In Proposition 131, George Peters states:
“This Kingdom embraces the visible reign of Jesus, the Christ, here on earth.”
This is a seemingly simple Proposition, but in its simplicity, it expresses a powerful reality. In this coming Kingdom, the Messiah, the Son of David, the heir to the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom, will rule and reign here on earth. This is not just some spiritual kingdom established in our hearts. While there is a spiritual component as has been noted before, there is a notable and important physical reality to this Kingdom and its ruler.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 131 is the following:
“So disctinctly is this taught that no Jew, no Christian believer, no one who read the Scriptures doubted this, until the Alexandrian system evolved a series of doctrines, under the notion of exalting the truth and the Son, in which the throne promised to David’s Son was transformed into a throne in the third heaven. What influence the heathen mythology had at first in shaping and urging such views cannot be fully determined, but that it exerted some is self-evident in the similarity of views on various points, as witnessed e.g. in the introduction of Platonic ideas and doctrines. Eccl. His., His. of Religions, Treatises on Dog. Theol. and Sys. Div., etc., clearly indicate not only the change, but also the motives which led to it. When the change, however, was once made from the ancient simplicity, it rapidly entrenched itself in the Church as more in accord with the rising Papacy and an alleged advanced improvement.”
I give a particular element of this observation a round of applause, a standing ovation, and a hearty collection of “Amens”. The element I am referring to is Peters salient observation of the deleterious influence of Platonic ideology in the church and her theology. While Peters rightly notes the negative influence of Platonic thought on the topic of the Theocratic Kingdom, the unfortunate reality is Platonic thought has weaved its way into a great many points of theology, mixing pagan ideas with biblical truth. The result is a number of errant approaches to important matters of the faith.
We would do well to identify and extract from our theology these Platonic notions, letting Scripture speak for itself. This may require some traditionally held beliefs to be reviewed and adjusted. So be it as tradition, while important, should never trump the truth found in Scripture and the manner and lens in which that truth must be read, understood, and applied. This is true not just for the doctrine of the kingdom, but for all of theology.