On August 30, 2016, the fourth Monthly Preterist Conference Call took place, hosted by Jordan Hardgrave and featuring Johnny Ova as the main speaker. Johnny lives in Long Island, New York with his wife, Rachel, and their children. Johnny is the founder and pastor of Sound of Heaven Church.
Johnny’s message was titled, “The Nature of the Kingdom.” Here’s the audio of his message (25 minutes), followed by his notes. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the Comment section below:
So let me get this straight…
The Bible emphatically and powerfully places the return of the Lord at the end of the Old Covenant age when the temple was destroyed in AD 70. It was at that time that He raised the dead out of Hades, and separated the sheep from the goats. He also simultaneously changed the living remnant to immortal at that time, joining them with the righteous dead who had finally entered into heaven. It was at that time that He established His eternal Kingdom that will never end and He will dwell within men for all time.
However, He will return again!!
To come a 3rd time? To raise the dead from Hades again? To separate the sheep from the goats again? To change the living to immortal again? To establish His Kingdom again? To start dwelling within men again?
Kingdom is defined as “a domain over which a king reigns.”
“Nature” means “the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.”
In Deuteronomy 31 & 32, where we find “The Song of Moses,” Moses is prophesying about Israel’s falling away and “end.”
31:29- “For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”
32:15- “But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked— You are grown fat, thick, and sleek— Then he forsook God who made him, And scorned the Rock of his salvation.”
It talks about Israel growing fat and thick and rebelling against God.
Moses was prophesying about Israel’s rebellion and he tied it into the theme of vengeance. When Israel violated covenant, God would send prophets who were covenant messengers of Jehovah to call them back to covenant and warn them that if they did not come back to covenant God’s judgment would be upon them. Not only did Israel reject the messengers, but they persecuted them and killed them. God looked upon this and said He would avenge this in the “last days.”
32:29-“Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would discern their future!
32:41-43- “If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me. ‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword will devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’ “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”
Now let’s fast forward to the time of Jesus.
Matthew 23:33-36- “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”
Gods vengeance for the blood of all the prophets would come upon that generation. When you get to the Book of Acts, God had sent His apostles and prophets, who ended up being murdered and stoned in and out of the synagogues (e.g. Stephen, James, Paul). They were killed because of the unbelieving Jewish part of the nation and the cup of iniquity was about full.
John the Baptist was sent to preach repentance for the Kingdom was at hand. He was born and sent to Israel…because a Judgment from God was coming!
What is the kingdom? The kingdom is the place/realm where God/heaven dwells.
Why was the kingdom coming? The invisible kingdom was going to come via judgement and establish rule and reign on earth as the Kingdom of God is above the earthly kingdoms.
How was it coming?
Matthew 10:5-7- These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
So what is this “kingdom” and how was it coming? It was coming with judgment and justice!
Isaiah 9:7- “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Basically what He was saying to the Jews is that for years they had rejected His rule. In the days of Samuel they rejected Him and asked for an earthly king, but never submitted to Him. “You have two choices. My rule is coming through the kingdom. You can accept it and be saved or reject it and be judged.” And this would be established with the coming of His Kingdom!
The problem I have with futurists is that they have delayed the kingdom for 2000 years, as if it was postponed or delayed, but the time statements in the New Testament make it extremely clear when this was to take place. “The time is near, the kingdom is at hand, we are in the last days, we’re in the last hour; repent, for the time is near.” There was urgency, a call to repentance, a call to the Jews to repent (especially all over the book of Acts).
When did it come?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. 28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
How to operate in the Kingdom?
God’s kingdom is spiritual. “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5). You can not and will not be able to “physically” operate in it.
His kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36 “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.'”
His kingdom is not external. Romans 14:17- “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (It starts on the inside and manifests to the outside, like a volcano.)
The kingdom of God contains power to change and transform. As Paul said, “the kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20).
We have the keys to the Kingdom. “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matt. 16:19; cf. Matt. 18:18-20.
It needs to be our primary focus. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“Assuredly, I say to you, there is not one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30
It is difficult to get in if we are distracted. It is difficult for those who are preoccupied with the cares of this world (Matt. 13:18-23) and/or riches (Matt. 19:23) to enter the kingdom of God.
Luke 11:20- But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”And as they were going, they were cleansed. 15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? 18 Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith [m]has made you well.”
20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”