Was the kingdom offered to the Jews?
The 14th of George Zeller’s 15 arguments in this article, against the idea that Christ reigns upon the throne of David now, invokes the notion that there was a postponement of the kingdom, after it was offered to the Jews. Zeller wrote:
”Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive UNTIL the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
In the early chapters of the book of Acts the nation Israel was given opportunity to REPENT. Had they repented, the Lord Jesus would have left His heavenly throne and would have come to His earthly throne, thus restoring the kingdom to Israel. Notice again our key word, “UNTIL.” Christ sits at the right hand of the Father and heaven receives Him UNTIL the right time comes to SEND JESUS back to the earth. It is only then that the restitution/restoration of all things will take place and the kingdom will be restored to Israel. It is then and only then that Christ will sit on the throne of David, on earth, in Jerusalem.
For a fascinating study of God’s offer of the kingdom to the Jews in the book of Acts, see The Strategic Grasp of the Bible by J. Sidlow Baxter (Zondervan).
Dispensationalists employ the theory about the kingdom being “offered” to the Jews, in order to hide a glaring flaw in their doctrine. Jesus preached that the kingdom was at hand; the time for entering the kingdom was near. He said it was something that people should seek; search for it as if for a very precious pearl. This would fit the idea that Christ’s kingdom spans the present age, but not the idea that there was a parenthesis of about two thousand years before the kingdom could appear. Dispensationalists reject the idea that Christ is now ruling as king, which, if true, would mean we ought to obey him. The notion that the kingdom was “offered” to the Jews, but then postponed, was their explanation for why the kingdom was said to be “at hand,” in the gospel accounts, yet, as claimed in their scheme, does not now exist.
Stephen J. Nichols wrote: [The dispensational view of the Davidic kingdom: a response to Progressive Dispensationalism. TMSJ 7/2 (Fall 1996) 213-239]
In an essay entitled, “The Church–What Is It?,” Darby pointed out, “It is of great importance to distinguish between the kingdom and the church.” He added, “In fact, it appears to me a confusion of the Jewish and Gentile dispensations–the hinge upon which the subject [prophecy] and the understanding of scripture turns.” A crucial aspect of this distinction for Darby was the rejection of Christ as the Anointed, the son of David, King of Israel. Commenting on Luke 3, he wrote, “In fact we know John was beheaded, and the Lord was crucified, and the kingdom presented in Him, and by Him, was rejected by Israel. By-and-by it will be set up visibly and in power. Meanwhile the church is set up, because the kingdom is not set up in this manifested way.”
Darby’s statement that “the kingdom presented in Him, and by Him, was rejected by Israel” is almost directly opposite to the New Testament teaching, which says that those Israelites who did not believe in Christ were cut off, and were no longer part of Israel. On the other hand, all those who believed, including Gentiles, became part of the Israel of God, and the circumcision, and were included in the covenants of promise. [Ephesians 2:12; Philippians 3:3]
Both Peter and Paul taught that any Jew who did not believe in Christ, was cut off, as the law of Moses said. Peter said, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” [Acts 2:22-23]
Paul in Romans 11:17 refers to Jews who remained in unbelief as branches broken off from their tree. He also said, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” [Romans 9:6] This implies, unbelievers among the Jews were no longer Israel. But dispensationalists refuse to believe these scriptures; they insist that unbelieving Jews are still “Israel.”
Philip Mauro wrote a critique of the postponement theory in The Kingdom of God: has it been postponed?