Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 124

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In Proposition 124, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom is delayed several thousand years, to raise up a nation or people capable of sustaining it.”

Peters notes this period of delay as the “period of the Gentiles” from the words of Jesus in Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” It should be clear that if Jerusalem is being trodden down, that means it has not yet been established as the center of the future promised Theocratic Kingdom. A delay is currently in place as God continues to bring into the fold a chosen people from all nations as promised long ago to Abraham.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 124 is the following:

“This view of the Kingdom sustains the doctrine of an intermediate state, in which, whatever the condition of the saints, they are waiting for the period of redemption, waiting for the crown and promised inheritance. (See Delitzsch, Sys. of Bib. Psyc., pp. 496, 498, 527-8). This idea of the intermediate state is, however, not peculiar to our system, but belongs to various others. (Comp. Prop. 136.)”

This observation is a fascinating and important statement. Now I am not sure the totality of Peters view on what happens when we die; however, he does mention the existence of an intermediate state to include the righteous waiting for the period of redemption and their promised inheritance. If one is still waiting for something, that means they have not yet received that for which they are waiting. When it comes to matters of the intermediate state, what Peters is stating is in keeping with the words of Jesus in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The time of receiving of the bride (the righteous) to the bridegroom (Jesus) has not yet taken place. Thus the purpose of the intermediate state.

Regardless of whether one affirms in the intermediate state the dead are consciously waiting or whether their breath of life returns to God and the body returns to dust with no conscious element to this state, what must be affirmed is the reward, namely being with the bridegroom and the fullness of redemption, is yet future. The righteous in the intermediate state are awaiting the promise of the resurrection and the Second Advent, the coming again noted by Jesus in John 14:3. The reason for the intermediate state is rooted in the delay of the coming of the Kingdom noted by Peters in this proposition. Thus, the bride and the bridegroom are not yet together as that event takes place when the bridegroom returns for his bride.

Let’s just say I am pleased to see Peters make note of this important point. It makes me more than a bit curious as to his larger belief system on this subject and what exactly he will discuss in Prop. 136. I admit I did take a quick peek.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 123

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In Proposition 123, George Peters states:

“The Pre-Millennial Advent and the accompanying Kingdom are united with the destruction of Anti-Christ.”

In this proposition, Peters is focused on the matter of the timing of the Pre-Millennial Advent and the establishment of its accompanying Kingdom. He notes this Advent and Kingdom are unitd with the destruction of the Anti-Christ. This proposition is rooted in the writings of Paul, Daniel, and John in 2 Thess. 2, Daniel 7, and Revelation 19 respectively. Peters spends the majority of his focus in this Proposition examining the words of Paul in 2 Thess. 2 as they relate to the Second Advent and their relation to the destruction of the Anti-Christ.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 123 is the following:

(Due to the lengthy nature of the observations made in the Proposition, I have chosen a selection from observation 2)

“Those to whom Paul wrote were looking for the personal Advent of Christ. This appears form several considerations. 1. The Apostle distinctly and repeatedly mentions the personal Coming. Thus in 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:16; 5:23; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2:1; 3:5. Hence the minds of the Thessalonians were specifically directed to this subject. 2. This very Coming, we are told. 2 Thess. 2:2 – the subject matter of Paul’s discourse – was calculated to shake and trouble them, deeming it past and they are not saved. If a “spiritual” or “providential Coming” was only intended, as some contend, it is singular that Paul does not explain it as such; if it was to “convert” and not “to consume and destroy,” it is astonishing that Paul does not declare the same; and if it was a providential Coming at Jerusalem (as a few assert) in which the Thessalonians were not personally concerned, it is strange that the Apostle does not mention the fact to relieve their minds. The only satisfactory explanation which meets the condition of their trouble is, that they supposed the day of Christ had come, was inaugurated, and hence they expected that a personal Advent had taken place. They believed in such a personal Coming from Paul’s previous teachings. They supposed it at least to be immenent, if it had not already transpired. The Apostle seeing that this supposition agitated their minds, etc., makes the imminency, the nearness of such a visible Coming as they believed in, the subject of his remarks. It would, in the nature of the case, be unreasonable for him to introduce any other Coming than the one under consideration, without a specific mention that they were mistaken in their ideas respecting such a personal Coming; or, if another Coming was to be understood, growing out of the one stated, without pointing out, in some way, the distinction between them. 3. The reference to a personal Coming is established by the phraseology appended, “as that the day of Christ is at hand.” The period when the Messiah is to be personally manifested as the Judge, the King, etc., is often called “His day,” etc., and was so understood both by the Jews and early Christians. This phrase clearly proves that the Apostle was writing to those who not only held to a personal Advent, but united the day of Judgment, the disctinctive day of Christ in which His power and majesty was to be revealed, with that Coming. Paul’s endeavoring to show that such a day of Christ (see how he used the phrase in Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5; 1 Cor. 3:13; 2 Cor. 1:14; 1 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 4:30; Phil. 1:6, 10), of which he had told them in the First Epis. (1 Thess. 5:2), “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” was not so near as they apprehended, that certain great events would intervene, unmistakably corroborates his entire and exclusive reference in this verse to a personal Advent.”

Peters rightly identifies the expectations of the Thessalonians in reference to the Second Advent. Paul wrote to them in part to correct their errant suppositions, specifically the expectation or fear they had somehow missed out on the Second Coming of Christ. What is evident in their belief is the expectation of a physical, personal Coming. Paul did not correct that supposition as it was correctly rooted in truth. What Paul desired to address and correct was their errant understanding of the timing of the Second Advent. In 2 Thess. 2:8, Paul notes that the wicked will be “consumed with the spirit of His mouth” and they shall be destroyed at the “brightness of His coming.” This places the physical, personal Coming of the Messiah (the Second Advent) at a time when the son of perdition, this man of lawlessness, will be destroyed, thus connecting the two events to a time yet in the future.

Again, Peters notes the theologically incorrect position of treating this Second Coming as nothing but a spiritual event. The writings of Paul in 2 Thess. 2 demands a literal, physical coming given the Anti-Christ will be literally and physically destroyed at the “brightness of the coming” of the Messiah. These are important eschatological time markers if you will for which we must take note.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 122

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In Proposition 122, George Peters states:

“As Son of Man, David’s Son, Jesus inherits David’s throne and Kingdom, and also the land of Palestine.”

This proposition posits some very commons sense thinking. If Jesus is of the line of Judah and heir to the throne of David, then the logical conclusion is as the heir, Jesus will inherit the throne of David. This throne is in a specific piece of land, albeit ruling over all the earth. The specific land is the land of promise, covenanted by God to His people.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 122 is the following:

“The student will see that the inheritance covenanted is not typical of something else. The mystical views that would make it a type of something spiritual are refuted by the literal tenor of the covenant, and that all the prophecies and promises reiterate that literality which is corroborated by the idea of inheriting. The Kingdom at the time of the covenant was literal; the promise of inheriting is literal, confined as it is by the express terms to the literal Theocracy; the Coming of the Heir is literal; the postponement is literal; all is literal. Whatever spiritual blessings and additional glory may be added, the inheritance cannot, without the greatest violence, be transmuted into something else. The same tabernacle fallen down (Acts 15:16) is Christ’s inheritance, and to fulfill the covenant is to be rebuilt again when Jesus, David’s Son, comes again. It is the same Kingdom that (Props. 69. 70, and 71) the preachers of the Kingdom under special Messianic instruction declared as see e.g. in Acts 1:6. It is (Props. 32 and 33) the same Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom that was removed, that is finally, after (e.g. Hos. 3:4) a long interval, to be restored.”

The literal understanding and nature of this inheritance cannot be overstated. While there is a definite spiritual component to the rule of God both in this life and in eternity, the doctrine of the Kingdom as it relates to what will be inherited by Jesus is absolutely a literal construct. A literal return of the heir to the David throne will result in a literal Theocratic kingdom being established. To propose this is all just some mystical/spiritual event ignores the literal nature of what was covenanted by God.

Peters rightly notes a mystical/spiritual only approach involves great violence. Great violence against what? Violence against the clear teaching of Scripture to include the covenant rooted promises of God, promises declaring the establishment of a literal, future, eternal kingdom. The consistent pattern and declaration of Scripture to include the prophets and the NT authors, demands we understanding this coming kingdom in a literal manner. The very nature of Jesus being the heir to the throne demands such an observation by Peters and rightly so.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 121

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In Proposition 121, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom, of necessity, requires a Pre-Millennial Personal Advent of Jesus Christ.”

For those not familiar with the term Pre-Millennial, how it is defined and applied often depends on what “flavor” of eschatology to which one affirms. At its core, Pre-Millennialism can be defined as the belief that

“the Second coming will occur before a literal thousand-year reign of Christ from Jerusalem upon the earth. In the early church, premillennialism was called chiliasm, from the Greek term meaning 1,000, a word used six times in Revelation 20:2-7. This view is most often contrasted with Postmillennialism which sees Christ’s return after a golden “millennial age” where Christ rules spiritually from his throne in heaven, and Amillennialism which sees the millennium as a figurative reference to the current church age.” [1]

From what I have been able to discover, George Peters affirmed the dispensational approach to eschatology and thus falls into the pre-tribulation rapture position, a position to which I do not adhere for reasons at this point outside the scope of this particular study/post. With that said, both dispensationalists and non-dispensationalists can be pre-milliannialists. I know it can be confusing when all the various nuances and associated positions subsumed within eschatology are explored. For the purposes of this Proposition, Peters is merely affirming the pre-millennial position as defined above without, at least at this point, inserting any dispensational specific language.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 121 is the following:

“This Sec. Advent will be the greatest and grandest event that the world has every yet witnessed. Great and glorious as was the First Advent – unspeakably precious and indispensably necessary unto Salvation – yet it was a Coming in humiliation and ending in death, with a glimpse at exaltation, but this is a Coming in overwhelming power, splendor, majesty and glory – a Coming in triumph and like the mighty Theocratic King. To this Coming the Scriptures especially turns the eye of faith and speaks of it in the most lofty and exultant strain; and we may rest assured that what God thus describes, and to which He directs the hope of prophets, Apostles, and believers, must be in conceivably magnificent. It is an honor to aid in upholding and directing attention to it.”

I appreciate the majestic nature by which Peters describes the Second Advent. It is fast approaching the time of year when the First Advent is typically remembered. Much pomp and attention is given to the Messiah coming to earth through the miracle of the virgin birth for the purpose of saving us from the wages of sin which is death. I fear we often forget, misunderstand, and do not appreciate the even greater majesty that will be the Second Advent. The entire movement of salvation history and thus Scripture points us to this event. It would behoove us to join Peters in “upholding and directing attention to it” and to better understand this doctrine of the Kingdom.

References:

[1] “Premillennialism,” Theopedia, accessed December 12, 2017, https://www.theopedia.com/premillennialism.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 120

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In Proposition 120, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom with its Millennial blessings can only be introduced through the power of God in Christ Jesus.”

This seems like such an obvious proposition to make, but nevertheless, it must be stated lest someone try and assert the coming Kingdom will come about through some other means than the power of God in Jesus. This is a Theocratic Kingdom and thus it will be instituted by the Creator, Ruler, Sustainer, and Redeemer. Moreover, the return of the Messiah is essential to this coming Kingdom being established.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 120 is the following:

“This Kingdom designed to carry out and display the Redemptive process in its realization will exhibit in the highest degree the love of God through re-creative power and activity. No one doubts but that such love was strongly shown in creation, in the Incarnation, in Providential movements, etc., but all these, if we are to credit the Prophets, are only forerunners of a higher manifestation of His goodness when the consummation arrives. God revealed directly through humanity as the Theocratic God, acts of restoration and renewal, the complete union of Church and State, the subordination of the human to the divine Will, the rule of righteousness and righteous submission harmoniously blended, the abrogration of all divergence between religion and science, the world and heaven, the heart and God, life and holiness – all this calls forth exhibitions of love in Father, Son, and Spirit, to which all previously given ones are only earnests of the ultimate feast.”

Peters aptly notes the coming Kingdom will be the full realization of the redemptive process. Any redemptive events that have taken place thus far in salvation history are but a foretaste of the fullness to come. We can only grasp a tiny portion of what this coming Kingdom will be like when established. The separation between Creator and His creation will be no more, the issues of sin, death, and decay will be forever dealt with, and holiness will abound in the prescence of God. God will be on His throne on a renewed and restored earth and as Peters has so saliently noted, the “rule of righteousness and righteous submission” will be “harmoniously blended.”

I have said this before and I do not doubt I will state it several more times, I long for this day and I hope you do as well. While we may see glimpses of peace and love in our world today, they are fleeting compared to the eternal joy that will result from this coming Theocratic Kingdom.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 119

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In Proposition 119, George Peters states:

“The Kingdom of God in the millennial descriptions is represented as restoring all the forfeited blessings.”

Peters now draws the readers attention to how Scripture describes the millennial kingdom, noting how the Kingdom of God is noted as being a restoration of all forfeited blessings that were removed from man by God due to sin. This is an important proposition as it brings into focus the entirety of the biblical message of redemption.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 119 is the following:

“Now let the reader consider: 1. What would this earth have become if Adam had not fallen? The answer, as given by Scripture and repeated in various theological systems, is this: it would have had no curse entailed, bringing in its train unfruitfulness, evils, sorrow, and death. It would have had the world under a Theocratic ordering, by which man would have been elevated and blessed, having direct nearness to his beneficent Ruler, etc. 2. Now look at the millennial blessings enumerated, to be realized here on earth during the Messianic reign in the restored Theocratic Kingdom, and is there a single blessing that we can conceive of as intended for man unfallen, and which was forfeited by sin, that is not mentioned to be then realized? If the millennium embraces “Redemption”, “Salvation”, and the Messiah is One that can perform His work perfectly, this precisely the condition that we ought reasonably to anticipate. The very fact that the Millennium itself contains such inestimable blessings, honor, and glory, such a revelation of Divine majesty and goodness, such as ample deliverance from all evil and even death, such a restoration to God’s favor and nearness in Theocratic ordering, is sufficient evidence that our doctrinal position is impregnable. The unity of the Word, running from the fall to the Sec. Advent, demands, prompted by covenants and promise, impelled by the plain grammatical and God-given sense, this belief, so dear to the hearts of the martyrs of the early Church.”

The book of Genesis presents the reader with a description of a world without sin. Then sin enters the picture with the ensuring penalty of decay and death. Scripture ends with a description of a world redeemed and restored. These can be stated as the bookend pictures of Scripture. We started with perfection, sin messed things up, and we have a movement in salvation history towards a time when God fully and forever deals with the sin and death problem. In doing so, He establishes His Theocratic Kingdom for all eternity. The Creator will once again dwell with His creation as it was in the beginning.

Many theologians pontificate about taking the plain, grammatical sense of Scripture. Peters clearly outlines how the plain, grammatical sense of Scripture can do nothing but present the future reality of the Doctrine of the Kingdom as has thus far been presented. To insert anything other than what has been presented thus far, is to skew the movement of salvation history and redemption set forth by God that will be realized and experienced by the people of God for all eternity in this coming Theocratic Kingdom.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 118

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In Proposition 118, George Peters states:

“This view of the Kingdom is most forcibly sustained by the figure of the Barren Woman.”

If you are like me and are/were a bit clueless as to what this figure of the Barren Woman is all about as noted in Scripture, have no fear. Peters outlines in great detail in the below notable observation the meaning of this important figure as related to Israel.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 118 is the following:

“Who is this “barren woman”? The definite answer is given by the entire scope and order of the prediction. For the present, we reply: It is the Jewish nation as the covenanted elect nation, or, if the reader chooses, Jerusalem as the type of the nation, its chief representative, the nation itself being thus designated. For, (1) this nation is represented as being married to God, being His wife. The marriage relation being thus used as a figure to denote the intimate, Theocratic relation that God sustained as earthly Head and Heir over it. Many passages teach this, in which the nation, under the same figure, is declared to be treacherous as a wife, guilty of whoredoms, etc. In this same chapter she is therefore called “a wife of youth,” a woman that was married when but young, etc. Compare Ezek. 16; Jer. 3:20, etc. (2) She is a “barren woman.” Because, (a) she forsook the Lord and followed her own devices, so that God said, Hos. 2:4, “And I will not have mercy on her children, for they be the children of whoredoms;” Hos. 4:6; (b) she persecuted and destroyed her children; Ezek. 16:20-21, “Moreover thou hast taken they sons and daughters whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain my children,” etc.; (c) hence the increase that would have resulted had she proven faithful, was, owing to her wickedness, not realized, Hos. 9:14-17; (d) by her sinfulness she defeated the gracious purposes of God respecting her. This is apparent from numerous declarations in which God promises to her to perform such and such things if she only prove faithful. The lamentation of Jesus over her is sufficient evidence. The nation, persistent in its evil course, instead of blessings receives the curse which is productive of barrenness; (e) she brings forth fruit unto herself and not of God, Hos. 10:1, “begotten strange children,” Hos. 5:7. (3) She is not only a “barren” but a “desolate woman.” In view of the wickedness of the nation God forsook her and in wrath hid His face from her (vs. 7-8), so that in verse 6 she is called a “woman forsaken;” and, owing to this forsaken condition, in verse 4 it is designated by way of reproach a “widowhood” (a condition, notwithstanding the assertions of some, that can never be applied to the Church). How amply this has been fulfilled is evident from Scripture (Ezek. 16:36, etc., Hos. 2, etc.), and from history. Down to the present day she is yet in her “widowhood,” yet a “forsaken woman,” yet “judged as a woman that breaketh wedlock.” Right here the reader may pause and ask, if all this as been so minutely fulfilled that is a matter of record in the languages of the earth, will not the remainder, also asserted of this very “forsaken woman,” be verified? Certainly!

If you had any element of not understanding what the figure of the barren woman is all about as noted in this Proposition, after reading the above notable observation, this figure, its meaning, and application should now be much clearer.

The book of Hosea is an important text for grasping the concept of Israel being betrothed to God. Her chasing after other gods is likened to adultery. As a result of this playing the whore and refusing to repent and return to her Betrothed, Israel was divorced, thus becoming the “barren widow,” the “desolate woman”, the “woman forsaken.”

This seems like a dark and horrible status to be in and quite frankly it is. However, this will not be the end of the story for Israel. The doctrine of the Kingdom predicts God remembering His covenant promises with His people. This will result in a time of repentance. Peters shares a rabbinical writing I think is worth mentioning:

“Woe to those who shall live in the days of the Coming of the Messiah; woe, and also hail to them! For when He, the Holy One, blessed be His name, will appear to remember the barren…” (Rabbi Simeon – Book of Sohar).

We can see the expectation of the people for this future coming kingdom. Woe to those who declare God as being done with His people or who teach that another has fully taken her place in the eyes of God. Such a position is foreign to Scripture and thus cannot be inculcated into or associated with the biblical doctrine of the kingdom. This barrenness is but for a time.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 117

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In Proposition 117, George Peters states:

“The Kingdom of God re-established will form a divinely appointed and visibly manifested Theocracy.”

Peters continues to reveal what will comprise of this coming Kingdom. In this proposition, he aptly notes this Kingdom will be divinely appointed and visibly manifested. Furthermore, it will be a Theocracy. Thus, this will be no ordinary, run of the mill earthly kingdom. Conversely, this Kingdom will be ruled by God.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 117 is the following:

“This is a Theocracy in deed and in truth, for in this reorganized Kingdom we find the Theocratic idea – God’s idea for a perfect government – fully consummated. The Rulership is safely and powerfully lodged in one Person, who in Himself unites the human and the Divine, who becomes, according to “the everlasting covenant” and “the sure mercies of David” (Is. 55:3-4, Alexander’s version), the “Chief and Commander of Nations.” See Prop. on Humanity, etc.”

There is an important element to what Peters is observing. That important element is this Theocracy is one that will be fully consummated. Some point to the church as embodying this divine Theocratic idea. We certainly do not have a semblance of an earthly, visible, fully consummated Theocratic Kingdom re-established at present. This is a covenanted, future Kingdom. I appreciate the description by Peters of this future Kingdom having its rulership “safely and powerfully” residing in the Messiah. Those terms of safely and powerfully represent the reality that the rulership will never be taken from the Messiah. This will be an eternal, visibly manifested, Theocratic Kingdom.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 116

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In Proposition 116, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom is a visible, external one, here on the earth, taking the place of earthly kingdoms (comp. Props. 122, 111, 123, etc.).”

Peters again drives home the importance of understanding the visible, physical nature of the future, promised Kingdom of God. This will not be just a spiritual venture on the part of God, something merely experienced in our hearts. Conversely, this kingdom will be real and will be established on earth, superceding and fully replacing all earthly kingdoms that will be in place at that time.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 116 is the following:

“If the popular definition of the Kingdom of God, viz., that it is “God’s reign in the heart” (thus confounding God’s Sovereignty with a special Kingdom of promise) is correct, how comes it thta the prophets assign it specified time and place in the future? How comes it that it is spoken of as established at a certain period, and as pertaining to the humanity of Jesus Christ? Surely something very different from the absolute eternal Sovereignty of God is denoted; it may be, and is indeed attached to, and grows out of, that Sovereignty, but linked as it is with the elect Jewish nation, the Davidic throne and Kingdom, the human nature of Christ as David’s Son, the outward visibility and dominion, the ending of the times of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jewish nation, etc., it cannot be referred to any other Kingdom but the Theocratic-Davidic as believed in, and preached by the early churches. Admit this, and the significance and unity of covenant and prophecy are apparent; deny it, and diversity and antagonism follow.”

There is an unfortunate tendency to state the Kingdom of God is simply within our hearts since after all, as believers, God rules and reigns in our hearts. While true, that is not the message Scripture reveals concerning the doctrine of the Kingdom. While our hearts are a part of where God rules, the full reality is a future earthly Kingdom. As Peters rightly notes, this future earthly kingdom is linked to the restoration of the Jewish nation.

To limit this Kingdom to being only of a spiritual nature, we are limiting God’s sovereignty to being located only in our hearts. The reality is God’s Sovereignty in this regard is a much bigger construct. It will involve the utter destruction of the wicked, the restoration of the Jewish nation per God’s covenant promises with His people, and the establishment of the Theocratic-Davidic kingdom on a renewed earth. Peters correctly identifies that such a position is rooted in the clear teaching of Scripture as found in the message of the prophets and for that matter all through God’s Word. To limit or deny such a proposition is to misunderstand God’s divine plan for His people and to place God’s Sovereignty within the confines of the human heart rather than recognizing the affirming that even something greater will take place.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 115

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In Proposition 115, George Peters states:

“The Kingdom is not established without a period of violence or war.”

I think it can easily be asserted that we live in a world where their exists a conflict between God and those who oppose Him. If the establishment of a future Kingdom is in order, which we are affirming as clearly outlined in Scripture, it is then a reality that the forces of evil will oppose any hint of this Kingdom coming to fruition. Thus, preceding the future and eternal establishment of the Kingdom of God will come a period of violence and war against the people of God. Now we typically think of this as persecution of the people of God in total. What Peters is specifically noting is the coming against Israel, meaning the nation of Israel in whatever form it exists at the time, to prevent the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 115 is the following:

“This, in the nature of the conflict described, and the results that follow, indicates a prior, partial restoration of Jews to Jerusalem, as many writers have observed. This is not the restoration under Christ, but one that will be effected under the auspices of some nation. At least one thing is certain, that the nation, as such, is at this very time represented at Jerusalem in such numerical force that prophets predict a gathering of the nations against the Jews. With one voice nearly all of them allude to this gathering, and describe the condition of the Jews as one of great trouble and misery. This gathering, too, is purposely allowed by God. In some predictions the nations are said to do this; in others that God, “He shall gather them.” In Rev. 16:14, “the spirits of devils shall gather them;” in another place (Rev. 13:5-18), the last head of the beast and the false prophet shall assemble them; and then again God will do it, as in Zeph. 3:8,” Therefore wait ye upon me saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger,” etc. This is reconcilable with the permissive Providence of God, and with the fact that the results of the free agency of these nations falls in with the fact that the results of the free agency of these nations falls in with the contemplated design of God to employ the very period of their gathering and anticipated triumph for their terrible punishment. By wilfully closing their eyes to “the counsel” of God, to His plain Word, they are led ito the position of unbelief, etc., and God orders all thigns in such a manner that their purpose of gathering shall be fully carried out. Nothing shall intervene to frustrate the daring plans laid by them until the decisive moment arrives. They shall agree among themselves, and be prospered until God is ready to pour out His vengeance; and the gathering itself on a gigantic scale with the eyes of the world fixed upon it, will make the punishment the more signal and overwhelming. God employs their design as a vehicle for the accomplishment of His own; and therefore, with the power to prevent it at any time, it is correctly, although the direct result of creature agencies, attributed to Him.”

Peters saliently notes that this period of violence and war against Israel is part of God’s divine plan. This may seem odd to some. Why would God allow His people to be attacked by the nations of the earth? Why would He gather the “spirits of devils” against His people? The answer to this valid question is found in passages such as Zeph. 3:8 which notes God as declaring He will assemble these nations in order to “pour upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger.” This declaration is in keeping with God’s promises made through the prophets long ago, namely that even though God used the nations to bring judgment on Israel for their disobedience, judgment would eventually come upon those same nations for their evil.

God will protect His people, will destroy the pagan nations who will array themselves against His people, and will establish His Kingdom as covenanted. This is all part of God’s divine plan, one that will be executed to perfection.

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