Twofold Kingdom Of Heaven?
It is of the utmost significance that we correctly understand at the outset the pivotal points of teaching of postmillennialism, lest when we come to our criticism we simply criticize a caricature of this teaching, which is a mere fabrication of our own. Needless to say, this would be both unfair and unwise. It would also be very unjust to misrepresent the teachings of others; it would be sinning against the eighth commandment of the Lord. Besides, it would be a deceiving of my readers. In short, my words would then not be seasoned with salt, giving grace to the hearers. God is not mocked.
When I write above this Chapter, “Twofold Kingdom Of Heaven?” I am asking a very pertinent question concerning the teachings of leading Postmillennialists. For the fact is that they stress this point very much in their writings on the meaning of the Kingdom of God. Such is the distinction which J. Marcellus Kik makes in his book entitled, An Eschatology Of Victory, to which none other than Rousas John Rushdoony writes an Introduction.
We will allow the writer, Marcellus Kik, to speak for himself.
….Revelation is concerned almost entirely with the Messianic kingdom which begins in time and ends in time. For instance, the “thousand-year” period of
cannot refer to the consummate kingdom because it commences in time with the binding of Satan and ends in time with the short period of the release of Satan. It deals with time before the last judgment. Also the Messianic kingdom, as such, ceases to exist, as is clearly indicated in
where it is stated: “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom of God, even the Father….And when all things shall be subdued unto Him then shall the Son also himself be subdued unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” The eschatology of the Old Testament is chiefly concerned with the Messianic kingdom, and its types speak of the Messianic kingdom. The predictive didactic elements of the New Testament prophecy deal with the Messianic Kingdom. The consummate kingdom is not the great object of Old Testament prophecy or New Testament prophecy.
So when we speak of the kingdom of God, the millennial kingdom, and even the kingdom (Christ’s) of glory, we refer to the kingdom that God has given exclusively to the God-man for a definite period of time (I underscore, G.L.). The millennium, in other words, is the period of the gospel dispensation, the Messianic kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth, the regeneration, etc. The millennium commenced either with the ascension of Christ or with the day of Pentecost and will remain until the second coming of Christ. There was a period when Jesus received the kingdom and there will be a period of time when He will surrender it to the Father. (pages 16,17)
It is quite evident from this excerpt from the writings of Kik that he insists that in proper eschatology we must distinguish very rigidly between the “Messianic kingdom” where Christ is King of glory, and the “consummate kingdom” where Christ will no longer reign in glory as the “God-man.” The Bible is really not interested in the consummate kingdom, but only in what Kik calls the Messianic kingdom.
Obviously Postmillennialists need this distinction for the very quintessence of their teaching concerning the “golden age” of the Gospel triumph shortly before the return of Christ. Writes Kik, “The Postmil looks for the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of a glorious age of the church upon earth through the preaching of the gospel under the power of the Holy Spirit. A few enlightened amils (Amillennialists) will grant that some of the millennial blessings may be enjoyed upon earth in the gospel dispensation, but do not look for a golden age upon earth.”
The eschatology of victory is given in the following paragraph by Marcellus Kik.
The Postmil looks for the fulfillment of the OldTestament prophecies of a golden age of the church upon earth. through the preaching of the gospel under the power of the Holy Spirit. He looks forward to all nations becoming Christian and living in peace one with another. He relates all prophecies to history and time (I underscore, G.L.). After the triumph of Christianity throughout the earth he looks for the second coming of the Lord. There are, of course, differences of opinion concerning details among the posts as among other schools of thought.
For this postmil position Kik appeals to such worthies as Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, Warfield, Alexander in opposition to Dr. Geerhardus Vos, who also was of the Princeton School.
Now it ought to be obvious that the appeal of Kik to I Corinthians 15:24-28 is rather challenging, even as it is a bold appeal to this very beautiful passage from the inspired pen of Paul. Perhaps we may say that this text is a key text which deals with the very crux of the question whether we must say that Christ reigns only in the “Messianic kingdom” and that He no longer will reign after His Parousia in the “consummate kingdom.” It seems to me that if this is really the teaching of Paul in this text, the infallible Word of God sustains the position of Postmillennialism.
We will need to give careful exposition and exegesis of this passage as well as other passages in Scripture which cast light upon this reign of Christ in His kingdom.
The question is whether the Scriptures teach that Christ shall reign forever—also in the ages to come after His Parousia and the consummation of the ages. Is the import of such passages as Daniel 7:14 and Luke 1:32,33that Christ shall reign with His saints forever, in a kingdom which shall never end? Is the view of Kik and other Postmillennialists corroborated by such a clear passage as Hebrews 1:8, where the writer quotes Psalm 45:6a?
What do we read in these above-mentioned Scriptures?
In Daniel 7:14 we read, “And there shall be given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away (I underscore, G.L.) and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Again, in verse 18 of this same chapter, we read, “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdomforever, even forever and ever” (I underscore). And, furthermore, in verse 27 we read, “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (I underscore).
Do these passages allow for a separation of the Messianic kingdom into two parts, making the Messianic kingdom in this time before the end, and the consummate kingdom in eternity? That is the question. It is a question of exegesis pure and simple. Holy Writwill attempt to investigate this basically.
And what must we say of such a passage as Luke 1:32and 33? There we read, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. ” Can we take the statement “of His kingdom there shall be no end” to refer to the Messianic kingdom both in this time and in the age to come? Or does the “shall have no end” refer to the fact that the kingdom shall have no end till the time of the ushering in of the “consummate kingdom”?
And what must we say of such a passage as Hebrews 18 (Psalm 45:6a) where we read, “But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom… “? Here we read that the throne of the “Son” is forever and ever. Is this “forever and ever” relative only to the raising up of the kingdom in time, up till the time of Christ’s coming with clouds to take the elect with Him in eternal glory? Is that the perspective, the prophetical perspective, of Hebrews 1:8, which is a quotation of Psalm 45:6,7?
Surely the Scriptures do not contradict themselves on so important a matter, it would seem. However, if the Holy Spirit teaches in I Corinthians 15:28 that the reign of Christ in His “Messianic” kingdom ends “when He shall have delivered up the kingdom” to God even the Father, then we will need to explain the passages which we quote above accordingly. For the Scriptures do not contradict each other!
This does not mean that we will not need to exegete the passages given in Daniel 7 and Luke 1 in the light of the immediate context and in the light of all of the Scriptures where light is shed on the meaning of these Scriptures. Such exegesis remains our burden from the Lord.
At this point we are not yet interested in going into any detailed exegesis of these Scriptures. In this Chapter we merely desire to set forth the teaching of the Postmillennial view, and at the same time call attention to the calling which we have to make a critical analysis of this view, and to see which Scriptures come to the foreground calling for careful exegesis. We must do more than merely assume that a given Scripture passage teaches a certain truth, and then find other passages which we simply quote at random to bolster that position. Such is the method of many of the Postmillennial writers. I shall have opportunity to point that out when we come to consider some of the texts which these writers quote.
We end this Chapter stating briefly the view of the leading Postmillennialists. It is as follows:
1. We must distinguish between the Messianic kingdom of Christ and the consummate kingdom in eternity.
2. In the Messianic Kingdom Christ reigns as King, but not forever. This is a kingship which begins in time and ends in time.
3. The Kingdom in the consummate kingdom is under the dominion of God alone, even the Father. Here the Son no longer reigns on David’s throne.
4. And at the end of the dominion of Christ, His reign here on earth, we shall have the golden age, when all things shall be under the influence of the Gospel-preaching, through the Holy Spirit, and the world shall be Christianized. That will be the kingdom perfected, which is prepared for Christ. Christ will come after (post) the kingdom is perfected.