingdom He had come to establish… Jesus was officially presenting himself as the covenanted Davidic king and was offering the covenanted kingdom to the covenanted people.—J. Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come, pp. 204-204.

Let's first look at the verses Ryrie claims for support:

and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." (Matt 2:2)

Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. (Matt 27:11)

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" (John 12:13)

All these verses confirm that Jesus is a king (which ironically, dispensationalists in some sense now deny), of that there is no doubt. They are necessary for the dispensational claim, but they are not, singly or collectively, sufficient. There is no offer in these passages, except by wild extrapolation, of an earthly Jewish theocracy.

On the contrary, we have:

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. (John 6:15)

Instead of rejecting Christ’s offer to be king, the Jews tried to force him to be king—He rejected the Jewish offer, not the other way around. Dispensationalists could not be more wrong.

J. Dwight Pentecost's comment is particularly troublesome. He essentially concludes that Satan thwarted God's plan. (Remember: the kingdom offer is said by dispensationalists to be genuine and could have been accepted, which is why the Old Testament prophets could not have foreseen the church—there was a "chance" that it wouldn't be required.) This alleged ability of Satan is contrary to much scripture, such as

For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
(Isa. 14:27)

Pentecost either overestimates Satan or underestimates God, or both. Satan, it should be remembered had to ask God’s permission to have sport with Job and also with Peter.

No comments:

Post a Comment