JESUS IS REIGNING NOW!
The Scriptures make it plain
that the prophecies concerning the reign of David's Son were to be
fulfilled by His death and resurrection. (See Acts 2:29, 32; 13:22-24,
32-34; Rom. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:8.) Paul preached the kingdom of God and of
Christ as' a then reality, into which every believer of the gospel was,
and is, instantly translated. (Col. 1:12, 13; 1 Cor. 15:11; Acts 20:24,
25, etc.) God has "raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus" (Acts
13:22, 23; Luke 2:10, 11, 30-32, 68-70; Acts 5:30, 31). By the work of
the Holy Spirit in Messiah's spiritual kingdom of grace, Christ is now
saving, redeeming Israel out of "all people" (Luke 2:30-32,
etc.). That salvation is "in Zion" (Joel 2:32; Rom. 11:26;
9:33; 1 Pet. 2:4-7), the church, where Jesus reigns.
When the disciples, who were
still thinking of the immediate literal fulfillment of the Old
Testament kingdom prophecies, asked "Lord, wilt thou at this time
restore again the kingdom to Israel". He said unto them, It is not
for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in
His own power. BUT ye shall receive power, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:6-8). The literal kingdom will be
set up after the gospel age is finished at the second advent, and the
time for that event is hidden from man, BUT the fulfillment of the
prophecies concerning the Messiah's kingdom are now being
fulfilled through the power of the Holy Ghost. "For the kingdom
of God is not in word, but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20).
Jesus is now reigning!
The prophecies concerning the Messiah's kingdom are now being
fulfilled! This was the thrilling burden of the apostles' preaching
after the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost! it was this
recognition of the fulfillment of the kingdom prophecies in relation to
the church that gave power to their preaching, and which also aroused
the anger of the Jews against them. That which the Jews regarded as
being wholly future, and to be fulfilled literally in
connection with national Israel, the apostles preached as being
fulfilled in the work of preaching the gospel. A study of the New
Testament - of sermons recorded therein, or of epistles, etc., written
after Pentecost - will clearly reveal this fact.
On the day of Pentecost, the
inspired Peter declared that Jesus was raised to sit upon a throne; that
He was "both Lord and Christ." (See Acts 2:30-36.)
Peter's sermon was very largely made up of quotations from the Old
Testament. The first of these is from Joel (2:28-32), and Peter quotes
these verses addressed to ancient Israel and applies them to all those
who would believe in Jesus as "both Lord and Christ": "all
flesh," "whosoever shall call on the name of the
Lord shall be saved." In His commission to the Disciples, Jesus
said: "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go
ye therefore and teach all nations" (Matt. 28:18). Thus the
risen Lord spoke as a king who is about to receive His kingdom, and to
take His place at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Peter in Acts
2:33 describes the outpouring of the Spirit predicted by Joel as a
demonstration of the fact that He has already received and is now
exercising that royal authority. This can only mean that Jesus had
entered into His kingdom, and that this great inaugural event of the
church age is to be regarded as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy.
The King is now exercising His sovereign power.
Note this significance in such verses as Acts 3:16; 4:10, 30; 5:31, etc.
Peter quoted from Ps.
110:1:"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until
I make thine enemies Thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of Thy
strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies."
Jesus is now reigning "in the midst" of His
"enemies." Peter's quotation from Joel 2:32 (see Acts 2:21 and
compare with Joel 2:32) also shows that from the time of Pentecost Old
Testament prophecies concerning Zion, Jerusalem, the land of Israel,
etc. were interpreted as being fulfilled in connection with the word
of Christ in the gospel. As Jesus reigns in the church, His
spiritual Zion or Jerusalem, those who are pictured in Joel's prophecy
(see Joel 3) as being gathered outside in the valley of Jehoshaphat to
make war upon God's people within Jerusalem must refer to those who
oppose the work of the gospel. This interpretation placed the Jews not
as those favored of God within Jerusalem, but among those on the outside
among the enemies of God. Such an interpretation aroused the anger of
the Jews, who believed those prophecies would be fulfilled literally in
connection with the literal nation of the Jews.