Interpreting Prophecy Today Part 3: The New Testament Doctrine of the Kingdom -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 139:555 (Jul 1982)
Article: Interpreting Prophecy Today Part 3: The New Testament Doctrine of the Kingdom
Author: John F. Walvoord


Interpreting Prophecy Today
Part 3:
The New Testament Doctrine of the Kingdom

John F. Walvoord

[John F. Walvoord, President and Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary]

The Old Testament Background

Like with many other doctrines, the doctrine of the kingdom in the New Testament builds on the concepts already revealed in the Old Testament. In summarizing the Old Testament doctrine, it was noted in a previous article that the Old Testament concept of the kingdom includes 14 major features.1 These can be summarized under three headings.

The Theocratic Kingdom of David

Prophecies of a theocratic kingdom on earth in which David would reign as king were partially fulfilled in David’s day. God also promised him that his throne and his kingdom would endure forever (2 Sam 7:16).

The Kingdom of the Future Prophesied

Details of the future theocratic kingdom on earth include the factors that it will be an earthly kingdom, that David will be resurrected to serve as a prince under Christ, that Christ Himself will be the King of kings and Lord of lords ruling over the entire earth, not simply the land conquered by Solomon. In the kingdom, Jerusalem will be its capital, Israel will be regathered to her land with the kingdom extending to the whole earth with blessing to the Gentiles as well as to Jews, and Christ’s rule will be characterized by righteousness, justice, and peace. In addition to

its political and theocratic character, the kingdom will have a high level of spiritual life in which the ministry and presence of the Holy Spirit will be much in evidence.

In view of occasional sweeping statements on the part of amillenarians that the Bible nowhere teaches a premillennial kingdom of Christ on earth, it should be noted that the Old Testament has abundant evidence which, interpreted normally and literally, would clearly teach the kingdom on earth which can in no sense be fulfilled either (a) in the present age by the church in heaven, or (b) by the saints who are in the intermediate state, or in the new earth (Rev 21–22).

The Kingdom as a Spiritual Entity

Many Old Testament passages speak of the high level of spiritual life in the future kingdom on earth referred to as “a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jer 31:31). This New Covenant is described in Jeremiah 31:32–37 wit...

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