Archive for the 'End Times' Category

The Kingdom in the Prophets

The promise of land and blessings to Abraham and his descendants was only temporarily fulfilled by the kingdom of Israel. But they did not keep God’s covenant, and so they were divided, the northern kingdom (Israel) being defeated by Assyria and scattered, and the southern kingdom (Judah) being taken captive to Babylon. Yet God had promised to establish David’s throne forever.

Here’s an interesting little poem from Horatius Bonar that I dug out of a 30 year-old theology notebook. The subject matter is the same as the title – “The Day of the Lord“.  Enjoy!


The Day of the Lord


Horatius Bonar


The Day of the Lord it cometh,

It comes like a thief in the night;

It comes when the world is dreaming,

Of safety, and peace and light;

It cometh  – the day of sackcloth,

Of Darkness, and storm and fire;

The day of the great avenging,

The day of His burning fire.


Some have downplayed the significance of the Kingdom because it isn’t mentioned by name as much in the rest of the New Testament, outside of the Synoptic Gospels. But it is mentioned in certain significant passages and tied in with other concepts, using other terminology. The epistles are addressed to people who have already accepted the Gospel of the Kingdom, and now see it from the point of view of “heirs” – a word mentioned quite frequently in the epistles. The promise that Abraham and his seed should be “the heir of the world” (not of “heaven”) is referred to in Romans 4:13-14. And Christians are called heirs in Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29; 4:1,7; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 1:14; James 2:5; I Peter 3:7.

Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was near, but that there would be an interim period before it was fully inaugurated. The Kingdom, to him, was primarily the eschatological (end-times) reign and judgment of Messiah on earth. It is in this sense that it would fulfill the promises to Abraham and David, and the many prophecies of the Day of the Lord and the coming of the Son of Man.

In Part 1, we saw that the words for “generation” (Hebrew, dowr; Greek, genea) can have more than one meaning, and one of the meanings is a group of people with like characteristics, especially a group characterized by negative traits, as in “this crooked and perverse generation.”  We saw examples in the Old Testament, and we saw that this sense was in fact used more often than the literal sense in the Gospels.

One of the main reasons that other viewpoints don’t like the idea of a futurist interpretation of prophecy is that certain sections of Scripture appear to have Jesus say that the end would come before that generation passed away.  There has been much speculation about whether Jesus was mistaken or misunderstood, since the Kingdom apparently did not come to pass in the lifetime of his disciples.  C. S. Lewis wrote in his essay, “The World’s Last Night” (in 1960),

I was going to continue with the next article in the series on my web site, about how the definition of the Kingdom has been changed over the years.  But I’ve been doing some reading, especially in the Early Church Fathers, and will be expanding that article.  In the meantime, this article is from the Future Events section, and deals with one of the most crucial issues regarding the nature and timing of the Kingdom of god. Thanks to Alex Hall for much of the research in this article.

There is now a schedule for new blog posts, with a different writer each day of the week.  From this point on I will be posting once a week, on Mondays.  Today I will finish the article I started, and continue with another one next week. (Please note I added another passage of Scripture to Part 1 which I had missed before.)

We have seen that the Kingdom of God is primarily referring to the reign of Messiah on earth in the age to come, and that there is an interim period of anticipation and preparation beforehand. During this time we can enter into a covenant with God. Jesus is called the mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24) and of the New Testament (Hebrews 9:15). Both English words, “covenant” and “testament,” mean the same thing and are translated from the same Greek word, diatheke. A covenant is an agreement made between two parties.

The Christian Hope

As we have seen, God made very specific promises to Abraham and his descendants, about inheriting land on the earth, in the future.  At this point, you may say: “Those promises are all well and good for Abraham; but what does that have to do with me?” After all, most Christians are not literal descendants of Abraham. Scripture has an answer to that question:

Galatians 3:29 (NIV)

29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 4:16 (NIV)

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