Friday, July 10, 2009

Peace and the Kingdom of God

This is the fifth post in a mini-series on why I think the Kingdom of God is not quite here yet.

The first post was an argument based on the binding of Satan as part of the establishment of the Kingdom, the second was based on the separation of the sheep from the goats, the third had holes in it, and concerned John the Baptist, and the fourth draws from the classic Christmas passage in Isaiah.

Today's argument continues exploring the Isaiah passage.
"Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:7a)
In addition to the fact that I think this verse makes clear that this prophecy concerns a political entity of which the messiah will be head of state, I think it paves the way for the following.

1. When the KOG has been established, it will be true that "there is no end to peace".
2. It is currently not true that "there is no end to peace".
3, Therefore, it is currently not true that the KOG has been established.

Notice how it says there will be no end to His government or to peace. While my link only concerns interpersonal peace, I think it's easy enough to see that there is an end to intra-personal peace for each of us in the age as well.

Even if the King is "reigning" in our hearts and lives as individuals in a metaphorical or spiritual sense today, it is bounded. At least for me; the messiah doesn't reign without end in my heart. Like Paul, I still sin. And there is an end to the peace I have in my heart as well. I get depressed. I despair. I experience anxiety. These aren't Kingdom dispositions! There may be some sense of Kingly rule or of divine peace, but there is an end to it. And I don't think it's just me. There are whole segments of humanity being spiritually ruled by the pretender to the throne (believers and unbelievers alike).

Sure, if we adhere to Jesus' teachings, we will instance in our hearts and relationships the type of order, love, righteousness, and peace that will be present in the Kingdom. We will 'glimpse' the Kingdom.

But our hope is that the remaining sin in our hearts will be vanquished, that the peace in our hearts will well up like a fountain and never be quenched, that these secular political rulers will be unseated, that Satan will be bound, and that Christ will reign as King - both in our hearts and on the earth - without end. And I think it is abundantly evident that we can't set this up on our own. We need Jesus to come back and reign as messiah.

And not just reign, but reign with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27, 12:5, 19:15).


  1. Your case is compelling, Louis.

  2. Louis, what do you make of the following (?):

    When Christ proclaimed "The KOG is at hand" at t1 (where t1= the time of Christ's proclamation"), none of the prophesies you have expounded were true at t1. E.g.:

    At t1, it is false that:
    "Satan is bound for 1,000 years."
    "The goats are separated from the sheep."
    "Someone was greater than JTB."
    "The Government rests upon the Messiah's shoulders."
    "Peace has no end."

    This means, lest Christ be a liar, that "the KOG is at hand" being true does not entail that these prophesies are fulfilled.

    I submit, then, that "The KOG is at hand" merely means that "the KOG is imminent."

    Thus, when Christ said "The KOG is at hand", it as true now as it ever was.

    This is all that the Dostoevskian vision proclaims:

    "...And yet it's so simple: in one day, in one hour- [the KOG] could all be set up at once! The main thing is- love others as yourself, that's the main thing, and it's everything, there's no need for anything else at all: it will immediately be discovered how to set things up..." (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.)

    You have shown us, quite cogently, what enabling conditions for the Dostoevskian vision are. But none of this shows that "the KOG is at hand" is any less true than it was when Christ first proclaimed it.

  3. I will take some time and assemble a post in response. I 3/4 agree with you.

  4. Haha. Ok to be more specific, I agree with what you've said, but I think there is at least one way in particular by which "the KOG is at hand" was more true at t1 than it is today. But it has nothing to do with what you've said here (all of which I agree with - the KOG is imminent).

  5. Unfortunately, I don't have time to make the response I'd like to, but one quick question: Does 'increase' qualify 'his government' only, or 'peace' as well? If the latter also, some might argue that you've got a case for post-millenialism here.

  6. Hi Ryan, I don't get to spend the time I would want to in making my case either, so you're in good company.

    As for "increase", I'm no Greek scholar and I don't even know Greek, but from fiddling around in Logos it appears to me like "increase" modifies just "government". So if I'm right, the passage says that there will be no end to 1. the increase of his government and 2. peace.

    Another interesting thing I found is that the Hebrew word translated here as "increase" can also mean "abundance". So I am not sure it even implies progression in this context. The author may be literally saying something even closer to my interpretation of this passage: that there will be no boundary to the messiah's large government.

    If this is the case, even if "increase" modifies "peace" in addition to "government", then your lead on a post-mil case is a dead-end. The passage would then read something like that there will be no boundary to the messiah's large government, and there will be no boundary to the abundance of peace.

    But again, I'm not any authority on Greek, and I hear a little Greek is a dangerous thing, so you do the math.


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