Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 10, 1952
NUMBER 35, PAGE 8-9a

The Kingdom Of Christ Or The Millennium

Chas. L. Heron, Arlington, Texas

Mr. T. A. Drinkard, of Arlington, Texas, editor of The Gospel Messenger, of Morrilton, Arkansas, is kind enough to send me an issue of his paper when it carries an editorial that he feels is good and one that opposes the Truth, as the Bible teaches it. I am not a subscriber nor on the regular mailing list but there has come to my desk in the last few days two copies carrying articles, "The Kingdom of God Still Future" and "The Coming Millennium." I have read these articles and would like now to review them briefly. Mr. Drinkard, as all premillennialists, takes the position that the Kingdom is not yet established but is yet to come. He uses as scriptural support Isaiah 2:2-4 and Ps. 46:9, which passages in substance say that a time will come when nations shall not lift up swords against nations neither shall they study war any more and that swords will be converted into plowshares and spears into priming hooks and various nations shall be at peace one with another. Mr. Drinkard's reasoning is that this prophet's utterance has not been fulfilled, seeing that the nations of the earth are, as they have always been, still engaging in carnal warfare and that unless there is a thousand years' earthly reign during which Christ, and divine power, will cause all war to cease, then Isaiah's prophecy will never be fulfilled. This sounds pretty good. The greatest thing wrong with it, however, is that it isn't true. Let us examine Isaiah 2:2. It begins by saying, "It shall come to pass in the last days..." Suppose we ask what is meant by the last days. Some study will reveal when the last days are. For example, let us look at Joel 2:28. Here Joel declares that "it shall come to pass AFTERWARD that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh...before the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come." Let us look again now to Acts 2:16. Peter, speaking as he was moved by inspiration (when explaining the miraculous happenings on Pentecost) said, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet, Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh..." No honest man argues as to when are the last days since Peter said that we were in those days on Pentecost. So this, of which Joel spake, was to begin in the last days, which days we have learned commenced at Pentecost.

Joel does declare that a Kingdom will be established, a Kingdom that will not survive by power and might. It is in existence now, the Kingdom of Christ. It is the only Kingdom in which men of various nations ever have, or ever will, live together in peace. Christ himself understood that all earthly kingdoms maintain themselves by force, when emphasizing the nature of his Kingdom, he said, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight..." (John 18:36) Mr. Drinkard further says that "The Kingdom will be something that the church is not—that it will do something that the church is not doing or cannot do." In Matt. 16, Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church...and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom? (Verses 16-18) Christ here uses the Church and the Kingdom synonymously. But Mr. Drinkard said that the Kingdom is something that the Church is not. It becomes a matter of whom do we want to believe, Jesus or Drinkard.

The Kingdom Exists Now Or The Bible Is False

As evidence, notice first that Jesus said, "There are some of you that shall not taste death until you see the kingdom come with power." (Mark 9:1) Matthew, recording the same thing, says, "Till you see the Son of man come in his kingdom." (Matt. 16:28) According to Jesus, the Kingdom was established during the lifetime of some of the apostles. To say that the Kingdom is not established obligates one to find some of the apostles still living, a thing that even Mr. Drinkard couldn't do. Further, Paul (in Col. 1:13) states that Christians had been translated into the kingdom of God's Son. Even I know that no one can be translated into something that does not exist. Finally, Jesus said, "I will appoint unto you a kingdom. " (Luke 22:29-30) He further said that you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. The Corinthians observed this Lord's Supper at his table in the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 11:26)—additional proof of the "oneness" of the Kingdom and the Church. To deny the existence of the Kingdom now is to deny the revelation of God, a dangerous thing indeed, but a thing Mr. Drinkard is not afraid to do. Mr. Drinkard says, "We are looking for a real, visible, personal Christ, who will sit upon the re-established throne of David." No doubt, he has a long wait of looking in vain. Mr. Drinkard further says, "John the Baptist was a student of the Word of God and could see the results of the reign of Jesus...when Jesus would reign upon the throne of David yea, his throne." He points to Luke 1:31-33, Acts 2:30, Rev. 3:21, neither of which is a quotation of anything John the Baptist knew. However, let us notice Acts 2:30. In this verse Peter said, "...that God would raise up Christ to sit on David's throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ..." (Verse 31) In view of this, to deny that Christ is now on David's throne is to deny his resurrection. Mr. Drinkard gives Rev. 20, first six verses, as all of his type do, as support of a future reign. However, these verses do not mention fleshly beings. Neither does it mention Jerusalem. Neither does it mention David nor David's throne. Neither does it mention an earthly reign. Still, he uses it as his key text. Peter said in 2 Peter 3:10 that the earth and the work therein shall be burned up. This Peter says concerning this present earth which is the earth of the premillennial theory. Since, according to Peter, it is to be destroyed at Christ's return, literal Jerusalem, David's throne, etc., will be no more. I don't want to close this review without a glance at the article, "The Coming Millennium." Mr. Drinkard says the word, millennium, is an English word, as all should know (the emphasis, mine), and is used to describe a period of time in which Christ will reign upon the earth. He cites Webster; and, by the way, misquotes Webster, "the space of a thousand years, especially that period of time while Satan will be bound and Christ will reign on earth. Hence, time of great happiness." Now, as a matter of truth, Webster doesn't say that at all. Webster does say, "The thousand years mentioned in Rev. 20, during which holiness is to be triumphant. Some believe that during that period Christ will reign upon the earth." (Webster's Dictionary, Unabridged, page 1669) Mr. Drinkard says, "We give these historians usage of the word, millennium, showing that even they, too, look for the future reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth," is a direct misrepresentation of Webster. Again, Mr. Drinkard says, "It plainly says that Christ shall reign a thousand years." (Rev. 20:4-6) Again, as a matter of truth, Rev. 20:4-6 does not say that, but rather, "I saw the souls of them which were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God...and they lived (past tense) and reigned (past tense) a thousand years." Mr. Drinkard says "future." John says "past." It becomes a matter of whom to believe—John or Drinkard. And since we are looking at Rev. 20, Mr. Drinkard says that all of this must be taken literally. Yet John said, "I saw the souls..." It occurs to this writer that it would be difficult, indeed, for a fleshly man to literally see a soul. Perhaps, my neighbor, Mr. Drinkard, will be kind enough to explain this to me. When a man is in error and is honestly seeking the Truth, one, though simpleminded (in which category I might be) could easily teach him the Truth on the Kingdom or any other subject but when men will "wrest the scriptures to their own destruction," misapply scriptures, misinterpret scriptures and willfully misrepresent the apostle, Peter, John the Baptist, Noah Webster, Jesus Christ and Christian people everywhere, one is led to wonder whether there is any honesty there at all.