Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 27, 1951
NUMBER 21, PAGE 5,8b

Lessons From Luke, Concluded

N. W. Allphin, Tahoka, Texas

This article concludes our present investigation of Luke's gospel with reference to what he says concerning the kingdom of God or Christ, along with other topics that are frequently used in support of premillennial views. Of this latter category we find several in our present study—chapter 21 to the close of the book. Many of these statements carrying a promise or a prediction have been entirely misunderstood, I am sure; the lessons therein have been both misappropriated and exaggerated; and their forced interpretations have served only to further obfuscate many already confused students. Some of these predictions and promises we see in verses 10-17; but it has already been shown that answers to be given these disciples could not apply now or in the future. It is also plain that in 20-23 the then present generation is the only people who could "see Jerusalem compassed with armies," which was in 69, 70 A.D. That is when the great distress and "wrath unto this people" took place.

But some are worrying now over the question of when the "times of the Gentiles" is to be fulfilled. That need not arouse any uneasiness, because Jerusalem was to be "trodden down till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." It isn't being trodden down now, nor for many centuries; therefore, the obvious conclusion is, that when the treading down ceased, the times of the Gentiles ended. Men are still prophesying about the "signs' in verses 25-27, as though these are yet to be seen. But it is really unnecessary to further consider any of these intermediate matters when we remember that in verse 32 Jesus says, "This generation shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished." There you have his own summation.

Though the conclusion reached here is eminently safe and sound, a brief study of the introductory verses may make the matter even clearer. Starting with verse 6 we read: "And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and offerings, he (Jesus) said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in which there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Teacher, when therefore shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when these things are about to come to pass?" This is verses 5-7. In verse 8 Jesus begins his answer. Read it carefully, please. Seriously, reader, wouldn't you think he is answering the questions they asked? Well, so would I. Would you think he went off on a tangent, and by ambiguous speech treated them to what is tantamount to an enigma? Neither would I. Were you to ask me a question about the fourth of July, and I proceeded to hand you a lecture about Christmas, wouldn't you at least call that an evasion of the issue involved? Indubitably! I don't believe the Lord perpetrated any such deception as to ignore their query, and start prophesying about things to happen to the Gentile world two or three "millenniums" later. Therefore, his dissertation in this chapter (of which Matt. 24 and Mark 13 are parallels) is devoted to incidents leading up to and including the destruction of the temple, treading down of the city and the termination of the Jewish kingdom. 2 His answer seems plain enough; he told what would come to pass, and when; and so it did.

The next kingdom reference brings us to 22:16-17,where Jesus said to his apostles, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say unto you, I shall not eat it, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he received a cup, and when he had given thanks, he said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I say unto you, I shall not drink from henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come." The most that can be proved by this is, that the kingdom was not then established. But it doesn't argue that the kingdom is literal or yet future. Then, in the next two verses we have the institution of the memorial which is called "the Lord's supper." Next, he says, in verses 29, 30, "I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. " Note now, please, that Jesus said this memorial (verse 19) was to be observed in his kingdom; that the Holy Spirit said through Paul (1 Cor. 11:26): "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come." Isn't this plain? It resolves itself to this: (1) The Lord's table (supper) was to be observed in his kingdom; (2) it is a memorial, proclaiming his death till he come; (3) therefore, when he comes it will have served its purpose, and cease to be observed. So, if he does not have a kingdom till he comes again, as some say, then none can eat and drink the memorial at his table! It seems to me that anybody who knows the difference between June and 5 o'clock ought to see that the kingdom and the memorial supper are co-existent—if one is now, so is the other. Then, in verse 37, alluding to his death among the robbers, Jesus quotes Isa. 53:12, a prophecy that shows that all that happened was so planned, and must be fulfilled in him. Thus, no unforeseen turn of events is possible, millennialists to the contrary, notwithstanding!

In 23:42 one of the robbers crucified along with Jesus, said to him, "Jesus, remember me when thou comest into thou kingdom." But, in reply, the Lord said nothing about the kingdom. And in verse 51, one Joseph, a councilor, it is said, was "looking for the kingdom of God." Why didn't Jesus tell him to stop looking, former plans are jammed, that there may be no kingdom yet for a long time to come. I know why, and I think you do. Next, at 24:15 is begun a conversation between Jesus and two disciples, after his resurrection. They told this supposed stranger what had happened to Jesus, the Nazarene, whom they hoped would be Israel's redeemer; and how certain ones went to his tomb and found it empty, etc. In verse 25 Jesus answered them thus: "0 foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Behooved it not the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?" Then he began and interpreted from all the prophets the things concerning himself. But, without a historical fulfillment, how could they believe in "all that the prophets had spoken?" They could not; yet he rebuked them for not believing. Draw your own conclusion. But here is mine: All that he was to say, do and be had been written; and all of it had seen its consummation. Once more, in verse 44 we read: "These are my words ... while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me. Then he opened their mind (as he did the two at Emmaus), that they might understand the scriptures; and he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things." What "things?" It can only mean the "things" that were written—that he should come, suffer, die, rise from the dead, and enter into his glory! These eleven had witnessed all these facts just as portrayed in the law and prophets. They had seen them all "fulfilled."

For brevity, I have purposely omitted mention of some texts slightly related to the future kingdom theory, even as I have limited my comments on others. But I am confident that those I have used prove clearly that if anyone thinks he can show that there is to be a millennial reign of Christ on a temporal throne, he will have to do it without any help from Luke.