I was just with pastor Robert Dean at the Pre-trib study group and we were dealing with the subject of anti-Semitism when we were there in Dallas the last few days, what the Bible says about anti-Semitism in the last days, and he wanted me to announce that tomorrow night at his church West Houston Bible Church, 7:30 p.m. December 6, that’s tomorrow, he writes our friend, Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, former director of the Christian Friend of Yad Vashem which is the holocaust museum in Israel, in Jerusalem. She will be at his church, West Houston Bible Church for an extremely timely and vital presentation on the insidious rise of anti-Semitism today. She will also update us on the increasing robust persecution of Christians in the Middle East which some believe may very well soon manifest itself in the United States. So anyway, it’s just a qualified person to give us a free lecture at his church tomorrow night, West Houston Bible Church, 7:30 p.m. I think we sent out an e-mail today, didn’t we. So if you’re interested in that that’s available to you. I’m not sure if they’re going to stream that, I assume they are so you might want to think about either going to that if the Lord leads or maybe catching it via live stream.
Let’s take our Bibles tonight if we could and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 3 and verse 21.
Revelation 3:21, “’He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.’” And just sort of looking at the calendar this is our last Wednesday night Bible study of 2018. Next week is the gingerbread houses, I was going to say the build a bear workshop but that’s something different, right? Gingerbread house contest, that’s always a fun time of fellowship. And then I think we take the next couple of Wednesdays off because of Christmas and all those things.
And then we are going to reconvene on January 9th and we’re just going to continue on where we left off with the doctrine of the kingdom. People say well how much more are we going to do on the kingdom? Well, I think we’re about two-thirds through the book but the last third of it will go by a lot faster than the prior parts of it so I’m thinking at least another quarter. Can you guys hang on that long? Okay! Minimum of another quarter and maybe a little longer, we’ll have to see. I’m one of those people that thinks if you’re enjoying a good meal why rush it.
Okay, here we are in our study of the kingdom, we’re in chapter 17 of the book I wrote which is just a guide to what the Bible says. And we’re dealing with number three here, why do so many people believe that we’re in the Kingdom Now? I mean, if the kingdom was offered to Israel, rejected and postponed why do so many people say no, we’re in the Kingdom Now? Well, there’s a variety of passages that people use and we’ve looked at several from the ministry of Christ and now we’re into some passages from the Book of Acts. And by far and away the dominant passage people use today to argue that we are in the kingdom is Acts 2 which they believe communicates that Jesus is currently reigning on the Davidic throne.
So even before we look at that specific passage, and we’ll try to look at some of the specifics of it tonight, what is the response to this idea that we are in the Davidic Kingdom Now because Jesus is reigning on David’s throne? Well, I have here a six-fold response and we’ve made it through I think the first point and about halfway through the second point, and if we’re fortunate we may make it through half of the third point because this area right here is really a big, BIG deal and we can get kind of bogged down here because this is where the debate happens concerning Kingdom Now theology. Acts 2 is really the primary battleground.
So how do we respond to this idea that Jesus is currently reigning on David’s throne? Number one, we made the point that David’s throne is never portrayed as heavenly, EVER, but always portrayed as earthly. And you’ll see that Old Testament and you’ll see that New Testament; in fact, one of the first references we have to David’s throne is 1 Kings 2:11-12 where Solomon, following David, sat on David’s throne, the throne of his father. So obviously for Solomon to sit on it Solomon’s reign was on this earth and so obviously the Davidic Covenant and so obviously the Davidic throne has to be earthly. So therefore to transport it into heaven, as the theologians today are doing requires (and this is point number two) a change in its original meaning, which would contradict progressive revelation (we’ll go back over that again today, this evening, and it moves you into this mindset where the New Testament can outright change Old Testament passages. That’s the only way to make this work.
So I gave you some quotes from some theologians, like George Ladd who really started this already/not yet idea at Fuller Seminary and he in the quote uses the word “change,” Peter reinterprets or changes the original promise in his sermon in Acts 2. And there’s no doubt that it’s a change because the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, presents the Davidic throne on earth, all of a sudden to make it in heaven requires a change doesn’t it? Earth is not heaven and heaven is not earth. Beyond that the Old Testament is very clear (and the New Testament for that matter) that the throne will only come into existence over Israel and then all of a sudden we learn well, God was just fooling, it doesn’t come into existence through Old Testament Israel, it comes into existence through the church which is primarily Gentile. So that’s change number two. So the place is changed and the people have changed.
Beyond that the Old Testament is very clear (and New Testament) that the Davidic throne will only exist over a converted Israel. To make the Davidic throne in operation today means that you have it in existence despite the fact that Israel is today in unbelief. So you have three major changes: you have a change of place, you have a change of people, and you have a change of the converted status of the nation of Israel.
So one of the great progenitors of this idea that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne is Darrell Bock at Dallas Seminary and he writes, through his progressive dispensationalism, “The Davidic throne and the heavenly throne of Jesus at the right hand of the Father are one and the same.” [“Evidence from Acts,” in The Coming Millennial Kingdom, ed. Donald Campbell and Jeffrey Townsend (Chicago: Moody, 1992), 194.] So you notice I use these quotes because I don’t want to be accused of misrepresenting people’s beliefs. Darrell Bock says this about as clearly as it can be said that what is happening at the Father’s right hand, right now, which we would identify as the high priestly ministry of Christ, he says no, that really is the Davidic throne. So Jesus is reigning in a Davidic kingdom in what he thinks is an already sense. He still believes in a Davidic throne yet future on the earth one day, so he believes in what’s called All Ready Not Yet but he still clearly believes that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne currently. And that is a game changer. I’ll be showing you some citations in this study, the traditional dispensationalism has never believed that, has never taught that. You’d be hard pressed to find anybody in the dispensational tradition that’s ever believed that but this now has become a new teaching through these younger men at Dallas Seminary.
Now how does he get this to work? Well, you’ve got to change the hermeneutic. Your hermeneutic is your method of interpretation. So lo and behold Darrell Bock has come up with something that Charles Ryrie never saw, John Walvoord never saw it, J. Dwight Pentecost never saw it, my friends at the pre-trib study group, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, never saw it. It’s called a complimentary hermeneutic. So if you give me the freedom to change the hermeneutic I can create a new theology for you… right? So he is out trying to convince everybody that this new method of interpretation, although no one ever saw this before his generation, is true. Why does he have to bring in a new hermeneutic? Because the idea that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne cannot be sustained through the ordinary literal method of interpretation. So we have to come up with a new method of interpretation and his new method is complimentary hermeneutics, complimentary because the New Testament complements the Old in the sense that it adds layers of meaning that aren’t found in the Old Testament.
So he writes, Darrell Bock, “…the New Testament does introduce” and what’s the word I’ve got underlined there, “change” and that’s the key thing to notice, all of these guys are saying the New Testament changes the Old. So he says, ““…the New Testament does introduce change and advance; it does not merely repeat Old Testament revelation.” So every time the New Testament is quoting the Old it’s adding spiritual layers that were never there before. And that is not how we interpret the Bible here at Sugar Land Bible Church; we believe that every time the New Testament quotes the Old it’s keeping its original meaning. It’s sort of like a sermon in a church, when Peter is preaching on the Day of Pentecost he’s reapplying it (the same truth) to a new audience. So we believe interpretation is one, this is a very important principle to understand, interpretation is one but applications are many. So when I’m preaching here at Sugar Land Bible Church I’m not going to the text and adding new meaning to the text; I’m taking the ancient text but I’m simply applying it anew to a new audience. And that’s not what these guys believe; they believe that the New Testament actually changes the meaning of it.
So he writes, “the New Testament does introduce change and advance; it does not merely repeat Old Testament revelation. In making complementary additions, however, it does not jettison Old Testament promises. The enhancement is not at the expense of the original promise.” [Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, “Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: Assessment and Dialogue,” in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, ed. Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 392–93.]
And this is what makes this group, that Darrell Bock represents here, different than an amillennialist or a postmillennialist or a replacement theologian. The replacement theologian believes that the Old Testament cancels or completely changes… rather the New Testament changes the Old Testament completely, and he’s not arguing that. He’s basically saying the Davidic promises are going to be fulfilled one day however the New Testament did add a layer of meaning without jettisoning the old meaning. The replacement theologian says the New Testament added meaning and jettisoned what the Old Testament said. That’s amillennialism replacement theology.
Progressive dispensationalism comes along and says well, that’s not really what’s happening, it’s adding meaning but without changing its original meaning. So that’s why his position is already/not yet. Jesus is already reigning on David’s throne. And you say well, you’re an amillennialist, and he says no I’m not because He’s still going to reign one day on David’s throne in earthly Jerusalem. So our view is not already/not yet, it’s just not yet, we’re not in the Davidic kingdom at all. Why do we think that? Because we think that the New Testament certainly doesn’t add any meaning to the Old Testament. But they’re saying it adds a new layer of meaning. Does this make any sense, what I’m saying?
So Darrell Bock comes up with this complimentary hermeneutic and he writes, or I kind of summarized what he says here: “This novel interpretive approach allows mere ‘crucial linking allusions,’ or ‘pictorial descriptions’ to Jesus as the heir to David’s Throne to expand the original terrestrial promise of the Davidic Throne so that it now encompasses a current spiritual form of the Davidic Kingdom with Jesus presently ruling from a celestial” which means heavenly, “Davidic Throne.” [The Reign of the Lord Christ,” in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, ed. Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 49, 51.]
There are many, many passages of Jesus in heaven at the Father’s right hand and He’s referred to as the Davidic heir. And my point on that is well, that’s no big deal, He’s exercising His ministry as high priest and He’s heir to David’s throne and he will one day sit on David’s throne in the future. That’s how dispensationalists like ourselves have always interpreted the passage. Darrell Bock is saying no, the Davidic allusions to Jesus as heir take the original promises and expand their meaning so now through that the Davidic kingdom is brought into the church. See that? So in his mind there is no distinction between the church and the kingdom. The church, all it is is kind of part A of the kingdom. Now you can’t believe that or argue that using traditional hermeneutics, the traditional literal method of interpretation, traditional understanding of traditional revelation. But you can believe that if all of a sudden you buy into this complimentary hermeneutic.
So when anybody wants to promote to you a new theology generally what they want to do is get you to change your mind about interpretation, how the Bible is interpreted. And that’s what basically Darrell Bock and his group have done.
Robert Lightner, who’s on the traditional side of things, he’s with the Lord now, I think he died this year if I’m not mistaken, he was my teacher and we honored him at the Pre-trib Study Group this week because of his contributions to the study of the end times. He writes in his book, the Last Days Handbook, and by the way, if you don’t know anything about the end times and you want to learn at just the most basic level I would encourage you to get his little book, the Last Days Handbook, he starts off very, very simple and then in the appendix he has different books you can go to; if you’re a beginner go to these books, if you’re an intermediate student go to these books, if you’re an advanced student go to these books over here. So he’s very helpful, writing in a very simple way to help people that have no familiarity with this to learn a little bit about it. And in this particular book he criticizes this new complimentary hermeneutic that was bubbling to the surface at Dallas Seminary. And when he went into print with this he suffered a lot of blowback from these progressive dispensationalists; I mean, they just had no respect for him. I was on campus when a lot of these things were happening and they kind of treated him like an old fuddy-duddy stuck in the old way of thinking.
So he came out and he criticized complementary hermeneutics this way: “‘Complementary hermeneutics’” which we just explained, “must not” and this is very important, “must not be confused with the historic orthodox doctrine of progressive revelation.” What these guys are doing, progressive dispensationalists, is not progressive revelation. He explains, “The latter truth” progressive revelation, “means that God revealed His truth gradually, sometimes over a long period of time. What was revealed later” watch the language very carefully, “What was revealed later never” what? “changed,” see that’s the key word, “never changed the original revelation, however. The meaning and the recipients of the original promise always remain the same.” [Robert Lightner, Last Days Handbook (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 210.]
The way we’ve always understood the progress of revelation is God can reveal a truth early on and as you move through the Bible the Scripture subsequently never changes the original truth, ever! In subsequent Scripture changed the original truth that means what was God doing to the original audience? He was lying to them, and God can’t lie! It’s contrary to His character to lie. Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2, Numbers 23:19
[Hebrews 6:18, “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.” Titus 1:2, “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.” Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”]
There are so many passages that say God can’t lie. But what God can do is He can add more detail. He can add greater clarity but He can’t change what was originally said. Lightner is just making the simple point that this new complimentary hermeneutic is changing what was originally said. He writes, “The meaning and the recipients of the original promise always remain the same.” And so that’s a distinction, pretty much, between traditional dispensationalism as we teach it here and this new progressive dispensationalism.
One of the questions is well why are the progressive dispensationalists doing this? And Charles Ryrie, I think, gives the answer. Charles Ryrie says: “Although these early [bible] conferences” and he’s speaking there of the early Bible conference movement, “were called to oppose postmillennialism and to promote premillennialism,” in other words, we used to have conferences to stand against error, we used to have conferences saying we believe this interpretation of the Bible is right, these other interpretations of the Bible are incorrect. That’s how it used to be done.
And Ryrie is saying the new way of thinking is not to do that anymore; it’s to find a middle ground between you and your opponent. And when you find a middle ground between you and your opponent, sometimes called the third way, the third way which is always some kind of mediating compromise position, becomes the new truth. See that? So you have traditional dispensationalism, then you have replacement theology and amillennialism and the progressive dispensationalist came along and instead of opposing one camp or the other they said the truth has got to be in the middle somewhere. I like to call it middle ground mania. And the middle ground that the community agrees on, because the amillennialist will disagree with the premillennialist but they might agree together on some point. And if they agree together on some point then that point becomes the building block for the new truth. And this is where this whole process of dialogue comes in; you know, you don’t have a conference to oppose what the other camp is doing.
Ryrie is saying that’s what used to be done. But you now have conferences to find some mediating position. And so Ryrie says, “Although these early conferences were called to oppose post millennialism and promote premillennialism today progressive dispensationalists focus on them as examples of ecumenicity in order to justify their interest in finding rapprochement”(that means agreement) “between dispensationalism and Reformed or covenant theology. ” The early conferences in America sought no such rapprochement between themselves and postmillennialists or annihilationist’s or perfectionists.” [Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism, rev. ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1995), 146]
So Ryrie is saying the whole mentality today has changed; it’s not opposition, it’s finding some point of agreement. And whatever point that you can agree on becomes the new truth. And that’s where you get into discussions with people, not to oppose, not to debate, but here’s the key word today, to… what, anybody know what it is? It starts with a “D.” To dialogue.” Didn’t Jesus say go into all the world and dialogue? He didn’t say that, did He? He said “Go into all the world and proclaim,” but what happens if you believe that camp A doesn’t have the truth and camp B doesn’t have the truth. Well, you’ve got to have a meeting of the minds or a dialogue to figure out what it is we can agree on.
So you have a movement today called Christianity and you have a movement today called Chrislam or Islam, let’s start with Islam. So what do people want to do? Instead of opposing Islam, which is what Shahram Haddian is doing, that’s why we had him speak here, we now have a group of people that say well maybe Christianity doesn’t have all of the truth and maybe Islam doesn’t have all of the truth; maybe there’s some kind of mediating position between the two and we’ll call that what? Not Christianity, not Islam, but Chrislam. So just Google Chrislam into your search engine and you’ll see all kinds of stuff popup about evangelicals inviting Muslims into their pulpits to teach evangelicals about Islam.
Now it’s kind of interesting, the Muslims never invite the evangelicals into their mosques to teach Christianity, it always goes the other way around. And I wish I had the quote, I didn’t think of it at the time, but I have a quote from the Muslim Brotherhoods Senior Theoretician, a guy named Github, and he says we’re going to use the process of dialogue to get these gullible Christians to move our direction. We have no interest ever in moving their direction but they think we do, ha, ha, ha, and we’re going to use this process of what’s called interface dialogue to get Christianity to move in the direction of Islam. And so this is all an outworking of this new mindset called dialogue and that’s basically what Darrell Bock and others have done.
What’s happened with this whole thing is the Reformed camp hasn’t moved a millimeter. Did you know that? But all of our schools that were formerly dispensational have moved into the center. Dallas Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, Philadelphia College of the Bible, we can go right on down the list staffed with faculty members that believe in this new mediating position. And the whole time I think the Reformed camp is just laughing because now they’ve got all of us teaching Reformed doctrine, at least a form of it, in formerly dispensational schools. And you say well Andy, why are you mixed up with a school, a small school called Chafer Theological Seminary? This is why, because I want to get back to the original purpose before this whole ecumenical interfaith dialogue process started.
You might have heard of a document signed in the 1990’s called Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Ever hear of that one? That was produced because you had a bunch of people saying well, evangelicals don’t have it right (Protestants) and Catholics don’t have it right so let’s kind of meet in the middle somewhere and let’s sign some kind of document indicating that Protestants are going to look at Catholics as Christians, and therefore agree to not proselytize Catholics anymore. It’s called Evangelicals and Catholics together. And you’ve got a lot of big name people within the evangelical Christianity that signed that document. So notice again what’s happened. Has the Roman Catholic Church moved one millimeter? Not at all! But they’ve used the process of interfaith dialogue to get the gullible Protestants to move in the Catholic direction. I mean, are they trying to convert us to full-blown Catholicism? Or full-blown Islam? No, they’re just trying to get us to soften our stand. See that?
And this is basically what has happened with this whole debate between dispensationalism and Reformed theology. And now we have this mediating position called progressive dispensationalism where we, as traditional dispensationalists give up the store and the Reformed camp doesn’t give up anything. And through the process of dialogue all they did is move us in their direction.
By the way, do you know where the first interfaith dialogue is recorded in the whole Bible? It’s in Genesis 3 where the serpent started a conversation with Eve and he starts talking to her and she starts talking to him, this talking snake. What if she had just shut down the process of dialogue and said I know your true intentions but I’m not going to talk to you. Think how different human history would have turned out. So if you want to stop Chrislam and if you want to stop evangelicals and Catholics together, and if you want to stop progressive dispensationalism and churches moving into a form of Kingdom Now theology, already not yet, there’s an easy way to do it? It’s to move away from a dialogue process and get back to confrontational teaching. That’s why I made the point that Jesus said “God and proclaim.” Go and preach, He didn’t say go and enter into a dialogue with somebody to make things less offensive, to see if we can find a mediating position.
So this is what’s going on all over the place. Everybody is dialoging with everybody and it’s almost like the original great commission was go into all the world and dialogue. I mean, I can’t find any verses that support that. I think actually the process of dialogue is what gets us into trouble because God never called us into that. He called us to learn the truth, teach the truth, proclaim the truth, defend the truth. Could you imagine what would have happened to the Protestant Reformation that Martin Luther started in the 16th century if he had a dialogue mentality with the Popes and the priests? We wouldn’t even have Protestant Christianity today. But Luther stood on what the Bible says, salvation by faith alone, grace alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. All of those concepts wouldn’t exist if he felt truth was something that different camps negotiated in the middle.
So this is the point that Ryrie is making here. And he makes the point that once you let this complementary hermeneutic out of the bag, which is what’s happened, it’s like letting a genie out of the bottle. Once the genie is outside the bottle you’re going to have a very difficult time putting it back in the bottle; in fact, it’s going to be almost impossible. Some would say the toothpaste is out of the tube, how are you going to get the toothpaste back in the tube once it’s out? And it creates all kinds of consequences that I don’t even think progressive dispensationalists themselves have really thought through what they’ve done here.
Ryrie a traditionalist, says, “As an example of the slippery nature of this complementary hermeneutic if applied to other concepts … consider the concept of ‘temple.’… The body of an individual Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit” right, 1 Corinthians 6:19. [1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”] The local church is a temple of God isn’t it? 1 Corinthians 3:16 as is the universal church, Ephesians 2:21. [1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Ephesians 2:21, “in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,”]
What, then is the meaning of the temple in Revelation 11:1-2? [Revelation 11:1-2, “Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.  Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”]
Now we’re in the Book of Revelation, one of these years we may get to Revelation 11, I don’t know, but at some point, if the Lord doesn’t rapture us first we’re going to run into this temple in Revelation 11. What do you do with that temple? Well, I think it means a literal temple, that’s what I think it means. And I get that through a literal method of interpretation. Ryrie says, “A literal hermeneutic answers that it refers to an actual building in the tribulation period since there is no indication in the text that points to any other interpretation.” [Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism, rev. ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1995), 175]
The third temple the Jews are going to build is back in Israel today where they have what’s called the Temple Institute, where they have the groundwork laid and the plans laid for this third temple and it’s actually the temple that the antichrist is going to desecrate midway through the tribulation period. We covered some of that when we studied Daniel. Prophecy demands that that third temple come into existence.
Ryrie, though, says, “But using the complementary hermeneutic one could conclude that it refers to a what? “a community of believers” why would people think that? “(since that meaning is found elsewhere in the New Testament),” isn’t my body the temple, isn’t the church the temple, you say well who cares, (“thus placing the church in the tribulation period.” [Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism, rev. ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1995), 175.]
Using consistently a complementary hermeneutic what did you just throw out the window? The pre-trib rapture because the allusions of a temple in Revelation 11 just took the meaning of the body of Christ and did what? What’s the “c” word? “changed it” or “expanded it into the tribulation period. And it’s very interesting to me that Progressive dispensationalist hardly talk about the rapture. I even went to Darrel Bock’s church, we really didn’t know any better, we just went there because that’s where all the professors were, and I took him for classes and I never heard the man ever mention the rapture, not a single time. The only time I ever heard him talk about it is private when I went up and asked him a question about it and he kind of mildly holds to the pre-trib rapture.
But one of the reasons is it’s no longer front and center in his thinking is because of what Ryrie says is the natural repercussion of consistently applying your complimentary hermeneutic. You want to apply the complimentary hermeneutic to the Davidic throne? Okay, I’m going to take your same complimentary hermeneutic and I’m going to apply it to other concepts because you let the genie out of the bottle. The toothpaste is out of the tube, we’re not going to get it back in so I just want to take this for a test drive and I’m going to expand the church into the tribulation period because we know that what did he say, “crucial linking allusions change or expand the meaning of Old Testament concepts.
He says, “Progressives have not used their complementary hermeneutic to conclude this, though it could be so used…The important question is simply this: Are there limits on the use of a complementary hermeneutic, and, if so, how are these limits to be determined and by whom?” [Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism, rev. ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1995), 175.]
And that’s something you should think about when someone tosses some new idea your direction and they want to apply it to X; if you want to figure out if it’s valid you’d better start applying it to Y and Z and the rest of the alphabet for that matter and then you can figure out real fast should this genie be right out of the bottle at all.
Robert Lightener has this wonder quote that he made on the complimentary hermeneutic, he’s basically making the same point that Ryrie is. Lightner says, “What if you apply the complementary hermeneutic to all of Scripture? . . . What if the complementary hermeneutic, used by progressives in Acts 2 to substantiate the fact that the kingdom has been inaugurated,” or started, “in part, would be applied universally to all prophetic matters of Scripture ever given? One could not know for sure precisely who was involved in the prophecy or where it would be fulfilled until either the prophecy was fulfilled or the canon of Scripture was closed. . . . If the same hermeneutic was applied to other areas of prophecy, like it is applied to the Davidic covenant, you could never be sure of anything in the Scripture until it was either fulfilled or the canon was closed. Then, of course, you know there is not going to be any further revelation, ‘change [once the canon closed.’” [Robert Lightner, “Progressive Dispensationalism,” Conservative Theological Journal 4, no. 11 (March 2000): 53–59, 62.]
He goes on and he says, “Until that time, all prophecy is open to complementation. For example, when God, through the prophets, predicted the Assyrian captivity of Israel and the Babylonian captivity of Judah, they couldn’t really be sure that it was an exclusive captivity of Assyria. Who knows, but what, the Babylonians would have been included, or vice versa. . . . Because it involves people and if the people involved in the Davidic Covenant can change and include other people, then why can’t the people change in these other prophecies? If the place can change in the Davidic Covenant as in Acts 2, then why can’t the place change in other prophecies of Scripture? Other people or other places can be brought in totally changing the original promise in later revelation. . . . Take another illustration. All prophecy or prediction in the Bible, which involves a specific place and people, might be changed in later revelation. How about Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Daniel 9?, and the Gentile world powers, are we to understand those nations, when given, exclusively as those nations? Maybe not; maybe later revelation would change them…Just like some today have an open view of God, the complementary hermeneutic, whether they admit it or know it, is an open view of Scripture as well, to this extent, until the prophecy is realized, it is fulfilled, or the canon has closed. It is not open any longer, please understand me, but I mean that until the canon was closed or the prophecy was fulfilled, it had to be open, if you apply the same hermeneutic to other passages of Scripture. The promise of the land, the promise to Israel, might involve another people later on. I consider this to be a serious danger. . . . If you apply their complementary hermeneutic across the board to other Scripture, the result is devastating.” [Robert Lightner, “Progressive Dispensationalism,” Conservative Theological Journal 4, no. 11 (March 2000): 53–59, 62]
I agree with what he’s saying very much. By the way, think about this for a minute. If the New Testament comes along and changes Old Testament passages the way we’re taught by so many people, and this is the only way they can get their “Kingdom Now theology” to work is to convince people of this, how could the original New Testament characters have been Bereans? You might open your Bible to Acts 17:11 just for a minute. Remember the Bereans on Paul’s second missionary journey? What does it say there, “Now these” Bereans [“were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica,” why is that, “for they” that’s the Bereans in comparison to the Thessalonians, “received the word with great eagerness,” and what did they do says Paul, “examining the” what? “Scriptures” how frequently, “daily to see whether these things were so.”
Paul was teaching them, they were happy about that, they were eager to learn but these were the kind of people that knew the Old Testament and they wanted to make sure that the things that Paul was teaching them was correct. So they were not skeptics just for the sake of being a skeptic but they were people that listened to Paul preach sermons and he was giving them New Testament truth, and they wanted to make sure that it was accurate. Well, how in the world would you ever determine if its accurate? Well, there’s an ancient test for that, isn’t there? I have all those Scriptures on the screen which reveal that test. What’s the test? The new truth must be what? Consistent of the same as what? Prior revelation.
The Old Testament says there’s one God, and someone comes along and says ah, there’s not one God, there’s many gods. And the person may have the gift of gab, they may have the three G’s, for successful ministry. What are those, the Gift of Gab, Good looks and a Guitar. They may have all three going for them and they may have the ABC’s working for them too. You know what the ABC’s are? Attendance, Buildings and Cash. So they’ve got the ABC’s working for them, and they’ve got the three G’s working for them and they’re so aerolite in what they’re saying and they make people feel good, but how could you determine if what they’re saying is erroneous.
They can’t contradict what God originally said. The moment they contradict what God originally said it’s not God speaking. Because if God is speaking through them then what was He doing in prior revelation? He was telling A a lie, see that. If the New Testament is changing the Old Testament in any way or adding some layer of truth that wasn’t there in prior passages, I’m not talking about new truth, I’m just talking about taking existing Davidic concepts and altering their meaning, which is what all Kingdom Now theologians argue, then there is absolutely no way these people could have been Bereans. It’s impossible to be a Berean if you believe that somehow the New Testament is rewriting in any sense the old. And violates this ancient principle that you test things by what God originally said. The Bereans would never have been applauded here, they would have been looked at as closed minded because we all know that God just changed what He originally said. So being a Berean, being a discerner becomes an impossibility.
So what are we saying here about the Davidic throne? Number one, the Davidic throne is always what? Earthly! Number two what are we saying? A Davidic heavenly throne takes what with the original promise? It changes its meaning. Now on what basis do they change the meaning? Do they have some kind of crystal clear passage that changes the meaning? I don’t think the meaning could be changed. But if you want to change the meaning you would think there would be something absolutely iron clad indicating the meaning has been altered. I mean, you’d have to have some really clear passage that says Jesus is now on David’s throne, wouldn’t you? Can you find that passage anywhere? You cannot! You know why? It doesn’t exist.
And that takes me to sub point number three, no New Testament verse ever currently places Jesus on David’s throne. Let me just toss some examples your direction. You might think of John 17:5. [John 17:5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”] John 17 is the Lord’s Prayer, right. Why do we call it the Lord’s Prayer? Because it’s the prayer that Jesus prayed, it goes on a whole chapter. The one in Matthew 6 that we call the Lord’s prayer is really the disciples prayer because He’s teaching them how to pray. You say well didn’t Jesus pray that? I hope not because He said, “Forgive us this day” our daily what? Give us our food and forgive us our sins. I didn’t think Jesus had any sins. So He wasn’t praying in Matthew 6, He was teaching them how to pray.
If you really want to see the Lord’s prayer you read John 17 And in that prayer He says what? He speaks often of His death which was right around the corner, this is in the Passion week, and He speaks of what’s going to happen to Him once He dies, is buried, is resurrected and ascended. Where exactly is He going to go? He says here in John 17:5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” He wants to return to that place of glory that He had with the Father before the world existed.
Does He say here I want to go on David’s throne which is in heaven? Well how could that be, He wants to go to what existed before the world was; there was no Davidic throne, there was no Davidic promise before the world was. I wish we had time to look at several verses but jot down John 13:3, Acts 3:13, and what you’re going to see over and over again is the Bible never says Jesus currently is on David’s throne. [John 13:3, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,” Acts 3:13, “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.”]
Where is Jesus then, if He’s not on David’s throne. He is where? Who is “at the right hand of God.” Where is God? In heaven. Where is David’s throne? On the earth. No verse ever says He’s on David’s throne. If you’re going to have a theology which says the New Testament adds some layer of meaning that’s not found in the Old Testament then you show me the clear passage because it’s not there; I’ve looked. It says over and over again He’s at the right hand of the Father. He is not functioning as the David King apparently. He is functioning as high priest after the order of Melchizedek. That’s His role.
How about this one, Revelation 12:5, this is speaking of His ascension in Revelation 12. [Revelation 12:5, “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”] “…her child” that’s Jesus, “was caught up” where? “to God and to” whose throne? “His throne.” He’s on His throne; who’s “His”? The Father, God the Father. If He was on David’s throne He would be caught up to His own throne, wouldn’t He?
How many verses do I have on this? More than I can shake a stick at here. Write down Acts 7:55-56, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 3:22. Just start looking at all these passages and you’ll clearly see He’s not on David’s throne, He’s at the right hand of the Father in His position of preincarnate glory.
[Acts 7:55-56, “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Colossians 3:1, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
Hebrews 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Hebrews 8:1, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,”
Hebrews 10:12, “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,”
Hebrews 12:2, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
1 Peter 3:22, “who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.]
If you want to understand the present position of Christ God has given us a prefigurement of it already in the David/Saul narrative. If you want to understand what’s happening to Jesus right now you study David and Saul. Remember the story of David and Saul? I believe that that story is a literal story that happened but it’s prefigurement for understanding where Christ is presently. David was anointed king over the nation in 1 Samuel 16. There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that he is going to become the king, he’s anointed as king. Yet did he reign as king at that point? He did not. He did not become king until inauguration day, 2 Samuel 5. That’s when Jerusalem was finally brought into the borders of Israel and David began to reign over the United Kingdom.
So 1 Samuel 16, anointed, there’s a lot of chapters aren’t there in 1 Samuel, doesn’t it go 31 chapters, something like that, in chapter 16 all the way through chapter 31 he’s not reigning as king. He doesn’t actually become inaugurated as King until 2 Samuel 5. So I want to know what’s happening in the interim. Well, there’s a usurper on the throne named who? Saul! David had two chances to kill Saul. Do you realize that? 1 Samuel 12 is chance one; 1 Samuel 26 is chance number two. David did not kill Saul because he said I will not touch the Lord’s anointed. God is going to have to depose Saul and make me the king one day (watch this) even though David had already been anointed king. I mean, what if you had been anointed king and you had a chance to kill your enemy? Most of us would take the opportunity. Right? David did not do that, he waited on the Lord to inaugurate him.
What was happening in between 1 Samuel 16 and 2 Samuel 5 is you’ve got a guy who’s anointed as king, not reigning as king because there’s a usurper on the throne, remember the anointing of Saul left. The anointing comes on David, I think this is in 1 Samuel 16:13-14, and it leaves Saul. [1 Samuel 16:13-14, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.  Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.”]
The Spirit comes upon David to rule as king and it leaves Saul. So Saul is governing the nation all this time without the anointing of God. This is why Saul is trying to kill David, is because of what? It starts with a “J.” Jealousy! So why did God allow that interim time period to elapse? Because everybody in the nation was being forced to make a choice. You can walk by faith and align yourself with David, who’s anointed to be king although he’s not yet reigning as king. OR, you can align yourself with Saul, not walking by faith but walking by sight. And that’s why in the Samuel books, particularly 1 Samuel, there’s so much emphasis on the handsome tall nature of Saul. I mean you read all of that and you say why does it keep drawing attention to his physical appearance? Because if you followed Saul you’re walking by sight; if you follow little David you’re walking by faith. See that?
So God allowed an interim period between anointing and inauguration to force everybody to make a decision. Are you with me on this? Now if you understand this that’s exactly what’s happening today. In fact, this is exactly what’s been happening for the last two thousand years. Jesus is anointed as King, isn’t He? Acts 2:33-35. [Acts 2:33-35, “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.  For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,  “UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’]
When was he anointed? I think He was anointed either at His resurrection or His ascension, one of the two, I’m not sure. But one of the two He was anointed as the next King. Is He reigning as King? No He’s not because inauguration day doesn’t come until the beginning of the millennial kingdom. Well why can’t Jesus just assert Himself on David’s throne now? Because there’s a usurper on the throne, not named Saul but named Satan; Satan is running the world. Satan is running the world without the anointing to be there. Jesus is supposed to be there.
And 1 John 5:19 basically says, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” And you say well why is God allowing this? Why is God allowing this interim time period where Jesus is anointed as King but He’s not functioning as King. He’s instead at the Father’s right hand functioning as priest. Why doesn’t He just come down here and take over? Well number one there’s a usurper on the throne named Satan, who’s got to be cast out. You say when is that going to happen? The Book of Revelation, that’s what it’s about.
And number two, God is forcing everyone to make a choice. If you walk with Jesus you walk by faith. If you walk with Satan, according to this world system, you walk by sight. That’s why God is allowing this delay. And by the way, in David’s day he didn’t have the majority on his side during this interim period. He had what 1 Samuel calls a… he keeps referring to David’s men as a minority.
How about us today? Are we in the majority in the world system. We’re this little tiny minority, just like it was in David’s day. And the only reason we’re part of this little group is because we have enough faith to believe that the One’s whose anointed is going to reign one day and when inauguration day comes you’re going to be reigning alongside of Him. See that?
So if you actually look at this parallel it’s a stunning type or figure that the Holy Spirit has given us to describe this inter period of time. If you make this the kingdom it wrecks this whole thing. So Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, He’s on the Father’s throne, not David’s throne and Revelation 3:21 (this is review for those of you that were with us on Sunday morning going through Revelation) how many thrones do you see there in Revelation 3:21? What does it say? “’He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” How many thrones do you see there? There’s two. And in fact they’re described with two different words. Jesus’ throne is future, see that? The throne that Jesus is on now, the Father’s throne, is in the aorist tense, it’s happening now. You have the Father’s throne in heaven, you have Jesus’ throne on the earth. Which throne is Jesus on now? He’s on the Father’s throne in heaven. Well what about His future throne? What tense is that in? Future tense. Two thrones.
Now this word was given sixty years after the Day of Pentecost, and the Kingdom Now theologians say Jesus sat on David’s throne in heaven. Obviously that can’t be true because sixty years later Jesus makes a distinction between the Father’s throne in heaven and His future throne on the earth. One of these days those two thrones are going to what? Merge in the eternal state, Revelation 22:1, and Darrell Bock uses Revelation 2:21 to say that they’re merging now in Revelation 3:21. [Revelation 22:1, “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 3:21, “’He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”] That’s the quote from Darrell Bock where he argues that. There’s a problem with that though. When do those two thrones merge? The eternal state. That’s a long way away, isn’t it? I mean, that’s like even after the earthly thousand year kingdom is the eternal state. Are we in the eternal state now? No, because when the eternal state rolls around there’s not going to be any more Satan, sea, death, sun, moon, night, evil.
You can’t take the merging of the throne then and make it sound like it’s the merging of the throne now is what I’m trying to say. And by the way, if Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now with a rod of iron and the two thrones are merged why are five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 in total apostasy? Can you explain that to me? That’s not what the kingdom is. The kingdom is His rod of righteousness is present. If the two thrones are the same and He’s in the kingdom now why are five of those seven church in total apostasy. In fact, the name of one of those churches is Laodicea. Does anybody know what Laodicea means? The people ruling. In Laodicea Jesus is not ruling, the people are. Does that sound like the Davidic Kingdom to you.
And by the way, in Laodicea where is Jesus? He’s outside the door of His church, knocking to get in. That’s not the Davidic Kingdom. This is the church age where the church age can move into apostasy. And so if you’re going to tell me that Jesus is on David’s throne now I need to see a clear passage. I’m not seeing that, in fact, I’m seeing the opposite in Revelation 3:21. And you say well what about early Acts, isn’t that an open and shut case? Well, you’ll have to come back in January to find that out because it’s too big a discussion to get into now. But I’ll show you Acts 1, 2 and 3, I’ll show you there specific arguments that they use and I’ll show you that none of those teach that Jesus is on David’s throne. So that’s the direction we’re going.