Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 17, 1958
NUMBER 11, PAGE 1,12b-13a

The "Active And Passive" Kingdom -- (II.)

Robert C. Welch, Birmingham, Alabama

This is a continued review of a paper written by a Brother Thurman which teaches premillennialism, arguing that the kingdom of scripture prophecy is not the church. He has convinced himself that the turn of the issue lies in the fact that kingdom has both a passive and active sense. He assumes that others do not know this. He makes a valiant effort to deny that the church is the kingdom of Col. 1:13; but in so doing he denies his own doctrine. He teaches that we are now the passive kingdom, but that in the millennium we will be the active kingdom, in the ruling, kingship position. Now watch him as in his attempted profundity he entangles himself in his own argument.

" Kingdom' in Col. 1:13 does not mean a collective group — it does not refer to people at all; 'kingdom' in Col. 1:13 is not 'a dominion' in a PASSIVE SENSE, instead, 'His dear Son's KINGDOM' means 'the dominion' that He exercises in an ACTIVE SENSE. Why? Because `KINGDOM of His dear Son' is a parallel expression set forth in contrast to the expression 'POWER, AUTHORITY of darkness'. Just as the word that shows WHAT we have been translated OUT OF does not DENOTE a collective group, but, instead, an influence UNDER WHICH we willingly lived, likewise, the word that shows WHAT we have been translated INTO does not DENOTE a collective group, but, instead, an influence UNDER WHICH we now willingly live . . . To restate it in the briefest manner possible, Col. 1:13 does not SAY that we are a PASSIVE dominion, but it shows the same, because it DOES SAY that we have been translated into the ACTIVE dominion of His dear Son."

He has done one of two things, or both: first, he has shown us how that though, where the word kingdom is used, a passage may refer primarily to the ruler, it also includes the ruled; hence, has rendered ineffective all his argument against the kingdom's referring to the church; second, he has stated that we are now translated into "ACTIVE dominion," which is the very thing which he is arguing will not take place until we reign in the millennium.

He makes an elaborate argument to show that the promise of Mark 9:1 was fulfilled on the mount of transfiguration rather than on the day of Pentecost. R. H. Boll made that argument in his book Kingdom of God, stating that it was a favorite interpretation of medieval commentators. He will not think himself so profound in his theory when he meets a Baptist. Just as surely as he makes it, the Baptist will defy him to get the church set up on Pentecost, and will use his argument to prove that the church was started on the mount of transfiguration. He then uses 2 Peter 1:16-21 as proof that the kingdom came with power on the mount of transfiguration; and says of it; "We might call it a "little' COMING OF CHRIST; it furnished EYEWITNESSES with a glimpse of his FUTURE GLORY IN HIS KINGDOM." But, as he does this he gives it a figurative meaning. He teaches that they did not actually see the kingdom come with power; according to him they only saw a "preview." Thus, he has no room for complaining that "Nobody saw the Son of man COMING in his kingdom on the day of Pentecost." The church began on Pentecost; he admits that the church is the kingdom in the "passive" sense; hence the kingdom came on that day, according to him, with the Son of man as its head or king. That has a bit more actuality than does his "preview" theory.

He has great difficulty with the Gentiles seeking the Lord in the rebuilt tabernacle of David of Acts 15. He decides that the best way to handle it is to make of it an argument in his favor. Boll, and others who have discussed the passage in their efforts to justify premillennialism, have done exactly the same thing. He has nothing new. He takes a prophecy of destruction of Jerusalem given in Zech. 14, and assumes without proof that this must occur before the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, of Acts 15. He affirms that those who seek the Lord are already in the tabernacle, having already been called by his Name; and that the calling is now, but that the seeking will be in the millennium. Some things about the passage he refuses to observe. He refuses to notice the fact that James says the prophecy he quote from Amos is in agreement with the visitation of God to the Gentiles as they were saved by the gospel preached by Peter. Then he tripped lightly over the purpose clause in verse 17, which is introduced by the word that. The argument of the prophet and of James is that the tabernacle of David should be rebuilt THAT the residue of men and the Gentiles may seek after the Lord, and this in agreement with conversion of the Gentiles as related by Peter; which is God's visiting the Gentiles, "to take out of them a people for his name."

In response to the argument of Zech. 6:12,13, that Christ will be both priest and king on his throne, the paper argues that he could be priest later as well as now as is declared in Hebrews. He forgot to discuss the fact that Jesus cannot be priest on the earth, as emphasized in Hebrews. So, if Christ is priest later, and that while he is king in Jerusalem, he will have violated Hebrews 8:4; but that is what premillennialists teach.

In rejecting the teaching that there will be an hour of resurrection and a day of judgment, he makes the usual argument that the terms mean a period of time which could easily include a thousand years, for his theory is that the righteous will be raised before the thousand years and then the wicked dead will be raised after the thousand years. They all miss the point of the argument. It is not trying to set the length of time involved in the resurrection and judgment; but the terms are in the singular number, signifying that there is only one time of resurrection and one time of judgment, rather than two of each as premillennialism demands; for they teach that the Lord comes there will be a resurrection and judgment or reward for the righteous, then another period of time or age will continue for a thousand years, and following this there will be another time or hour of resurrection and day of judgment for the wicked. HOUR of coming forth from the graves is singular in Johns 5:28,29, and of worshipping God is singular in John 4:23; DAY for judgment is singular in John 12:48.

He makes the usual mistake of premillennialists of applying the "Abomination of desolation" (Matt. 24:15,16) to something yet in the future of which we, today, are to be forewarned, as a sign of the second coming of Christ for his thousand year reign. He gets so wrapped up in his theory that he cannot read verse 34, which says, "This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished." Nor does he read about the same thing in Luke 21:20, which shows that he is speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred nearly 1900 years ago.

His last argument concerns Revelation 20. In it he reveals that he bases the premillennial coming of Christ on the theory that the devil was twice cast into hell. He connects him with the beast and false prophet of the nineteenth chapter, and assumes that everything in chapter 20 is subsequent to that of chapter 19. His assumption, therefore, is that the devil was cast into hell once in chapter 19, then Christ comes to earth and reigns on the earth for a thousand years, then after that "the devil is thrown into a now old and familiar place, 'the lake of fire'." He further assumes a substantiation of this assumption by identifying the false prophet of Revelation 19 with the "man of sin" of 2 Thess. 2:3 Then he declares that the man of sin will be destroyed at Christ's coming (2 Thess. 2:8); and from this he assumes that Christ's coming must be premillennial. He argues that if this is not so, then the man of sin, who is the false prophet of Revelation 19, will have "met his doom more than a thousand years before" Christ's coming. His primary mistake is in the assumption that the events of Revelation 20 chronologically follow those of chapter 19. This he does not know and cannot prove.

He uses other brief arguments and scripture references; but these were his best and most elaborate ones; hence, this discussion cover generally all that he said. Brother Haygood requested that I deal with these arguments. If there is some point on which he desires further comment his request will be appreciated. If Brother Thurman desires to respond his argument expressed in concise language will be appreciated.