Rise of the Messianic Kingdom, A Preview of Our 2023 Lectureship Book
The lectureship may be well underway by the time many receive this Harvester. Hopefully, if you were not here in person, you were able to participate online. Whether you were here in person or online, we encourage you to make the lectureship last even longer. In addition to the video/audio thumb drives and downloads, a 539 page hardbound volume of our lectureship book is available. This is a great way to keep the lectureship for yourself to study and/or share it with others who would also benefit from a study on the “Rise of the Messianic Kingdom.” As our custom is for the January Harvester, below are some excerpts from the book to give you an idea of its contents.
Bruce Daugherty sets the stage in his chapter, “Overview of the Messianic Kingdom in Luke’s Gospel”:
The Gospel according to Luke and its companion volume, Acts, comprise approximately 28% of all the words in the New Testament. … Despite this fact, Luke’s Gospel has been overshadowed in study … This neglect has led to a separation of the Gospel of Luke from Acts. To be properly understood, however, the narrative in Acts needs to be viewed through Luke’s Gospel, [which] … emphasizes the continuation of God’s work in the salvation of humanity. … Luke’s Gospel tells how the promised Messiah was misunderstood and rejected by the leaders of Israel, and how God raised Him from the dead and made Him “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36, NKJ). Luke’s companion volume, Acts, tells the story of the people who have accepted the rule of Christ. These people are the church, which is seen in Acts expanding throughout the Roman Empire but undergoing persecution. This persecution might be misunderstood as if these people were cursed by God, but like their Messiah, this suffering indicates their faithfulness and is only a prelude to their exaltation by God.
The Messianic kingdom did not just fall out of the sky, but it, along with everything else associated with the Messiah, was planned from the foundation of the world (Mt. 13:35; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20). The prophets spoke of this coming kingdom, especially Isaiah and Daniel. Emanuel Daugherty, in his chapter, “Isaiah 2 and Daniel 2 Fulfilled in Acts 2,” states:
Prophecy is God’s way of telling beforehand future events to His people before they happen, thereby creating faith in Him as the one true God. When correctly understood, prophecy makes the New Testament open and blossom as a beautiful flower! Having a knowledge and understanding of these things establishes our faith in God and His Son, making the Holy Scriptures a joy and blessing to read and study! … To miss the point of Isaiah 2 and Daniel 2 is to miss it all! … The Messianic kingdom seen in Isaiah and Daniel was the pledge and promise of God to Israel that He had not forgotten the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and other faithful souls of the Old Testament (Gen.12:1-3; 2 Sam.7:12-16; Ps. 89:3-4, 19-37, 38-52). The preaching and teaching of the prophecies … will help souls come to a better understanding of God’s book leading them to Christ and into greater service for King Jesus.
Before the Messianic kingdom could be established, the Messiah had to be enthroned. Concerning this, Vince Daugherty wrote:
Though Jesus spoke prophetically concerning many things, He spoke often of His ascension [Jn. 3:13-14; 6:62; 7:33; 13:3, 33; 14:12, 28-29, 16:5, 10; 16, 28; 17:11; 20:17] … After Jesus’ prophetic words and account of His ascension, He is referred to in the rest of the New Testament as only residing in heaven (Acts 5:31; 7:55-56; 22:6-8; 26:13-16; Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 6:20; 1 Pet. 3:22). … The enthronement of Jesus also established Jesus as The Priest. “The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’” (Ps. 110:4). At His enthronement, Jesus was given the role of High Priest. A priest was simply a mediator between man and God. Jesus is the perfected High Priest, perfected through what He could only experience by becoming human.
With Jesus on the throne and serving as priest, everything was set for the Messianic kingdom to be established. That kingdom was inaugurated for the Jews in Acts 2, on the first Day of Pentecost following the Lord’s resurrection, and for the Gentiles in Acts 10, with Cornelius and his household. Jimmy Clark states:
Today, the message of the gospel rings true for the needs of all people everywhere. God is not just the God of the Jews [Rom. 3:29]. … the promise made to Abraham is fulfilled in the gospel going to every man [Gen. 12:3]. … Therefore, the promise to Abraham was more than just to Abraham’s physical descendants. … Since sin is universal in its scope, the remedy for sin must also be provided in the same scope, for God is no respecter of persons (cf. Rom. 2:11). It is the nature of God that none perish (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4-7; 2 Pet. 3:9). The inclusion of the Gentiles into the kingdom of God beginning with Cornelius and his household is today realized in multiplied places where good and honest hearts hear the same gospel message and obey those same conditions of salvation [Gal. 3:29].
The Holy Spirit’s Role
The Holy Spirit’s involvement with the establishing and continuation of the Messianic kingdom is undeniable. This book contains useful, biblical information on the Holy Spirit, a subject that is often avoided, but embraced in this book simply because the Holy Spirit is an integral part of the Messianic kingdom.
The “gift of the Holy Spirit” has always been a much discussed subject in the brotherhood. After laying valuable groundwork in comparing two passages that contain the phrase “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38; 10:45) and one that people claim aids in defining the meaning of “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15-20), even though the exact phrase is not found within it, Stephen Atnip, in his chapter, “The Gift of the Holy Spirit,” writes:
We begin this section with the following characteristics of the “gift of the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:38. First, it came after the penitent believer’s baptism in the name of the Lord for the remission of sins. Second, it was promised to all, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. While many seek to limit the term “many,” only a theological bias would move its simplest meaning from quantitative to qualitative (cf. Arndt’s comments on hosos [ὅσος]). Every person baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins was promised to receive this “gift of the Holy Ghost.” Based on these elements in Acts 2:38-39, we make several confident affirmations.
We confidently affirm the gift of the Spirit is not baptism with the Holy Spirit. The baptism with the Spirit came before water baptism in the name of the Lord, while the gift of the Spirit comes after baptism in the name of the Lord.
We confidently affirm the gift of the Spirit in Acts 2:38 is not what is meant by the phrase “filled with the Holy Ghost” in Acts 4:8. The phrase in Acts 4:8 was a miraculous, revelatory gift of the Spirit given to people of the first century to speak the prophetic word of God without previous study. It is what was promised to the apostles as the “Comforter [Helper, NASB]” in John 13–17. Those who were “filled with the Holy Ghost” were able to foretell the future (Jn. 16:13, “he will shew you things to come”). All who were baptized for the remission of their sins were promised to receive the gift of the Spirit, but the “Comforter [Helper, NASB]” was not given to every baptized person as one who could foretell the future. Thus, we affirm that the gift of the Spirit is not being “filled with the Holy Ghost.” We should never claim the Holy Spirit as our “Comforter [Helper, NASB]” as He was for the apostles, by appealing to the gift of the Spirit in Acts 2:38.
We confidently affirm the “gift of the Holy Ghost” is not referring to the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, such as signs and miracles. We have shown this already earlier in our examination of Acts 8:15-20.
We confidently affirm the “gift of the Holy Ghost” is not a reference to the “gift of God” in Acts 8:20. The “gift of God” in that passage was only for the apostles as shown earlier.
We confidently affirm the gift of the Holy Spirit is not referring to being “full of the Holy Ghost” as in Acts 6:3, 5. Being full of the Holy Spirit was used as a qualification for service. It is not received by every Christian as is true with the gift of the Spirit in Acts 2:38-39. If everyone is full of the Spirit, then being full of the Spirit could not be used as a qualification. Thus, the phrase “full of the Holy Ghost” is not referring to the “gift of the Holy Ghost” which comes to every baptized believer.
We also confidently affirm the “gift of the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:38 is not the indwelling word. The word of the Spirit indwells the hearts of people before they are baptized. The “gift of the Holy Ghost” is given only after people are baptized. The indwelling word is what creates faith which leads people to be baptized. If there is faith to be baptized, then there is already the indwelling word (Rom. 10:17). However, the gift of the Spirit in Acts 2:38 comes only after baptism, thus after faith, which comes after the word enters the hearer. It is strange to hear people who rightfully argue that the word works the same way on the unbeliever as it does on the believer, then argue that the gift of the Holy Spirit, which only comes after baptism, is the indwelling word which is what brings the heart to faith. Does not the indwelling word work the same way in the unbaptized, penitent believer as it does in the baptized, penitent believer? If we are going to say the gift of the Spirit is the indwelling word, then the gift of the Spirit is not only given after baptism, it also comes before baptism, and thus it cannot be said to be a promise only to baptized believers. This would in essence say that none but a baptized believer can have the word indwelling his heart, and that is an error of Calvinism. The indwelling word is within the penitent believer leading him or her to be baptized. The indwelling word both precedes and comes after baptism, and is not uniquely given only to the baptized believer. The gift of the Spirit, however, is only given after a person has been baptized. So, we confidently say that the gift of the Spirit is not the indwelling word.
What, then is the “gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38? Brother Atnip continues:
We rightly point out that whatever it is, it is only given to a penitent, baptized believer. Second, it is a gift that comes to all baptized, penitent believers, not just a select few [Acts 2:39]. … The only gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament that meets these qualifications found in Acts 2:38 is the Holy Ghost given to indwell every Christian to be the guarantor of his or her resurrection into the likeness of Christ’s glorious body. It is the earnest of our inheritance, that which guarantees every faithful saint that we shall be raised to an eternal inheritance in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection [Eph. 1:13-14; Rom. 8:11]. … Every Christian, according to Paul, plainly has this indwelling Holy Spirit dwelling within to raise him or her on the last day in the likeness of Jesus’ glorious body. If no other reason might be adduced from Scripture for this
indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Christian, this reason alone shows the absolute necessity for the “gift of the Holy Ghost” given to every penitent, baptized believer, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
David Stearsman, in his chapter, “Aiding and Determining the Messianic Kingdom’s Spread,” provides
a fitting conclusion:
No one today is led by the Spirit directly as they were in first century, but through the New Testament examples we have direction. … The advancement of the Messianic kingdom today depends on Christians, faithfully petitioning deity for providential care, and growing to maturity in the faith.
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