A CHRISTOTELIC VIEW OF DANIEL 9:24-27
THE ULTIMATE JUBILEE
The seventy ‘sevens’ are ten symbolic jubilee cycles (except for the first half of the seventieth week) which are not only immediately followed by but also typological of the Ultimate Jubilee (i.e. the eternal state – the new heavens and new earth). In the traditional jubilee year, the land experienced a year-long Sabbath rest, the land reverted to its original owners, all debts were canceled, and all slaves/indentured servants were freed. In the Ultimate Jubilee, believers experience the inaugurated fulfillment of true rest in Christ (Heb 4:9), the new heavens and new earth will be given to believers (Rom 8:19-23; 2 Peter 3:10-13), the debt of sin will be completely dealt with, and believers will be completely freed from the slavery and corruption of sin. The Ultimate Jubilee was inaugurated in Christ’s earthly ministry (Luke 4:16-21) and will be consummated when Christ returns in glory. The first section of this chapter will investigate the eschatological trumpet of the final jubilee. The second will explore the typological fulfillment of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants and how each relates to this event, while the third subdivision will examine Romans 8:19-23 which details the cosmic restoration of the Ultimate Jubilee. The fourth section will consider the future of ethnic Israel.
The Trumpet and the Ultimate Jubilee
(Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Recall that the jubilee year was initiated by the sounding of a ram’s horn (also known as a shofar) on the Day of Atonement (cf. Lev 25:9-10). Apart from signaling the jubilee, the blowing of trumpets served three chief purposes in the Old Testament: to assemble Israel before Yahweh (Ex 19:13-19, 20:18; Num 10:2; Isa 27:13), to sound the alarm or battle cry in time of war (Num 10:9; Josh 6:4, 20; Judg 3:27, 6:34, 7:8-22; Neh 4:18; Job 39:25; Jer 4:5, 19), and to signal the coronation of the king of Israel (2 Sam 15:10; 1 Kgs 1:34, 39; 2 Kgs 9:13, 11:12-14). Not only is the shofar intimately related to the Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25), Day of Atonement (Lev 25:9-10), and jubilee year, but it is also related to the Second Coming of Christ, when the Ultimate Jubilee will be consummated. The first function of the trumpet in the Old Testament was to assemble Israel before the Lord. This particular aspect will be fulfilled in the resurrection and gathering of believers at Christ’s Second Coming. For instance, at Christ’s parousίa, all believers will be resurrected “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor 15:51-52; cf. 1 Thess 4:15-17). They will be “caught up together…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4:17), and they will be gathered “from one end of the sky to the other” (Matt 24:29-31; cf. Rev 6:12-17). Christ’s return will also fulfill the second function of the trumpet in the Old Testament: to sound the alarm or battle cry in time of war. When the Trumpet of God sounds at Christ’s parousίa, the battle cry for the climactic Battle of Armageddon will have been issued (Rev 19:13-20). The third function of the shofar was to signal the coronation of the king of Israel in the Old Testament, and this too will be fulfilled when Christ returns, as Revelation 11:15-18 declares. Interestingly, this particular function of the shofar will also signal the consummation of Christ’s reign as the Davidic monarch (1 Cor 15:24-26). Thus, the symbolism of the trumpet indicates that the Ultimate Jubilee is consummated at Christ’s Second Coming.
Typological Fulfillment of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants
(2 Samuel 7 and Genesis 12, 17)
In their ultimate sense, the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are fulfilled typologically. In other words, the ‘near’ fulfillments of these covenants in the Old Testament are typological of their ‘ultimate’ fulfillments in the New Covenant Age and Ultimate Jubilee. For the purposes of this work, I shall consider first the Davidic Covenant.
The Davidic Covenant
Generally speaking, the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7) promised to David a son, a throne, and a temple (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-15; Ps 89:3-4, 29, 36-37). Few evangelical Christians dispute the fact that the promises of the Davidic Covenant find a near fulfillment in David’s son, Solomon. 1 Chronicles 28:5-7 plainly evinces that Solomon is the near fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. In fulfillment of the son of God promise, the Lord declares of Solomon, “…for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him” (2 Chr 28:6b). In fulfillment of the throne promise, the Lord chose “Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel” (2 Chr 28:5). Scripture resoundingly affirms that Solomon built the Temple of God in Jerusalem (cf. 1 Kings 5-9) in fulfillment of the temple promise of the Davidic Covenant. How the promises of the Davidic Covenant find their ultimate fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ is a subject of great debate among evangelical Christians. All Christians, however, will affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ is not only the antitype of Solomon but also the ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic ‘son’ promise (cf. Mark 1:1; Matt 1:1; Luke 1:30-33).
Because the Davidic monarch is typologically analogous of God Himself, David’s throne is typologically analogous of God’s throne. Thus, when the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of His Father, He did so in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. In response, Fruchtenbaum, a Classical Dispensationalist, asserts: “It is foolish to claim that the Throne of David and the Throne of God are the same unless Covenant Theologians wish to insist that David once sat on the Throne of God the Father!” Yes, it is obvious that David’s throne and God’s throne cannot be equated in any real sense. However, David’s throne is typologically analogous of God’s throne, because the Davidic monarch is typologically analogous of God Himself. It is upon this basis that the Old Testament on no less than three occasions typologically equates David’s throne with Yahweh’s throne. Recall King David’s testimony before the princes of Israel regarding his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:5: “And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons), He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel” [emphasis mine]. 1 Chronicles 29:23 also states, “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him” [emphasis mine]. Additionally, the Queen of Sheba declares to Solomon, “Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you, setting you on His throne as king for the LORD your God; because your God loved Israel establishing them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness” (2 Chronicles 9:8) [emphasis mine]. Scripture itself indicates that David’s throne is typologically analogous to God’s throne. Thus, Christ’s current reign at God’s right hand in heaven over the entire cosmos is the antitypical fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. His cosmic reign began at His ascension (Acts 2:29-36; cf. Dan 7:13-14) and will be consummated (Rev 11:15-18) at His return which ushers in the Ultimate Jubilee. Additionally, Daniel 7:14b teaches that Christ’s “dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away” and that “His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” As a result, this verse rules out a literal interpretation of Revelation 20 with an earthly millennial kingdom which will be destroyed by fire (2 Pet 3:10-12).
If Solomon is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, then the temple that Solomon built must likewise be typologically analogous to the temples that Christ Himself would build. Furthermore, the temples that Christ will construct must be greater than Solomon’s temple by a magnitude which approaches infinity, as they are antitypical of the Temple in Jerusalem. This sheer fact disqualifies a millennial temple as being the antitype of Solomon’s Temple. So what are these temples that Christ would construct? First, Christ’s resurrected body is the ultimate temple of God. One of the key characteristics of God’s Temple was that it was the location where God Himself dwelt. Accordingly, Colossians 2:9 declares of Christ Jesus, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” There can be no doubt that Christ is far greater than a physical temple in Jerusalem. Indeed, the Lord Jesus says exactly this in Matthew 12:6, “But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.” Moreover, John 2:19-21 states: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ 21But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” Second, the Church is another temple constructed by the Lord Jesus Christ. When Christ baptized His followers with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the Church was born. Through the Pentecost event, the Lord forever joined elect Jews and elect Gentiles into one new body in one New Covenant (cf. Eph 2:11-18). God’s Word clearly demonstrates that the ‘near’ fulfillments of the Davidic Covenant in the Old Testament are typological of their ‘ultimate’ fulfillments in the New Covenant Age and Ultimate Jubilee.
The Abrahamic Covenant
In Genesis 12 and 17, God covenantally promised to Abraham a seed, a nation, and a land. Few Classical Dispensationalists will dispute that the Abrahamic promises find fulfillment in Isaac, the nation of Israel, and the land of Canaan. However, such fulfillments were only ‘near’ fulfillments, that is to say, fulfillments which are typological of their ‘ultimate’ fulfillments in the New Covenant Age and eternal state. First, the miraculous birth of Isaac, the “unique” (monogenē) son of Abraham (Heb 11:17) typologically parallels the miraculous virgin-birth of Jesus Christ, the “unique” (monogenē) Son of God (John 3:16) and the Seed of Abraham (Cf. Gen 17:7-8; Gal 3:16). Second, Israel, the Old Covenant people of God typologically parallels both Christ (cf. Hos 11:1; Matt 2:15) and the Church, the New Covenant people of God (cf. 1 Pet 2:9; John 15:1).
The Church has not replaced Israel; the Church is the fulfillment of Israel as the people of God. Israel was God’s Old Covenant people (cf. Exod 19:3-6; Heb 8:13), and the Church is God’s New Covenant people, comprised of both elect Jew and elect Gentile (cf. Eph 2:11-18). Such teaching does not conflict with Jeremiah 31:31, where God specifically promises to forge the New Covenant “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” To whom was the Gospel preached first? To the houses of Israel and Judah (cf. Jer 31:31-33; Matt 10:6; 15:24). Upon whom was the Holy Spirit poured out first? Upon the houses of Israel and Judah (cf. Jer 31:31-33; Acts 2). At Pentecost, the believing remnant of ethnic Israel was transformed into the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ – the spiritual body that reveals “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10). Furthermore, God is continuing to draw out his elect from the houses of Israel and Judah, and shortly before Christ returns in glory a massive number of ethnic Jews will be saved and incorporated into the Church (Rom 11). The ‘Church versus Israel’ dichotomy, which so prevalently manifests itself in Dispensationalism, is without biblical warrant. The Bible never uses such language. Rather, it compares and contrasts Israel and the Jews with Gentiles, but never Israel with the Church. Consider the following passages: Luke 2:29-32; John 1:12-13; 11:49-53; Acts 15:7-11; Galatians 3:6-9,13-14, 26-29; Ephesians 2:11-22; 3:4-6; Romans 1:16-17; 3:29-31; 9-11; 15:27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; and Colossians 3:11.
Third, whereas the land of Canaan was given to Israel, the Old Covenant people of God, the New Heavens and New Earth (in the Ultimate Jubilee) will be given to the Church, the New Covenant people of God (cf. Heb 11:9-16; 2 Pet 3:3-13; Rev 21-22). In fact, on no less than three occasions, the Old Testament declares that God fulfilled the land promise in its ‘near’ sense when He gave the land of Canaan to Israel. For example, Joshua 21:43-45 declares:
43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
Also, Solomon proclaims in 1 Kings 8:56, “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.” Finally, the Jewish people confess in Nehemiah 9:7-8:
7Thou art the LORD God, Who chose Abram And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name Abraham. 8and Thou didst find his heart faithful before Thee, and didst make a covenant with him to give him the land of the Canaanite, of the Hittite and the Amorite, of the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite – to give it to his descendants. And Thou hast fulfilled Thy promise, for Thou art righteous.
And so it is affirmed that the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic land promise is not a repossession of the land of Canaan by Israel in an earthly millennium. As implied by Matthew 5:5, 2 Peter 3:13, and Hebrews 11, the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic land promise is the New Heavens and the New Earth in the Ultimate Jubilee. There is no abrogation of any covenantal promises given to Abraham and David, only typological fulfillment.
The Cosmic Restoration of Ultimate Jubilee
Romans 8:19-23 is a powerful passage which not only details the cosmic restoration of the Ultimate Jubilee but also removes the exegetical foundation for a future premillennial kingdom as taught by all versions of premillennialism (cf. 1 Cor 15; 1 Pet 3:3-12). This Scriptural pericope teaches that the resurrection of believers is inextricably linked to the resurrection or recreation of the cosmos. How? First, God’s Word declares that all believers will be resurrected when the Lord Jesus returns at His parousίa (cf. 1 Cor 15:23; 1 Thess 3:13). For instance, 1 John 3:2 states, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” This verse demonstrates that when Christ returns, all believers will be made like Him in His sinless and resurrected humanity. Second, Scripture also declares that when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven, His followers will be revealed with Him. For example, Colossians 3:4 proclaims: “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Now, if all believers are resurrected and revealed in glory when Christ is revealed from heaven, it is evident that the apokalypsis (“revealing”) of Christ and the apokalypsis (“revealing”) of all believers occur simultaneously. This has staggering implications for Romans 8:19-23:
19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing [tēn apokalypsin] of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
In this passage, the Apostle Paul compares the current state of believers to that of creation. Just as “we ourselves groan within ourselves” (Rom 8:23), all of “creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom 8:22). Moreover, just as “we ourselves” await “eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Rom 8:23), the cosmos longs to “be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). In the Ultimate Jubilee, both the creation and believers will be completely freed from the corruption and slavery of sin.
Furthermore, Romans 8:19 declares that the creation anxiously awaits the revelation of the sons of God, which is their resurrection. Why does the creation so eagerly await this eschatologically climactic event? The creation eagerly awaits “the revelation of the sons of God” because the “resurrection” of creation in the New Heavens and the New Earth will occur simultaneously with the resurrection of the elect. Concerning Romans 8:19-23, Robert Strimple writes, “The apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, teaches us that the resurrection glory of the children of God will mark the resurrection glory of creation as well. At Christ’s coming, not a millennium later, ‘the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay’ and come to enjoy a glory that is likened to ‘the glorious freedom of the children of God.’” Elsewhere, he notes:
Paul describes the deliverance of creation as creation’s liberation ‘from its bondage to decay…into the glorious freedom of the children of God’ (Rom. 8:21). Thus, the deliverance of creation itself from all the corrupting consequences of human sin as they have affected the creation will be as complete and as final as the deliverance from sin and its consequences are for God’s people….Here again the apostle directs our attention to when this deliverance will be achieved: when ‘the sons of God [are] revealed’ (Rom. 8:19). That day of their ‘revelation’ [apokalypsis] as God’s children is the glorious goal of the believers’ expectation, and it is the goal of the creation’s expectation also. At that time the creation itself ‘will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God’ (v. 21). The ‘revealing of the sons of God’ and ‘the glorious freedom of the children of God’ cannot be postponed beyond the coming of Christ and the resurrection, nor can the deliverance of creation be postponed beyond that great day. Therefore, when “those who are Christ’s” are resurrected “at His coming” (1 Cor 15:23), the cosmos itself will be re-created into the New Heavens and the New Earth. When both believers and the cosmos experience resurrection, the Ultimate Jubilee will have been consummated.
The Future of Ethnic Israel
Just as the seventy ‘sevens’ began with Israel’s exodus from Babylon orchestrated by the decree of Cyrus in 538 B.C., they end with a massive, end-time ingathering of believing ethnic Jews in conjunction with Christ’s glorious return. Romans 11:25 declares: “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The mystery” to which the Apostle Paul refers in Romans 11:25 is teaching in context a massive, end-time ingathering of believing ethnic Jews, but not a “national” restoration of Israel in an earthly millennium. Why?
First, a “national” restoration of Israel during an earthly millennium is totally foreign to the context, plus no explicit reference is made to the land of Israel or the land promise given to Abraham throughout Romans 9-11. The Apostle’s reference to Zion from Isaiah 59:20-21 does not refer to the physical land of Israel or to the earthly city of Jerusalem. More likely, it refers to the heavenly Mount Zion (cf. Heb 12:22-24). Mark Seifrid writes:
That the Redeemer comes “from Zion” for Israel implies that Israel is in exile, a setting that the allusion to Ps. 14 accentuates: God saves his people who are in captivity. Likewise, the text of Isaiah 59:20 describes God as “the Redeemer,” who savingly comes to his exiled people – a prominent characterization of God in Isa. 40-55….Paul undoubtedly refers to Christ as the coming Redeemer, whom he here again identifies with God through his use of the Isaianic text (see, e.g., 1 Cor. 11:26; 15:23; 16:22; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; on redemption, see Rom. 7:24). Christ, the stumbling-stone whom God has placed in “Zion” and with whom God himself is identified (Isa. 8:14; Rom 9:33), will come forth from the heavenly Zion as the Redeemer of Israel….In any case, the salvation of Israel by the coming of the Redeemer from Zion will be, according to Paul, the resurrection of the dead, the final salvation of all who believe (11:15) [emphasis mine].
Furthermore, Paul’s omission of any reference to the land or the land promise in Romans 9-11 can be explained by Paul’s earlier discussion of the resurrection of the elect and of creation in Romans 8:19-23. As previously discussed, this passage in Romans 8 implies that the land promise given to Abraham finds its ultimate eschatological fulfillment not in a reconstituted land of Israel but in the New Heavens and New Earth, that is, the Ultimate Jubilee. Paul even refers to the patriarch Abraham as “the heir of the world (kosmou)” in Romans 4:13, and the elect, like Abraham, will inherit the ‘resurrected’ cosmos (cf. Matt 5:5; 2 Pet 3:13). When Romans 9-11 is viewed in the context of the epistle’s eight preceding chapters (especially Romans 8), it becomes readily apparent why the Apostle does not refer to the land of Israel in Romans 9-11. God’s restoration of Israel does not involve a redeemed nation of Jews dwelling in the Promised Land and reigning with Christ over the nations for a thousand years. Rather, when Christ “the Redeemer will come from Zion” (Rom 11:26) to restore Israel, He will spiritually redeem a vast number of elect ethnic Jews and permanently unite them to Himself by incorporating them into His spiritual body, the Church (cf. 1 Cor 12:13-14; Rom 8:9). The Lord Jesus Christ will then resurrect and rescue His Church, destroy His enemies, execute the Final Judgment, and transform the cosmos into the New Heavens and New Earth. The eschatological goal of history is the resurrection of both the elect and the entire cosmos, not a premillennial kingdom.
Second, no reference is made to Israel as a political entity in Romans 9-11. Although Romans 11:25-31 does teach that there will be a massive, end-time ingathering of believing ethnic Jews when Christ returns (cf. Rom 11:12, 23, 26), it does not teach that there will be a national or political restoration. The fact that Paul compares and contrasts Israel with the Gentiles demonstrates that the emphasis in Romans 9-11 is upon socio-ethnic groups not political ones. The distinction between ethnic Israel and national/political Israel is one which the Bible itself frequently employs. For example, Amos 9:8 declares, “‘Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom [i.e. political Israel], and I will destroy it from the face of the earth; nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob [i.e. the elect remnant of ethnic Israel],’ declares the LORD.” In other words, although God promised to destroy Israel as a political entity for her apostasy and wickedness, He promised to preserve an elect ethnic remnant. In accordance with Amos 9:8, Romans 11:25-31 describes the deliverance of the elect ethnic remnant of Israel not a national or political restoration. This deliverance will occur at Christ’s parousia in the form of a massive, end-time ingathering of believing ethnic Jews. Thus, the seventy ‘sevens’ both begin and end with an exodus of ethnic Jews from exile.
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link In Systematic Theology (Tustin: Ariel Ministries, 1989), 633.
See Keith A. Mathison, Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1995), 113. Regarding Daniel 7:13-14 which many Dispensationalists understand to refer to the establishment of Christ’s thousand-year reign on the earth, Mathison writes the following on page 112: “Dispensationalists consider this passage a prophecy of the second coming of Christ to earth to establish His millennial kingdom. But that is not what Daniel says. Verse 13 indicates clearly that this is not a vision of Christ’s coming down to earth. Daniel sees the Son of Man coming up to the Father, the Ancient of Days. Daniel, writing from the perspective of one standing in the throne of God, sees Jesus coming up. Daniel 7 cannot be a prophecy of the second coming….Only one place in Scripture vividly describes the fulfillment of a scene like the one in Daniel 7. In Acts 1, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, comes up to the Ancient of Days on the clouds (Acts 1:9). Daniel 7:13-14 is thus a prophecy of the ascension of Christ. In verse 14, we are told what happened after Christ ascended to the Father: He was given an everlasting dominion. He was given glory. He was given a kingdom that extends over all peoples, nations, and men of every language….Despite the Dispensationalist denials, the Bible distinctly teaches that Jesus Christ was crowned King of Kings at His ascension. He is now “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5). ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever’ (Rev. 11:15).”
Monogenē is also translated as “only” (ESV: Heb 11:17; John 3:16), “only begotten” (KJV, NASB: Heb 11:17; John 3:16), and “one and only” (NIV: Heb 11:17; John 3:16).
The olive tree metaphor of Romans 11:16-28 implies that the Church fulfills, not replaces, Israel. Israel was God’s Old Covenant people, a group that included both unbelieving Jews and believing Jews. When the New Covenant was established by the Lord Jesus Christ with the believing remnant of Israel (at the cross and subsequently Pentecost), the unbelieving “natural” branches of Israel were broken off from the olive tree. This divine ‘pruning’ coincided with the formation of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. While the temporary hardening of Israel endures, God continues to graft “wild” branches (i.e. believing Gentiles) into the olive tree. However, either immediately before or coinciding with Christ’s parousia, the Lord will graft a vast number of believing “natural” branches (i.e. believing ethnic Jews) into the olive tree. The Church, the spiritual body composed of believing Jews and believing Gentiles (cf. Eph 2:11-18), is the typological fulfillment of Old Testament Israel, a national body which was composed of believing Jews and unbelieving Jews. It is the Church, not Israel, that reveals “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10). The hope of Israel is not a premillennial kingdom, as premillennialists assert, but is a combination of Yahweh (cf. Jer. 14:8; 17:13), the Messiah – Christ Jesus, our Great God and Savior (cf. Acts 28:20; Titus 2:13), the gospel (cf. Acts 20:24; 28:31; Eph 6:19-20; Col 4:3), the promise of the Spirit (cf. Ezek 36:26-27; Gal 3:13-14; John 14:16-17), the adoption of sons (cf. Rom 8:23; Gal 4:3-5; Eph 1:3-5), and the New Heavens and New Earth (cf. Matt 5:5; Rom 4:13; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:3-4), all of which are fulfilled in the Church, the New Covenant people of God.
It is important to note that 1 Corinthians 10:32 does not logically justify the Dispensational Premillennial view of distinct redemptive programs in the plan of God for Israel and the Church: “Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.” In this passage, “Jews” exclusively refers to unbelieving Jews, and “Greeks” exclusively refers to unbelieving Gentiles. However, the “church of God” exclusively refers to believing Jews and believing Gentiles (cf. Eph 2:11-18). Thus, the Apostle Paul divides humanity into three groups: unbelieving Jews, unbelieving Gentiles, and the Church (i.e. believing Jews and believing Gentiles). He admonishes the believers in Corinth not to offend these three groups, groups which have their own distinct ideologies, beliefs, and practices. Furthermore, although the Church is predominantly a Gentile body, it is nonetheless comprised of both elect Jew and elect Gentile. As a result, the Church is not, cannot, and should not be equated with the term ‘Gentiles.’
Walvoord attempts to counter this argument with the following words: “If its promises regarding the land were fulfilled in Joshua’s time or in Solomon’s, why do the Scriptures which were written later still appeal to the hope of a future possession of the land? Practically every one of the Major and Minor Prophets mention in some form the hope of future possession of the land. All of them were written after Solomon’s day. This is an obvious rebuttal to the amillennial position and points to the amillennial failure to face the real issues of the millennial debate with a view to all the evidence….To follow Murray in his interpretation of Nehemiah would involve the spiritualization of all the prophecies about the land subsequent to Solomon as well as those before Solomon. The real issue remains whether the Scriptures after Solomon continue to anticipate a future and glorious regathering of Israel and occupancy of the promised land.” John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, rev. (Findlay, OH: Dunham Pub. Co. 1963), 178-79. Yes, most of the Major and Minor prophets look forward to a future possession of the land. However, Walvoord does not take into account that both Ezekiel and Jeremiah wrote during the exile or that Isaiah writes of the new heaven and new earth (Isa 65:17). Furthermore, the amillennial interpretation of Nehemiah 9:7-8 is a literal reading of the text, not spiritualization. If the land promise literally means what it appears to mean, then the promise has been fulfilled for Israel.
Paul uses apokalypsis in three primary ways: (1) he uses ἀποκάλυψις to indicate a revelation of truth (Rom 16:25; Eph 1:17), (2) he uses apokalypsis to indicate a revelation through vision(s) (Gal 1:12; 1 Cor 2:4; 1 Cor 14:6; 1 Cor 14:26; 2 Cor 12:1; 2 Cor 12:7; Gal 2:2; Eph 3:3), and (3) a revelation of the disclosure of secrets belonging to the last days (Rom 2:5; Rom 8:19; 1 Cor 1:7; 2 Thess1:7). See Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 112. Romans 8:19 specifically details the “time when they [i.e. believers] will be revealed in their glorified status” (“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing (apokalypsis) of the sons of God.”); in other words, “revelation of the sons of God” is the general eschatological resurrection when they will receive their resurrection bodies. It is also important to note that Romans 2:5 also deals with eschatological revelation, as it speaks of “the day of wrath and revelation (apokalypsis) of the righteous judgment of God.”
Robert Strimple, “Amillennialism,” in Three Views On The Millennium And Beyond, ed. Stanley N. Gundry and Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 106.
See Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 517. Moo, a Premillennialist, is convinced that this passage does not exclude the existence of a premillennial kingdom. See also Barry E. Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2007), 64. Horner states, “Romans 8:22-33 clearly presents a similar prophetic vision that anticipates the future glorious Messianic kingdom which will manifest Christ’s reign from Jerusalem over Jew and Gentile.” While this passage is asserted to be consistent with a premillennial eschatology, it is certainly not clear which aspects logically lead to such a conclusion, especially when it is assumed that a millennium is to be inserted into the context without scriptural warrant.
Mark A. Seifrid, “Romans,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, ed. Gregory K. Beale and Donald A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 674.
To interpret Romans 9-11 as a codicil divorced from its preceding context is hermeneutically unsound and should be avoided.
See John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997), 75-108.