The Kingdom of Jesus Christ was set up and established in the 1st Century
** I forgot one other request. When citing passages, please insert the passage for convenience (so that readers will not to look it up).
The Imminence of the Kingdom in the First Century
Before getting to the heart of the debate, I shall use these introductory remarks for one purpose: to affirm the first-century imminency of the kingdom. I affirm that EVERY MENTION of a time-factor and the kingdom of Jesus Christ implies the imminence, the nearness, the closeness of its appearing.
First, note the proclamations of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ:
Matt 3: 1, 2: "… John the Baptist came, preaching … saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near"." (KJV: "at hand")
Matthew 4:17: "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Mark 1: 14, 15: "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Question #1: WHAT time was fulfilled? I'll submit that Jesus hearkened right back to Daniel's prophecy in Dan 2 (and other prophesies) and emphatically stated, "The 'TIME' is 'fulfilled'." I again ask my opponent, “WHAT … time … was … fulfilled?” I would like to see a thorough answer to that.
My opponent speculates, to accommodate his prophetic theories, that the kingdom which was "near" and "at hand" in about 30AD didn't show up for 1,884 years, even though the time was fulfilled way back yonder? Why is that? Do "near", "nigh", and "at hand" mean 1832 years? A better query: do those phrases mean ANYTHING?
Then again, Jesus said in Mark 9: 1, "... some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."
SOME of those people to whom Jesus was speaking were to see -to visualize - the arrival of the promised kingdom before they "tasted death." The implication is that some would die prior to it. If Jesus told the truth, where were these folks in 1914? They were all dead. It won't do to assert that they kinda-sorta caught a winking glimpse of the kingdom at the transfiguration or ascension, yet that is the usual dodge that these guys make. If so, WHY were they still expectant of the kingdom AFTER at least the transfiguration?
Another thing: the kingdom was to come when the power came.
Note Luke 24: 49, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you are endued with power from on high."
So the disciples would be in Jerusalem when the power came, and when the power came, the kingdom would come.
And again: Acts 1: 8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Thus, the coming of power was synonymous with the coming of the Spirit, and it would all happen in Jerusalem.
Now observe Acts 2:
1. Where? Jerusalem ("Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.)
2. When? During the days of the Roman Empire when the power came
3. Who? The disciples and apostles to whom Jesus said, "shall not taste
4. What happened? "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." There’s the Spirit, and there’s the power.
5. What did Peter say about it? THIS - what you are seeing ... THIS - what
you are hearing - is THAT which Joel prophesied.
Peter said, "This is that." My opponent will most likely say, "No, it
wasn"t." We shall see. Were the events of Acts 2 the fulfillment of Joel 2?
Thus, we have this situation concerning the imminent appearance of the kingdom:
1. To come in the days of the Roman Emperors
2. The time was fulfilled - it was near
3. Heralded as "near" and "at hand" by John
4. Heralded as "near" and "at hand" by Jesus
5. Preached as "at hand" by the twelve disciples (Matt 10: 7, Luke 9: 2)
6. Preached as "nigh unto you" by the seventy (Luke 10: 9)
7. Awaited by Joseph of Arimethea (Mark 15: 43)
8. Disciples were to pray for it (Matt 6: 10)
9. Would appear before some standing with the Lord would die
10. Would come with power, power would come with the Spirit
11. Would all occur in Jerusalem
Alright, the Spirit came on Pentecost. The power came on Pentecost. They were in Jerusalem. Peter had the keys. Some would not taste death til it came. It had been "at hand". Now comes MadCornish and says, "Why, the kingdom that was prophesied and heralded came in 1914!" Pffft.
My opponent’s position in the forum has been, strangely, that terms such “at hand” and “near” and “nigh” mean definite and certain. Oh, no, they don’t! The event was certain with or without the “at hand” and “nigh”. A statement like that is nothing but a misleading dodge – and reduces the meaning of the words to nothing. The phrase “at hand” is translated from a form of eggys which means imminent and soon to come to pass (with reference to time) and near or nigh (with reference to place).1The word is never translated certainly or definitely.
Notice how silly, how meaningless, such a contention becomes:
Matt 21: 1
Bible: “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem …”
MCB: “And when they drew certainly unto Jerusalem …”
Mark 14: 42
Bible: “he that betrayeth me is at hand.”
MCB: “he that betrayeth me is certain”
A few questions:
MCB, why don’t you tell us what the word eggys as used in, say, Matt 4: 17 means to you?
What did the statement, "The kingdom is at hand" mean to first-century hearers?
Does the word eggys mean imminent, soon to come to pass?
Do you simply stand up and imply that John, Jesus, the Twelve, the Seventy and everyone else misled everyone?
Were John, Jesus, the Twelve, and the Seventy all misled?
Did Paul state that he was in the kingdom in Col 1: 13?
Did John state that he was in the kingdom in Rev 1: 9?
Did Paul state that the Colossian Christians were in the kingdom in Col 1: 13?
If (1) John, Jesus, the Twelve, and the Seventy ALL unanimously stated that the kingdom was “soon to come to pass”, then (2) Paul and John stated that they were in the kingdom, (3) BY WHAT METHODOLOGY did you determine that the kingdom really was not soon to come to pass, and Paul and John were not really, literally in the kingdom?
Do you honestly think that “a thousand years with the Lord is as one day” is an above-board explanation for the dozens of plain statements that the kingdom was “near’ and “at hand” in the first century?
I stress that my opponent’s position is reduced to this:
He does not deny what John, Jesus, the Twelve, and the Seventy preached regarding “The kingdom is at hand.” No, he knows what they said – and what they meant. He knows that their tens of thousands of listeners and followers understood them to be telling them, “The promised kingdom is soon approaching, near, at hand, nigh, close – just around the corner.” In fact, the imminence of the kingdom was referenced as an inducement for them to REPENT. His position – solely due to his prophetic speculations – is:
“Bazinga! Another classic practical joke. You didn’t realize that ‘a day is as a thousand years with the Lord’. You shoulda kept that in mind! Gotcha! You fell for it! The kingdom ain’t gonna be here for 1,800 years or so. All those 'at hands' and 'nighs' really meant ... ummm .... nothing!”
Any doctrine that drives one to such extremes cannot possibly be true, but when the dust settles, watch and see: that's what he'll say.
No, the Apostle Peter possessed the keys to the kingdom. Did he use them yet? I say he inserted that first key on Pentecost and thus opened the doors of the kingdom to the Jews. About seven years later, he inserted the other key and opened the door to Cornelius and thus the Gentiles. I actually do not know what my opponent's thoughts are on this subject, but I know they will be governed by his speculations on prophesy.
All are happily invited to imitate the Beroeans and be noble by checking that "these things are so".
ASV(i) 10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Beroea: who when they were come thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed; also of the Greek women of honorable estate, and of men, not a few.
None the less I shall do my best to comply with her request.
I shall hope to demonstrate here that time in God's terms is not the same as it is in our purely human terms, thus a "day" can be any length of time that God wishes it to be. "Close" for example, when compared to eternity, in terms of which all who follow Christ are encouraged to think, can mean anything from a week to a million years, since:
ASV(i) 4 For a thousand years in thy sight Are but as yesterday when it is past, And as a watch in the night.
2 Peter 3:8
ASV(i) 8 But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Both very important verses to keep in mind when looking at bible chronology, as Peter stresses.
I shall also hope to demonstrate that prophecy was never written to be as easy to understand as my opponent here believes it to be, nor as simply fulfilled.
I shall also hope to demonstrate that the "Kingdom" was never to be an overnight things, that God always purposed it to be slowly and carefully developed. That it was always to be established a step at a time, as God's answer to Satan's challenge progressed.
From the Garden of Eden the time-scale of that answer was set, to give Satan a fair chance to prove his case, just as courts of Law do in most human legal systems. Scripture is the record of the careful and patient out-working of that "court case".
God does nothing in a hurry, after all He literally has all the time there is, or ever was, to do things in.
I shall also use a translation which my opponent has already agreed, in past discussion is acceptable, the American Standard Version, though I would as happily use any other translation, and as above, invite all to check anything and everything I say against scripture in any translation they wish, since the same thins can be demonstrated from all.
The other thing I shall be doing is, as did Paul and the other Apostles before me and "Reasoning from the scriptures" using as little exterior material as possible.
ASV(i) 2 and Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 opening and alleging that it behooved the Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom, said he, I proclaim unto you, is the Christ.
I hope all will bear in mind that my opponent, from her activity on this site, appears to be in the USA, whilst I am in the UK, which means a large time difference between us, and also a very different spell-checker, lol.
Above all I hope to demonstrate the proof of Paul's plea "Let God be found true, though every man be proved a liar" (NWT wording of part of the scripture below).
ASV(i) 3 For what if some were without faith? shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment.
I shall continue my introductory affirmative by demonstrating that after Pentecost, disciples of Jesus Christ were in the kingdom. By way of introduction, one will recall that Peter, in relating the conversion of Cornelius, said,
"And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning." (Acts 11: 15)
I drop the question: the beginning of what? No doubt Peter refers to the descent of the Spirit on Pentecost, and note that he calls Pentecost "the beginning." Exactly what "began" then? Something did.
The Apostle Paul in writing to the Colossians about 62 AD states,
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." (Col 1: 12, 13)
Thirty years after Pentecost, the peerless apostle to the Gentiles was thankful that God the Father had translated (from methistemi , G3179: to transpose or transfer1) "us" - himself and his readers - "into the kingdom of His dear Son." What could be plainer? Paul and the Colossians were translated or tranferred into the Jesus Christ's kingdom at some point in the past, and that point would coincide with when they were "delivered from the power of darkness", i. e. saved. One would just as well affirm that there was no power of darkness at the time as to assert that there was no kigndom; thus, I shall submit for consideration that "delivered from the power of darkness" is simply flowery language for "being saved" as in Acts 2: 47:
"And the Lord added to them (to the church, KJV) day by day those that were saved."
Further, John when writing the Apocalypse stated in the prologue,
"John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits that are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever." (Rev 1: 4-6)
"I John, your brother and partaker with you in tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." (Rev 1: 9)
Some translations use the word "companion" in place of "partaker" - and the word, sygkoinonos, simply means "joint participant"; thus, John and his readers were in the tribulation, in the kingdom right then - just as Paul and the Colossians were.
Friends, there are over sixty (I stopped counting) references in the four gospels (prior to Pentecost) to the imminency of the kingdom. The kingdom of Jesus Christ - and the imminent nature of it - was the paramount subject of the teaching of Jesus Christ. Indeed, He preached "the gospel of the kingdom" (Mark 1: 14). Practically all of His teaching was with a view forward to His kingdom. After His ascension, His kingdom was established! Paul was in it; the Colossians were in it; John was in it; the readers of Revelation were in it. What could be plainer?
I ask my opponent: were Paul and John and the Colossians and the first-century readers of Revelation in the kingdom? If you think not, then how were Paul and the Colossians transferred into the kingdom - yet were not in the kingdom. The same applies to John and his readers.
He muses, "Does my opponent not trust her readers to be able to check for themselves?"
Answer: Able? Of course they are able. 'Twas a matter of convenience - not ability - for the reader.
He attempts to set the stage for his prophetic speculations by citing II Pet 3: 8, which is a re-statement of Psalm 90: 4, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years." He adds this is "important verses to keep in mind when looking at bible chronology."
Answer: Then how can you have any such thing as "chronology"? It seems to me that you flip from "time means nothing" to "time means everything" to suit your fancy. The truth is that the passage is merely a metaphorical description of the patience of God - not an excuse to evade and eliminate plain, didactic statements which contain a time element. Has it occurred to anyone that if a prophesy contains a time element (most of them do not), and if this time element is not met, then the prophesy simply fails? My opponent appears to believe in a literal 1,000-year reign. If "at hand" and "nigh unto you" and "shortly come to pass" can be contorted to mean 1,800 years, then why couldn't your 1,000-year reign mean perhaps 100,000 years?
My opponent states, "it (the kingdom) was always to be established a step at a time, as God's answer to Satan's challenge progressed."
Nobody denies that. And that is just how it happened. The kingdom - God's means of reconciliation - was purposed by God for millenia. That does not prove that the kingdom is yet future.
That answers most of his remarks, so I shall introduce my opponent's favorite subject: prophesy. Take a look at II Samuel 7: 12-13 as God makes a covenant with David through Nathan.
"When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son ..."
Here the "seed of David" is connected with this then-prophetic kingdom: the kingdom was promised to this "seed." Note that the "house for my name" and "His kingdom" are connected - and Paul later says, "the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
At any rate, while David sleeps with his fathers, God will establish the Seed of David's kingdom. Where is David now? I Kings 2: 10 states, "And David slept with his fathers", and the fact of the matter is that David is STILL asleep with his fathers. Acts 2 refers to this fact:
"the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne; he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption."
See the bolded part? Peter is referring right back to II Sam 7. When would this promised kingdom be set up? Get it: while David slept with his fathers. If someone were to teach that the kingdom was set up prior to David's death, he would be in conflict with II Sam 7. If someone were to teach that the kingdom is to be set up at the resurrection, he would be in just as much conflict with II Sam. The kingdom was to be set up and established while David was "asleep". MadCornish, where is David now? Is he still "asleep? If not, when did he awaken? He was supposed to be "asleep" when this "kingdom of David's seed" was set up, so could you elaborate a little on any supposed condition of David prior to and after 1914?
It will be my opponent's job to negate my arguments on the imminent nature of the kingdom in the four gospels, my assertion that the rule and reign of Christ from heaven on David's throne began at the ascension - with the kingdom beginning on Pentecost, and my assertion that, after Pentecost, men such as Paul and John were in the kingdom. Accompanying these assertions are perhaps ten or so questions for the consideration of my opponent and readers.
I did notice that, for some reason, the original terms (5 rounds, 8000 characters, 48-hr response times) reverted to default. Three rounds are hardly enough to develop thorough arguments on either side, especially the negative.
In reality there has always been a kingdom. Initially it was heavenly, and only ruled over God"s faithful servants, and then He developed that Nation of Israel to be His special people. Any wishing to be in His kingdom had to become a part of that people.
However a heavenly kingdom was not enough for them, as explained at:
1 Samuel 8:4-7
ASV(i) 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah; 5 and they said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto Jehovah. 7 And Jehovah said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not be king over them.
That proved to be a disastrous move on the part of Israel, as their history shows. They had a string of kings, some good, some bad.
Eventually, as history shows Israel was fragmented and became simply Judah, which was actually the tribes of Judah and Benjamin now combined, and Samaria, the remnant of the other ten tribes.
Was the kingdom destroyed because they had no king that they would accept as such? No, it was only their acceptance of it that was the problem, the kingdom was still there, and they could have returned to it at any time.
A large part of my argument is in fact that the Kingdom ash gone through may different stages and in fact will not truly be established, fully established until Revelation 20 has been fulfilled:
ASV(i) 1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. 15 And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.
Notice especially what is said in verse 4. Christ and his anointed followers would rule with him for 1,000 years. When did that thousand years start?
Note the things that the kingdom bring with it.
1)Satan is bound, and Abyssed. (immediately before the 1,000 years starts).
2)Christ and his faithful co-rulers are set on thrones to commence their reign.
3)At some point the rest of the dead are resurrected and prepared for judgement. That is the second or general resurrection.
4)Death and Hades (hell) are cast into the lake of fire, and were joined by any who had failed that judgement.
So, what follows on from the reign?
Revelation 21 continues the story:
ASV(i) 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: 4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.
God is finally on His throne again, and look what His reign brings, verse 3 and 4.
Everything on the earth is new, including humanity, returned to it"s original perfect state.
Is any of that apparent now? Now, this world is still as wicked as it ever was, maybe even more so. This world is no closer to God than it ever was, much further away in fact.
Therefore either the 1,000 is not yet over, or prophecy has failed, and never may that happen.
So when did it start, and how close are we to the events the kingdom brings with it, starting with the initial removal of all wickedness from the earth?
To me it is very clear that Daniel 4, and indeed Daniel 2, have a long range fulfilment, and that long range fulfilment points to 1914 as the approximate time when the kingdom starts to turn it"s attentions, under Christ Jesus, to the earth. The history of the last 150 years also seems, to me to confirm what is said at Revelation 12:10-13
ASV(i) 10 And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe for the earth and for the sea: because the devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman that brought forth the man child.
Yes, I believe that recent history does indeed confirm that Satan has been cast down to the vicinity of the earth, allowing him to concentrate all his attention on humanity and bringing the foretold woe with him. I do not believe the prophecy has failed in any respect.
I shall go into more detail on Daniel, and my opponents points, in my next and final, round, as I am almost out of characters.
It seems to me that my opponent could have written the entirety of his last speech without even seeing my affirmatives. Sir, the job of the negative is to thoroughly examine the arguments made by the affirmative and to then explain why those arguments are not valid. You are in fact making affirmative speeches and ignoring the responsibility of the negative.
I will let my prior affirmations stand as they are: I have cited perhaps fifty passages which deal with the first-century imminency of the kingdom, plus a few more from the AD 60's which plainly state that the kingdom is here. None of these have been touched, and I see no need in expanding them. My opponent may indeed notice them; if so, I will have no opportunity to respond anyway. Therefore, I shall reluctantly negate the affirmatives that my opponent has produced as his negations.
My opponent says, "It is in fact impossible to pinpoint an exact start to the Kingdom, unless you count the creation of Adam and Eve as the start point."
Why, sir, the "exact start" of the kingdom came somewhere between those fify or sixty imminently-prospective statements in the gospels (written about AD 30) and the plain declarations of Paul and John that they were in the kingdom (written in the AD 60's). I can further state that the kingdom was firmly fixed - established - at about 9:00 AM on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, but "between 30 AD and 70 AD" suffices for the proposition.
MadBiker states, "In reality there has always been a kingdom."
I reply: there has NOT always been a kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ as stated in the proposition. Certainly not. And that is the kingdom of which we are speaking. There have been various earthly kingdoms - even Satan is implied to have a kingdom. And?
MadBiker: "A large part of my argument is in fact that the Kingdom ash gone through may different stages."
Reply: The kingdom of Jesus Christ may have gone through "different stages" since AD 33 when it was established, but my opponent is in fact implying that when Jesus Christ said, "The kingdom is nigh ... at hand", it was already here! He has now taken on the task of making all of the PROSPECTIVE statements in the gospels essentially meaningless from a different angle: first he said "at hand" and "nigh" and "shortly come to pass" might mean 1,880 years. Now he is in the business of saying that those words mean "already here, been here, already come to pass." No, sir, they do not mean that, either. Nor do they mean different stages.
My opponent tries to speculate, "When did that thousand years start?"
Reply: What thousand years? If "a thousand years is as one day with the Lord" (as you stated when you were worried about "shortly come to pass" and "at hand", then how long is a thousand years? Well, a thousand years would be .... literally, 365,000 days. Right? So that's
(365,000 literal days) x (1,000 years/day with the Lord) = 365,000,000 years!
Of course, Rev 20 is a highly figurative chapter in the midst of an apocalytic book - and, as I said earlier, my opponent contorts plain, literal statements into conformity with his peculiar views of prophesy. Central to these strange beliefs is the 20th chapter of the Apocalypse.
May I point out that Rev 20 does not speak of any reign of Christ. Indeed it does not. It speaks of a special and peculiar reign of certain souls with Christ. John saw souls out of the body - not in the body. The text says they lived and reigned with Christ. There is a vast difference between "lived and reigned with Christ" and a millennial reign "of Christ". Dissect it:
"They lived and reigned with Christ"
"They" - who?
"Lived" - lived where? lived how?
"Lived and reigned" - with whom, in what place? Did the living stop when the reigning stopped?
Revelation 20: 1-6 does not even mention (1) a millennial reign of Christ, (2) the 2nd coming of Christ, (3) a bodily resurrection, (4) the throne of David, (5) Christ on earth, or (6) us. The passage mentions none of those things - yet my opponent must speculate a mixture of those things into it.
The souls of the martyrs, those who were beheaded, lived and reigned with Christ. In what sense? Mark it: only those who were martyred for Jesus Christ entered into that thousand years, and if the thousand years is literal, then the beheading is literal - and that cuts my opponent, Charles T. Russell, and the Apostle John out of it.
The truth is that Rev 20 refers to a spiritual or figurative resurrection - the resurrectin of a cause, not a body - and that is why John employed the unusual language, "This is the first resurrection." It is the same type of resurrection referenced in Ezekiel 37 when Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon with Israel, prophesied by vision Israel's return. Here Israel is represented as being in the grave of Babylonian captivity - yet they were a living people. Yet God said He opened their graves and caused them to live - in their restoration to their native land and religion. The same sort of terminology is employed in Isa 26: 13-19 with reference to wicked lords. THAT is the type of resurrection pictured in Revelation 20 - and none other.
I should like for my opponent to explain Ezekiel 37:
"The hand of Jehovah was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of Jehovah, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. And he caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy over these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and, behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land ..."
Is that not a type of a resurrection? Is that not a resurrection of a cause? Are not many features of Ezekiel's prophesy very similar to John's vision in Rev 20?
Now, I realize that I have branched off into the discussion of prophesy. Well, I figured I might as well: there's not much else to talk about when the affirmatives were never touched. It is apparent to me that my opponent's position on the original proposition is based solely upon erroneous views of prophesies: that is why he finds himself in the unenviable position of saying that Paul and John were never in the kingdom - when they plainly said they were! That's why he must reject 50 or 60 plain statements - not prophesies - but statements that announced the kingdom as imminent.
Thank you, and I do appreciate my opponent's prompt responses.
I find it interesting that my opponent stresses that there has never been a kingdom under Jesus Christ before. So, if we are to concentrate solely on that then we are concentrating on a time period of 1,000 years, scene that is how long scripture says Christ rules for. That kingdom is in fact the subject of the "Covenant for a Kingdom" whihc Christ made with his disciples in the upper room before he died.
My opponent makes a big thing oh John the Baptiser saying "The Kingdom is near (or at hand)", and indeed it was, in the person of the king designate, God's son, Jesus Christ, in the same sense that Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 17:21)
ASV(i) 21 neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.
Notice especially that Christ says "the kingdom of God is within you", not "will be", but "is" this raises the question therefore, was the kingdom already set up? Well not according to my opponent, and in fact not to me either. However it does somewhat more than the imminence that my opponent claims for other statements.
My opponent then refers to Matthew 4:17 which also uses the phrase "at hand" but surely this is used in precisely the same sense as by John the Baptiser, and Jesus saying the kingdom was within them at Luke 17:21. No imminence there, simply proximity of the king designate.
Again in Mark 1:14,15, where my opponent cites the same basic phraseology, and again the intent is the same, not the imminence of the kingdom but the proximity of the king designate.The question what time was fulfilled is a good one and yet her answer suffers from precisely the same problem of tense as previously. Jesus says that the time is fulfilled, not "will be" but "is", and since one thing we are both agreed on is that the kingdom was not set up at that time Jesus cannot be referring to it in the way she implies.
Is my opponent merely reading into those scriptures something she wishes to see? A dangerous practice if that is the case.
The understanding of "near" and "at hand" in the sense it is so obviously used does not preclude the kingdom not being set up until approximately 1914.
Yes, the phrases mean exactly what God wished them to mean. Nothing more, nothing less, to paraphrase Lewis Carrol.
I do not speculate. I simply use the apparent long term meaning of Daniel 4 and foolw this reasoning:
CALCULATING THE "SEVEN TIMES" of Daniel.
"Seven times" = 7 X 360 = 2,520 years
A Biblical "time," or year = 12 X 30 days = 360. (Rev. 11:2,"3; 12:6,"14)
In the fulfillment of the "seven times" each day equals one year. (Ezek. 4:6; Num. 14:34)
Early October, 607"B.C.E., to December 31,"607"B.C.E.= 1/4 year
January 1,"606"B.C.E., to December 31,"1"B.C.E. = 606 years
January 1,"1"C.E., to December 31,"1913 = 1,913 years
January 1,"1914, to early October, 1914 = 3/4 year
Total: 2,520 years
That seems to me a reasonable calculations which appears to be born out by the history of the last 150 years or nearly.
The "twin" prophecy at Daniel 2 has a long term fulfilment also, which fits in nicely with the "beast with 7 heads and ten horns of Revelation. and that is a succession of powers which appears to work out to:
The head of gold represented the Babylonian Empire.
The breasts and arms of silver depicted Medo-Persia.
The belly and thighs of copper pointed to ancient Greece.
The legs of iron pictured the Roman Empire.
The feet, an amalgam of iron and clay, symbolize the politically and socially incohesive state of affairs during the time of the Anglo-American world power.
Fanciful? Possibly but it is significant that all of these powers had a profound effect on God's people.
The apparent gap between the Roman Empire and the Anglo-American alliance could be explained by the fact that the Roman Empire eventually became the Holy Roman Empire, of which even Nazi Germany was recognised to be a part.
My opponent speculates on Mark 9:1. This can be understood in a number of ways, the most popular being that some of those did indeed see the kingdom of God in a vision during the transfiguration, to which Peter later referred:
2 Peter 1:17
ASV(i) 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there was borne such a voice to him by the Majestic Glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased:
Here Peter quotes the words heard during tat transfiguration scene as recorded at Matthew 17:2-5
ASV(i) 2 and he was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as the light. 3 And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. 4 And Peter answered, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, I will make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 5 While he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
In 1914 or thereabouts, these ones would have been in heaven with the Christ taking up their thrones of co-ruler-ship.
Why were they still expectant? Well why did the JWs expect Armageddon to come straight away in 1914? Simpy because they expected things to happen more quickly than God intended them to, and God did not enlighten them until it was His time to do so. It is a mistake easily made by those who are eager to see that kingdom ruling the earth with all it promises. After all, Even Jesus did not know when ti was going to happen at that stage. Matthew 24:36
ASV(i) 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.
If even God's own son, who would be completely involved in it, did not know why should the disciples know?
Nowhere in Luke 24:49 is the kingdom mentioned. Yes they got the power in the upper room, when they were anointed with holy spirit, God's power, but where is any mention of the kingdom, and why, ever afterwards did the Apostles still speak of the kingdom as coming>
Why also in Acts 7:55 did Stephen, in the power of holy spirit, not see Jesus on his throne, but simply standing at the right hand of his Father, as a patient Right Hand Man. ASV(i) 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.
Ah yes, Peter said, as you point out "THIS - what you are seeing ... THIS - what
you are hearing - is THAT which Joel prophesied." What was that prophecy in Joel?
ASV(i) 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. 30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah doth call.
No mention whatever of time-scale, nor of the kingdom, and according to revelation, that too has a dual fulfilment. Long range and short range.
Well I am about to run out of Characters now, with so much left to say so I shall leave you with a thought. 1 Corinthians 2:10 ASV(i) 10 "But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God". We need holy spirit to understand spiritual things.