Kingdom and Dominion – What the Bible Teaches
This is a great article from:
When I first became a Christian in 1970 my interest in world events caused me to study the subject of Bible prophecy. From this study I came to a conclusion which was both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. The bad news was that the present world system is on a highway to destruction. The good news was that Jesus is coming back again. From my reading of the news and the Bible I understood that the present world system would end with the rule of Antichrist and a time of great tribulation on the earth; the final conflict would centre on Israel as the nations challenge the Jewish peoples right to settle in their Biblical homeland; this war would bring mankind to the brink of destruction, only to be prevented by the return of the Messiah Jesus, who would then judge the world and begin his 1000 year reign from Jerusalem in which there would be peace and the knowledge of the Lord worldwide (Isaiah 2, 11, Zechariah 14, Revelation 20).After arriving at this view from my own reading of the Bible I discovered it was known as the pre-millennial view of scripture (i.e. Jesus returns before – pre – the establishment of his millennial – 1000 year – rule). As it made sense to me of the Bible and the state of the world I thought it was generally agreed by Bible believing Christians.
I realised this was not the case when I became involved with a fellowship connected with the Restoration movement. Here was a new viewpoint, rejecting the eschatology of disaster (i.e. that the end of this age would come with a disaster), and seeing the church go out in a blaze of glory, having demonstrated the power of Jesus Christ over Satan in a great end time revival which would sweep the earth in preparation for the Lords return. This is the post-millennial view (i.e. that Jesus returns after – post – the millennial kingdom has been established by the triumph of the church).
In September 1983 one of the leaders of the Restoration movement, Bryn Jones, recorded a vision he had of this great revival taking place with the following results:
- Ordinary Christians would be equipped with supernatural powers, laying hands on the sick with extraordinary miracles taking place in public places. Poverty would be abolished among them as multitudes turn to the Lord and have their material needs met through his provision.
- The powers of darkness would be overthrown – governments and religious systems based on principles opposed to the Bible would be shaken as the Church emerges in power and glory.
- All nations would reach out to God as the Church is established as the mountain of the Lords house, the highest of nations. Heads of governments in despair at their own failure to solve the problems of humanity will turn to the revived church asking them to teach us the ways of God.
- Following this great revival the Lord will return for his glorious church and wind up history.
The fellowship we were involved with looked at a commitment course for members to follow containing this teaching. One paragraph read:
It is Gods purpose that His glory should cover the earth, that this world which has been so scarred by sin and Satan should once more show forth the beauty of God. The way He will do this is through His Church … The rule of God as King is exercised through his people and it means that we must take spiritual authority over the forces of darkness now to bring to pass the will of God in the world. We are described in Revelation 5.10 as a Kingdom of priests to our God who reign on the earth. God wants us to reign now! … All this means we have a glorious world-wide vision for the Lords people, an exciting revolutionary programme of world dominion for our God.o Laying a Foundation by John Houghton and Richard Haydon-Knowell.
I could not accept that in this present age the Church is going to be involved in any kind of world dominion and questioned this whole theology. I soon found myself out of favour and considered to be in rebellion against authority and before long our family left the fellowship and began a period in which we found ourselves increasingly out of step with things being said by influential leaders of the church. We also discovered that our view of the end times was under attack from almost all wings of the church.
The attack on the pre-millennial view came with a great deal of hostile material about Israel. Christians who believe the restoration of Israel is a fulfilment of prophecy were accused of accepting Israeli supremacy and terrorism as part of the fulfilment of Gods promises. (Restoration magazine May / June 1991). One entire edition of this magazine was devoted to attacking Israel politically and spiritually. It contained some of the most biased material I have read anywhere on the subject and I wrote a reply to it which is available on request.
As I worked on this subject I realised that the rejection of Israel as a fulfilment of prophecy is needed by those putting forward this view because they wish to apply the prophecies which speak of the physical restoration of Israel in the last days (e.g. Isaiah 2.1-4, Ezekiel 36-37, Jeremiah 30-1, Zechariah 12-14) to the spiritual restoration of the church. According to this view the Church is now to be the inheritor and ruler of the world, not the Lord Jesus reigning through Israel during the Millennium. According to this view Jesus cannot return before the Church attains full maturity and dominion over all, and those who deny this are holding up the victory and return of Christ.
Many calls to prepare for the great revival of the end times have gone out:
We believe its Gods will that the righteous should reign on this earth, and were seeing people preparing themselves to be lawyers, doctors, generals, admirals, presidents, and congressmen. The righteous will rule and the people will rejoice.o John Giminez, New Wine Magazine January 1986.
A new order is emerging in purity and power – the kingdom of God. The people of God, united in love and submission to Jesus Christ, will fill the earth as they take the kingdom and as all nations are brought beneath the feet of King Jesus.o David Mansell in Restoration January 1991.
In order to bring this about prophecies are given of imminent revival, calls to unity across denominational barriers, regardless of doctrine, and marches take place in our cities claiming them for Jesus. As one who has become rather an outsider to all this activity I have to ask, Where is the revival?
The government, control of mass media, education, law and order seem to be increasingly in the hands of forces which are anti-christian. Communism may have fallen in the Soviet Union but it is being replaced by chaos and new forms of wickedness, many of which are imported from the West, not by governments looking to the Lord for direction. Most of the people in our society mock at or totally ignore our marches, prophecies and campaigns.
Many Restoration leaders have had to admit that prophecies they gave of imminent triumph have proved false, although they rarely abandon the wrong doctrine they are teaching or cease to be considered leaders after giving false prophecies.
Nothing that has happened over the past 23 years that I have been a Christian has caused me to question the basic pre-millennial view of prophecy: that world conditions will get worse before Jesus returns, that there will be lawlessness, wars and a great increase in human wickedness, together with a falling away from the truths of the Bible affecting most of professing Christendom.
There will be great opportunities for evangelism and the Gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth, but the aim of this is to save people from the wrath to come when God will judge this present evil world and separate those who have eternal life through repentance and faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord from those who go to eternal hell because they have rejected Gods offer of salvation. Israel will remain the centre of world attention until Jesus returns, Gods timepiece showing us that the Day of the Lord is drawing near. In preparation for this we must repent and believe the Good News that Jesus the Messiah has come once to save us from our sins and that soon he will return in power and glory to judge all mankind according to our response to the Gospel.