The Greatness of the Kingdom Part II: The Mediatorial Kingdom in Old Testament Prophecy -- By: Alva J. McClain

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 112:446 (Apr 1955)
Article: The Greatness of the Kingdom Part II: The Mediatorial Kingdom in Old Testament Prophecy
Author: Alva J. McClain


The Greatness of the Kingdom
Part II: The Mediatorial Kingdom in Old Testament Prophecy

Alva J. Mcclain

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the second in the series by Dr. McClain, President of Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana, which constituted the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectureship, November 9–12, 1954. In expanded form this series will appear as part of a volume in a projected set on Christian Theology by Dr. McClain.]

Since this area which we are about to enter is in certain respects the most important one of the entire investigation, something by the way of introduction should be said regarding the nature, interpretation and extent of kingdom prophecy.

The Nature of Kingdom Prophecy

a. Viewed from one standpoint, kingdom prophecy arises out of definite historical situation existing immediately before the eyes of the prophet. There is probably no exception to this rule. Even in purely predictive prophecy, or what some have called apocalyptic prediction, although the prophet may say nothing about the immediate historical situation, it nevertheless provides the background of what he has to say about the future. There is no such thing as predictive prophecy totally unrelated to history.

b. Sometimes prophecies of the kingdom have what has been called a “double reference,” or which might be more accurately called an “apotelesmatic” character. As Delitzsch has written, “All prophecy is complex, i.e., it sees together what history outrolls as separate: and all prophecy is apotelesmatic, i.e., it sees close behind the nearest-coming, epoch-making turn in history, the summit of the end.”1 That is, somewhat as a picture lacks the dimension of depth, the prophecy often lacks the dimension of time: events appear on the screen of prophecy which in their fulfillment may be widely separated in time. Thus the student may find a

prophecy referring to some event in the near future connected with the historical phase of the kingdom, and also to some far off event connected with the Messiah and his millennial kingdom. When the first event arrives it becomes the earnest and divine forecast of the more distant and final event. An excellent example may be found in Isaiah 13:1714:4, a prediction which begins with the defeat of Babylon by the Medes, and moves from that point immediately to a Babylon of the end-time. The same phenomenon may be observed in prophecies of the coming of the Messianic King, which New Testament history “outrolls” into two advents greatly separated in time. Su...

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