Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 30, 1951
NUMBER 17, PAGE 9,11b

Lessons Learned From Luke (Continued)

N. W. Allphin, Tahoka, Texas

This is to continue our study of the book of Luke in quest of proof that our Lord is coming back to earth to set up and reign over, a literal kingdom, with Jerusalem as the capitol of his empire. If such is taught in Acts or any epistle, surely the same should be found somewhere in the synoptic gospels, because these inspired men who wrote after the great Pentecost were to teach only what the Holy Spirit brought to their memory of the things Jesus had previously taught them—see Matt. 28:20; John 14:25, 26 and 16:13. But, up to Luke 12 there is not the slightest proof that Jesus taught any such doctrine. Evidently it originated with men like the old sojourners at Athens—men who are always too eager to "tell or hear some new thing."

In Luke's record there are, of course, frequent allusions to "the kingdom of God." So, if the Lord meant to teach his disciples that he was to inaugurate and reign over a literal earthly kingdom, we ought to be able to locate at least a couple of references that so teach. But, as above noted, no passage is found that indicates such, even by implication. Nor is there a plain scripture in either Testament that indicates that God originally planned such, but later, for any reason, altered that plan; and these facts are of sufficient significance to cause serious students to cautiously avoid centering their aspirations and ultimate hopes in such a baseless theory. It is certainly incompatible with right and reason to assume a doctrine in reference to the kingdom which is based upon some text that does not contain the word kingdom. Hence, let us examine Luke's other "kingdom" references. In 13:18 and 20 Jesus twice propounds the question, "Unto what is the kingdom of God like, whereunto shall I liken it?" In verses 19 and 21 he answers: "It is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his own garden; and it grew, and became a tree; and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof." Or "It is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened." Is this the pattern for the temporal kingdom expected by millennial teachers? It most certainly is not. Theirs is one expected and promised to come into existence full-grown, not one that grows or develops gradually. Theirs is one in which the leaven, whether put into "three measures" or just one, remains dormant, waiting for some other energizing influence, known to them as "the second coming of Christ," and not one developed by the gradual spreading and effectiveness of the leaven. See what I mean? From whence do they get this idea? Evidently here is where and how: Being more or less materialistic in their general conception of things, they assume that it must be a temporal kingdom, then bolster the idea by perverting certain scripture texts, as they do Isaiah 66:8f. They assume that the prophet is telling of yet future events; they assume that "a nation shall be born in a (one) day;" they assume that a nation means a kingdom; they assume that this is the kingdom of Christ; and they assume that this will all take place when Christ comes again. Finally, they assume that students should desist from further study, and rely on their dictum solely. What a colossal array of assumptions! Were time and space available, should like to comment at some length on the matter of Isaiah 66; but at present I shall say only that the passage does not teach that a kingdom or a nation shall be born in one day. Verse 8 only asks, "Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth at once?" And it must be obvious to anyone, except the most unlearned and gullible, that the questions here propounded are purely rhetorical—they carry a negative answer. So, no matter who may tell you via radio or otherwise that somewhere in the future a new nation or kingdom shall be born in one day, don't believe it—it is not so! But it is apparent from the context, especially verses 5-7, that something of a similar nature did happen, that is, that the Jewish nation, through the old covenant, before her "travail" (in the day of Jehovah's wrath, before her "pain" in the crucial times of Vespasian and Titus) had been delivered of a "man-child." And this man-child was Jesus Christ, the world's redeemer. Isaiah saw this as future; but it, like his other prophecies, was fulfilled before Israel faded from the picture—before the Jewish nation ceased to be any longer a factor in the redemption of the race from the power of the devil. That formerly chosen nation had performed its function when it gave to the world the Lord Jesus. The last verse of this chapter (13) deserves some notice in connection with millennial errors; but I shall pass it by till we reach another similar expression in 19:38.

In 14:15 is the next mention of the "kingdom." A man sitting with Jesus at a dinner, said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." But Jesus began at once to speak the parable of a "great supper," in which he gave the Jews a lesson concerning their slighting of his invitation—passing up, as it were, their opportunity to share the blessings of the kingdom. In fact, the lessons of this chapter, verse 7 to the close, are such as deal with the fundamental principles of the kingdom—reverence for God, faith in His word, piety, charity, etc. In verse 24 he shows that by their disregard for himself, reflected in their flimsy excuses, none of them could have access to the blessings offered by this kingdom gospel he preached. In 16:16 Jesus said: "The law and the prophets were until John; from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and every man entereth violently into it." Obviously, this is John the Baptist, not the apostle John. "Until John" sets a time limit. If the kingdom was not to be set up for some thousands of years, why begin preaching it in the days of John? The answer is, it was not to be postponed, as per millennial teachers, but was to become an early reality, accessible to those to whom it was being preached. Next, note 17:20: "And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation . . . for lo, the kingdom of God is within you." (margin, in the midst of you) Then, after telling of a certain day of the Son of man, he says in verse 25, "but first he must suffer many things and be rejected of this generation." Certainly everyone knows what generation he speaks of, and just when he was "rejected." Then, after reciting some historical data in the days of Noah and of Lot, he says, verse 30, "after the same manner shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." And verse 31 tells when that revealing should be—compare Matt. 24:17, 18 and Mark 13:15, 16. The things about which he cautions them were to be (and were) in the days of God's vengeance on the corrupt kingdom of Israel at Jerusalem's final desolation, 67 to 70 A. D. In 18:16 Jesus said, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for to such belongeth the kingdom of God." The innocent, humble, obedient, trustful—is the kind who take over and administer the affairs of earthly civil governments? Nay, verily, No future literal kingdom suggested in this verse. And in verse 24 he adds, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God." Any intimation of a future temporal kingdom here? Positively no! The richer they are the more easily they maneuver themselves into dominating positions of earthly kingdoms or governments. Luke's testimony will be continued in a future article.