Brannon Howse: My guest tonight is Dr. Andy Woods.
We’re going to go through a variety of things, as we’ve said, tonight. Let’s start out with a question from our last program I didn’t have a chance to get to. We talked about the kingdom and what it is. Christ offered the kingdom to the Jewish people. They rejected it. The offer was basically put on hold – right?
Dr. Woods: Rescinded, revoked.
Brannon Howse: Rescinded, revoked. So, that brings up the issue of, well, is the kingdom in a spiritual realm right now? Is there a spiritual kingdom kind of in waiting, or is there just no kingdom at all yet?
Dr. Woods: Well, it’s interesting, when you get into New Testament passages that mention the kingdom, it never defines what the kingdom is. It just says, “The kingdom.” So, you know, Jesus said, “Pray, ‘Thy kingdom come.’” So, what kingdom are we talking about? The Greek word there is basileia, and because it’s undefined, you have to define it by what’s already been revealed about it.
And so, to understand the kingdom, you have to carefully document what everything has been said about it up to that point in time by God. And what you discover about the kingdom is, yes, it’s a spiritual reality, but it’s also a terrestrial, earthly reality, and it always involves the Jewish people. And so, when the kingdom comes, it’s not just going to be spiritual, it’s going to be earthly as well. You know, they’re going to beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more. And agricultural prosperity will break out all over the world. The Dead Sea will come to life. That’s all part of the kingdom idea.
And so, if those things aren’t a reality today – and they’re not – then the kingdom is not here in any sense. And so, a lot of people try to say, “Well, this is – the spiritual part is happening today, but the terrestrial part happens later.” Well, the New Testament never says that. It just says “kingdom,” and we have to define kingdom by what’s already been revealed, and it’s everything.
So, the kingdom, in its manifestation upon the earth, is completely contingent upon the response of the nation of Israel to her Messiah. You know, the whole world - Dr. Toussaint – who’s gone on to be with the Lord, who won the Walvoord Award that we saw awarded last night to Paul Lee Tan – he won it last year – he said in class one time that, “Look, the whole world could get saved, but if tiny Israel remains in unbelief, then the kingdom can’t come. And, conversely, the whole world could reject Christ, but if tiny Israel responds to the offer of the kingdom, based on the covenants that God has given to Israel, then the kingdom comes.
So, the reality of the situation is–you’re not going to see the kingdom until you have a converted Israel. And that’s why Jesus said, in Matthew 23:37-39, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! I wanted to gather you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Behold, your house is left desolate!” Then He goes on and He says, “For you will not see Me again until” – and the ‘until’– there is the condition. He’s speaking to the Jews. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,’” which is a citation from Psalm 118:26. It’s a messianic psalm. What He’s saying is, “You’re not going to get the kingdom” – Israel or the world – “until Israel acknowledges Me as her Messiah.” So, until that happens, no kingdom.
Brannon Howse: And yet, you have all these guys running around, talking about how we can make the invisible kingdom visible. That is not going to happen until Christ brings it.
Dr. Woods: Exactly, exactly. And there is no – you know, to say, “Well, we’re going to have a visible kingdom and an invisible kingdom is a distinction that the Bible doesn’t make.
Brannon Howse: Dr. Woods has written a whole book on this called, The Coming Kingdom, subtitled What is the Kingdom and How is the Kingdom Now Theology (also known as dominion theology) Changing the Focus of the Church? And it’s changing the pastor into a community organizer and his church into a community organization, isn’t it?
Dr. Woods: Yeah. And it’s changing the Great Commission into the great omission as people are no longer evangelizing.
Brannon Howse: They have shifted the goal from individual salvation to collective salvation or cultural transformation.
Dr. Woods: Yeah–which allows them to pour whatever ideology they have, right or left, into that phrase. And that’s why we have to be careful about the kingdom. We’ve got to let the Bible define it rather than the politics of the day.
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