Postponement of the Kingdom Dispensational essay

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212).

The second point of criticism Hoekema levels at dispensationalists is that "the kingdom which Christ offered to the Jews of his day did not involve his ascending an earthly throne," as most dispensationalists assert (Hoekema, p. 213). If in fact Christ had made an offer to rule the Jews from a throne on Earth, certainly, Hoekema goes on, "his enemies would have brought up this offer in the trial before Pilate, and made an accusation out of it" (p. 213). Pilate specifically asked Jesus' accusers, "What evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death" (Luke 23:2) (Hoekema, p. 213). No such charge was ever made against Jesus during that trial, though if it had been made it would have been used as evidence of the charge that "Jesus had claimed to be a king over the Jews in an earthly sense, thus threatening Caesar's rule" (Hoekema, p. 213).

Indeed the author goes on, what Jesus did offer the Jews -- "and actually ushered in" -- was basically a "spiritual entity" which embraced the rule of God "in the hearts and lives of men"; the purpose of the kingdom that Jesus offered, as Christians of all denominations understand, was "their redemption from sin and from demonic powers" (Hoekema, p. 213). In fact Jesus said to Pilate: "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 (John 18:36, ASV) (Hoekema, p. 213).

Hoekema's third point (p. 213) of specific criticism of (dispensationalists) those who teach that Christ postponed the kingdom is this: if the majority of the Jews had in fact accepted the heavenly kingdom the Christ offered, "would this not have eliminated Christ's going to the cross?" Another way of looking at that position is this: the reason Christ was dragged to his death on the cross is that "he was rejected by the majority of his countrymen [but] what if he had been accepted by most of the Jews as their king, would it not seem that his humiliating journey to the cross would never have been made?" (p. 213).

Another writer takes that same point made by Hoekema a bit further. Dr. Cornelis P. Venema, Professor of Doctrinal Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana, writes: "The idea of a postponement of the kingdom implies that the suffering and crucifixion of Christ might have been delayed, even become unnecessary, were the Jews of his day to have received him as their earthly king." If this were to have happened, Venema writes, "Christ's own teaching, that he must first suffer and only then enter his glory, would have been invalidated (Luke 24:26). Moreover, Venema insists, the "uniform testimony" found in the New Testament Gospels and epistles, that Christ came to Earth in order to obediently follow his Father's will, "including death upon the cross, would be compromised" (Venema). Surely, the professor goes on, if Christ had succeeded in establishing his earthly kingdom, such a kingdom would have "mitigated any need to endure suffering and death on behalf of his people" (Venema).

Taking another tack, Venema writes that the very idea that Christ's kingdom has been postponed "does not correspond to the New Testament's insistence that Christ is now king and Lord over all." Though the current form and administration of the kingdom of Christ "may not be earthly or physical in the dispensationalist sense of those terms," Venema explains, "There is no escaping the biblical teaching that Christ now reigns upon the earth through his Spirit and Word"; moreover, Christ manifests his "kingly rule primarily through the gathering of his church from all the tribes ad peoples of the earth," Venema continues.

Interestingly, Venema adds, in what appears to be more than a nudge but less than an attack on Dispensationalism, that "Serious injury is done to the biblical conception of Christ's kingship when Dispensationalism relegates it to some future period during which God's dealings are directed narrowly to the earthly people of God, Israel."

Works Cited

Boyer, Paul S. "John Darby Meets Saddam Hussein: Foreign Policy and Bible

Prophecy." Chronicle of Higher Education 49.23 (2003): 12-14.

Hoekema, Anthony a. The Bible and the Future. Grand Rapids MI: Wm B. Eerdmans

Publishing, 1994.

Malcolm, Teresa. "Piecing together Bible's puzzles (dispensational premillennialism)."

National Catholic Reporter. 37.32 (June 15, 2001).

Middletown Bible Church. "The Postponement of the Kingdom: The Biblical Doctrine

Of Postponement." Retrieved June 16, 2009, from http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/dispen/ponepone.htm.

Pentecost, Dwight J. Thy kingdom come: tracing God's kingdom program and govenant promises throughout history. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1995.

Peters, George Nathaniel Henry. The Theocratic Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus, the Christ,

As Covenanted in the Old…[continue]

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