DISPENSATIONALISM AND THE SPIRITUAL KINGDOM

Christ bureaucratsPMT 2015-111 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Classic dispensationalism I the most popular version of this eschatological perspective, the view held by most self-proclaimed “prophecy experts,” televangelists, and your neighbors. Therefore, it is important to analyze it as the leading competitor to postmillennialism. As I continue my critique of it I will return to elaborate on the spiritual nature of the kingdom which I briefly touched on in my last article.

Dispensationalists argue for the necessity of Christ’s physical presence if His kingdom is to come. For instance, House and Ice write in their critique of postmillennialism:

“Within the Reconstructionist framework, Messiah is in heaven and only present mystically in his kingdom. His absence from the earth during his kingdom reign robs Messiah of his moment of earthly glory and exaltation. It is a truncated reduction of the true reign of Christ. Since the first phase of Christ’s career, his humiliation, was spent physically upon the earth, it follows that there should be a corresponding display of his great glory through his reign on the earth” (House Divided, 240).

Though not intended as such, this statement is really quite demeaning to Christ for several reasons.Great Tribulation Past or Future Resized


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First, it diminishes the absolute glory and majesty that is His as He is now enthroned at the right hand of God’s throne on high. The New Testament Church looks to its heavenly king as one enthroned in awe-inspiring majesty, far above all rule and authority and power (Matt. 28:18; Acts 2:30-36; Rom. 8:34; 1 Cor. 15:23, 24; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3,13; 10:13 Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22). Shall we say that His rule from heaven is a robbery of the glory due His Name? Is it the case that His present session in heaven is “a truncated reduction” of His reign?

Second, it speaks rather condescendingly of Christ’s rule. It offers to Christ but a “moment of glory” and speaks of His wondrous mystical presence as if meager: He “is only present mystically.” But His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, not a momentary one (Isa. 9:6; Luke 1:33; 2 Pet. 1:11; Rev. 11:15; 22:5). The indwelling presence of Christ is one of the rich blessings that flow forth from His glorious exaltation (John 7:39; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Gal. 4:6; 1 John 3:24; 4:4). Shall we say He “is only present mystically”?

Third, this statement forgets that a major aspect of His humiliation was the fact that He came to earth (Rom. 8:3; Heb. 2:14; 10:5., hence it overlooks the fundamental consequence of His exaltation: His return to heaven to take up His manifest glory. In His High Priestly prayer we read:

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was…. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world…. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world (John 17:4, 5, 18, 24).God's Law Made Easy


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Why should it be necessary that Christ’s kingdom require His physical presence on earth? Does not Satan have a kingdom on earth, though he is only spiritually present (Matt. 12:26; Luke 4:6)?

Fourth, what kind of glory is it that teaches that Christ personally and corporeally rules on earth over a political kingdom that revolts against Him at the end (Rev. 20:7-9) (Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. 547-551). This involves a second humiliation of Christ, which I will deal with in a following article.

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