Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent
People all over the eschatological spectrum have been watching recent news events with bated breath. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine must be a sign of the “end-times.” To some, in the premillennial camp, Putin is an antichrist. Yes, he has military might and money. And he could undoubtedly become a global dictator ushering in “The Great Tribulation,” which those unlucky enough not to be raptured must endure before Christ sets up His earthly kingdom.
But, to postmillennialist Pat Robertson, Putin fulfills Ezekiel’s prophecy showing that “God is getting ready to do something amazing…”1Postmillennialism is more optimistic than premillennialism with its doom and gloom of the worst trials and tribulations the world has ever seen. So, first, the world will come to Christ, more or less. (Though Robertson believes it will involve warfare.) Then Jesus will set up a kingdom on earth, and we will enjoy a golden age.
There is a big problem with this thinking, though. We have been in the “end-times” since about the day of Pentecost A.D. 30 or 33. In Acts 2, Jesus fulfilled His promise to pour the Spirit upon the apostles (John 16.7; Acts 2.33). Thus filled with the Spirit, the apostles began speaking in tongues, languages they had never studied. We know they were languages rather than unintelligible gibberish because the people listening to them were from various places. The people wondered why they could hear these Galileans speak their native tongues. Peter told them that it was a result of the pouring out of the Spirit upon men, something the prophet Joel wrote would happen during the “last days” (Acts 2.16-21; Joel 2.28-32).
Hence, it has been the “end-times” for about 2,000 years. And what of the kingdom? It might surprise some to hear me say that the kingdom is here. Now, I hear even someone who has only dabbled in theological studies respond, “That just makes you an amillennialist.” No, that is a misnomer. That term means “no millennium” since the prefix “a” negates the following word. It is not a denial of a period of the kingdom’s reign; instead, the Scriptures demonstrate that we are not waiting for the kingdom’s establishment. Jesus told His disciples in Mark 9.1 that there would be those listening to Him who would not die until they had seen the kingdom arrive with power. Therefore, unless there are 2,000-year-old disciples, the kingdom is with us now.
And the kingdom’s present reality is what the Bible teaches. In Revelations, the beloved apostle John wrote that he was already in the kingdom (Revelation 1.9). Furthermore, Paul thanked God for rescuing us from the “domain of darkness” and transferring us to the “kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Colossians 1.13 NASB1995) And Jesus already sits upon His throne at the right hand of God. Note the penultimate verse of Mark’s Gospel: “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark16.19 NASB1995) Jesus will remain on His throne until His enemies are defeated, the last of whom is death (1 Corinthians 15.24-26).
I have only touched the hem of the garment on this issue. There is much more to be said. However, to paraphrase Jude, I had intended to write a different article but thought I should write this one in response to all the “end-times” talk caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Rather than fear the unfolding of events, take comfort in knowing that you have the ear of a King. Yes, Jesus now reigns and makes intercession for us (Romans 8.34).
1 Warren, Steve. “’God Is Getting Ready to Do Something Amazing’: CBN Founder Pat Robertson on Russia and Its Place in Prophecy.” CBN News, CBN News, 1 Mar. 2022, www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2022/february/god-is-getting-ready-to-do-something-amazing-founder-pat-robertson-on-russia-and-its-place-in-prophecy.