Chapter 10 in The Coming Millennial Kingdom is entitled Evidence from Acts, penned by Darrell L. Bock. Readers will remember Bock from his work on Progressive Dispensationalism. This is a good chapter and I’m glad that I read it. That might sound like a trite expression, but I mean it. I don’t agree with everything that Bock writes here, but it gave me a whole lot more to wrestle with than some of the other chapters in this book.
The idea that prefaces this discussion is, “how can you find the pre-millennial view in a book that does not speak in such terms?” Bock rightly states that while the term is not there, the concept is. He begins by pointing out that Acts is really Luke, the sequel. He highlights key phrases from the gospel of Luke before turning to Acts. These references mainly point to the nature of the kingdom and the timing of the coming of the kingdom. Only after a foundation rightly laid in the gospel of Luke does Bock turn to Acts for the question of a future restoration. Here is where it gets good.
Bock begins this portion with Acts 1:6-7. He then links the mentioned restoration of the kingdom to Israel to other key passages such as Acts 3:19-21 and its use of the words refreshing and restoration. Then there is a trackback to the passages which the gospel of Luke lays as a foundation such as Luke 1:69-75. It’s a fairly powerful argument in my opinion. The kingdom will be restored to Israel at a future point in time which brings in an era of refreshing here on the earth.
At this point, Bock takes another direction. While affirming a future restoration of the kingdom to the physical nation of Israel, he also states that there is a present reign which began at the ascension of Christ. While I won’t deny this, Bock takes it one step further stating that Jesus is currently on the Davidic throne. That’s where the divergence with my views occur. This is a complex discussion which revolves around how the New Testament quotes the Old Testament fulfillment prophecies, which is a subject that I love. While I believe Bock makes a good case, there is a jump, or an extrapolation, which he makes after establishing a Davidic Covenant foundation. After citing Psalm 16 and 110 as blatant quotes in Acts 2, he also points out that Psalm 132 should be included as a reference from Acts 2:30 even if it’s not as obvious. Because of this often unseen reference, and the fact that Psalm 132 states that David’s offspring would sit on the throne, Psalm 132:11, and because of the strong background of Davidic fulfillment from the psalms, Bock concludes that Jesus must be on the Davidic throne now. While I agree that Jesus has ascended to a position of authority, I believe he is making an unwarranted conclusion. In looking at the same verses, my conclusion is that Jesus will sit on the Davidic throne in the future restoration which Bock has already stated is future occurring at the coming of Christ. In my view, the resurrection and ascension are a down payment that Christ will return, restore the kingdom to Israel, and then sit on the Davidic throne. If stated in such terms, I would bet that Bock would at least hear me out.
There is more to this discussion, as well as a section on Acts 15. I won’t go into all of this but I will mention that Bock takes care to include Ladd’s often cited language of already/not yet. This chapter probably tips the scales favorably for buying and reading this book. Some of the chapters have been disappointing, but overall it is a good read and has provoked some thoughts in my views. There are three more essays and a conclusion which I hope to blog on as well.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman