Beginning and the End - Part 4
In the final part of the series “Beginning and the End” (17th May 2020), I shall begin by picking up from where I left off on the subject of ‘dominionism’ and comment on the ‘kingdom now’ theology which has pervaded much of the church today. Then, in our conclusion, I shall turn our attention toward that for which we are all eagerly awaiting and looking for, the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ and the time when He will establish on earth the final kingdom, the kingdom of God to which there shall be no end.
Although I am deeply concerned by the affects of kingdom now theology in the church and among the younger generation in particular, it is my hope that in commenting on this particular teaching, and by the grace of God, that it will not be a case of simply venting against those who subscribe to a different viewpoint than me, but rather coming ever nearer to the will of God for mankind and all creation, through His word. For it is the word which is the supreme and final authority in all matters, in faith, conduct and life. Therefore, the most important thing as we approach the subject, is not what men say, but what God says.
In the broadest sense, kingdom now theology and dominionism, state that although Satan has had dominion in the earth since the fall, God is now looking for a group of people who will help Him take back dominion and govern the nations based on their understanding of God’s will and Biblical principles. However, nowhere in Scripture do I find this to be the case. Rather in the apocalyptic writings of the Bible, specifically Daniel and Revelation, we find the very opposite. Instead of a world reformed, we find a world remade. Instead of establishing God’s reign within history, we find God’s eternal reign established beyond history. And instead of a restoration of the redeemed, to continue living in God’s world in the way God desires, we find the removal of the redeemed to a new eternal place of existence, where God’s will is done.
Moreover, the two schools of thought produce two fundamentally different messages in the light of living in the world today. The one that believers will rise up and put an end to evil, to persecution and suffering in the world, the other, to keep the faith and persevere until the end, knowing that the Lord is coming and will put an end to the evil in the world in His own perfect time.
However, in subscribing to the second of these viewpoints, one must face a number of tricky questions such as: ‘why then, having been defeated through the cross some 2,000 years ago, does Satan still hold so much sway in the earth?” Or “If God is so good, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?” or, “if God is so powerful, why doesn’t He put an end to all the wickedness and pain?”. And of course, although we know that God could do so at any time, our efforts to understand these issues and why He does not, fall short of a complete answer and perhaps will remain a mystery to us this side of heaven. Nevertheless, I shall try to explain as best as I can in Sunday’s message.
For now though, it remains vital to remember that God is sovereign, not Satan and certainly not man. The devil only has sway by permission. Therefore, if the devil is still loose for now, it is only because God allows it, because for now, it serves God’s purpose, just as it will at the end of the millennium when Satan is released and will go out to deceive the nations. But be assured, judgment has already been passed on to the devil; and one day he will begin to serve his eternal sentence.
“But it seems to be taking so long for Jesus to come back,” some say, just as they have been saying ever since the Lord went from us. Perhaps to us it seems like God is taking His own good time, but God is right on schedule.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
You see, it has little or nothing to do with God not having the power to put an end to evil and suffering and everything to do with His long-suffering toward us! It may seem like a long time to us, but God is so good that He is waiting for people like you and me to turn from our sin and put our faith in Christ. It is out of His kindness that He waits to put an end to the devil’s power on earth. For when God puts His foot down and says, “Enough!” to Satan, He will do the same with sinful men and women, and that will be the end of history as we know it. Christ will return, judgment will come, and those who have not believed in Him will be doomed to an eternity which was never intended for them, as anyone not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.
In the meantime, God has given us the tremendous privilege and responsibility - not of ruling and reigning as yet - but of enduring in faith and proclaiming the good news of salvation to the people around us who have yet to respond. Because, this is what we can do to lessen the power of Satan in people’s lives… win them to Christ! The Scriptures do not tell us that the end will come when we have defeated Satan and regained dominion in the earth, rather they encourage us to endure to the end proclaiming the good news of the kingdom… and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.