The Greatness of the Kingdom Part IV: The Mediatorial Kingdom from the Acts Period to the Eternal State -- By: Alva J. McClain

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 112:448 (Oct 1955)
Article: The Greatness of the Kingdom Part IV: The Mediatorial Kingdom from the Acts Period to the Eternal State
Author: Alva J. McClain


The Greatness of the Kingdom
Part IV:
The Mediatorial Kingdom
from the Acts Period to the Eternal State

Alva J. McClain

[Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth and last 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.]

The Mediatorial Kingdom in the Period of the Acts

Two mistakes have been made in approaching the Book of Acts. At the one extreme are a few who see nothing there but the Kingdom; while at the other extreme are those who insist that Acts concerns the church alone. Here again I insist that, as in the Gospels, the Book of Acts must be interpreted historically, i.e., in accordance with the movement of events. To do otherwise will result in serious problems, both in Eschatology and Ecclesiology.

In spite of all our Lord’s teaching prior to Calvary, the disciples had failed to harmonize the fact of his death with their hopes concerning the kingdom. “We hoped,” they say, “that it was he who should redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21, ASV). The solution of their problem was his resurrection, of course, as he reminds them: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and [after that] to enter into his glory?” This would have been clear to them had they not been “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25–26). That the kingdom has not been abandoned is evidenced by the question of his chosen apostles, asked at the close of 40 days of teaching by the risen King himself on the subject of the “Kingdom of God.” They said, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” The crucial point of this question is not whether or not there ever would be such a restoration, but rather is the time element. Not will this be done? but when? This is clearly indicated by the order of the words in the original: “Lord, at this time, wilt thou restore

again the kingdom to Israel?” As Alford observes, any other explanation of the question “would make our Lord’s answer irrelevant” in the next verse : “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:3–7). However, although the time element is to remain hidden, there is no indication that the kingdom may not be restored within the lifetime of the apostles. We tend to read 19 centuries into these Bib...

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