Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 31, 1958
NUMBER 13, PAGE 6-7b

Reply To Mr. .Welch On "The Kingdom"

Bill Thurman, Dallas, Texas

It is only a matter of accommodative language to classify men who believe in a future age when this present earth will be made all glorious as "millenialists", and those who do not as "amillenialists". So in terms the theologians use I am a millenialist and Brother Welch is an amillenialists. My opinion is that Jesus is coming before the "1000 year' so that means they'd call me a "premillennialist". There is no more disagreement as to the details of so-called "eschatology" among the premillennialists than there is among the amillenialists; therefore the differences of opinion in either camp is not sufficient grounds to discredit the general tenor of either viewpoint. Now let's get down to grips with the arguments themselves that pertain to the issue before us; it would be irrelevant for me to waste my thinking, the reader's time and the Guardian's ink by dealing with my opponent's insinuations to the effect that I 'think I have something new" or that I am "profound" or any other such blah-blah. The kind of people I want to reach are not the kind of people who'd be influenced by such "arguments" anyway.

However, I do want to correct some wrong impressions that my opponent left about the paper of mine that he was supposed to be reviewing. First, the paper fully recognizes and states, on the basis of Col. 1:13, that the present church of God is a kingdom in the passive sense of those who are ruled! To quote directly: "Jesus now exercises KINGSHIP, of course. NOT AS HE WILL EXERCISE KINGSHIP when ALL THINGS are subjected TO HIM (Heb. 2:5-8) but, at least those who WANT TO, that is the church, do NOW subject themselves to Him as their king."

Second, the paper by no means suggested that "kingdom" is restricted to an active meaning of kingship in the scriptures; in fact the paper so hastily "reviewed' even sets forth positive examples like Ex. 19:6 to prove that the word is found in the passive sense of the people ruled! As in the case of Col. 1:13 the paper thoroughly agrees that the bare mention of active kingship implies the existence of a passive realm and subjects; but I thoroughly disagree that the word can have within itself in the selfsame occurrence both meanings.

This brings us right down to Jn 18:36, which is not the most important passage to be studied in connection with the "1000 years", for it does not make any assertion about the scene of Jesus' rule! John 18:36 rather denotes the source from which Jesus' kingship is derived. "My kingly power is not derived from this world." If Mr. Welch is so struck on the authority of the "commonly accepted translations", let him explain why the RSV puts kingship in Jn. 18:36. "Kingship" implies subjects, surely, but does the word "kingship" in this verse denote either the subjects or the realm? No. The passage makes no determination whatever as to what it is over which Jesus will rule, but simply states that he would not get his kingly power from this world as do the rulers of this age. He would not bow to Satan for authority. Lk. 4:6. Eph. 6:12. Instead, his kingship over the world is derived from the Father and he will await the divinely set moment for the sounding of the seventh, the last trumpet; for it is then and not before then that the "kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ", Rev. 11:15. No, if Jesus' kinship were derived from this world, then would his servants indulge in fleshly war down here in the flesh! But his servants too will wait to inherit the kingdom of God until they are endued with spiritual bodies, for FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM, OF GOD! I Cor. 15:50. That is to say that those who inherit kingship will be spirit beings; however, it does not pass on the state of those over whom this rule is to be exercised.

If Mr. Welch is right about Heb. 2:5, just what prophecy does it quote when it speaks of a "world to come"? The prophecy quoted is Psalm 8 and this Psalm is applied to the "world to come", introduced not by the prophecy, but by the writer himself. Now if Mr. Welch had examined my paper a little more closely he'd have seen that the world mentioned here is the inhabited earth to come. His implication that the word here means "age" is altogether incorrect. See the ASV marginal notes. Mt. 28:18 is referred to with an air of triumph; but all that this verse proves is that Jesus has all authority — and that does not mean that he is using it. The very point of the passage brought up was that even though we do now see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, we do not yet see all things made subject to Him, (Heb. 2:8.) No it is not until the sounding of the seventh angel, the last trumpet that it can be said that the Lord has taken his great power and begun to reign, Rev, 11:15-17 (RSV). The power has been his all along; all authority on earth and in heaven has been given to Jesus; but He has not yet taken this great power and reigned!

Mr. Welch's appeal to Mt. 25:31 is contrary to his view; for when the son of man comes in his Father's glory with the angels then shall he sit on the throne of his glory. If so, then the throne of his glory is not the Father's throne on which he now sits. As Peter said, the heavens must receive him until the times of restoration of all things. As Rev. 3:21 says, he that overcomes will sit with me in my throne as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. There is a distinction. So it is not before Mt. 25:31 takes place that Mt. 19:28 will take place! Many wrongly suppose Mt. 25:32 to teach that at the moment Jesus comes every one who ever lived will have his judgment (not decided but) pronounced and be sent to "heaven or hell"! That cannot be for the basis given in Mt. 25:32 for the pronouncing of this judgment cannot apply to every man who ever lived! Multitudes upon multitudes have never been confronted with the alternative of "what to do with Jesus" in any form. They had no chance to do good or ill to the least of these his brethren! But if may be that by the time He comes, each and every nation — from the headhunters of Peru to the demon worshippers of Tibet, that all nations then alive will have been confronted with this decision. Besides, Mt. 25:34 says it is then that the just will inherit kingship, and a Mr. Welch himself admits, active kingship implies that there will be someone to rule over, a passive kingdom! Again compare Mt. 19:28 and 25:31. Lk. 19:11-27 proves that at the appearing of the king he will punish his enemies and reward his servants with power over five cities, ten cities, Etc. Jesus set forth this parable just before his death to offset the notion that the kingdom of God would immediately appear, Lk. 19:11.