Vol.IV No.V Pg.7
June 1967

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Is the church, and the kingdom of Christ, one and the same? I thought we settled this when we fought the premillennial question years ago. YP


When YP (young preacher) becomes OP he may have learned that "we" do not "settle" anything -- period. This is a sectarian, creedal conception, as erroneous and dangerous among "us" as it is among Baptist, Methodist, or any others. It establishes a "Church of Christ" orthodoxy (party centered) which challenges Christ's sole authority to establish doctrine. When "our" brotherhood becomes smaller than all saints (the universal church) or "our" doctrine is established by something other than God's word (such as "the majority opinion of the churches of Christ") "we" are in real trouble.

If you have access to "The Kingdom of Promise and Prophecy" (Whiteside), I recommend pp. 166-167, 177, where the above question is discussed. In the premillennial discussions, and in most "first principle" sermons today, gospel preachers have the Messianic kingdom in mind; and hence, for most practical purposes, they are justified in equating kingdom and church. That is -- kingdom refers to God's people, viewed from a governmental or "rule" standpoint (subjects of Jesus Christ, as King); while church designates those same people "called out" or set apart by the gospel of Christ.


We miss the point re. kingdom when we think of people -- the "party" -- instead of "rule." Check your lexicons. As Vine says, "Basaileia (kingdom) is primarily an abstract noun, denoting sovereignty, royal power, dominion,.. then, by metonymy, a concrete noun, denoting the territory or people over whom a king rules." Note, "by metonymy," figure of speech, it means the people. Think "rule," not "people," when you speak of Christ's kingdom.

In Dan. 2:44 this distinction makes an extremely important point. The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, and (KJ) "the kingdom" shall not be left to other people; (AS) "the sovereignty thereof." Thinking "people" "party" or something like that, we might conclude that some distinction would remain with a certain party, regardless of what they did. (Some commentaries actually draw this conclusion.) But the passage says the "sovereignty" or "rule" would not change.

Four world empires, the rule of men on a world scale, were depicted by the great image of gold, silver, brass, and iron -- with extremities of iron and clay. Then God sets up something that breaks in pieces all of these, i.e., the image of human rule, and establishes His government "in the top of the mountains" (Isa.2:2) or above and supreme to all human rule; and this "rule" "sovereignty" shall not pass to anyone else.

The Persians succeeded the Babylonians; the Romans the Greeks; but here there shall be no succession of rule. Read it again, and think on it. There SHALL BE NO SUCCESSION OF RULE. This completely destroys the idea of papal succession and other like ideas.