PMT 2016-055 by Christopher Hume
Peace. It is illusive, yes, but it is not unattainable. The best of human rulers can only give thanks to God if his kingdom or country is characterized by peace. To say a kingdom is characterized by peace is a high commendation. For example, the reign of Israel’s greatest king, David, was characterized by peace (though not before much fighting had to be done; see 1 Chronicles 22:18; 23:25). Peace was even more prominent during Solomon’s days (1 Kings 4:20; 1 Chronicles 22:8). But the peace of King David and King Solomon was short-lived. As great as they were, these kings were still sinners. Imagine, however, a perfect king, ruling in perfect righteousness. What would be the effect of that? What would the result be if such a king were ruling over us? Would there be peace? Or would there be increasing wickedness and sin? The Bible not only answers that question, it also tells us who that king is.
In Isaiah 32 we are told, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment” (v. 1). One modern study Bible notes that this verse foreshadows the “triumph of the Messiah.” The Puritan Matthew Henry, a friend of all postmillennialists, notes that this passage directed the original readers “to look for the kingdom of Christ, and the times of reformation which that kingdom should introduce.” Every Christian will acknowledge that Jesus is King. However, the implications of this kingship are often overlooked. The Shorter Catechism specifically asks, “How doth Christ execute the office of a king” (Q. 26). The answer: “Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.” Some Christians are puzzled by this: if Christ is king, why is there still evil in the world? If Christ is on the throne, why are there still enemies at large? By looking to an Old Testament example of a king, we find instruction from God’s Word on how to view the kingship of Christ.
Postmillennialism Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)
Basic introduction to postmillennialism. Presents the essence of the postmillennial argument and answers the leading objections. And all in a succinct, introductory fashion.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Consider King David as a type of Christ. When David became king, he had a lot of work to do. In 1 Chronicles 11:3 we read, “And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.” In the very next verses, David leads his men against the Jebusites residing in Jerusalem. We see that immediately after the people of Israel anointed him as king, he fought against the Jebusites residing in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 11:1-9). The fact that David had work to do did not diminish his kingship. Rather, the fact that he went to work subduing his enemies demonstrated his commitment to his role as king.
In like manner, the fact that Christ is in the process of bringing all things into subjection does not diminish his kingship at all. He is doing what all good kings do. He is building his kingdom. It is interesting to note as well that King David conquered the capital first-he struck a decisive blow right out of the gate (1 Chronicles 11:4). In a far greater way, Jesus Christ has already struck the decisive blow against the enemy. He has defeated (past tense) Satan. He “spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [the cross]” (Colossians 2:15). There are those who deride the “triumphalism” of postmillennialism, but I am happy to rejoice in the victory of Christ. The work left to us is significant, but it is mop-up work nonetheless. We have much work to do as the King’s workers in rebuilding the foundations of family, church, and state. However, the great victory has been won. Our enemy has been defeated. Sure, Satan prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour. But we can resist him. We can be sober-minded and watchful and rely upon King Jesus. With Christ on our side the enemy is nothing but a declawed kitten (cf. 1 John 4:4).
Despite the pockets of current resistance to his rule, the Kingdom of Christ has come-Christ is reigning as King now (1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:20). The “time of reformation” occurred with the institution of the New Covenant and the ascension of Christ (Hebrews 9:10). Yes, the ultimate, final subjugation of all Christ’s enemies will occur when Christ destroys death itself (1 Corinthians 15:26)-but the course of history is one of progress until that point, not decline. The breaking-in of Christ’s kingdom has introduced times of reformation. The King is in the process of subduing his enemies. Just like King David did, Jesus is defeating the enemies of God. However, Jesus is the greater David-he is defeating greater enemies. Jesus is not simply conquering Israel-as David did-he is conquering the world (Psalm 2:8; Matthew 28:18-19). The enemies of the church are ideologically and spiritual. They are strongholds raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Christians are well-armed in this battle, despite what Satan wants us to think. Any good king provides his subjects with protection and resources. King Jesus provides his church with weapons “mighty through God” to wage the spiritual war against his enemies (2 Corinthians 10:4; cf. Ephesians 6:12-17). With the weapons of the Word, faith, and prayer, we can fight for our king to defeat anti-Christian ideologies and worldviews.
Thine Is the Kingdom
(ed. by Ken Gentry)
Contributors lay the scriptural foundation for a biblically-based, hope-filled postmillennial eschatology, while showing what it means to be postmillennial in the real world.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
The righteous rule of Christ over earth does have tangible results. Isaiah said it long ago: “The work of righteousness shall be peace” (Isaiah 32:17). The idea is that a king reigning in righteousness will certainly cause peace. As the Kingdom grows, and enemies are defeated, people will be converted. What will be the result of individuals being saved? Well, for one, it will mean that more families will be saved (yes, salvation does come to households, see Luke 19:9). And what happens when more and more families are saved? For one thing, you begin to have communities that seek to serve Christ. And what happens when more and more communities are saved? You get the picture. Nothing in the Bible would lead us to believe that the inauguration of Christ’s kingdom leads to less righteousness in this world. On the contrary, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ and now he is going to use that authority to build his kingdom. Unless Jesus forgot to ask, all the nations of the earth will be given to him by the Father (Psalm 2:8).
Christ, not Satan, is King. If we have a righteous king over us (and you better believe Christ is a righteous king), what will the result be? Will it be ever-increasing wickedness and rebellion that leads to the church being a tiny remnant in the midst of a world of Christ-haters? Or will it be the steady spread of the Kingdom which the Bible speaks of (Matthew 13:31-33)? The effect of righteousness will be peace. The context of Isaiah 32 is that of the rule of a righteous king. That King is reigning now. If King David, a sinner, was able to defeat his enemies and promote peace, how much more will the perfect Son of God do so? As the Kingdom of Christ grows, peace will be enjoyed more not less. One of the biblical promises concerning the Kingdom of Christ is that nations will be at peace with one another: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). Does the righteous rule of Christ over all the nations actually produce peace? Yes, it most certainly does.
As an aside: What about our personal lives? Is the effect of serving a righteous King peace in our lives? As Dr. Bahnsen would ask, “How are things going in our neighborhood?” What is the effect of righteousness in your life? How are things going in my home? How are things going in my heart?
Thanks, Christopher, for your excellent article (Ken Gentry).
Christopher Hume holds the M.A. degree in Literature from Clarks Summit University. He enjoys reading Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 and listening to hour-long sermons on the biblical ethics of theonomy. He lives in eastern Pennsylvania with his one wife and four younglings. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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