Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 23, 1951
NUMBER 16, PAGE 6,11c

Lucid Lessons From Luke

N. W. Allphin, Tahoka, Texas

In a somewhat extended study of Mark (and much of Matthew and John), we found nothing in support of premillennialism—nothing that advances the idea of a future kingdom or literal reign of Christ on this earth (but much to the contrary); therefore, it is unlikely that Luke's writings will yield any material upon which to base that theory. It must be conceded by all believers that Luke's testimony will not contradict the other narrators of the life and ministry of the Lord. However, since an examination of his book may furnish some clear and profitable lessons, we ask your candid consideration of what he says on the kingdom question.

First, in Luke 1:32f, he tells us that Jesus was promised "the throne of his father David." But Gabriel did not say when it would be given him; yet, if one will read carefully Acts 2:29 through 36 (Luke also wrote this), he will find the inspired apostle Peter telling the Pentecost throng that God had but recently fulfilled His promise to "set one upon David's throne," even when He raised Jesus from the dead and set him in authority at His own right hand. So that settles the question of when, and it isn't future! In Luke 2:32 we are told that Jesus was sent as "a light for revelation to the Gentiles" as well as to reign over the house of Jacob. But he has been a light, a revelation to the Gentiles from the time that his worldwide, age-lasting commission began to be preached. And that isn't future! In 4:5-7, he says Satan offered to give the Son of God "all the kingdoms of the world" if he would worship him. Now, if Christ had ever anticipated a time when he could be the civil, temporal ruler of all the nations and kingdoms of the world, is it not exceedingly strange that he would turn down his first opportunity to become what premillennialists all say he is destined yet to be?

At verse 16, after his great temptation, Jesus went into a Galilean synagogue, took the book of Isaiah and read two verses from chapter 61, then closed the book. The prophecy he read concerned times and conditions which premillennialists say are yet to be; but in verse 21 Jesus said to that Jewish crowd, "Today is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Whom shall we believe? When Jesus says anything is history already, why can't people take him at his word? Well, most of us do. In 4:43 Jesus said he was sent to "preach." He preached about the kingdom, yes; but he said it was "nigh," not two or three thousand years away! Did he know, or did he just make a bad guess? Reader, what do you think? In 5:35 the Lord predicted his approaching death. Did he know about that, or was he hazarding another guess? Chapter 8, verse 1 informs us that Jesus and the twelve went through cities and villages preaching good tidings of the kingdom of God; but in all his lessons and actions it is clearly shown that the principles of the kingdom of which he spoke were moral and spiritual, and not carnal; he preached righteousness, piety and charity; reverence for God, faith in His word, love and brotherly kindness to all men. He didn't tell the people anything about how to operate political governments.

In 9:2 Luke tells of the sending of the apostles to preach the gospel of the kingdom and to heal the sick. Again in verse 11 he preaches about the kingdom and to heal the sick. Again in verse 11 he preaches about the kingdom; and in verse 27 he said that some of them would not die till they should "see the kingdom of God." Are "some of them" who stood by still living? Certainly not! Did Jesus speak the truth? Certainly so. Then, in verse 31 Luke says that upon the mountain Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus of his "decease which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem." Had that tragic event not been a part of God's original plan, how did they happen to know about it? It was Jehovah's decree—they wrote it and had prophesied about it—it didn't just happen because unforeseen unbelief of the Jews wrecked God's original plan! Again, in 10:1-9 the record says that Jesus sent the seventy to preach. "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Did it come nigh, then back away for a few thousand years? Was it night then, or did Jesus make a mistake? Again, in 11:20 Jesus told the people that if he were performing those signs "by the finger of God," then the "kingdom of God is come upon you." This does not have to mean that the kingdom in its ultimate fullness was already established; but like other similar expressions, it suggests that the principles of the kingdom or government of God were being preached; that the dominion or rulership of Jehovah was manifest among them in the person and power of Himself. It is "within you" or among you, in your midst, as he said in 17:21. (The Jews possessed the kingdom till it was taken from them. Matt. 21:43, but that was an outward, visible, temporal thing, and not so with the kingdom of which he speaks here.)

Next, let us notice verses 50, 51 where Jesus told the Jews (not Gentiles) "that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation." Did that generation pay the penalty? Every student of history knows it did. The above words were addressed to the multitude of Jews; but later, in 12:11, 12 he speaks to his disciples, advising them as to their course of conduct amid the trials that should soon come upon them. In this connection, please read again our comments on Mark's allusion to this same caution—Mark 13:9-19. There is no promise here that the Holy Spirit will again speak to the disciples in our era any words separate from his spoken and written New Testament statements! Nor is there such a promise elsewhere. In 12:32 (Luke's record) Jesus said to his then present disciples "Fear not little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." As a then future promise, this is plain. But to apply it to a little flock that has followed a Russell, Rutherford or Boll, is an egregious blunder, nay more, it is a noxious perversion that is absolutely inexcusable. One may just as well assert and insist that Jesus was addressing present day disciples when he instructed the apostles, as in Matt. 10:5-10, saying, "Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans...And as ye go...Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons...Get no gold, nor silver nor brass in your purses; no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes," etc. But, come to think of it, there are many pretty good people now, even some who may read this, who are so destitute of Bible knowledge and understanding, they think these instructions do apply to this age. Well, they don't. But, if they did, do these people follow them? Of course not. They don't go barefooted; they wear top coats; maybe they don't get much gold—it is nearly all buried at Fort Knox—but they gather in quite a bit of silver and folding money. And of "brass?" Why, I think they must start out with that—at least "two coats" of it. More from Luke later.